Emma Beard Tells of Pioneer Days
BEARD, CALHOON, MCKEEVER
Posted By: JCGS Volunteer
Date: 11/8/2020 at 10:56:43
Ninety-Year-Old Emma Beard Remembers Pioneer Days of Indians, Civil War Reports
Ninety-year-old Mrs. Emma Beard is shown with some flowers given her by a friend, Mrs. R. N. Kjerland, on her birthday Sunday. Mrs. Kjerland has presented her with flowers on each birthday since she moved to Ames from near Colfax to live with her daughter, Mrs. E. S. Calhoon.
Four score and ten years have passed in the life of Mrs. Emma Beard who celebrated her birthday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. E. S. Calhoon, 2680 Lincoln Way, Sunday.
The 90-year-old woman can tell many anecdotes of her life as the daughter of pioneers in Iowa, namely near Colfax. Her daughter, with whom she has lived the past six years, puts some of them in writing thus.
Mrs. Beard has never been out of the state of Iowa. She could tell many tales of pioneer life, how her father went to war and was killed, leaving a young wife with several children, and she, a baby whom he never saw.
17 Small Children
“The young wife married a neighbor whose wife had died and left several small children. To the couple were born five children so that there were 17 small children at one time living in a small pioneer home, part of which still stands near the McKeever cemetery at Colfax.
“These were the days when they made their own candles, sheared their sheep and spun their own yarn, knitted their socks and mittens by candle light. There was scarcely a wagon trail through the woods. Bands of Indians camped near them came to beg food.
“On one occasion an Indian left a tomahawk at her house and her parents sent her to their camp to return it to them. She spoke of her great fear and how she could hardly make her feet carry her but they were friendly Indians and did her no harm.
Hard to Get Clothes
“She told of what a trouble it was for her family to find clothes for the children to wear to school. She picked beans in a sand burr patch barefooted to buy herself a third grade reader.
“She has letters in her possession written home by her father describing the Civil War, which have been of use to Iowa State college students in their American history classes.”
Mrs. Beard has 96 descendants; 18 children, 32 grandchildren, 51 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren. Three of her sons, Andrew from Ira, Roy from Monroe and Willis from Mingo, and a nephew, Harlan McKeever from Des Moines, were able to be with her on her birthday.
Other guests at the Calhoon home Sunday were the Rev. and Mrs. G. S. Nichols, Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Spurrier, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Haveman, Mrs. Walter Dalrymple, Mrs. R. N. Kjerland and son, Norman.
Mrs. Calhoon served birthday cake, ice cream and coffee to them.
Source: Ames (IA) Daily Tribune; Wednesday, February 25, 1953
Jasper Documents maintained by Barbara Hug.
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