Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lide's Blog – Part 2

This is the second part of Lide’s memoirs. Lide wrote these reminiscences in two letters (one never mailed) and several sheets of paper between 1938 and 1941, when she was between 88 and 91 years of age. Uncle Charlie had not edited these into any specific order. I have done a very small amount of ordering of these papers by putting the trip narratives into the first blog, the remaining Mankato story and the story of an earlier  pioneering migration into this one. I plan to transcribe the rest of Lide’s personal story in a following blog. The flavor of these entries reflect the minimal editing which has been done. These are Lide’s own words.

Life in Mankato and the Return to Wabash County

They brought one ladderback split bottom chair for grandfather who was born in 1800, so was not so old. My father worked in town at his trade of blacksmithing and we staid alone. One night about 11 o’clock my mother said “A tree painter.” Hoosiers call panthers, painters. No more sleep for her. Next morning we found a man of fine qualities, excepting his fondness for liquor, had been to town and could go no further on his way home than near a tree where he and his wife slept and of course carried on for awhile. Surely the cry of a panther is like the human voice.
    In time they built our house and the neighbors came to “raise the house.” Logs were rather large and at noon all hands were at the long table made by taking the side boards off the wagon. The Indians let my father use their Birch bark canoe. He took me with him to fish one day and I always felt worried for fear they would come and tell us to give it up.
    The wild rice grew fine on the edge of the lake. I saw little hammocks or swinging cradles high in trees where, earlier, Indian women buried their babes. The Indians did not bother people it seems. There were quail all summer and squirrels, and the Passenger Pigeons, and truly they sat so thick on the tree limbs, that they said, they broke them down. My grandfather trapped them and quail and we were supplied with meat while we were there. There were wild plums and berries. We soon moved to town as the required time was out on the pre-empted land. We were put to school and had to pass my father’s shop. We would go in and he would stop his work, pick us up, kiss us and put us on the forge and where we were warmed. Minnesota is a cold country. He would lift us down, kiss us, and send us on our way. Later he sent us to a private school nearer home. This I think a New York Yankee woman who had the school, taught the three R’s, music, dancing, fancy work, etiquette, everything a girl should know. She had exhibitions,and one number was from biggest to littlest child dressed in white, carrying a small flag, sitting in a semi-circle and singing “Columbia the Gem of the Ocean,” all waving our flags at singing of the chorus.   *I think this might not be a bad idea to have this song sung in school occasionally these days accompanied by flags waving.
    One day my sister and I had been away on a visit. When we came home my mother was in bed ill, and in looking around we saw in a new cradle in which there were two black haired babes, Emma and Ella. We were so surprised and wondered where they got them. They said “Off the steamboat.” Every day I would stand and look at them. My mother said ”Liza why do you look at the babes so much?” I said “Are you sure you got them off the boat? If you didn’t you made a mistake and they are Indian babies.”
During the day my Aunt Catherine, who was with my mother, sent me to an old Indiana friend to borrow a cup of salt and said “Don’t tell them about the twins.” (They never borrowed nor lent.” They had twins too. They were lying on the bed and she asked me how my mother was and I said “She is sick.” “What” the lady said.” Yes she is and we have the same as you have there on the bed.” But did not mention the word twins because I told them I wouldn’t. Mother passed on Feb 11,1859 and in March the same year Ella followed her. In June Father went back to Indiana to settle up his father’s estate as he was executer of same.
    The next year the Pike’s Peak excitement was on and the men gathered at a neighbor’s house to talk about finding gold at Pike’s Peak, Colorado and after many talks and planning my father began to get ready for this venture. When he made a promise he laid his hand on the bible and this to him was in the old days the same as an oath. So after deeding his home to my Aunt he promised her to send money to her for our keep or rather clothes as we were to stay at our Grandparents. Soon after he left we went back to Indiana. We were on our way by stage to St.Paul. There was no railway nearer than LaCross, Wis. so we had to go by boat. Here we took the boat down the Mississipi to --------- where we took the train and arrived at Wabash. Some old friends were at the depot to meet us. But the conductor got in a hurry to start the train and threw my Aunt and myself under the depot platform. We were not critically hurt but had to lay over a week with some old friends. In those days women were supposed to not travel alone and she met some critics who snubbed her on this account. She had her fifteen year old sister, Hannah. Myself aged near ten, sister Abi, eight, my brother Joseph of five, and the one twin, Emma, aged two. When we arrived in St. Paul the stage driver (it was a conveyance for our baggage and the family hired from the livery stable to convey all of us to St. Paul) the driver told my aunt the charges would be forty dollars. What could my aunt do but pay it to the scoundrel. Made our spending money short, though all had been paid in advance. But than as now such things prevailed. This man had the use of our six legged maple dining table to use while we were away. The drop leaves were as wide as the top. That was the end of that piece of our household goods as you will see later.

The Arrival of Lide’s Father’s Family into Wabash County.

Solomon Hoover moved from Stark Co., Ohio to Indiana in 1836 or 1837. They came over the mail Trace (Trail) , Camped at Pleasant Springs at the foot of a hill. He said to his family sitting down at their evening meal, “Where I camp tomorrow evening there will be our home. We have passed too many good, desirable places now to go farther.” They found a spring near which they eventually built a Dutch, colonial house. The inside doors were thick heavy oak and the wide hall doors were of black walnut; colored glass, single pane windows on each side of hall doors. Wide slabs of lime rock steps at front door. This house fronted on a field but later a county road was built as the Pioneers had no time to build through swamps so made a road around head of swamp. I taught my first school at this place called “Bear School House.” And native children and young ladies especially were called “Swamp Angels.” This last day’s journey took them nine miles north of the town of Wabash and there on a rise from the spring they built a story and a half house of hewed logs in which they lived a few years before building permanently near the spring. This log building was later used as a barn. My sister Abi and I used to play here and watch the birds nest although we were terribly afraid of the green lizards. We played in Grandma’s new yard where the “La lock” swayed and Bleeding Heart was in bloom and red peonies at their best. The natives called the new house “The White House” because it was larger than any for some distance around the neighborhood and was painted white. This same swamp was one of a chain of swamps from Kankakee on down across most of the state and was in the vicinity of the swamp Gene Stratton Porter speaks of in her books, one of them “Laddie.” She did not live far from Wabash. Her brother Eugene, one of the lawyer brothers she speaks of in “Laddie” was County Superintendent when I taught in North Manchester in grade school.

Additional Information about David Hoover, Lide’s Father
    David (Big Dave) Hoover was born in Stark Co., Ohio, in the year 1826, August 14. In 1836 or 1837 he with his father and family moved to Wabash Co. Indiana. There Jun 10, 1849 he married Barbara Shafer. To them were born three children, Eliza, Abi Catherine, and Joseph. In 1856 he with the family moved to Mankato, Minnesota. Emma and Ella were born there in 1857. His wife Barbara passed in February 11,1859 followed by the twin Ella in March of the same year. In March 1860 he started to seek gold in Pike’s Peak and California. He traveled with a wagon train drawn by horses. Spent two months waiting for the outfitting of the train. This was at Council Bluffs. He said that often had no water except that in the horse hoof tracks. Said he travelled on foot thirty and forty miles a day hunting game and water. He arrived at Taylorsville, Plumas County California late in the fall of the same year. Later he travelled and prospected by steamship, boat, and stage coach and on horse back, burros carrying his anvil, picks and shovels, tools for sharpening pick and shovels for miners; visited and worked in Sacremento, Virginia City, Nevada, Carson City. Worked at his trade at the Comstock mine and in it. Was in San Francisco some time and said the city was mostly built on sand dunes. Said Denver was mostly shacks. He circled most of Pike’s Peak always about forty miles from it. Suppose he tethered the horses in Buffalo Corrals built the year before. Was told the mines were worked out so passed on to California. His little daughter Abi asked how long he would be gone. He said if he went only to Pike’s Peak it would be for three months and if he went to California he would be gone three years. After ten times three years--30 years--she came from her home in Chicago to visit him at his home at Centerville, Montana and his daughter Eliza and her husband, James P. Wantz and family. Eliza with her husband and four children arrived at Dillon Montana on May 26, 1882.  twenty two years  after his departure for Pike’s Peak. Recognizing one another and walking into each others arms. The R.R. platform was lined with Bullion, slabs of bacon cordwood style, and other commodities. In 1907 he came to the state of Washington at or near Cashmere. He devoted his time to caring for his invalid wife. They built a room for themselves on his daughter Eliza’s home where after his passing in 1912 she cared for his wife Amanda three years. They are buried in the Cashmere cemetery. He said in (1836 or 1837) ? (1876 or 1877) (1866 or 1867)? he with George Norton, Lee Sterling, Barr Smith and wife Mary and child, came to Centerville Montana from Baker City Oregon working at his trade and the others farming. In 1872 he married Helen Amanda Thayer of Grafton, West Virginia. To them was born one child, Harry in 1874. Passed on in 1875.

Source: Eliza “Lide” (Hoover) Wantz (1850 -1941), (Okanagan, Washington), Charles E. Shafer (1867 - 1961), (Benton Harbor, Michigan), Lide’s ca 1938 Family History and Reminiscences, focusing on the 1860s and 1870s, Annotated transcription by Shafer ca 1943., Photocopies, supplied by Rae (Strickler) Underwood, (private address), to Sue W. McCormick, {August 2008}, Prime source(s); sometimes hard to read., My transcription is stored in the computer, the original and a printout are in the paper files.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lide's Blog – Part 1

At the Second Life gathering on Sunday evening, I mentioned that I had some memoirs from the 19th century and asked the gathering how I could share them. It was suggested that I place these transcriptions into my blog. This will appear in more than one Blog.

How I Acquired the Papers
(Note: on September 9, 1943, [my 16th birthday] I came home to find that my father’s Uncle Charlie had stopped by to spend the night. He was on his way back to Benton Harbor, after visiting family out west. Uncle Charlie’s grandson was going to be stationed at Washington University as part of the army training program, and Uncle Charlie solicited family attention for Joseph Scott — who was rather shy.
Then, during the meal Uncle Charlie told us some of what he had learned about the family on that visit. My younger sister was more vocal in her fascination with his stories; Charlie told her that he would send her his transcription of these papers plus some that he already had at home in Benton Harbor.
This letter together with the accompanying papers is a follow up of that visit.)

    251 Lake Ave., Benton Harbor, Mich.
    Oct . 4, 1943.

Dear Rae:-
        Enclosed you will find a copy of the history that you wished. I have added to it a couple of chapters that I did not have with me at your house. I hope it will give you as much pleasure to have and to read as it has been to me to help prepare it. I hope also that it maybe an incentive to you to investigate and record the history and accomplishments of your family and your relatives, both near and distant, of whom there are many. I am sure it will give you much pleasure to do so and you can have a part of making a permanent record.
    Please tell your parents and your sister that I enjoyed my short visit at your home. Your Uncle Joe and Aunt Ida came over and spent a half day here while we went out and got for them peaches and other fruit.
            Your Uncle

[Initial Note by Uncle Charlie:]
In the spring of 1938 realizing that Eliza Wantz or Lide as she was called was the oldest of grandfather Shafer’s living descendants I wrote her asking for whatever early history she might be able to give concerning the family. She replied with the following letter which she closes by saying she will send data I wish. She did prepare the data and it was awaiting me five years later but after her death when I was privileged to visit her home. The data mentioned follows this letter from her.

Beyond The Mississippi
By Eliza Hoover Wantz

    In 1856 my father with his wife Barbara, my mother, and three children, Eliza, nearing the age of six, Abi Catherine, aged four, and Joseph aged six months, moved from Wabash County, Indiana, from the town of Laketon where I was born, to Mankato, Minnesota.
    In the party were my father’s older brother, George and family of wife, Eliza Ann (Bear) and a little son Lundy still in long clothes. (My Aunt always boasted she usually used three yards of goods in her baby dresses.) Also Thomas Jefferson aged 15, son of his first wife, and Aunt’s father Ephraim Bear. My mother’s father, Henry Shafer, and my mother’s eldest sister Catherine, (born Jan, 22,1829) and her youngest sister, Hannah, aged ten years.
    Grandfather took his own team and wagon and my aunts both rode with him. And Mr.Bear had his team and wagon and Aunt Eliza rode with him; and Uncle George had his team and wagon and his son Tom rode with him and they carried the provisions and horse feed. They left in April. I well remember the day. I wanted my mother to take her wash bowl and pitcher with the pretty flowers on it. The said “no-no.” I said “Why ma,what will you bathe the baby in?” and how the trees and shrubs looked, especially the hazel bushes and wild flowers under them as we rounded the first corner out of town.
    We were not bothered much by Indians, only once when one of the wagon wheels got fast in between two planks in a little bridge over a soft, muddy place. All the men put their strength to turn the wheel when some friendly Indians came up from seemingly nowhere and offered to help, but the men said “They never pulled nor lifted a pound,” but they spied a jug hanging on the wagon and took a swig but soon put it down and made a wry face,and I remember the folks laughed as of course they thought it would be whiskey. I later asked my father what was in it. He said, “Not whiskey anyway”. Though those old timers were not a stranger to its taste, most of them had it on their tables; but I have never known any of my people to over indulge.
    The most terrifying incident on the way was not Indians but my little four year old sister Abi screaming, crying, and begging her father and mother to not ford the rivers. Such anguish. I thought my parents cruel to not give a thought. They only begged her to keep still as it was spring time and all streams were full by May. They were all intent on getting safely across. Those old Conestoga1 wagon beds were made boat shape to better ford the streams.
    The only time I remember of seeing Indians on the whole trip was one day on the prairie. One wagon, I think it was the one my father was driving one wheel of the wagon stuck between two timbers. May have been a small corduroy bridge across a small stream. Any way all men came running to help and soon some Indians came “out of nowhere” and put their hands to help. The men said “the Indians did not pull nor lift a pound.” I remember going into one cemetery to sit and rest with my aunt and her little sister--was a peaceful and quiet place with trees and shrubs. Most people did this instead of a park--did not have many parks at this time.
    Every night Ephraim Bear sang his little grandchild to sleep with Swanee River and other darkie tunes. He was a Kentuckian.
    One night when all were in their first sleep some bandits or horse thieves were routed by the men just in time to save their horses as they already had them rounded up and were making away with them. They were saved only by the dogs barking. Aunt Eliza had a lap dog she brought with her and as soon as he barked it awakened the big dog who was always tired at night after travelling all day after the teams or wagons.
    It was after this that we had the hail storm between Winona and Mankato.. A severe hail storm came up between Winona and Mankato. They unhitched the horses. My mother wanted my father to bring the horses heads into the wagon cover but he said it was not necessary as they knew how to protect themselves. That fall father was travelling down to ------------- by coach (stage) and one man said, “I wonder what made those big holes in the clay” and father said “I know. Last spring when we were coming out here from Indiana a terrible hail storm--balls as big as goose eggs fell and of course left these holes.”
    Uncle George and his son Thomas or Tom went around by Chicago to see if they might like to settle in that vicinity, but came along with the rest in a day or two. Later they went on and had everything ready near Mankato, just on out of the town a little farther on through the town. We staid there until late fall and then moved into town. My father soon got work at his trade while we staid out on the land we pre-empted.
    Suppose we drove on through Mankato to the timber where my father took up a pre-emption. On arriving we lived in a cabin, no windows, a large door fastened at opposite corners with large pegs in auger holes. Enough floor for the beds, and the stove and table in daytime, and at night the beds were put on the floor.

NOTES (from SWM):
The transcription was made on a typewriter; Rae was sent the bottom (second or third) carbon copy from this typing. The typewriter keys were not clean, so some of this original transcription is very hard to read. My sister made a copy of these typescript carbons at Kinkos. It is the Kinko’s copy that I have in my possession. The original carbon copies and the Kinko copies are both very difficult to read, so I made an electronic transcription on my computer. What appears in the blog comes from that transcription.
For the purpose of these blogs, I have decided to rearrange Lide’s memoirs into a more connected narrative. The transcription in our archives (as well as the Kinko copies) remain in the original order as closely as Rae and I could determine that order back in 1943.
In the next post, we will read Lide’s descriptions of her short time in Mankato.

Source: Eliza “Lide” (Hoover) Wantz (1850 -1941), (Okanagan, Washington), Charles E. Shafer (1867 - 1961), (Benton Harbor, Michigan), Lide’s ca 1938 Family History and Reminiscenses, focusing on the 1860s and 1870s, Annotated transcription by Shafer ca 1943., Photocopies, supplied by Rae (Strickler) Underwood, (private address), to Sue W. McCormick, {August 2008}, Prime source(s); sometimes hard to read., My transcription is stored in the computer, the original and a printout are in the paper files.

Here's to facing our frustrations and sharing our successes,

Monday, July 4, 2011

William T. Dorrance Has a Document!

Inspired by the things I've been learning from Michael John Neill's "CaseFile Clues," from Lisa Louise Cooke's "Google Earth for Genealogy" CDs, and from some of the ideas we have discussed during the gatherings about Inferential Genealogy, I changed my approach to this problem.

I have downloaded from the General Land Office portion of the Bureau of Land Management internet site copies of all the information pertaining to my great grandfather's land in Jefferson County, Missouri.

I first mentioned this great grandfather in my blog of March 8* of this year. He existed only as a character in family stories. As a beginning genealogist, I could find no records for him anywhere. The family stories said he was a soldier. Efforts to verify that found me one or two soldiers by that name, but no clear way to identify "my" William T. Dorrance.

The G.L.O. records include the image  of the scripwarrant issued under the act of 1850 "to William T. Dorrence Private in Lieutenant Scott's company Fourth Regiment United States Infantry Florida War." On Oct 1, 1852 my great grandfather received a land patent for 160 acres in Jefferson County, Missouri. Now I have two time periods and a verified place of service on which to base further research.

The only "new" technique involved came from Lisa Cooke's approach to the G.L.O. From the "Historical Atlas Map of Jefferson County, Missouri, 1876" I located the land owned by William Dorrance (spelled Dorrence as in the G.L.O. papers). I then used the land description from the map in this atlas to get the land patent details from the G.L.O.

I know that I'm still very far from having made connections between me and my great grandfather that meet Genealogical Proof Standards. And I still have no clues to his childhood. I need to do more research in Jefferson county; such as "What happened to half the land?" "What happened to his sons after he and his wife died?" I need to follow up on the military information. And so on, … and so on.

LOTS of work ahead. But it looks easier now. William T. Dorrance has a document!

Here's to facing our frustrations,
(not so)FrustratedSue

*Sorry. I haven't learned how to turn this reference into a hyperlink.