Iwas born Isabell Frazier in Warren County, Iowa on December 4, 1858. We lived in Iowa and I considered it to be the best state in the Union. We lived about 20 miles from the Fort, as they called Fort Des Moines, during the time of the Civil War. There was a small town about three miles away from us called Palmyra and that's where our Post Office was. About nine miles from us, there was a larger town called Indianola and that was the County Seat of Warren County. Both of my parents, fatherand mother, came from Indiana but I don't think they lived in the same part of Indiana, nor did they know anything about each other until they came to Iowa. I don't remember anything about the generations further back in my grandparents. I have heard my father say that he was Scotch Irish and English. My mother said she was a Yankee and that's all she knew or cared. She did not know what nationality she was. I never knew when they immigrated to the United States.
My parents were living with my grandfather, Daniel Frazier, just after I was born. They lived there for sometime and then we moved into our own home later almost half mile away. I can remember our home very well, but I cannot remember our moving there. The first thing I can call to mind was one morning Pa, as we called him when I was small, had gotten a pan of water to wash before breakfast. Mother was getting breakfast. Pa said to me to wash my face. I suppose he thought it would be cute to see me try to wash myself. Well, for some reason, I did not want to do it. Although children usually love to dabble in water, I wouldn't do it just then. Mother said Pa paddled me, but I don't remember the paddling. I well remember him wanting me to wash, so the paddling was not very bad.
When I was between two and three years old, a little brother came for house. They named him Alvaand we always called him Ally when he was small. He was so cute and loved him dearly. When he was several months old, one day mother was washing and she wanted to go out to hang up some clothes. She said to me to rock the baby while I'm gone. I suppose she thought that would occupy my mind and keep me out of mischief. The baby was in a cradle in those days. Well for some reason, I did not want to rock the baby. I just wanted to be contrary I suppose. I walked up to the fireplace and put my arm up on the jam and put my face on my arm and pouted. Just then, my arm slipped off and I fell into the fire on top of the hot coals into ashes. Luckily, there was mostly ashes, as the fire had all but burned down. There was still in the fire to burn my hand in one of my knees. The left knee was burned quite bad and until this day I have the scar. Well, I don't remember if mother ever hung out her clothes or not, as things got pretty exciting around there about that time.Our home was a log house with a large fireplace and all one big room. I remember father would bring in great big backlogs, as we called them. They were cut from the body of the tree just the right length for the fireplace. Father would carry them in on his shoulder and placed them in the back of the fireplace. He then put a smaller stick in front on "dog irons" or "andirons". Next he put some smaller wood and kindling. He then touched a match to it and soon we had a nice fire. The fireplace was made of stone.
When I was four years old, the Civil War was going on. Father said he felt it was his duty to go to the war and help to free the colored people. He was the Northern man (all our folks were Northern people). He told Mother and the folks how he felt about the situation. Of course, everybody felt bad to have him go. But since he felt the way he did, they couldn't say no. Everybody thought it was wrong to keep the colored people in slavery. So in 1862, my father and his brother, Isaac, went into the Union Army. My mother was a Christian and believed strongly in prayer. She felt she got the promise from the Lord that father's life would be spared and that he would return home safely. Her prayers were answered that the end of the war he came home without even been wounded. Twice while he was an army, he came home on furlough. One time I remember so well. I think it was on a Sunday morning. We saw a team of horses and wagon coming up the road. There was two men sitting on the seat and a man standing up behind them. When they came closer, we could see the man standing was father. Oh you can imagine how gladly were. But he could only stay a few days but those were happy days. Before father left, he made plans to have a room built on Grandpa Johnson's house. This would be from mother and we children to live in while he was gone and so we wouldn't have to be alone. Grandpa Johnson was Mother's uncle. He was her father's brother. When mother was born, her mother died when she was only two weeks old. This uncle and his wife took mother and raised her and she would never have known but that they were her own parents. Of course, when she grew older, they told her. Her own father came to see her when she was a little girl. He died when she was eight years old. I can barely remember when we moved into the new room and when father left back for the army.
After father had been gone for several months, little twin baby brother's came to our house. One night, Granny said to me that she was going to stay all night with me that night. Well, I did not know why, or why I was to sleep in her part of the house, but I thought, all right this is okay, for I loved Granny dearly. So I stayed with her in the next morning she took me in our room where mother was laying in bed. She showed me the little babies both lying together. Oh they were so tiny. One died when he was a few hours old in the other only lived two weeks. I can still remember seeing mother crying. It was so hard to give them up. Father never got to see them but he came home on furlough shortly after they were gone.
On remembering my grandmother, her name was Susannah the folks called her Aunt Susie. When I had my seventh birthday I remember getting up in the morning and Granny was helping me dress. She said, "Thee a seven years old today." Well, I suppose I felt proud to think I was 7 and that it was my birthday. I didn't have a birthday cake or party. I just had a birthday and that was all. People didn't make a big to do about birthdays then, like they do now. I can close my eyes now this they'll see the room were I was standing when she told me about my birthday.
We had a cow and a calf and some chickens when we lived with Granny. I remember one time mother was fixing some chickens to take the town and she was talking about dressing them. My little brother Ally said to mother, "You're not to put my coat on them, are you?" He was so cute and always full of fun and life.
In the fall after father had gone to war, mother took we children and we all went to Indiana to visit her brothers and sisters. She had three brothers and two sisters and other relatives living there. A friend of ours took us to the train station. We had to go to Oskaloosa, Iowa since that was the nearest road station where we could get a train. Oskaloosa was quite a ways from our town and it took us the better part of two days to go. This man took us in a big wagon with the team of horses. We were riding along and I was sitting up in the seat with the driver. I saw something lying in the road up ahead of us. When we came up to it, the man got out and picked up what turned out to be a pair of stilyards, used for weighing things. The man said he would like to have it. He said he would get me a new pair of gloves for letting can have them. When we got to town, he bought me the gloves and a hair net. He took us to the depot and I couldn't figure out what we were going to ride on since I had never seen a train before. I thought we would sit on the side of a big boiler. Well it wasn't long until the train came puffing out to the depot and we went aboard and were off on our journey. When we got to the Mississippi River, we had the off the train and cross the river on a ferry boat. The next thing I remember was when we got to Chicago at night. The train pulled into the depot in the tracks were all under cover. We had to change cars there. Mother got some things for our lunch. Among the things was cheese and Ally said it looked like soap. When we were eating lunch, Ally kept saying, "I've meet some more soap." He would holler it out real loud and we were so ashamed of him. He didn't care because he thought it was funny. When we finally arrived I think we went first to Aunt Sara Groom's at Buck Creek Station in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. We also visited Aunt Helen Cole and Uncle Frank Johnson. These were mothers sisters and her oldest brother. Uncle Frank's wife name was Polly and they had three children. The oldest girl was Rosella, the oldest boy was Billy, and the youngest boy was Ellis. And Helen had three children. The girl's name was Clarissa, the oldest boy was named Albert, and the youngest boy was only two years old and his name was Marshall. He was quite a crybaby. One morning, and Helen and Mother were fixing to go and spend the day with one of their friends. They were hurrying around getting us all ready to go. Marshall was crying and that made Aunt Helen very nervous and impetuous. She told him that if he didn't hush, she was going to set him on the fire in the fireplace. Well, that scared me because I really thought she meant what she said. I wasn't used to hearing anyone talk that way and I thought she really might do it. You know how children take for granted with adults say. Anyway, we got off and went and made our visit. It was awful cold weather while we stayed in Indiana. Uncle Jim Colecame home on furlough while we were there. He was a union soldier too. I loved Uncle Jim. He was a fine man. Uncle Frank Johnson was also a soldier and he too was home on furlough. He wore his blue uniform with the big brass buttons on it and he just looked grand. One day, when we were visiting his house, he came in and got a pistol out of the drawer. He went to the smoke house to kill rats. I was scared as I always was afraid of anything that looked like a gun. He and the sisters made an oyster supper at Aunt Sarah's one night especially for Mother. When they came to the table, Mother wouldn't eat the oysters. She said she just couldn't eat them. I think they finally got her to taste the soup. They all had a good time anyway. Aunt Sarah's husband was named Jesse Groom. I didn't like Uncle Jessie so well. He was older and did not care for us children. He never would make over us so I thought he wasn't so nice. While we were there, Uncle Jesse moved out to Aunt Helen's in a house that was in her yard. Their little girl, Lilly, took sick and died. She died while lying on her mothers lap and that was the sad part of our visit.
We visited Uncle Marshall Johnsonand Uncle Addison Johnsonin another town called Transitville. It was just a little station on the railroad. They were mother's brothers and their families lived close to each other just out of the little town. We were at Uncle Add's at Christmas time and on Christmas Eve, after all us kids were in bed, Uncle Add went to town and bought candy and they filled our stockings full candy. Some of it looked like candy kisses all done up and papers. I never had so much candy at one time before. I sure remember that Christmas. Uncle Addison and Aunt Lucindahad just one child. He was a boy and named Fernando. Uncle Marshall's wife was named Maryand they had one boy named Johnny. While we were at Uncle Add's, we children loved to play out in the sassafras bushes that were near their house. We were trying to dig up some roots. We heard the folks talking about the roots being good for tea. I think we were going to dig up some roots and try to sell them and get some money. There was a railroad that ran close to where we were and a telegraph line. One of the poles was close to where we were playing and some of us just happened to think about hearing our folks say that they sent messages on the telegraph wire. We went up to school and put our ears next to the wood and we can hear a singing noise. We said that the noise must be message going right then to somebody. We wondered if it was about somebody being dead and we felt real solemn. Fernando, was near about my age may be five or six and Ally was younger.While we were in Indiana, some of the folks took Mother and Brother and I to Lafayette. They wanted to get our pictures taken and so while we were there, we went to the picture gallery. They wanted Brother and I to have a picture taken together. They put him in a high chair and I was going to stand by him they gave each of us a large apple to hold our hand. My little brother right off started eating his apple and everybody laughed. The more they tried to get him to be still, the more he laughed. They had to take apple away from him. The man finally snapped the picture. Ally was laughing but I looked crossed because it was so tired and disgusted with him. The pictures turned out pretty good at that.
One day, we were at one of the Aunt's house. We decided to go out for ride in the country. We were riding along by the farm houses. I noticed that some of them had several lightning rods on the roofs. I had never seen a lightning rod before so I said, "Look at that ramrods on those houses". Well, that tickled everybody. I'd heard people talk about the ramrods for guns, so I called them ramrods I didn't know the difference. I usually said what I thought whether was right or not. We drove into a little town and stopped by a store. There was a hitch rack in front of the place. One of the folks said they wondered what it was for. I said, "Oh, that is to hang horses to." Everybody laughed at me. I knew what was for, but I didn't know how to express myself. To this day, I am still bothered with that same fault.
Another day, Mother, Brother, and I and some other folks went to visit an old Quaker lady. She wore a Quaker bonnet and it was made of the best and finest material. While the women were visiting in the parlor, Ally strayed off into the old lady's bedroom. He opened up the drawer and got out this lovely bonnet. He put on his head in came walking out into the room where all ladies were sitting. Well, you can imagine Mother's chagrin. She did not know what to say or do. Everybody laughed except the old lady. I thought he looked so cute.
We went to Kokomo, Indiana to visit a cousin of Mother's. The wife and the boys were at home but the father was off in the war. The wife took sick while we were there. The oldest boy was in his teens. He wanted to enlist and go into the army. Of course, his mother wouldn't let him. He sneaked off to town to try and enlist anyway. Someone there knew him and found out about it. They came and told his mother. She wasn't able to see about it because she was so sick. So mother went and got him, so he wasn't able to enlist. We heard later that he took off for California and ended up in Pasadena. His brother, he was a little older than me, was named Jimmy. He had a picture book something like those nursery rhyme books we have today. I used to love to look at the pictures I learned some of the rhymes by heart just from hearing that read to us.
Mother took me to see the place were she lived when she was a little girl. She was born in Indiana. There was no one living in the house. They were using it for a hay barn. She wanted me to see the place were she had lived when she was a little child. There was an apple orchard there and a cherry tree in the yard. It was winter time when we were there so the fruit was all gone. Only a few apples had stayed on the tree and they were frozen. Mother climbed over into the orchard and got some of the apples but they wasn't fit to eat. I can still remember how the house and yard looked. I could just reach around the cherry tree and touch the ends of my fingers together. I had my fifth birthday while we were in Indiana. There were three of us cousins, girls, and we were all about the same age. One was Aunt Helen's girl, Clarissa and the other, Aunt Sarah's girl, Minerva. The folks made us all a Shaker bonnet. It was made of a kind of straw for the headpiece in the crown. The skirt and strains trimmings were made of pink chambry. They were very pretty.
Finally, it was time to go home and we left from Uncle Add's. I don't remember much about our journey home only the Chicago part. It was daytime when we got to Chicago so we saw Lake Michigan. The lake looked so big to me. When you looked away off in the distance, the water and horizon came together. When we got back to Oskaloosa, we had gone as far as it could by train. We had to ride in an old-fashioned hack (as we call them then) back to Des Moines.
My little brother, Ally, had quite habit of running away. One time, he ran off just in his night clothes. All of a sudden, we found he was missing and we finally found him at this neighbor who lived a quarter of a mile from our home. Another time, he ran away and we looked every place we could think of but we couldn't find him. We were afraid he had fallen into the well that Grandpa built. It was a dug well all walled up to the top of the ground and had a curb built of boards two a half or three feet high. We were afraid he had climbed up on that and had fallen in. I don't remember how deep the well was, but it was deep enough that we couldn't see him if he fell in there. We started out to see if he was in the neighborhood. I was crying and mother was crying too. We started walking down this road and out north of Grandpa's place. There was quite open space with just a few trees and covered with nice green grass. We saw horse, a little colt. The mother was grazing and a little colt was playing. As we came nearer to them, we looked and there we saw a little child sitting down. When we got to them, sure enough it was our lost boy. He was practically sitting underneath the mother horse. He didn't realize the danger because he was so busy watching the little colt. We were so happy to know he wasn't in the well and was all right.
We didn't have postman and those days. Mother used to ride horseback to town to get the mail from the Post Office.
One time, we visited some friends house and stayed there that night. It was very cold weather, and remember that they had a large fireplace in their house. In the evening after supper, the old folks were sitting around a fire and we children were having a big time of playing. Some of the folks went out and brought in a lot of apples. Some of them were frozen and they just put them down on the hearth before the fire in toasted them. Oh how juicy and good they were. We children got to playing hide and seek. There was a big bed in the room and they had clothes hung up on the wall behind the bed and we children would get up on the bed and hide behind those clothes. I thought that was the best lady I ever knew because she let play on the bed and let us do as we please. Although I had the best mother, she never let the children play on our bed or anything like that.
Shortly after we came back from Indiana and were living at Grandpa Johnson's, we found Grandpa had rheumatism real bad. His knees were so bad that he couldn't walk without a drutch and cane. He used to sit out in the yard and he would have me bring him water. I sometimes didn't do it very cheerfully. I was naughty about it. Oh I am so sorry when I think about it now because my grandpa loved me so, and to think I ever hated to bring him a drink of water. He was always kidding me about my childish sayings and laughing at them. One day, I saw an old hen under the gooseberry bushes in the yard. It was scratching its bill, or the side of its bill, with its foot. I said, "Look at that old hen picking her teeth." I thought that's what the hen was doing and that tickled Grandpa and he laughed and laughed.
One morning, Granny was getting breakfast and a big Indian came riding up into the yard on his pony. He had a large Indian blanket around him. He asked for something to eat. Granny went to the stove and opened the oven door and took out a large pan of biscuits and gave them to him. He put them inside his blanket and rode away. There was a band of Indians camped down on the river not far away. I think sometimes they were just passing through the country. Oh, but I was scared that day and I always was afraid of Indians. Many times after that I saw them pass through in great droves on their ponies.
We were eating dinner with Granny one day and she made some tomato preserves out of what they called husk tomatoes. These tomatoes grew in a husk like ground cherries and they were purple in color. I have never seen any like them since I was a child. Well, Granny passed her dish of tomatoes to mother and wanted her to have some of them. She said to Mother, "Have some of my tomatises." I thought that sounded funny. I whispered to Mother, "Can't Granny talk plain." Mother said our people were Quakers and used the plain language. I noticed they said "thee" to a person instead of "you." One day, I was sitting in a little rocking chair in Granny's room and I was rocking away. I said I was going to start saying "thee" instead of "you." Mother claimed I always said "thee" after that. I remember when I first started to school and there wasn't any schoolhouse right in our neighborhood. They started having school in the church that was close to where we lived. Mother fixed me for school one morning and I started walking along until I was about half-way there. I decided I did not want to go into that schoolroom by myself. I turned around and went all the way back home and told mother that she must go with me. She tried to persuade me to go alone and couldn't so she went with me. I remember the teacher's name was Maryann Bartlett and a lovely woman. I worked for her one time after that when I was a young woman. She was a widow with a son and I stayed with her for a few days when she was sick.
Our church was a Quaker Church. They also called it a Meeting House. The name of it was Middle River Church. The Quakers didn't call the days of the week, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. as we do today. Instead each day was called by a number. Sunday was called First day, Monday, Second Day, Tuesday, Third day, and so forth. In those days the Quakers did not have night prayer meetings. They had their prayer meeting in the middle of the week during the day time on the Fourth day (what we now call Wednesday). The Quakers were people that really believed in going to church and prayer meeting. On the Fourth day, the men would go about their work until meeting time. If they were in the field plowing, they would just unhitch their horses from the plow and go in the house and get ready. They would hitch the horses to the buggy or wagon and go. The women did likewise and stopped whatever they were doing. After they went to meeting, they came home and had dinner and all of them would go back to their work again. One Fourth day, after meeting, mother took we children and we went home with a dear old couple named Uncle Sammie and Aunt Phoebe James. We had dinner with them and spent the afternoon visiting. I always loved Aunt Phoebe. She was good to us children. They had built a new house and moved into it and she used the older house for her work house. She did spinning and weaving just for her family. This old house was a log house. While she and mother were visiting in the new house, we children went to play in the old house. I noticed her spinning wheel sitting there, with a bunch of rolls on the beam and ready to work. I thought I would spin awhile since my other Aunties had did spinning and they had let me try it before. I thought I knew how to turn the wheel and draw the thread but I did not know how to keep the broach from snarling off. I drew out several threads and wound them up on the broach. All at once, the broach began to snarl off. Well, then I knew it was time for me to stop spinning. I did not say a word and I was so afraid that mother and Aunt Phoebe would come down and find out what I had done. They did not come, however, and we all went home. I was so worried about it and I was afraid that when Aunt Phoebe found out. she would tell mother at next meeting. The dear old lady never said a word to mother! Although we called them Aunt and Uncle. they were no relation to us. Just dear friends.
While we were still living at Grandpa's, I remember one night a neighbor girl came to stay all night with us. Mother went to the barn lot to milk the cow. The barn lot had a fence around it and instead of having a gate, it just had bars. They would take the bars clear if they wanted to drive through with a wagon. If they just wanted to go in the lot single, they would just let one end of the bars down. This girl and I went with mother to milk the cow and mother just let ane end of the bars down. This girl, her name was Rachel, was standing to near when mother put a bar down and the end of it struck her on the knee. She fainted cold. Mother caught her and started rubbing her arms and face. She finally came to, but we were sure scared for a little bit. The next morning when she and I woke up, we were sleeping together in the same bed, I couldn't raise my head from the pillow. My jaws were all swelled up with mumps.
For Christmas that year, mother got Ally an Indian tomahawk. One day, some time after Christmas, he was out in the wood-pile trying to chop some wood with his little hatchet. Our woodpile was not far from the road on Grandpa's farm. While he was chopping away, an old man came driving along. His name was Anderson Moore and we knew him well. Ally looked up from his chopping and saw him coming. He said, "Hello man, where's my Christmas gift." Of course mother and I didn't know anything about it, but one day, at Fourth meeting, this old man came up to us after the close. He handed mother a dime and said, "Here, I want thee to give this to thy little boy." He told mother about his passing our house the other day and how Brother called out about a Christmas gift. Mother was so embarrassed because Ally was such a little mischief. Everybody paid attention to him. After father had went to the war, Ally called every man he saw "Papa," even an old colored man named "Old Black Andy."
We were at Granny's one night and she had a quilt-in-the-frame. For quilting she had the frames hung on ropes fastened to the ceiling by the four corners. When she wasn't quilting, they would roll the quilting frames up on those ropes above their heads. When she wanted to quilt, she would roll it down just to the height she wanted. She could then sit and work. One day, for some reason, she did not roll the quilt up when she got done. She made me a pallet under the quilt to sleep on. She and Grandpa had their bed in the same room. Well, Grandpa went to bed before Granny and I did. She fixed me in bed under the quilt. In this same room they had a Franklin Stove (or fireplace) .They always covered up the fire with the ashes and in the morning, they uncovered the coals. They then put on kindling and soon had a fire. Well, while Granny was covering the coals that night, I asked her to leave some of the coals out so I could still see them after the lights were out. Granny used candles for light. Grandpa always snored in his sleep and I thought I would be scared of the dark. She left some of the bright coals out where I could see them. Soon I was fast asleep' and I don't know if Grandpa snored or not!!
I was playing one day and all of a sudden I was startled by what was my shadow on the door. The sun was shining in the room and I could see this shadow and I didn't know at first what it was that made the picture of a little girl on the door. I kept looking at it and making motions and the girl did the same thing just like it. I went and told mother and she got real tickled.
One day we heard that father would be coming home soon. Mother wanted to fix up our home and get things ready for father's homecoming. We moved in with Uncle Milton and AuntRachel Johnsonwho lived near our house. The first thing mother did was to go to a nursery not far from Des Moines to get her plants. She got her cousin's husband to take her. She got various kinds of shrubbery and things to plant out. She got some gooseberry bushes end current bushes end various berry bushes. I got to go along, of course, but she didn't take Ally. When we got there, we went into the house to see the nurseryman. The nurseryman's wife took a real liking to me and I told mother I wanted to stay in the house with the lady while she went outside to get her plants. The lady was churning butter in the kitchen. She stopped for a few minutes and went outside to get something and left me alone. Pretty soon a big man came out of a room into the kitchen. He saw me sitting there and he said something and then walked right over to where I was sitting. He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a knife. He scared me so bad that I jumped down and out of my chair. I ran into the yard and I didn't know which way to go. My mother was way out in the nursery some place and it was all so strange to me. I started out just crying so hard that I couldn't see. I started running and fell down over some bushes. Oh what an awful time I had until mother saw me. I always was a big coward and I never forgot that place. After I grew older, I understood that the man was just trying to scare me for fun. I think it scared him even more with all my hollering and screaming.
Our gooseberries and currents bore a little that year and oh I remember how good they were and how nice they looked. We were so proud of them. There was a pretty white small sand bar on our place. Also a large branch of water ran down at the lower side of our property. It had quite high banks and on one of the banks there was a vane of keel . We got pieces of it out and used it to write or mark with. It was like a pencil and the color of brick red. There was also a vane of soap stone and that was something like putty. You could take chunks of it and put it in water and melt it up and use it to white-wash your walls. When it dried it would be a lovely white or cream color. It was soft when you got it out of the dirt. Mother got some and whitewashed our log house inside. It sure looked nice.
There used to be a saying back then, "If a rooster comes up in your yard and crowed, it was a sign somebody was coming." One day an old rooster came in our part of the house and flew up on top the cook stove and crowed. Mother said she thought somebody would be a coming soon. We said maybe it would be Pa. Sure enough, we soon got word that Pa was on his way. One evening, she put brother and I to bed and she sat up looking for him. Sure enough, about 11 o'clock that evening he came. She fixed him some supper and they thought that they shouldn't wake we children up. They didn't know that I was awake enough to know he was there. I remember the next morning that we were so glad that he had come. I remember how proud of him I felt. I thought he looked so nice in his uniform and cap. I just followed him around the place wherever he went. He brought mother and I each a ring made of laurelwood. They were black with silver sets in them. Mother's had silver harts and mine had silver diamonds. Oh we were so happy in our home. Ally had a hard time to adjusting to sleeping with just me. We slept with mother while Father was gone. Brother wanted to sleep with them and he cried and cried one night, He wouldn't stop crying so father got up and spanked him good and he cried all the harder. I didn't want Father to spank Ally because it hurt me as bad as it did him. Oh I loved Ally so dearly.The next day, we all went over to Uncle Milt's house where some of the family was gathered. Mother told some of my aunts about what had happened the night before, When my brother came in from playing, Aunt Lucindysaid to him, "What did your pa do to you last night , Ally?" Ally said, "He worked on me nearly all night and wouldn't let me sleep hardly a bit." Everybody got tickled when he came up with this cute answer. They asked me that day to sing for them some of the war songs I had learned. I could sing the tunes and sometimes put my own words to them.
Soon it came April Fools Day. I had heard people talk about April Fools Day and about how people did things to fool somebody. I thought I would have fun to fix up a package and put it out in the road for somebody to find. I got a paper and went out to the barn lot and gathered up some cow droppings and straw and I put it in this paper. It made quite a little package. I was so tickled about how I was going to fool somebody. I headed out to the big road to set out my package. I was in such a hurry and so excited. The path leading out to the road from our house was quite a little ways from the road. I was in such a glee to get out there that I ran most of the way. I was barefoot and running along when all of a sudden I stepped on something in the path. It flipped up and wrapped around my foot. Wouldn't you know, it was a garter snake curled there. I was so scared that I dropped my package and ran screaming back to the house. Mother said I was pale as a ghost and what had I done. I told her and she told me that the April Fools had been on me. I don't think I ever tried that again.
My Uncle Milt had two dogs. One was a great big dog. He was a kind of blue or lead color with darker spots on him. He was sure a large fellow. They called him Turk. The other dog was a hound named Trim. He was red and white spotted. One day, Turk was at our house and one of our neighbors had several colts. I suppose the colts were about a year old. Old Turk caught one of them by the tail and the colt took off running. Turk just held onto the colt's tail and drug him along. Fortunately, Turk did not get hurt. Funny how such a thing sticks in a child's mind. I never forgot it.
Another time, I was coming home from Grandpa's house and I had to pass by the neighbor's house who had the colts. The colts were out by the road and I was going to have to pass right by them to get home. I was afraid of them but I thought I'd try to be brave and pass right along and maybe they wouldn't pay any attention to me. I was worried that they might run into me. Well, as luck would have it, one of them spied me and started coming toward me. I saw a fence and climbed over it into the pasture. I ran down an old road a little way. I could see the colt was still coming so I hid in the hazel bushes. The colt came over to where I had climbed the fence and tried to push the fence down with his chest and shoulders. I stayed hidden in the bushes until he turned and went away. I got up then and went through the pasture and took another road home. I was always much more afraid of horses than cattle. As you are reading this you might think some of it is silly, but this is my childhood just as it happened and I can remember it today quite clear even though it was a long time ago.
Well, I'm going to tell you a little bit about my Grandmother and Grandfather Frazier and their family. Grandfather's name was Daniel and Grandmother's name was Martha. They had eleven children. Martha was his first wife and her maiden name was Edgerton. I never got to see her because she died before I was born. Grandfather had married again and that woman died before I was born too. My first remembrance of Grandfather Frazier was him living alone with four daughters. He had quite a large farm and a great big house. It was a very long house and all under one roof. There was an upstairs just the size of the lower part .There were four or five windows on each side upstairs and two in each end. There were two bedrooms and a quite large living room. There was a great big kitchen in the lower part. The stairs went up from the kitchen area. There was a large fireplace in the center of the house that faced out on two different sides. One faced in the dining room and one in the kitchen. Near the fireplace there was a crane to hang kettles on for cooking. The house stood with one end facing the road. The road had a rail fence stake and rider fence on either side. Grandfather had what they called "uppon" blocks on either side of this fence, next to the house, instead of a gate. Those "uppon" blocks were cut from the body of a large tree and cut in a way to make steps "up on them." Not quite up to the top rail, you stepped up and onto the top of the block and then over the top rail onto the one on the other side. If you were going to take a ride on horseback, you just led your horse up to this block and got onto your horse without any trouble. It was just the right height. Grandfather used to ride horseback in even his old age. He was always very active.
I can still remember the names of Grandfather's children. The oldest was Sarah Anne, then Rachel, Anne. Lucinda, Amy, and Rebecca. The boys names were Thomas, Levi, Isaac, William, and Joseph. Two of the daughters never married, Sarah and Amy, I guess they were old maids. I loved my Aunts and they were so good to me. They would let me do about as I pleased and I really like that. Grandfather kept a little flock of sheep and they would shear the sheep and take the wool to the factory and get it carded into rolls. Then they would spin those rolls into thread and weave their blankets. They also wove a kind of cloth called lincy. They used it to make the women's dresses. I think they made shirts for Grandfather, too. They would exchange part of the wool at the factory for cloth to make suits for Grandfather. Aunt Sarah always made his suits. I never saw him wear a boughten suit. They had a little wheel and a big wheel to spin their wool on. They had a loom to weave their blankets and cloth and carpets. They would let me try to spin and wind quills and hand threads while they put in the warp. "Putting a piece" they called it when they put the warp thread through the reed. There were these little reeds that looked something like a comb. They were very close together and those threads had to go through every one of those reeds. The length of this bar was the width of the cloth they were going to make. Aunt Sarah would sit on one side of this reed and I on the other. I would hand her a thread, one at-a-time, and she would put-through the slot in the reed and get the thread and pull it through. It took a long time to put them all through. Of course, I would get tired and she wouldn't let me help her for too long. I was always asking them to let me help them do things. They were so good they just put up with me. Another time when I was there, I asked Aunt Becky if I could help her do the milking. I went along with her and asked if I could try to milk this little cow. Aunt Becky let me try but the cow kicked me over. I didn't try milking again for a long time.
When I was about eight years old, Grandfather married a nice middle age widow lady named Betsy Haworth. She was a friend of mothers and we all teased her that she had helped to make the match. Betsy had several children that were all married except one boy. He was 13 or 14 years old and quite a baby. Since he was older than brother and I, he didn't want to play with us. He would just come around when we were playing and tease us or try to spoil whatever we were doing. I didn't like him at all. I didn't want him around us. We were all playing one day at a neighbor's and we got to running races. He and I ran a race and I beat him and wasn't I glad. Another time, after we had started back to school, it was winter time and there was snow on the ground. My father hitched the horses to a big sled and took us all to school. At that time we had a boy staying with us . His name was Fred Shafer and he was mother's cousin's boy. He and I went to school together. He was older than myself, in his teens. On the way to school, we had to pass by Grandfather's, and Betsy's son got into the sleigh and went on with us. The two boys started boxing each other and were standing up in the sled. Fred knocked Betsy's boy's cap off and it fell out of the sled .He jumped out to get it and we were going down-grade and the horses were going in a pretty good trot. Father did not know that the boy's cap had fallen out and he did not stop or even slow down. I was so tickled. The boy had to run back to get his cap and then run as hard as he could to catch up. I was in hopes that he would have to run all the way to school. Wasn't I naughty.
We were all going down to Uncle Tom Wright's one Saturday and Fred took the corn knife and went down to the field to cut some corn. It was for the stock to eat while we were gone. Someway he cut his knee with this corn knife. He came to the house and his knee was bleeding. Mother took some soot out of the fireplace and put it on to stop the blood. Fred was all stooped over in the yard and was almost crying. I went up to him and said,"Do you think you will be able to go to Uncle Tom's?". I was so afraid that we couldn't go now that he had gotten hurt. I don't think he even answered me. I expect he felt more like slapping me for asking him such a selfish question. He was suffering so bad.
We came out of school one afternoon and there came a hard rain. It raised the creek that we had to cross near the schoolhouse. There was a bridge but the water rose so high that it came over the bridge. The big boys had to carry we little girls across. They had on boots so they could wade the water. Our schoolhouse was called the Butcher Creek School. During the winter time, the boys used to have great sport. In back of the schoolhouse, there was a large hill with trees on it. It was quite steep. The boys used to slide down this hill on boards they made. They would fix a rope on one end of the boards and one boy would sit in front and guide the board while several others would get behind him. They would come down that hill so swift. We girls would cringe with fear thinking they would run against a tree or something. They sure had lots of fun.
One thing about my grandfather I wanted tell about. During the Civil War time, some people brought a colored woman to his house. She was trying to get to Canada to freedom. She was traveling on the "Underground Railroad''as they called it. Friends of the colored people were taking her from one place to another, and wherever they knew the people would help her. They brought her to Grandfather's because they knew he would help her on her way. She ate dinner with Grandfather. That afternoon my folks took her down to the lower settlement to some people that they knew were friends to the colored people. They dressed her in black and with a black veil over her face. They took a buggy that was all closed up. She and mother sat on the back seat. One place they had to pass there was an old man and they were afraid he would make trouble for them. He did not bother them, however, and the colored lady went on her way alright.
Grandfather was a great hand to go to Fourth Meeting. He went ran or shine. He sat head of the meeting, so of course, he had to be there. He had this buggy and it was sort of a spring wagon with a top on it. It looked something like a delivery wagon with doors in the sides. It had two seats. My Uncle Will called it the "old iron clad." Grandfather had a matched team of bay horses with white streaks down their faces. The horses names were Jim and Frank. Grandfather took out that buggy no matter how the weather was.
As I said before, my folks were Quakers and quite involved with their church. Sometimes they went to special meetings when there was an Evangelist in town. The church had a gallery at one end. There would be three or four rows of seats with one above the other and an aisle between them. The head men of the church (ministers and so forth) would sit on one side and the women on the other side of the aisle. When the head man thought it was time to close the meeting, he would turn to the one next to him and shake hands. The rest of the people would do the same. That formally closed the meeting. There were times when, the ministers did not preach and there wouldn't be a word said all during the meeting. They did not believe in singing. They would just sit there and pray and have a spiritual meeting. One time on Sunday morning, mother fixed me and sent me to meeting. She wasn't able to go. She told me that she wanted me to remember something that was said and tell her when I came home. I remember the preacher talked about turtle doves and so that's what I told mother when I got home. The preacher that day was a woman and her name was Rhodema Newlin.
Thinking about Grandfather again, I recall that he had a large pasture for the cows to run in and the barn (they called it a stable sometimes) was in the corner of this pasture. They also had pig pens near the stable. After harvest and the thrashing was done, (wheat and oats), the hands would make a big stack of straw in the barn yard. This was for the stock to have for shelter in cold weather. The cows would make great holes in the sides of the stack large enough so they could get in and out of a storm. The pasture had lots of trees. There was wild plumbs and crab apples. Oh but the plumbs were so delicious. There was a meadow where Grandfather raised clover and timothy hay. This area was down on the bottom land close to the river. He had several acres of timberland down there also. He had all the timber he needed for making fence rails and posts and the like. He also had plenty of firewood. There were many black walnut trees and a type of white walnut tree which they called butternut. We gathered the nuts every fall and they were lovely. There were apples that grew in the timber and we called them May apples.
One December day, shortly after my ninth birthday, mother said, "Thee can stop by Grandfather's after school and stay until Papa comes after thee." I always like to go to Grandfather's so I stopped after school and stayed all evening. Soon it got dark and still Pa had not come for me. Finally after dark a little while, he came for me and told me that I had a little sister at home . Well, I just couldn't believe it until I got home and saw the baby. I just couldn't realize where it had come from. I was happy to have baby sister. She was born on Christmas Eve in December of 1867.
The spring of 1868, folks around started getting the Missouri fever. They had heard there was a wonderful opportunity down there to get land. Some of the friends and relatives got up a company and went to Missouri. Two of my Uncle's families were in this first group. One was Uncle Milton Johnson and the other was Uncle Isaac Frazier.They headed off for a place called Jasper County, Missouri. They got there alright and kept writing back to the folks about the country. Finally another group got the fever too. So in the fall they, got ready and followed. Our family was part of that second group. There were five or six wagons of us in our train. They were all covered wagons. The families that went along were my Grandpa and Granny Johnson, Uncle Jim Johnson and his family, Uncle Norman Johnson and his family, Steve Smith and his wife, and our family. A man named Gildow took us down there. We were two or three weeks going and they were a trying time. At night we would make camp and then build fires to cook our meals on. The children had a good time all the way. When we got to the Missouri River, we had to cross it on a ferry boat. The River was about a half mile wide and we crossed at Lexington. We had Uncle Milton's dog with us in the wagon. He had written to us to bring the dog to him. It was a nice young shepherd dog, not more than a pup when he had left earlier, and to young at that time to take. The dog's name was Segal. When we boarded the wagons on the ferry boat, Segal was so afraid. One of the horses was also afraid. Father's horses were named Charley and Nancy. He had to hold Nancy by the bridle bit and try to hold Segal too. He had a time with both of them all the way across the river. When we reached the other side, we drove our wagons up through the town and out on the edge, we camped for the night. Segal got out of the wagon and crawled underneath and laid down. While they were getting everything fixed for the night, campfires, etc. a man came along with two or three yoke of oxen. He was afraid his oxen would go right through our camp so he took out his big whip and cracked it making the oxen go the other way. Shortly after that, we discovered that Segal was missing. We all looked everywhere but we never could find him. The next morning we had to leave not knowing where he was. Quite some time later, well after our journey was finished, we got a letter from back home. The letter said that Segal was back home in Iowa. They said he must have traveled day and night because he was so exhausted. How he got back across the river, we couldn't imagine. How could he have gotten on the ferry? The current of the river was so swift and strong, we couldn't see how he could have swam across. He got through some way and made it all the way home.
As I said we children had a lovely trip. Sometimes we got tired of riding in the wagons so we would walk quite a ways. When we got to the town of Lexington, we stopped for the folks to get something. While we were waiting, Mother and we children were watching the people on the street. A colored lady came along on the other side. She was all dolled up and had ribbons flying from her neck and shoulders. One of the ribbons flew off and she did not know it. After she had went on, I asked Mother if I could go and get it. It was a lovely blue ribbon and I got to keep it.
We got down near the Osage River and we had to cross this river too.As we were traveling along near the river one day, we noticed three or four fellows on horseback. They came up behind us and galloped past and then rode on ahead out of sight. Pretty soon, here they came again and did the same thing. They repeated this several times and soon the menfolk thought there might be a problem. They figured these men were looking to see what we had, and if there was anything in our crowd that was worthwhile. They were really rough looking fellows. My folks thought they might try to harm us or take our horses. When we camped for the night that evening, we put our wagons around in a circle and tied the horses to the wagons inside of this circle. We built our campfire inside the circle, too. The men folk sat up and watched. My grandpa sat up all night. Thank goodness, we didn't see them any more. We heard later that the James boys were in our area and wondered if those men might have been some of their crowd.
We finally got to Missouri and where we stayed at first, wasn't much of a place. We moved into a shanty and everybody all got sick, but mother. We all had chills and fever and sore eyes. Father almost was blind for awhile. He couldn't do anything. Mother had to work to take care of the family. She did washing for people for awhile. This place was so different from our home back in Iowa. My folks did the best they could. Some of those that went down to Missouri first had gotten fixed up pretty good. My memories are of our family having a hard time and not much good. Uncle Issac lost both of his little girls from the sickness. A man that went to Missouri with our crowd also died. His name was Sylvester Gilfin.
We lived for awhile in what was called Alba, Missouri. There wasn't hardly anything there when we first arrived. After awhile there were several houses built and a store with a post office inside. Later on, a schoolhouse was built. We did not have a church building for quite some time. A man and his family, named Hollingsworth came from Indiana and built a mill on the Spring River. He let us use an old building at the mill for our meetings.
I am going to go back in my story for a minute and tell about what happened to Grandfather Frazier one time. This took place in Iowa before we left to Missouri. My folks and Grandfather and his latest wife had all gone to Ackworth for a church meeting. Ackworth was about six miles from where we lived. Grandfather also had his daughters, Aunt Sarah and Aunt Amy with him. They were riding in his "iron clad" buggy. Grandfather was noted for driving very fast and Grandmother had talked to him before about her being afraid he was going to turn over the buggy one day. My folks and I were in a big wagon and all of us were on our way home that evening. We had to go down quite a long hill and it was steep. About half way down, there was quite a curve in the road. Our wagon was up ahead of Grandfather's. I was sitting in the back of the wagon and was watching the "iron clad" come down the hill. As they came around that curve, over went their buggy on it's side. I hollered at Father to stop. We all got out and went back to see how bad they were hurt or maybe killed. They all rolled out and none of them were bad hurt. Later Grandfather laughed about the incident. He said Grandmother was always prophesizing that he would one day turn the buggy over and he surely didn't want to be a false prophet. It was very unusual for Grandfather to make a joke. He was a good man but very stern as a rule. He did not want little boys to whistle and he did not believe in singing. We had to be careful along these lines while around him.
Meanwhile back in Alba, Missouri, after spending several months in the shanty, we moved to another place about three miles away. It was down in the timber not far from the Spring River. We lived in a log cabin and father worked for a man by the name of McClellen. Father cut wood and split rails for fencing and various other work. Our nearest neighbor was about a forth of a mile away. Their names were Wright. They had a lovely spring and we carried water from their spring to our house. One evening Ally and I had been over to their house. As we started down a hill to head home, we had to take a narrow path to the bottom. We were barefoot and it was almost dark. As we were running, I saw a snake across the path. I hollored to Ally to jump over it and I jumped also. We went back to the Wright's house then and got one of their boys to come back and kill the snake. That was the snakiest place I ever saw.
One Sunday morning, Mother wasn't able to go to church. She fixed me and told me to go alone. Mother told me I could stay at some neighbors house after church and have dinner with them. I was glad because they had a girl older than me, but we were real chummy. In the evening, father came over to get me. He said we had a new brother at home. I was ten years old and happy to have this brother who we named Fred.
Uncle Isaac Frazier and his wife moved into an old cabin near our house. Aunt Rebecca started a subscription school in their house. This cabin only had one big room and they had all their possessions in that room. They didn't have much furniture. It kind of reminded me like they were camping. There was a bed, small stove, and a table and few chairs, an a home-made cupboard. Aunt Rebecca got a few students together and we started having regular classes. She taught us the multiplication tables and other things. This school only had the small grades up through sixth year. I loved doing the multiplication tables because we would all recite them together in a sort of sing-song way. One day at the noon hour, we were playing "Blackman" a game we invented. One of the boys made me mad. He and I had some words back and forth and the teacher over-heard us. The boy's hame was Charlie Wright and he lived not far from our house. Well, the teacher gave us a good talking to that afternoon when school was out. She did not punish us, however just gave us some good advice. This boy Charlie's house had a nice spring where my family carried water from. There was wild deer near the spring. Charlie's father had gotten two little fawns, a buck, and a doe. He raised them and they were very tame. They just stayed around the place until they were full grown. Once in awhile they would wander off into the woods. All the neighbors were afraid that some hunter might kill them. One neighbor took some red flannel strips and tied them around their necks so people would know they were pets. One day, unfortunately, a hunter killed the doe named Nanny. We all felt so bad because we just loved those pets. When the buck, Billie, got older, he got cross. We children became afraid of him. He would come over to our house and eat our melons. He got to be quite a pest and they finally had to get rid of him.
After we lived in this house for awhile, my father started raising hogs. He had a pen for them down in the woods a little way from the house. One morning, after he had been down to feed them, he came back and told us that we had a bunch of new little pigs. We children were quite excited. I picked up my little sister, Mattie in my arms and started out to see the little pigs. My father had cut the brush off on both sides of the path that lead down to the pig pen. This left some short stubs sticking up. In my haste to get down to the pen, I stubbed my toe and fell down. I dropped my little sister, face down, right onto those stubs and she cut her forehead. It was a bad cut and it made a scar that she carried with her for the rest of her life. I felt just awful about it.
Uncle Isaac moved across the Spring River just opposite of our place. We had to cross three small branches of this river to get to his place. I remember there were lots of little islands in these rivers. Down near the river grew wild strawberries and black berries. People grew a lot of corn in this bottom land. It was also full of poison snakes, so bad that everybody was almost afraid to go down and gather the lovely berries. One day after we came home from Fourth meeting, mother was getting dinner. She told me to take a tin cup and pick some raspberries from a clump of bushes that was near our house. I took this large tin cup and headed for the raspberry bush. As I was picking berries, I spotted a big viper snake up in the bushes, eating the berries, I suppose. I was so scared that I just ran for the house as fast as I could. We didn't have any berries for dinner that day.
My next school was further away, about three-quarters of a mile. It was just a dwelling house. Nobody lived in it, so we used it for a school. My teacher at this school was Uncle Jim Johnson's wife who had been a teacher before she married him. I got a terrible sickness and couldn't go to school for a long time. I had fever and chills and the doctor called it "the ague ". Later on they moved the school again and this time it was quite close to my house. I started school again there. One day, at noon hour, I found a silver ring on the playground. Nobody claimed it so I kept it. I loved that ring. One neighbor girl, older than I, wanted that ring so bad that she wouldn't leave me alone. She tried in every way she could to get me to let her have that ring. At last, to get rid of her teasing, I just let her have it. She traded me some pencils and little trinkets. I was always sorry that I let her have it. I guess I just got tired of being tormented for it. I should have kept it -I loved it so much.
When my little brother, Fred, was about 18 months old. we moved down to Berry County, Missouri. It was near the Ozark mountains and in a little town called Casville. We took trips back in the Ozark mountains and to a place call Roaring River Spring. This Spring was the fountain head of Roaring River. We discovered a cave in the side of the mountain near there. We found a solid rock entrance over the cave, kind of a half circle. The opening was higher than a man's head. There was a row boat there and we got in and rowed clear back to the end of the cave. Several of us took that boat ride. The men stood up in the boat and the rock formation was way above their heads. The water in the spring looked blue because it was so clear and deep. This spring flowed out into a mill pond. There was a big water mill just below. We rowed around and around that mill pond and the water was so clear but cold.
From where we lived in Casville, we could see the Court house and the jail. The jailer lived near us. He had to pass our house to and from work. We got to know who he was. We children did not like to see him coming. Ally was especially afraid of him. He was a nice man, but just the fact that he was the jailer, scared Ally. One day Ally was playing out in the street in front of our house. He saw the jailer coming and oh if Ally didn't get over into our yard in a hurry. We were all tickled to see him move so fast. At that time there was a young man in prison and an old man used to come and visit this fellow. He would go up to the window and talk to him through the bars. We could see him from our house and we all thought it was nice for him to visit. One night, however, the young man got out some way. There was a sort of passage way from one building to up on the second story of another building. He got out onto the passageway and made it up to the other roof. He took some blankets and fastened them together someway and then swung down .The next morning there hung those blankets and the prisoner was gone. The sight of those blankets left an impression on my mind that I can never forget.
While we lived in Casville, I worked for some folks that had a little home cakery. I was either eleven or twelve years old. The lady did the baking herself and she had me wash dishes and keep all the things she used washed up. Sometimes she let me roll the pie dough. I got paid 50 cents a week. I remember I bought myself a hat with a "shew-f1y" on it. In those days, they called the trimming or ornament on a hat a "shew-fly". My father's brother, Thomas Frazier, lived in Casville also. They had four children and lived out more in the country. We used to have good times when we went to their house. We only stayed in Casville just a few months. My baby brother, Fred, got very sick. The doctor was called and he said that there wasn't much he could do for him. Fred grew worse and worse. The folks thought that they had better go back to Jasper County where we had known a doctor that was very good. This good doctor traveled day and night because there was so much sickness in the country in those days. The doctor's name was Jimmie Gooden and he was wonderful. At first he did not give us much hope for my brother's life. Fred finally yielded to his medicine and, in a little while, he began to show improvement. It was a slow process but we were faithful and he did get well. This was in Alba, Missouri were this all took place. After Fred got better, we moved out a little way onto a small farm that belonged to mother's cousin. I went to school in Alba and our church was in the country. They built this church and called it the union meeting house. We went to church and Fourth meeting in this same building. Sometimes my folks would leave Ally and me at home while they went to Fourth Meeting. They would leave us some work to do while they were gone. We would always play and have a good time until just before we thought it was time for them to be home. We would then rush and try to get it done. One day, we didn't get it done before they came and how bad I felt about it. I don't remember getting spanked but I know we got a good scolding.
We lived up on a hillside and there was a river branch that ran along down at the foot of the hill. Our well was down by this branch. There was a large tree close to the well, an Elm I think. It made lovely shade. Father made a trough and put it up on legs and set it under this tree. We filled it with the cool water from the well and then sat our milk crocks in it (we had a cow). It kept our milk sweet and cool. A mocking bird used to come and set in the branches of that elm tree. Oh how he would whistle and sing. We children used to listen to him and pretend that he was mocking the pigs and other animals. We had a neighbor that lived not far from this river branch. They had several children. The lady was mother's cousin. We used to go over to their house and play in the barn. We would climb up on the hay stack and slide down. It was hard climbing up, but oh it was fun sliding down. Near our house, there was a peach orchard and it was loaded with peaches. We built a drying house and dried a lot of peaches. This drying house was long-shaped and not very wide. There were shelves on either side and trays that fit the shelves. Inside was a great big heating stove right in the center. We filled those trays with peaches and then put them on the shelves. We would then light the wood on fire and shut the door. After awhile, we would take out the trays and set them in the sun to finish drying. We ended up with sacks and sacks of dried peaches.
As I attended school in Alba, we were now allowed to sing. Our teacher's name was Henry Stout. He would always read a chapter in the bible to us in the morning. We then sang songs or hymns. My favorite was "Yield not to Temptation." There were two boys I remember that went to this school. There names were Jim and Ed Hubbard and could they ever sing, especially Ed. One night, my father told me that if I would grease his boots, he would give me a nickle. I greased the boots and got the nickle. The next morning on the way to school, I stopped at Jim Haworth's store. I bought some shewfly gum. This gum was white little pieces, and each piece had white paper (looked like tissue paper) wrapped around it. On the outside of this wrapper was the word shewfly and a picture of a fly. Haworth's store wasn't far from the school house. This store was a combination store and had all kinds of different things. It also had the post office for our area. It was the only store in Alba, at that time. Jim Haworth happened to be one of Pa's cousins.
We had a wedding that year in our neighborhood. These friends of ours daughter married a cattleman from Idaho. He had spent the winter in Missouri and got acquainted with this girl. Shortly after the wedding, he took his new bride and left for Idaho. Her parents felt like Idaho was going to the end of the world. Her father couldn't hardly get over her going so far away. A cousin of this girl, named Schafer, went with them to Idaho. This fellow and his brother boarded with our family one summer before he left. We were sorry to hear later that Schafer died shortly after getting to Idaho. When these young men had boarded with us, they helped break the prairie land that had never been cultivated before. We used oxen to break this raw land. They used four yoke of oxen and I can still remember these oxen's names. The leaders were Buck and Bally, the next were Ben and Broad, next was Dime and Charlie, and the ones next to the plow was called Larry and Barry. One of the fellows would hold the plow and the other would drive the oxen with a big whip. The year was 1870 and that was the year my sister Dora was born. After we got the fields plowed, we raised corn and cane sorghum for molasses. One time, one of our horses, old Frank, stepped on a nail and got it into his foot. The foot was so sore that Frank lie down and couldn't get back up. We all thought he was going to die. We were poor folks and that horse was important to our making a living. Without the team, we would be in trouble. We all prayed that the horse would soon be able to get up and get well. He finally did get well and we had him for years after that. He was a beautiful big animal.
When I was twelve years old, I worked for one of our neighbors. This lady wasn't very well and had me to help her do her work. I was just a little girl but there was lots of things I could do to help. She paid me 50 cents a week. With some of the money I made, I went to Hawarth's store and bought me some calico to make a dress. Mother let me make most of the dress myself. I wanted a ruffle on it. Mother never made ruffles as she did not believe in wearing them. She would not make one for me. I got naughty and decided that I must have a ruffle. She finally gave in and let me make one myself. I put on the dress and I was so proud of it. I went down to Grandpa Johnson's and showed off my new dress. Grandpa was sitting in his chair with his back to the door. He looked around and saw me. He said "Wow" and laughed: I know he liked my new dress.
Uncle Jim and Aunt Anne lived with Grandpa and Granny and helped take care of them. Grandpa couldn't work because he was all crippled up with Rheumatism in his knees. Aunt Anne went back to Chillicothe, Ohio to visit her people for awhile. While she was gone, another one of my cousins and I took turns staying with Granny. Grandpa died shortly before Aunt Anne left. My cousin's name was Mary and she would stay for a couple weeks and then I would stay the same length of time. She and I were just about the same age. One day when I was staying there, Uncle Jim, Granny, and I were all having dinner. I made the bread for the dinner. Uncle Jim said, "Well I think Mary can work faster than Isabell, but Isabell sure beats Mary when it comes to making cornbread." I was so pleased! One day while I was working, another one of my cousins dropped by and wanted me to go horseback riding with her that afternoon. I was washing clothes when she came. I said I would hurry up and get through and if I didn't get the clothes clean, Granny would never know it. Her eyesight was poor and I figured it would be hard for her to tell if they were clean or not. I was just poking fun when I said it, because Granny was sitting right there in the same room. She spoke up and said, " I know clean white clothes when I see them." I got my chores done and off we went horseback riding. I loved riding. Another day, my cousin Mary and I went riding. She had a little black pony horse. I borrowed a pretty little horse from a neighbor. After riding awhile, she and I traded horses. We started out riding pretty fast and the black one I was riding started going way to fast for me. It really started acting up and I got so scared that I jumped off. Mary got back on her and she was just fine. It ended up that we had a real nice time.
Later on I worked for awhile for a young couple with a new baby. The lady was not well at all and was very weak. She started crying for her mother. Her husband picked her up and carried her down the road to her mother's house, wrapped all up in the bed clothes. I watched the baby while she was gone. She had a sister about my age and we used to play together sometimes. One day, she and I went to her mother's house to visit. There lived an older sister who was feeble minded in that home. She was harmless so they just kept her at home. She stayed upstairs in her room most of the time. I had a curiousity to see her. This other sister and I snuck upstairs when nobody was looking. She was sitting on her bed playing with bits of yarns and ravelings off of material. She just sat there poking and pulling this yarn to pieces. I guess that's how she amused herself. Well it was to spooky for me. It was very pitiful to see her. As we started back down the stairs, she picked up her shoe and threw it at us.
Well, remember the boy back in Iowa that used to tease me and I didn't like it at all? Low and behold this same young fellow reappears in my life. His name was Jake Haworth. He showed up in Missouri with his sister and her husband. They came to visit another sister in our town and to see the country. One day, mother and father came home and told me that they had run into Jake and his family. Mother began to tease me about him. I told her that I didn't want to see him. She told me that his mother had died and that he now lived with his sister. He was 17 or 18 at this time. Well, I avoided seeing him while he was there and the next thing I knew, he had gone back to Iowa.
That spring, I was now l4 years old, we moved to McDonald County, Missouri. Mother's cousin, Isaac Johnsonand a man named Hugh Marshman had gone to McDonald County earlier and bought a mill on Sugar Creek. It was a lumber and grist mill and run by water power. Father got a job with them hauling lumber from our town to Neosho, about 30 miles away. Our post office was in a town called Pineville, about ten miles from our house. Finally, we got a post office and a little store near the mill. Our house was right on the Arkansas / Missouri border line. Our road was the actual line. We lived in Missouri and our neighbor across the road lived in Arkansas. The neighbor's were the Gilbert's. I was real chummy with one of their girls. There was no church or school in our town. Mother started a Sunday School in our house. She was a very religious person and soon got the neighbors interested in finding a place for Sunday School, etc. They found an old house not far from the mill and got permission to use it for Sunday School and soon quite a good number of people started coming. Another neighbor named Mrs. Wyatt took a very active part in helping mother. There was another family lived nearby. Their name was Holcomb. The mother was a widow and she had two boys-twins- that were young men. One of the boys, Billy, was up north when we first moved to McDonald County. The other boy, Jimmie, was at home. My friend, the Gilbert girl, and I used to pretend that they were our fellows. Of course, they didn't know a thing about it. She would say that Jimrnie was hers and I would say Billy was mine. Later on, Billy came home. One Sunday, he came to Sunday School. After it was over, I walked outside and there was Billy just standing outside the door. He asked me if he could see me home. I was so surprised that I hardly knew what to say. Well, of course, I let him walk home with me. He and I saw each other for awhile after that.
One time after that, some friends invited us to go to a party across the creek. It rained that afternoon and raised the creek over a foot. Ordinarily, we could cross on stepping stones. The creek was so high that we couldn't cross that way. A lot of the children gathered at our house and we were all wondering what we were going to do. Father told us we could take his team and wagon and use it to cross. We all got to go to the party. After living near the mill for several months, my folks bought a place up in Missouri Hollow and we moved there. It was about three miles from the mill. We still went to Sunday School by the mill. The road to the mill was really gravely. We used to walk barefoot because that gravel was so hard on our shoes. The area was what we called mountain country. These mountains were covered with timber of all kinds. There was Spruce pine, cedar, and all kinds of oak. One oak tree was called Chinquopin Oak and the nuts tasted sweet like chestnuts. They looked like acorns. There was also spicewood and sugar trees. My uncle had a sugar tree grove and made sugar and syrup in the spring. There was also lots of strawberries and huckleberries. Beautiful wild flowers grew and also mountain fern.
Before we moved up in the mountain and we were still living near the mill, I had an unusual experience. There was this young fellow who lived about ten miles away on the Arkansas side. His name was Jack Clemons. Unfortunately, he was deaf and dumb. He was a nice looking fellow and dressed real good. He was very different from most of the people down in that part of the country. He used to be very good friends with the Gilbert family across the road. We became acquanted during his visits to their house. Well, he took quite a fancy to me. On Sunday, he came to our house to see me. We didn't even know he was coming. He just rode up into our yard upon a very nice horse. He had a little bundle of hay tied on behind his saddle to feed the horse. He dismounted and came in. He conducted himself very mannerly and then sat down. It was apparent that he had come to spend the day. He stayed to dinner and all afternoon. I wouldn't pay any attention to himin any way. Poor mother had to entertain him. I guess I was kind of afraid of him because he was quite a bit older than I. He had brought a beautiful turkey tail fan that he had made himself. I know that he had brought it for me, but I was so rude to him, that I never got it. I told mother that if he ever came back again, I was going to hide. We never saw him again.
Back in Missouri Hollow, I remember there was a sulphur springs. The church sat right near the springs. They used to hold camp meetings there. They used to plant logs and put planks across them that's where the people would sit. One summer, there was a big Baptist meeting. So many young people were "saved" at that meeting. After the close, they had a baptizing. My mother and father were Quakers, as I have mentioned, and they did not believe in a lot of the Baptist ways. I would like to go to the alter at the meeting ans be saved, but this wasn't the Quaker way. I didn't want to offend my folks. I felt that the Lord knew my heart. That evening, I was lying on the bed and saying my prayers as best I knew how. I felt restless, so I went out in the yard in the dark. I felt I needed some answers from the Lord. All of a sudden, I felt such peace come into my heart. I felt so happy. I went into the house and told mother that Jesus had forgiven my sins. She then told father and the three of us rejoiced together. I'll never forget, I was fifteen years old!!In the mountains near our place, there were lots of wild turkeys. There was also timber wolves. Some of the people that lived in the mountains were quite primitive. They raised most of their own food and raised a lot of cotton. They made their own clothing. This one family near us, by the name of Davis, had a farm. They kept a flock of sheep, some cows, chickens, and hogs. They raised cotton and picked the seeds out by hand. They then carded it and spun the thread and then wove their own cloth. They made sheets, pillow cases, counterpanes, towels, men's shirts, and even women's dresses. They dyed some thread for dressier cloth and made some pretty plaids. Mother hired them to weave a piece of cloth for us. They used their wool from the sheep to weave some nice cloth. While living in this place, my sister Susannahwas born. I called her Annie.
After we lived in McDonald County for about two years, we got a letter from Grandfather Frazier. He wanted father to come back to Iowa and take charge of his farm. Grandfather was at the age where he couldn't take the responsibility of looking after this farm. We got everything ready and went back to Iowa in the Fall of 1879. We took a couple of cows with us and spent five weeks on the road before arriving just before Thanksgiving. The weather turned cold before we got through and we had a little snow. One of the cows was tied behind our wagon and the other cow followed. We hadn't traveled many days when the lead cow developed foot problems. Apparently it's feet got sore traveling on the hard road. We laid over at one spot for several days until the cow got rested and feet were better. We were traveling at first with father's brother, Tom Frazier. When we had to layover with our cow, Tom and his family went on ahead. We missed having the company, but everything came out alright.
Now that I was older, I realized that one of grandfather's wives, Betsy Haworth, was the mother of Jake Haworth. She and Grandfather were only married a few years and then she died. After that, Grandfather married again. This woman was much younger than he was. Her name was Betsy Ann Davis. This all took place while we were in Missouri. Our family moved in with grandfather in his big house. Father took charge if the work on the farm. We lived there all that winter and part of the next summer. Then we moved into another house on the farm land. There was a school not far from our house. This particular school was the last one I ever went to. The teacher there was a good one. He was middle-aged and a widower. I felt that he paid far too much attention to me. I told mother that I didn't like it and that I wasn't going to school anymore. She let me stop and that was bad. I realized later that this was a fine man, who meant me no harm. I should have gone back to school that winter, but it was too late. I never went to school ever again.
Grandfather and Betsy Anne had two children after they were married. Their names were David and Nancy, Betsy Anne had a boy from a previous marriage. Nancy was born shortly after was got back from Missouri.
One day, My old nemesis, Jake Haworth and his cousin, Solomon Haworth, came down to Warren County, Iowa from Hardin County where they were staying. It was terrible cold weather and they were on horseback. There was lots of snow on the ground and they were all bundled up. They stopped at Grandfather's farm. They didn't even know that we were back from Missouri until Grandfather told them. They didn't stay long because they were on their way to Lyngrove to visit some other relatives. I didn't get to speak to them, but I did peek through a crack in the wall and fireplace one evening and saw them talking to Grandfather. Later on in time, a fellow named George Mills, and Jake Haworth came up to attend a revival at the Middle River Church in our town. Mother invited them to our home for dinner. Jake had grown into a fine looking man. Suddenly, I felt altogether different about him. After that, he stopped at Grandfather's quite often. One day, Ally and I were down to the barn miking. While we were there, Jake came down and watched us from outside the fence. When we got done milking and started back to the house, he walked along with me for awhile. He stopped me part way to the house and said he had something to ask me. He said could he have my company or something like that. I understood what he meant. That night, he stayed at our house for awhile. We didn't have a nice parlor to entertain our company. We had a bed in the living room and that's were my mother and father slept. There was a fireplace and Jake and I sat in front of it and talked. There wasn't much light and it was quite cozy. We talked and talked, but not too loud of course. We were having a nice visit when all of a sudden, we heard a terrible racket. Grandfather had some pups and they were under the house. Apparently they were crying and whining something awful. I felt bad and got up to see what I could do. I lit the lamp and Jake and I went to see what happened. Jake held the lamp while I looked under the house. I guess they were quarreling over their bed or something. I sure felt embarrassed to have to ask Jake to take me out in the dark to look after these pups. He didn't seem to mind and we kept company for quite awhile after that.
I got a job shortly after with Jake's cousin, Mahlon Haworth. His wife wanted a girl to work for her. I went to work for them and stayed for some time. Jake was also working for them. It gave us a chance to become well acquainted. Mahlon took sick while we were both working for him. Jake and I had to sit up nights taking care of him. One evening, we were sitting in the kitchen and we got to talking. I don't even know what got into me but I told Jake that evening that we had better quit keeping-company and stop going together for awhile. He felt real hurt about it and didn't like it at all. I guess he didn't know or understand exactly what I meant. I didn't say to quit for good. I felt that I was young and that I might meet someone else that I would like to go with. I didn't think it was right to keep-company with him and be seeing someone else at the same time. I just wanted to be good friends for awhile, nothing serious. He was hurt and peeved at me, for just suggesting such a thing. I quit my job at Mahlon's and went home. I didn't see Jake very often after that. Later on, I heard he had planned to go to college at Ackworth, Iowa that Fall. He bought his books, clothes, and was going to board with one of his cousin's families in Ackworth. He was going to try to work mornings, evenings, and Saturdays for this board. I heard that shortly after school started, a cousin from Indiana came to visit him. He persuaded Jake to go back to Indiana with this follow. I felt real bad when I heard about it and knew that I was partly to blame. He was so hurt that he just threw up everything and left. After thinking the whole thing over, I realized that I thought more of him than I could believe. It was too late, he was gone. I kept thinking he would write to me but no letter ever came. I was so disappointed. I decided to go back to work for Mahlon. Shortly before 4th of July the following year, he came back. I was out in the backyard washing. I had on an old sunbonnet and wasn't fixed up at all for meeting company. One of the children came running up yelling, "Jake has come." I didn't want to go in and meet him looking the way I was dressed. I just kept on washing. Pretty soon I heard someone coming out the back door. I looked up and saw that it was him. I just kept on at my work and didn't let on that I even saw him. I kept thinking that he would come on out to where I was. I guess he thought that I did not want to see him because I didn't look up and speak to him. He walked through the yard and headed towards the barn. I was disappointed that he didn't want to see me. Later on that evening the lady I worked for had me to supper. She also had Jake for supper. He did not say anything to me nor I to him all evening. The next day Ally came and told me that mother was real sick and needed me to come home. I left right away. A few days later was our town's big 4th of July celebration at Myricks Grove. This was just a few miles from where we lived. Ally and I went to the celebration. Lots of young folks from all around came and there was a large crowd. Jake showed up with the crowd from Lyngrove. I was walking around with one of my girlfriends on the grounds when we spotted Jake coming towards us. We acted like we didn't see him and started watching some young folks dancing on a built-up platform like a dance floor. He purposely bumped into us. He was eating some filbert nuts and we just stared at each other and neither of us wanted to break the silence. I finally said something smart like, "Can't you even speak to us common folk?" He gave my friend some nuts and went on his way. I saw another fellow I knew that day and he took me for a ride on the Merry-go-round. He also treated me to ice cream and candy. His name was Jacob Rhine. That was the first time I had ever tasted ice cream. I was hoping that Jake would see me and feel a little jealous. Finally on Sunday Jake and I got together. He took me home from Mahlon's that evening. On the way home, he asked me to be his wife. We settled it up to get married. I finally became Mrs. Jacob Haworth. Before we married he spoke of wanting to go to Kansas. I told him that I thought that was all right with me. Some of his folks had been out there and others were planning to go too. It seems like after we got married, there wasn't much said about Kansas anymore. After our first daughter was born, Effie, she was about seven months old, Jake got the Kansas fever again. By this time I had changed my mind about going. I felt it would be to great an undertaking with he baby and all. I had had plenty of experience in Pioneering with the folks. I remembered what hard times we had. I felt it wouldn't be practical because we didn't have any money. All we had was our team and I didn't see how we could get along.
Jake worked all that winter although there wasn't much to do in the winter weather. He made enough to buy a wagon and we got that paid for. Around the first of May, we decided to move to Des Moines. We stayed at first with my folks. My father, Jake, and some of the boys got work at Smith's brick yard just north of town a little way. My father, shortly after that, got a little brick house close to the yard and we all moved in that home. This concludes Part I of my story.
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