Amanda Purington Powell

From Natalie Powell Swanson email:

The following is a page from Amanda Purinton Powell's diary.  She is the daughter of David B. Purinton (see his bio in the 1879 Allen History of Clinton: Eden Twp.)  and Lydia Jane (Moore) Purinton, and my great grandmother.  She was born in 1856 and died in 1931 and the diary was probably written between 1901 and 1931.  I am copying it in her own words -

       "1856          AMANDA PURINTON POWELL     1931

Maybe it would be of interest to know a little of my parents early life before I saw the light of the year 1856 away back in 1852 when my mother was only sixteen years of age she became the young bride of my father who was eleven years her senior togeather they started West to make their new home among total strangers, their conveyance was a lumber wagon and team of horses, they brought with them among their other possessions two brown jars one was filled with honey one of these is still in use.  They had to travel a long distance by canal, when they arrived in Chicago my father was offered 160 acres of land in the center of now Chicago for his team but of course of no avail as the land was only a swamp hole and the very few houses were built up on high places to be high enough to be safe during wet season or high water.

They crossed the river at Sabula on a ferry boat and journeyed about ten miles west near Buckeye, Jackson Co. where they built their log cabin beside the Copper Creek.  There was only one small window in the cabin and to get to the upper chamber which floors were made of wide rough boards not even nailed one had to climb a ladder, my mother after living in the one window cabin for two years braided a straw hat for a man and he cut a place and put in another window for her, her cupboards were rough boards nailed togeather and placed in one corner of the cabin.  Five of we children were born while at this place (but for some reason I was born in the granery)  there were some other people living in our cabin and while we were waiting to move I was born in the new granery.  I do not remember much until I was about four years old when John and I used to go after the cows over the wold and hills we used to stop every night to a old high stump and every spring a bluebird had her nest there.

There was an incident before the above I remember of having to go to the nieghbors to stay during the birth of George my brother and while there I slipped on the ice and hurt myself but best I remember the dishpan of fried cakes we could help ourselves to.

I started school at Buckeye when I was five we always had to walk and my shoes were coarse and heavy when I had them to wear, one day a terrible rain came up it came down in floods we were on our way to school we just could not see anything the wind blew my bonnet up against the rail fence.  There were two men came to the school house one wrapped me in his coat to keep me warm but we did not have school that day.  The rain washed young pigs and chickens down the creek, at another time the teacher slammed the door on a mad dog,  that was one night that everyone hurried home for none knew where the dog had gone.  There happened to be two schools we could go to so when one school had a teacher we liked better than the other we would reverse to the one we did like.

In our pasture there was a big old rock a sort of a cave near it we were forbidden to go there was a nest of rattlesnakes but never went near, one of our neighbors kids was bitten on the heel with one of these snakes he sat right down and cut a piece out of his heel with his jack knife to save poisoning.

The most I can remember I had children to care for and dishes to wash.  I remember walking on top of the high snow banks to school and John and I used to go to spelling school nights we would cross through a cemetary and the kids would try to scare us but never did we care.

The lights we had were candles and slut lights, the slut lights were made by tieing a rag over a large button of brass or something that wouldn't burn then placing this in a dish of tallow or grease, then we made candles later.  I used to make candles and sell them when brother George had his store in Folletts.

At the age of 12 years we moved from Jackson Co. to Clinton Co. to the old rock house.  My father sold our place in Jackson Co. for $25.00 and bought the place in Clinton Co. for $50.00.  We had to deprive ourselves of most everything until this place was paid for, we had work at all times day in and day out not much else to look forward to, to think about or talk about.

I had four brothers and three sisters and I being the third oldest I had the care of the younger children a good deal.  I went to Maple Grove school around four years, Bell Coffman was my first teacher in Clinton Co.  Clare Seaman another, we used to go to spelling school and had some good times would go in bobsleds but no eats connected with these times.

At the age of twenty I was married and lived at home, Pa worked for my father for a year then we moved to New York, and was there for four years and Percy and Roy were born while in New York.  We used to have hard work such as working in the fields and sawing down trees and making saw logs etc.

We moved back to Iowa in 1882 we moved into my folks home and Pa worked for my father for a year then we moved down to the Maple Grove where we lived until 1900 then we bought the Heilman farm three miles North East and then we moved there where all my children know the situation of all and what we all had to do etc.

I remember when I was a little girl I think about seven or eight when they sent me to Buckeye after the mail I stopped to one of the neighbors about half way to see their girl got a licking when I got home, but I stopped the next time just the same and got a licking too from my father (not my mother).  I always got what was promised me especially in that line from my father."

This was typed from Amanda's had written notes with no corrections made.

The following is my gr,gr grandmothers obit from the The Daily Herald, Clinton, Iowa, Tuesday evening, May 29, 1883 - 

"Lydia, wife of Mr. D.B. Purington, died of hear disease at her home four and a half miles southwest of Low Moor at 6:30 o'clock Saturday evening, May 26th, in her 47 year.  Deceased was born June 20th; 1836, and settled in Jackson county in 1851, being married a year later, and residing with her husband near Preston until about twelve years ago, when she removed to Low Moor.  She leaves seven children - John, George, Sidney, Bertie, Amanda, May and Jane.  The funeral occurred Monday afternoon.  Mrs. Purington was highly esteemed within a large circle of acquaintances."




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