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The Wagon Train Story

Charles Cagle and Lidia Margaret Standridge on their Wedding Day--1865

By: Nancy Jane Balmer--Great Great Granddaughter of Lidia Margaret Standridge Cagle

The following is some of the information that we have gathered on the Wagon Train Adventure.

I have 1880 newspapers from Americus, Kansas Notes by Mr. Burow, letters from pension records from family members, who tell of the deaths of the family members who died on the way home from Idaho Territory to Newton County, Arkansas. They were all trying to make it back to Newton County...

In 1879 a group of family members headed their wagons toward Idaho Territory, for the most part, they were all from Newton County, Arkansas and all family members. The names of the families who traveled together were: Cagle, Standridge, Meek/Meeks, Lane, Adams, Nolan, and Rigney. Charles Arter Cagle was a farmer and Baptist Minister who was a driver on the wagon train. Records do not indicate whether he was the head or lead driver of the wagon train. The caravan of families stopped in Wyoming and others in Idaho Territory. Some of the members of the wagon train lived in Albion and some in the 14th District. All were listed in the 1878 and 1880 Idaho Census.

Note by Betty--Lidia Margaret Standridge married Charlie Cagle in 1865. Lidia was a sister to Howard Standridge. Their parents were Lemuel and Margaret Blevins Standridge. Howard Standridge was Granny Renfroe's father and Lidia her aunt.

While there, they worked as farm laborers and cooks, earning and saving what they could so that they might return to Newton County, Arkansas. May 31, 1880, after the census was taken, they lined up their wagons and headed for Newton County. They followed the Oregon Trail, along the Snake River to Idaho and would venture along the same route on their return to Arkansas. It would have taken four to five months to get back to Arkansas. On the way home, some of the family members drank water from a well, river, or other source of contaminated water. They became ill with typhoid fever, resulting in the death of several members of our families who traveled together.

Lydia Margaret "Lidie" Standridge Cagle, became ill and died on September 30,1880 in Ameicus, Lyon County, Kansas, she was the wife of Charles Arter Cagle. Lydia had given birth to her 8th child, Melvira on September 14, 1880, just two weeks prior to her illness and death. Charles loved his wife and wanted to give her a proper burial. He cut off Lydia's long dark hair and sold it to a man who made horse whips out of her hair, in exchange the man provided a proper burial for Lydia. Alexander Standridge died two days before Lydia, Alexander was the son of Jeremiah and Nancy Cagle Standridge and husband of Mary Elizabeth Tilley. Nancy Cagle Standridge, wife of Jeremiah "Jerry" Standridge also died of typhoid fever on October 20, 1880. It is believed that Burton Columbus Cagle about 7 years old, and several other family members also died. Of the eight children born to Charles and Lydia, only five survived. After Lydia's death, Charles hired a wet nurse to feed and take care of his new baby and his small children. The wet nurse hired by Charles, was Mary Elizabeth Tilley Standridge, who would become Charles second wife on March 27, 1881in Newton County, Arkansas, and filed in Pope County, Arkansas. We do believe that our family members are all buried in a cemetery. There was a cemetery called Americus Cemetery in this town in 1880.

We gathered our information from the newspapers-- "Emporia News", under the "Americus Notes"--from September 20 1880 to November 6 1880. These articles (Americus Notes) were written by a man named Burlow, one hundred and twenty two years ago. I do not think that Mr. Burlow would have ever dreamed that his articles would mean so much to our families this many years later.

Notes from Emporia News, Americus, Lyon County, Kansas Americus Notes by Burlow.

Monday September 20, 1880: Two families arrived in Americus, Kansas at the Howard's home on their return trip from Idaho to Arkansas, one man is very sick, this is what caused the delay for the wagon train.

Wednesday September 21 1880 (looks like it should say Tuesday) Five teams of those Arkansas folks arrive at the Howard's home, now there are four sick ones at the Howard's home and you would think it was turned into a hospital.

Wednesday September 22 1880 The sick ones at the hospital are not as well today.

Saturday September 25 1880 The hospital invalids are somewhat better today. The neighbors have resolved themselves into a sanitary committee and many needful things have been brought in to make the sick ones comfortable.

Monday September 27 1880 One of the sick ones at the Howard's house died yesterday and will be buried today. They did not have a name for him. The sick are no better today and the recovery of one or two others is rater improbable. (We believe the man who died to be Alexander Standridge son of Jeremiah and Nancy Cagle Standridge and husband of Mary Elizabeth Tilley Standridge we know from family records that Alexander died two days before or two days after the death of Lydia Margaret Standridge Cagle. This would make his death date September 26, 1880).

Thursday September 30 1880 One family left the hospital and started for "Ar-kan-sas". There are still about 25 left, five of them of whom are down sick at present, with good prospects for more. Typhoid fever seems to be the prevailing disease. One of the women folks (this was Lidia Margaret Standridge Cagle, Nancy Jane Balmer's Great Great Grandmother) were buried to day making the second fatal case from this place. The family that left this morning had three among them that had better have been under the doctor's care.

Saturday October 4, 1880 The sick ones at the hospital are improving since the sanitary committee did such good work for them and a repetition of their losses is not at present expected.

Monday October 6, 1880 Lastest from the hospital, only seven sick, not nine s been reported. Two are dangerously sick, two are improving fast and three without much change for better or worse. Two of the ones that were sick are counted among the well ones now.

Friday October 8 1880 The Americus Hospital is under the charge of Dr. Stover.

Saturday October 9, 1880 All the sick ones are improving.

Thursday October 14, 1880 A child at the hospital by the name of Standridge, died today and was buried after sundown. The latest funeral we ever heard of. Ask Judge Cunningham about the graveyard witness.

Sunday October 17, 1880 The remaining six that are sick at the hospital are on the imporve.

Thursday October 21, 1880 Mrs. Nancy Standridge departed this life at the hospital yesterday morning at 7:30 a.m.. this makes the third one of that family and the fourth one from that place that death has marked as victims.

Thursday October 26, 1880 Hospital sick ones are improving and Standridge proposes to move out next Monday.

Monday November 1, 1880 Charley Cagle (Nancy Jane Balmer's Great Great Grandfather) is quite sick and Dr. Wright has been called to attend him. The rest of the hospital ones are improving fast, but they will not leave for some time yet. The county doctor has not been there since a week ago Saturday.

Saturday Nov 6, 1880 The Americus hospital in en route for Arkansas and ye local reporter "Mourneth for items." By Burlow

(Written just the way it is in the news paper)

Census records of the Families on the Wagon Train:

1880 Census Albion, Cassia County, Idaho (page 161A)

Cagle, Martha -- H Travling GA GA GA (Martha Isabel Pine Tree)
Margaret 18 D AR GA GA (should be AR TN GA)
Nolan, Charles 21 Boarder CA Ire Ire
(Martha is the mother of all the Cagle's that went to Idaho Territory

Cagle, Charles 32 H Farmer TN TN TN
Lydia 33 W AR TN MO
Samuel R. 13 S AR TN AR ( Lemuel Riley)
Mary Ann 12 D AR TN AR
Martha I. 9 D AR TN AR (Martha Isabel)
Burton C. 7 S AR TN AR (Burton Columbus)
Margaret E. 3 D AR TN AR (Margaret Emeline)
(Margaret Emeline is my gr grandmother)

Meek, Susan 36 H TN TN TN (Susan Cagle Standridge Meek/Meeks)
Samuel S. 18 S AR TN TN (he was a Standridge)
Jeremiah 13 S AR TN TN
James W. 9 S AR TN TN
Esquire 6 S AR TN TN

45-45 Standridge, Jeremiah 46 H Farmer AR TN TN
Nancy 43 W TN TN TN (Nancy Cagle)
Isabel 17 D AR AR TN
George W. 12 S AR AR TN (Geroge Washington)
Mary E. 10 D AR AR TN (Mary Elizabeth)
Grant 6 S AR AR TN (Ulysess S. Grant)
Martha 5 D AR AR TN (Martha Pine Tree)

Standridge, Richard 36 H Farmer AR TN TN
Nancy J. 39 W KY KY KY (Nancy Jane Felkins)
Samuel W. 15 S AR AR KY
Tennessee 14 D AR AR KY
Louisanna 12 D AR AR KY
Alabama 11 D AR AR KY
George W. 8 S AR AR KY
Arkansas 6 D AR AR KY
Missouri 5 D AR AR KY
James H. 4 S AR AR KY
Virginia 1 S AR AR KY

Rigney, William 41 Freighter KY TN GA

1880 Census 14th District, Cassia County, Idaho (page 163)

Standridge, Alexander 40 H Farmer AR AR TN (s/o Jeremiah & Nancy Cagle Standridge)
Mary 20 W AR AR AR (Mary Elizabeth Tilley)
John H. 18 Cousin AR AR TN (s/o John & Susan Cagle Standridge Meek) Laborer
Note: Alexander's age was wrong, he was only 20 yrs old

Standridge, Alexander 25 H Farmer AR TN TN
Lucinda 24 W AR AR AR (Lucinda Catherine Ross)
Mary J. 9 D AR AR AR
John W. 6 S AR AR AR
James M. 2 S AR AR AR

Lane, William J. 24 H Farmer IN IN IN
Mary E. 21 W AR TN TN (Mary E. Cagle)

Notes: married in Ada County, Idaho

Cagle, James J. 24 H Farmer AR AR AR (should be AR TN GA/TN, s/s Martha Cagle)
Eliza 23 W AR TX TX (Might be AR TN TN) (Eliza Meeks)
Henry C. 4 S IT AR AR
James L. 2 S AR AR AR
Margaret 9/12 D ID AR AR

Adams, John 26 Laborer AR MO AR

Kingsburg, Thomas 48 H Freighter NY NY NY
Daniel 18 S IA NY NY
John 13 S ID NY NY

1880 Sublet Creek, Unita, Wyoming
June 2, 1880
Household 44

Meeks, William Head 33 TX
Rebecca Wife 36 TN
Mary Dau 13 AR
Louis Son 10 MO
Margaret Dau 9 AR
Susan Dau 6 AR
Moses Son 10\12 WY
Meek, John brother 15 AR

(We believe that they stopped in Wyoming when Rebecca gave birth to Moses. William and Rebecca and family came back at the same time as the others and they moved to Eufaula, McIntosh County, Oklahoma. William R Meeks was arrested for murder in Eufaula and put into prison, he had family members and friends come and testify that he was in Idaho Territory when the crime was committed and was released. Statements were made that there was 13 wagons on this trip to Idaho Territory.)

Note: Not on the wagon train, but there is a family connection between, William A. Rigney. When the wagon train arrived back home, some of the family stayed in Newton County, Arkansas, other members of the family moved to Eufaula, McIntosh County, Oklahoma. There are probably still more family members we do not know about on this wagon train.

Prepared by : Nancy Jane Mathews Balmer

(Geneva Smith, daughter of Sue Cole, lives in Kansas and ordered the reel and copied the information we needed from the Americus Notes. We all thank her. The information was taken from a different newspaper than my information so Mr. Burlow must have put info in different papers. The newspaper that we got our information from had just a few more dates with information in it.) Information shared with Betty Renfroe on April 12, 2003

Lidia--not long before she died
September 30, 1880
Lidia Margaret Standridge @ Rootsweb

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