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Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas was an intelligent, spirited woman born in 1834 to one of the wealthiest families in Georgia. She kept a diary for forty-one years of her life before, during, and after the Civil War filled thirteen hand-written volumes with 450,000 words. Her father recognised her love of learning and sent her to the first college for women in America, Wesleyan Female College in Macon, Georgia. After college graduation in 1851, she married her Princeton-educated husband in 1852. With the coming of the Civil War and its aftermath, her life changed forever. Thomas experienced loss of wealth, bankruptcy, the death of loved ones, serious illness, and devastating family strife. She gave birth to ten children and saw four of them die. In 1893, Thomas left Augusta and moved to Atlanta where she became active in the Women's Christian Union and the Suffrage Movement. In 1899 she was elected president of the Georgia Woman Suffrage Association.