Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.


One Tragic Day in October, a True Story re. the Death of Evelyn Langhorne Houchins and Joyce Knowles Helms

Women riding horses in 1910

      Saturday, October 6, 1900 was a beautiful Fall day, crisp and cool in the mountains of Patrick County Virginia. For our family, it was a tragic day. My maternal great, great-grandmother, Evaline Howell Langhorne, age 34 went into labor with twins. She was living at the plantation home of her blind father James Steptoe Langhorne and her mother Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne, along with her husband and six children. A rider went out to ask her cousin and midwife Louvenia Joyce Knowles Helms, age 64, to come quickly to help with the complicated home birth.

Louvinia Knowles Helms

     Louvenia grabbed her supplies and asked her daughter Louisa,age 36, called Lutie,  to accompany her by horseback to the Langhorne’s home. They rode hard through the woods as they knew time was of the essence. Louisa was just behind her mother as they galloped along. Suddenly her mother slowed, stopped and dropped to the ground clutching her chest. Lutie was stunned as she rushed to her mother’s side. Doing all that she could to help her mother, it wasn’t enough and her mother died that day of a heart attack, rushing to help my grandmother give birth! Louvenia had eleven children of her own and her beloved husband Adam Helms who survived her.

       Meanwhile, Evaline Houchins was in trouble as well, The birth wasn’t going well, and her body was just not able to withstand the physical stress. This wonderful young woman and both infants died that day as well as Louvenia! What a tragic day for our family, and what a tragic day for all of Patrick County, Virginia on that beautiful Fall day in October, 1900! 

(This story was told to Helen Holshouser by Harvie Langhorne Spangler on April 26, 2013.)


Louvenia Joyce Knowles (1836 – 1900)

is your 2nd cousin 4x removed
mother of Louvenia Joyce Knowles
father of Jane Harbour
father of David Harbour
son of Abner Harbour
daughter of Moses* Harbour
daughter of Joyce Harbour
son of Nancy J Houchins
daughter of Walter Thomas Houchins
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse –


Evaline Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

is your great grandmother
daughter of Evaline Langhorne
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse