Madison County, Iowa

A NARRATIVE OF PIONEER LIFE

 IN MADISON COUNTY

by EMMA HART HOLLEN

  Emma L. Hart was the daughter of Miles Harvey Hart and Martha Ellen Welty. She was born and raised in Madison County (except for 3 early years in Kansas) and married Bert J. Hollen at Winterset in 1904.  Bert was born in Norway, the son of John Jensen Hollen and Kristina Quartein. Bert and Emma spent their entire married years in Madison County, he passing away in 1944 and she in 1950. Both are buried in the Winterset Cemetery.
I was born on a farm ten miles west of Winterset, April 5, 1879, and have lived during a wonderful period of time, as great progress in invention and living conditions have been accomplished and yet my early childhood ran pleasantly and smoothly as there was usually plenty to eat and wear. Nature was at its loveliest, each man knew and usually appreciated his neighbor, simplicity was not objectionable, religion a necessity, and progress and opportunity always ahead --- an open road for everyone, especially the young.

My father’s mother, Mary Kenworthy, was an English girl and came with her parents to this country during the early part of the nineteenth century. His father, George Hart, was of Scotch-Irish descent and both families settled in the state of Ohio. My grandparents were married there, and to them five children were born; Andrew Matthew, Mahala Jane, Nancy Ann, Miles Harvey, and Margaret.

In 1855 they moved to Iowa and George Hart and wife bought several acres of school land located in the eastern part of Webster Township, Madison County, at the then prevailing price of $2.50 per acre. Iowa City was then the capitol of Iowa but in 1857 the constitution was revised and Des Moines was made the capitol.

My grandmother, perhaps unacquainted with pioneer hardships died while young and grandfather again married, and to them were born three more sons; George W., David F., and Thomas B.

Meanwhile, George Hart had accumulated a considerable amount of land of which he later gave eighty acres with improvements to each of his children.

My grandmother on the maternal side, Delane (Lana) Schnellbacher, was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, and at an early age, moved with her parents to Indiana and later to Illinois where she met my grandfather, Peter Welty, born of Dutch parents who had migrated there from Pennsylvania.

They were married, and had a family of three, Emmanual, Caroline, and my mother, Martha Ellen, born in 1851. The family moved in the customary covered wagon style to Iowa bringing their furniture, horses and cattle with them. Two more children, John A. and Samuel, who died in infancy came to them after their arrival here.

Peter Welty, like most settlers of the time was not only looking for land to farm but for conditions which stood for both convenience and safety. Accordingly, he purchased land a built a home near running water and in a partly wooded section. A constant spring of running water located in the side of a steep little rocky canyon served them at all seasons of the year. A small room was excavated in the rocky wall and tanks made of heavy boards were situated underneath the flow of water -- the first to be used for drinking and the second for cooling of milk, butter, etc. -- yes, everyone skimmed his milk and churned his own butter in a wooden churn with a homemade wooden dash. Stone steps were built down to this cooling room and need I say it was a pleasant place to be on a hot midsummer day.

The cattle and horses were watered at Rocky Branch (the nearby stream) and a little later wells were dug from which water was drawn, but later these wells were fitted with wooden pumps. nevertheless, for years my grandmother used the soft cold water of the spring for drinking purposes.

The house and so-called stables or barns of the early settlers were built of hewn logs procured from the woods, split slabs constituting the roofs of the houses, while the barns were usually covered with the native wild grasses. Blue stem or slough grass, tall, tough, jointed grasses served this purpose well. Fences were made of rails split from measured, hand-sawed lengths of trees and lucky was the family who had at least one or two big boys to help in this process. Also fuel for the fireplace which served for both cooking and heating purposes must be plentifully furnished. But when Mother dished the meat and vegetable dinners from the iron kettle hanging on the crane, everyone felt repaid.

The upland covered with blue stem and other wild grasses, the more hilly portions of the land also partially covered with hazel, redroot etc. has occasioned, shall I say, some temper, or at least a prolonged whistle from the boy as his narrow-lathed hand plow struck a root. Old Dobbin or the long horned steer has appreciated his temporary rest in the sun as the repairs were made when, perhaps, the adjustment of the yoke followed.

At last the field of a few acres is plowed and "worked" and now the handiest of tools, the hoe, must perform its work of covering the hand dropped corn, one of the most useful of crops in pioneer days -- for is not cornmeal made into bread, mush, cakes, etc. one of the staple articles of diet of the time? The cows and horses must also have their share and the pigs, -- but butchering day will come later when from four to seven hogs must be butchered and put into salt brine ready to smoke the following spring. Why so much cured salt pork? No refrigeration, no facilities for canning, no local meat market -- it must last for the year.

A patch of wheat and perhaps a small patch of oats must also be put in if the ground has been prepared or it must lie for a season to deteriorate the tough roots. The hoe must take care of corn field and a generous garden which mother and the girls have planted, and a cave or cellar must be dug that fall in which to put the vegetables raised from the seed, perhaps, saved from the garden "back east."

Small grain was harvested with sickle and scythe and it was many years before the binder with sickle for cutting, and platform catching the cut grain on which sat the tier who gathered the grain in bundles and tied them with some of the grain itself was used.

But despite all handicaps, our worthy predecessors lived in comparative comfort, and left us a legacy of strong bones, sturdy muscles and a feeling of dependence on the source from which all spiritual and moral help comes.

A grist mill, located several miles east of my grandfather’s, at what is now known as Pammel State Park, ground the settlers’ grain for miles around, and friends and relatives living farther west occasionally made their home a stopping place, going to, and returning from the grist mill. As the good roads and convenient modes of travel bring near to us friends living at a distance, in those days sympathy and the need of companionship made emigrant homes open to everyone -- and everyone was his neighbor’s friend.

Within Pammel Park, Middle River makes and abrupt turn around a high, narrow jutting neck of land and Mr. Clark, a miller, conceived the idea of digging a tunnel through this narrow rocky strip, which was accomplished with hand tools. The water brought down to a lower level served to turn the mill wheel. The tunnel has been enlarged, strengthened, and instead of water passing through it, a road has been constructed in place of the flume. The old stone burrs still may be seen in about the location where the grist mill operated. I never enter Pammel State Park but I think of a trip my three girl cousins and myself took with my uncle, riding several miles in a lumber wagon, shall I say "among sacks of grain", eating a picnic dinner in the shade, climbing the high strip of land above the tunnel and interestingly watching the mill and the miller.

Our then local nurseryman, Judge Lewis, planted, and there are now standing on the high wooded slope, several large beautiful evergreen trees. Quantities of various kinds of wildflowers also abound in the shaded wooded portions of the park. It is connected to the state highway by a paved road and hundreds of tourists and people from neighboring counties visit each year.

In early times Madison County could boast of a woolen mill which was a real asset to settlers, not only to chose raising some sheep but for everyone requiring wool clothing. Woolen cloth was not only used for outside garments such as coats, dresses, jackets, etc., but almost all persons, especially those living in open country, wore woolen underwear. These together with mittens, socks, and stockings knitted from the yarn made, were fashioned by the housewives of that day.

A system of large ponds situated on rapidly receding ground produced the water and the power to operate the mill which was owned by a man named Compton. The family occupied a two story stone house (built of good quality limestone) which was recently tumbled down on account of improper foundations. The large two story stone house built by John Drake, of Webster Township, with its native walnut woodwork, built in cupboards, fireplaces, etc. is still in excellent condition, as are the two large three-story stone barns with hay lofts built by James Bush who lived in the edge of Adair County. Unluckily, later, his two-story stone house burned but a modern bungalow has been erected from part of the resurrected stone. The state had planned to buy the Compton house and land for a state park but due to the condition of the house this transaction did not occur.

My father, Miles Harvey Hart, born March 5, 1836, grew to manhood and enlisted in his country’s service in the Union Army. He was a member of the 9th Iowa Cavalry, re-enlisted in 1863 and was with General Wilson’s Cavalry Division in the south when peace was declared in 1865. Father, a good story teller, told many tales of early pioneer days but never any of army life for which I give him credit. On being mustered out of service he returned home and three years later he and Martha Ellen Welty were married. Juanita, Florence Ellen, Caroline Magdaline, and a son, Edward Arthur were born to them.

Father farmed and worked at carpentry, but hearing of the wonderful prairie soil to be obtained for a mere pittance in northwestern Iowa, he and mother’s brother, Emmanual Welty, determined to locate there. Father drove through with wagon, taking furniture and some implements. Stopping at Wall Lake, Iowa, he told of the wonderful catch of fish he and others made there. Mother followed a little later with her brother’s family and took with her the six weeks old Edward, who soon afterwards died of membrane croup.

They obtained land seven miles west of Pringhar, O’Brien County, and Mother said the country was so level that in the evening they could see the reflections of the sun’s rays shining on the little town. The prairie was covered with tall tough grasses and they immediately went to work to break the soil for cultivation. Tragic as this may seem, during the two following years the Country was visited by a scourge of grasshoppers which never appeared in quantities again. Mother’s people sent the family boxes of clothing and groceries but with nothing encouraging in sight and no funds to operate with, both families returned to the old home. Shortly after, a little sister, Sadie May was born but she lived to be only about two years old. The family felt very badly about this so when I came, April 5, 1879, I was made very welcome.

Grandfather, George Hart, had sold his property and secured land in Rawlins County, situated in northwestern Kansas. He invested in cattle and entered into the ranching business. However, he was alone, he became sick, and Father thought it his duty to go to him. Consequently, when I was one year old, Father, Mother, my three sisters and myself, left in a covered wagon for western Kansas. One can imagine how long the trip took, stopping on the way to cook and eat, rest the horses, etc. I do not doubt it was a tiresome trip for Mother and Father but that my older sisters enjoyed sitting around the campfire and picking wildflowers on the way.

On arriving at Grandfather’s place, we found that he had passed away, but my folks determined to stay. Father took a claim, an adjoining tract of land, and went into the stock farming. In those years the country was very dry and raising of crops by then existing methods was not possible. Mother, always a good gardener, raised some early garden but later crops were not very successful. Father accumulated some cattle and in spare time, helped build some of the railroad then being constructed in western Kansas.

The U. S. government advocated the planting of trees in that flat treeless region and furnished free land and the trees to plant it with. So in addition to the land already acquired he had what was then known as a tree claim. This being mainly a cattle country, cowboys with their gay trappings were not infrequently seen. Rains when experienced were sometimes very copious and sudden and the family told the story of how my oldest sister who was keeping the baby (myself) while the rest of the family went to town, had to stay alone all night because they could not cross the full creek bed.

We did not lack for neighbors as the level country covered with its growth of buffalo grass (where buffaloes had fed not many years prior to this) looked quite attractive, especially to cattlemen. It, no doubt, seemed more attractive than the level land of northern Iowa covered with tall blue stem and other grasses and remaining wet, sometimes, from one season to another. But when turning the soil and later laying some tile, brought about conditions which converted the Iowa soil into the wonderfully productive land which it is. The plowing under of the buffalo grass in Kansas removed the soil’s only protection from evaporation in that comparatively rainless region.

We lived in a sod house which was the type most commonly used by the settlers at that time. It was made and occupied by my Grandfather Hart but afterward Father built us a frame house, and Mother said she was very satisfied indeed when we moved in.

There had been an uprising of the Indians a short time before our moving to the country and Mother was always a little anxious when alone, and there were no rural schools or country churches in that section of country, so when her father and mother asked them to come back to Iowa she was glad to comply. I never heard my father’s views on the subject. Grandfather Welty was ill with diabetes and though still somewhat active, did not have long to live and wanted to see us all. Accordingly, after three years of pioneering father drove his cattle, and we followed in covered wagon back to Iowa.

We arrived in the early fall of 1883 when I was four years old. several of the relatives gathered to meet us, and one of my cousins afterward remarked that she thought the folks had brought back a little Indian as I was so reddened and tanned from continuous exposure to the sun.

The house that we formerly occupied was moved near the highway, out-buildings erected, and we were soon at home again in Iowa.

My grandfather, Peter Welty, passed away December 7th of that year and Grandmother lived on in the old home with her remaining unmarried son, John. On just two occasions do I remember Grandfather. He and Uncle John had passed our house in a bobsled and he asked that I might go home with him. Mother, thinking I might be of some trouble said she thought I’d better not go, but after they had started home she thought that my going my give my grandfather a little pleasure and bundled me into my white coat, mittens and hood and Father carried me to where they had stopped the sled. The other time was the day he passed away.

Some years previously, my grandparents had built a frame house and also a large frame barn and outbuildings. The yard was fenced in with a home-made picket fence -- the pickets being pointed both at top and bottom. I realized this to my sorrow one day when having caught my bare foot under one, I tried to extricate it. It tore a fair sized three cornered hole on top of it and the scar remains today.

East of the house stood the smoke house where a generous supply of meat was salted and afterwards smoked. Then on line east of it, was the long, native board woodshed open to the south, accommodating its workbench and large tool chest. Everything was in apple pie order in this building even to the piling of the wood. In direct line east followed the machinery and chicken houses. the garden lay north of the house. On either side of the gate was planted a lilac bush. I think those flowers as the sweetest lilacs that I ever knew. Extending along the remainder of the fence, just inside the garden were the old fashioned roses, including Harrison’s yellow, Pink Cinnamon, Cabbage Roses, The White Scotch Prior and moss roses. Also, there were the Bleeding Heart and Flowering Almond.

The garden, though not large (potatoes were planted in the field) was fenced in also, and always abounded in the "must have vegetables" lettuce, radishes, peas, beans, cabbage, tomatoes, turnips, etc., and was tended with the hoe but needed no spraying as insect pests were not prevalent. There "There is the orchard, the very trees where my childhood knew long hours of ease. And watched the shadowy moments run till my life imbibed more shade than sun. The swing from the bough still sweeps the air, but the stranger’s children are swinging there."

My grandfather, Peter Welty, as did several of the surrounding early pioneers, planted a fair sized apple orchard with several of the varieties which stood the test of quality and hardiness. Jonathan, Grimes Golden, Roman Stems, Red June, Ben Davis, etc., were some of the leading varieties planted. Siberian Crabs were also planted and made into sweet pickles and jellies. Apple diseases were not prevalent in this new country and the spraying of fruit trees and vegetables was not necessary. Consequently, the trees and shrubs grew lustily. Grandfather’s cellar was equipped with homemade tray like bins of wood, built several inches above the cellar floor, and I remember how late the Jonathans, Roman stems, etc. kept in the spring and how good they tasted when Grandmother handed them out. Incidentally, she had a smile and kind word for everyone and I shall always remember her as happiness personified, but did not then realize just what that sometimes may have cost her.

However, her religion was the true and practical kind. Her generous skirt pocket always contained cookies, candy, apples, etc., for the little folk when she visited us. Her knitting almost always accompanied her for besides stockings and socks for her own family, she supplied many pairs of mittens for her grandchildren. I am not over eulogizing her when I say she was a splendid cook, and her puddings, apple and cream pies, cookies, etc., were enjoyed by many outside the family.

Currants provided juice for jelly and fruit for pies, which were also made from the wild gooseberry, rhubarb, etc. Wild plums and grapes, apples and crabs, were made into butter and preserves. Wild strawberries (sometimes found quite plentifully on untouched prairie soil), raspberries and blackberries were tasty luxuries. Sorghum mills were scattered over the country, which provided each grower of cane with syrup for table use and also the tasty ginger snaps and sorghum cakes, and even sweetening for plum butter, etc. not to mention the sorghum candy which was so much fun to "pull".

The county was liberally provided with hazel, hickory and walnuts, and in some sections butternuts were found. So many pleasant evenings were spent cracking nuts and usually Mother saw to it that a portion was set aside to some cookies or cake.

Making soap may have been quite a task for grandmother, but an intriguing episode for me. The "ash hopper", a large V shaped container made of upright planks or slabs and elevated perhaps a foot above the ground served as a container for wood ashes obtained form the fireplaces and the cook stove during the winter months. In the spring, buckets of water were poured on these ashes and a container placed underneath into which a spout guided the lye water. By emptying this into a larger container, enough lye was soon accumulated for soap making. This liquid was emptied into the large iron kettle (an indispensable) holding perhaps twenty or thirty gallons, and was "boiled down" until by stroking the wing feather of a fowl across the contents of the kettle three times, it was denuded of fuzz. Now came the emptying of a portion of cracklings, waste grease and rinds from the winter butchering into it, which when boiled until it "haired out" on lifting the stirring paddle from the kettle, or became thickened when cooled in a small testing vessel, produced soft soap. If hard soap was wanted, a longer period of boiling was required. Several kettles of soap were sometimes made, the soft soap kept in large jars or wooden containers, being especially handy for dish washing. It also proved convenient to spread on soiled portions of clothing when the early method of washing on the washboard was used.

In order to promote education, school land was set aside by the government at an early date before pioneers established homesteads. The first schoolhouses were built of logs, but my earliest recollection of a schoolhouse was a large frame building with board siding, shingled and equipped with varnished desks and recitation seats (though a few of the old long benches were still sitting on the sides). Three large glass paned windows on each side of the building and a tall iron coal burning stove situated near the center, and a large blackboard completed the picture. Schools as a general rule were large, often both boys and girls twenty-one years of age, attending (especially) in winter. Consequently, discipline and order had to be strictly observed. One of our gentlemen teachers, having heard of our school’s reputation, sometimes stamped his foot and cried out "Order" until some of us smaller ones fairly quaked in our shoes.

However, the old time country school was a great institution of learning, for not only self discipline was acquired and appreciated, but through the perusal and study for several years of those subjects most important in education, we learned and comprehended mathematics, orthography, English and (the best of literature) , history, geography, and government, which proved the best foundation for subsequent reading and education. The school yard was a large sloping grassy one with a grove of tall hickory and oak trees at the eastern edge. Here we had our summer "Play Houses" and when fall arrived the recesses and noon hours of the first school days were spent in gathering hickory nuts—the larger boys climbing the tees and flailing them off, and the remainder of the children picking them up. A nice long hill was directly south of the yard and this proved good coasting ground. The big boys sometimes operated a section form a bobsled which would accommodate several pupils. It was just too bad if it wasn’t guided properly.

One year when I was yet a small girl of seven we had a "singing" school. Liston Darnell, a gentleman from a neighboring school district, was our singing teacher. Not only most of the pupils but many of the older people from our and neighboring school districts attended. Several other winters literary societies formed and everybody participated.

In earlier days, religion was not neglected. Usually schoolhouses, and prior to them private homes, were used for worship. The minister, who traveled on horseback from place to place, accommodated audiences for a while. But soon parsonages were erected at certain points and the ministers living in these preached in two or three communities, perhaps every alternate or third Sabbath.. His salary was sometimes meager but he had a garden and several of his parishioners usually provided grain for the team he drove. Also, he usually helped nearby farmers with their grain, hay, etc., and received something in return.

In 1890, when I was eleven years old our home community built oak Grove Church which was about three quarters of a mile from our home. Uncle Matt Hart gave the land on which it stands and much of the work was contributed by members of the church, including Father and Uncle Matt. My Grandmother Welty’s people, her sister’s families (Adam Krells and Jonathan Wisslers) Henry Krells, John Schnellbachers, Will Elsbury, Mathew and Miles Hart families (all relatives) and almost all the community attended church services. Henry Krell was for several years both Sunday School Superintendent and leader of the congregational singing. Mr. Owens, who taught vocal Music classes, conducted a "Singing School" at oak Grove (also at Webster) one winter and nearly everyone except the oldest persons attended. Hence, part singing, was practiced and enjoyed.

A Methodist Church, Pleasant View, situated about two miles southwest of Oak Grove, was built a year or two later (1892). It was a nice large country church, equipped with a bell. Fine interest was shown for a good many years but on account of lack of attendance it was torn down a few years later, and the material used to help rebuild the Methodist Church at Macksburg.

A little primitive building with its small windows, bench seats, homemade desk and plank floor, was situated on the opposite corner of the new church (and had been used in earlier times as a schoolhouse) is my earliest recollection of a country church.

(Longfellow Poem)

Longfellow so completely describes the village and country blacksmith there is nothing to add. He was a handy and indispensable man to the farmer, for the shoeing of horses and the sharpening and mending of the tools and implements. He was also called on to reset tires and replace broken spokes or fellows of the wooden wagon used. Our neighborhood was fortunate to have a neighbor work at this trade. His little shop was near the road and it was interesting to look in at the open door as we made an occasional trip to town.

In early days the country store was a great asset to the communities. Our nearest trading point was the town of Macksburg named in honor of its resident, Dr. Mack, whom I can remember, but the neighbors chose Winterset as their town as the two miles of distance traveled was more than compensated for by the better prices and selection of goods.

Father, as did the neighbors, used a lumber wagon furnished with two seats when the family accompanied him. Later on, he purchased a spring wagon similar in type to a heavy buggy, and having a box about seven feet long with removable seats. We children thought to ride in it was quite a treat.

Winterset, the county seat of Madison County, was incorporated as a town in 1851, about three years before the Weltys located. Here is the story of how it got its name. A delegation from the settlement met one cold night for that purpose. Accordingly, a gentleman arose and suggested the name – Summerset. When a drunken bystander muttered, "I think you’d better call it Winterset." So Winterset it became.

We had no local post office and all the communities’ mail was addressed to Winterset. A neighbor, Fred Walker, (later the blacksmith) was interested in reading and as keeping the mail afforded him the privilege of reading everyone’s local newspapers he agreed to make home a central point of distribution. Consequently each person making a trip to Winterset brought out the mail. As the little schoolhouse church was nearby, and as he did blacksmithing, it afforded the people of the community a handy means of getting their mail, both on Sunday while attending church or when having blacksmithing done.

The wild flowers of this and other countries hold a place in our hearts which cannot be supplanted. They are the very essence of spring and the purity and the brightness of summer, and together with the autumn leaves, the gold of fall.

Early April always greeted wild flower lovers with low growing perennial Trillium with its simple stem, three leaves and single three petaled white flower. It loved the semi-shady spots where nature accumulated leaves from season to season. The white flowers peeping above this carpet were a thrilling spring greeting.

A lovely spring tramp to look forward to a little later, was a trip to Middle River about a quarter mile north of our home. Here one steep north slope which , unfenced, was not pastured intensively, nestled quantities of Hepaticas, Spring Beauties, False or Rue Anemones, wood Anemones, and the common violets, and where too grew the Downy yellow violet. Many bouquets of these flowers, though short lived, were carried home or to school, but the greatest pleasure derived was seeing them growing there in the woods.

Dutchman’s Breeches and the White Dog Tooth Violet or Lamb’s Tongue were found in most wooded sections while in certain places, principally along streams, grew the Blood Root, which opens its white waxy petals in the morning and closes them I the evening.

All the above flowers are beautiful and may and should be grown in woodsy soil by all wild flower lovers.

I have never seen so many wild columbine as grew on a rock, south hillside near home and when they were in bloom it was a beautiful sight to see. The Jewel Weed and the Touch-me-not sent up its hollow transparent plant stalks along the spring where our school sometimes obtained its drinking water. Children like to pop the seed pods of this Touch-me-not.

The wild Bluebell (Polonium) and the May Apple or American Mandrake were a little more choosy as to their wooded locations but both were produced in quantities where found.

The finding of a Cypripedium (lady slipper) which grew in woodsy soil in shady or semi-shady locations was an event. The yellow Lady Slipper (parviflorum) were found occasionally and a small, White Moccasin Flower, very rarely. My sister found a pair one day and dressed her doll (a rather smallish one with china feet) up with them. The handsome native lily, Philadelphicun, with cup shaped flowers and the wild lily resembling the Tiger Lily were found. Both of these may be easily naturalized. The beautiful native Maiden Hair Fern with its black stems and branching delicate green fronds and a tiny variety with finely cut pinnules grew on shad slopes while two large varieties of fern grew, usually in deep shady outs or ditches. This plant, together with the than, prolific March Buttercup (single) are not now found in many localities as both depend on moisture. This is also true of the Blue Flag or Wild Iris which was then a common flower.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit with its beautiful two three-parted leaves and its bronzy dull green hooded deep cup below them, Solomons Seal and false Solomons Seal were also found in wooded country as was also the Wild Geranium or Cranesbill with its purplish pink flower.

The wild Rose and the Strawberry choose the uplands and both may be seen along uncultivated roadsides today.

The square stemmed Monkey Flower with its purple flower consisting of an erect, two lobed upper lip and a three lobed lower one, the Great Lobelia or Blue Cardinal Flower somewhat similarly shaped, the Joe Pye Weed, Boneset or thoroughwort, and the annual Blue Fringed Gentian (which is almost extinct) chose low damp ground and bloomed from July to September.

During about this same period the wild flowers that bloomed and graced the upland prairie and partially timbered tracts consisted of the brilliant Orange Butterfly Weed,, two varieties of Purple Gayfeather (Liatrus), Horsemint, or Wild Bergamot, Black-Eyed Susan, the Purple Cone Flower, the Asters, Mew England (the large purple aster growing in the eastern U. S.), the Heart-leaved Aster and the Blue or Smooth Aster. Also, the glory of yellow flowers - the Goldenrods, the Compass Flower whose large cut leaves point so accurately that they sometimes guided lost travelers in early days, the Resin Weed, Wild Sunflowers and artichokes – the tuberous root of which is sometimes used as a substitute for potatoes.

My parents had three children (younger) than I: John Archibald, born 1883; Charles Orie, born 1886, both farmers in Madison County; and Beatrice, born 1889, who died when nine years old. She was quite musical and could improvise accompaniments and play music from memory.

Though we were not dressed as children are nowadays, mother with her sewing machine, mending basket and knitting needles and yarn, always kept us supplied with neat and clean garments. She did the family wash on the board with no help except in vacation time, as my older sisters were teaching school and the rest of us attending school. She also planted and, to a great extent tended a big garden. Tribute should be paid our mother for her care and the management of our lives.

Father bought forty acres of land lying east of us, farmed and accumulated too many horses and cattle, he was a very pleasant, self disciplined man. Consequently that was a great factor in the disciplining of his family. He helped care for the sick in the neighborhood and almost everyone liked him.

Well, we grew up as children do, went to the nearest country school and led a carefree existence. The last year I attended my teacher taught me English, Akgebram Civil Government, Physical Geography, and Methods of teaching. The following year I attended high school in Greenfield, staying with my sister, Ella Quick and her family.

I then embarked on teaching country school and continued that for seven years, staying at home part of the time and walking three miles or farther.

In 1903 I met the man who has proved to be my ideal and the following year we were married. Sister Ella Quick helped make my wedding dress of white wool with lace drop yoke which was trimmed with a wide ruffle of lace. The skirt was long and pleated. Also had a black short taffeta jacket with quilted drop yoke and pointed belt, and long full sleeves with quilted cuffs. My hat was white and wide and was trimmed with along whit feather. Dad in black suit and high linen collar looked, I thought, swell.

We were married the evening of August 10, 1904, at the home by Dr. Lanely. Dad’s and my nearest relatives were present and refreshments of homemade ice cream were served. The following day Mother Hollen served a reception dinner.

Bert had purchased machinery and enough livestock to give us a fair start and I, besides the piano (costing $375) had accumulated another $300 with which we purchased carpets and furniture. Then came the fun of buying it in Winterset and hauling it home in a lumber wagon with side boards. The first trip (after purchasing all of it) we reached home at about 3 o’clock A. M. as the roads were frozen and rough. I laid my head over on poor Dad’s shoulder and slept part of the time. I had previously bought table linen and our mothers had helped make quilts and comforters so everything was new and shining.

Dad and I taught three terms of school each after we were married. Then he became assessor for two terms. We were busy and happy, as I suppose all young married folks are or should be.

Grandmother Hollen bought and moved to a forty acre farm adjoining us on the southwest and had a little house built, where she and Erma lived. The family had always enjoyed her, principally I think for her practical Christianity and helpfulness.

I affiliated with our Webster Methodist Church of which Dad was a member and for several years was organist; I was followed by Angie Estell Beaman who has been a good attender and has done a wonderful service for her church for many years.

Beatrice Lucille was born July 14, 1907, and developed into a cute bronzy gold curly haired toddler who was always carrying her best shoes to us and saying "I want to go my shoes" when she thought there was a chance of anyone leaving the house.

John came to us April 4, 1911, a day before my 32nd birthday and a busier, finer present one couldn’t ask for. He was always poking his fingers into every keyhole and crevice, and picking up and interested in everything he could find on the floor. Perhaps that was indicative of his choice of Engineering as his life’s work.

Dad and I were fortunate to receive another fine present, Eugene Hubert a day early for Christmas and was nonetheless welcomed, and reached us December 24, 1912. It wasn’t long until his deep little voice was engaged in singing and in fact the children all sang about as early as they talked.

As we lived over a mile from the school house, I taught the children at home until they were about seven years old and ready for the fourth grade. They continued in school, graduating from the eighth grade in 1920 and 1924 respectively.

Lucille graduated from Simpson Conservatory of Music, and both boys are Mechanical Engineering graduates of Iowa state. They are all happily married, Lucille to Arnold W. Koch, John to Dorthea Schooler of Indianola, and Eugene to Marjorie Mettlem of Ames.

This generation and the preceding one has witnessed many changes. Great progress has been made in invention and science. The next century may witness greater changes. Along with these, may advancement also come in the are of true living by simply practicing this axiom that, "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye to them likewise."

Written by Emma Hart Hollen

 

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tHIS page was created on July 10, 2004.
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