|Other County Histories | Civil War | 1886 | 1913 Vol. 1 | 1916 | Depression | 100 Years ||
Livingston County History
Celebrating 150 Years, 1821-1981
Published by The Retired Senior Volunteer Program
At first we used what they called a cradle to cut grain, then they had a reaper, it would cut grain and lay it on a platform and a sweeper would rake it off in bunches where men would come along and bind the straw. When Father got a self-binder, it made a five foot cut, and took five horses to pull it. It stood up at least six feet in the air and it was my job to ride one of the lead horses.
I remember in the fall of the year they would begin to get ready for the thrashing. The group consisted of three men and their teams. One team hauled the thrashing machine, one the horse power, and one the trap wagon. The three teams the machine men brought and two teams the farmer furnished. One man pitched bundles and they had a boy to cut bands. I have cut bands, also my thumb.
All of the hands stayed for supper, as well as the big meal we had at noon.
On the farm we had no lights, only the candle. When I was a small boy the coal oil lamps came on the scene. We boys slept upstairs, when we went up in the dark, we had no lamp in our room. Our room was cold, weather boards were all the siding we got, we could see the underside of the shingles. One of my ears got frozen in bed in my sleep. I rolled over and thawed it out. When I awoke the ear felt as big as three ears and felt hot as fire. My brother told me that h4 thought it might come off, which caused me some worry at the time. We awoke with snow on our bed, and made barefoot tracks in the snow on our way downstairs.
Back in the days of the wood stove, when the days began to cool the day would finally come when they would have to put up the stove. It was a time put off as long as possible. I don’t remember of a time when there was not trouble when they tried to get the stove pipe to come together. It seemed that the pipes were the same size, or seemed so, and how to get one to go inside the other when it seemed that both were the same size! I am sure that more tempers flared on that job than any other on the farm. Then each day there would be accumulation of ashes which had to be carried. They used to have what they called an ash-hopper, it consisted of boards set up in a V-shape around five feet high. They would close the ends and have one end lower than the other, fill it with ashes, then pour water in the ashes. They would have it up off the ground, the water ran through the ashes, and with a bucket under the drain they could catch the lye and they Would have the material with other materials to make soap. I have known the ash-hopper to fall apart and crush a child.
I was a boy when the first telephone came in our neighborhood. I was going to school at Vaughn as they came by setting the poles and stretching the wire, which I supposed was hollow. They were going to Avalon from Chillicothe. Mr. Vaughn, a wealthy man had one installed in his home. Not so many years after that there was a switchboard at Dawn one at Blue Mound and Avalon. The dues were twenty-five cents per month, or three dollars per year. They were farmer owned and they soon went by the board and we were without phones for years.
One time between the years of 1860 and 1865 Porter Minnis and his wife Florence started with their young son, Eddie, across the plains from Kansas City to Denver, Colorado, with a wagon train. My grandfather, Porter Minnis, who had been hired to haul supplies from Kansas City to Denver made preparation by finding enough people who wished to cross the plains to make up a wagon train which consisted of a dozen or more covered wagons pulled by oxen. There were always a few men on horseback who went along. They crossed the plains seven times.
My grandfather was captain of the crew. In case of emergency he was in command and there were a number of times when drastic decisions had to be made.
One incident I recall was a young man on horseback who vowed he would kill the first Indian he saw. My grandfather pleaded with him and threatened to make him turn back if he insisted on taking that attitude toward the Indians. None of the band thought he would, but they had not gone far into Kansas when they saw an Indian woman (squaw) sitting with her baby (papoose) under the shade of a tree. The young man on horseback raised his gun and shot and killed the squaw. The wagon train traveled on, but before they were out of sight of the dead woman they could see the Indians gathering around her body. The child she was holding was killed also. My grandfather warned the band there would be trouble and soon they could see some Indians riding toward them. It was the chief and several warriors.
The wagon train was stopped and the Indian Chief asked to see the white chief which in Indian language was my grandfather. The Chief asked for the man who had killed the squaw and he was taken by them. The young man had pleaded hopefully to be protected but there was no choice; he had committed murder and must take the consequence. They never saw him again.
The westward-bound caravan moved on and at the close of a day they formed a circle with their wagons, placing their horses inside the ring and leaving the cattle outside to graze on the buffalo grass which at that time covered the plains. They would then make a campfire and the women would prepare the evening meal, after which they would rest through the night after their long weary day of travel. Early in the morning they would arise and make ready for another day’s journey.
After many days of travel they arose at dawn and could not see or hear their cattle. The captain told the men to saddle their horses so they could look for them. By the time they were ready to go, they could see off in the distance the cattle which were being driven away by the redskins. My grandfather told the men to put their horses into a run and overtake and surround the cattle, but to stay together. Most did, but there was one man who was frightened, or his horse ran away. Anyway, he started riding in the 336 opposite direction as fast as his horse could run. The Indians left the cattle and took after him, but not until they had shot some arrows at the men. My grandfather reached to the horse beside him and pulled an arrow from its hip. They took the cattle back to camp; then some of the men rode back to find their companion. They found where the Indians had scalped him.
My grandmother was fond of pets and had with her a parrot which learned to say several words. When the wagons were loaded and ready to go my grandfather would ride by and say “all ready,” and the man in the wagon would answer with the words “all ready.” The parrot learned to say “all ready” and would holler “all ready” before they were ready to go. The oxen would start to go as they were accustomed to starting at this call. Some of the men got so disgusted with the parrot, they threatened to kill it, but I don’t think they did.
My grandmother was a rather large woman with blue eyes and dark hair, nice looking and of Scottish ancestry. One day when my grandfather was talking with an Indian Chief, the chief could see my grandmother holding Eddie, a pretty baby with big blue eyes and dark hair. My grandmother noticed the chief staring at her which put a fear into her mind. But she did not know the chief was asking my grandfather to swap squaws and papooses, which in English meant wife and baby. My grandfather told him no, no, no swap, he could not swap his squaw and papoose, so the chief went away. But the following day he followed them with three squaws and papooses for my grandmother and the baby. My grandfather again told him no, he could not swap so the chief and his family went away. The third day they could see in the distance some Indians approaching, so my grandfather stopped the wagons and told the men to get their guns ready in case they would need them. Sure enough, it was the same old Indian Chief, this time with seven squaws and more papooses, I don’t know how many, and he asked my grandfather to swap the seven squaws and the papooses for his squaw and the blue-eyed papoose. He always spoke of the baby as the blue-eyed papoose. By this time my grandfather had lost his patience and told him to leave and if he followed them anymore he and his men would kill him. My grandfather tried to make friends with the Indians and not have any trouble with them but this was too much. The Indians did leave and they never saw them again.
My grandmother was so frightened that night, she sat up in her bed and-called out “There he is .... .. There he is?!” My grandfather sprang from his bed and grabbed his guns and looked about only to find she was talking in her sleep.
When they would reach Denver they would not start on their return trip for a while, as there were some of the people who had gone to stay and they would have to find enough wagons coming east to make a wagon train. At one time during their stay in Denver, Bill Cody (known as Buffalo Bill) was there.
My grandparents knew of him but did not know him personally. My grandparents called him “Old Bill Cody, the meanest man in the west.” One day my grandfather saw two men fighting and, as was the custom those days, he and several other men gathered around them. One of the men asked “who is that?” Another answered and said “Why that’s Bill Cody.” The other man who was fighting, apparently was winning the fight, but when he learned he was fighting Bill Cody he jumped to his feet and ran.
My grandfather had a younger brother who accompanied them on one of their trips west. He rode horseback and followed along behind the wagons. He was not afraid of the Indians and would stop and try to trade or dicker with them. My grandfather scolded him and tried to make him conduct himself so as not to disturb the Indians, but he would not listen. One day they were traveling along and as usual Uncle Lonnie was lagging along behind and was out of sight of the wagons, so my grandfather became uneasy and mounted a horse and rode quite a distance back to find Uncle Lonnie. He was down in a hollow or ravine a short distance from the trail with two Indians. He was off his horse and had given up his gun. They were demanding all his possessions. My grandfather rode to where they were and holding a revolver in each hand motioned for the Indians to stand back, which they did. My grandfather told his brother to pick up his gun and get on his horse and ride on. My grandfather held his gun on the Indians until he had started, then he turned and rode with Uncle Lonnie back to the wagons. After that my grandfather did not have any more trouble with Uncle Lonnie. He stayed close behind the wagons.
Their last overland trip by wagon they decided to locate in the west and purchased a piece of land, a portion of where Denver now stands. But they later became homesick and sold their property and returned to Missouri, where they settled on a farm in Livingston County and reared seven children to be grown men and women. If this couple were living now, they would be enjoying the companionship of 40 living grandchildren, most of whom live in North Missouri.
(This story was told to me by my father E. E. Perry who was 6 years old at the beginning of the story.)
In 1883 my grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Perry who lived in Jumner County, Kansas, decided to take a claim in Western Kansas. In those days it was wild country. He went in a claim wagon with provisions such as food, clothing, bedding and a revolver. During the, day he met a couple of men also in a covered wagon. They used muzzle loading guns then. Tom went over there and they seemed very nervous. They wanted to get rid of him and take his wagon. He saw a rancher’s house near, so after dark he went to the rancher, told him his troubles and borrowed a gun for the night. He got in a place where he could watch his wagon and horses. In the early part of the night one of the men got up on Tom’s wagon tongue and yelled. The next morning Tom asked them which way they were going. When they told him, he said, “This is where we separate”. He went on, took his claim of 160 acres in Commanche County about ten miles from Coldwater and ten miles from Greensburg.
He made the trip back to Sumner County for his two oldest sons, Will, 11 years old and John 9, and more provisions. They then helped him build a sod house. Later on he went back for Grandma and the other children, having John and Will stay with a hired man. The boys carried water in a churn placed on a little sled which was easily pulled on the prairie grass. They were at this task when they saw the wagon coming. They left the churn and ran to the house to clean up. When Grandma saw the churn she worried for fear it was ruined, not realizing that it had been out only a short while.
In Kansas it was very dry with hot winds and the new ground didn’t hold moisture. After the first year Tom sold his level 160 acre claim, with its sod house and 100 feet well with no water for $900. He bought another place about three miles away for $400.00. He made a dugout house in a draw, filled the ends and roof with sod. He dug a well down 30 feet and got water. Here at a nearby creek the boys went fishing and swimming. The children walked about one mile to a sod school house. They lived in this part of Kansas about four years before they decided they couldn’t take any more crop failures. Tom and family went off and left the second place. He had money when he first went to western Kansas but lost a good part of it there. He came to Livingston County, about twelve miles southwest of Chillicothe with two other families. Here the family stayed and many of their children and grandchildren still live in this area.
Up in the Great Lakes region spring thaw comes late and it was in mid-April, 1865, that the Giles Gifford family set forth on frozen roads to make a new home in the west. We had a covered wagon with essentials for cooking and camping on the way - a water barrel was fastened to the side of the wagon - trunks and wooden boxes were placed in the bottom of the wagon containing clothing, a few keepsakes, seeds, tools, etc. for the new home. Bedding was placed on top of this. Besides my Mother and Father, there were four of us children: George, Charles, Elmina, and Sylvia. The three women slept in the wagon, the men on the ground. Along with the wagon we drove 300 sheep. Father had a good team of horses and an extra pony for George, our scout, to ride. Travel was slow of course. The sheep were allowed to graze and we had to get them to water, a creek or smaller stream, every evening. We stopped at or near a village store to get food for ourselves and the team while the flock grazed on the open plains. My two older brothers did most of the herding, but sister Elmina and I helped when needed. My Mother would say, “Many hands make light work”. Cooking and carrying water was the big item when we camped for the night. One day while at the spring to get water we met twin girls about my own age. We talked with them and they said they would meet us there the next day. On the way next morning Mina said, “Can you tell the twins apart, Myrtle from Maria?” “Yes, Myrtle had a tear in her right sleeve.”
A boy we saw there teased my brother Charles about his red hair. He said, “Jerry Simpsons come to town, one sock up and one sock down.”
In Illinois we stopped at a convenient place to shear the sheep. This was done by hand and was hard work. We were there three weeks. The wool was sent to Chicago to be sold. The price of wool was low after the war. While it was in storage there, a fire broke out in the building and the wool was burned. Father went to Chicago to see if anything was left of it, but it was a total loss. There was no insurance.
It was during this delay that we got word that President Lincoln had been assassinated, three weeks after it happened. Mother and Father were very sad when they got the news.
Finally we broke camp and continued westward. We crossed the Mississippi River on a ferry boat. Nothing exciting happened to us, but one sheep jumped overboard and was drowned,
Now, in Missouri, my Father began to look for an improved farm. He finally found a beautiful place in Livingston County. It had a two room frame house, a small field fenced in with a rail fence, and beside the house was a dug well, a cistern about 30 feet deep, plenty of water for home use. In low moist places prairie grass grew tall, sometimes tall enough to hide a man on horseback. On the hills and around the house blue grass was native, no weeds. There was only one spot of bare ground that was the place where the people before us poured out their buttermilk. About a mile west was a timbered tract of land with a creek that provided water for the sheep. They lay in the shade during the heat of day. It was Charles and I who took the sheep to Honey Creek each morning and brought them back when the sun was low, letting them graze as we went. I sure did dread that daily trip, especially as autumn came and the mornings were frosty. I remember we used to take along a short piece of board to stand on; we would 338 run a few yards then stop and stand on the board to warm our shoes. I took along a hymn book and my New Testament so I could memorize verses. I got the prize - a Bible with gilt edges and a clasp.
It was August 15, 1865 when we got settled in our new home, and how we loved it. We were ten miles from the nearest town, Chillicothe, but we were near a stage line. The stage brought the mail once a week, when the roads were passable. The Post Office, Grassy Creek, was kept in the home of a neighbor named Selby about one half a mile away, on the old Chillicothe, Trenton road. (This Post Office was later moved to Farmersville). Later when the land was surveyed the Range Line 23 W. ran about one fourth a mile to the West of our house and along the West side of our farm. This is now the Chillicothe-Trenton Road. (National Highway 65).
Osage hedge was set on the property lines for fence. It made a good stock fence but required trimming several times a year. We also had some rail fence called “Stake and Rider” fence. I later thought these were very picturesque, especially in winter when snow covered everything.
We had an apple orchard and had lots of good apples. I remember we picked them and put them into the farm wagon, then early the next morning these were taken to Chillicothe to be sold, Mother was a good planner so she would plan to have two or three jars of butter and several dozen eggs and anything else that was surplus product to sell at the same time, since a ten mile trip in a farm wagon over rough rutty roads was a long tiresome journey.
We milked 14 cows, and made butter to sell. Father built an ice house, and put up ice from a large pond. The ice was packed in sawdust, and was used to keep the milk and butter sweet. We later built a cellar with a large room over it. We called it the cellar room. One corner was petitioned off for a smoke house. In that we smoked the hams, shoulders, and side meat after the meat had been in strong brine for several weeks. We used hickory wood to make a smouldering fire -under the meat that hung from the rafters.
We raised a big garden with all kinds of vegetables, some of these were dried for winter use. Much of the fruit was dried also. Plenty of applebutter, potatoes, pumpkins, apples, squash and onions were stored in the cellar.
Once I drove a team of oxen all day to harrow the ground in preparation for planting because of the need to get on with the work. Mother had all of us working at an early age. My sister Elmina did the housework, sewing, and a great deal of the cooking. I was the outdoor girl. I did the chores, took care of the chickens, fed the pet lambs, and worked in the garden and flowers.
In the fall, Mina, Charles, and I went to school in the old log Ward Schoolhouse. It stood on the corner of the John Bell farm. We walked one and one-half miles across the fields from our home every day. In summer the grass was high, in winter we went through rain and snow.
One year Mr. Bell taught the school. He inspired us to do our best and to be friendly and courteous. He said, “Say Good Morning” when you come into the room. “if no one is here say good morning to the stove”. I was so eager to be the best speller I remember that I went to a cold quiet corner of the school room to study my spelling. I soon was able to spell down all the pupils, and at contests between other schools, I could also get the prize.
One November day that first year (1865) we came home and found we had a tiny baby sister. How proud we were of her. Father named her Florence Mary, but we called her “Pet”, and she was known by that name all over the neighborhood even after she was grownup. I had the care of Pet a great deal. I carried her to Sunday School which was held in the Schoolhouse. Later when she was school age I often carried her to school on my back.
New Providence Church was organized in 1855 but the church was not built until 1876. The church was placed very near the Ward Schoolhouse, where church services had been held. The church has been kept in good condition for one hundred years and is still used for services. At this time the school was a subscription school. The parents of the children paid a sum per month for each child who attended the school. Some paid by boarding the teacher.
My father died in 1872 of a fever. Father never had been healthy and strong. I remember one year the Doctor told him to leave the farm and see if he could regain his health. He peddled “notions”, all summer, he drove a horse hitched to a cart and called on farm homes all over the county. He had asthma as did the eldest child of each generation in the Gifford line. I remember my Mother getting up in the night when Father was awakened by a seizure of wheezing. She had to heat water to get steam for him to inhale to get relief. I recall seeing her go barefooted to the woodpile to get fuel to make a quick fire.
Many of the early settlers had “Ague” a kind of malarial fever. They called it the “chills” because the chills preceded the fever. Some said it was caused by the mold or mildew, on the tall prairie grass stems near the ground. As soon as the grass was all plowed up there was no more ague.
Later (1874) Mina and I went to the Avalon Academy, which was a few miles Southeast of Chillicothe. Then the next year we changed to the Normal School for teachers at Kirksville, Missouri. Mina went home that spring and taught part of that year then returned to Kirksville and finished the course, graduating in 1878. 1 taught for three years altogether, Tolle School, 1874; Center School, 1877, for $25.00 per month, and Gordenville School for three months, May to July. I loved to teach and always had a curiosity to learn. The many verses, poems, and songs I had stored in my memory were a great help and satisfaction to me.
I was married on September 6, 1881. We lived in Grundy Co., for three years, then bought the Gifford homestead in Livingston Co., that had been my home for so long. The farm was divided among the heirs. I kept my part and we bought the other four shares. Here we made our home and reared our children. We rented the farm in 1919 and moved to Chula.
Many years ago Thomas Jefferson Wells and his family were living on a farm near Greensburg, Missouri. This is located between Edina and Memphis, Missouri, which is now on Highway 15. Among the family of children, were a pair of little twin boys, John and Ben. One day they were watching their father and other members of the family dig up a sealed barrel of apples. These apples had been buried deep in the ground several months previously, which, prevented them from spoiling or freezing. It was an extremely cold and disagreeable day and the promise of even worse weather seemed apparent.
Suddenly the family was aware of two strange horsemen, neither of whom they had ever seen before. They had ridden up and dismounted, and looked very tired; and they were cold and no doubt hungry. Immediately, the Wells family invited them in their home to get warm and also extended an invitation for them to join the family for dinner which was nearly ready. Also, their horses were taken to the barn and fed.
In the course of conversation, the two strangers learned that the two little boys were twins. Although the same size they didn’t resemble each other too much in appearance. Upon taking their leave, one of the strangers handed each of the twins, a silver dollar. A silver dollar in those days - was an enormous sum of money for a small boy!
Later it was learned that these two men were actually Frank and Jesse James - the notorious outlaws! Further developments resulted in the near future, that all the stores close-by were robbed, with the exception of the Jeff Wells’ General Store! This was when the Wells family fully realized who had been their strange guests! Possibly the moral of this previous episode would be - “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”
Years later, Frank James, who had served his sentence and reformed became a streetcar motorman in Fort Smith, Arkansas. For several years, he was a celebrity, and was requested by patrons of various Fair Boards to start the popular horse races throughout the Middle West.
One day before the Fair started at Memphis, Missouri, Frank James was talking to some of the men. Among them was Ben Wells, a village blacksmith from Greensburg. Frank was reminiscing, “Many years ago, when my brother and I were in this area, I recall a family that had just opened up a hole of apples that were sealed in a barrel. They were the best danged apples my brother and I ever ate - sure tasted good, for we were hungry and froze to the bone; we enjoyed a delicious meal and that family fed our horses. We’d never laid eyes on them before or since. I recollect a pair of twin boys -”, Ben Wells interrupted, “Well sir, you’re looking at one of them right now! You gave each of us a dollar - a silver dollar!”
These James brothers, had been members of the well known outlaw gang with the Daltons. The Daltons lived in the vicinity of Bible Grove, which is near Greensburg, Missouri. Uncle Ev and Aunt Lillie Kennison, who was a sister to Ben Wells, were neighbors of the Dalton family. Some of the Dalton Boys rode with the James outlaws. None of the outlaws ever bothered Uncle Ev’s family or any of their neighbors.
My father’s grandparents, John Hawkins and Elizabeth Dale Hawkins were both born in England in June 1812.
To this union two children were born. Ann Hawkins on March 27, 1835 at Towchester, North Hamptonshire, England and Henry, born in Lanchester, England on September, 1837.
John Hawkins and his family, set sail for America in 1858 from Hampshire, England by sail boat. Adverse winds set them back a great distance on their journey, but after a long, hard trip they finally landed at New Orleans.
They continued the trip by steamboat up the Mississippi then into the Missouri River and finally landed at Weston, Missouri, then the farthest outpost of the larger navigation of the West.
A brother, Fred Hawkins had preceded John to America and was living near Gower, Missouri. John left his family and belongings they had brought from England and set out on foot for his brother’s home, to get a wagon and team to transport their belongings to Clinton County.
When grandfather reached the Platte River it was at flood stage so he stripped off his clothes, bound them on his back and jumped into swim to the other side. The tie loosened and his clothes drifted away into the stream.
This dauntless Englishman reached the other shore safely. Just think of being in such a predicament! His family back at Weston, his clothes gone and he knew no one to ask for help.
He hid in the bushes along stream. Later in the evening a farmer came to the pasture to drive-up the cows. Great grandfather “You-whoed” the farmer down and explained his predicament. The kind farmer went to the house and brought some clothes back to him. He took him to his home and gave him supper, a bed for the night and after a good breakfast the next morning, lent him a team and wagon to drive to his brother, Fred’s home.
John returned to Weston for his family and came 340 back to Clinton County where he farmed.
The son, Henry met a young lady on board ship by the name of Sarah Hawkins. They could trace no kin so they married December 25, 1859.
To this union 12 children were born. Three sons and a daughter died in infancy. Five sons and three daughters grew to adulthood.
The eldest son became an engineer for the Burlington Railroad in Colorado and later in Sheridan, Wyoming. Thomas, Samuel, John and Charley Dale became farmers and owned their own farms in Clinton and DeKalb County. The girls became teachers and homemakers. One taught in Colorado and the youngest attended Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri and became interested in Physical Education. She taught in Y.M.C.A.’s in cities like Chicago, Detroit, New York City and in her later years she worked in a Children’s Hospital with Polio victims in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Grandfather’s sister Ann, married an Englishman, Emmanuel Binstead. They lived at the end of the 6 mile lane out of Plattsburg. Uncle Emmanuel, like all of the middle class Englishmen put the H’s where they didn’t belong and took them off words where they did belong.
One day the mail carrier met him at his mailbox and asked him where he was going. He gave the carrier this answer, “Ho, Hime going Hup Haround the I edge to look for ‘og ‘oles”. Grandfather Hawkins always told people his name was Enry Awkins. He called me “Azel”.
Grandfather and I were such good friends. He taught me the English Nursery Rhymes by singing to me. I knew most all of them before I started to school.
Descendents of these early emigrants still live around Gower, Plattsburg, Stewartsville and Osborn, Missouri.
John Austin was my great grandfather and I would like to share with you some information taken from a letter written by Dr. R. L. Wood, St. Joseph, Missouri, May 18, 1849, to Andrew N. Austin who was the oldest son of John Austin.
John Austin had started with a company to the Gold Rush in California and was as far west as St. Joseph, Mo. when he was stricken with Cholera. Dr. Wood was called to see him on Saturday after he became very ill on Friday. Monday he was thought to be out of danger. Monday at twelve o’clock the company started leaving, but John had given up the trip and intended to return home as soon as he was able. Before they left he walked about the room and out of doors before returning to bed. He soon was in more severe pain than ever and gradually grew worse. The Dr. sent across the river for some of his friends but could not find them, so he called a Wes Crane and they attended him all night, doing every thing in their power to stop the disease. On Tuesday night about 10 o’clock he died, but suffered intense pain for several hours before death.
He talked to the doctor about his family, friends and religion and gave him charge of his trunk and money which amounted to $104.00.
The doctor gave this information in a letter addressed to A. N. Austin, Austinville, Livingston, Co., and said his father wanted him and Mr. Hidgins to come and attend to his business. This letter has been preserved during the years by a great grandson. So far we’ve been unable to locate the burial spot of John Austin.
My favorite memories of childhood are visiting my great-grand mother, Catherine Jones. I loved to hear her talk and sing in Welsh. She often read her Welsh Bible to me, though I did not understand the words. She told stories of the old world, how her people were coal miners and how difficult it had been to leave her parents to come to the new world. When my sister, Mildred and I visited her we always played “Millinery Store”. The hats were possessions of Aunt Ollie’s and included not only the ones she allowed us to play with, but her new and very best ones. Needless to say, our favorite time to play was when Aunt Ollie was away from home. Grandmother and great-Uncle Bill Jones would be our customers. The hats could be sneaked up the backstairs when we heard Aunt Ollie coming. As we combed our hair and tried on hats, great grandmother related stories of her life. Her favorite story which she relived and retold many times was about crossing the ocean.
She came from Wales in 1859 to join her husband, Daniel Jones who had come on ahead with other Welsh people to prepare a home in the new world. At the time of Daniel’s leaving the arrangements had been made that a brother would accompany her and her two babies, Hannah and Anna. As the boat was ready to leave the dock, her brother decided the trip was too dangerous, he was not coming. He and Catherine’s parents tried to persuade her not to come. She said “Daniel is already there with friends, I shall go as we have planned”.
Catherine, who had brought all personal things allowed such as dishes and preserves, soon found that traveling with two small children was long and tedious. Many people, especially the children became ill. One day someone sighted what they called the “sea monsters”. The captain said that the sea monsters were after the ill children and would destroy the entire boat if they didn’t give up some children to the monster. He took two children from a screaming mother, tied them in a gunny sack and tossed them overboard.
Immediately Catherine took her children, Anna and Hannah to her small cabin below and stayed there for the rest of the journey. “if they fed any more children to the sea monsters it wasn’t going to be mine” she often said.
She joined David in Pennsylvania and later that entire Welsh community moved to Dawn, Missouri where they prospered. Names such as Jones, Hughes, and James are very common among the descendents of these early settlers. To Catherine and Daniel six more children were born: Dave, Tom, William, Mary, Catherine, and Jennie.
The Welsh people were hard workers, they had great perseverance. Catherine’s husband died and she continued on with the farm with only the help from the children. Anne, one of the girls born in Wales had married Charles Thorn and at an early age died of cancer, leaving two daughters Ruth age six and Olive, age four. Catherine also raised these girls and saw to it that each child got a high school education. When the home was completely destroyed by fire, she built it back on the same location. Each child had their special work to do. My mother, Ruth Thorn who married Fred Grouse, was the seamstress for the entire family when she was at home, sewing all the work clothes as well as “Sunday” clothing.
Catherine broke her hip at the age of 89 and Dr. Morse from Ludlow did not try to set it because of her age. He did not feel she would survive this ordeal, but she fooled them all. Her death came in 1931 at
the age of 96. Never did she give up the reign of her home and farm. She could get out of bed in a wink, get into her rocker fixed with rollers and make it into the dining room or kitchen to see what was going on.
She loved company and her children coming home. Her home on Sundays was always filled with friends and neighbors. They gathered to talk in Welsh and sing the Welsh songs. All funerals were in Welsh and the cemetery was at the end of the lane. Her brother, who had later come to America, became a minister. He came from Pennsylvania to preach the Welsh funerals which were always conducted from the home.
Auntie “Cottace” as she was called, Catherine in Welsh, was loved by all - - especially by one great granddaughter named Margaret.
During the past, members of the Chillicothe Fire Department have adopted a pet to add a bit of extra interest to while away the long hours of inactivity. With the burning of the City Hall in 1925 nearly fifty pigeons, pets of the city employees, lost a happy home. During the fire, the pigeons were seen to fly over the burning building for some time, seemingly reluctant to fly away to find a new home. The pigeon gets its name from the Normans and belongs to the dove family. It has been used for centuries as a passenger to deliver messages during periods of stress; it is a symbol of peace. Pigeons in flocks of great numbers can also become a nuisance. At one time a “shoot out” took place in Chillicothe to rid the Courthouse roof of too many of them. But the pigeons of the City Hall employees, before 1925, were pets, fed and cared for by the City Firemen.
When Walter Forbis was fireman from 1937-1952 the alligator was the pet of the employees. Many groups of school children were taken to view the animal so unusual in this locality. Robert Frith, a Chillicothe lawyer for many years, had practiced law in Florida for a year following his graduation from law school. When he returned to Chillicothe, his home, he brought “Oscar’, the alligator with him and gave it to the Fire Department. This was in the late twenties and Oscar lived until after Mr. Forbis resigned in 1957. Its home was a big tank built especially for him and his eating habits, which were a bit unusual. He died at his Chillicothe firehouse home.
“Bosco” the squirrel, another pet of the Fire Department, had the run of the station and knew no other home having lived there since it was a tiny animal. He became a pet to all visitors; was the subject of an article in the Constitution News Press, and finally was turned loose in a corn field by Mr. Forbis.
From 1947-1979, when Merle Hatfield was Fire Chief, “Gypsy”, a black and white Dalmation dog, was the mascot of the department. A Dalmation is sometimes called a “coach dog”. Perhaps that is why he liked to accompany the Chief on every run and sit up in the driver’s seat beside him. When a call came in for a fire, it was “Gypsy’s” signal to hop to his position. Gypsy died in 1970 and is buried on the City Hall lawn; a tomb stone marks his grave.
Joe Rinehart, Fire Chief since 1979, says he has fifteen pets, all employees of the fire department.
I’m in my 70’s now and a scene from my childhood comes back to me. It was not quite daybreak when I was aroused to a familiar sound. (You see I often spent the night with my grandparents.) Grandfather was lifting the lids from the shining, black cast iron stove in the kitchen. I heard him rake the ashes out and place a handful of dry shavings at the front of the fire box. No, I couldn’t actually hear all this procedure, but I had watched him many times and knew what each sound represented. He always kept a dry pine board behind the pantry door from which he whittled the shavings at night before going to bed.
On top of the shavings, he placed a few dry corn cobs, then split sticks of hickory wood. As I lay half 342 awake in my bed, I heard him strike the match and then the crackling sound of the fire as it burned and blazed it’s way up through the wood, over the oven and up that black stovepipe which led to the chimney.
Grandfather clicked the damper at the back of the stove and instantly Grandmother’s feet were on the floor. I can see her yet, in her long white muslin gown and nightcap. Her hair was beautiful, dark and naturally wavy. She wore it wound into a large smooth knot in the back. To make it shine, about once a week she would rub a little unsalted butter (saved from her churning) on the palms of her hands, then over her hair and follow with a brisk brushing.
The next thing I knew, Grandfather had slipped out to the barn to feed the team of work horses which he had brought in from the farm the day before and Grandmother was in the kitchen. More familiar sounds emanated and pleasant odors too, as ham sizzled in the castiron skillet and the oven door opened and closed. Grandmother called, “Elnora, get up and dress, it’s time for prayers”. As this was summer, each sat on a kitchen chair near the table. (In winter we sat in rockers forming a semi-circle about the heater in the living room.)
Grandfather took his wellworn Bible from the top of the cupboard and announced, “Our reading this morning will be Psalms 121”. As he reverently closed the Book, each knelt by his chair and Grandfather began - “Our Lord and Heavenly Father . . . “
After prayers, Grandmother quickly took the ham and gravy up in dishes, the biscuits from the oven and placed them on the table.
As Grandfather rose from the table he said, “Now Maw, get ready as soon as you can, we have to go help Bert thresh wheat today”. He went out to hitch the team to the wagon while we hurriedly did the dishes and I remember my Grandmother saying to me, “We will wear our bonnets, we’ll be needing them when the sun gets up a little”.
Our family name was Thorp. My mother had taught school before she married my father, and had sung alto in musical programs. After my grandmother died, my mother’s father came to live with us. He kept busy splitting kindling for the big kitchen stove and for our big rock fireplace in the living room. Our one and a half story house was located near Pond School.
I was the youngest of three girls. My older sisters, who were 4 and 7 years older than I seemed to know everything. I was not allowed to start to school until I was seven years old. My first teacher was Miss Shipley. Once on the playground all of the students were playing “Crack the Whip” and the little boy on the end fell and ran weed stubble in his eye. That put his eye out.
My mother made her own soap from lye and grease, when the soap was set, she would cut it up and wrap it in paper. We would use it for laundry, baths and shampoo. Wash day meant heating boilers full of water and washing with a wash board and two tubs. We had a long clothes line in the yard, but in winter time we hung ropes on the back porch and dried our clothes.
We raised chickens for our own use. Mother baked bread and churned cream and was always busy cooking or doing farm chores. We had a lot of wild life on our farm. I was especially afraid of snakes. I once saw a hoop snake that rolled like a hoop.
When both of my older sisters were in high school, our family decided to move to Chillicothe. The high school was on the upper floor of the old Central Building. When we moved to town, we had our first telephone. We lived on Herriman Street and had the only phone for several blocks, so the neighbors came in to use it. That is the way we got acquainted with our neighbors.
Papa joined the “Modern Woodmen of America” which was a lodge. That was the way to buy insurance in those days; Mama joined the Royal Neighbors which was the Women’s Auxiliary. Papa got to be secretary-treasurer for Modern Woodmen, and mama was secretary-treasurer of Royal Neighbors, so this was one reason they needed a phone. The lodges put on musical programs. I remember singing “in the Good Old Summertime” with a group of children.
My girl friend’s father was a conductor on a freight train and he sometimes let my girl friend and me ride the caboose of the freight train to Kansas City. It was an all day trip. He had a very important job keeping track of the freight and knowing which to put off at each town.
I remember the first movie I ever saw. It was Cinderella. It was shown by a man cranking a box. All of the children who got to see the show paid 10 cents for the privilege.
I was a senior in high school the winter of 1909-1910 and my sister Belle Lowe, my brother John Lowe, and three friends, Mary Tucker, Ethel Perriman, and Thomas Lyon and I decided we would like to attend the basketball game at Trenton on a Saturday afternoon. I do not remember how the basketball team traveled to Trenton in those days, I suppose they probably left early Saturday morning in a horse drawn coach, but I do remember how we the fans traveled. We had to leave school early on Friday afternoon and catch the 2:30 Wabash going west. We four girls were really dressed up for the occasion in our long billowing skirts, our high laced shoes, our heavy coats and last but not least our huge picture hats which were the style in those years. Our train ride to Gallatin Junction was apparently uneventful and we got out at the Gallatin Junction which was on the northeast side of the West Branch of Grand River. It was going to be several hours before we could catch a train to Trenton, so we decided to cross the river on the railroad bridge and walk on into Gallatin. It was a cold day and the station was too cold to sit around and wait, so we set off double file across the railroad trestle. When we were half way across the bridge, my brother John, who had keen hearing, apparently heard a train coming behind us. I was beside him in the lead and was suddenly aware of the fact that we were in danger. Immediately John shouted back to the rest . . . “We’re playing a game . . . step up front, go a little faster . . . sing it as you go.” With that John started chanting “Step up front, go a little faster” and set off at a fast pace . . . I realizing that he did not want to alarm the rest of the crowd, joined him in singing “Step up front, go a little faster” . . . and soon all six of us were racing across the bridge, singing as we went. The singing made enough noise, that none of the other four heard the oncoming train. As soon as the bridge reached solid ground, John and I dived off of the trestle and those behind followed our example. It was just then that the west bound train whizzed by, our hats blew off, or at least the brims blew up, if our long hat pins kept the crowns firmly anchored. We all realized what a narrow escape we had had.
When our hearts started beating again, we continued our walk into Gallatin. We eventually caught the train to Trenton.
I don’t remember whether the Chillicothe team won that game or not, but there were six loyal fans to shout encouragement. After the game, we went back to my aunts for supper and to stay all night. At 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning we were back at the Wabash train station to catch a train to Gallatin. This time we rode all the way into Gallatin and found the station ice cold in the pre-dawn winter morning. We had to spend most of the day in Gallatin, since the train to Chillicothe didn’t leave until 4:00 that afternoon. We found a warm church and stayed there for several hours. At noon we ate a prolonged dinner in what to my memory was McDonald’s Tea Room. (Although not the same version that Virginia McDonald had much later). We caught the train at 4:00 o’clock and by bedtime on Sunday evening, we were back home in Chillicothe.
This story happened to me many years ago. At the time I was only eight or nine years old and we were the only black family in town and so all of our playmates were white children. My mother would go on this interurban car which ran right behind where we lived. She was visiting my Aunt Bertha the day that this incident took place.
Our neighbors had a little girl that was my age and we called her Honey, and a little boy, whose name was Carl. They played with me and my little brother Herbert. We made this bonfire in the back of our yard; it was my idea!
My dad was part painter and part gardener and he had these different cans of paint, red, white and some blue, all sitting at the back of the house. I decided all of a sudden, as I picked up this long feather from a rooster, to strip off our clothes and we did. Then I took the paint brush and began to paint - on the white kids I put red and blue paint across their foreheads, on their chests and all on their backs. On myself I painted white. I put a band on each one of their heads and stuck feathers in the band and we really were having a beautiful time around the bonfire. Of course, you know how the Indians go “Wa-hoo, Wa-hoo!” It was a wonderful time for us all until the interurban car showed up, coming around the curve. Everybody on the streetcar was horrified. They were jumping up and looking out the window, and of course, I saw my mother’s face. She did not even get off where she was supposed to - she rode on a block and walked back. When she came into the yard, she screamed bloody murder. That was one of the worst fannings I ever got on a bare behind! Oh, to be innocent like that again.
The Boehner slaughter house and pond were at the north end of town on land now owned by Murray Windle, but it was near the Fairgrounds and the Normal School in earlier days. The pond was a favorite spot for ice skating in winter and swimming in summer. The slaughter house had an ice house overhead. Ice was cut from ponds and rivers and stored in sawdust and would last most of the summer. The water from the pond was heated with steam to get hot water to butcher and render the tallow and lard from the meat.
Our family home was on the west side of town at the corner of Dickinson and Calhoun. A negro named Peter White lived on the west side of Calhoun just south of us. He was a good neighbor and an untrained “horse doctor”. If our cows or horses got sick he could usually cure them. We cooked and heated with wood stoves and we had to cut the wood. We had a barn in the back yard where we milked cows. We kept most of our cows and horses on the farm on west Polk Street. After milking we would take the cows back to pasture. We boys got 50 cents a month for taking the cows back and forth. The streets were all dirt and mud roads in those days.
The Boehner building was built in 1888. It was three identical store buildings built side by side with the Boehner Meat Market in the center and a grocery store on each side. Dad taught all of his sons to butcher and the meat market would open at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning. People bought meat just a few hours before they cooked it. The two grocery stores both ran delivery drays.
In nearly every home in northeast Livingston County, Wayne Stucker and Michael Gilbert provided music at some time or another for a dance. At times serious sentiment was aroused and protest made that dancing was harmful; then the boys had trouble to induce the girls to attend. They made concessions the girls need only look on. To see that this was observed, the girl’s mother went with them, but vain resolutions, when the musicians struck a waltz or a quick step the mother fell on the arm of the first gent seeking a partner, and then the girls followed their example, and all danced in a revel of mirth till the break of day.
One of my earliest memories of Chillicothe is of the mule drawn street cars. They furnished transportation around town, any place you wanted to go for five cents. When the streetcars reached the end of the line, they unhitched the two mules from the front of the car and hitched them to the other end and started back the other way. I’ve heard a relative tell about what a thrill it was for her as a child to ride the railroad train to Chillicothe from Sumner where she grew up, and be met at the train by the mule drawn street cars. I especially remember her telling about how they rode the street car to the city park, which was the square in the middle of town (where the courthouse now stands) for a big fourth of July celebration. One of the main attractions of the fourth of July was the town band which played music from the “bandstand in the middle of the park.
When I was growing up, my mother and father and all of my brothers and sisters and I lived on the Lowe farm which was five miles northwest of town. My father was a school teacher as well as a farmer, and he wanted his children to have a good education, so we went to high school in town, even though it meant walking the five miles some of the time or riding horseback the rest of the time.
Mama said it was the Four Hundred who used the streetcars the most; she explained that “The Four Hundred” was a slang term but it meant the society ladies of the town who would dress up in their fanciest clothes and ride across town to their Ladies Aid meetings, their teas, and their newly organized social clubs.
The streetcars went down Walnut Street to the fair grounds which are now the County Club golf links; they traveled to the end of Fair Street which was the Normal School, (later Chillicothe Business College), they went to both depots and met every train, and came around the square. Locust and Webster were the most traveled streets, and each time the street cars went through town they stopped at the Leeper Hotel (now the Lambert), which was the meeting place for everybody in town.
My grandfather was John Herkimer Yeomans. As a young man John Herkimer sailed to Australia in 1849 when that country had a gold rush. He seems to have acquired his gold by carpentering, Dad said to the amount of $75,000. He must have worked his way over and back as a sailor, as he could splice halter ropes so well my Dad couldn’t tell where they had been broken. The ship seems to have stopped over at Hong Kong China, on the return trip. While there, Grandfather visited a tailor shop and ordered a Broadcloth suit made. He left one of his old suits so the tailof could make the new one like it. The old one had a patched hole in the coat, so behold the new one did too. A brother who was along on the trip found a gold nugget which he had made into a ring and gave it to his brother - my grandfather.
Upon returning home they went into business on my grandfathers money, as I understand it, and it didn’t last too long. Grandfather had told his son, my Uncle George, that among other things they dammed up a small river in order to start a water powered saw mill. A very heavy rain washed out the dam and as they didn’t have the funds to rebuild it, John Herkimer had to keep or. carpentering to support his family, two girls and a boy, my father.
He came to Chillicothe and helped to build the building still standing on the northeast corner of the public square. That would be the winter of 1865-1866. It seems he liked the climate, and perhaps the town, so much, he sent for his family and we, his descendents have been living here ever since. Having purchased an eighty acre farm some five miles southeast of town, he moved his family - a wife and five children, out there the spring of 1877.
While still living in town, Grandfather, of course was busy carpentering and had his eleven year old son drive a one horse delivery wagon for the stores, after school of course, and Saturdays. This caused this boy, who later became my Dad, to be well acquainted with the businessmen of the small town. An acquaintance helped pick up small sums delivering notes and messages while on his delivery routes, a great deal of which was from young men desiring dates with young ladies. Telephones did not exist as yet. It seems one of these “old storekeepers” took enough interest in my father to order him a new double barreled shotgun soon after he moved to the farm saying, “Take this out there and pay for it as you can.” Game being plentiful in those days, that was accomplished in due time - this might have been the beginning of the payment plan so popular these days. Being new at farming, the family seemed to have had a rather hard go of it that first winter. They had a cow, plenty of cornmeal and the game, Johnnie, my Dad could bring when not in school.
Two years later the father came down with a stroke and from then the son had to do most of the work and pretty much manage the farm. Grandma and the two oldest girls were of course a great deal of help. They planted an orchard and a good many shade trees. They kept cows, pigs and some chickens. Grandma was not a good hand with chickens, so they got very few if any, eggs during the winter months.
As the Teegarden family increased in number and the children grew larger, it was impossible for all of us to go visiting to town or any place in one vehicle unless we went in the big “wagon”. So it was necessary that we buy a carriage. It was perhaps about 1910 or 1912 that we secured a new one at the cost of about $100.00.
1 am sure that Dad “looked around” and finally decided to order one from Montgomery Ward and Co. I well remember the Sunday morning when we went to Nettleton to get it. It came “knocked down” and that necessitated considerable unpacking, sorting and assembling various parts. It was quite a job but I think we had some volunteer assistance. You can usually find some men in a crowd who are willing to lend a hand. They had assembled to meet No. 4 or the “Ten O’clock” train and several lingered to help after the train had departed. Even at that I remember we had a late Sunday dinner.
The carriage was well built and very sturdy and strong. The top was not the one with the fringe on top. It rather resembled the shape of a buggy top which gave more protection from the sun and rain and also added to the appearance of the vehicle. The seats were roomy and covered with leather. An attractive sturdy stop at the back seat served as a fender and enabled the passengers to get in and out without difficulty. The wheels were much heavier built then for a buggy and the tongue, doubletrees and singletrees were well constructed. It was black in color and was a carriage of which we were all very proud.
In the winter or if it was raining a complete set of side curtains were provided which were reasonable effective in keeping out the cold and rain. A large covering was so constructed that it was fastened over the dash board and covered the laps and legs of the occupants of the front seat from the elements.
The family used the carriage a great deal and I recall having gone many places in it and it served its purpose very well. The horses that pulled it were only farm animals but the carriage itself would have been appropriate for a smooth city boulevard rather than a country road. Dad kept the carriage in the barn or in a shed so that it retained its good color and appearance for many years.
One Sunday evening as we were returning from Grandmother Schneiter’s, we were about one half mile south of the home of Sam Towne and along the east side of the Wolcott 100 acres when we met Fred Dolan who was driving their cows home from pasture. Fred made one observation and said “A wagon load for a dime.” I think that mother resented the brash remark but Dad got a big laugh out of the boys remark.
Incidentally this remark appeared on the cover of pencil tablets which we used in school. It contained many sheets of cheap paper for 10 cents and along with the slogan was a picture of a wagon load of children in a cart pulled by one horse so the remark was not original with Fred. One final observation, the new carriage displeased our old dog Bounce and at first he refused to follow it. I have often wondered why the old dog reacted to it in such a manner. He loved to go with the horses but he did not seem to understand about the carriage. That was one way to keep him at home when many other methods failed as he was very insistent in accompanying us when we left home.
After some months, Bounce, began to follow it again and was probably as proud and happy about it as all the Teegardens were.
Saturday nights we had Literary. This was the only get-together that we had as there was no church nearer than five miles, and we just didn’t go, except on Sundays.
The men took part in the debates. Most everyone of them would get up and talk, and if there were any of them that didn’t care to talk they would use them for judges. The men sat on one side of the house and the ladies on the other - no mixing up in those days. I feel that I really gained a major part of what little knowledge I have from that Literary at Vaughn.
In the old days when the population was mostly rural, on the fourth of July there would be a picnic in most of the rural neighborhoods. In our community we usually went to Dawn. If it rained on that date we boys felt we had about lost a year. I remember a colored man named Dennis Wolfscale would ride the horse-drawn swing most of the day with his banjo. One of the songs he would sing was “Kitty Clide”. Most of us sat in the bottom of the wagon box. If the family could afford a spring seat Dad and Mother occupied it, but we were really glad to go as it was the most exciting day of the year. They would have footraces, sack races (tie a sack around one’s waist with his feet in the sack. It was a slow race but exciting as the runner was down most of the time.) Then we had lemonade. I don’t think soda pop had arrived on the scene. Then they played horseshoes and baseball. Most every neighborhood had a baseball club. I remember my father after harvest would let us boys play ball on Saturday afternoon. Baseball in those days was very unpopular with many people.
Back when I was a boy we traveled what they called the Jimtown Road. Just before the farmers reached the river bridge, there was a man named Finley who lived near the bridge that ran a saloon, where the residents south of the river got their final drink for the day. I think his place being the last chance caused more people to drink than would have had he not been there. I heard one man say that he took his last drink at Finley’s. Just before he arrived home, he met a neighbor lady and thought he would make a polite bow, but he fell out of the wagon on his head. He said that was the last time he was drunk.
My grandmother Elizabeth (Lizzie) (Ruddick or Reddick) Perry was born in Benton County, Arkansas, July 14, 1851. Her Mother was June Fitzgerald Ruddick and her father John Ruddick, died with ague while she was small. Her stepfather, a doctor, never returned from the Civil War.
Grandma liked to talk about her girlhood home, with a fireplace in every room, even upstairs. She told about the springhouse, that kept food cool, as the water ran through it on the way to a tank for livestock. During the war they took up floorboards and hid salt, a precious commodity, from robbers. These robbers, called bushwhackers, were outlaws who didn’t fight on either side, but came through, and stole from the old men and women, while their husbands and sons were in the war. They burned buildings, destroyed property, and killed many people for no reason. When Lizzie saw them coming she would get on her pony and ride away, to keep them from getting him. Bushwhackers forced her Mother to cook food for them, and then taste it, before they ate it.
Before the Battle of Pea Ridge which was fought, in part, on the Ruddick farm, they were told to move out of their house. It was later burned. They went to the Elk Horn Tavern where her sister lived. During the battle, Lizzie described the noise as sounding like corn popping. After it was over she went with her mother and gave coffee to the wounded soldiers. Afterwards the dead soldiers were buried in shallow temporary graves and later moved. One time Lizzie remembered her Mother covering a protruding hand.
On March 28, 1869, Lizzie and Thomas Jefferson Perry were married. He was a Civil War veteran. They first moved to south Missouri, then Kansas and in about 1888 came to Livingston County, Missouri in a covered wagon. Here they reared their 10 children. They were both good in all kinds of sickness, and helped their neighbors and friends when needed.
T. J. Perry died July 18, 1924 and Lizzie died May 30, 1932. They are buried in the Blue Mound Cemetery about eleven miles south of Chillicothe.
Sometimes my grandchildren have asked me “What did you do for fun, Grandma, when you were growing up?” I don’t tell them, but I don’t think this generation knows what fun really is. We made our fun ourselves and usually it involved getting together with a lot of other people.
Box suppers and pie suppers were really exciting events in those times. The Linville Community where I grew up had a lot of them, but sometimes we would venture further from home. Floyd Thompson, one of our neighbors taught school up in American Bottoms west of Chula and a big wagon load of us decided to go up to a pie supper at his school house and to stay all night at the Thompson house. Each of the girls took a pie and after the fun at the pie supper we went to Floyd’s parents’ house and stayed all night. The girls took their own blankets and slept upstairs on the floor, the boys slept downstairs or in the barn. There were twenty-three of us there for dinner the next day.
We decided to go to the Ward Church for services that morning. The Ward Church at that time had planks for seats. Whenever you went to a different church or school event, you had the opportunity of meeting new friends. The young men of that day were’ very competitive with their horses and buggies, and the fellow who made the most progress with the girls was perhaps the one with the best buggy and the matched team. One time we had a Leap Year’s party in the Linville Community and the girls had to take their family’s horses and buggies and go after the boys. A few girls were lucky enough to ask nearby boys who could be walked after. I’m sure the older generation of our day said “What’s this world coming to?”
The following material should have appeared on earlier pages of the book. We beg your forgiveness.
The Midway Cabin Camp, now Queen City Motel and Restaurant, was established on the property owned by George and Emma Smith, parents of Cora (Smith) Wisehaupt, in 1928. George and Emma Smith lived in the old house located on the southwest part of the property. The old house faced Graves Street and the rest of the lot was used as a corn field by the Smiths.
T. J. (Tom) Wisehaupt and Cora (Smith) Wisehaupt acquired the property in 1928. They built a building to house a grocery store and gas station and three cabins in 1928. The store building was located on the southeast part of the lot and facing highway 65. They added five more cabins in the early 1930’s. They built 27 modern brick cabins in the early 1940’s. The original wood frame and metal cabins were removed from the property in the 1950’s.
The store building was ]eased to Chris Boehner in the 1940’s and later to a feed company. After the feed company moved their business across the street to their own building, the Wisehaupt’s remodeled the store building in the early 1950’s.
The brick house on the northeast part of the lot was built by T. J. and Cora Wisehaupt in 1949. Cora died before they moved into the new house. T. J. Wisehaupt, his son Maynard, and his uncle Benjamin Wisehaupt, owned and operated the tourist camp until 1961, when it was sold to F. A. Lionberger.
Mr. Lionberger remodeled the cabins into motel rooms and operated a restaurant in the brick house. The business was operated as the Lazy L. Motel. Mr. Lionberger sold the business to Cleo and Edith Sisk in the late 1960’s. They operated the business under the name of Queen City Motel and Restaurant. Mr. and Mrs. Sisk sold the business to Elmer and Carole Fowler in May, 1973. Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Fowler are the present owners, (July 1980) and operate as Queen City Motel and Restaurant under the management of Frank G. and Patricia A. Clark.
1903 Back row: Clyde Imhoff, F. W. Rickenbrode, Annie Rickenbrode, Holton Rickenbrode, Hanah Rickenbrode. Seated: Susan Imhoff, S. Rickenbrode, Mary Rickenbrode, John Rickenbrode.
From left to right: Engelbert Gier, (2 unknown men) Emil Gier, John Gier who came to America in 1871, (unknown) Henry Gier and Aloys Gier.
The Ben Hur Highway followed an old Indian trail, shown on Franquelin’s 1684 map as “Fields Troco” 3 miles northwest of Chillicothe.
The bridge built in 1866 duplicated a former bridge burned by Civil War soldiers to retard progress of pursuing enemy. John M. and James
Graham erected the mill in 1866. it was salvaged in 1915. (Picture from Velma Johnson’s collection.)