Muscatine County, Iowa



Family Story Submitted by Carrie Jackson, April 19, 2011

This text is copied word for word from a handout that my Grandmother Madelyn Oostendorp gave me regarding her family history. Her mother was Lola Mae Metcalf. Lola Mae's parents were Harvey Levi Metcalf and Mary Pamela Heath. Harvey's parents were Reuben Metcalf and Melissa Jane Laughlin. Reuben's parents were James Metcalf and Jane Jolly.

The packet tells us that this family history was retyped by Alberta Metcalf Kelly for the fourth family reunion to be held at the West Liberty, Iowa fairgrounds. She is the daughter of Bert, son of Reuben. Hattie Metcalf Hintz started the family reunion in 1935. They have established the custom of meeting on Father's Day. This years date in June 18, 1939. Hattie was our president for two years or more. She is the daughter of Harvey, also son of Reuben. Clarence Metcald, son of Bert, is the president at present. Berniece Hillyer, daughter of Edna, daughter also of Harvey, son of Reuben, has been the secretary-treasurer for the life of this organization. You may secure a copy of this tree by writing to her please include ten cents and postage. Her address is Nichols, Iowa (1939).

Metcalf History - (Written in Bellevue, Ohio, about 1875 or 1880.)

We take for our subject of our sketch this week, Mr. James Metcalf, a native of England, who came to America forty years ago next spring. He has lived in and around Bellevue ever since coming to this country.

Mr. Metcalf was born in Suffolk County, England, sixty miles north of London, in 1795. His father was a pit sawer, a vocation almost done away with since the new machinery has come. When James was small, his father died; and his grandmother raised him. He was brought up as a common farm hand, and early learned the lesson of hard work. He received very little education, as in those days education was thought to be only for "quality" people. Nature, however, had endowed James with a fine share of wit and common sense, which enabled him to make his way in the world without too many handicaps.

After Mr. Metcalf had grown up to become a full farm hand, he was employed at the estate of Sir Robert Harlan, of Parish Hundred, a farm of 500 acres (very large for England.) There, he married Jane Jolly, also employed on the estate. James received but seven shillings a week for his work, the American equivalent being about $1.75. This amount was scarcely enough to provide for his and Jane's increasing family; and for the poor in England, the poor house, called the Union House, was about the only future prospect. And a not very happy prospect was this poor house, for families were often separated and mistreated.

But, Mr. Metcalf had no intention of appealing to the Union House for aid. He had heard of America with its golden opportunities. More specifically, he had heard of Ridgefield, Ohio, here in America, from a Mr. Day and a Mr. Sharvell, who had come here from England several years before. After consulting with his family, and receiving their approval about coming to America, James went to Sir Robert with his plans.

    Sir Robert said, "Jim, you better got to Australia. That is a great country, just discovered, and the government is sending out colonies, free of cost, to settle there.

    James replied, "Thank you, Sir Robert, but I've already been up to London and Partly paid my fare to the States."

    "Good luck, my boy, in your new world. Here's a five pound note for you and your family. I'll see you again before you go."

In the succeeding days Mr. Metcalf got his affairs in shape to leave England. He shipped for America from London in spring of 1837. all of his family but his eldest son, George came with them; but George had married and was raising a family of his own some fifty miles from Sir Robert Harlan's estate. The long journey was uneventful for the Metcalf family until they were entering the harbor at New York. Here their youngest child died and was buried at the Quarantine Hospital. After landing, Mr. Metcalf made inquiries as to the whereabouts of Ridgefield township in Ohio. James was directed to go up the Hudson River to Albany, and then take the canal to Buffalo, where he might be able to learn something of the locality of Ridgefield township. From Buffalo, he was directed to go to the harbor of Huron, where someone would surely know his destination.

But, at Huron, no one knew quite where Ridgefield, Ohio, was, except vaguely and that it was in the direction of Norwalk. Here Mr. Metcalf engaged a darky with a rickety old wagon and a scrawny pair of horses to drive on their search for Ridgefield. The journey through the wildernes was desolate and lonely for the English family. Often Mr. Metcalf would get out of the wagon to hold it going down the steep hills, for he was afraid that the vehicle would push the old horses into the ground.

At, Milan, Ohio, Mr. Metcalf learned that the next point for Ridgefield was Cook's Corners, and was directed to that place. Again, the family set out. Coming to a log hotel in the clearing in the wilderness, James inquired from the inn-keeper where he might find Ridgefield, Ohio.

    The Man replied, "Why, bless you, man, you're right in the heart of Ridgefield Township now." Jame's heart sank, for in his day-dreams, he had pictured his destination as a thriving settled community, where a stranger might immediately get work and build a future. "May I be of any assistance to you, sir?" further inquired the hotel man, whose name was Mr. Cook.

    Mr. Metcalf asked him, "Do you know a couple of men by the name of Day and Sharvell?"

    "Why, yes, I do." Hope took new life in Jame's mind.

    "Where are they, Mr. Cook?"

    "Sold out, and gone, and only the Lord knows where." With this shock, James crupled and wept like a baby.

    Mr. Cook hastened to cheer James, and assured the newcomer that he had no reason to be discouraged if he were not afraid of hard work. "In fact, " he added, " you can get a home for yourself in ten years, man."

    "God grant your words are true," said Mr. Metcalf.

Mr. Cook helped James within the next few days to procure an empty neighboring cabin, and to get his family settled.

Jane Jolly Metcalf remarked that she was glad as the mother to settle here, even though it was in the heart of new and unfamiliar woods. Friendly neighbors, a Mr. William Hale, in particular, gave James work on their various farms. Soon, he was making for his family much more than he had been able to provide in England.

Only a few years later, Mr. Metcalf had made and saved enough to purchase a 100 acre farm at $8.00 an acre, in Groton Township, Erie County, near Parkerstown, Ohio, from Mr. A.B. Hill. He owns the farm to this day; and in his present old age, can still recall the joy of purchasing it. However, unpleasant Mr. Metcalf may have felt his first introduction to the States to be, he is now a contented and prosperous aged man. In 1861, he left his farm; but returned to it soon. Then, in 1871, he came here to Bellevue, and purchased property on Castalia Street, where he now resides with his second wife, Mrs. Stella Nichols Metcalf. Jane Jolly Metcalf had died in 1857, about twenty years after the migration to America. She was the mother of all nine of the Metcalf children. They are named and told about in the succeeding paragraphs. We are leaving space after each name for your completion of the family history, as nearly as possible.

1. George Metcalf
      George, the oldest son of James and Jane Metcalf, grew to man's estate and married Mary Ann Carrington in England. He followed the vocation of gardener. As we have told you, he did not come to America when his father and brothers and sisters came, as he stayed in the old country to provide for his own numerous family. He did, however, come to America, by the aid of his father's assistance, in 1852, five years before his mother's death. Here he worked as fardener for eighteen years in the employ of Mrs. F.A. Chapman. He also acted as sexton in the village cemetery, where, moving an exhumed body , he became poisoned and died after a lingering illness of a year. George and Mary Ann had eleven children, --Elmma, James, Walter, Jennie, George, Eliza, Ina, Frank, Mattie, Christina, and Caroline.

     Christina married Adam Kleindelter, and Indiana farmer. Adam died, leaving her with six children,--Henry, Otto, Komeo, John, Katie, and Laura. Later, Christina married John Kleinfelter, the brother of her first husband. to their union was born a son, Walter.

     Caroline has been so fortunate, or perhaps unfortunate, as to have been married three times. Her first husband, Charles Hicks, died and left her one child, Emma, now a young lady. Her second husband was John Rudd. To them was born two children, Mary and George. Mary died when she was budding into womanhood. Mr. Rudd died a short time earlierl Later, Caroline married William Howard, her present husband; and they live here in Bellevue. They have two children, Holly and Ira.

     Jennie married William Katherman, engineer of the Power Company here. They have one child, Frank, a bright little lad.

     Emma is the wife of Joseph Bannister, employed by the Furniture Company here as engineer, they have three children,--Mary, Louise, and Mattie, all nice girls.

     James did at the age of fifteen.

     Walter married Kate -----lm of Lodi, and lives in the vicinity of Clevelandl They have four children,--Cora, Stella, Minnie, and Arthur.

      Eliza married Enoch Cupp, a mason by trade and lives here in town. They have two children,--Bertha and George, quite little folks.

     George is following his trade of cooper in Toledo.

     The balance of George's and Mary Ann Carrington Metcalf's family lives at home with their mother in a very pleasant place on North Western Street. Jennie, Ina, Frank, and Mattie are the ones at home.

2. James Metcalf
     James had grown up to manhood at the time that his father came to this country. He married Elmira Blackman, in Groton, Erie County, Ohio, and moved to Nichols Station, Muscatine County, Iowa, where he now owns and occupies a nice farm. His wife died, leaving him two children,--Lola May, who died at the age of fourteen, and Lafayette, who is married and is the father of two children. As his second wife, James married a widow, but they have no children.

3. Matilda Metcalf
     Matilda is the wife of Chauncy Bemis, the son of James Bemis, an early settler of Groton township. They moved to Strawberry Point, Iowa, where they have a nice farm. They have eight children,--Emmaline, Hattie May, Henry, John, Frank, Jerraline, and Grant. The Oldest ones are married, but we can not conveniently ascertain the particulars about them.

4. Reuben Metcalf (Lola Mae Metcalf's Grandfather)
      Reuben grew up to man's estate in this neighborhood, and married Melissa Jane Laughlin here. They also moved to Nichols Station, Muscatine County, Iowa, and are the parents of five fine children,--Harvey, James (who later died in young manhood), Hattie, Berty, and Nettie. We can not ascertain particulars about them at this time.

5. John Metcalf
     John took for a wife, Susan Williams, and they make their home at Elkhart, Indiana. They have four children,--Walter, Patience, (at present, living with her grand parents here in town), Willie, Freddie, and Stella Metcalf.

6. Eliza Metcalf
     This member of the family met a most tragic fate. She grew up to be about ten years of age. One day, while her mother was at a neighbor's , Eliza was left at home in England, to care for one of the younger children. While she was preparing some warm food for her young charge, her dress caught on fire. She ran outside, screaming for help, but was so badly burned before the flames could be extinguished that she died after suffering untold death for five long weeks.

7. Hannah Metcalf
     Hannah married Comfort Mallory (this looks like an M but it might be an H as the ink is spotty here, so Mallory or Hallory), and they live on the old paternal homestead. They have two children, --Frank and Arty, but Arty died in infancy, and Frank is now a fair sized boy.

8. Mary Ann Metcalf (last living)
     Mary Anne was the youngest of the flock. She and Hannah were the only children born in this country. She married John Baker, and to their union was born a daughter, Gracie. After the death of her first husband, she married a Mr. Greenslade. They have no children.

9. Sarah Metcalf
     Sarah was the infant who was buried at Quarantine Hospital in the harbor of New York. She was the child about whom we told of her dying on ship-board at the end of the Metcalf family migration from England to the new land of America.

~ Finis ~

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Page created April 25, 2011 by Lynn McCleary