Early Decatur County Memories by Sarah (Wise) Sanger, 1933


Mrs. Mark Sanger tells of her parents coming to Decatur Co. in an early day - My parents Mr and Mrs Wm Wise left Indiana in Oct 1851 and came to Davis Co. Iowa and spent the winter there with relatives. My fathers father had given my father 80 acres of land in Indiana and he sold that and came west where land was cheap. So he could get more land. his team was strong horses and his wagon box was what they called a Pennsylvania wagon box. It was built in Panels and vary deep and sloped out at the top like a boat and held father and mother and two children and enough besides to to keeping with. I have a chest that his father brought from Kentucky to Indiana when my father was a little boy. It is every bit cherry but is smoked black now by being kept in so many log cabins during that winter father came to Decatur Co. to look at the land and bought a farm of Ishmal Barns - the house on that farm was about one mile west of where Leon is now (There was no Leon then) The house was a log cabin unfinished had no shutter for the door. Father and mother moved there in March 1852 and I was born in May 1852. So I am 81 years old and I clame (sic) to be a Pioneer of Decatur Co. I have lived there all my life until a short time ago and my interests are still there and I call that home. My father helped build the first house where Leon is now (there was no Leon then). It was a log cabin and as was customary people went and helped lift the big logs and place them. The owner of the house was Baily or Bradley. He soon moved away. My father lived two years on this farm and then sold it to Hendricks and bought and entered 400 acres south of Leon on the State road that run north through Leon. The Pony express

(2) passed that way. I can see the galloping horses yet in my mind with the great bags of mail hanging on the sides. Father had to go to Chariton to file on the land he entered and papers had to be sent to Washington D.C. for the President Franklin Pierce to sign them. Some one has said the Hatfields settled in north Mo. but this was the Hatfield Settlement for the house was on the land father bought of Ruben Hatfield and there were nine or ten other families of Hatfields right around there. The other settlers was mostly Stanlyes. The house was a rude cabin with a clabbord (sic) roof Puncheon floor walls daubed with clay. The fire place was sod with rocks laid around on the inside, the chimney was made of sticks plastered with clay (They did not have to build a sleeping porch to get fresh air in those days) My father built the first frame house between Leon and Pleasanton. It had five great big rooms. The men with big droves of hogs or cattle gladly found a house large enough that they could stop for the night and many stopped there and put their tired stalk (sic) in a lot to rest for they had to drive all their stalk to Burlington in those days as there was no R R closer. My fathers farm was timber for where he lived in Indiana the timber land was

(3) better than the prairie land. So he bought timber land but he found out in after years the Iowa prairie land is the best. When he got this farm the country there was almost a wilderness. People had not been there long enough to improve it. There was only about ten acres ready to cultivate on the land he got. So he did not spend much idle time. There were rails to make to fence the farm. the land to clear of brush and big trees to cut to get the land ready to cultivate. Mother spun and made our clothing (not much clothing was bought in those days). Father raised sheep and took the wool to Tommy Smiths carding machine at Leon to have it carded and made into rolls so it could be spun. That was long before John Clark had a woolen factory. It would be a logn story to tell of all the hardships and privations they endured in those days. Father kept this farm until 1871 then he sold it and bought a half interest in the Flowering (sic) mill at Leon. The firm name was Little and Wise. In 1880 he sold the mill and he bought a farm three miles south of Van Wert of Mr. Spergon - where he lived until he died.

Repe'ly Sarah (Wise) Sanger

Transcriber notes:
Three hand-written pages. Punctuation has been added to make reading simpler.

Sarah Wise Sanger 14 May 1852 - 20 Nov 1933. Daughter of Wm and Katherine (Yates) Wise. Wife of Marcus R. Sanger, married 23 Jul 1874. Both are buried at Leon Cemetery. Wm and Katherine Wise are also buried at Leon Cemetery.


Contributed by Patti Durovchic. Transcribed by Conni McDaniel Hall for Decatur County IAGenWeb, 15 Jan 2022.
Memories  ***  Decatur County IAGenWeb

Copyright (c) 2022 Decatur County IAGenWeb