Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Oscar Miller tombstone in South Park Cemetery

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Excerpts from the Memoirs of Oscar Miller written in the 1950's

Excerpts from the memoirs of Oscar Miller as told in the 1950’s
compiled by Marc Haston
The Courthouse and Its Famous Tree
The Courthouse was built in the year 1854, and at the time the large courtroom was on the ground floor and occupied the whole central portion of the building with county offices on each end. The clerk’s and recorder’s offices were in the east end of the building, and the treasurer’s and auditor’s offices in the west end as at present. In going back and forth from and to these offices it was necessary to pass through the big court room. There is a large, round stone inserted and built into the west wall, on which it is shown that Caleb Starke, William Magnus and Andra McCoy were the county commissioners at the time this courthouse was built; and it also shows that Edwin May was the architect.
The Architecture of this old building is very pleasing. Although it has stood the ravaging storms of over one hundred years, it shows but little effect of time or age. This handsome structure will today stand a very favorable comparison in grace and beauty with any of the new courthouses of the state. When it was first built the large courtroom, which occupied most of the ground floor of the building, was exceedingly ornate and beautiful. The ceiling extended to a considerable height with a vaulted ornamentation much after the fashion of a cathedral. The majestic height of the walls and ceiling of this room was very impressive. From the apex of the courtroom swung three large and elaborate chandeliers with three rows of lamps, one above the other, to each chandelier.
The judge’s desk, from which he presided, was a high elaborate affair with a good sized counter suitable for books and papers. The approaches to the judge’s platform were entered by possibly five steps on each side. This gave the judge considerable elevation above the lawyers and jury. There was a nicely ornamented fence separating the court and lawyers from the audience room, which had a seating capacity of probably two hundred people. Above the dais where his honor, the presiding judge, sat was a very large painting which represented the goddess of justice. The exterior walls of this building were constructed or red brick, but of recent years the outside walls have been coated to represent stone.
The upper part of the clock tower was actually built out of stone. About seventy-five years ago a small tree made its appearance on the south side of this stone tower. Great efforts were made by the city to destroy it by shooting it off, and they even got out the fire engine and attempted to blow the tree off, but the stream of water was not strong enough. Mr. Ripley in his “Believe It Or Not” notes proclaimed it to be one of his unbelievable wonders. This tree on the tower has now become a wonder of the world. Today it stands up there in all its majesty on the tower over two hundred fifty feet from the ground. People from all countries of the world have looked at this famous tree with wonder and astonishment. As the years have gone by, the people of Greensburg have become fully reconciled to the existence of this lofty visitor, and have done much to extend its life and perpetuate its existence.
Now, while speaking of this courthouse, I find by county commissioners’ records that my father, Augustus Miller, was a commissioner for a period of six years, from 1889 to 1893 inclusive. He had been county commissioner in Rush County, Indiana for two terms before he came to Greensburg in 1881. By serving in that office he naturally became acquainted and proficient in handling county business. I never did regard my father as a politician, but he seemed to impress the public mind very favorably. As a farmer and businessman he could be counted as a conservative. He had voted for Abraham Lincoln; and, of course, he was a Republican. I think he must have cast his first vote for John C. Freemont, who was nominated as the first man to be chosen as a candidate for president of the newly organized Republican Party. This new party was made up of the old Wig party, the Freesoil and Know Nothing parties, together with a number of Democrats who had become dissatisfied with the VanBuren-Polk administration, and the cheap and unsatisfactory money conditions under Jackson.
In speaking of my father Augustus Miller, I may have to hazard a repetition of saying something I have already said in these memoirs. My father was a man of good, sound judgment. His education was obtained from common schools of Rush County, Indiana, where he was born. He was never swept away by any isms and fly-up-the-creek schemes that might have been floating about the country to catch the unwary. He attended to his own business and did not muss around into other people’s affairs. However, he was very generous and helpful to any of his neighbors who might be in trouble or in need of assistance.
As to my father’s nationality, I think he was mostly of German blood; however, his mother may have been of English extraction.
The Commissioners Buy the Toll Roads
When my father assumed the office of county commissioner in December, 1889 there existed a large number of gravel and stone toll roads in various parts of the county. These roads were owned and operated by toll companies. Toll gates were erected and maintained by toll gate keepers, and a charge of something like two or three cents could be collected for each mile traveled. To facilitate the collection of tolls, Large poles were erected extending across the road which could be raised or lowered as occasions might be necessary to compel the traveler to pay. In effect these toll companies owned these roads, and were supposed to keep them in repair. (These roads were owned and operated similarly to the large automobile turnpikes that are at present being built in various parts of the United States.)
My father, along with other members of the board, came to the conclusion that these toll roads in Decatur County were a sort of nuisance and for all practical purposes had outlived their days of public usefulness. My father had come from a county where all roads were free. He talked with many of his constituents who had elected him, and tried to create a sentiment for the county to buy the toll roads throughout the county and make all roads free. This idea met with a happy response from the people. The commissioners then proceeded to take legal steps for the appraisement of the roads and the proper appropriations for the money were made and all toll roads in the county were transferred by assignment of ownership to the county. There was but very little opposition to the buying of these toll roads and doing away with the nuisance which had been an eyesore maintained as a back number and hinderance to the freedom of the traveling public. The businessmen of Greensburg gave great praise for the action my father had taken in buying these roads, as a barrier had been removed which hindered people from freely coming to the city to trade with the merchants. The buying of these roads was a movement in the direction of real and beneficial progress, and was such a popular movement that when it came for the election of my father for a second term, he had but little or no opposition.
Many Stone Arch Bridges Were Built
During the time that my father was a member of the Board of Commissioners the question of bridges came up. The members of the Board went together and made a thorough examination of the bridges over the entire county. It was discovered that many of the small bridges over the creeks and streams were in bad condition. Many of them had been built out of wood that had to be repaired of rebuilt from time to time, which was a constant expense to the county. My father thought this was bad economy. There was an abundance of fine stone in all parts of the county. Why not build the bridges and culverts out of stone, constructed in the form of arches, thus having no wood whatever to decay and rot out? To this suggestion the other members of the Board fully agreed; and the building of stone arch bridges was a good and economical idea, as it would not cost much more to build out of stone than wood.
At the next regular monthly meeting of the Board it was agreed that from then on all small bridges and even some of the larger bridges should be of arch construction out of Decatur County limestone wherever it was at all feasible. The other two members of the Board agreed that as Mr. Miller had had considerable experience in such matters, he be chosen personally to look over and superintend the building and repair of all bridges in the county. My father set to work to build a number if one arch bridges over the small streams where the old wooden bridges were in a state of decay and unfit for public travel. He did these small jobs with a gang of men consisting of good stone cutters and stone masons who were well adapted and proficient in this class of work. In all cases plans and specifications were drawn by a competent engineer; and it was my father’s business to see that these plans were carried out. However, where the creek was so large that a bridge of more than one arch would be required, he would be advertised and let to the lowest bidder. But father would always stick to stone construction, and would never advise that bridges be built of wood or iron, for all the creeks and streams in the county. His old Dutch or German ideas were to build to build out of stone which would last for untold ages. He contended that iron and wood are both perishable, while stone arch bridges are beautiful and will last for many generations yet unborn. He has long since passed away, but many arch bridges still stand as monuments to his good judgment and unselfish labor while he was among the living.
The building of stone bridges became so popular on account of their durability and moderate cost of construction that scarcely any other material is now used in Decatur County. The large stone bridge that crosses Big Flatrock River on the entrance into the town of St. Paul was built completely out of stone with high stone parapets to protect the traveling public. This bridge has a series of five arches, all built out of beautiful blur limestone; and the foundation of each arch is securely imbedded in the solid rock that extends under the bottom of the river. This bridge is wide and commodious for automobile travel. I think it was constructed after my fathers term of office had expired; however, it is a fair example of many of the arch bridges that were built while he was a member of the Board of Commissioners. The New York Central Railroad bridge that crosses the river parallel with this bridge is built out of iron.

Monday, November 10, 2014

We are searching for any information on this fire truck.  This picture was donated and we have no information.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Eusebia Craven Stimson

While researching Eusebia Craven Stimson I finally discovered a picture to put with her story. Below you will find a picture of her and the source.
Eusebia Craven Stimson and her husband Rev. S. M. Stimson

https://archive.org/stream/indianabaptisthi00stot#page/328/mode/2up/search/328

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Eusebia Craven Stimson continued...



Although her memoir sounds happy, the Craven family story is a sad one. Eusebia Craven was born in Decatur County in 1846.  Her father was Hermon James Craven born in Indiana in 1816. Her mother Nancy Miller was born in Ohio in 1820, and was living in Hamilton County, Ohio in December 24, 1841 when they were married.   Eusebia’s parents lost one baby, Thomas J. Craven at 8 months of age in 1849. The cause of death is listed as flux (diarrhea). Mr. Craven died in January 1856 when Eusebia was just 10 years old.  Seven months later in August her brother Hermon James, Jr. died at the age of 1 month. Nancy Craven had been barely pregnant when her husband died. 
Gravestone of Hermon Craven at Sandcreek Cemetery
The baby boys deaths are marked on the second side of the Craven stone.

Eusebia had another brother, Martin who died at age 11. His gravestone states he drowned.  In fact, it may be that she describes his drowning in her story.  His death date is listed as December 19, 1864. It would be easy to see that he could have been the boy carried away by the “ice flood” in her memoir. Eusebia was educated at the Baptist Institute at Indianapolis, graduating in 1866 at the age of twenty.  She may not have actually been there the day her brother drowned.

After the death of her father, Eusebia’s mother Nancy was married again in July 1864, to a man from Shelby County who had lost his wife.  James W. B.  Tisdale was a Baptist minister and had a daughter named Susan who was just the right age for the Craven girls.  One can imagine that the girls attended the same school and that they met the Tisdales in that way. Rev. and Nancy Tisdale continued to live in Decatur County on the Craven farm located adjacent to the Sand Creek Cemetery.  The 1870 census lists James- age 60, Nancy age- 48, Eusebia Craven- age 23, Susan Tisdale- age 21, and Elizabeth Craven- age 18.  Lizzie died in the fall after the census was taken.  
The third side of the Craven stone lists Martin and Lizzie. Note that drowned is shown on the stone.
The census of 1880 shows Nancy Tisdale and Eusebia Craven living together with two boarders, James Young and George Young from Scotland.  These fellows probably helped on the farm. Reverend Tisdale had evidently died. Nancy Tisdale lists herself as widowed in 1880. I can find no trace of Susan Tisdale after 1870.

Happiness seems to have visited Eusebia in 1890 at the age of 54 years when she married Reverend Samuel Stimson, a well-known Baptist minister.  She was his third wife. They lived at the "pleasant, old fashioned home near Greensburg, surrounded by tall and stately trees" which her husband  her husband named “Cravinia Lodge”.
 https://archive.org/stream/genealogicalbiog02lewi#page/224/mode/2up


Rev. Stimson was twenty years older than Eusebia. They were only married for four years when the Reverend died of “neuralgia of the heart”.  Newspaper articles stated he was mourned by many.
In 1898, Eusebia’s mother died at the age of 78 years, leaving her as the only surviving member of her family.
Nancy Craven Tisdale's name is incorrect on the fourth side of the Craven stone

Eusebia Craven Stimson died in 1935 at age 89.  Her memoir published in this blog had been written when she was aged 87.
Reverend Stimson has a nice commemorative stone probably provided by his church

Here is another piece of information about the Craven ancestry from this source -
http://decatur.indianaheritage.com/index.php/biographies/46-biographies/107-samuel-m-stimson
The parents of Mrs. Stimson were prominent citizens of Greensburg, and a brief sketch of their lives will be of interest to the readers of this volume. Herman James Craven was born in Oxford, Ohio, December 10, 1815, his family being of English and Irish descent. Thomas Craven, the paternal grandfather, lived near Philadelphia in colonial days, and with his two sons took an active part in the Revolutionary war. Thomas Craven, one of his sons, was born near Philadelphia, found his way west and from Pittsburg floated down the Ohio river on a flatboat, landing at Cincinnati, then a small village. From there he went to Franklin county, Indiana, where he remained a short time, after which he entered and settled upon a farm near Oxford, Ohio. He had been for many years a teacher and preacher, and when forty-five years of age entered Miami University, completing the course of study five years later. Dr. Scott, the father-in-law of ex-President Benjamin Harrison, was at that time a professor in the university. In his early life Mr. Craven adhered to the faith of the Presbyterian church, but afterward united with the Baptist denomination, and to that church he devoted his earnest efforts for many years. He led a busy, useful life, being constantly engaged in doing good. He was an old-line Whig, with strong anti-slavery convictions, and the crowning act of his life was the founding of the Eleutherian College, in Jefferson county, Indiana, where students, without regard to race or color, could be educated together. He died at that place in 1860, when sixty-eight years of age. His wife was Rebecca Selfridge, and they had ten children.
Herman J. Craven, father of Mrs. Stimson, was reared upon his father's farm, near Oxford, Ohio, and when thirty years of age removed to Decatur county, Indiana, and purchased a farm of more than two hundred acres, one mile southeast of Greensburg, on the old historic pike. This land had few or no improvements, but with the thrift and industry which characterized his entire life Mr. Craven began the task of clearing and cultivating the place and continued his efforts until it became a productive and valuable farm. He began life without capital, but acquired a handsome fortune and became an influential and honored citizen. In those days the labor that devolved upon the farmer was much greater than it is at present, from the fact that there were no railroads and all products of the soil had to be hauled by teams to market; and the nearest market to Mr. Craven was Cincinnati.
Mr. Craven was very active in church work, both at Sand Creek and in Greensburg, where he served for many years as deacon and in other official positions. He was a leader in and liberal supporter of all religious and philanthropic movements in the neighborhood. Like his father, and indeed all the members of his family, he was a pronounced anti-slavery man and was one of the most willing workers on the "underground railroad," a term scarcely understood by the present generation. By this arrangement slaves who escaped from their masters and were successful in reaching a free state were passed along at night from the home of one anti-slavery man to another until they could enter Canada, after which they were safe. It required a bold and courageous spirit to thus defy the law of the land and render oneself liable to its penalties by aiding the poor blacks; but Mr. Craven was fearless where right and duty to his fellow men were concerned, and many a poor, trembling fugitive had cause to bless him for his chance to become a free man. He did not live to see the downfall of slavery, his death occurring in 1856; but it was the never ceasing protest of such men as he that bore fruit in the Emancipation Proclamation.
Mr. Craven was married to Nancy Martin, who was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, near Cincinnati, and they became the parents of five children, but all died before reaching maturity with the exception of Mrs. Stimson.
 




Monday, October 13, 2014

Nancy Tisdale was Eusebia Cravens' mother.  This 1870's map shows the area as it was in Eusebia's time.

Eusebia Craven(s) Stimson

This blog post is a reprint from a 1933 article in the Bulletin, a publication by the Historical Society of Decatur County.  Please remember that these descriptions are from prior to the railroad coming to Decatur County.  They are memories of the 1850's and 1860's in our community.  Memories describe the area prior to the St. Mary's Catholic Church being built and before 421 South was a finished highway.  I hope you find it as interesting as I do. Please post any questions below.  I will follow this post with more on the writer of this article. 



At the request of the officers of the Decatur County Historical Society, I am describing some pictures which have been hanging on memories’ walls for a long time.  I shall not pretend to be accurate always as to dates.  In my present state of age, blindness, and weakness, it would not be possible – but perhaps even in this rushing era someone will like to pause a little while and listen how things seemed in the forties, fifties and etc.   Hoping to please those who care to listen, I shall begin with the evolution of the Michigan Road.  This road may be said to start of Greensburg at the old court house and jail which stood in the southeast corner of the Court House Park.   The long white two story brick Moss house was on the left and just where the road turned south was the low Black-smith’s shop.  No more buildings on the left, but where the railroad now crosses was the ancient graveyard.  On the right was the house of the carding machine where wool was made into rolls.  I think a log house – then country began. The clay hill on the right was cut down to grade the road as it went into little Sand creek.  There were beech trees growing on either side of the road, and up, up, up the teams pulled to the top of the hill.  There were more beech trees, only two dwellings on the left –none on the right but trees, trees, trees. Clay banks on either side and down another longer hill the team plunged across the waters of Sand creek, which often reached to the wagon wheel hubs. 

Up the high steep hill, then there were several small hills with little ravines or brooks to be crossed between.  At the end of a mile and a half -- a level mile was reached --then more steep hills  -- three pairs of them --  and the sparkling waters of “Cobb’s Fork” between the last pair --  more little hills --  and at the end of four miles – “Slab Town” – not a loose stone to be seen – clay soil everywhere and beech forests on either side interspersed with a few homes.  It was such an event to come to Greensburg – sitting on a little rocking chair in the big wagon bed to watch the prancing black team plunge through the water – down and up the hills – till the big stream was reached.  The team could hardly wait till Father walked out on the wagon tongue – lowered the rein and let them drink to their fill of the cold clear water.  But oh! That clay soil.  The summer dust was deep and flew in clouds behind every passing wagon – but the worst trouble came with winter rains and freezes.  There were at least six mud holes between my home and town, through which it was impossible to draw wagons sometimes for days.  Horseback riding for both men and women was practiced and horses stepped carefully on the road side often emitting a loud sucking sound as they drew their feet from the mud.  Then freezing stiffened the ruts and footprints into hard bumps and travel was rough.  Sometime in the late forties or fifties some progressive spirits conceived the idea of using surplus trees to improve the situation, and what had been “corduroy” or whole logs to fill the low swampy places was supplanted by a continuous plank road to lead from Madison to Greensburg.  How long this was in building I do not know but it furnished work for hundreds of Irish people and was stopped unfinished on the hill where what was called “Foley’s Lane” came in from the south.  In the summer of 1852, on top of the hill on the right stood a group of perhaps eight or ten one room shanties in which the workers, wives and children lived.  They were a jolly bunch.  When work was done but when whiskey was indulged in freely there was hilarity and often bloody quarrels.  The unfinished plank road did not give satisfaction.  The trees were gone and repairs could not be kept up.  Some one thought of stone and gravel and then we got the Greensburg to Layton’s Mill Pike.  Scores of workmen with plows and patient oxen graded down the steeper hills, hauled the broken stones and spread the surface with gravel.  Timber bridges and culverts crossed the streams and brooks, but this did not take place until the late sixties.  First there was the Indian trail from Madison which town in those days rivaled Cincinnati in importance.  Trees on either side of the trail were marked by the ax or blazed, as it was called.  The roadway cleared sixty feet wide and hemmed in by rail fences called worm fences.  Sometimes a post and rail fence in front of a home, then the attempted plank road followed by stone and gravel and then the concrete highway called “29”.  First a trail then a road then a pike now a highway. How strange it would seem now to have no railroads with their frequent trains for passengers or freight, but people drove with private teams from place to place.  The journey from Indianapolis to Cincinnati by old stage coach occupied two days.  After spending the night in the old tavern opposite the jail, the four horse vehicle rolled out, the second day on “29” as far as Napoleon, where it turned to the left and proceeded to Cincinnati.

After farm work was done in the fall, farmers often took their families back to Ohio or Kentucky to visit those left in the old home, thus, antedating the passenger trains with wagons or horseback riding.  There was stock to be sold and grain to be hauled to market.  The latter was driven to Madison or Cincinnati.  It was a common sight to look out and see a large herd of cattle driven by men walking.  In the rear were wagons drawn by teams.  When any of the fat porkers were too tired to continue the hundred mile journey, they were lifted into the wagons and hauled to the end.  Flocks of turkeys also sometimes were driven to market and found their own sleeping places in trees by the way side.  For the accommodations of all these travelers there were taverns.  The first on “29” was on the hilltop on the left, beyond little Sand creek.  The tall posts on the roadside had a square frame on top in which was a swinging sign with the name of the tavern keeper, “R. Smith”.  About a mile beyond on the same side of the road was the “Ross Tavern”, a little larger in size but both alike in shape, one part a story and a half in height with a smaller one story addition on the end.  The latter in the Ross Tavern (or hotel) was used for a kitchen and dining room.  The large lower room of the other part was filled with beds.  A huge fireplace upstairs, the half story also had beds.  Travelers in those days had their jokes and fun for the low ceiling of this room had been covered with decorations made with smoking candles on white walls.  Some were names, initials or pictures.  Beyond this was a log tavern.  Still further was a brick building called the “Cobb Tavern”.  Almost every mile furnished sleeping accommodations for the weary travelers, and the landladies of these taverns established reputations for fine biscuits, fried ham, sausage, and plenty of strong coffee.  The bedsteads were of beautiful cherry wood varnished two posts at the head, beautifully turned, with a round ball at the top reaching to about our chin in height.  These posts were united by a beautifully shaped headboard.  The foot posts were a little lower and not so ornamental.  On the upper side of the square rails which united head and foot were driven pegs three or four inches apart and the bed cords were around from side to side.  On this foundation of cords was laid a strongly made tick filled with straw over which were spread the sheets, quilts, blankets, and coverlets.  For warmth and softness the feather bed on top of the straw was used.  The charge for accommodations at these taverns was nothing compared to the prices now asked for a place to sleep and eat.  Dwellings were few, only the tavern and the Dr.’s home between the two Sand creeks.  The next two houses on the opposite sides of the road were built of logs.  After passing the second tavern were two frame houses with log stables and cribs.  The Sandcreek Baptist Church with the beginning of a little graveyard came next and a vacant mile was passed before the next frame house in a locust grove with its log out-buildings.  On past the next log tavern, the first country school house was reached and a low brick dwelling which had replaced the log house on the roadside until the Cobb Tavern was reached.  This was a most pretentious building for the times, of brick.  Later the brick home of James b. Foley was built.  It was a great event for James B. Foley was to become our congressman.  He lived on the Michigan Road and called his home “Locust  Grove”.  It was perhaps the first country residence to have a name.
The Sandcreek church was one of the few which had a frame building.  It had no foundation, but was set upon stone pillars high enough above the ground to accommodate the hogs which were allowed to run in the road to find comfortable sleeping quarters underneath.  These swine were not always quiet sleepers and the sermon of the preacher or the singing of the congregation did not always blend harmoniously with the squealing underneath.  Sheep when they went into that same bedroom were more quiet.  There was no fence around the church premises and the wagons loaded with worshippers were driven under the shade of the walnut or beech trees.  Before the house had been built, there had been one immense tree on the lot which had fallen and laid there for years.  The trunk of this tree where it left the stump was nearly as high as a horse’s back.  The log was a great convenience to the women horseback riders who attended the church services.  The horses were guided to the log and the riders stepped from their saddles upon it.  These horses often carried a double load and it was one of my childish enjoyments to sit behind the saddle and take part in this alighting performance.  There were monthly services in the old church, and nearly always a protracted meeting once a year which often continued for weeks with two services daily, a morning service for singing and sermons at early candlelight.  How those voices rang, all singing one part one part without the aid of any sort of instrument.  There was a Sunday school in the summer and one of the first superintendents was Abel Withrow who was also the county jailer.  He was a fine singer, but there were no Sunday school songs or tunes in those days.  “ There is a Happy Land Far Away” was one of the first to be learned.  The memorizing was one of the tasks.  It was a proud day when I stood before the school and repeated the first five chapters of Matthew, and later when the kind-hearted jailer made me the proud possessor of a box containing a large plant of purple blooming aster.  My cup of happiness was full. 

After the morning church services in those days there was social time enjoyed during which those living near the meeting house extended friendly invitations to those who had driven farther, to come into the nearby homes and share the noon day meal, much of which had been prepared the day before.  There were mince or fruit pies, molasses cookies and fried crullers, loaves of salt rising bread, weighing two or three pounds, always ready.  Then perhaps there was baked chicken, turkey or ham.  Sometimes this menu was exchanged for piping hot cornbread or biscuits and if butchering was just over there would be fresh sausage or ham with head cheese and pickled pig’s feet.  All this topped with hot custard pies.  The men sat around the fireplace and discussed church and neighborhood news.  The children played on the porch or front yard until they were called to set the chairs to the table in the big kitchen where the women visitors had assisted the hostess in lifting the smoking bread, meats and mashed potatoes and boiling coffee ready for the meal. 

The preacher had joined one or other of these dinner parties, his ministerial air and voice were laid aside to take part in the jokes and hearty laughter in the home. During protracted meetings the conducting preachers spent their nights in the nearest home because they disliked long open air rides after preaching or a change of beds.  For the noon day meal they went farther away and spent the afternoon calling upon people whom they wanted to talk religion with.  The church building had its high boxed pulpit in the front end between the two front doors.  Men entered the right hand door, women the left hand.  On either side were a few seats paralleling the pulpit on which sat the older brethren or sisters, those who were afflicted with deafness or vociferous piety which they proclaimed in their loud singing or hearty amens. (Alas amen corners have them no more.)

Midway in the side rows of seats there was a vacant space in which the immense heating stoves with their long pipes gave warmth to the room. Between the aisles was a double row of seats, against the dividing partition.  Much of the neighborhood courting was done in the rear of that room.  Side by side against this division sat the lover and his sweetheart.  Another common sight was the father with his boys sitting on the one side and the mother with her girls on the other.  Often the younger tots became restless and wanted to exchange the lap of the mother for the knee of the father, and the parents made the transfer during the singing of the hymn.
It was a trial to the self-conscious to walk up the front steps alone and down the long aisle encountering the gaze of the congregation, and sometimes there was waiting outside for a group to collect the boldest of which would go first.  Un-curtained windows gave an abundance of daylight and often too much sunshine.  Four beautiful white fluted columns supported the roof.  The ceiling followed the sloping of the roof and left only about half of it flat in the center.  On the white posts were hung candleholders, and also upon the casings of the rear windows, but candlelight was dim.  Five of the preachers who stood in that pulpit lie in the old burying ground.  Some of them were long and some short; the short ones increased their height by standing on a box so they could read from the open pulpit Bible and be better seen by the congregation.  The old building was deserted for the new one , built by the membership miles further out on number “29” and after standing in the empty gloominess for years it was torn down and its timbers used to construct dwelling houses. 


It was a long dusty hot walk for some of the children to attend summer school at Clemmons school house, or perhaps another summer school in the old log meeting house down the Madison road.  A later summer term of school I attended was in the old Seminary in Greensburg.  There was a readjustment of districts in the late fifties.  A frame school house was perched on the right hand hill top beyond Sand creek.   Call it the hill of science if you like. One of its teachers certainly was a personality.  Disobedience was punished by staying in at recess, holding out at arm’s length a board, being called to the front seat, or standing with the face to the wall.  More boys than girls received punishment.  Sometimes the whole school received  a high voiced reprimand during which the teacher strode back and forth behind his desk and shook his fists.  The smaller students in front trembled in their seats, but the larger ones in the back desks shot back blazing glances.  The holiday vacation was preceeded by a treat. One eccentric teacher distributed a stick of pink and white candy, two sugar kisses, and six raisins to each pupil.  This district school had an ideal playground for winter sports; coasting down the hill on sleds, skating on the frozen ice of the creek, or vigorously snowballing were enjoyed by the both boys and girls. 

I have spoken of transportation on the road prior to the coming of the railroad.  After a few trains had been established on that and a local stock yard started, buyers collected the cattle and hogs from the farms, drove them into it and loaded them upon freight trains which carried them to distant markets.  One long familiar sight on “29” was the loaded wagons of cord wood which punctually passed between nine and ten a.m. with its supply of fuel for the town.  Sometimes a dozen of these reams were in one train.  Number “29” lost two dwellings by destructive fires; one a frame on the Madison road corner, the other the brick home at “Locust Grove”.    There have also been tragedies.  A school boy was shaken from the foot log by the ice flood and carried down the stream to his death while the horrified pupils stood helpless on the banks.  One dark stormy night, two neighbors were returning from delivering stock in town and their frightened, blinded team plunged from the bridge on Cobb’s Fork to rocky bottom below with death to teams and men.  Sometimes there were exciting runaways.  Once a thirsty team of oxen left the road and plunged in deep water.  There was also frequent excitement when men had lingered too long in the saloon of the town.  A few of these on their homeward journey made night hideous with yells, singing and profanity.  Once a party of these riding in a spring wagon, both men and women had this experience.  One of the number sat on the back seat and swayed back and forth with the motion of the wagon.  It struck a stone and and the jolt threw the reeling man under the wheels which passed over him.  One woman screamed, “Oh! Jake, he fell out.”  The others looked , echoed the words and finally stopped the team.  Two of the soberer ones got out and went back to the prostrate “lump”.  A woman who had seen the whole performance offered a two gallon bucket of water and cup to aid in his revival.  They poured the water over his head .  In a quarter of an hour, his first thick words were, “I’m cool enough now.  I’m all right” and they lifted him and rolled him into the wagon.  At present homes are close together.  Four or five have filled the vacant places between and the solitary ones of those days.  For many miles in the county not a living descendent of those ‘40’s and ‘50’s has a home.