Susan Flora

Featured Character – Divided Allegiances

"Our Women and the War," Illustration in Harper's Weekly, September 6,1862

Courtesy of "Women's Soldiers and Nurses of the American Civil War"

Born in 1809, Susan Gallop, married John W. Torksey and remained in obscurity until his death when she was forty-five years old. As Torksey’s sole benefactor, Susan found herself a woman of considerable wealth, and married Andrew Flora, 14 years her junior and member of a respected Currituck family. Andrew Flora died in 1861 leaving his four children from a prior marriage to Susan’s care.  According to oral tradition, Susan encouraged the daughter of one of her slaves to call her “Ma.” When the girl’s mother, a house servant, told the child that due to her status it was not proper to refer to Ms. Flora by that name, she was broken-hearted and could not be comforted. During the war, she was known to hide deserters on her farm and supply them with food. After the war, she was been forced to divide her farm among tenants and act as a landlady. She died suddenly died in 1881 and was buried in a brick vault next to her first husband.