Emma Jennings Clark.

The Jennings-Yager camp-fire online

. (page 3 of 5)
Online LibraryEmma Jennings ClarkThe Jennings-Yager camp-fire → online text (page 3 of 5)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


"I wish I could have seen my gi-andma riding
horseback," said Daniel Wiles. "I bet she made
her horse get ahead of all the rest. And say, I
wish I could have seen my great-grandfather's pet
deer, for I have heard that one day it went into
the mill where he was, and looked right up into
his face. Then it went straight to the mill door
that opened onto the river and jumj^ed right into
it and went plunging over the falls. I wonder if it
wanted him to see it do this, or did it intend to
commit suicide. However, it was not killed, but
swam out below the falls and maybe it lived hapi^y
ever after! But it had a rather remarkable death.
One day a man brought some venison to my gTeat-
g'randfather and represented that it was wild deer.
But when it was found to be this pet deer, the man
lost the friendshiji of its master.

"Dan, I think that would have been a good place
for me to board you," quietly remarked his father,
Ernest Wiles. "For tradition tells us that eggs
sold for three or four cents per dozen, and butter
for eight and ten cents i^er pound and that my
grandfather killed fourteen hogs at a time. I
think one of the funniest stories I have ever heard
of my grandfather was the one about the school



30 The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire

teacher. Being a school teacher myself maybe I
have a fellow feeling for the teacher — but I'll stand
by grandfather. The teacher was no account and
they tried to get him to give up his job, but he
said he had been hired for so long a time and he
was going to set his time out.

''Grandfather got his chair and in some way put
some rotten eggs under the cushion. The teacher
was taken before the squire, but he still insisted
that he was going to set his time out. Grandfather
sent for his cliair and told the squire to take off
the cushion. He did so and there were the eggs.
Then grandfather said, 'Why, yes, he has set his
time out but the eggs are rotten.' Ha! ha! ha!
I'm glad I am a grandson, but I hope wisdom has
not died with him."

"While I think of it," said Ethel Wiles Fisher,
"did you ever hear how Buckskin got its name?
People were trying to raise money to build a church
and they went to one man, who said he would give
a buckskin. So they thought it such a good joke
and named the church the Buckskin church."

"I must tell you about some of the people that
figured very largely in my Cataract life," said
Myra. "First, there was our sweet little Grand-
mother Jennings. She had been left a young
Avidow to care for her large family, and she had
done her work bravely and well. Now she was rest-
ing from these labors, and in the winter she lived
with Uncle John, but in the beautiful summer she
was our guest. It is strange how some one else
has written so well a description of my grand-
mother. Listen while I read it :

" 'Grandmother was a quiet little body, Avith big
blue eyes, and wore a white ruffled cap that tied
under her chin witli a soft bow. Her diminutive
figure, the ruffled cap and the blue eyes gave her a
babyish look, and it was hard to believe that in
her young days she had helped to make history.'
Isn't that a beautiful description? I wish I could



The Jennings- Yager CAMP-FmE 31

show you her dainty snuff box and tell you the
stories and riddles she used to tell us, these stories
sometimes being of the Revolutionary War; and
make you feel how soft and fine was her silver
white hair. Ah, who can fittingly describe our
sweet little grandmother Jennings? She died Feb.
9, 1863, at Greencastle, at the age of 88. Our other
grandmother (Yager) never made her home with
us, and I can remember but one visit she ever made
us. Riding on the cars made her so sick that she
never would try it again. So we had to do the
visiting.

"There was another who made her home with
us for some time, my darling cousin, Emma Kidd
(Duvall). She came to make a short visit, but de-
cided to stay and attend school, so she was there
eight months. We became almost inseparable, and
her life mingling with mine at this trying time of
a girl's life meant more to me than I can tell you.

"I was fifteen and she was sixteen. She came
from a large city, with city influences; I lived in
a very small town, but surrounded with a quiet and
beauty that contrasted strongly with her city life.
We had the privilege of only a three months' school,
while she had the advantages of a city school.

''Some one expected so much of her that she
asked a friend of mine what her studies were.
She told her the books usually taught in such a
school, the same that I studied. She was sur-
prised and said, 'Oh, I thought she would have been
studying Reciprocity, Etymology, Syntax and Pros-
ody.'

"Cousin Emma was full of fun. One day she
dressed up in grandmother's clothes, spectacles and
cap. She took a big turkey wing for a fan and
carried her cane. I walked with her and carried
the umbrella over her, while she leaned on my arm.
We first went to Mr. Will Bullitt's, across the
street, and when he saw us coming lie called in his



32 The Jea:nings- Yager Camp-Fire

wife, telling her there came Grandmother Jennings.
She was much surprised to have a visit from her.

"We then went to the mill; one of the workmen
saw us coming and told father that there came his
mother. I had her on the scales weighing her when
father came downstairs. He looked and looked at
her and thought it was his mother until Cousin
Emma turned around and called him 'Son.' Father
suddenly departed. We had started home and as we
were crossing the road I looked up and saw two
men coming and told her there came some young
men in whom we were very much interested. She
ran to get out of sight and fell over into a ditch,
forgetting she was grandmother.

''When we reached home grandmother had gotten
up from her afternoon nap. I announced that here
was somebody that had come to see her, and told
her to see if she knew her. She was blind and so
put out her hand and felt of her clothes, recogniz-
ing especially her own silk apron. She said: 'Tut,
tut, tut, Emma! Go take off my clothes.' "

"Yes," said Dora, "I remember one time you
two tried to get away from us children and while
some one was there you struck out for the bridge.
But just as you were going out of one end of it
you looked around and saw us coming at the other.
I was fleeter of foot than I am now. ' '

"I, too, remember another episode connected
Avith Cousin Emma's visit, young man, in which
you were a prime mover," remarked Myra to Dora.
"A Mr. McKinney was teaching a summer school
at Cataract. He enlisted to go into the army when
he had only two days more of school. He asked
Cousin Emma if she would finish it. She said she
would be glad to do so. All went well up to noon
of the last day. She and I went over to talk
with Mrs. McKinney, during the noon recess. When
we came back the girls were all there but not a
boy was in sight. Cousin Emma told the girls to
take their seats, after she rang and rang the bell,



The Je¥NINGS-Yager Camp-Fire 33

but no boys came. After everything was quiet,
there was a sudden racket over our heads. We
knew it was the boys in the loft. After a vain
attempt to get them down, they finally told her
if she would dismiss school they would come. This
she readily agreed to do, and so our school sud-
denly closed. This was my last day of school at
Cataract, where I had spent so many happy school
days, for the next fall I went to the eastern part
of the state and attended the Fairview Academy."

"Oh, Aunt Myra," spoke up Robert Pearey, ''you
tell us about the 'Child's Leap' because you know
it so well. Please do."

''Well, if I am not talking too much, Robert.
Anyhow, here it is. One Sunday afternoon in April
Tommy, Dora and I were playing in the yard, but
we grew tired of that and wanted to go to the
woods for flowers. We got mother's consent, pro-
viding we would not go near the bluff. We be-
came so excited gathering our flowers that we did
not realize we were breaking our promise. We were
admiring the falls and finally we were on the edge
of the bluff and Tommy was trying to get a bunch
of beautiful red flowers for me. In so doing his
foothold must have given way and he slipped down
about thirty feet. I leaned over and he asked me
how he could ever get up. I told him I thought if
he would go farther down, where there was a low
place, I could help him. Just as I started to get
up whatever I was holding to gave way and I
went tumbling down to the edge of the river fifty
feet below. My older sisters were out walking with
some strange young ladies, when one of them saw
Dora about to go over and said, 'Oh, where are
those children going over that hill?' My sisters
saw our danger and called Dora back. Parthenia
sent Julia back to the house and she went in and
told father and mother that 'the children have
all fallen over the bluffs and are killed.' Father
and Nancy Cooksey, who was living with us, ran



34 The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire

for us, and mother pulled out the trundle bed.
Then she thought we might not be dead, so sent a
neighbor, familiarty known as Uncle Tommy Maze,
for Dr. Wiles. Just as he came in the front door
they came in the back door with us. Tommy was
not much hurt and was soon up playing with the
doctor. I was seriously hurt and was uncon-
scious until we reached the house. For weeks I
did not want any one to point his finger at me, be-
cause I was so sore. This event is recorded in
the Geological Survey of Indiana and the report
states, 'this place where the children fell was ever
after knoAvn as the Child's Leap.' "

''Aunt Myra, was that the April my great-grand-
father said he crossed the river on the ice the
twelfth day of the month?" asked William Jen-
nings Peden.

"Not if there were flowers in bloom," answered
Myra.

"Well," said Sarah Glidewell, "I'm glad it
didn't kill you, if some one did ask you if it did."

"And I'm glad my Grandpa Dora didn't fall and
kill himself, or I wouldn't have had any Grandpa
Dora," said little Robert Glidewell.

"I think I can sympathize with mother and
father on account of the poor help they had when
tliey were bearing such heavy burdens," remarked
Julia Wiles. "There was one man that father sent
out to fork up his asparag-us bed. Mother went out
to see how he Avas getting on with the work and
she found he had forked up the roots and thrown
them over the fence. That same bright fellow
father put to gathering some fine jDeaehes. He
went up into the tree and gathered the peaches in a
basket and then threw down basket, peaches and
all. One day mother asked a woman who was work-
ing for her why she didn't hurry and finish her
work. She said, 'What's the use to hurry? When
I get this done I '11 have something else to do ! '
One day father rode all day to get a girl over at



1337822

The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire 35

Jordan. The next day she wanted to go home, for
she said she had just wanted to come to see our
long porch of which she had heard. So he had to
send her back home."

''I think it is my time to speak," remarked
Martha Sloan. "I want to say I am proud of
my grandmother's and grandfather's literary taste.
When they first came to Cataract they had but few
books, among them 'Romance of the Forest,' *Char-
lotta Temple,' 'Wandering Jew,' and 'The Last
Days of Pompeii. ' This last named book furnished
the middle name, lone, of my mother.

"I have heard how my grandmother would read
aloud to grandfather, many times into the night,
holding the candle or lamp in one hand and one of
Charles Dickens' works or some other book or paper
she had procured in the other."

"I think," said Mary B. Jennings, "that my
grandfather showed his literary liking when he
would see some one who had too good an opinion
of himself, and would quote this from 'Bobby'
Burns' poem, 'To a Louse.'

(On a Woman's Bonnet.)
" '0 wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursel's as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,

And foolish notion;
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
And ev'n devotien.' "

"Now," said the chairman, "I'll ask a number of
you to respond, as I call your names, with an old
saying or story from our ancestors. I'll begin with
Ruth Peden."

"What's the use to worry, as the man said when
he had but one shirt and his wife washed it Avhile
he went to bed. She came in one day and told him
the calf had eaten up his shirt, and he said, 'Oh
well, what's the use to worry? Those that have
must lose.' "

"Eliza Pickens."



36 The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire

" 'Poor people have poor ways,' I can imagine
I hear my grandmother say as she hung her fine
silk dresses on the walls of her little cabin home."

"Aunt Julia, won't you tell us sometling that
you remember of the Cataract home?"

''Well, in the background just behind the ice-
house there was a beautiful wooded hillside, near
the bottom of which was our chinquapin tree, and
the little pond where we fished with pin hooks in
summer and skated in winter. West of this were
our apple and peach orchards, and as if standing
guard over them, three immense oaks. Between
these and the house were many hives of bees and
our chicken yard, with the trumpet creeper run-
ning over the house. Here we raised chickens,
guineas, turkeys and pea-fowls.

"In the front of the house was a long brick
walk, leading to the front gate; along the sides of
this were a shrub bearing red berries, a wax plant
or wolfberry, as it is now called, and a large lilac
bush. On the west side of the portico was a coral
honeysuckle and maiden blush rose. Around the
window of the north bedroom was trained a beauti-
ful wild rose. On the north side of the walk lead-
ing to the garden was a border of privet, smoke
tree, snowball and syringa. Along the fence divid-
ing the yard from the garden were quince, pear
and chei-ry trees. There was a walk running
through the center of the garden and along each
side were the flowers: old fashioned pinks, lark-
spur, marigolds, sweet-williams, touch-me-nots,
'pineys' (peonies), pretty-by-nights, poppies, flags
(iris), tiger lilies, French pinks and snowdrops.
At the end were rue, thyme, sage, chives and live-
forever, while on the right side of these beds was
a large strawberry bed and on the left were our
vegetables. ' '

"Uncle Dora, now you must tell us a story," said
the chairman.



The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire 37

"Well, I know some that have not yet been told.
One day I was going to school with two of my
sisters and they tried to get me to wear a cape
that mother had told me to wear. But every time
they put it on, I threw it off. Then our teacher
came along, Avearing a plug hat, and tried to get
me to wear it, but even he couldn't persuade me
to wear a cape, even if he did wear a plug hat.

''One time father had a lot of silver and gold
money to take from Louisville to Cataract and the
question was, how could he get it there safely. He
had been robbed once before. He finally put the
money into the bottom part of his saddle-bags and
covered it over with steel picks that he used in pick-
ing the mill stones. Then he carelessly threw the
saddle-bags down on the floor where he stayed all
night. He knew that if any one should pick them
up and look in they would think of nothing beyond
the picks. Pretty wise man!

"Then another time he was bringing a load of
things from Louisville and among other things
was a box. At night the driver would sleep on
this box. After they reached Cataract he found
the box contained a skeleton for a young physician.
He was very angry and said he would never bring
another load of goods for Mr. Jennings, and said
some things that were not in the Sunday-school les-
son. "

"Francis Peden."

"A young man and his father were out in the
garden pulling up cabbage heads. The son asked
liis father, 'Dad, what does ditto mean?' 'Well,
now, I'll show you,' said his father. He laid down
a cabbage head saying, 'Now, that is a cabbage
head.' Then lie laid down another and said, 'That
is ditto.' 'Well,' said the young man, 'I'll go over
there and teach that girl to call me a cabbage
head! I told her last night that I loved her, and
she said "ditto." ' "

"Francis Gerhart."

"Forgetful heads make tired heels," and "Your



38 The Jeknings- Yager Camp-Fire

early rising will not hurt you if your long fasting
doesn't."

''Now," said the chairman, ''I am going to ask
Aunt Myra and Aunt Emma to give us the old
Cataract song, 'Vilikins and his Diner.' "

With this request the two sisters at once com-
plied :

"As Vilikins was walkin' in the garden one day,
He spied his dear Diner, and thus he did say:
'Go dress yourself. Diner, go dress yourself gay,
For some one is coming to see you today.'

"Sing a-tu-ra-la, lu-ra-la, lu-ra-la-lay,
Sing a-tu-ra-la, lu-ra-la, lu-ra-la-lay,
Sing a-tu-ra-la, lu-ra-la, lu-ra-la-lay.

Sing a-tu-ra-la, lu-ra-la, lu-ra-la lay.

" 'Oh father, dear father, I've made up my mind.
To marry just now, I don't feel inclined;
To you 'my la^-ge fortune I'll gladly give o'er
If you'll let me live single a year or two more.'
Choru« :

"As Vilkins was walking his garden all round
He spied his dear Diner lying dead on the ground.
A cup of cold poison lay down by her side.
And a billet-doux stating by poison she died."

Chorus :

There was such an urgent encore that at Dora's
request the singers gave one of his favorite Cataract
love songs — although he thought they both sounded
rather suicidal!

Here was the love song next rendered for the de-
lighted comi^any:

'"Oh where have you been, Jimmy Ramble, my son?
Oh where have you been, my sweet littlfe one?'
'I've been out acourting, mother, make my bed soon,
I'm sick at the heart and fain would lie down.'

" 'What did you have for your supper, Jimmy Ramble,

my son.
Oh what did you have for your supper, my sweet

little one?'
'A cup of cold poison, mother, make my bed soon,
I'm sick at the heart and fain would lie down.'



The Jennings- Yager Camb-Fire 39

After many evidences of appreciation by the
group the singers retired with bows and blushes!

"Let me tell you," said Thomas Curtis Clark,
"that I am to inherit something that came from
the enchanted Cataract. When I was a little boy,
visiting at Greencastle, I cried for Aunt Myra's
clock, and she said if I would stop crying she would
give it to me when she A»as through with it. Grand-
father had bought it from a woman who made a
great noise when she talked. When the clock
would strike it made such a racket he named it
'Old Raehe' after her. I also got my middle name
from Aunt Myra."

"And I got my last one from Tom," said Hazel
Davis Clark.

"I would like to see the old candlesticks, candle-
molds, snuffers, the first fluid lamps, the big solid
cherry or walnut bedstead with its canopy and
curtains, big brass dog-irons, spinning-wheel and
reel," said Bessie Burnet Clark.

"Charles Jennings, Sr. "

"I think there is a good lesson in the story
father used to tell about the man who had a patch
of flax to pull. He went out on Wednesday and
said, 'Oh, that isn't a very big job; I can do that
in three days.' He went out again Thursday and
said, 'Oh, that isn't as big as I thought it was; I
can do that in two days.' Then he went out Fri-
day and said, 'Oh, that's a bigger job than I thought
it was, so I'll just not do anything to it till Mon-
day.' Father used to say of some things we had
to do, 'We'll make a flax pulling case of it.' I
fear we often do."

"Harry Honeywell."

"A young man dreamed one night that he was
married to a certain young lady. He rushed over
the next morning and told her of his dream, and
then asked her, 'Can I shine? Can I shine?' "

' ' Maggie Glidewell. ' '

"I'd rather push my work than have my work
push me."



40 The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire

"William Pearcy. "

"This is one of Uncle Ernest Wiles' favorites:

" 'Linsy, woolsy petticoat,
Appa loosy gown.
The way to keep your credit up,
Is to pay your money down.' "

"NoAv, Aunt Parthenia, you tell us a Cataract
sto^3^ ' '

"All right. This is no joke, for it really hap-
pened. One winter, when I was a little girl, there
came up an awful storm with snow and cold wind.
There lived a widow, with six children, in a shell
of a house one-half mile up the river. Father
became worried about them, feeling sure they would
suffer with cold. He told one of his hired men to
take his wagon and team and go up and load them
and their things into the wagon and bring them
down to a house across the street from his home.
In the meantime father got in logs and made a
good warm fire and had the house warm when they
got there. I imagine many sacks of flour and
pounds of meat found their way to this widow's
home that cold winter, for which she never received
a bill. This was only one of the many like deeds
he and mother did for their fellow men. I think
they must have believed, with Andrew Carnegie of
today, when he says, 'In my opinion, we live on
this earth to serve our fellow men. ' Oh, I forgot to
tell you this widow 's name. Listen to it : Rebecca
Ransom Seymour Dudley Gifford Green Gray Moss
Moore. She afterward added two more, but I'm not
going to tell you what they were."

"Aunt Myra, can't you tell us a witch or ghost
story connected with Cataract or the family?"

"My lands, yes! I almost forgot to tell them.
One day I was talking with a little girl who lived
in the old log cabin down near the lower falls and
she told me that one day they saw a witch come
into their back door and go over to their water
bucket and put something into it, and after she



The Jexnings- Yager Camp-Fire 41

went away tliey threw the water out for fear she
had put something in that would poison them.

"The ghost story mother told me and I feel sure
the two young men were her brothers. They had been
to see their sweethearts one Sunday night and
as they went home they passed a graveyard. While
they were looking into this, I can imagine with the
chills creeping up and down their spine, they saw
something white rise up and throw out its arms,
then sink down again. This was repeated several
times until the boys became so frightened that they
whipped up their horses and raced for home. The
next morning they investigated and found a gxave
had been partly dug and a sheep had gotten into
it and was trying to get out, but would fall back
again and again."

The chairman smiled as he saw the little folks,
with wide open eyes, creep closer to their mother's
feet. They were perhaps glad when he said, "This
will close our progTam for tonight, but I know you
will be glad to come back tomorrow evening and
hear of changes. Good night."



42 The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire



I



THIRD EVENING.

ii~^ Anne Pickens, have the honor to serve you

as chairman this evening."
• At the sound of her gavel the happy

group, once more assembled around the
blazing camp-fire, had become silent.

''You will permit me to say a few things, I know.
I am happy to say that I have had the pleasure
of wearing the honored name of Jennings from
the day I was named. I believe that persons may
be attached to others by fleshly ties, and the heart
not be in the relationship. But I wish I could
tell you how my heart goes out in love to this
family. I am a granddaughter by birth, but I am
one with them in heart. When I was a little baby
my father, Dr. W. V. Wiles, was a surgeon in the
Civil War, and was away for three years. My
mother spent a part of the time with him, and
when at home she had her hands full to care for
home and children. And so it was that much of
my babyhood and early childhood were spent in
my grandfather's house. How many times I have
sat on his foot and he would give me a ride and
say,

"'Hop light, lady, if your cake isn't dough;
Never mind the weather so the wind don't blow.'

"How often it was my grandmother who soothed
my sorrows and tied up my wounds! How much
I shared the joys of my aunts and uncles! I learned
to love this family as my own, and I do not think
I flatter myself when I believe they love me in re-
turn.

''A part of this dark period of our life our whole
family were at grandfather's, and I love these grand-
parents for caring for us in our loneliness. My
grandfather's heart must have been such a one as
that described by Sam Walter Foss, when he says :



The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire 43

" 'There are hermit souls that live withdrawn

In the place of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart

In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths

Where hig-hways never ran;


1 3 5

Online LibraryEmma Jennings ClarkThe Jennings-Yager camp-fire → online text (page 3 of 5)