Monday, July 16, 2012

From Indiana to Lucas County in 1853

This battered tombstone in the Chariton Cemetery marks the graves of the Isaac and Lucretia (Berry) Julien family --- Isaac, who died of a possible stroke or heart attack at age 36 on Jan. 21, 1865; Lucretia, who remarried W.S. Campbell after his death and died Sept. 20, 1890; and three of Isaac's and Lucretia's children, the infant son who died during 1854, mentioned in Ellen (Berry) Badger's memoir, Sarah E. and Stephen. Inscriptions for a fourth child, Mary Ellen, and for Rene Julien (Isaac's father) also appear on the stone, but they have a separate tombstone on the Julien lot. The infant son and Sarah E. are buried elsewhere.

By Ellen (Berry) Badger

Ellen (Berry) Badger's memoir, written during February of 1923 when she was 82, contains the most detailed account I've found of the sort of trek many of our ancestors must have undertaken to reach Lucas County during its earliest days as well as conditions those first pioneers found here.

Ellen, born Oct. 13, 1840, in Indiana, was the youngest surviving child of John Marr and Anna (East) Berry, and was not yet 3 when her mother died in childbirth. Her father married Angelina Mayfield a year later and began another family, but Ellen seems to have been raised largely by her elder sisters.

In the fall of 1853, Ellen --- then age 12 and living with her sister and brother-in-law, Lucretia (Berry) and Isaac Julien --- set out for Iowa along with her older brother, Aleck, age 20; Isaac's brother, Jacob Julien and his young family; and Rene Julien, father of Isaac and Jacob. Ellen celebrated her 13th birthday just after arriving in Chariton.

As was often the case, Lucas County was not exactly unknown territory. Susanna (Berry) Mitchell, eldest sibling of Lucretia and Ellen, and her husband, James, had settled near Chariton a year or two earlier. Also living nearby were cousins, Jesse Wells and wife and Elizabeth (Wells) Scott and her husband, Aaron.

Here's the story as Ellen told it, and note that Ellen's spelling of family names does not in all instances conform to the spelling found on their tombstones.


The following is a reminiscence of a moving party migrating from Indiana to Iowa in the fifties. It tells of their journey and experiences of pioneer life in the struggle to establish homes in the new land. It may serve as a bit of history for the younger generations of these people, which though true, may sound to them like romance. Written February 1923.

On the 15th day of September 1853, in Lawrence County, Indiana, in the neighborhood of Holtonville, a party of six wagons and two buggies started westward on a journey to seek homes in the new state of Iowa.

Mr. Henry Thomas, aged 55 or 60 years, his wife, four sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Wash, had already lived in AppanooseCounty, Iowa, a year or two and had driven back to Indiana to haul a load of goods to Iowa for his father. I cannot remember the names of the other sons. One was a lad large enough to help drive the loose cattle, and I suppose the ages of the other two were about seven and nine. One of the daughters, Miranda, was a young lady and Adelaid was about eleven years of age. Mr. Thomas owned three of the wagons and one buggy. He drove one of the wagons himself, drawn by three yokes of oxen. (He had some years before driven across the plains to California when the excitement was high about digging gold.) Another one of his wagons was driven by an unmarried man by the name of Butler Utterback and the other by the married son, Wash, who had already lived in Iowa. Mrs. Thomas and Miranda rode through in the buggy.

Then there was a Mrs. Mitchell and daughter who drove the other buggy. Her son, Will, already lived in Appanoose County, and he drove his team back to Indiana to move his mother's goods to Iowa. This family of Mitchells was no relation to us.

In another wagon were Jacob Julian, aged about 23 or 24, his wife Amanda, and a baby about two years old.

The other wagon was owned by Isaac Julian and belonging to it were Lucretia, his wife; Ellen Berry, sister of Lucretia, aged 12 and 13 years, and brother, Alexander Berry, aged about 20, who was always called Aleck. Also, Father Julian, always known as Uncle Renne, belonged to both of the Julian wagons. Isaac and Jacob were brothers. The Julians had two horse teams, also a strong yoke of oxen which worked to the wagons a good share of the time so the Thomas boys and Aleck Berry could have the horses to drive the loose cattle --- I think about thirty-five head. The Julians owned three cows and a male, the others belonged to Mr. Thomas.

Well, we got together and started before noon. I can't remember about what we had for our first dinner but I do remember that not many of us felt much like eating after bidding farewell to so many relatives and friends, many of whom we well knew we would never meet again.

Our cooking was done around little camp fires. All of us at that time had cooked around the fireplace in big chimneys and just brought along our same cooking vessels consisting of iron pots for boiling, skillets, and ovens with three legs for frying and baking; iron tea kettles that could set on the fire until they would boil. Coffee pots were tin; we would have to wait until some live coals could be shoveled to one side to set the coffee on to boil. We also placed the ovens and skillets on coals, put the food in them to be cooked and covered with hot lids, then shoveled live coals on top of the lids and we soon would have nice brown corn pone, wheat biscuits or baked potatoes. The fire shovel was one of the most used utensils. We also had pot hooks used around an open fire while cooking, to lift hot lids with. The lids had an eye moulded on the top to catch the hook into. I, Ellen Berry, had never seen as many as a half dozen stoves.

Well, now to go back to the road. We crossed Big Salt Creek that day at a little town called Fairfax. It was the largest water course and bridge we youngsters had ever seen, about as large as our Chariton River, and here was located the largest watermill in the entire country, and in times of drought when the smaller creeks dried up the people for miles around would come to Fairfax with loads of grain to be ground into breadstuff. No steam mills there in those days. Then we came in sight of Bloomington, the county seat of Monroe County, and here we saw the first railroad train that we youngsters (and some of the older folks, too) had ever seen. It was in the summer of 1853 that the trains got running on the new Monon Railroad. It was getting late and all of our party struck camp excepting Isaac Julian, his wife Lucretia, and I, her sister, who went on seven miles farther to spend our last night with our father, John Marr Berry, stepmother, brother George and three little half brothers, William, aged 9, John Miller, past 2, and Francis Marion, 8 months. They were expecting us and mother had a good supper waiting. The next afternoon (16th) we bade the long farewell and started on to catch up with the rest of our party. This was the last time we ever saw our father or our step-mother, but all of the brothers, except George, have visited us in our Iowa homes. The little Thomas boys, Adelaid and myself, walked most of the way, a good deal of the time barefooted.

The weather was fine; we only had one rainy night in the twenty-four we were on the road. Isaac and Lucretia slept all the time in their wagon, except the rainy night they got lodging in a house and Aleck and Uncle Renne slept in the wagon. If it were clear weather, they (Aleck and Uncle Renne) would spread their big fat feather bed before the campfire, and if cloudy they would sleep under the wagon. The other parties could all manage to sleep in their own wagons.

Well, that day (16th) we came to Little White River. We children thought it was some river. We had to be taken across on some kind of a flat boat, men guided it with poles and it looked to us like a floating bridge.

On the third day we came to Terre Haute on the Wabash River and camped on the east side of the river near the big bridge we were to cross.We were now getting used to the road and camping. All parties were feeling acquainted and beginning to have lots of fun and excitement, especially the children, but this night we all felt afraid. At that time therewere so many horse thieves through Indiana. Shortly after we struck camp three suspicious looking men came to us looking around and asking questions that did not sound good. Our men ordered them to leave and told them it would not be the best for them to show up again. There were several guns in the party and our men knew how to use them. They did not sleep much that night and all guns were ready to lay hands on, but the strangers didn't come back.

We had a strong box on the rear end of each wagon that served for the horses to eat out of in camp and to carry our chairs (of which each family had three or four) and cooking utensils.

It was easy crossing the Wabash on that big bridge for the wagons but we had a hard time getting the loose cattle through it. They were afraid to go on it and when we would get them started some passenger would come from the opposite direction, meeting them and they would run back.

I cannot remember how many days we were getting out of Indiana or all of the towns we passed through but I think the next river had no water in it but had a big covered bridge. We ate our dinner by it. Aleck said he guessed the people had started it for a college as they didn't need a bridge when there was no water.

There was no hard road in that day but we traveled quite a distance on a plank road. They called it the National Road, and one had to pay toll. Along this road was the first telegraph we children had ever seen.

There was lots of out land most all the way so the cattle picked most of their living at night and when we would be resting for dinner and feeding the teams.

The days would seem the longest and most lonesome crossing the big prairies of Illinois. We would travel for hours and hours and see nothing but a sea of waving prairie grass. We crossed one of these that was said to be 20 miles wide, had to take campfire wood with us and water for the people, but the stock had to do without until we got across where there was farms, and a big spring of the finest water which flowed out of a field by the roadside. This was a great camping ground for the travelers, plenty of wood for campfires.

Wash Thomas and Will Mitchell had been over the road twice and knew where the best camping grounds were.

WE CAME IN SIGHTof Peoria, perhaps a mile or so; you can't measure the distance looking over waving grass any better than you can looking over water. I know it was away to our right. Here Jacob Julian went across to the city to see his aunt, Lila Kelew, who lived in or near the city. She gave him a big dog, and in mind I can see him yet hurrying to catch up with us, leading his dog. Now we had two dogs in the party. I had a little black dog that I had raised, and called it Mink. By and by we came to the Illinois River. It was still a little larger than we had crossed. We crossed at Beardstown, a sorry looking place at that time. We were taken across on a horse boat. Don't know how many wagons could be put on it at once. There was a stall on each side for a blind horse which stood on a rolling platform, that rolled as they stepped, and the faster they stepped the faster we rolled along. It was a pitiful sight to see the poor blind animals working so hard and getting nowhere. Great track holes were worn in the platform where they stopped in the same place each time. We had the worst experience here we had all the way. They did not want to take the big loose cattle on the boat, but would take the little calves, but the big ones would have to be driven and would have to swim part of the time. So they got the calves on the boat and started the cattle ahead. I was on the boat with the calves and two or three wagons. Aleck and Jake were on the horses driving the cattle, then the cows and calves got to bawling to each other so here they all came back to the boat. Mr. Thomas got pretty much excited and came down the bank where the boat was, pulled off his suspenders and tied them around his waist and said, "Give me a horse and by the eternal's those cattle have got to swim across." He told the boat to go ahead, and he and Aleck and Jake drove the cattle in again. Oh, it was an awful sight. It looked so dangerous to see the men on the horses and the cattle all swimming. Jake's wife screamed as though she would go into fits and some of the rest of us felt like screaming. We all got safely over, but one of the horses that had been in the water so long was so chilled that big knots drew up over his body but he got so he could travel after dinner and made the trip through but was never much good afterward. It was Isaac's horse. We didn't have any fun that day for on this side of the river for a long way the road was through deep sand. The wagons cut down and made such hard pulling for the teams it was as bad as pulling through deep mud. Everybody walked except the drivers, and it wasn't pleasant walking either. I guess none of the party forgot Beardstown and the Illinois River.

We arrived at Springfield early one bright morning and came by the state capitol. We children were all barefooted. We all halted and took a good look at the state house. Oh, what a picture we would have made to look at in after years. Well, somewhere in Illinois we stopped to cook and eat dinner. They said it was Carthage. Some of the men went into the town to get supplies and found an old friend from Lawrence County, Indiana, by the name of Clampitt. He came back to camp and visited with us until we had to move on. He told us that this was the town where Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, was thrown from a window and killed, and he pointed out the very window to us where it happened. This was another awful thing for us youngsters to remember. Nothing more of note until we reached the Mississippi. On the Illinois side was an ugly little town by the name of Warsaw. We had had good roads, lots of fun and the whole party seemed like one family. A steam ferry took us across the river. It made several trips to get us all across. It landed us into just as bad a looking town by the name of Alexandria. The ferry boat was another new sight for us.

They said we were then in Missouri. We could look up the river and see Keokuk. I don't remember how long we traveled before we came into Iowa. It was not more than two or three days until the Thomases and Mitchells and Butler Utterback separated from us and took another road to Appanoose County, and I never saw one of them afterwards.

How lonesome we were without them, but the thought cheered us that in two or three days more we four, Isaac and Lucretia, Alec and I, would reach Lucas County where lived our sister Susannah (Berry) Mitchell and husband, James and children, Joseph and Eliza. James and his father's family had come three years before.

The next day the Julians separated. Uncle Renne, Jacob and his wife and baby Willie and their six head of cattle (Isaac's cow got away at the starting and ran like a deer and they could not overtake her) took another road into Marion County to the home of Mrs. Leannah (Julian) Woody and her husband, Thompson Woody. Leannah was Jacob's sister. They had come to Iowa three years before.

Well, that was on Saturday afternoon, October 8th. Our wagon was now alone and I suppose we must have been in Lucas County when we struck camp. They said it was Cedar Creek. There was some timber and a wild looking place. We stopped near a sawmill but there was no one about it, and not a house in sight. The leaves were falling but there had been no frost to speak of. We were very lonely and some afraid of horse thieving. We spread our beds before the campfire and got the wagon with the horses tied to its back and as near to the fire as was safe. Then slipped off our shoes and laid down, Isaac and Aleck with their hands on their guns. We didn't sleep much and on Sunday at the first sign of daybreak we were up, feeding the horses and getting our breakfast, and were early on the road to Chariton. It was a beautiful day, but so lonesome. Aleck walked all the time with gun on his shoulder, expecting to get a shot at a prairie chicken. I walked most of the time as the load was quite heavy. This was October 9th and was the twenty-fourth day on the road. I can't remember how many houses we passed between Cedar Creek and Chariton but remember it was mostly a prairie of waving grass. About 3 o'clock in the afternoon we reached Chariton. There were two stores on the northwest corner (of the square), Hill's store, on the west near the corner and James Weascott's store on the corner on the north. Palmer's store, and Vansickle's grocery may have been on the east. I can't just remember. If they were not they came soon after. The old log court house was on the east side, two stories high with the stairway on the outside and on the south side of the building. It served for the courts and was all the place there was for church services. I have attended church there many, many times. Upstairs was a lodge room.

Well, to return to the road. Uncle Joe Mitchell (James' father) had settled on the place which is now the county farm (just northwest of Chariton). He and James entered their land from the government. James lived about a mile north of his father (on the county farm). Our cousins, Jesse Wells and wife, and Elizabeth (Wells) Scott, and her husband, Aaron Scott, and brother, Cyrus (unmarried), had come about 1849. (Note that Aaron and Elizabeth (Wells) Scott were among the first settlers, if not the first, in the Salem community southeast of Chariton, and are buried at Salem Cemetery. Cyrus Scott married Eliza D. Wilson on 18 December 1854, and they, too, settled near Salem in Benton Township. The Cyrus Scott family is buried in the Chariton Cemetry. FDM)

WHEN WE GOT THROUGH town (Chariton) Cyrus Scott on horseback overtook use and he recognized us and told us we were on the right road to the Mitchell's. He was going to Uncle Joe's but said if we were going to Jim's to take the little wagon road leading to the north just before reaching Uncle Joe's house. He galloped on ahead and told them that the prairie schooner back there contained the Julians and Berrys. We had written them when we would start from Indiana and they were expecting us. When we came in sight they were all out waving hands and handkerchiefs. There was only one house between their house and town, occupied by a widow lady whom they called "Mother James." Well, we took the little track that led to the north and soon came in sight of Jim's and Susannah's cabin, about a mile or a mile and a half from uncle Joe's. The sun was up quite a ways yet, not many had clocks or watches; we just guessed the time of the day by the sun when it shone and when cloudy by guess, and at night by the moon and stars. Sister was expecting us any day and soon saw our prairie schooner coming our way. She was alone with her two children, Joe, five years old, and Eliza, about two, Jim having gone to Keokuk for a load of goods for the Chariton merchants and to get winter supplies for their families. All dry goods and groceries had to be hauled in wagons from those river towns. It took five or six days to make the trip.

Sister kept coming to her door to watch our wagon as it drew nearer. Sister Lou and I got far back in the wagon so she could not see us. She had never seen Isaac and Aleck was far behind trying to get a prairie chicken. When we drew up to the house she was standing in her door. Isaac asked her if we might camp there someplace. "Well," she said, "I'll have to see who is in that wagon before I tell you." She kept coming nearer and we had to show up who we were. Oh, the joy of this meeting! Here words fail in power of expression. Long distances in those days between us and our loved ones had a far different meaning from what it does in this day when it is only a matter of a few hours of comfortable travel, under shelter, and reclining on cushioned seats.

Mitchell's had been in Lucas County three years and this was the second cabin they had built. Cousin Jesse Wells lived less than a mile further on. He saw the wagon stop at Jim's; he was there in a few minutes. That night, Sunday, October 9, came the first killing frost of the season. Jim got home on Monday evening with his load. Now there were eight of us in the little 18 x 20 log cabin and all about out of bread stuff. Uncle Joe's were also out, so someone must take corn and buckwheat (there was no wheat that year) to the mill. Oskaloosa and Knoxville were the nearest mills and it took at least three days to make the round trip. So that week Jim and Aleck took two loads to Oskaloosa. It think they got back on the fourth day. The settlers had raised fairly good corn crops. Fencing their land at that time was the great expense of time and labor. They had to go to the timber (some a long distance) and make the rails and haul them home to fence their crops.

Our folks had raised good gardens of such things as potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, cabbage and turnips, but had no cellars to keep them in. The only way was to bury in pits. Muskmelons and watermelons grew in an abundance on the new land. Sugar was scarce and very expensive, and sorghum was not heard of until about six years later. We would boil down watermelon juice to a syrup and make preserves in it. Also would cook muskmelons until they would make a stiff butter and keep a long time. Would boil down pumpkin juice to a syrup and thicken it with stewed pumpkin for winter use.

Orleans molasses was a fair price, and sometimes when some of the men were hauling from the river they would bring a barrel of molasses and divide it among the neighbors. Our fruit was wild plums and crabapples, and sometimes blackberries. We dried lots of pumpkins to make winter sauce. There was no sale for pumpkins or melons. What we couldn't use rotted in the fields. There were no weeds to bother as the wild prairie weeds that were here gave us no trouble.

The dog fennel, smart weed, careless weed, spanish needle and purslain all came with civilization. In summer or fall before frost the men could make hay most anywhere on the prairie, do the mowing with a scythe; mowing machines were not yet invented. The blue stem grass covered most of the land and in extra rich places it grew as high as a man on horseback. And after it would get dry, how dangerous when fire would get out when a high wind was blowing! It would go faster than anyone could run and set everything on fire it swept over, such as ripened corn fields, fences, and haystacks and sometimes houses and stables. We had to plow several furrows around the house and stable for a fireguard but sometimes in a fierce wind it would leap over the guard. We had a good many losses and many hard fights. One time I had my eyebrows singed off when a blaze licked me in the face but luckily my clothes didn't catch fire.

We had enough to eat such as the country afforded, but not a mess of wheat bread until we raised wheat the next year. We had about a half sack of flour when we came but we saved it to make gravy. When we got our wheat raised there were no threshing machines so it had to be pounded out with a flail, or spread out on a level place on the ground; then ride the horses round on it until it was tramped loose from the straw; then gather it up and scoop it up and pour it down and let the wind blow the chaff out.

WELL, IN AUGUST we got some of our wheat to the mill but there was so much smut in the wheat that our flour was only a shade lighter in color than the prairie soil. If you had seen one of our biscuits on the ground you would have thought it a clod. But they tasted better than they looked. We usually had plenty of milk and butter, that is when we could find our cows. Sometimes they would wander so far away and the grass was so high to wade unless we had a horse to ride, we very often didn't get them. Everybody's cows had a bell on one of them and everybody knew the sound of his own bell. The tinkle and ding of the bells, some near and some far away, the wolves and prairie chickens, afforded much of our music. I don't remember a musical instrument around Chariton at that time larger than a violin.

Well, now to return to my sister's cabin. It was built of round logs with bark on, cracks chinked with pieces of wood cut as nearly to fit as possible,then put into place and daubed with mud. There were few shingles to be had as they had to be made by hand, and most of the cabins were covered with clapboards. To make them they would hunt a tree that would split straight, then saw off cuts about three feet long; then split off boards with a hand tool called a frow. They shed rain fairly well, but the snow would come under them in case of a storm of wind and snow, and we could not have much fire or the snow would melt and we would be all wet. The floors were made of puncheons, roughly dressed with axe and foot adz, which left many cracks. There was one door and we could see plenty of daylight between the boards. It hung on wooden hinges that squeaked every time it opened or shut. It fastened with a wooden latch that worked with a string passed through the hole, so all we had to do was pull the string inside when we wanted to lock the door. The window, like most all of the other neighbors', was a hole about two feet square cut in the logs and a board shutter made for it that was fastened with a peg, and it was almost always too cold in winter to have either the door or window open. Heating was done by a fireplace, also the cooking. To make one they would hunt for stone enough to build the fire chamber against the wooden wall, then the rest of the way they would build it with prairie sod cut in blocks. These often would get loose and crumble down, then, oh, how they would smoke when the wind would blow! Sister had a better outfit for housekeeping than most of the neighbors. One high post bedstead and one homemade one, a nice big chest to keep things dry and safe from mice, also handy for a seat, some trunks, five chairs and a good fall leaf table.

Well, they took in the four of us for about a month until Isaac could find a place to winter. They had no shelter outside of the house except a little log stabling covered with prairie straw. In the daytime we piled the bedding all on the bedsteads and at night those that slept on the bedsteads had to go to bed first and get out of the way so we could make down the beds for the ones that slept on the floor. The first one up in the morning had to start a good fire so there would be coals on which to cook our breakfast, which was generally corn pone or buckwheat cakes and Orleans molasses. Boots and shoes were made of cowhide. Overshoes had not yet been head of. Women, most of all, wore the cowhide, as walking the grass so much quickly spoiled fine leather. The roads were not traveled enough to make much mud or dust.

Well when Jacob got his visit out with Leannah and heard that Isaac expected to winter and maybe locate in Lucas County, he and Amanda and Uncle Renne and their cattle pulled in one day in November. But Isaac and Uncle Renne the same day found a man by the name of Jacob Phillips who wanted to sell his place and go back to Illinois. His place had two cabins on it, and Jacob drove to the empty one on the first night and was at home. Mr. Phillips started away in a few days and gave possession of the new land to Isaac.

This cabin was built of hewn logs, had two doors, a six-pane glass window, a plank floor, and dressed plank the doors were made of. A lean-to or shed room was on the north side, and sod chimney.

Now we were all nicely located for the winter. It was less than a mile to Mitchell's, about a mile to cousin Jesse Wells' and about 2 miles to Uncle Joe's. We had three chairs, Uncle Renne got two bedsteads, and a good homemade cupboard, that we could shut the mice out of our food. Table about four feet square, and we had some boxes we brought our goods in, that we used for seats. The boys made a trundle bed for Uncle Renne that we shoved under one of the other beds in daytime, and at night was pulled near the fire.

The timber on the place was near the house which was a great convenience. Twenty acres were in cultivation and good corn on ground. Our boys could cut wood and make rails all winter and be right at home.

Everything went well through the winter, but in the spring, our troubles were legion. Uncle Renne got some splinters in his hand breaking a dead weed. It became infected and we feared for awhile the hand would come off. He would not have a doctor. He said he knew a Dr. would say take the hand off, and he was going together when he left this world. It finally healed, but was always crippled. (Note: Uncle Renne left this world, apparently intact, on 16 March 1861, aged 77 years, 6 months and 10 days. He is buried on the Julien (sic) lot in the Chariton Cemetery with many of the other people referred to in this memoir. FDM).

This tombstone, moved from Watson Cemetery in Whitebreast Township during 1936 when the remains of those whose graves it marked were moved, commemorates Rene Julien, who died March 16, 1861, at the age of 77, and his granddaughter, Mary Ellen, daughter of Isaac and Lucretia (Berry) Julien, who died at age 2 on March 31, 1862.

Before his hand got well, Sister Lou gave birth to a 2 pound baby boy, which only lived 10 days, and for many days we feared that she too would pass away. Dr. Fitch was the only doctor in Chariton, at that time, that went into the country. He traveled both Clarke and Lucas Counties, so when we would send for him it was no telling where he was or when he would come. I had my hands full to do the best I could (13 years old), three men to cook for around a fireplace, two cows to milk - none of the men could milk - and a sick woman and little babe to care for. Susannah and I dressed the little dead baby, and put it in a little box, it looked so pretty, like a little doll. Isaac and some other men took it to the little cemetery a mile and a half southeast of Chariton, on the west side of the Chariton and Russell (Blue Grass, FDM) road. It was the first of June before Lou could be up and wait on herself.

The men raised a fine crop of corn and wheat this year. In September, Sally Sullivan, Uncle Renne's youngest daughter, and husband came and uncle always thought he wanted to live with Sally. So Isaac at once moved to the 160 acres about a mile and a half southeast of the present town of Oakley, which he had entered. They made a tent out of the wagon sheets and bed clothes, to live in until the men could get logs and lumber for the cabin. By this time there was a saw mill on the creek, north of Oakley, so we had some native boards for doors and floor, but there was no planing of lumber for this building. We got into it before it got cold. Got some pole and log pens made and covered with prairie straw for the stock. We lived pretty snug and warm that winter. It was now two miles to the nearest neighbor. We now had a cookstove which we put in the middle of the room; one end was the kitchen while the other was the bedroom.

It was a very cold winter and lots of snow. Aleck left us in October, and went to Linn County, Iowa, where brother Green had gone in the spring of 1852 a few months after his marriage to Jane McPike. Her father Jesse McPike came the same time.

Aleck was soon married to Sarah Ann McPike. Father McPike had entered government land for his children, and my brothers were soon settled in homes of their own, and I never saw either of them again. They both died in the sixties.

ISAAC WAS A BUSY MAN all winter. He next built a log out-house and joined it to the southwest corner of the cabin. This broke the west and southwest wind out of our south door. This house made a cool place to keep things that it was too warm for in The cabin.

Isaac always took his gun with him when going any distance and we were seldom without fresh game of some kind, such as prairie chicken, rabbit, wild turkey, and deer. And many were the dried venison hams we had for summer use. He got a well dug. He would go to the timber and work all day making rails, and at night bring home a load of wood. He made rails enough to fence 16 acres, and was breaking sod as soon as the frost got out of the ground. We raised quite a crop of sod corn and a lot of vegetables.

We were now about 5 miles from Chariton, and it was open prairie on one side or the other of the road all the way, no lane. Newbern was about 5 miles away. It was here in that early day, and has not grown much since, as it has never had a railroad. Isaac bought Uncle Renne's place where we lived the first summer. We lived here 5 years. While here Uncle Renne and Isaac both died. After Isaac's death, sister Lou, 4 children, Renne, John, Stephen and Cora, and myself moved to the southeast part of Chariton. Here we lived three years.

(Note: According to Lucas County cemetery records, Isaac Julien died 21 January 1865, age 36 years, 4 months and 29 days. His wife, Lucretia (Berry) Julien, born 1 February 1832, died 20 September 1890. They are buried in the Chariton Cemetery on the same lot with Uncle Renne and three children, in addition to the child who died during 1854: Sarah E., died 30 March 1862, age 2 years; Mary Ellen, died 31 March 1862, age 2 years; and Stephen, died 20 January 1883, age 21. FDM)

On December 25th, 1866, I was married to Samuel Badger. He had served 3 years in the Civil War. His parents had come from Grant County, Indiana, near the Wabash River, in the fall of 1850 and settled about two miles southeast of Chariton, where they lived the remainder of their lifetime. There were eleven children that grew to manhood and womanhood. This is now 1923 and Samuel and I have passed our 56th wedding anniversary, and Lucas County has always been our home.

The old log court house served for school until there was a school house built. I can't remember one was built in town. About 1857 a log school house was built, 3 miles west of town and here we had church services and Sunday School. Services were often held in the homes in the country and we would walk, or go horse back, or ride in heavy lumber wagons often drawn by oxen. We didn't stay away because our clothes didn't happen to be in the latest style. We had no choir to do the singing, no piano, or organ. Our leader sometimes had a tuning fork, and we sang with the spirit of worship such hymns as "Children of the Heavenly King," "How Happy Are They Who Their Savior Obey," and "How Firm a Foundation." And we could then understand the words they were singing. We bore many hardships in the pioneer days, but we also had our joys and I believe had more enjoyment in life than the people of today. We didn't expect much and thanked the Lord for what we did have. It is now seventy years since our moving party left Indiana. I am now past 82 years and I am the only one living of the ones that came to Lucas County. I have three brothers living yet in Indiana, brother George, 85 years, John coming 73, and Frances, 70.

Brothers William and Frances and their famlies lived in Chariton, for a short time, but afterwards returned to Indiana. James and Susannah moved to Osceola, Clarke County, which was their home the remainder of their lives. James enlisted as a Union soldier, and died at St. Louis. Their son, Joe, was the late J.C. Mitchell, lawyer, so well known in Lucas County and Ottumwa.

I have written this from memory, as I could recall it, and trust it may be of some value as a memoir for the younger generations of this immigrating party. 

Ellen (Berry) Badger's husband, Samuel, died the year after she completed her memoir. Ellen lived 10 more years, until 1934. Their home was at the turning of the Blue Grass Road (Mormon Trace) two miles southeast of Chariton --- where the D.A.R. Chariton Point/Mormon Trail monument now stands.


Ken said...

Fascinating. Parts of this read like a movie script. Nothing like reading history in the first person! Thanks for posting this.

Renee said...

This is absolutely fascinating. I started my genealogy research for the Berry side of my family 4 years ago, and now I am reading about my distant cousin as a pioneer moving from Indiana where I live to Iowa . She said she wrote it from memory hoping to help some younger generations. She sure did her job well!