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Virginia in After the Rain

All of the characters that appear in Virginia's Diaries, My Brother's Keeper, After the Rain, and A Time to Dance.

Main characters[]

Virginia Dickens[]

Main article: Virginia Dickens

Virginia B. Dickens[1] (born 1854),[2][3] also known as Ginny, was the second child and only daughter of Elizabeth and Mr. Dickens. Her mother passed away shortly after Virginia's birth. She was raised by her father and her older brother, Jedediah "Jed". In June 1863, Virginia's father left her in the care of Mrs. McCully and Jane Ellen while he and Jed were away. She went on to witness the Battle of Gettysburg. After Jed married Jane Ellen, the family moved to Washington D.C. in November 1864. Virginia had a hard time adjusting to their new life there. The family moved again to New York City in July 1865, which Virginia adjusted to better. She gradually developed an ambition to be a writer like Jed.

Supporting characters[]

Mrs. and Charles Edmonds[]

Mrs. Edmonds and Charles Edmonds, Jr. (born c. 1857)[4] were a mother and son grieving the lost of Charles Edmonds, her husband and his father. Charles died of blood poisoning after being shot at the Battle of Williamsburg. The Edmonds family lived in New York City. Mrs. Edmonds answered Mr. Dickens's inquiry for violin students in the newspaper in late 1865. She desired for Charles Jr. to learn to play his father's violin. According to Mr. Dickens, Charles Jr. had a "natural ability" for the violin. Over time, Mr. Dickens grew to care for Mrs. Edmonds and began calling on her often. In March 1866, they were engaged which made everyone happy.

Mr. Dickens[]

Mr. Dickens ("Pa") was the father of Jed and Virginia. He met his late wife, Elizabeth, after playing his violin at a theater in Richmond. At the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, he and Jed were at his brother's, Jack, farm. Mr. Dickens sent Jed ahead, but he was captured by Confederate soldiers. He was found in a field hospital. A year later, Mr. Dickens moved to Washington D.C. with his children and Jed's new wife, Jane Ellen. He had a hard time finding work, but eventually obtained a violinist position at Ford's Theatre until President Lincoln's assassination. In New York, Mr. Dickens faced similar hardships finding work and turned to teaching violin. This was how he met his fiancée, the widow Mrs. Edmonds.

Jane Ellen Dickens[]

Jane Ellen Dickens (née McCully; born c. 1845)[5] was the younger sister of Reverend McCully. She came from Philadelphia to teach school in Gettysburg in mid-1863. Jane Ellen stayed with her brother and his family. She fell in love with Jed instantly after meeting only once. While Virginia stayed with the McCullys, Jane Ellen shared her room with her and asked a lot of questions about Jed. After the battle, she and Jed got to know to one another. They went on to marry and Jane Ellen was pregnant when the family moved to Washington D.C.. She gave birth to Abraham in April 1865. The pregnancy and the first year was hard on Jane Ellen's health and stamina. Virginia was kept home to help Jane Ellen until her health improved.

Jed Dickens[]

Jedediah[1] "Jed" Dickens (born c. 1845)[5] was the older brother of Virginia, and the son of Elizabeth and Mr. Dickens. He was nine-years-old when his mother died and Virginia was born. Jed helped raise Virginia. During the Battle of Gettysburg, he was captured by Confederate soldiers while making his way home. Jed escaped, but was caught in the battle and his leg was broken by a horse. Virginia later found him in a field hospital. Jed was greatly changed by the experience and no longer wanted to write until Jane Ellen encouraged him. He married Jane Ellen and they moved to Washington D.C. along with his father and sister. There he worked as a type setter until Mr. Hoke helped him become a reporter. After the birth of his son, the family moved to New York where Jed wrote for the Spirit of the Times.

Mrs. McCully[]

Mrs. McCully was the wife of Reverend McCully. In 1863, she had three-year-old twins and a new baby to take care of. Her husband's sister Jane Ellen also came to stay with them. Mrs. McCully agreed to take care of Virginia for Mr. Dickens while he and Jed were away. As she was busy with her own children, she often let Virginia run off wherever she wanted. Mrs. McCully later decided to stay in town for the Battle of Gettysburg, instead of leaving like many people. During much of the battle, she spent much of her time baking bread and gave it out to anyone who asked. Her husband finally returned home a few days after the battle had ended. She and her husband were happy when Jed and Jane announced their engagement.

Minor characters[]

  • Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809[6] – April 15, 1865)[7] was the President of the United States. He desired for there to be no more slavery in the country. After the end of the war, President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.
  • Abraham Lincoln Dickens (born April 23, 1865)[8] was the son of Jed and Jane Ellen. He was named after the later President Abraham Lincoln.
  • Andrew Johnson was the Vice President of the United States until becoming President upon Lincoln's death. He clashed with Congress on several occasions.
  • Becky Lee was a former enslaved woman whom escaped slavery and helped others escape. She earned money by washing clothes, including Mrs. McCully's. Before the battle started, she went to hide with her children in the woods. Jane Ellen kept in touch with Becky Lee through letters after moving away. After the end of the war, she located some of her relatives in South Carolina and later relayed the good news to Jane Ellen.
  • Betsy and Sally were two friends of Virginia Dickens. They left for York with their families shortly before the battle began.
  • Lieutenant Charles Edmonds was the husband of Mrs. Edmonds and father of Charles Jr.. During the war, he was a lieutenant with a New York cavalry regiment. After being shot at the Battle of Williamsburg, he died of blood poisoning.
  • Reverend Crane, the minister of the church the Dickens family attended in Washington D.C..
  • Governor Curtin was the governor of Pennsylvania. He bought land near Gettysburg to serve as the National Soldiers' Cemetery.
  • Edward Everett (died January 1865)[9] was an orator whom gave a speech at the opening of the National Soldiers' Cemetery.
  • Edwin Booth, an actor and the brother of John Wilkes Booth. After his brother assassinated the President, Edwin retired from acting for some time. He was convinced to return and performed Hamlet in January 1866. After seeing him in the play, Virginia became infatuated with the actor and wrote him letters for several months, though he never answered.
  • Eliza, Sarah (born c. 1853), and Robert Porter (born c. 1854)[10] were the grandchildren of Mrs. Porter whom lived in New York City. Virginia looked forward to their visit, but the children never spoke to her or even acknowledged her existence.
  • Elizabeth[11] Dickens (died 1854)[12] was the wife of Mr. Dickens, and mother of Jed and Virginia. She died shortly after her daughter's birth and asked her husband to name her Virginia after her birthplace. Elizabeth also had two younger brothers, whom her family lost contact with.
  • Frank Wellborn, a character in the play A New Way to Pay Old Debts. Virginia refers to the actor playing this character solely as Frank Wellborn.
  • General Grant, the General of the Union Army. General Robert E. Lee surrendered to him at Appomattox Court House, ending the war.
  • Captain Heath was a Confederate soldier. He lived in the North Carolina mountains with his wife and daughters, Lily. During the Battle of Gettysburg, he helped Virginia get to safety. She later saw him injured but recovering in a field hospital.
  • Mr. Hoke was an old friend of Reverend McCully. He worked for a newspaper in Washington, D.C.. Mr. Hoke came to Gettysburg to report on the battle and often kept Mrs. McCully informed on the goings-on. Later, he was impressed by Jed's writing and encouraged him to move to Washington. Mr. Hoke helped him become a reporter.
  • Isabel and Lydia were Mrs. Porter's two cats whom liked sleeping in her lap.
  • Jack Dickens was Mr. Dickens's brother whom lived outside of Gettysburg. His brother and Jed were helping him hide his horses from Confederate raiders when the battle happened.
  • John Wilkes Booth (died April 26, 1865)[13] was an actor whom assassinated President Lincoln. He was found and shot in a barn several days later. His conspirators were tried and hanged.
  • John Scott, the McHenry boys, Sue Peterson, and the Wallace girls were Virginia's schoolmates in Gettysburg.
  • Mrs. John Wood was an actress and the manager of the Olympic Theatre. Virginia worked for her theater as a dresser, helping Mrs. Woods and the other actresses get dressed between scenes.
  • Laura Keene, the lead actress in Our American Cousin, the play during which the President was shot.
  • Madame Masha, a fortuneteller located at 402 K Street. Virginia visited her for advice and Madame Masha informed her that she was afflicted with envy, which helped Virginia realize that she was not appreciating her family.
  • General McClellan was President Lincoln's opponent in the presidential election.
  • Reverend McCully was the husband of Mrs. McCully and father of their three children. He was in Philadelphia when the Confederates marched into Gettysburg. The Reverend tried to return home for a week, before finally finding a willing stage driver.
  • General Meade was the general of the Army of the Potomac whom fought during the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Pickett, a Confederate general whom led a charge during the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Mrs. Porter was a widow whom Virginia worked for doing "general housework." She enjoyed Virginia reading aloud to her. Mrs. Porter's grandchildren came to visit her in Washington D.C. and later on she went to visit them.
  • Mr. Ponisi was the prompter at the Olympic Theatre whom reminded the actors of their lines. Virginia overheard him calling her "plain," which greatly upset her.
  • P. T. Barnum, the owner of Barnum's American Museum. Jed had promised to take Virginia to the museum. However, it ended up burning to the ground.
  • Rex was the Dickens's horse while they were living in Gettysburg.
  • Robert E. Lee was the general of the whole Confederate Army. In April 1865, he surrendered to General Grant which signaled the end of the war.
  • General Sherman was a Union Army general. Mr. Hoke went down south to cover his Atlanta campaign against the Confederates.
  • Smith, a young boy whom was expected to die after picking up a shell from the battlefield.
  • Tad Lincoln (born 1853),[14] the son of President Lincoln. He and his father enjoyed riding their horses together. Virginia was envious of Tad and pretended to be him until his father was killed.
  • Widow Thomas, a citizen of Gettysburg. Virginia took refuge in the tree in her front yard during the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Judge Wills, another Gettysburg citizen. President Lincoln stayed at his home when he came into town for the National Soldiers' Cemetery dedication.
  • Professor Withers, the orchestra conductor at the Ford's Theatre.


See also[]