by Steve Tweed
July 18, 2017
“Nothing is impossible to a determined woman.” – Louisa May Alcott
Much has been said over the years about a woman’s determination:
Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn; A woman’s prerogative; the list goes on and on.
Appalachian women were and are no different, including Matilda Tweed Cutshall.
I never knew Matilda and cannot remember her, as she died in 1970 when I was five years old.
However, my love of history gave way to oral stories and facts over the years that led me to appreciate her.
For those who follow my stories here at Germain Media, you may recall that it was Matilda Tweed Cutshall who told Ruth Tweed Landers (1921-2005) about Celia Sams Tweed’s beauty during a Sunday walk to church in the 1930’s.
These types of tidbits and oral traditions have led me to discover the type of intestinal fortitude, defiance and determination Matilda.
While tradition, culture, hardship and circumstances dictated that women were expected to marry young in the 19th Century all the way through the late 20th Century, Matilda went against the grain.
She did not marry young and refused to.
She concentrated on family and her Christian Faith.
Nevertheless she did have a flair for fashion and was known for wearing nice hats throughout her life. She was sort of like a modest yet upscale version of Minnie Pearl before there was a Minnie Pearl.
Yet she never married young.
She simply waited.
You see, Matilda loved only one man as family lore would have it: Lowery Cutshall (pronounced Larry)
Whether love came from some type of relationship when they were young or not I do not know and I will not speculate, but the fact remains that Lowery Cutshall married another.
She watched her father die in 1917 and her mother in 1940.
She inherited the home place, a beautiful late Victorian style house, yet she was all alone.
And then something happened.
Lowery had lost his wife in 1937.
Whether some type of new courtship developed or not, I do not know but Lowery & Matilda were wed on September 29, 1944.
Matilda Tweed was a first time bride at the tender age of 63.
Lowery moved into her home where they lived out their lives farming, gardening and going to church.
Matilda still wore her hats.
Lowery died in April of 1969, leaving Matilda alone once again and she had gone blind.
Matilda moved in with her brother, Chapel Tweed and his wife Jessie, leaving her family home to stand idle.
Matilda died on June 2, 1970 and was buried in our family cemetery.
The irony of it all is that she is buried alone, as Lowery was buried with his first wife.
The epitaph on her stone reads: Wife of Lowery Cutshall
The epitaph tells all that she ever wanted to be.
Her solitary stone stands as testimony to what she truly was: A Strong & Determined Woman.
Y’all have a great week!