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My Life
Written by Calista Ellsworth Davis in her 82nd year, 1946.

I was borne in Civil War days & raised in Bond Co. Ill in 1864 on a little farm of 40 acres. My father & mother were poor people but in those days they could raise most anything such as corn, wheat, oats, & grain of any kind & it would yield. He raised his family of 10 children on that little farm.

Our house consisted of a 3 roomed log cabin with a fireplace with stick & clay chimney. My father & mother were good christian people. He had plenty around him all kinds of grain & fruit in abundance such as apples, peaches, cherries, gooseberries & currants, plenty of good garden & good crops of all kind for you could raise it them days for it yielded. We had our own meat & plenty of good lard & we had 2 good cows & had our own milk & butter. We had sheep & lambs - not in abundance, but a few sheep. I can remember when I was growing up for a few years my father killing a sheep & skinning it & we had mutton to eat. We had our chickens & eggs & plenty to eat them days. We made our own apple butter. My father would take corn to the grist mill & they would grind it & we would have plenty of good corn bread & lots of good old sorghum molasses. He would take wheat to the mill & have it ground & we would have flour but we didn't get biscuits very often. Those were good old days . I used to go out & gather hazel nuts by the sack & bring them home & hull them for the winter. We had lots of apples & my father would bury them & open them up in the winter & Oh they were good! We had plenty of food, but we didn't have much water. We had a well but it didn't afford much water.

Our folks used to go down to the branch to do the washing. One time there came up a storm of wind & rain before they could get to the clothes. The storm washed them all away & only a few of them were found! I remember the old lye hopper at home. After I were married I made soap. We had the old lye hopper & we would put ashes in it & pour water in it & drain the lye off & when I got enough lye for a kettle I would make my own soap, hard & soft. I have also made many a pot of hominy with lye to eat the eyes out or whatever you called it, & then wash them good & cooked them. They would be as nice as the hominy you buy now & Oh it was good! Happy mother wove our clothes in as pretty stripes as you ever seen & colored her yarn with madder red & other colors. She knit our stockings red & our mittens red to wear to school. I can remember my mother weaving from morn till night.

We lived in a log house & the cracks would be pretty open. My mother had an old kettle that she put hot coals in to warm her feet by. I remember picking the burrs out of the wool for my mother to wash and picking the seeds out of cotton for carding and spinning. She then spun it to make into stockings or whatever she wanted. She made towels- spun them or wove them- & blankets & stuff to make our linsy dresses. We was proud of them for we couldn't get much else them days. I had a good time them days.

I thought our school was close. All I had to do was to go down one hill & go up another & I was at the school house. Twas called round school because it was up on a hill & there was hills on every side. We had whats called the old blue back speller & I new it by heart from cover to cover. They use to have spelling matches & they would choose the best spellers & they most generally chose Calista Ellsworth & Etta Pigg, one of my school mates. She is living today down at Mulberry Grove. She married Jim Koonce but he died years ago. She knew lots about the old school. Her uncle John Pigg taught one term of our school & my other teachers were William Redding, Lewis Crutchley, Eugene Vest, Wesley Woodard, & Amy Morton. We had a good warm frame school house & good seats & places to put our books & they had a good box stove that burnt wood. The teacher made the boys bring the wood for the stove, and there was plenty of it. I have had to wade in snow up to my knees lots of times to get to school. Believe me them were cold days & people had sleighs & sleds & you could hear the sleigh bells jingling all around them days in winter.

That was the days of the Civil War when Abraham Lincoln freed the darkies. He sure was a good man & done a good deed. He was a good Christian man & had but little learning because he had no way much but he got to be President of the United States. It was cruel that he should of been assassinated for he was such a wonderful man & was a wonderful president.

That is the only school I ever went to because my father died & I had to quit going. I was 14 years old but my mother passed away when I was but 8 yrs old. I had 5 sisters & one brother & one brother & sister dead. I had one deaf sister- deaf from childhood & lived to be 78 years old. My sisters are all dead - 6 of them & one sister living at 99 yrs old & one brother 88 yrs old. I am the youngest of the family of 10 & I am 82 years old. I married a farmer in the year 1882, my husband dying in 1927. We raised a family of 8 children, 6 of them living, 4 girls & 2 boys. 1 girl & 1 boy died. The boy was 3 yrs old dying with diphtheria and the girl was 10 months old with measles.