Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Very Old Story: 1818

A story from long ago.. The following is from The Sketches of Thomas White of Ohio by L.P. Allen.

Far Guys Great, Great, Great Grandfather James H H. ( born in 1783) from New Jersey and Grandmother Mary (born in 1787) from Ohio, were married on Jan 01, 1808 in Ohio. They began an adventure in May 1818.. They took a keel boat on the Ohio, then cordeling (twisting) the boat up the Mississippi, via St Louis, landing at the mouth of the Wood River. In June they made their home in the hills of the Piasas ( a area in Madison County, Illinois). In August in the company of others they made a tour of inspection to the fertile lands northward, of which they had heard glowing descriptions. Crossing Apple Creek the first day, they camped on the bank of a small stream that bore his name for a number of years. He laid the first claim north of Apple Creek. In 1819 they reached their wilderness home, although privations* and hardships ended not for many years. Not having cotton or flax they resorted to nettle for their clothing. In August of 1819, James thought that a little wheat flour would go well with turkey, venison and hominy, he took the cart and the oxen to St. Louis, Missouri to obtain some. He was absent about three weeks.

This occurred while he was gone....A former acquaintance was visiting them as usual, accompanied by the backwoodsman's friend, the rifle; himself must take his own true gun, the friend promised to stay with the lone family, the oldest child not eleven years of age. One night as the family lay in the new camp, without a door or shutter, the screams of a huge panther woke them as he came leaping on the branches of the lately fallen trees near the hut. The cautious Mary called " Aaron do you hear that?" "yes" "Well what is it?" "It's a painter, and don't make any noise or it will come into camp and kill us all." "If I get you the gun can't you shoot it?" "No; be still." "Well, if it comes in I will have you killed first." She got up and made a trick of bark and clap-boards and moved it up and down till the shocking blood sucker retired.

A Note of interest: Mary's mothers maiden name was McGhee, whose father and two brothers were in the Revolutionary War, one of them seven years, and composed one of General Washington's body-guard, and rendered important service at the battle of Brandywine.
There is another note: Furniture was homemade, cooking was done in an open fireplace, their first cooking stove was purchased in 1848 cost 60 dollars..the value of four cows.In these writings it is noted that Mary was a woman of strong mind, and was sympathetic to the afflicted. James was noted for his strong love for morality and temperance: he was energetic and had the interest of schools at heart.

* Privations I had to look it means the state of being deprived.

Far Side notes: They were 31 and 35 years old when they began their adventure, and 61 and 65 when they got their first stove. James died the next year in 1849. The wilderness that they settled in was later called Greene, Illinois. Far Guys Great Great Grandfather James White H. was born in 1817 he was just a tiny baby when they began their adventure, he was the sixth child born to them. Marys last child was born in 1828..she was 41 years old then..she had eleven children..and no real stove. I cannot even begin to imagine how very difficult her day to day life was. The story above was taken from The Sketches of Thomas White, I found it on the Internet years ago, I would have linked to it but the site is no longer in existence. :)

My daughter East Side did a blog awhile ago that ties in quite nicely with this one. Graves of a Family Name.


Anonymous said...

My goodness! How DID they survive? I noticed that he died a year after they got their first stove - told ya that too much cooking is bad for your health!!

BTW, it's melting and very very muddy and dirty over here now...

Jan said...

I think old stories like that are fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting history. I'll check out the link also.

Emma Rose said...

Thinking about the hardships faced by our ancestors is a good reminder to count the blessings in our lives. Sometimes I think about how blessed we are to have hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, central heat, etc... It truly is amazing. Seriously - look at what I'm doing right now - talking to a friend I've never met, clear across the country, as if it was no big deal. But it IS a big deal when you look back at stories of the past. What a world we live in, eh?
Thanks for the great post. And thank you for being our "blooger" friend. :)
Emma and The Duchess

Emma Rose said...

sorry - bad spelling. Of course I meant "blogger" friend!

Connie Peterson said...

Oh, I don't know, Emma Rose - I have some "blooger" friends, too!

This is a wonderful story - I am so glad it was preserved. We have lost too much history and what we DO have needs to be treasured.

Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

I'm with you, I can't imagine what life must have been like even on a good day. Add a few babies and an illness here and there, boy, it had to be tough.