This Web Site is Generously Hosted by
We Support Free Nonprofit Genealogy and History on the Internet
|The Girlhood of Margaret Angeline Paine|
Family Memories, Iowa to California, 1848-1865
Granddaughter of Daniel & Sylvy Combs Paine of Hawkins & Warren Cos TN; Walker Co AL; Hancock Co IL; and Lee Co IA
Margaret Angeline PAINE, d/o Herbert Murrell & Margaret DERRICK Paine, was born 04 Mar 1845(8?), Illinois; d 31 Jul 1931, Orange Co, CA; m 23 May 1865, San Bernardino, San Bernardino Co, CA, Ansel M. AMES. In her later years, she wrote the following account in her own manner of speaking. (Provided by Combs-Paine Researcher Elaine Paine who adds: I obtained this story from my father-in-law, Gordon Paine of Lawton, OK, who d in 1995 at age 90, and was a great-grandson of Herbert Murrell Paine).
Note: [Bracketed entries] have been added for clarification.
The first that I can remember was at about the age of three. We were living at Charlston [Lee Co], Iowa. Father [Herbert Murrell Paine] had just marries his second wife, Elizabeth Taylor, a strong young german. They told me my mother had died when I was a baby. She took Typhoid fever and only lived a short time. I was the last child of nine-a sister and seven brothers in all.
Father went to Texas to find his sister Alta who had lost her husband; he wanted her to help him. He would not have married if he could of found her. I was living in [Lee Co] Iowa with Aunt Nancy Owens, one of Father's sisters. He had two sisters living in Iowa, Aunt Nancy and Aunt Milly Pool. A Mrs. Tuggle kept me until I was weaned; she lost her baby so she nursed me in its place.
[Herbert Murrell PAINE m 13 Jun 1850, Bloomfield, Lee Co, IA, to Elizabeth Avarilla TAYLOR. His sister, Alta (a.k.a. Altamira) PAINE had m John EVANS; his sister, Nancy PAINE, had m Joshua OWEN; and his sister Millie PAINE had m Kenny POOL.]
My sister Nan used to tell me these things. I was too young to remember them. I can remember one time while I was playing I sank down into a place where an out house had been and filled up, the big red apples that used to grow on Grandfather Taylor's farm, and the big red apples Father brought from Aunt Nancy's.
Brother Jack went to California. Brother Will went first but I do not remember when Brother Jack went. Brother Flemming was married and lived in Iowa. He married a Sophia Clifton. I remember because of an incident they told of her father when he had the measles. He wanted to get up and see his tongue, but they would not let him get up. So when they left the room he arose saying, "By Gingo, I'll see my own tongue".
Brother George Washington went to school and became a school teacher. Brother Carrol was my youngest brother. Brother Colman went to Missouri.
Many were the incidents we had while Brother Carrol was at home. One time Father had gone to Fort Madison [Lee Co IA] to Uncle Carrols [William Carroll PAINE]. Mother had gone to her mothers, Grandmother Taylor's. There was nothing to fear in those days. We never locked the doors, in fact, they had no locks. The kitchen was built away from the sleeping apartment. The boys heard something out in the kitchen and they woke up us girls and took us down to Grandmother Taylor's where my step mother was. Mother came up and found the boys armed with fire tongs and shovels. Mother opened the door and Grandmothers big black dog came out!
One day Cousin Silvia came to visit us. She was very particular and always kept the floors very clean. She was expecting her young man friend one day and was dressed in a very pretty dress. She would get the broom every few minutes and sweep the floor. One of us children put the broom in a barrel of soft soap we had not noticed standing by the door outside. Sylvia, fluttering about, reached for the broom and put it under arm. When she noticed the condition of her dress, she had to wash and iron the dress before the young man arrived. She was a very pretty young girl and proud. Poor girl, she took the fever soon after and died. The young man's name was Roderick.
One day we were playing in the field when a big black stallion belonging to Brother Flemming came dashing toward us. Brother Carrol took me in his arms and carried me to the fence where we sought safety. No one could touch the horse but Brother Flemming. He was away but came home soon to catch the horse.
My brothers were away most of the time. Only Brother Carrol, Nan and I were always at home. We children were never allowed to eat chicken so one day we caught one and ate it. We burnt the feathers and bones and removed all traces of the feast.
One afternoon Father and Mother went to the neighbors. When it got dark, the boys got some other boys and they went coon hunting. They sent us to some neighbors to stay. We were afraid to go there because of the dogs, so we hid in the fence until the boys left. The fences were rails laid so, X, in the corners and it made quite a sheltered nook. As soon as the boys were out of sight, we went into the house and pulled out our trundle beds and went to bed. Father and Mother decided not to stay all night and came home. They met the boys who had not been successful in their hunt, and came home with them. The boys slept out in the kitchen. In the morning we found big red apples in bed with us.
When the apples were ready to be harvested, Grandfather Taylor would allow the children to help but he never allowed them to eat an apple. But when we were ready to go home after a hard days work, Grandmother Taylor would fill our aprons full with apples and tell us not to tell Grandfather but to run home. We were terrible afraid of Grandfather Taylor.
He had a granddaughter Maria living with him. Her father had died of cholera. He (Grandfather) would never allow us to play in his barn. One day we were taken in there by Maria and Grandfather locked us in. Maria dug a hole under the barn and we all crawled out. When he asked us how we got out, Maria went to say that she shook the door till the peg fell out. When she said egg instead of peg and she was so frightened, he laughed and we knew we were safe.
We moved soon after to Missouri. I was about seven years old. When we got near the river, it looked like a piece of the the sky. It was night when we arrived. Father had fought in the Black Hawk War, so the government had given him 160 acres of ground and there was a log house on it.
We children slept in the wagon, Mother and Father slept in the house. One morning, I stood in the door of the house and counted fifteen deer. There was no spring so we had to carry water from the creek one mile away. Father soon discovered crawfish so then he knew that water was not far away. He dug a hole about ten feet and got good water.
I was going one time to the creek and had to go through a forest. I was attracted by a pretty creature of black and white and I ran to catch it but could not. When I arrived home, they told me it was a pole cat [skunk].
Our nearest neighbor was a mile and a half away. Brother Colman came and lived with us until he was married. All I remember was his wife was called Sarah.
Whenever we wanted meat, all we had to do was go out in the backyard and kill a deer or a turkey or a prairie chicken. We children used to make traps and catch prairie chickens. The woods were full of blackberries, strawberries, gooseberries and hickory nuts.
I used to drop corn until the ground burned my feet. We washed dishes, carried water, hoed corn, carry a child on my hip, got a whipping every day and knit our own stockings. Our dresses were made from unbleached cotton woven at home and dyed from the barks of trees. Gray was mostly the color we used. Our fireplace was seven feet long and all the cooking was done there.
Father went to Fort Madison [Lee Co IA] one time to visit his Brother Carrol [William Carroll Paine] and brought home to my sister Nan and me a straw bonnet, white stockings, and side combs. How proud we were but we never wore them. We had no place to go. There was no school, no church, never saw the town that was across the river. We went every night to get the cows and was many a toe that lost its nail.
Brother Colman went to Iowa and left his wife with us and while he was gone, his baby died. It was so cold with snow all on the ground so that they kept the baby till Brother Colman came.
Bother Carrol met with an accident. He fell while cutting some hay to feed the horses and slipped and cut his knee. This kept him in bed a long time. He taught himself to read and write. He was about twelve years old at this time.
Father sold the place. I do not know how much he got but he had a canvas bag three inches wide and eight inches long which was half full of gold. We had a span of bay American mares, two mules. Their names were Jim and Sue.
Through Indian Territory
Our trip was of little interest until we got to Indian Territory. Here we saw many beautiful women, the most beautiful I have ever seen. They had fine horses and negro slaves. Farther on the Indians were yellowskinned and not so prosperous.
Father and Mother slept in the tent and we children in the wagon. Father would dig a hole in the ground under his pillow where he hid his gold. One time Father forgot and left it. Brother Carrol saw it and played a trick on him. He (Brother Carrol) never told him that he had it until Father after traveling some distance, turned and started back. Then Carrol told him and gave the money to him and Father was more careful next time.
When we got to Texas, Johnson County, Father bought a farm and a grist mill. Here we had a stove. There was none other in the country and it was a sight the neighbors came to see it. When we were unloading the wagon, I reached in to get something and having the baby and not wanting to drop it, the wagon ran over my foot.
There was one log cabin and Father built another for our kitchen. He hued the logs with his broad ax. The houses were fifty feet apart. The boys slept in the kitchen.
We went to school here about two or three times a week. Nan and my brothers got more schooling than I. I was just the age to tend babies and my step mother had four. One day while I was at school, I saw a man pass and I told the children that was my brother. Sure enough, it was Brother George Washington from Illinois; we had not seen him for years. Brother William came to us in Texas from California. I was in school when he came.
My stepmother worked very hard. She was strong and my strength was no match for hers, and I suppose I was a trial to her. I can remember complaining of my back and she would laugh and tell me I ought to be ashamed. She would have her babies and milk the cows afterwards. She never went to bed.
Soon all my brothers left. Wash left and was married. Brothers Carrol and Will were going to butcher a beef and took a quilt. My stepmother would not let them have it and told them to take one from the girls' bed. The boys said the girls have not enough cover as it is, and she sent one of her boys to go and get Father. Carrol was a hot tempered youth; he told her he wished she was a man. Father came home, and the boys got the quilt, and Father made her promise that she would not whip Nan or me again. The last time she whipped Nan and me was when she had gone to a neighbors and left us to wash the dishes and we left a greasy pan. We had done this before, but she was mad and she whipped us. Carrol heard us crying and ran to the house. This almost broke our father's heart. Nan soon married and went away.
How I wish I might skip over this part of my unhappiness and loneliness. I could not do a thing right. I could not please her. If I put on a kettle of water, she would empty it. She just ignored me. Oh how I wish I could forget it all.
During the year of 1861, Father voted for Abraham Lincoln. A friend of his told him he better get out of Texas for they were hanging men just for things like that. Father left alone after night and went to Denton [Denton Co, TX] where Sister Nan was and Brother Washington, too. Father sold his mill and farm while at Denton. Then he sent wagons to move us there. All he got for the farm was six oxen and a wagon and a lot of worthless southern money. Father had a sister Alta Shaw in Denton and a sister-in-law Sarah Paine.
[Altamira PAINE, w/of Joshua OWEN, had apparently remarried to a SHAW?; Who was Sarah PAINE?]
I was suffering with sore eyes at this time; I could hardly see. No one had told me a thing about leaving or if I was to go or not. All I had I tied in a handkerchief, an old bandanna. No one told me I could go. Father was not there so when the wagon came, I got in with the other children. We were two or three days on the road when three miles from the place where Aunt Sarah lived, I saw a couple coming toward us.
I felt they were my sister and her husband. I told the driver to let me out because that was my sister. He only laughed, but I climbed out the back. When they came up, all I could do was to put my face against the horse's head and sob my heart out.
Sister Nan took me to her home. They were staying with a Mrs. Lollars, her husband's sister. They had not built their house yet. She burned all my clothes and gave me some of her own. She doctored my eyes and got me some blue glasses.
I stayed with Aunt Alta until Brother George, my sister Nan's husband, built his house. Here my cousin Randolph Paine sent me to school. I went to school until it closed. There was only one room to this school; all they taught was reading and spelling. My teacher was a man, a Mr. Larkins; he had only one eye. The boys would call him, "Old man Larkin, one out and the other's a sparkin!" How the children hated him. Here my schooling ended, for Cousin Randolph and brothers had to go to war.
By this time Nan's house was built and I went to live with her. It was four miles out on the prairie, and I was lonely, but happy. We lived on a public road and soldiers passed often. One day two men rode up. They said they were soldiers and wanted a drink. I gave them a drink and one got down off his horse and came into the house. The other begged him to come on, but he would not and asked for another drink. I discovered then that Sister Nan had gone and I was alone. I became frightened because the other man rode away. All I could think of was that he had seen Nan leave and had followed her and would kill her. I kept telling him to leave, that my brother was coming, and he would kill him if he found him here. I knew he would, he was a hotheaded, but kindhearted man. He could not tolerate a thing other men reveled in. He was a man of great honor.
He (the soldier) only laughed. I went to the door and seeing a man coming on horseback, thought it was Brother George, but the man rode on. The soldier came to the door and placing his arms against the door sill, he had me pinned in, so he stooped and kissed me. He handed me his gun and, mounting his horse, rode away.
My brother came into sight then. He rode up to Brother George and apologized for frightening me. George had not known that Nan was away for it might have been so different. I was terribly frightened when I saw that Nan was not with George. Until she came into the house and told how she had hid in the tall grass, was I easy. This was just before her first baby was born.
One day after the baby came, it took very ill with the croup. George had just left and she called, "Run, Puss", --she always called me Puss, -- Run and catch George, the baby has a spasm. I had been milking the cows and had removed my shoes to dry my feet, but ran one shoe on and one off. I could just keep him in sight calling and calling, but unable to make him hear. When I reached the timber, I got a neighbor's boy to overtake him on a horse.
Then Sister Nan became ill and I rode five miles and a half on a pony for Brother George. Brother had to go seven miles more to get a doctor. The baby died in my arms. It thundered and lightning terrible. The rain was so bad, they could not bury the baby.
One day I went to Em Lollars, Brother George's sister, to stay all night. When coming home I had to go two miles through the prairie. I walked and the cattle would follow me until they got up with me, but never harmed me. This was before the baby died. This was in Denton County, Texas.
Brother George had to go to war. I was 15 years old at this time and Nan was 18. Nan moved into town with his sister, Mrs. Lollar. Then my sister's child Sarah was born here. I went to Aunt Alta Shaw's to live. I lived for awhile with another Mrs. Lollar; here I carded and spun enough cotton for 2 dresses.
Then my stepmother was expecting to be confined and Father came for me. When the baby was a week old, it died. It choked to death. I suppose it was the croup. I remember how my Father cried over the suffering of the child.
The next call for war was nearing and Father said he would die before he would fight against Lincoln and the Union. There were four families and we all left for California.
With the Wagon Train
We dared not tell anyone where we were going. We stopped on the Consho River and cut logs, pretending to settle. A company of soldiers came to see what we were doing, and the captain warned us to get out of the country before he came again. We believed he was a Lincoln man- but was forced to fight against him. Our cattle were in a good condition to travel. Before we left, a company of deserters that had left the army, nearly starved, begged for food. We fed them, and some of them came on with us to the Rio Grand River and in the night, swam the river into Mexico.
We traveled up the Consho River where we met three men who had started for California. They had been without water and had killed a horse and drank its blood. These men had crossed an eighty mile desert before they reached the Pecos River. Here they met us and joined the train. Then we crossed the desert those men had crossed coming to us. We never washed our hands and faces, just saved all the water we could for drinking water.
My cousin, Martha Forsman's little girl died with whooping cough. We buried her in the desert. We took out the floor of the wagon and made a coffin. This was in the springtime.
When we got halfway across the desert, a rain storm came up and there was water for all the cattle. When we got within a mile of the river, we had to stop for fear the cattle would rush in with the wagon. We took a few at a time to water. This was the Pecos river, the water was red and muddy, and we had to settle the water in order to drink it. We settled it with cactus. When crossing the river, the cattle swam, and the men went beside them driving them.
When we reached the Mexican line, we met the Union soldiers. This made the Indians hostile. The soldiers met us with medicine and coffee; this was the first coffee we had had since the war began. They traveled with us until we made camp and took our rations of bacon, flour, soap and candles, dried vegetables and rice. We stayed here two or three weeks.
Then we crossed the Rio Grande River, traveled several days and then came to another camp. My step-brother was born here and Mother was quite ill. The train split up and only three stayed with Father, the others going on. We were here two weeks.
When we came to Arizona, we saw the first pine trees, and we would hunt for gum while walking back of the wagons. I heard a strange noise one day and looking back, I saw Indians. I never stopped to take a second look; my greatest fear was Indians.
We were getting short of water and, coming to a stream, stopped to camp. When we found it swarming with Indians, we loaded our barrels and moved on. They followed, camped when we camped. The old chief would preach to his tribe and tell us them that they were going. They would peek in the wagons and frighten the children, begging food. Since we were on rations, they soon left us.
We came to Fort Mahava, and here Father had no money for it was all gone, so he sold a span of oxen. That only left us two span to carry a heavy load. One day one of the oxen gave out. My cousin took the other oxen on with him hoping to reach water. So that left us on the desert all night alone, only one man, we women and children and the faithful dog, Watch.
In the night old Watch began growling. Father took his gun and sat on the wagon tongue. Soon some one hollered, Hello. Father called Watch off, and the fellow came up. He was the mail carrier going to Arizona. Then my cousin came in the morning and took us to a place called Point of Rocks. Here Father gave up all his possessions, his gun and all, to a teamster to haul us to San Bernadino.
San Bernadino, California
Here we rented a house of Mrs. McKeney, paid ten dollars month for it. All Father made was twenty dollars a month. Flour was five dollars a sack. Mother and I washed all day for fifty cents. This was north of the Court House. I hired out to a Mrs. Clark, got ten dollars a month. All I ever got was a ten dollar dress pattern; it was a dark blue with a tiny silk stripe in it.
Another place I went to work, but being very bashful and timid I did not stay long. I worked for a Mrs. Logston for ten dollars a month. Mrs. Logston proved to be a good friend to me. Then I met Mrs. Ames who had picked me for her son Edd, but I met Ansel who asked to take me to a Theater. I had no hat so I wore a white sunbonnet. Ansel bought a hat and gave it to his Mother to give to me. I went to the Southern Hotel to a dance where I met Ansel's brother Edwin who played the violin.
I married Ansel and we went to Lytle Creek on our honeymoon. I was married in a white lawn dress with a green leaf.
Annotations to be continued…
Join Combs &c. in Support of USGenNet
— an IRS-approved nonprofit web-hosting service —
This site is hosted by USGenNet, a nonprofit web-hosting service solely supported by tax-deductible donations. If this website has provided you with useful information, please consider making a donation to USGenNet to help keep sites like this online.
NOTICE: The Combs-Coombs &c. Research Group is a nonprofit public benefit corporation and complies fully with USGenNet’s Conditions of Use. This Combs &c. Research Report has been provided for the free use of those engaged in non-commercial genealogical research by the nonprofit Combs Research Group. Any and all commercial use is strictly prohibited. Researchers are encouraged to copy and distribute this work freely, but with the proviso that it may only be copied and circulated in its entirety — including this notice, and all sources, bibliographies and credits; and excepting electronically in which case permission is freely granted to link to this site instead. Sincerely, The Combs &c. Research Group, Email: Webmaster.
© 1996-2010 Combs-Coombs &c. Research Group