Volume 5, Number 9, Fall 1975
This story begins with a little boy of four-years old, who came to America with his father Domineck Ingenthron, a stepmother, and a family of two sisters and two brothers. There was an addition of two half-sisters after they came to America.
This boy, little Joe, was terribly near sighted. The step-mother disliked him, and he seemed to be in the way of the sisters who had married and had homes of their own around Lawrenceberg and Shelbyville, Indiana.
The war broke out between the North and South, and destructive floodwaters of the Ohio River destroyed Mr. Ingenthrons land and other holdings. Little Joes father decided the boy was too small to enlist in the Army. He was nearing the age of ten and was large for his age, so it was thought he could earn his board and clothes. His father placed him with an Amish home, then called Dunkards, where he would be safer from the war and less worry for the family.
This Amish family, named Butterfield, was like a real family to little Joe. They were very strict in their faith and believed in letting the spirit lead in all things. They slipped into the Lords house on Sunday morning and all members settled quietly. Nobody spoke unless the spirit moved on someone in the congregation. If not, they all got up and left as quietly as they came. Nobody spoke. If the spirit moved on someone to speak, they had a good service.
All dressed somewhat alike. The men wore their hair to the shoulders, had beards and whiskers and were always neatly groomed. They wore small black hats, dark pants with suspenders, homespun shirts, and common shoes. The women wore long dark dresses with little black bonnets, their hair long or coiled at the nap of the neck, and common shoes. They were quiet and obedient to their husbands. These people lived off the resources of the land. They made their own farm wagons, plows, and any kind of implement calling for wood. They bought only the iron parts which man could not make. All of their babies were delivered by a Midwife or a Granny-woman. Little Joe was pretty well educated in the ways of "make do with what the Lord provides with the understanding that God helps those who help themselves." He was christened in the Catholic faith as a baby, but while spending most of his young life with the Amish people, he had learned to look on the protestant way of life with more favor and he was happy with their primitive way of living.
The father Domineck and son Jacob both enlisted in the Army. Jacob came through the fighting safely. His father Domineck was wounded and lay in a hospital for a year in Tennessee. Jacob married
when the father was well again. The father and older son Jacob put in a store in Carthage, Missouri, by then Joe was 18 or 19 and went into the store with the father and older brother. When Joe was 21 or nearing that age, he became interested in making a home of his own. He had been reading of the home stead land in Taney County. The older brother also became interested, so they sold the store in Carthage and all three landed near Forsyth, Missouri, and young Joe and his brother Jacob both filed on a claim joining each other. Each claim consisted of 160 acres. I believe this was the year of 1873 they started work on the claims. Jacob sent fer his wife, who was yet in Chicago, Illinois. She came to St. Louis and refused to come any farther. She refused to accept the primative way of living in the hills, so Jacob relinquished his claim and went back to Chicago, where he became a man of prominence and wealth. The father stayed with young Joe on the claim helping every way he could to make his necessary improvements.
The father was a talented stone mason and enjoyed splitting the cotton rock to make the building they had in mind. This was a room of 20 x 24 and one and a half story in height. Every other rock in the east side wall overlapped some four or five inches, to make it possible to add on another room and still look as though it was all built at one time. This building was made of cotton-rock split from a quarry just north of the building and was chipped and evened up to be as near a square as possible. Some were double in length, called tie rocks.
I have tried to draw a picture of the first room rock building. This building was erected in the hollow near a large branch. There were several springs running out of the hill, which gave plenty of water for all uses. When the stone house was completed, Joe decided it was not good for man to live alone. He fancied having a wife to cook and to share this new adventure with him. He married a young Protestant girl, and they lived very happily for a year, but fate dealt young Joe a discouraging blow. At the birth of the very first child, both mother and child died. No doctor was available; a Midwife took care of Joes wife and baby, but she was unable to save the mother or child. This left Joe and his father alone again.
After a year or more, Joe met Eliza Ann Cornelison. She was the oldest child of a big family and had helped her mother weather through the war between the North and South. The hardships they endured were many. With seven brothers and one sister. Eliza Ann had learned well the way of survival in a depression of war and drouth. Her father, Joseph Jackson Cornelison, had served as a private in Company B, 6th Regiment, of Missouri Militia, leaving his oldest daughter to take the lead in making the living for the family. When the war ended, the Cornelison family moved from Webster County to Taney County, only a mile or two from where Joe and his father lived. After a brief courtship, Joe and Eliza Ann were married. Their lives rolled along as most young people of that day.
Their social life consisted of going to church, Sunday School, and singings and visiting friends and relatives. Maybe twice a year they had picnics for two or three days. Their time was well taken up raising a living. They couldnt waste much of it.
On September 6, 1876, their first son, Jacob James, (J .J.) whom we will call James, was born. He was strong and healthy, but he refused to drink water from a gourd when he became old enough to go to the spring. A dipper gourd was always hinging on a bush to dip water and drink from. There were no wells. Everybody carried water from the springs, which were plentiful in the hill country.
On June 15, 1879, Mary E., whom we will call Mamie, came along; but in a short time, Eliza took her place in the field again. She took the two young ones along, put a quilt in a nice shady place, and the baby with her little brother were placed there. Eliza followed the man with the cradle, binding the wheat into bundles, throwing enough in piles to make a shock. The bundles lay to cure until the evening, then six or more were set close together and capped with one.
When the wheat and oats were harvested the corn had to be plowed for the last time. This last plowing was called "laying it by." The cane patch for sorghum had to be hoed and thinned so the stalks would grow large and juicy. The broomcorn had to be bent over the right length to make the brooms. There were always men in the community who knew the art of trying good brooms. Joe made all his own brooms and many for the neighbors. If broomcorn was not bent over at the right time and length, it fell apart in all directions and was unfit for making a broom.
There was a continuous cycle of chores each day -- milking the cows morning and night, feeding the chickens and pigs, gathering the eggs, getting stove wood in, cooking the meals, washing the dishes, sewing, mending, knitting socks and stockings, and carrying water for the night.
Eliza came in from the field one afternoon leading James and carrying Mamie, hurrying to get the evening work done and supper cooked. She looked out the west window to the little level patch across the branch, and there she saw a band of Navajo Indians making camp and spreading their blankets for the night. Very frightened, she ran back to the field, carrying both children, to tell Joe he must quit work at once and come to the house. They were very disturbed, but Joe went across to where the Indians were, spoke to them calmly and pleasantly, and told them they were welcome to camp there. They saw the pigs in the pen and asked for one to roast. Joe told them he had only what he needed for his own use. Chief Whitehorse said, "Givem pig, wantum roast. Joe went to the house and got the eggs they had on hand and some potatoes to give them. They went across the branch to a clay mud bank and got mud to wrap the eggs and potatoes in before laying them in the coals and ashes. Joe asked what they put the mud on them for, and Chief Whitehorse said, "No make em broom." Joe decided they had a point there. As soon as the clay was hot and dry the eggs were done, and the clay kept the potatoes from burning and bursting open. Chief Whitehorse was the spokesman; the rest of the tribe spoke very few words of understanding. When they began to stretch out on their blankets. Joe went back to the house and a very nervous wife. Joe assured her he felt they meant them no harm, but neither slept too well that night. However, when daylight came, the camp was deserted. The Indians slipped away as quietly as they had come. Joe hurried out to see if they had taken one of his pigs along, but all were safe.
The hills were full of wild game and the Indian knew the art of getting what he wanted. Their camp sites were visible for years because broken flint stone and many arrowheads which had broken in the making lay scattered about.
Joes father did not try to speak with the Indians. His German dialect was as much of a puzzle to them as their speech was to him. Joe had learned the English language well and could understand enough Indian talk to get along. If they did not quite understand him, one would say. "Me no savy.
Joes father was happy helping where he could and working in the stone. He started a fence around the stone house, but Joe told him he had decided to build on the hill where the land was level. He continued to quarry the stone for a house on the hill and discontinued the fence of stone.
It was July 3, 1881, and the Granny-woman had paid them another visit and left another little boy who was named for his grandfather, Dominick Joe. We will call him D. J. as we continue the story. It was Joes birthday. There was no special dinner of sorghum cake and fried peach pies for Joe that birthday. He had to settle for the gift of another son. There would be no going to the 4th of July celebration which came up every year at this time at the Cole Spring on Swan Creek near Forsyth or to the familiar camp ground on Bear Creek at Walnut Shade, a yearly event looked for forward to by old and young. Convenient seating was provided for those who joined in singing the old patriotic songs of freedom; and beneath a pole where Old Glory floated in the breeze an able speaker read aloud the Declaration of Independence.
All fields where crops were raised had to be fenced. Logs had to be cut for a barn and for the new house planted for the future on the hill. Spring plowing had to be done to make ready for the summer crops. Two years slipped by quickly.
On March 1, 1883, another visit from the Granny woman left another little boy. He was named Charles William. We will call him William as we go along. He was strong and healthy, which was a great help to the mother. Joe was stricken with a malady of boils all spring and most of the summer. Lon Wheeler said hit was morn likely from him a drinking too much surface water from outen them springs what was running outen the hillside. Joe elevated his legs on a chair and watched the little ones while Eliza made the crop. It was really discouraging, for the chinch bugs had ruined the wheat crop and were working heavily on the corn. Elizas brother Noah, came to help her through the fall work. Joes father helped wherever he could in caring for his son and the children. James was 7 years old, and he went right along with his mother. He did many of the cores. Mamie was 5. She washed the dishes with her grandfathers help.
When the crops were stored for the winter months, they found they had salvaged enough grain and roughage to carry the stock through by being careful and sufficient grain for bread and much fruit was dried as cans were scarce, most all fruit and vegetables were dried. As the cooler weather came on Joes boils healed and he began to plan fences and buildings.
TIMBER AND ITS MANY USES
God gave us this land and all kinds of timber to be used as man saw fit. They cut trees, sawed them in 12 to 16 foot lengths, and split them into rails to fence the land. Medium-size, straight logs were cut to lay up for a house. Some were hewn smooth on all four sides. Then the white-oak trees of smooth grain were cut in blocks from 18 to 24 inches long for shingles. These blocks were quartered and stood on end. The riving froe was laid with the grain of the block and tapped with a wooden mallet, splitting the boards one-half inch thick. Any thick places were shaved off with a draw knife to make even and smooth shingles.
Beginning at the bottom of the roof, a row of shingles was laid and nailed. Then a shingle was placed over each seam where the two boards came together. The next row was nailed so as to overlap the first row some two or three inches. This procedure was followed until all the roof was on. Sheds to provide shelter for stock were made, sided, and roofed in the same manner.
Hickory was cut and split in suitable lengths to make ax handles, hoe or rake handles, or any kind of handles needed. They were first trimmed down with the draw knife. All of these were taken into the house to work on at night. A pocket knife was used to smooth them down. Then they were stood near the fireplace to season. Feed troughs were made of the hollow logs, and mangers were constructed of boards split thick for strength.
Pickets for garden and yard fences were made of suitable size white-oak splits, nailed on neat poles, fastened to post or woven in wire, crossed after each addition, and both ran through the post at top and bottom. Baskets of all sizes -- laundry baskets, egg baskets, lunch baskets, and many others -- were made of the white-oak splits.
Boats, bridges, and barges were built from timber which grows abundantly in our Ozark hills. The hillbilly people had that God-given knowledge of how to use all kinds of timber for whatever it was needed. Cedar was sawed, and many things for the home were made from it: churns, water buckets, tubs, tables, chairs, butter molds, and paddles and spoons. Scrubby wood was used in stove and fireplaces and burning lime and anywhere needed.
The three older boys cut and hacked out ties for the railroad, the nearest one some 15 or 20 miles northeast of Chadwick, Missouri, the one or two boys who made the trip got out early in the morning with their load made ready the night before. They made the trip in the day by using the twilight hours at morning and night. As they came home they usually picked up a few fallen pine limbs or knots as they came through the pinery to have to kindle fires with.
It was Marions job to split the kindling. He fussed a lot about doing it. He had rather go on the trips, said they always wanted him to do the little jobs and he was tired of doing little jobs, he wanted something bigger than cutting kindling.
Mother told him how a little acorn was planted and how it grew to be a big tree and how a big forest of trees grew up from that one little acorn that just kept growing. It never stopped to complain because it was smaller than the other trees around it and that big men grew up from little boys just like him, but the biggest thing to keep in mind is that he grow straight and strong, and that any task worth doing, be it big or small, always do it right.
Under two spreading post-oak trees my fathers Black-Smith Shop stood. My brothers spent much time out there, fitting horse shoes the best they could, plow points, wagon tires, mattox, picks and all the farm tools that had to be fixed. They built a small threshing machine to hull peas and beans. which was not perfect, but helped a great deal in the chore of hulling by hand.
It was the year 1896, and we had to build a big, new barn. It was going to take a lot of those big white-oak logs to build this barn. Pa wanted it to be 18 feet wide and 24 feet long with a shed on the north and south sides. On the north, there had to be room for four good stalls for the saddle horses and four stalls in the barn for the work horses. Under the south shed there was to be a shelter for the cows and a long manger for their feed. The big log part of the barn had a loft, floored with rough lumber, so the bundles of oats, cane blades, and some hay could be stored above the stock. It was easy to drop the feed down through a small door over each manger.
The work horses were fed corn and roughage nights and mornings, and at noon if worked all day. The saddle horses were fed corn only once a day unless they had a hard trip ahead.
All horses were curried and brushed every morning. In the spring, they always shed the old hair and looked ragged if not curried well and brushed. Young folks were as particular about the way their horses looked as they were of their own appearance. If they were lucky enough to own a horse, the girls were just as particular about the appearance of their horses as were the boys. My sister Mamie washed her horse with soap and water on Saturday and braided its mane and tail so they would be curly on Sunday. After she brushed and combed it, she put the pretty patchwork blanket on, then lifted up the pretty side-saddle and fastened the two girths underneath, pulling it up tight so it would not come off easily. Of course the bridles were, many times, a leather creation of beauty, with bits shining like silver. Men wore heels spurs which looked like silver and jingled as they walked. My brothers who had a pair of spurs would get their Sunday best on and strut like a young peacock. It was a lot of work keeping those horses shod. Luckily, Pa and his sons had a Blacksmith shop. James and William learned the art of fitting up shoes for all these horses and kept them shod. Many times, it was harder to put shoes on a horse than it was to fit them up. This was especially true with young horses. Breaking the young horse to be ridden was a really big job sometimes.
Father kept the harness repaired, which was not an easy job. Also, the shoes for this big family were half-soled, and many times sewed where they had ripped. He bought sole leather by the yard and tanned the hides from cattle and groundhogs and coon skins for lacings. Squirrel hides were tanned for shoe laces and for sewing shoes.
Since there was an addition of another child every two years, it was necessary for father to carry one of the small younguns when they went to church or to visit in the neighborhood.
It was decided that he would go over to the Ferdy Millers on Bull Creek somewhere above Pedrow Dam Mill and get Uncle Ferdy, as we always called him, to make a mans saddle with a big flat horn so a pillow could be placed on it for a seat suitable for the child to sit on. A woman rode a side-saddle, so they sat in a way that they could hold a child in their lap. That way each parent could carry one child in front and another rode behind.
In most families, far and near, there would be three or four little ones to be taken along if you went to spend the day or went to church. Some went in the farm wagon and some on foot.
Uncle Ferdy Miller was a harness and saddle maker by trade. Many people had him fashion a set of chain harness, so called because the tugs were made of chain.
Threshing time was such a rush and hurry time. It took four good pulling teams to furnish power to keep the threshing machine going. The teams went round and round like the sweep on a cane mill. Marion had to keep the water jug full and ready when any of the men wanted a drink. It took a lot of hands to run a horse-powered thresher. One man was needed to keep the horses going, two men throwing the bundles up, two more men who fed the bundles into the machine, two or three stacking the straw, and one man sacking the wheat, another taking it to be emptied into the grainery, and plenty of kids and grown people looking on waiting for the dinner bell to ring, for there was always good eating when the threshers came along. We had fried chicken, smoked ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, boiled cabbage, candied sweet potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, pies, cakes, home-made light bread, and corn pone. Sometimes the mill broke down, and we had them for a couple of days. When the mill moved on, the men all went, as they traded help with each other. That way, nobody was out any money only to the two men who owned the machine and what was spent to feed the crew. It was a great consolation to the farmer to know he had a bin full of wheat for his bread and another full of oats to feed his horses. They seldom failed to raise enough corn to supply plenty of meal for cornbread. Often the family ate milk and mush for supper or cornbread and milk. Everybody who tried had plenty of milk and butter. Very few had any hay fields. They used all the ground they had to raise corn, wheat, oats, peas, peanuts, cane for sorghum, pumpkins, beans, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, and cabbage for kraut. They fed fodder from the corn, cane blades, oats, and if feed ran short, the wheat and oat straw was fed by sprinkling it good with salt water every night when the manger was filled. The cattle ate every straw.
I helped wash dishes. My pa told me to wash them quickly and not to let them stay in the water, as the handles would come off the tableware if soaked too long. A lot of people had to be careful with the tableware and dishes. They were hard to come by.
When Mamie was 10-year old, she could cook as well as mother, milk cows, wash, and iron. The boys told her those left-handed biscuits she pinched off from a big pan of dough and dipped in butter and baked a golden brown were sure filling and good and tasted larpin with good lasses and butter, good ham meat, and redhorse gravy. Sometimes they put cream in the grease where the ham was fried, and it didnt look so red, but sure tasted good.
We had to sell most of the eggs to buy coffee and soda and salt. The coffee came in the green grain, and one could buy it by the sack, 25 or 50 pounds, and roast it in the oven as needed. It came cheaper in the green state. If one wanted to pay more, he could buy it roasted. Most everyone had a coffee mill and ground the coffee every morning for the breakfast meal. Only a few had to grind it up with a hammer, not having a mill, some would call on a neighbor to be allowed to use their mill to grind up a pound or two. Everyone liked to help his neighbor if he was short of something.
It was the third day of July, being pa and J.D.s birthdays. Ma told Marion and me to go up near the pond and get a bucket of those nice ripe June peaches and she would make them a big peach cobbler. Pa liked it better than cake, the June peaches always got ripe by the fourth of July. We mixed some good rich milk and cream and sugar together and made a dip to pour over the cobbler. Mamie said she didnt see why the peaches couldnt have ripened on her birthday, but they always began to ripen the last ten days in June. Everyone got a nice soghum cake on his or her birthday, of course that was nothin new, we had sorghum cake and a big pot of beans with plenty of good meat to season it. Sometimes we changed the variety of beans. We very often cooked the navy beans and baked them with home made catsup and a bit of onion and plenty of nice bacon strips over the top, sometimes we had whipper-will peas. They all tasted good, and we raised them all, hulled them at night.
Elish Hull lives south-west of our place. His father, Link Hull and two other sons lived on upper Swan Creek. Bill and his wife Ellen decided there must be something better for them in some other state to the west. So he told his father he was going to hunt for a greener pasture. Grandpa Link said, "Son, if youre gonna hunt for greener pasture, youre gonna be disappointed cause against you find hit youre gonna be so old you cant climb over the fence and cant crawl under it neither and as I
told you before a rollin stone never gathers any moss. Me and your ma are a hating to see our children go scattering apart."
The Hulls were mighty good people. Grandma Hull delivered many babies in the country, far and near. She was loveingly referred to as Grand-ma the Granny-Woman.
Everybody had a fireplace. Few people owned a heating stove. All had some sort of a cookstove, but much cooking was done on the fireplace in iron kettles and Dutch ovens. They were used to bake in on the hearth of the fireplace. These old Dutch ovens were like a big skillet with a handle, with legs about two inches long, a lid that fit tightly, and a handle on top. Bread, potatoes, or meat was put in them and a few coals raked on the hearth close to the main fire, and more coals piled on top of the lid. Those old pioneer women knew how much coals had to be kept on top and how long till that which was being cooked would be done.
They ran in from the garden and mixed some corn pone or crackling bread, patted it together in two loaves and laid them side by side in the old Dutch oven, raked around some coals below and on top and hurried back to the hoeing in the garden. In the iron kettle at one side was a pot of beans or peas with a good sized piece of pork, maybe ham, maybe shoulder, maybe a half a jowl. When noon came, a good part of the meal was ready and still hot, and, man, how good it tasted to the hungry family coming in tired. Corn pone was made by measuring out what meal was needed, adding salt to taste, pouring on enough boiling water to make a stiff dough, then picked up in the hands and patted out in two medium sized loaves and put in the oven. If desired, cracklings were added to the dough.
Pa told the boys to cut some cedar poles to be squared up in answer for some 2 x 4s that they could build the women a little house for a "bit of privacy." They didnt know how to name it, whether to say the "little house beyond the garden walk," "the out-house" or the "privy" Anyway it was something special and Edd Getman said the Dutchman was a buildin his women a special little house out back of the chicken house and couldnt but two get in it at once and there wasnt a darn thing in it ceptin a little box in the corner full of white corn-cobs and a settin down bench at the side uv it with holes in it.
SETTLING IN THE BIG HOUSE
It was the year 1886, and the granny-woman had been in the home again to deliver another son who was named Oliver Marion. Father and mother knew with the addition of another child every two years the stone house was already much too small. They must hurry to get the new log house on the hill built, because they had taken in an orphan child to rear along with their own children. The father and mother, by name of Brooks, had both died, leaving two little girls homeless. The older one, about 4-years old, was Sarah and the younger one, age 2, was Anna. People by the name of Thompson who were going to take the girls to rear came to our home where the children had been staying since the parents passed away. Sarah held around fathers leg with all her might and cried so hard that she wanted to stay with Mamie and be their little girl, they just couldnt see her go. So, they kept her and reared her as their own. At age 17 she married mothers brother, Noah Cornelison. They went to Huntsville, Ark., and took up a claim and spent their lives there. The two girls kept in touch and visited each other until they died. Their children are scattered to the four winds. It was hard for the cousins to keep in touch.
Father put forth every effort to get the new house under way. It took time to get it built. They got the best woodsman they knew, Jessie Kinyon, to help cut and sqare up enough white oak logs to build two big rooms 20 x 24 and a large hallway, with a half story upstairs. A big stone fireplace was built on the east end. A full size cellar was built of fitted stone under the west room with an 8-foot ceiling. This made plenty of storage room for fruits, potatoes and an things to be kept from the freeze. They got young Bill Hull, who was also a good stonesmason, to lay up the fireplace and help lay the cellar walls. Both rooms and the hallway were under one roof.
A good drain running west to the hollow was dug and rock fitted and laid to form a perfect tile, preventing any water ever standing in the cellar. Jacob James, D. J. and Charles William got a lot of experience in digging in the drain. It began as fun, but before the finish, it became a job. They located a good ledge of limestone and quarried out enough stone to burn the lime needed to mix
all mortar for the cellar, the fireplace, and walls of the house. They dragged enough dead logs and green logs together to make a large heap. First they laid enough dead logs to start a good fire, then some green logs, and on them they laid the lime rock over all, then some more dead and green logs and another layer of limestone until they felt they had enough to burn sufficient lime to do the building. They set it on fire and kept it burning until all one could see was a large pile of snowy white lime. In a couple of days this was cool and was gathered in wooden barrels and stored until needed. Then it was measured and mixed with sand. A mortar was made by mixing in sufficient water to create a mud. This was applied with a trowel inside and out to hold the chinking between the logs and to make a smooth wall outside and in.
They were able to get pine flooring for the two big rooms upstairs and down, but the hallway was oak. There were two windows in each end of the upstairs rooms. A good stairway led from the ground floor to each room upstairs; the east room was the girls room, and the west room belonged to the boys.
A smokehouse was built of logs, a big 24 x 30 building just east of the house, where they stored many things. One part of it was devoted to meat alone. Peas, beans, peanuts, corn for bread, and many things had to be housed in this big log room.
It was February 24, 1890, the granny-woman had made her last trip to the old stone house in the hollow. This time she left a little scrawny girl. The folks thought maybe that would be the last so they decided to name her for three of her aunts and the Granny-woman who brought her. She was Ellen Kenyon, the neighbor on the adjoining place to the west. They named this little girl Rose, Ellen, Barbara Delilah. She was called Ellie and will always carry that name. Rose and Barbara were for her pas sisters, and Delilah was for her mas only sister. It was a custom then to name all kids after members of the families, on both sides. After Ellie was born, Eliza took down with inflamitory rheumatism. There was no working in the field for Eliza that spring, she lay in bed for three months with inflamitory rheumatism, and had to be turned with a draw-sheet. Eliza always breast-fed her babies,
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