Preface    Page 1    Page 2    Page 3    Page 4    Page 5    Page 6    Surnames of Memoirs

The Memoirs of Lois Clarinda Twichell - Blackwell

<<<  BACK    NEXT  >>>

Our progress was slow but the driver felt the necessity of urging his steeds, for night would settle early in the darkening woods. What a beautiful sight they were in the sunlight. Every branch and twig and every needle of the tall pines as well as those of smaller growth seemed loaded with diamonds. The air was still and there was little sound save the sound of the sleigh bells and the tinkling of the icicles as we drove among the glittering masses of evergreens.

When within 5 miles of our destination we found the trustees and sent out men and the way was cleared, and we sped on faster, arriving at Mr. Staple’s about 7 o’clock, having enjoyed a wonderful ride. But Oh! How tired we were. The continual bobbing of the head to avoid the icy branches was in itself tiring and I am sure the faithful steeds were tired and well deserved the best of care. Mrs. Stables, a woman of about 40 years, received me kindly and made me comfortable; but that evening as I sat in a rocking chair I closed my eyes and I could see the glittering evergreens. They seemed photographed on my brain but a good supper and an early bed rested me and I was able in the morning to begin my work in the schoolroom.

Mr. Staples, like many others in Minnesota, was a lumberman from Maine, attracted by the large forests of pine. He intended leaving his family in one of the larger towns and going into the woods with a crew of men in the winter, but his wife, who was a wise and loyal woman, said, "My Husband, I am going too". So, he took up some land, partly timbered with hardwood, that would answer for a farm and built a large commodious house of lumber for his family and such other buildings needed for a farm, and settled his family there in comfort. The lumber camp was about 5 miles father on in the heavier pine. Mr. Staples came home every Saturday night and sometimes during the week, so communication was frequent between the house and the camp.  Other lumbermen called sometimes on their way to and from the heavy timber and as Mr. Staples also kept the post office, there was often callers for the mail but the actual settlers were only 4 families in number.

My school only numbered 5 pupils. They were from two families. Three of the children were from Mr. Staples’. He had built a schoolroom large enough for the need and it was very comfortable. It was only a few yards from the dwelling house. The pupils from the Staples were Elizabeth, aged 15, Silas, aged 13 and King, aged 10 years; and two other pupils, a girl of 12 and a boy of 9; a small number but very interesting. Mr. Staple’s family had had good advantages and were well advanced for their ages. Mr. & Mrs. Staples had two other children but not of school age. George, a boy of 2 years, and Forest, a baby of 3 months. They were all bright and intelligent and none of the pupils were dull. I had about one pupil in each class, so I could attend well to each one and no lessons were omitted.

We had our special spelling class on Friday and recitations and the pupils contributed by their compositions to the school paper called the "Juvenile Weekly" and with the addition of some selections in prose and poetry proved interesting to all so the schoolroom was never dull. Sunday afternoons, we had Sunday School and, as the children could all sing, that hour was both pleasant and profitable. Sometimes Mrs. Staples would join us in our exercises but she was a busy woman and the responsibility of keeping house which always was in order and ready for any sudden demand to supply eatables for hungry lumberman who might be passing in or out of the woods, kept her busy. They kept one hired man to attend the stock and other things outside.

The food was usually meat of some kind and plenty of potatoes and some other vegetable, plenty of biscuits and butter, for like most of the Maine women, Mrs. Staples did not make raised bread; but always used buttermilk, soda, or sweet milk and baking powder, and these cakes, either hot or cold, were always on hand with plenty of cranberry sauce or dried applesauce and syrup and Gingerbread. These were the staple sort of cake well relished by the hardy lumbermen or anyone with a healthy appetite. There was little time and less need for fancy cooking. The common baked beans were also always on hand and most appetizing. I was young and healthy and enjoyed the winter. I only saw one woman besides those of the family while I was there.

Once a minister came into this most remote corner and held a meeting in the large dining room, which was filled with lumbermen from the camps and gave good attention to the preaching. Aside from that there were no incidents of interest while I was there, except the weekly mail which was looked forward to with some anxiety on account of the war cloud threatening between the North and South and occasional letters told me of the intention of some to enter the ranks of the North. Winter wore away, and the spring came with the disappearing of the snow.

My school term closed and I was ready for home. The stage driver, a new one, on the road said when he came that the roads were bad. He had only brought one horse and he did not think he could take my trunk but when he found that I could lift it myself, he concluded to take it for it might be some time before the roads would be much improved. So early one morning we left the little settlement where I had spent some pleasant quiet hours, and passed out through the leafy woods where the birds were already busy building nests and singing their happy songs.

The road was rough but when we reached the prairie we made better progress and got along very well. Only one slough troubled us. There the driver had to take the horse from the buggy and lead it around the slough to hard land beyond and then go back to carry the trunk some distance around, and I picked my way to solid footing while he drew the buggy by hand to safer ground. The horse, meanwhile, quietly tied to a bush, stood watching our maneuvers but soon we were on our way and continued our journey without further hindrance and completed the 50 miles in one day.

The next day the trustees from a district 2 or 3 miles from Anoka called on me and I engaged to take their school and began the following Monday. The next day another delegation called from another school to engage me for their school but they were too late and I was glad for I preferred the school I had taken.

(The Civil War, the Indians and a little Red Bible - REB)  (After April 13, 1861 and before July 21, 1861)

I soon learned that quite a number I had known were in uniform. War between the North and South had been declared and Fort Sumter had been fired on, and there was trouble brewing with the Indians. I went to Anoka on the Friday to the stores and called at the house of a friend and there I met some other women from that neighbourhood and while we were talking my former boy friend walked in. It was to me a very unexpected meeting. He was in uniform and had been drilling at Fort Snelling near St. Anthony but got leave of absence for a few days to meet a sister who had come in from the country to see him before his company would be off to the frontier to meet the Indians as was expected. While we were all busy talking of the prospects, his company come from the Fort into town and he hurried away to join it.

The following Monday school began in my new district. The schoolhouse was situated on the leading territorial road, as it was then called, that led to the frontier where small hamlets and settlements were scattered, sometimes miles apart. St. Cloud was 50 miles distant and Forest City and Kingston and other places were similarly situated, and these were anxious times for people so far removed from civilization.

The third day of school we got word that the troops who had started West had been recalled and were to go South as the situation was alarming. In the afternoon the soldiers were in sight on their return trip. To please the pupils, as all were interested, I gave them recess till the soldiers were past and my friend left the ranks for a few minutes to call at the schoolhouse. I gave him my little red pocket Bible, which I had with me, as a parting gift. He told me they would be camping near Anoka and would I be down as there would probably be quite a number there to see their soldier friends. Then he hurried away to take his place in the ranks and school went on as usual. That evening, after supper, a load from my boarding house went in to see the soldiers, and some of the soldiers and maidens had a dance on the lawn. There was a last goodbye and we returned to our homes, leaving the soldiers to their rest to get ready for their tramp on the morrow.

Those were anxious times for the country. The soldiers had been called up for only three months as it was thought by the Government to be an easy matter to quell the rebellion. A number of soldiers went past the schoolhouse on their way South and were conveyed by teams to accelerate their movements. They were very hopeful of the outcome of the war some of them saying, "We’ll be back in three months". But someone replied, "you may not come back at all". And so, amid the hopes, there were fears and many were sad over the prospects of long parting and the uncertainties that were about everything.

The school was interesting and my boarding place a pleasant one. I had a number of acquaintances in the army and in different companies so was kept pretty well informed of their movements. Then after awhile occurred the Battle of Bull Run, (July 21, 1861) so disastrous to the Northern Army. One Sunday School, which was held in my schoolhouse, there came word of some that had fallen in that unfortunate battle, and among them were the names of my friend and his special chum, whose wife was a dear friend of mine. They had been seen to fall together and were never heard of anymore. They lie with other soldiers in nameless graves. Their knapsacks were afterwards found and sent to their friends and the sister of my friend sent along to me the little pocket Bible I had given to him as a parting gift.

Someone asked me afterward if I did not regret my decision in the matter, as he might not have gone to war. I said "No, I could not have given him any other answer. I dared not". But I heard that he had in the camp prayer meetings confessed his entire trust in his Savior and so I have always believed that all was well with him.

The summer passed quickly and autumn came, and there was more trouble brewing among the Sioux Indians. The Chippewa had usually been peaceful toward the whites, but enemies to the Sioux; now there were rumors of disquiet among the Chippewa.

After my term closed, I attended for a while a private school in Anoka, and one day while I was there, there were fears of an uprising among the Chippewa. The tribe was situated North of Anoka up the Rum River, now called the Mille Lac. They could easily come down the river in their canoes. The Sioux were in a westerly direction and up the Mississippi River. I came home and told my mother what I had heard but she was not easily alarmed. We were alone at that time, my father being away, and the hired man for some reason was absent too. That evening we finished our work as usual and prepared to retire. Our well was just outside the door. I had been out to it and it was quite dark outside and I could not see the road but I thought I heard footsteps. I hurried in, hoping to shut the door but knew whoever it was close to me and I thought it best to show no fear. Thinking it was Indians, I turned and faced them but it proved to be a neighbour. He said he heard the Indians were coming and he had his team ready with his mother aboard and was going to Anoka, so called us as he knew we were alone and would not be safe. The Chippewa were on the warpath.

  Chippewa Lodge near home of Lois Twichell
      Photo 205
A typical home of a
Chippewa very near
the home of Lois

Click Here to view photo of Chief Little Crow
Photo 206
Sioux Chief "Little Crow"
In 1862 he led the first Massacre

We had no time for consideration, so Mother took her silver spoons and I took my summer salary and we got into the wagon. We went to the home of the Baptist Minister whose wife and my mother were well acquainted. We found the town in a feverish state of alarm and all the forepart of the night, people were coming in from all directions and news had spread rapidly. A guard was formed and sentries posted at exposed points to give notice of any unwelcome arrivals. It turned out that it was not the Chippewa who was feared but word had come that the Sioux had been known to be just a few miles west of town.

In the early dawn of the morning Mother and I rose from rather a restless night and walked home. Mother said if there had been time to consider and had known that it was the Chippewa that were feared, she would not have left home for we were safer and farther away from the Sioux than those in town. But we were home early and able to attend to our accustomed duties. Later we learned that the whole scare had originated in someone seeing what they thought were moccasin tracks in the soft sand by the shore of the lake, some 12 miles distant. But such was the anxiety of the people everywhere that these tracks soon grew into a band of warlike savages and hundreds of people fled to safety.

The Indians caused much trouble that year and many whites were driven from their homes and history tells us of many who were massacred by the savages who, knowing the Government were having trouble with the South, thought it was an opportune time to harass the pioneers of the West.

(View history and Maps of Fort Snelling in relationship to St. Anthony Falls.) - Click Here

That Fall I sat in the schoolroom near a window overlooking one of the main roads leading from the upper country. We could see teams loaded with refugees from the outlying districts finding their way to town for safety and many hardships were endured before they found comfort in comparative safety. That winter I went to St. Anthony and into Mrs. Pearl’s millinery and dressmaking shop, the better to equip myself in sewing. I had done my own dressmaking since I was 16 but knew there were many things that I wanted to do better. It was a busy place for a small shop. Mrs. Pearl and her two sisters carried on the millinery work and dressmaking while the housework took second place. Mr. Pearl was sometimes a salesman in the front shop but sometimes had business elsewhere.

It was a hard winter. Grasshoppers had done much damage a year or two before, stripping the fields of the verdure. The call of the men to war and the Indian troubles had all combined to make times hard. Many were the deceives resorted to, to bring prices down to meet the needs of the public and supply them when their purses were low. While at the millinery shop, I made the acquaintance of a company of sharp-shooters, and one in particular, whose mother was a friend of Mrs. Pearls and while they were in town he frequently called. Everyone thought it a privilege to minister to the comfort of those going forth in the service of their country and when he left, I had another name added to the list of my correspondents. I had already promised a number, that if letters from their home town or district would be appreciated, or of interest, I would not deny their request and so it was that I was kept pretty well informed of the movements of our troops and of their impressions of soldier life.

My Quaker friends had one brother in the army who thought the war was really for the freedom of the slaves in which all Quakers were interested. He had enlisted and gone South and never returned. His grave is in the sunny South and never again will he be seen in his family circle. A younger brother enlisted but found the discipline irksome and the discomforts so trying that he disappeared and was never seen in the ranks. Later, when I came to Canada, his mother told me that if I ever saw her son I was to give him her message from home. It was supposed, he had found an asylum in Canada, but I never knew or heard of him.

After the winter spent in the millinery shop, I returned home convinced that work among hats and ribbons was not my forte. I soon had a school in the district adjoining the one I was in the season before and 7 miles from town. I found this district as interesting as most of my districts had been and I was soon in demand in many ways. Sometimes a little girl needed her hat trimmed and sometimes mother wanted a dress and would I fit it for her and show her a little about it? I could do little but comply with these requests and then it was pleasant to see the gratitude that a little help called for the people were kind in many ways. Sometimes a horse or horse and buggy were cheerfully lent to me to ride home.

On Saturdays, I frequently went to the home of an old lady, a friend of my mother’s and spent the day. She had a girl about my own age and we spent many pleasant hours together and our friendship continued throughout the succeeding years and when past 80 years, we were glad to meet again and renew our early friendship.

One Saturday a number from the neighbourhood were going out for blueberries. The blueberry field was beyond my mother’s place and we were to pass there on our way. I stopped there and got a pail and we reached the place about lunch time and between 1 o’clock and at 5, I had my 12 quart pail full. The berries were abundant and all did well so we were able to leave the berry patch and get back in time for supper, well satisfied with our afternoon’s work.

That summer there was a Fourth of July celebration. The day was fine and we all had a good time. A large crowd was there and there was the usual 4th of July oration. After all was over I went to stay with Mother over Sunday. Sunday morning, I walked down the schoolhouse where services were being held since the church had burned down. Waiting at the door I saw old Mrs. Cook. She seemed glad to see me and asked me to go home with her for dinner. I told her I would like to go but if anyone was in from my school district, I had better go home with them, as I needed to be back for school Monday morning. "Well", she said, "I think my son is going out there Monday morning and can take you". She promised to find out for sure after the service was over, which she did. So that matter was settled and I stayed to Sunday School, which was immediately after Church. At the close of Sunday School I walked home with Mrs. Cook. She told me of a battle that had just been fought and her anxiety about her son whose regiment had taken part, and she was anxious for his safety.

(The Blackwell - Twichell Wedding - REB) (May 6th, 1863  Anoka, MN.)

Mrs. Cook Jr. met us at the door and while dinner was preparing we had time for a chat. Shortly I saw Mr. Cook and some stranger approaching the house. I asked who the stranger was and was told it was a Mr. Blackwell who boarded there. Mr. Blackwell had just been up west to his brothers (this would be John and Henry) REB and had returned the week before, after looking over the Indian situation where his brother lived. I had heard through mother of Mr. Blackwell and had seen him on a previous occasion in Sunday School and had then enquired about the rather red-headed young man attending Bible class. I had also heard him make an appeal for papers for a frontier Sunday School, but we had never met. However, we were now introduced and, as I was to stay there until the next morning, we had considerable conversation. He offered to take me to my school the next morning but I did not think it necessary as Mr. Cook was going anyway. However, he offered to do Mr. Cook’s business as well and so, as I had no objections, it was all arranged and the day was pleasantly passed.

I learned afterward that Mr. Blackwell had told Mr. Cook before he left Anoka that he was going away for some time and had arranged that he be introduced to me and that was the reason for my invitation to the Cooks. Monday was bright and Mr. Blackwell took me to my school in good time. He also promised to take me again if I was in town over Sunday but only once again did that opportunity occur. My school term closed in the early Fall and I went home and for a time attended a girls’ school taught by a Mr. Alling and his wife. Mr. Ailing taught in the forenoon and his wife in the afternoon.

Occasionally I met Mr. Blackwell at church or a weeknight prayer meeting. Finally, I boarded in town at Mrs. Kelsy’s and opened a private school for children of both sexes who were younger than those Mr. Alling taught in his school. He taught Saturday afternoon and it was all review work of the past week. My school was open on Monday and I was free to go to school on Saturday. Mr. Alling gave me the work on Saturday that would be gone over the following weekend and by close attention to my books, I was ready for the review work of Friday and my time was well filled up. However, the weekly prayer meeting and an occasional social were attended.

Mr. Blackwell was also there occasionally and we met when it happened that I could not avoid him. I respected him as a friend, but nothing more, and, feeling sure that his feelings and attentions were serious, I avoided him. Finally I received a note from him asking for my company to a social the following week. I had not given him the chance to speak to me the evening before at the meeting so he had taken the liberty of sending the note my mail.

I took the note and went home to mother. I felt I had made a mistake once by not consulting her and did not want to do it again. I showed her the note and asked her what she thought about my accepting his attentions. "Well", I said, "I think his attentions are serious and I don’t like him other then as a friend". "Then be frank with him and tell him", she said. "But Mother", I said, "Would you not think me very foolish to give up the idea of further education for the sake of being married"? "No", she replied, "I would rather see you married to a likely young man than to have you struggling along teaching with the hope of saving enough out of your meager salary to improve your education".

Well, I had refused attentions from others who had not been objectionable for I did not want to give up my studies, but it was hard to save much out of a little wage, for it took nearly all to clothe me and pay my way and it would be long before I had enough put away to put me through a year of State University at Winona; and that was what I wanted for it would give me a certificate that would allow me to teach anywhere in the State. So with my mother’s approbation, I thought I could not go far wrong in accepting Mr. Blackwell’s company to the social. From that time I met him more frequently and became convinced that he possessed the qualities that I had always wanted to find in a life companion.

At Christmas time a Sunday School Christmas tree was decided upon and for decoration Mr. Blackwell was on the committee appointed to suggest arrangements and was the only one that had a plan drawn up for decorating the hall where we met for service. Mr. Blackwell’s plan was accepted and he was put in charge of decorations. A Christmas tree was to be obtained and a centre decoration of evergreens was to be placed on the ceiling and the walls were to be festooned with evergreens. All this meant considerable work but assistants were selected to help in weaving the evergreens. Some other young ladies and myself assisted, and when all was done, the hall was certainly a tastefully decorated place. At the top of the hall where we entered an arch of evergreens was erected, completely hiding a box that had two star shaped holes, one on each side of the box in which a lamp was placed. This shed a light into the hall, representing the Bethlehem star. It was a busy week of preparations and was a very successful celebration. I had not expected anything more than some small trifles from some of my pupils, for Christmas tree gifts were not common, but the whole congregation brought their gifts for their friends and the tree was well loaded. I was surprised to receive a roll containing a dress pattern. I could not mistake who the giver might be and could not very well refuse it. It had always been my habit to refuse gifts from my gentleman friends but this gift, coming without the name of the giver, I could not very well refuse. I had placed on the tree a small parcel, a gentleman’s handkerchief, which I had hemmed, for I thought that one who had laboured so hard for the Sunday School ought to have something and, as Mr. Blackwell had no particular friends, he was not likely to get anything, so he was surprised.

I had not taken any special pains with the hemming as I had done it hastily at noontime the day the Christmas tree was unloaded, but I learned afterward that it was taken over to John Blackwell where he and his wife (Mary Jane McGannon) closely inspected it.

The decorations of the hall were much admired and Mr. Blackwell was much complimented on his taste. Later on in the Winter there were protracted meetings held for some time by the united efforts of the different churches and later each one held them by their own altar fires and quite a membership was added to the Methodist, Baptist and Congregational churches.

My school continued till about the end of April. I had, however, given up attending Mr. Alling’s school some weeks before as Mr. Blackwell had fitted up a house for a home and wanted me to give up teaching and be content in a home with him. I closed my school on the 29th of April and was married on the 6th of May (1863) at the close of the weekly prayer meeting in the little hall where we had attended all winter.

There was a big crowd out to the meeting that might. The hall was full but I saw little of them. We returned to Mrs. Kelsy’s house where I had boarded all winter and, with nearly 20 of our invited friends, sat down to a bountiful feast, cold turkey and its accompaniments and tarts, cakes and ice cream.

I was very tired for I had had a busy week after my school closed. My father had rented his place to a stranger who occupied most of the house except a room reserved for his stuff and mother was leaving to visit friends in New York and to consult a physician; and so our home was broken up for a time and I was not able to get help in my marriage preparations from home. These things had hurried up our wedding a week early than I could conveniently get ready.

Our friends left us about 12 p.m. and later, accompanied by a friend of Mr. Blackwell’s, we went quietly to the little house we had prepared and was ready for occupation so our journey together for life began. I said to a dear friend that evening that I was very tired, there had been so much to do in a few days, and I was glad the fuss was over. "Oh", she said, "Wait till you have been married for ten years before you say that". I saw my friend 35 years later and told her that I never regretted the step that I took on that May 6th, 1863.

That summer was a very dry season and gardens could not grow. My husband planted a large garden and a patch of potatoes but very little of it amounted to anything as was the case with others. He had some work at his trade in town which he finished about July 1st. Then he was sent to go to St. Cloud about 50 miles west of Anoka. He was absent about a month. I found it pretty lonely when he was away all of the time but in a house close by lived three sisters. The husbands of two of them had joined the army and one of these sisters, or some other girl friend was always with me. There were quite a number who enjoyed coming to our little home among the trees to I was not often alone.

After my husband returned and had been home about a month he was sent for again and it was represented that there was so much work to be done in that lively and growing little town that we had better move up for the winter. So acting on the advice we received, we packed our household goods and rented the house until the following April, and Mr. Blackwell went away again, intending to send for me when he had secured a place to live. I remained behind to board at Mrs. Kelsy’s but after he had gone to St. Cloud and estimated the work to be done and found out the price of living and the high rent there he decided the work could not last after Christmas and it would not pay to move there. After a few weeks I was to go there and board at the same place that he and his partner were living.

I went to St. Cloud the latter part of September and remained until well into November before returning to Anoka as winter was setting in and the 50 mile ride by stage in cold weather would not be a pleasant one. My husband thought it best not to wait for him after the work was completed but to go and stay with his brother John and wife who lived at Champlin, across the Mississippi River from Anoka, and wait there for him to join me.

John Blackwell lived in a house large enough for all of us and, as ours was rented until April, it was settled that we remain there for the winter, the winter of 1863-64. My husband arrived before Christmas and it proved rather unfortunate that he went to St. Cloud at all because he could not get his pay and we needed it very much that winter as vegetables and other food was so scarce and prices so high. We paid a dollar a bushel for potatoes no larger than marbles.

John Blackwell had suffered from rheumatism that winter before and was scarcely able to ride over to Anoka to attend our wedding, but he had so well recovered that he was now able to teach school and had secured one about 3 miles from home and drove there and back daily throughout the winter. I might say here that John Blackwell and his wife and her people, the family of McGannons, were among those who had to leave their homes and farms in the western part of the State during the terrible times of the Indian troubles the year before. The homes had been near Forest City (now Litchfield) and only to or three miles from where the Indians attached and killed their first victims.

John Blackwell and his wife’s brother and some others buried their dead and were fired on by the Indians who lay in concealment. Afterward the various settlers fled to other towns and forts and fortified themselves as best they could and the government sent troops to quell the rebellion. John Blackwell went to Anoka and Henry Blackwell, who lived near Holmes City, sent his (Amanda VanLoon) wife’s family (Miner Van Loon & Charity Davenport) into Alexandria and remained there till the Indian troubles were over and it was thought safe to return to their deserted homes.

My husband, not wishing to be idle during the winter, went into Mr. Kelsey’s shoe shop and learned to make shoes, as he thought it might be handy some time to know how. He made several pair during the weeks that he worked there and they were all sold. Mr. Kelsy was so pleased with his work that he offered to take him into partnership, but my husband had other plans and so did not accept the offer.

In March he decided to go to Holmes City to visit his father and brother Henry and family. These people had gone back to their farms. There were no railroads yet and one had to take a chance on getting a ride with some of the settlers who came to town for supplies. So, after taking the stage to St. Cloud, he obtained a ride with a man who was going through with an ox team. He took his camera with him that he might take pictures of his father and family. This he did by using a hay covered shed for a gallery and removing some of the covering for a skylight, He got the pictures he wanted and one of the log cabin in which they lived. After that he left with the feeling that it might be the last time he would ever see his father, which proved to be the case.

I never saw my husband’s parents. His mother ( Mary Barradell ) REB died in England the Fall of 1864, about the time I came to Canada. His father had left for Canada with the boys and the mother expected to arrive later, but her health and eyesight failed and she would not attempt the sea voyage and so, when she died, her husband was far away in Minnesota. Her two daughters remained with her. One daughter, Elizabeth, died soon after her mother, and the other girl ( Sophia Blackwell ) (REB)  came out to Minnesota, and married a man named Frost.  ( George W. Frost  - REB)  She also died a few years after her marriage.
( Sophia died in Alexandria, MN. in 1901 - George Frost died in 1897 - REB)

My husband’s brother Henry came to visit us soon after we were married, riding a hundred miles on horseback. We enjoyed his visit very much

A short time after our marriage there was a disastrous fire in Anoka. A store nearly across the road from Kelsy’s had a storeroom attached in which was a barrel of oil, and another cask that held something worse. (Alcohol) REB  The proprietor and one of his companions went into the storeroom to sample the contents of the cask. It was evening and one of them struck a match and dropped it on the floor. It caught the straw and litter on the floor and while one tried to move the barrel of coal oil, another went for a pitcher of water and dashed it onto the burning rubbish, causing it to fly over the coal oil and spread throughout the room and all over the two men. One of them, with his clothes and hair on fire ran down the street toward the hotel. The men there stopped him and rolled him in the grass and earth and put out the fire. The other man got to the front of the store and was met there by the gathering crowd. The flesh was dropping from his hands. He was taken in charge and conveyed to a safe distance from the fire where he was cared for, while the whole town turned out to fight the fire.

There was no firefighting equipment except a so- called hook and ladder company. A young man named Cady, who had enlisted in the army and was Captain of his company, took command at once and formed a bucket brigade.  A line of women passed empty buckets to the river while another line of men passed the full buckets from the river to the fire which was kept from spreading to buildings across the road, yet the paint was blistered by the heat. The men kept pouring the water on the roofs and so the buildings across the street were saved by the store and warehouse, but two or three small buildings nearby were entirely consumed and only the heroic efforts of the bucket brigade under the direction of Captain Cady saved the town.

One of the men was confined to his bed for three months before he recovered from his burns. The other man was so badly burned about the head, hands, and face that erysipelas set in and he died, all for a glass of illegal liquor.

The next day or so after the fire, Captain Cady and his men left for the frontier further West to rescue some settlers who were in danger from hostile Indians. While crossing the open prairie they were fired on by the Indians, who were concealed in the woods and Captain Cady was instantly killed. (June 11. 1863) REB  His company fastened his body to a horse and were successful in getting away beyond the range of the Indian guns and they finally returned to Anoka with the body of their beloved Captain.

Captain Cady was a young man of splendid Christian character, loved and respected by all, and his death was a blow to the community. When the news of his death came, the Church bell rang in muffled tones and the flag was lowered to half mast. His body was robed for internment and kept in an ice cold room awaiting the arrival of his brother from the West. He had no relatives in Anoka. The body of the fire victim was also awaiting the arrival of a brother from the East. The funeral of Captain Cady took place while Henry Blackwell was visiting us and we saw his body laid to rest after an impressive ceremony. The body of the fire victim was laid to rest 2 or 3 days earlier. The fire in Anoka and the untimely death of Captain Cady left an impression on my mind not soon to be forgotten.

  Captain John S Cady
       Photo 207
 Captain John S Cady

Anoka Fire - Captain Cady saved the town
Captain Cady - Killed in Indian Attack (REB)

While my husband was away at Holmes city, my only living sister Almeda Smith and here little boy Ernest came to visit me which was a very pleasant surprise. I had not seen her since I left Winona, nearly 5 years before. Her husband had joined a military company at Winona and they had been sent West to protect the settlers from hostile Indians; the officers were allowed to rent houses in the villages and have their families with them. She had spent most of the time with her husband but here husband was being moved to another locality and she came to visit me until they were again settled. After a few days visit with me she left and went to Minneapolis to visit friends there. I did not see her again until midsummer. She had to go before my husband returned from his visit to his father in Holmes City and she did not see him. It was a great disappointment to both of us as well as my husband for he and my sister had never met.

As spring approached, we wanted to get into our own house, which we expected to have by the first of April, but the mother of our tenant was sick and could not be moved, and, as she was not expected to live many weeks, we just waited. But here daughter-in-law was negligent of her so the ladies of the Congregational Church to which she belonged, arranged to take care of her and her son, who was kind to his mother and had his bed placed within easy call of her and took care of her at nights.

Finally his wife was so unpleasant to those who came to take care of her that it was suggested to Mr. Blackwell that if our tenant would move out of the house and leave the mother there, we would move in and it would be more comfortable for all as the Church people would still continue to care for the old lady. On consulting the tenant, Mr. Blackwell found he was willing to move out if his mother could be left, so the latter part of April saw us again in the house where we began our housekeeping.

Before we had hardly settled a girl came to John Blackwell’s (10.2.3) and was very welcome. They called her Minnie Ester. ( She was born April 2nd, 1864.    (Minnie Blackwell - REB)

After we were in our house, Mr. Messer continued to come and look after his mother at nights and kind friends attended to her during the day. She was a fine old lady and my parents had known her years before when her husband was alive. I used to go to her room every day and chat with her and wondered how her daughter-in-law could be so neglectful of her own husband’s mother. The old lady longed to go home and be at rest.

May 15th, our eldest son was born. We called him George Henry ( for his father and father’s brother. It was a busy time; help was scarce as nearly every able-bodied man had joined the army and the women were filling their places doing the home tasks. However, we were cared for and not allowed to suffer any want. A few days after the advent of our boy, the old lady left a world of trouble and passed away to meet the Lord she had loved so long.

My husband has never been contented in Minnesota and always thought he would like to return to Canada where he and his brothers spent several years and had taken up land in the County of Gray, some distance from Hamilton. They sold out when they went to Minnesota. During the time they were in Minnesota, my husband’s brothers had married and were content to remain. I was willing to go to Canada as I had always thought it a desirable place from early childhood when my father taught me that Canada was the place where the poor slaves were free and I had heard that the climate of Ontario would be milder than that of Minnesota and fruit could be grown successfully.

My husband had become acquainted with a Canadian from Simcoe, Ontario, a Mr. Lloyd who, with his wife, had lived in Anoka and Mr. Blackwell had boarded with them most of the time for two years. Then Mr. Lloyd returned to Simcoe and they had corresponded regularly thereafter. Mr. Lloyd advised my husband to return to Ontario and leave a country that was so upset because of the war, so in July he left Minnesota and returned to Canada where his friends gave him a warm welcome. I was to remain in Minnesota until he had selected a place for us to live. I was lonely without him but I felt that it was better for him to go and find a place wherein he wanted to settle.

In the meantime our boy was growing up and I would dispose of the things we did not want to take with us, and I could visit the friends that we might not see again. My husband got work in a few days on the new Court house they were building tin Simcoe and boarded at Mr. Lloyds. It was cherry time and Mrs. Lloyd had a chance to get all the cherries she wanted to pick from the trees on a lot nearby. The house on this lot was empty and no one to look after it, and no one to care for the cherries. So my husband told here he would pick the cherries if she would dry part of them for us, which she did, and we had a fine lot of dried cherries for our use after I arrive.

After my husband had gone there were some who said he left to escape the draft which was likely to be levied to increase the Northern Army and not recognizing or not knowing that he was an Englishman, having never been naturalized and therefore not subject to draft; however, there never was a draft in Anoka county. My husband was a loyal Englishman and had intentions of returning to Canada all the time he was in the States, but stayed on there on account of his father and brothers who seemed more willing to stay because there they made their homes. His brother Henry made an outstanding success of trapping of furs and gardening in the country of his adoption.

In September, when work in the Court House was slack for a few days, my husband set out by rail from Paris to look at the new country, which had been called Queens Bush. He had sold the land he owed in Canada and spent all the money he had received, $1,000.00 except a payment or tow that was still owing to him. During the seven years he had been in Minnesota, times had been hard and work at his trade, which was plastering, had been scarce as the country was so new, so all that he had gained in that venture was a wife and a small baby. My husband went on the railroad to Goderich, the country town of Huron County. From there he went to Lucknow, getting a ride with a Scotsman who was in town with a team; but he was not quite suited with the appearance of the place and, hearing of the new town of Wingham, eleven miles farther on, he made his way there. Here he found all was very new but there was water power there and a sawmill and grist mill and the prospect of quite a town growing up, and after looking about for a short time concluded this would be the place for him. Then he returned to Simcoe where work was waiting for him.

Then he wrote to me to sell our cow and dispose of our household effects and rent the house and bring the boy to Canada. This was accomplished in due time and I set out on my journey. The railroad had just been finished to Anoka so I was able to take the train to St. Paul. Bidding goodbye to John Blackwell (10.2.3) and his wife and bonny baby girl, ( and the Kelsy family, who had always been so kind to me, I gladly bade goodbye to all, promising them I would be back in five years. It was more than 35 years ere I returned on a visit.

My hopes were bright. I was young and healthy and had a fine baby boy and was I not going to my husband in whom I had every confidence?

My brother’s families were far away West of Anoka. Humphrey was in the army and the other, Dwight, was helping to deal out necessary supplies to the settlers around Paynesville. I had never seen his family and only once had seen his wife since he had married her and brought her from the State of New York.

We left Anoka on a Monday morning October 9th. (1864) At Minneapolis my Quaker friends met me for a hasty goodbye and the old lady, with tears in her eyes, sent a message to her son, who she thought must be somewhere in Canada since he disappeared from the army. My dear sister also met me at Minneapolis and went with me to St. Paul and there together we spent the day till 4 o’clock when I boarded a steamer going down the river, and there we parted from my sister and her little boy Ernest (Almeda Twichell & David G. Smith) and I never saw them again. Sweet Sister. I little thought it was to be our last goodbye. ‘Tis well the future is hid from us for hope would be veiled in tears and darkness. My mother was still in the east and father divided his time between Anoka and visiting my brothers farther West.

The Mississippi River was very low that year owing to the dry weather the year before, and the larger boats could not come up to St. Paul. So the passengers and freight had to be transferred from the smaller boats to the larger ones in going down. We made the exchange about midnight and it was very crushing from one boat to the other. A young lady who was traveling with her cousin occupied a part of my stateroom and kindly assisted me with my baby and valise, her cousin also being on hand to help us, but it was rather a trying time for children, who seemed in danger of being smothered in the general rush down the steps of one boat on the deck then up the steps of the boat and finally into the saloon of the vessel to which we were transferred. Finally, we were shown our staterooms and were glad of the chance to settle down for the rest of the night. We found our accommodation better on the second boat than on the first and had a good rest, so the next day was spent pleasantly.

As we passed Winona, I was looking over the town and found it much changed from what it was when I left it 5 ½ years ago. There was a gentleman on board who had lived at Winona and with him I had some interesting talks and learned many things about the town that had occurred since I was there. It was particularly a very pretty town and I have always remembered with pleasure the part of my girlhood that I spent there with dear sister Almeda.

About 6 o’clock p.m., we reached LaCrosse where we landed, intending to take the train for Chicago. We were told the train would be along about 8 p.m. but alas it was 11 p.m. before it arrived and we had to wait in a little stuffy station that was crowded to its capacity with travelers and no place to get refreshments, at least I heard of no restaurant where one could get anything to eat. Fortunately, I had secured a lunch from the cook on board the steamer before I left it so my needs for the evening were well supplied.

When the train finally came, we were glad to exchange the stuffy station for the cars but they, too, were crowded and I could only get sitting room with no chance to have a whole seat for myself and baby. Everyone else found it crowded too and I had to sit up all night holding my five months old baby weighing 21 pounds. But he was very good although I was tired by morning. We made some change to another train which gave us more room but I was feeling nearly sick from the lack of sleep and need of breakfast. I really felt nearly sick. An old lady in the seat back of me took my baby for awhile so I could lay my head down and have a doze. A fruit vendor came along with his basket of fruit but I felt too sick to want any and refused. Soon he came again and held out a lovely bunch of grapes to me and said a gentleman over there told me to give these to you. I looked in the direction he pointed and saw the gentleman from Winona that I had been chatting with the day before. I accepted the grapes and, though feeling ill could not resist the temptation to eat them at intervals and the effect of them and the little nap I had while the old lady cared for my baby, refreshed me considerably.

About noon the train reached Chicago. The gentleman from Winona assisted me to the bus that transferred me to the other station where I was to take the train to Detroit or some place where we were to cross into Canada. Arriving at the station in Chicago we found it was 1 p.m. and we were to be there two hours. I lost no time in securing a good cup of coffee and a good lunch and felt much better when the train arrived, was quite able to continue my journey. On this train there was plenty of accommodation and I had a chance to rest very well. When we were to cross into Canada our baggage had to be rechecked. I told the baggage man to recheck to Paris, Ontario, as there I would leave the train. He looked at my ticket, which was to Hamilton; I told him not to check my trunk to Hamilton as I was to leave the train at Paris and so trusted they would do so.

In buying my ticket from Anoka I found I could not buy one to Paris, as it was a way-station. I could buy one to London and there buy another for Paris or I could buy one from Hamilton and then leave the train at Paris. I was advised to do the latter as it would be cheaper than the former. We had a good trip and got on well and before reaching Paris, I told the conductor I wished to leave the train there. "Have you any baggage", he asked. "Yes", I said. "Well", he said, "Your ticket reads Hamilton and your baggage will surely go there too". But I trusted otherwise and left the train at Paris about 5 p.m. and on looking for my baggage it was not in the baggage room. No doubt it had, as the conductor said, gone on to Hamilton. There was nothing for me but to spend the night at Paris and take the train at 7 a.m. for Hamilton, recover my baggage and return to Paris in the afternoon. A kindly old gentleman directed me to a comfortable looking boarding house where I passed a good night and the motherly landlady helped me off to the train in the morning. I reached Hamilton before noon, found my trunk which had burst open, the men I had entrusted to rope it not having done a good job. I got the baggage man to fix it properly, bought my dinner at a restaurant, and was ready for the return trip. The proprietor of the restaurant was much taken with my baby and took him in his arms and walked around with him while I had my lunch. "My", he said, "He’s a fine boy. I would give a thousand dollars for such a boy". "Have you none?" I asked. "No, I have not even a wife".

My lunch finished, I walked to the station which was close by and was soon on my way to Paris. One lesson I learned – that my baggage was pretty sure to be sent where my ticket indicated whatever I might direct about it. Had I gone right on to Hamilton as the conductor advised, I would have saved my fare there but as it was I had to pay my fare to Hamilton and return when I was within 28 miles of my journey’s end. I got back in time to take the stage for Simcoe. After being seated in the stage coach, the collector of fares came along. I handed him an American five dollar bill. "Oh", he said, "This is not used here." "Can you give me Canadian money?" So without taking the bill back, I looked for a Canadian one and handed the fare to him. He took it saying, "That’s all right", slammed the door, the driver cracked his whip and we were off. It was all done so quickly I had not time to think of the first bill I had given him and so, without my American five dollar bill, worth at that time 45 cents on the dollar, and did not realize this loss until after reaching Simcoe and, counting over my money I saw what I had lost and remembered where I had left it. My husband went into Paris soon after, spoke to the man about it but he did not return it, only remembered such a bill was handed to him at such a time and was sure he accepted it and changed it according to its value. Another lesson learned was to keep my wits about me when paying out bills.

Fourteen miles from Paris we stopped at a little place called Scotland. I think they changed here. It was dark then but the platform of the hotel was lighted up with lanterns. A number of men were standing there and Oh Joy, I saw my husband among them. And he saw me on the stage. He had been working 2 miles out and had expected me to be along the night before and had walked in to meet the stage and, not finding me, had returned to his work and came again the next night, so got on board and we went together the 14 miles to Simcoe.

There I was warmly welcomed by Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd and thankful to be safely over the long road. It had taken 5 days to travel, but I had stood the trip well and had received much kindness from fellow travelers, and my baby had been good. With the exception of one night on the crowded train and the next afternoon before reaching Chicago, I had been well and rather enjoyed the journey but Oh, so glad when it was ended which was about 9 p.m. the 14th of October 1864.

My boy was five months old that day and the next day was my husband’s birthday. He was 30 years old and glad to have his wife and boy with him again. We had been separated over three months and it seemed a long time, but all was well at last.

My husband had work at his trade to keep him busy all Fall. We boarded with the Lloyds for awhile, then my husband and Mr. Lloyd rented a house together that was large enough for both families and was nice for me as I would not be alone when my husband was away, as he would be, for his work was in the country and he was only home for Sundays. We did not buy any furniture except a bureau from Mr. Lloyd. He made bureaus and other articles of furniture for sale. We borrowed a table and a few necessary things, bought a dollar and a half’s worth of delf dishes to do us through the winter and a second hand cook stove and we were comfortably fixed for the winter.

Mrs. Lloyd’s people lived near Simcoe, also Mr. Lloyd’s sister, Mrs. Olds. We met their friends and made some pleasant acquaintances and so the time passed quickly. Just before Christmas, there was a rumour that there might be a Fenian Raid on Canada from the United States. There was said to be Catholic organizations in the States and they were secretly drilling and when ready, would plunge on Canada and take it before breakfast some morning. I heard the rumors a week before Christmas and was much worried about it but Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd were not at all uneasy as they did not credit the stories, but I was so alarmed that, for two or three nights, I kept myself and baby dressed and ready for instant flight.

Mr. Blackwell was away at his work in the country. We expected him to be through and home on Saturday but he came on Friday night, much to my relief. I went to bed that night and Mr. Blackwell and Mr. Lloyd promised to stay up and be on guard if anything unusual happened. There was an Anti-Fenian organization in the States that reported the Fenian activities.

The Lloyd family consisted of Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd, Walter, about 6 years old and Albert, 2 or 3 years old. A good many in town, like ourselves, were uneasy and it was thought there might be an uprising of Catholics after Mass on Christmas morning after midnight and quite a number went to Catholic churches that night to watch developments but nothing happened.

Mr. Lloyd’s brother, Richard, who was Captain of one of the lake boats, and his wife and two children came over to spend Christmas and with Mr. Lloyd’s family, we were invited to Christmas dinner at Mr. Lloyd’s sister, Mrs. Olds. It was a genuine feasting day on a large farm. Mrs. Lloyd was a dear, hospitable friend and did everything in her power to make the stranger comfortable and feel at home.

Mr. Blackwell’s work was done for the season and he had enough money to supply us with what we needed for the winter. It was his intention to go to Wingham in the spring.

There was quite a umber of small children in that part of Simcoe where we lived who could not go to the public school as the distance was too great for them to walk. I had little to do and only my baby to care for and someone suggested that, if I liked to do it, that I could have a number of pupils for a private school. I could have the school in our own room and Mrs. Lloyd would take care of my baby in school hours.

I was anxious to earn something and set out to find pupils and after New Year’s, began teaching, having over 20 pupils, charging $1.50 for the term of 60 days. I did up my own work in the morning and at 9 o’clock I took my baby into Mrs. Lloyd’s room and left him there until noon, going in at recess to see him for a few minutes. At noon, I had him in our room during lunch hour and the kids all seemed pleased to see him. Then at 1 o’clock, I returned him to Mrs. Lloyd’s room till 4 p.m. only going in at recess to attend to him. Mrs. Lloyd was like a mother and knew more about babies and most everything else then I did and was ever a valuable friend to me. I gave her ten cents a day for her care of Georgie. After 4 p.m., my housework had to be done, sometimes my husband helping me and, as there was not much to do, it was soon completed.

My Husband fitted up a room we did not use to take pictures in. He had learned the picture business the year before, from Mr. Cook of Anoka, where we were married. He took chiefly embrotypes using mostly a sidelight instead of a skylight. He also did a little agency work selling books but that was not in his line, but every little helped and he could not be idle. I taught my school six days a week and got through the term in ten weeks, then spent a month canvassing for a Bible and 2 or 3 other books, not on commission, but on a salary. At the end of the month, we were ready to think of going to Wingham.

My husband had also been busy making shoes for Mr. Lloyd’s family and for his own family, even a small pair for our little boy. I had made two dressed for myself and done our mending and earned 24 dollars clear after paying Mrs. Lloyd for the care of George, then 15 dollars more clear for my canvassing and on May 1st 1865 we were ready to start for Wingham. Mr. Lloyd went too for, like my husband, he wanted to get a new start in a new town. He was going to start in the furniture business making plain furniture and doing carpenter work.

As the railroad did not run into Simcoe, we went by stage to Paris in the early morning. The weather was fine and the air just cool enough to be invigorating. Boarding the train at Paris, we went on to Clinton, also a rather young town, where we arrived about 3 p.m., and soon after we started by stage for Wingham. Besides Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Blackwell, the baby and myself, there was an elderly lady going to visit her daughter who lived at Teeswater, 10 miles beyond Wingham.

The day was fine and the roads good and we got along very well until within a few miles of Wingham, just as it was getting dark a tire came off one of the wheels of the stage. We all had to dismount and were taken into a farmhouse to wait until the driver secured a farmer’s wagon in which to finish the journey. It was pretty rough riding for the rest of the way but we were all glad that any conveyance was obtained to carry us on our way. After climbing into the vehicle our progress was much slower as the road was too rough for traveling fast in a spring less wagon.

About 10 o’clock we reached our destination. The driver went on to the one hotel kept by old Mr. Cornyn. The occupants had retired but repeated knockings on the door roused the landlord who appeared with a candle in his hand and his pants held up on one brace or suspender. The driver explained why we were so late and that accommodation was required for us all. The men from the woods had come in that day and they were pretty well filled up. However, we were to come to the kitchen and he would see what could be done. Meanwhile, the driver went to a boarding house nearby to see if anything could be done there for us. Returning, he said that the boarding house was full so, leaving us in the kitchen with only the firelight to light the room. He finally came back saying he could give us a bedroom with two beds and that was the best that he could do. The landlady and her help were in a bedroom off the kitchen and we thought it was no use to ask for supper and we could get along alright if only we could go to bed. We were finally shown to a room just long enough to admit two beds, one with the head of the bed to the foot of the other and just wide enough to admit a chair beside each bed. We thought the conditions were rather crowded but we had to make the best of it, as there was no other way. Selecting one of the beds, the lady passenger, baby and myself were soon settled for the night and s slept the sleep of weariness. Mr. Lloyd and my husband occupied the other bed.

Morning came bright and rosy and my bed companion found her way to the kitchen and secured a tin basin and brought it full of water that I might wash my baby and we managed to prepare for breakfast for we were hungry, not having had anything to eat since early breakfast the previous morning, except a lunch we carried. Going downstairs, we found the sitting room, also the dining room with one long bare table and a bare floor. The lumbermen had eaten and left. Our breakfast was served to us of fried park and potatoes, bread and butter and syrup; but hunger is a good sauce and, with a cup of tea, we did not fare so badly.

My lady friend and I sat about the room waiting for the next move while Mr. Lloyd and my husband went out to look over the town and see if other accommodation could be found. After a while, a gentleman came in from Teeswater to take his mother-in-law, our traveling companion, home with him and we saw her pleasant face no more. Later, my husband came in and told me we would have our dinner at a new unfinished hotel. Only the sitting room and a bedroom on the second floor were finished and the household goods were all sitting out in the yard of the hotel and the family had been accommodated at the homes of different neighbours in town as the plastering had not been dry enough to permit anyone to occupy the rooms the night before. But the cook stove was up in the sitting room and with table and chairs and utensils to cook with, dinner would be prepared. So we left our rather rude and uncomfortable quarters of the night before and went to the new hotel. Thomas Gregory was building it for Mr. Griffin.

His wife and daughters were efficient in the cooking line and very hospitable, and though much crowded, furnished us with a good dinner. The kitchen, dining room and sitting room were all in one but by giving the men boarders their dinner’s first and setting second table for the family and myself, we got along well. The day was fine and everything seemed bright and clean. Mr. Griffin and his family had occupied a boarding house and would have remained another week but the owner of the house would not let him stay another day after the expiration of the lease on May 1st,unless he would sign a lease for another six months. Hence the hurried and sudden exit. Workmen were busy on the lower part of the new hotel and as fast as possible it was being finished. There were only about 3 or 4 houses in the place, the rest being shanties, run up in a hurry to accommodate incoming settlers. The town had been laid out and named by the government on land near where there was waterpower. Mills had been erected and there were two stores owned by T.G. Jackson and others owned by George Green.

There were quite a number of houses in this part of the town popularly known as Lower Wingham, but the land was low and liable to be overflowed with water in the spring, which was objectionable; so someone who owned land adjacent that was higher laid it our into ½ acre town lots and these were bought and built upon, forming what was called Upper Wingham.

My husband and Mr. Lloyd looked about and decided on the lots they wished and set to work to get up a place they could shelter in. The lots had timber on at one time but they had mostly fallen and lay dead and dry waiting to be moved to make room for dwellings. Clearing a place large enough for a shanty, they set to work. They carried the most of what lumber was necessary from John Gregory’s sawmill on the Maitland River not far away to build our shanty 12’ x 16’.

We only had enough money to pay one week’s board at the hotel, for the $100.00 my husband had expected from the man who had bought his land was not forthcoming. It was to have been paid the Fall before but the man, a farmer, pleaded for more time as his crop had been disappointing, but in the spring he was not better able to pay. So we had come to Wingham without it, trusting to get any work until there was a job to do plastering. Mr. Lloyd had little money but was a builder and helped my husband with the shanty and we went to our domicile the Saturday after arriving in Wingham.

The door was not up nor was there a window, but it was ours and we were happy. A piece of thin cotton was stretched over a hole cut for half a window and the door was set up and fitted with hinges the second day. A wooden latch was provided with an old-fashioned latchstring for a fastening. The shanty was all built of rough hemlock lumber. The rood was made of boards and no shingles were used. Scantling nailed across one end and fixed with boards to form two beds was arranged. The whole cost, including nails, was $90.00.

Looking about in Lower Wingham, my husband spied a cook stove in an empty house and learned it was for sale for 12 dollars on time. He bought it and brought it home on a wheelbarrow. We had no furniture save a bureau bought from Mr. Lloyd and a whatnot I brought from Minnesota. Taking it to pieces, I had it packed in a box along with our bedding and clothing. It took up but little room and was light. Taking the box to pieces, my husband made a cross-legged table and our trunks and box or two provided seats, and we were happy. Our boy was a year old on May 14th, but was not walking. ( George Blackwell of 1864 ) He was a happy little fellow and, as our wedding anniversary was on may 6th; we celebrated our wedding day and his birthday together and felt we were just beginning to live in a place of our own. (1865)

Mr. Lloyd got a job finishing the new hotel and was to board with us till he could build a house of his own on the lot next to ours, and send for his family who were still in Simcoe. Unfortunately, he cut his foot with a broadaxe on the 3rd day he worked and was laid up so he could not move with out a crutch for two weeks.

<<<  BACK    NEXT  >>>

Preface    Page 1    Page 2    Page 3    Page 4    Page 5    Page 6    Surnames of Memoirs