Emma Jennings Clark.

The Jennings-Yager camp-fire online

. (page 4 of 5)
Online LibraryEmma Jennings ClarkThe Jennings-Yager camp-fire → online text (page 4 of 5)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


But let me live by the side of the road

And be a friend to man : '

''My husband has said he thought my grand-
mother would be the first to meet me, when I enter
the pearly gates, because I loved her so. And so
you see that my heart is in this gathering tonight
and while we sit around this camp-fire and talk
of good old times, may our hearts grow warm
and our thoughts, as the sparks, fly upward.

"We have lingered long over the history of dear
old Cataract and now I am going to ask my Aunt
Emma to tell us of the change of homes."

"The morning that we started from Cataract
was a beautiful one, June 24, 1863 — father's sixti-
eth birthday, as he counted it, for he counted the
day he was born as one. We have already been
told how father and mother had come to a wilder-
ness, but now it was a little town we were leaving
behind. Mother had said that the happiest time
in her memory was the period of her early life
there. But, like the garden of Eden, sin had en-
tered in, and now she was glad to be going away.
She had lived in such fear of some wicked men
who had moved into the neighborhood. Her nights
were broken with fears of having our home burned,
or some other desperate thing happen. She did
not know it at the time, but in after years this
story came to her in this way. Dr. Wiles was
called to see a sick man out near Spencer and,
thinking it a professional call, answered the sum-
mons. The man told him he was going to die and
felt that he could not die with this burden on his
mind — the way he, with others, had planned to
rob father. He told Dr. Wiles that they knew that
father had gone to Greencastle and would bring



44 The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire

a large amount of money back with him. They
formed a party, he being one of the party, and hid
themselves in the bridge, intending to rob him Avhen
he came through. They waited a long time; when
he did not come, they went east to the foot of
the long hill, and thought to rob him there. They
waited again, but he did not come.

''After Dr. Wiles told father the story he ex-
plained w^hy they failed. Father made it a rule not
to travel always the same way, and so on this oc-
casion he had forded the river below the lower falls
and came up the lane, and was probably safe in
bed when they gave up their plot as a failure.
At another time some one had run one of his fine
horses over the bluffs.

' ' Since my mother had become so unhappy at
Cataract and my father had grown tired of the
burdens, so heavy at his time of life, he sold his
belongings there for $30,000, taking in part pay-
ment a farm of six hundred and forty acres, four
miles south of Spencer, and a sawmill at White
Hall.

"And so, on this beautiful morning in June,
we left Cataract, with all its happy associations
and all its beauty, behind us. My father, mother,
Myra, Candace, Charlie and I went in a spring
wagon, leaving Dora to come with the men, who were
to bring our household goods.

"We traveled along through sunshine and shade,
uphill and down through the dale, until we came
to Spencer, a small town with probably one thou-
sand or twelve hundred population. This was the
county seat of Owen county.

"Just the other side of Spencer, we forded White
river, and when we were in about the middle of
the stream, Candace became frightened and said,
'Let me out.' Father said, 'Get out', but she
didn't. We got across in safety, and were soon at
the Edwards hill. Finally there was a bend in the
road, and there stood a little way back an old
log sthoolhouse, where we afterward spent so many




'The Old Kentucky Home" of the Yager Family




The Old Yager Spring House



The Jennings-Yager Camp-Fire 45

happy days. We could see nearly a mile down
the road and just beyond two long hills were
in sight of two big barns. Beyond this a little
way was our new home. The farm father named
Acton Place, for the old Jennings home in Eng-
land. Father had a sale before leaving Cataract,
and had sold off much of our furniture, since we
were leaving an eight-room house with its ten or
eleven beds, to go into a cottage with three rooms.
A part of our furniture we left at Cataract until
father had added three rooms to the house on the
farm.

*'We reached the new home before the wagons
with the goods, so they sent Candace and me to
a neighbor's to borrow a broom. We had to go
down a hill, and this hill was covered with long,
beautiful g-rass, waving in the breeze. We stepped
from our path and lay down and rolled a part of
the way. Mrs. Stoneman kindly told us not to
do so again for it spoiled the grass. We let mother
know about it, and then came one of the trials of
my life, for she sent us back to apologize.

"We did not have time to set up all of our beds,
so we young folks slept on the floor; we could hear
an occasional grunt or squeal of the hogs beneath
said floor.

''Before we got our remaining furniture from
Cataract, Myra's bed was a feather bed on a door,
laid on top of two goods boxes.

''We found some of the rare people of earth for
our neighbors, among them the Edwards and
Howes. What Amon P. Howe's family meant to
us we can never tell. It was a daughter Annie
who gave the name 'Hardscrabble' to our school-
house, because of the trouble she had in making
a fire, when a teacher there.

"Oh, that dear old schoolhouse! It was at the
top of a hill. How I loved to play in a branch at
the bottom of this hill in the summer or skate on
it in tlie winter. What wonderful times we had
swinging on the branches of the beech trees grow-



46 The Jenkings-Yager Camp-Firb

ing on the hillside! I remember, as a very young
girl, I gazed out of the windows of the old school-
house, to see SOME one pass by.

"And the school exhibitions we used to have
where I declaimed, 'The Song of the Shirt,' and
Myra was in Mrs. Parting-ton's play as Mrs. Wig-
gins and read a fine essay tied with its blue ribbons.
And Charlie had a speech about a frog, the last
line of which was, 'Adown he goes keer-chug,' and
he jumped from the platform to illustrate it. Dora
played the 'Category,' which was arranged by
putting a number of eats in a box with their tails
sticking through holes in the box. At the proper
time Dora pulled the tails. It was here that Tom
Wiles taught and it was his exhibition. People
came from miles around to attend.

"It was in this old schoolhouse that Dora and I,
with others of our young friends, gave our hearts to
Christ, under the preaching of B. M. Blount, who
baptized us later, in White river, near Spencer.
Here we also sometimes had a backwoods j^reacher,
who preached after the manner of the one in 'The
Hoosier Schoolmaster. '

"It was here we had our singings, debates and
spelling-schools. Sometimes the sleigh rides with
our best beaux were of more interest to us than
was our profit.

"We used to have a good time attending singing
school at Bethel, a Baptist church about two miles
from our house. It was taught by 'Uncle Billy
Sadler,' who had taught a singing school years
before in our dining room at Cataract and mother
Avas one of the pupils.

"It was at this Bethel school that Ave were as-
sociated with Newell Sanders, Avho was later a class-
mate of mine in Indiana University and Avho mar-
ried another classmate, Corinne Dodds. He has re-
cently been a United States senator from Ten-
nessee.

"Here, too, Ave Avere much Avith G. L. Wharton,
who became a missionary to India and whose grave



The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire 47

is near Calcutta, India, so far from his old home.

"We were much interested in politics while we
lived on the farm and we were singers in Demo-
cratic rally wagons, and were dressed in white
dresses and wore red, white and blue sashes and
caps.

"In the winter we had such good times sleigh rid-
ing, and Dora used to wish for snows, 'for the sake
of the wheat,' he said.

"And then there were the picnics in the sum-
mer. But, how often it would rain the day before
and we would hope every time it rained real hard
that 'it was the clearing up shower.'

"It was while we lived here that we got our
first sewing machine, 'the Leavitt,' getting it at
Louisville. While here, too, father was elected
township trustee and this brought the library into
our home. There were many good books, among
them a set of Abbott's histories, 'The Cotta Fam-
ily,' and Holland's 'Bitter Sweet.' Myra and I had
become great chums and many happy days we spent
together, in the good country air, making fun out
of our burdens, and trying to read the future by
'trying our fortunes' in many ways.

"But another life became associated with hers,
and there came a time when our lives must, in
a way, diverge. And so we prepared for another
wedding. The date was set as near my birthday as
could be, not to be on it. It was December 17,
1867. The bride was dressed in white Swiss and
wore a bridal wreath. The minister, Harrison
Hight, came from Spencer. The gaiests were a
few intimate friends. It was one of the happiest
days of the bride's life Avhen she became the wife
•of Joshua Benton Curtis. After a few Aveeks they
went to live at Spencer, and there Avere many happy
days for me in that home.

"Now, I am sure I have said enough, for once
in my life, so will let some one else have a chance. ' '



4B The Jennings-Yag-er Camp-Fire

"I want to tell something," said Jay Peden.
"Did you ever hear what was the subject of my
Great-uncle Dora's composition at the school ex-
hibition Aunt Emma told about ? For fear yoa
didn't I'll tell you; it was a bigger subject than
Mt. Popocatipetel in Mexico, for it was something
like this, 'The immutability of the unchanging uni-
verse,' at least the universe, and he was a boy
about fourteen or fifteen years of age."

"I was living near my grandfather's old home
in the country during the cold New Year so often
referred to," said Florence Wiles Seofield, of Den-
ver. ''It had been raining the day before and
when we got up the next morning it was 22 de-
grees below zero, and the severe cold killed the
peach trees; it is remembered as an awful experi-
ence by those living at that time."

"Oh, say, you ought to hear father tell about
the log-rollings they used to have," remarked Wil-
liam Jennings. "They made Avhat they called a
log-rolling and invited the neighbors in to help, and
then they stayed to dinner. It was a great oc-
casion, and the cooks baked 'teen pies and boiled
a ham and made loaves and loaves of bread and
had fruit and vegetables accordingly. Reallj^, so
much had been prepared that you could hardly
miss what they had eaten. Father, why don't you
have a log-rolling sometime? Yum-yum!"

"Mary had a little lamb," said Sarah Peden,
"and they used to have a lot of lambs out on the
farm, and after they were grown the farmers would
shear them; sometimes the women would make
'wool pickings' and ask the neighbor women in
to help and they would stay to dinner. I think
I'd rather eat the dinner than pick the wool, for
it wa^ greasy and something made them so sleepy."

"I wish I could have lived on that wonderful
farm," said Mary Wiles. "I wish Aunt Myra
would tell us of the apple parings they used to
have when grandfather and grandmother lived in
their cozy cabin."



The Jexnings-Yager Camp-Fire 49

''Well, Mary," answered Myra, "there were a
great many apples raised in that part of the coun-
try, and sometimes one neighbor would invite others
in to help pare their apples. The young folks
would go and have a good time together. Some-
times we would have more fun than anything else.
We would usually be treated to pie, gingerbread
and cider, and then go home with our beaux."

''That was a wise saying of my grandfather. Dr.
Wiles," said Helen Peden — " 'Better aim at the
moon and miss it than to aim so low you stick in
the mire.' "

"That was another wise one my ancestor used
to say," remarked Dan Wiles: " 'Two heads are
better than one, if one is a sheep's head and the
other a mutton.' "

"It was on the farm that father would sometimes
come in and find us girls sitting down resting
in the morning," said Myra, "and would say,
'Oh, here is Teeny Dehart who went to bed to
rest before she began her washing.' "

"I know a joke on Myra," said Charlie. "She
had been told that if a hen was set on Easter Sun-
day, there would be a chicken of every color. So
she went up in the hayloft and set a hen, but did
not go back until time for the hen to hatch. She
found the hen, eggs and nest were all gone, and
upon inquiry found that Dora had taken the
eggs to feed his horse Sallie, to make her slick!"

"Dora was a captain in many things," said
Emma, "but he was not all mischief and fun. I
have thought so often of his devotion to mother.
I think his favorite war song was, 'Just Before
the Battle, Mother,' the chorus of which was:

" 'Farewell, mother, you may never
Press me to your heart again;
But oh. you'll not forget me, mother,
If Fm numbered with the slain.'

"He has often said that when tempted to go
with other young men into the 'red light district'



50 The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire

of Louisville, he had thought of what mother would
think to know he was there, and he turned away
from the temptation. His tender love and devo-
tion were again shown when he asked to look once
more at her face before the casket was closed for-
ever. We girls all loved our mother dearly, but
there seemed to be a peculiar love felt for her
by her sons. Charlie did so much for her when
she needed him, and wanted her dressed warmly
after she died."

"Wouldn't you think it enough to have attended
'Hardscrabble' school?" asked Virginia Pickens.
''But it was because my great-grandfather had felt
the need of a higher education himself, that he
wanted his children to have what he had missed,
and although he was at that time a stockholder
in what is now Butler College, he decided to go
to Bloomington, the seat of Indiana University."

''Father, Avhat did gTandfather do with the farm
when he left it?" asked Nellie Jennings.

' ' Why, Nellie, do you want to go there to live ? ' '
asked her father. "You might get a berth, as it is
now the County Poor Farm ! But it was not so
for a long time after we left it. Brother Tom
Wiles moved into our old home and took charge
of our farm along with his and stayed there for
three or four years."

"I was born on that wonderful farm," said
Nettie Wiles Pearcy. "I wish I could remember
how Aunt Emma looked when she was dropping
corn for my father. I wonder what were her
wages. No wonder she wanted an education, so she
could get a better job. Think of father's nick-
name for her: Emeline Katherine Kickaboo Abengo
Mexico Elizabeth Jane Toe Emy Ginnins. "

"Aunt Emma," said the chairman, "if it isn't
imposing on good nature, I want you to tell us
something about going to Bloomington, and I want
Uncle Dora to assist you, for it probably meant
more to you two than the rest."



The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire 51

"Yes, I'll admit it meant much to me, considering
what I was leaving," said Emma.

"We were leaving the old home, where I had
spent so many happy days of my girlhood; we
were leaving some choice friends and neighbors.
Mollie Howe and Myra had been devoted friends,
but both were gone, and I was leaving my darl-
ing friend, Carrie Howe, who had taught me to make
paper dolls, and now we were talking of our sweet-
hearts, and we were leaving Sister Julia and fam-
ily. The Stoneman family were good people and
good neighbors. Mr. and Mrs. Stoneman had come
from England.

"Yes, we were leaving behind the old log school-
house, with its precious memories; the wooded hills,
the apple orchards, the cool, deep well with the
old oaken bucket ; the big barns where I had climbed
to their highest rafters, to look into the pigeons'
nests; we were leaving the spacious meadows and
cornfields, the humble cottage home, the old associ-
ates, many of whom I never saw again; but, girls,
you may sympathize more deeply with me when
I say I was leaving behind my girlhood sweet-
heart."

"But I lived through it, and am here
to tell the story. It was on April 1,
1868, for I remember that father, mother
and the younger members of the family
were driving behind one of the wagons and when
one of us got out and picked up what seemed to
be a bundle that had dropped there accidentally,
'twas found to be an 'April fool,' left by some ons
in front. When we reached Bloomington and
looked through the windows of the big house that
was to be our home, how big and bare were the
rooms! But the location was fine, with its large
sugar trees in the yard, and we had lots of room
for pur chickens, cow, horse and garden. It was
known as the D. Eckley Hunter house, and it is still
standing.

"After we were settled, we three children, Can-



52 The Jennixgs-Yager Camp-Fire

dace, Charles and I, started to the public school
and Dora entered 'Prep.' at college. The first day
I went to the Central school house, as it was then
called, now the colored school; but before noon
Mr. Cole came and told me I could go in the after-
noon to the Seminary. Quick promotion! As I
went home I lost my way. Just think of it, in the
Bloomington of that time! But I was found by a
good friend.

''We had not been there long when Father
started to England for the purpose of looking into
the matter of the estate left by his grandfather's
brother, John Jennings. But I pause to say — there
was one link missing, because a part of the record
that would prove his right to the estate had been
removed. He was in England on his birthday, June
24. He was gone about two months and returned
in August about the time of the total eclipse of
the sun that year."

"My! I wish I could have seen the eclipse,"
said Evelyn Honeywell.

"I'd rather have gone to England," said Pris-
eilla Sloan, with a far-away look in her eye.

"Aunt Emma, didn't it make him sick to cross
the ocean?" asked Alice Peden.

"No Alice; he had been on the water too much
and was too wise. As usual the tables were loaded
the first days with good things to eat, but he
ate sparingly and so was able to eat every meal,"
replied Emma.

"I wish I had had my grandfather's wisdom when
I started to South America, ' ' remarked Ralph Baird.

"I wish you would listen to a joke my great-
grandfather used to tell and laugh over," remarked
Margaret Honeywell. ' ' A family were seated at the
breakfast table when a neighbor girl came in, and
they asked her to have some breakfast. She replied
^No thank you, I have just dined on the wing of a
lark.' The" man of the house said, 'Yes, I see you
have left one of its feathers on your bosom.' It
was a lump of mush."



The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire 53

"Now, I think I'll say what I have to say about
our life at Bloomington, ' ' said Dora.

''You have already heard that I entered 'Prep'
when we first went there. I was in college for
several years, but finally thought I would like to
be a lawyer, ^'ather got me Blackstone^and I
studied it for several weeks, and then suddenly
changed my mind. I taught my first school about
this time up near Cloverdale. Father didn't think
it a very great financial success, for he used to
say I paw-ned my overcoat for money to come home
on. But I think that was only one of his jokes.

"Oh, I must tell you something else, boys. One
vacation I wanted to make some money. So I sold
my beautiful Sallie horse and took a partnership in
a hoop-skirt manufactory. I think I came out fi-
nancially about like I did with the school, but I
don't know how my partner came out. He made
the hoop skirts and I went about over the country
selling them, along with rat traps. I guess I got
into a trap."

"Was that the time you sold cider. Grandpa
Jennings?" asked Nellie Glidewell.

"Yes sir, I've seen the glass you used, when
you sold it, grandpa, down at Aunt Myra's," vol-
unteered Lueile Glidewell.

"No, children, that was when I was young and
lived on the farm," Dora said. "But I had enough
money, from some source, to help buy the sun dial
for the college and had lots of fun. Yes, maybe
I had too much fun, for I never completed my
college course. I unwisely decided to stop college
and go into business at Utiea, Indiana.

"And like many other young men you became
a victim of Dan Cupid, and were married to Miss
Summers, Nov. 26, 1872," said Emma. "You and
Sister Maggie came home with me from Utica, on
your wedding trip. In the next month there came
a very heavy cloud over our happiness, for Brother
Bent died Dec. 28. Myra came on the 29th to
make her home with us, and on that night there



54 The Jennings- Yager Camp-Fire

came a beautiful Tarown-eyed boy to her.

"At this time I was nearing the completion of
my college course and I thought it would be very
novel for me to marry on my graduation day."

"That's when I came into the family," remarked
Thomas J. Clark.

"And I don't think he regrets it after forty-
one years, especially since he has heard this his-
tory," said Emma. "We were married July 3,
1873, I wearing the same lavender silk for both
occasions."

"Yes," said her daughter, Carrie Jennings Clark,
as it was, "for I followed her example and I mar-
ried Sherman Gerhart June 15, 1898, on my gradu-
ation day."

"And whether wise or not, I followed the ex-
ample of my mother and older sister," said Grace,
"and I married Wilbur Fisher on my graduation
day, June 19, 1907. Since it was his, too, we
were married in our senior caps and gowns."

"And some one said, almost as soon as Grace
was married, that they could see my finish," re-
marked Ruth. "But time alone can tell, since I
intend to graduate in 1916 — and then 'we shall
see what we shall see.' I will be the last mem-
ber of my family to graduate in Indiana University,
if I carry out my plans. ' '

"But Ave are digressing," said Emma.

"Perhaps so," remarked Lillie Fullerton, "but
I want to say that my father was a classmate of
Aunt Emma."

"I think it was romantic, the Avay my mother
was married," said Nora Baird Marx. "She went
down about Christmas to visit Aunt Emma at Vin-
cennes. Then she went on to visit Aunt Julia at
Mt. Carmel, 111., and there met my father, Frank
Baird. It seemed to be almost 'love at first sight,'
for on Sept. 8, 1874, they were married at Bloom-
ington by Uncle Tom Clark. They went to Mt,
Carmel to live, and they lived there or in the vi-
cinity until my mother's death, Feb. 27, 1908. And



The Jennings-Yagkr Camp-Fire 55

there we buried her, looking like one asleep in
her beautiful casket, surrounded by an abundance
of flowers, from loving friends. It was a fitting
tribute, for she had done so much for others."

''Well, I wasn't a member of the family then,"
said Charlie Clark, "but I got to read a part of
mother's diary, while she lived at Bloomington ;
and I said if I had been there father wouldn't
have gotten her. So, you see what I thought of
her as a girl."

''This mother o' mine," remarked Thomas Cur-
tis Clark, is the connecting link between me and
this family, and I'll tell you what I think of her
at the age of sixty-one :

Her girlish charm has vanished now,
The lines are many on her brow;
No longer do her quiet ways
Bring atmosphere of spring-like days;
The years have tinged her hair with gray,
Her feet grow weary with the day;
But of the friends God gave to me,
There's none so beautiful as she —
My Mother.

How many stories she could tell
Of weary days, and nights as well,
Spent uncomplaining through the years,
For those she loved! What cares and fears
Have burdened her! Perhaps her hope
Oft left her till her heart could grope
By steps of prayer back to the light!
What faith was hers in God's great Right —
My Mother's!

May every year now left to her
Be filled with joy. May few tears blur
Her hope-lit vision. May her way
But fairer grow with each good day,
And dew-tipped roses make each dawn
A paradise to her. Upon
Her gracious form may God's love smile,
And from her heart all cares beginle —
My Mother's."

"I may never be a poet like Uncle Tom," said



56 The Jenkings- Yager Camp-Fire

Emmerson Gerbart. "But I like to sing and I
can sing as well maybe as gTandma did when she
tried to sing the old song, 'I Love Jesus, Yes I
Do,' and sang, 'I lub a Deewac, yep me do.' "

''I'm glad my middle name is Jennings, and I
hope I will be able \fi do it honor," said Burnet
Jennings Clark,

''Well," said Charles Clark, Jr., "my name isn't
Jennings, but I'm proud to say I am Charles the
fourth on the Yager side of the family."

"I remember of hearing my mother tell how


1 2 4

Online LibraryEmma Jennings ClarkThe Jennings-Yager camp-fire → online text (page 4 of 5)