III. Other Memories of My Life in Ellington Township

As I travel down memory lane, both pleasant and unpleasant experiences come to mind.

From my parents I learned the names of many plants, weeds, wild flowers, birds, trees, and the constellations.

Early spring flowers included spring beauties, Dutchmen breeches, dogtooth violets, May flowers, columbine and Jack-in-the-Pulpit.

In our yard we grew both red and black haw, persimmons, mulberries of three kinds, and papaws.

We always had an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit to eat or process, as we had a large garden and a truck patch. Fruits included rhubarb, strawberries, blackberries, red and black raspberries, gooseberries, currants, and ground cherries. Also, we had plums, pears and cherries, as well as both apple and peach orchards.

Occasionally I accompanied "papa" to Quincy as he took a spring wagon load of peaches or apples to peddle or deliver to fruit markets, as Malambri, Musolino or Schreibers.

Each fall we made apple cider; some of which became a supply of vinegar for our use or for sale.

In the spring we had a special treat, Maple syrup. Sap was collected from the maple trees in our pasture lot. Then mother on the kitchen range boiled the sap until it was syrupy. How good it was on pancakes or with homemade biscuits! But how hard it was on the surface of the kitchen woodwork!

Livestock on the farm included horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, chickens, and turkeys, from which we had a good supply of mutton, beef, pork, and dairy products. Often we had a little lamb to bottle feed. A daily task was skimming the cream from crocks of milk, and in later years washing the cream separator. Before we had our own ice, cream and butter were hung down into the well so as to be kept cool.

In the fall we'd look for the common edible mushrooms in the pasture after fall rains.

Twice a week mamma baked six large loaves of bread. How delicious it was, how good it smelled! Mother's favorite cookbook was the "Whitehouse Cookbook".

Monday was always washday. Washing was either done on a washboard, or with a hand operated machine or gasoline engine. Ironing was a hot, unpleasant job; the irons were heated on the kitchen range. Following that came the task of mending socks and overalls.

Saturday morning duties included the chore of caring for the kerosene lamps-filling with oil, trimming the wicks, and washing the chimneys. Another chore was cleaning the bedside chamber pots. Also, our everyday "silverware", steel knives, forks, and spoons, were polished with brick dust.

Saturday afternoon was bath time. For a bathtub a galvanized tub was placed on the kitchen floor. The bath water was heated on the kitchen stove. Mother had made the soap. The same tub of water was used to bathe all six children. As I was the eldest my turn was last! Do you think I really was washed real clean?

Fortunately we had our own ice. It was cut from our pond, packed in sawdust and stored in an ice house. On the Fourth of July we had ice cream as a treat.

It's a wonder I never drowned in the pond, as I "swam" about, holding onto a board. One day my sister, Florence, returned to the house minus her dress. We had no bathing suits to use.

A cousin and I occasionally hunted frogs. Another time Aunt Mary Wood tried to catch frogs with us. Once one escaped back into the water with its throat partially cut-leaving a trail of blood. Ugh! Oh, did you ever try frying frog legs?

During my childhood, in Ellington I didn't often get to Sunday School or Church, but Mother saw to it that we were baptized in Camp Point at the St.Thomas Church. Furthermore, every Sunday morning Mother read to us a chapter from the Bible. The whole book was read in this fashion.

Each summer I earned the sum of fifty cents by riding the horse to pull up the clover or timothy hay to the hayloft with a hay fork. How I hated that job! It was always hot. And it was hard to hear just when I needed to turn the horse around to come back. Once the pulley pulled loose from outside the barn and the horse started running, brushing my leg against a tree. I was more frightened than injured.

Threshing days for wheat and oats were busy times for all. Usually two tables were set for the threshing crew's noon meal. What an appetite those men had! Before our home had window or door screens, I remember shooing flies from the tables with a stick to which had been attached strips of newspaper.

As a rural mail route did not pass our house, I had to walk a mile across a field to the mailbox. "Papa" liked to read the daily newspaper during the noon hour. One day I tarried to read the funny page. I never did that again! Father came as I was reading; he gave me a switching I never forgot.

When I was ten years old my parents bought a piano. Florence and I then took music lessons from a man who came in a buggy. Lessons cost fifty cents.

There were several things that happened when I was about twelve and thirteen years of age that made me quite nervous, but I never told my parents. I hated to go to bed at night as I'd have bad dreams. I even developed a case of shingles.

One of the happenings was the suicide of one of our neighbors. It seemed to be so personal. I knew that a couple of my uncles had taken their own lives. A picture of one, Uncle Lewis, was on the parlor wall, and his trunk was in an upstairs room. He had been disappointed in love.

Later, one morning, my father was making plans to take a wagon load of wheat to Quincy when we saw considerable smoke down the road. Aunt Mattie Wood called on the phone saying they saw the smoke, too. We walked down to see the cause. The buildings on the Voorhis place were on fire. Henry Freelove came out, blood on his shirt. (He was the present husband of the former Mrs. Voorhis. She and her daughter, Violet had taken some pickles to Quincy to sell). Freelove had cut the skin on his throat to make it appear that someone had tried to kill him. Everyone knew better. My father made a call to the sheriff who asked him to bring Freelove part way into Quincy on his load of wheat, they would meet him.

My fear from this happening was that later perhaps Freelove might take some sort of revenge on our family. He never did though.

Other good memories are that of visiting our grandmothers. My mother's homestead was near Columbus, Illinois. In the fall at Grandmother Dunlop's we gathered hickory nuts, butternuts and hazelnuts. I enjoyed seeing her turkey gobbler strut, and watching the windmill fill a water tank with water.

My father's stepmother, Sarah Wood, lived in Quincy at 524 North 9th Street (now the location of part of Blessing Hospital's power plant). Each summer my sisters. Florence and Fern, and I looked forward to a week's vacation with Grandmother, my Uncle Ralph, and aunts, Martha and Mary Wood.

It was a treat to be sent to the Johannes Meat and Grocery Store at 10th and Oak to buy some round steak. With pennies received in change I could buy some redhots.

While in Quincy we had several new experiences, such as riding on a street car to South Park for a picnic. The most exciting was a ride on a roller coaster in Highland Park, the present location of the Casino Lanes and Starlight Terrace. Never will I forget going along on an excursion on a steamboat to Keokuk, Iowa, and through the lock after they had just been opened for traffic. To hear calliope music always brings back to mind this memorable experience.

All of my early childhood years were spent on the Malinda Frazer farm in Ellington. In the orchard was a small burial plot for the Frazer and Kincade families. My Grandmother Wood's maiden name was Mary Lucinda Kincade.

In this plot was a large granite tombstone on which was inscribed:

            James F. Frazer                       May 16, 1796              Oct. 23, 1877
                        Mary Crow Frazer                   Nov.  22, 1800                        Apr. 18, 1862
                        Ann Frazer                              Feb. 10, 1823              Dec. 23, 1850
                        Malinda Jane Frazer                Sept. 5, 1825               Mar. 1, 1901

From the 1872 Atlas of Adams County I learned that James F. Frazer, born in Harrison, County, Kentucky, established a homestead in Ellington Township in 1827. Also that their son, Henry, born in 1829 was the first child born in Ellington Township.

Malinda was born in St. Charles, Missouri, in 1825 and came to Adams County in 1827 with her parents. According to her obituary, she died in Cannon City, Colorado, on March I, 1901. Her remains were brought back for burial by her brother-in-law, Robert Chase, and were buried on the family plot.

The Great River Genealogical Society, in commemoration of the Adam's County Illinois Sesquicentennial and our nations Bicentennial. awarded me, a few years ago, a gold Adams County Pioneer Certificate, as being a descendant of someone who had settled or lived in the county in 1830 or prior to that (James F. Frazer in 1829, my great-great-grandfather).

At the present time the farm has been divided and is owned by James Benz and Jerry Daggett, Rt. 3, Quincy, Illinois.

When the Daggett's bought their part, only the large granite stone remained and was surrounded by corn stalks. When Mrs. Daggett discovered she had a large tombstone standing where her front yard was to be, she had it destroyed!

My parents, Samuel Edmund (Ed) Wood and Helen Delores Dunlop, were married on November 9, 1901, in Mr. Sterling, Illinois, by Rev. N. E. Cory, a Methodist minister. Then they went to Oklahoma City where my father joined his brother Lewis in the grocery business at the Palace Grocery, located on the corner of 6th and Harrison Ave., operated by Cooke and Wood. The next year the Wood brothers returned to Illinois, my father to farm in Houston Township, and Lewis, to teach at Mendon, Illinois.

My Grandmother Wood was the daughter of Joseph F. and Elizabeth Frazer Kincade. He came to Adams County in 1840 and their marriage was in 1842. She died in 1885 so that I never knew her, but I have pleasant memories of her brother, John H. Kincade and wife Helen Minetta Colburn Kincade, who were close neighbors of ours in Ellington Township. Their children were Johnny, Adah (Mrs. Baptist Strickler), and Mellie (Mrs. McClung).

At out Easter family gatherings another of her brothers, James Kincade, wife Lucy A. Curtis Kincade, and daughter Mabel K. Austin, and husband Clarence Austin, and their children, Frederick and Harlan, joined the group.

Another family member was Lucuis Elvin (El) Crow, and uncle of Mrs. John H. Kincade, and a distant cousin of my father. As a laborer he lived in a tent on our farm, helping my father and other neighbors occasionally. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Crowe, born in 1849. In 1878 he had married Louisa E. Taylor in Quincy.

I remember how he loved to hunt, read, and visit. He played a banjo. He also was an alcoholic.

From the 1850 Census of Adams County, I learned the names and ages of the children of my great great grandparents, James F. and Mary (Polly) Crow Frazer, and that of my great grandparents, Joseph F. and Elizabeth Frazer Kincade.

I secured further interesting information pertaining to the family of James F. Frazer from the Chancery Docket No. 325, Dec. 12, 1881, in the settlement of the estate of James F. Frazer, my great great grandfather. A son Benito had left for Colorado years before and hadn't heard from since then. He was being declared legally dead.