The Quaker Corner: Aunt Sade's Reminiscencesl
Reminiscences of
Aunt Sade Montgomery

Victoria Cheney contributed this biography to The Quaker Corner.
It was written by Aunt Sade Montgomery 3-15-1912


By Victoria Cheney (

The document was sent to me by Ozzie Purdy of Ft. Myers, FL. This story is full of color, and is a slice of Quaker life in mid-19th century Indiana.

The narrative is about the family life of DAVID OSBORN II, widower of ANNA STANLEY. Early in their marriage, Anna & David moved from Center MM in Guilford Co.NC (located between Cane Creek & New Garden MMs) to Mill Creek MM, Hendricks Co.IN. The blonde little girl on whom Uncle Job plays a trick is my great-grandmother ANNA LUCINDA OSBORN, who later married MEAD ATWATER KELSEY of Plainfield, Indiana.


The author was the daughter of David Osborn's second wife, Anna MILLS. She was the widow of Robert MONTGOMERY, who had children by his first wife, Elizabeth HIATT. His marriage to Anna MILLS had produced one child -- the author -- Sarah (Sade) MONTGOMERY, who never married.

Aunt Sade's comments are in parentheses ( ); mine are in brackets [ ].

I capitalized the surnames; these capitalizations and also the sub-heads are for ease of reading and are not part of Aunt Sade's original.


Part 1

written by Aunt Sade Montgomery 3-15-1912

I have thought for a long time I ought to write a little history of the Osborn family, and now that I am the only one left that grew up under the old "roof tree," I will make the effort.

Almost my earliest recollections are of the Mill Creek home [Hendricks Co.IN]. At the age of five and a half years I lost my own father. Two years later my mother ANNA MILLS MONTGOMERY married DAVID OSBORN [II]. How well I remember that day. A bright beautiful day it was, in early November [1856]. Mother dressed up that morning in a wine colored "Alpaca luster," with shawl like the dress, and a drab silk bonnet. Early in the day I saw a carriage coming our way, and in it I saw "the man" that had been making frequent visits to our house of late. With him were William and Asenath STANLEY [younger brother & sister-in-law of David Osborn's 1st wife, Anna Stanley]. He came into the house, took mother by the arm and led her to the carriage, helped her in, got in and sat down beside her, and they drove away. Imagine my feelings if you can. I hunted up an extra dress and apron, put on my little sunbonnet and went to one of the neighbors, and no amount of coaxing would induce me to go home. The company that might come, nor the big dinner being prepared, were nothing to me; there I was and there I would stay, which I did until sometime the next day. They were married [12 Nov.1856] in Spring meeting house, near Amo [Hendricks Co.IN], according to the custom of Friends.

Our home was broken up and my grandparents, William and Martha MONTGOMERY, and half sister and half brother went to live with Uncle Nathan and Aunt Jane Montgomery HIATT, near Westfield, Indiana. Mother and I went to our new home.

Part 2

I became in a manner reconciled to my fate, for I found I could still claim mother for my own, but everything was so strange to me, nobody to play with me and nothing to play with; and oh, so many big girls and boys. At home I had my dolls, but when we were making preparations to move, mother objected to my taking them; too many folks around for me to play with dolls, so they were thrown away.

It was not long until Asenath and Eunice began asking about my dolls and other playthings, and with quivering lips and tearful eyes, I told them their history. They soon had a nice doll made for me and lots of clothes, but I never cared for it, for my love for dolls was buried with my poor old "Dinah" out in the weed patch.

One afternoon, soon after I became a member of the family, I shall never forget. There was an afflicted daughter, Luzena, in the home who had been a great care since her early childhood. I was too young to understand much about it, and until that time had no fear of her. Somehow that afternoon she and I were left alone in the sitting room; when she gave a scream and fell at my feet in a hard spasm. I was frightened almost to death, and what child wouldn't be! When I began to feel better I also began to hunt my clothes. I was going to leave, but didn't know where to go, but some place somewhere, to get away from my present surroundings. and it took all the persuasive powers of the whole family to get me to stay in the house that night.

I was started into school at Mill Creek soon after we moved, Zena ROGERS my first teacher. It as a very severe winter and I had the misfortune to have my feet badly frozen, and for weeks I couldn't wear my shoes. Had to be out of school all the time, and indoors most of the time, which was a great trial to me, and no doubt a worse one to the rest of the family.

I was just learning to write, and one day father brought home from town some "fools cap" paper, and had mother make me a copybook out of a part of it. How proud I was of my book, and when we were all gathered around the bright blazing fire that night, I brought out my treasure for examination.

Some one, I can't remember now which one, asked me where I got it, and I said, "Father gave it to me." Until that time I wouldn't say "Father." No, indeed, that was asking too much. It was always, "he," "him," or "that man." But in that unguarded moment my tongue played me a trick, and when I said "father," how they all laughed, and in place of going to mother in my embarrassment I went straight to Father's arms, threw my arms around his neck and cried like my heart would break. Then and there, I was fully initiated into the Osborn family. At home at that time were: Ruth, Luzena, Maria [Almira Maria], Asenath, Eunice, Hyatt, and Job.

[Five of the older children of David Osborn & Anna Stanley were already married: Addison, Mary, Calvin, Nancy, and Elizabeth.]

Part 3

The first great event was the marriage of Maria to Jabin ATKINSON of near Plainfield, during the next summer. Her dress was white "dotted Swiss," and she wore white slippers, but wouldn't wear a bonnet to meeting that day, which was quite an innovation for that time [1857; date was Sept.17th]. Her hair was very wavy and looked pretty, even if it was red; and her eyes were bright and black. Lucinda HODSON (daughter of Robert W.) and Nathan BROWN of Sugar Grove were their waiters. They were married at Mill Creek.

Other changes came to us as the years went by. One winter day Hyatt took a sudden notion to try some other country and he and John ROGERS quit school and went to Kansas and took claims near Eudora. This was about my first real grief in the Osborn home. I couldn't understand why he wanted to go so far away, but in a few years he got homesick, sold out, came home and was soon married to Marticia E. JOHNSON (daughter of William G.) of Plainfield; were married in meeting in Plainfield. Their homecoming will be remembered by as one of the worst "charivarios" that ever came our way [means "discordant noise"]. About forty men and boys were in the crowd and when the roll was called, "here" was the response to the names of Eleazar BALES, Robert H.

HODSON, John P. WOOD, James KERSEY, and many other staid old Friends. What a racket they made, but Hyatt was only getting his just dues and no more.

Aseneth was the next to leave us. She had attended Union High at West- field, Indiana, and became acquainted with James STANLEY of Bethlehem (now "Carmel"). After he had taught school a few years,, they were married [on 12 May 1862]. It was also a church wedding at Mill Creek; Zed CAREY and John HUNT of Westfield, Ind. and Lizzie NEWMAN and Lillie MORRIS of Plain- field were their waiters. A very quiet though pretty wedding. She taught school at Mill Creek and Pikes Peak, three miles west of home. Among her pupils were David HADLEY, Edmund STANLEY and Euceba Stanley COUCH, all prominent ministers in the Friends Church at this time.

Job's marriage to Hannah C. SLEEPER of Farmers Institute came next.

Theirs was a summer wedding [19 August 1863] and took place in the yard of Greenfield meeting house near the Institute. The day was fine and the house would not hold the people; a wagon was brought into the yard in a shady place. Job and Hannah and the wedding party were seated in chairs on the ground at the side of the wagon, while it took the place of the gallery for some of the older people. Joe WILSON (son of Drusilla) and Mollie GOLLINGSWORTH (daughter of Benjamin) were their waiters. Job attended school at Bloomingdale when B.C. HOBBS was Instructor, and Farmers Institute (near Lafayette) when Allen VAY was Supt. His [Job's] teaching began after his marriage.

Eunice was the last one to have a home wedding [5 Oct. 1865]. She was married in Mill Creek meeting house to Henry A. HOCKETT of near Monrovia.

Simon HADLEY and Anna NEWLIN were their waiters. The boys of the settle- ment gave them a genuine serenade with violins. With father's consent, part of the crowd came into the house, and after they had played a few pieces, one of the HARDWICK boys asked father how he liked the music. He told them that it made his head buzz worse than a dose of quinine, he smiled and left the room, but the music kept on for some time. Eunice taught school at Mill Creek and Salem, a country school two and one half miles southeast of Belleville, Indiana, and attended school, Poplar Ridge Seminary, west of Carmel.

After a few years of married life, Asenath's husband [James Stanley] died and Ruth [an older sister, as yet unmarried] went to live with her.

While there she met and married Eli JOHNSON of Carmel [on 27 March 1867].

She was a tailoress and did sewing in families at Mill Creek and many other places.

Part 4

As time went on, death would enter some home and take a loved one. When Calvin's first wife, Sarah HADLEY, died [in 1860] leaving two little girls, Nancy Jane and Anna Lucinda (she less than two years), although our family already large, father and mother gave him and his motherless babies a warm welcome back to the old home, and they lived with us until his marriage to Sarah Hadley BROWN [in 1861].

A few years later, [Calvin's younger sister] Nancy, wife of Zimri STUART, died, leaving six children without a mother's care. A babe, a few months old, was taken by Eli and Mary CARTER, who soon moved away taking him with them, and his home has been in Iowa most of the time. Simon, who was not two years old came to live with us, and remained until in his eighth year when his father married again and took him home. His home with us must have been a happy one. I will quote from a letter recently received:

"I appreciate the tender care I received at the old home after my mother died. I often recall those happy days of perfect happiness and contentment.

Childhood has many imaginary wrongs and grievances, but I cannot remember anything committed or omitted that wounded my childish feelings. I think it was Grandmother's wish to gratify every childish desire of mine and I think she succeeded. I think she was one of the best women that ever lived, and I remember her nature now as more angelic than human, and I think she loved me as her own child. I have often heard it said that grandparents ought not to have the custody of their grandchildren, but I know it was no injury to me.

In fact, I know her tender care made my life better; besides it is such a pleasure now for me to look over this part of my life. At her funeral I wanted to express myself along these lines, but my heart was so full of these tender recollections that I dared not undertake it at all." How I do appreciate his loving tribute to the memory of my mother.

Part 5

We were a family of singers in our day. No objections from father and mother, only not to get too noisy or sing very long after eight o'clock.

Father invariably wound the clock at that hour and that meant bed time for him unless there was company. Father played the Jew's harp quite well, and often did for our benefit. His favorite tune was "Black-eyed Susan." Job had a trick of putting the tongue of the Jew's harp in his mouth and playing it with his tongue, but would strike his ear with his finger. He never failed to "show off" when children were visiting us, and they would go home and tell great tales about a wonderful harp we had with tongue so long it reached through Job's mouth and out his ear so far he could strike it with his finger. Sometimes we were called on the make explanations.

Whenever possible we were playing tricks on each other. It seemed a real temptation that we could not resist, really a part of our make-up, but I believe Job was the worst tease of any of us. The first fall after Calvin and his children came to live with us, mother had her kettle of blue dye, for she usually colored the yarn and wove the cloth for our everyday apparel.

Anna's hair was about the color of wool, and when mother would dip the yarn into the dye and take it out doors to hang on the line to dry, if Job was about the house just then (and seemed as though he always was) he would uncover the dye kettle, pick Anna up and shake her hair away from her face and give it a dip, cover up the kettle and be out and gone before mother came in. When the yarn was the right shade, Anna's hair was also a good blue except a spot on top of her head about the size and shape of a hand. Visitors would often ask, "What in the world is the matter with that child's hair?" Mother would refer them to Job if possible. To us it was very funny, but to Mother it was very serious, for it was weeks before all the color wore off.

We rode horse back a great deal and every two or three years the girls would make some new riding skirts (a skirt worn over the dress, for protec- tion and much longer than the dress). One spring they made them out of navy blue calico. Just as they were finished, Job came into the room and wanted to try them on; which he did. Then he put mother's shawl around his shoulders and her silk bonnet on his head, and lo: a "woman giant" fit for any show. His next thought was to wait until dark and go to Uncle William's and fool them.

[Wm. was younger bro.of Anna Stanley, late mother of David Osborn's children.] About that time Asenath was missing, but soon in she walked, dressed in a full suit of Job's. Then they started on their trip. Uncle William was out in the yard and when they got to the gate Asenath, "being the man" was to ask to stay all night. She tried to make her voice sound big and coarse, but it was so funny to her, she strangled and gave it all away. Uncle William told them that they made a mighty queer looking couple, such a big woman and such a runt for a man.

When Asenath was eighteen years old, Eunice and I gave her the trial of her life. We ought to have been ashamed, but to my certain knowledge, there were no regrets. Soon after dinner we got big tins full of water and started toward her. She ran out through the orchard, over the fence, down the hill, and then happened to spy the long ladder leaning against a tree, where the boys had put it the day before to get a swarm of bees. Like a flash up the ladder she went and into the tree and called out, "Now get me if you can." The thought came to us like an inspiration, for without a word or look at each other, we took the ladder down; put it over the fence into a cornfield near by, threw kisses at her and went to the house, leaving her high up in the tree on her perch and very close to the road. Father had gone to Danville, and Mother was powerless.

The joke was too good, and we didn't want to end it so soon. The only thing she thought might have any effect was that she would tell father. What did we care, for just then he was several miles away. She tried to put the ladder back, but it was too heavy. We two could hardly manage it, but after a time, we heard the rattle of our wagon and we put the ladder in place quick enough then, invited her down, and rushed off pell mell to meet father; got into the wagon and one on each side of him, we told our story. How we watched the expression of his eyes and mouth to know what would happen to us (but don't believe we were much frightened). He told us that we had done a naughty, mean trick and finished by saying "If she is eighteen to-day maybe she will quite crying so much." So his scolding didn't amount to very much. We could hardly wait for the boys to come in from work, we wanted to tell them so badly, and Job made a little jingle, something like this:

An eighteen year old girl ran up a ladder, all on a summer day

Two bad little girls were passing by, and took the ladder away.

She was the most sensitive of any of us, and would cry at the least provocation, and we didn't let many opportunities slip by.

We all had our nicknames. Asenath's was "crybaby," Eunice was "red head" or "sorrel top" as the occasion required, while I had at least a half dozen. No difference how peaceful and quiet times were, and somebody sing out "Little Sally Slimshanks," things would be lively enough in about a minute, for I detested the name of Sally and my tall slender form was a great tribulation to me. Mother was a noted cook in her day and when the boys would come home and bring their wives, at meal time it would be, "Eliza, if thee could make bread like this," or "Tish, what good gravy mother makes," or "Hannah, if thee could fry chicken to taste like this." About that time I would begin to say things too, for I couldn't cook like mother either. I would tell them that, "I wouldn't live with a man that bragged about his mother's cooking to me," and I NEVER HAVE. [Sade's own underscore; she never married.]

Part 6

While our fun and good times were going on, our religious training was not neglected. Often good advice was given us, but it was the quiet, unselfish, patient, Christian, homelife of our parents that influenced us most. We were taught and had the example, that it was our duty to attend weekday meetings just the same as school and meeting on the Sabbath. No difference what kind of work on hand, nor how busy, it stopped when the meeting hour on Fifth day morning came. We went, not expecting to be entertained with song or sermon when we got there, for we didn't have much preaching and no singing at all in our meetings in our younger days, but each and all entered with humble heart into that sweet, peaceful silence that brought us so near to "Our Father." The memory of those days is still very precious to some of us.

The death angel's visits into our home have been many. We have seen our loved ones put beneath the sod, or received the sad message from distant lands that told us our number on earth was growing less, while "over there" link after link was being added to the family chain, until just one remained here, and now has come to me one of the saddest times in my life, sad because to me it is almost the keenest, the greatest bereavement I have ever known.

A few days ago the message came to me that Hyatt was very sick, "Come." There had been a heavy fall of snow, and all around my home it lay in great white unbroken drifts. Could I make the trip? It seemed almost impossible, but something said, "Go, and go quickly," and with the aid of kind friends it was made possible for me to reach him in his conscious moments. The smile he gave me, the outstretched hands, and the glad cry "Sarah," repaid me beyond words for all the hardships I had endured on the way. It told me of a brother's love, the sweet memories of our earlier days, the old home and its associations, but more than all of that unbroken faith in our "Heavenly Father's" love to us, that He has been our refuge all along our pathway, in its highs and shadows, in the years that are past, and will be an anchor both sure and steadfast as we are entering into that "great beyond."

With his death closes the last chapter of the Osborn family as I remember it, and I am left alone.

Some Chronological Death Dates in Family of David Osborn II:

1850Anna Stanley1st wife47 David Osborn II
1860Sarah Hadley dau.-in-law Calvin Osborn
1863Nancy dau. 30 [twin bro. d.infancy] Zimri Stewart/Stuart
1866James M.Stanley son-in-law Asenath Osborn
1874Luzena dau. 47 unmarried
1875Addison son 50 Esther Newlin
1879David Osborn II81 Anna Stanley; Anna (Mills) Montgomery
1881Eunice dau. 38 Henry A. Hockett
1889Almira Maria dau.57 Jabin Atkinson
1890Elizabeth dau. 55 Elam Stanley
1891Ruth dau. 62 Eli Johnson
1897Anna Mills his 2d wife 85 Robt. Montgomery; David Osborn II
1899Asenath dau. 60 James M. Stanley;
1903Calvin son 63 Sarah Anna Hadley; Sarah Hadley Brown
1905Mary dau. 79 Joel Newlin
1906Job son 65 Hannah Sleeper
1912Hyatt son 75 Marticia E. Johnson

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