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Marsha's Warrick Web & Warrick InGenWeb

Finding Our Warrick County, IN Ancestors

Carter, James B.

Submitted by Margaret Gagliardi.

Please take the time to be thrilled with a heretofore unreleased record of one man�s chronicle of his part in the American Civil War � don�t let his Preface scare you off. This manuscript has been typed as close to the original handwritten text, as possible, with its author's colorful errors and �flexible spelling� intact. Some military and other period terms are defined at the end, to assist the reader.

PREFACE

To be born is a condition that has come to evry one that has been born into this life since the world began, and the onley difference that there is in the culmination of such an event is the conditions that may have surrounded each individual case. It has often occurred that the Prince of the relm, and the Pesant of the lowest order, have been born within the same hour, and so far as the physical fact was concerned, there was no difference, but the social conditions that have obtained in these cases, was notoriously to the extent that in the former, the fact of the birth was heralded to evry part of the civilized world, over which the inhabitance were greatly rejoyced, and celebrated the occasion with lowd acclaim while in the latter incident little was known of the fact outside of the hovel in which it occurred, and instead of honor and goodwill to the little strainger, the question of food and raiment was seriously considered without reaching a satisfactory conclussion. Thus quietly, and meekly millions have come, and lived in it for a time and have gone out of it without either fact being known outsider of the circle of a very small number of friends whose friendship and kind offices was a matter of duty instead of pleasure.

Some however, like the redeemer of the world, have been paupers as were at birth, have died kings, and princes of the relm, and for many years afterwards have been reveranced as great benefactors of the race. Thus the story of the cross will be told through out all ages till all the world shal hear the glad tidings, and the name of Lincolon will be reveranced, by all of the lowley, and downtroden, as the great emansipator.

This preface is inteded to introduce to any member of my family who may take the trouble to read the following sketch of my life now being writen in the early daun of my 76 yeare. I am sorry that I havent a more sterling aray of acts to present, but it is something to live so long in the world, and while it has not been my privilege to atchieve great, and notable things, I have performed my duty as I have seen it with energy, and absolute honesty.


CHAPTER I

The reader of the prefface of to this beography will find nothing to indicate that I was born a prince. Neither will be conclude that I was born a pauper, but it will not be out of place to say that while my parents were not rich, as the world looks at such acquirements. They were rich, in the qualities that are necessary to build up and establish an honorable manwhood, and a pure, and unassaleble womanhood. In principal they were arristocrate, and gloried in the honorable traditions of their families, but unfortunately for them and the subject of this sketch, they were seriously handicapped by the balefull influencies of human slavery, that in their day were injected into the social relations of life, by the use of the negro as such, as it existed in the south prior to the civil war, and this observation calls into the question the place of my nativity, which I am not asshamed to locate in the foothills of the cumberland mountains in Cumberland county Kentuckey. It is a matter of history that this part of the country was settled up by imigrants from Verginia, North carlina, and Tenn. All had working people, thoroughly honest in all of their business transactions, and profoundly religeous in their morral uprightness. These people all came from a mountaineous part of the country, and were well equipped for the hardships that were necessary to subdue the wilderness out of which they were to make new homes. Inspite of the hardships that they had to indure I believe that they got more satisfaction out of life, than people do now, with all of the modern opertunities for ease and social pleasures. While these people did not bring a great many slaves with them, they did bring much of the prejudice, that follow in the wake of slave conditions, and they could hardly get away from it, when it was preached to them from the pulpit evry sabath day. I remember that a very favorite test; �Servents obey your masters, for such is the will of God", and as the preachers depended upon the few slave for their saleries, they had little trouble in silencing any little prickings of their concience that might diturbe their equinimity that might trouble them, occassioanly.

It looks strange, now that these liberty loving people should have been controled by the influencies that came over the mountains from the far south land, where slavery was paramount.

My Father, Green Carter was born in Cumberland County KY, and his ancesters were Verginians, and of English decent, and though he was oppoesed to negro slavery, his predjudices against the abolitionists were so strong, that inspite of his moving around, very close to the notorious �Mason & Dixon line. He never ventured acroll it to live. In his religious views he was quite puretanical, and his observance of the sabath day was so streneous, that it was a torture to young people, who were full of life, and energy, at least that was the way that it appeared to me at the age of 7 & 8 years of age. While he was given to hard labor, as were all who were born in a mountaineous part of the country. They had no faculty for acquiring property in the direction of a permanent home, and if he had done so I am of the opinion that the church would have gotten most of it in one way or an other. During his whole life, from a young man to its close, he was an exorter, a local preacher, and a clas leader, in the methodist church, and spent much valuable time in looking after the churches affares. He was also given to a sperit of unrest, and moved around from place to place, rearly remaining in one place more than one year. Truly he was a rolling stone, �that gathers no moss". Inasmuch as other charactoristcs will appears from time to time, in this narrative, further mention is not necessary here.

My mother, Frances Hawkins was born in Verginia, but her father removed to Tenn while she was yet a babe, and shortly aftrwards to Cumberland county Kentuckey, where she grew up to wormanhood without acquiring an education, further than to read. She was a most loveable character, and if she could have acquired a liberal education, she would have taken high rank in the social affares of life. But as it was, she commanded the love and respect of all who ever made her acquaintence. I do not think that anyone who knew her ever spoke ill of her in anyway. Her religious convictions were more profound, and impressive, and so thuroghly unselfish, that one could be mistaken as to the purity of her motives. She was a member of the methodist church for more than fifty years, and inspite of many hardships, and privations, and serious physical disability she lived to be nearley 75 years of age.

Shortly after my birth, which occurred on the 15 day of October 1836. My parents removed to Harden county KY, where we reamined some two years, when they again removed to Mead county KY.

About this time some of our neighbors concluded to remove to southeastern Mo, where they had some relatives already located. I do not remember the county, but know that it was in the corner of the state, on the Miss river, about 18 miles above Newmarked, and my father, every ready to rove, cought the fever, and joined them in this unfortunate venture, which resulted in his death some two years afterwards. At this time we were living about 25 miles from the Ohio river, with the great free north land just beyond, and yet my father faild, or refused to take advantage of the opertunity of his to forever get away from the balefull influence of negro slavery. Just across the border, great opertunities were available for his children to acquire an education, that would prepare them for the responsibilities of life, while on the otherside was enforced ignorance, and social ostracism.

There were three families of us who proposed to go to what they termed a land of promise, and vigerous steps were taken at once to prepare for the removal. A flat boat was constructed, and launched in salt river, a short distance from the Ohio river, which was large enough to carry all of the families, their household plunder, their farming tools, their stock, in fact evrything that would be needed at their new homes. Thogh a small boy, many of the incidents of the journey are indelably fixed in my mind, and are now rememberd at my advanced age, as if occuring but yesterday.

At that time, water transportation was the onley mode for heavy transportation, and the Ohio river teamed with mighty steamers that plowed up and down the rivers, and were in evidence, almost continualy, day and night. Having more space than we needed, we took on some freight, as a speculation, which consisted in part of a lot of barreled lime. We also had an extra passinger on board that engaged my boyish attention during the days, and part of the time at night. This passinger was a well developed member of the bebroon family, this animal, thogh chained became a terror to the children both day and night, and finaly to the men, when they went out one morning and found that broone had tore some of the lime barrels into pieces, and scattered the lime over the boat. Of course the lime had to be thrown overboard. I do not know what became of the perpetrator of all of this miscief, and loss, I onley know that he disapeared, to the great satisfaction of all on board the boat.

In those days, steamboats were a terror to flatsboatmen. The officers of a steamer and steamers in general had very little regard or flatboatsmen, and rarely failed to show their contempt for them by running close enough to throw water over the gunwals of the boat. In cases where onley men were aboard these contemptable acts, created lttle excitement, other than aburst of profanity on the part of the �flatboatmen� but when there was a lot of women and children aboard, the lementations of these people, parralized the men into profound, silence. The steamboatmen generaly knew who they were fooling with. They did not rouble the boats of the heavy shippers, for each one had some peculararty in the construction of their boats, that was familiar to the officers of the steamboats. Of course there was a law governing transportation, as there is now, but boats owened by occassional shippers like ours, had very little remedy for annoyance, or damages agains these fellows, for the reason that if they even got into the courts with their cases they would have little show for justice against these corporations. So you see that monopolistic forces were in evidence, even in those earley days, and were quite as arrogant and hard to controll as they are at this time, the steamboat interests wanted to monopolize the freight transportation, and used every means in their power to drive the flatboatsman from the rivers. In those days the freight trafic from the Ohio, and Miss vallies were emense, and the heavy part of it found its way to Neworleans by water transportation. The law required each flatboat to display a signal, which was a flage of some kind in the daytime and a large torch light at night.

My boyish interests were wrought up, that I kept out in the open in the daytime, and much of the nights, when I could manage to escape the viligance of my mother, and of course I was able to take most of the passing events in.

I remember that we landed at Rockport Ind to replenish our suply of wood and provissions, but this incident would not be worthy of mention, but forthe fact that it afforded my father another opertunity to brake away from slave influencces, and other bliting conditions. At this place some methodist people found us out, and tried hard to influence my father to abandon the trip, and cast My recolection is that they throwed out some valuble inducements to influence him to locate there, besides this they showed him that they were prety well acquainted with the country to which he was going, and that his family, now so healthy, would be stricken with maleria, and probbaly some of them would die if he went on, but none of these things moved him. He was a very detirmined man and when he started out to do a thing, it was a hard matter to turn him from his purpose. He had started out with these people, and I believe that he thought that it would be an act of cowardice to cut loose from them now. I will mention here in passing, that 10 years after this event, my mother removed within twenty five miles of Rockport, where she resided till she died.

The next notable incident that was impressed upon my mind, occurred at Cairo Ill, where we landed to take on suplies, before embarking upon the busom of the great Miss river, a very bad storm of wind rain and snow broke upon us here with great violence, in the night and so sevier was its fury, that it was deemed unsafe for the women, and children to remain aboard the boat, and it was a very dangerous experiment to attemt to disembark in the darkness that prevailed, but fortunately, all were safely landed, and partial shelter provided for them with quilts, and blankets, which afforded some shelter from the stormy blast. The men worked all night at the pump, and with pikes to keep the boat aflote, and prevent it from swamping. I do not think that any attempt was made to disembak any of the stock, but many of them were damaged by being thrown against the sides of the boat. All of the next day the waves run so high that it was not considered safe to go aboard of the boat, till late in the evning, when we went aboard, and was able to partake of a freshly cooked meal, and pass the night in a refreshing slumber, which was greatly needed by all. The next morning we were able to resume our journey, and were on our way to the promised land, as some of our party called it, where we were advised that all of our hardships would end, and we would be in a land that flowed with milk and honey, and that we would be able to feast upon venison, and bear meat. I have no recolection of any momentuous event having occurred, and there was little to interest one, outside of the great steamboats that were almost continualy passing.

There is something regaly grand about a great floating palace plowing a great river in the night time, and creats a picture that never grows old, and I think that it is to be regreted that whose supurb floating palaces have practicaly disappeared from our great river. Our experience on the great �father of waters� not for a long time, and we were rejoyced when we were landed at a place, called the �Widow Wimps landing, or woodyard.

I have no recolection as to the time of the year, but remember that it was not long till spring. We were able to secure a place to live on a far, in plain sight of the great father of waters, and could see the mighty steames passing almost evry hour. My recolection is that our home was a small cabbin, with ten or fifteen acres of ground around it. and as we had our stock, and a full equpment of farming tools we soon got busy, preparing for a crop. My father planted our little farm in corn and cotton. I think that our planting was all done in Feb.

When we landed, the natives looked at us in wonder, and estonishment. Our cheeks were rosey red, and made a very radical contract to the sallow cheeks of those who lived here. They couldent believe that our robust physical condition was an evidence of superior health, but thought that we must have some kind of physical ailment lerking somewhere, and that our red cheeks were evidence of an internal heat, or fever. Those who had lived north, were wiser than the purely native, who had never been but a very few miles from their homes, we were advised by these wise one, that the blush of youth and viger would soon fade away, and we would be in harmony with the rest of the people, which proved true, as will be related later on. The country was yet quite new, and what farmes there was, were very small. The forests were very dense, besides the trees, and underbrush, emense cainbrakes were in evidence evrywhere, and in some places almost impenatrable. The stock lived throgh the winter on lain leaves, so that very little feed was needed. When we got our crops planted we felt quite comfortable, and really believed that we had made a very fortunated move, which I believe would have proved quite true, if we had been permitted to harvest our crops, and retained our good health.

But unfortunately for us, this was not to happen. About the first of june, the �great father of waters� showed signs of unrest, which in a short time increased its volumn to an alarming extent. For three weeks the people were kept in constant dread of an overflow, which had not occurred at this time of the year for several years past, but the inhabitance well remembered that such a think had occurred in the past, but hoped that we would escape this time.

A report that a slite fall in the rive had occurred over night strengthen this hope, but when the report gave a rise of a foot or so these hopes were dashed, and general gloom was pictured on the faces of evry one. Thus we were kept in constant dread, and expectancy. The back country being lower than the river front, it was inundated long before the water appeared in our vicinity, and we hoped to the very last that we would escape, all of the hosues were built about three feet from the ground, and we could remain in them till water reached the floor level. I remember that we stayed in our house till all land had disappeared, but the water came on gradualy, surely, and finaly it was decided that we must move out to higher ground, or ridges as they were called, the first one being something more than a mile from the river. In those days, we did not have the benefit of telegraph, or telephone as now, and could know nothing about the flood north, till the water was upon us, unless warned to a limited extent by passing steamers. I remember that we were taken out of our house in boats, or canoes - our stock had been removed to the high ground before the water got too deep for them to wade - some small stock were placed in pens built of railes, and floored above high water mark. I remember that we passed out throgh our cornfield, and that the corn was in roastineare, and that some of the ears were under water, and that my father plucked a lot for use. We passed from our field, into the woods, and pushed our way throgh the cain brakes as best we could, I do not remember how long the flood was on, but I do remember that my father, and mother became very nerveous, and felt that they were imposing on the people who were kind enough to furnish us shelter. My father visited our submerged home evry day, to look after what we had left behind, consisting of household goods stored in the garret, and some hoogs and a calf or two in pens, as before mentioned. Finaly he brought the welcome news that the water was falling, rapidly, and that land was in sight on the high places, and in a day or two that there was little or no water on the river front.

It was a hapy day for me when my father announced that on the morrow we would go home. To be on the watter appealed to my boyish pride, and ambition, besids I wanted to see what had ben the results of the great flood, it was rather a tedious journey throgh the dens cainbrakes, and cyprees knees, but we finaly landed neare where our field of corn had stood when we went out, of which nothing remained but a thick coating of mud, several inches deep. My father took my mother in his arms, and waded with her to the hosue, and then came back for us children, and carried the two youngest ones and bad me follow, as best I could, which I was prowd to be able to do. Our home was in a sorry plite, it was mud, mud evrywhere My fahter had washed the floor, and walls the day before, and they of course were very damp, and should not have used for living purposes for a month at lest. We had better to have lived without where we were, than to have gone into this damp place. I am satisfied that it was here we drank in the malara, that brought the whole family down with fever and ague, that hung on to us the entire time that we remained in the state, and came very nearley ending all of our lives. I am not sure as to dates, but as prety certain that we landed in the state of Mo, in the earley part of 1841, and left the state en the earley part of 1843. I am guided in fixing time by my age, and that of the other children.

The hot sun quickly dried up the mud, and vegitation sprung up and covered the marks of the flood so that those on the trees onley remained. The rest of the summer passed with me rather plesantly, till the early fall, when the fever and ague bagan to get in on me, but my blood was so pure that it required some months to produce a noticable effect, at that time the country abounded with much wild fowl, many of them showing very gaudy plumage, and semed to vie with each other in the melody of their songs. I spent all my spare time in the woods vie3wing their gaudy plumage, and lising to their sweet carrols. Some time in the latter part of the year we left the river front, and removed back to the first �ridge� as id was called by the natives, where we would not be distrubed by the overflow of the Miss river. I remember that I regreted to leave the river, where I could watch the great streamers as they plowed up and down its turbid waters.

Baring sickness, our second summer passed rather plesantly, and ratther prosperously. My father succeeded in gathering in some stock several milch cows, and three good head of horses. He had secured a kind of preemtion, or squatters right to the place on which we lived which he would have perfected in a year or two if he had lived. 

At that time the money products of the country, consisted of cotton, which was exchanged for flower, and groceries, save enough to make their clothing, which they spun and wove in their homes. The country abounded in wild meat, which anyone could have in he owned a gun, and was marksman enough to kill it. The squirls were so thick that one had to herd them out of the cornfields, if he made any corn. My father being a very energettic man, made a good crop in summer, and soght work abroad in the winders. During the winter of 42 & 3 he secured work in the management of a grist, and saw mill several miles away, and it was while working here that he contracted a cold, that in a short time developed into winter fever, and eppidemic that swept over the entire country that winter, and many died for want of medical attention, as did my father. Our resident doctor was taken down with the disease, and the onley medical help that could be had was at New Madred, some 18 miles away. We ordered a physician from that town, but he reached my father two late to save his life, and he had to die, leaving us in a helpliss condition. Myself and sister were both down with the feve, and my younges brother, who was something over a year old had to have continual care, and close attention. The situation was so distreessing that it cast a cloud over my young mind that I could never that it cast a cloud over my young mind that I could never dispell entirely, a kind of nerveousdreat semed to take held of me, and was ever present with me afterwards, while the neighbors were sypoathetic, and helpful, it was a matter of necesity, rather than love that secured their benefactions. My father was rather puritanical in his religeous views, and practice, and his criticism of what he considered wrong, was most seveier, and he had seriously offended many of these people, and I think that it was the respect for my mother that enabled us to secure their kind offices.

As soon as my mother could dispose of our stock, and we were able to be removed, we all went to the �Tuckers�, a family, and friend that came with us from KY, where we remained till my fathers brother uncle joseph carter could reach us from KY. Which he died some time in February, and as soon as possible we removed to the river at the place where we landed, when we reached the country.

We stoped at the widow Wimps, who was most kind to us, taking care of us while we were waiting for a boat, which required several days as this was onley a woodyard, it was hard to get boats to land for passengers. We had to use a signal flage during the day, and a torch light at night. Of course we had to be ready to embark at once, in case that a boat responded to our call.

It was in the night time that a steamer responded to our call by blowing its whistle, which warned us to get ready to go right on board. Our little household effects were placed where the rousabout could get them easily, and quickly, the landing of a large steamboat at night, as well as in the daytime is an imposing specticale, and is sure to draw a crowd, if in reach. Quite a little croud had gathered to see us off. When the boat officers found that they would get onley deck passengers, with a very megar amount of freight, they indulged in more profanity, than was elegant, but they ordered us put aboard, and in a hurry. In the hurry, and excitement my mother did not notice that the woman that held her baby boy had not come aboard, till the boat was pushing out from the shore. Her peircing screams brought evrybody to attention, even the deck hands, one of whom ran out on the gang plank, and lying down was able to grasp the boy from the womans arms, and deliver him to my mother.

Another incident effected us children greatly. We had a little black feist, called music which we had lost sight of, till we heard her howling frantickly to be takingt on board, but too late. The pet was left behind, but evidently cared for, on our account if no other. We were soon snugly tucked in for the night, and out of danger which was s great consolation for my mother. Her nerves had been terably everwroght by the events of the evning, and could have stood little more.

Our boat arrived at Smithland, about the middle of the forenoon the next day, where we had to reship onto a boat running up the Cumberland river, while our boat proceeded on if way up the Ohio river. In the excitement of disembarking, I had too many gauke eggs on hand, which I did not dispose of intime to pass out onto the wharf boat with the rest of them, of which I was made startlingly concious of, when I heard my mother scream out that her boy was being taken away. In this instance the ganglank had been taken in, but a strong man picked me up, and ran to the sturn of the bat, which had not parted greatly from the wharfboat yet, and handed me across the chasam, into willing hands. It semes that, even then my destiny was towards the great free north land.

We onley had to wait here a short time for a boat to take us on to Nashville, where we arrived without anymore thrilling incidents.

At Nashville had had to again reship on the Cumberland river to near th head waters of sidebarnav, but we were not so luckey in getting a boat. There was onley one small boat running up this river, and it onley made a thrue trip about once in a fortnight. We had to remaine here two or three days. But finaly we were advised that the boat would be along at a certain hour in the day, and we were hustled to the river, and on board of the little boat This steamboat was called the �Burksville� which was the name of a town situated at the head of sidebarnav, on the Cumberland river, and was the county seat of Cumberland county. To the people of to day this little boat would not be considered worthy the name of a passenger transportation. Its propelling force up stream could have been exceeded by a good healthy team of horses. The escapement of it stream made a continuous, whistling noise that sounded in the distance like the scream of a wild animal.

When the boat made its first trip, in the country where it passed in the night time, the people were greatly alarmed, believing that some wild animal was at large. The distance that we had to travel was not great, and was soon ended, without any startling incident.

We landed at �Cloid�s ware house, or ferry, either name was sufficient. As was usualy the case when a steamboat was due, quite crowd greeted us at the landing, which was incidental, as no one knew of our coming, but among the crowd, there were many of our relatives, and friends of my mother, who escorted us to their homes, wirh real KY hospetality. At that time southern hospetality was perverbial and notorious the world over. Even stranger were entertained, and lodged, with no thought of compensation, even the offer of which on the part of the sohourner, would have been offensive.

I remember that we spent some weeks visiting around amoung relatives, and friends, till we finaly reached the home of Uncle Joseph which was a part of the Old Carter homestead. My father had at one time owned a part of this homestead, but I do not hink that he relaised much out of it. In some way a deed had passed to our uncle Joseph, and it is possible that a promise was given to pay a certain purchas price. But as business was done largely on the credit system, I doubt that it was ever paid, which I think my mother knew but as uncle had been very kind to us in many things, she could not complain. I do not recall how long we lived with my uncle but I am sure that it was several months. Finaly a move was made in the community to provide us a home, and the neighbors all turned out, and built us a round long cabbin, in rather an out of the way place on my uncle�s farm. The site was selected by my mother because that it was away from the public highway. While she was a very good woman, she was a very great coward, especialy as to the negro population, whom she regarded as being morraly unreliable.

The house was a very crude affare. The floor was constructed out poplar slabs, fastened to the lower joists with wooden pins, and was very open and rough, being smothed with a broad as. In one side was and opning, which was closed with a wooden shutter. The fire place was onley built up half way, and semed to draw the wrong way, and we were often litterly smoked out of the house.

Taking the house as a whole when completed farmers now a days would hardley consider it good enough to stable their horses in but as there were many in the country that were no better, if as good we considered thsat we were rather fortunate to get this cabbin as a donation. My mothers love of a home was sincere, and unbounded, and when she gathered her little family within its walls, and gave such hearty thanks for the privelege, we felt that it was good enough for anybody.

We now set to work in earnes{t} to make a living, and make our selves comfortable. My mother was a great sufferer from asthma, which often rendered her incompetent to perform any kind of labor. I frequently had to sit up with her all night, and give her warm teas, when I thought that she would not live till morning. I did not know that asthma rarely kills people. My mother did all kinds of work such as spinning and weaving. The wool, or cotten had to be made into rolls with hand cards, and I became quite an expert in the use of them. I would card the rolls, while mother would spin them into thred.

During the day I would gather dry sticks with which to keep a light in the fireplace to enable us to work at night, which was often prolonged to a late hour. I will say in passing, that I was now nearing my ninth birth day, but felt that I had the responsibilities of a man resting upon my shoulders. Besides having an inordinant ambition to acquire a home, I had an ever present desire to become educated, and I devoured all the books that I could get ahold of, which were few indeed. There was very little literature in circulation amoung the poor, and middle classes. The onley newspapers that I remember to have seen, was a few copies of the Louisville Journal. I cant remember when I first could read, but up to this time I had never entered a school room, all that I knew I learned at home. When I could get nothing else to read I fell back on the bible, which I devoured greadily. On nights, when I was not engaged in helping my mother I would lay with my head to the fireplace, and read by a brush light.

There were no public schools then as now, and only the well to do could afford to send their children to a subscription school.

My mother desired greatly that I should have school priveleges, and through the influence of wealthy friends got me into a subscription school, but after a trial of three weeks, found that the rich children imposed upon me so much, that she took me out, and I did not attempt to go again while we remained in the state. 

My mothers health failed so badly that it became necessary for me to do what I could towards making a living. Wages in those days were very low, and it was hard for a boy to get work at any price. When I was elevn years old I hired out to a farmer at $25.00 dollars a year. It was several miles to the home of my employers home, and I could onley make occasional visits to my mothers home which was the greatest privelige of my life. Language would fail to convey to the reader the pride that inspired my boyous heart, over being able to help my mother support the family. Every moment of my short visits were spent in visiting with my mother, and planning for the future.

I continued to work for $25.00 a year till I was 14 years old. In the latter part of my 14th year I was taken down with inflammatory rheumatism, and was not able to do any work till spring, which was a great calamity, but in some way we lived. The people where ever we lived were kind to us, and when misfortune overtook us, helped us to weather the storm. With the springtime came health, and I was able to go to work again. I was now well along in my 14th year, and was able to do a mans work, but had to accept a boys wages.

We did not realize that great changes were in store for us, and that ere the year should close we would be in another state. About two years before, my Uncle Joseph, had removed to Warrick County Indiana, and he was so well pleased with the country, that he wrote us that he was coming after us in the fall, to remove us to his new home, and to get ready by the first of October, which as I recolect was the fall of 1849. It was a great day for me when we were loaded into my uncle's wagon, and bid farewell to the land of our nativity, possibly for ever. I will here explain that there was not sufficient room in the wagon and I was told that I would have to walk.

Besids my mothers family there was an aunt and her husband, and her two children, and the bedding for bothe fmilies. I received my orders with heroic resignation. The excitement of travel was upon nand I felt equal to any undertaking. A decription of our train will, I opine be interesting reading for those who have had no experience in, or observation of the mode of imigration 60 years ago. My uncle's wagon was a two horse concern with a long stiff toungue, the horses were driven without the driver sat ont he leader, with the off horse tied to it, with a rope halter. There were two other wagons in our train, which were driven in the same way. All of the men folks, except the drivers had to walk, which would not have been very exhausting, if the weather had kept dry. I for one started out in the morning in great sperits and kept it up till in the afternoon, when one of those characteristic southern autumnal rains came down upon us, and continued till after nightfall. We were all wet to skinn, and we soon had to wade mud and water at evry step. But I did not get greatly discouraged. I regarded it as a part of a program in travel that had to be indured, and I knew that it could not be avoided. We had a distant relative living on the road, whose place we desired to reach before camping, but it was about dark when we got there. We got shelter for the women and children but the men folks had to sleep in the wagons, which were {not} very comfortable. The weather cleared up and remained so during the entire trip. We were enrout earley and made a good days travel. The onley incidedt that is worth recoording was that I was advised int he morning that we would pass the residence of my great grandfather Hudgens, on my motthers side of the house. This information did not inspire me greatly. I considered that I had not lost any relatives of that kind, and I was not particularly interested in finding any. I remember that we went into camp for dinner at a creek, and a house on the hill was pointed out to me, as being that of my grandfather, and that when we had eaten our lunch we would go ahead while the horses rested and visit the old people.

When a boy, and up to my earley manhood I was painefully timid or bashfull. I had an abiding horror of a sene, such as the meeting or parting of friends, and on this occassion I figurd that there would be more or less of a sensation, either at meting or parting, which I made up my mind I would not witness, and when they all got ready to go they could not find me, but I knew that I would have to pass the house, but I figured that I coudl keep out of sight behind some of the wagons. When the wagons moved out I followed close in, but when we neared the house I found that the folks had all gone on a walk, and therefore that there would not be any kind of a parting sene for me to witness, and I became more bold. The old gentleman was standing at the gate, and called to me to know who I was, and my timidity all left me, and I felt quite asshamed of my conduct. He was very venerable. I think that they told me he was then in his 96th year, and he lived to be more than a 100 years old.

The rest of the journey was made without any startling incidents. The second day we passed through Glasco, the county seat of Barren county. The third day we passed through Bolingreen, which afterwards became famous in the civil war. The third {fourth?}day took us through Hartford. I finaly became very footsore, and one afternoon I climed into the back end of the wagon, to rest and get a little sleep, but I had hardly got well settled till they found me and ordered me out, and I felt quite disgraced, and my chagrin stuck to me the balance of the journey. The evening of the fourth day we reached Ownsboro, on the Ohio river, and I was again priveleged to look upon that great waterway, down which I had passed 9 years before. On the morning of the 5{th day} we crossed the river into Indiana, which placed us within a days journey of our future home, but did not reach it till the evning of the 6{th} day out. We had traveled about 135 miles, which was prety good, concidering our travling equipment. We were not long in securing a home. My mother was ever vigilent in that direction, and she never failed to find helping hands in procuring one. Lemuel Carter, a cusin of my father, had a vacant house on his farm, that he removed and reerected for us. My mothers perverbial timiditiy timidity again interveaned, and she had the house erected on the back part of the farm, when she could have had it put up on the public road. Lem as he was called hired me at $75.00 a year, which I considered monopolus in comparison to my wages up to this time, as I would earn as much in one year as I had in three years in Kentucky. About the first of January, {Lem}Carter thought that I had better go to school the bal{ance} of the term, two months, and agreed that I might make up the time. However this apparent generosity had in it a streak of selfishness. the corn had all been gathered, and there was very little proffiable work for me to do, and by letting me off the most of my time would be put in throgh the crop season, but myself and mother accepted the apparent favor on his part. In fact the idea of going to school at theis time I considered the greatest event of my life, and I could see nothing but generous impulces on the part of anybody. I had passed my 15{th} birth day, and had never been in a school but three weeks in my life. When on the first of Jan 1850 I started to school, I do not think that any boy ever entered the old log schoolhouse with a prouder step. My books consisted of Daveys third part of arrithmatic, a spelling book, and a copy of the U S history. I was known as the "poor widow womans boy", but throgh my mothers influence I had the respect, and encouragement of the entire school. Four of the boys of my size, who had gone well over into compound numbers concluded that they would go back and come up with the widow womans son. I may remark here that in those days there were no primary textbooks as now. In the two months, I made opretty good headway and my class got well into compound numbers. I used all of the spare time that I could during the summer in reviewing what I had gone over, and possibly advanced a little in other studies. The next winter I got in nearley three months. I commenced with my class at the beginning in arrithmatic, and were soon up to where we left off the previous year. Nearing decimal fractions, my classmates became discouraged, and wanted to review, but I said to them that I would never go over that ground again. They turned back and my recolection is that they never got any further in arriuthmatic. I perseviered, and made fare headway.

My progress at school was so rapid that I attracted considerable notice, especially amoung the old people, who refered their boys to me for an example of what a boy could do if he tried. During the winter my mother was able to get work for me for a very excellent man by the name of Baker. He was a bachelor, but lived on his fathers farm,and provided for the family. I received $12.00 per month and was treated as one of the family. In fact that I was able to relieve my muther from many hardships, was a source of great satisfaction and pride to me. I used most of my leisure time in reviewing my studies. In the fall of this year I met with an accident, in being thrown froma horse, which resulted in no other injury than the fracture of one bone of the right fore arm, which practicaly threw me out of work for the coming winter, but improved my time in school, and {I} was able to make radical. I took up grammer, astronomy, and philosophy. Gramar was very easy for me, and I was soon at the head of the school in that study, but mathamatics was always somehting of a puzzel for me, and I onley suceeded by the closest application. I continued to work the summer, and attend school through the winter, till my 20{th} year. I now considered that I had acquired about all that I could get in the public school and seriously thought of going to seminary, or college, but I never got farther than a serious consideration of the possibilities in that direction. I found that I could not go forward without a serious inconvenience to the family, and that, I could not get the consent of my mind to do. In the fall of my 19{th} year I had taken a lease of 20 acres of heavy timbred land for 5 years, from which I had to remove the timber - {a}foot {in diameter} and under - for the use of it. While I recognized the fact that I had undertaken a hurculan job for a boy, I believed that I would be able to accomplish it, and went at it with a detirmination that I believed would carry me throgh.

The first winter I was able to clear, and inclose ten acres, and put it in cultivation the next summer, and raised a crop of tobacco and corn. Of course I had to have some kind of a team, and was able to buy a yoke of oxen, for which I redeemed when due out of the proceeds of my tobacco crop.

Besids the incouragement that I received from my mother, I was urged on by inordiante desire, and detirmanation to be my own boss, and have a business of my own. I beleived that evry man should have a business of some kind, that would provide the necesities of life. To me the idea of working for somebody, year in and year out was the gaul of bitterness to me, which I considered little better than abject slavery. I believed that there was a place, or opertunity provided for evry one that is born into the world, to do and to dare individualy for themselvs, and I was detirmined to fill my place if it was in the bounds of possibility. The acquiring of a yoke of oxen was onley an available means to an end. This kind of locomotion was entirly too slow for my ideas of "get there eli", and I was full of plan to acquire horses. I think that my ideals in this direction was just a little to high for my perminent advancement. I just couldent wait for them to come as they could, economicaly, but I must force them along. Having acquired the oxen, the next move was a wagon, and I got that it onley stimulated me to get the horses, which I did by trading the oxen for one, and buying another, going in debt for the wagon, and extra horse. My belief in my ability to pay for all that I bought, was to say the least of it rather extravigent. That I did pay for evrything that I bought stands to my credit, but I had a hard scuffle of it. Most of my indebtedness had to be met just before the war broke out, which was the hardest monitary collapse that the country ever saw.

If one could look just a little into the future, the human family would be saved from many hardships, and yet there are conditions that followin the wake of our mistakes that we would not change if we could, and I suppose that it is this that is responsible for the doctrine of "fatalism" or what is to be wil be inspite any effort on our part to change or controll our course in life.

I came up up to the middle of my 23{rd} year without any serious intentions in the direction. I will not deny that I had an abiding willingness in the direction of matrimony. I will not deny that I had an abiding willingness in that direction, but recognizing the responsibilities that married life would entail. I had been content to wait till I had acquired enough money, or property to mete them comfortably. 

Sometimes unexpected events confront us in a way that our whole course of life, as laid out by us is changed, which hapened to me in a way that I could not resist the responsibility of going forward in the pathe that was suggested.

While in school a very warm attachment had sprung up between myself and one of the female schollars, which eventualy developed in to a bad case of, what is termed love. She was six years younger than I was, but she was developed beyond her age. We had fully agreed to marry when I should be able to provide a home for us. Her mother had been an invalid for several years, and we knew that she could not live, coincidently the two families had ample time to prepare for the inevitable. Her death occured in March of 1859. In passing I will say that Mrs Brown and my mother were fast friends. They were intimately in harmony in religious matters, and in fact in all relations of life. It was expected that the old man would marry again as soon as decency would permit. The oldest daughter Mary was to be married in a short time, and that would leave Nannie and a little girl in the home, and Mary was not willing for them to assume that responsibility, and insisted that we Marry when she did and remaine with the old gentleman till he should make some arraingements for the future. Mary was to marry a very rich man, and Nannie a very poor one, but most radical changes, financialy occured in after life.

On the 27{th} day of April 1859, a double wedding occured at the residence of Dannie H. Brown. On account of the recent death of the mother, the weding was a verry quiet affare, no one being present but the preacher, and his wife, and the member s of the two families. It was six oclock PM when the momentous event occured an event that entirely changed the trend of our lives, and started us four young people on a carear of matrimonial partnership, that while not conspicuous for great accomplishments as the world would call it, there was great change in conditions, and for us, places of residence. We were sometimes in at the floodtime of events and many times far out with the tide. B.P. Lewis died when he was about 60 years of age, and his wife Mary still survives, but is wholly dependent upon friends for support, and maintenance.

We onley made a mistake in that I was not financialy prepared for the responsibilities of a married life, and my wife was too young and inexperienced to assume maternal responcibilities, but having an intuitive disposition, she rapidly acquired what she should have know{n} beforehand. But I now think that it was alright anyway. Inspite of all of the visisituds, and disappointments we have both lived to a good old age, and that is more than most of our friends have done, who started with us on lifes fitful journey

 

usgenweb

vanderburgh

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