Thursday, July 28, 2005
Memories and Milestones
John F. and Pearl Hullinger
For Their 50th Wedding Anniversary
June 28, 1969
This booklet is dedicated to all our children, both Grand and Great.
We have been collected bits of information, history and dates all our lives and all at once we are the only ones to tell it.
So here it is for whoever wants to know.
Grandpa Johnnie and Grandma Pearl Hullinger
Our Family and Its Background
As nearly as we can determine, none of our families came to America later than 1700. The Hullingers and Harts were Pennsylvania Dutch, the Harlans were Quakers who come to Pennsylvania in 1688, the Lockridges were Scotch Irish who come to Virginia also in the 1600's. The Kirks were Irish but we have no other information about them. Other names are Siddens, Ford, Jennings, Chapin, Blakesley, Poole, Conwell and Poe. These names sound English, Irish, or Dutch, but we have no way of knowing for sure.
You will notice there were three families who moved on from Pennsylvania, which is not a large state. It is an interesting thought that they may have had contact there. Since you are the descendants of all these people you will think and act like them more than you will ever know. So here they are for you to meet and get to know a little.
We knew that the Iowa Hullingers had come from Champaign County, Ohio, so we began by writing there. A letter came from a Maude Hullinger from Springfield, Ohio. Enclosed was a record that tells of a Christian Hullinger, who was born in Lancaster County, Warwick Twp., Pennsylvania. He served in the Revolutionary War as Militia Captain from 1777 - 1779 in Colonel Peter Grubbs 8th Battalion. They were in camp in New Jersey, August, 1776, for the defense of Philadelphia. Under him were Privates Daniel Hullinger and Daniel Hullinger, Jr. In 1779, listed in the 9th Battalion, commanded by John Huber, is Captain Christian Hullinger, Clerk Daniel Hullinger, Drummer Daniel Hullinger, and Fifer Thomas Hullinger.
The Daniel mentioned seems to be a son or grandson of Christian and was born March 12 1757, making him 19 in 1776. He died in 1839 and is buried in Rector Cemetery near Tremont, Ohio. He was a teamster in the Continental Army and was discharged as First Lieutenant. After the war he went to Shenandoah County, Virginia, where in 1783 he married Ann Shockey, who was born December 6, 1767. They moved to Champaign County, Ohio, about 1788 which was a densely forested country. Ann died August 20, 1836, and also is buried in Rector Cemetery.
Daniel from Pennsylvania
An extract from "Record of Family Traits," published by the Carnegie Institute of Washington, Cold Springs Harbor, Long Island, N. Y., says: Daniel, born in Lancaster County, Pa.; had common school education; of German origin; farmer; home-builder; hard worker. He and Anne Shockey had eleven children as follows:
1. Christopher, born 1785
2. Daniel, Jr., born 1786
3. Jacob, born 1788
4. Nancy, born 1790
5. Valentine, born 1793
6. John, born 1795
7. Elizabeth, born 1797
8. Rosanna, born 1798
9. Catharine, born 1799
10. Joseph, born 1800
11. Abraham, born 1801
Christopher was born in Virginia and died in 1859. He was married to Mary Crabb. They had 10 children. Their oldest son, Daniel P., born 1808 and married to Comfort Conwell, seems to be the father of Daniel Jackson Hullinger, born 1833 at Paris, Champaign County, Ohio. We have no record of how many children they had except for Ed who came to Iowa about the same time as D. J. Also there has been mention of a brother, Eli.
Daniel Jackson was married to Julia Anne Hawkenberry, who also was born in 1833. We do not have the date of their marriage but 1858 is not too far wrong as they came to Decatur County, Iowa, in 1864, bringing their oldest boy, at the age of four, whom we called Uncle Marion. He told me he could remember walking sometimes behind the wagon. They had three children, Marion, Martin and Elizabeth (Sis) Downey. Julia Anne died in 1867 at the age of 34. She is buried in the Pleasanton Cemetery, Decatur County, Iowa, where these dates were copied.
Daniel Jackson then married Mary Ann Kirk who was born in I846. They had eight children:
1. Willie, born 1869
2. Eli, born 9-22-1870
3. Stanton, born 1872
4. Sarah (Hill) born 1874
5. Frances or Fannie (Harvey), born 1876
6. Viola (Kizzire), born 1878
7. Daniel or D. J., born 1880
8. Tina, born 1882, died 1895
Mary Ann Kirk died in 1891 and is buried, as is Tina, in a little country cemetery about five miles north of Elston in Union County, Iowa. The team behind which she was riding was frightened by a farm dog and ran away. She was thrown out and her leg was broken, which caused her death. The family later moved back to the Pleasanton and Davis City communities.
Daniel Jackson married for the third time to Hannah Hamilton, who lived only a year or two. After that there was another wife but they were soon divorced. In 1900 he married Emma Lavender. They had one son, Warren, born in 1902 who is still living in Okeechobee, Florida. Daniel died in 1909 and is buried in the Pleasanton Cemetery. Emma survived him for many years.
Eli Married in 1890
Eli, your grandfather, was married on January 7, 1890, to Mary Elizabeth Siddens. Her mother was Mary Anne Ford and her father, Alexander Siddens. The Siddens came from Terre Haute, Indiana, where Mary Elizabeth was born. When she was a year or two old they came to Union County, Iowa, and homesteaded just south of Afton. Later, when she was maybe four, they went to Kansas to try it there, but grasshoppers drove them out and they came back to Iowa. There were seven children in that family. Their name and approximate dates are:
1. Albert, born 1860, died 1878
2. Eliza, born 1862, married Robert Perigo
3. Henry, born 1864
4. Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie Hullinger), born 1870
5. Eva (Cox), born 1872
6. Frank, born 1868
7. Charlie, born 1875
Grandma Lizzie told me she remembered her father carrying her to see her brother, Albert, after his death. They had all been very sick with typhoid fever, which was an epidemic in those days and very dangerous. Frank is the father of the Afton cousins who visit us, Walter or Dock, Harry and his sons, and the twin girls, Evia Sage, Eva Jeeters, and Ethel Vaughn.
Eli and Lizzie met at a dance in or somewhere near Afton. I have heard that he told the boys he was going to pick out his wife that night. Virginia said he told her that when he saw Lizzie he thought she was the prettiest girl he ever saw. During the evening they were leaning out the window watching the train go by when he "bussed" her. Watching the train go by was something you did in those days when trains were new. He had worked teams on that railroad when it was being built. They were both twenty. Eli was a good singer and loved to dance. His brother, Willie, was good with the violin and they were much in demand as entertainers. They had many songs they worked up together and many years later Eli would entertain the grandchildren with them. But in 1890 "their hearts were young and gay," and so that romance started. And again we hear the story of hard times with no jobs to be had. So they tried to farm on rented land which was poor and hilly.
Grandpa Johnnie Born in 1893
Grandpa Johnnie was born May 12, 1893, and he has memories of the early years. He says, "I have faint memories of seeing Grandpa and Grandma Siddens but not enough to say I knew them." Dates of their deaths are uncertain, but probably Alexander died in 1896 and Mary Anne in 1898. They are buried in the Afton Cemetery.
Harvey was born in 1891. I remember that about the time we started to school we lived northeast of Elston. One place was a small house and acreage that father owned. He had one team of horses. He had some corn and I can just remember him cultivating with one horse, up one side of the row and down another. I can remember one of the horses died there and of Dad dragging him off and how the one horse had to pull to do it. I was really impressed when he slipped and fell to his knees while pulling. I can remember where we lived from then on till we came to South Dakota. I would say Dad farmed well but not enough acres to get ahead much. He worked some for others, tended threshing machines, and worked with a saw mill some winters. He and Uncle Willie had a saw mill earlier but I don't remember much about it. Elmer was born in 1895 and Pearl in 1899.
We moved to different farms but Dad was a hard dealer and would not pay enough to lease a good farm. To look back it seems he had some good offers which he refused and rented a poor farm with poor buildings. He never kept much stock till the last year or two when he started raising hogs. Before that he sold corn. I remember, in 1902, picking corn when it was muddy and slick. While going home the wagon slid over a bank and upset, taking the team down the bluff with it. They were down and the wagon and corn rolled to the bottom.
I also remember that Harvey and I followed the cultivator pulling cockle burrs and uncovering the corn that was covered by the plow. We would take turns some times so we got a little rest, but most times we had to work hard to keep up when the burrs were thick. This went on until we moved to South Dakota. Sometimes we used the team and Elmer grew up to help with the job. The first time I handled the team was in 1904 at the age of 11. I was covering oats with a walking cultivator. One horse was a green colt, gentle but would not guide good and the cultivator would fall in a heap if not kept in the ground. I got it piled up different times when I had to take my hands off it to guide the team. I would cry and keep fussing around until I got it straightened out and could go on. I remember crying also when pulling burrs as we were to keep up with the cultivator and it really made us work to do it. If we got behind we got in trouble with Dad and we feared him. He was stern, but some ways was good, too. By moving a lot to rundown farms which raised burrs thicker than hair on a dog's back, we were always fighting them, not only in the summer but in the fall. We would go through the corn with hoes and cut them out. If this practice was followed for two years you really got them thinned out. But by moving so often we would take on a new place about the time we got one cleaned up.
Picking Corn and Attending School
In 1905, Harvey and I started picking corn with a wagon by ourselves and by 1908 we could pick pretty good. In 1905, I followed a threshing rig and cut bands for two weeks at 50 cents a day. This was a steady job from morning till night. Dad was tending the separator and helping feed it. This was before self feeding threshing machines. All this time we were going to school "when the work was done." This wasn't much as there were only maybe seven months of school during the year. There were three terms of two and a half months each, or maybe three in the winter. The spring and fall terms were shorter and that was when we stayed out to work as soon as we were able.
In March of 1909, Father shipped an immigrant car to Vivian. He brought 8 horses, 2 cows, some chickens, machinery, and household goods, and last, but not least, two boys, Elmer, 13, and myself, 16. Father had a pass so that he could ride in the caboose and take care of the stock, so we boys came along as stowaways in the box car. We had a wagon box with bedding to sleep in. Furniture and junk were piled on top, leaving a small hole to crawl in. Then we could pull a chair into the hole so we could not be found. We had a big box of food among other things, a whole cooked ham, to last out the trip, so we were fairly comfortable. As I remember, we were on the road about 56 hours.
At first we really kept hid away, but got braver as time went on until at one stop a brakeman came along and looked in to see if there were any passengers and I was spotted. Father had to give him a dollar to let me ride.
We got in to Vivian in the evening and put the stock in the livery barn and the chickens were unloaded so they could rest and eat. We got the wagons unloaded and set up. Then we drove one team out to our Uncle D. J. Hullinger where our aunt fixed us some supper. They lived in a little old claim shack, but we were welcomed and fed. We slept on the floor. The next morning we got in touch with our uncles, Robert Harvey and Stanton Hullinger, who with Uncle D. J. came to Vivian with us and finished unloading the car and moving to the farm. Mother, Harvey, and the girls, Pearl and Lena, arrived a few days later on the passenger train.
Father had been out here earlier and leased a farm. As I think back, I cannot understand why he ever decided to leave a nice home in Iowa and come out here to an old shack of a house and straw barn, no well, and just a small dam that would not hold enough water for three months.
Lots of Grass and Mosquitoes
Well, I remember getting some oats and hay and putting in some crop. Then we moved to a better set of buildings, known as the Ed Shives place which John Hulce now owns. We had a nice warm spring and some nice rains and the crop looked good with lots of grass and also lots of mosquitoes, which was new to us. Then in early June a hail storm came along and about ruined the crop. However, there was enough left, so that it was harvested, but I know now that it never paid labor and expenses. That summer Father bought a quarter section, NWI/4 Sec. 17, Twp. 3, South Range 31 East, now in Jones County, and built some shacks and a small barn, and moved there. But earlier in the year Father and others were breaking sod for Ed Shives with four horses on a walking plow for $3.50 per acre. Ed Shives and his parents occupied part of the house we lived in. The barn was a long shed so there was plenty of barn room and as good as most houses at that time.
My first job was working on a sheep ranch, owned by Jim Haywood with Earl Reeves as boss, for $30.00 a month. I was not supposed to herd sheep but being a kid of 16 I was soon ordered out with a small band of ewes and lambs, so I quit after two weeks.
Ed Shives and his father owned several horses, but only a few broke ones. He hired Harvey by the month to farm but it turned out to be mostly bronc breaking. As soon as they got a few going, I got a job there and I also got some bronc experience.
They were a pretty snakey bunch but we got along without any runaways. I did have one start pitching and kicking and she never stopped until she had lost all of her harness but the bridle and halter which was still tied to the other horse. Well, I fixed up the harness and got them on again and went on working until quitting time. Mr. Shives was a good horseman and we got some good experience and "know how" from him.
So we kept on working broncs and soon had the name of being good horsemen and broke many horses of our own and for others in later years.
My next job was hauling water for a big steam engine that was breaking sod with 9-plow bottoms. It took a four-horse team and lots of elbow grease to keep it going. On an average day, they used 10 tanks. One tank held 12 barrels and the other, 16 barrels, which had to be filled by a big old hand pump. They were breaking the west half of the Section 21, 105-79. Lorne now owns the east half. The water was hauled from a dam on the Gus Wendt place and from where Harold Smith lives. That job only lasted a
short time as breaking season was about over. I was glad it was for we got up at four and worked until dark. It was too much work for a 16-year-old and hard on horses, too.
From there I went to work for Hod Shoop hauling hay. He was a good boss and had a big rack and hayloader and we took turns about loading. It was pulled off with ropes and we would put 30 loads in a stack, probably about 30 tons. It took about an hour a load. There were also days of mowing along with stacking.
Deep Snow in Winter of 1909-10
After haying I took a job for the winter with John Olson, who lived where Art Weber does now. I did chores, hauled hay, and pumped water for him and at the Shives place also. The places were two miles apart. That was the winter of 1909-10, which started early with a lot of snow. I hauled lots of hay and shoveled lots of snow. The snow got so deep I sometimes drove four horses and a load of hay over the top of fences. I was staying alone, doing my own cooking most of the time.
The boss was gone from one to three weeks at a time, but they trusted me to look after the stock and I had no losses. It was mostly horses and only a couple of cows. He had sold his cattle, 200 head, that fall when I first came. I worked there for eleven months and only got to town twice.
1910 was mostly farming, breaking sod and broncs. Harvey also worked there from March until after harvest. The crop was poor --- too dry and hot.
I worked several different places the next years. One was the L Bar Ranch, west of Vivian, then known as the McLarnan Ranch, now owned by Herb Smith. It was a horse, cattle, and hog operation. Harvey also worked there. This was 1911.
We broke lots of horses there. McLarnan sold two carloads that summer and we broke many of them. He had four men working there at one time and we changed horses at noon, so there were 32 horses in harness each day, besides saddle and driving horses.
I had one experience that was a different horse tale than most. One of the first days I was there I took four horses after a load of hay, one a bronc and one a stallion with a mean disposition, named Jumbo. I could never understand why a horseman would use a horse like him for a stallion. He was Roman-nosed with small sunken eyes, poor shaped, besides being mean. When I got a big load of hay and started downhill and the load began to push against the harness breaching, he would start kicking with both feet and biting the horse on each side of him. I tied his head to each horse so he could not bite very well, but then he would kick and really get going by the time we reached the bottom of the hill. He had the front end of the rack all kicked out by the time I finished hauling that haystack, but I kept on working him all summer and he was going pretty good most of the time at the last.
In those days the stallions ran in pasture during breeding season. When Jumbo was in pasture if you went out on horseback, he would come to meet you for a fight. He would circle the mares into a bunch and he did not want you to drive them in, so we would take two riders and while he was chasing one saddle horse, the other rider would start the bunch running. Then the horse would run for him and the mares. I was out and had a few rounds with him that summer. He would start chasing a man and horse and would not stop for a whip. You had to try to outrun him or he would chew up your horse. He got a bite on one horse before she got out of his reach, one day when I was out there. Pat McLarnan shot him with a shotgun loaded with salt, but that did not stop him. Then he gave him the other barrel, which was loaded with corn. That went through the skin and did stop him, so after that if you carried a pistol and shot it in the air, he usually would turn back to the bunch.
Stallion Liked To Fight
One day the boss, Doug McLarnan told his son, Pat, and me to take Jumbo and the other stallion, "Jim," and go seed some grass. Pat harnessed Jumbo and I, the other. He was a nice horse with a good disposition, but when we brought them out of the barn, Jumbo began to whinney, snort, and paw --- wanting to fight. Jim also showed signs of fighting but could be kept under control. When we saw what we were in for, we got a cattle whip and black snake and finally got them to come up to the wagon. But if they could get their heads together they would start a fight. The boss saw what was going on so he came to help us hitch them. He took a "jockey stick," which is just a stout stick about three feet long with a snap on each end, that could be snapped to the bit of each so that their heads would be kept apart. We got hitched and toId--them to go. The mean old boy did not go so the "jockey stick" just came back alongside the other horse and he was getting chewed in the side and the fight was on. I was using the short whip behind and Pat jumped out of the wagon and ran out in front beating them over the heads until we got that fight broke up. But when we went over the railroad track, south of Herb Smith's, the wagon tightened the breaching and the kicking and fighting started again. We both were whipping with all our might and got them running so fast that they could not fight. We ran them until they were pretty well run down.
We finally got to broadcasting grass seed. If we kept them moving we got along all right until when we were coming in for noon and crossed the railroad track. Old Jumbo began kicking and bit the other horse. The other horse kicked and fought back, and in the mix-up got one hind leg over the wagon tongue and then both were fighting in earnest. Again, Pat jumped out of the wagon and ran around in front and beat them over the heads with the blunt end of the cattle whip. Finally the good horse got his leg back over the tongue and we got that fight stopped. At dinner time Pat told his dad that if we were to seed grass that afternoon to give us time to go to town and get some life insurance, and he said, "Get in another team."
I could tell many horse stories, but this was probably the most hectic of them. As this horse got older and when he was in pasture, he got to chasing teams that came along the road. One day someone shot him and ended his career.
There was nothing unusual in the year 1912. I worked on the A Z or Zoske ranch, now Bert Creamer's. In 1913 I worked at Mt. Vernon. Then in 1914 Harvey and I took a bunch of cattle on shares. We milked 20 cows most of the time and sold cream. We stayed there three years, milking cows and batching, until 1917. Harvey got married that spring. I hired him to look after my cattle, about ten head of cows which were my share of the cattle we had after the deal was closed. We had sold the young stuff before.
I worked for Father that year. Then Harvey was called to the army in September, 1917, and had a sale and I took my cattle back for the winter. I was called in to the army in July, 1918, so I sold my cattle then. I was discharged in February, 1919, and one of the last called and the first discharged from our locality.
After coming home, I soon called on Pearl Harlan.
Grandma Pearl and Family
Now, who for goodness sake is Pearl Harlan? Well as you may guess it is I, Grandma Pearl, and if you are still reading and interested, I will try to tell you.
The Harlan family in America was founded by George and Michael Harlan, Quakers who came to Pennsylvania in 1680 from England. The family history was compiled in the "History and Genealogy of the Harlan Family," by Alphus H. Harlan in 1914. On page 224, it says, "Moses Harlan, son of George, farmer (Friend or Quaker), born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in 1786; died in Peoria, Ill., 1842, and is buried there in the cemetery at Radnor, Peoria County, Ill. Was married near Ridgeville, Warren County, Ohio, in 1813 to Ann Jennings, daughter of John and Sarah (Hopkins) Jennings, who was born in 1791 and died in 1824. She is buried in Friends burying ground, Miami Meeting House, near Harrison Harlon (grandson of Moses Harlon), original homesteader in Illinois Waynesville, Ohio. The only children of Moses I have record of are John, born 1816, and Lewis, my grandfather, born 1823. He came to Peoria County with his father in 1836 at the age of 13. There is no record of a second marriage and it may be that they are the only two in the family. Lewis was married in 1846 to Evaline Chapin.
The Chapin family story should fit in here. It is strange that I have the most information about my Grandmother Evaline Chapin Harlan's mother Mirabah Maria Blakesley Chapin. It may be because she followed the Harlans to Iowa. She is in a picture that I am in also, as a baby of three months taken in 1895, and she died that fall. She is sitting in a chair that I saw in Seattle, Washington, in the home of a cousin a few years ago. This cousin gave me Maribah's picture taken when a young woman. She was the daughter of Stephen and Clissora (Blakesley) Chapin and was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., in 1808. She was married to Joseph Chapin, but no date for that.
They moved to Peoria County, Illinois, when my grandmother was a small child and it would seem that they came before the Harlans. We have a dictionary that belonged to Joseph Chapin that was printed in Edinburg, Scotland, in 1776. Does this mean they were Scotch? And when did they come to America? If any of you are curious, there are probably records in Onondago County, N. Y. The picture I have is said to have been taken in 1831 and looks to be an expensive one.
The family story has it that Great Grandfather Joseph was prosperous but lost all his money in a money panic, or rather that his paper money was worthless, and history tells of money troubles in 1832 to 1835. At any rate they moved to Illinois when Evaline was a little girl and I have heard first-hand stories about hard times. Her father, Joseph, when the snow was so deep, had to haul flour on a hand sled to feed his family. Evaline couldn't eat corn meal and got thin and pale.
Evaline Forsakes Education
It seemed they had more prosperous relatives in Chicago, which was only a small village at the time, who offered to take her to give her schooling and promised her a fancy doll if she would come. She did go and then I have heard that her father came to see her and she clung to him and cried, "My pretty Pa, my pretty Pa," and went home with him and that ended the education or whatever it was.
She lived in our home for three years until I was eight, but too young to ask for the priceless stories she could have told. I remember about a pet fawn that would hide in the fireplace when strangers came, and that the wolves were bad in the timber in Illinois. She talked of panthers screaming, too. She had a little walnut table (that Irene now has) for a desk, and she was always writing letters to relatives in the east somewhere, so she did learn to write. She read everything available, too.
After Grandfather Lewis came to Iowa the Chapins came also and lived in a little house on the farm, east of Milo, Iowa. Joseph probably died in the late '80's. Their children, as I remember, not in the correct order, are Lorinda (Wilson), George, James, enlisted in 1861 and died of wounds in Rome, Georgia, 1864, Evaline (HarIan), Jane (Hines).
Lorinda (Aunt Nin) lived near us in the little town of Prole and was a widow with one child, Eddie. The story was that Aunt Nin had carried him every day, so that when he was a man she could still lift him. I remember she was very kind and sad and that she wrote in an autograph album of my father's: "May the Lord keep you from temptation and son, and accept the kind wishes of your Aunt Nin." I still have the album. Uncle George also lived there and seemed to be kind of a family joke. Also he DRANK. I can't think it was very much but in a family like that, a little went a long way. He was the youngest child and very spoiled, they said. But one son was killed in the war and George had broken a foot when a little boy and after many years and much suffering, it was amputated. I remember him with a wooden peg for a leg, so it was understandable if he was spoiled. He was married late to an "old maid" and they adopted a baby about my age. The baby, Park, grew up and was killed in the First World War. They had moved to PeEll, Washington, and Uncle George had died there so Aunt Jennie was left alone. She wouldn't spend any of the money from the government for his insurance, but hid it everywhere in her little house and worried everyone. I don't know why I am telling this except it seemed such a pathetic story and there is no one left to hurt. Uncle George and Aunt Jennie are buried in the PeEll Cemetery.
Lewis and Evaline Come to Iowa
When Lewis and Evaline came to Belmont Township, Warren County, Iowa, in 1854, they brought two children, Ruth and Joseph. I will copy from the Warren County History in 1879 . . . "Lewis Harlan owns a farm of 120 acres. The first house on it was built of hay, straw and mud. He helped to organize the township and voted at the first election and was elected assessor." He had been assessor in Illinois, too, one note says. "He enlisted in Co. D, 34th Iowa Infantry in August, 1862, and was promoted to Sergeant, January 5, 1863. He served till May 20, 1863, when he was discharged for injuries received in the line of duty. He was in the battles of Haines Bluff and Arkansas Post."
I think of Evaline left with little children to take care of during the war. My father, Marion, was born in 1861 and Martha was older so there were four. But she had relatives living near, I think. I remember one story. Some one was at their home (they had built a better house and part of it is still there) talking for the South or making a remark of some kind. She took a chair and threatened him and said she would have no Rebel talk in her house.
Six children of the ten born lived to grow up --- Ruth (Wilson), Joseph, Martha (Crow), Marion, Willie and Ray. Some of Ruth's descendants are the Butlers of Lacona, Iowa. Joe's daughter is the Rose who visited here and now lives in Seattle --- the only child left.
There are some Crows in Washington and Oregon but I don't know where. Willie has one daughter left, Nellie Irwin in Copalis Beach, Washington. Ray has two children --- Ted and Annie (Fox), both in Yakima. Evaline was born in 1826 in New York and died in PeEll, Wash., in 1911, 85 years and a continent covered in her lifetime. She had followed her daughter, Ruth, and said, "If I die out here in this heathen country, don't rattle my old bones back over that railroad." And so they didn't. I have seen her grave and also her husband's grave in Lynn Grove Cemetery at Prole, Iowa. Years ago some cousins and I had her name and dates chiseled on the stone there and a marker put at the place in PeEll. She was a vivid personality and the stories I have heard show it. I just wanted to bring her to life a little.
Marion grew up and the family moved to Jefferson Township when he was 21 and there he met Minnie Lockridge who was 14 when he first saw her and wearing a red velvet jacket, so he said. Can't you just see her with that coal black hair and sparkling eyes? They were married when she was 19 and I have hints of quite a courtship. He had a team of Hambletonian horses, matched sorrels, with white manes and tails that he used to tell about. They used sleighs with bells and after a drive at night, when the snow was deep, he would rub their legs dry before he went to bed. In the summer when the roads were dusty, it was not good to let anyone get ahead of you so that you would "eat their dust" so there were races. He got ahead of Minnie's brother, Lee, so Lee ran behind him, nine miles I think they said, trying to run the horses down, but the sorrels were not even bothered. I wonder if the Lockridge kids were not a bit wild. I heard of a horse race where Lee ran over a cow and spilled them all out.
They both went to country schools that were being started, Marion in Belmont Township at "Locust Grove" school. He told some stories about troubles with big boys and the teachers like we read about. One was about a "professor" from Indianola who came to teach wearing a long black robe. Can you imagine the challenge that would be to country kids? Anyway they locked him out of the schoolhouse in the cold weather until he caught cold and had pneumonia. My father liked school and always had an idea of getting more education, but that wasn't easy in days. I think his father was getting old and he was the one to do the work on the farm, and did until he married.
Minnie had some school tales to tell. She had had good teachers and got a good common school education. She was probably quick to learn, too. They learned the multiplication tables to the tune of Yankee Doodle and she could still sing it. I never heard of that from anyone else. Also, they had a teacher who wasn't so good so her cousin wrote on the board, "Oh, Lord of Love, look down from above on these poor innocent scholars. They hired a fool to teach our school, and gave her 40 dollars." The teacher cried so I heard. Grandpa Lockridge always saw that they had music lessons. A teacher would drive from place to place giving lessons and make it back about once a week. They had a very good new organ on which to practice, the one Chuck Erikson has now. So I think times were pretty good then.
Minnie and Marion were married in September, 1889, and got right into the hard times just as Eli and Lizzie did.
Lockridges and Harts
Now it is time to backtrack and tell of the early Lockridges and of the Harts, who were Grandma Lockridges family. The Lockridges came from Staunton, Virginia. Samuel Lockridge was born in 1809 and married Mary Poole in 1832, when she was 20 and he, 24. I have her picture when she was a very old lady, holding a Bible, and I have the identical Bible in the picture. Minnie said she always wore a black silk apron and a white starched cap, just as the picture shows.
They moved in 1834 to Henry County, Indiana, and in 1838 to Brown County, where they lived for 16 years. They had nine children and it seems as if most of them were born there. My grandfather, David, was born in 1840. He was the fourth child and was 13 when they came to Warren County, Iowa, in 1853, Their children are: William, born in 1834, James 1836, Jacob 1838, David 1840, Lucinda (Simmons) 1842, Elizabeth Ann (married James Elliott Hart) 1844, Mary Jane (Perkins) 1846, Catherine (Davidson) 1848, and Susanna (Leap) 1850.
"Uncle Huff" Perkins was Mary Jane's teacher at "Brush College," a country school that someone with a sense of humor must have named. He married his pupil and later went on to teach Minnie. I went to school there for a short time and was taught by one of his daughters. I can remember the 23rd Psalm she taught us.
David said when they came from Indiana they had their choice of land as they were early settlers. They had no experience with prairie land and thought it was no good if trees didn't grow, so they chose the rough timber land along the river which was much poorer soil besides having to be cleared.
Samuel set up a saw mill and cut lumber. He was killed at the mill, March 17, 1866. The family never forgot and on St. Patrick's Day my grandmother would tell us the story of how he knew there was a crack in one of the wooden pulleys but thought he could finish the day with it. But it broke and the belt killed him.
Harts Were Pennsylvania Dutch
And now we come to the Hart's, who were Pennsylvania Dutch, as were the Hullingers. After the Revolution they went to Buncombe County, North Carolina, and then on to Kentucky as soon as possible. There were Harts in Boonesboro with Daniel Boone, but as yet I cannot connect the Nathaniel Hart and Thomas Hart, who helped finance Daniel Boone's venture, with the John David Hart who is definitely my great great grandfather.
He was' born in 1779 in Buncombe County, North Carolina, and married Nancy Morgan. They came to Whitley County, Kentucky, about 1800. They had nine children: William Morgan (born 1804), Andrew, Peter (born 1808), Thomas, James (born 1815), Tempha (born 1820), Joseph, Hannah, and John Preston (born 1825).
The date is right so that William Morgan is surely my Grandma Missouri Hart Lockridge's father. He was a captain in the Black Hawk war and lived in Putnam County, Illinois. He was married to Elizabeth Hart. They had three children: Nancy (Neely), Hannah (Reeves), and John Morgan. I have heard of all these and think I have seen John Morgan, who would have been my grandmother's half brother.
After Elizabeth died, so the story goes, William Morgan Hart rode horseback to North Carolina and married her sister, Rebecca. They were daughters of Peter and Hannah (Poe) Hart. I never heard if she rode back with him on a horse but have always wondered. I think it likely as that was wild country in those days, and roads and Indians were not good.
They moved to Mercer County, Missouri, in 1839. Their first child is said to be the first white child born in that county, which joins the Iowa line. They were 25 years earlier than the Hullingers and about 25 miles south of where the Hullingers settled in Iowa. And so the Hart and Hullinger families came together again after leaving Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They are difficult to trace as both had outrageously large families and used the same names over and over.
Morgan and Rebecca also had nine children: James Elliott, born 1839 (married Anne Lockridge), Missouri America, born 1841 (married David Lockridge), Rebecca Kentucky, born 1843 (married William Moss), Franklin Benton, born 1845, Willard P. Hall, born 1847, Eliza Ann or Josie, born 1849 (married Joseph Moss), Virginia or Jennie, born 1851 (married McClaren), Hazeltine or Hazie, born 1853 (married Calvin Moss), William, born 18?, died 1861.
Two Little Girls, "Kainy" and "Zouri"
Here with the Harts, I am lucky again, as Grandmother Missouri America told me many tales. They called her Zouri and her sister, Rebecca Kentucky, was called Kainy. Wasn't that terrible for two pretty little girls to have such names? Grandma was ashamed of hers. I will call her Zouri after this. She said her father couldn't read or write but he could do arithmetic and figure interest in his head; also that he used to stake people who were going to California in the Gold Rush and it must have paid off for at one time he owned 1500 acres of land. During the Civil War, when there was trouble in Missouri she saw him take a pan (she showed me the size) heaped up with gold pieces and took it out to bury. She didn't know where, or if it was ever found again. She said they were "Secesh" which meant they were for the South, and that the boys and girls in the country rode white horses in "torchlight parades" at political rallies. If they ever owned slaves it was not very many, but she mentioned good horses. I have heard he had a race track on his own land and that they kept the horses hidden in the timber to keep them from the Yankee soldiers. I think from history they were not really soldiers in that part of Missouri, but outlaws posing as Army. They would come and stack their guns in the yard and order meals to be cooked. They caught her brother, James Elliott, and strung him up to a tree and threatened to hang him if he didn't tell where the horses were. They would pull him up on his toes and then let him down but still he did not tell, so I heard, and for some reason they let him go. If ever you go to that country you can see it was a good place to hide.
Grandma said that her father wouldn't allow the girls to wear hoops so they would make hoops out of hickory branches or whatever and hide them in the timber and after they left the house on the way to the party, they would don the hoops and he didn't know.
He hired a teacher for his girls, what they called a Dame school, but I don't know how long Zouri went. She could read and write, though not too well. They didn't believe in wasting time that way and looked down on people who did.
They had built a big house for its day with two stories and two balconies with walk-out doors upstairs. I have seen the house when part of the balconies were there and it was very impressive. Now the timber has grown so thick that the house can scarcely be seen. I imagine it was after the hanging episode took place 'that they decided to move north into Iowa in 1863 and the gold was buried. They located a mile or two from the Lockridges, just south of Des Moines, and stayed there until the war was over. Grandfather David was in the war, fighting for the North and was discharged in March, 1863, and they were married October 24, 1865, so they had not met before he went to war. The war was over in '65 and the Harts were getting ready to go back to Missouri. Grandma Zouri said her mother tried to talk her out of the marriage, saying she would be left up in Iowa alone and she answered, "We will probably be in Missouri before you are," and she knew they wouldn't. So she stayed in Iowa. It wasn't long until a railroad was built from Des Moines to Cainsville, a few miles from the Harts, and she told me how she took the little girls, Minnie and Josie, and went to visit her folks "all by herself." It was still exciting to her when she told me and I thought what a marvelous thing it would be for a woman to be able to do a thing like that in those days. A man "spoke" to her, but she answered coolly and with dignity, so it was all right.
When Minnie was 14, they visited another time, 1883, and we were privileged to take her back there in 1964 far the first time, 81 years later, when she was 95. She could remember being there and went into the old house, but said her memories were better than the reality.
I think David and Missouri had a real romance and a happy life. I lived there quite a lot and always felt that way. They had five living children: Lee, born 1866, Minnie (Harlan), born 1869, Josie (Leggett), born 1871, Villa (Wheeler), born 1880, and Jennie (Bland), born 1885. They had a comfortable home on the Iowa farm.
Milk, Honey and Fruit Trees
Grandpa David kept bees and harvested a lot of honey. He had many kinds of fruit trees and was always planting more and did some grafting of apples. I remember picking big pails of blackberries and there were strawberries and plums. He liked Jonathan apples and had quite an orchard of them and as I remember it, I have never tasted any as good as those. There were cows to milk and the milk was strained into crocks and put in a cave. The cream was skimmed every morning and then it had to be churned and the butter made ready to sell. That was the grocery money for things that had to be bought. They traded eggs, too, to the stores. All the farms of that day were like that and it was a very comfortable pleasant life in spite of the work.
Grandma was never very well, but she was a good supervisor and things always went smoothly. David was like a clock for dependability and I never remember hearing a cross word from him. I was a special grandchild, or so they made me feel, and when I went back to visit them on their 60th wedding day with Clifford and Maribee, Grandma came around and told me, "Now, let them have everything they want and do just as they please and you won't have a bit of trouble." And as I look back, I think that was the system they always used. My memories of them are so many, it is hard to stop. Ask me what you would like to know before it is too late.
We must go back to Minnie and Marion, starting out in 1889, just as the hard times started. I have heard talk of working on the railroad at a dollar a day for 10 hours of the hardest kind of work. They lived on farms, too, in those years before I was born and one baby, Wallace, died when he was a year and a half old, probably in 1893. My sister, Nina, was born in 1890. From her pictures and what I have heard she was a very beautiful child. I was born in 1895, and when I was about a year old they left for Washington state where most of my father's brothers and sisters were going. They went to PeEll, which is about 20 miles from the coast and worked in the timber. This was very hard and dangerous work. It probably paid better than Iowa labor, but he hated the work besides the danger. They told me they walked 12 miles and carried me to look at a farm place somewhere in the timber and that it was a nice place but no way in or out besides walking. So they came back to Iowa in the summer of 1896. That fall when Nina was six she started to school. A diphtheria epidemic broke out and she died that fall. I think they never recovered from that loss and it shadowed the rest of their lives. I was 15 months old at the time. Grandfather Lewis died the winter I was four and Theron was born the next September and I can remember both events.
Preferred South Dakota to Canada
The years went by with no settled place to live and they were always thinking of a new country. Marion went to Canada and homesteaded, but when it came time to move there he couldn't bring himself to give up his citizenship in the U. S., though he thought it was good land. And so in 1903 he came to look over South Dakota and did homestead the southwest quarter of section 1, Township 3, South, 31 E, in what was then Lyman County, but is now Jones. The catch was that by now he was 42 years old and as I look back I know it was too late in his life ever to conquer this country. In the spring of 1905 we came out to live for awhile until we could prove up and sell the land.
Marion had made several trips here to hold down the claim and I remember him telling how it was in September of 1904. No rain and with the hundreds of range cattle that ranged from the Medicine Creek to the White River, there was no grass for miles. But in spite of that he came out in April and built a shack. He stayed behind to work when in June, Minnie, I, then ten, and Theron, six, came on the train to Chamberlain. I was old enough to be excited about it all and was very happy to come. We were met in Chamberlain by Roy Andrews, who was 14 and the son of a man whose family lived near our shack and ran a road house. We had brought some bedding from Iowa, but that was about all, so Minnie bought a little two-hole stove, stove pipe and screen wire. I remember a keyhole saw and hammer and she used them. There were floor boards for the shack, lath and tarpaper. But you can get the picture, nothing unnecessary. As soon as we got there, she began helping Mr. Andrews lay a floor in the shack and after that she made a screen door and put screen over the holes which we had for windows, no glass, but board fit when it rained. In a week or two, our Aunt Cora and Josie came, and they lived in shacks nearby. I don't know what we ate or where we got it. I remember bacon and syrup. Josie said she had often heard of the Land of Milk and Honey, but this was the first she had heard of the Land of Dam Water and Syrup. So it was all a big joke and like a camping trip.
Marion and Uncle Lee came in September, driving through from Iowa with a team and spring wagon, so now we had transportation. They went to work at Zoske's, putting up hay and hauling loads of wood home as they came. So winter was being thought of. They banked up the shack to the eaves so it was very warm and, of course, put in windows.
We had no school all that winter but we read a lot, and I had several books I almost memorized --- Uncle Tom's Cabin, Alice in Wonderland, and Five Little Peppers. An odd assortment but all there was. There was a stack of magazines, Red Book, Argosy, and Cosmopolitan, and I read those, too. They were racy for their day and I wish I could see them to see what I really did read. I had failed to learn the multiplication table in Iowa. One day Minnie taught me to do long division, so I evidently went on from there. I never bothered to learn those tables any more. The Andrews girls and I sewed for our dolls. I had a big doll that took too much material so I carved out a little wooden doll with a very graceful shape like the ladies had then and if you didn't like the shape you could carve off a little more. She had a lot of yellow hair made out of tow they used to clean guns with. The arms were made out of cloth rolled up and would bend just as well as the expensive dolls they have now. She had no legs, but with the long skirts they had, she could stand up fine. On the whole, she was the best doll I ever had.
And so we had a very profitable and fun year. The next summer I was eleven and in September they started school. I still couldn't multiply but the teacher started us on fractions and as far as I can remember it was easy. We only went to school until October when the claim could be "proved up." Irene was born that July, 1906. Somehow we had gotten another team of horses and a wagon with a cover and we were going back to Iowa. We were 17 days on the way and maybe I had better tell what I can remember. It just seems to me that no one made such trips after that. It wasn't much fun for me as by that time I was getting older and self-conscious about not being in school and probably looked pretty shabby.
Sick Horse Nearly Stops Trip
It was not uncomfortable in the wagon. We had bed springs on the wagon box to sleep on, a little stove to cook with, and a good tight cover over the wagon bows. We got as far as between Pukwana and Kimball when one of the horses got sick. That was a thing we forget about, but was a threat often then. There was not a house in sight and you could see for miles. The folks got out all the remedies, soda, liniment, and what else I don't know and mixed it together and got it down the horse. We were unhitched, of course, and the horse was lying by a haystack so there must have been people somewhere. They called the sickness colic and diagnosed that the cause was the water she drank at Pukwana. I can remember the sick feeling of fear and discouragement that I suppose I caught from the folks.
The railroad track was nearby and I remember them saying that my father could follow that until he caught a ride with the section men to a town where he could get another horse. But because of, or in spite of the medicine, she got better and in the morning we started on.
Irene was only three months old and they feared the trip would be too hard on her, so when we got to Mitchell my mother took her and went on the train. We could travel about 30 miles a day and I remember how careful my father was to avoid going the least way north or west, but only south or east. Every foot in the wrong direction would have to be made back. I used to remember every town we stayed in, but can't any more. There was Bridgewater, Rock Valley, Archer, Cherokee, and many others. Marion was whimsical and fun and we laughed and made jokes and rhymes and he was never cross. One night Theron got sick with a very high fever and was delirious, and I could sense his desperation and worry, but Theron was better in the morning and we went on. That must have been in Iowa somewhere.
But we finally got to Prole where we had a farm rented and ready for us. We lived there two years trying to decide whether to sell our claim and buy in Iowa or not. We could sell the 160 acres for about enough to buy 40 acres there. As we see it today, that was a bargain, but no way of judging then. I wanted to come back and may have been the deciding factor, but I don't know.
When we came back to South Dakota in the fall of 1908 with an immigrant car loaded with fence posts and furniture, Marion was 47. The claim was completely bare of improvements except the original shack. After a well was dug by hand in the creek, there was plenty of hard bitter water. It was clean and cold and we used it and learned to like it. People were leaving fast by then, so he bought another better shack and attached it to the first one. He also dug a cellar in that hard shale. The pick marks stayed in the walls for years showing how hard the digging had been. Then there were the post holes to be dug by hand and he had no help. He never hired help as there was no money for that. And then most important was the sod to break. He had gotten hold of one good big team, "Knute" and "Dick," a trotting bred mare, "Old Jess," and a little bronc saddle horse we called "Whizzer." It was hard grueling work for the horses and he took the best care of them he could. He was a horse lover and couldn't bear to work a horse with sore shoulders or that was too thin. I remember hearing him say about breaking up the land, "Horses will never do it." He could have no vision of tractors, but I wish he had. He planted 40 acres of wheat on some land just south of us and it was very nice and they had great hopes until it was hailed out. He also took a job of breaking sod north of Boyle's and I went along to drop seed corn in the furrow every third round. It would be covered the next time around. I enjoyed that as the weather was nice and Marion joked and we had fun. I can't remember any crop but maybe there was.
House Is Gradually Improved
The years went by and they added another shack or two to the house. Minnie was always papering, patching and papering again, so that it was comfortable and didn't look too bad inside. It had much tarpaper and banking up with dirt on the outside. There were some crops and some very good gardens, also chickens and eggs. We milked a few cows and sold cream.
It must have been in the winter of 1916-17 that he had a stroke. He seemed to recover from that, but it seems to me his judgment was never so good after that and the singing and joking stopped. In 1917, they sold the first land and moved about 6 miles north to another quarter where they built quite a good house and small barn. He planted trees and fruit and for a few years they thrived. It was a very nice looking farm. But by that time the ill health was increasing and it was a struggle for him to go on. The debts were piling up, too. He tried to keep his trees and garden alive and was pulling weeds the day he had his final stroke. He lived for a month, completely helpless, and died September 8, 1927. He had given 19 years and all his strength to the new country.
In a few years the buildings were sold. Drouth and grasshoppers took their toll so that now there is nothing left to show for all the labor except a tiny clump of Caraganas that you can see if you know where to look.
Minnie lived on for 40 more years. She died May 12, 1968, at the age of 98, but was privileged to keep her faculties and to see many of the dreams come true.
Back to School in Iowa
So now back to Pearl and the spring of 1909. I had gone to school in Iowa, but was behind for my age. The Iowa schools were not graded, and as I remember, the one we had was poor. When we got back here, I was almost 14. The teachers were interested. Mrs. Haywood's sister, Antha Taylor, 18, was the first. She decided I was in the seventh grade and set to work to get me through. The term started in March and ended in June. We worked and made it and now I was ready for the eighth grade. We had two different teachers that next year and one was poor so we only got part of the eighth grade covered. Also, we had two months vacation that winter of 1909-10.
I made my first wages by staying at the Boyles place with Mrs. Boyle for a month while Clayton Boyle was gone. There were four children -- Everett, the oldest, six, and Beulah (Price), the baby. We have figured out since that that was the winter that Grandpa Johnnie was staying alone doing chores at what is now Art Webers. It was very cold and much snow and I got homesick, though we lived only a half mile east of Herman Hendricks. It was just too rough to get home. I mostly carried coal, and snow for Mrs. Boyle to melt. I remember running one of those washing machines where you pull a lever back and forth and it turns a little wooden block with four pegs that hopefully gets the clothes clean if you run it long and fast enough. I always got tired before the clothes got clean. Getting enough snow melted so you could wash was almost an impossible task, too. The snow you tracked in, mixed with the coal dust, got the clothes dirty much faster than you could wash them. There was no other water to be had when the snow was deep. I still get tired and discouraged just thinking about it. I don't remember what I got paid, but maybe a quarter of beef.
We went back to school in the spring and I remember that the County Superintendent, Ina Sutley, started an essay contest, with the first prize a ten dollar gold piece, and second prize, five dollars. There were a list of subjects to choose from and I chose, of all things, "The Passing of the Indian." I remember the first line, "The Indian race is passing away. In a few years the Red Man will be but a myth," and went on from there. It had to be 700 words and I got to maybe the last two hundred and bogged down completely. I had probably said all I had to say in the first line, so it was not bad, but not good enough. My mother was pushing me and I sat and tried, but couldn't. One day we found something in the old Pacific monthly which had enough words to finish the 700 and I copied it verbatim and sent it in and what do you know, I got second prize and one of the judges even gave me first place. I don't know what moral you kids can get from this except maybe it doesn't pay to be honest.
What I did with the money is worth telling, too. With that five dollar gold piece, which incidentally is the only one I ever saw, I sent to Sears Roebuck and got enough navy blue wool broadcloth to make a suit with velvet for a collar and material for a white blouse, shoes, and a 15-cent pair of brown stockings, also buttons and thread. My mother helped me, of course, to plan and make the suit, but I was right there learning how to get the most for your money.
We had a pretty good teacher and we had part of the eighth grade work. Schools were closed for two months in the winter so there were only seven months at the most. The next June we were to take the examinations. Those for the eighth grade were given in the towns and that first one is worth writing about. We had to go to Presho so Mrs. Weaver took her son, Bob, daughter, Vera, and I to Vivian to catch the train at three o'clock in the morning. I went to their house and about midnight we got up and started in a lumberwagon. It was a 14-mile drive in the wagon and 12 miles on the train. We got a little lost I remember, but found the trail again. How we ever did prowl around at night with no fences and only trails to follow, and not always be lost, I don't know, but we did. Anyway we got to Presho, the first time I had ever been there, stayed in a hotel two nights and had the time of our lives. I made life-time friends of two girls, Margaret and Florence Cahill, now Mrs. Adolph Ernest and Mrs. Art Miler. We never see each other without a giggle for those far off foolish days. Besides all that, I managed to pass the examination, but just barely. So I went back to country school for another year, which was wise, I suppose, but it made me 16 when I started high school in Vivian.
July 4 Celebration, 1910
We had a Fourth of July celebration in Draper, the summer of 1910, which was a milestone I suppose. My father drove the wagon and took Mrs. Andrews and her daughter, Nellie, as well as our family. I had a new white dress made over from someone's white embroidery one, Jennie's, I think, and I felt very beautiful which is just as good as if you really are. There were speeches, races, and greased pig catching, and so on, and we girls wandered up and down hoping someone saw us and admired us. I don't know if they did or not. Grandpa Johnnie was there, too, and he doesn't remember so we didn't make much of a splash.
We had gotten better horses to ride and did a lot of that, learned to skate and sew in the long winter vacations. In the fall of 1911, we started to school in Vivian. There were two rooms in the school. The first five grades in the lower room and the 6th to the 10th were in the upper room. We rented a house which was the bedroom and dining room of the house that Ruth Heath owns, and Vera and Robert Weaver, Rebecca Day and I started keeping house. I could tell some tales about that and if any of you want to know you can ask me.
The school wasn't too bad, but I was having a lot of fun and didn't study very much. There were not many in the room and we made the most of it. One thing should go on record. We had a basket social and made enough to buy a basketball, Vivian's first, with baskets set up out in the school yard, which incidentally was just north of the Catholic Church. There were no other buildings there then. That was the year that Grandpa Johnnie tells about breaking all those wild horses out at the Herb Smith place and I remember seeing them tearing around on the flat south of the railroad, but still there was no premonition of the future.
Began To Teach at Age 16
So we had fun and it was a good thing, for that was the last carefree time. In the spring our teacher, and I can't think why, suggested we take teachers' examinations. I was still only 16 and you were supposed to be 18 to teach. But several of us went, and I innocently went, too. Most of the girls were older and I had no idea that I would have to say I was a year older than I was and sign my name to it. I think my folks didn't either. I didn't have nerve to get up and walk out, so I sat there and subtracted and added to try to get the right date down and suffered. Then I was unlucky enough to pass for the very lowest grade certificate. So the folks were proud of me and I went out to get a school, just barely 17, and get a school I did -- seven months at $40 per month. It was that little old school house down on White River at the mouth of Williams Creek. There were seven pupils, the oldest a year younger than I and much wiser in arithmetic. I had a beginner, too, without the foggiest notion of how to teach him, except what I had observed from the teachers I had had.
I was homesick and scared and then someone "told" on me and the Superintendent came. It was the Ina Sutley mentioned before and as I look back I know she knew all about me, but I didn't know it then. I "confessed," of course, and she went to see Schervems, where I boarded, and they stuck up for me and thought I was doing very well. So she said I should keep on until she sent a teacher to take my place. So each week I thought would be my last, but no one came. A new Superintendent came into office. I wrote to him and asked him if I should quit and he said you shouldn't start something and not finish, so I did. But it was years before I could bear to think of it.
In the spring after my board was paid, I had something over a hundred dollars and felt very rich. All this time we had only a very small mirror at home, so again I sent to Sears Roebuck and got a dresser with a big mirror and another large one to hang on the wall. So now when you sewed you could see what you had made and how it looked. I also went visiting to Iowa and got to be 18 at last and have a real certificate. I taught another year, nine months at $50 and rode horseback from home so was able to save most of it. We weren't "drop outs" those years. We were forced out of school so always wanted to go back. I managed a year and a half at Springfield and Aberdeen before the money ran out. So I taught three more years, always with the idea of getting more school but Grandpa Johnnie had waked up and seen me and I had gotten interested, too. The war was on by now and to look back it doesn't seem as if it has ever ended. I think the story is his from now on.
Lizzie and Eli Die in 1950's
Eli and Lizzie were trying to cope with the new country as most of the older folks did. They had learned the eastern ways too well and could not adjust. Lizzie died July 6, 1951, and Eli died March 10, 1956, so it fell to the boys to learn and grow with the land.
Pearl and I had gone together for two years before I went into the army. I rented a farm where Harold Smith now lives, bought horses, cattle, hogs, and machinery and started farming. On June 28, 1919, we were married.
The first year was business failure. The 16 brood sows I bought had been fed some alkali corn, so all the pigs died except a few which were unhealthy and did not do well. They were bought at 23 cents a pound, which was market price, and sold in the fall for 13 cents so I lost quite a little money on this deal. I did manage to get up quite a lot of hay and contracted it for $27 per ton delivered in Vivian. I hired a man to bale the hay, who was to start soon, but with no written contract. After many promises but no action we finally gave up on him, but by the time we found someone else, hay took a big drop in price and the delivery date was not met so the contract was canceled.
I finally sold the hay in the spring for $7.00 per ton and had to take cattle on the farm and take care of them to get that. However, I did get $125 a month to take care of 200 head until grass came. In 1920, we had a cold, wet spring and these cows were thin and weak, so I got in a jam looking after them. Lost 15 or 20 head besides some young calves, so with the pig losses and the hay business failing, I ended up in debt. It took four or five years to get the debts cleared up and get going again.
Five Years of Better Crops
During the next five years crops were fairly good. Clifford was born July 3rd, 1920, and in February of 1921 we rented the Harlan place. Maribee was born December 16 of that year. Margaret was born November 3rd, 1925. In the spring of 1926 we moved back to the Smith place. I was getting more cattle and needed more room. The year 1926 was really dry. We cut corn for hay and were short of water so I took a job of carrying mail from Vivian to McClure, which was a post office northeast of Weverstads. Salary was $830 a year which helped meet expenses. We got through the winter without any loss in spite of little feed and were out of debt except for payment on the first car bought to carry mail with.
The year 1927 came, and in April rain, rain, and more rain. I had to carry the mail on horseback part of the time. I kept a horse part of the time at Rischels, near Stony Butte, to change off as it was a rough trip for a horse, to say nothing of a man.
Ellis was born May 29, 1927. We bought the Clausen place, which was about two miles straight south of John Peterson's, and moved there in the spring of 1928. We did fairly well for three years, when the grasshoppers invaded us and with prices dropping in 1929, finances began to pinch in 1931. We thought we bought the land cheap at $12.00 per acre, but land got cheaper and cheaper. In 1932, hogs dropped to $2.00 a hundred, fat steers to $5.00 to $6.00, top cows, $2.80, and wheat, top 37 cents, and Durham, 29 cents. This was good wheat, 61 to 63 lbs. Shriveled wheat was 13 cents and barley, 11 cents, so I bought 500 bushels of barley and ground a mixture of wheat and barley and fed out some hogs and cattle. I think they did as well as selling grain at that price, but I still could not meet expenses, interest, and taxes, so I deeded the land back to the original owner and rented our present ranch one-half section plus some hayland and pasture in 1933.
In 1932, there was a good crop in spite of hoppers, with lots of rain, and we raised 6,000 bushels of wheat, but no price. I had bought the first tractor in 1931. John and Lyle Hulce and I bought a combine, together, in 1932, and we had quite a time paying for them. It took every cent we could stir up but got them paid for in 1935. Cream was selling for 10 to 11 cents a pound for butterfat and eggs, 8 to 10 cents. We hoped to buy groceries with this. All this time I was carrying mail to McClure, every other day. Jack was born May 9, 1931, and is probably tired of hearing that that was the year we were first bothered with grasshoppers. They had come to other places the year before and I learned that they would not eat cane if they could get anything else, so I tried to plant cane all those years and have kept on since.
1933-34, The Grasshopper Years
There was no crop in 1933. Hay was scarce, but we got enough together to winter the cattle. Carolyn was born December 13, 1933.
The year 1934 started off dry and stayed dry, and the grasshoppers ate everything in sight and ate the rhubarb roots and winter onions down in the ground. They chewed the fence posts and paint off houses. All dams went dry and we had to drive the cattle to a well a mile and a half north of our place and pump water by hand for the cattle, which had increased to about 115 head by this time. By July, one could see no way to carry on. All over the northwest it was bad, so cattle were being shipped into Sioux Falls too thin to butcher. The market got so bad that cattle would not pay for shipping.
Governor Tom Berry saw the situation and went to Washington, D. C., and got legislation passed for the government to buy cattle in the drouth areas and ship them to where there was feed.
Pigs got so cheap that the feeders did not want them, so the government bought them at $3.00 a head and slaughtered them. They would weigh approximately up to 100 pounds.
Roosevelt was president and you still hear remarks about killing little pigs. But there was no feed and what happens to a fat pig anyway. Of course it was a relief project for farmers, as well as W. P. A. and C. C. C. I worked some in 1933 and 1934 on W. P. A., building dams and fixing roads.
I sold 78 head of cattle to the government for $15 to $20 for cows, $10 to $15 for yearlings, and $4 to $8 for calves. Some that were too thin were slaughtered and burned. Better ones were killed and given away to needy people.
Many cattle were shipped to Arkansas and Missouri from here. The 78 head I sold consisted of mixed cows, yearlings and calves. I got $835 for the bunch. They were good cattle, Roan Durham, and it was many years before we built up as good a herd. Only one calf was so bad it had to be killed.
I kept 35 head of good cows, thinking I could find feed enough to get them through the winter. I planted some Sudan grass but it was so dry it never came up until about the first of September. We had a light rain, and it came up a good stand in the lister rows where it had lain all summer with not enough moisture to sprout or rot the seed. Grasshoppers ate everything that tried to grow, so fall came with still no feed for 35 cows. I went to the eastern part of the state and drove for over a week before I found someone to winter them. I finally divided them among three farmers near Viborg, S. Dak. I gave one-third of the cows and any calves born there for wintering them from November 15th to May Ist. They were to be divided in the spring so the farmers would share in any losses. I got by with no loss but some who paid cash by the month had big losses. I shipped to Parker, S. Dak., and drove them on foot in the rain to the Viborg neighborhood, a twenty-two mile hike, but one man met me and helped part of the way.
When spring came it was still dry until April Ist, when we got a lot of rain and a fairly good crop. After dividing the cattle, I came home with the same number that I took down (after the calves were divided). The grasshoppers had plenty of foliage to eat and with the cane there was enough left for the winter and to carry over for 1936, which was another 1934 but with the carryover wintered very well. Doris was born August 6, 1935, and Virginia, November 4, 1936. That was a cold hard winter with most every one working on relief. Horses were selling better those years, so I sold a few and lost two from eating thistles and roots, so I was about out of horses. I got down to one team, so again I broke horses and mules for the use of them.
1937 seemed to see the last real damage from grasshoppers and we had good crops for several years. World War II broke out and in 1941 Clifford was called into the army from Brookings where he was going to college and was a member of the National Guard.
Second Land Venture in 1938
We made the second land venture in 1938 by buying the west half of Section 25 105-79 for $1650, where we lived before moving to town, and we were renting more and found more and more work to do.
We had thought of leaving here at different times and intended to move close to a college, so in the fall of 1936 we started out to look for a new location. We went down by Brookings, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, and Yankton. We were not satisfied with the looks of the country, but did consider Brookings very strong. In 1937, we went to Indiana, still looking for a new home. We came back by Ames, Iowa, and liked it, but it was hard to find a place to lease and we couldn't buy, though the land was very cheap for Iowa and it would probably have been the best thing to do if we could. So on our way home we decided to stay with South Dakota and buy our present home and get some sheep. We did this and the sheep have been good to us. We kept buying a little more land from time to time and in 1950 we were able to build a better place in which to live. Ellis joined the Navy in 1945 and spent five years there.
During the fall and winter of 1951 and 1952 is when my heart started to bother. Ellis had come home and was working for us. In the spring of 1952, Ellis and Audrey were married and lived in a house built for them on the place. When in 1960 they rented the place, we changed houses and then in 1961 we moved the little house to town and have lived here since (now 1969).
As I look back over the years, I think of the good help we have had --- so many fine boys who have made successful lives for themselves. There were Bob Harvey, Elmer Hullinger, Max Howder, Thurman Hullinger, Harlan McCall, Chester Dunlap, Lawrence Lintvedt, Mearl Hullinger, Roger Whitaker, Hugh Pond, Wayne Moore, and many others, including our boys. Bob Hulce was around when he was needed badly. Our boys gave us some good years before they left for themselves.
During the war years, help was hard to find, and the soldiers had no days off, so we worked some Sundays. Margaret and Ellis mowed hay, as did Ellis and Jack. And then there were always the cows to milk, from 10 to 20, and calves to feed, and all the kids did that as long as we kept it up; Clifford and Maribee first, and then Margaret and Ellis, when they were big enough. Jack got some of it, too, but we stopped milking cows about then, when the war was on. So "the three little girls," Carolyn , Doris and Virginia escaped most of that but did whatever there was to do. And then, all at once, they were gone and scattered everywhere. But they still "come home" in letters and in person and they don't forget us.
Our children are now grown up and we are grown old, so the story stops, but does not end. As I wrote, it became so clear that there is no beginning either. I wonder if you get the feeling, as I do, of being a part of something bigger than yourself and beyond your comprehension. One's own life seems insignificant and unimportant, except as it ties in with the ones who have come before and who will follow after.
So this is our story for what it is worth and God bless you all.