Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Mistaken Identity

Does this woman look like me?  If you know me, you know that the answer is "No."  If you don't know me, trust me.  The answer is still "No."  I do not look anything like this woman.  And, contrary to popular belief, our names are NOT the same!

Let me backtrack to earlier this week.  I had to go somewhere and, when I got to this place, I had to give them my name.  When a person at this place heard my name, she said, "Oh!  You must have been named after Jennie Wade!"  I guess I rolled my eyes a little too loudly, because she quickly said something like, "I guess you must get tired of hearing that."  Noooooo.  How did you guess?

First of all, I get tired of hearing it because I'm tired of hearing it.  I used to work with a guy who, when he saw me, would say, "You're looking well today" - a reference to the fact that Jennie Wade died some 140+ years ago.  It was funny for, like, the first 10 times.

Secondly, I get tired of hearing it because I'm not named after her!  Do you know why I wasn't named after her?  Because her name isn't "Jennie" Wade!  A fact which, admittedly, I didn't know until five or 10 years ago, when I took the time to read a book and learn her story.

The woman everyone knows as "Jennie" Wade was actually named "Mary Virginia" Wade.  Her nickname was "Ginnie," and she is famous for being the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, which, as we all know, turned the tide of the Civil War.  If I recall correctly, she was killed on the morning of the third day of the battle, July 3, 1863.  Ginnie was baking bread for the Union soldiers, when a bullet came through the door and killed her.  When the journalists of the day heard about this, they immediately doomed me to a lifetime of bad jokes by reporting her name as "Jennie" instead of "Ginnie."  I'm sure there's irony in here somewhere.

(BTW, not only was Jennie's name not Jennie, but the famous "Jennie Wade House" where she died, wasn't her house!  It belonged, I think, to her married sister's family.)

Thirdly, as far as I know, I am not related to Jennie's Wades.  Family lore is a little lacking on my father's side of the family, but I'm (fairly) sure that if she were even some sort of "fifth cousin twice removed" I would have heard about it.  I mean, you can't let famous dead relatives like that go unmentioned.

So, I guess my point is this:  Give it a rest already!  And, brush up on your history while you're at it.  Here are a few websites that might help.  JENNIE WADE HOUSE, ANOTHER JENNIE WADE HOUSE, CIVIL WAR WOMEN, GHOSTLY JENNIE WADE HOUSE (tour info)  So, start studying!

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