Brown, Hallie Q.
|MARY CATHERINE WINDSOR -- 1830--1914|
Mary Catherine Windsor was born in Newtown, Virginia, March 17, 1830. When a girl she was taken by her parents, William and Ellen Tocus to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here she attended school under a famous teacher named John Templeton and acquired a fair education. She became a Christian early in life, was a member of Wylie Avenue A. M. E. Church, living an exemplary life until her death.
When a young woman she was united in marriage to Mr. Henry Williams, who was engaged in the coal business on the Bingham Estate, Coal Hill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their wedded life was of short duration. Mr. Williams died and the young widow lived with her relatives. Shortly after the Civil War began she made a trip by vessel to New Orleans, La., with her brother-in-law, Mr. Thomas A. Brown who at that time was in the mail service.
The vessel ran the blockade under heavy fire and later became a war transport for the Union Army.
On the return trip as the vessel was cautiously creeping up the Mississippi river late one afternoon and about to weigh anchor, "Aunt Kitty" as she was familiarly called sitting in her state room, discovered rebel forces cautiously crawling through the under brush and about to open fire upon the transport.
Rushing out of her state room she gave the alarm, crying, "The rebels are coming. The rebels are coming!"
The guns were trained on the enemy and they were soon put to rout. Aunt Kitty had saved their lives and prevented the destruction of the vessel. She became the heroine
At the close of the Civil War she was married to William Windsor and for many years lived on a farm near Naples and Hull, Illinois.
At Hull, their home on the farm was destroyed by fire. Friends and neighbors gave lumber and built a new house for this aged, worthy couple. The following incident will show the high esteem in which they were held by the citizens of the community. The school children for several miles around brought to the school house fruits, vegetables and clothing. It required a two horse wagon to convey the children's gift to Aunt Kitty's door.
Shortly after this event, Mr. Windsor, advanced in years, dropped dead while ploughing in a nearby field.
Aunt Kitty, now a lone widow but greatly beloved by all who knew her in her Illinois home, was taken to Wilberforce to spend her remaining years with relatives.
She was cheerful and bright, but infirmities of old age caused her to live a retired life.
Her constant companion was her Bible and at any time during the day she could be seen pouring over its sacred page.
One day, without warning, Aunt Kitty slipped away as quietly and unobtrusively as she had lived. Thus closed a long, eventful life and full of good deeds. He giveth His beloved sleep.