Friday, December 28, 2018

Duffield/Sisson Postcards No. 56

Postcard 56, like the last one, was sent from Lyle Green to his sister-in-law Edith (Duffield) Sisson to update her on the condition of her little sister Eva following an operation.

City Hall and Court House, Chicago
The Cook County Building, which houses the City Hall offices and the County Court House, is still in use today. The building was designed by Holiburd & Roche, Architects, and constructed in 1910.

Postmarked April 6, 1913, at 1:30 AM in Chicago.
Addressed to:
Mrs. Edith Sisson
408 Marcy St.

Dear Ede,
Everything all O.K.
Eva started to eat 
to-day appetite good
and pains growing
less every day.

Duffield/Sisson Postcards No. 55

This postcard is the 55th in order by date from the collection of Edith (Duffield) Sisson, my husband's great-grandmother. The collection was saved by Edith's daughter, Edythe (Sisson) Brown, and after she died, her son Warren became the caretaker. When he passed away, I was lucky to have the chance to rescue many family treasures from being tossed out, including this great collection.

Edith's little sister Eva (Duffield) Green has authored a several of the postcards in this collection so far (3, 28, 29, 30, 31, 41, 45, 49). This one and the next are penned by her husband, Lyle Green. It seems that Eva has had an operation and Lyle is sending updates. The Green's lived north of Ottawa in the community of Dayton and operated a dairy farm. They must have been in Chicago, however, for Eva's surgery. Both postcards are postmarked in Chicago and feature subject matter of the city.

No. 809, V. O. Hammon Pub. Co., Chicago
The S.S. Christopher Columbus was a steamship designed by Scottish immigrant Alexander McDougall, inventor of the whaleback hull shape. It was the longest Whaleback ever built and the only one built for passenger service. At the time of this postcard, 1913, it was running a daily service from Chicago to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Postmarked in Chicago, Apr 3, 1913, 3:30 PM

Addressed to:
Mrs. Chas Sisson
408 Marcy St.

Eva is getting along
all right. had the operation 
at 8:30 yesterday morning.
She is in considerable
pain but that is to be
expected for a few days.
Will write again in 
a day or two.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Isaac Baumgardner family of South Ottawa, Illinois

Isaac Baumgardner and his wife, Barbara (Shank), moved from York, Pennsylvania to South Ottawa township, LaSalle County, Illinois about 1856-1857. Their daughter Mary was almost 4 years old and baby Sarah was born as they traveled to their new home. Isaac and Barbara would welcome two sons, Albert and Harry, and another daughter, Daisy, in Ottawa. The family made many friends among the residents in the community, including the Duffield family. 

Edith A. (Duffield) Sisson kept in close contact with the family and considered them her dear friends. She received a postcard from Mrs. Baumgardner in 1912 after the death of Sarah's husband Charley. She mentions an upcoming visit from her friend "Mrs. Challis from Ulysses, Nebraska" in a 1922 letter. And when Isaac died in 1918, he had added Edith Sisson to his will to receive $100 in appreciation for the many and valuable favors in the past years (Illinois Wills and Probate Records, Learning of these relationships, it was no surprise to find the following photographs in Edith's collection. 

Sarah E (Baumgardner) Challis
Sarah Eve (Baumgardner) Challis, (1856-1942)
Photographed in Ulysses, Nebraska,
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
 Charley Challis
Charles H. Challis (1853-1912),
husband of Sarah E Baumgardner.
Photographed in Ulysses, Nebraska.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
 Guy Challis, front
Baby Challis, believed to be Guy Challis (1880-1882), son of Charles and Sarah.
Photographed in Ottawa, Illinois.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
 Guy Challis, Back
Labeled Baby Challis, believed to be Guy Challis (1880-1882), son of Charles and Sarah.
Photographed in Ottawa, Illinois.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
 Blanche Challis
Labeled Little girl Challis, Blanche E. Challis (b. 1882). Married Lloyd Jackson.
Photographed in Ulysses, Nebraska.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
Albert Baumgardner, front
Thomas Albert Baumgardner (1858-1927). Married Anna Nistel.
Photographed in Ottawa, Illinois.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
 Albert Baumgardner, back
Thomas Albert Baumgardner (1858-1927).
Photographed in Ottawa, Illinois.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
Harry Baumgardner, front
Harry P. Baumgardner (1866-1890).
Photographed in Ottawa, Illinois.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
 Harry Baumgardner, back
Harry P. Baumgardner (1866-1890).
Photographed in Ottawa, Illinois.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.

Daisy Baumgardner, front
Daisy Maude Baumgardner (1872-1948).
Photographed in Ottawa, Illinois.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
 Daisy Baumgardner, back
Daisy Maude Baumgardner (1872-1948).
Photographed in Ottawa, Illinois.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
Daisy Baumgardner
Daisy Maude Baumgardner (1872-1948). Married W S Hayward.
Photographed in Ottawa, Illinois.
From the collection of Edith Sisson.
Please contact me if you are a descendant of Isaac and Barbara Baumgardner and would like to have these photos.

Duffield/Sisson Postcards, No. 54

This next postcard from the collection of Edith (Duffield) Sisson illustrates that, in 1912, friendships endured over distance, families stuck together when times got tough, and being neighborly was the right thing to do.

Postmarked Jun 3, 7 PM. The year and post office city didn't show up.

Addressed to:
Mrs Charls Cisson

south side 
(The Sisson's lived in South Ottawa)

Ulyses Neb
Jun 2 -12
Mrs Sisson
We are still here trying to 
sell evry thing I am so tired 
of the place Sarah is going to 
live with us she must sell 
evry thing it takes time to get 
rid of it I know you are tired 
taken care of hour home but 
we did not inteng to stay so 
long but will try and come home 
midle of next week if arangements 
can be made Love to all
From Mrs Baumgardner

Mr. & Mrs. Baumgardner lived a short distance away from Edith (Duffield) and her husband Charles Sisson in Ottawa, Illinois. The Baumgardner and the Duffield children had grown up attending the same schools. Sarah Eve Baumgardner, born in 1856, had married Charles Henry Challis in 1879 and moved to Ulysses, Nebraska. Charles was the editor and publisher of the Ulysses Dispatch until his unexpected death in May of 1912. These photos of Sarah, Charles, and their children were found in Edith's collection, and I know the families kept in touch even after Sarah moved to Nebraska. She was almost nine years older than Edith, but it seems they were friends despite the difference in age. In one of Edith's letters written in 1922, she mentions that Mrs. Challis will be coming to visit.

Sarah (Baumgardner) Challis,
Photographed in Ulysses, Nebraska,
From the collection of Edith Sisson.

Sarah's parents were about 80 years old when they traveled to Ulysses to help her settle the household after her husband's death. Edith stepped in to care for their home in Ottawa while they were gone. This note tells us that Sarah was planning to go back to Ottawa to live with her parents. She probably helped her parents a great deal until their deaths. Her mother died in 1917, followed soon after by her father in 1918. After their deaths, Sarah moved to Scotts Bluff, Nebraska to live near her daughter, Blanche, and son-in-law, Lloyd Jackson. Sarah died in 1942 in Scotts Bluff and was buried next to her husband in Ulysses.

Before Mr. Baumgardner died, he made an addition to his will. His five surviving children would inherit his estate, but he also wanted to leave $100 to Edith Sisson in appreciation for the many and valuable favors in the past years.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Duffield/Sisson Postcards No. 53

The Pillars of Hercules, on the O. R. & N.
From the back of the postcard:
The Pillars of Hercules, on the O. R. & N.
The storm God of the mountains fashioned these stately 
pillars, and made them the gateway to scenes beyond 
of unspeakable beauty and grandeur. About these 
pinnacles there dwelt the guardian angels of the God 

The Pillars of Hercules pictured here are not in the Straits of Gibraltar but on the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon. The train tracks no longer run through the columns, and the tree on top is gone, but they can still be seen today. The Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company, O. R. & N., provided travelers a gateway to the Pacific Northwest.

This postcard was part of the Gifford Series, published by Benj. A. Gifford, The Dalles, Oregon.
Copyright 1908, card No. 240.

            Postmarked November 4, 1911 at The Dalles, Oregon.

Addressed to:
Mrs Edith Sisson
Marcy. St.

Dear Sister Edith-
We are on our way to California at Dalles to day. 
Will leave here for Portland Sun morning we are O.K. 
hope you are all well I will write you again
Sister Mae.

Marie Louise "Mae" Duffield and her husband, Herbert Bragg, moved from Ottawa, Illinois to Long Beach, California between the years 1910 and 1920 according to the Federal Census records. This trip may have been the actual "move" or perhaps was just a pleasure trip that put the thought into their heads. Mae was two years older than Edith, and from her notes seems to have been a practical and to the point type of woman. 

Edith (Duffield) Sisson saved many postcards and letters. I am honored to be the current caretaker of this wonderful collection and keep them in the family.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Duffield/Sisson Postcards No. 52

In the early 1900s, before automobiles were parked at nearly every home, travel of any distance was typically by train. Postcards featuring trains and the depots were very common. Train depots were often elaborate buildings, making them an attractive postcard subject. Travelers who wanted to let the family back home know how their trip was going would purchase a postcard at the depot while the train was in the station and send an update. Postcards were also used to pen quick notes, such as this one from the collection of Edith (Duffield) Sisson.

This card was sent as a thank you note by a woman named Daisy Haywood. It features a depot in Kinsley, Kansas for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF). This depot was built in 1887 and was used first for the AT&SF and later the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The small building next to the depot was used a freight house. The buildings were demolished in 1999.

A. T. & S. F. Depot, Kinsley, Kans.

Postmarked in Kinsley, Kansas, September 1911

Addressed to:
Mrs. Edith Cisson
Marcy St.

Mrs. Cisson,
Dear friend: - I rec'd a letter from
the folks telling how pleased they 
were on finding things so well taken
care of in their absence and I
take this way in thanking
you, which is but a weak
way of putting it, for the kind-
ness that you have shown
them. We all fully appreci-
ate the kindness.
Your friend Daisy Haywood

Friday, October 26, 2018

Duffield/Sisson Postcards No. 51

I got sidetracked from this collection several months ago after posting #1-50. That was only the first half of this wonderful collection of postcards saved by Edith (Duffield) Sisson (1864-1926). The postcards were found in the Sierra Madre, California home of her grandson, Warren Brown, after his death in 2015. They were stacked and tied up with string, then tucked away in a box of photos and other memorabilia. This one is extra special because the note on the back was from her husband, Charles Herman Sisson (1868-1927).

65. Interior of Big Pavilion, - Saugatuck, Mich.

The Big Pavilion was built in the Spring of 1909 as a dance hall to entertain the families vacationing for the summer in Saugatuck. It was situated on the banks of the Kalamazoo River and not far from Mount Baldhead (if you wanted to climb more than two hundred steps to the top). Wealthy and upper-middle-class families flocked to the resort from Chicago, St. Louis and the surrounding areas for vacations. Some very wealthy drove themselves, but most came by train or by boat across Lake Michigan. They could then either drive or rent a horse and carriage to take them to the beach on Lake Michigan. Some families rented canoes and paddled the river, or fished from the docks. Many, though, came for the dances and concerts in the Pavilion. Saugatuck was in the "dry" county of Allegan, so refreshments at the pavilion were limited to soda, lemonade and perhaps an ice cream or some popcorn. Young men wishing to meet and dance with unescorted young ladies had to first be introduced by the Master of Ceremonies.

Addressed to:

Mrs C. H Sisson

Dear Madam this is
from your old man

Fennville Mich July 31 -11
Dear Edith i got here
safe and sound also 
right side down, at
two oclock in the
morning. Had a nice 
trip the lake was 
as smooth as glass
the smoothest i ever
saw it. the folks are
all well this is all this time

P(ea) S(oup) i think i will be
Home thursday
night on the CRI

There isn't a postmark, full address, or a stamp, so I think it's safe to say that this card was sent in a package or another envelope. The Sissons lived in Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois. His message offers a glimpse of Charles's personality. The "Dear Madam this is from your old man", "right side down", and "P(ea) S(oup)" for postscript are all fun little touches that show he was a good-natured man. 

Charles parents, Luther and Mary Jane (Bassage) Sisson, lived just west of Fennville, Michigan. In 1910, they had two grown children, James and Dora, living with them, too. James helped his father with the farming on land that they owned.  The town of Saugatuck, with the Big Pavilion pictured on this postcard, was less than ten miles from the farm. 

About 1900, Fennville, Michigan
Left to right: Belle Adora "Dora" Sisson, Dora's daughter Beulah, Mary Jane (Bassage) Sisson - seated, Emma Lucinda (Sisson) Buchanan, James Sisson, Luther Sisson - seated, and Emma's daughter Lizzie.

Charles traveled across Lake Michigan by boat, probably from Chicago, on his trip to Fennville. He likely returned the same way, but then had to get from Chicago to Ottawa. We know from his postscript that he planned to take the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway, called the Chicago Rock Island, or the CRI, for short. His old lady may have been waiting for him at the station that Thursday night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Erastus Caleb Aplington - Farmer, Public Servant, Miner - 1852-1897

A gentleman should be an honest, hard-working member of society, a faithful husband, and a good provider for his family. He should treat others with kindness and respect. He should educate his children and pass on to them his strong moral values. Erastus Caleb Aplington was a gentleman.

Erastus Caleb Aplington
Photo taken after 1873
Courtesy of Rene Rodgers
He was born on October 12, 1852, in Deposit, Broome County, New York to James Page Aplington and his wife, Sarah Jane Anthony. The youngest of 8 children, he joined five older sisters (Catharine 17, Charlotte 16, Murietta 13, Sarah Anne 11 and Helen 7) and two older brothers (Nathan  9 and Lewis A. 5). When Erastus was a toddler, his family moved west, settling for a time in Buffalo, Ogle, Illinois near his Uncle Zenas Aplington's family. It was here that his sister Charlotte met and married her husband, Cyrus Doty, and here she remained while the rest of the family traveled further west to Butler County, Iowa where James Aplington bought some land and began farming.

Erastus and his brothers helped their father with the farm work while the girls helped their mother with the housekeeping. Weddings seemed to always be on the horizon as his older siblings reached adulthood. Murietta was married in 1862, then both Catharine and Nathan in 1866, followed by Sarah in 1867. This left Helen, Lewis, and Erastus at home with their parents when, in the fall of 1867, tragedy struck the family. Father James died at the age of 53. Fifteen-year-old Erastus now had to work even harder to help his widowed mother. It would be several years before there was another wedding as the family struggled to survive without James' guidance. Sarah must have been quite savvy because the farm flourished with her at the helm. They weren't rich by any means, but they were much better off than some of their neighboring farmers. During these early years, Erastus was very close to his sisters and his mother who taught him to respect all women. He also learned the value of hard work as he worked alongside his family members to become a successful farmer.

In the early 1870's, Erastus met a young woman named Affa Harding Goodsell and the two fell in love. Soon, the Aplington family was planning another wedding. On November 13, 1873, the young couple was married in what would be one of the last things Erastus did in Iowa.

Soon after the wedding, Erastus, Affa, his sister Helen, brother Lewis A. and mother Sarah prepared to move. They sold the farm and packed up their belongings. Erastus's married siblings Catharine, Murietta, Sarah Anne, and Nathan went too, as did Affa's brother Ansel. All of these families made the 500-mile journey to Norton County, Kansas, a trip that probably took a few weeks or longer. They settled in an area close to the town of Almena along the county line between Norton County and Phillips County. Catharines's husband Isaac Hall was a minister, and the other families took up farming.

Sarah (Anthony) Aplington homestead in Northeast Norton County, Kansas, circa 1890.
Photo shared 24 Nov 2008 on by user Richard_Pittaway_1954 
Near Almena, in August of 1874, Erastus and Affa had their first child, a daughter they named Anna Claire. Two weeks later, Erastus's sister, 33-year-old Sarah Anne Stevens died, leaving a husband and small children. For the next several years, Erastus and Affa were very busy caring for a farm and a growing family. Daughters Maretta (1876), Ella May (1878), and Katherine Irene (1880) and son Guy (1881) joined their big sister Anna. Once again, though, a life ended too soon. This time it was little Guy, dead in 1883 at barely 18 months old. It is so difficult to lose a parent. Then a siblings death brings one's own mortality front and center. Guy's death, however, would surely have left a big gaping hole in Erastus's heart. Parents are expected to die before their children. Thankfully, there was some joy to be found when another daughter, Mary Edna, was born later that year. Followed by more sorrow when his mother Sarah passed in 1884. And then joy again when two more sons, James William and Erastus Clifford, were born in 1886 and 1888, respectively.

29 Oct 1885, Norton Courier, Page 4
clipping from
These joys and sorrows, a roller-coaster ride of emotions, were surely all felt deeply by Erastus and the impact of these events would have a profound impact on him. He was a very busy man. He became more civic-minded, joined clubs and ran for public office. Twice (1885 & 1886) he was paid for assessing Almena township at census time. He was elected a County Commissioner on the Democratic ticket in 1886 and opened a restaurant in Almena. He ran for County Treasurer in 1887 on the Union Labor ticket.

26 April 1888, Almena County Plaindealer, Page 3
clipping from
He was a member of the GAR (though I'm unaware of any military service)  and the Knights of Pythias, where he held the second highest position in the local lodge, the Keeper of Records and Seal. To become a member of the Pythagorean Brotherhood, Erastus's character had been rigorously tested and he was found to be of the highest moral character. He was appointed to a committee on credentials for the Phillips County Farmers Alliance in 1890.

But Erastus was also a risk-taker. Perhaps to put money away for his family in case he should die young like his father. Or maybe there was a bit of gambler in his personality. He invested in a very expensive Percheron horse which the local paper wrote about. A show horse, or a stud horse, the nature of the animal is unknown. They were very large, tough animals often used in farming.

2 April 1886, The Alma Enterprise, Page 1
clipping from
A few years later, in 1892, Erastus was named in a lawsuit - a foreclosure action brought against him, Affa, and his sister Catharine Hall for almost $1600.00. He and Affa had transferred a parcel of land to Catharine previous to this, and it may be that parcel in question. The outcome of the lawsuit is not known.

10 March 1892, Norton Courier, Page 4
Clipping from
Did he lose money on the horse and/or the lawsuit? Did he lose credibility as an honorable man because of these or other events? While his financial and social positions at the time are unknown, something persuaded him to take his family to Park County Colorado by 1895 and try his luck at mining. Erastus signed his daughter Rena's (Katherine Irene) autograph book in Alma, CO.

Oh may your life like a beautiful day
Be ever one bright morn
May you pluck lifes blossoms with gentle hands
And avoid its bitter thorns
Is one of the dearest wishes of your Father
EC Aplington
Alma Colo Feb 3. 1895
Courtesy of Rene Rodgers
In September of that year, his daughter Ella May married Joseph Warden in London Junction, near Alma. During the next two years, the family lived in the bustling mining community situated at the highest elevation of any town in the country. I imagine hard winters, some lawlessness they must have encountered, and the fear that Affa surely felt each day as her husband headed out to do dangerous work. Her fears were realized with the devastating news on November 22nd, 1897 that Erastus had perished in a mine accident. His loss was an enormous blow to the family. He was adored by his children and his wife, and he was their provider. The community also felt the loss. Though the family had been there for just a short time, Erastus had made many friends among the miners and their families. He worked hard, doing whatever was necessary, even in the face of extreme danger, and by doing so he had earned the respect of the mining community.

Shared on by user plantdude3441 on 31 Mar 2013.

Affa was able to call on the Woodmen of the World to pay the funeral and burial expenses for her husband, thanks to his forethought in purchasing insurance through the fraternal organization. Erastus was buried in Buckskin Joe Cemetery in Alma, with a stately headstone, courtesy of the Woodmen.

Like many mining communities of the period, Alma is now virtually a ghost town. The cemetery remains, though, and Erastus's stone stands tall and proud, as he did in life.

Gravesite of Erastus Aplington.
Photo courtesy of Rene Rodgers.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Shadrack Holdaway, born 15 October 1822

Much has been written about Shadrack (also Shedrick, Shadrach) Holdaway, one of my husband's 3rd Great-Grandfathers and a Mormon pioneer who helped to establish the city of Provo, Utah. Today is his birthday, 196 years ago.

Shadrack Holdaway
Photo added by Colleen Koelliker on 29 Jan 2006

Shadrack was born on 15 October 1822 in Hawkins County, Tennessee to Timothy and Mary (Trent)  Holdaway. The family moved from Tennessee to Indiana and later to Illinois, a common migration path of the period. On 30 April 1843, he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and, a few months later, went to Nauvoo, Illinois, a town established by Joseph Smith for Mormon followers to escape conflict. After Joseph's death in 1844, violence against the Mormons became increasingly worse, until they were driven out of Nauvoo. Eventually, most of those that fled would settle in the Great Salt Lake region of Utah, but along the way, the church leaders were asked by President Polk to provide a volunteer battalion to fight in the Mexican-American War. They were offered compensation for each soldier, and it was decided that the volunteer's wages would go into a general church fund to finance the trip west. Shadrack was one of more than 500 men to volunteer when he enlisted on 16 July 1846 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. A member of Company C of the Mormon Battalion, he marched almost 2000 miles to San Diego, California where he was discharged a year after enlisting. 

From the Mormon Battalion Memorial
in San Diego, California.

Gold fever struck in California at about the same time and Shadrack didn't miss his opportunity to do a little mining on his way to join the saints in Utah. He left the American River with three thousand dollars worth of gold dust, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley on 24 October 1848. He was the first man to pay his tithings to the church in gold dust. Two months later he married Lucinda Haws, the daughter of Gilberth and Hannah (Whitcomb) Haws.

Following are some excerpts from Lucinda Haws Holdaway autobiography, as dictated to Etna H. Foulger in 1907:

"The following March, 1849, my father and family, together with thirty other families, were called to go south to Utah Valley to settle up that part of the country. I did not go as I intended going back to the States with my husband in May to get some machinery for making woolen goods. We left Salt Lake City in company with thirteen others, among them Brother Lorenzo D. Young and wife and Doctor Bernhisel who was going to Washington, D.C., on business. Ten men of the company intended to stay at the upper crossing of the Platte River to run a ferry to help the emigrants across the river. Brother Young and wife went with us. One day our little company stopped for noon at a place called Independence Rock east of Fort Bridger."

"We journeyed on to Green River. Previous to leaving Salt Lake City we had prepared a watertight wagon box. We ferried ourselves across the Green River with oars in the wagon box. It served a very good purpose. We reached Platte River which we had to cross on a raft. Here ten men of the company stopped to help ferry Saints across the river. Brother Young and wife, Doctor Bernhisel, my husband and myself went on to Fort Laramie which was then an old government station. The second day after we left the company we began to meet train after train of gold seekers going to California."

"We traveled along alright, until my husband and I took sick with cholera. I came very nearly dying; but he was able to drive."

They made stops in Missouri and Illinois (with family for the birth of their first baby - a son who lived only four months), and finally Kanesville, Iowa where they purchased the woolen mill machinery before heading back to the Salt Lake Valley.

"After the cholera died out, we got along real well without an accident for several hundred miles. We had all the buffalo and antelope meat we wanted and some deer meat, which we got in the Black Hills. The Company dried a lot of it and it came in very well, for we needed it when we got out of the buffalo country."

"My husband was on guard at night and during the day he walked ahead and drove the stock. He shod the horses and was looked to as a kind of overseer of the Company."

"We were now getting into the mountains on this side of the Sweetwater River. Our wagons were loaded with machinery and our horses were just about given out. Our bread stuff was all used up except some whole corn which I made hominy of and we lived on this until we reached the Salt Lake Vally in September 1850. Here and there in the little city were patches of grain and vegetables. We lived in our wagon until my husband managed to get the walls of a small adobe house up. We put a portion of our things in the little house and stretched a domestic wagon cover over the place where the bed stood which would shelter us for awhile until my husband had time to put a roof on it. He had to get the wagons unloaded and haul hay and wood for the winter. We were living in Big Cottonwood Creek at this time. There was no floor, no roof and no door in the house. It had been raining for three days - was still raining - and in the midst of this, on November 4, 1850, my second baby was born. Everything in the house was wet through and streams of water poured through the wagon cover onto my bed. We set pans to catch the water. The baby, which we name Timothy, loved but a few minutes and I came nearly dying also."

"On the 28th of December we left for Provo. I drove in an open wagon all the way. It was just about the coldest weather I ever experienced. We camped out two nights and reached the Fort on the last day of December, 1850. We could not get a house to live in, except an old log cabin with just the walls and a dirt floor. It wasn't very good for winter use but we fixed a roof on it and stayed there until March, 1851. We then built us a log cabin on the other side of Provo River. It was neither chinked nor plastered, but it was a paradise compared with the ones we had lived in before. Next, my husband built a machine shop and set up the first carding machinery brought into this country. Bishop David Evans helped to put it up and in October it was ready to begin work. Brother Evans first took charge of running it and then my husband. Soon after, he built a blacksmith shop."

In December of 1851, their son William Shadrack Holdaway was born. This child lived and was the beginning of a large family.

Lucinda had a sister, Eliza Haws, who was married to George Pickup. They had a son, George Pickup, Jr. Eliza claimed that George was intolerable to live with and divorced him on 3 September 1852. She claimed that he thought she was entertaining other men in their home and would hide outside behind trees at all hours of the day and night watching the house. When she became so scared that she couldn't stand it any longer, she divorced him. In November, she married Shadrack as his second wife in a plural marriage. Shadrack and Eliza had two children, a daughter that died in infancy and a son, Marion Haws Holdaway. Marion was born on 28 February 1855 and Eliza died just 5 days after his birth. Marion was my husband's second Great-Grandfather.

Shadrack and Lucinda had added to their family during that time. Amos David was born in January 1853 and John Madison came in April 1854. When Eliza died, there were four children under four years old in the household. The Indians were becoming more hostile and Shadrack feared for his families safety when he wasn't there, so he built a little house in town where he his family felt more protected. Shadrack was always busy doing what he could to provide not only for his family but for the community. He and his brother made a threshing machine from scrap iron, he helped lay out and build a logging road in Provo Canyon, and in the Spring of 1859, he built a sawmill. The children continued to come - five daughters and four more sons were born by 1870. In all, he fathered 16 children. Of those children, ten lived past infancy and are pictured in the photo below.

Shadrack Holdaway Family
Photo added by Sunflower Lady on 29 Feb 2012

In 1873, Shadrack settled a piece of land near Vineyard, Utah and established a ranch. He laid out an irrigation canal that was used for several generations, maybe still today. This was remarkable for a man with very little formal education. He was always off building roads, canals, ditches or working in the sawmill. When home, he developed an orchard and raised cattle. His motto was, "I never expect more out of this old world than I put into it."

Shadrack was also a man of deep religious conviction. He read his Bible diligently, was a member of the 31st Quorum of Seventies and a High Priest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

A week before his death, he is said to have cut down twelve big apple trees on his property before catching a cold. That cold developed into pneumonia and he died on his 54th wedding anniversary, 24 December 1902. The funeral was held in the Provo Tabernacle and he is buried in the Provo City Cemetery.

My husband has done an Ancestry DNA test and we are amazed by the number of matches he has descending from Shadrack and from the Haws family. Prolific Mormons, right? Anyway, Happy Birthday, Shadrack. Thank you for your contribution to the world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

#virtualoregontrail The survivors reach The Dalles

With the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Cascade Mountains in the distance, the emigrants kept heading north towards The Dalles and the Columbia River. To get there, they would have to cross the Deschutes River. As they traveled, they searched for the best place to make that crossing. The cliffs were steep and the water very swift, so finding a safe place to lower the wagons and ferry across the river was no easy task.

On September 26th, Tetherow and Meek, along with their companies, joined with the Riggs group. It was decided that they would proceed together as one group to the Columbia beginning the following day. Many, like James Field, had contracted Camp Fever. All were hungry and in need of water. Before they left, Samuel Parker noted in a diary that six dead were buried.

For three days they traveled and then had to ascend Bull Mountain, a double-teamed ascent described as "horrendous". Along the way, 5 more dead were buried.

"The place at which we struck the Deschutes river presented the
most unfavorable place for crossing that could be imagined. 
The river is, at that point, four rods wide, flowing between 
perpendicular walls of basalt, the water very deep and the 
current very rapid." 
William A. Goulder
a trail diarist

The group found the smoothest path down and worked together to lower a wagon using drag teams. This first group down included Meek, his wife Elizabeth, and a man named Olney. They devised a system of ropes to use in crossing the river and made it to the other shore. There they borrowed horses from the Indians fishing in the canyon so they could hurry to The Dalles to secure supplies and alert the Mission and community that the wagons would soon arrive. Meek bought food, axes, ropes, and pulleys with his own money and tried to enlist help. The missionaries refused to help as they were occupied helping the local Indians, but an old mountaineer called Black Harris volunteered his service as a pilot. He returned to the canyon with the supplies purchased by Meek.

"He in company with several others, started in 
search of the lost company, whom they found 
reduced to great extremities; their provisions nearly 
exhausted, and the company weakened by exertion, 
and despairing of ever reaching the settlements." 
Joel Palmer
a trail diarist

The emigrants were encouraged by the knowledge that their journey was now near its end, and with the additional supplies, they began work immediately. They caulked the remaining wagons tightly with tar to prepare for the crossing, then lowered them to the river. Indians in the area offered their assistance, and with their help, the livestock, all the people, and the wagons were safely ferried across the Deschutes. They crossed at a place now called "Sherar's Bridge" (on today's HWY 216), a crossing which would become known as the "the most amazing feat of all". 

"Our friends, white and red, are on the opposite bank of the river 
having arrived from The Dalles, bringing axes and ropes and other 
implements and materials to assist in the task of crossing. They are 
led by a brave old mountaineer, one of the noblest...who was known 
to everybody as "Black Harris." They are soon at work improvising 
temporary floating structures and suspension bridges. Pretty soon 
and Indian is seen to plump into the river with the end of a long rope 
in his mouth, and swim over to our side. Now it is necessary for some 
of our party to be on the other side to look out for the running gear 
of the wagons that are fastened to the ropes and thus dragged through 
the water. In order to test the strength of the rope and the safety of this 
method of transit, the rope was passed around my body, just under my 
arms, and I was dragged through the raging torrent to the other side. 
I could but feel that I was in the hands of my friends, not could I be 
insensible to the fact that the water was of icy coldness, just being 
lately arrived from the snowy brow of Mt. Hood. It has been my good 
fortune to enjoy some very cool and refreshing baths, but nothing in 
my experience ever equalled this one. Several of the young men 
followed my example, while the main body of the company waited 
for more elaborate contrivances."
William A. Goulder

Sherar's Hotel and Bridge were built in the 1870s
near where the emigrants made the crossing.

It took about two weeks to get the entire group across the river. Wagon by wagon, with the ill and injured going first, the train was ferried across. Once on the other side, a journey of about 30 miles remained to reach The Dalles. With so many of the emigrants ill, some close to death, this distance was still a long way to go. The suffering endured during these last weeks of the journey was indescribable. More than a dozen people died from the Camp Fever. Others died from malnourishment and dehydration. The oxen, horses and the cattle were also in poor condition. 

The last wagon finally arrived in The Dalles in mid-October. Some of the illest emigrants died in the weeks following their arrival, but others began to gain strength and recuperate. The missionaries at the Wascopan Mission tirelessly nursed the Meek party once they arrived. When well, many hired Indians to take them in canoes or on rafts down the Columbia to the Willamette River, where they continued first to Oregon City, and from there to their final destinations.

The Riggs family, which included son-in-law James Miller Allen, escaped disaster and somehow all arrived alive. James B. Riggs took his family to his claim on Salt Creek in what would become Polk County. They arrived exhausted physically and financially and then had to begin the hard work of settling the homestead.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#virtualoregontrail September 19-25, 1845

Diary of James Field, as published in the Willamette Farmer, continued:

Fri., 19. - Went about 22 miles, road tolerably rough much of the way, camping upon a stream in a deep, narrow glen resembling the Malheur much in character, and which we believe to be Lohum's fork of Deschutes or Falls river.

Sat., 20. - Went about eight miles, camping upon the same stream mentioned yesterday, down which we followed all day, frequently crossing it, and at one narrow pass we were obliged to follow the bed of the river for nearly a fourth of a mile.

Sun., 21. - Went about 16 miles to-day, still keeping down the river, occasionally cutting across the lowest points of the bluffs, and camping upon it again. The hills along the stream upon either hand are covered in many places with tall pines.

Mon., 22. -  Went about seven miles, keeping still down along the river, which has to be crossed every mile or two, and sometimes two or three times in a mile. Camped at the foot of a tremendous hill, which it is necessary to ascend, and which when we first came in sight of appeared to be strung with wagons from the bottom to near the top, several companies being engaged in the ascent at the same time.

Tues., 23. - Went about 12 miles, striking away from the river and camping upon a small branch of it. Had a long and hard pull in the morning to ascend the hill spoken of yesterday, but once up we felt amply repaid the trouble of climbing up by the prospect which lay before us. There were the Cascade mountains stretching along the western horizon, apparently not more than forty miles distant, forming a dark outline, varied by an occasional snow-peak, which would rise lofty and spire-like, as if it were a monument to departed greatness.

Wed., 24. - Went about 15 miles, camping at a spring in the midst of the plains, without a single landmark to tell the situation.

NOTE. - This ends the journal, and we publish below a letter from Mr. Field in regard to the latter part of the journey. - Ed. Farmer.

The Deschutes at its confluence with the Columbia

Port Chester, N.Y.,
June 3, 1879.
Friend Clarke: 
Through the kindness of my old friend, R. Weeks, of Portland, I am in receipt of three numbers of your paper, containing installments of my diary kept while crossing the plains in '45, with a request that I may complete it from memory. This it is impossible for me to do, as it was cut short by my illness with camp fever, which destroyed all memory of what transpired during the remainder of the journey. I have an indistinct recollection of crossing the Deschutes river in a wagon body caulked tight, and drawn back and forth by ropes, of being carried and laid upon a bed among the rocks that lined the river-banks where we crossed, and of arriving at The Dalles so helpless that it was necessary to lift me out of and into the wagon like a baby. Then I remember going down to the Cascades in a boat such as the Hudson Bay Co. then used on the river, of walking and crawling past the first steep rapid, then getting into a canoe with some Indians and running the remainder of the rapids to the landing place of the old Caliapooia, Capt. Cook owner and master; then of sailing down the Columbia and up the Willamette to Linton, a place on the west bank of the river below Portland, and then having the only wagon-road to the Tualatin plains below Oregon City from the river. From Linton to Oregon City I was a fellow-passenger with old Mr. Fleming, the pioneer printer, so long connected with the press at that place, and I think it was late in November when we arrived there.
When I returned here overland in the spring of '48 I deposited the diary with Capt. J. B. Riggs, of Polk county, and when I returned to Oregon in '50, finding that he had used the blank leaves in the book to keep his business accounts on, I left it with him. If it is still my property, - and I know of no reason why it should not be, - please hand it to the Society of Pioneers, of Oregon. With my compliments I herewith present it to them.
It was written up daily after all my other duties as teamster and general assistant about the camp were performed. It has never been revised by me, and I hope my old companions will overlook any errors I have made.
Your friend,
James Field.

From “The Diary of James Field” Willamette Farmer (Portland, OR, Fridays: April 18 – August 1, 1879). 
1 Aug 1879 (September 18-24 + letter from author)