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3 1833 01368 0985

Clark Descendent of Early Vincennes .

5, Caroline Clark — «e.^«=ac* Van Fossen

Bo Sept. 12,1858

PoBo Vincennes, Indiana

Profession-* school teacher in one

6f Nashville, Indiana *s one-room
cat in schoois

M. June 9,1881

Do January 18,19^2

A Reunion Book
G-iven by *«* Ray Van Fossen
Bo April 24,1889
Do August 3,1965

Mrs. Ray Van Fossen

The Jennings -Ya^er

Prepared by Emma Jennings Clark
and Myra Jennings Curtis

Privately Printed


To the precious memory of our beloved Parents,
Theodore Cole Jennings and Emily Ann Yager
Jennings, •%vho have done so much for o£hers.

"As little children playing along the -wide seashore,
Launching their fragile barks freighted -with precious store,
Tracing their w^ayward course till the waves their

treasures spend, —
So play we, children all, and shall unto the end."

T. C. C.





Since the members of our family were reaching
such an age that in a few years there would be
but few to tell of the past, we were requested to
write a suitable sketch including history and some
of the folk-lore of the family. This we did, and
after it was read at a family reunion at Cataract,
Indiana, in the summer of 1914 we were requested
to prepare it for publication. We therefore pre-
sent to you ''Around the Jennings- Yager Camp-
fire," in which we have woven into story form
historical facts, folk-lore and song.

We present this book to you in the year of the
hundredth anniversary of our dear mother's birth.

We wish to thank all who have assisted us in
any way.

Much of the book has to do with pioneer days
at Cataract, Owen Co., Indiana.

If any errors are found herein, •

"Don't view us with a critic's eye, '

But pass our imperfections by."

Emma Jennings Clark.
Myra Jennings Curtis.
May, 1915.



IT WAS in the year 1914. A group of earn-
est men and women, some with blooming-
cheek and sparkling eye of youth, some
with fun'owed brow and silvered hair,
were seated around a blazing camp-fire. The flames
shot upward, sending the sparks hurrying and
scurrying skyward, and the shadows were throAvn
into the background. A number of children, with
faces all aglow with pleasure at the unusual scene,
gathered at the feet of the older members of the

The sound of a gavel arrested the attention
of the merry group. A young man of medium
height and manly bearing arose and said:

''Gentlemen and Ladies — yes, more than gentle-
men and ladies. Shall I call you friends? Yes,
more than friends, for you are my own blood, my
own kith and kin. I am indeed happy to greet you.
I, Leslie Scofield, do consider it an honor to stand
at the head of the list of great-grandsons of this
noble family, and I thank you for the honor j'ou
have bestowed upon me, in choosing me chairman on
this happy occasion.

"It seems to me appropriate at the beginning of
this imi^ortant camp-fire talk — important not only
to us who are fortunate in being present, but
important because it will be carried down into the
years to come — to have given to us a short history
of our worthy ancestors Avho have worn the name
of Jennings. I have chosen for this historian the
oldest son of my honored grandmother and grand-
father, Dr. Theodore Spencer Jennings, of Louis-
ville, Ky. He needs no introduction."

The historian arose, and with his usual smile and
a merry twinkle in his eye, began taking his nose-

The Jennings- Yager Camp-Firk 5

glasses from the lapel of his coat and adjusted
them on his nose.

''Mr. Chairman," he said, "I cannot say on this
occasion as I often said in the classroom dur-
ing my college days, 'I am not prepared.' For, since
I received notice of what would be expected of me
in due time, I have carefully prepared a short
history of these ancestors, from the facts as they
have been given to me. I am glad to give it to
this assembled family.

"The first of our ancestors, as far back as we
have their history, is one Humphrey Jennings, who
was born in England. He was my father's great-
great-grandfather. His son William was an iron-
master and he had four children : John, William,
Ann and Sarah.

"This son, John Jennings, lived and died an old
bachelor and was very wealthy. He died intestate,
and he is the Jennings who left the Jennings Eng-
lish fortune, which has caused so much talk, and
has been so much written about. He was my
father's great-uncle.

''His sister Ann was Lady to the Queen, and
his sister Sarah is supposed to have married a
Lord of West Wiekersham. His brother William,
knowing that he would not inherit any of his fath-
er's estate, being the second son, came to America.
He afterward married Mrs. Elizabeth Cloud, who
was Lady Spencer. She had come from England
to America in search of her husband, who was cap-
tain of a vessel. But she found that the vessel
had never arrived, and was supposed to have been
lost at sea. To this John Jennings and Lady
Spencer Jennings were born a son, John, and a
daughter, Dinchey, who married a Mr. Taylor.
Some of her descendants, by the name of Cart-
right, recently lived at Casey, Illinois.

"The son John was married to Alleda or Alia
Letitia Cole of New York City, N. Y., Sunday, Nov.
6, 1791. This marriage will especially interest
some of the young men and maidens of the family,

6 The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire

since it is said that she eloped with her 'Romeo'
from a boarding school. She had probably in-
herited some of her daring and bravery from her
mother, since a story is told of her that shows
her bravery. Her home was in a secluded spot, and
one day a number of soldiers came there and asked
for help to find their way back to camp. Her
mother said to her, 'You are a pretty good rider,
do you think you can show them the way?' She
said she would go and wear her white sunbonnet
and they could be guided by it; she would ride
ahead of them, as she would not dare to be found
helping them.

"This daring 'Juliet' who eloped from the board-
ing school probably inherited some of her bra-
very from her father also, since he was captain of
a New York company, in the Revolutionary War.
His name was Jacob Cole and he died at the age
of eighty-seven and was buried at New Albany,
Indiana, in 1827.

"His wife, Dinchey Cole, was aunt of President
Van Buren and died at the age of 104, and was
buried near Raccoon, Park County, Indiana.

"It is said that two great-uncles of Theodore
Cole Jennings were instrumental in the arrest of
Benedict Arnold, but their names are not known.

"An old record made by John Jennings, Sr., in
1786, tells of his birth 'in this way: 'On the
7th of March, 1769, was born His Excellency Sir
John Jennings.' He got his growth at sixteen
years of age, and measured six feet and two inches,
without his shoes.

"Upon hearing of the death of his brotlier John,
in England, William Jennings made preparation
to go there to claim his part of the estate loft by
his brother. He intended taking his granddaughter
Dinchey with him, and an affidavit is in existence
at this time to the effect that he often told her
that when he got this estate, 'She should dress in
silks and satins.' Just before he was ready to

The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire 7

start on the journey, he was taken sick, and lived
but a short time.

''This completes the history up to the birth of
my honored father, Theodore Cole Jennings."

The speaker took his seat and the chairman arose
and said : ' ' I am sure we have all en joj^ed this
part of our history greatly, and I will ask the
youngest son of the family, Charles Edward Jen-
nings of Paducah, Ky., to carry it forward."

Without preliminary remarks the new speaker
addressed his hearers:

''While John Jennings, Jr., was living in Sulli-
van county, Tennessee, being a teacher in the
Blountsville Academy, his son Theodore Cole was
born, June 24, 1804. In this son much of our
interest centers. He has told of a visit he made
to the school in which his father taught. He told
how he saw the boys drill, as was then the cus-
tom, and how they rallied around a big poplar tree.
This was when he was three or four years old. Soon
after he started to school, one day the boys told
him to run, and in doing so he caught his foot on
a root which grew across his path, and fell and
sprained his ankle; from this he never fully re-

"In those days books were scarce, and so Theo-
dore Cole learned his a, b, c's from a shingle on
which they were printed. Instead of taking a course
in school, of twelve or sixteen years' duration, his
course was three months long. But in spite of this
fact, he became a well educated man for his day,
being especia41y strong in mathematics. His father,
being a teacher, was much away from home, and
so Theodore was put to work quite early in life,
plowing when about eight years of age. His
brother John was not fond of farm work and thus
much of this heavy labor fell to him. He used to
tell a joke that well illustrates this dislike for
work on the part of his brother John : His mother
sent them out to the field one day with pumpkin
seed to plant. Instead of John planting his, as

8 The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire

soon as be readied the field he sat down and ate

"A little incident from his boyhood illustrates his
great dislike for dirt — a dislike he always possessed.
Perhaps if he were now living he would believe
in germs.

''One day when Theodore and his brother John
were eating mush and milk from their cups, John
reached over and put his finger into his cup and said,
'You've got more than I have.' This so enraged
him that he raised his cup and struck him over
the eye, sending mush and milk all over him. John
began to cry, and when Theodore heard his mother
in the kitchen he began to run, and fell on his
cup, cutting himself above the eye in the same place
he had struck his brother. They both carried the
scars as long as they lived.

"In this large family shoes were much in de-
mand. The member of the family in whom we
are most interested has told how one time he
wanted to go skating, and since he had no shoes,
he took his sister's slippers and lost one of them.
He would not get his shoes until Christmas, and as
we might say in these days, 'there was a reason.'
He would take his leather to a neighbor tanner
to have it tanned, in October. He would say to
him, 'Come back Winsday and you can have your
leather.' He would get up before day and go, and
then the tanner would say, 'Come back Sutterday,
then you can have it.' He would go again, then it
would be, 'If you will come back Winsday you can
have your leather.' And so this would continue un-
til nearly Christmas. No wonder he disliked pro-
crastination the rest of his days!

"Sometime in his younger days he lived near the
Indians and would visit their homes. One time
when he was there, some of them became very
angry and lighted their fii-ebrands and scattered
them among those with whom they were angry.

"He would go to watch the Indians dance, and
whether his sister Dinchey danced with the Indians

The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire 9

or not, we do not know, but he has told of what
a good dancer she was, and could dance with a cup
of water on her head and not spill the water.

"Soon after the birth of the youngest child, his
father died, leaving his mother a widow with a
large family of children. They afterward moved
to the northwestern part of Kentucky and settled
at Smithland. Coming down the Cumberland river
in a houseboat a storm came up and they had to
lighten the load. In their excitement they threw
overboard the box containing the valuable papers
relating to the estate of John Jennings of England,
who left the large Jennings fortune.

''While living at Smithland, they were greatly
troubled with malaria. Father has told how he
would chill till he felt he would rather die than
live. Consequently they did not remain there long.
They then moved to Jefferson county, Kentucky,
this becoming their permanent home.

''Our father was proud to tell of his brother
William being in the war under General Jackson,
and especially delighted in narrating an incident
of his army life. One day General Jackson found
him sitting on the river bank and asked him why
he had not gone on with his company. He told
the General that he had the measles and could not
go into the Avater. The General then got down
from his horse and insisted that he ride across the
river while he himself waded across, although the
water came up to his armpits.

"It was no wonder that my father was such an
admirer of 'Old Hickory,' as he loved to call him.
Many years afterward he named a tall hickory tree
in the garden at Cataract, 'Old Hickory,' in his

"Later in life father took up work on the river,
going as he expressed it, from cabin boy to captain.
He became captain on the packet line, running be-
tween Louisville and New Orleans, in 1S30, and be-
came associated later with Captain Ferguson in
the steamboat business. He carried his experience

10 The Jennings- Yagbe Camp-Fire

on the river with him, and in later years had berths,
like those on the boat, built in his mill at Cataract,
for the use of his mill hands.

''This concludes the early history of our dear
father. I thank you."

When the second historian had taken his seat,
there "was a merry twinkle in the eye of the chair-
man as he arose and said : ' * There is now an in-
teresting point in this Jennings family history, in
which two lives became one. I will ask Julia Jen-
nings Wiles, the woman who, whether willing or not
to be called so, is my grandmother, to take the his-
tory up here, she being the oldest living daughter."

''For pity sake, Mr. Chairman, jou don't need
to think I'm so old that I heard the first peal of
the Liberty bell, if I have passed '76. It was not
on account of my birth that our forefathers rang it.
But I am glad to tell you some things that I have
heard of the early days of our family.

"As has already been said, the widow Jennings
and her family came to Jefferson county, Ky., to
live. They found here an excellent family by the
name of Yager. My father's sister, Candace, be-
came an intimate friend of the daughter, Emily. It
was the same old story — my father learned to love
some other boy's sister more than his own. I know
very little of their courtship, but one story is told
that may interest you : When my father was
ready to leave he was in the habit of going into a
bedroom to get his things, and of course, his sweet-
heart went Avith him. For some reason my grand-
mother wanted to know what happened when he
bid her adieu and so secreted a little darky girl
under the bed. I do not know what was the result,
but I hope the little darky was like so many of
her race, sound asleep, at the proper time. I well
remember how this same young lady, older grown,
sent my little brother with me, when I went sleigh-
riding with my sweetheart, and that same little
brother slept all the way.

"But I am digressing! My mother went away

The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire 11

from home to a boarding' school, and so had great
advantag-es for girls of that day. It was here she
learned to do needlework, some of which is still in
the family. When at home, though her father
owned a great many slaves, and was a rich man
for that time, she would spin and weave counter-
panes and coverlids. Some of these, too, are still
in existence.

*'She was greatly beloved by her father,
and some one has said it could not have
been otherwise, for she was so good and beautiful.
Among the first converts, in that part of Kentucky,
to the doctrine taught by the Campbells, Walter
Scott and Barton W. Stone, was her father. Later
on our mother went into the same church, probably
the one known as the 'Old Goose Creek Church,'
where the family attended. It is a pleasure to
know that her Christian faith was a comfort to her
through all the trials and joys of her long life. All
of her eight children became Christian men and
women before her death.

' ' Strange to say, I have heard more about my
father's wedding outfit than my mother's, but can
imagine hers was beautiful. I have been fortunate
enough to see a' piece of his wedding suit, which
was light blue cloth. His sister, Candace, made him
six pure linen shirts, with double ruffles down the
fronts and with high collars to be worn with cra-
vats similar to George Washington's.

"They were married Jul,v 10, 1834. I do not
know of any wedding tour that they might have
had. They began their homemaking in a house one
part of which was in Jefferson county and the other
part in Oldham county, Kentucky. It was near her
old home, and our dear sister, Mary, had the dis-
tinction of being born in this house, in the part that
was in Jefferson county, April 20, 1835.

"My father lived a farmer's life here, but later
ran a paper mill near Louisville, Kentucky. It was
about this time that I, Julia Adeline, was born.

"Soon after this momentous event, we moved to

12 The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire

Louisville. To show you the decision of character
that father had, let me tell you a little incident in
his life :

''While living- here, my uncle, George Griffey,
had a grocery store, near our home. Father started
to spend his spare time loafing at the store. But
he decided it Avas not the thing to do, for he should
spend his evenings with his family.

''The same decision of character was shown many
years later, when at about seventy years of age,
he decided not to use snuff. He put his snuff-box
u<p on the mantel where he would see it often, and
proved to his children that he Avas not too old to
quit. He was surely not an 'I can't' man.

"While the family were still living at Louisville
another daughter, Parthenia lone, was bom.
Whether it was this event that caused him to do
so I cannot tell, but he did decide to go back to
his old river life. This he did not follow long,
and his letter to mother is still held in the family,
in which he tells her he thinks it his duty to live
at home with his wife and children. It was at
Louisville that my brother, John William, was
born. While I was a little girl there, it was cus-
tomary for the bus drivers to 'whip behind' when
a boy would get on to the back of the bus. So it
was my custom to sit out in front of the house and
say to the driver, 'cut-to-hind.'

"This habit of trying to help others I have tried
to carry through life. How well I have succeeded,
you know. ' '

There was a clapping of hands as the speaker
took her seat, showing how much the hearers appre-
ciated the fact that much of her life had been spent
for others.

There were tears in the eyes of the chairman as
he arose to introduce the nest speaker. But he
brushed them aside and said: "If it be true that
there are always two sides to everything, I am sure
there are two sides to every family. We have been
hearing more at length of the Jennings' side. Now




The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire 13

I will ask my aunt Parthenia to tell us something
of the Yagers."

The speaker began : "I am sure that you who
have known my dear mother cannot fail to be in-
terested in her family. Especially will this be true,
when I tell you that we can trace our ancestors,
on this side of our family, back to, and even be-
yond, Adam.

''We are indebted for this part of the history
to my cousin Lizzie Bishop, the daughter of Uncle
Joel Yager. She has furnished this record back to
the sixth generation.

"The oldest ancestor, as we have it, was one
Nicholas Yager, who emigrated from Germany to
America in 1713. He was a native of Wickersbach
in Hesse. He settled in Virginia and took out his
naturalization papers on July 10, 1722. He was
the father of Adam Yager who was born in Ger-
many. Do you now see that this history goes back
beyond Adam, as I said?

''This Adam had several children, but one son,
John, was of especial interest, because he was
blind. In the next generation there appear names
that are familiar in my grandfather's family: John,
Elisha and Joel.

' ' This Elisha was our great-grandfather, and was
born in Louisa Courthouse, Virginia, and first mar-
ried Mary Gibbs and afterward Elizabeth Berry.
Our grandfather was Joel Yager, born in Jeffer-
son county, Kentucky, 17S6, and he married Mary
(Polly) Yewell, born March 27, 1797, in Nelson
county, Kentucky, in 1812. This grandmother of
ours did not set a very good example, I fear, for
our girls of today, as she became a bride at the
age of fifteen. Lest anj^ should follow her example,
I would have you know that she was the mother
of fourteen or fifteen children. Grandfather died
March 1, 1844, leaving her a widow with several
children, the youngest, ^Charles Edward, being about
ten months old. Grandmother lived to be over
eighty-three j^ears old, dying after our dear mother.

14 The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire

She died June, 1880; mother February 14, 1880.
My grandmother's father was James Yewell, born
August 20, 1775, in Culpepper county, Virginia.
Her mother was Nancy Shirley, who was born in the
same county March 27, 1775.

''This, I think, will be sufficient contribution
from me, on this branch of our ancestors, with one
exception. There was one Harriet Blackwell, my
grandfather's sister. I was nicknamed for her.
Whether it was because I was a 'tow head' or
because I looked like her in some other way, I can-
not tell you. Since she had very light hair she
may have had the same consolation that I have,
that light hair does not turn grey as soon as dark.
One other nickname I wore. It was not a beauti-
ful one, but because I cried so much I was called
'the Eel River screamer.' "

This was an honorable record, and no one in this
family group felt a tinge of sli«me, listening to the
history of his ancestors from England and Germany
and of old Virginia and Kentucky blood.

They were all ready to listen, when the chairman
arose and said : "I am sure we have reached a
point in this history in which many will be espe-
cially interested because they were living factors.
If there is any one in this family who knows more
of its history than any other, it is the woman
I have been taught to call 'Aunt Myra. ' I will
ask her to tell us something of the early history
of Cataract."

There was a clapping of hands and the faces of
the eager group brightened with personal interest
as the speaker arose and said :

"Well, I am glad to have this part assigned to
me, but there is so much to be told; where shall
I begin?

"It must have been in the summer or fall of
1841 that my father brought his mother to visit his
brother John, living at Greencastle, Indiana. They
were both on horseback and as they neared the
place where Cataract now stands, they heard a roar-

The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire 15

ing sound near them. Father left grandmother
with the horses, while he went to find the source
of the sound. He found it was Eel River Falls;
and as many men, before and since, have seen op-
portunities open up before them, so he saw the
possibility of using this great water power, now
going to waste, for the running of a mill. He seems
to have decided at once to look into the matter
of getting the land, if possible. Upon investiga-
tion he found an old mill about to fall into decay,
one mill wheel of which can still be seen at the
lower falls. This old mill was owned by one Mr.

''My father bought here one thousand acres of
land. He showed his far-sightedness in buying one
foot of land below the lower falls, to prevent any
one else putting up a mill at that place, while he
had one at the upper falls.

''He then returned to Louisville, but started back
in a short time with tw'o or three wagon loads of
household goods. He started between the first and
the middle of February, the weather being so warm
the day he loaded the goods into the wagons that
he worked all day in his shirt sleeves. By the
time they reached Spencer, or near there, it began
snowing, and before they were within five miles of
Cataract the snow was so drifted and deep that
they could not go on; so they stopped at the home
of a Mr. Willoughby, and stayed until they could
continue the journey. At this place father un-

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