Mrs. Hindman's Article
SOME REAL OLD HISTORY IS TOLD OF THE COUNTY
clipping written in 1843
The following article is clipped from the Iowa South-West of 1867. At that
time it was found of historical interest, although less than twenty-five years
before. It deals with life in Taylor county 81 years ago, and we pass it on
to our readers. It is as follows:
EARLY SETTLEMENT OF TAYLOR COUNTY
by A. Mix
I propose giving you a short history of the first settlement of Taylor county,
as it was given to me by Mrs Hindman who has resided in it nearly twenty-
In the early summer of 1843, we left our home in Graves county,
Kentucky, to seek our fortune in the western wilderness. As we did not
possess a team we hired a gentleman to move us. The morning of the
seventeenth of May being tolerably pleasant, with sad though hopeful
hearts, we bid adieu to our old home and old associations and set out
for the west, drawn by five oxen, the fifth harnessed in the lead. We
arrived near Savannah on the eleventh of July, having been over two
months on the road. Here the teamster, myself and children stopped;
My husband in company with a Mr Guill and family coming on to
Taylor county where they took claims. Guill and family built a cabin
near Honey Creek, where Mr George Kemery now lives.
My husband soon returned, and six weeks later we found ourselves
in the land of promise.
Taylor county was then so wild and new that we did not know but
that we were living in Missouri; and paid taxes to Missouri for several
years, before the line was surveyed. I never saw a bird save one little
sparrow during the whole of the first fall and winter. There were no
rabbits about then. After we had been here two years, a gentleman
discovered several tracks which he thought was the track of some
ravenous animal, so they went, that is, the gentleman who found the
tracks, with one or two others, went with dogs and guns, tracked it
up and found only a rabbit.
Guill's home was one mile south of ours and his and ours were
the only white families in the county. We owned no animal except one
dog, and not twenty-five cents to begin with. Our only agricultural
implement was a broken hoe, with which we dug up and planted five
acres of corn, besides a patch for cabbage, potatoes, and other
vegetables. We raised good corn although we had no way of tending
it except our hands. We pulled up the weeds that were not too tough,
those that were, we chopped off. We never raised cleaner or better
corn, although myself and children had it to do. My husband was
obliged to go to Savannah (Missouri) to work not only for food
but to get it conveyed home. This he did from the time that we
arrived until the last of July the following year, when I told him that
it was too hard, and that we did not want him to go away to work
From then we lived on squashes and potatoes until roasting ears
grew large enough to eat, when we lived on them until they got too
hard, then the boys made a mortar and pounded the corn and I made
bread of it; this we did until Christmas, then the boys took a load and
got it ground at what is now known as Howard's mill, near Maryville,
in Nodaway county, Missouri.
My first cow was given to me when a calf only three weeks old
by a gentleman who moved from here to California when we had lived
here several years. From this cow we raised our first team of oxen.
Guill's and ourselves had lived here alone more than a year before
any other family came, then a gentleman moved in, ten miles west of
here, we laughed and said we would have to move again for we were
getting crowded. After this, at intervals of months, more or less, families
came into this county, so that by the end of the sixth year there were
fifteen families in the space of twenty miles square.
A minister of the Methodist persuasion came and held a protracted
meeting at our house about this time. Every body came, and everybody
who had arrived at the age of accountability joined the church, and
remained an undivided class until the separation of the northern and
Wolves were so numerous and bold that they would come at
night and catch their chickens that were roosting in the chimney corner,
or steal the pigs from the pen near the house.
Hickory nuts were so plenty that people had no trouble in fattening
hogs, the shoats were marked and turned out to take care of themselves.
When any one wanted meat he had only to hunt and kill. But in time,
a great many run wild. Years afterward wild ones were killed, some of
them having immense tushes.
Honey Creek was so named from the great number of bee trees
found along it's course.
The Indians here were the Pottawattamies. They never gave us
much trouble though they would steal. One time a squaw came wrapped
in a blanket. She kept near the smoke house, we watched her but it did
no good. She stole meat through cracks, hid it in her blanket and made
off with it without any one having seen her do it. One day the children
and I went to their camp. An old squaw with very grey hair, and
complexion white as paper, wanted to swap one of the papooses of
which there were quite a number running around; for my youngest
child, then a boy of six years.
There was no whiskey here for full ten years after we came.
It was first brought by a parcel of roughs from Missouri. Shooting
matches were introduced by the same class. They usually
commenced about noon on Saturday and were often ended on