I was born in Pleasant Valley, Duchess County, New York, September 30, 1821. My parents were Abraham Flagler and Sarah Thorne. My father was a farmer, a quiet, sincere, Godly man, an elder in the Presbyterian Church and during the family life here in Pleasant Valley, active in church work, going out holding cottage prayer meetings at the neighboring homes. He had a good voice, led the singing in church, and taught his children to sing. He was of Dutch descent; his father, Zecheriah Flagler, being one of two sons, (Simon and Zecheriah) of a family who emigrated from Holland to Duchess County, New York, when Zecheriah was but four years old.
Abraham Flagler was a widower with a family of seven children when he married the widow Mrs. Sarah Sellick, my mother. Her maiden name was Sarah Thorne. She had married John Sellick the Christmas Eve succeeding her twentieth birthday, December 24, 1803, and spent three years of wedded life with him. Two little daughters, Mary Ann and Harriet, they had when in 1806 John Sellick died. In November of 1811 Mary Ann died. On January 5th of that year (1811) the young widow of twenty-eight had become the wife of Abraham Flagler, then a man of forty-two with a family of seven children, the youngest, Morgan, being but four years old.
Something I must say here of my mother. She was in appearance, short and rather stout, with dark hair and eyes. But I never saw her hair without the inevitable cap, worn then by even youthful married women. She was energetic, a great worker. She spun on the little wheel the flax for the household linen, and on the big wheel the wool for blankets and the stockings which she was always knitting when no other work claimed her time. She was very saving, and always trying to help about the family income, for my father, though a hard-working man of strict integrity, had not the knack of getting on. Indeed, the bringing up of two large families (the first of seven children, the second of six) would have taxed most men even in those simple times. There were only four at home of first family when she married the second time.
My mother was most of all distinguished by her devout spirit. Indeed the atmosphere of the home was intensely religious. Family worship was never omitted, and both parents were very strict about the observance of the Sabbath. Even letter-writing was forbidden on that day. The tone of thought and speech of those early days can be best realized from the yellow old letters, a few of which have been preserved. Though these date later than the life in Pleasant Valley, it may be well to insert extracts here to complete a picture of my parents before I pass on to my own remembrances.
My parents lived in Pleasant Valley until I was about three years old when they removed to a farm in the town of Ulysses, about seven miles from Ithica and near Cayuga Lake. This lake was not in view from the house, but it must have been quite near. The trees intercepted the view from the windows, but I remember seeing the water from the yard of a neighbor when I was taken on a call by my mother. And when going to see a schoolmate down the road the other way Martha and I were cautioned not to go near the water. Martha obeyed, but the schoolmate went out on a log projecting over the water and I crept venturously after her.
This farm was a rented one. The house was a log cabin, one room downstairs with a great fireplace, and the family bed in a corner of the room. My sister Amelia was born in this room. She slept with father and mother in the big bed; Martha and I in the trundle bed kept underneath.
The family was now all father's second flock; the older children by the first marriage were then out in the world for themselves. Maria (Mrs. Lattin) and her husband and their five children were then living in Pleasant Valley.
Harriet, mother's daughter by her first husband, was like an own sister to us. She had a millinery shop in Ithica, and Eunice was with her learning the trade. Those at home were: Thomas, Elizabeth, Sarah, Martha and Amelia.
We lived on this farm four years; then father was chosen overseer of the poor, keeper of the poorhouse. A new poorhouse, a frame building, was then being put up and was not quite done, so we moved into another similar log-house between this farm and the unfinished poorhouse.
While we were living in this second log-house, Maria Lattin, her husband and five children, made us a visit on their way to a new home in the "Far West"--Monroe County, New York. They stayed some time with us in this home of one room downstairs and one room above.
While we lived in this house sister Harriet (Sellick) was married to William Chapman, a printer of Oxford. He printed the Oxford weekly paper. He used to go to visit her at the millinery shop at Ithica, and if she happened to be home he would drive out to the farm, often bringing with him some small book for the children. Books and papers were not then abundant and commonplace articles as they are now, so this was a great treat. One of them, 'New York Cries", I well remember, street cries being such a strange thing to the country children.
Harriet was not married from the log-house, but from the nice frame home of Uncle Amos, mother's brother, who lived not far away.
Thomas was not contented to stay on the farm so he persuaded his father to let him go to Oxford where he boarded with his sister and learned the printing business with his new brother-in-law. He was both saving and energetic. Years before when he was under twelve he had worked in a tannery and then saved about ten dollars which mother put in the bank for him. While a young lad in the Pleasant Valley home he had a strong desire to go to New York City which was but a short trip down the Hudson. He took the boat ride with some friends who were going. In his pocket he had eighteen cents of his own earning to spend in the big city. He saw many things he wanted but came back with the sum unbroken in his purse.
About a year after Harriet was married, her husband went to Toledo where he had a brother. He left the business in his partner's care. (This partner's name was Mack, but he was not the Erastus Mack who afterwards married into our family.) Thomas remained as compositor, but Harriet left her Oxford home and took this chance of making a visit to her mother. She had with her baby, Harriet, now Mrs. H. E. Wilcox, and they stayed all winter in the superintendent's house. While Mr. Chapman was west his partner died, but Thomas went right on with the business. He was then about eighteen.
We lived four years in the Superintendent's house. Father superintended the farm, the inmates doing the labor. Mother had charge of the house and I well remember her going about from room to room, knitting-work in hand, for she knit all our stockings, to see that all were employed. She was very industrious herself, and disliked to see anyone idle.
While we lived here Eunice was working in a millinery shop in Truemansburg. She was bright and humorous, and perhaps the best looking of the family. She was married to Erastus Mack whose father had a farm nearby and with whom she had gone to school. She came to the superintendent's house to be married. Her husband was a hatter by trade.
I do not remember when I learned to read, but I learned to write while we lived in the superintendent's house. One of the inmates with more education than most of them taught the children of the institution in the dining room each day, and I still hold my pen the way he taught me.
We moved from the superintendent's house in the spring, and I was eleven the succeeding fall. Father had received $400 salary. He now rented a farm at Galen near Clyde on the canal. This was the first time I had seen the Erie Canal which was then quite a new enterprise, and one that was of great importance. While we lived here one of the neighbors went on a week's journey and left his five cows in our care. With so much extra milk mother borrowed their cheese press and made cheese. She was always trying in every little or big way to help along with the family expenses.
At this time of our childhood Amelia and I were great friends with Clarissa Angell who lived up a long hill. Every day about four o'clock we saw the stage toiling up that long hill, and I remember one day as we trudged in the hot sun to visit our playmate the stage came along empty. The driver called out "Hello, little girls, jump in." And very willingly we obeyed, and rode up the hill in state. Eunice came to visit us while we lived here in Galen and I recollect how fine I thought my sister was dressed. The Siamese twins were being exhibited in Clyde at that time and of course everybody was curious to see them. There were not many shows in those days. Father, mother, Elizabeth and Eunice went, but I was left at home. After all these years that staying home is remembered.
Thomas was now in Oxford, and Martha was with sister Harriet in the same town. Thomas persuaded father that it was not worth while for him to work a farm and make so little; that he had better come to Oxford and give the girls a chance to go to school. I had gone to a country school a mile away during the summer we lived in the superintendent's house, but had no schooling in the winter.
In the fall of 1832 we moved to Oxford, a long journey by wagon, taking more than one day. I remember that I had heard that they had no peaches in Oxford as it was colder there, and I carried a peach in my hand all the way to my sister Martha.
At Oxford we rented a house and boarded Thomas, his two "boys" - apprentices, and had two other boarders. Elizabeth, Martha and I were to attend school. This school, the Academy, was not free, and the fees for two were as much as father could afford to pay. So I did not go to school the first winter. Afterwards an arrangement was made by which I had my tuition free by sweeping and dusting the "Ladies Room" of the Academy. The Academy had three departments; Primary in the basement; Ladies, on the first floor, and gentlemen, second story. The one year I had at this school when between twelve and thirteen years old constituted the main part of my education. There was a bookstore in connection with the printing office in which Thomas was at work, and he allowed us to take home books to read out of the stock. Of course we had to be very careful not to soil or injure them. We learned considerable from the reading of these books, and sister Elizabeth took a great deal of interest in the education of her young sisters. In later years she taught us when she was home, in vacations, and between the different terms of her schools. Before we left Oxford she had obtained a position as a teacher in one of the neighboring district schools, and thus began the teaching she continued until her marriage.
While we lived in Oxford, we had the first cook-stove I ever saw. The oven was directly over the firebox, so that it was in the way of boiling anything, and mother had great difficulty in boiling the clothes on wash day in a big kettle set on top of the oven. There were no washboards in those days; the clothes were rubbed between the hands. Mother had a pounding-barrel and a pounder to help in getting them clean. The wringer had not been heard of. I remember in those days helping dip candles. We did not have a candle-mould; that was a later improvement. The cotton wicking was dipped into the melted tallow. After one tallow candle had been dipped, and hung to cool another and another followed till the first lot were cool enough to be given another dip. It was a day's job to dip the candles; but they were necessary, furnishing all the artificial light we had.
While we lived in Oxford my eyes began to trouble me. When cold weather came, I had inflammation of the eyes, and from those days to now I have always had weak eyes. The doctor was called and the first thing was to bleed me; a plaster on the back of the neck and a dose of calomel were other approved remedies.
Eunice' husband, Mack, was a hatter, living at Oswego. He became anxious to go West, meaning to Western New York, because his cousin, Lyman Spaulding in Lockport, was always writing for him to come there. He sold his business and started; he came first to Oxford and left the two children, Libbie and Addie with us while he and Eunice went on. When he came back for them he brought a bunch of grapes, the first I had ever seen. (Notation here says--24 years old.)
He was very anxious father should move West, too, and all winter they kept writing to us to come before the snow went off. Finally Thomas sold out his interest in the paper, and the store, and we started, seven of us in a sleigh. The first night we put up with Cousin Caroline Hopkins near Ithica, the second with Uncle Amos Thorne at Romulus at the head of Seneca Lake. That night mother was sick, and not able to go on. So in the morning father started, leaving her behind. We were at Batavia on March 4th, Amelia's birthday, 1836.
I had seen Lockport earlier than this, for one summer while we lived in Galin father had taken me with him on a visit to the Lattins. He liked to take a trip somewhere each year between haying and harvest.
On our arrival at Lockport we went at once to the farm of the Lattins on Chestnut Ridge; this farm was afterwards owned by Seneca Foote. At that time the house was log with a frame addition.
At this time, Miss Huldah Barrett was visiting her relatives, the Spauldings, and Mrs. Dean, Mrs. Spaulding's sister, and was often at Mack's. Thus Thomas became acquainted with the lady he afterwards married.
When we moved on the Chestnut Ridge farm, the Halls were our nearest neighbors. Of course, there were no matches in those days, and fires had to be covered to be kept over night, and lights struck with tinder box. Mrs. Hall sent their boy over with a shovel of coals to light our first fire.
Nearly opposite our home was a M.E. chapel the noise from which at meeting time greatly annoyed my father. They had a revival that winter, and I attended the meetings and was converted. I dreaded to speak to my father of my desire to join the Methodists, but when I did so he said he was resolved never to interfere with any wish of his children to join any orthodox church.
We lived on the Ridge about two and a half years. During this time Elizabeth became acquainted with Daniel Hall. Elizabeth taught us at home every chance she had, and she was constantly studying herself to fit herself for higher positions. She taught her younger sister something of grammar, history, arithmetic, astronomy, snatches of botany, etc. She taught in various schools, Lower Lockport, Yates Center, etc. While we lived here I had very sore eyes, so much worse than I had in Oxford that my parents feared I would lose my sight. They sent me to an Eye Infirmary at Scottsville, about fifty miles from Rochester. The price of board for three months was $25, and Doctor's fee was also $25. This made a serious drain on the family purse. While at Scottsville I became acquainted with Prudence Dexter, a girl from Michigan who roomed with me. We grew fond of each other, and when I went home, we corresponded for a time but postage was twenty-five cents a letter and it was too expensive to keep up the acquaintance. Years after when I was married I heard of her from Electra Davis, my sister-in-law who was her neighbor in Michigan, and whose son had gone to war with the son of my old time friend.
While we lived on Chestnut Ridge my father's sister, Margaret Reynolds from Canada, visited us. Her husband was a Tory during the Revolution and went to Canada for that reason. Mother's sister Mary Smith, with her daughter, Amelia Smith, then a girl of about fifteen or sixteen, visited us. It was after this cousin Amelia Smith that mother named her youngest daughter Amelia. The son William Smith afterward visited us, coming from New Orleans, his home. At the time of that visit Thomas was home, recovering from a severe attack of typhoid fever and I remember hearing the two young men talk of the long journey up the Mississippi River.
Sister Harriet, too, came from Oxford with her youngest child, and when she went back she took Martha home with her. Martha was very ill there, and in the fall Elizabeth went after her. They traveled back from Utica on the canal.
The winter after I had been treated at Scottsville, I took cold in my eyes, and had another attack of inflammation. Father brought me to Lockport to stay at Eunice's and have the doctor see me. The first thing as was the custom he wanted to bleed me, but there were so many scars on the right arm he could not open a vein there, but he bled me on the left arm and so thoroughly that I nearly fainted and they had to carry me to the bed. He left a dose of calomel for me which sister Eunice thought so excessive that she threw half of it out the window. I never had leeches applied though they talked of it, but while I was being doctored in Oxford I was cupped. I heard them talking of what they must do, and I slipped out of the room and hid in a box of bedding, and they had a hard time to find me. It is not much wonder the child fled, for what the cupping meant was to cut thirteen gashes on the forehead near the temple and cover with a glass to catch the blood.
While we were living on the Ridge Thomas was going up to Buffalo every week or so to visit Miss Barrett who made her home there with her sister Mrs. Lee. Her father was living in Glens Falls, but he had married a second wife, and Miss Barrett spent most of her time with her sister in Buffalo, visiting in Lockport occasionally. Thomas was the main support of his father, mother, and sisters, and it seemed best that we should all come to Lockport to live as father was too old to work the farm without hired help. Mack thought Thomas might as well marry and the family be together as for him to board in town and be so often visiting in Buffalo. So when he was in the city he talked the matter over with the young lady; she assented and they went out to a Baptist minister and were married. This was August 27, 1838. Thomas was then nearly twenty-eight, and had been since a mere youth the stay of the whole family.
In the early winter of this same year we moved to town, the farm having been exchanged for the Lockport printing office. We first lived on Gooding Street. At this time it was very rough and open, as it had been a stone quarry, and many boulders and slabs of stone were in the road. At night when Thomas came late from the printing office he carried a lantern. He brought his wife right into the family. I used to go over this un-even road to the Methodist prayer-meetings, but I had the company of neighbors, the "Allen girls". Lucia Allen was afterwards Mrs. Felding. The other Miss Allen became Mrs. Budlong.
From the house on Gooding Street we moved to one on old Main Street. After two years or so, Thomas bought a house on Walnut Street next to where my daughter Hattie years after lived.
After moving from the farm Elizabeth taught the winter school on the Ridge and boarded with Thomas Hall who then lived in the small log house near his father's new home. It was after this school term that Daniel Hall called on Elizabeth in town and the family learned that he had paid her attention and made her an offer which she had declined. By this time Amelia was a member of Eunice's family, remaining there from the time she was eleven years old until she was twenty-five.
While the family were living on old Main Street my cousin Henry Flagler, a hardware merchant of Lockport, wanted me to come and live with them and help his wife with her household duties as I was not really needed at home. This cousin Henry's father was Soloman, an older brother of my father. His wife whom I called Cousin Jane was before marriage, Jane Adriance. They had two children, Dewitt and Jane. I was always fond of Cousin Jane who was somewhat younger than I. We kept up the friendship in after life and until her death which occurred while I was living on Mulberry Street. She married a Mr. Adriance herself and thus acquired her mother's maiden name. Her children were Eugenia and Eliza. While I stayed with cousin Jane Flagler I received five shillings a week for my services. During my stay there Isaac Flagler the brother of Henry, a Presbyterian minister came on a visit and was in the home for several weeks while he was seeking another pulpit. He had his family with him. The daughter Caroline, or as we always called her, Carrie, slept with me, and we became well acquainted. The son, Henry M. Flagler, is the present Standard Oil magnate (pres. Florida East Coast Railway).
While I was at Cousin Jane's mother received word that sister Harriet was so ill she could not live long; she had consumption. Of course, mother hurried down to Oxford. In June the word came that Harriet had passed away. She left four children, the oldest, Harriet (Wilcox) then nine and the youngest two years old. The father William Chapman wanted Martha who had been much with her sister Harriet in Oxford to come and take care of the children. But father had to send back word that Martha was not now fit for the task as she had just had an epileptic fit, the first of many succeeding seizures and was liable to one at any time. It was then suggested that I should go to Oxford. I was younger, not eighteen until the fall, and not as capable for owing to my sore eyes I had never done much sewing and could not keep the children's wardrobes in order as Martha could. Beside the little folks were not nearly as well acquainted with me. But it was decided that I should go.
My father put me on the canal boat and paid my fare to Rochester. I was to meet there a Quakeress, a friend of William Chapman and go the rest of the way with her. When I got to Rochester the Captain came and asked me to pay my fare. I told him my father paid it before we started. After some discussion he yielded, and then sent one of his hands with my trunk, a small one, on his shoulder to the place where I was to meet Cynthia Arnold. She had a buggy, open topped, by which she was travelling. We had no parasols and it was July, so the heat of the sun was uncomfortable. We did not stop at any hotel on our way as my companion had friends all along the route. We stayed at one house for dinner and had a good visit, and at another we stopped for the night and had more talk. When we reached Cayuga Lake the ferry boat was on the other side and we did not know how we were to cross. While she stayed with the horse I went to a house nearby to ask directions. I found them at family prayers and waited. This delayed me so that Cynthia came to see what was the matter. The people told us how to put up a signal and then the ferry boat came across for us. On Friday night when we stayed at the home of some kindly Quaker, I was taken sick, probably from riding all the week in the sun. I could not get up and they had to send for a doctor and we spent several days before I was well enough to continue the trip.
I reached Oxford safely and took up my duties in my brother-in-law's home. He had a housekeeper, Nancy Smith who had been long with the family and was tried and trusted. I taught the children, having a little school in an upper room where there was a stove so we could heat it in the winter. Another child came, too. I think she paid a dollar and a quarter for the schooling.
When I went to the centennial of the Oxford Academy I met this old time scholar of mine. Brother William was an earnest Methodist, a class-leader, and his class met at his house on Friday evening. In May of the next year he married another devoted Methodist, Sarah Lowe, whom we knew well in the church. They were married at her sister's home in Oxford, and went to New York for a trip. On coming back she went to work to get the children's clothes ready for a trip to Lockport. They were going to take me back home and also the whole family, the four children to see their grandmother.
We took this trip in a covered carriage with three seats. There were the father, mother, four children, the housekeeper, Nancy Smith, who only went about twenty miles to the relatives with whom she was to stay while the house was shut up, and myself. We only made one call on the way and that was on Miss Maria Hyde who had been my teacher in the Academy and was an intimate friend of the new Mrs. Chapman.
The Chapmans made their visit to all the Lockport friends and returned, leaving me at home with my parents in the house on old Main Street.
It was in the early summer of 1840 that I left Oxford which I was not to see again until the Centennial celebration of the Academy. Either the first or second Sunday after my return I met my first lover, Mr. Harris. I went to the M.E. church and was going home, walking with the daughter of the Sheriff who lived on our street. Our house was near where the old court house stood. This young man joined us and she introduced him to me; after leaving her at her door he continued to walk alone with me until I was home. After this he took to calling very frequently about every day and at all hours, morning, noon, and night. People began to make fun of him for he made himself ridiculous. One day the minister's wife, Mrs. Steele, (mother of Norman Steele, author of scientific books) came to our house just from an interview with Harris. She was so overcome with laughter she could not speak at first, just sank into a chair and laughed till she could get her breath. He asked me to go with him to Pen Yan where his mother lived and my sister Elizabeth was teaching school. He would take me to visit her, but as it was more than one day's journey such a trip was out of the question. He was a pious young man, a tailor, and we remained friends after I had given him to understand his calls were not acceptable. Later he married a young woman in Syracuse. She was in our church, and I became well acquainted with her.
This was the year of an excited presidential election campaign for Tippicanoe and Tyler too. On what is now the little park near the Erie Station a log cabin was put up and political meeting held in it.
This summer some of the school trustees looking for a teacher for the school at Warren's Corners came to the printing office and as I wanted to teach they were sent up to the house. The examined me then and there, gave me my certificate and the school. I began teaching with a salary of $1.50 a week and my board. I boarded around but kept my trunk at the trustee's house which was near the school. I began school at nine in the morning and taught till four in the afternoon, the hours I had been accustomed to, but there was dissatisfaction; after a time I learned that I was not teaching long enough hours, not complying with the country custom. I did not teach the term out as whooping cough broke up the school.
I think I must have walked back to town, for I did not have my trunk taken home till afterwards, and then it met with an adventure. My brother Thomas drove out, taking me in his buggy to get the trunk. As we returned and were on the long steep hill between Lower and Upper Town Gooding St. something got loose, frightening the horse, who broke away and was gone in a flash, leaving us sitting in the buggy with no one in sight. After a time a man in a wagon drove along, and helped us out of our plight by hitching the buggy behind his wagon and thus we arrived home with the trunk. The next morning the horse stood at the stable door.
In the fall of this year I heard that a select school in Lower Town required an assistant teacher, and I applied and got the place. The school was on Garden Street, and both the Lattins on the same street and the Birdsalls, on Chapel street, I thought of for a boarding place as I could not go from High street or Walnut back and forth conveniently, but neither of the families wanted to take me. I knew Mr. Ballou, who was the superintendent of the Sunday School, and knew his daughter Artemesia, very well. So I went to see if I could get board there. They lived over Mr. Ballou's shoe shop, the family rooms on the second floor, the sleeping rooms on the third. Mrs. Ballou made no objections to taking me. I paid $1.25 a week board, but I received $2. So for teaching.
Saturday morning I would do my washing, hanging it out on the porch and then go up town for over Sunday so I could attend church, returning Monday morning. There were a number of men working in the shop who boarded in the house. I saw them at the breakfast table and among them was Nathan Botsford, who was then paying attention to Artemesia Ballou. I used to see them talking in the hall and sometimes Nathan would come up in the evening and sit with the family. Artemesia was a great singer, always singing around the house, and she knew so many songs as well as the hymns. She and I and Mr. Botsford would sit and sing on the wooden settee. When Artemesia had finished her singing I would slip away and leave them alone.
One Saturday I invited Artemesia to spend Sunday with me in Upper Town and go to church. She was pleased to accept. We then had church in the morning, in the afternoon, and prayer-meeting at five o'clock; then church service again in the evening. Artemesia went back after the afternoon sermon, and I stayed until Monday morning as usual. When I got to Ballou's they began to tell me what a fine time Artemesia had, and how she said; "Why, there was a carpet on every room in the house! There wasn't one room at Ballou's with a carpet. The room in which I slept was very bare, two beds, I had one and Theresa and Orisa the other, a chair or two and bureau.
One day while I was teaching here Honor, the oldest daughter asked me when I was starting for home on Saturday to come back Sunday instead of staying until Monday as they were going to have a wedding in the evening. I came back after the afternoon service, and saw Honor Ballou and Sidney Cross married. I taught in Lower Town during the winter; in the spring I returned to my home with Thomas where I helped about the house and with the babies. In the summer or spring a deputation came from Cambria looking for a teacher and engaged me. Here I profited by my experience at Warren's Corners and began school at eight and taught until five. I taught three months and then they engaged me for two months more. So I taught five months consecutively here.
This summer Mr. Botsford went on a visit to his relatives in Michigan and was listening to the sermon; when the minister had finished he came down from the pulpit and stood at the altar and said those intending matrimony please come forward to the altar. And I saw Nathan Botsford and Artemesia Ballou walk from the Ballou pew and the minister marry them. They walked directly out and as the congregation was dismissed I hurried as fast as I could down the aisle, but when I reached the door they had driven away. She wore a white dress and in build and looks was very much the same as her daughter Emma in her girlhood. Artemesia was a good pious girl and I was fond of her.
The five months term I taught in Cambria was not all the time I taught there for another summer I had the same school but it was not the succeeding summer; there was a year between. The between year I did not teach much. Miss Sarah Pratt afterwards Mrs. Smack had an aunt visiting her from Washington County in Eastern New York. When the aunt returned Miss Pratt wished to accompany her, but she had a small select school. This she asked me to take charge of during her absence and I consented. The school was very small, and I tried to get more pupils, going about among my friends, but without success. I found it would not pay to keep it up. Here I had Miss Charlotte Cross and her sister as scholars. I remember Sarah Jane Cross was contrary one afternoon and so naughty I sent her home. Naturally the mother was offended. This school was taught only a few weeks. The second term in Cambria was the last of my school teaching.
The first term I taught in Cambria the trustee was Mr. Scovel who had two young lady daughters Sophronia Sarept and Susan with whom I became well acquainted. Susan and I especially were friendly years after I took my youngest daughter, Dora, to visit Aunt Susan Scovel in Medina. [Note below this by Dora B. Turner says:- "I remember this call on Aunt Susan. D.B.T."]
Before I taught the second time in Cambria the school house had been moved a mile nearer Lockport to place it nearer the center of the district. Mr. Houstater was the trustee and I kept my trunk at his home and was there a good deal. He too had two daughters, and he had also a son, Samuel. During the term Samuel invited me to go to Niagara Falls and I thought it a good chance, so accepted. The Friday before we were to take the trip Sister Elizabeth who was home on a visit came to see my school. Daniel Hall drove her out and they intended to see the school and then take me home with them to stay over Sunday. As I had made other plans they only made the call on the school. They seemed pleased with the way I was conducting it. Samuel Houstater hired a carriage and two horses from a Lockport livery stable for the trip and drove me about finely. At the Falls as there was no suspension bridge, we crossed the river in a rowboat and went up to Table Rock which has now disappeared, and walked around to the other points of interest on the Canadian side, the Museum, etc. Then we rowed back to the American side. As it is quite a long drive from Cambria to the Falls it was dark by the time we reached Lewiston on our return. Here we had supper at the hotel. On the way home he proposed and I accepted him. His suit, however, met with much opposition from my friends. They did not think him good enough nor smart enough, a mere country boy as he was, and there was so much said that I gave him up. After this my folds were not willing that I teach any longer, especially in the country, so this Cambria episode was the cause of my settling down to help Sister Huldah with her young family. The first child had been born while I was in Oxford but only lived a few months and I never saw him. Lucy, the second child, was born one Sunday afternoon. The servant was out, but I was at home. Then there was difficulty in getting the doctor. Dr. Fassett the family doctor could not come and they got a doctor from Lower Town. I was at Brother Thomas's when Cyrus and Ida were born; also when Horace was, and he was especially my charge. His mother wishing to visit her friends in Washington County went one summer, taking the three older ones and left Horace a year and a half old in my care. I had charge of the house and the servant and full care of Horace who was very fond of me. While his mother was gone he became very ill and they sent for her. The doctor did not think he would recover, and when his mother came he did not know her but clung to me. [In writing----Father and Mother shut up the house on High Street and stayed with us.] In 1846 Elizabeth came home to be married. The wedding was at Thomas' and directly after it they drove off on a trip to Yates Center where she had taught school formerly and spent the night with friends there. The next day the Infare was at the Hall home in the country and we all went. Daniel and Elizabeth boarded with Thomas Hall who then had a music store in town and had some other boarders. The house was on LeGrange Street. Daniel was a teacher in one of the Lockport public schools. They boarded with his brother the rest of the summer and through the winter. In the spring they went housekeeping in a cottage on Genesee Street opposite the Holme's house. Elizabeth had not had very good health and a fall brought serious consequences. Her baby was born prematurely and she herself died a few days after. This was my first great sorrow, and a great grief to mother. She has never been forgotten. I remained with my brother and his wife, helping in the care of the growing family for several years. In the summer of 1850 Martha died. She had been afflicted with those epileptic fits ever since her early womanhood. They more frequently occurred in the night, and so mother slept with her in case of a seizure. Martha was very devout and could not bear to give up her church services, so in spite of sad trouble she regularly attended on Sunday; it is remarkable that not once did she have a fit while at church. In the summer of 1850 she died, and father and mother were left alone in the little house on High Street. In the fall of that year there was measles in the town and the four children at brother Thomas all were taken. Mother called to see how they were doing and found I was just coming down with the disease myself. She said Huldah had enough to do to take care of the children, and wanted me to come home with her where she could take charge of me. I went, and had a very sick time, so it was well I was at home. My eyes were extremely sore, and it was along time before I was well again. After this I did not go back to brother's home for it did not seem right to leave the two old people, my father and mother alone. Huldah supplied my place by hiring a second girl, and I remained with mother. Toward night of Christmas day of this year, 1850, I was sitting with father and mother in the room on High street, S.E. corner of Cottage and High. The lamps were not lighted and we were sitting in the dusk when I saw a gentleman coming to the door, I sprang up and lighted the lamp, then admitted him. It was Mr. Nathan Botsford. He spent the evening and father enjoyed the call so much he talked to the visitor all the time and I could not have a chance to say a word. The next morning he said to mother how kind it was of Mr. Botsford to call, and how much he enjoyed talking with him. My mother remarked: "Didn't you know he is a widower?" and father hadn't a word to say. The next time he came father kept so still and out of the way that the guest thought he had offended him. He continued to call during the winter. After a while I told Thomas that Mr. Botsford was calling on me, and asked if he disapproved. I said if he did I would put an end to the calls. As my family had objected on two similar occasions I thought I would find if there were any objections this time. Thomas said: "No, he thought Mr. Botsford was a very enterprising young man. He would not say I should tell him to cease calling. As Thomas did not object I paid no attention when Mack was angry that I was receiving these attentions.
In these days before my marriage my best friends were Margaret Massey (Mrs. Montgomery), Aurelia Gustin, elder sister of Minnie Gustin Ostrander, and Emma Cook. I knew the Bunnell family from the time when they removed to Lockport. They came to the Methodist church and we were in the Sunday School together. There were nine children, one son, and eight daughters. Mrs. Mitchell was the second in age, and Harriet the next; Maria (Mrs. Teal) was next to the youngest; Elizabeth (Mrs. Henning) was the last of the flock.
It was on May 26 in the morning as I was returning from down town with my wedding bonnet in my hand, white straw, trimmed all with white, Maria Bunnell overtook me before we reached High street. The Bunnells then lived in the same house in which Aunt Hattie and Aunt Jane passed their lives) and I told Maria that I was going to be married the next morning.
I was married on May 27, 1851, at ten o'clock in the morning. I wore a grey striped silk, a white crepe shawl, and white bonnet. Nathan wanted me to have a new bonnet to wear to the wedding and we had to stop at the millinery store on the way so I was late and got there just as the ceremony was being said. I wore white gloves. There were a present my father and mother, brother Thomas, and Huldah, Lucy and Cyrus Flagler, Mrs. Ballou, and her daughter Sally Ann, Daniel and Emily Botsford. I had asked Helen Strong to come and help me dress. The minister was Mr. Kingsley.
We had no refreshments, but immediately after the ceremony, we got into the carriage, myself and husband, and were driven to the hotel where the Judson House afterwards stood to wait for the packet. Then the carriage returned and took Mrs. Ballou and the others back to Lower Town.
The packet (passenger canal boat) started at eleven for Buffalo. It was a fast boat with four horses, so we got to Buffalo just at dusk, and went to a hotel for supper and stayed the night. In the morning we went about the city; made three calls, one on Mrs. Lee Huldah's sister whom I had visited several times as she had been friendly to me during the years I was in Thomas' family. In all, I had been a member of the family off and on about ten years. We called on a former minister of our church, and on Cousin Archibald Smith. Then we went to a bookstore and Mr. Botsford bought for me a small book called "The Wedding Ring." This was all the wedding ring I had. I had been given a plain gold ring before my marriage also a gold brooch set with brilliants. In the afternoon we went to Niagara Falls by the horse railroad and spent the day seeing the sights there. We stayed all night and next day went back to Lockport by the horse car. The end of the line was opposite the old brick house where we afterwards lived. But the house to which I went at the end of the wedding trip was just over the Chapel Street canal bridge, the first street to the left, the second house. The housekeeper had made some fruit cake, so we had the wedding cake when we got home.
I had a present for each of the four children, a home-made doll for the youngest, and for Dan I had knit a purse and put a dime in it. He spent the money and gave away the purse the same day.
This first home was a story and a half frame house, two rooms upstairs. My husband owned it, but in nine months he traded it for the stone house next to the Episcopal church, and we moved there. The family in that house moved at the same time a load being taken from one house to the other and then a load of the other goods being returned. In this way some of the furniture got mixed up and our belongings had to be sorted out afterwards.
In December of the year in which we moved into the stone house Sarah, the third child, died. She had always been a sickly little thing, and died of congestion of the brain. Ann Eliza, the other little girl, died the next year. She had been playing out one bright but windy day and took cold which developed into inflammation of the lungs. I
In October of 1852 my father died. The Sunday before I went up to spend the day with him, and my half-sister, Dorcas Birdsall, went up the hill on the same errand so we walked along together. The next night my husband went to watch with him; and I locked up the house good and went to bed with the children. Later he came back and could not wake me up to let him in, but managed to get into the house through a window and came upstairs and told me my father had passed away.
Mother could not stay in the house in High Street alone, so she gave up housekeeping, disposed of her goods, and went to live with Thomas. One Sunday when she came to the Methodist church so she could see me, Nathan and I walked with her to the house on Walnut Street, and at the door he said to her, "Why not come to live with us!" Mother was pleased with the idea. The family used to say, at least Huldah has said, that Mother was fonder of me than of any of the other children. As I had had sore eyes so much I had never had to do as much about the house, and she had been easy with me. She came to us and lived with us for several years. It was in this house that Artemesia was born, 1854.
After living all together as one family for some years in the house on Walnut Street a change was made. Thomas bought a small one story house on the corner of High and Cottage Streets and father, mother and Martha kept house there while he and his family occupied the home on Walnut Street. Thomas at the time was editor and publisher of the weekly paper the Niagara Courier.
After I was married Amelia thought it not right to leave the old people alone in the home. Martha's death preceded my marriage and they needed a daughter with them. She left Mack's which had been her home since she was a child and went to live with father and mother. Huldah had a cousin living in Buffalo at whose home Mr. George Howard twice a widower boarded. The cousin who was acquainted with Amelia conceived the idea of a match, and talked to Mr. Howard of the Lockport cousin and her sister-in-law. She suggested that Mr. H. go down to Lockport and meet her. One day Amelia received word from Huldah that she was expecting company and wished she would come down and help her entertain. She came down in the afternoon and wondered that the company was so late in arriving, and expressed surprise to Huldah. But presently the two gentlemen came, stayed to supper and spent the evening. This as the beginning of the acquaintance. After they had gone it dawned on Amelia that it was a scheme and she did not like it at all. But Mr. Howard continued to visit Lockport, calling on her in the High Street home. They became engaged in the summer. In October father died and Mr. H. asked if she cared to postpone the wedding which was set for November, but as the home would be broken up anyway, Amelia thought the wedding might as well take place as planned. The home was given up and mother and Amelia went to live with Thomas. Here the wedding took place.
Rev. Mr. Kellogg lived in the other part of the house, paying $2.00 a week rent to us. We were very good friends with the family, and kept up the acquaintances for many years. The water supply was a well in the woodshed, which was common to both parties and the wall between us was not entire but admitted of using the pump and of handing the articles back and forth. Here we used to stand and chat without having to go over for that purpose. Mrs. Kellogg was with me the day before Artie was born.I had a girl in the kitchen at the usual wage of a dollar a week, and for my confinement had hired Mrs. Staats, mother of James Staats, the newsman for two weeks at $2.00 a week.
The children were pleased with their little sister, and Emma wanted to name the baby after her own mother. I assented, but I used to call her Birdie. The girl, a good-hearted Irish girl who was with me a year or more, used to call her Diamond.
We were rather cramped for room here after Mother came to live with us for there were but two bedrooms upstairs. Nathan traded, and got the old brick house as we used to call it. In those days nearly all the houses in Lockport were frame, and to call it the brick house was distinction. It was a farm north of the city which was traded to get this home. It had been the Bank with residence in part of the building Nathan had the great vault pulled down, and used that place for his workshop with the salesroom in front where the bank office had been. There was a door from the back part into the hall the residence part, opposite the door into the front parlor. From the bricks of the vault were built the smokehouse and the privy in the back yard. He sold the lock on the vault door for $100 in Buffalo.
We were now established where there was plenty of room, and we gave the corner room over the parlor to mother. Thomas sent down some of their own furniture and she made herself at home.
Here on January 29, 1856, Amelia was born, in the back parlor as the bedroom had no stove. When she was six weeks old the ladies of the church came to us asking the privilege of holding a donation party for the minister at our house as there was more room for such a gathering than anywhere else. The Methodist church of Upper Town had not been long organized. While we lived in the stone house we attended the Episcopal church next door, but after the new church was formed we joined them in worship and it was for their pastor the donation was planned.
The ladies offered if we would but loan the house for the occasion to see all the work so it should make me no trouble, and they did so. They came the day before and took up the carpet (rug) in the dining room so there should be no damage from the supper, and the next day after the donation they cleaned all up and put the carpet down. Several persons from the uptown church attended. The Bunnells and Mrs. Mitchell, whom I met for the first time; her husband was with her, but he died not long after. Mr. and Mrs. Massy, Mr. and Mrs. Hall [spelling? could be Nall], Mr. and Mrs. Aiken, and others came. Mrs. Massy (Mrs. Montgomery's mother) was then in the millinery business and she brought a bonnet for the elder of the minister's little girls. I told her that it would be just right for my little Artie. The event passed off very pleasantly, and when the ladies put the house in order afterwards they left part of the provisions in recognition of our kindness in letting them hold it in our house.
When Amelia was about twenty months old a picnic was planned. The first we knew about it was one evening when Mr. Aiken came down and invited Nathan and me and asked him to invite our minister and his wife. We four went in a two seated carriage. There were five couples. Mr. Buck and wife, the minister from Uptown, Mr. Aiken and wife, Mr. Pullman and wife, Mr. Hall and wife, Mr. Smack and wife. We went to Wilson for the day and had a very pleasant time. Amelia was the only baby, and she behaved well, was no trouble. The Pullmans had a pillow and blanket in their buggy, so a bed was made for the child on the ground and she played there contentedly.
Mr. Kellogg, our neighbor in Lower Town was now in charge of a church in Tonawanda, and mother and I went to make the family a visit. We took Amelia who was then about twenty months old, and not yet weaned. We went by train in the morning, and after dinner, I left the baby with mother, while I went on to Buffalo to consult a doctor there whom a cousin of sister Huldah recommended. Emily had been ailing and I wanted to get medicine for her. From the station I took a hack to the doctor's office and at the door asked him what he would charge to take me back to the train. As the price seemed large, I told him he need not wait, I would walk. After I saw the doctor and got the medicine, I went along toward the station, arriving in time to see the train moving out the other end as I entered. It was the last train and I was much worried at the thought of mother and the baby in Tonawanda, and I in Buffalo. I looked for a carriage, but the charge kept me from hiring it for the distance; then I sought a canal boat, but there was none going out. Finally I gave it up and walked to sister Amelia. At the door I was informed she had company and they were at supper. I asked to see her a moment, and when she came, I told her I did not wish to see anyone. So she took me to my room, later sending up some supper to me, and I went to bed, much distressed at the thought of the disturbed time they must be having in Tonawanda with my crying child. In the morning I did not wait for breakfast, but sister gave me something to eat, the carriage was sent around and I was driven to the station. As the train from Tonawanda stopped I saw Mother with baby in her arms and Mr. Kellogg aboard, so I stepped on and Mr. Kellogg got off. Our re-united family party went on to Lockport together. Mother confessed the baby had cried a good deal and of course disturbed the whole family. Thus unexpectedly and under difficulties the baby was weaned.
In October, 1856 another little girl came to the home, three little daughters of my own besides the step-daughter Emma, who was getting a young lady now. She was always good to her little sisters, and was very fond of Artie. One time she was going out somewhere and teased to take Artie with her till I finally consented. On the way she met some meddlesome woman--one of those meddlesome creatures who make trouble with children who have step-mothers. "There," said the woman, "you can't stir out without having to take care of that youngster." Emma stood still quite angry, "You stop right there," she said, "I'll let you know I had hard work to get permission to take her. I like to have my little sister along." Emma never gave me any trouble, nor did Dan while he was a small boy. I used to read to him and he had never been used to be read to, and this got him to be very fond of reading to himself as he grew older he became an inveterate reader. I have often gone to the store and found him lying on the counter on his stomach reading when there was little doing. The dry goods store on Market Street had succeeded Nathan's shoe-shop.
The children played happily together. They did not quarrel or have childish fusses. The yard was so big they were never outside of it. They knew few other children. Later in school they played with Jennie Boyce. The Kilbournes and the Cranes lived on Garden Street back of us. Also the Wells family whose boys used to come over for apples.
The third little girl was very fair with light hair the others had dark, so we named this one Lillie.
In 1861 in January the fourth daughter was born, and we had a hard time to name her. Three months after her birth the Civil War broke out. Cyrus Flagler Brother Thomas decided to send to Massachusetts to school and in the spring just before starting he called to see his grandmother and to say goodby to us all. I remember his talk was much of the war and of a blockade of the southern ports. He asked what the baby's name was and I told him we had not named her yet, and I wished he would give her a name. This was the last time we saw him as he was brought home from school in the following August dead after a very sudden illness.
Hattie was a pretty baby, the prettiest of them all, perhaps. She was small, she and Amelia being the smallest, under the weight of the others.
While Hattie was a little thing, Emma got the notion she must go to the boarding school. Hattie Daniels with whom she was great friends, had gone to the seminary at Albion, and Emma teased till her father let her go. She was there one year.
About these days she made the acquaintance of George Skinner. She became much attached to him, and though she was so young, eighteen, she was married June 23, 1862. The wedding was in the middle of the day. George had told the conductor of the railroad to hold the train for him as they went right to Buffalo. Of the refreshments I remember I had made all sorts of cake; we had strawberries from McCullum over on the Flats and George had insisted on having wine. Emma had a new silk her father had bought her of a light steel color. Later I had one of the same pattern, only brown. Mine was what we call my brown seeded silk. At first the young couple boarded at a hotel, but soon went to housekeeping. George was a tinsmith, and did a good business. In Buffalo the two little girls, Kitty and Allie were born. In a few years they left Buffalo and went west. The railroad was not then built as far as Springfield, Missouri where they settled, so part of the way was by wagon. The rest of her life was spent in Missouri and there all the eight of her other children were born. She came back on visits several times, but after leaving Buffalo there was no intimate family associations as she was so far away.
These were the days of the Civil War. Al the women and girls picked lint and made comfort bags for the soldiers. Artie and Amelia though so little helped. Artie wrote a letter and put in her comfort bag and in time got an answer from the soldier who received it. Nathan was a little past the age for Army service but when the draft days came, Dan was drafted. With another young man of Lower Town he got up a company; Dan receiving the commission as First Lieutenant. The company went to Hart's island, near New York, awaiting orders for the front, and was there when peace was declared, so he never saw service. In these war days Amelia used to mount a chair or table and make speeches beginning Fellow Citizens. And Hattie, though not yet five years old, used to sing the war songs so that her father would take her over to the store to sing Rally Around The Flag, etc. for the men there. When the troops were mustered out there was a great banquet and welcome at the town hall.
In these war days, January 9, 1865, my only boy was born. At first we called him Eddie that is Edwin after Edwin Samson husband of my friend Maggie Samson. The Samsons boarded at our house one winter, and the board money I had as mine.
After the brick house was sold or traded, we lived for the summer in rooms over the store; then Nathan bought the house in Upper Town on Washburn Street. Into this he put the two hundred dollars I had saved. I thought it was going into a home for the family. We set out apple trees and bushes here, and I wanted to have a pleasant home. Here, on December 29, 1866 Dora Ella was born; the only child born in Upper Town. I felt very bad at having another baby. When the little one was a week old my sister came down from Buffalo to see the new baby and said when she saw her "O, give me the baby." I answered, "If you had come a week earlier, you might have had her, but now I begin to like her myself."
Dan was with us here and a great trial; now that he was grown he had become very abusive and unkind to me his step-mother and to his little sisters. He wanted to go west, and father raised four hundred dollars for him to go into business in Kansas with a Botsford cousin. He started off in good spirits and bade us all a friendly good-bye. In the west his health failed; he had never taken much care of himself. He became consumptive; his mother's sister, Therese had died of that disease. He went to Springfield where his sister Emma was living, and she did not recognize him he was so changed. He was with her till his death March 18, 1868. Shortly before he died he wrote a very penitent letter to me asking my forgiveness for his unkindness to me and the children. Emma said he watched the door for the mail hoping to have my answer, but he died before it reached Springfield.
From Washburn Street we moved to Somerset where father had bought a mill. We lived opposite the mill at first. Here Lillie caught her foot in a hole over the machinery and narrowly escaped serious injury.
From this house we moved onto a farm, which stretched to the shore of Lake Ontario. Howard was here bitten by the big dog which had returned to its former home, an ugly wound on the throat which had to be sewed up, and caused much suffering.
When the farm was sold we lived for one winter in the little house in the village, the only vacant house in Somerset. Then we moved back to Lockport, to a large pleasant house on Mulberry Street. We were here only about six months. The Somerset farm had been traded for the Judson house and in the spring we moved into the hotel. Then began the years of annoyance connected with the owning of the hotel.
From the Judson House we moved into the house on Hawley Street; then into the hotel again. During our second stay in the Judson house Howard died May 26, 1875 and in early July of the same year Amelia graduated at the Union school
Our next move was to the house on Genessee Street, opposite the Baptist church and from there to the house on the corner of Church and Ontario. In this house Hattie was married to Daniel Pomeroy. When she came back from her wedding trip to Michigan (she was gone six weeks) we were living in this house on Caladonia Street, one of three which had been moved from the site of the Erie station and fitted into dwelling houses. It was in this house that Mabel Pomeroy, the first grandchild, was born. Hattie stayed with us until the baby was five weeks old when she went back to the country.
We had moved from this house to the Octagon when Lillie went to Springfield, Missouri, Robert Swayne meeting her in St. Louis. They were married at her sister Emma's home and went on to Texas where Robert had engaged in work for the American Sunday School Union.
We moved from this house to another of the houses Pa had moved from the site of the Erie Railroad Station; this time to the house on West Main street, and were living here when Howard Pomeroy was born, and when we had word from Texas of the birth of Cora, Lillie's first child. Here Artie died, June 8, 1883.
The days that follow in my life are within the ready memory of the daughters, and it is not necessary to prolong these pages.
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