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Pioneer Hardships by H. E. Knock


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 4/13/2015 at 20:29:10

Has Lived 60 Years In Iowa

Some of the Hardships the Pioneers Experienced

The 21st of April it was sixty years since I crossed the Mississippi river at Dubuque and saw Iowa for the first time.

Some days before this, my father and uncle with their families left Ogle county, Ill, in two covered wagons to emigrate to Iowa.

We moved very slowly along the trail near the Illinois Central railroad tracks. I was then a boy of 10 and my sister, Mrs. J. P. Meyer, was a few years younger. Well I remember how my sister and I walked on the track for miles, when we got tired of riding. At night we tried to get the women and the three small children in a house as the nights were cold, but I slept in the wagon every night. There was no bridge at Dubuque so we crossed the river in a ferry boat.

The roads were very bad. Sometimes we made only five miles a day. Often we got stuck in the mud and had to hitch both teams to one wagon and haul one wagon at a time through the muddy places. At Farley we put the women and children on the train and sent them to Ackley to friends, but I stayed with father and uncle. At the end of two weeks we arrived at our friends near Ackley, where we rested a few days.

The entire country was prairie, with here and there a house. Grundy Center was a small village with a few houses and "the cheese box courthouse."

Father and uncle decided to settle on School Section No. 16, Colfax township, so one morning they loaded the wagons with lumber, some of their friends went with them, and they built a two room cabin, which was the home of the two families that summer. By night three sides of the house were enclosed so we could sleep there.

Little by little more settlers came and gradually the prairie was broken and the country was settled. The pioneers were poor but industrious and economical, and slowly improved.

In about the year 1870 the school house was built, and soon after that the God-fearing settlers, not satisfied with material needs provided for, tried to do something for their spiritual needs, so they asked Rev. J. VanderLas, who was pastor in German township, to come and preach for them some Sunday afternoons.

The result was the organization of the German Presbyterian church of Colfax township, usually called the Drake church.

I am still living on the same section on which we moved 60 years ago, and have seen all the changes and improvements in these many years.

These few lines have been written so that the younger generation may have some idea what the pioneers had to contend with.

H. E. Knock, Holland, Ia.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 28 April 1927, pg 12


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