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Posted By: Larry Anderson (email)
Date: 6/6/2019 at 19:46:36

The story I will quickly relate is that handed down to me. It bears up in part, at least by records. Larry Anderson

Our HIATT families had gone to Kentucky with BOONE about 1787 in order to escape some of the fighting of the Rev War. The families once there intermingled with others and eventually the families gave up Quakerism and joined the Methodist. Jesse married Mary or Polly, Proctor whose father and all 6 his brothers were Methodist Ministers.

Following the Lewis and Clark expedient these families were invited personally by President Andrew Jackson to move into the new territory and establish an American Presence on the MO. So the Proctor and Hiatt's moved to what is now St. Joe, MO. in 1808. After being there some time there was an earthquake that drove them into southern IL, White Co. The story of the earth quake was that, after shaking them out of bed for three days and three nights, they took it as a sign to get them out of there. They were in IL at the time of the War of 1812 and Jesse signs up for that. For his services he is later given land and the families move to establish a settlement, from oral history only, I was told that they settled Peoria, IL. These families stayed in close contact with their other families and in 1818, John HIATT moved to what is now Liberty, Clay Co., MO and establishes a settlement there. These cousins and families are often going back and forth to visit, as is demonstrated by Joseph HIATT marrying his first cousin once removed, Mary Estes, dau of Joel Estes, son of Peter Estes and Esther HIATT, Jesse's sister. These families were freighters and trappers, they also are said to have gone to CA to visit their cousins and take supplies, the SUTTERS. They discovered gold there, reportedly in Grass Valley and sold the mine for $30,000 of which the brothers divided and each invested their money in an adventure. John Jr. bought out tracks of land in Sidney still known today as HIATT Edition. They also had a large track of farm land north of Sidney, named Mt. Zion. All there is today is a cemetery, a deteriorating log cabin once occupied by David HIATT family. Joseph is said to have bought a plantation in MO and had slaves. Before the out break of the Civil War he freed his slaves but was still disfranchised and his lands confiscated for being a southern sympathizer. Little Page built the first motel and grist mill in Brownsville, NE. There was also a mill in Sidney called the HIATT mill but could not find much info on that, it was well gone by now.

Contributions of information sent by Margaret Barber, Leland Smith of Tabor, Iowa, Ruby Hiatt of Neb. City and Joyce Kindred of Mo.

"Twas eventide of an Indian Summer day in the Fall of 1852, and on the outskirts of Peoria Illinois, (now the little Village of Trivola), stood the caravan of covered wagons, top white - agleam like sheeted ghost in the glow of a rising moon. Here the three brothers, John, Joseph Sr., and Reuben Hiatt, were making final preparation for their departure tomorrow (dawn), leaving behind them the old Illinois home, to follow the grass land trail that "nobody knows how old" into the land of golden opportunity lying just beyond the border land.

The Reuben Hiatt wagon comprised as occupants, their father, Jesse Hiatt (who had given service in the war of 1812 - having been called into service March 13, 1813 for defense of the frontiers of Illinois territory against hostile Indians, the Mother Mary (Proctor Hiatt, Reuben with his young son Page and daughter Caroline.

Long the Mother Mary pondered upon her decision of this departure. Long past the midnight hour for many nights, the candles flickered and burned, while stars and moon looked down upon a scene as old as the grassland trail, that of the heart of a woman, torn between duty and love. Duty, guiding her three sons and their families into the new country and leaving behind in the old home her greatly beloved and aged father, Page Proctor, who had served in the American Revolution from 1777 till Wayne's Victory in 1794.

The farewells had been given and tho' old Page had spoken to Mary "weep not my daughter" something within the once strong heart of the warrior answered him, that Mary his delight in her childhood and ever his dutiful daughter, was passing out of his earthly life forever. As he blessed the union of Mary and Jesse on that June day of 1803 in her childhood home at Richmond Kentucky, so now he gave his blessing upon their departure into the new country, the frontier.

Before the sound of the wagon wheels had died away, the eyes of the old Page were dimmed, and for long hours he sat meditating upon the years that he had been, and the few remaining years that yet might be.

Listening to the rhythmic whir of revolving wheels as the wagon roll onward, Mary watched thru the covered wagon flap the tall prairie grasses bend and bow, closing across the back and trail as a door swings back on its hinges, while the wagons lurch onward toward the sunset of their desire.

Reuben, the ever jovial son of the trio, rode for today in silence, his sombrero usually jauntily tilted, now shading his eyes, no quibe, no idle jesting.

Comforted by the companionship of the child Page (named for her father), and his sister Caroline, busy with the cares of camp life and often its great discomfort, the ever present Indian whose life and custom were not unknown to Mary in lessons in childhood from her father, Page, and later from her husband Jesse, she follows on with the caravan into the new west.

There were nights by the camp fire, nights when the child Page, Caroline, and Little Joseph (from the John Hiatt wagon) play 'round the glowing camp coals, or listened to tales related by their elders, nights when the moon rose in full glory over the prairie land, when Mary's eyes were lifted upward and her thoughts like night moth, winged backward across the miles to her father's home. There were nights of illness, when like angles of mercy, Mary and Susan (John's wife) visited not along their own wagons, but also those of other travelers wherein the stricken lie, administering their comfort.

Days when storms swept the new region, winds and rain lashed the canvas abode, and storm clouds darkly lowered. Like a wed of finest weave, were woven joys, happiness, sorrows and pain, for all those who traveled this trail of hope. Thru' sunshine and shadow the revolving wheels slowly but surely trended westward, and one day drew into Fremont County and on to the County seat, Sidney, Iowa.

Here the three brothers and their father Jesse, held council and decided to cast their lot. A decision that gave to Fremont County a life time of interest, service, and support from this caravan of wagons.

Surveyors were busy, claims were be rq filed, new friendships contacted, (many that endured thru out their life), excitement prevailed, the children and young folks amused and awed by new and strange surroundings, and each of the trio of brothers busy with his own filing and future home building, the wagon life, and meals they had traversed were all but forgotten.

But there was one among them who had not forgotten, Had the breeze that stir the prairie grasses whispered to Mary? Had the stars and moon revealed their secret as she watched long into the night? We do not know, but e'er the blue and purple haze of Indian summer had lifted from hills and valley, and the blast brilliant leaves of autumn had drifted, old Page had joined the caravan that long ago journeyed into a new country, where we are told "the years count not by days" On November 15, 1852 the night winds sang (then as now) their requiem above his residing place at McLeansboro, Illinois.

John the eldest son, had filed the first claim adjoining the town site on the east and was dreaming his own dream in the erection of the old pre emption house in east Sidney.

Reuben, second eldest son, filed his claim of 120 acres northwest of the county seat. Date of patent December 15, 1853 reads,"The United States of America to Reuben Hiatt Certificate No. III. Payment for Certificate made at register of the land office at Kansesville, Iowa ( now Council Bluffs). The document of this transaction, signed by President Franklin Pierce, is today the property of his son, Fred Hiatt, on of Sidney's present enterprising citizens.

Reuben later became owner of another tract adjoining that of his brother Joseph Sr. who had filed his claim to the north of the county seat. Old timers, also friends of the Reuben Hiatt children remember the old homestead north of town, have seen the old "stand table" whereon for long years rested the family bible of ancient make, recording the marriage of Reuben Hiatt and Mary Ann Kauble. To this union were born the following children - The late David Hiatt, (believed to be the first white male child born in Fremont Co.), Fred, Steve, Frank, Lovy Hume (deceased), Addie McCaffrey, and Paulina James. The old family bible today is the property of Mrs. James and because of its age, is a rare possession of very great interest. (this bible is lost to everyone today, I tried to talk to last known relative, Hershal James, he was quite old at that time, asked about Jesse James too, said he was never allowed to talk of him as a kid, no sense to talk about him now. That was about 1984. LA)

The mother Mary an ever present aid to her sons in the establishing of their frontier homes exiled from her childhood associations, grew weary, secretly grieved, and would not be comforted.

One April day in 1855, just two years after the signing of Reuben's land patent, Mary passed beyond the earthly frontiers to join her father Page. In October of 1857, Jesse followed his companion, leaving the sons and families to brest along the waves of a new and untried country.

To some it may be of interest knowing that near the east border of Sidney's silent city of the dead, lie Jesse Hiatt and the mother Mary, a true daughter of the American Revolution while near by in the lap of Mother Earth, lie the sons, John, Joseph Sr. and Reuben.


Fremont Biographies maintained by Karyn Techau.
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