From the The Winchester Star Winchester, VA, Wednesday, August 20, 2003
‘Miss Dolly’ Offers Look at Colorful Life
‘Miss Dolly’ Offers Look at Colorful Life
By Linda McCarty
Jim Hutton was researching material for two books when he met Miss Dolly.
It seemed like wherever he looked, Dorothy “Dolly” Lamon Teillard was there, mentioned in diaries and historical accounts he used while compiling information for “In and Around Gerrardstown” and “The Diary of Sarah Morgan McKown, 1860-1899.”
Hutton, 76 and a lifetime Frederick County resident raised in White Hall, decided he wanted to know more.
“During my research, Dolly merged as a remarkably intelligent, kind, alert, vivacious, cultured, spiritual, and most appealing lady, who believed in living life to the fullest each day, leaving little for tomorrow,” said Hutton, who lives with his wife, Juanita, off Apple Pie Ridge Road.
Hutton became interested in Dolly because he’s fascinated with women who show “a great deal of strength, grace, intelligence, and morals.”
“And Dolly was like that,” Hutton said. “She was so remarkable, so exciting and intriguing.
Last month, he published “Miss Dolly: The Remarkable Daughter of Ward Hill Lamon, Friend and Bodyguard of Abraham Lincoln.”
Hutton has been interested in area history since he was a boy.
Back then, he sometimes would wake up early to be at a neighbor’s house before breakfast, and by lunch, he’d be somewhere else, learning about days gone by, Hutton said.
His inquisitive mind paid off, because Hutton, who was Frederick County’s assistant superintendent for instruction when he retired in 1982, has written about 14 books and numerous articles related to area history.
Hutton’s research on Dolly began with her father, Ward Hill Lamon, who was born in 1828 near Stephenson, moved to Illinois, become a lawyer, and eventually formed a partnership with Abraham Lincoln in 1852.
Lamon married Angeline Strode Turner of Berkeley County, and the couple had Dolly on Nov. 13, 1858.
Angeline Lamon died five months later, and Dolly was raised by an aunt and uncle in Danville, Ill.
When Lincoln was elected president in 1861, Dolly’s father moved to Washington to serve as Lincoln’s bodyguard.
During Lincoln’s presidency, Dolly visited her father.
In a letter she wrote years later to a young boy, Dolly told him about riding in a red satin-lined carriage with her father and Lincoln and how intrigued she was with Lincoln’s long legs.
“I have regretted that I paid so little attention to Mr. Lincoln’s wonderful face,” she wrote to the boy.
Her father had traveled to Richmond when Lincoln was assassinated.
From his research, Hutton discovered Dolly was definitely a woman ahead of her time. Dolly married William Carnahan, of Danville, in 1880 and had two children. One died in infancy and the other at age 4.
A year after her marriage and a year before her first child was born, Dolly traveled by rail and spent two months in Socorro, N.M., staying among the Pueblo Indians there.
“She was amazed by the architecture and the various habits of the Indians,” Hutton said.
Dolly’s husband left her and their 2-year-old daughter, Ruth, in 1885.
Divorced and working mothers were almost unheard of. Dolly became both.
Dolly and Ruth moved from Danville to Washington, where Dolly became a government employee.
“General John Charles Black of Danville was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Pensions by President Grover Cleveland in 1885, and Black offered Dolly a position as clerk in his office in Washington,” Hutton wrote. “She was thankful for the government job as it made her independent . . . ”
Five years later, Dolly was promoted to official stenographer of the Commissioner of Pensions, a “responsible and lucrative position.”
Dolly suffered a great loss in 1886, when Ruth died of diphtheria.
“My happy-go-lucky life was interrupted by a deep sorrow that lasted for 4 years.” Dolly said in her book, “By These Things Have I Lived,” published in 1948.
“I think she was talking, not only, about the loss of her daughter, but also about being deserted by her husband,” Hutton said.
Dolly kept the stenographer’s position until 1889, when Benjamin Harrison became president and Dolly was moved from “central headquarters down to a division among the unnoticed . . . I spent 23 years in office altogether, 19 of them looking for something else.”
Hutton said Dolly was able to escape the mundane work in government by traveling.
Prior to a trip to France in 1890, Dolly met Xavier Teillard, who tutored her in French at Catholic University of America in Washington.
The couple’s relationship grew into a companionship filled with love and devotion.
Xavier was supportive of Dolly when her father died in Martinsburg, W.Va., in 1893, and when she discovered a gold mine her father owned in Boulder, Colo.
After the discovery, Dolly paid back taxes on the property, formed a mining company, and became a gold miner.
She was hoping the gold mine would furnish her an “exit from government service,” Dolly said in her book. It probably didn’t, Hutton said.
Mixed in with her trips to Colorado and her job, Dolly continued her travels to Europe, where she sometimes got into financial scraps and had to borrow money from Xavier.
She also wrote him numerous love letters during her travels.
“Without you my world would be dark indeed,” she wrote during one trip.
In July 1900, while on a trip to Austria and Switzerland, Dolly stayed at the Austrian Tyrol and wrote to Xavier saying, “where I hope we may some day sleep together, God willing.”
Xavier and Dolly were finally married in August 1907 — she was 49 and he was 53.
The Teillards spent summers in Gerrardstown, W.Va., until they moved to France in 1921, where Xavier died 13 years later.
Dolly was 83 when in 1941 World War II forced her to leave Europe and return to the United States.
Seven years later, Dolly published “By These Things I Have Lived,” which was about her life and included inspirational thoughts she’d written and collected over 76 years.
“I have included those thoughts on a variety of subjects in my book,” Hutton said.
Dolly died of a heart attack on Jan. 20, 1953, at the home of relatives in Bunker Hill. She was 93. She is buried beside her father and daughter at the Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Gerrardstown.
“Dolly attempted to live her life according to her favorite beliefs, which she penned at the conclusion of her book,” Hutton said.
“The ability to put yourself in the place of the other fellow is the hallmark of true culture . . . I believe the greatest thing in the world is the saving grace of knowing one’s own business and keeping to it and out of other’s, to live content with small means, seek elegance rather than luxury, refinement rather than fashion . . . be worthy, study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, listen to the stars, birds, babies, sages with open heart . . . be cheerful, do all bravely, never hurry and let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common.”
Hutton said he enjoyed researching Dolly’s life and writing his latest book.
“It was a fun book to write, because she was such an interesting person and a woman ahead of her time. She was a lovely lady.”
Don Wood, president of the Berkeley County Historical Society, said the organization will sell Hutton’s latest book.
“Jim’s work is excellent,” Wood said. “His book, ‘The Diary of Sarah Morgan McKown, 1860-1899,’ was excellent, and I’m looking forward to reading about Miss Dolly.”
“Miss Dolly, The Remarkable Daughter of Ward Hill Lamon, Friend and Bodyguard of Abraham Lincoln” can be purchased for $20 at the Berkeley County Historical Society, Belle Boyd House, 126 E. Race St., Martinsburg, W.Va., or by calling the society at (304) 267-4713.
The book can also be purchased by writing Hutton at 303 Old Baltimore Road, Winchester, Va. 22603.
From Danville Daily Commercial, October 21, 1880
"Wm. M Carnahan, son of Gen. R. H. Carnahan and Dollie Lamon, daughter of Col. Hill Lamon of Virginia were married Thursday evening at the Presbyterian Church. Attendants were Emma Webster and Harry Martin."
From Danville Daily News, January 15, 1886
"Squire Wm. Morgan received word from Washington DC of the death of Ruth Carnahan, 4 year old daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Mac Carnahan."
From Danville Daily Commercial, October 14, 1886
"Mrs. Dollie Carnahan has been promoted to a $1,400 clerkship in the Pension Department."
From Danville Daily Commercial, May 24, 1890
"Miss Dollie Lamon is now the official stenographer of the Commissioner of Pensions. She is the daughter of Ward Hill Lamon."
From Danville Daily Commercial, August 11, 1890
"Miss Dollie Lamon of the District of Columbia will leave for an extended trip to Europe on the 24th of this month."
Danville newspaper references from "Notes from the old newspapers of Danville, Illinois and Vermilion County, Illinois"