When Our Mother was a Little Girl

When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 1)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 1)


[corresponds to front cover of When Our Mother Was a Little Girl]



by Mrs. A Baldwin

copyright 1888

(original in vault)
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 2)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 2)


[corresponds to introduction of When Our Mother was A Little Girl]

This book was written by Mrs. A. Baldwin, who was the daughter of Mahalia

Rosecrans, daughter of Abraham Rosecrans and Susan Patrick Rosecrans.

These stories were told by Mahalia to her grandson (Mrs. Baldwin's son).

Mrs. Baldwin thought them interesting so put them in print about 1888. My father

John Landon, and Charles Patrick each bought a copy. The cousins asked me many

Times if I could get some copies made up but not until 1955 did I take the time

to do so. As a child this book was read to me many times and I have read it

several times each year. I never tire going through its pages. My father who was

born in 1832, knew most of the folks mentioned in the book and I used to hear him

tell of meeting them. I hope the reader will enjoy the book half as much as I have.

Joseph B. Landon

84 Winthrop Road

Columbus 14, Ohio

Nov. 25, 1964

When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 3)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 3)


[corresponds to unnumbered page 1 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

When Our Mother Was A Little Girl

Copyright, 1888. Mrs. A. Baldwin

Part 1

"What are you thinking about, Jack?" said Grandma. "I'm not Jack. I'm

George Washington: and I'm thinking about Indians. Tell me about when you were

a little girl and the Indians came."

"Ah!" said Grandma, "George Washington saw more Indians in his day than I

ever did in mine, and Block-houses, too, for that matter; but he never saw our

Block-house; and I will tell you about that. A block-house is a large square house,

the logs are round and rough on the outside, but hewn on the inside; and all around

at intervals, are little holes."

"For birds' nest?" said Jack.

'No, indeed; they are for guns. At these the men would stand and fire, and

the women down below would cling together, and the children would cry: and outside,

the Indians, all covered with paint, would yell and dance and fire their arrows.

But I never saw anything of this kind, for they were all friendly Indians when I

was a little girl; though once, when I was a baby and my father was away in Delaware-

town, making roads for the army, and all the men were with him , a woman came run-

ning across the fields, crying, "Susan, Susan! the Injuns! Run to the Block- House!'

My mother who was never afraid of any thing, said she would not go. But when Uncle

Isaac's wife came by, with her bed and her clothes in a wagon and her children on

top of them, mother was persuaded to pack her things on, too, and taking me in her

arms, she walked to the Block-house, which was three miles away, close by Uncle Jim

Starke's. There they all spent the night, but the next day, not seeing any Indians

or hearing any more about them, they went home, and that was the last time the old

Block-house was ever used; but it stood many years, a peaceful place for the chil-

dren to play in and perhaps after all, the birds did build their nests in the gun


"There was once a camp-meeting in that same Delawaretown where father made

the roads, and the people invited the Indians from Sandusky to meet with them.

Several hundreds of them accepted the invitation and came marching into town; the

Chiefs and warriors ahead, the young men following, and the women straggling along,

in the rear, loaded down with the wigwams and cooking utensils. Such an array was

alarming. Had they come for good or evil? Uncle Jake, who was a class-leader,

said it was all for good; that they were led by the Spirit; that the heathen were

our inheritance; and he sang with more fervor than ever, that he hoped to shout

glory when the world was on fire. But father said they had come because they had

nothing else to do; and no doubt he was right, for these Indians were the last of

the old Hurons; their forefathers had been powerful allies of the French; in more

then one fight they had conquered the Iroquois; and now their glory had departed

and they were restless and discontented in their narrow precincts on the shores of

Lake Erie. We were all anxious to see them and father took us in his wagon to their

encampment. I was a very little girl, and the only thing that I remember was a
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 4)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 4)


[corresponds to page 2 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

curious kind of cradle. It was made of a blanket, with each of the four corners

tied to a tree; when the wind blew the cradle would rock; and the old squaws

could put in half a dozen babies and go off to hear the preaching. I thought

it would be an excellent idea for the twins, and proposed it to mother one day

when Uncle Jake's children came over to help us pull flax, and was so offended

at her refusal, I left Sophronia alone in a fence corner, where the poor little

thing cried herself almost to death; but mother never found it out, and I said

nothing more about the cradle. I hope, Jack, that you will be better to your

little sister than I was to mine, and always tell your mother the truth." "Like George

Washington? But I don't want to hear about babies, I want to hear about


"Why, there are baby Indians, as well as big Indians, and they call them

Pappooses. When a pappoose's mother is going on a journey she does not strap

her baby up softly and carry it in her arms, but she straps it on a board and

the board on their back, and marches along. Once an old squaw came to Uncle

Abner Ayres' tavern, in Fredericktown, and she stopped outside the door and un-

strapped her pappoose, and set the board, pappoose and all, against the side of

the house, while she went to get some whiskey. When she came out, there was no

baby left, for a dreadful old sow had eaten it all up. But you like to hear

about fighting Indians, do you, with paint on their faces and feathers in their

hair? They do very well to talk about, but how would you like to see some of

them walking in here tonight?

Once, when father and mother had gone to a funeral and we children were

at home alone, we saw a party of them coming up the road, with guns in their

hands and knives and tomahawks in their belts. We were scared enough. Some of

the children ran under the bed and some under the table, and Maranda crawled

into a bag; but Uncle Daniel's boy- Uncle Daniel was General Rosecrans' grand-

father - armed himself with a poker and stood in the doorway to protect us. He

was a little fellow about 9 years old, but his dark eyes were full of courage

and his young heart beat stoutly under his homespun shirt. The odds were des-

perate, one against many; an old poker against guns and tomahawks. No neigh-

bor was within call. Around us lay a little patch of cleared land, and beyond

that, the woods. We were all alone, and our only defense was the little boy,

with his poker in the cabin doorway. The Indians, armed and painted, came

nearer and nearer; but when within a few yards of the house they stopped and

began talking gesticulating in a frightful manner. Were they planning to

fire the house and scalp the inmates? We shook with fear in our hiding places.

But great was our relief when they turned back, and we, peeping cautiously out,

saw them lay down their guns, stick their knives and tomahawks into the fence,

and then return to the house, making signs that they were friendly and only wanted

something to eat. We came timidly out from under the beds and tables, and Maranda

crept out of her bag, and we gave them all the bread and venison we could find in

the house, and were happy enough when they marched off, one after another, Indian

fashion, down the road." "If they had burned the house, then what? I guess your

father and mother would have been sorry they went to a funeral. I don't like


"They did not, either, but they always went to them. In those times every

man within 10 miles was a neighbor and every neighbor was a friend and when any-

one died, a boy was sent on horseback from house to house to tell the sad tidings.

On the day of the funeral, all the men and women in the country round laid aside

their work, however important, and attended it. Rough wagons, with boards across
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 5)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 5)


[corresponds to page 3 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl]

for seats, perhaps with a chair for some old grandmother, formed the procession,
followed often by men on horseback with their wives behind them. They had no
hearse and the best wagon of the settlement held the coffin and a homespun blanket
answered for a pall. I have seen many grand processions since then. Once I saw
a city hung with mourning, and thousands of soldiers marching with muffled drums
and all the people mourning a great man. But I have never seen anything that
seemed to me so solemn as those wagons winding through the forests and over the
rough roads to the half-cleared grave-yard of that new country."

But Grandma is thinking her own thoughts and has wondered far away from her
Indian stories.

Now I will tell you one more and then we will light the lamp and get ready
for supper. We were never afraid of Indians when father was at home for father
was a mighty hunter, and we were proud of him. I can see him now, as he looked
to me when I was a child. Tall and erect, with black hair and eyes so keen, no
thing escaped them. He wore cloth trousers, foxed below the knee with deer skin; a
hunting shirt of striped flannel, with fringe around the bottom. His powder horn
and shot-bag were slung across his shoulders, and his hunting knife was in his
belt. There never was a doubt in our minds about his being able to protect us, and
I think there never was in his, for he was a man of courage. And so this morning
that I am going to you about, we were not in the least frightened, when we
saw a large party of Indians approaching the house. Father went out to meet them,
and they made signs that they wanted breakfast. Friend or foe was always made
welcome to our table, so he brought them in, and mother cooked more meat and baked
more cakes on the griddle, and they feasted to their satisfaction. After they had
gotten through and mother was clearing the table, she said to father "What shall I
do with this bread?"

"O, give it to them! I don't want to eat after red dogs!"

They went away, and the circumstance was forgotten when, several years after,
father was in Delawaretown, and an old chief invited him to take a drink, Father
consented, and politely requested him to drink first. But he said, "No, You, you
no like to drink after the red dogs" and then reminded him of his remark about the
bread, which he had perfectly understood. No, we never were afraid when father
was home. But two or three times a year he went to Chillicothe to get his corn
ground; that was a long journey and he was away several days. One stormy night we
were sitting 'round our fire enjoying its warmth and comfort."--

"Just like our fire, Grandma?"
"No, not very much like ours. That fireplace was three times as large; and
instead of brass fire-irons they had great black stones; called "nigger heads", and
on these were piled logs, so large and heavy, it took two men to role them in,
with hand-spikes; and every night men went from house to house, helping one another
build the fires. When the family went to bed the blaze was carefully covered with
ashes so the fire seldom went out; for we had no matches, and it was difficult to
kindle with flint, that rather than do it, I have known people who go a long distance
to 'borrow' a brand or a shovelful of coals. Well, we were sitting 'round one of
these great fires. Mother was spinning flax at her little wheel, the older girls
were knitting, and the children were listening to stories of Wyoming and mother's
childhood, when the door suddenly opened and in walked two big Indians. Indians
never knock, and our door had only a wooden latch, and the leather latch-string
hung outside. So there they came, without any warning.

When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 6)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 6)


[corresponds to page 4 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl]

"We were very much frightened and huddled close together, but mother rose
from her wheel, and without a sign of fear, asked them what they wanted. They
made her understand, by motions, that they expected to spend the night. She
could not refuse them, it was more dangerous to send them away than it was to keep
them, so she placed chairs for them before the fire and made them as welcome as
she could. They were not pleasant to look at as they sat in our midst wrapped in
their blankets, silent and motionless. The more we looked at the them,
the more frightened we became, and mother was glad to take us into the next room (we had
two rooms) and put us in our beds. Then she covered the fire and told the Indians
that they could go to sleep when they liked.

"They made ready to by lying down on the floor, with their heads to the fire
and their tomahawks for pillows, while their guns were placed carefully by their
sides. Our fears were soon forgotten, but who can tell what our mother thought
and felt during the long hours of that winter night. She was up early in the morn-
ing and gave them their breakfast, and they were gone before the children were
awake, and even now, I can scarcely convince myself that it was not all a dream.

"Perhaps they were thankful to my mother. I know some Indians once re-
turned after receiving a kindness and brought baskets to the children, and one of
them gave my sister an Indian nose-ring. It was, in shape and size, very much
like the bowl of a large spoon, and would have hung over the mouth in the most in-
convenient manner. The gift seemed of no consequence to us, but when my sister
sold it a peddler for a silver dollar, we realized its value and envied her
accordingly. Fifty cents was a large sum of money to possess in those days and
Sophronia never thought of spending it, but rubbed it bright with vinegar and
ashes and put it carefully away in a box, bringing it out as a great treasure when
our cousins and the neighbor children came to visit us.

"And that reminds me of a piece of money I had given to me when I was a
little girl, and all the trouble it made me." "Money don't make me trouble,"
said Jack. "But I'm not a girl. Tell me about it. "There was no hotels in
Kingston in those early times, and travelers were obliged to depend on the hospi-
tality of the settlers, and it soon became known far and near that anyone stop-
ping at Abram Rosecrans' would be certain of a place to sleep and something to eat,
so it was no unusual thing to see a stranger riding up and hear him ask if
he could spend the night. Father had always one answer - "You must take care of
your own horse. There's the stable and plenty of feed. And if you go before
breakfast, you'll have to pay but if you stay to breakfast, I shall not charge you
anything." Of course the traveler, whoever he was, stayed to breakfast, and of
course, father never took any pay for his entertainment. And father's answer was
considered by us all a most excellent joke.

"I was very fond of horses then , as I am now and when a fine horse came, it
was my delight to lead him to the trough and water him and sometimes, to steal a
ride upon his back. I liked that much better than helping mother get supper. And
although my sisters cut the bread and set the table and turned the griddle cakes,
I was always the favorite, and it was to me that one of these travelers, on going
away, gave a silver quarter of a dollar.

"I think I must have been the first child in the family to receive money, or
my brothers and my sisters would not have treated me as they did. Or, perhaps I
was proud, and as you say, 'Took on airs'. - I no sooner received that money than
I was made to feel myself an outcast. When I went to help Maranda wash the dishes,
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 7)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 7)


[corresponds to page 5 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

she said she had rather wash them alone; that rich folks didn't need to wash

dishes. And when I joined the twins, who were picking up chips, they went off on

the other side of the woodpile and left me alone. I did not care about the work,

but nobody would play with me and that was hard to bear.

"That afternoon Uncle Jake's children were coming over and we were going for

nuts. There had been a big frost the night before, and we could hear the nuts

rattling down in the woods and the prickly burrs were thick under the chestnut

trees. This first nutting expedition was a great event to us and we had talked of

nothing else for a week. Mother had made us each a linen bag and had woven tape

on purpose for strings. And when I saw the children coming, I forgot all about my

money and ran to show them my bag. But one of the girls got ahead of me and I

heard her say "Oh! she feels so big," and then they went off and whispered among

themselves "I went with them for the nuts, but nobody wanted to walk with me or

talk with me, and they had secrets together and laughed and made signs. I filled

my bag alone and walked home alone and was very unhappy".

Every night , after we were washed and made ready for bed, we said our prayers.

Mother had not time to hear us one by one, as your mother does, so we all knelt in a

row around the bed and prayed silently. But that night I could not remember anything

to say, I was so busy thinking about my money; and I could not sleep after I went to

bed. What should I buy with it? I had everything I wanted. I had new shoes, laced

with leather strings; and white lined stockings, that mother had knit me to wear to

church; and a pair of gloves that she knit; and a pink calico dress, with a ruffle

in it; and a pocket handkerchief with a border; and a silk bonnet that Mrs. Prince had

made from a piece of one her dresses. I could not think of anything else. I might

buy something for my sisters, and I took great comfort thinking how ashamed they would

be when they saw how generous I was. But then my sisters had everything I had, eve to

the bonnet, for Mrs. Princes dress had answered for us all. The silk was changeable,

red in one light and green in another, and we presented a gay appearance and were much

envied, when the six of us rode to church in the wagon, three on a seat. No, my sisters

had everything and I had everything; but I must spend my money, for it made me so un-

happy to keep it.

I had put it for safety under one of the stones on the hearth; but every time I

awakened, I seemed to see it shining like an eye, and once or twice I got up and lifted

the stone to assure myself it was there.

I had a wretched night, very early heard my mother stirring in the kitchen. I am

an old lady now, but that sound comes back to me -- our mother, in the half darkness,

working for her children. My troubles were over. I sprang from my bed, seized my

money and ran to the kitchen. Take it! I cried, as I threw myself on her. Take it!

Buy tea with it, or snuff for Aunt Thankfull, anything so I don't have it.

How easy it was. Now the girls would love me just the same and everything would

be pleasant. The new day was dawning as I ran to call father to breakfast. He heard

me singing and said, What makes you so happy this morning?

Oh, I have given away my money, that's what makes me happy.

Don't you like money? he said, laughing.

No, I don't, and I hope I'll never have any more.

But you have had money, said Jack.

Yes, but none that ever caused me so much trouble as that silver quarter; and

after all my happiness has come in giving it away.
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 8)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 8)


[corresponds to page 6 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

Part II

The driving sleet beats against the window, and the pine trees outside are

heavy with snow. Long icicles hang from the piazza roof, and the little stone dog

that guards the door lies in a bed whiter than himself. The lake roars like the

ocean, and the wind whistles wildly around the house. On a night like this, two

years ago, a little bird came and knocked at our window, asking as plainly as a

bird could ask, to be let in. Its feathers were sodden; its wing was wounded, and

it scarcely fluttered as we warmed it in our hand, and nursed it into life. It

seemed to trust us. But, alas! friends at night were enemies in the morning, in

the eyes of that little bird, and it flew away without a chipper gratitude.

Jack was a baby then, although he is a a big boy now, he will yet stand at the

window watching, as he often does on nights like these, for the return of that un-

grateful bird.

Jack has had a trying day, for the precincts of a house are a contracted

field for a mighty hunter like Daniel Boone -- and Jack is Daniel Boone. He has

been all day on the chase and his legs are tired going up and down in quest of

game. He has had a frightful time with a growling bear in a cave under the bed.

He had tracked the deer to their salt licks in the kitchen, and has killed the owl

on the bookcase, till it is as dead as an owl can be, and his work is done and

here comes Grandma, knitting and all, to their camping-ground on the hearth rug.

"Grandma, I killed a bear today. Did you ever see a man before that killed

a bear?" and Jack elevated his small figure and put on a look of great fierceness.

Grandma laughed as she looked at her little boy, and said,

"Why, yes I have seen a man that killed a bear; but he brought his bear home

with him, we had bear steak for supper, I wonder if your bear's meat will be

as tough as ours was! Sit down in your little chair and I will tell you about it.

"It was a winter evening, though not so cold as it is to-night; we were

through supper and the girls were washing the dishes, and mother was mixing the

'corn pone' for breakfast. She always made this at night and put it into a baking

kettle, with an iron cover. This she set in a bed of coals, with coals on the lid,

then covered it all with ashes, and in the morning the pone was baked brown. With

wild honey or maple molasses, it made a dish fit for a king. Father was sitting

before the fire, and perhaps he heard us taking about breakfast, for all at once

he got up and said, 'I think I'd better go and kill a deer, we are about out of

venison,' and taking his gun down from the wall, he hung his shot-bag and powder-

horn on his shoulder, put his knife in his belt, and started for the Deer Lick.

This was a salt spring, where the deer came to drink, and was about a quarter of a

mile from the house. Near the spring was a tree, and father climbed up among the

branches, feeling sure that a deer would come before bed-time. He was obliged to

keep perfectly quiet, and it was cold work waiting, hour after hour, so he was

glad enough when he heard a rustling among the bushes. He cautiously raised his

gun, to be ready. But what was his surprise to see, instead of a deer, a great

black bear! It came slowly and clumsily along, growling in an ugly, sullen way.

Many a man would have been frightened; but father only thought, 'Now I must do my

best; for if I miss him, or slightly wound him, he will be on me before I can re-

load.' So he took careful aim and fired.
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 9)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 9)


[corresponds to page 7 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

"We heard the report of the gun, and, the next minute, father's call for the

dogs. For some reason, the dogs refused to go. Again we heard the call. The case

was urgent, something must be done! So two boys who were spending the night with

us , seized the dogs, and, lifting them on their backs, ran with them to the lick.

There they found father with his knife in his hand, the snow red with blood, and

the bear dead. He had killed it the first shot; but uncertain of it, had called

the dogs to help, in case of a struggle. The boys came home, hitched the oxen to

the bob-sled, and went back for the bear. We children flocked out to see it, and

I remember it looked like a great black cow in the moonlight.

"In the morning all the neighbors came, and word went far and near that

Abram Rosecrans had killed a bear-- the first and last ever killed in our township.

We took great delight in hearing father tell the story over and over again, and

tried our best to think bear's meat better than venison, but it was so strong and

tough we could not really like it."

"Did he kill a deer the next night?"

"I don't remember about that. But he never had any trouble killing deer: he

would often kill three or four in a day, and come home with the skins and the best

part of the meat slung over his saddle. Mother would cook all she wanted, and

father would usually jerk the rest. Jerking was cutting it into narrow strips,

smoking it a little, and then drying it. Father always took jerked venison and

parched corn when he went hunting, and we had it for our dinner at school. Our

little school-house was a mile away, and we carried our dinners with us. There

were pegs driven 'round the school-room, over our seats, and on these we hung our


"One day I lost my dinner, and how do you think it happened? It was a warm

summer day, and I was trying to study, -- but from my window I could see the woods

full of wild flowers and birds and squirrels and all manner of pleasant things,

and it seemed as if noon never would come, -- when, all at once, I heard a scream,

and looking up, I saw, right before me, hanging by its tail from the ceiling, an

immense black snake! Its head was in my basket, and it was eating my dinner with

great satisfaction. Oh, how we ran! -- the teacher and all. The school-house was

cleared in a minute! And then, two of the big boys went in with clubs and killed

it. We did not measure it, but we always said, 'it was as long as a rail.'

"Yes, I lost my dinner, but it came out right, for the other children divided

with me and the teacher gave us an extra play hour.

"That school teacher's name was Polly Taylor. She was pretty, sweet girl,

and a great favorite with her scholars.

"Susan Skeels, another teacher, never thought of anything but study. How we

did dislike her! She was an old maid, and had very strict notions about the bring-

ing up of children. We had to stand with our toes exactly to the crack when we

recited: had to hold a heavy Dictionary at arms-length for a punishment, and were

feruled for the the slightest cause. The time came, though when we had our revenge,

and I will tell you about it.

"One summer's day we were gathered in the school-house, studying and recit-

ing, when suddenly, to our great terror, the sun seemed blotted from the sky and

the darkness of midnight settled upon us. There was a whirring, roaring noise,
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 10)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 10)


[corresponds to page 8 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

and then the rain fell in torrents. I cannot tell how long it lasted, but when

it ceased, we found that the little brook between us and our homes had become a

rushing river and the foot bridge was in danger of being washed away. We dared

not cross it alone, and were greatly relieved when we saw father coming to

help us over. Miss Susan was very fat, and she did not like to trust herself on

the log, but after father had taken the children over, she was persuaded to try

it. She got on very well until she neared the middle, where the current was

swiftest, when, for some reason, she lost her courage, and, with a wild cry,

threw her arms around father, and they tumbled together into the water.

"Then was our chance. 'Good for her! good for her!' we cried. 'Look at

her; look at her now' as she came struggling up, the water dripping from her sun

bonnet, and her clothes clinging to her stout figure. 'Keep your toes to the

crack, Susan; don't forget your manners! Cross your i's, dot your t's, and spell

ablel! Three cheers for teacher! and laughed, and cheered, and hurrahed, and

one boy, in his excitement, threw his cap into the brook and it floated away

after Miss Susan's dinner-basket.

"Father finally dragged her to the land, and a sad sight she was, as he

hurried her along the path to our house. Mother gave her some dry clothes, and a

bowl of camomile tea, and she was none the worse for her wetting. But after that

she never seemed quite happy in school and soon made way for Polly Taylor.

"I was very fond of play when I was a little girl. I am afraid I liked it

too well, and I often got into mischief. I remember one day mother said I might

go to Uncle Joe's; the way to Uncle Joe's was right through the woods, and that

I liked, for I never was afraid and I always found something to interest me. On

this day, a herd of deer ran across my path, a dozen of them, with branching horns

and bright beautiful eyes, and little farther on, an old wild turkey flew out

from behind a clump of bushes. I was curious to see what she had been doing, and

creeping cautiously 'round, I came to a next of turkey eggs. that was a trea-

sure indeed! I had no basket, but what could be better than a sun-bonnet! I

filled it full, tied the string together for a handle, and hurried on to show

my prize to Uncle Joe's children. They were delighted, and proposed that we

should set the eggs and raise our own turkeys. Fortunately, they had several

sitting hens, and we had only to lift them carefully, take out the hens' eggs,

and put in the turkey eggs. Aunt Sarah wondered why her hens were so long com-

ing off, and she wondered still more when they did come off, and instead of a

brood of young chickens, they were followed about by long-legged, half feathered

turkeys. I thought the hens, themselves, must have been surprised at their queer

looking children; but were just as kind as they would have been to their own

yellow chickens, and scratched for them and clucked to them in the most motherly

manner. But turkeys have no gratitude: and as soon as they could pick for them-

selves, they ran away to the woods and were seen no more.

"I always liked to go to Uncle Joe's, but there was no place we enjoyed

quite so much as Uncle Isaac's. Aunt Mary had died before I could remember, and

the children kept house.

"In those day children could not do as much damage as they can now. There

was little furniture to injure and no carpets to wear out. I recollect, when

Uncle Jim Starke's last wife made a rag carpet (I was quite a big girl then) how

all the people talked about her extravagance. It was said the rags would have

made six good 'coverlids,' and 'what a waste it was to put them on the floor to
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 11)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 11)


[corresponds to page 9 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

be walked on! It was almost wicked.' No, there was no furniture or carpets to

spoil and no windows to break. When a man built a house, he cut out the logs , to

leave open spaces, two or three feet long. In these he put a kind of frame and

pasted paper over it; this paper was greased on the outside, so the rain would not

injure it, and the light came through better than you would think. The first

window glass I ever saw was a great curiosity. Dr. Skeels had it in his new house,

and father took us to see it. He had two windows, with four panes in each window.

That we could see in and see out was wonderful! I went outside and Maranda inside,

and we pressed our faces against the glass and tried to touch and kiss on another.

We could not understand it; - a piece of that glass would have more precious than diamonds.

"But I was going to tell you a little story about a visit to Uncle Isaac's.

One day, as a special favor, father said I might take the gray mare and ride over

to see my cousins, but that I must come home before night, for Uncle Isaac had no

room to stable the mare, and it was too cold to leave her in the field. I was al-

ways fond of horseback riding and I went off with great joy. The children gave

me a warm welcome, and especially glad to see me, because their father had

gone to 'quarterly-meeting' and they were alone; they insisted that I should

stay all night and cousin John said he would look out for the mare. Uncle Isaac

was building an addition to his house, and the rooms were floored, but not entirely

finished, and into one of these rooms he put the mare.

"After evening meeting, Uncle Isaac came home bringing a minister with him,

and they went to bed. Sometime in the night, he wakened us by calling, 'John!

John! Get up! There are horses in the yard! and there might have been a dozen,

such a whinnying and tramping of hoofs as we heard. But John was sleepy, and he

called back, 'Oh! never mind , father, It is only Uncle Abram's old mare in the


"Uncle Isaac was satisfied and went back to bed; but I have often wondered

if the minister thought that was where we always kept our horses.

"Uncle Jake's children were our most constant playfellows, their farm ad-

joined ours, and between our house and theirs was only a little woods and a slash,

as we called the brook so the two families were always together.

"One night, I remember, father and mother and Aunt Polly and Uncle Jake were

invited to a party at Mrs. Blackman's. Mrs. Blackman came from Newtown, and was

looked upon as authority in all matters of taste and fashion. She had no children

and lived luxuriously in a double log-house, with an entry between. She baked

beans just as they did in Boston, and made real Connecticut pumpkin pies. One of

her parties was quite an event. This night Uncle Jake and Aunt Polly were going

with father and mother, and as the snow was deep, father thought he had better

drive the oxen. He put fresh straw in the sled, for mother was going to wear her

dove-colored silk, and that required care. Mother had brought that dress with her

from Wyoming, ten years before, but it was still considered a handsome dress and

was only worn on great occasions.

They bade us good-by, promising to bring us some cake, if we were good chil-

dren; and we watched them, slowly wending their way through the clearing, till

fairly out of sight. Then on went our hoods and cloaks, and away we went, through

the snow, to Uncle Jake's. Their children had promised to spend the evening with

us, and we were to help them carry over the baby. Poor little thing! it was cruel

When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 12)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 12)


[corresponds to page 10 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

to take it out of its warm cradle. But we wrapped it up well, and took turns run-

ning with it, and were soon home. On the way one of the boys called out, 'There

are Mother Hess's dogs!' and saw several of the great black creatures run out

of the woods, and thought no more of it.

"We gave the baby some milk and were commencing our games, when we were

startled by hearing howls in the distance. We listened. The sound came nearer and

nearer, and louder and louder, and the the boys cried out,

'It's wolves! It's wolves! and they're coming to the house!

"Sure enough, in a minute there they were! -- before the doors, under the win-

dows, and all around the house -- filling the air with howls. Then we knew it was

wolves we had seen in the woods, and were frightened enough when we thought of the

little baby and our escape. We felt quite safe in the house, and after a time were

tempted to take a peep at them; so we opened the door a little crack and took turns

looking out. I remember how, in the dark, their eyes gleamed like coals of fire.

"The boys thought they would scare them, by throwing fire-brands in their

midst, but they only ran off a little way and came back fiercer than ever. Then

John Poole took down father's shot-gun. There was a keg of powder handy, under the

bed, and he put in a good, heavy charge, poked a hole in the window paper and fired

away. This amused us, but did not scare the wolves, and we finally got tired and

went to bed.

"When father came home they were gone, but the snow 'round the house was

covered with tracks. Uncle Jake and Aunt Polly were so glad to find the children

safe, they forgot to scold us about taking out the baby, and we had our cake all

the same.

"Wolves were very troublesome in those days, and we were obliged to have the

sheep-pen adjoining the house, and covered over. The calf-pen was a little farther

off; and once, in broad daylight, a wolf climbed on the pen and would have seized

the poor little calf, had not mother called the children and told us to scream, all

at once, as loud as we could.The noise we made was more than any wolf could stand,

and he ran away.

"The men had wolf-pens all through the woods. These were made of logs with

a trap-door on the top. A piece of meat inside tempted the wolf, and when he

jumped in to get it, the door fell and he was caught.

"One day, I was playing with my cousins and we came across one of these pens.

I proposed that we should get into it and have it for a house. They were ready for

anything, so in we climbed, when, suddenly, down came the cover, and we were fast

enough. Fortunately, there was some one outside to go for help, or in those deep

forests they might have hunted for days and not found us.

'We were quite excited, at one time, about a large gray wolf that prowled for

weeks around the neighborhood and eluded out best hunters. It had only three paws,

one of them having been cut off by a trap. Morning after morning we could find its

tracks around our pens, and once in a while a sheep would be missing. One evening,

just at dusk, Mrs. Blackman was out, bringing in her clothes, when this old, three-

footed wolf chased her into the house. That was going a little too far, and father

said he would take the matter in had. So he killed a sheep and place it in such
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 13)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 13)


[corresponds to page 11 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

a life-like position on the trap, that no wolf could resist it, and the old fellow

was caught the very first night.

"That is all the wolf stories I remember. But as you have been shooting owls

today, I will tell you an owl story.

"John Poole, the boy who fired at the wolves the night of Mrs. Blackman's

party, was the son of a widow who lived neighbor to us.

"One night, a few months after the party, father and mother were awakened

from their sleep by a violent knocking and pounding at the door and some one crying,

'Help! help!' Father sprang quickly out of bed, drew back the great, wooden bolt

and called out,

"Who's there? What's the matter?'

"A voice in the darkness answered,

"It's me! it's me!" and the Devil is in my bedroom!' and the owner of the

voice, whoever he was, staggered through the door and fell on the floor.

"By that time we were all aroused, and very much alarmed. Mother hastily

blew up a coal and lighted a candle, and there on the floor, lay John Poole. His

curly hair was torn and matted; his face was scratched, and the blood was streaming

down. He was a frightful object, and so exhausted by fear and running, he could

scarcely speak. Mother bathed his face, and after a time he managed to tell his


"The Pooles lives in a cabin, with one room below and a loft above. Mrs.

Poole slept in the lower room and John in the upper. He had taken his candle, as

usual , and climbed the ladder but no sooner had he stepped into his room, than he

heard a frightful noise, and the Devil, himself, jumped out at him, and seized him

by the hair, and blew out his candle, and beat him on the head and scratched him,

-- all the time calling him dreadful names, in a language he could not understand.

It was only by a miracle that he escaped and jumped down the ladder, and never

stopped running till he had reached our house.

"Our hair stood on end as we listened. Bears and panthers were bad enough!

But a Devil, was too awful for anything! And father took down his gun, we all

cried, and begged him not to go. But he went off laughing, saying that he would

kill the Devil and bring him home with him.

"In half an hour he came back, carrying an immense white owl! John was very

much mortified, and it was many years before he heard the last of his Devil."
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 14)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 14)


[corresponds to page 12 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

Part III

The sun shone bright and clear the morning after the storm, and Jack looked

from his window on a world of whiteness. The sleighs, with their jingling bells,

were not yet out, and the deep snow muffled the noises of the street. To the out-

ward ear, all was silence, --but it was the silence of intense life. The snow

dazzled; the icicles glistened; the sun shot forth his rays, and the very air


A child lives close to nature; and Jack' eyes grew bright, and his pulses

quickened under the influences of the morning. He laughed aloud as a flock of "wax-

wings" swooped down on the "mountain ash," scattering the snow, in search of their

breakfast of berries. And a moment after, Jack was a "wax-wing" himself, in red

mittens, flying here and there through the snow-drifts with a heart as free from

care as any bird of them all. But alas! legs are not wings, at will, and snow-

covered ice is treacherous. For with a cry, poor little Jack falls helpless.

The birds fly away; the children troop along to school; the sleighs go merri-

ly by, while Jack lies on the sofa in the parlor. but he is Jack no longer: he is

a soldier, wounded in the great Rebellion. His army coat hangs by his side, the

buttons are tarnished and the shoulder-straps are faded; -- Virginia suns and the

dampness of Virginia trenches have left their marks upon them. On his head is an

old cap, the regulation blue is dimmed and visor is defaced, but Jack takes

pride -- and well he may -- in the golden letters that adorn the front. Over his

shoulders is a sash that once was crimson, and on his breast he wears a badge bear-

ing the names of "Petersburgh," and "Spottsylvania," and "Cold Harbor." Grandma is

the nurse in charge, and tells her patient many stories of hospitals and wounded


"Women have to take care of men; don't they, Grandma? They can't fight and

wear uniforms and get wounded."

"No, they don't wear uniforms, and don't generally fight. But I know one

man who was wounded, and wounded by a soldier. Her father kept a tavern on

Wyoming Flats, and when she was a little girl, about as old as you are, some Revo-

lutionary soldiers stopped at their house to spend the night. One of them careless-

ly laid his gun in a corner of the room; in some way it was knocked over and it went

off, shooting the little girl in the leg. Her wound was so severe they were obliged

to cut off her leg, and she had weeks of suffering. But the Government gave her a

pension, and she got on very well with her wooden leg. Mother told me a funny story

about that leg. "The Hilman's came to Ohio the same time with our people and old

Mrs. Hilman rode horseback nearly all the way. One night they stopped at a tavern,

and the landlord came out to help Mrs. Hillman from her horse. He had on high boots

with his pants tucked into them. He offered his hand, Mrs. Hillman gave a spring,

and by some chance her wooden leg went inside of his boot. They both fell to the

ground, and the leg was so wedged in, it required a great effort on the part of the

bystanders to get them apart.

"Mrs. Hillman was the tailor of the neighborhood, and went from house to

house cutting and making clothes for the men and boys. We were always delighted

when she came to us, for she had seen Washington and Lafayette, and she told us

many stories: but especially, there was a fascination and a mystery about her

wooden leg that never lost its interest.

When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 15)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 15)


[corresponds to page 13 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

Yes, my grandfather came from "Wyoming Flats, too. He owned a good farm

there, with a house and barn and everything comfortable. But he had four sons,

Abram, Isaac, and Jacob and John, and two daughters, Sarah and Rebecca; and to see

them all settled in life was more to him than houses or land, or ease and comfort.

So he sold all that he had, bade good-by to the scenes of his early life, and with

the remnant of his household goods packed in two wagons, and their sons with their

wives and children following, he set forth upon a journey through forests almost

unbroken, over streams dangerous to ford, and among a people savage and cruel; --

a journey whose only limit was the little bag of money, hidden, perhaps like

Joseph's cup, in a sack of grain, for grandfather had decided on the number of his

acres, and would travel on until the price accorded with his means.

"With him were three brothers -- Carpenter by name, the Taylor family, the

Hillmans, and the Sturtevants. Old Mrs. Sturtevant was a resourceful shiftless sort

of a woman, but only one little circumstance made her famous as a manger and the

envy of her neighbors. At starting she had hung her churn behind the wagon, And

every night when she milked her cow -- they all brought cows -- she put her milk in

her churn and the jolting of the wagon churned it, and she had fresh butter all the

way, and buttermilk to treat her friends.

"My mother lived to be a very old woman, but to the day of her death she

blamed herself for her want of management, and spoke mournfully of the butter she

might have made.

"Why they chose Kingston township for their home I cannot tell. It was sever-

al miles from any settlement, and had only two inhabitants, --old George Hess and

Mother Hess, his wife; but Kingston was their Canaan, and there grandfather bought

his land, paying one dollar and a half an acre, and there he built his house, and

there my father and my uncles built their houses.

"They were rude enough. Sawmills were unknown, and hewing boards form solid

trees was slow work. We had a puncheon floor, and the ceiling overhead was elm-

bark, the stump of a tree, left standing in a corner of the room, made a solid

table, and my cradle -- for I was the first baby born in the new home -- was a

little maple trough.

"Mother had brought with her chests of clothes and cloth enough to last us

until the land was cleared and our first crop of flax grown; but our chief diffi-

culty was in getting corn for bread. Several times a year father was obliged to

take a long journey to Chillicothe -- his bridle-path marked by blazed trees --

for the purpose of buying corn.

"Near our house was the samp mortar, -- a stump hollowed out with a weight,

suspended by a sweep, -- and here the men of the neighborhood came, in turn, to

pound their corn. Years after Norton's mill was built, and all the men for thirty

miles around took their provisions with them and went to the 'raising.' To hear

father tell, in his return, of the height of it, and the width of it, and the size

of the hopper, and the weight of the stone, was like the wonders of Aladdin.

"Old George Hess was a very important man in our neighborhood; for he had a

cleared farm and had raised potatotes, and had seed wheat to sell.

"But more important than George Hess was George's wife, who was known to us

all as Mother Hess. She was a stout little woman, in a short gown and petticoat.
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 16)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 16)


[corresponds to page 14 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

with a man's hat upon; her head; and her constant companions were three big black

dogs. They had no children, so they adopted three, or rather she adopted two,

and George one.

"Dave was George's boy, and Moze and Julie were claimed by Mrs. Hess. George

had all the care and responsibility of his child, and she of her two. If Dave was

sick in the night, George had to get up and attend to him; but if it were Moze or

ornaments of their house was a large looking-glass, but having found Julie looking

in it, more than she thought was good for her Mother Hess took it down, -- when

she died, twenty years after, it was unpacked from one of her great chests.

"George was a frugal man and drove a close bargain. Walter Dunham once went

to him to buy some wheat. Walter was a poor man, and the price was so exorbitant,

he felt he could not pay it, and was turning dejectedly away, when old Mrs. Hess

followed him and whispered

"'You come back when George is not at home.'

"And he did go back, and she filled his bags without charge and sent him

off happy.

"Another time, this same Walter Dunham had all his sheep killed by wolves.

The day following, father had a rolling and Mrs. Hess came to help mother cook for

the men. At the table they were lamenting Mr. Dunham's ill luck.

"I'm sorry, too,' said Mrs. Hess, 'I'm sorry one sheep. How sorry are you?'

and she appealed to each in turn, and not to be outdone by a woman, every man had

to be sorry a sheep.

The next day all met at Mr. Dunham's and Mother Hess was with them,

leading the finest of her flock. She was a great Whig and her influence among a

poor class of squatters called 'Taways,' controlled the election. She would often

walk ten miles to Delawaretown to hear a political speech, a dislike of riding be-

ing one of her peculiarities. Her horses were like children to her. Their names

were all written in the family Bible, and at her death, thirty were caught and sold

that had never known a bridle.

"George died first. But, years before his death, they had equally divided the

property. George left his to Dave, but hers went to Moze and Julie. These two had

fortunately married one another, and as long as lived they made a happy home

for Mother Hess.

"In less than a year after mother came to the country, she was followed by

her three brothers, Uncle Newman and Uncle Joe and Uncle Ben. Uncle Josh came

many years later. He had been a sargeant in the Continental Army and a soldier in

the War of 'Eighteen hundred and twelve'. Uncle Joe was a great man, an office

holder in the county and a member of the Legislature. But Uncle Ben, the black

sheep of our family, was our favorite.

"Uncle Ben was in many ways remarkable. He is the only man I have ever

known who had double front teeth. They were white and even, and the peculiarity

was scarcely noticeable; but they were double all around, and strong beyond be-

lief. He was very eccentric in his dress, never wearing a coat, even in the
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 17)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 17)


[corresponds to page 15 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

coldest weather. His shirts were made of calico, a little open in the front and

ruffled around the neck. His eyes were gray, and his expression kind and pleasant.

His wife lived in Pennsylvania; but Uncle Ben's home was wherever he happened to be,

and his money belonged to any one who needed it.

"He had been a Methodist preacher -- and his knowledge of the Scriptures and

his mighty voice made him welcome at revivals and camp meetings -- but he fell from

grace so often, the Conference could not trust him; and when we knew him, he was a

veritable 'Jack-of-all-trades.'

"He brought a set of tools with him, and under his skillful hand our house

became quite elegant, in comparison with our neighbors. We had a planed door

with a latch and wooden bolt, two bedsteads made of cherry wood, and best of all, a

chest of drawers. That was a piece of furniture to be proud of, and we little girls

felt rich with half a drawer apiece.

"Uncle Ben made coffins, too. Once there was a freshet, and the waters of

the 'Big-belly' rose so high that the ford became impassable, and the foot-bridge

was washed away. Uncle Ben had a coffin to deliver on the other side, and how to

get it over became a serious question. The hour of the funeral drew near; the case

was urgent; and at last Uncle Ben solved the difficulty by boldly launching it upon

the water and paddling it across.

"Poor Uncle Ben! How many stories, the old people used to tell of him! He did

not keep himself unspotted from the world, but he visited the widow and the father-

less, and the cause of the poor he searched out. Once I saw him take the shoes

from off his feet and give them to a wretched woman; and he had to buy a cow for a

family left in poverty. By his example he taught us to be generous, and his gifts

of dresses and ribbons and pretty things, made room for him in all our hearts.

Girls loved pretty dresses then, as girls do now, and mother did her best to please

us. And her best, what did that involve! -- shopping 'round in pleasant stores and

seeking after styles and fashions? No, indeed! It was climbing up the ladder to

the cabin loft and bringing down the bag of flaxseed. It was the planting in the

springtime; the anxious watching for the flowers in summer; the directing of the

children as they pulled it in the fall; the raking and the binding and the rotting;

the breaking and the skutching and the hetcheling; the carding of the tow and the

spinning on the big wheel; the winding of the distaff and spinning on on the little

wheel; the reeling and the quilling; the rinsing of some skeins in lye to bleach

them, and the coloring of others. Last, and most difficult of all, the weaving

and the cloth was done, -- some white, some unbleached, striped and checked with

coppers and blue, -- and now, after months of labor and anxiety, the dresses could

be cut and made; and not dresses only, but shirts and sheets and pillow-cases, the

ticking for our feather beds, table cloths, towels, curtains, and even cloth to

sell. the girls were taught to spin as soon as they were old enough, and a little

sister, more ambitious than the others, had a little bench on which she jumped to

reach the wheel.

"The loop-shop was the first addition to our house, and mother was noted for

her weaving. In one day she wove fourteen yards of yard-wide cloth, and carried it

to Berkshire and traded it out at Judge Brown's store. The first one-horse wagon

in our township, --no carriage has ever seemed to me so fine as that, -- she bought

and paid for with proceeds of her loom.

"In the evenings, as a kind of fancy work, she wove tape (buttons were a

luxury, and we used tape instead), and father twisted rope for harnesses and bed-


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 18)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 18)


[corresponds to page 16 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

"Our cherry bedsteads had corded bottoms and high posts, reaching nearly

to the ceiling. these, curtained off, made spare chambers for our guests,

and two or three in a room were no disadvantage. 'Round mother's were

curtains of gay chintz from Pennsylvania, and the other were of linen, woven

by herself. These were finished at the top by a valance or ruffle, pleated

and fastened on with pins. For these pins I sighed! Cousin Beck suggested

that thorns were just as good as pins for curtains; and one day when mother was

busy in the loom-shop, and the children were off playing, I dragged out one of

the big chests, put a chair on top of it, mounted the chair, and, carefully

withdrawing the pins, substituted long sharp thorns. My stock in trade gave me

a great advantage and I played pin till all the school was bankrupt. When

mother cleaned house, months after, she discovered the deception and questioned

all the older children, but never thought of me, I was so little and so


"Yes, mother had a busy life. When the land was cleared and father had

pasture for the sheep, she made woolen goods as well as linen, and she bought

cotton by the bunch, mixed it with the wool and wove a cloth called jeans, twilled

and heavy , for the men and boys. We took great pride in our first woolen clothes.

Our undergarments were colored red with bran and madder; and our dresses brown,

with butternut bark, or green, with peach leaves.

"One night when Elim Brown was keeping company with my sister, I slipped

from bed and walked around the room, for the purpose of displaying my night-

gown of red flannel. My sister was horrified, and I suffered for my vanity by

being sent off in disgrace.

There was work in plenty for both men and women; everything we ate and

everything we wore came from the hand. I was almost grown before I saw any sugar

except that made in our own camp. Occasionally we had a treat of store tea, but

generally drank rye coffee and tea made of sage. The first genuine coffee I ever

tasted was at Uncle Dan'els.

"Uncle Dan'el was a doctor, and with his pill-bag on his saddle rode every-

where about the country. On one of his trips he had either bought or been pre-

sented with some coffee; -- it was a great luxury, but Aunt Thankful said, 'Massy!'

-- she always prefaced everything with 'Massy!'--'Massy! Children will enjoy it

more'n grown folks!' and paying no attention to Uncle Dan'el's remonstrances, but

talking to herself all the time, she bustled about, browned it in the skillet pounded

it in the mortar, and then giving it a good, hard boil to get the strength out,

poured it into our cups. The first taste! I remember it now, and Aunt Thankful's

enjoyment of it all, as passed the cream and sugar saying, 'Massy! children,

help yourselves; there's plenty of it.'

"Yes, that was my first coffee. It seems strange to think about it now;

but then even such common things as pepper and spice and soda were unknown, and our

salt was brought sixty miles on horseback. Mother pounded dill and sassafras root

for flavoring; and we raised red peppers in the garden, and cooked little pieces

with our food to season it. Soda--saleratus we called it--mother made by burning

corn-cobs on the griddle.

"Work, work in every direction. Their pleasures were only work under another

name, work made play by the sympathy of friends. The rollings and the raisings

and the huskings, the quilting-bees and the pumpkin-parings and the apple-parings

When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 19)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 19)


[corresponds to page 17 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

were called merrymakings; but they were, in reality, hard work done in company.

The spinning-bees were best of all, and had a double value. Was any woman sick

or burdened with unusual cares, her flax and tow were divided out among her

neighbors. the work was done, and her recovery, perhaps, was celebrated by a

party. Provisions were sent in, and each one came, bringing with her the yarn

that she had spun.

"It was almost impossible to get work done for money. Sometimes a Taway

would hire for a few days. And there was a queer old man, who appeared every

winter, and went from house to house spinning for his board and clothes. We

called him 'Jimmy the Spinner'; but where he came from, no one knew, or why he

had chosen that strange way of life. He was a quiet little man. He had no

stories to tell about his wanderings, and but little interest in the life around

him; but he had a store of plaintive love songs, and he sang them as he spun,

in a weak, quavering voice. Year after year, he went his rounds, coming in the

fall and leaving in the spring;--he was part of the season to us. We knew that

winter was coming, for 'Jimmy the spinner' sat in our kitchen corner, and that

spring was at hand when he said good-by.

"One year we watched for him in vain. The leaves had fallen and the nuts

been gathered, but still he did not come. And he never came again. From first

to last he was a mystery.

"Another singular character was 'Johnny Appleseed'--a small wiry man,

with keen black eyes and long black hair. For years he had gone up and down

through Ohio and Indiana, doing and finally sacrificed his life. He was chosen,

he said, to make the wilderness blossom; to plant, that others might eat of the

fruit. At the cider mills in Pennsylvania he gathered apple-seeds; filling a bag,

he took it on his back and started westward. Carefully choosing places where

the soil was fertile and the outlook pleasant, he would clear the ground and

plant his seeds. These clearings would, perhaps, be miles from any habitation

and often in the midst of forests, but the locality was well marked in his mind

and year after year they were re-visited and cultivated, and became, under his

care, nurseries for the surrounding country.

"His devotion and enthusiasm inspired many of the early settlers to lay out

orchards. He advised and helped them in the transplanting of the trees, and then

his work was done. They blossomed and bore fruit, and Johnny was far away, still

doing his 'duty' in the advance of civilization.

"He lived to be an old man. One night he asked for shelter at a cabin, in

western Indiana. They gave him food and offered him a bed, but he preferred the

floor, --and with his bag beside him, went to sleep. In the morning they found

that he was dying. He was unconscious, but a look of perfect peace was on his

face. Perhaps he saw the Tree of Life.

"The love of this man for the trees that he planted was like that of a

father for a child. He could not bear to have them pruned or grafted. To cut

them, seemed inflicting pain. His heart was full of tenderness toward everything

except himself. He went cold and hungry; walked barefooted, through the snows

of winter, and bore the heat of summer; but he could not see an animal or an

insect suffer, and the little money that he had, he spent in providing home for

crippled and ill- treated horses. He loved all children, and carried in his bag

bright bits of calico and ribbon for the little girls. It was said that he would
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 20)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 20)


[corresponds to page 18 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

never eat at any house, till he would ask and be assured that there was plenty for


"Grandfather's house was generally his stopping place, and over the kitchen

fire they held long arguments; for Johnny held strange views, called Swedenborgian,

and grandfather was a Wesleyan Methodist. The first prayer-meeting I ever

attended was at grandfather's. Their house had but one room, which was warmed

and lighted by the fireplace at the end,--a fireplace so large, they sometimes

hauled in with a horse, the logs to fill it. Against the opposite walls were

two curtained beds; and in one corner was a cupboard, filled with blue flowered

dishes and big pewter platters. Bunches of herbs were drying overhead, and

hams of venison and links of sausages hung against the chimney.

"When the people came to prayer-meeting, and all the chairs and chests

and beds were occupied, they bought in rough benches from outside, and soon

the room was filled. Some of the women had babies in their arms and children

holding to their skirts. Uncle Isaac and Uncle Jake were class leaders, and

they prayed and spoke and 'occupied the time', while Aunt Thankful led the
singing, in a high- pitched voice.

"Uncle Dan'el -- much to Aunt Thankful's grief was -- a Universalist. Once he

invited a Universalist preacher to hold service at his house. Aunt Thankful was

offended and refused to go into the room. But after the sermon was over and the

preacher was going away, Aunt Thankful called out, 'Massy, Dan'el! You're not

going to let him go without a cup of tea.' The good soul had had the kettle boiling

all the time, her hospitable heart being stronger than her theology.

"I was a large girl before we had any church building. but meetings were

regularly held in the houses of the neighborhood: and after Mr. Carpenter built

his barn, we met there in pleasant weather. There was room for all on the large

thrashing floor, and a barrel answered for a pulpit. Here the Word was expounded,

prayers offered and and arrangement made for works of charity and mercy the ensuing

week. Was any one sick, the preacher would announce it and ask for watchers and

for workers -- who would go on Sunday night! Who would wash on Monday! Could some-

one take the ironing home, and send a baking in? One after another would volun-

teer, until the week was filled, and the care and comfort of their neighbor was

insured. Had any poor come to their midst, they were provided for in the same

way, and for over fifty years not one poor person, man or child, came on the town.

"There were some Episcopalians in our neighborhood. Mrs. Blackman, who

came from Newtown--the one who gave the party--was an Episcopalian and so was

her neighbor, Mrs. Curtis. They always went to Berkshire to church riding on

pillions, behind their husbands. In Berkshire the 'Princes' lived,--and I must

tell you about them, for they were our best friends.

"Judge Prince and his brother were the first settlers in Berkshire township.

They came from Connecticut, bringing with them old Kate and Toney, two colored

people, who had been slaves to their father. Toney and Kate were cousins. When

their master died, he left his little boys in their care, and they had been, as

best they could, father and mother to them, and finally, in their old age

came with them to their new home in Ohio.

"All this happened before I was born or Kingston settled. But Toney, a

gray-haired old darky, was very fond of telling the story, and I heard it again

When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 21)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 21)


[corresponds to page 19 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

and again when I was a little girl. Toney was a favorite with the children, and

the redcheeked apples that he brought us were as great a rarity and as highly

prized, as oranges or bananas, by the children of the present day.

"By this time Mr. Prince--the elder brother--had married Judge Brown's

daughter and become a judge himself, and when Mrs. Blackman and Mrs. Curtis rode

to Berkshire on their pillions, he read the service from the Prayer-book at the

schoolhouse; and one or twice a year Bishop Chase, himself, came for Confirma-

tion. He, of course, stayed with the Princes.

"I remember hearing Mrs. Prince tell mother, how, on one of his visits, he

had accidentally broken her only china bowl. But she said it did not matter,

for the Bishop always liked to drink out of a gourd better than anything else.

"Even at that time, people found it difficult to buy things. Mrs. Prince

once sent to our house, a distance of two miles and a half, for a needle that

she had left there the day before; but after a few years her father opened a store

in Berkshire, and it was there that mother sold the fourteen yards of cloth that

she had woven in one day.

"One experience of my life made a deep impression on my mind, and the

circumstances of it are vivid to this hour. It was a fall day and mother had

gone to Berkshire and left me in charge of the house. Once a year Joseph Prince

took a drove of hogs to New York and mother always helped his sister-in-law--the

Judge's wife-- to get him ready for the trip. He went horseback, following his

hogs. The journey was long and tedious, and required a stock of good, warm mittens,

thick winter stockings and heavy overalls packed closely in his saddlebags.

"We can scarcely imagine such a journey now. Hogs are 'pig-headed'

animals to drive, and in the woods, especially, needed constant care and

patience. they would take their time; there was no use trying to hurry them,

and the hundred miles to the Lake must have seemed interminable. At Sandusky

they took a boat to Buffalo, and then on foot again to New York city.

"Well, father and mother had gone to say 'Good-by' to Joseph, as people

nowadays go on board a European steamer; and , as I told you, I was left to keep

the house. there was an unusual excitement in our neighborhood that day, in

regard to some suspicious characters that had been seen in company with Palmer--

Mr. Taylor's son-in-law. This Palmer had come a stranger to the settlement, and

being a showy, talkative young man, had won the heart of Mr. Taylor's daughter

and married her. They had a little baby and she stayed at home, but he always

away on what he called 'business'. This time, on his return, he brought two

or three men with him, and suspicion gained ground that his 'business' was making

'counterfeit money'. A smoke had been seen rising above the forest trees and

several of the neighbors, Uncle Jake and Uncle Dan'el among the number, came

for father to go with them on the search. I told them that father was in

Berkshire, and they left me anxious and distressed. We had no daily papers then,

to make crime familiar to us,--the Delaware Gazette was the only paper I had

ever seen, two or three families clubbed together and subscribed for that, but

it was filled with local politics, a love story now and then, and original

poems in the Poet's Corner',--and the thought that counterfeiters might be in

our woods--even then at work!--was dreadful and terrified me so, I scarcely

dared to stay alone.

When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 22)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 22)


[corresponds to page 20 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

"The hours passed on, I undressed the little children and put them into

their bed, and was sitting sewing when the door flew open, and a man dashed by,

saying, 'For heaven's sake, hide this, or I'm a ruined man!' and before I had time

to breathe he was gone, and at my feet was a bag of something. I heard steps out-

side, and scarcely knowing what I did, I seized the bag and threw it into the oven,

the door of which stood open.

"The next instant Uncle Jake and Uncle Daniel and all the men came in, out of

breath, crying,

"Did Palmer come in here! Have you seen Palmer?'

"I trembled with fear, but answered boldly:

"No! I have not seen him. He has not been through here.'

"And taking my word, they hurried on. They caught him somewhere near the

hay stacks, and held him under arrest, while they searched for evidence. But

they never found it and were obliged to let him go.

"It seems they had followed the smoke and came upon the gang at work, but

in some way the alarm was given, and Palmer, who was remarkable for his fleetness,

seized the bag of dies and escaped with them.

"I hope to never pass another such a night. I could find no place secret

enough to hide the bag. I tried to go to sleep with it under my bed, but it

haunted me like an evil spirit, and I finally got up and buried it in a barrel of


"Months after, when Palmer had left the country, I took courage and told

father. The bag disappeared form the barrel, but the remembrance of that dread-

ful night and the lie that I told, troubled me for many a year.

"We always went to father when we were in trouble. Father was a loving

easy-going man, as men given to hunting often are, and was never in hurry. He

managed his farm very well, but there was little inducement to raise more than we

could use ourselves. There was no market for the grain and no means of transpor-

tation. Father once took a load of wheat to Mt. Vernon, thirty miles away, but

could not sell it at any price, -- and rather than haul it home again, he took it

'round the town and gave it to the poor people.

"I remember a man, whose house had been burned down, coming to us for help.

Father offered him ten bushels of wheat but he replied that he was not taking

wheat any more.

"A good cow and calf were sold for five dollars. Father brought the money

home in his mitten and gave it to me to count. The most of it was 'split money,'

silver dollars cut in two, four and eight pieces.

"Where there was little to sell, there was little to buy, even our shoes

father learned to make by ripping up an old one, stitch by stitch, and cutting off

a pattern. He made them of wild hog skin. The woods were full of wild hogs, some

of them quite savage. One boar, especially, with enormous tusks, was so ferocious,

the men went in company to hunt him, and it was said that his hide was so tough, it

turned a bullet.

When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 23)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 23)


[corresponds to page 21 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

"No , we could live and spend very little money. The taxes were the greatest

trouble, and to meet these, father depended chiefly on his wolf scalps (for each

of which he received a bounty of a dollar) and his coon skins; these were always

salable. One young man, a neighbor of ours, had cleared his land and built his

cabin and wanted to be married. The bride was ready. She had her dower of

feather-beds, and homespun linen, and nothing was wanting but money enough to buy

the license. Coons were scarce, it was anxious time for the young lovers, but

finally love prevailed. Coons were caught and skinned and sold, the license

granted, and another home was founded.

"Father took great pleasure in his garden. His vegetables were excellent,

but the flowers were his pride. Such a bed of pinks was never seen; and 'stur-

tians' of every color; sweet peas and gilly flowers and roses, hollyhocks and mari-

golds! The yard was brilliant with color, and the house covered with vines. The

neighbors said they could smell our pinks a quarter of a mile. We had a bed of

tulips that was gorgeous. The bulbs were a present from Mother Hess, and she said

that the variety of color came from sewing them through and through with sewing

silk. The tiger-lily was father's favorite flower. When he was a very old man,

and had gone with Charles to Illinois, he had one planted under his bedroom win-

dow, so when he could walk no longer, he could see it from his bed.

"Mother's energy and vigor did everything for us. It sent us to school, it

made us study, it taught us to work and fitted us to struggle with the world; but

father's gentleness and sympathy , his love of natural things, was, to our lives,

what the vines and flowers were to our cabin. A beauty was given to common things;

a grace to labor; a sacredness to the very soil, which held the bloom and fragrance

of the rose. We were taught to work, but at the same time we were taught to ob-

serve the lily, which toils not, neither doth it spin."

Grandma ceased to speak and a silence fell upon the circle gathered around

her. Jack was long ago asleep and "children of a larger growth" had been listen-

ing to the stories of their mother's childhood. Never again in all the world

could such an experience be repeated. The spirit of "Jimmy the Spinner" would

look in vain for flax-wheels in the chimney corner, and a young man's hope would

be deferred if it depended upon coon skins; the men could not be found who was

taking wheat no longer, or a Bishop who preferred a gourd to drink from. No,

those days are gone, and their experiences can never be repeated; but remembering

the labor and sacrifice of our mother's life and that of our mother's mother may

that experience blossom into patience, and patience work out hope. Their endur-

ance and fortitude is our inheritance, and we deny our birthright when we submit

to discouragements or cease to hope.

The shadows of evening gather 'round us and the fire burns low upon the

hearth, the sleeping child upon the sofa, with his "army things around him, speaks

of Peace that comes through conflict, and is a fitting emblem of this Christmas-

time, and with our father and mother in our midst, we, their children, may well

sing the song of "Glory to the Highest, and Good Will To Men".
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 24)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 24)


[corresponds to page 22 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

A Brief History of the Patrick Family.

Jacob Patrick, a native of Ireland, born 1733, came to America with his

parents and settled in Massachusetts in 1735. He had one son by his first wife,

Mathew by name. His second wife was Zeruah Rogers, a descendant of John Rogers

who was burned at the stake in England (1555) on account of religion. This

marriage produced nine children, seven boys and two girls. Their names in order of

their birth were; Joshua, Jacob, Mary, Sheperd, Susan, William, Benjamin, Norman

and Joseph. Their ages varied from 66 to 90 years at time of death.*

Matthew and Joshua served throughout the Revolutionary War. Benjamin and

Joshua served in the War of 1812. Joshua was shot through the hand by an Indian

three days before Hull's Surrender, he received a pension to the time of his


Matthew married and settled in New York State, nothing is known of his family.

Joshua married twice and two sons by his first wife, Cepter and Charles: four

by his second wife, Poeba, Holms, Washington and Lafayette. There was little

known of Jacob, as he left home at an early day and was never seen by his brother

Joseph. A son of his visited the Patricks' of Delaware County, in 1835.

Mary married Jacob Flowers, a soldier of the Revolution: they had three

girls and five boys. Shepard married Kate Goodwin and had 2 girls and a boy.

Susan married Abraham Rosecrans, 8 girls and 2 boys, namely Calista, Zeruah, Miranda

Mahala, Elizabeth, Mariah, Almon, Sefrona, Charles and Susan. Elizabeth and Mariah

were twins. William was supposed to have settled in Michigan, nothing is known of

his history. Benjamin's first wife, a Miss Atherton, two girls and one boy, namely

Elizabeth, Malvina, and Charles. His second wife, a widow by name of Burger, they

had one son Benjamin.

Norman married a Sarah Williams, 3 girls and 3 boys, namely Keziah, Norman

Huldah, Matilda, George and John. (George was nicknamed Bunk).

Joseph married Sarah Taylor, six girls and two boys namely Eliza (married

Oliver Stark), Emilia, (married George Landon), Charles, Mary and Elizabeth, Julia,

Porter and Zeruah.

*Susan, Benjamin, Norman and Joseph emigrated from Luzerne County, Pa. to

Delaware County, Ohio in 1809. My children will have a more complete history

of the Patrick Family). Joseph B. Landon

Charles Patrick married Lydia Murphy had six children as follows:

Sarah who married Tom Fredricks. Thomas (Tom) married Melissa Parnes

Jane who married _____ Walker. Two other children - Thomas died as a baby

Joseph who married Annie Fredricks. before Thomas 2nd. was born.

Lydia died as a baby.

Mary Fitzpatrick married _____ Raymond and had one child Lenora

Mary Patrick married ______ Raymond and had one child Lenora who married Geo Wilcox.

Elizabeth married John Rooney and had Louellen-Eugene and Allen.

Julia married Geo. Benton, two children, both died young.

Porter married Phoebe McFalls

Zeruah married Roswell Fowler for 1st. husband- children Junnia and Lydia, Junnia

married Oren Barcus. Lydia married Wilbur Roberts.
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 25)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 25)


[corresponds to page 23 of When Our Mother was a Little Girl ]

(A) Abraham Rosecrans Farm *Where bear was killed.

(B) Sam Rosecrans Farm

(L) Joseph Patrick Farm

(D) Cemetery where some of these folks are buried.

(C) Norman Patrick Farm (purchased in 1814).
When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 26)


When Our Mother was a Little Girl (p. 26)

Dublin Core


When Our Mother was a Little Girl


Landon family--Genealogy
Ohio--Kingston Township--Delaware County--History
Patrick family--Genealogy
Rosecrans family--Genealogy


This book is a collection of early settlement stories of Berkshire and Kingston townships in Delaware county, OH. The stories are told by Mahalia Rosecrans to her grandson, son of the author, Mrs. A. Baldwin. Topics include early settlement culture, encounters with Native Americans and Native American culture, the ups and downs of having money, farming, hunting, education, prayer meetings and religion.The book includes a history of the Perfect family (Mrs. Baldwin's maternal line) and a map showing the locations of events pertinent to the stories in the book.


Mrs. A. Baldwin




Joseph B. Landon













Mrs. A. Baldwin, “When Our Mother was a Little Girl,” Delaware County Memory, accessed April 17, 2021,

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