Surnames of Memoirs
SURNAME PAGE FOR MEMOIRS ONLY
Lois Clarinda Twichell
This LIFE was written by herself when upwards of eighty years of age and was completed a few months before she was stricken with paralysis that deprived her of the use of her right hand, and a little later, of the power of speech though her mental faculties remained unimpaired for some years longer.
This is copied from George Henry Blackwellís translation of the original manuscript, which he made in long hand in his seventy-sixth year. George Henry Blackwell, who died in April 1941, was the eldest son of Lois and George Blackwell
Copied March 6th, 1950
From copy by Marian & Gerry Walker
BEB. Copied to Digital Format by Ronald Ernest Blackwell 10.2.4.8.4.1
Great Grandson of Lois Clarinda Twichell - Blackwell
The manuscript has been in Georgeís possession for some years, in the hope that it might at some time be possible to get it typed, and perhaps mimeographed or printed; but as this does not seem feasible, he had decided to copy it with pen as the original is, in many parts and sections, and it is possible that none of the others of her family are likely to be able to do it. His hope is that it will please the rest of the family and connections and in this form it will be possible to preserve it intact, which could scarcely be done if the original were to be passed about from family to family.
You will notice that in some places she has repeated herself and in some places the sentences are somewhat long and more or less involved. You will also notice perhaps that events are not always in the chronological order, and that there is a certain amount of over lapping. This is due to the fact that the story was written at odd times as she had time or felt able, and at times she forgot just what she had written; also from time to time she would remember something that previously she had forgotten and wrote it in as she recalled it. But it was a big task, and I am sure you will agree that it was well done and we owe her a deep debt of gratitude for leaving us this story of her long life.
In copying and editing, a few minor changes and corrections have been made, but in all respects the wording and structure of the composition are hers. The facts as she had recorded them are all gathered from memoryís album with occasional items gleaned from old letters, of which she had a large collection.
On the left hand pages are found some explanations of matters that are not quite clear in the manuscript. (In this copy they will appear bracketed with items concerned).
The Memoirs of Lois Clarinda Twichell
The Life of
Lois Clarinda Twichell
Beloved Wife of
My father was born in New Salem, Mass., Nov. 20th, 1801, and was named Royal Twichell. He was the eldest son and child of Lemuel Twichell and his wife Esther (Esther Seaver). He had brothers, Lemuel, Joseph, Eneas (spelling?) and William. Also three sisters, Lucy, Adaline and Miriam. They all lived to a mature age. I think there were two others that died in infancy. (East Otto Census of 1855 shows Enos Twichell - Click Here) (REB)
I think their ancestry was English some two or three generations back.
My father, with the rest of his fatherís family moved to western New Work, Erie County, when he was but a young man. He and his brother(Lemuel Humphry) went ahead, preparing the way for the rest, who followed later. They settled some 40 miles from what became the city of Buffalo, and a few miles from what became in later years the pretty and flourishing town of Springville.
My grandfather (Lemuel) was a cabinet maker, and when taking up land in New York, he built a shop beside a stream which furnished him with power to drive some small machinery, such as lathes, saws, etc., that he installed in his shop and was always busy making such implements as farmers everywhere needed, such as rakes, hoe and exe handles, etc. He also made various articles of plain furniture with which he supplied many a household.
My grandfather worked in his shop, while his sons attended to the farming. My father often worked in the shop, and so became handy in the use of tools, which stood him in good stead in after years, when he had to be his own carpenter and builder, and a cabinetmaker, as many a pioneer had had to do.
My father was a Presbyterian, and early became identified with the Temperance movement and all the family were ever staunch supporters of the movement, which was then comparatively in its infancy.
The country where they settled was hilly and well supplied with streams and best suited for dairying and my grandfather, as did many other settlers, turned his attention to that. Among those hills, and in those woods a hardy and industrious class of people grew and thrived; that has since influenced many homes that have been built in that prosperous state.On May 1st, 1825. my father married Ruth Field, who was 17 on January of the same year. She was born in Massachusetts, but her parents had removed to New York State. Her father, I think, was Solomon Field.
My mother, I have been told by those who knew her as a girl, was of a gentle and obliging disposition, mild and quiet in her manner. I have heard my brother Dwight say that he never saw her angry. My first recollection of her was as she was setting the table and cutting bread from a loaf to fill the bread tray.She was wearing a dress of some dark material, a figured print. She was a small woman about five feet high, with dark brown hair that was parted a little to one side over a rather low broad forehead. Her eyes were dark blue and complexion fair, but not as fair as was Fatherís. (Note her memory of details, though she does not always put them in chronological order, but just as they come to her mind).GHB.
My father was very fair, with light sandy hair and light blue eyes. He was about five feet ten inches in height, well proportioned, and very straight. He was a good horseback rider as well as a great walker. There were seven of us children, four girls and three boys until the death of the youngest son, Royal Emmons, who died before my recollections of him. He was about 4 years old, about three years older than I was.
While I was too young to remember my brother, I always seem to know him for my older sisters told me so much about him. He seems to have thought a great deal of me, and my sisters said he was always planning to take me for a ride when he was a man. I can remember seeing the clothes he wore and I heard many things about my brotherEmmons.
A few things in early childhood I remember. My sistersAlmeda and Emily; and my brothers Dwight and Humphrey; and my going to school; my balls and once I remember my father coming home late and hearing a tap on the window and my mother getting up to let him in. I was sleeping in my trundle bed and was delighted with two little cups he brought me. One was a little tin or japanned cup with gold letters on it; the other was a Delf cup or mug, I think they called it, for it had straight sides, and a handle, and there was a picture on it of a man ploughing with two horses and a plough. (Driven tandem. GHB). And one of Ben Franklinís sayings printed on one side. It was "Plough deep while sluggards sleep and you shall have corn to sell and to keep." I cherished these cups for many years till after my own children were all well grown and some of them remember them even yet, but time and use at last caused them to disappear, but though lost to sight they are still to memory dear. (I well remember the little Delf mug but do not remember the Japan one. The flowers were green on a bluish foundation, but what caught my eye was the horses driven tandem. All the teams I have seen were two abreast. GHB).
Toys in those days were scarce and highly valued by the children, and carefully kept. The most common ones were home made by some genius of the family who cared to make wooden ones to please the little brothers and sisters who were evidently as delighted with them as the children nowadays are with the more expensive but frail ones, that are soon out of use and little cared for. (I remember quite well the first doll my sister Mary had. It was carved roughly with a jackknife out of a piece of pine two inches by four inches and was called Julia. A little later we got one that was turned on a lathe and had black hair painted on, with eyes, etc., and we had others but none took the place in our affections that did old Julia, but in our various moves, she finally got lost; but what would I give if I could pass her on to my own childrenís children today. GHB).
My father, after his conversion became a Colporteur, and for some time traveled among the hills and valleys of Western New York, distributing Bibles and tracts, among the pioneers, and visiting them in their rude log houses.
He was authorized to leave a Bible in every house were there not one. If the settler was not able to buy one, he was to give them one. On one occasion, my aunt told me in later years, he found a family who, though quite able, were unwilling to buy a Bible. At last my father said, "Well, I am instructed to leave a copy of the Scriptures wherever there is not one, and where people are unable to buy, I present them with one, therefore I will make you a present of this one." But this touched their pride and they bought one.
His occupation kept him often from home and my mother did the best she could in caring for the children and sending them to school when there was one.
My eldest sisterElmira Relief was sent away to a nearby town, Arcade, where there were better school privileges, so I do not remember her, being at home much when I was small, but as is often the case, her school months were not many; for a young man where she boarded wanted her for a life companion, so a few months later she married him.
Not long after this, my mother, who had not been strong, became ill and for some months was confined to her room, and the house was attended to by hired help.
Previously, my father, who had long felt the call to the Ministry, wasOrdained by the Presbytery and endeavored, among the settlers, to give them the Gospel of Salvation. At the time of my birth he was located at Hudson Allegany Co., N.Y. In the same place as my brother Emmons died. All of my motherís children except myself were born in Concord, Erie Co., N.Y.
Hudson, Allegany Co., NY.
Birth place of Lois Twichell 1841
I well remember the marriage of aMrs. Graham who lived with us and took care of mother. She was a widow and was married in our sitting room, my father performing the ceremony. She wore a shawl, the correct wrap in those days and a bonnet. I remember there was a frilled lace on the edge of the bonnet about the face, that to my childish eyes looked very pretty. I do not remember anything else about it only after her marriage she left and I did not see her again.
I know that people were very kind to me, and when my sisters and brothers were at school I was the only child at home, and played with my dolls or book. The book was a primer such as children learn to read from and I was much interested in a picture, which they told me was a light wagon or buggy. They told me my little brother Emmons said he was going to give me a ride when he was a man and had a horse, but the childish dream was not to be realized.
A common event in those days and one I remember well was the donation party for the minister; this being one way of trying to make up the ministerís salary. The gifts were sometimes very unsuitable but always welcomed by the minister and his wife. On the occasion referred to one of the gifts was a brown satin quilted bonnet. All other things I forgot in my admiration of it.
I do not remember learning the alphabet. I picked it up early for I always seem to have known it. I remember picking out the letter on the hearth of the first stove we had. Fireplaces were more common than stoves in those days. The stove was named the Premium made by Messrs. Ranson and Rathbone, and I used to wonder about the meaning of the latter name.
One day there came a change. My mother passed away. ( Ruth Field ) The family all gathered about her bed. I was lifted on to her bed and I ever seem to see her pale face as she laid her white hand on my head and said "Clarinda, be a good girl". I was not quite four at the time, and knew not why my father and brothers and sisters were so sad and why they wept. The next day I was taken into a room where she lay cold and still. I noticed the dark hair parted a little to one side as she always wore it about her low, broad forehead. Her eyes were closed and there was no smile of welcome for me but I only wondered.
Before my motherís illness we had moved toOsian, a small village about which I remember little, only that it was where my mother was ill and where she died. ( We believe she died in 1844 ) REB
The funeral, as was the custom at that time, was held in the Church and a sermon was preached by theRev. Hodgson from the text in the last chapter of Habakkuk Chap. 111, 17019, "Tho the fig tree shall not blossom nor the herd be found in the pasture, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation, etc., etc." (Better look up the text and see how it might be the foundation of a funeral service. GHB.) As we went up the steps of the Church, I wondered at the tears my sisters were shedding, for we were arrayed in new dresses which I thought would make them glad; but childhood knows not the sorrows of riper years. I know they all looked with tearful eyes upon the face so dear, and keenly felt the loss of our loving mother. My father lifted me up for one last look and then we moved away. I have no recollection of the burial, but I remember after we came home that I went from room to room seeking my mother and not finding her. I wept bitterly. I saw the tears on my fatherís cheek and as I sat on a couch between my sisters Almeda and Emily, aged 12 and 9, they tried in vain to comfort me but I could only cry, "I want my Ma, I want my Ma." (This would put Almeda's birth year as 1832 and Emily's as 1835) REB
I remember my eldest sisterElmira being with us and the place seemed sad and there seemed only sorrow and tears in the house. But time passed on and I ceased to grieve, for childhood finds many passing joys to dry the tears that seemed at times to overflow.
Other came to attend to our wants and my sisters and brothers went on to school and sometimes I went with them. Sometimes I was amused at home and, no doubt, got into mischief. I remember a little dog named Carlo that was an amusing little playfellow. One day my brothers brought home a little animal they had somehow caught of trapped, and they told me it was a woodchuck.
My father continued to preach in the village and a woman namedSarah Hurd was secured to do the housekeeping. I think everyone was kind to me, for I remember nothing but kindness in those days. Sometimes my brothers would play with me and sometimes tease me with their tricks. I had a little doll that I was very fond of. Its head was china and its body kid, while the legs below the knees and the arms below the elbows were of wood. It had lost one of its feet, but it had one and it was painted to look like a shoe. I was proudly walking it about one day when my brother picked it up and cut off its one foot. Of course I was very indignant but he said your doll could not walk with one foot, now it can do better; but I was only half satisfied with his reasoning.
I was always looking for things that were lost and one day to my great joy I found a thimble that Sarah Hurd had sought in vain for. But I found it in the woodbox, and I was much praised for it.
After a time my eldest brother(Dwight) went away from home to live in the family of a farmer named Carter (a farmers apprentice). He was to live there until he was 21 years old, have his board and clothes, and when he was of age he was to have a new suit of clothes and $100.00 for his services.
My fatherís salary was only $300.00 per year when even in those times of low prices was insufficient for a family of his size, and it was better for the boys to have a home where they could learn to work.
Months rolled on and my childish heart craved for someone I could call Mamma. One day as I stood on the path between the kitchen door and the outside door of the woodshed my sisterEmily came to me and said "Do you know why Pa went away and took Sarah Hurd home?" Of course I did not know, only that he had gone and two young ladies had come to us until he came back. In his absence, a thundershower came and the girls were frightened. I remember one of them sat on the table as she said she had heard it was the safest place in a thunderstorm. "Well," "Oh", I said, "I am so glad". And snatching my sunbonnet off my head, I clapped my hands and jumped up and down with glee.
A few hours later my father drove up to the gate with a lady by his side. I saw she wore a white shawl and a straw bonnet trimmed with some rather light ribbon. As she descended from the buggy and came up the walk to the house I saw she was tall. My father led her into the sitting room, and giving her a seat, called us in and introduced her as our new mother. She took me on her knee and called me her little girl and I was delighted and had every reason to rejoice at having a new mother and such a mother, for she was ever kind and thoughtful. She was a wise woman and judicious in her management of her stepchildren and we had reason ever to be thankful to the Giver of all good for such a mother. My childish heart was satisfied and I always loved my God-given second mother. (Royal Twichell re-married to Almena Mary Nourse) REB Not long after her entrance into our family, my second brother Humphrey went to live with a farmer on the same terms as Dwight had gone.
My school days began after she came to us but I could read in the first book when I was first at school.This mother had a good education and had taught some 18 years before her marriage, and was very helpful to us in our studies. My first mother had known her as a teacher when she taught in a village where we once lived and before she passed away she expressed to my father the wish that she might have the care of her little girls. That wish was granted and we were greatly benefited by the choice.
After a time I remember coming home from school one day and found that alittle brother had been given to us but he was only lent to us for a brief period and was taken mercifully from this world of strife and trouble and care. A neighbor woman took me into a quiet room to see the precious gift that was so soon taken from us. I remember even now the finely molded little form and the features so peaceful in the snowy muslin robe; and how we would have loved him had he been permitted to remain with us.
About this time events seem to have taken a more tangible form and I understood more of what was going on around me. I went to school with my sistersAlmeda and Emily, and I found much in school to interest me. I could learn my lessons readily and had plenty of time for mischief. Once I remember having to stand behind the open door of the schoolroom (it was summertime) as it was swinging back against the wall, for doing something against the rules and whilst there amused some of the other children by making faces when the teacher could not see me. Afterwards I was given an extra lesson in the back of the spelling book to learn, as my teacher told my mother to keep me out of mischief, but it was good for me and I am grateful that she did. My sisters took good care of me, and saw that I did not run too wild when away from the restraints of home.
Across the road from us there lived a Methodist minister and his wife. There were three girls in the family whose ages corresponded to those of my sisters and myself. Mrs. Trembly and my mother became intimate friends and we girls were always together when possible. We went to and from school together and many a walk in summertime did we take toWintergreen Hill, as we called it, which was not far from our houses; and there we gathered wintergreen berries and flowers and nuts in their season and it was a delight to watch the minnows which we sometimes saw in the little brook that flowed along at the foot of the hill.
Wintergreen Hill today - A brook flows along the base of this hill.
Like many children I was often heedless to my steps and got into trouble through my carelessness. One time my mother had prepared a pail of water to wash the floors and I began walking backward across the floor and backed into the pail of water and sat down in it; fortunately my mother had taken the precaution of putting in cold water before she left it or I should have been badly scalded, but the water was only uncomfortably warm and I was soon out of it and I learned a lesson I never forgot. If one had to leave a pail of dish of hot water where children or anything can fall into it, it is always best to put in the cold water before the hot is added and then if anything falls into it, it will not be scalded. I have known cases where, if this rule had been followed, it would have prevented much suffering, and in some cases, death.
Another mishap I had that I didnít get over so easily. My mother was away to some church meeting and my sisters and I were at home. The floor of our summer kitchen was a couple of steps lower than the floor of the other room and we girls often sat on them. On this occasion Almeda and Emily were sitting on the steps and Almeda was using the shears for something, and I was playing about and heedless of danger I ran and jumped on her lap and on to the point of the open shears. Fortunatately they were rather dull and I received only a deep flesh wound, which bled well before Almeda could get it stopped, and then our mother came home and skillfully applied a sticking salve, which healed the wound, and only the scar, which I carried for many years, remained. This taught me another lesson in carefulness, which I never forgot.
It was in this house I remember taking my first stitches in sewing, and here also I learned to knit. An old lady who was a weaver and wove cloth for our woolen dresses (it was the custom in those days to wear woolen dresses and underwear in the winter), lived not far from us, and one day, being in to see mother, told me if I would come to her place she would give me some pretty balls of colored yard to knit. So one day my sister Emily went with me, taking with us a basked of eggs for the old lady. I was much interested in the loom on which she was weaving and the wheels on which she sometimes spun yarn. After a time, we returned home with a number of balls of yarn of various colors and with these my mother started my knitting. It was a small stocking and as I only had to knit three of four rounds before changing the ball, I was encouraged to keep knitting to see the display of colors, and by the time the second stocking was finished my balls were done and I was a fair knitter for one of my age Ė 6 years Ė (1847) and before I was seven I knit my own stockings and also could hem my own everyday handkerchiefs. I well remember my sisters learning to card flax and spin it, and it was woven for towels, etc. These I could hem.
We had one teacher there that we all thought a good deal of, a Mr. Lyman Allen, and my sisters made great progress under him. Emily was remarkable, quick to learn and ambitious to get ahead. Her great desire was to be a teacher, but there came a change and my father moved from Burns, Alleghany Co. To Otto, Cattaraugus Co.
I remember before we left, we had a party of girls about our own ages, schoolmates and others, and we spent a very pleasant time. I also remember we three girls spent a very pleasant time. I also remember we three girls were privileged to go and spend one night with our mates across the road. It was an unusual thing for us to be away from home overnight and this was special. They did not tell me what a treat was in store for us lest I tell others in the school, and my mother would be besieged to let us go to other places for a night, which was not considered wise or convenient, so I went to sleep at home that night as usual, only to be awakened in a little while to go and spend the rest of the night with my friendMaria Trembly.
But the bustle of moving came on, which I always enjoyed so much, that the tearful goodbyes to our teacher and schoolmates did not leave a lasting impression upon me, but not so with my sisters, who were older.
I do not remember about the journey, taken in buggies, till we reachedArcade, a village where my sister Elmira lived. She had married as I said before my motherís illness and death. I had never known much about her as she had left home when I was young, but as we stopped there in her home overnight, it was decided to leave me there for a couple of weeks while the others went on and our goods, which were transported by teams, (there were no railroads in those days), were conveyed to their destination. So there I had a pleasant visit and a chance to know my sister better, as well as her husband Barnabus Botsford, and their little boy, Albert Wallace. He was about a year old, just creeping about, and getting into anything handy. One day, while my sister was lying down to rest I was watching Albert; but I did not watch him very closely, for before I knew it he had got the kitchen cupboard door open, and had got a package of cinnamon open, and was busying himself scouring the floor with it, and the cinnamon was being spread about in a lively manner, and lending a strange aromatic odor to the room.
Whilst there, I passed my seventh birthday.(1848) My brother Ė in Ė law gave me a little leather bound Testament and I began that day to read it through, reading as least one chapter every day. I treasured the little Testament for scores of years till, in time and many changes, it finally disappeared from my possessions. Then came the time for my leaving my brother- in-lawís place, and I went on to the new home which please us all very much.
It was a two-storey house built on a hillside and so there was a basement kitchen and other rooms; it was large and convenient. Besides these there was an attic, which is ever a delight to childhood. There were two yards. The flower garden in front of the two best rooms, and a larger yard into which the kitchen garden opened. There were some fine cherry and apple trees and a fine place for a vegetable garden back of the house. South of the house was an orchard of fine fruits and a barn in which father delighted in making changes. Between the garden and an acre lot for the cows, ran a merry little brook, less than a yard across in places. There, the following summer, I spent many a happy hour angling for the tiny fish, and successfully too sometimes, to my delight.
The country aroundEast Otto was new and the business was dairying. Twenty-five cows was considered a small dairy. There was no church there, but father was a pioneer and delighted in going into new places and hunting up those who cared for the advancement of Christís Kingdom and he was faithful and efficient in that capacity. In time he gathered enough together to organize a Presbyterian Church and then a building was finally obtained and remodeled till it became a suitable and neat edifice. The site was not far from that was called the "Corners", a place where four roads met, and where there was located a store post office and a blacksmith shop with two or three dwelling houses which were not far from our own home. All was very satisfactory except the school. There was a new school presided over by one teacher. The pupils were backward as there had been no school before and no chance for learning. This was very disappointing to my sisters who were anxious for advancement. (View of photo of the Corners at this link)
But where there is a will, a way will generally be found. In the course of the early winter,(1848) my eldest brother (Dwight) drove over for a visit, and brought my brotherís wifeís sister with him. (Could be Humphreyís sister in law) (REB) On the way they stopped at my sister Elmiraís at Arcade. At Arcade my brother secured another horse and a double cutter, and, with my sister and her little boy, they all came over and a very enjoyable gathering we had. The matter of schooling for my sisters came up and it was arranged that Almeda and Emily should go back to Arcade with them and attend the good village school there, while I was to stay at home that winter and study under my mother, and do the chores that had fallen the lot of my sister Emily, viz., wipe the dishes and scour the knives, a daily task, and bring in the kindling wood at night. Of course I had my lessons to learn, also I had to do a "stunt" of knitting and sewing to keep myself in practice. These were only short tasks, but they kept me busy, and all the time I was learning.
So the winter was passing until well into February(1849), when one day a brother of my sisterís husband came over from Arcade bringing a letter informing us that Emily was ill, and had been poorly for nearly a week. They thought at first it was only a cold, but she got no better but rather worse, so my sister had sent for my father. The next morning we started for Arcade, my father and mother riding in fatherís cutter, while I rode with the young men. We found Emily very ill in bed. As soon as mother saw her, she felt there was little hope, and wept as if she were already gone. She was very fond of Emily and Emily of her. Father called in the best physician in town, who had been very successful with typhoid fever, which was an epidemic in the town at that time. I heard father talking with the doctor in the little sitting room. He said, "I will do all I can, but I fear it is too late."
So for two weeks, we stayed there, mother nursing Emily andAlmeda helping with the housework, till my mother was nearly worn out and the crisis of the disease was near, so it was thought best that father take mother and me home and return. If she passed the crisis safely, father was to go for mother again to nurse Emily through the convalescent period; but she did not live. He was to bring her remains home. Father got back to Arcade Saturday night, and Emily died early Monday morning, and that day father and sister Almeda came home, and a friend brought the remains of my dear sister.
I well remember the tears that fell for my gifted sister, and the blow it was to my parents and sister Almeda. Emily had been a great help to Almeda. Being quick to learn she would have her own lessons done, then read Almedaís to her, for Almedaís eyes were not strong, and so she would learn her lesson by hearing Emily read them. So, in that way, the loss was very great, but besides the affection between the two sisters was very great, so that when one was taken the one that was left could hardly be comforted.
My father had built great hopes onEmily and intended to give her every chance he could to get an education. It had been her ambition to be a teacher, and her, which was afterwards carved on her headstone which I saw over 3 years afterwards, when on a visit to East Otto.
I do not think father ever felt just the same interest in things that he did before, whilst my father felt that the Lord had given and then taken her to Himself, yet he could not cease to mourn. A letter she wrote to mother a short time before her illness revealed the anxious state of her mind in regard to spiritual things and her wish to be informed on these things.
She was anxious to visit and talk with her minister in Arcade, who told father her attention to his sermons was very marked. She seems to listen as with strong desire to learn all you could on spiritual things, and mother said the Lord never turned an anxious Soul away, and so we trusted she was with her Savior.
A couple of weeks after this, a letter came from my brother Ė in- law, saying his wife, my sisterElmira, was ill with the same fever. The letter came Friday but had been delayed two days on the road. There had been a heavy snowstorm that had blocked the roads. Father was not very well and not able to go out at once, and mother urged him not to go until Monday, by which time he might he better and the roads broken out. He went Monday on horseback but Elmira had gone. She died the night father got the letter, and was buried Sunday, less than three weeks after Emilyís death, and only her little boy left. He would never know a motherís loving care.
After that, I was not well for some weeks. Mother gave me such medicines and care as she thought I needed and when warm weather came I was somewhat better but not the healthy stirring child I had been. My eyes were affected, and often I could not use them to study and sew. But with warm weather, my eyes improved so I was able to go to school part of the time, but was not as I had been. Mother thought I had a touch of the same fever my sisters had had, but that the prompt measures she used had warded it off, but left me less robust than I had been. However, I enjoyed many things; particularly fishing in the little brook. Almeda said she would cook my fish if I got any. Mother provided bait on a crooked pin for a hook that was fastened to a strong string and I went out in fine spirits to fish.
I caught one and jerked it out onto the bank, but was afraid to pick up the wriggler, so I ran to the house for Almeda, and she, with a girl friend, came down to the creek and picked up my fish. She said it was too small to cook and I had better put it back into the water. So back it went. I caught others after that, but finding they were too small to cook, I thought it a pity to hurt them with a pin, so I discarded the pin and used only the bait on a string and, waiting until the minnow got a good hold on the bait, I would jerk it quickly our of the water onto the bank, and then let it go back into the water. So I had my fun as I thought without hurting the fish.
Summer passed away with its many joys and Autumn came with its orchards laden with fruit everyone delighted in, and the black elderberries that grew abundantly along the wall that separated the low kitchen garden from the upper front garden where the flowers grew; and many were the delicious elderberry pies my mother made. Those were the times when people made up apple cider, and apple sauce by the barrel, according to the needs of the family. It was delicious and would keep for months, and was always ready for use. I remember hearing mother say she liked to put in a few quinces for they improved the flavor.
Those were also the days of dried fruit, and many an hour did I watch my mother busy drying cherries. We had two very fine cherry trees. Then there were the plums and peaches to be stored and dried, as well as other fruits in their season.
Cattaugarus County was not a good wheat county, but corn did well, and everybody raised corn, with only wheat enough for home use. Corn, or brown bread, as it was called, and Johnny cake, were the staple articles for common use, but if company came it was usual to make hot biscuits. They did not think of setting company down to brown bread. White raised bread was also made, but was not the staple article. We had a good brick oven and every Saturday it was heated and there mother made the pumpkin and apple pies, and other delicious things, as well as the white and brown bread; after these the beans, and that finished the baking. The beans were left in the oven overnight, and were ready for breakfast Sunday morning, and did not take long to put on the table with good butter and maple syrup or applesauce, and formed an appetizing meal.
The winter came and the hill in front of our house on the way to school formed a sliding place for the school children, making it too slippery to travel. One day a schoolmate of mine, a little girl eight years of age, was going up the hill and two boys on a sled were going down. They were unable to avoid the little girl and she was knocked down and badly hurt. Some of her front teeth being loosened, and her face badly bruised. Sleight riding on that hill was stopped; but across the road from the schoolhouse was another hill that ran down a long slope and at the bottom another hill began; it was not long before everything was utilized to slide on if a sleigh was unavailable. A piece of board or tin or even a shovel would do.
They would go down the big hill with such speed that it would carry them well up the little hill before they stopped and then they could turn about and slide down the little hill to carry them back and quite a distance up the big hill.
My father could see the children from the barn and concluded there were some narrow escapes from injury and sometimes a collision would take place so he concluded it was not a safe place for so small a girl as I and forbade me going with the crowd. But the temptation was great for there were lots of fun, and I disobeyed for the sake of the ride and got my punishment when I got home and did not go anymore. (Too bad).
But I have got ahead of my story.In the fall when I was eight years old, (1849) my eldest brother Dwight, came home for a visit. He had not been able to come when my sisters died, but came the following fall. It was fine to have him home for a while. My father let him take a horse, Prince, and the buggy and with my sister Almeda, we went to visit my fatherís relatives around Concord. (In Erie County - This would be the family of Lemuel and Esther and other Twichells) REB I do not remember the distance, but we went in a day I think. As there were my fatherís parents, and his brothers and sisters Ė five or six families of them Ė and a brother of my own motherís, (Brother of Ruth Field I think ) (REB) also to visit, we put in a very pleasant time among them all. The weather was fine and everything worked out for our enjoyment. I remember that on the way we passed two very fine trees well loaded with nuts. My brother knocked off quite a number by throwing sticks into the trees while we girls gathered them up in their burrs, and we enjoyed the feed of fresh chestnuts as we drove along.
On our way home, we came byArcade, and stopped to visit our brother Ė in Ėlaw, Barnabus Botsford, and our little nephew, Albert Wallace, my sisterís little boy. He was a bright little fellow, running about and beginning to talk. I gave him a penny and, childlike, it was not long before he found a place for it where it could not be reached; in a crack in the floor and he told me, as if regretfully, that it was lost. Dear little fellow. I never forgot the sunny-haired, blue-eyed motherless little boy, but I never say him gain. After 30 years, I tried to find his father through the Postmaster at Arcade, who replied by letter to my enquiries, and I learned where Mr. Botsford was. (Barnabus) (REB) I wrote to Mr. Botsford and he replied telling me that Albert Wallace was in Genesis, Tennessee. I wrote to him and received two nice letters from him, and he seemed pleased to hear from his motherís relatives, of whom he knew so little. He said he was married and gave me the names of his wife and three children, but after that I could get no further word of him. After waiting a long time I wrote again, but the Postmaster could not tell me where he had gone. So I know nothing more of him but he is not forgotten.
The winter following our pleasant visit to relatives as described, I was often rather poorly, not sick in bed much, but taking cold easily. It always settled in my eyes and kept me from attending school regularly, and sometimes my eyes were so weak that I could not bear the light of day, and had to stay in a darkened room or in the most shady corner, or some place shielded from the light. My appetite was poor, and often mother found it difficult to persuade me to eat sufficient food to keep up my health, and she took such pains to provide something tempting and many times she led me by the hand as I was not able to see my way about. She was most kind and considerate of me.
When I had a poor spell, efforts were made to fine some way to help me. A dose of salts would sometimes be administered and sometimes a blister would be applied to the back of my neck, and I would be better for a time, and able to read some, or piece a block of patchwork, or knit. I got so used to knitting, I could do it without looking at my work and employment of some kind was better than idleness when I was well enough to do anything.
When summer came my health improved and my eyes were better, but when winter came again I was poorly much of the time, and could not go to school; but whenever I was able to study my mother gave me lessons and in that way, I learned much that I otherwise would have missed.
I did not have many playmates for I could not go from home, except for short visits, as I would play hard and would be sick for two or three days afterwards. I have two little girls about my own age with whom I would have a couple of hours now and again when I was well enough to see and enjoy visiting with them. One was namedMarion German, and the other Helen Andrews, and very pleasant is the memory of both of them.
One day my mother and father went away for a short time leaving me to keep house with my dolls. Now mother had often warned me not to touch the axe as I might cut myself. This day I wanted to make a doll wagon and, with four empty spools for wheels, I started to look for something to make a platform for the dolls to ride on. Finding a shingle, I tried to shorten it to the right length with the axe. But I cut my thumb instead and the wagon was not finished. My thumb was only cut a little but enough to make me remember and leave edged tools alone. I also learned that disobedience brought trouble and pain.
About this time my father sold the house we were in and bought another, a smaller one, but had more land for pasture for his horse and the two cows we kept. I did not like the new house as well as the one we left, but soon there were changes. The house had to be moved about 40 rods on to a better building site, and soon we were making preparations for the change. Father prepared long stringers and so the house was moved on rollers being drawn by 40 yoke of oxen.Western New York was a timbered country, and everybody used oxen to clear the land and do most of the farm work.
My mother had prepared for the occasion and so was able to give the men their dinner in the moving house. I watched the moving house from a neighborís house across the road. It must have been a difficult task for mother as she could only work in spells as they stopped to rearrange the spools on the stringers. But she did it.
After that, a new part was added to the house, but before it was finished my fatherís health began to fail, and it was thought best for him to go west with my motherís brother for a change.
Before he left, I remember a severe thunderstorm passed over the place, and two very tall hemlock trees that stood not far from the house, were struck by lightning, and one was shivered to pieces at the top and about half way down. The lightning jumped across the other tree and shivered the bottom half of it, the top remaining standing on the shivered trunk. About an hour afterwards a light breeze sprang up and blew it over. My other and I were alone during the storm and when a blinding flash of lightning filled the room, followed by a wonderful crashing sound of thunder, I followed my mother into the bedroom where we stayed for a time, as if nearly stunned. But the sun soon shone out, and the rain was over. Mother and I went out to see what affect the lightning had upon our surrounding. It seemed as if the house had been struck, but the splinters were the only sign of wreckage. Many people came to see the havoc wrought in one short instant. Much of the timber was made into kindling wood as fine as broom straw, and lay scattered about for many feet.
When my father decided to go west for a trip, he sold the house and there was general packing up of household stuff, for we knew not where we would go next. My brotherís were living with farmers and my sister was teaching.Mother and I went to my auntís and then to my Grandfatherís ( Lemuel Twichell ) (REB) for a time, whilst my father went to Michigan where my uncle lived, and they both went on to Minnesota to see what that country offered them, for my uncle had stood the fever and ague of Michigan as long as he dared to, and sought a colder climate. My father benefited and delighted with Minnesota, and, after spending a part of the summer there, he returned to New York to get his family together and take them west.
I was still the delicate child I had been for 3 Ĺ years, and people thought I would not stand the journey very well, but father thought the change would benefit me, and so it proved to do. During the summer, whilst at my grandfatherís, ( Lemuel Twichell ) (REB) many devices had been resorted to, to get me out into the fresh air, in the early morning air before the sun was up, so that my appetite might improve. My eyes also were better able to bear the daylight if I could get out before sunrise. I remember myGrandfather put up a swing for me which for a while was a source of delight. I was also allowed to feed the little calf, which was in interesting diversion. Then Grandmother (Esther Seaver ) (REB) told me that if I would rise early in the morning, and go with her to the cow stable, I might learn to milk a nice little cow that she had that was an easy milker. I was charmed with the idea and made quite an effort to be up in time, and, as the stable was new and clean, and not far from the house, it was really a pleasure to go there. So I learned to milk and gained thereby.
The Move to Minnesota
My father came back about the first of September, and soon after we went to another part of New York State, in Erie County where my fatherís people lived, and some of my own motherís ( Field ) REB also. There we were joined by my sister and two brothers, and soon after spent some time among friend and other relatives. Our goodbyes were said and tearfully we started for Buffalo where we took a steamer Ė "the Globe" Ė for a trip on the lakes to Chicago. I was then eleven years old (1852) and unable to sit at the table for my eyes could not bear the light well enough at that time, and my mother used to bring my meals to me in our stateroom and there I ate and enjoyed them. It had been hard for me to leave my dog behind, and I shed many tears about parting with the faithful animal. My uncle (Twichell) REB tried to console me with a new dress but that was little comfort. My dog had been my playmate and friend when I had been unable to go from home or be with other girls of my own age. But at last the parting from Grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins and numerous friends was over, and we sailed away in a beautiful boat with many other passengers.
I grew better and stronger every day and was only seasick while passing Saginaw Bay, which they told me was unusually rough. All of us were seasick as were most of the passengers, but after we passed into Lake Michigan all recovered and were in good spirits before we reached Chicago. My health had improved so much that I was able to sit at the table and take my share. The first day at the table, soup was served. I liked it and proceeded to eat in my usual way, which was without haste, but before I had finished the waiter came along and removed the soup plates, and I regretted that mine was not finished and the next day I saw to it that I was all through when the waiter came around. It was a beautiful boat and the furnishings exceeded anything I had ever seen before. The fare was tempting and at the close of the dinner a dessert of nuts, candies and raisins was served with which I was delighted.
I ought to mention my first meal on the boat. I could not sit at the table and it was served to me in the stateroom. I was fond of crackers and on seeing one on my plate attempted to eat it but discovered that sea biscuits, or whatever they call them, were not like the crackers that mother made and after that I left them alone.
The general saloon or sitting room was furnished with plenty of couches and easy chairs. There were many passengers and some babies, which were very interesting to me. One passenger, a lady with a dear little baby, was occupying one of the easy chairs and, wishing to go to her stateroom for a few minutes, she asked me to keep it for her until she returned. I did so and though the chair was a luxurious one I did not enjoy it, for I had been taught that a little girl should not occupy an easy chair when there were older people about who did not have one and I was glad when the lady returned with her baby, and I could give up the chair and not continue to appear an ill-mannered little girl.
The ladiesí saloon, with its wonderful carpet and upholstered furniture, full lounge mirrors, marble top tables and swinging chandeliers, with their rainbow colored prisms swinging and tinkling with the motion of the boat, were a source of pleasure and wonder to me. There was a fine piano on board and two young ladies played on it sometimes, but one day a gentleman sat down to it and soon brought out such music as we had not heard before, and ever since I have thought that a man with strong, skillful fingers could bring out more music from an instrument than a woman usually does.
Our trip on the lakes, with the exception of the one rough spell at Saginaw Bay, was delightful to me. We were on the lakes five days and arrived at Chicago on a Saturday and there was a busy time there getting our belongings off the boat and getting them reshipped. My father and mother, sister and myself went on the train bound for Rockford, Illinois, ninety miles west, which was as far as the railroad was built at that time, which was the Fall of 1852.
My father had one horse wagon and harness and my eldest brother (Dwight) had a good mate for my fatherís horse, so my two brothers took the horses and wagon and decided to drive to Rockford, the bulk of our goods going by freight. Arriving at Rockford, we, who had gone by train, stopped at a hotel to await the coming of my brothers who were expected to arrive on Monday night. They traveled Saturday and rested Sunday to keep the Commandment and came along on Monday.
Rockford was a nice thriving young town and we had good accommodation there. Whilst waiting for my brothers, my father engaged freighters to move our big boxes and household goods across the prairies to Galena, where we were to take the boat up the Mississippi River to St. Paul. The freight teams got started immediately and we then waited the arrival of my brothers with the team. As it was nearly dark my father went out on the road leading to the city hoping to meet the boys and guide them to the right hotel. He met them and found that they had been enquiring for the Temperance Hotel, as they knew father would patronize no other if one was to be found. But they were told that all the hotels in Rockford were temperance hotels, and so they did not know which one to go to. However, father met them and all was well.
We had stayed at the hotel over Sunday and Monday and were ready to start on
Tuesday. (Oct 6) Father and mother had gone to a hardware store and bought a new stove
of the high oven kind to take with us to the new home in the west. So with the
new stove and some chairs set in the wagon for seats,
my two brothers, father and mother, my sister,
not about 19, and myself, with one or two small boxes that
made up the load, we started off on our
long drive over the Illinois prairies for Galena.
weather was good about the end of September and the journey for the most part
was comfortable. The stopping houses were not always clean or comfortable, and I
remember one night crying because my bed looked so uninviting, but the country
was new and the places not as commodious as in an older country. There was much
that was pleasant to look at on our journey and there were wild plums and
crabapples that we thought fine, and that helped out our rather monotonous menu.
My health and eyesight had improved wonderfully, and I was able to enjoy all
that was pleasant. I was 11 years old now,
and able to enjoy to the full my better health. We arrived at Galena on
Saturday. (Oct 10) We had passed the teams with the freight on the way and had to wait
for them at Galena.
Photo 196 Photo 197
Old Market House 1847 Market House Today
(Build in 1845 - 1846, it was the current version of a Mall. It was the center point for locals and visitors to buy their food stuffs and hardware items. A number of vendors filled the interior and exterior with shops.
It was a busy place. Lois and her family would absolutely have visited here for their supplies in 1852) (REB)
The afternoon we arrived it was raining. It was the first unpleasant day we had had. We entered the city on one side, down a long street, or rather, steep hill. My brother Dwight, who did the driving, told us afterwards that he held his breath all the way down as he feared fatherís horse, who was rather a spirited animal, might object to the conditions. The rest of us sat on opposite sides of the wagon and looked across the hill we were descending and towards the city built on the hills and watched the rain pouring down till it seemed to run almost in streams down the hills and streets and into the river. However, we finally descended in safety, no doubt due to the watchful eye of our Heavenly Father. We were glad we were at the end of our ride.
We were kindly received and hospitably entertained; my father and mother at the home of a brother minister and my sister and I at the home of another, a Mr. Kent. Mr. and Mrs. Kent were away, but the home was in charge of an adopted daughter, an accomplished young lady, and three younger adopted children, two girls of 16 and 12, and a boy of about 14 years. My father was going as a missionary to Minnesota, and so we were all well cared for over Sunday and Monday. On Monday (Oct 12) our goods arrived and we went on board the steamer "Nominee", Captain Smith being the genial commander, and started out that night, or rather Tuesday morning on our trip up the Mississippi to St. Paul.
We passed many places of interest and beauty and we passed Sugar Loaf Mountain, and others that formed a background to a level and beautiful country, at that time unsettled. My mother said, "If I were a young man looking for land and a home I would go no farther." The land was not taken up but was open for settlement. It lay at the foot of Lake Peppin. (This is the site of the present City of Winona)
Our trip up theMississippi River on an excellent steamer was pleasant and we all enjoyed it. We landed at St. Paul on Friday afternoon at 4 oíclock, October 16th, 1852. The day was bright and sunny, and after getting accommodation at a good new hotel in the new bustling town of St. Paul, at the head of navigation, my father set out to try and find us a place to live, until we had located a permanent place for a home on his mission field farther north. St. Paul at that time numbered about 3000 inhabitants, and was fast increasing so that vacant houses were scarce. However, father round a small house of three rooms into which we went whilst he and my brother Dwight, with the horses and wagon set out for St. Anthony, ten miles distant; father to go to his mission field, and my brother to secure teaming to do for the lumbermen farther north in the pine woods. He expected to get work for the team that winter as there was much freighting of supplies to be done for the lumber camps, but alas for the plans before they were half way to St. Anthony, fatherís mare, a beautiful animal, was taken with colic and soon died. They were near a blacksmith shop at the time and did all they could for her but to no avail. It was a severe loss. The team of my fatherís and brotherís horses was a fine one and they could have taken $400.00 for them when we landed in St. Paul, less than a week before. My father and brother returned to us, and I well remember how depressed they were as they came in and told us of their loss. My brotherís plans for the winter were all upset and he had not the means to buy another horse. The outlook was blue indeed.
Courtesy of Jerry Canavit - Steamboat Writing & Research, San Antonio, Texas.
Click on photo to enlarge
This photo is the only one in existence of this Vessel
View a website for more information on Captain Smith - Click Here
More Information and Links on Nominee and Captain Smith
Type: Sidewheel wooden hulled packet Size: 212 tons
Launched: 1848, Pittsburgh
Destroyed: 1854, Apr. 8, snagged and lost at Britts Landing.
Area: U. Miss. R.: 1849, Pittsburgh - Cincinnati
:1850, St. Paul trade
Owner: 1854, Galena & Minnesota Packet Co.
Captain(s) : 1848, Smith, Joseph
: 1850, Harris, D. Smith
: 1851- 53 or 4, Orrin Smith, 1854, Apr. Russell Blakeley
Comments: Mentioned a few times in this Article
1851, Apr. 4, arrived at St. Paul, Minn.
1852, Apr. 16, arrived At St. Paul
1854, Apr. 8, arrived at St. Paul
Credit: Way's Packet Directory, 1848 - 1994
The Nominee was destroyed two years after Lois's arrival in St. Paul.
Captain Smith died in 1863, the same year Lois married George Blackwell.
The following day they set out again with one horse and after a good deal of travel in a country where houses were miles apart, father had an indefinite prospect of a house some 30 miles north of St. Paul, and would hear definitely about it in a few days. This summer, the only house available on his mission field, which was Benton County, in size being 100 miles in length and wide in proportion. The county was afterwards divided, the southern portion being called Anoka.
Meantime, my brother hired out his horse and father sold his horse, wagon and harness, and bought a cow for $40.00, a pig, six weeks old, for $5.00, and a quantity of flooring, for it was his intention to get some land and build in the spring. My youngest brother, Humphrey, secured work with a farmer across the road from where we were staying, who had some horses to be taken care of, and other work to be done while he was away on business.
My sister had prepared herself to teach school, but in a new County where settlers were scarce, there were no schools. One night my brother Humphrey came in and said to my sister, "I suppose you donít want to do anything but teach school?" "Oh", she said, "I will do any honest work to earn a living". "Well",Mrs. Smith where I work is in need of help and I think you have a chance there to do housework." "Well, Iíll go over", she said. She did so the next morning, engaging for $2.00 per week, which seemed a good price at that time. She gave good satisfaction and she and my brother remained there all winter until some time later the Smiths moved south and took up land where Winona afterwards became a thriving town. My sister obtained a school in the country near St. Paul, and my brother went north and engaged with a farmer. (Humphrey) REB
My father was disappointed in not getting the house he expected but secured one inSt. Anthony for a while and on the 3rd of November; he got our goods freighted to St. Anthony. (1852) Up to this time the October weather had been ideal, bright, sunny days and frosty nights. We had been in St. Paul less than three weeks when again we were on the move. November 3rd was dull and cold and before noon, flakes of snow began to fall but we were packed and the goods and cook stove went on to St. Anthony. Whilst mother and I waited for the conveyance that was to take us, we went to the house of a German woman who lived near by and sat by her fireside whilst we waited. She was making bread and buns, and as she deftly made her buns, I watched and thought I had never seen any work so fast as she rolled out two at a time, one with each hand, and placed them in the bake tins.
I do not remember much about the 10-mile drive. It was getting cold and I was glad to cover up under the blankets. We left St. Paul in the afternoon and arrived in St. Anthony before night, and my father and eldest brother had a good fire on and somehow mother got supper and we got settled for the night. The house was a sort of a shell. It had been hastily built, and we soon found it was pretty cold but hoped to make a change before long. My mother did the best she could, without unpacking more than was necessary, whilst my father went on another tour of his mission field. My brother Dwight was with us for a time. I remember his reading to us "Uncle Tomís Cabin", Mrs. Stowes popular book that did much to enlighten the northerners on the evils of slavery in the southern States. I was much interested in listening to him whilst I helped my mother, or sewed on some patchwork.
My father was a strong anti-slavery man as he was a temperance man, and as long ago as I can remember I called myself "fatherís little abolition girl". At that time, there was a party that favored entire abolition of slavery and father early identified himself with that party.
Provisions were dear, especially butter. My father went out one day to buy butter and came back with four pounds for which he said he had to pay .25c a pound and it was strong and we could not use it, except for cooking, but we got no more for several weeks. It was really a luxury that very few pioneers could afford, and could not have got much of, if they had been able to afford it. It was not to be had. We were used to paying .12c or .12c per pound for butter and .25c seemed an enormous price. At that time there were no railroads up and down the Mississippi on either side and all supplies for St. Paul and St. Anthony and all the lumbering country beyond, and up the Mississippi and its tributaries were brought to St. Paul by steamers and after the river froze up, no more could be brought in. The merchants had to estimate as best they could the amount that would likely to be needed, judging by previous years, and the amount needed for the immigrants, who were pouring in all the time during the season, so it is no wonder their estimates were often wide of the mark.
My brotherDwight, was not with us very long, and after securing a home for his horse during the winter, went into the woods to work, for that was about the only place where anything was going on in the winter at that time. After a time father returned with the word that he could get a house at the mouth of the Rum River, 18 miles up the Mississippi at one end of his mission field, which was Benton County, 100 miles long. It was not what he wanted, but the best he could do. So after buying a quantity of cornmeal, cornbread was to be the staple food that winter, we prepared to move again!
The house we were going to had been used as a stopping place for the teamsters who passed up and down the river on the Territorial road, as it was called. The last occupants had been a Frenchman and his wife, a squaw or half-breed, and the house showed its lack of housekeeping; but there was room enough and father scrubbed and cleaned out one room so the boxes of goods could be put inside. There was a roof made of poles and prairie hay, which was plentiful and was quite comfortable for the cow of several of them if we had them. There was a little log pigpen too, so there was a place the little pig.
We left St. Anthony on the 23rd of January 1853.Mother and I were comfortably packed into a sleigh along with our last load of goods and started for another home. Father had preceded us with the cow, a nice black one, and the pig, and other goods, and was preparing to meet us and have the house warm and comfortable upon our arrival.
The day was fine and comfortable for the time of year, with the snow about two feet deep. We got along very well for 8 or to miles, when we passed a house near a place calledBanfieldís Creek, named for a man who had taken up land near there and had a sawmill. This house stood by itself on the prairie and just as we were opposite to it a woman came out of the house and walked down the path to the road. We thought she would stop on the path and wait until we got past, but instead she came right on and met us on the road; the teamster did not want to turn her off into the snow, so, instead tried to turn the team off into the snow, but as soon as the sleigh runners went off the road into the soft snow, over went the load and mother and I with it. Fortunately, we were not hurt, and scrambling out of the blankets, we got up and made our way to the house the woman had just left, whilst the teamster set to work to right his load. Some of the boxes were pretty heavy and it was a difficult job to reload, and there was no help in sight, until he was loading the last box when the husband of the woman who had caused the catastrophe came along and so helped with the last box.
When we got to the house we found a warm fire and another woman who received us kindly. She was surprised that the woman we met, who lived in one part of the house, had not waited in the path will we were past, but she was a newcomer and knew little of the roads and the difficulty of turning off in deep snow.
Things being again shipshape we resumed our journey. After a while, we passed another house at a place calledCoon Creek or Itasca, but this house constituted the whole town. Four or five miles farther on we passed another house where lived a Mr. and Mrs. Strout, an elderly couple, with their son about 21 years of age. They were to be our nearest neighbors. A mile or so farther, we reached the log house that was to be our home. It stood on the bank of the Rum River, so called by the Indians, since then named Mille Lac, the same name as the lake where it took its rise farther north in Minnesota. It was a good spot for a house and overlooked the mouth of the Rum, where it emptied into the Mississippi, and away across the big woods on the opposite side of the Mississippi.
Father met us and had a warm fire for us and somehow supper was forthcoming which we were all ready for, and later we found our resting places for the night.
I, who had been so delicate whenwe left New York months before, and could be hardly persuaded to eat a meal of the most tempting food, was eager now for the cornbread and potatoes that was to be our staple diet for the winter. Water was plentiful for the carrying up from the river; plenty was needed for the house was much in need of a good cleaning. There was a large sitting room, double bedroom on each side of it, and stairs from one going up to the large unfinished room over the whole. On the back was a long lean-to room built on for a kitchen. My mother was an energetic woman and with the plentiful supply of water that father brought from the river, the big house soon had a more cleanly appearance, and when the goods were unpacked and arranged in order, the place was much more inviting. We had but one stove, the cook stove, and to make most of the heat in the cold weather, it was placed near the middle of the sitting room so we could sit around it. The bedrooms were so cold that motherís bed was set up in a corner of the same room, and a couch in another corner was my sleeping place.
There were scattered oak trees about and fallen wood and brush and other sources of fuel so we had a good supply. The cow gave a little milk, which was a help to our plain fare. The little pig was made comfortable, and it was my business to feed him every day. He was so young and we had so little milk, and the weather was so cold that maid she needed to be fed about five times a day, and this I did taking her a breakfast of warm dishwater after our breakfast. (We ate our breakfast by candlelight before the days of coal oil). Mother put in a little milk for a while and fixed it up so that it suited Miss Betty well, and I would take her less than a quart, and always warm, so she would take it all and then settle down in her nest. There was a plentiful supply of prairie hay in her pen and she would cover herself up completely out of sight, except a small spot on her back, and that really got so frosted one night that the hair came off in a spot 2 or 3 inches square before Spring. But she grew and thrived well and was an object of interest to me.
There were no children near and our only neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Strout and their son. Also, across the river, was aMr. George Bronah, a young man, with his father and mother, and part of the time, a widowed sister, a Mrs. Thompson. They lived a mile of more away and the cold weather was no help for communications with outsiders.
The Indians came about often, and would come in and sit by the fire a while to warm and then go on to their wigwams some distance away. Sometimes father went away on his mission, hunting the scattered pioneers to give them the bread of life, but he had no horse, and the weather was cold. The nearest settlement was a family or so atItaska, and farther on at Elk River where there were two or three more families, but there were Indians about, and although they were peaceful father did not like to leave mother and me alone and go far away. One day he came home, I thought I saw a black head of a kitten peering out of fatherís coat pocket. He had brought it for some miles in that manner and I was delighted to have a real pet. It was black with white feet and I called it Dick. It was a source of much amusement to a rather lonely little girl. but I was so much better and my eyes so well that mother had me begin my studies again, reading and writing and mental arithmetic, grammar and geography, and as mother was a good teacher, I made considerable progress that winter.
Occasionally a team would pass the house on its way to or from the lumber woods or St. Anthony or St. Paul. Sometimes the drivers would ask for a meal for which they would lay down .25c. Our fare for a few weeks was mostly beans, cooked without meat, and brown bread, that is bread made with cornmeal. When father sold his wagon and horse he bought a barrel of flour, beans, cornmeal and such staple articles as he could with his limited amount of cash. Meat was too dear to invest in. Potatoes could not be got, nor could they have been moved in during the winter without freezing. The cornbread was raised with yeast, and a little four was used in the making. Mother had always been used to company coming in unannounced, for a Ministerís wife is supposed to be always ready for any emergency, and I remember that, even then, she always had something to put on the table to feed a hungry traveler.
Sometime in the latter part of February an elderly man and his son called for supper and to spend the night. They had come from St. Paul, and were part of the company that had purchased land on both sides of the Rum River, and were to survey out a town site and build a dam and mills in the spring and look around to see what accommodation they could get for when they came again. They had been in but a little while when a team of three men drove up with a quantity of provisions. They wished to build a boom across Rum River to stop the logs when they came down in the drive in the spring as the lumbermen had to raft their logs before they went down the Mississippi. Each man would have his mark on his logs and there was a busy time there in the spring when the ice went out of the river.
The men wanted to know if mother would cook their provisions and they would furnish plenty of meat, flour and dried fruit, such as they thought would be necessary for themselves and our family, if mother would cook for them and give them a place to spread their blankets in a comfortable place to sleep.Mr. Shaw, one of the town proprietors told mother that the lumbermen were good providers and would furnish plenty of the staple articles. She was glad of the chance to do the cooking for that meant plenty for our own use and from that time to the end of February, or the first of March, mother was never out of work and had plenty to do with, and the time of stinted supplies seemed past.
Timeline of the Trip to Minnesota
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1852
Left Buffalo, NY on "Globe" for Chicago
Saturday, Oct, 3, 1852 Arrived Chicago
Saturday, Oct, 3, 1852 Left Chicago by Train for Rockford (90miles West)
Saturday, Oct, 3, 1852 Arrived Rockford (Remained in Rockford over Oct 4 and 5)
Tuesday, Oct, 6, 1852 Departed for Galena overland by wagon.
Saturday, Oct, 10, 1852 Arrived Galena (Remained in Galena Oct 11 and most of Oct 12)
Monday, Oct, 12, 1852 Departed by "Nominee" in late PM for St. Paul
Friday, Oct, 16, 1852 Arrived St. Paul
The Total trip from Buffalo,
NY to St. Paul, MN was 17 days.
This Timeline was provided by the Webmaster from information provided by the Memoirs.
- Almena Mary Nourse, second wife of Royal Twichell
Almena was a Spinster and a school teacher for about 18 years. In 1820 her father gave
her some wool for her Hope Chest. However, she never married until much later when
she became the second wife to Royal Twichell. Sometime after the marriage, she made
a quilt from the wool that was given her. On the occasion that I visited the
Laura McNeil - Blackwell home at 108 Mile House in British Columbia in 2008 I saw the
quilt the Almena had made as it was spread out on the bed in the now, Heritage Home of
Lois's daughter, Laura Blackwell. The entire house was full of three or four generations of
memories. View the photo of Laura's home here.
Surnames of Memoirs