[Previous] [Next] [Index]
CHAPTER II. Part 2.
Looking over the period embraced in father's life, we are impressed with the wonderful changes he witnessed. His life began with our present Constitution - which went into force by the inauguration of Washington as first President, in 1789. He had attained his majority by the war of 1812. He saw the outbreak and the result of the war with Mexico, and lived to see the Rebellion ended ten years before his death. This great conflict was regarded as the culmination of the "States Rights" heresy - something our father always opposed, as he was inclined to hold the Federalist views of the relation of the States to the Federal Government.
The North-West Territory, at the date of his emigration thither in 1808 - is estimated to have had fifty thousand inhabitants; at his death the same territory contained more than ten millions, and the last fifty years of his life saw the introduction of steam as applied to navigation and railroads, transforming the character and habits of the people by their mighty influence.
Our father kept well informed on current affairs, and when the President's Message was received he would have it read aloud and somewhat formally to the family, a duty at which I have many times assisted. A man of much persistence of character, ready apprehension and good judgement, he was, also, a man of peace, and I do not think of any lawsuit in which he engaged, and so far as my knowledge goes he always was on good terms with his neighbors. His personal acquaintance was quite extensive in western Ohio and eastern Indiana, and many persons visited at his house for social or business reasons. His early association in Warren county, on "Caesars Creek", was with the Friends or Quakers, and they frequently "put up" at our house. I remember the family of John Coats, who lived near Winchester, Indiana, was often there.
The cattle and other stock trade in which father was engaged in connection with his farming, required much provision for winter feeding, and haymaking was an important part of the work in the summer after wheat harvest. The prairie, including the wet lands along Bridge Creek, produced a large supply of native wild grass - which the tame grass gradually displaced. The labor of making hay - up to the time I left home, in 1852 - was all done by hand, cutting with scythes and handling with hay rakes and forks.
Our father - feeling the disadvantage and loss he had suffered for lack of better education - was very careful not to let farm work interfere with our regular attendance at school, and terms were passed without the loss of a single day. The usual length of the public school was three months in the year, sometimes extended to four months by subscription. Schools in the summer were not common.
Malarial sickness, commonly called "fever and ague", was the scourge of the early settlers of the country and the emigrants with some experience were careful to select a healthful building place. This was usually on a dry knoll as far from swamps or low-lands as practicable. Our home was so situated and doubtless that fact explains in great part why we were little afflicted by the diseases common to the country, and our father's habit of observation had taught him many rules or maxims of living to avoid the diseases incident to the climate.
Many reflections arise in reviewing the home and history of one to whom we all, as family, look back with so many feelings of respect, veneration and love.
Incidents of childhood and home associations recur to us as memory stretches back to the days of our earliest recollection and to the later ones of our maturer years, when the home was still uninvaded by the "Still Reaper". Now strangers are there, and the familiar voices and faces are gone.
I feel to congratulate you, and all the members of the family who may read these lines, that a family so large as ours, all growing to maturity and settling in life, were blest with good health of mind and body to full years of manhood and womanhood, and were well and comfortably situated in life, and that harmony and a feeling of mutual respect and love has always continued among us to the present time. Let us cherish the memory of the departed for their virtues and the teachings and examples by which we were so well instructed.
Having left an estate worth $45,000, it is an almost unprecedented fact that the whole was settled without a jar or the least friction of any kind. By the "will" the estate was left in the hands of the executor, Noah Arnold, with full power to sell and settle up the business of said estate in such manner as he thought best, with full powers to make all necessary conveyances, all of which was done with the entire satisfaction and the fullest approval of all the heirs and legatees of said estate. Not a single complaint has been made; neither was there the least hard feeling in anything connected with the settlement thereof, which is rather an unusual occurrence with such a large estate and the large number of heirs interested.
There is a small seal-skin trunk now in the possession of brother Noah, which has been kept as a kind of a heir-loom in the family, having been bought previous to the year 1808, which is prized as a memento of a former generation.
As to the their church relations, the Arnold family are nearly all Methodists. In the early settlement of the country, the house of Moses Arnold was for many years a preaching place for the itinerant Methodists, where every two weeks, week-day services were held. Occasionally on the Sabbath, local preachers, Henry Ross and a Mr. Davis, held meetings, and when there was no preaching, class and prayer meetings were usually held, led by Grandfather Folkerth, who generally was the leader. In these early times, Rev. John P. Durbin and John Strange were men who afterwards became prominent in the Methodist ministry.
In the early settling of the county, Greenville could hardly be called a town, so few were the houses it contained. The south-eastern part of the city was then covered with a small growth of timber to which the pigeons resorted as their roosting place at night.
A BRIEF SKETCH
OF THE TEACHERS
William Studabaker commenced teaching in a cabin in the old Willis field, just south of father's house, about 1823. It was a very rude structure, with puncheon floors; but about 1824 it burned, and the school was removed into a similar cabin adjoining the residence of Abraham Studabaker. This was continued till about April, 1829, when it was removed to the end of father's lane, when Henry D. Williams was employed to teach during the winter, having taught one or two winters before its removal, then as follows:
In 1830-31, Wm. S. Harper, teacher
In 1831-32, Henry D. Williams, teacher
In 1832-33, David Townsend, teacher
In 1833-34, David Townsend, teacher
In 1835-36 & '37, Noah Arnold, teacher
And a little later on the school was removed to a new brick school house at Studabaker's, a list of whose teachers we do not have.
We recollect the death of our mother, December 5, 1825, which then, being only seven years old, the dreary household, and the sadness of the bereavement greatly impressed us.
[Previous] [Next] [Index]