Volume 4 , Number 9, Fall 1972
From Adair County, Kentucky to the untamed wilderness of Mincy, Taney Co. Missouri. ..came the Clemon Hopper family, with their married children and their families, about 1870 or 1871.
They were farmers, ministers, carpenters, etc. they were busy, industrious, for the most part . . . happy.
Life was much different in those days than they are at present in this year of 1972.
Transportation was by "shanks' ponies" (walking), by wagon and team, or with horse and buggy, so travel was quite slow compared to the way we travel today, but nevertheless the people were patient and strong.
When 'wash day' came the women would carry water from a spring if there was one
close by, or from a river, or if there was a dug well the water was hauled by bucket tied onto a rope; then the water was heated in a large iron, or copper kettle over an open fire where the kettle was hung on a bar placed on forked sticks which were driven in the ground to make them sturdy and strong. The clothes were sometimes soaked overnight in a large galvanized tub, homemade soap would be 'shaved' (cut-fine) into the iron kettle of water; then the clothes would be put in it to boil . . . after boiling for a short while... perhaps 15 to 20 minutes, they would be taken out with a long, clean strong stick and put into a large tub about three-fourths full of cold clear water, then rubbed either by hand or on a scrub board; wrung out by hand, and rinsed in another tub of clean, clear water, wrung again by hand and hung on bushes, fence, or line if there were any. Here is a good recipe for home-made soap: 6 3/4 pints tallow fat, melted. . .1 (13 oz.) can lye, 5 cups cold soft water, 2 large tablespoons borax. Melt fat in large iron kettle. (do not use an aluminum kettle). And set aside to cool. Combine lye and water in an enamel pan (be careful not to get too close to eyes or hands, use a long handled wooden spoon) and stir slowly until lye is dissolved. Cool . . . .then add it gradually to the fat mixture . . stirring with the wooden paddle, or spoon. Continue stirring until smooth and creamy . . . then add borax . . . mix very well and pour into clean heavy-cardboard boxes, smoothing evenly... let stand 24 hours then cut into bars with string . . . stack where air can circulate through to dry; dry two weeks before using. VERY GOOD SOAP!
Ironing the clothes was done with SAD irons heated on the kitchen stove, the clothes were usually spread out on the kitchen table on a sheet and ironed with these irons which some had wooden handles to fasten to the top of them, and some of the irons had the handle builtor moulded right on them when they were made, they would weigh from two to three pounds each. I used these kind of irons to iron with when I was a young girl, during the 1920's.
Their 'Light' bread was made with home-made yeast; here is a good recipe for yeast: One quart of hops (a twining plant which is grown and has soft cones), 3 cups corn meal, 6 cups water. Cover hop-cones with cold water and let stand for 24 to 36 hours, stirring occasionally and crushing hops with wooden spoon. Pour cornmeal into 6 cups of cold water and cook for thirty minutes stirring constantly. Cool. Strain hops, pressing out all liquid with cooled mush, mixing constantly, and thoroughly. Spread out in pans or on clean board in 1/4 in. layer and allow to dry thoroughly, break into pieces and store in a covered jar, or crock. When making bread, or rolls, soften 2 peices of the yeast (each 1 inch square in the warm milk and other ingredients as any good recipe for loaf, or rolls calls for.
My great grandfather Anderson Hopper and his brother Creel Hopper were also ministers in the United Baptist Church of Christ in Mincy, Mo.
Clemon Hopper, my great great grandfather was Postmaster from 6 May 1874 to 26 May 1876; Anderson Hopper was Postmaster from 26 May 1876 to 19 April 1880. Creel Hopper was Postmaster from 12 Jan. 1885 to 2 Jan. 1891 of the Mincy, Taney Co., Missouri Post Office.
"Necessity was and is . . . the mother of invention." Did you ever make a whistle out of a green willow branch? That was a real joy to youngsters in olden days.
A boy at that time was in seventh heaven if he could make a fish-hook with a safety-pin, tie it on a strong twine string and then on a willow limb, and go fishing. If a little girl had a dolly made of sack material, stuffed with rags, and with hair made of yarn, with a face either embroidered on it, or painted on with dye, she was in her glory.
I have some poems written by my great uncle in my possession.
In 1885 Anderson and his family, and his childrens families migrated by covered wagons, accompanied by other families, from Missouri to the Territory of Idaho, where they made their homes in Washington County, Idaho. Clemon and his wife, Isaphena (Hopper) Hopper had passed away while they were in Mincy, Missouri, and most of their family except Creel Hopper, made the journey to Idaho. Creel stayed at Mincy.
All the brothers in the Clemon Hopper family were married in Mercer County, Missouri... at different dates, of course.
Clemon Hopper was the son of Joseph and Agnes Stephens Hopper; Clemon was born 3 Nov. 1814; Isaphena Hopper was the daughter of Stephen Hopper and Bethenia Robertson Hopper, she was born 18 Nov. 1818 in Adair Co. Kentucky.
If any of the readers of this article are interested in their family data I will be glad to write to them.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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