Cecilia Farmer

Character Key: 
Display Name: 
Cecilia Farmer
Sort Name: 
Farmer, Cecilia
AKA: 
Celia Cook
Unnamed Jailer's Daughter
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Female
Class: 
Lower Class
Rank: 
Secondary
Vitality: 
Alive
Biography: 

Cecilia is the only child of the Jefferson jailer and his wife, "a frail anemic girl with narrow workless hands lacking even the strength to milk a cow" (180). She inscribes her name and the date, " Cecilia Farmer April 16th 1861 " with a diamond ring on window glass as she watches Confederate troops pass (180). (Because her father is a "failed farmer," the narrative refers to the name she inscribes as "paradoxical and significantless, 182, though by the end of this prose section it makes her gesture extremely significant.) In 1864, a lieutenant "gaunt and tattered, battle-grimed and fleeing and undefeated" responds to her gaze (182). After Appomattox, he returns once more to Jefferson to claim her. Over ninety years or so the citizens of Jefferson articulate many aspects of her life that may be biography or legend. She is said, for example, to have borne twelve children, all male, on the Alabama farm where she lives (203). (This story is supposedly based on a real-life incident in Oxford.)

Note: 
Cecilia Farmer was anticipated in <em>The Unvanquished</em>, where "Celia Cook" watched General Forrest ride down South Street and "scratched her name on it with a diamond ring" (first edition, 127).
Individual or Group: 
Individual
Character changes class in this text: 

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