World of Wonders

If I get my eyes on anything old with words I just can’t let it go. I’m fascinated by the wish to communicate that lasts over centuries.

These old magazines (?) were handed over to me by my Father in Law, I guess he didn’t have the heart to throw them away.

They mention interesting experiments made by a man called Alexander Graham Bell! The price is 6d. And they often refer to matters occuring in the 1700s, not so long ago in their time.

One story specifically caught my attention yesterday, it is titled and starts like this:



THE Gentleman’s Magazine for August, 1739, records the death of one Christiana Davis, on the 7th July of that year, who served with great valour in the Inniskilling Dragoons, &c. To this extraordinary woman we would call attention. She did not serve in the Inniskilling, but in the 2nd Dragoons, now the Scots Greys, and her history is indeed a wonder.

The story as it was told was fascinating but I thought I’d better Google it to make sure it was not just a Fantasy and I did find a brief note here.

This is my weak summary of that colorful story from part 13 year (1888?). The quotes are from the original article.

Christiana Davis was born in Dublin in 1667 and already brave when she saved her mother from Papists when her father was away as a soldier. Later she inherited a tavern and got happily married to Robert Welsh but when she carried her second child her husband was kidnapped and forced to enlist in a regiment. After the child was born she made arrangements for care of her children, determined to find her husband. She cut of her hair,dressed in her husbands clothes and found a way to enlist, as Christopher Welsh. She started out as a foot soldier and then the cavalry. No one detected her secret even at field hospitals after being wounded. She kept searching for her husband and by a coincident they finally met. But since he thought she was dead he had been involved with another woman. It didn’t trouble Christiana, she quickly forgave him. They stayed in the regiment pretending to be brothers.

All through the great war, conducted by the greatest captain of that age, or, perhaps, of any other, the Duke of Marlborough, this heroic woman fought.

Eventually at the end of a battle she was severely wounded and her gender was discovered, to her distress but as a big occurrence to everybody involved. She was given handsome gifts and set free from service. Her husband was brought to her and the regiment even declared there should be a new wedding and so it was, with all the officers invited.

But somehow the bravery never stopped. She stayed close to battlefields and assisted in many ways. Once she fought the woman who wanted to steel her husband and cut of the woman’s nose (!) Later unfortunately her husband got killed in a battle where Christiana found him shortly after. She threw her husband’s body across her mare and took it away and buried it and “would have thrown herself into the grave with it had she not been prevented”.

Queen Anne presented Christiana with fifty pounds, and a shilling a day for life. She also marched with other soldiers with “streaming eyes and heavy heart at the funeral for the great Duke of Marlborough under whom she had fought so long and so well.”

Christiana died, after catching a cold while nursing her third husband, on the 7th of July 1739, 72 years old.

She was buried in the Burialground of Chelsea Hospital, a detachment firing three volleys over her grave as for a brave comrade and fellow-soldier.

This story is one of the reasons someone invented the saying “Reality exceeds imagination” 

I hope you may feel brave today


13 thoughts on “The World of Wonders, Illustrated

  1. Oh Lotta! What a wonderful post. I too love old writings but also old photographs or paintings. They pull me in and tell me their secrets which often become the threads for weaving a story or poem! Would you mind if I reblog? It is just too delicious not to share! x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely amazing. It reminds me of what I am working on and the story for my great-aunt. She was an amazing woman. The child of a Swedish immigrant who survived three husbands, raised six children alone during the Great Depression and so much more. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Lotta! That is an amazing story! I’m glad your Father in Law didn’t throw the magazines away. I wonder who will pick up one of our stories many years from now and read what we have to say. I like to imagine a great-great-great-…granddaughter a lot like me reading one of my stories many many years from now. Isn’t it wonderful the impact we can have on future generations?


  3. What an amazing find, I love reading stories such as this. I just finished the movie Finding Neverland and had to google more about JM Barrie after watching the film. I found it fascinating to see how the Author came to write Peter Pan. Thanks for sharing this Lotta.


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