John W Stevens Letters
A series of letters by John W Stevens published in The Newport Local in Alexandria starting October 31, 1878 and ending February 13, 1879
October 27, 1878-I was born in Campbell county 82 years ago and have lived in this county ever since. I do not think there is anyone in the county who has lived here as long as I have. I thought I would write a short sketch of the settlers who first inhabited this and other parts of the county. My Grand-Father Stevens and his family settled near where Alexandria now stands in the fall of 1791. He left on April 30th, 1793 leaving his family to protect themselves.
At the time he settled here it was wilderness and the Indians were troublesome, often crossing the Ohio and causing mischief. In building their first cabin they had to go armed and left and left port holes in the sides to shoot out of. But the Indians did not do so much mischief as they did the the upper counties of Kentucky. They were often seen prowling around however. In the winter of 1796 one came to my father's house. I was but a few weeks old and my father was away, my mother was very badly frightened and gathering me up ran to Grand Father's, but as it was a friendly Indian there was no harm done.
There were within my recollection three brothers named Light, where settled below New Richmond, Ohio. They came to Cincinnati in a perogue. While returning one of them was shot and killed near the Ohio shore, opposite to the big sand bar above Dayton, Ky. They pulled near the bar and thus saved their own and the dead body of their brother.
As some of your readers may know what kind of a
craft a perogue is. I will tell them that it was dug out of a large poplar
tree and brought to a point at the bow so that it would ride the waves of the
water; in fact it was a big canoe. The canoe was used at many places
taking ferry passengers across the Ohio River. They were even used between
Cincinnati, Newport, the present flourishing cities.
November 7, 1878-In your last issue I said at the close of the last and beginning of the present century-they had at this place formed a little neighborhood as well as at some other places in the county such as Flag Spring, Grants Lick, Visalia and other places that I may mention hereafter. The land in this neighborhood was a rich soil with a large growth of walnut, poplar, sugar trees, live and black ash, so it took hard labor to clear out their farms.
The neighborhood was united as one family. When any one needed help they were all ready to assist in building houses, rolling logs or anything else that was needed. It must be remembered that this was a wild county at that time. There were plenty of deer, bears, turkeys and other smaller game which was made use of. The new neighbors were thus supplied with plenty of meat.
Some of the first settlers had put up hand mills dressed out of lime stone rock and also supplied them with corn meal. I live now less than one hundred yards from the spot where the first hand mill was set up in this neighborhood and now close by is the steam flour and saw mill doing much out work. Those settlers were most of them from Virginia and had seen service in the Revolutionary war. They being inured to hard ships, encouraged others to raise flax, hemp and cotton and the women and girls to cure cotton, spin and weave and thus made clothing for summer wear as there was no sheep raised here at that time. Many of the men and boys wore pants, hunting shirts and moccasin through the winter made of dressed deer skin.
It was not long however until they got the
raise sheep, hogs and other stock and some of the neighbors tanning leather in
troughs, supplying the neighborhood with leather for shoes. Many of us
boys would not get our shoes until Christmas running through the snow barefooted
to neighbors on errands, tended our partridge traps and many other things.
November 14, 1878-I will give your readers a description of the first school houses built in this neighborhood, for there were two in which I got my schooling and they were built of round logs about 18 feet by 20: with a log layed about 4 feet from the end log and about as high above the floor on which the chimney was built of sticks and mud that run through the roof. A part of the log was cut out of the side for a window and old paper pasted on and greased for lights.
Old Mayor Bartle, the father of Mrs. Elijah Pierce, who was said to be the first white child born in this county, taught in the first house and was my first teacher. The second home was further off. Wm DeCoursey, when a young man taught several terms in that house. Wm Reliey, who is now living in our town at the advanced age of 98 years, also taught there. In those houses and with those teachers is where I got my learning.
The settler here both men and women, were very industrious and taught their children to work when young. They raised cotton, wool, flax and hemp and their daughters were put to spinning and weaving, so we had plenty of good homemade clothes. Go to a neighbors house when you were the yard you would hear the hand loom going in a house built for that purpose. There would be the oldest daughter just in her teens seated at the loom, making the shuttle fly. Right by would be a little girl not more than four or five years old filling quills on a little wheel. Go into the dwelling house you would see one of the daughters at the big wheel running her thread to the heels part of the base, then up to the head of the wheel, winding it on a broach while the mother sat the carding cotton or wheel, throwing the rolls on the head of the wheel.
On the other side of the house sat another
daughter spinning flax. There was Margaret in the kitchen preparing
dinner, roast turkey, venison and other meats with strict orders to blow the
horn at half-past eleven for father and boys in the field, then a kieler of
sweet milk and a bowl of butter from the milk house, all seated at the table,
father asks the blessing, Thomas carves the turkey and all were helped around.
Mary says, "Ma, can we have a cotton picking tonight?: They all agreed.
The young people are invited, the cotton was placed on the hearth before the
blazing fire in the big fireplace. After the cotton was divided among the
pickers it was soon finished. They they had a civil play such as "Sister
Phoebe" and oat, peas, beans and barley grown". Then the mother came in
and says it was time to break up and we all went home as merry as birds.
November 28, 1878-As I expect to say something of place hereafter I will not proceed to a short history of Grants Lick which is situated about 8 miles south of this place. That has been a place of __ from about the beginning of the pre-century up to this time. The first settlers at that place were among the best citizens of the county. I will name some of them as there are many of their descendents living there yet. Dickinson, Gosney, Daniels, Yelton, Bryant, Smith and others. John Grant, who was said to be a great Indian fighter and in the big battle at Blue Lick's on the Licking river and an Uncle of Wm Grant of Kenton county, near the big tunnel sunk the first well at Grants Lick and found plenty of strong and salt that was drawn up by a horse and __ lass and then boiled in iron kettles, supplying the country with salt.
This was done for several years until they were sinking other wells, which he discovered was injuring the first well and nothing gained, sold out, salt being very low, but never less than $2.00 per bushel and run it until about 1825, when it was abandoned. At the beginning of the lick there was a store owned by Lindsey (if I have his given name right) I think this was the second store in Campbell at that time, Richard Southgate being one in Newport. There was a blacksmith shop carried on by J Craig, with whom James Gosney, of one of the old settlers, learned his trade and worked there and near the town when able until his death, which occurred a few year ago, aged 80 odd years and was a noted place, it having the first Post office outside of Newport, for some time after the war of 1812. The mail was carried on horseback from Cincinnati Ohio, to Georgetown Ky. once a week.
Your correspondent carried this before and at
the beginning of the war of 1812 from Cincinnati to Grants Lick. The mail
was taken out of the office in Cincinnati at 8 o'clock on Wednesday morning and
then carried to the office at Newport. Daniel Mayo being the Post master,
then to the Lick ___ o'clock, then returning to Cincinnati on Sunday at 4
o'clock. At that time I was but one horse between this place at the Lick
and more between here around Cold Spring neighborhood and but between that and
Newport. Prof. S__ living two miles this side of Newport.
December 5, 1878-There was no other post office in this county I think (for I write all from memory) for twenty five years at least, and these settlers being intelligent, reading people as those at this day and as willing to take newspapers. I will say how; their papers were delivered. There were pockets outside of the mail bags and the papers were put in them. The mail boy as he was called with a tin horn, that could be heard a mile or more, leaving each man his papers as directed, some in boxes and some in hollow trees fixed for that purpose, many of the subscribers living several miles off on each side of the road. After the Lick was abandoned the place went down fast, oak bushes grew up thick, the post office being moved away a mile or two, it seemed to be a deserted place.
After the county was districted about in 1830 it was my voting place until 1874. There was at one time but one family in that place, the election was held under a big elm tree or an blacksmith shop. About 12 or 15 years ago the place began to build up again, and at this time it was doing a good business with the old post office at home again, running three stores, two blacksmith shops near the spot where the first store and shop stood, also a steam saw and grist mill, two taverns and a large Baptist church with a good house, a large and well attended Sabbath School and a District School house.
By invitation J J Stevens, my son who lives at
Persimmon Grove, this county near the farm on which I resided for 50 years, I
partook of a birthday dinner prepared expressly for my 82nd birthday, among the
good many things with which the table was loaded were a nicely baked peacock and
an apposum of which I was very fond in my younger days. Among those
present were the venerable Samuel Todd, the father of Mrs. J J Stevens, a Mr.
Simmonds of Kenton County, and Judge Ratliff of Alexandria and others with a
wealthy neighborhood on all sides. It was also a noted place for rioting
first fighting, biting, gouging, cutting and hair pulling.
December 12, 1878-I will say something of the settlers on each side of the Licking river who settled about fifteen miles above the mouth. On the west side was one of the permanent settlers Wm Reddick, who lived as Squire and in other public business for number of years. This place was where Canton now is, right above him a family of the Vice's settled of which I shall say something hereafter. The east side was settled by such families as Maddox, Grant, Harris and Allen, others coming in soon formed a little neighborhood. This was about the beginning of the present century. Allen put up a water mill and this made it a public place, and the voting place for the upper end of the county, until about 1828, at which time Nat Vice laid off the town of Visalia and the voting place was then moved to that town.
About 1821 or 1822 an effort was made to move the County seat out from Newport to the centre of the County, Campbell then taking in what is now Kenton County. The commissioners appointed, located the place about the mouth of Pond Creek on the river, on the land of Richard Southgate, formerly the farm of "Squire Grant" on the east side of the river, about a mile below the old voting place. The Courts being held at Visalia as it was the most suitable place, until the public buildings could be built. The public grounds were laid off, lots sold out at public sale, the Clerks office was built of stone by Joseph Dicken and the jail was build by Wm DeCoursey, of hewn logs with tow pens about a foot apart with rocks pounded in between them. In this jail there were tow rooms; there were also a few houses built on lots that were sold. The people of the county were not generally satisfied with the location and an effort was made to move it to Visalia, but Newport having an equal chance, the County seat was taken back to Newport and Richard Southgate took the lots all back again.
About this time there were two precincts added
to the upper end of the County, named Alexandria and Bagbys, near Independence,
now in Kenton county. The Courts remained at Newport until between 1838
and 1840, when a move was made to divide Campbell with the Licking river by the
Pendleton line so the new County is now Kenton and the County seat at
Independence and the County seat of Campbell at Alexandria.
December 19, 1878-I will now give your readers a short history of the first worshiping congregations that met in this and other neighborhoods in this county. At my first recollection the most of the old settlers of this neighborhood were of the Methodist persuasion and as there were no meeting houses at that time, the meetings were held in private houses convenient for the people of the neighborhood.
My Grandmother Stevens was one of those places and the first meeting that I recollected of being at was held at her house, this was a preaching place for the Circuit riders and other preachers. There was one whom I will name that some will remember Louden Carroll, who has grandchildren living in this neighborhood. There was a settlement at which is now called Cold Spring, formerly Reese's settlement, containing such families as Reese, Griffith, Smith and others who were of the Baptist order and they soon constituted a Baptist Church called the Licking Church. It was the first in the county.
About three miles from here on four mile creek, was another settlement of Baptist as Ware, Cooper, Boyd Herbert and others. The constituted the second Baptist Church in the county. Another church about three miles south of here was constituted in 1809 called Brush Creek. These were the only Baptist churches in this county until the close of 1818. I will give the names of some of the old Baptist preachers up to that date: Nathaniel Riggs, Josiah Hubert, __ Reall, Robt Ware and John Stephens, who was a very pious man although not much of a speaker, yet he was as much esteemed by the people and did much good preaching among the churches as any minister of his day. Those whom I have names were all of this county, others coming in preaching occasionally. There was a preacher from Boone county who came here about the latter part of 1817. His name was Christopher Wilson. He preached in the three churches above named.
About the beginning of 1818 there was a great revival in these churches and many were invited to them, old people as well as young. And some of the young were soon licensed to preach and were afterwards ordained. Of all the young men who were ordained to preachers that time there is not one now living, namely Ferguson German. I will name those who are gone, as they were my schoolmates: Rev George Gradon, Wm Morin, James Vickers and James Spillman.
In the fall of 1818 Old Twelve Mile Church was
constituted and the churches of Alexandria and Flag Spring were shortly
afterward constituted of members from Four Mile and Brush Creek Churches.
December 19, 1878-I will say something more of the Baptist Churches, as I became a member of Brush Creek Church in 1818. I have already stated at that time there were but three Baptist Churches in what is now Campbell County. These three churches belonged to the North Bend Association (and) in 1828 there were three more Baptist Churches in this county.
These six churches with Wilmington and Banklick churches on the west side of Licking river met at Brush Creek church and constituted Campbell County Association. In 1837 or 38 this association was held at old Twelve Mile church and Brother Owens of Mason county, was there and protracted the meeting and many joined the churches. This meeting caused some trouble in some of the churches and especially in Brush Creek church, which at that time numbered 32 members. After trying to unite for some time they went to sister churches for help.
When the delegates met and decided the question, sixteen out of the thirty-two of the members withdrew from the church. After this some young men came into the church who had joined under Brother Owens. They soon started prayer and visiting meetings from house to house.
There was a great revival in the church and it soon numbered more than one hundred members. About this time the two Brothers Herbut of Four Mile church, Thomas and Josiah Junior were ordained to preach. I name all these old Brethren that their names may not be forgotten, as they bore the burden in the heat of the day among those churches with others dressed in their home made clothes, without any salary and would not take anything offered to them, as they thought it was not right as preachers and members were all on an equally. I will say something more of those times up to the present.
My wife is very much pleased with the silver
spoons that she drew in your distribution of premiums and will be ready for your
next distribution in July 1879.
January 2, 1879-I will now say something of my life in my younger days. My mother was a White before marriage and lived in Fayette county, near Bryans station when married, so I claim at least to be half white. I have stated that I was borne in 1796 near where Alexandria now is. I was raised on a farm and put to work when young as it was the custom of the settlers at that day. As yet there was no market for what was raised on the farm. As there was an abundance of poplar timber here and there began to be some demand for lumber in Cincinnati, we young men commenced using the whip saw, sawing the poplar timber into lumber suitable for building purposes.
This lumbering was kept up for a number of
years, as it was the only way that young men had to make a little money.
This was my work when not on the farm. I write this to show the young men
of this day what their fathers and grandfathers had to pass though to get such
clothing as young people wore at that day. I also write this to show the
young men and women of this generation what their ancestors had to pass through
to pave the way for this advanced stage of civilization and to ensure to them
comforts and luxuries they now enjoy.
January 9, 1879-After taking our timber to Cincinnati we did not get any more for it than we now charged for sawing after the ___ are delivered at the mill. We had to ship about four times as much for goods as this day. in the fall of 1818 I went to Missouri, where some young men of this county had gone, who were in the lumber business. This place was in St Charles county, about fifteen miles above St Charles. there were four of us who went into partnership and landed onto a large island in the Missouri river. We built a cabin where there was plenty of large cotton wood timber. We saw to our own cooking and whip sawed timber to fill bills which we shipped to St Louis. The Missouri to its mouth was very dangerous to raftsmen, as there were so many rock heaps and sand bars. Sometimes we lost our timber. At one time about ___ miles above the mouth of the Missouri we got into a suck, that went under a rock heap, where the water was so quick that it took the raft under and we only made our escape by jumping on the rock and from that we went to a sand bar where we staid nearly twenty four hours before assistance reached us. This was in March and we were without fire or shelter.
Soon after this one of our partners got married and went to farm. His name was Noah Connally, we were all from Campbell county. We three continued lumbering, boarding with settlers opposite the Island when the weather got bad. This was 1819, on the 4th of July when Thompson got married and brought his wife to Campbell county that fall. Gallagher and myself still continued and in August we were both taken with chills and fever and were not able to work until the next spring. Then two steamboats, the first that ever attempted to navigate the Missouri went to Council Bluffs. These boats were loaded with supplies for the Garrison in that place, but they failed to get through and had to turn back. I traveled through the state in 1820 but came to Kentucky that fall. I found the work harder here than when I left. There was nothing much doing, some of the settlers were selling their farms and going to Indiana to what was then called new ___ (word written over) In the winter of 1820 I went into the coopering business with my brother-in-law Jacob Youtsey in Cincinnati.
At this time the Commonwealth Bank of Kentucky
was in operation. Many persons borrowed money from the bank, payable in
payments, fifty cent on the dollar and lost their farms. Some sold their
farm for this money and it shav__ half as they went to purchase houses. In
March 1831 I went with an Uncle, James Stevens, who was in Indiana to purchase
land. After a while around, he purchased in Rush county where several of
the old neighbors purchased. And in August this year, I went out and built
him a home and put in a turnpike.
January 16, 1878-In October 1812,my Uncle moved to Rush county Indiana, WM Griffey late proprietor of the "Griffey House" in Alexandria and myself went with him taking our wrip saw with us. At that time that place was settling very fast and the most of the settlers were from Campbell county. there were the two Griggs, John and James, both Methodist preachers, whom some in this county will remember. My uncle entered land joining theirs. There were to young men with whom were were acquainted with their wrip saws assisting the Grigg brothers in building. I will name them, as one of them afterwards became by brother-in-law: Wm Harrison and Sam'l Coons.
About that time there was to be a wedding ( I think Coons' sister) and these two boys wanted to go to the wedding in Campbell county and wanted Griffey and myself to saw 450 feet of plank for James Grigg, but did not offer our price. We told them they had plenty of time to saw it and be at the wedding too. They said they could not do it; but we boastingly said we could saw that much in one day. They still held that it could not be done and made us an offer that if we would saw the plank in one day we should have the plank and an eight dollar watch, but if we did not saw it in one day we were to saw it for nothing. We told them to get out the stock as near the size to make 450 feet as the could and we would go that evening and help to pit it.
This stock when measured was 463 feet. We were to saw it between sunrise and sunset. John Grigg, the preacher and uncle, a class leader were to go with us to the pit to see that we did not begin before sunrise. This was about the middle of October. We finished sawing it nearly an hour before sunset. My uncle hawled the plank home and put it in his own house and the boys did not go to the wedding.
We got some sawing to do on Little Flatrock in December of that year. I went to Indianapolis but there was nothing doing. There were but few houses then at that place and they were big houses. The distance from Rush country to this place was traveled by s____ line as there were no roads. I came back that winter to Campbell Co and went into the lumber business boarding at Samuel Baker's (the father of our distinguished Gov R T Baker) who lived on Licking river. We still took our lumber to Cincinnati boating it across the Ohio river, this was in 1822 and seeing I had not saved any money much, but having a good horse; clothes, I concluded to settle to life.
My wife and I are enjoying the fine sleighing
as much as any of the young people taking a sleigh ride every day in a
substantial sleigh with a high spirited mare in the shafts.
January 23, 1879-Jacob White (an uncle of our present Sheriff) and I rented a place from one of the old settlers, this place was called Paul's Hill, which I see through my last window at this writing. This place I call my starting pint in life after marrying on March the 14th, 1822. I was married to Elizabeth Cherry. She was raised in this neighborhood and generally attended the same school that I did. There was but on house on this place that was fit to live in and White was in that I went into. What was then called Paul's old kitchen, with but little to put in it, but we both knew how to work. That summer I raised a good crop, my wife doing her part spinning and weaving as she understood all kinds of weaving carried on in the country at that day.
In September the same year White and I, for we were cousins, purchased a ____ 220 acres of land and divided it. Persimmon Grove Church stands on the corner of my part of that division. We had one horse apiece and let them go in part payment, with our notes payable at certain times for the balance of the purchase money. At this time the Commonwealth money I think helped me. When not on the farm I was at the wrip saw, so I made every dollar that I got for lumber in Cincinnati, pay two dollars in Kentucky.
Late in the fall of 1822 I rented a farm of the widow Spillman, one of the old settlers, who was going with some of her children to Rush county. in the winter of 1823, a Mr. Colvin, I wanted to buy a horse, sent his son down with a horse, the price was $60. I had not yet run my lumber to Cincinnati, so I went to Aunt Rosa Thatcher's and borrowed $40. She was a widow and as good a woman as ever lived. I went with the boy to his father who had settled in Flat Woods where Daniel Caldwell now lives. He agreed to my payments provided I could give him security. I told him if he would go with me to John Reiley who lived near by, I thought I would get the security. When we went there Mr. Reiley was not at home, letting his wife know my business, she said that she would sign the note so that was sufficient. She was a sister to Rev Wm Morin.
I write this to show that when a man is in need
and he meets with a friend he or she is a friend indeed. I continued on
this place til the fall of 1824, farming and lumbering till I paid for my land
and all my debts with the intention of building and moving onto my land by the
time winter commenced. After I had gathered my crop that year I had
business in Rush county Indiana and coming home my horse took sick and died.
After getting home I was disheartened and told my wife that we would have to
stay where were were for another year. She encouraged as we had been
paying cash rent for three years, saying there would be some way provided.
At this time we had but on child living having lost our first, so I gathered my
tools and walked six miles morning and evening, till I built my house and moved
the 22d day of December.
January 30, 1879-My last article closed with my moving to Persimmon Grove. That place a then a wilderness for five or six miles above me. There was plenty of wild game. About the beginning of 1825 there fell a deep snow that laid on the ground until some time in February, but with the assistance for one month of a hired hand I cleared and fenced then acres of land and planted it in corn to good time.
That spring I had bought me a horse on credit; as soon as I laid my crop, I went on the Ohio river near where Bellmont now stands, buying standing poplar timber and shantying out. The timber I sawed into lumber. This followed for several years in the farm either on the Ohio or the Licking river often leaving my wife alone with or two children. I would frequently, after sundown, walk home to see how my family was doing and would walk back to my work by sunrise in the morning.
The wolves were very numerous that time; sometime of a night they would come into the yard and run the dog against the door. Each winter I cleared ten acres of land until I had my farm all cleared of timber. There were a great many squirrels but they did not do any damage the first spring, but the second and third they seemed to know what was in the newly cleared land and would dig out the corn before it came through the ground. I went to my neighbor Robert Shaw and got his son James, who lived near this place. He killed I think, one hundred in one day. His gun would become so hot that he would have to put it into a spring of water to cool an wash it out. I write this to show that young himrods of the present time what the young himrods did fifty years ago. After this he bought a rifle and soon knew how to use it.
In the fall of 1827 I sawed a field of wheat that yielded a good crop, but the price was only fifty cents per bushel in Cincinnati. In 1828 I purchased 20 acres of land adjoining me and in 1830 purchased my cousin White's 110 acres. This land being good for corn and wheat I put my attention to raising then taking my wheat to market and feeding the corn to my stock.
In 1833 I purchased 850 acres more from
Southgate. This land joined what I then owned. The reader must think
that I payed cash for this land but had certain payments to make before I could
get a deed. of this land I sold between two an three hundred acres.
About 1839 I bough one hundred acres that still joined me with about 25 or 30
acres cleared. this with what I had cleared made a good farm for my force.
I generally put til from 30 to 60 acres of wheat, the price advancing some
enabling me to meet all my contracts. About 1840 the land above me was
being settled fast. The Germans on Twelve Mill Creek now with their fine
farms and vineyards were some of those settlers. In the last name year we
built a school house of hewed logs, with glass windows and put a stove in it.
This house stood where the Persimmon Grove Church now stands. This is
where my children got most of their learning.
February 6, 1879-I will say something more of the churches in the upper end of this county and the first Sabbath school. I have said about 1838 there were some young men who came in Brush Creek church and started a prayer meeting which was not common among Baptist churches at that time. The school house I named in my last was suitable place for preaching and our prayer meetings until the school house was moved and the church house put in its place. These meetings were married on with prayer and religious expirations. I will now name one of those young men, Robert Dawson, as he was the most urgent in getting up the prayer meetings.
I well remember the first prayer meeting. It was held at the house of a young brother who had just come into the church. Brother Dawson came to me to go in with them to carry out their intended prayer meetings. I told him there had never been any carried on in the Brush creek church and I rather opposed it, thinking that the young brethren were taking too much upon themselves. He made me promise to come to the first meeting. Brother Dawson led the meeting. I well recollect the substance of his prayer. That the Lord would revive the membership of his church by his holy spirit that those who were strangers to God might be saved by the blood of Christ at the meeting, my heart was made soft and my mouth opened to praise God and prayed for the prosperity of Zion. These prayer meetings were kept up and a great revival was had and many joined the church and there was not minister until they came to baptize the members.
Brother Dawson was not long with us until the Lord called him where he will be forever with him. I look back on my long life and say I truly believe that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. I write this for encouragement of my brethren at Persimmon grove and other places, as there are but few in the church who were in it forty years ago. Those prayer meetings have been carried on in the church until the present time. I will say something of the Sabbath schools, the first that I was ever in was in the school house that I have mentioned. I was over forty years old and it may seem strange to some now, but there were no Sabbath schools here until then at taht time.
A Mr. Lancing Gray, who lived two or three
miles off came and helped us to start one but could not attend to it. We
gathered the children in the neighborhood with their school books until we got a
small library. This school was carried on through the summers in this
school house until the church was built, which was in 1853. After that in
the church house by the church appointing the Superintendent and Librarian and
for the last five or six years, the year around. This school from the
first, till a few years back, I attended regularly, especially with the small
children, singing with them their sabbath school songs.
February 13, 1879-About 1843 my family was large, consisting of 16 persons for a few years. By this time my boys were able to work on the farm, still cleaning and enlarging the farm, everything apparently prospering with me, which I trust I was not forgetful of the source from whence it came. I will just say here that my wife was a Christian woman, she had joined Brush Creek Church when young, so we had regular rites in the family until her death. We both worked hard to raise our children respectable and give them as good a start in life as we were able. One of our rules was to rise at four o'clock in the morning doing all our chores by five o'clock, at which hour we breakfasted; by six we were all at work, the dinner hour blew precisely at eleven and the supper hour at six in the afternoon. Some may think this was hard on children, but they will soon get used to rising at a certain time and not need to be called.
My boys still follow the same rules that I taught them. I write this whether I was right or wrong, to show parents what great responsibility rests upon them in setting good examples before their children. I ought to say something here about the churches and ministers of the association, but will refer it until another time. Up to 1848 we had lost four children, one a married daughter, who died in the triumphs of the Christian faith, requesting all her friends to meet her in heaven and her husband to fill her place in the church which he did.
In 1849 some of my neighbors persuaded me to
get up a steam saw and grist mill, as I had been running a horse mill for
several years. I must say that I went it at it very reluctantly, but by
the 29th of June, I had the frame up for the saw mill and the steam started
intending in the fall to build a grist mill. I moved my Burr stones from
the horse mill and attached them to the engine, and also the bolting chest.
On the 6th of August, the same year, at night my dwelling house was burned and
most all we had in it; I had hard work to save some of the family as there were
some of them up stairs; this stopped my further building to my mill. I
have always counted this a blessing rather than a misfortune, as we knew nothing
about about steam. After our house burned, the family went in a loom
house, the sides of which was sheded for sleeping apartments for the hands who
carried on the ___ and built back the new house. This mill I sold in 1854
(it was moved about three miles)
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