15. Marrying a Civil War Veteran
William Cantrell enlisted in the Confederate army at age sixteen, and served in the Army of Tennessee in the Western Theater. He was captured in 1863, held in a prison camp in Ohio, and eventually released in a prisoner exchange. He returned to civilian life after the war, moved to Arkansas to stay with relatives, eventually started a family, and after a long married life, was widowed in 1929. In 1934, when Cantrell was 86 and Maudie Cecilia Acklin was 19, he offered to leave her his house and land, if she would marry him and take care of him in his final years.
It was not too uncommon for young women in Arkansas at the time to marry Civil War pensioners, so Maudie accepted. For much of her life, she generally kept that marriage a secret, to avoid gossip about her having once married a much older man, and fearing that people would think less of her as a result. In her later years, however, she openly acknowledged the marriage.