Aletta (Teeple) Pennoyer
Mrs. Henry Pennoyer’s Story
Chapter 3 ( Pages 31 thru 40 )
May 4, 1887
My dear children: One year has rolled around since I commenced my second chapter in this little book. But a great change has taken place within that time. Your good and kindhearted father has gone the way of all the earth. Henry Pennoyer, second son of John and Sally Pennoyer, born at Norwalk, Conn. Februay 8th, 1809 died April 25, 1887. On his seventy seventh birthday he was taken very sick, but got better and was up and out again in a week or two and then took a bad cold and was worse, coughed very hard for two weeks and then seemed better again. After taking more cold in his head he suffered great pain in his left ear. The Dr. called it neuralgia. Everything was done, that could be, to relieve him from suffering. Sunday morning, April 25, he got up from his bed and dressed himself, took more breakfast than usual, seemed no worse than he had been for a week. He asked me if any of them went to the post office, Saturday night. I answered “Yes”, but he did not ask for his daily paper which I wondered at at the time. At one o’clock P.M. I was sitting beside him. He was quiet and seemed to be sleeping. When he called out, “Oh, mother, mother, mother”, he was gone. He never breathed after he spoke my name. We supposed he had fainted and tried to bring him back but soon learned it was all over. The Dr. said it was Cerebral Apoplexy. Three of you were absent when the last sad rites were solemnly performed, and your father’s poor old tired body laid away to mingle with the dust. Hard as it seems it is nature’s way and we must submit. Nature is wiser and better than we. We should not fear her.
The last year has been a sad one for me. My health has been very poor. I am not able to work, do not feel much like writing. I am not satisfied with that I have written in this little book, as my memory is not as good as in earlier days. I hope, however, I will be able to finish the chapter I am about to commence.
Mr. Pennoyer had thoughtfully provided a good dinner for his family at the log house where he kept the men that worked for him. He, there, had a colored man doing the cooking who got us up a good dinner. After the dinner was disposed of we went back to our new home to begin to settle our dinner, as well as the goods in the house. John and Sarah made themselves useful putting up bedsteads and putting down carpets. When night came it began to look quite homelike. The colored cook came from the log house and got our suppers for we had our cookstove up and the kitchen utensils arranged before night. In the meantime the children had been busy running out and in, tracking in clay from a new well that had just been dug, and making our newly painted floors look as though children in the house were numerous. The rain continued to fall and darkness stopped our work. We were all tired enough to sleep well in our new house the first night of our stay in it.
The colored man continued to do the cooking until we got settled and then I dismissed him. I found the cooking rather a hard task as there was a large family of hearty people. There were three or four hired men, six children, besides Mr. P. and myself. Besides we had a great deal of company. Mr. P. had a nice field of corn that fall and the blackbirds came off victorious for we did not have any corn left, when the birds left.
The ague and fever came to us to stay that fall and visited around so it soon became quite familiar with each member of the family. But when Mr. Ague invited two of the hired men to shake, they shook themselves off of the farm.
Mr. P. had a well dug, forty feet deep. He got it bricked up twenty feet when the water came in and filled it up nearly to the top of the ground and it soon commenced caving and filled up the bricks, spoiling the well entirely. It made us a great deal of extra work, not having a plenty of water handy which sometimes makes cross women.
Sarah liked to spend a good share of her time in Grand Haven visiting her young friends. They would return, in time, but spending a week, or more, on the farm.
As soon as we could arrange the matter in the fall of 1863 we organized a Sunday school to be held in our house. Sarah Pennoyer and myself being the only teachers. Mr. Pennoyer was anxious to have a school taught in the house, and before I was aware of the fact he had hired a teacher and brought her to the house. A room was cleared upstairs for a schoolroom and he invited the neighbors to send their small children, which they did. But the school was not a success for the girl he hired, a mere child, herself. Her name was Emma Daniels, from Grand Haven. She came in the fall and stayed five months.
An old man, by the name of Lathan, came to us and wanted Mr. P. to furnish him a home for what he could do in choring around the house and barn, and so he added another to our already large family. I was obliged to add another one to the family by hiring a girl to help me do the house work. Her name was Betty. She was Dutch and not the best of help.
Sarah, Emma and myself, had planned for a Christmas tree at our house for the benefit of our Sunday School scholars. We commenced six weeks before Christmas to prepare for it. I told Mrs. Ferry what we were doing and the destitution of some of our neighbors. Many a little body was made warm by her donation, alone, through that winter. The Christmas was a merry one in our neighborhood. There were large bundles to be taken to the needy and the Christmas tree was loaded down with some nice things, but mostly substantial things. And the supper table where they all partook was the same, some dainties, but mostly substantial.
Mr. Pennoyer was elected senator from his district in the fall of ’58 and left us the first of Jan. 1859, to be gone all winter. John and Sarah were very fond of going to Grand Haven, often, and having their friends come to the farm to see them. Among them all they made the winter quite lively. In February I went to Lansing to see Mr. P. The session was to close in a few days and so I stayed until it was out. I was very much taken up with the proceedings in the senate chamber and if I had time and space would be glad to note down some of the spicy things that were said while I was there, by some of the ready wits. Your father was the sarcastic senator and one of the best talkers in the senate.
In the spring of ’59, Sarah and myself were very busy setting out shrubs and planting a flower garden. We also helped plant the vegetable garden. Mr. P. got a lot of strawberry plants and we helped him plant them out. There was so much to do indoors and out, I never thought of being lonesome. But people would often say, “How do you stand it to live here, it is so lonesome?” I frequently told people that I never found time to get lonesome. Still I was never reconciled to our leaving Grand Haven, I think, even now, it would have been better for us to have stayed in Gd Haven when we were there, and I soon learned, to my sorrow, that Mr. Pennoyer had missed his calling when he set out to be a farmer. But Hope has a way of flattering us and making us think for the best and so we toil on, hoping and fearing.
Mr. P. took John Pennoyer to Lansing, this spring of ’59 to the Agricultural College. He had great hopes, at that time, of making a farmer of John, but he did not do it. We kept ten or a dozen cows and I was making lots of butter. Mr. P. told me I could have all the butter money to furnish the house, and I supposed I could. But, alas, the butter money had to do for everything. To help pay debts and hired help, for dry goods and groceries, and so on, but not any for furniture for we could live without that, and so I kept on making butter for nearly thirty years and that furniture has not come yet, and I have made more than twenty five thousand pounds.
I am going to tell a little anecdote that took place in the summer of ’59. We had an Irishman working for us by the name of Jimmie Griffin, and a redheaded girl by the name of Betty. Jimmie helped do the milking. A heifer’s calf had been taken from her, for veal, and it was Jimmies work to milk the young cow which he tried to do, but she would not give it down. Again and again he tried to get her milk but it would not come, and her bag was in great danger of spoiling. In the morning, after the men had gone to their work, the cow stood at the gate bawling for her calf. Betty caught up a pail and said “I am going to see if I can get that cow’s milk.” In a few minutes she came in, her face all aglow and a full pail of milk, “See here,” she said, “And this is not all. I must get another pail.” Jimmie didn’t half try and I am going to tell him so. She could hardly wait for noon to come for she wanted to exult over him. And when she saw the men washing for dinner she made the attack on Jimmie. “See here, Mr. Jimmie Griffin, I got the milk from that heifer, every drop of it, and she stood perfectly still and let me milk.” He looked from behind the towel he was wiping on and said “Tis no wonder etall, she saw yer red head and thought it was her red calf.” Betty happened to think, just then, she must help put the dinner on the table.
I found farm life very monotonous for it was work, work, work, and no change for me for only occasionally I would go to Gd. Haven to do some trading for the family, and hurry right back home. In the fall of ’59, my father and mother came to see me and took Jennie home with them to go to school. As soon as the cold weather and sleighing came, the young people of Grand Haven warmed our house with their gayeties and dancing. Occasionally some old friends would slip up to see us.
On January 24th 1860, a little boy came to our house. He weighed ten pounds and was not at all backward in letting his wants be known. A baby brother was a great novelty. He had lots of sisters to help take care of him which they all wished to do at the same time. We called him, Henry, after his father.
I was intending, when the weather got warm in the spring to go to fathers and make a visit, and get Jennie, but what was my surprise, early in April, one fine day, she came bounding in the house and exclaimed “Oh, mother, I came home all alone, I got the prize in school, where is father?” She being told he was in the sugar bush she rushed through the house, without stopping, hurrying for the sugar bush. Minnie and Clara following her to tell her the news that she had a little brother.
In the summer of ’60 Sarah, and myself, did all the house work as our girl left in the spring. But I gave out in the fall and was a very sick woman for a number of weeks. The Dr. said it was all brought on by hard work. I had to wean my baby when he was only eight months old. My sister, Delia, came and took care of me until I was better and then went and got married to Lafayette Freeman, and they moved to Chicago where they lived for years.
The winter of 1861 will long be remembered as the time when the country was darkening into war. I cannot remember, just now, of anything in particular that took place as my life was getting to be so much like a tread mill. My work was the same, day after day and month after month. I had not been to my old home for six or more years and began to think it was time for me to see the old home again, I said as much to Mr. P. and he seemed very much surprised that I wanted to be running home all of the time. Said he supposed this was our home and he did not see why I wished to go, so often, to what had once been my home,. He did not talk me out of it, for about the first of March, ’61 I was ready to start for my childhood home. Your father was taking me to the train.
But I must tell you of our narrow escape from death. Over the deep run just east of Mr. W. H. Bonds, there was a high trestle, work bridge. We crossed the bridge, then he whipped up his horses. Immediately we heard a rumbling sound and the earth seemed to tremble beneath us, but we did not know where the sound came from for we did not look back. Mr. P. said it might be an earthquake or perhaps war had broken out. He was sure it was something unusual and he thought I had better go back home. However we went on to Nunica, and while waiting for the train, a man came up and told Mr. Pennoyer that he knocked the bridge down when he passed over it., The man was behind us and saw it when it fell.
Your father had quite a troublesome time to get his tam home, for roads were scarce, then. The town went to work, at once, filling up the bridgeway with logs. The road commissioner said he would have a bridge that Pennoyer could not break down. It was a good bridge until the time of the great fires. The night Chicago burned, that bridge burned,. It was replaced by grading.
I had rather a soft journey before I got to my fathers for the frost came out of the ground and left the mud very deep. But that did not hinder my having a good visit. My parents were now in good, comfortable circumstances and living very easy and happily. I found my sister Emeline Maben, in a new house, very nicely furnished and everything around the premises to correspond. Mr. Charles Maben was a thorough farmer and his home and its surroundings, showed good taste and good judgment.
After spending a week with my folks, Mr. Pennoyer came for me. We took the train at Ada and were soon home again, where I found a plenty of work. Sarah had done very well getting the meals but she could not keep up all the work and this was the first time I had left her to be gone so long from home.
Anyone living in the U.S., in the spring of 1861, will never forget it, that is if they were old enough to realize the situation of things. The bombardment of Fort Sumter roused the people of the north, and united them. The call for troops made the mothers and wives anxious for early in the summer of 61 many brave men and boys left their homes, at their country’s call, and never returned. History tells the sad story of the long and bloody war, so it’s not necessary for me to dwell upon it, here.
On August 18th, 1861 another little girl was born to us and we named her Susan Amanda after Mr. Pennoyer’s only sister, and my sister Amanda Teeple.
In the later part of the summer and fall, was all excitement in regard to the war. Many young men, in and around our town, were leaving for the war. Young boys, by the score, were leaving their homes and enlisted as soldier. Sad to tell, but very few of them ever came back, again, and but very few of them were ever in battle. Most of them died in hospitals, with disease and homesickness. It always seemed a shame to me that young boys, in their teens, should be allowed to enlist in the army.
In the fall of ’61, the girls all went to school. That is, Minnie went to live with Mrs. Ferry so as to have the school privileges in Grand Haven. Mrs. Wm Ferry offered Minnie a home with them, if she would go to school. Sarah, Jennie and Clara went to school in our district. Nellie Badger was their teacher. Lettie was all the help I had through the day. She was five years old, and could rock and tend baby. They were the same as two babies. Henry was less than two years old and Susie two months. I promised Sarah if she would go to school the work should not keep her out and it did not. But I was a very, very busy woman, that winter. I commenced teaching Lettie and found her a bright little scholar. When I would sit down to nurse my baby and rock my little boy to sleep in his crib, Lettie would get her book and stand beside me and I would hear her read over her lesson, and I would be knitting at the same time. I kept that up all winter and I called that part of my days work, resting. I practiced that way of working, after we came on the farm. Before Jennie and Clara commenced going to school, they got their lessons regularly and I would hear them recite their lessons to me. Sometimes I would be making bread or pies. Sometimes churning or ironing.
During the winter of 1862 we had a number of sleigh riding parties from Grand Haven to take dinner with us, a dozen or fifteen at a time. I would have to keep Sarah out of school to help me prepare for them, which I did not like to do. For I would get up Monday mornings at one o’clock, and commence the washings and call the girls, at four, and at seven the washings would be all on the lines. I did not like the idea of keeping her out of school to help get ready for company. To finish up their coming, that winter, were between thirty and forty young people who brought their oysters and crackers and also their music. They had a gay time dancing nearly all night. I had some company from my old home, during the good sleighing for my brothers, and sisters, came to see us for the first time.
Now the winter was over and spring time brought its work of housecleaning and so on. The Sunday School was held at Nunica in the railroad depot and the station master, Mr. Preston, was their superintendent. There was a large attendance at Sunday School for Mr. Preston made it very interesting. Nellie Badger hired for the summer to teach our school. Jennie and Clara went to school to her during the summer. Minnie came home from Mrs. Ferry’s to spend the summer.
Sarah Pennoyer was engaged to marry a young man by the name of Austin Wright. After the war broke out he enlisted and was soon a captain of a company. I think he went from here to Nashville, Tenn. He was wounded in battle, in the spring of 1862, was brought up to Quincy and died there. His remains were brought to Grand Haven Cemetery. A beautiful monument marks the place where his ashes lie in Lake Forest Cemetery. Sarah almost gave away to this affliction and refused to be comforted. Well might she grieve for what she had lost. Austin Wright was one of the finest young men in the country. He was a gentleman and a fine scholar. But mourning, at that time, was all over the land and in nearly every home. Many were the husbands, fathers, and sons that left their homes and loved ones, and never returned. Sarah dressed herself in black for she deeply mourned the loss of Austin Wright.
In the summer of ’62, Sarah hired to teach the school in the Jerry McMann district. It was the first school taught in the Jerry McMann schoolhouse. She got along nicely with the school considering she was hard of hearing.
In the fall of ’62 I went to Grand Rapids. I took Clara and my baby, Susie, with me. I stopped in town with my cousin Wm Laraway, who then had marble works on Monroe St. I did my trading and visited some friends, in town, and then I went out to Cascade. I found my mother grieving and crying for her baby boy who had enlisted in his teens. Perry came home, while I was there, for he had a bad cold he had caught by sleeping on the ground in Grand Rapids where the soldiers were drilling before taking their departure for the war.
Charles Maben was anxious I should see the improvements that had been made in that portion of the towns, so he hitched up his five hundred dollar team and took my sister Emeline, and myself, with my children, to see improvements made during my absence from Cascade. He first took me where I had taught school two summers and to other places of interest. I remember we called on a Mr. Rhodes, where I saw two pairs of twins, all boys. I soon hurried myself back home, anxious to get my children clothed up in time for the approaching winter.
John Pennoyer was clerking at the Rice House in Grand Haven, in the winter of 1863, when one of his rheumatic fevers came upon him. He was too sick to be moved home and some one of the family had to stay with him for three months or more. Early in March they brought him home as he seemed much better, and it was much better for us to have him where we could take care of him. Little Susan, a sweet, delicate child was little or no trouble to us. Henry could not talk plain but she could understand him and would interpret all of his wants to us. She could talk quite plainly. Whether we neglected her, or not, I cannot say but she had a bad cold for a few days and then seemed better. John required a good deal or care for he had been very sick. He had been worse than ever before, when he had the rheumatism for it got around his heart and he suffered intense pain. Perhaps we were watching John so close that we did not see our baby was in danger, and when we got a Dr. for her he did not seem to know what was the matter with her. When the Dr. came again, I told him she had a sore throat. He examined her throat and pronounced it diphtheria. That was a new disease at that time, and some Drs. did not understand how to treat it. Poor little Susie, what harsh treatment she had to endure. The Dr. burned her throat out with caustic and we did a great many things he ordered us to do for her throat, that was cruel. When she saw us getting ready to swab her throat she would call her papa as loud as she could llscream.
Her papa was working in the sugar bush and when he would come she would try to tell him how harsh we had been, and she would cling to him for fear we would touch her sore throat. She was very fond of her papa and had always been pleased when he entered the house. Her papa, in return, would look at the windows when he was coming home, for her little white head. He had been in the habit of carrying her in his arms when he went to the barn, or in the orchard, and she was always looking out for those pleasant rambles, for they were the best of friends.
Our little darling’s life on earth was short. That terrible disease, diphtheria soon did its work and our poor baby was at rest. When leaving the little grave, where we had buried her out of our sight, I discovered I was a sick woman. I was worn out and tired out. I had had but little, or no rest, after they brought John home and Susie’s sickness had almost finished me. I went to bed as soon as I got home, with a high fever and was sick for over a week. Susan Amanda Pennoyer, born Aug 18, 1861. Died March 1863.
After the usual spring’s work of housecleaning, gardening, and so on, the girls went off all the same day. Sarah went to teach the McMann school for another summer, Minnie went back to Mrs. Ferrys to go to school. Jennie and Clara also went to school, taking Lettie with them, and that left me all alone with my little boy, Henry.
Of course, we always had a number of men to cook for in those days, which made a slave of me. But I should not have grieved over the hard work, if I could have known the farm was paying us for our trouble. On the contrary, I knew it was running behind. I made butter enough to keep up the household expenses, such as clothing, groceries, and miscellaneous articles that are needed in every house. I would sometimes approach the subject, in regard to our financial matters, to Mr. Pennoyer and ask him questions. He always was hopeful and said he could bring matters around all right by and by. And so I would work on between hope and fear. Jennie and Clara were getting old enough so they could help me in the kitchen, nights and mornings. They would work well, for me, when I was all alone, but if the older girls were here they would much rather play than work.
Jennie was of great help to her father. There were no small boys on the farm to run errands and help about the chores, and that kind of work suited Jennie better than working in the house. She would say, “I like to help father for then I don’t have but one boss. But in the house I have three, mother, Sarah and Minnie.” She would bring up the cows and help do the milking. She could get up the horses, harness them and unharness them and she was also trusted to drive the team. She was our teamster when we went to church and Sunday school. She was the principle one, for a number of years, to go for the mail on horseback. I would ask Mr. Pennoyer why he did not call on Sarah, or Minnie, to go for the mail and his reply would be because they have not got the nerve that Jennie has. And for that reason he was afraid they would get hurt. Sarah and Minnie did know how to ride on horseback and rode considerably.
One time Minnie went on old Dollie to Nunica, all alone, and when she returned she told us that she got faint on her way home, and fainted away, falling off old Dollie, and when she came to her senses, she found herself under Dollie’s forefeet and Dollie was holding up one foot, over her, for fear of stepping on her. Afte that her father would not trust Minnie with a horse and forbade my trusting her.
But Minnie was a plucky little girl when there was any creature suffering that she could relieve, and if she could not help them she would put them out of the way, (as in this case) she found an old blind Turkey that the bees had stung her eyes out, and rather than to see her suffer, Minnie cut her head off with an ax. She was brave, in danger, but naturally loving and affectionate. She was very small, never weighed a hundred, and was quick and active. She learned to milk and would help us when she was home, but she spent most of her time in Grand Haven going to school.
Sarah and Clara would not learn to milk for fear it would be expected of them to do a portion of that kind of work. In the fall when Sarah’s school was out, she brought a boy home with her, by the name of Henry Wooley. He was 14 or 15 years of age and he had no friends, nor relatives. We clothed him and sent him to school. He, in return, worked for us out of school hours.
Men were scarce, and wages were high, on account of the war. Mr. Pennoyer went to Ada, this fall, and had a train load of stone sent to Dennison to underpin the house as it was still standing on blocks. It was very expensive moving the stone from Ada to Dennison and there they were brought on sleighs. This work of hauling stone was going on rapidly when one of the worst storms set in that I ever knew. New Year’s eve was a calm winter’s evening but the weather changed about midnight. And the year 1864 came in with a storm that caused hundreds to perish with the cold. The greatest number of lives were lost on the Prairies, and at Camp Douglas in Chicago, the poor soldiers suffered terribly and many froze to death. With us the thermometer was 24 and 30 degrees below zero and the wind blowing at the rate of sixty miles an hour., Your father had all he could do to take care of his stock and look after the fires.
On Jan 15th, 1864, another son. He was named after my poor brother Perry who had just been wounded in battle and also after Mr. Pennoyer’s brother, so we called him James Perry. He was a good natured, healthy baby and liked his meals too often to suit Sarah for she loved to tend baby and she would have to give him up to often to me, and so she gave him the name of Perry Pig.
John Pennoyer was married August, 1863 to Mary Etta Stone. In the spring of 1864, John and wife rented the hotel at Ferrysburg, of Thomas Merrill. The house was paying well, at that time, as passengers all had to stop there to take the stage to go to Muskegon, and also coming from that place. They did well during the summer, but in the fall John had the rheumatism come on him and he got discouraged and sold out his interest in the hotel for seven hundred dollars, or thereabouts. After a while they set up housekeeping at Grand Rapids for a short time only.
The summer of ’64 was a hard one for me. Sarah was away during the harvest which was large, that year, and it was cut with cradles and took ten men for a week or more. I, in trying to do the work of two or three women, made my baby sick and came very near losing him. Wheat, that fall was two dollars and twenty five cents per bushel.
Mr. Pennoyer hired a Mr. McGurn, of Grand Rapids, to put the foundation under the house, and build a cistern, which took six weeks or more. Mr. P. sold a piece of land in Illinois, this fall of ’64, and received for it, eighteen hundred dollars cash. He then took a contract with the railroad company to furnish them with three thousand cords of wood. He commenced, early in the winter, to prepare for what he supposed would be a good speculation. He bought a sawing machine that cost him a hundred and fifty or two hundred dollars, and commenced running it with ten to fifteen men to keep the business moving. But the sawing machine was not a success, and when spring came he found himself badly in debt and the sawing machine on his hands. We never recovered form that indebtedness.
Early in the spring of 1865, when I saw how useless my hard winter’s work had been, I was almost frantic with grief. The girls had all gone to school during the winter. Also, Willie Hathaway, a small boy that Mr. P. had taken to bring up as his own. The teacher, Mr. Williams, stayed at our house the most of the time. We had put up dinners for seven all winter. I had a hired girl in the kitchen who was not worth her board, she was so slow and easy she made a slave out of me. The number, in the family, on an average, was twenty one, nearly all winter.
My baby was quite sick in March. I presume, made so by my work and worry. While watching with him one night, I was taken very sick and went in a chill that I didn’t expect to come out of. But when I did I commenced coughing and raising blood. I was sorry to die and leave the girls, and little ones, for I knew they needed me. But, aside from that, I wanted to die. I was suffering everything but death and I supposed it was death. Dr. McNett attended me. Inflammation of the lungs in its worst form was the trouble with me. Dr. blistered me until it would have no more effect on me and then he used spirits of turpentine, the scars of which I shall always carry. After three or four weeks of intense suffering I began to get better. The girls had done their best considering the amount of work there was to do. My sister, Amanda, and her husband Byron Henshaw, visited us with their seven months old baby, Effie, just as I began to walk about a little. Mr. and Mrs. Henshaw were a happy couple and very fond of their baby. They went from here and visited my sister, Jane, at Ferrysburg and from there to their home in Chicago. The next week we got a telegram that Amanda was dead and would be brought to Cascade for burial. It was something like the croup that took her off so sudden. Mr. Pennoyer took me with him to the funeral. My sister, Emeline, took the motherless baby.
I got better as the weather warmed up but never have been as well since that fit of sickness. In the summer of ’65 Mr. Pennoyer hired a lot of men to get out ties for the railroad and with the men on the farm we had about eight men to cook for, again that summer.
I should not forget to mention in the spring of ’65, the great rejoicing all over the country when General Lee surrendered. But, soon after, the country was in mourning for Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, was assassinated. I had never seen a number of soldiers together, during the war, but when the people along the railroad lines were called upon to feed the soldiers, who were returning from the war, Mr. Pennoyer, and myself, went to Coopersville and helped feed a regiment of soldiers.
In the fall of ’65 I sold my house, and lot, at Grand Haven, and sent Minnie and Jennie to Fox Lake College, and bought the piano so that Sarah could complete her musical education which she had commenced. She then went to Grand Rapids, every week, and took music lessons until she fitted herself to teach music. Clara and Lettie were the only scholars the first winter of 1866. Bust Sarah’s music scholars became numerous and she taught music for years with good succeed and made a nice sum of money in that way and clothing herself nicely.
On February 8th, 1866, another son was born on Mr. Ps fifty seventh birthday. We named him Frederick Anson, after a departed brother of Mr. Pennoyer.
Minnie and Jennie returned from school, early in July, much pleased to get home and also well pleased with the new piano, and baby brother. Fox Lake College was a school for girls. It is now a high school. Minnie, Jennie and Clara, all attended school, there, until they fitted themselves for teachers., After they commenced going off to school, and teaching, they could not help me about my work, for during their vacations, we would have to work lively to get them ready to go off again, I acting as dress maker. I did the best I could to make every dollar go as far as it would. I was very anxious to see the girls well educated and capable of taking care of themselves.
Sarah was the standby among the five girls, for she was at home the greater part of the time, her music scholars being usually in and around Nunica. Sarah loved the children and was a great help to me about taking care of them. Perry and Freddie were very mischievous children. We were in constant fear that something terrible would befall them. Then Perry was but two years and six months old, he ran away and went to Nunica. (He said to get candy.) He often went to the woods when he was between two and three years old and got lost. Once he got in possession of some matches and was playing on the haymow in the cow barn, when he struck a match and set the hay on fire. A deaf and dumb man was mowing hay, at the time, and jumped upon the fire just in time to smother it out. One sultry and showery day in mid-summer he had run out in the water pools and got wet and dirty and the girls had changed his clothes about six times and their patience became exhausted. I took him in and put on his night clothes and put him to bed and went on hurrying about my evening work. Then, what was my surprise when I saw one of the men coming out of the barnyard carrying Perry at arm’s length, saying “Here is your duck.” His night dress was saturated with the liquid that is good to put on the garden on account of its enriching qualities. But the way it was, when my children were small, I was so busy with a multitude of cares, I did not do my duty to my little ones and sometimes they ran wild. Lettie and Henry, when small, were not very mischievous so the two last ones took me by surprise.
After I had the lung fever, in the spring of ’65, I found my memory was impaired. My memory was excellent before that time. I could remember, well, what I read before that, to this day. But since ’65 I cannot keep track of the seasons as I did before. I am so forgetful; now, it makes me feel very disagreeable and dissatisfied with myself. I can see, now, there I missed doing my duty as a mother and as a wise woman. I neglected reading and would put it off until I had more time, and that time did not come. That will not do. We must feed our minds as well as our bodies. The mind needs good, substantial reading, as much as the body needs good substantial food.
I must tell about my baby, Freddie, and his dog. In the summer of 1867 there were people, traveling by here, that had a very nice, large dog and they accidentally hurt him so he could not travel. They notified the people east of us that the dog was a valuable one and they hoped some of them would coax him up and take care of him. The poor dog had nearly all the people in the neighborhood coaxing him. He, in return, would growl and threaten them and then hide away. The dog finally made his appearance about our place. People cautioned us to look out for him for they said he was an ugly dog and ought to be killed. One noonday, while clearing away the dinner, I had a nice mess for a dog and thought of the poor homeless one in the orchard, so I put the mess in an old pan and went near him and spoke kindly to him, set the pan down and walked away a few paces and sat down on the grass. He got up and went slowly to it and then devoured it, eagerly, watching me at the same time. When he had finished he made one spring at me, knocking me over backward. Before I could recover my position he had licked my face thoroughly. He went to the house with me and was my faithful friend after that. And to reward me for my kindness to him, he took it upon himself to look after baby Freddie.
We had to watch Perry and Freddie, when they were playing out, to keep them away from the brook. Watch, the new dog, soon learned that we did not want them to go to the brook. He would go with Freddie, there, and stayed close by him all of the time. When Freddie would begin to mess in the mud and water, the dog would bark to attract our attention and keep it up until we came for him. When Freddie got older, he trained his dog Watch, to draw him on his sleigh and many a fine time they had together, which made fun for the rest of us. Watch would turn short corners, sometimes, and Fred would roll off and then scold the dog which would look sorry, but jump back in the rope and take it in his teeth and away they would go.
I remember the summer of ’67 as being one of the most toilsome, on my part, and the most careworn I ever experienced. My baby was teething. He had sores on his head and was quite fretful. Our minister, Mr. Lord, who preached at Nunica, usually made it his home with us over Sundays. Two young men from Hollad, William and Peter Moredik, Bible missionaries, made our house their home the most of the summer. There were cousins, the Pennoyers from and near Chicago, here two weeks, and other company, too numerous to mention, that thronged our house that summer. Minnie was teaching the Malone school and boarding at home. Jennie taught the Spoonville school. It was her first term of teaching school.
A good Templers lodge had started up in Nunica, in the spring of ’67 and it was all the rage for young and old. Their hall was crowded every Saturday night. Our family were all members of the Lodge which was a god thing in its way. But it did not relieve my cares. On the contrary it added to them. Minnie went back to Fox Lake in the fall. Jennie taught the Taylor school that fall and winter. Sarah was also teaching music. The lamented Rev. William M. Ferry died Decd. 30th, 1867.
In the spring of 1868 Jennie and myself went to Grand Rapids and bought some things for our parlor, which we still have, the carpet, the curtains and a rocker. We visited my parents at Cascade. We took Henry with us but he was very homesick while away. It was Henry’s first trip away from home. Although he was with Jennie and Perry he was very uneasy and anxious to get back home. He was different from other children in one respect. He would rather work, than play and took a great interest in the farm work and seemed the happiest when he had the most work to do. He would rather work than study his books which I was very sorry to see. He was kept out of school a good deal to do chores and errands and it did not give him much chance to get interested in his school. But he loved to read and seldom sat down in the house without a book or paper in his hand, and he was faithful and trusty as a child.
Perry was very different. He was mischievous and restless. When he was three years old he learned the alphabet off his blocks by asking us the names of the letters. He then put them together to make them spell something. In that way he taught himself to read and was quick to learn in school. But my little boys’ chances for an education were quite slim. What little I could do I had done for the older girls and I seemed quite helpless when the younger children began to need something better than a poorly kept district school.