The Warren Sisters ("The Aunts")

Guy Warren McBride's mother, Sophronia Warren McBride, was no shrinking violet.  It is said that she mounted her horse daily and rode down to the field to check on all of the overseers and crops before returning to govern the affairs of the house.  A petite woman, it was noted that she wore very small shoes.  In her father's letters home he makes reference to an accident in which as a child Sophronia lost the sight in her left eye.
 July 10, 1848 – “The past has been a trying year with us. I have again been unfortunate in business.”  “Where I shall be or what I shall do another year I know not.  I have had some sickness in my family.  My youngest child, Martha (about a year old) has been quite sick for two months, and I fear she will never be any better.  Ordinarily, the birth of a child is a source of Joy, but with me it is a cause of grief.  One child I buried in Charleston, another, I fear, will be buried here.  Sophronia has but one eye and besides has suffered great and continued anguish from Tick or Nervous affliction of the face and side….”
 This is never repeated again and is the only reference to that incident.  Only one other Warren sister, Louisa, married and she was also left a young widow, but they all remained in the Salem Black River Community the rest of their lives. A younger sister of Sophronia’s said that following the earthquake and fire in Charleston in 1886 fourteen families from Charleston found refuge at Rip Raps at one time or another.

                                 "The Aunts" Alice, Harriett (Hattie) & Julia Warren
Tribute was paid to the Warren women by their great-niece, Elizabeth Gertrude Dabbs Thompson when she wrote in 1970, “I cannot close without a tribute to the four daughters of Guy Lewis Warren and Mary Vardell Warren, who were my great aunts – Harriett, Alice and Julia Warren and Louisa Warren Fraser, whose love and charm and refined manners left their stamp on our childhood and our community.”  The “Aunts”, as they were referred to by descendents,  moved to the Summer House after their sister Sophronia’s death.  With them went all of the furniture out of Rip Raps and a considerable amount of confederate bills which were placed in the attic.  Rip Raps was rented for a few years while young James McBride Dabbs continued with his academic studies.  Meanwhile, the Aunts continued to provide education to the children in the white community.  Their great-great nieces and nephews recall visiting their home and looking at large scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings of the Civil War.  Unfortunately, the Summer House, (so called since it was located further away from the swamp and was a healthier place to live during the “miasma” or malaria outbreaks in the summer) burned in 1936. All of the memorabilia from that house was lost, including the fine furniture which had been in Samuel McBride’s original home.  A treasure of family Bibles that traced the lineage of the Warren family back to England was also left in the ashes.    As the family mourned these great losses, Stella Dabbs dryly remarked that they had all just successfully avoided a great family struggle over the distribution of the many antiques.
            Billy Dabbs, grandson of Eugene Whitefield Dabbs, remembers the day the Summer House burned.  He recalls his father driving over in the family car at the news that the house was on fire.  Wanting to go, but being told that he couldn’t, Billy jumped on the back of the bumper of the car and rode the mile to the fire scrunched down so that his   father couldn’t see him.  Upon arriving, he jumped off the back of the car and ran past his father huffing and puffing with great exaggeration of his efforts at “running the entire mile” and beating his father to the fire.
            The Warren Family played a vital role in support of Sophronia Warren McBride and the Rip Raps Plantation, but they did not multiply with the same ferocity as the Dabbs lineage and evidently found the challenge of paying the bills owed by the estate beyond their capacity to manage.  After the death of her father, Guy Warren in 1875,  Sophronia continued to struggle to maintain the plantation with her two children,  Maude and Guy, and her sisters and brothers.  Maude would not marry Eugene Whitefield Dabbs until thirteen years later in 1893 when she was thirty-three years old.  Sophronia would live for 22 more years, outliving both of her children.                                     
                          Aunt Alice with children of Eugene Dabbs and Maude McBride Dabbs
                       (l-r starting with tallest:  James McBride Dabbs, Thomas Hoole Dabbs, Guy
                        McBride Dabbs, Aunt Alice Warren, Elizabeth Gertrude Dabbs and
                                                        Sophie McBride Dabbs)