Herman Daily Autobiography

Hamilton County Portion of Herman Daily Autobiography

From Eight to Eighty

Born: August 7, 1892

Parents: George H. Daily and Anna M. Daily.

Brothers: Leslie A. Daily and Harry L. Daily

Sisters: Etta Mae Daily and Clara McClellan Daily.

Chapter I: Beginning at age eight, because so many things happened that year that seems of the utmost importance in my life.

First: Our home up to that time had been in a very out of the way place; about four and a half miles from McLeansboro, Illinois, northwest and about the same distance from Delafield, Illinois, southwest. Our farm was small, forty acres, that mother inherited from her father, Thomas P. Leslie's estate. We had to go up a lane, east at least a mile to get to the main road that went to McLeansboro or Delafield. Our house was small for our family and the barn was old. Our barn lot was rather large though and there was a pond at the east end that was well stocked with fish and our father enjoyed many hours fishing in it. I remember once just before a rain we went fishing and we boys went to the south end of the pond and beat the water with poles. This seemed to scare the fish to the other end and father caught three or four catfish about a foot long. However, as I remember, once a year, after the crops were laid by we would all go to Lick Creek, about fifteen miles away, starting about four in the morning, getting home late at night. Father enjoyed the day fishing, but we boys soon tired of fishing and would wander around in the woods until father got ready to go home. Only we three boys and father went on such trips, sometimes we would take a cousin or two, but mother and the girls would stay at home.

My father was a school teacher and farmer. He began teaching at the age of twenty and only missed one winter until his death. He had his thirtieth term of school engaged when he died at the age of 49 years, 11 months and four days.

Becoming dissatisfied with our home, father began to look around for another farm. We sold our home and farm to Uncle Joe Leslie and bought another forty acres a half mile west from Shady Grove school. We wondered why he was anxious to sell it, but soon found out that most of the water on the farm was full of alum, and was not fit to drink. We had to carry water from a well about one-half mile away on the Frank Marsh farm. Father tried to dig a cistern and cement in the bottom. As I recall, he put about eight inches of cement in the bottom, but the alum ate through it and ruined the water for drinking. We dug a pond at the southeast corner of the farm to have water for the stock. However, in dry times it would go dry and we would have to haul water both for the stock and to wash with.

There happened to be a place in the Oliver Hills, about one mile north of us that had lots of soft stream water. Farmers came for miles to haul water in dry times, sometimes would gather very early and wait for the water to fill up. My father was said to be a water witch, could take a forked stick and hold it in such a way


From Eight to Eighty

that it would bend down when he found water. He found a large stream, and they dug to it and found lots of water.

As stated before we moved to the Stelle place when I was eight years old. We were then out on the main highway and only about one-half mile from Shady Grove school. The road ran alongside a large deep ditch and when it was dry we would walk in the bottom of the ditch part of the way to school and had lots of fun running up and down its banks. Our house was almost new, but as I recall, was built mostly out of rough lumber. Even the weather-boards were oak lumber, but the roof was pine shingles. We had a cellar at the back of the house where mother kept her canned fruit, and a smoke-house in the front of it where father smoked his meat and hung it up. In the winter time the water would seap into the cellar and we would have to put planks in the cellar so we could get in the cellar to get the fruit.

The smoke-house was also used to store our sorghum for the winter. We generally put out two or three acres of sorghum cane, hauled it to the Henderson Lamberts who had a mill and generally had a barrel, two or three lard cans and several jugs and jars full for the winter. Sometimes the barrel would go to sugar before spring and we would have sugar molasses, which we boys greatly enjoyed. Mother generally made biscuits for breakfast and sometimes we had eggs and gravy and a piece of bacon and a glass of milk. My, what a breakfast.

We always kept several cows and would raise several calves; the males we sold for veal at about six weeks of age, and they generally brought a good price. Most of the time we shipped them to St. Louis. We kept the heifer calves for milk cows, and mother gave me one of them, a Jersey. She made a good cow and we brought her to Sesser, then to Du Quoin. Only having an open shed to keep her in, she caught cold and died of pneumonia. We hated to lose her. I had kept her in a pasture where the Marshall Browning Hospital now stands and would go milk her morning and nights, sometimes riding my bicycle to the pasture.

While on the farm, I remembered that we always let the cows run in the woods pasture where there were briars, and they sometimes had sore udders. One old red cow had a large bag and large udders and they got so sore that she became an awful kicker. I tried to milk her one time and she kicked so hard I quit. Father said he could milk her, so he tried, and when he got the bucket about half full she kicked him on top of the head and stuck her foot in the milk and spilled all of it.

We kept so much stock and mother so many hens, ducks and geese that we had to get up real early to do all the chores before breakfast. Sometimes we would take a lantern to feed by, then carry feed to the hogs, then if we had time before breakfast, would curry and harness the horses and be ready to start to the fields after breakfast which would be about sun-up. We would work until about 11:30 when we would begin to listen for the dinner bell. An old mule got so he would almost refuse to go a round after time for the bell to ring, hard to even get him to finish the row we were on.

Back to a most important part of my story. This was one year when, I think, father was teaching at Shady Grove school. He was


From Eight to Eighty

always interested in organizing Sunday Schools to meet Sunday afternoon where he taught or let preachers come for services at night. I recall that an old preacher, Johnnies Wes Stelle, lived in the district and he was preaching at the school house one night on the subject, "Wrapping Up Sin," and that night I felt that God wanted me to do what he was doing, and I date my call to preach from that experience. I don't think I ever heard a sermon after that that I did not remember that experience and have the same feeling come over me.

The winters seemed harder then than now; at least we seemed to have more snows, and they layed on a great part of the winter. We generally cut the corn and put it up in shocks in the fall and hauled it in on Saturdays. Sometimes we would spend the entire day hauling and shucking corn off the fodder and bundling the fodder and stacking it up for weeks to come. Sometimes father taught school away from home and either came home very late or only came home on the week ends and we had to spend the day getting in wood and feed and preparing for the next week. I was considered as the boss of the family and it fell my lot to get up and build the fires most of the time; then mother would get up and get breakfast while we boys did the chores. Mother was a very busy woman; she made lots of clothing, trousers, gloves, shirts, and scarfs. She also knitted our mittens and put a long string on them so we could hang them up or put them inside our coats and not get them lost. She knitted them out of yarn and they were very warm.

We generally kep a goodly number of hens and a rooster or two, a few guineas, geese and ducks. The guineas roosted in the trees and warned us when bad weather was coming, and generally would warn us if anything unusual was going on. They were not very good to eat and didn't bring much on the market, but mother always wanted a few of them around. Before we owned a store of our own, mother made it a practice to save up the eggs and butter and maybe would take a hen or two to town on Saturday to do the grocery shopping. Father would sell our wheat in the fall, but always put some flour on deposit in the mill so we would not have to buy it. Sometimes we bought shoes or clothing that way, but only until father could get his school check. Sometimes the school would run out of funds and father would have to wait for his check; then it would be necessary to buy something on credit.

When I was about fourteen years old I remember that father became interested in becoming a merchant. Chester A Gibbs had started a grocery store about a half mile west of our place and father went into partnership with him. They added a stock of drygoods and shoes and called it a general store. I recall that they handled Star Brand shoes, which were thought to be the best, and Oshkosh overalls. Father grew suspicious of his partner when he noted that some things were missing from the store that he could not account for, so he decided to sell out rather than have any trouble about it. He never got over wanting a store though, so when I was about sixteen he made a trip to Ewing, Illinois and rented a house and store building and decided to move to Ewing.


From Eight to Eighty

There was a good college there and father thought it would be a good place to educate his boys. He started a store in what was called the Miller building and put in a small stock of groceries. I recall we boys were supposed to go out and take orders for grocery orders, but we didn't do very well at it, as most people had their own place to trade.

A man named Seaton had a general mercantile store in Ewing and father heard that he wanted to sell out and go to Kansas to run a farm. Father made a deal with him, and he took most of our stock to the store. We moved then, and father engaged a school to teach and planned to let Leslie manage the store, and we twins help out in spare time. We started to grade school, and things seemed to be started well when father took sick, just a week or so before his school was to begin. He had typhoid fever and didn't last long. Sister Clara came to visit and try to help, and she took the fever and laid ill for forty days, and finally recovered.

Backing up a little; while we were still on the farm I recall that my father taught school at Shady Grove and the enrollment was about eighty. Father thought the district was large enough for two schools so he led out in the plan to build another school about two miles west of Shady Grove and made the district one mile square. This they voted to do and engaged a man named Herbert to build the school. I never did hear how they financed it. When it was finished, my father became the first teacher. It was named the Fairview school district.

Now, back to my story. When father died at Ewing, we found out that the people living in the house where we had lived had had typhoid fever and the germs were in the water in the well. We were not told of this so did not take precautionary measures against it. Mother was not satisfied to live there longer, so we rented a place from a half uncle, Con Standerfer, and moved to the north part of the town. We did not live there very long until mother decided she wanted to go back to the farm.

Charlie and Clara (my sister) Gunter had rented our place when we went to Ewing and they agreed for us to move in with them until he could find a place and finish his crop. We decided to build a store building and move the store from Ewing and run a country store. We bought the framing from a saw mill and Leslie hauled it and Charlie Gunter built the building for us. It was probably the beginning of his career as a carpenter later on. We went back to the Fairview school as we lived in one corner of the section. We moved the store from Ewing and for thirteen years mother and we boys ran the store by getting some outside help in the winter.

I recall that before Clara and Charlie found a place to move to, Clara helped some in the store. They had a little boy named Leroy about two years old, and one day while they both were busy at the store he slipped back into the house and got a chair and climbed up and got some matches from a shelf or cabinet and sat down and began to strike them. His clothing caught fire and he became scared and ran out the back door with his clothing a flame. I was hauling manure at the barn and heard him scream and looked out the window in time to see mother come out of the back store door and start toward him running as fast as she could. He also ran to her and she gathered her skirts about him and smothered out the flames. But it was too late. He had inhaled the flames and didn't live very long. He was buried in Blooming Grove Cemetery on the


From Eight to Eighty

plot where Grandfather Daily was buried and I recall that Rev. Joe Allen came from Dahlgren to preach his funeral and would not even accept train fare for his services. Preachers in that day seldom accepted anything for preaching funerals and few of them received much from the churches as pastor.

Clara and Charlie found a place near McLeansboro belonging to a school teacher, Lawrence Lambert, and they moved to his farm and Charlie did a great deal of work for him. Lawrence Lambert taught the school at Shady Grove one year while we were going there and I remember that he gave me my first whipping in school. I was trying to memorize a poem, had put my book in the desk and was truing to say it over. He didn't see my book and told me to get to studying. I told him I was studying and he thought I was lying to him and came back and whipped me. I afterward explained to him what I was doing and he apologized for whipping me, saying he acted too hastily.

Business became very good at the store. We all worked at it, going to town after groceries and taking off produce on Saturdays mostly. At that time there were four country stores on the section of land where Fairview school was located. C. A. Gibbs continued about a year or so; a man named Hullinger ran a store on extreme north side of the district and a man named Carson on the northeast corner.

Before Charlie and Clara moved away, I remember that a very important thing happened in my life. We heard that Stephen Neal who lived in the Gunter district about four miles away was to have a sale. His youngest son, Charlie, had a bad case of asthma and the doctor had advised them to go west for his health. They decided to go to New Mexico and were selling out to go. I went with Charlie and Clara to the sale. I didn't find much to interest me at the sale, but spent most of the day playing with some boys and girls. I remember that one was Hattie Gunter and the other was Mabel Neal, ten or twelve years old. I fell head over heels in love with Mabel that day and decided before the day was over that she was to be my wife some day and that it was the Lord's will for it to be so.

Three or four years later they returned from New Mexico and a revival meeting was going on at Ten Mile Baptist Church. I knew she would be attending so I went one night and sure enough, she was there. That very night I was told that if I wanted a girl friend he knew some one I could take home. I did not ask him who, for I thought I knew and at the close of the meeting I asked to see her home, and she said yes; so the courtship began. We had a very happy courtship of nearly four years and when I asked her to be my wife, again she said yes.

We were married in the home of Rev. F. M. Latham, a Methodist preacher, pastor of Pleasant Grove Methodist Church. I had hoped to have a Baptist preacher, either John Maulding or Ola Allen, perform the ceremony, but both were away on preaching appointments. Attending the wedding were my brother, Harry, and his girl, friend, Naomi Brake, the preachers's wife, and a school mate, Ruby Bennett. It was Sunday afternoon about 4 P. M. on the 21st day of March 1915. It was snowing Sunday morning, but the sun came out in the afternoon. We spent the night at Mr. Neal's home and very early the next day left for Carbondale to attend spring term of school there. We obtained an apartment on Mills street; it had one room and an annex, furnished for light housekeeping.


From Eight to Eighty

We got along nicely for several weeks; then there was a smallpox scare. They said the little girl was exposed, and we were afraid of being quarantined so we went home and did not finish the term.

I recall that on our first trip home, after a month, we were met in McLeansboro by brother, Harry, and when we came over the hill near mother's home we saw several rigs and a crowd was gathered. They soon began shooting and ringing bells and we knew that they had come to charivari us. We had nothing prepared to treat them with so I believe the boys rode me on a fence rail. We returned to Carbondale as said before, but did not finish the term.

When we returned home we found out that Harry and Leslie wanted to go to Oklahoma to teach school and as I had engaged Union school to teach that winter, we agreed to stay home with mother to help run the country store, do the chores and teach school. Sure was a very busy winter, but we were happy. Our first child, a son, was born January 23 of that winter, and we named him Cyril Neal Daily. Don't know where we got the Cyril, but the Neal was after his grandparents on his mother's side. It was a very bad night when he was born and I recall that I called Dr. Willie Hall from McLeansboro and asked if he could come. The roads were very bad and he came on horseback and stayed most of the night. Walter Gibbs, our near neighbor and wife, also had a baby born that winter and we had a great time discussing our sons when we visited together.

Back to school matters: I recall that when we returned from Ewing at age about 17 we went to Fairview school. Pearl Harper, Harry Gibbs, and Ola Allen were some of the teachers. The last year I went to grade school I recall that several of us were preparing to teach and that the teacher, Ola Allen, met with us at night to help us get ready for the examinations. A retired teacher, Mr. Jenkins, also net with us.

He was determined to stick to the old rules and definitions and would not give them up for the new, so when we went to take the examination we made a very low grade. I passed the examination and obtained a second grade certificate. I recall that when I was taking the test on one of the subjects, one of the applicants sitting next to me fell over on the floor and had what we then called fits. It so unnerved me and I did not get finished writing on the subject. The County Superintendent called me up later and said I made good grades on all the other subjects and he wondered what went wrong on that one. When I explained it to him he said to come back to town and he would give me another test. I did and remembered that I made 92 on it.

I was not successful in getting a school that fall and when school opened I went on to the grade school. However, after about two months the County Superintendent called me by phone and asked if I thought I could teach school. I told him I was willing to try and he said, "Get on your horse and come to town in the morning and bring enough clothes to last you a week." I went the next day and he told me they had run teacher off at a school near Norris City and asked if I'd like to take his place. It was about twenty miles from home, but I arrived at one of the director's home about noon, and he said come in and eat dinner. He told one of the boys to go tell the other two directors to come over and soon I had signed a contract to finish out the term of school at $40.00 per month. They sent word around and school began the next day.


From Eight to Eighty

Chapter II

I was twenty years old when I began teaching at Pig Ridge school. I found a place to stay with an old soldier named Bob McKenzie, and his wife. He was 75 and she 74 years old. They had two of their grandchildren staying with them, named Roy Cook and Essie Cook. Essie went to the school, but I'm not sure what Roy did; he didn't go to school. I believe it was Mark Turntine that started the school. They said all he wanted to do was stay in the house and spark the girls at recess and the boys didn't like that. There were some very large boys in the school and they were so unruly that he soon quit. The first day of school I said to the boys, "come on, let us choose up and play ball or something." I played with them and they liked that so I got along sine with them. I taught the next year there also. Mr. Mckenzie said he and his wife were getting too old to keep me so I found another place, but had a small house and no private room. So I went and begged the McKenzies to let me come back to them and they let me do so. They had cows, hogs and horses and I told them I would tend the stock and milk the cows for them, but they said, if you want some exercise you can saw some wood and put it on the porches. They used King Heaters and hauled the wood up in poles. I sure had good exercise that winter at that woodpile. They only charged me $2.00 per week board and room and 25 cents per week for horse feed. The second year my salary was raised to $45.00 per month and I paid them $2.75 per week board and room and 25 cents horse feed. I could have taught at Pig Ridge another year, but got Shady Grove school and decided to stay home.

I believe that my brother, Harry, taught at Fairview the year before going to Oklahoma. After one year there Leslie married Rella Dewitt and she went to Oklahoma with him. Harry stayed with them. Also they took a cousin, Everard Leslie, but he did not stay long. However, he married an Indian girl and brought her home with him and they lived on one of his places not far from our old home about a year and separated and she went back to Oklahoma. He afterward went to her and tried to live with her, but they soon separated again, and he came back to Illinois, by himself. They had one son, named Chester, but he stayed with his mother. ...

Father had been a very religious man though he did not show it by outside emotions. He really lived it in his home and school life. He and mother belonged to Blooming Grove Baptist church near McLeansboro, Illinois. He and mother are both buried there.

Note: This basically ends their life in Hamilton County. Herman and Harry then went to business school at Centralia, Herman got a job at a coal mine at Sesser, the mine operation moved to Du Quoin. And eventually they all followed Herman to Du Quoin where they all are now buried. Harry and Leslie ended up running a store on North Divison Streeet in Du Quoin. Herman went to Forth Worth to attend Southwesten Baptist Theological Seminary, became pastor of numerous churches at various locations in southern Illinois, and he eventually returned to Du Quoin to end their life there.