At the conclusion of Part I, I told a little of my courtship and eventual marriage to Jake Haworth. I'll go back a little in this chapter and tell about some of the events leading up to the marriage and about the wedding itself.
As I mentioned in Part I, I had a job working at the Mahlon's house. One evening, after everyone was sleeping, a terrible cyclone storm came through the area. The heart of the storm was south of us but we still encountered terrible damage. The house blew down. It was a log house and some of the logs fell across the beds. None of the family was badly hurt. It was a miracle that some or all of us weren't killed. A lot of things were broken up pretty bad. The lady had an almost new sewing machine and it was damaged pretty heavy. We never found the front door of the house. Across the lane, the barn blew down and carried some of the heavy sills out into the field and stuck them right into the ground. The barn was large and made of heavy timbers and had a large hayloft above. It lifted one corner of the roof and up rooted large trees out in the pasture. Another house, a few miles away, was just lifted off of its foundation. All that was left was the floor and foundation; the rest of the house was never seen again. For being such an awful storm, it was surprising that nobody was killed. We had to stay at Mahlon's father's place until they put up a little plank house in a hurry. We then moved into that.
Shortly after we moved into the plank house, one evening Jake came walking up into the yard of this house. I was standing in the doorway and it was Sunday as I recall. Jake walked up to the door and handed me a note. He never said anything as he handed it to me. I took it and read it. I then took his pencil out of his hand and wrote on the other side of the note and gave it back to him. As he turned to go, he said, "I'll meet you later tonight." We met later and finally talked about our relationship. We decided to start "keeping company" again.
Shortly after that, my mother got word to me that she needed me to come home to help her. Jake took me home and I never worked for the Mahlon's again. It was on this ride home with Jake that he and I started making wedding plans for the future. We decided not to tell our family or friends for a while. I started canning fruit to put away for us. One Sunday night, Jake came to see me and brought a dozen cans to put fruit in. He didn't want to bring them to the house for fear someone would get ideas. He hid them in the weeds a little way from the house and then told me where they were. The next morning I went and got them. He brought wild blackberries several times and I canned a lot of them. He got a job working for his Uncle cutting cordwood. He saved his money and then without telling me, went to a furniture company at Indianola and bargained for furniture for us. He didn't even tell me about it at first. I think he wanted it to be a surprise. At first, when I found out about it, I didn't like him doing this on his own without talking first to me. I thought maybe he was getting in to big of a hurry. Later on in life I realized it was just Jake's way. He liked to please and surprise me. Well wasn't I just awful to misunderstand his meaning instead of feeling proud of him for making plans for my comfort and well being. I guess I was still to young and silly to appreciate his thoughtfulness at the time. When I was young I always seemed to look on the dark side of things. I didn't want to plan things to far ahead for fear of something might happen to change our plans. Jake seemed to understand me even in those days. He worked very hard and paid for this furniture in time. He didn't tell anybody about buying the furniture, and one day, one of his cousins and wife went to Indianola to buy their selves furniture. They went to the same furniture house and were looking at things. The wife opened a dresser drawer on one piece and there in the drawer was Jake Haworth's name. Well that gave it away. They guessed what he was planning to do. He finally took me to see the furniture. I was very much pleased with his choice except I didn't like the style of the dresser. They allowed us to exchange it for one I liked better. I had to laugh because one thing he had forgot to order was a kitchen table. I guess he thought we wouldn't need to eat - Ha Ha.
While I was helping my mother at home, she had another baby. This was my sister Meddie. Her given name was Rachel Melvina. Shortly after that, Grandfather Frazier's young wife got very sick. They had two small children. The doctor said she had consumption. Grandfather had a girl working for them, but when his wife go so bad this girl couldn't do all the work plus take care of the wife too. I went to their house to try and help them out. I acted as nurse and took as good of care of her as I could, but she died. After the funeral, the other girl and myself washed up all the bedding, cleaned everything up, and then she went home. I stayed for a while and took care of grandfather and the children. Later Uncle Issac Frazier and his wife came and stayed. Jake came also and worked for grandfather for a while. We decided to go ahead and get married sooner than we had planned. We thought we would just stay there that winter and Jake could keep on working and I would keep house and take care of grandfather and the children.
We went to town and I got goods to make my wedding dress. Aunt Sarah helped me make it. We did not make a big wedding It was very bad weather so we just invited near-relatives. We got married in Palmyra by a Justice of the Peace named Issac Bunch. Mother and my aunts got the wedding supper fixed while we were gone. I killed chickens that morning and had them ready to cook. Mother baked a cake in a dutch oven down on the hearth by the fire. It was a lovely supper. Uncle Issac Frazier and Aunt Rebecca Frazier went with us to be married. I shall never forget how happy I was. It lingers with me yet. We were married on October 31, 1876, I was not quite eighteen. We stayed at grandfather's all winter. Late that winter, Jake's sister and her husband, Aunt Susannah and Uncle Syl, stayed with us for awhile. In March, Jake and I and Sue and Syl, went on a trip to Hardin County, Iowa to see Jake's brother, Uncle Harmon Haworth. While we were there, Jake decided he wanted to stay. He rented a little farm. Syl and Sue got a place at Honey Creek and they stayed too. We had to go back to Warren County to get all of our things. The weather was cold and bad and I had had a little sick spell right after we got there. Harmon and his wife thought I had better stay with them and not make the trip back with Jake. They persuaded me to stay. Jake didn't think he would be gone but just a short-time. As it was, he was gone three weeks and it seemed like a lifetime to me. Jake's brother and wife were lovely people and they sure were good to me. They had one of the sweetest babys that I ever saw. He was only six months old. I spent a lot of my time with him, oh I loved him so dearly. His name was Martin Luther Haworth. I got so lonesome while Jake was gone that I would bundle all up and go to the barn. I would get up on a stack of hay and look out a hole in the barn. I looked as far as I could see trying to check if Jake was coming. This was prairie country and I could see a long way. I'd stay looking until I would get so cold that I couldn't sit there any longer. Sometimes I would cry and that helped a little.
I started sewing with some of the ladies. We had no sewing machine so we sewed by hand. One Sunday, we went to church and then to visit some friends. As we drove up to visit this lady, she met us out front. She told us that one of the neighbor ladies was missing. She went on to tell us more about the situation. Apparently the missing lady had left her baby with another neighbor to take care of for a few hours. Well a whole day went by and the lady never picked up the baby. The news had spread and people were looking all over trying to find her. They started checking down by the frozen river. Somebody saw foot tracks on the ice and then they found a hole in the ice. A little later they found her body down quite a ways from the hole in the ice. They finally got the body out and had the funeral. I felt so sorry for the baby. We found out that the lady's husband didn't treat her right. He abused her and made her work hard. The nighbors said she was very unhappy and that's why she took her own life.
One day, my sister-in-law, Margaret, and I took the children to send the day with some neighbors named Morgan. The lady was a widow and all her children were just about grown. That afternoon we saw two fellows coming down the road to this house. When they finally got near enough to see, we saw that it was Jake and my brother Al. Someone handed me a bonnet and I ran to meet them. I never was more glad to see anyone ever before. Jake, Al, and I got my things and went home. In a day or two, we moved into our new place that we had picked out to live. Al planned on staying with us that summer and helping on the farm. We all got settled and the boys started plowing for our crop. We made a garden and I planted everything that I could think of.
I started getting acquainted with my neighbor ladies. One was an elderly woman and she was so motherly that loved her. Another was younger and she and I were great friends. I helped her and her boy make a garden. She gave me a hen and later I got another hen. Someone gave me a little duck. I guess I fed it to much because it soon died. I was sorry to loose it for it was so cute and lots of company. One of my hens went to "setting" and I got eggs. Our stable was made of poles and covered with straw on top and down the sides clear to the ground. This hen had made her nest on the ground under the edge of the straw inside the stable. One day when I was down at the stable I saw a polecat trying to get the eggs out from under my hen. I filled my apron full of rocks, and do you think I could hit that thing!! I threw several rocks and missed him badly. He just looked at me for awhile and then finally ran off. After that I took my hen and put her in a box so I could cover her at night. Later on the eggs hatched and I had a bunch of chicks running around.
We had some neighbors named Hoover and they were Quakers. There son and his wife lived with the old folks. This young man had a lovely big horse sort of a chestnut sorrel. The horse was a real beauty but was kind of tricky. The fellow was quite afraid of him and wanted to get rid of the horse. One of our horses was a little lame so Jake offered to trade our horse for his horse. The man agreed plus gave us the use of his corn planter. The first thing Jake did with this horse was to give him a good licking. We discovered that the horse had a sore on his neck caused by the collar of the harness rubbing to tight. The horse didn't want to let Jake do any doctoring on him. Jake took him into the stable and tied him up to the manger. The horse tried to kick Jake with his front feet and started jumping all over. He wouldn't let Jake touch his neck. Jake picked up a piece of board and gave the horse a few licks. The horse stood there and trembled. Jake started doctoring his neck again and this time the horse didn't cut any more capers. When we got ready to plant the corn, we got out the corn planter and hitched this horse up with our other horse and everything just worked out fine.
Uncle Harmon started talking to Jake one day about possibly moving out to Kansas. He got Jake all excited about the prospects and opportunities in Kansas. He also began talking to me. He knew I wasn't in favor of going. He had some pigs running around in his yard and he told me we could take two of them with us. I loved Uncle Harmon but I couldn't justify in my mind that moving to Kansas was a good thing to do. I felt that moving just wasn't a good idea. I wouldn't accept his offer and he thought I was just being stubborn. We decided to move back with my mother and father for awhile. Jake kept on working at the brickyard. Later on he got the Kansas bug again. He decided that he and his cousins. would meet at Winterset and leave together for Kansas. Well nothing doing, he got all ready for the trip and said I should stay with my folks. I took the baby and we rode a little way with him and then bid him good-bye. I went back into the house and wondered when I would ever see him again. I really hated to see him go but I though it was best to let him get it out of his system. Well, when he got to Winterset, his cousins weren't there. He stayed all night waiting for them but they never came. He turned around and came back home. He was in such a state of mind that he didn't even let us know he was back. He just drove up to the barn, unhitched his team, put them in the barn, and then went out to the brickyard instead of coming to the house first. I happened to look out to the barn and saw the door open. I could see some horses in the barn. I said to mother, "I see a horse in the barn and it kind of looks like "Old Charlie ". I ran out to check and sure enough it was "Charlie". Oh, I was so glad he was back. Jake continued to work on the brickyard for some time after that.
Later on, we rented a place in Cottage Grove, just on the edge of town. This was a suburb of Des Moines. We had the upstairs of a house. Effie was crawling but not walking yet. I was so afraid that she would get to the stairway and fall. Sometimes when I was busy and couldn't watch her, I would tie her to the bed post so she couldn't get out into the hallway where the stairs were. One day my mother was visiting and Jake decided to go to town to got groceries. I gave him a jug to get vinegar. He started downstairs and tripped and fell. I said to mother, "I hope he didn't break the jug." Mother got mad at me for not worrying about Jake getting hurt instead of thinking about a broken jug. Well Jake wasn't hurt and the jug wasn't broken either. Mother and Jake were always chastizing me for my unthoughtfulness.
Work got slow in Cottage Grove so we moved on to Dallas County. Jake had heard from some farmers that you could cut-wild hay in that area and haul it to town. The land was all prairie and there were acres and acres of wild hay. This area was about 16 miles from Des Moines. The area was thinly settled and all you could see was bleak prairie for miles and miles. It snowed a lot that winter. Jake hauled hay and straw to town. He would have to just stand there until someone came along and bought his load. Sometimes it would be late into the evening before he got a buyer. It was a long trip home and sometimes he would stay and come back in the morning. One time he was taking a load of straw to town. He knew that I was badly in need of new shoes. He promised he would get some for me that trip. Sometimes it was very hard to sell the load and they would have to take whatever they could get. Unfortunately, this was one of those times. He didn't get much for the load and he had to get groceries. He didn't have enough left to buy my shoes. He came home and felt so bad to think he couldn't buy the shoes. I felt sorry, not because I was disappointed so much, but because I know he was hurt. We were poor but I told him that it didn't take money to make me love him. We were happy together despite our being poor. We saved enough money to buy a little pig and fatten it up. My brother, Al, came and stayed for awhile and he and Jake took a job of gathering corn before the snow came. I tried one day to help them gather corn. I said I would take up the "down row". This was the row the wagon knocked over and that's why they called it the "down row". Jake and Al would do the two rows on either side of the wagon and I was supposed to do the "down row". I put the baby in the feed box on the back of the wagon where I could watch her. This job wasn't as much fun as I had anticipated. I was afraid the baby would fall out of the feed box or that she would catch cold. One afternoon of this job was all I wanted and I never did it again. My mother and children came one time to visit us there. When work ran out, we had to move back to the folks again.
My father rented a house on the edge of Des Moines near the cemetery. The house was on the grounds of Callord's Nursery. While we lived there, our baby, Nellie, was born on September 26, 1879. Her given name was Nellie Rhodema. It was funny, but our little girl Effie never called us Ma or Pa. She called me "Belle" and she called, "diddle". I don't know here she ever got the "diddle". I guess we had lived with the folks so much, and she heard the rest of the people call us Jake and Belle, that she thought that was what to call us. Shortly after Nellie was born, the folks and us moved further downtown on Center Street. The folks rented us a room in the house they moved into. They rented another part of the house to a woman and her son. The son came down with the measles. All mother's children caught them from the son. Then I caught them and my girls caught them. My little sister Meddie died from these measles.
Jake did some teaming while we lived on Center Street. The next Spring, we moved down on Twelve Street and rented part of a house with some friends of ours. Jake did odd jobs. One time he helped a fellow dig a cesspool. One day while Jake was down inside working on the cesspool, one of the other workers was letting down a load of bricks. They got loose and some bricks fell and struck Jake on the head. He came home that night badly bruised up and with his head all bundled up in a bandage. I felt very uneasy after that and was glad when the job got done. He then went to work for a plastering contractor named Winsel. He was a fine man and Jake liked him. Jake took a liking to the work and decided he wanted to learn the trade. He worked at first carrying the hod. He would hurry and get a load on the mortar board and then help Mr. Winsel spread a few trowels of mortar. Mr. Winsel saw how anxious he was to learn and gave him a raise to 50¢ a day. We were able to live on that and also pay $5.00 a month rent. It wasn't long before Mr. Winsel started letting him put on the brown coat by himself. He started contracting a few side jobs on his own. He came home one night to dinner and told me that a man would be coming the next afternoon to bring me a new sewing machine to try out. I just made light of what he said, because he was always fooling me and was a great hand to joke. Sure enough, though, the next day a man came bringing a new domestic sewing machine. He left it for me to try out. I was so delighted with it and I liked it fine. He came back later and Jake bargained for the machine. Wasn't I glad and wasn't I proud of it, and of my Jake. He loved doing things to make me happy and surprise me. Even to this very day, I miss him so much. As I write today, he has been gone almost 34 years. It seems like yesterday. As time goes on, I have real pleasure thinking of the past. I did not know how to enjoy those good times back then and now they are gone. I'm looking forward to the day when Jake and I can be reunited in that bright city beyond the sky and once again be with the loved ones who have gone on before.
Summer came to an end and Jake and Mr. Winsel couldn't plaster anymore. Jake got a job cutting cord wood out on Beaver Creek which was several miles from town. We moved out there into a shanty that had two rooms. We took in some boarders and I cooked for four men besides Jake. We all had a good time. We would set around the large heater after supper and talk or play games. Everybody seemed happy. This shanty was right in the middle of heavy timber. One night there came a snow storm and it was one of those feathery soft snows. It clinged to everything and in the morning the limbs of the trees, right down to the little twigs, were covered with beautiful white snow. It was a pretty sight to see.
While living at Beaver Creek, one evening Jake was in our yard cutting wood to burn in the stove. Effie and Nellie tried to help Jake carry some wood in. Nellie was so little she could only carry one little stick. Effie tripped some way while carrying her wood and sprained her leg between the ankle and knee quite awful. She couldn't even walk for some time. Right after that I became quite sick with a cold, we called it a "gathering in the head". We had to leave there and move back again with the folks. It was shortly springtime. In the mean time, the folks had moved to another brick yard called William's. Jake found work at another brick yard called Daddy Close. My sister Mattie married Daddy Close's son named Barry. Our daughter, Nellie, took sick in May and she died June 10, 1881. The night she died, coincidently, Uncle Harmon came to visit. We were very glad to see him because we were so grief stricken over loosing our little darling. He helped us with the funeral and then got work at the same brick yard and then boarded with us. We were terribly lonesome and needed the company. Later Uncle Isom came to live with us. His wife Margaret died and he was quite broken up. He' left his children with some friends for while. He soon got work. We all then moved into a larger house near the brick yard. Finally Isom sent for his children and they all moved to another house. The men all worked at the brick yard until fall came. On October 1, 1881, we had a baby girl and named her Alta May.
I was sewing one day and I got up to get dinner and left my sewing machine. Effie was about 4 years old at the time. She decided she would try to do some sewing by herself. She got up on the chair and tried to put the sewing under the pressure foot. Some way she got her thumb under the foot and turned the wheel. The point of the needle went right through her thumb. She cried out and I ran to her. I then had to turn the wheel backwards to pull it out. She never tried that again! She was a great one for wanting to try new things. She decided one day that she was going to rock the baby. She rocked so hard that she rocked the baby right out onto the floor. I picked the baby up but she wasn't hurt bad, just a bump on her forehead.
When the work at the brickyard ran out, we moved to Walnut Creek. Jake and Uncle Harmon got a job cutting cord wood again. We moved into a double shanty. We lived in one side and Uncle Harmon and Uncle Isom on the other side. We also boarded two single men who were cutting cord wood too. Uncle Isom had five children. Three from his first marriage and two little boys from his second wife. His one daughter, Minnie, was 16 and she was quite capable of taking care of a house and the children. Her sister, Rebecca, who was younger, also helped. We all lived way out in the timber. We only had one neighbor and they were nice people. We would go visit with them sometimes. The boys would go to town on weekends, but the girls always stayed home. When we wanted to get groceries, we would have to go by train to Des Moines. We would place a big order and have them ship it out to us. There was a small train stop, not a station or even a depot, just a topping place where they would leave off our boxes of groceries. One time Minnie and I got to go on the train to order groceries. We took Effie and the baby and when we got to Des Moines, we stayed over night at mother's. That next evening we went to the train depot to go back and found out that the rain had washed out some of the track. We had to go back to mother's and stay another night. The following day, the tracks were repaired and we could get through. It still looked pretty dangerous and the train went very slow over that part of the track. My sister Mattie also made the trip home with us.
Things were very boring living way out by ourselves. One night Minnie and Rebecca thought they would have a little fun. After the boys, who boarded with us, went to bed and were asleep, the girls sneaked in and sewed the boy's pants legs up just about at the knees. They put a basting thread across the leg so the boys couldn't get there feet into them without pulling out the thread first. They also hid their socks, too. In those days, men usually only had one pair of socks. I knew what they were up to and felt a little uncomfortable about it; but, I didn't want to spoil their fun. Well, in the morning, the boys got up and had an awful time trying to put those pants on. I didn't let on that I knew a thing about it. They put their boots on with no socks and went off outdoors. Later on they came into breakfast and sat down. A bit after eating, Jim said to Cap, "What did you do with my socks." Cap just grinned and swore he never did anything. Finally the girls got to feeling bad because they knew the boys couldn't go to work without socks because of the cold and snow. They told the boys where they had hid their socks and for the moment nothing more was said. The next evening the girls were getting supper but they couldn't get their fire to burn in the stove. Jim had sneaked up on the roof of the house and put a board over the stovepipe. He came walking into the room very innocent looking and saw the girls working on that fire trying to get it started. It smoked but would not burn. Jim sat there for awhile until he couldn't stand it any longer. He just about died from laughing. He climbed back up and took the board off and everything was fine. He was glad to have a joke on them.
Considering we were all out in the wilderness together in a small house, we got along quite happily. Jake went some place one Sunday and brought home some popcorn that was mixed with big corn. I didn't think it would pop very good so I made some hominy out of it. It sure was nice. We had two cows and we were able to have milk and butter. Come Spring, about March, we moved back to Des Moines again. Jake went first to town to get a team to move us. Both Uncles, their children and our two boarders had already moved. The children and I were left alone out there in the woods. I was a little afraid to stay there alone but I got up my courage and I fastened the door as best I could (we didn't have a lock). I put the children to bed and everything worked out fine. Jake then returned the next day and we packed and moved. There was no place to keep our cow in town so Jake had to sell her. I cried and cried-- I felt so bad about it. I'd spent a lot of time fixing up the kitchen in the house we were leaving. The house was just a shanty and didn't look like much from the outside. I had a cupboard and my table in the corner. We had a cook stove that centered on the wall near my kitchen. Everything was very handy and I didn't have to take many steps to get a meal. I papered my kitchen walls all around with newspaper, old almanac pages, and pamphlet pages, When I got it done, it looked just fine and I was proud of it. It helped make the house warm too. We didn't have much then, but I look back on those days now with pleasure.
Back to the place we moved to in town. We lived on a place called the Cunningham farm. Mr. Cunningham was a little old Irishman. He raised vegetables and peddled them himself. He had a lovely wife and she taught me to make grape jelly. They had lots of concord grapevines all tressilled up. Minnie went to work there for awhile picking strawberries. One of Mr. Cunningham's children came down with the measles. Minnie had never had measles so she thought sure she would get them. Well my daughter Alta had never had them and I didn't want her to have them. I took Effie and Alta and went to mother's to stay awhile. I told Minnie to stay at our place until she got over them. She never got them, though. While I was at mother's, I had told Minnie she could use my sewing machine. One day, she told me later, Isom decided to try to use my machine to sew some leather. She told him he couldn't but he was bound and determined he would use it.
The sewing machine had a key, so Minnie locked it up and put the key on a string around her neck. Isom never got to sew his leather. After the measles scare was over, I brought the children back home.
One day my mother decided she wanted to start a Sunday School as there wasn't any church or Sunday School in our neighborhood. Some people we knew named McDaniels, had quite a large basement in their house that was on a hillside. They let mother have the use of that basement to hold her Sunday School. My mother had a friend named Doty and she was also very much interested- in Christian work. She came out and helped mother with the Sunday School. Doty brought with her a young man named Fred Comfort. He helped them get the school organized. Fred became the superintendant. They asked me to be the song leader. I told them that I just couldn't do it because I was too timid. I was always afraid to do things in front of the public. Now I feel like I shirked my duty. I did enjoy the Sunday School. Jake took quite an interest in the School. One Sunday at the close of the meeting, he knelt down and did a prayer out loud. This Sunday School made us happy and gave us something to work for and look forward to each week all that summer.
I mentioned earlier that my sister, Mattie, married Barry Close, the son of the Close brick yard owner. There wedding took place that fall. Barry was a brick molder by trade and worked for his father. He was quite a bit older than my sister but they were a lovely couple and were happy together. His given name was Napoleon Bonaparte Close. The wedding was in September around the time of the State Fair. The next day, Jake and I, our children, and Barry and Mattie all went to the fair. The fair ground was a few miles west of Des Moines. We had to go on the train. When we got there, we first went out to the racetrack area to watch the balloon ascension. There was a man selling balloons on strings in all colors. Effie, of course, wanted one. As the man was handing me Effie's balloon, it got away and went way up in the air. Effie cried so the man gave us another one and we went on our way. We watched the hot air balloon ascension. A man was fastened to the bottom of it on a trapeze. It finally came down and settled a little ways away in a field. The State Fair was always very good. There were so many things to see from all over the State. We saw lovely horses, cattle, hogs, chickens, livestock of all kinds, vegetables, fruits, domestic work, and lots of machinery. I forgot to mention that I helped Mattie to make her wedding dress. It was a pretty blue worsted trimmed with brocade in darker blue. It was pretty. After their marriage, Berry kept on working at the brick yard.
One day Uncle Harmon told Jake about seeing an advertisement that a drug company wanted a salesman to show their goods. The job would be to take samples and go out to various towns and take orders for their drugs. It would be necessary to put up some money to pay for the samples. I had no faith in the idea at all. But Jake, took what money we had and bought him a large sample case, and filled it up. I don't remember now what all it consisted of but it was a variety of articles. He dressed himself up in his best and started out on the job. He was gone a few days and went to several towns. Needless to say, he didn't have much luck. His money was all gone. He had had to pay for travel, hotel bill food, and the samples. He came back and told us that he had had all of that kind of experience that he ever wanted. I hated to tell him, "I told you so." Somehow we survived that ordeal and he worked at odd jobs again. He did take a couple of little plastering jobs and that helped out.
One evening some of the family were sitting around talking. Uncle Isom's son, Isom Jr., decided he would playa trick on me. I felt something funny at my feet and when I looked down, I saw what looked like a mouse. Well I jumped up and hollered. I thought this mouse thing had ran up my skirts. Little did I know that Isom had taken some gray flannel and made it to look just like mouse. He tied a thread to it and sat there just waiting his chance to scare me. It scared me so bad that it spoiled my evening. Both Jake and his pa scolded him but he was so tickled that he got a joke on me. Many years later he and I had a good laugh remembering that evening.
Jake finally got a good job on a large farm four miles from Des Moines. We moved out there the last part of October. The owner's name was John Forrester. Mr. Forrester also bought and sold stock. He was a great businessman. He hired another man besides Jake to help him too. His name was Clay Fox. He and his family were lovely people. All together, there were three married men and their families working on the farm and two single men. Mr. Forrester was a good-hearted fellow but very quick to temper. He had very bad headaches at times and that made him very nervous. One day he went to town with his horse and buggy and was bringing a load of wood on a bob-sled hitched to his team back to the farm. Jake happened to be coming down the same road and he saw Mr. Forrester slumped over in his buggy. He put him on the wagon and brought him home. We found out later that he had gotten one of those bad headaches and couldn't make it home by himself. Jake's job at first was hauling cord wood to town in a big bob-sled. Mrs. Forrester was a fine woman. She and I had good times together. I did some sewing and knitting for her. They had a little girl a bit older than Effie. Her name was Tillie. Clay Fox had a girl named Daisy and three boys. That winter my brother Fred stayed with us and went to school with the Fox boys. Fred was about twelve. All the girls went to school, too. Effie wasn't quite five years old but she wanted to go to school with the other girls. I fixed her up with nice warm clothes, crocheted her a nice hood scarf and mittens, and off she went. It was about a mile and a half to the school. One day the boys put the girls in a two-wheeled hand cart that belonged to Mr. Forrester and pushed them to school. They made a lot of good fun from that. Mr. Forrester brought all three of the little girls a nice rain coat with a hood from town so they wouldn't get wet that winter. Fred stayed with us that winter and went to school. We also kept the folks cow because there was no place for it where they lived. Fred milked the cow, got firewood, and helped with the chores. He always loved to work ad would be very tired in the evening. He liked to lay down behind the heating stove after supper. I would say to him, "You're going to fall asleep, you should go to bed." "Oh no, " he would say, "I won't fall asleep. " "I'll just lay here for a little while." In five minutes, he was fast asleep. He always took a nap before going to bed!!
One night Effie was sitting on the floor and taking off her shoes and stockings. She pulled down one of her stockings and found it was stuck to her foot. She had a little sore or blister and it was just bid enough to make her stocking stick to it. She was whining and saying, "I can't pull it off." Alta came walking by, she was only 18 months old, and reachted down and took hold of Effie's stocking. She kept on walking, and of course, the stocking pulled off. Effie was so surprised that she laughed and cried all at the same time. It was so cute that we all had a good laugh. Alta was a child who liked to play alone. She rarely ever got dirty like the rest of the children. She did like to play with dirt, though. She used to pick up little fine grains of dust in her hand and carry it around. One day I found her out in the yard close to the house. She was lying down on the ground fast asleep. I had made her a little apron with pockets on it. When I picked her up, the dust came pouring out of her pockets. Alta used to go into Mrs. Forrester's house just like it was her own. One day Mrs. Forrester went out oft town but had a lady doing housework there. While she was gone, Alta went in and out of the house, just like she was there. When she got home, she went into the living room. There on her living room chair, she found a little pile of dust. She knew Alta had been there!! Mrs. Forrester loved Alta so much that she didn't care. She and her husband thought of Alta almost like their own child. One day, Mr. Forrester made me feel quite bad. He asked Jake and I if we would give Alta to them. He already had two children of his own. I couldn't understand why he thought we would want to give Alta away. Of course, I'm sure he knew that we wouldn't do it. A few days later, on a very cold wintry day, Mr. and Mrs. Forrester wanted us to have dinner with them. Alta hadn't been feeling well for a couple days and I did not like to take her out in the cold. Since we only had to go out into the yard and around to their door, I thought perhaps it wouldn't hurt for us to go. I bundled her all up, head, ears, etc., and Jake carried her. Everything was Ok for awhile after we got there. Pretty soon, while we were sitting by the stove, she threw her head back and went into a terrible spasm. Mrs. Forrester got a pan of warm water and began bathing her head. She kept bathing her head but Alta didn't show any sign of coming out of it. Mr. Forrester sent one of the hired men to town for the doctor. Town was four miles away and he went by horse and buggy. He left about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Mrs. Forrester had dinner all ready to be set but no one cared for dinner after that we all continued to try to bring Alta around, but to no avail. I was sure that she was going to die. We took her home and layed her on the bed fully expecting she would soon be gone. I was walking the floor, when our neighbor, Mrs. Fox said, "I believe she is coming to. Her lips are beginning to show a little color." She was just hardly breathing. Finally the doctor showed. We told him what had happened. He said he couldn't believe that she was still alive after being in a spasm for that long. He stayed until 10 o'clock with her and until he had done everything he could. She got better each day but acted very nervous for a long time after that. She never had another spell.
That Christmas, Jake got Effie and Alta each a doll. They were china heads, with stuffed bodies. They were pretty, but quite large. Alta's doll was almost to large for her to manage. We used to laugh at her at the way she carried it around. Effie's was just fine for her. She was so proud of it. One day while she was playing, she had the doll in one arm and stooped down to pick up something. The dolly fell out of her arm and struck it's head on a brick. The head broke all to pieces. I happened to look out of the window and see the whole thing. She picked the doll up and came to the house crying like her heart was broke. She loved that dolly. I took the doll from her hands and tried to comfort her. I noticed a jagged piece of the head was left on the body so I tried to break it off. I cut my hand quite badly.
Finally spring opened and everybody got out. The men began plowing and working on the farm. They felt good. The winters were so long, and there was so much snow and cold, that we all were glad to see the springtime. It made you ambitious to work. Jake thought he would make a little garden for us. He cleared off a small spot out a little way from the house. He dug it up and made little beds with paths in between. Jake always liked "little" things. He liked little horses, little cows, and little everything. Well shortly after he finished this little garden, our Effie and a neighborgirl named Ella went out and found Jake's garden. It was all made up so nice and looked tempting to walk on. They trampled it all up and spoiled it so bad that Jake was just sick about it. He never touched it again.
In April my mother and sister, Mattie, came to our house to spend the day. We had dinner and I told mother that I wanted her to stay with me. Mattie took Alta home with her to stay a few days. Two days latter on a Tuesday afternoon, our baby Clara Helen was born. It was April 17, 1883. After mother went home, we got a girl named Etta Joslin to work for us. She was a good girl and nice company. She would come in my room and sit on the side of the bed. She would talk and laugh and make me laugh at her foolishness. I would get real tickled and I told her I never laughed so much in bed before. Alta stayed at Mattie's for a week. I got so anxious to see her that I told Jake to stop on the way from town and bring her home. On the way home, she fell asleep. He carried her in and placed her on the bed with me and the new baby. She looked so big and so sweet. The baby was so tiny and cute. Oh I felt so happy to have both of those little darlings lying there with me. I, to this day, thank the Lord for every one of the dear children He permitted me to have. I look beck on those times, when they were all little and around my knees, as the happiest days of my life. Helen had long hair and looked like a little doll. She seemed alright for awhile but she didn't seam to grow like she should. She weighed only 6½ pounds and wouldn't get any heavier I couldn't understand what was wrong. So I began giving her cow's cream diluted with water. Soon she began to seem better and didn't cry so much. She started gaining some weight and became a pretty good baby after that. The poor little thing had been hungry and I didn't know what was the matter. She was fine after that.
That summer, Carl and Minne Wilkins came to live and work on the Forrester farm. Minnie was Uncle Harmon Haworth's oldest girl. She and Carl got married that past March. After they had come to work, one day Minnie and I went to town and got goods to make a dress for myself. It was a nice piece of cloth. It was a worsted wool, blue, and with brocaded figures a little darker. It was very pretty and I wanted it made up nice. Since I had lots to do, babies to take care of, and cook three meals a day, I thought I would hire my dress to be made. I hired Minnie to make it. I helped plan it the way I wanted it made. She was quite a good hand and had made her own wedding dress and that turned out nice. I thought I would give her a try. She got started and all was going good. Suddenly she came in, oneday, and said she had made a mistake on my dress. It was a mistake that couldn't be remedied unless I had more cloth goods. I had bought enough goods only to make a dress--none extra for mistakes. She was sorry about it and the only way to fix it was to piece it up. I was terribly disappointed and felt like crying, but that wouldn't help. She' fixed it as best she could and it didn't look to bad. It was just one of those things you have to get over.
The State Fair came again in September. We planed to go to that. Mr. Fox, and his wife and children and Jake and I and our children all went together. Mrs. Fox and I made lunch. I made a nice cake. It was a soda cake, I think. Before that I had tried to make some grape jelly and it did not jell very well and was kind of thick and syrupy. I frosted my cake and then took some of that jelly and decorated the frosting with it. It looked pretty fine. This was the first baking powder (soda) cake that I had ever made. The only reason that I had bought the baking powder was that they gave you a nice prize with it. It was a milk white glass cheese plate. I thought more of the prize than I did the can of baking powder. Jake bought himself a new suit to wear to the Fair. It was sort of powder blue in color and very pretty for summer wear. The morning we were going to the Fair, he dressed up in his suit and I dressed up real nice. Mr. Fox's family came over with their lunch and we all got in a spring wagon with a team hitched to it. We were finally off to spend the day at the Fair. On our way, we had to cross a small ravine. Jake was driving and as we started up the side of the ravine, he saw it was going to be to steep. He jumped off the wagon as he thought that would lighten the load and make it easier for the horses to climb. The wheels started sliding a little and Jake caught hold of the side of the wagon box with one hand. In doing that, he caught his new coat pocket on the hub of the wheel. It tore his pocket down on both sides clear to the bottom of his coat. Well that almost spoiled the day for me. I was so provoked at him for not staying in the wagon and letting the horses pull the load. No one else would ever get out and walk to make it easier on the horses. Jake was like that--he always took good care of the animals. We finally got to the Fair Grounds and made preparations to spend the day. I went to work to see what I could do for his coat pocket. I pinned it up the best I could and tried to forget about it for the day. Oh, that was a hard thing for me to do. We did have a lovely time. I fixed a pallet on the ground for baby Helen and layed her on it. We were under a big tree with nice shade. She lay there and looked around. I had her dressed all in white with little blue ribbons around her sleeves at the elbows. She sure did look sweet and she was so good. We spread our lunch and put our table clothes on the ground. We all enjoyed the day very much. If it hadn't been for the coat pocket, it would have been an "ideal" day. On the way home that evening, we decided that we had had such a good time, we should go back the next day. We had a good laugh to think that we would be going two days in succession at the State Fair. Somehow we got lunch fixed and we got to go again the next day. I fixed the pocket as good as I could and everything was happy ever after.
Along in the Fall, a woman friend of mine, Rachel Wright, came up from Missouri to visit friends and relatives before she left for California. Her husband, Tom Bradbury, had gone to Marysville, California and had then sent for her and their little girl. Rachel was the girlfriend of mine who had lived in Jasper County (the snake place). She stayed a few days with us and, of course, the theme of our talks was "California". Some time after they had all left for California, Jake said to me, "Let's go down to see the folks and see what they think about going to California." Well, we barely had to mention it to get Father in the notion. He had been to California during the time of the gold rush and knew what it was like. He had always wanted to go back. He left home when he was just 16 years old and had come across the plains with a train of oxen and wagons. They were many many months on the road. Before they completed the crossing, Father decided to strike out on his own. He left the wagon train and went out on foot. One night, he claimed, he stopped to rest in a clump of bushes for the night. During the night, a band of Indians came long and built a big bonfire near to where he was sleeping. They played around that fire and had a regular "indian jubilee", I guess. Father was so near them that he could see everything they were doing. He lay very quiet but was trembling in his boots. They danced the night away and the next morning they spread their skins on the ground and went to sleep. He watched carefully and soon as they were all quiet, he slipped away. He made his way into northern California and found work with a man named Jackson. This man was working a gold mine claim. Father stayed and worked for three years. Finally he got home sick and decided to return by water. In those days you had to go all away around Cape Horn and it took a very long time.
Living and working at the Forrester's for two years help us get our financial situation better fixed then we had ever been since our marriage. Jake bought a cow and a couple of hogs. Jake took a cigar box, one of those old fashioned kind made out of wood, and nailed the lid down and cut a slot in one end of it. It was just large enough to put a nickle in. He began saving nickles, first as kind of a novelty, and more seriously as time went on. That winter, he decided we needed a new heating stove. He said he was going to open his bank and see how much he had in it. He was hoping to get the stove and some other things we needed. He opened the bank and we were sure surprised at the amount he had saved. He had thirteen dollars and some change. He went to town and bought a lovely heating stove, bought me a carpet for my bedroom (green hemp), and various other smaller items.
Mr. Forrester got wind that we were thinking about going to California He told us that if we wanted he would buy our household goods and livestock so that we wouldn't have to worry about getting rid of all we had. Jake sold the cow and then went down to Warren County and sold the land he had got from his father's estate. Soon after, he and Father were ready to head for California. The plan was for me and the children to stay with mother and her children, while Jake and Father were gone. They would send for all of us after they got work in California. We thought it made sense for them to go and see what the prospects were for making a living before the families all went there. I did most of the work at mother's house because she was suffering with rheumatism. My brother Al was living at home and working in a coal mine. He provided the money for food and I did all the home chores. Jake and Father left for California on March 5, 1884. I remember the morning they left. We felt bad to see them leave for such a far away place. California to us seemed like the end of the world. Mother got the Bible and read a chapter and we all prayed together. She read the 40th chapter of Isaih and I never forgot it. We bid them good-bye and off they went.
Later on when we finally heard from them, we found out that they went by train to San Francisco and then down to Los Angeles by boat. Jake got real seasick on the boat and was sick the whole trip. The first work they got in Los Angeles was digging for potatoes up in Coldwater Canyon. After that, they hired out to a man on a ranch in Florence. It was a orange grove and the man's name was Durrell. Jake and father liked the people and Durrell took quite an interest in them. One day Durrell asked Jake what his children's names were. Jake told me later that he couldn't remember our baby Helen's name. I thought it was kind peculiar in his letters that he always referred to Helen "baby". Jake and father had a hard time getting used to the "change of climate". They were both pretty sick. Jake went to the doctor and the doctor told him he shouldn't live so near the coast. He also told him to wear flannel shirts and wool socks. Wool was torture to Jake. He couldn't even stand to sleep with a wood blanket on the bed. Jake started getting uneasy about himself and California. I wrote back to him and told him that he had better come back. And come back he did in May. He showed up one morning before we were even up. I was terribly upset because previously he had told me to get rid of everything that I couldn't take to California: and be ready to go as soon as he sent the money. Fortunately, I had kept my dishes and bedding and such things as that. I thought I would wait until I saw the money before I got rid of everything. Of course I was glad to see him but oh I was so disappointed about California that I felt heartsick. There we were with most of our things gone, no money, and no place to live, and Jake's good job taken by someone else. It wasn't long that he was sorry he hadn't stayed and made a go of it in California. He saw his mistakes and realized that if he had stayed a little while longer, he would have become "climatized" and he felt very foolish for running back to Iowa. Father had no notion of returning and he stayed and that Fall brought Mother and the children out to California.
My brother Fred was in his teens and had heard about a broom factory in East Des Moines close to where we lived. Fred went to see them about getting work. I went with him down by the railroad tracks and we waded through snow to get to this factory. We went in and talked to the boss. He asked Fred a few questions, talked to me a little bit, and then said he would give Fred the job. We went home so pleased that we had secured him a job. He went to work right away and it wasn't long until they put him on a wagon to deliver brooms. It was a large express wagon with a high seat and the team was a matched set of beautiful black horses. He loved horses and was he ever proud. We all were surprised I to think they would trust him with a job like that being as he was so young and small for his age. What he lacked in size, he made up in ability. Sometimes when he was delivering brooms down in the neighborhood where we lived, he would drive down to the house to show off his outfit. Our family was as proud of his job as he was.
That Easter our children tried to see who could eat the most Easter Eggs. Effie really didn't like eggs to well but she tried to keep up with the rest of the children and got quite sick. She had a spell of bilious fever because of it and was sick for a long time after. I was quite uneasy but she finally got well.
After Uncle Harmon's oldest daughter got married, that left Rebecca to keep house and care for the little boys, Lou and Landy. She was only fourteen years old but she done pretty well. Uncle worked at the starch factory about a half mile away. The children were left alone all day since he carried his lunch to work. My children spent alot of time playing with Rebecca and the boys at their house. They sure did have a good time together. Not far from us lived a widow woman named Mrs. Westfal. Uncle Harman became quite interested in her and she in him. She was a good woman as far as we knew and Uncle's life had been a Christian one, so we had no reason to think bad of their relationship. She was quite worldly plus she had three children, which made us wonder at his choice, however. We decided that it was his business, not ours, and to keep our thoughts to ourselves. The next thing we knew Uncle Harmon was sending his children to Hardin County to live with their Grandmother Marsh. He took the children to the train depot one morning and they came by our house first to bid us good-bye. We felt so sorry to see them go. Lou and Landy were so small and they looked so pitiful. They were so innocent, we could hardly keep back the tears. As I look back now, I'm sure it was for the best. Their grandmother was a good Christian and would raise them well and she took them willingly. We never saw them until much later in California.
Jake set out to try and find job after he returned from California. He heard about a party who wanted a man and family to work on a farm a few miles west of Des Moines. He went to see about it and got the job. The owners of the farm had their son working it as foreman. I didn't care much for him, but we had to board him and I took care of his room. We had very little to keep house with since we had sold everything previously. The house was an old p1ace and part of it was made out of logs. It hadn't been kept up and was very dirty. I went to work to try to clean it up and make it livable. Jake had to work on the farm and couldn't help me much. He gave me some lime and I whitewashed all the rooms. I cleaned everything as best I could and finally I felt like it was fit to live in. I had no wash board so I washed out cloths by hand. I'd sold the sewing machine so I made the children's dresses by hand. I tried to be cheerful and make the best of it. There were chickens and cows on the farm. I had to take care of the milk and do the churning. We used one of those barrel churns that hung in a frame and we turned it with a crank. I could churn several gallons of cream at once. I also took care of the chickens. When the owners came by, I furnished them with butter and eggs. The mother and daughter would come in the house and snoop all around. We kept the milk in the celler and thats where I did the churning. They would even go down there and look around. I didn't feel very god about seeing them do that way-just being nosey. They always tried to act real dignified.
There was a large cherry orchard on the farm. When the cherries got ripe, we picked them and I made the loveliest cherry pies. I also pitted and canned twenty-two quarts of cherries for Jake and I. About six weeks after we arrived at the farm and had everything settled, the foreman came to Jake and told him that he had taken a partner in the property and that we would have to leave. I had worked so hard getting everything organized. After I thought about it, though, I realized it was probably a blessing. We were way out in the country with no way to go any place and no time to go anyway except for Sunday. I was willing to give it up and let them have my clean house that I had worked so hard to put in order. Back to Des Moines we went and Jake got a job on a brick yard not far from the starch factory. We moved into a shanty that the roof leaked something awful when it rained. Helen was just a little over a year old and learned to walk while we lived there. Helen was quite sickly and we were un-easy about her as she was so much like our little darling that had died.
That fall, there was a big rally down in town. It was just before election time and Blaine was running for President. Uncle Harmon and Jake wanted to go to the rally and wanted me to go too. I didn't really want to go. Uncle said if I would go, he would buy me a Blaine pin. These pins were popular at the time. They were made with letters spelling, Blaine, and they looked like gold. I went and he bought me the pin and I, of course was pleased to have such a pretty item. That day Uncle Harman told us that he was going to marry the widow. In one way we were surprised, on the other hand I guess we weren't. The day of the wedding, I didn't feel well plus I didn't want to go anyway. Jake and his cousin John from Warren County did go. As time went on after that we all had some good times together.
Our neighbor had some chickens and sometimes they ran around in our yard. One day I was sitting in the house trying to get baby Helen to sleep. One of those young chickens, about two-thirds grown, came into our house. I didn't want to wake up the baby by getting up to drive it out. I was sitting not far from the wood box by the stove. I reached over and got a piece of wood out of the wood box and threw it at the chicken. I was just trying to scare it so it would go away. Some how the wood struck the chicken right on the head. The chicken just "keeled " over on the floor and lay there kicking and flouncing around. I thought it was dieing and whatever was I going to do. What would our neighbor think me killing his chicken? The chicken layed there a few seconds and then pretty soon it jumped up and ran right back out in the yard. Thank goodness I had just stunned it.
One day, Minnie, Uncle Harmon's oldest married daughter, came to visit us in her horse and buggy. She lived about five miles east of where we lived. She invited me and the children to go home with her to stay for awhile. Jake consented for me to go. I fixed everything and went. About half way there, a big rain storm poured down on us. The buggy had a top on it but the rain and win blew the flaps up and water poured in. We got soaking wet. Minnie whipped the horse and we went as fast as we could go. Just about there, we met up with her husband. We proceeded on to a farm house that was before their house. We all got out and went in this house and the lady gave us all dry clothes. Later on we went into Minnie's house. Minnie had a baby not quite as old as baby Helen. We had them both in her baby buggy. Helen was sitting in the foot of the buggy and she climbed up and fell out on the floor. I picked her up and she acted like her spine or neck was broke. She didn't sleep all night. Here we were out in the sticks and couldn't get any help. I told Minnie that we would have to leave and take her to a doctor in town. In time she was alright. Children can sure be a problem some times. I had to learn how to manage those difficulties. It took lots of patience and wisdom to know just what course to take sometimes. Raising all my children were the happiest times of my life.
Work finally ran out at the brick yard and Jake began to look for something for the winter. He heard that Mr. Forrester had sold the farm where we lived an worked before Jake went to California. A widow woman with five grown children had bought it and were running a dairy farm there. Jake went to see them about getting work and they gave him a job. The oldest boy, Wilber, was in charge of the farm work and the cows. The younger boy, Howard, had charge of delivering the milk. The milk got taken to town an peddled to private parties. There was a large milk wagon end Howard delivered the milk everyday. This farm was four miles from town. Another man and his family also lived on the farm. This man and Jake did the milking and hauled feed from town to feed the cows. They would go to the brewery and get the malt for the cows. This other man liked to drink some of the beer during the feed pick up and several times he had a little to much. They finally gave Jake that job exclusively. They were fairly nice people. When we first arrived on the farm, we lived in part of their main house. It wasn't long until they arranged for us to move into another house on the farm. We shared the house with the other family.
I remember just before Christmas when my mother and her children, left for California. Mother first took a little trip down to Missouri to see some of her relatives. She took Fred and Annie down to Warren County and left them at Aunt Sarah's. She left Dora, Della, and Frankie with us while she was gone. When mother got back from her trip to Missouri, she heard about a man, who lived a little east of Des Moines, who was also going to California. He had chartered a railroad car to take his family household goods and some stock. Mother went right over to see that man about the chance that she and the children could go with that car. She found out that she could go with them and hastily got busy and was ready to go when the time came. They were soon off to California leaving us all behind. Well this was quite a trial for me. I wanted to go so bad and now I had to part with them and stay behind. I didn't know as I would ever get to go. It was a hard cross to bear. We had to start all over again and work and try to save. Jake knew how I felt and he was so sorry inside. He was so good to me and tried so hard to make up for all of the problems. I loved him and I felt satisfied as long I knew he was doing his best. Nobody could help the situation at the time so we just tried to make the best of it. I'm sure the Lord helped me to be happy.
The other femily who worked with us on the farm and that we shared the house with, were named Ewing. One day Jake and Mr. Ewing went to town to spend the day. Mrs. Ewing and I decided we would go out for the day ourselves. We knew some folks named Jones and decided to go visit Mrs. Jones and spend the day. We all dolled up in our Sunday clothes and went out for our visit. Wouldn't you know, when we got there, nobody was home. We went in not knowing were they were or when they would come. We had walked the whole way and were tired. We thought we would just rest for awhile and perhaps they would come back. Well it came dinner time and they still hadn't come. Mrs. Ewing said, "I'm going to get dinner." That was just like her. I would never have thought of doing that. She went right to work getting dinner. There was a half barrel of craut and she got into that and cooked some of it. It was absolutely the best craut I ever ate. The people finally came home and everything turned out alright and we had a good time. When we got back home, Jake had a nice fire and a nice warm house waiting for us. Mr. Ewing had not made fire for his family and seemed upset about his wife being gone. I felt good that I had such a good man and I was so proud of him. That winter Jake bought a quarter of beef. We had a bedroom that we used only for storage and Jake made a rack and we hung the beef on it in this room. This room was extremely cold and away from the main part of the house. The beef froze stiff and stayed frozen until we had used it all up. It was so nice and tender. We would just saw off big pieces of it and cook it when we needed to. We had fresh meat all the time.
My sister Mattie came and stayed for a few days one time. She wanted me to help her do some sewing. We started sewing her little boy a coat. I had him standing on a chair fitting this coat on him. I happened to look out the window and saw a man drive up and stop in front. He was selling mill products like corn meal, etc. For some reason I was kind of nervous and when he came to the door and knocked, instead of me opening the door, I knocked too. I thought to myself, what have I done. I felt so silly and my sister Mattie was laughing at me. We then both laughed and Ifelt very embarrassed to open the door and have to meet the man. I could hardly keep a straight face. I finally opened the door and managed to handle the situation. Mattie and I laughed about it the rest of the afternoon. She and I always got along well.
The next spring, Jake hired to work on another Farm a few miles nearer to town. The two brothers who worked the place were named Laymen. The 1st of March we rented a house on an adjoining farm and moved into it. Jake went to work right away. Jake had left some chickens of ours at Matties for awhile until we got settled. As it came onto Easter, Mattie saved up some eggs to use for Easter. On Saturday before Easter, Jake stopped in the evening at her place and brought home the eggs. There was a half of a water bucket full of eggs. I was surprised the quantity. Easter Sunday morning, she and her husband and children all came to our place early. She had a young baby and we layed him on a little bed in the living room. Pretty soon Uncle Harman and his wife showed up too. Well we went to work to get the dinner and we cooked eggs and more eggs. We fried them, boiled them, and even made custard pies. We cooked those eggs in about every way we could think of. Easter was a lovely day. A short time later our baby Sue was born on April 16, 1885. Her given name was Susannah Pearl. She was a perfect baby, fat and healthy looking. I would get her a bath in the morning and she would then sleep til noon. I had to lift the cover sometimes to see if she was breathing, she was so quiet. We had an elderly lady name Mrs. Johnson come in to help me after Sue was born. She was one of those people who thought everybody must get up early in the morning She had my children get up and have their breakfast very early. I really didn't like them getting up so early but I didn't say to much as she meant well.
The house we rented was owned by a lady named Mrs. Milner. I started calling her Auntie Milner. She was almost like a mother to me. I liked her so well. Auntie Milner had some relatives living in town named Eddenburg. They had two children and they used to come out end see Auntie and spend a few days. The boy's name was Taylor and the girl's Mary. The boy was about twelve. He had a team of goats and he would harness them up to a little wagon. He would take the children for rides and they had great fun. The children built a playhouse and Taylor pretended he was a milkman delivering his wares. The goats' names were Billie and Nannie. Billie got cross sometimes and the children were a little afraid of him. One day I heard a scream and I saw that Billie had Alta cornered in the corn crib. I ran out and had to rescue her.
In June, we heard about a picnic to be held at Layman's grove not far from where we lived. Jake gave me some money to go to town and get things I wanted to prepare for this picnic. Auntie Milner took me to town in her horse and buggy to do the shopping. I left Effie, Alta, and Helen with Aunties niece. I took baby Sue with us. After we had been gone a little while, the girls couldn't find Helen. They searched all over the house and had no luck. They started down the road looking for her. They thought maybe he had tried to follow us. Sure enough that is what. She had done. When she got to the main road, she turned in the opposite direction from where we had gone. She had gone a short way when she came upon a little creek with a bridge over it . The banks of the creek were quite high and it made it a long way down to the water. This bridge had slats like a board fence. The first board from the floor of the bridge was perhaps a foot or more from the floor of the bridge. Helen got to that bridge and sat herself down on one side with her feet hanging down. Fortunately some people came along and saw her there. They lived not far from the bridge. They stopped some other people and asked them if they knew where the child belonged. They recognized Helen and started to bring her home. About half way, they met the girls who had been out hunting. When I got home, they told me what had happened. I was so scared and nervous that I never left them alone again. Helen was alright and absolutely nothing was wrong with her. It was just the thought of what could have happed. She could have fallen in that creek and been killed. I could hardly get over the thought of it. While in town, I bought Effie, Alta, and myself new hats. I also bought clothgoods to make all three of the little girls a new summer dress. I got busy right away to make our new clothes to wear to the picnic. Effie was about eight years old at the time. One day while I was making dinner, Effie thought she would try to sew on her own dress. She got the scissors and tried to cut out buttonholes. She cut through the hem and down into the body. I came back to my sewing and discovered what she had done. At first I didn't think I could fix it-- somehow I was able to salvage the dress. I scolded her good. Those kinds of things were so trying. I kept telling myself, "The pleasure outweighs the troubles." I got the dresses all made and everything ready for the picnic. We all went and had a lovely time. There was a large crowd and we all spread out table clothes on the ground. We made one long tablecloth and everybody ate together. One couple sang after dinner.
In the fall we moved into a house on Layman's place. Jake worked for them that fall and winter. We had jut one large room in this house. There was a summer kitchen built on one end. It was just a leanto kitchen and we couldn't use it during the winter. In Iowa, when the weather gets cold, everything freezes. Jake got some building paper and lined this big room we lived in. We wouldn't have been able to stay in there otherwise. We had a big heating stove in the center and our beds on one side. We put my cook stove and our table and kitchen things in one corner. We kept a fire in the heater all the time- day and night. The water in the water bucket froze sometimes during the night. We had to heat the blankets before we put the children to bed and then check them several times during the night to make sure they hadn't frozen to death. We kept our vegetables in a cave. We also stored fruit, potatoes, turnip, cabbage, and some canned goods. I always had a barrel of apples. We opened the cave and took out just enough to last a few days. We couldn't open it to often or things would have froze in there too. We kept the things we took out right next to the stove to keep it from freezing in the house. Oh we had a rough life by today's standards. But, we perservered and did our best to make a good life for our children.
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