Other People | African Americans | Frank J. Bradley | Olive Rambo Cook | John Hoyt | Jerry Litton | 1913 Biographies |
Not Much of Anything: A History of My Life

by John Hoyt



Meet My Family

Early Area History

My Banking Years

Farm Life

Growing Up

Just Thinking

My Poems - Through the Years


Copyright Applied For

My thanks to the many Friends who encouraged me to write this book "Not Much of Anything."

Ruth Overton, Wilmeth Brown, Minnie Hoyt, Ruth Sieberling, Mrs. Timbrook, Bruce Russell, Pam Russell, Pat Norta, Don Kinnie, Paul McCoy, Nancy Hoyt

Meet the Family

This is a diary; some stories of my life. I was born in Fairview Township, May 22, 1877. 1 was of a family of five children. My mother passed away when I was three years old. I donít remember seeing two of my sisters and one brother, and only vaguely remember my mother. My other brother grew to manhood. My father went away to New Mexico for three years and my brother and I lived with my Aunt Martha Russell, my motherís sister. During my stay with my aunt, I went to school at what they called Smith-Campbell School. Lizzie Willard was my teacher at that time. I remember the people that lived in the district; there were the McClearys, Smith Campbells, John Campbells, Wagoners, Bill Campbells, Bowens, Grigses, Martins, Bensons, Stranges, Haddocks, Willocks, Emersons, Steeles, Mitchells, Dawsons, Russells, and the Pattersons, Charlie Emerson, the Baxters.

At the present time there are Steeles, Whitesides, Jewell Grimes and his brother, Greeners, Dale Beaver and another family that I donít know and a family named Savage.

I went to school one year at Campbell. My father married again and we moved to Condron district where we stayed one year. In the Condron district there were the McGills, the Hoyts, Zirkles, Haynes, John and Porter, Ed and Jim, Robert, Wesley, the Condrons, the Reeveses, Tom Maberry, Robert Maberry, Sam Wilson, James Matthews, John Good, John Alaman, Reuben Haynes, the Laurences, the Bills, the Henrys, the Warners, and Eva Quick was the teacher.

At the present time Condron district has only Mrs. Shipp, Ralph Condron, David Utt, Mr. Lamp. Each of the districts had from 50 to 80 pupils when I was in school.

Our family consisted of three half-brothers and five half-sisters. My oldest half-brother died in infancy. My stepmother was a cripple for a few years, and I, being about seven or eight, had the job of helping around the house. I swept, did the dishes, kept fires, our fuel being wood, but so far no one has ever trusted me to cook. My stepmother taught me to draw, which has been a source of great pleasure during my life. As I think back on those days her kindness will never be forgotten. A stepmother has a hard place to fill. It is difficult for a child to adjust, but if all were as good as the one I had we would be fortunate indeed. My brother, Charlie, became a country merchant and ran a store at Blue Mound, Dawn and Coloma. He was in the poultry business in Chula, and his last store was at Eversonville, where he passed away in 1935.

My five half-sisters were all teachers. Carrie taught in Livingston County at Avalon, Vaughan, and Blue Mound. Grace taught at Swain, Blue Mound and other parts of the county, and finally in Spokane, Washington, where she taught retarded children until she retired. Vernie taught at Condron and finally in Montana where she married.

Mary taught in Montana and finally landed in California where at one time, before retirement, she was president of the elementary principals in the State of California. Gladys taught a few years and then she married and became a housewife. My brothers Bert and Eugene were farmers; both are deceased.


Grandfather Hoyt was named Calop. By his first marriage there were Daniel, Affie and Emma.

His second marriage, his wifeís maiden name was Tailor. By that marriage there was John, Merril, Mary and Hutch.

His third marriage, one daughter, Phoebe.

His fourth marriage, his wifeís maiden name was Farlow. By this marriage there was Samuel. Edward. Calop, Mal--and Clarence.

Affie married William Kern--their family consisted of Harry, Elmer, Clara, Minnie, Charlie, Fred. Daniel family there was Hattie, George and Orvil.

Emma married Sam Martin. Their family was Calop, Luther, Mary, Phoebe, Mattie, Flora, Samuel, David, Fred and Rolla.

Phoebe married Thomas Kern--their family was Blanch, Ethel, Fletch. Zoe, Mary, John, Irene (third family).

John, from the second family, married Amanda Messer. From that marriage there was Minnie, Sherman, Charlie, John and an infant daughter, Amanda, passed away in 1880. In 1883 John married Octa Bowen. To this union was James, Carrie, Grace, Vernie, Bert, Mary, Gladys, Eugene.

Merril married Vina Stone. Their children were Pearl, Mande, Carrie, Melvin, Robert, Earnest, Babe.

Mary married Dave McGill. Their children: William, Myrtle, Thomas, Guy and Milford.

Hutch--his mother passed away when he was a baby and his motherís folks raised him. I have no record of him.

The fourth family--Samuel married - - - - Paterson--his family---Kate, Daisy, Farlow and Frank.

Ed married Susan Williams. Their family: Ralph, Lee, Bess, Buel. Clarence drowned in Grand River when he was in his teens.

Isaac Messer (motherís father) and my grandfather came from Tennessee. His wifeís maiden name was Margret Paterson, a sister of Archie Paterson. He took up from the Government a farm four miles west and three quarters north of Avalon. I have the Deed of that purchase. My mother was born on the farm in 1848. 1 was born on the same farm in 1877. Grandmother died the year I was born. Grandfather made his home with a granddaughter, Mrs. Charlie Goff, but spent part of the time with his daughter, Mrs. Martha Russell, where my brother and I stayed after the loss of my mother when I was three. We remained until father married when I was six.

Grandfather rode a horse when he came. He had white swelling and walked with crutches. He and my brother would go fishing at Roach Lake and at a place called Pursell slough. Many times they would bring in a nice mess of fish. My Aunt Mack, we called her, had a dog we named Rover, who was our companion. One day a couple of men came and said Rover had been after their sheep. They tied a rope around Roverís neck and dragged him off. Many a night I would dream that Rover had come back. We boys felt that Rover was a part of the family. One neighbor said that Rover ran a rabbit through his flock of sheep.

Now as for me, my sweetheart was in the family. I was married in 1902. Jennie was wonderful to me. Since she is gone I try to go on, but it is so different. There is nothing on earth like a home where there is someone that you love and you know that she loves you. We found that life is not all roses, but we shared the bad and the good together. We had a son born in 1903-Lee. He lived to be six and had just started to school. My sister was his teacher. His birthday was the 20th of September. He contracted diphtheria and passed away in a short time. He was all we had. I donít know how we could have stood it but for my sister, as she stayed on with us.

We had another son born in 1913. His name was Ray. He passed away in 1952. He was married to Lucille Koehley and had two sons, Raymond and Jerry.

Our third son, Bill, was born in 1919. He is married to Helen Barnhart and they have a daughter, Janie Sue, who married Arnold Shipp. They have two boys and a daughter. Bill and Helen also have a son, Warren Neil, who married Nancy Campbell. Nancy has started to type for me what I have written. I asked her if she thought what I had written was worth the effort. She just kept on typing. Bill is presently on the County Court.

Area History

When the Oklahoma Strip was opened, that part of the country was considered no manís land where there was no law and order. There were quite a few people from the south part of Livingston County that went out. The Drury Morris family, Dewey Matthews, also his son Buckner, W.J. Good, Ora Norton, Marion Morris family. I donít think any of them drew any land. They scattered around in different places. The country was new and most of them drifted back. I remember one family, the Dewey Matthews, which came back in 1887. 1 was at the foot of what they then called the Blakely hill as they came down the hill in a covered wagon. They had a family with them named Perry which had a lot to do with my life since then. There were eight children at the time. There were two boys older, one my age, my brother older. It made a group of five and one boy younger that followed. I was eleven when we started being together and we continued to be together until the older ones found sweethearts. Then they would branch out to other places.


In 1916 there were five banks in Chillicothe, 26 passenger trains. Daily skilled labor was paid $10.00 per week for six days of work. Mules in the county were valued at two hundred eighty-five thousand dollars, the poultry and egg production was valued at $353,000. In 1916 the population was estimated at 12,000. Twelve protestant churches, two catholic churches. At that time Chillicothe had the largest gunstock factory in the world. Labor was supposed to be working at ten cents per hour.

The Donaldson Company claims a two million payroll. These are the ones that have made Chillicothe what it is. I have been on the side lines for all of those years and have seen it grow and I am proud of our town. While I donít live in town I get up there pretty often. During the depression I pulled wool for the Mid West for a few years. The first year my headquarters were at E.H. Lake. Dr. Kinnison had an office, and Churchill had had an office. His main office was at Meadville at that time. Wages were $7.50 per week. Mr. Churchillís man said that when he retired he was getting $10,000.00 a year. That was several years ago. I donít know what the wage would be now.

Phil Hartman Store was on Washington across south of the Leeper at one time. There was a bank where the Leeper is. The Gibsons had a Bank on West Jackson. George Perryman had a restaurant just south of the Montgomery Ward store.

The C.B.C., the Chillicothe Normal, claimed students from all over the world. It was started in 1890 by Allen Moore, grandfather of Allen Moore, one of the business men of Chillicothe, and of our present Mayor Ralph Moore. The Business College fitted out many, many graduates that went out into the world to make a success of their lives The Business College opened its doors for students of the Second World War and after that it didnít seem to prosper. It was attempted by other parties but it somehow didnít get going. There was a poem written by a Miss Russell about the turn of the century that Nellieí student, had got and taken to Montana. She had married Mat McKerrow. She had held the Russell poem for more than sixty years. When she was back a few years ago she gave it to me. I doubt if any one at this time remembers Miss Russell; still it is possible. The Chillicothe Business College I would say was one of the greatest assets to the development that Chillicothe had at that time, next to the public schools.

The Williams Grocery on east Jackson. Mr. Williams told me that my Uncle Calop Hoyt used to pass his store on the way to the Citizenís Bank when he was a director. On his way home he would pick up his groceries. He said he liked double yolked eggs. He always ate two for breakfast. Mr. Williams said he bought some turkey eggs from Miss Dorney - he said he let him have some of them. Aunt Alice went on giving him his regular couple of eggs for breakfast. After a time Uncle said one egg would be plenty then later on he said, "Donít fix me any eggs at all.


I feel I should mention a few of the people that operated businesses in Chillicothe in the early days.

There was the Plattes barn where they brought horses and mules, which was located where the Montgomery Ward store is now. Their buyers bought horses and mules from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. I would say that was the largest business in Chillicothe at the time. The Henry Miller Shoeing Shop was just across the street. The colored men worked day after day nailing horse shoes on, getting them ready for the St. Louis Market.

The Wilson Brothers also operated a horse market; also, Frank Ceazar bought horses and mules. I have sold Frank several horses and mules.

O.P. Clark operated the Drug store where the Williams shoe store now is located. There on a Saturday afternoon the crowds used to gather. Up north about the middle of the street was Minteer Williams Hardware, also the Sipple Clothing Store where one time Mr. Sipple told me he sold the best overalls he could buy for seventy-five cents.

On down the street was McVeys store where they sold, I thought, most everything. I remember he had a St. Bernard dog that roamed the streets. He was about waist high to me.

Douglas Stewart had an abstract office on the comer of Washington and Jackson. N.J. Setland had a Drug store on the comer of Washington and Jackson. The Brown livery barn was on west Jackson and the John A. Sloan barn was on east Jackson. Markum had a restaurant a block east of the square. The Hagers restaurant was located where Pence is now.

The Jackson Ax. handle factory was near the Burlington Depot. Adams wholesale was just west of the depot, I think. Mr. Adams was the father of Charlie Adams. The Lambert Brothers (Joe Lambert was said to have started the business in a Model T Ford) has grown to an immense business.

In the early days there was a post office about a mile southwest of Blue Mound run by two of Dutch Johnsonís daughters, and a hotel one mile west of Blue Mound in a direct line from the southwest toward the Utica Crossing on Shoal Creek crossing northeast of the town of Dawn, a route people took on their way to the west. Dawn in those days had a large hotel.

There was a minister that lived near us, he was a United Brethren preacher, that had the best swimming hole I think in Mound Creek. We boys thought he was cranky; he didnít like for growing up us boys to swim of a Sunday, but we would slip in. I had more pleasure at the old swimming hole than most any place I ever spent. I came near drowning and had to be taken out. I was afraid of the hole for a while, but after I learned to swim it didnít bother anymore. Of a Sunday we boys were on our Own.

My Bank Years

In the year of 1919 1 remember I was helping Elmer Perry thresh grain when Luther Williams and Abner Cunningham came to me and asked if I would be interested in a new bank at Dawn. Had I known what was before us, I would have certainly declined.

They felt that I should be one of the directors and that a director should have five shares (at $100 each) and each should have 10 five dollar shares as surplus. So I borrowed $550 and went into the banking business.

While we were getting organized, my father was away and I decided he was missing a great opportunity. I had never attempted to do any business for my father, but he being away I felt obligated, so I borrowed $440 more and bought some bank stock for him. When he returned, I told him what a wonderful deed I had done for him. He said, "I donít want any bank stock." I finally got it sold as it was more than I could swing.

We had several meetings and the following board was selected: George Timbrook, Robert Jones, John Williams, Wood Wydgett, Ed Murphy, Luther Williams and John M. Hoyt. John Williams stayed on the board a very short time--he went to Kansas City--and Reece Hughes was selected to take his place. As time went on and ones passed away, they, too, were replaced.

Later the board included Elmer Perry, Lewis Jones, Gomer Jones, James Baxter, James Condron, Kirby Condron, Bert Hoyt, Leonard Simmer and George Somerville, all now deceased, and F.M. (Pat) McCall, who resigned in favor of Gary Dickinson, who bought stock in the bank in 1969.

Abner Cunningham was selected as our first cashier and Frank Reed as assistant.

Things went on beautifully for awhile. At one time there were two banks in Dawn. There was a little flurry in the mid-Twenties. Then the 1929 crash came and the banks began to close all around us. One day I was in Chillicothe and I heard on the street that the Community Bank had closed. Shortly after that, a minister got up in the pulpit in Blue Mound and told us that he had heard that day that the bank at Ludlow and also the Community Bank of Dawn had both closed their doors. It began to look like the rumors were about to get the best of us.

As our bank notes began to become worthless, the bank examiners had to mark them off. Finally, we were short of funds. We would send some of our best notes, mortgages on farms, for collateral and the bank called for our cashier to come down. They took a pencil and figured out to one cashier that at the time it was impossible to derive any profit from farming. The price of corn was 15c a bushel, wheat 30c, stock cows 71/2c a pound, hogs $2.75 per hundredweight.

Then Roosevelt came on the scene and closed all the banks in a bank moratorium. Then I well remember that they sent a government man named Brown with the FDIC and he told us that if we wanted to open our bank there were a few things we would have to do. One of these was put in $18,000. That was really a shock. We pleaded with him, but he was a very firm man, and it was finally raised by Elmer Perry, Louis Jones, Gomer Jones, James Condron, Abner Cunningham and Albert Reidel. (I raised a measly $100; the others raised $17,900.)

It seemed like he was pretty attentive and visited us often. During those hard times, our bank could pay our cashier only $80 a month. The assistant was getting $75. We got nothing for our directors meeting.

After a few meetings with us the government man said to me one day, "You are going to have to do something with your notes, as we will have to mark them off." I certainly didnít want to do that. I went to see Pat Powelson, who was with the Production Credit at Brookfield. I explained that I owed more than I had, but I didnít want to beat anyone, that I was still able to work and if the change for the better ever came everyone would get their money. I somehow convinced him and he came to my service. I feel if ever a man deserved credit it would be a dear friend, the late Pat Powelson. I give him credit for helping me when the days were dark. Our bank rode along for many years without paying the stockholders anything and our help worked very cheap, but in the end it was one of the three that stayed open out of the twenty-one banks in the county.

The Bank of Dawn celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1969. I being the only one left of the original Directors, it was up to me to tell of the happenings as we passed along. There are ten Directors that came on after the six of the first passed away. I made a short talk and when I was passing to my seat a man told me that the President of the United States could not have done better, which elevated my opinion of myself somewhat. I was telling a neighbor lady what the man said. The lady said that would not necessarily have been so good, which brought me back down to earth.

I have mentioned the Community Bank of Dawn and the hardships that we endured. It has finally become possible to expand and we are able to move our Charter to Chillicothe and still retain our branch bank at Dawn.


All the experiences that I have had with banking in the depression caused me to write a poem that pretty well describes things as they were at the time.

There was a time within our history

That is very sad to me,

When the banks within our county

Went from twenty-one to three.

The banks they were closing

At such an alarming rate

Yet everything was pointing

To no banks within our state.

The people in the city,

Their money all was spent,

Were being moved by landlords

The reason was the rent.

The farmerís time was then at hand,

Though not inclined to roam,

Had to go out and join the throng

when the mortgage took their home.

And down the highway they went,

Some of them in packs;

Their stomachs were empty,

Their clothes were made from sacks.

The reason I have written

These humble lines to you

Is so the Younger Generation

Would know what we older folks went through.


Farm Life


We farmers were pestered with fleas up to the time DDT was manufactured. DDT almost finished the fleas. At my fatherís farm they were thick, especially in the barn where there was dust. Father had a calf in the barn and a stock buyer came by. My brother, Eugene, told the buyer to look at the calf as he wanted to sell it. The buyer said, "Tell him to bring it in." Eugene said he wouldnít unless he looked at it. So the buyer went in and looked. Afterwards the buyer said that when he found a place where he could, he took off his clothes and shook them to get the fleas off.

My sister had married a man named Bernard Mooney. As the folks had never seen him, he came to make the folks a visit. My brother Eugene was looking over some of his things. He spied a revolver. My brother told him to bring it down to the barn and he was sure he could kill some rats. So he took my sisterís husband to the barn and got him seated among fleas and went around and beat against the barn for a while to raise the rats. After a while he came back and told him he couldnít get any rats out. He had gotten him pretty well polluted with fleas, though. They then went to the pasture to bring the horses up. Eugene said on the rounds his brother-in-law was pretty busy scratching.

FARM LIFE - Cultivating

I remember the first time I tried to cultivate with a double shovel. I really did have trouble with the horses, but I soon found out the horse knew more about the work than I did.

FARM LIFE - Kitchen Appliances

We used the old-fashioned chum, a tall barrel which was large at the bottom and smaller at the top, a lid with a hole in the center and a stick that came up the small hole with a round flat piece attached to the lower end of the stick and we would put in the sour cream and pump the stick up and down for hours, it would seem. They would spread a paper on the floor and put an apron on us boys, which we didnít like, to keep us from splattering the floors and ourselves. As time went on we might use what we called the churn dashers pretty rough, but when it was finished they would use a butterprint and make a beautiful pound of butter. I think today there are a great many people that have grown up and have never tasted real butter.

Then they had what they called the coffee mill. They ground coffee each morning. The mill could be heard on a still morning a quarter of a mile.

FARM LIFE - Equipment

I saw them use what they called a cradle to cut grain, when 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 with straw. I have sat on the front of a corn planter and pushed a lever to drop corn. They would tie a rag on part of the spokes in the planter wheel and when the rag got in a certain place I would pull the lever. Later, Father got a self-binder, I remember--a Walter A. Woods, a five-foot cut, 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. They had a great deal to do with guiding the binder as they were hitched to the tongue. I rode the horse to the left next to the grain. The horse to the right would blunder over and mash my leg between the horses. At times I would get sleepy and not stay on the line. I have had many scoldings that would wake me up, or if he would stop near the water I would run get me a drink.

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. There was a box where they caught the grain in a half bushel. They slipped it past a gadget that recorded each half bushel. All hands stayed for supper.

FARM LIFE - Butchering

Along in the fall when the days began to cool, we farmers would begin to think about killing a hog. We would do the butchering at home and take care of all the details. I have rendered many kettles of lard. When we would squeeze the grease from what we called cracklins, we would have lard. Then they used the cracklins in the biscuits. We used everything back in what we called the "good ole days."

FARM LIFE - Wagons

Back in those time the way they locked a wagon on a hill they tied a log chain to the frame of the wagon and to the wheel so that the wheel would drag, and the weight would not be more than the team could hold. If the hill was steep and the load heavy, they would fix the chain so the knot would come directly under the wheel, so that the knot would drag and almost plow a furrow. There was no such thing as a hand brake.

FARM LIFE - Few Luxuries

On the farm for many years we had no light, only the candle. When I was a small boy the coal oil lamp came on the scene. We boys slept upstairs. When we went up in the dark, we had no lamp in our room. Weather boards were all the siding we had. We could see the underside of the shingles. One of my ears got frozen in bed, and in my sleep I had 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 he thought it might come off, which caused me some worry at the time. I have gotten up many mornings with snow on my bed and we made bare foot tracks in the snow on our way downstairs. Our house was arranged so that you had to pass by an open hall which had one end open to the weather. You can imagine on a zero morning when we passed by that opening into the other room how we felt when we found the fire had gone out.


FARM LIFE - Inventions Arrive

I was a boy when the first telephone came in our neighborhood. I was going to school at the Vaughn School 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 very wealthy man, had one installed in his home. No one else on the line took one that I know of - I suppose they were only for the very rich. 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, three dollars per year. They were farmer-owned and they soon went by the board and we were without phones for years until REA, when we finally got electricity, which really put the farm home on par with city houses.

FARM LIFE - Tobacco

I saw an article in the Chillicothe paper about the tobacco factory-making cigars. In 1915 Dave Owens moved to Blue Mound. He was originally from Kentucky near the Cumberland Mountains. He was familiar with raising tobacco. A man named Lester raised tobacco on his place in 1914. In 1915 Lester planted five acres on my place. About the middle of the season, while playing ball, he got his leg broke and I had to finish the tobacco crop. Mr. Owens took over and helped me. When we wormed the tobacco we would drop the worms on the ground and step on them. Then we had to learn to cut the tobacco. We had a knife on the end of the handle, we would split the stalk part way down, then turn and place it on a stick that was stuck in the ground. We would put about eight stalks on each stick. We had to be careful not to pile it up as that would bruise the tobacco. Then we would hang it in the barn and wait for it to cure, then wait for a time in case what they called a "damp time" would come in. Then we would try to find a comfortable place and strip the leaves from the stalk. I shipped some tobacco to the loose leaf market at Weston, Missouri. It brought less than five cents per pound. It was the lower leaves that are supposed to be the higher priced. My son took a trip down in Kentucky in the fall of 1969, and he met a man that had a tobacco barn. He had 3/4 of an acre and said he had gotten as much as $1400 for 1/4 of an acre.

FARM LIFE - Snakes

In the Blue Mound community we have poisonous snakes--rattlers and copperheads. Matt Mead and Harry McCracken was cutting sprouts (the question was asked what are "sprouts?" They are a bush that would make a tree if they are left to grow. That was the only way we had at the time to keep the timber down. We used the ax and saw to clear the land and then the ax and hoe to keep it clear.) At this time those men were working to keep it clear and they happened to be near a den where the snakes went in for the winter. They killed, I think, 133 rattlers and copperheads and a few black snakes, but mostly rattlers and copperheads. Mr. Mead said there was so much poison in the air that it made him sick.

Over in our timber we killed a rattlesnake and my boys decided they wanted its skin for a belt. They started skinning and the young snakes began coming out of her mouth. When she was disturbed those little snakes ran into her mouth. There were ten of them alive.

FARM LIFE - Horse Traders

There were a few people that tried to make a living trading horses. They were experts on defects. I learned how to locate a few, but was not able to become an expert trader. There was what they called "coon footed", low in the ankles. I got caught on one of them. Then there was "bog spavin", "curb wobbler", "balkyu", "moon-eyed", swennyí and what they called "stump suckers", one that would grab hold of a piece of the manger and suck until he would fill his stomach with air and then take colic. There were a lot of others; if one was a good trader he had a lot to learn.

FARM LIFE - Associations

Back in the teens I would say they organized the Farm Bureau, also the Missouri Farmers Association. I joined both of them, then the Farmerís Union came and I joined it also. The MFA organized exchanges in most of the small towns--Avalon, Dawn and Blue Mound. At Blue Mound we went a little farther and bought the General Store. Also MFA had what they called a cold storage. When the depression struck, the exchange at Avalon, Dawn, and also the store at Blue Mound, went by the board, also the cold storage in Chillicothe. I lost $1,400 which I did not have, which had to be raised later as I could get hold of it.

FARM LIFE - Prices

I, being a member of the National Farmers Organization, went with some of the members to Columbia to meet with the Extension Department. We could see that they werenít interested in our organization. One of them admitted that we were paying more for our products than we formerly had, but the reason was they were putting our products in a more expensive package. I raised my hand and said that I would like to say a few words. I told them that when I had hair I used to get it cut for 15c but since I was almost without, it cost me $2.00, and there was no package involved. I was asked who I was referring to--I said to the man that was talking about expensive packages.

Growing Up

GROWING UP - Mad Dog Incident

I well remember one Sunday morning my father hooked the team on the old buggy and we took out for Grandpa Purcellís for a Sunday visit. My brother and I sat in the back with our feet hanging out, We hadnít gone far before we met a man. He told us that there was a mad dog at large. As I remember that was the first time I ever had heard of them. Our feet were hanging down within two feet of the ground, entirely too close for comfort. That was the beginning of a worry that stayed with me until long after I was a man. When dark came I never felt quite as safe as I did in daylight, and I have my doubts if anyone else does. I know after the mad dog scare if I was sent on a night mission I always hurried it through as soon as possible if I was alone. I always felt safer if I even had a small child with me.

Young people that are living today can hardly imagine the hardships that we went through in those days--no inside toilets and many families had no outside toilets. After the mad dog episode my brother and I had a kind of understanding that if either one of us had a call the other would get up and stand guard. I remember one night in particular my brother felt he had to go. He called on me to stand guard duty. I was so sleepy that he tried to go on without me, but he didnít make it. I was really thankful that they didnít call me before daylight that next morning. He had run all the way.


The Perry boys and my brother were together most every Sunday and in the summer we would go to Perryís and sleep in the barn. We had a neighbor boy that had epileptic fits. He had heard that we slept in the barn and wanted to sleep there with us. We had seen and heard him in one of the spells and it scared us all. We decided that we would take him to a neighborís and steal some peaches. They were supposed to get a scare. Some of the older boys went to get the peaches, and the boy and some of us younger boys waited so we wouldnít have to run so far. The older boys made enough noise so that the neighbors would hear them, so we had to go by the boyís home for an excuse. The boys told him to get right in bed and if the neighbors came, to tell them that he had not been away. It was a mean things to do, but not one of us could have slept in the barn had he been with us.

GROWING UP - "Dog Days"

We boys hunted rabbits in the winter and went swimming in the summer. My father saw that we were kept busy after harvest. We had a sprout patch where my brother and I spent what we used to call "dog days". We thought at the time we were expected to work, but I decided later that was a place where he could find us and we wouldnít become a nuisance to the neighbors.

GROWING UP - Trips to Town

On our trips to town, not more than once a year, we were considered hayseeds and the title was proper. As we neared town we began to look as though we had no confidence in ourselves. I have learned in later years that was our weakness; it made us look worse than we really were.


My first date: Back at that time I had gone to a few parties but had always stood on the sidelines. One day at school one of the boys had been over to Mount Carmel on Sunday night and he told me Monday morning that he had made a date and also he had made one for me if I wanted to go. I had never seen the girl, but I told him I would go. I washed my neck and ears pretty faithfully and tried to train my hair to stay parted. It really was a big week for me, still I wondered how I would make out trying to entertain a strange girl. Then on Friday he called me to one side and said his date had gone on the rocks and would I mind if he took over my date. I felt everything was in his hands so I said yes. I felt well paid for the care that I had given my neck and ears and my hair. I never saw the girl!


I remember when the neighbors lived near each other. In the fall there would be apple peelings and taffy pulling. We boys felt we were really lucky if we could find a girl that would help us pull the taffy back and forth. The more we worked and pulled the lighter the color of the candy would get, and we would be thrilled if during the operation we might accidentally touch the girl partnerís hand.

GROWING UP - Young Travelers

I had been around home all of these years and had seen nothing of the world, so a neighbor boy and I decided we would go up into Dakota and help them harvest, The neighbor boy had some relatives in Kansas City, so we thought we would go by there. We took the train to Kansas City and got off at the old Union Station. As we got off the train and started to go into the station a man jumped out of a carriage and grabbed my suitcase and hollered, "Taxy! " I didnít know what "taxy" meant, but I wasnít going to let him have my grip without a struggle. He finally let loose and we went back into the station until they went away.

After a while we ventured out and we decided that we would walk for a while. We knew where we wanted to go, but we didnít know how to get there. We walked until we were getting tired, so we decided to take a street car, so we walked out to the track in the middle of the block. They came along but didnít stop for us, but everyone on the car had a board smile on their faces. We didnít understand why they didnít want us on their streetcar, but when they got up to the next street and across it, they stopped and there was no one there. It seemed so far we were learning the hard way.

We finally landed where we were going and stayed a few days. The boy learned things, the ways of the city, a lot faster than L but by following him around I thought I had learned a lot, so I told him when we left the city I thought we should try to "hobo it" for experience. So we bought tickets for the first station out of Kansas City and got off and hunted an empty freight and got on. It was dark. Well, the train started out, but we hadnít gone far when a brakey came along. There was a Negro on with us. The brakey went to the Negro first and asked him if had any money. He said no. The brakey grabbed him and said, "I have a notion to kill you." He roughed him up a bit and let him go. Then he came to us and said, "Have you fellows got any money?" We both said, "Yessir! " So we gave him some money and after that we seemed to be friends, but he told us that we would have to get off before we got into St. Joe or it would be too bad for him and us also. We took him at his word and got off a long way before we should. As it was, we had a hard fall and a very long walk. I remember I had a break in the knee of my pants and a walk of possibly five miles. I am sure that we didnít save any money but we were able to tell everyone that we had beat our way on the train. But that was all of that kind of traveling that I wanted.

I never tried it again; however, later we did get up to South Dakota and helped them harvest. I left, I thought, quite a lot of blood with the mosquitoes, but we were getting our geography education the hard way.

GROWING UP - Hunting

As I look on those days they were happy ones. Times were hard, and the responsibility was on our parents. Weekly allowance was unknown. Our allowance consisted of fifty cents a year-twenty-five cents the Fourth of July and the same on Christmas. Some of the boys had a small income tral3ping skunks, but I was a poor trapper. We boys hunted rabbits and sold them from three to five cents per rabbit. My brother had an old muzzle-loading gun that he put in the powder, then the shot and a cap, and it was ready to go, and if he got any rabbits I carried them. I would carry them by the legs until my grip failed, then if we could find a string I would hang them over my shoulder. There was a store at Blue Mound where we sold our rabbits. When we get a little older we sometimes bought some cigars. We could buy three for a nickel--they called them "three-fers" and they were of poor quality.

GROWING UP - Drinking

Ray, our son, when he was about grown, told his mother that a neighbor had told him how to make some brew. He asked his mother to help him fix it up, which she did. Everything was arranged and the brew after a time was ripened and he had taken his test drink. He said, "Mother, that stuff is as bitter as gall." She had neglected to tell him that she had added a liberal helping of quinine. He decided that he was a failure and never tried it again. I donít know if he ever knew while he lived the part his mother took in helping him with his home brew.

Have You Ever?

Listened enthralled to the mocking - birdís song?

Watched an old threshing - machine chug along?

Swung on a grape vine swing Ďway up high?

Seen a chicken-hawk swoop from the sky?

Been Ďwakened by thunder - Ďroused from your bed?

To the storm cellar - been carried or led?

Smelled the sweet fragrance of locust blossoms?

Gone hunting with uncle for squirrel or Ďpossums?

Ate mulberries until your lips were blue?

Picked "Johnny-jump-ups" and buttercups too?

Ran barefoot down a dusty, country road?

Tried to catch "lightning-bugs" - stepped on a toad?

Followed the noisy creek down the hollow?

Prodded a dirty hog from his wallow?

Pumped Grandmaís organ with all your might?

Slept on a featherbed, snuggled up tight?

Fearfully reluctant - but without fail,

Watched Grandpa cut off a little lambís tail?

Helped hitch up "Old Bill" to go to the Fair?

Rode on a merry-go-round while you were there?

Sung songs in Sunday School and "Literary"?

On the old phonograph - play "Tipperary"?

If any of these things you have never done,

Your Childhood was missing a lot of good fun!

By Edna R. Herreid

Polson, Montana


(Recollections of childhood near Chillicothe, Missouri)

Itís great to live to be ninety-three

And stand tall and straight like a tree

To be president of a bank

To be honest and frank

And have the gift of writing poetry.

Itís great to live to be ninety-three

When humor about you, you see

And you can enjoy life

Without living in strife

in a land that has always been free.

Itís great to live to be ninety-three

And so rich in friendships to be

With a garden to hoe

And places to go

And a family that loves you we see.

So hereís wishing you more birthdays to come

One hundred years would be a fine sum

With seven years to go

You neednít go slow

Keep marching to the sound of your drum.

Your wit and stories we enjoy

And remembrances of when you were a boy

So keep up the task

In your poems we bask

And wherever you go, you spread joy.

--Ruth Seiberling

(Written for Johnny Hoyt on his ninety-third birthday)



Sometimes when dayís work is ended,

And the curtains of Evening are drawn,

I sit relaxed in the lamplight,

And dream of times that are gone.

I walk down the paths of my childhood,

And greet each loved one again,

But the first I embrace is my mother

In this game of. "remembering when."

I feel the soft touch of her fingers,

As so gently my hand they enfold;

And I sense the blessed assurance

Which only her clasp could hold.

And, thus, we go laughing together

To greet the others we knew;

I, a child, safe--protected

By a love so faithful and true.

Of course it is only a dreaming,

But somehow it tends to erase

Whatever the dayís tribulations

Whatever the troubles I face,

My fears, again I must conquer,

If I fall, again I must rise;

What peace I find in Remembrance

Where the touch of a hand never dies.

Mildred Huffman

Motherís Day, 1964



Thereís a little old creek in the country

Where I dearly love to roam,

It holds rocks and Indian relics

And itís near my childhood home.

The memories that enfold me

As I follow the winding stream--

Those dear childhood fantasies

That children love to dream.

Where are the ones that shared those days,

So many summers ago...

The dear playmates I loved so much

I wish that they could know--

That someone here still thinks of them,

Still strolls memory lane,

Even thoí it saddens me

And fills my heart with pain.

Some of them, God called to rest

And some just moved away,

My friends--my dear old childhood friends--

I thought. of you today!

--Wreatha DeLorme

Just Thinking

COMMENTS - Women and Children

When I was a boy, women worked as housewives. Not often did you hear of a woman working away if she had a family. Now in many cases it seems like the mothers hardly have time for the children, and later on the children hardly have time for the parents.



I can remember when if one violated the law they were in trouble if they were caught. Now if they are caught they usually are placed on probation. They might have violated the law a hundred times before they were caught. Our law likes to collect fines.

I see by our local paper in the twenty years ago items that one was convicted of stealing and was sentenced to three years in the penitentiary. In the same issue there was a man caught stealing today. He was sentenced for one year and paroled. I remember back in my early life if one was caught stealing they were in for trouble. I canít help but think that if a penalty was imposed there would be far less crime.

COMMENTS - The Hereafter

We have been able to send men to the moon, but I am not able to comprehend the advantages that are accomplished. I am sure of one thing, it was accomplished by the elements that the Lord put here for our use and by the men that were able to work it out. If we would all of us put forth our efforts so all of us would be together in the great hereafter, it would be a great deal greater than traveling to the moon.

COMMENTS - Drink and Driving

I saw in the U.S. News and World Report that 50% of the car accidents were caused by drinking. Over 25,000 killed and more than 100,000 crippled each year. It is time that we give time and thought in trying to find a remedy. Those losses are just from drinking alone. And, as for drunken driving, if they would take their license instead of their money, there would be a great many more lives saved.

COMMENTS - Transportation

I have mentioned that I came the century just as the oxen went out and the horse took over. I have seen the horse almost go. The gas for farming and transportation is threatened. Unless there is more gas produced there may be a shortage of food. Unless there is some new invention it is possible that there is more trouble ahead with the energy crisis. I was one that was sorry to see the horse go, but since he is gone I would hate to have to ride into town in a wagon. We would be in trouble if we had to go back to using horses for farming since it takes four years to raise a work horse.

COMMENTS - Schools

When we object to what we have we should be able to present a remedy, get it before the board, and perhaps they might adopt it. I just read some resolutions that the students adopted in one of our city schools. The resolutions should come from the School Board, and if they are not able to abide by that I would think it would be time to close the school.


After the honeymoon the husband asked his wife, "You donít mind if I point out a few of your little defects, do you?" "Not at all," replied the bride, "Itís those little defects that kept me from getting a better husband, dear."


Their first child had arrived. The doctor was still there and the wife asked the doctor about planned parenthood--about how far apart children should be for health, for the parent and children. The doctor went into quite a discourse about planned parenthood. The lady asked the doctor how far apart his children were. He said, "Donít go by me. My wife and I have a different deal--we are not really going by the health plan at all."


The Marriage Counselor said, "You must have said something that started this terrible argument." "My wife tried a new recipe--she asked me how I liked it. I said, ĎO.K., but it will never take the place of foodí."


There was a man that had kicked a man in the stomach. They had him arrested. The man said he didnít aim to hurt the man. He was asked, "You kick a man in the stomach a blow like that? Explain yourself." The man said, "I think he must have turned around."


There was a minister that thought he had died and gone to his reward. He woke up--he wasnít dead--he just had his electric blanket turned up too high.


There was some people cruising on the Pacific. The water was really rough. There was one lady that was really sick, she thought if she would go to bed she might be better. She was most ready for bed when she decided she had to go to the bath. She made a run and she ran into a man. Just then it dawned on her that she didnít have any clothes on. She screamed. The man said, "Donít worry, lady, I will never live to tell on you."


When I left South Dakota I decided that I hadnít seen quite enough of the world. I had a cousin that lived in the west, so I took the train west. I arrived at their place about the middle of the afternoon. They were not at home. There were some folks across the street playing croquet--they asked me to join them, which I did. I was not much of a player but there was a beautiful girl who offered to be my partner and she was really good and we got along very well. I would glance over at my cousinís home occasionally to see if they had returned; finally it became late and no light appeared at my cousinís home, so they asked me to stay all night. The beautiful girl took me to a room, showed me how to handle the light, then she threw her arms around me and said with tears in her eyes, "Take me away from this place tonight." I didnít know what to do as that was a new experience for me. I told her that I was short of funds, that if we could wait until morning when I could see my cousin, we might make some arrangements. She finally left me. I felt I would never need any sleep as I have never been made over like that before. But after I lay down it wasnít long before I became sleepy. But all at once I heard a womanís voice scream, "I wonít" and I heard a manís voice say, "You will." That really woke me up. I got up and felt around, finally reached under the bed. I put my hand on a man. He was dead--had his throat cut from ear to ear. I drug him out and placed him where I had lain. I fixed him in just about the same position. I hadnít had time to dress. Just then I heard a sound on the stairs. I dashed behind the door and in the moonlight I could see that beautiful girl come slipping in with a big knife. I saw her go to the bed and take a swipe at that manís throat where I was supposed to be. I dashed out and landed in a pen with a big bulldog. I mashed him to the floor but then lunged to try to reach the top of the wall and he grabbed me by the seat of my drawers. I drew him up but he fell back with a mouth full of my drawers and I landed on top of the wall. I lay down on the top of the wall trying to get my breath and figure out how I was going to get back in society the way I was dressed. Then the door opened and the man came out of the house. He spied me and was getting a hand on me--I had to do something quick-I either had to roll back in that pen with the bulldog or be shot--and I think that was what woke me up.


Back in my early life none of our babies were born in hospitals. All that was needed was an experienced woman and a doctor if he got there in time. I remember there was a story they had sent for the doctor on a confinement call and the doctor was away. The doctorís wife asked how far apart were the pains she was having. The messenger said they all seemed to be in about the same place. When the job was finished, the bill, if he lived within five miles, would not be more than five dollars. A man lived near me not more than a quarter of a century ago. They had a habit of a baby each year. The doctor lived more than ten miles away, and the price was ten dollars. One time the doctor didnít get there in time and he wanted to knock off on the price. The man wanted to pay full price. He said, "You have been awfully good to me," and the doctor said, "You have been a mighty good customer of mine."


MEDICAL CARE - Family Doctor

I mentioned before about the family doctor. When our population was mostly rural, when there was illness the doctor would ride a horse ten miles and back and collect not more than four dollars. He always took time to cheer up the patient and all the rest of the family before he left. Our parents never called a doctor unless we were really ill.

MEDICAL CARE - Night and Day

There was a doctor at Blue Mound, three at Avalon, two at Dawn. I remember that Dr. Pyatt went night and day in the winter when there was lots of sickness. He took a boy to drive while he slept.

MEDICAL CARE - Neighborhood Care

We were near each other--if one was ill in the neighborhood, the neighbors stayed with them; if there was a long illness they would take turns caring for them. The parents cared for the children and later the children cared for the parents. There was no such thing as nursing homes. There was what they called the Infirmary, but just a few who had no relatives stayed there. There was a doctor in all of the villages and if one was ill, before the phones were here, they would send for the doctor. After we had the phones they would call and the doctor would soon be on his way. In the early days the hospital was used very little as we older ones were born at home. I have been told by many how lucky I am. I have lived to see all of my early friends taken to the cemetery. At times one can hardly help feeling almost alone. I have heard the remark many times--"When you live in Rome, do as Rome does." In the harum-scarum of life that we live, do we cease to care for one another as we did back when we were a rural people?

MEDICAL CARE - Mustard Plaster

One of our neighbors was ill and they had the doctor called- The man had severe pains and the doctor told the wife to put a mustard plaster on the seat of the pain. The lady understood the doctor to say the seat of the pants. She probably thought the doctor was a little timid when time came to apply the poultice. There was an argument but the wife told him that she loved him and wanted him to get well, which he did. He complained to a neighbor what a fool doctor he had had, and that is how the mystery was solved.


The Milwaukee Railroad was built and would take as high as ten passengers a day to and from Dawn. At times when Grand River would get out of its banks we people from the south would drive to Dawn and take the train of a morning, take the train of an evening, and get home in time to do our chores before night. I have seen the passenger train depart from the scene.


Finally automobiles came on the scene. A model " T " worked pretty good when it was dry until they came to a hill. In those days we hardly ever got back without having to push it up a hill or fix a tire or both. I remember there was a man in our community that had a horse that could pace fast. He would linger along near the foot of a hill and when the Model T slowed down to puffing and snorting he would pace his horse past. I was at a public sale and a man heard a car. He yelled, "Thereís a car coming--get to your horses!" Dick Forester was our County Agent back in those days. He told me one day that the car was going to take over the roads--I didnít believe it. I wasnít able to vision such a change, but by improvement of roads and also of cars, it happened. The automobile brought the country people and the city people so close together that now You cannot tell one from the other.


As I look at Blue Mound, at one time there were two stores and a drugstore where we people on Saturday nights would gather. This area now is a rock quarry- There have been two houses burned in the last years, merely to get them out, as the rock under the houses is more valuable than the houses. Mr. Green, the owner of the quarry, told me at one time where they were working at that time the rock was 36 feet thick, yielding over 220,000 tons per acre. They are building roads, making it possible for us to go many times farther in a day than it was possible in those days. I remember we went to Council Bluffs in a Model T and camped overnight on the way.


There is another character that has passed out of the picture--the tramp. They were persons that went down the road, usually poorly dressed, most of them dirty. most of them were harmless. They would go from house to house and beg food, and in warm weather sleep in the barn.

I remember one man that came by many times. He would stop at our home and take dinner with us. No one ever came to our home at mealtime that was not asked to eat with us, a thing that has mostly gone out of style. (Nowadays people wait their meals until the company has gone home, which still does not appeal. But if you live in Rome you learn to do as Rome does.) This particular man, I think, was slightly deranged, but his mind was a power in some respects. I have heard him name every county in Missouri, also name the county seats and the capital and many other things that I have forgotten. He would talk fast When I was small and I would try to recite many things that he said in the same manner that he did. The boys nicknamed me after him. His name was Ike Mullen, and the name Ike some call me to this day.

SCHOOL - Teachers

I feel that I should mention the names of our teachers--Alice Oliver, Dick Stagner, William Milay, George Riley, Fannie Dunklin, Charlie Kern, Pat Campbell, Berta Jones, Lillie Greener--she was my last.

SCHOOL - Sports

We had enough boys to have two teams of ball players. We chose up when school started and kept the same teams all winter, so when recess and the hour at noon came we could play ball. We all knew our position.

SCHOOL - Reading

I came on just after Maguffey Readers. Our first books were Normal. I remember one of the lessons was about the Dutch Boer and his horse. There was a ship wrecked just off the shore and the Dutchman rode out with a rope tied to her tail and brought a load to shore. They went bravely out for another load and the story said her veins broke and she could move her legs no more. She went down and the cargo was lost. Just at that time I broke down and could read no more. At recess all the scholars gathered around me to find out what was the matter. I told them that I hurt my finger. After then when the lesson about the Dutch Boer and his horse came up I made it a point to be absent. I remember in the same fourth reader that there was an old cat that some boys had drowned her kittens. I remember a line: "The cat said, ĎAh, me!í Not a kitten could she see." It was a rhyme, and it was also a little hard for me, though it didnít seem to bother the others.

SCHOOL - Ambition

I went to Campbell one term, to Condron one term, then we moved to the Vaughan District between Campbell and Condron, where I finished what education that I got. I had always hoped to become a lawyer, but it was impossible on scant education. I made the remark that that had been my ambition; a man said a lawyer has to deliver. I said I had never thought of that.

CHURCH - Building

They decided that a church would be in order, so they began to try to raise funds for that purpose. Up to that time they had been holding services in the schoolhouse, but the schoolhouse had been blown away by a tremendous storm so they raised some money and turned it over to a minister, I think his name was Jamison. When they got about enough to start building. Jamison disappeared, so they had to do it over, but it was finally built.


CHURCH - Organization

On the 16th day of October, 1884, the following covenant was entered into by members of the Christian Church: (1) Resolved, that we adopt the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice. (2) And when the Bible speaks we are willing to obey. (3) That we agree to stand by and support one another in all of our works of labor and love and bear one anotherís burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. (4) That we shall be known as an organization known by the name of Mount Hope, located at Blue Mound, Livingston County, Missouri. The name Mount Hope was originated by Leora Berkshire and Hattie McGill. Church organized in 1884, house built in 1885. H.N. Know was first Superintendent of Sunday School, with membership at 60. E.N. Ware was the first preacher. Deed to ground November 25, 1885. It seems that a problem was brewing over the organ in the church. There was a meeting called on October 2, 1905 for the purpose of uniting all Christian people at Blue Mound into one body. I think the meeting failed as there was another church built which had been gone for many years.


I have been an elder of the Blue Mound Church for over fifty years and my experience has been that the less executive business the church has the more smoothly that it will run. I was asked by one minister, that our church board remove one of our memberís names from our church records. I told the minister that he was a better man than I was. The minister said, "If you donít, you will have to get you another minister." I said, "That will be up to you." He quit. I felt that who was put out and who stayed in, I preferred to leave that all to the Lord.

CHURCH - Baptism

There was a baptismal service on Mound Creek four miles west and one mile south of Avalon. It was winter and they had to cut a hole in the ice. The minister had a stick prodding in the hole when his foot slipped and he plunged into the hole head first. There was a southern lady there that screamed, "My land, our Brother is shore gone. Well, the minister reversed himself and came out o.k. and said, "Accidents will happen." It was supposed to be a solemn occasion, but I must say that there were not many solemn faces in that crowd.


CHURCH - Religion by Degrees

There was a church called Gibbs Chapel, one mile east and two miles south, when I was a boy, that had a large congregation. I remember at one time they had a lady minister named Mrs. Romack and a lady that sung named Mrs. Meneely. There was what they called a "mournerís bench" which would be filled each night. I, at that time, thought Christianity came by degrees, a little at a time. I remember one that had been a rather rough character came from the back of the house screaming. He didnít go by way of the mournerís bench, but went direct. There was one man that prayed without ending, and the Only way to stop him was for Mrs. Meneely to start singing.

CHURCH - Debates

I remember at Blue Mound there was two churches and several denominations. Everyone seemed to be well posted, especially the older men. They would have debates. There was what they called the Christian, the Anti-Organist, the Soul Sleeper, the Methodist, and the Christidelphians. It was really confusing to me as they each of them seemed to think that all of them were wrong but themselves.

CHURCH - Good Old Days

Many years ago they had church services at Vaughn Schoolhouse. When the minister got up to preach, the first thing that he did, he took a chew of tobacco and went to preaching. They had a spitoon where he could spit once in a while. That was in the good old days.

POLITICS - Arm Waving

I remember when at the school houses there would be public speaking. The political parties of each side would take a fling. I remember when I was a boy there was a man making a temperance lecture. He was waving his arms and shouting. We had a little dog that had followed us to the schoolhouse and was under the seats. He ran out and treed the man. He stopped short, the dog stopped also. Finally the man went on with his speech, but in a lot more moderate way.

POLITICS - Things Havenít Changed

It was told down at Bedford that one of the political parties was holding a meeting. There was only one colored man in Bedford at that time. They called him Bud. Bud came down to the store and asked what was going on up to the school-house. They told him there was a political meeting. He said, "Them men sure was recommending themselves."

POLITICS - Livingston County

Father belonged to the Populist Party, and I remember Judge Donovan belonged to the party. He would speak at the schoolhouses. I used to go listen to him. I thought if there wasnít something done immediately that we sure would be goners before long. Judge Donovan was Judge of the County Court and the Grandfather of Joe Donovan of Mart Drug Store. Judge Donovan was state representative from Livingston County. He many times walked to Jefferson City from his home and walked back after the session was over. I wonder if the Judge had regular stops that he made as he passed along the way.

FUNERALS - Coffins

If one passed away someone took the measurement of the length of the body by measuring the body with a stick, took the stick to the coffinmaker, and took the coffin to the house. Neighbors would sit up with the body until such time that the neighbors got the grave dug. About the only thing that they thought they had to worry about was to watch that cats did not get in and destroy the body. The whole thing was accomplished with very little expense. The sermons were long and very touching.

Once, they had sent a man to town for a coffin. It was quite a distance and as it happened it became quite dark before he arrived. A friend, that I knew, went to meet him. The coffin was in the back with a sheet spread over it. As he neared his destination the friend stepped out of the bushes after the wagon passed and got in the back of the wagon. He sat down on the coffin and wrapped the sheet around him. When the driver looked around he almost froze in his seat. I caused him to put whip and they were very soon there. He was very happy to find out that it was his old friend.


My wifeís sister, Etta Perry, worked out for $1.50 per week, $78.00 per year. She seemed to dress nice and I remember I borrowed money from her in those days. I know of a girl that worked for a nickel a day and the family that she worked for ran a store and she took it out in trade. She bought calico, it sold from three cents up. You would think that a women could be dressed pretty cheap, but they used a lot more covering then than they do now. Then at that time they wore what they called a bustle, a big roll across their hips. I remember my cousin went to Blue Mound, he had rode a mule. He asked a young lady to see him home and she accepted. She had on one of those bustles, perhaps filled with hay. The mule took a grab; she said, "Donít let that mule do that again." He said he watched the mule pretty close from then on in. The women used to wear what they called hoops and they drew their waists in until they looked very much like a wasp. I saw a man that said he was stung by one of them. Those bustles looked like they would be a good place to carry babies if they had some way to keep them from falling off. Still I never did know just how substantial they were.

I remember when I was a small boy, one day at school the big girls got into a scuffle and some of them got down on the ground. One of the girlís dresses got up above one knee. She quickly pushed her dress down, then lay with her eyes shut. I donít think she thought she would ever be able to face the world again.

FASHION - Horseback Riding

Back in those days ladies on horseback riding "clothes-pin" fashion was not very becoming, but under the circumstances it was excusable as it was after night.



We wore leather boots in the winter without overshoes. They cost about two or three dollars. When we were out in the snow and slush they became hard after they dried and were very hard to get on and would almost be as stiff as a board. Those boots were supposed to last until spring, when we were supposed to turn off barefooted.


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 didnít 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 didnít 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.

STORMS - Cyclone

A cyclone came through on June 20, 1883, from the southwest and raised a half mile east of Blue Mound. It killed Jack Wilson and his wife. They had a little boy 10 months old that survived. (I was told later that the boy, Roy Wilson, helped to draft the new state constitution of Nebraska.)

In those days most people made soap by the barrel. The storm blew Joe Knoxís house away, also the barrel of soap. Bell, his wife, as they took her to find a place to spend the rest of the night, did not even mention the loss of her home. When they got Mrs. Joe Knox on the old blind horse there was a man on each side holding each foot, and her husband would say, "Now donít you faint!" as she would scream, "O, my good barrel of soap!"

The width of the storm at Blue Mound was a half a mile. Willis Campbell lived north of Blue Mound. There had been a bad cloud most every night and they had been going down to Jonathan Knoxís. This night his maid sister refused to go. When the storm struck it took his sister Alice and laid her gently on a strawstack, undressed. From that day on if a bad-looking cloud came up she always made it a point to be the first one in the cave.

The Charles Brown family lived just west of us. They had a hole under the house. There was a large family but they all managed to crawl under the house just as the storm took the house. When the house went they were almost drowned, but all were saved.

The storm raised and I was told that it came down near Kirksville. After the storm, caves were the order of the day.

Mrs. Ruth Overton told more about the storm. The Brown family were her grandparents, and the hole under the house was where they kept their potatoes. They had a trap door where they went down, and her father was the last to go down. He was trying to fix the windows, but just as he went down the house went up. There were ten children in the family.


In Blue Mound at one time there was a drugstore. You could buy a suit of clothes and it was said you could buy what they called horse-trotting bitters. I remember when W.J. Good had the store. One cold morning there was quite a crowd in the store. John Brown was supposed to be buying a pound of powder. There was one old an warming over the stove that could hardly walk on account of rheumatics. There was a disagreement over the weight of the powder. Finally Brown said, "I will throw it in the stove." He kicked the stove door open and in went a package of oatmeal. Out went all but one man; the old man with the rheumatism was the second man out. They asked the man that didnít run why he didnít run; he said he didnít think in time. They said it cured the old manís rheumatism.


A post office was at Blue Mound. There was one at Cavendish northwest of Avalon where Reece Chapel Church was located, one at Mrs. Greenerís about a mile south and one mile east of Liberty Church. The carrier would bring the mail from Chillicothe, then a carrier would take it from Cavendish to Mrs. Greenerís, called Ida, then on to Blue Mound. At that time we got our mail at Idaís. I made the trip twice a week on foot about six miles round trip. I carried the neighborís mail. There was no charge. The mail brought my father the Constitution, the Avalon Aurora, the St. Louis Republic, Globe Democrat. I remember the Republic had News for Nimrods, also Spooks and Spirits, which I read with a relish.


Dock Ott ran a lunch where you could buy a bowl of soup for a dime and a quarter of a pie for a nickel, and Dudley Ewen had a barber shop where he cut hair for fifteen cents. You could get filled up and slicked up for thirty cents.


Back in the days of the wood stove, there was a day in the fall when the days began to cool that 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 donít 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 temper flared on that job than any other on the farm. Then each day there would be an accumulation of ashes which had to be carried. They used to have what they called an ash-hooper, 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 ask-hopper to fall apart and crush a child.


Mrs. John Yeomans had some data that she gave me. Back in 1916 Mose Litton had the only hearse in Chillicothe. It was horse drawn. I remember trying to go to a funeral at Avalon. I went to Avalon on horseback and waited until dark. I started home and met the hearse about two miles from Avalon, which had come from Chillicothe, and they had changed teams once on the way. The two sons of the deceased were walking in mud, I would say half knee deep.


Forest Overton, the boy that we raised, moved to Carlow during the depression. Carlow was supposed to be noted for its bootleg operations. It was running wild and a revenue man appeared on the scene. He failed to catch his man but they became acquainted and he told the Chief that he would get him. The Chief told the revenue man that he could not track an elephant in four feet of snow.

LAW ENFORCEMENT - Justice of Peace

Many years ago they had cases of law tried before Justices of the Peace. I had a cousin that was Justice and they had a lawsuit before him. The attorneys were Charlie Loomis on the one side and Joe Barton on the other. When they came to the closing speech, Loomis was quite an orator and John Russell, the Justice, was carried away by the speech and before Joe Barton had got to make his closing speech the Justice said the Court decides in favor of Loomis. Barton made his speech but it was too late--he stuck by his first decision.


I remember one man that passed our home driving three steer calves. He would go south in the fall of the year and go north in the spring. He finally came by with only two steers. He came by twice each year until those steers grew up to be big cattle. I have heard it rumored that he was hunting for some criminal that was supposed to be located somewhere on the route and that he finally found his man. Whether that was true or tradition, I do not know, but as I look back it seemed to me like an odd occupation.

LAW ENFORCEMENT - Neighborhood Style

There was at Blue Mound an organization called the "Anti-Horse Thief Association." Most of the men in the neighborhood belonged. I remember that my father belonged. If anything was stolen from the members the Lodge would deputize men to go out and search, though the Lodge would not search for property for non-members. One of the members had a brother-in-law that had some harness stolen. He wanted the Lodge to go out and hunt for them. They knew of a couple of young men that were preparing to leave the country in a covered wagon and they suspected they had the harness. The Lodge refused so they slipped out and got one of the memberís saddles and hid it in the Store at Blue Mound. That gave the Lodge the right to hunt. They took my father and a neighbor boy with the two men that hid the saddle and they overtook the boys about two days away--my father and the neighbor boy hunting the saddle, the other two hunting one of the menís brother-in-lawís harness. On the same night after the search, one of the boyís brothers came into the neighborhood to sit up with his cousin that was very bad sick. On the same night the memberís saddle was placed on the fence, supposedly left as the brother passed by. It was a few years before the boys came back carrying the reputation of stealing the saddle. Even one of the boys could not convince his father that they did not steal the saddle. One day long after, one of the men told one of the brothers that he would tell something if he would not tell. He promised, but when he told, he said, "I am going to tell," and he did. Well, he did tell and it cleared the boys. They threw the two men out of the Lodge and my father was not happy with the part they had him to play.

One of the men had a couple of young men on his farm. They became dissatisfied with their deal, somehow. All at once they began shooting and letter writing and throwing letters around the neighborhood, and that happened just at the time that the hunt took place for the lost saddle and circumstantial evidence pointed toward the man that hid the saddle.


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 went in what they called "lumberwagons". Most of us sat on boards or 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 oneís 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 donít 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 Finleyís. 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.


I remember there was what they called an oilcloth spread on the table. As most families were large, if things got messed up on the table they used a wet cloth and it was cleaned in a jiffy. The flies were so thick that we would cut a mop of leaves and we would use it for a fly brush. I have tried to keep the flies off the table many times. When I was a boy screens were unknown. Back in them times they had sticky papers at doors and swinging from the ceiling. I donít know what become of all of them.


Frank Gladieux, the ice man in the days when they got the ice from the river, said they started their ice business in 1883. The place in the river where they got their ice had to be kept free from snow. They got their ice at Grahamís Mill--at times they used as high as 40 men. The men that they hired lived on the route from Chillicothe to Grahamís Mill. In those days they hauled their ice by wagon and horses. There was the only way one could have a cold drink. Most people just did not have cold drinks in summer. Though, after all, it seems that things were pretty well arranged. The rich had ice in the summer and the poor folks in the winter. The Gladieuxs furnished comfort for many in Chillicothe until something came along better.


At that time molasses sold for 25c per gallon. You could buy 40 gallons for $10--lots of sweet for "ten". A man had gone to the mill and bought a barrel of molasses, loaded it in the wagon, which had a tight box. As he drove along home with his feet on the dashboard he finally glanced down. The bung had come out and there was molasses all over the wagon. He got down off the seat and rolled in the molasses, got back on the seat and drove home. The people he met wondered just what had happened to him.


Most people in the county remember the Covered Bridge at the site where the Grahams used to have the mill where he ground flour and meal. There was a friend nearby that was very handy and he could make most anything as a blacksmith or wood workman. Graham asked him one day if he would make him a yankee. He said sometime perhaps when he could find time. One evening about dark a man rode in on a horse and bought a sack of meal and gave Graham a $40 bill and got the change and rode on. When he got to a better light he discovered that the bill was counterfeit. Grahamís friend, whose name was Bargdoll, finally heard of the counterfeit. He went over and told Graham that he finally got around and made the yankee. He said he didnít have much material and didnít get a very good job, but he thought it was good enough to do you.


There was an old man near us that had lost his wife. He thought he felt the need of another wife, but he didnít know just how to go about getting another one. I suppose he had forgotten his old courtship days, so he saw a neighbor and told what he had in mind. The neighbor told him he would see what he could do, so he made it a point to go see a widow. It had rained the night before and the widow was out to the barn barefooted. She came to the house to see what the man wanted. She sat down with her bare feet in sight, with the mud between her toes. When the conversation got around and she understood why he was there she began to slip her feet back, trying to get them out of sight. He said he was sure the deal was as good as made. They were soon married and it was a great success. I have seen them many times as they passed our house hand in hand. They were a happy pair.


There was a man in Chillicothe that sold oil stock. He seemed to have a lot of members. My uncle bought some stock. His sister was lamenting because she had no money to invest. There was a man then, that most of us didnít bank much on his judgment, that spoke up and said, "I would rather invest in a crap game." He said you might win and anyway you would know where your money went. He was right in that case. There was an oil drill set up near our home and they had been drilling for some time and they were supposed to be in the material where the oil was just below. They stopped drilling and sold stock for a few days. On Sunday there was a bunch of men at the well talking. One would say, I have so much, others would tell how much they had. Then they came back to drill and they soon came to the material that showed there was no oil below.



Back in the days of the outside toilets there was a lady that was visiting in the country. She had just got settled into the-facility when an old hen that had a nest near by reached up and gave her a peck. The lady ran screaming that she was snake bit. Her husband rushed down and found the hen and brought the situation back to normal.




In 1863 during the Civil War days my uncle decided to go to Oregon. They drove an ox team and were five months on the way. He had married a widow who had a small son who was with his father. When they made the start they sent a couple of men to get the boy. The boyís father lived about thirty-five miles from the route they took. He had married again. The boy was out in the yard, they picked him up on a horse and took out. His wife went to the field and told the father. He took a different route and when they reached what was called Utica Crossing on Shoal Creek he met them there and had them drop the boy off and took him back home where he grew up to manhood. Years later they had five children, diptheria struck and they lost them all. He then went out to live with them.

In those days when a country was being developed there were always a rough element and this was no exception. I was told by a man the James boys came to their home and said they intended to rob the Chillicothe Bank. His father persuaded them not to do it, he said there was only one bank and they took him at his word and it was not robbed at the time, though in later years the attempt was made, though it ended in disaster. One of the boys belonged to the gang and had been away. He came through a few days before the holdup was to take place. They wanted him to join them, but there was one of the gang that he didnít know and that was enough for him. He hitched up a pair of ponies and drove just as far as he could so that he wouldnít be near when it happened. It so happened the stranger was the hero.

There was one killed and the others were captured. Another one of the gang, though not in the holdup, they had enough on him that he thought it a good idea to have a man supposedly see him drown. They sent men out to get people to come to drag Grand River. They called on my father and another neighbor. After they left the neighbor said he was not going, that the man didnít drown. Years after they heard he was in Texas. The man that drove the ponies was one of the men that went after the little boy. They claimed there was a woman that was apt to happen any place at most any time. She kept them posted on the goings-on in the community. I remember of them telling about my Grandfather being away and they thought the coast was clear. They got word to my father some of the gang came but they didnít get in. My father stood behind the door with his ax most of the night.

There was a deal that went on in the country that I donít know just how extensive it was. The way it operated, a man would call on an intended victim and explain that they were able to make connection with a man that dealt in counterfeit money. For one hundred dollars they could deliver three hundred that could not be detected from the genuine. Sounded like a good deal. If you felt able to put up more, all the better. Well we will say the man was short of funds as most were.

The deal was made, the money paid over and the man went on his way. As time went by the victim would hunt up his dealer and ask about his money. He would say, "Donít worry, he will be around." Finally the showdown day would come and the man or dealer would say, "Do you want this to get out on you?" I think it was most generally kept still, though there was a case or two where it didnít work. One man told me that he agreed to deal but he said if anything happens that causes me trouble I will kill you. He didnít trade with that man. I knew of another case where the man was living on another manís farm. He left the farm and left his cow and his chickens and he was so stirred up that he went to a manís brother that they had caught and wanted him to go with him and they would drive one of his cows over to one of his victims, but the brother refused to go. The ones that operated would go away for a period of time. It was supposed they operated their game in other parts while they were away.

My Poems-

Through The Years



There was a time within our history

So very sad to me,

When the banks within our country

Went from twenty-one to three.

The bank, they were a - failing

At such alarming rate,

Yes, everything was pointing to

No banks within our State.

The people in the cities,

No work, their money spent,

Were moved out by their landlordsó

The reason was the rent.

The farmerís turn, also at hand,

Though not inclined to roam,

Had to leave and join the throng

When the mortgage took their home.

And down the highways they went,

Some of them in packs.

Their stomachs all were empty,

And their clothes were made of sacks;

As they trudged their weary way

They were too sad to smile;

They prayed to find a kindly heart

Where they might stop awhile.

Lo, then a voice as from above

Thanked God for such a treat,

"Your tramping now is at an end;

Our people now shall eat."

Then came reclamation, conservation,

R.E.A. and many more

Things that people needed,

But never had before.

The reason that Iíve written

Those humble lines for you


So the younger generation

Would know what we older folks went through.

Those better days are gone again

They seem most like a dream.

The farmer now just milks the cow,

Big business takes the cream.

The only hope thatís left for us

To put them on the go

Is meet them at the market place

With contracts with N.F.O.




We are here today in memory

Of days long passed and gone,

When as teachers and pupils

We assembled here at Vaughn.

Our days were filled with pleasure--

No thought of war or strife;

Tíwas simple preparation

To pass us on for life-

The old school site is sacred.

In our hearts Ďtis ever young

As in the days when we were children,

When the happy songs were sung.

In our hearts for our dear teachers

There is nothing left but love.

Tho some are absent from us

May we meet them all above-

Dear Friends that have gone before us

In our hearts we hold so dear;

They are happy with their Maker.

In our memory they are here.

To the younger generation

Who are meeting here at Vaughn,

As we older ones are passing

It is for you to carry on.


God, the Wonder Painter,

Of the wonders that we see,

The magnitude and beauty

It humbles such as me.

So give to me the wide outdoors,

The flowers in the breeze

The diamonds in the waters

And the color of the trees.

Though man may gather, build or plant,

Or arrange to every whim

The color and the Fragrance,

It all belongs to Him.

August 24, 1952



As we wander down the valley

Near the peak beneath the hill,

By the sumac on the ridges

ĎMong the hawthorne by the hill.

As we wander by the river

Along its banks with flowers strewn,

As the evening shadows gather

They are rescued by the moon.

As we pass beyond the river

As we stand beside the shore,

Then the picture is completed

On our minds forever more.

September, 1952



As we pass along lifeís highway

When there are things that make us sad,

We must always remember

That the good outweighs the bad.

When at times we seem to falter,

Things donít come to our command,

Why the things stand out against us

ĎTis so hard to understand.

Though in life weíre ever changing

ĎMong our friends we hold so dear,

Let us always try to travel

That Ďtis better we were here.

When at times our hopes seem vanquished,

Everything as black as night,

There is only One can help us,

Only one can give us light.



We are here this day in memory

Of a home thatís far away;

To talk of old Missouri

Is the topic of the day.

We are looking back the stream of time;

We are looking wrong, you say?

Oh, the happiness it brings to us

And itís only for today.

While we live those old days over,

As we wander on and on,

As we learn from one another

Oh, so many friends are gone.

As we mingle here together

We can hardly speak for joy;

As the girls that wore the pigtails

When we wandered then as boys.

We donít ask to travel backward,

Most of us are here to stay,

But to dream of old Missouri

Is a pleasure just today.



Words cannot tell the way we feel

On this, our Motherís Day;

The grandest person that ever lived

Is what all men say.

She was the one that sat beside us

Tho our ills were grave or slight;

While the rest were soundly sleeping

She would march on through the night.

It has always been that Mother

Who has always stood the test.

It always made her happy

When the others had the best.

Tho sometimes we miss the pathway,

Do the things we should not do;

You can always turn to Mother

She will try to help you through.

Tho her life was spent in service,

Eíer St. Peter sounds the gong

Let us try to make her happy,

For she canít be with us long.



We cannot do her justice,

No matter how we try.

In pleasure, ills or trouble,

We always find her nigh.

Her work is scarcely noticed

In the homes across the land,

But the work that she is doing,

Is why our nation stands.

The cares of life have changed her,

Her hair has turned to gray,

Her step is not so youthful,

Her laughter not so gay.

As we travel back in memory

To the happy days that were;

The many things she did for us-

Would we do them for Her?

To all of you thatís wandered

From home so far away,

A kindly note is welcome

To her on Motherís Day.



Today is just for Mother

Letís stir up quite a fuss;

All other days within the year

They are spent for us.

So while we are here together

Iíd very much prefer

The many things she does for us,

Letís do some things for her.



Itís only just a memory

But we are all of one accord-

To make the Jones Reunion

A reunion to record.

And as we meet together here

Upon this parkway lawn,

It takes us back in memory

Of the dear ones that are gone.

In those days when they were here

Their lives were spent for us.

Itís nice that we are here today

Those memories to discuss.

So let us all remember

The reason we are here

And try and make a record

By coming back next year.



As I go back in memory

It was my greatest joy

To follow in Dadís footsteps

When I was just, a boy.

When we were all together,

Through better times or bad,

It always made me happy

When I was with my Dad.

We spent the time together,

At times the days seemed long;

Iíll say this for my father,

He never taught me wrong.

And to be a father

I am sure his greatest joy

If he grows to honor

The father of his boy.

As I wander back in yesteryear

When I was just a lad;

The greatest man in all the world,

I think he was my Dad.

May, 1969



They came from old Kentucky

Some on horses rode;

The family in the wagons,

The oxen pulled the load.

In searching for a homestead

They were not the ones to quit;

When they landed in Missouri

They knew that this was it.

The descendants of the Stagners,

Tho some are far away,

Quite a goodly number

Can be found here today.

So on this grand occasion

If they could reappear,

Oh, wouldnít they be happy

With the dear ones that are here.

Itís nice that we are gathered here,

The Stagners that we have met

As long as we can keep it up

At least we wonít forget.




I will try to put in rhyme

The things Iíll try to say

The get-together that we had

It was a happy day.

The antique accumulation

Was such a grand display;

So many of the articles

Are almost unknown today.

As time went by the number

Had reached a hundred years.

They were a happy family

Tho time does bring some tears.

To the pioneer that settled here

Their efforts, it is clear,

They tried to make it better

For their dear ones that are here.

To those that have gone before us

It would have been a grand display;

If they could have visited with us

It would have been a happy day.

This little rhyme is finished;

I must get back to the truth-

You canít find a better host and hostess

Than the Seiberlings, George and Ruth.





These words that I am writing you

I am sure that they are true;

The members of the Autumn Leaves

We every one missed you.

Mrs. Breeden took your place,

However hard to fill

I am sure she did the best she could

For our President was ill.

It is our prayer eíer we meet again

When everything is swell,

And she can be back on the job

And once again is well.





The people that are here today

Our reason is two-fold:

One reason is we have some friends-

The other is, we are old.

And as we gather here today

If our homes be near or far

Lord help us to be the folks

The Littrells think we are.

And on this happy occasion

We feel this is our day.

It makes us feel important

And not just in the way.

So go ahead and take your pills

To all of you thatís here,

And that will keep us healthy

So that we can come back next year.



We people that are older

It seems to be our lot

The many things we thought we knew

Have mostly been forgot.

And as we reach the twilight stage

Before we come to grief,

Just line up with the rest of us

And join the Autumn Leaf.

So let us all remember

Though pleasure, war, or strife,

And not to burden others

With the cares we have in life.

A word to younger people

It often has been told

If they too are lucky

Someday they will be old.

And when they are old

They will be proud to say,

I never let my parents know

That they were in my way.

So letís go on together

I am sure we will win the race

As some of us are passing

There will be others take our place.

We do many things for pleasure,

Play games of every kind,

But if you donít join Autumn Leaves

You will still be far behind.




We meet today in memory

What ones that are still around,

Of the Meads and the Burners

That settled at Blue Mound.

In proving up a Homestead

It took a lot of grit;

They were not the kind of people

That was ever known to quit.

Tho time is a cruel reaper

Its work is far and near

As we look around among us

There are some that are not here.

So itís grand that we are here today

I am sure we wonít regret

As long as we keep meeting here

At least we wonít forget.

To the older generation

Thatís gone before, Iíd say,

Oh, wouldnít they be happy

If they could come today?




Iíve something good to tell you,

Yes, Iíll tell you what it is,

We celebrated yesterday

The birthday of my Sis.

On that grand occasion,

Which meant so much to me,

We spent the day together,

She is now past eighty-three.

I know I should have written

These lines sometime before.

I ask the Lord to keep her

So she may have many more.




Sixty Years together-

Not often does it occur.

She tries to make him happy

He does the same for her.

In the sixty years together

There was sadness mixed with joy;

We all go back in memory

When you lost your little boy.

The year that you were married,

To our home that year you came

When we were most unhappy,

For we had just gone through the same.

Those sixty years together

They really are sublime.

And I am sure that you have been happy

And youíve sure had lots of time.

These lines are almost finished.

Your lives though no more new,

The way that you have stood the test

We all are proud of you.

John M. Hoyt



Twenty years of service:

The tasks were not a few

With the many heavy problems

They were always shared by you.

With twenty years of service

I am sure you did your best,

So sorry that we are losing you,

But you deserve a rest.

Of the twenty years of service

No doubt that some was strife;

So now that you have been released

You now can live your life.

To say farewell is not the word;

No need of any fuss.

You now can do the things you like

And youíre still here with us.

So on this date will bring a change:

Your court work is at an end;

The work is now in other hands

But you are still our friend.

(Written in honor of Judge Frank Bondererís retirement as Presiding Judge of the Livingston County Court, December 31, 1970, by John M. Hoyt)


There was born a Babe in Bethlehem,

A province of Judea,

So in memory of His birthday

We have our Christmas tree.

Santa is His messenger

With his reindeer and his packs,

He delivers joy to millions

But he never leaves any tracks.

With stockings hung by the mantle

As the children always do

They try to make it handy

As he enters by the flue.

So we have our Christmas greetings

Each message that we send

Brings happy recollections

ĎTis a message from a friend.

So to each and every one

That will listen to His call

The Lord, He has a message:

He is working for us all.

Christmas, 1970



This is just a little token

To our dear friend, Mrs. Ward;

Of the many things she has accomplished

We will try some to record.

Out in the country schoolhouse

Where she toiled the whole day through;

Where she taught with love and patience

Of the many things she knew.

Then at the County Court house

We next find her at work

At helping keep the records

For the Livingston County Clerk

You will find her in the office

From early morn til late;

There was no error in the records

For she always kept them straight.

In her present time of illness

I am sure that when it ends

She can live a life of pleasure

Among her many, many friends.

September, 1971



I went one day not long ago

I went there just to see

The old home place where I was born

It meant so much to me.

Of the old house there was no sign

Not even of the lawn,

I am sure I stood upon the site,

But all the signs were gone.

The cherry tree that stood by the house

Where we used to chin the pole

It, too, has also gone the route

As the years have had their toll.

The Locust trees where we had our swing

They too had run their race;

They too had disappeared,

And there were young trees in their place.

Down on the creek where we used to swim,

Where we swam from shore to shore

It somehow had also changed

And is not there no more.

My brother and the neighbor boys

That to me were so dear

Have all gone to their reward,

And I alone am here.

John M. Hoyt

December, 1971



We Autumn Leaves, we meet today;

It is mostly all for fun

Today a birthday is on the list

For Mr. Hamilton.

To our friend, Mr. Hamilton-

He seems to do things just for fun.

When it comes to entertaining

He sure can get it done.

When he gets up before us

He gets so many cheers,

So all of us are hoping

That he lasts a hundred years.



It seems to me along the line

All this it has been told:

When one reaches to age of ninety-three

Some people think we are old.

When we step out for our exercise

It is good for us, we are told.

But if it is in winter

We cannot stand the cold.

Then again, in summer,

We have friends we would love to greet.

If their homes are any distance

We just canít stand the heat.

If we try to walk with others

Before very long we find

They soon will be in the lead

As we come in behind.

But the hardest thing to overcome

No remedy can we find;

The hardest thing we find with age

Is when we try to use our mind.

Iíve reached the age of ninety-three,

The race is almost run.

Itís always been my hobby

Just to have a little fun.

--John M, Hoyt, on the occasion of his ninety-third birthday, May 22, 1970.

Whenever I was on a trip

Iíve always loved to roam,

But Iíve always been more happy

On the day that I got home

Iíve rode out on the ocean,

Iíve seen Old Faithful foam,

But I loved to end my journey

For I was happier at home.

A happy home is sacred

With the help thatís from above

There is nothing that is equal

To a home with one you love.

When this life of mine is over,

And with my friends I cannot be,

Then I trust that they will lay me

By the one that once loved me.

John M. Hoyt of Dawn participated actively in an hourís board meeting yesterday at the Community Bank on South Washington Street, then was guest of honor at a birthday party in the board room and attended by employees of the bank, board members and some of their families. Mr. Hoyt, 98 years old today, is probably the nationís oldest bank president. He was a charter member of the bank when it was formed in 1919 and has been president since 1955. The drawings pictured on the cake are of the bankís main facility and drive-in and, above, Mr. Hoyt visits about it with Dale Wood, cashier. In the board room, Mr. Hoyt ate cake and Neapolitan ice cream and read a poem he had written about growing older and facets of his life. The Concerned Christians at Congregate Meals and Autumn Leaves are also honoring the remarkable Mr. Hoyt. -Constitution-Tribune Photo.


John Hoyt dies at 98

John Messer Hoyt, 98, a resident of Dawn and believed to be the nationís oldest bank president, died at 12:55 a.m. today at the Indian Hills Nursing Home, where he had been a resident of the last two months. He had been in failing health a month.

Mr. Hoyt was born May 22, 1887, at Dawn, and was the son of John Henry Hoyt and Amanda Messer Hoyt.

On February 25, 1902, he married Jennie Annie Perry. She preceded him in death. Mr. Hoyt was a charter member of the Community Bank when it was formed in 1919 and at the time of his death was president of the bank, which has facilities at both Dawn and and Chillicothe.

He farmed most of his life and was a member of the Blue Mound Christian Church, where he served as an elder, member of the Senior Citizens, Autumn Leaves, and Historical Society.

He attended school at Vaughn School in Livingston County.

Mr. Hoyt is survived by a son, County Presiding Judge Bill Hoyt of Dawn; two sisters, Mrs. Verna Mooney, Napa California, and Mrs. Gladys Young, Chillicothe; four grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.

In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents, two sons, Lee Hoyt, and Ray Hoyt; five brothers and four sisters.

Funeral services will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at the First Christian Church conducted by the Rev. Walter Bingham.

Burial will be in the Blue Mound cemetery, under the direction of the Norman Funeral Home.

The body will be removed to the church at noon on Monday to lie in state until 1:55 p.m.

The family suggests that contributions be made to Hope Haven in lieu of flowers.

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