SOME REMEMBERED INCIDENTS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD.
I was born on a farm in Marion County, Missouri, on the sixth day of March, 1836, my father having been married in Cynthiana, Kentucky, in March two years before, and with the usual desire of the young to go West, had traveled the five hundred miles overland through the States of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois to their new home, a journey of about a month. Our old farm was about six miles from Palmyra, the County Seat, and twelve miles from Hannibal City, on the Mississippi River. It was a small village at that time, now grown into a thriving city.
My family had always been farmers, or planters, as they are called in the South. My grandfather came from Virginia to Kentucky somewhere about 1800. I clearly remember some of his stories, and as a small boy, was particularly interested in his telling me how they lived in blockhouses and were in constant fear of the Indians, with whom the early settlers had many conflicts. No one ever went outside the gates without a gun.
Grandfather used to tell of an old man who was a strong fatalist, his theory being that whatever is to be will be. One day the old gentleman wished to visit a neighboring fort, but when he was ready to start, he found that one of the boys had carried off his gun, so he concluded to give up the visit for that day. One of his friends said to him: "Why do you not go without your gun? If there are any Indians in hiding, according to your doctrine, they could not kill you if your time had not come." "Yes," said the old fatalist, "that is true, but suppose I should meet an Indian and his time had come? It wouldn't do not to have my rifle." I believe I have read something like this somewhere, but I have no doubt this was the original version.
There were many obstacles to be overcome by the settlers of grandfather's time, and as a sample of the difficulties under which they lived, he told me that at a certain season of the year the men from different stations would meet together at an appointed rendezvous to the number of two or three hundred, all armed to the teeth, and with wagons and big kettles and other necessary utensils, they would proceed in regular army order some eighty miles to certain salt springs, where, while someone stood guard day and night, others cut wood and others boiled the salt water in the big kettles. This would continue two or three weeks, when they would each have secured a small sack of salt to last them for a year. Then they would return home in the same order as they came.
These salt springs were right in the favorite hunting grounds of the Indians and many battles were fought for their possession.
My father's family came over early in the settlement of Virginia and from there many branches scattered into Kentucky and Tennessee. My grandfather married a young lady from near the White Sulphur Springs, in Virginia, and resided near Havre de Grace, in Maryland, before removing to Kentucky. My father was born on the old homestead near Cynthiana, Ky., on January 1st, 1811, where he grew to manhood, and was married to Miss Margaretta Frazer in 1834. My mother's father was of Scotch descent, as the name implies, and was born in Virginia in 1776, while my maternal grandmother's family (the Millers) came originally from the North of Ireland. I have an impression that they were a family of some importance, as the younger members that I knew later on were rather superior people.
I remember my Grandmother Frazer as one of the most gracious women I ever knew, with all the old-time polish and courtesy that distinguished the women of that day.
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