Bible Records of Lucindia Janettie Jane WILSON PARROTT
Lucindia Janettie Jane Wilson was born August 16, 1868, near Philadelphia, in Izzard County, Arkansas, being the eleventh child of Thomas E. and Rebecca B. Wilson. She was welcomed by all the family except little Emma who was two-and one half years old at that time and she did not at all like the idea of a baby sister. So one day when Mother had lain me on a pallet near the door Emma thought, now is the time, so she proceeded to kick me out the door. Later she thought better of me and as we grew up became almost inseparable, one of us was seldom seen without the other.
In February, 1870, when I was 1-1/2 years old, Father moved to Vanburen County, on what was known as the California Mountain, and bought a little place there ten miles from Shiloh. Shiloh was made up of a post office, store, blacksmith shop, and grist mill. It took all day to ride to town and back, as they had to go across the worst "gulf" as it was called, that I ever saw. It was a mile from where we lived to the top of the mountain and then a mile down the mountain and one-half mile through the fields and across the creek (the Devil's fork of Red River), then a mile up the mountain on the other side and a rough hilly country the rest of the way to Shiloh..
Brother Adam and his wife, Mary, and her mother and three brothers (Aunt Jane, Bill, George, and Jim) all moved with us. This was Uncle Frank Wilson's family. Uncle Frank having died a short time before at Jacksport, Arkansas. Uncle Frank was Father's half brother. Aunt Jane and the boys lived with Adam and Mary a while then moved to themselves and later to White County near Pleasant Plains.
This California Mountain country was very poor farming country and most of it was covered with the finest timber of almost every description including pine, oak, hickory, walnut, ash, maple, cherry, gum, and birch. The land was very hard to put into cultivation, and by the time it was in good state of cultivation the soil was all gone and the sassafras and persimmon bushes were coming up all over the fields, to say nothing of the green briars and dewberry vines. Then the old fields had to be thrown out or turned into pasture and new ones cleared, so there was always clearing to be done, rails to make, fences to change and new ones to build. Wild grapes grew in abundance on the fences, in the old fields, and such places where the fire was kept away from them. Also, muscatines, persimmons, berries, haws of all kinds and wild plumbs were plentiful. There was a fine out-range for cattle and hogs. The hogs would often get fat enough to make meat on the mast, which consisted of acorns of different kinds, chinquapins, berries and various kinds of weeds and roots. The country was full of wild game and animals of different kinds. Deer, Turkey, coon, opossum, bear, wolves, panther, wild-cats, and fox were in abundance. The bear would eat the hogs in the woods and the corn in the field. The coon also would eat the corn while it was in roasting ears. The deer and turkey would come in the fields and eat the peas, wild-cats and fox often caught a goose or chicken, and the wolves would sometimes come into the pasture and kill a sheep. One time the wolves killed and ate a yearling right close to the house. The dogs barked all night that night but they could not scare the wolves away.
Father bought his place from a man by the name of MOBLEY. Aunt Jane bought from MONTGOMERY and then Father and Aunt Jane swapped places. I think I was two years old at this time and just beginning to remember things. The MONTGOMERY's moved to Beach Fork, a creek-bottom place six miles away where they had good land but unhealthful climate, having malaria, chills and fever. Mobley left the country. So our place, as I remember it, had about 15 acres in cultivation and the most of that worn out, and apple orchard with about 25 bearing trees, all splendid apples (several different kinds that ripened all along from June to November), also a pretty good old peach orchard but the stock had broken up the trees some. There were probably 5 or 6 acres in pasture for the sheep and calves, also the geese and hogs had the run of the pasture. A spring of the finest pure cold water coming out of the northwest side of a hill under a huge rock furnished our water. A rail fence was built around the spring and the milk house to keep the stock out. A little trough made from a hollow tree carried the water from the milk house to a big trough which was also made from a big hollow gum tree. This kept plenty of fresh cool water for the stock to drink all the time. When the big trough got full the water ran out in little branch into the goose pond a few steps away. Just to one side of the trough was a big flat rock where we washed, another rock just right for a wash bench was on top the flat rock where we washed in big wooden tubs; a big iron kettle for boiling was nearby. The prettiest bed of ground ivy grew along the spring branch and all along the goose pond clear up to the water's edge. It stayed green all winter and was a perfect carpet of beauty. In the springtime it was speckled with its tiny blue flowers then the honey bees worked on it continuously. There were two or three other big flat rocks nearby where Mother always dried the wool after it was washed at sheep-shearing time. She also put the wool there after coloring it. There were several big trees that kept a shade over them all the time. The house was up the hill north from the spring. A little field was on the west and the orchard on the east. The orchard and field fence got nearer each other as they went up the hill and at the top of the hill, which was at the yard fence--they formed a narrow lane which served as a cow lot where the milking was done. Three long poles reached from one fence to the other and a big draw bar at the outside end of the lane served as a gate where we turned the cows in and out. After milking was done the poles were let down so the cows could go to the spring for water, and the calves were put outside until morning when they were changed again. A big walnut tree stood in the lane just west of the house that made a fine shed for the sheep and calves to rest under. It also shaded the house and backyard from the evening sun. Another big walnut tree stood in the yard east of the house and bore the biggest walnuts I ever saw. This is where we had our swing, also where we all would gather to cool and rest or cut and peel fruit to dry. Two English mulberry trees stood in the front yard close to the fence. South of the house were three cherry trees, two rose bushes, two lilacs that never bloomed, alphia and flags. In the front yard were hollyhocks, ladyfingers, ballards, four o'clocks, and needles and threads that came up and bloomed ever year.
The house was an old log house with only two rooms and a hall between, but the hall had never been finished, not even floored, just the roof overhead. The house was covered with clap boards. The cracks between the logs were daubed with mud or clay and then boards were nailed over them on the inside. The doors were very crude with big old wooden hinges...A stick and dirt chimney with a big open fireplace in each room. The west room we called the kitchen and in it Mother and Mary Ann did all the cooking on the fireplace. We had the big old cupboard and dining table, as a shelf for the water pails (the pails were made of cedar), and just outside the door another shelf for the milk pails and piggins. Behind the table was a long bench on which we sat to eat. We also had two beds in the kitchen besides various other articles, such as the meal barrel and shoe bench with the tool box on the end, and in the winter the old loom occupied one corner by the fireplace together with the spinning wheel. In warm weather the loom was moved out in the hall. Mother had her wasping bars and spooling frames out there too and the old hand mill where they would often grind meal for bread (later we used it to chop corn for the chickens). Father kept two huge gums that he made from big hollow gum trees. He cut or sawed them the length he wanted them and then burned them on the inside to get them the desired thinness, then dressed them down on the inside and out, nailed boards on one end for the bottom sawed them smooth and they were ready for use. I think they held 10 or 12 bushels apiece, he kept seed oats, wheat, cotton seed, cane seed and such like in them. He also made some smaller ones for apples, potatoes and soap but the soap gum and molasses barrel always set in the smoke house as did the shelf for onions. But back to the house and the front room, or big house as we called it although the kitchen was some bigger than the big house. We had two and sometimes three beds in it. The bedsteads were all home-made. Father and the boys made them. Two in the front room were alike, the posts were about four feet high and they were made out of wild cherry. The railings were about two feet from the floor and a white ruffle, or frill, hung from them within two inches of the floor, which made the beds look very dressy when they had their white counterpanes on which hung down over the top of the frills. Mother spun and made all of those counterpanes and then made the lace and fringe for the edges. One had knit lace about 2-1/2 inches wide with fringe on it, the other had woven lace and fringe, all very pretty and nice. The clothes press set on a shelf between the beds about two feet from the floor, the big quilt box sat under it and little white curtains hung from each shelf trimmed with tied lace and fringe and a big blue mosquito bar hung from the top over all. A little stand table with a book case over it, and the big old clock on a shelf by itself, Father's little red tin trunk set on one end of the mantle and Mother's little black trunk on the other end. Both of these they had kept from their childhood days. Father's little cedar chest set by one door, in this he kept all his letters and papers and shaving outfit, also a big roll of confederate money, and several such relics. Mother's little black walnut trunk that her father made for her before she was married set near the other door.
Among my earliest recollections are of riding to church in Father's arms and mother riding behind him on the same horse, Old Bob. The other children all walked to church, and when I was old enough I walked with them, father and mother still rode Old Bob. Sometimes Ab would carry me part of the way on his shoulders, sometimes he would tell me to walk to the Bascomb road and then he would carry me. This was a county or public road a mile from our house. There was no church or school house there then, so the meetings were conducted under brush arbors or under a grove of trees by some good spring of water. Sometimes in winter we would have preaching in some dwelling, and then a little later the men put up a little log house for a school house and built a brush arbor by it to hold meetings under. Father taught a two or three months school there every summer until I was ten years old. that summer we got our first free school for three months. Mr. Bill HORTON taught two terms, then we missed one summer that we had no school. The summer I was 14, we got a teacher by the name of WHITAKER. He taught a three-months school but I only got to go six weeks. This was the last school I ever went to, although I continued my studies at home for quite awhile. The summer we got our first free school they built a new school house but it was three miles from our house, so the three last terms I went I had to walk three miles each morning and evening. But, I am getting ahead of myself and must go back and tell more of my early life, for to me these are sweet memories. We were always busy. A time to work, and a time to play. Play time came after we had finished some task. Some common tasks were carrying water from the spring, feeding and watering the chickens, feeding the calves and sheep and watching after the goslings to keep them away from the spring branch. The old geese would take them there every chance they got and it always made the goslings have the spraddles when they played in the water, that is one foot would go in front and the other behind them. We would carry them to the house in our aprons and mother would bath their feet and legs up to their knees in strong red pepper tea and wrap them up in a warm place until they could walk again, which was usually an hour or two, but if they stayed in the water to long they would die in spite of the pepper tea. One year mother gave us a little spotted gosling for a pet. He was too weakly to follow the old goose for several days and by that time he thought more of us than he did of the old goose, so we were very proud of him and named him "Tiny Bill." Tiny Bill followed us everywhere we went and talked and jabbered in his own language constantly. He grew to be quite a goose, almost large enough to pick, but he got too close to the dog one day while he was eating and was snapped in the head, so that ended his career. We took him out and buried him in the corner of the peach orchard under a tree. One morning we got up early and went to visit his grave as usual, but to our horror found that some dog had scratched him up and a few feathers was all we could find of Tiny Bill. We consoled ourselves that it was Sound or Rousey one that did the dirty work, for we knew Drum, our favorite dog, would not have done such a horrible thing. After that father gave us a lamb that had got crippled some way. We were very proud of it but it up and died too, so we had another funeral and decided to bury it further from the house so the dogs could not find it. We took it across the little field and buried it at the foot of a little hill where the wild pinks and sweet williams grew. The dogs followed us and would have stayed through the whole proceedings but we drove them off. A few mornings after when we went to see the grave we found only a scratched-out place and a little wool but we still had implicit faith in Drum and knew he was not guilty and that more than likely the wolves had done it. But long before this time, when I was about three years old, father and mother had left us children at home by ourselves and had gone to sit up with a sick neighbor woman. Just Mary Ann, George, Emma and me. I don't remember where Ab was, any way he was not at home, and we were all afraid when dark came. We had only one little dog at the time (it was before we got Drum and Sound), so after dark the dog began to bark and Mary Ann and George just knew there was bears around so they fastened the doors and stacked chairs and everything they could find against the doors and slipped around and talked in whispers. They said, "Yes, it is a bear and he is eating apples." But pretty soon we heard the old sow grunt and they knew it was her eating the apples instead of a bear. However, they would not venture out to drive her away, so she ate all she wanted and went away. I remember that Mary Ann carried me around in her arms while they were scared thinking the old sow was a bear. A few nights after this, Mrs. MULLENIX (the sick woman's name) died and father and mother went to sit up again, and about dark, Watch, the little dog began to howl. I suppose he was lonesome too with father and mother gone. We asked George what made him howl so, and he said, "Oh it is because Mrs. MULLENIX is dead. Dogs always howl when anyone dies." But we wanted to know how he knew she was dead and he said, "Oh they can smell um." After the funeral father and mother took the oldest girl home with them. Her name was INDIANA. Adam and Mary took the baby girl, and other neighbors took the three boys and kept them a year or two until Mr. MULLENIX married again. He was a Campbellite preacher. INDIANA was twelve years old when Mother took her, and I think she kept her about two years.
We had to sweep the yards every Saturday, and part of it around the house and under the walnut tree every day. One day George was sweeping out near the gate when a strange man rode up to inquire about something. As he rode up he said, "Howdy do Bud." And George said, "I'm sweeping the yard." There was a little creek one-fourth mile from the house. It had a flat rock bottom most of the way and we used to gather flowers along the banks and sometimes wade in the water when it was warm. The most beautiful wild honeysuckle, rose vines, sarvis trees, white ash, redbud, dogwood, and dozens of other flowering shrubs and trees and wild flowers of many kinds grew in profusion. Father and Adam built a dam across the little creek and put in a little grist mill where they ground corn meal and chops, but the water got so low in the summer time they could not grind. They had to go several miles then to a larger water mill. It took all day to go to the mill and back. Sometimes they would shell several bushels of corn, put it in the old cart, hitch the oxen to it and take it to the mill that way and they would have to stay all night when they did that. Sometimes the MONTGOMERY boys and the HESS boys or the COMMINGS boys would stop and stay all night at our house on their way to the mill, and they would shell a bushel or two of corn and take it to the mill for us, and often they would stay all night again as they came back by.
One night as it was getting dusk, I went with George to turn Old Bob out in the pasture, they always put a yoke on him to keep him out of the field, but this time he had jumped out in the pasture and then into the field and we could hear him tearing the fodder out of the stack. So George told me it was a bear in the fodder and that I must begin telling father about it as soon as I got on the bottom step so he would believe me. So I did and to my surprise father got his coat and hat and said, "Albert get your coat, Bob is in the fodder." George stood out in the dark grinning, and I felt like a simpleton.
We always had lots of company. Seemed as if everybody knew father for miles around and they always made our house a stopping place. They knew they were welcome. Preachers of all denominations made our house their headquarters when they were holding a meeting near, or if they were traveling through the country. Mr. MONTGOMERY often stayed all night on his way to town. He and father would sit up until a late hour talking. Seems to me he was the biggest man I ever saw, and father was about the least in size although a giant in real merit according to my way of thinking, Anyway he and Mr. MONTGOMERY were staunch friends. Often I would sit up and listen to them talk of war times until I would get so full of cry I would go to bed and cover up my head and cry myself to sleep. I had such a horror of war, I remember several occasions after going to bed to cry I would pray in my childish way, that I might be taken out of the world before another war should arise. I did not know then that God's grace is sufficient for every need. One time father had Mr. MONTGOMERY take the clock down and clean and oil the works. I stood and watched him until he had it all taken to pieces and then ran in the kitchen to mother crying. She ask me what was the matter and I said "Mr. Montgomery had torn the clock all to pieces and I was afraid he could not put it together again." She said, "Oh yes, he is just fixing it so it will run good, so I felt better and went back and watched him put it back together.
Father and the boys always raised a little cotton every year and some times it was very little. They always tried to raise enough for our use for spinning and quilting. Sometimes we would have to pick the seeds out by hand and once Adam made a little gin to roll the seed out; it looked more like a clothes wringer. It was ten twelve miles to a cotton gin and they usually took the cotton to the gin when they went to the mill. Mother would sew a sheet up and they could put the cotton in that and throw it on top of the sacks of corn in the old cart. They would bring the cotton back in the same way, with the seed in another sack for planting.
Mother taught us to card and spin cotton and wool for cloth and for knitting thread. Also, we spun twine for rope. Father and the boys would take the twine and make it into rope when we got it ready. They made rope for plow lines, or rope, calf rope, and rope for the bed cords, this answered for slats and springs too. We sometimes made rope to sell. They made the little outfit on which they made ropes and called it the rope works. Mother and Mary Ann made cloth for most all of our everyday wear, except shirts for father and the boys, which was of brown domestic (unbleached muslin we call it now) which soon bleached out perfectly white. Father and Adam made the loon that we made the cloth on. They also made a little cider press that they made apple cider on sometimes. Also, they made a wooden sorghum mill that they ground cane on and boiled the juice down in big iron kettles and poured it in a barrel when done. Mother also taught us to knit and sew, all of which had to be done by hand. I learned to knit on sage grass straws for needles. Knit old TATTY, my cat, a pair of stockings or rather two pairs, one for each foot. I think it took me about two weeks to get them done. Made most of them while I was minding the gap as father and the boys were gathering and hauling corn out of the field. They would lay the rail fence back each way; this made the gap so they could drive in with the wagon and oxen, and I would watch and keep the stock out of the field, and knit or play, but when I finally got the cat stockings finished there was a big snow on the ground, so I thought she needed them badly. I held her while Em tied them on. When I put her down she began slinging her feet first one way and then the other, then jumped out in the snow and ran off and when she came back she didn't have on a single stocking. I was very much disappointed that she didn't care for the stockings after I had worked so hard to make them for her.
Our big black dog, Drum, was our faithful friend and always went with us everywhere we went. If we went to the spring after water, or after the sheep or calves, to the orchard or mill, or to hunt wild flowers, Drum was close by our side and was always watching for anything he thought might harm us. But old Drum never interfered with the old butting sheep or the biting gander. He seemed to consider them below his notice, or else they were a part of the family and had a perfect right to act as they did.
We nearly always had a butting sheep or fighting gander which were my greatest terrors. The old sheep would keep a sharp look out for me, and the moment I appeared on the scene he would make a run for me and if I didn't beat him to the fence or some of the other children interfered, he would butt me for all he was worth. The folks always told me not to run from him but to pick up a stick and he will run, or lay flat down on the ground and he won't bother you--for he was a coward and would only butt me when I was on the run, but they had just as well told me to run for my life to the nearest fence and if I failed to get there before he overtook me it was just too bad. The old gander was a regular bluff too. He whipped all the other ganders in the flock and then finished up on me. He was always worse when his old goose was setting, which last four weeks. He stayed right by the door of her little coop day and night and kept everything away. Every time he chased anything away he would go squawking and flapping his wings as he went back to his old goose, chattering and telling her what a brave fellow he was, and she seemed to believe every thing he said and chatted back to him as she sat on her nest to keep her eggs warm and tucked every straw, leaf or feather about her. Then she would tuck her bill under her wing and sleep while her faithful mate stood guard again.
I used to think that there was nothing that father could not do or that he did not know. He was County Judge of Marion County, Arkansas, for seven years before the Civil War (1854-1861. He was Judge in 1861 at the time the war broke out. He was well-informed in all matters of law. After the war was over he moved to Izzard County where I was born, and from there to Vanburen County as I have already stated. He was a staunch Democrat and his friends tried to persuade him to run for office again several times after the war, but he would not agree to it at all; he said it was too confining and he was getting to old.
We lived in the old log house that I have tried to describe, until I was ten years old. The summer that I was eight father and the boys Ab and George (however, Ab did most of the work as father was not able to work much and George was too light), began cutting logs for a new house. After they got the logs all cut, split, and hued they gave a house raising. All the neighbor men came in and they put the wall up in a day, ready for the rafters. Some of the women came and helped Mother Mary Ann cook dinner. The logs of the wall were all of large straight pine as near the same size as they could get them split and hued on both sides. The wall plates were each a whole small pine log hued on four sides. The rafters were each a pine pole of uniform size, with the bark all peeled and cut the right length. They split all the boards and lathe and covered it shingle fashion. By the time they got the top on, it was time to gather crops so the new house had to stand there until the next summer before they could do any more to it, as it always took most of their time in winter to cut and haul wood to burn in the fireplaces, and haul and split pine for lights. The new house was built on top of a little hill about 200 yards from the old one and further away from the spring. The next summer after crops were laid by they went to work on the house again. Bought lumber for the floor and doors. As soon as they got the floor laid and the doors sawed out, we moved three beds in there and by cold weather they had the cracks all weatherboarded and door shutters made and hung and a big stone chimney built, but we still cooked and ate at the old house and had one bed down there. It was the next year before they got another room and porches and the other stone chimney built. The first summer that we moved, or partially moved, Emma had a long spell of sickness caused by a rising or stone bruise on her foot and it affected her leg in a way the Doctors called it white swelling or bone erysipelas--suppose they would call it T.B. of the bone now. Anyway, it made a partial cripple of her and it was seven years before it got entirely well and she was never very stout after that so I tried to do her part of the work and mine too. The following winter Mary Ann married on the 8th of January, 1879 (Tom MOODY). Ab worked away from home that summer for VAN COPLAN. Father was able to do but very little work in the field by this time so I made a full hand in the field. George and I made the crop and gathered it, but this was a very dry year and we didn't have very much to gather. By this time Mother had just about quit making cloth and she raised chickens and sold them to buy most of our clothes, or the cloth to make them. Father always sold a few yearlings every year. In the summer of 1880 Uncle Levi PORTER, Mother's brother, was killed while working in a gold mine near Baker city, Oregon, by the mine caving in Two or three other men were hurt at the same time but he was the only one who lost his life. He had saved up a few hundred dollars which was divided between his four sisters.
In the spring of 1880 George rented some land in the river bottom two miles from home. A mile to the top of the mountain, a mile down the mountain, then almost one-half mile to the land we cultivated. Levi worked with us that year and he and George and I made the crop at home and in the bottom too. Ab worked away from home again down on White River that summer. Mother and Emma Managed to do the housework. We would get up before day or at day break. George would feed the horses and get things ready that he had to take to the field, and I would milk the cow, while mother got breakfast and fixed our lunch, when we worked in the bottom. We would start out on horseback with our lunch and feed for the horses and whatever we had to have besides. Sometimes it was seed corn or cotton seed and sometimes George would walk and carry a plow on his shoulder. Sometimes he would carry a hoe or two. We worked awfully hard and made a good crop. Father and George bought a new wagon and we all were very proud of it. We still worked the oxen to the wagon, old Tom and Jerry, a faithful old team they were. Tom was red, Jerry was brown. After crops were laid by that summer George went to Middlesettlement and stayed at Dolph's and went to school. Ab came home and built a wagon shed and made various other improvements about the yard and lots. We didn't have any school that year in our neighborhood. By this time we were getting pretty well fixed in the new house and had set out shrubs and flowers of all kinds that we could get, which was limited. We even went to the woods along the creek and got wild rose vines, honeysuckles, woodbine, cedars and everything we thought might grow. Some of them grew and some didn't. The next year George and Levi rented the same land in the bottom and more besides. Levi moved across the gulf to be nearer his work as his place at home was so poor he could not make a living on it. It was one-half mile from our house and George and I cultivated it too. Father bought a fine young mare this spring and later in the summer he bought a young horse, but the horse was one-eyed. In February of this year, 1881 I believe it was, there was a big overflow on the river and creeks...and it washed away lots of fence and other things. After the water went down the men folks had to pull the rails out of the drifts and make new ones with which to rebuild and repair the fences until time to plant the crop. The weather being favorable, we got our crop all planted early and in good shape. By the first week in May we had our corn all planted over the second time, the crop all in good shape and the finest we had ever grown. Then it began raining and continued for almost a week and on May 9th there was the worst overflow that country had ever known. The water was from one mountain to the other. It took all the growing crops, fences and plow tools as well, and this time most of the rails were entirely gone as well as the soil. They had to pull out what few rails were left in the drifts and refence and replant what they could. By this time it was getting to late to plant much and the crop at home was about all we made that year. Before the summer was over father and George bought this place in the bottom with the dwelling on top of the mountain the other side of the creek from where we lived and where Levi was now living. It was four miles the way we had to go from our house to the one we bought. Father often said it was only a mile the way the birds flew when the air was just right we could hear the chickens crow and the dogs bark from one place to the other. The farm lay between the mountains, part on one side of the creek and part on the other side. I think there were 80 acres in the bottom and I don't know how many on top of the mountain and mountain sides--anyway they gave $400.00 for the whole thing and got their deed. The house was a big double log house with old fashioned stack chimney built of stone, and two long porches the full length of the house. The house was a story and a half high with two big rooms upstairs same size of the ones downstairs, with no way to get up there only to climb a ladder in the back hall. So Ab had some more carpenter work to do. He was still working on White River in the summer and at home in the winter.
But, to go back a little before we moved, there was lots of sickness that summer, thought to have been caused by the overflow. Lots of cattle died that summer of murrin, and hogs died of cholera. We were to have a three-months free school this summer with W. P. WHITTAKER as teacher. It began the first Monday in July. Emma and I went the first day and for six weeks we did not miss a day walking three miles morning and evening Then Emma Got sick and not able to go to school. Levi's folks were all sick, Mary Ann got sick too and mother had to go and stay with her. Father took me over to Levi's to help wait on the sick ones, so he, Emma and George were left at home alone. When we got to Levi's his wife and four children and his wife's sister were all sick, but were all better except the two youngest children. Her mother was there to help wait on them also. To make matters worse Levi's two fine milk cows, the only ones he had were both sick and one died that day and the other one died the next day. Still another unfortunate condition, a traveling man had stopped there the night before and asked permission to sleep on the front porch. About midnight the sheriff from Batesville rode up hunting the man. He thought he was trying to get away with a mortgaged horse, but the man was only going to look at a place to move to. Any way as the sheriff was serving the warrant on him the man ran and the sheriff shot him down, then got on his horse and left as fast as he could and never came back. The man shot through the mouth a very painful wound but not serious. I could never describe the feelings I had that morning as father and I rode up to the gate and saw several men standing in the yard in different groups talking, and as we got off the horses and started in the yard, there by the gate was a big puddle of blood and another one on the porch steps. I don't suppose I ever came as near fainting in my life. Someone had already gone after the Doctor but failed to find him and had to make a second trip before they got him. By this time it was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon when the Doctor got there. He dressed his wounds, pulled a tooth or two that were almost out, examined the sick folks, left some medicine and went on his way. The man who was shot was able to leave the next day about sundown. About the third day after I arrived at Levi's the baby died. She was a year old. Two or three days later little Buck died; he was three years old. The day he was buried I had to go back home as Emma was not able to wait on herself and Mother was still with Mary Ann, her second baby was just a few days old. Mother came home the next day and sent me to stay with Mary Ann until she able to be moved to our house. So my school days were ended when I was barely 14 years old. Dolph made tow or three trips that summer to see Emma and treat her leg. It took nearly all day to make the trip, which was about 25 or 30 miles, so he persuaded father and mother to bring her to his house to stay for several months so he could see and treat her all the time. They took her to his house the 15th of October. I was so lonesome without her I could hardly stand it. Soon after mother and father came back home Mary Ann and Tom moved across the gulf on the place we had bought. Tom and George had made arrangements to work the place together the next year as Levi had bought a little place of his own one-half mile up the creek from ours. After Mary Ann and the children were gone I thought if loneliness would kill anyone I would surely die--I was so attached to the children.
Of course, we were busy getting ready to move. Didn't have much crop to gather. I took a bad spell or sore eyes which lasted me a week or two before my eyes got well, then took with chills, so I didn't get to help much with either gathering the crop or moving. It was toward the last of November when we finally got moved. It took a day to take a load over there and come back home. I think it was six loads George hauled in moving. He said mother had nearly a wagon load of gourds, although he didn't haul them all at the same time but would put a few in each time he had room for them. I was glad to get moved, we were closer to Mary Ann and the children, and Levi and his folks. We were also on the public highway on which there was lots of travel. So I was not so lonesome at the new location. The highway was the Batesville and Clinton Road; we were half-way between the two towns, 30 miles to either one.
A short time before we moved we heard that a Methodist Preacher had moved in the neighborhood a mile from the place we were moving to, by the name of PARROTT, also that he had a large family and all at home with most of them sick. They had moved from Alabama a year or more before and stopped in the swamps of Arkansas on the St. Francis River, got most everything washed away in the overflow that spring so they moved out to higher land and stayed until they all got sick and like to have died. Billie, the next oldest son did die, so they moved to this new place in October, and we moved a month later, in November. We had not been there many days when Mr. Rufus PARROTT came to see us and father soon made arrangements for him to preach at our house once each month. People would come from several miles for preaching. Old Brother BABB, another Methodist Preacher, living about seven miles from us came to meeting and father got him to leave an appointment, so we had preaching two Sundays in each month, the first and third. Usually both preachers would come and one would preach the first Sunday and the other the third. A short time after we got moved Ab came home for the holidays; this must have been the winter of 1882. On the 28th day of December, which was father's birthday, George and Bettie HESS married. Ab, Tom MOODY, Albert HOLLAND and I all went with George to the wedding which was performed in the home of Bettie's sister and brother-in-law HAINES, with whom Bettie lived. Brother MOODY a Baptist preacher (Tom's father) performed the ceremony. This was on a cold Sunday afternoon and a big snow on the ground but the sun was shining and we rode horseback seven miles over those rough mountains. They gave a big wedding supper. We all stayed all night and came home the next day to a big Infare supper. Bettie's sister and brother-in-law came home with us and stayed a day or two. The next day after the Infare, Ab and I went to Middlesettlement to visit Dolph and family. Emma was still up there, we found her much improved, able to work some, visit around, and go to church, which she very much enjoyed. We stayed two or three days and came back home. It took us all day to make the trip on horseback, good roads too for that country. Emma came home in June almost well and I was happy again.
I may have some of my dates a little confused, but I do know that the summer of 1880 was the awful dry year, and the locusts took things in. I remember that from 8 or 9 o'clock in the forenoon, until almost night, they kept up their awful grinding, jarring noise, until one could hear much else. Every morning there would be a fresh swarm. They came up out of the ground, they could not fly at first but would make their way on foot to the nearest tree or bush, climb to the first limbs where they would come out of their hull with full grown wings and a desperate voice, ready to join in the concert which lasted for several weeks (I think about two months) at least until their short lives were all spent. All their time they were very busy cutting holes in the underside of all the little limbs on the trees (they usually chose the ones about the size of a pencil) to cut and deposit their eggs in, nearly ruined some of the fruit trees and damaged the fruit badly. Later in the summer the squirrels came in great numbers and almost ate up all the corn that was raised on the upland. But while the squirrels were eating the corn and cutting open the cotton bowls we were eating the squirrels, and they were the fattest I ever saw; However, we soon got tired of eating them two and three times a day I know also that it was in the spring of 1881 that we had those two big overflows in February and then in May, so it must have been the 28th of December 1881 that George got married, anyway it was a little better than a month after we had moved to the new house, and soon after this that George began hiring help on the farm and I did not have to work in the field very much and I had plenty of time to learn to do housework. Father did lots of work on the yard and garden that year and I helped him some with that. There was a big garden, an acre, with a railing fence around it. The garden was across the road from the house. The chicken yard, orchard, lots and barn were all back of the house--it was a pretty place to live. Four big cedar trees and a big pear tree in the yard. We had to carry all our water from a spring. In the winter and early spring there was a cold running spring about 50 yards from the house where we washed and got all the water we used, except, when we caught rain water. About May or June this spring went dry and then we had to carry water a quarter of a mile and up a steep hill part of the way. Bettie and I did all the washing, milking, churning and most of the cooking. We also helped father make the garden which was no little job. Bettie kept her part of the house while mother and Emma kept our part, while I ran errands about the place. Mother raised lots of chickens and sold them to chicken peddlers who came at regular intervals about every two weeks. They would travel over the country in a wagon and buy chickens, eggs, hides, furs and such like. When they got their load they would take it to Little Rock, sell it and start out after another load.
The next year after we moved father had a new railing fence built around the garden and several wagon loads of fertilizer hauled out from the lots and put on it, and such a garden we did raise that year as well as every other year we lived there. Mary Ann and Tom lived just a few steps from us the first year and their baby died that fall, little Doffie, a little over a Year old. Then Tom bought a place one and one-half miles from fathers and they moved on it. George built a new barn and new lots that winter. The next winter they built a new chicken house and a new railing fence around the yard. By this time we were getting the placed fixed up in good shape and a pretty place to live. George had a lot of new land cleared up in the bottom and the fences all moved and built above high water marks with water gates next to the creek on all sides, and we were making a good living at home, but we had more or less sickness every summer and fall--chills and fever. In the spring of 1884, I think it was, Ab went to Texas, He had been working on White River every summer and spending winters at home helping George work and make improvements about the place but when he went to Texas, I thought he was so far away I most likely would never see him again. He rode his fine young mare and carried his clothes in saddlebags across the saddle behind him, also some money, I don't know how much. Stopped in Collins County near Cleburne and hired to work for a man, worked for him all summer and fall. Went with Carter HESS that winter to Johnson County (Carter HESS having moved to Texas five or six years before) and just before Christmas Ab came home. Having sold his horse he came home on the train. Took measles a week after he came back while visiting at Dolph's. The next spring, April I think it was, he went back to Texas taking Levi and family and Alvia MARTIN with him. They were about two months on the road, as they were traveling with an ox team. Both oxen got sick and died before they got to their destination. They finally got to Johnson County, all got work and did well.
We were still having preaching at our house two and three times a month as there was no church or school house nearer than Pudding Ridge, which was about four miles, and it was six miles to Shiloh and seven miles to the Greys school house where we also went sometimes to meetings. People came from all of those places to the preaching at our house. So we had made many new friends and acquaintances.
In the fall of 1883 Adam had a bad spell of sickness and after he got well enough to be moved they moved him and family to fathers and they lived there with us until he built him a house just a short distance from father. They only had two children living at this time, Frank--7, and little Adam--7months, four of their children having died while they were living in With county near Pleasant Plains. After Adam had regained health sufficient they requested him to preach at our house too, so we had preaching three times a month, two Methodist and a Baptist (as you know your Uncle Adam was a Baptist Preacher). We had some good meetings, one especially I shall never forget. Think it was in the early spring of 1883. One Sunday your Grandpa PARROTT preached at 11 o'clock and Ella, Emma Parrott, and sister Emma were all converted while he was preaching. I don't think he ever preached over 30 minutes at one time. I always enjoyed being at preaching and hearing a good sermon but I was not converted until in May 1885, and to me this was the greatest event of my life, for without the love of God in my heart and the knowledge that Christ was my personal Savior I could never have bore the sorrows and heartaches that I have found along life's pathway--and this is how it came about. I had been conscious for about four years that I was in a lost condition and had tried every possible means, I thought, to find the Savior, but to no avail, and on this particular occasion George and I had been to Pudding Ridge to Church one night. (Matt had been converted a few nights before). I came home feeling very much discouraged and went to bed thinking I had done everything in my power to merit God's saving grace and that it was all a failure and surely there was no salvation for me. I remember very well my last thoughts before I dropped off to sleep were, "If I am lost, which looks like I am or will be, I will still keep praying that God will show me the way." When I went to sleep I dreamed that the end of time had come and a voice said, "The earth is soon to be destroyed, burned up and all people who are not sealed in the city of refuge." The voice seemed to be just behind me and was urging me on as I heard the flames roaring behind us. I saw people running fast from every direction towards this vast wall or city of refuge and as they reached the city each one entered by a separate door and the door was shut. I saw the place filling up very fast and just before I could reach the place I saw the last one go in and the door shut. I felt myself sinking down in despair, but the voice said, "God will shield you with his hand," and I felt myself lifted above the burning world in the living hand of God. I awoke from my dream rejoicing in a Savior's love, knowing full well that my sins were taken away, not through any merits of my own, but by God's grace, love and mercy. I was sleeping by myself that night and my first thoughts were if I could only tell Emma, my next thoughts were to awake George and Bettie and tell them, and then I thought I could never make them understand, and I thought I would run in the other room and tell father and mother but was afraid I might frighten them so I would wait until morning, so I lay back down on my pillow rejoicing in God's love and his wonderful power to save. It must have been towards day before I went to sleep again and when I awoke all were up and breakfast was almost ready, as that was Bettie's week to cook and mine to milk the cows, so I gathered my milk buckets and hurried to the cow lot. When I was about half through milking I saw Adam passing by on his way to the field. My first impulse was to run and tell him that I was saved but my timidity rose up and said wait for a more convenient time. When I was through milking and went to the house they were through with breakfast and each one about his daily task. So every day came and went much the same way for several days, every time I was ready to tell the good news to someone, my timid self would seem to rise up with, wait, wait, for a more convenient time. One night at church a week or two later when an opportunity was given I stood up and in a very stammering manner told them I was saved and everyone there thought I was saved that night during the service, A short time after this I joined the Methodist Church but a little later discovered that I was not a Methodist at heart, so withdrew from the church and lived outside of any church organization for more than thirty years when I discovered that I was a Baptist and had been all these years and didn't know it. So after I was thoroughly convinced I really believed as the Baptist do, I joined the church in the summer of 1917 or 1918. But back to my story..............
In June, 1885, I was engaged to be married to Joel L. PARROTT, oldest son of Rufus B. and Betty Ann PARROTT. He being 27 years the 10th of May, I was not 17 until the 16th of August. I think we were as happy as two children of that age could be, although we did not see each other but once or twice a month, as he was working at Shiloh six miles away. We each got a letter from the other about every two weeks, so we were both busy working and planning for our future home. On the 27th day of December, 1885, we were married at father's and continued to lie there until he got our house ready for us to move into, which was the 2nd day of March, there being so much snow that winter it made work very disagreeable and hard. The first big snow fell a few days before Christmas and before that was gone another one fell and another and another, then on the 15th of January there was a 20-inch snow fell, so it was about the second week in March before it was all gone. He worked through all this bad weather building our house which was hued log one-room house with a stone chimney. Jim helped him build it.....built it right in the piney woods on a little hill a mile from father's and one-quarter mile from Mr. Parrott's. He had also built us a chicken house, a calf lot and shelter for the calf before we moved. Mother gave us a dozen hens and a rooster. Father gave us a cow and calf so we took them right along with us. In a few days he had a garden spot cleared, broke and a rail fence around it, also a rail fence around the yard. Next he built a stable and lot for the mule. He made most of our furniture which consisted of two bed steads, a cupboard, a dining table, a stand table, bookcase, water bench and a bench that sat beside the table for use when we had company. He bought two new split-bottom chairs from Tom KALER, the chair maker, and all our cooking vessels, a cedar water bucket, looking glass, pair of cotton scales he bought at KENDALE sale. Our dishes he bought new at Shiloh. He killed his hogs and had the meat all salted away before we married. So with what mother and his mother gave us we were all fixed up for housekeeping. He had bought 50 bushels of corn which was all we needed for bread and to feed the mule and chickens. Mother gave us a lot of dried fruit, apples and peaches, dried pumpkin and all the turnips we could use and to set out in the garden to make greens. There were two good springs of water right close to the house and by the time the weather got warm he had fixed us a nice place to keep our milk and butter at the one nearest the house. He rented land from George that year to make a crop on. It was down in the bottom two miles from where we lived, so we would get up before daylight and be ready to start to the field by good daylight and it was usually after dark when he would get back home. I made the garden and tried to raise a lot of chickens but between the hawks, snakes and hogs I only raised 22 chickens and 1 goslin. Sometimes I would get so lonesome and the days seemed so long but I kept busy most of the time and Doney and Tennie came to see me every day and sometimes two and three times a day. This was lots of company for me and I always had the chores done when he would get home at night unless he finished up a piece of work before night and came home early. That summer after crops were done he built us a nice smokehouse, a crib and stable and better lots, cleared up and fenced a few acres for an orchard and set out some 8 or 10 peach trees. Built a pen for the fattening hogs and by the time the weather was cold enough we had a nice big shoat fat enough for meat. By the last of November he had the crop all gathered, made a bale and a half of cotton that year to our part. On the 28th day of November, 1886 our first baby came to bless our home. We named him Lewis Henry, and we, like most parents thought our baby was the finest of all.
Ab came home the Christmas. He didn't come the year I married. he went back in the early spring, he and levi were still living in Johnson county, In the spring of 1887, we rented land from Phillip BABB three miles from home. It was a second bottom land. Made a very good crop but were all sick that summer. Pa had a real sick spell Lewis and I chilled all summer and fall, in fact, I chilled at regular intervals for three years before we could get them broke. In about the year 1888 there had gotten to be quite an emigration moving west in the INDIAN TERRITORY, and GREER COUNTY. Greer county then was called the UNASSIGNED LAND--INDIAN TERRITORY--and consisted of what now is JACKSON, HARMON and GREER COUNTIES, OKLAHOMA. Sometime during the year, 1887, Ab, Levi, Carter HESS, Bob CARLYLE, and Andy ADKINSON, and Tom WILLIAMS, all moved from Johnson County, Texas to what is now HESS Community in Jackson County, Oklahoma. Make themselves dugouts to live in, some made sod or adobe houses, and turning that fine rich soil for farming. Their first fencing consisted of one barbed wire tacked to mesquite posts set 50 feet apart. Ab came home that Christmas as usual and he was all enthusiastic over the prospects there, the fine land, etc. So in the early spring of 1888, about April 10th, he started his journey back. This time taking with him Tom MOODY and family, Alva and Emma MARTIN (they having married a few weeks before), Dolph and Family and two other families from Middlesettlement. Six or eight wagons in all. I think they were six weeks on the road, some of the drove ox teams and they just camped and hunted and had a jolly time on the road. That fall, after we were sick so much and after hearing so much about the fine country out west we decided to make a change too. So we sold the field to Gardner HOLMS for $75.00 and a set of house lobs thrown in, sold our home place to the old man POOL for a fine young horse, worth about $75.00. Our first little home we sold for a little of nothing to Henry BROWNFIELD. Don't remember what we did get, mostly promises I think. (That is where the little town of Brownsville now is). It tool the rest of the winter to dispose of what we had and get ready to move in the spring. I think it was 16 head of cattle and about 25 hogs, neither were worth much. After we sold our place we moved to father's to wait until spring. This was in December and father had a long spell of sickness, typhoid. He was improving but not able to sit up at that time, had been in bed eight weeks. Ab did not come home this Christmas, they were to busy improving their new homes in Greer County. We were busy getting ready to make the long move in the spring--400 miles--with an ox team. On the 4th day of February our little Mary was born, a pretty little curly headed, blue-eyed girl, and the day she was two months old, which was the 4th day of April, we started on our journey with a pretty good old wagon and a splendid yoke of young oxen, but they were as mean as they ever get to be. We only drove about 10 miles the first day as we were late getting started from father's. Crossed Red River at the KENDALL ferry and camped that night on MILLER'S Point a mile or so from the river. The country and everything was all new to me as I had never been that way before. We were a week getting our of Arkansas. I saw my first train the next day after we left home, somewhere near Conway. We crossed the Arkansas River at Dardanell on a steam ferry boat. Lewis was sick the first week we were out. The last night we were in Arkansas we stayed in a wagon yard three miles from the line of the Indian Territory and ten miles from Fort Smith, Arkansas. We crossed the Poteau River soon after we got in the Indian Territory on a little ferry boat for $.75, had bad roads for several miles, went through a toll gate for another $.75. Camped that night close to an Indian School for girls. I have forgotten the name of the school. The finest spring of water was there I have ever tasted. The second week we came over several prairies, the first I had ever seen. The country was very thinly settled, sometimes we would travel nearly all day without passing a house. The country was getting more level and more prairie all the time. Our route through the Indian Territory was from Poteau to Stonewall, Pauls Valley, Elm Springs, Rush Springs, Fort Sill, Navajoe. Crossed the North Fork of the Red River before we got to Navajoe. I was so afraid of Indians I could hardly sleep for thinking about them all the way through the Indian Territory. We went through the Choctaw, Chickasha, and Comanche Nations. Didn't see very many Indians and what we did see were all civilized, until we got to the Comanche Nation, and I thought my time had surely come. They were even uglier than I had imagined and so brazen, would stop right in the road and gaze at us and jabber, with their blankets on and feathers in their hair, big earrings in their ears, and paint on their faces. In some places they had their wigwams along on both sides of the road for ever so far and some of them had one side of their tepees stobbed down in the road and we had to drive out around them. The last night we stayed in the Territory we camped on deep red, in old WAGONER'S pasture. Crossed North Fork the next day not long before night. Camped that night in Greer County close to Navajoe.
Some happenings along the way from Arkansas to Greer County...
Just to show you what I mean by a good and mean yoke of oxen, in the first place they would pull every pound they could and traveled almost as fast as a horse team, but were stubborn and mean. The first and second days they seemed to think we were going to Little Rock or Searcy so after passing all the roads leading that way they seemed to get mad and determined to go back home. About the third morning when we started out they did their best to turn around and start back the way we came but as they could not they started running and ran about one-quarter of a mile and came to a little creek, not muck water in it but a wide bed, and in spite of all that Pa could do they turned around in the creek and went back up the bank on the same side we went in on and there being heavy timber on both sides of the road there was no place to turn around until we got almost back to where we had camped, them running all this time as hard as they could go. By the time we got to a place where he could turn them around they were about run--down, so he got them started back and on we went, he made them run until they were willing to walk. On another day about 2 o'clock in the afternoon they were pretty hot and tired, we came to a little creek with steep banks and just a little branch of water where the road crossing was. Pa stopped them to let them drink but they discovered a hole of water a few steps below the crossing where there was a good shade, so into it they went, the water came up to their sides. They stopped perfectly still and refused to budge. Pa pulled off his shoes and socks, rolled his trousers as high as he could, carried me and the children out, then had to unload and carry everything up the bank on the other side. He finally got them out and the wagon loaded again and started on our way.
One day we drove until after dark trying to find a place to camp. It was thundering and lightning and a cloud was coming up. A man told us there was a good place to camp one-half mile or so ahead at a church and school house, so we drove on and when we got there we could just see the house. Pa unhitched and fed the team and tied them up for the night and we all went to bed in the wagon too tired to prepare any supper. The next morning when I awoke Pa was up and fixing a fire to cook breakfast. I looked out from the wagon sheet and we had stopped in the edge of a country grave yard. The sun was shining and I was glad I did not make the discovery that night. A few days later we stopped one evening before night in the edge of a prairie close to a little creek where there were a few scattering trees and the finest grass we had ever seen so we let our oxen graze until they were full. I washed the baby's clothing that evening that were dirty. The next morning they were not dry when we got ready to start so we pinned them on the outside of the wagon sheet (this was in the Indian Territory) and the roads were never worked so we had a mile or so of the roughest roads and when we got through this rough place we noticed the baby's things were all gone. In a little while a man passed us on horseback carrying the little clothes tied to the back of his saddle. after we had been on the road two weeks or more we came to what was known as the Big Prairie or Blue Prairie, 25 miles across it. We drove into it just after noon, had stopped for dinner at a little creek, filled our one-half gallon jug with drinking water, drove until after dark and did not find any water to camp with. After dark awhile we came to a little ravine so we drove to one side of the road and camped for the night. Went to bed without supper this time, don't think either one of us slept very much as two suspicious looking men passed us a couple of times that afternoon but we got up the next morning, cooked our breakfast over a sagebrush fire and traveled till nearly noon before we got off the prairie and found water for the oxen. I was sick the night we stayed at deep red, had a chill that afternoon and was so thirsty but the water was not good at all.
The next day when we got to North Fork I was still thirsty and the water was so clear I could see the white sand in the bottom. Pa unhitched the oxen from the wagon and drove them to the water and let them drink before we started across. They had told us it was dangerous to stop a wagon in the river. I told Pa to bring me a drink of the water it looked so clear and good, but when I tasted it I thought I was poisoned--it was so salty and bitter. The water we got that night to camp with was not any better. We go to Levi's the next day about 4 p.m. on the 4th day of May, just a month on the road. We stayed at Levi's for a few days until Pa had time to look around and get us a location. Several of the kinfolks and acquaintances offered to divide land with us but there but there was no improvements on any of it. They told us of a place four miles from Levi's with a dugout, a garden planted and a three-wire fence around it, a calf lot with five wires around it, ten or twelve acres broke out and planted in oats, one wire around it, a well dug about 15 feet with a little water in it, and it was salty, a 160-acre tract of black or red tight sticky land. The man who owned or claimed it was a cousin of Carter and Buck HESS, Henry HESS, who had become terribly dissatisfied so he sold Pa the whole thing for $75.00 and left immediately for his former home. We moved in our dugout and were very proud of it, but didn't feel very at home, at least I didn't-- everything was so different from what we had always been used to. But we were determined to make the best of our move and look on the bright side and in a way we really enjoyed the change and expected to be doing well in a few years. Our dugout was 12x20 feet covered with 12-inch planks. The front was built of the same kind of plank and when it rained it leaked like a riddle. A door in one end and a fireplace in the other, a little window with wooden shutters on each side of the fireplace, two homemade bedsteads fastened to the posts of the dugout also a homemade table. We had to haul water one and one-half miles and for fire we burned mesquite grubs and prairie chips. Carter HESS loaned us a cow to milk that summer and Pa loaned him $25.00 for the same length of time. Ab and Levi loaned him a plow and he would brake the sod for wheat that fall when the ground was wet enough that he could turn it. But, in a month or two old Jerry, one of the oxen, died so we were without a team for a while, and Pa sold or swapped old Tom, the ox, to McHANEY for an old cow pony, old Jack, gave him $30.00 to boot. Old Jack didn't know anything only to run cattle. Dolph loaned us a mare to work with him and Pa broke him to work to the wagon and to plow. Had a job to haul water every day. We made a nice little crop of oats and sorghum for feed and he got about 20 acres ready for wheat that fall. In October father, Mother, George and family moved out there. Ab went back to Arkansas and helped them move. They lived in a tent and at Levi's until George and Ab got their dugout ready. Father and Mother stayed among their children until they could move home. The seasons were good that winter and wheat was fine. Pa got 10 or 15 acres broke out for corn that winter. Began planting corn, and watermelons by the hundreds we raised that year. But in April of this year, which was 1890, on the 9th day of April, Father died of something like flux, wasn't sick but two or three days. Mary Ann's baby girl died with the same disease and we all had it and were pretty sick for some time. Mother was awfully sick also. In June our wheat was ready to cut and the finest I ever saw. They said it would make 60 bushels to the acre. The binder was ready to start into it and the a hail-storm ruined it. They went ahead and cut and threshed it but did not pay for the cutting and threshing. We got a fine straw stack and that was about all, but a prairie fire got it and burned it up while Pa was gone from home. In July Adam and family moved out there and got a place two and one-half miles from us. Some time that summer Pa sold 80 acres of his claim for a fine young horse so he had a team of his own now and he got about 40 acres ready for wheat by sowing time and had plowed some for others. Bought us a good cook stove and paid for it in plowing. This was the first stove I ever owned, Was surely proud of it too. The next year 1891 was a reasonably good crop year but just after harvest, before there had been much threshing done it set in to raining and just rained and rained until lots of the wheat was ruined in the field, sprouted in the stock, all was damaged so it wasn't worth much on the market. We had the finest straw stack that almost wintered our cows and yearlings. Pa sowed all the land he had broke in wheat this fall, about 50 acres, and sodded more for corn. He did have a few acres in oats too. This proved to be an awfully dry year and hardly anything was made. Our fine young horses died with staggers that spring, so we were left without a team again. Just old Jack, and he had gotten so mean he would not work to a wagon, this was the spring of 1892.
On the 18th day of February our third baby was born and we named him James Leonard. Jim PARROTT came to visit us that winter, got there the day Leonard was born. Early in May I think it was he went to Montague, Texas, near Oz. Worked with some folks we had known in Arkansas. It was so dry that summer we didn't raise anything in the garden, not even any watermelons and the wheat did not get big enough to cut, although we did make some oats, sold them and bought an old pony from Charley HUNTER for $25.00 and had a little less then $5.00 to start out on the road with. We had two fine young milk cows, two yearlings and a two-year-old heifer,, also a couple of calves. These he could not sell so he left them with a neighbor. Could not sell our place so just left what we could not haul in the wagon? Had swapped old Jack to Walter HUNTER for an old pony that wasn't as good as the one we paid $25.00 for. About the last day of August 1892 we left Greer County for Montague County, Texas. Good crops were raised there that year and we were glad to get back to the timber and where there were some fruit and vegetables raised again. Pa got a house for us to move in and a crop to gather for a man who was moving to Saint Jo. They also gave us their garden and a fine patch of peas, also a couple of trees of ripe peaches. Jim stayed with us until Christmas, he and Pa gathered the crop and picked cotton for others. This was at Oz. We stayed there until about February then moved about three or four miles near Forestburg--lived there a year and moved one and one half miles from Hardy and three from Forestburg, 12 miles from Saint Jo and 25 miles to Gainesville. We lived on this place three and one-half years. On September 3, 1894, our 4th baby was born--we named him Robert Levi, Bobbie, as we called him. Our place was poor land, but had a splendid pasture and the finest water. There was a little mountain and valley in the pasture. All had good health here, but in October, 1896, we sold off everything we could and started for Mulhall, Oklahoma--we were on the road 11 days. There were the finest crops raised there that year we had ever seen--corn and feed, more than they could gather. We didn't find a house that we could get that looked very comfortable so we got a dugout to spend the winter in...six miles out of Mulhall. All of us had quite a siege of lagrippe that winter. On the 6th of January, 1897, Arthur was born. A fine curly-headed boy. In March, Pa rented 35 acres of the finest land a mile from Mulhall and a very good house to live in. The children all had whooping cough and Bobbie was sick from June until the 13th day of August when he died. This was only through God's grace and tender love and mercy that I was able to say, "Not my will, but Thine be done."
We made a good crop that year. Pa gathered the castor beans (13 acres) and sold them. He gathered the corn, picked the cotton over the first time and sold the rest in the field, 20 acres, and in October, about the first, we started for Arkansas, but instead of going on we stopped at Chandler. We bought a lease from Cleve CHASTAIN with a house about ready to move into and ten or fifteen acres cleared and in cultivation with ten or twelve more to clear. So we finished clearing and improving the place. Made three crops there before our lease expired. We bought two good milk cows when we first moved there. Had a fine pasture, already fenced with running water in it. Pa had to finish digging a well, build cribs and stables and a chicken house, all out of logs. The house was also built of logs. Raised the finest vegetables, watermelons and cotton every year we lived there. Viona Ella was born the second summer we lived on the lease on the 21st day of June 1899. In October 1900 we bought a place at Carney, 18 miles from Chandler. We bought the place in the summer but didn't move until October. This place consisted of 80 acres of land, 10 or 12 acres of broken pasture with some timber and a spring of running water. The rest of the place was good prairie land all in good state of cultivation with some orchard, a good well of water in the yard, a good one-room house and a half-dugout which we used for a kitchen, dining room, and had one bed in it. We lived on this place a little over three years, made good cotton crops every year but in the summer of 1901 we all had the measles, and such a time as we did have. I only weighed 75 pounds after l had been up a week or two. The others fared better than I did. This was an awfully hot dry summer nothing much raised except cotton, On February 5, 1902 Lena Ann was born and in the winter of 1903 we finished paying our place out and had $300.00 or $400.00 left after we had sold all the cotton. By this time we were in a big motion to move to Arkansas again. This time it was Mena where we were bound, the other time we were headed for the Ozark Mountains, We could not sell our place so rented it to Frank DOBBS, sold all our cattle and other things, shipped some of our house hold goods, left some and gave some away, on 22nd of February 1904 we started on our journey all in high spirits of anticipation. We had a real good and interesting trip all the way until we got to the line of Arkansas and such roads, rocks and mountains that we did not know existed, and how I did wish that we were back at home. I think Pa felt the same way but neither of us would say a word about our disappointment, so on we went over rocks and mountains and wonderful scenery. Passed Mena and still we did not find what we were looking for. Drove on 10 or 12 miles east of Mena past Cherry Hill. Found plenty of hills but no cherries. We got a house to stop in and stayed there about two weeks until Pa could look around for a place to rent as he wanted to try out a year before buying. Finally he found a place back the way we came, 7 miles east of Mena, that he thought would so but we could not got possession for a month or two so we had to move into another empty house until we could get possession of the one he rented. The country was all cut up with creeks and branches, hills and rocks and all heavy timbered. Old poor cows and razorback hogs trying to make their own living in the woods. The place we rented was a mile from Ink Post Office, a mile and half from Concord school and Church, a mile and half from Quito P.O. where we got our mail. There was also a school house near Quito, Holly Springs, but we were in the other school district so the children went to school at Concord. This was a pretty place to live, one of the oldest settled places in the country, settled long before the Civil War. The house was a big hued log house with upstairs, and a leanto for a kitchen. A splendid spring of water close to the house. Several real old apple trees and peach orchard, with the finest blackberries growing wild all over the place. The land was about as poor as it ever gets to be so our crop did not amount to much that year. On the 30th day of July 1904 our fourth girl was born and we named her Ina Maude.
All this time Pa was looking out for a place that he could buy that he thought would suit us for a permanent home. Sometime that fall or winter he bought a place from Mr. MARTIN a 1\2 mile from where we lived that summer. Think the place consisted of about 80 acres although it might have been 120 or 160, I don't remember for sure, anyway part of it lay near the creek and they called it bottom land. Most of it had been worn out several years but some good land that had never been cleared we put into cultivation- -this field was almost a half mile from the house. The house was a bold double log house with two big open fireplaces. Had a good spring of water near the house. There were 3 or 4 acres in orchard. We went to work at once to improve the place and put out more orchards and build new fences and out buildings. in the meantime he sold our place at Carney, Oklahoma, for $1000.00 cash. We paid $400.00 for the one we bought and the next winter we bought another 40 acres joining this with a pretty good peach orchard, a log house, garden and outbuildings for $100.00 By the third year in 1906 and 1907 we had the finest young orchard just beginning to bear but by this time Pa was getting dissatisfied again and wanted to move, so move we did, without even selling or renting the place. This time we moved to the Indian Territory near Octavia, 40 miles west of Mena, this country soon became part of Oklahoma. It was in November 1906 that we made this move. Lewis having gone from home a month or so before and was staying at Alikchi carrying the mail for Mr. LEWIS to Valliant one day and Noah the next, staying at Noah one night and Alikchi the next, carrying the mail on horseback. This was the first move we had ever made without Lewis and I missed him so badly. It took us two days to make this move. Elmer McDONALDS moved with us. Leonard, Marvin and Arthur drove the cattle and they had to make several loads before we got everything moved. We rented a place from a Choctaw by the name of WILSON, who was Post Master at Octavia. Had some pretty good land to cultivate and awfully sorry house to live in, a splendid outrange for cattle, so Pa turned everything he could into cattle and hogs. Mary had been in poor health for a year or more and a short time after we moved here she gradually got worse-She died may 4,1909. Sometime that winter or early spring Pa rented the places in Arkansas to Mr. WARREN but never did realize anything for the use of them. Later he sold one to Mr. DUGAN for a little grist mill and gasoline engine. The other place he sold to Mr. WARREN for a big team of mules. In January the 19th of 1907, Joel was born--20 years younger than Lewis and 10 years younger than Arthur. On the 17th of March, 1907 Lewis and Minnie LEWIS were married and moved up close to us. Pa traded his big mules to Billie WILLIAMS for his lease and a cow, two or three heifers, so Lewis and Minnie lived on this lease that summer and fall then moved back to Alikchi and he began carrying the mail again. In the winter of 1908, we moved 20 or 25 miles, rented a place from James KNIGHT about 2 or 3 miles from Noah, where we got our mail. Lewis was still carrying it there every other day. In the late summer of 1909 we got a post office in our house and Pa was appointed the Postmaster. By this time he had bought land (40 acres) and had moved the mill and attached a small saw mill to it and began sawing lumber, also sawing lumber for others. On October 3,1909, David Milton was born. Ab visited us that fall and winter. He and Pa built a little house for the Post Office and then our dwelling. It was on the 5th day of February, 1910, that we moved into the new house. They also built a little mill-house. Sometime in April Ina took typhoid which lasted five weeks, about the time she was able to sit up pa took the fever, this was towards the last of May, about the 4th week he took a relapse and was so bad we could not control it. Lena took it next, then Viona. They were both sick all the time Pa was so bad. Viona was pretty sick too, but Lena did not have such a severe attack and was sitting up a little when Pa died which was the 3rd day of August, 1910. I took down with the fever after Pa was buried, Milton in a week or so after that. Ab came to about the time Leonard got sick. Arthur had the walking fever, waited on the rest of us all the time, never did have to take his bed. It was in October before we all got straight again. Joel was the only one that escaped the typhoid. Ab came back that winter and stayed with us and finished the house and built us a barn and helped the boys with their fencing and clearing. Lewis would come up once in awhile and help them a few days when he could and in the summer of 1911 he decided to move to Ida, for that was the name of the new Post Office. There were two stores, a blacksmith shop and another saw mill by this time. Lewis moved up and was getting ready to build, had the most of the lumber cut for his house and he took sick and died the 22nd day of August. Was sick only two or three days. The Doctor called it billous fever, but I believed now it was appendicitis. The Lord only knows what help and comfort he was to us in our sorrow and bereavement.
Before Ab left in the early spring I had fully made up my mind to leave there before another August and to that end we all worked but it was the very last week in August before we got away. Believe it was the 28th that we had our sale. Mr. MITCHELL, the man who bought our place, was killed just two or three days before the sale, by his team running away with him on a load of lumber. So amid many hardships and difficulties we landed a George's in Jackson County, near Hess, Oklahoma, the last day of August, 1912. Some of the children were sick nearly all fall. We stayed at George's a week or two before we got a place to move to. Mother was living then and it had been 18 years since I had seen her. We moved on the old Allhorn place and lived there until just before Christmas. This was a mile from George's. Had the worst water I ever tried to drink, carried some of our drinking water from George's cistern. George had a good cotton crop and the children all picked cotton when well enough and just before Christmas we moved in the house with Monroe and Lillian closer to South Greer and the children started to school--that is Arthur and the girls. On January 1, 1913, we moved on the 80 acres that George had bought over on the road a mile from his home place, a good little place with a two story white house and red barn. We bought two teams of mules that spring and the boys went to farming in a big way. We made three very good crops there. In 1914, the 26th of August, Mother died of apoplexy at the age of 87 years.
In the summer of 1915 in the latter part of August we broke up and moved to Arkansas again which resulted in more sickness and trouble and in the later part of August 1916, we moved back to Jackson County, Oklahoma. We stayed at George's a week or so until we got a place in or near Tipton. Had some more sickness. Joel had two real bad spells of sickness in which he seemed to be at death's door but the Lord spared him and he has been a great comfort to me.
In the fall of 1917, we bought our place in Tipton. This was in October and in the late summer of 1918.
Leonard went to the training camps at Camp Cody. Was transferred from there to Camp Dix and sailed from there to France in October; landed in Liverpool, England, two or three weeks later and was on his way to the firing lines, just a day's journey from the front when the Armistice was signed on November 11th, 1918. He arrived home the latter part of June, 1919. He had a bad spell of flu just before leaving the U.S. and one while in France. We got letters regularly from him but he did not get a word from us while over there.
Lots of people had the flu that winter, 1919. Brother Dolph died of flu and pneumonia.
So many things in my life I cannot understand fully--but I am bound to believe that----"All things work together for the good to those who love the Lord, to the called according to His purpose."
LUCINDIA JANETTIE JANE WILSON-PARROTT
THOMAS EASLEY WILSON
REBECCA BARLOW PORTER
© Linda Gayle Wilson Heuckendorf
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