Ira and his brother Thomas took their
family on 2 October 1901 from Sylvia, Tennessee to Quitman, Arkansas .
They formed a wagon train of three wagons along with Charley Ellis,
Don Mathis and Isaac Edwards.
Don Mathis being a musician, brought
along his banjo. They had music and singing each night at camp.
The children of the group was recuperating from whooping cough and
the second night they camped across the road from a farmhouse. The
lady was sitting on the front porch rocking her baby. One of the
children began coughing. She hurried inside and shut the door after
her. At dusk the man of the house came out and got the axe and carried
After four or five days of travel they stopped at
Bridgeport, Arkansas, for the men to work on the railroad that was
being built through there. Ira got up on morning to feed the stock
and discovered one mule was gone. But as luck would have it he had
lost 1/2 of a shoe so he could track him. He had started back the same
road we had traveled. Ira caught up with him about sundown calmly
grazing in a pasture. He got back to camp the next night.
Several uneventful days followed. Some of the men would take their
guns and dogs and hunt birds and other game along the wayside,
supplying the table with fresh meat. On one occasion three of the boys
got lost and didn't get to camp until about midnight.
Bluff, Missouri, they stopped at a small zoo and let the children see
the zoo animals and birds. One other night it was pouring rain and
they stayed in a wagon yard. There was an animal that had distemper
and their animals caught the disease which slowed them down. They
traveled quite a distance on a highway on the Tennessee and Kentucky
border. It was a novelty for the children to be in Tennessee on one
side and Kentucky on the other side.
Each week they had to stop
at a spring or creek to do the laundry. They crossed the Tennessee and
Mississippi River in a row boat. One river was crossed by cable. At on
camp my sister took all her trinkets out and built a play house. Our
mother called her and she left all her things there. She grieved for
them for a while. When the children got too tired they would walk
between the wagons. On one occasion one little girl fell out of the
wagon and went between the horse and the single tree. She was not hurt.
This little girl was Viola.
At Bridgeport, Arkansas the
children picked cotton, the first they had seen. Thomas and family
left the wagon train at Bridgeport and came to Quitman. Isaac Edwards
and Don Mathis left the wagon train at Bridgeport and went back to
Tennessee by train.
They crossed the Mississippi River at Cairo,
Illinois (Kentucky). We waded in the water. They traveled the Old
Military road from Batesville to Shiloah, crossed Red River at Shiloah
and up Bean (Boon?) Gap and down by the Ed Laum place arriving at
Quitman on 1 December 1901
signed Grace Clifton