Zumwalt stories
Zumwalt Stories
If you are researching this family, please contact me at my Email Address. Thanks! From information received from the Polk County Genealogical Society, and copies of articles from the Boliver Weekly Courier and Bolivar Free Press: Jesse Zumwalt, born 1815 in Missouri Nancy Grider, born 24 Oct 1816 in Kentucky Married 25 Aug 1836 in Franklin County, Missouri Jesse Zumwalt’s estate was filed for probate 20 Sep 1859, Nancy as Admin. Sec. John L. Hall and Robert A. Allen (Book B, page 140) Nancy died 15 Nov 1901 and is buried at Mt. Olive cemetery in Polk county. From the Boliver Weekly Courier, 3 Sep 1859: Mr. J. C. Campbell, printer, arrived in St. Joseph from Denver stating a cold blooded murder was perpetrated on 1 Aug twelve miles beyond Bijou Creek, 90 miles from Denver. A train from Hickory County consisted of 7 persons; 5 men, 1 woman and 1 boy on the way to the mines. The owner of the wagons had in his possession $2000. The others resolved to murder and rob him. The boy was chosen and shot the man in the presence of all. They left him to die on the prairie. Mr. Campbell found him and was able to glean the foregoing before he expired. Our informant forgot the mans name, but he has a farm in Hickory Co. Note: Jesse Zumwalt, well known in this country. It seems a difference occurred between Mr. Zumwalt and one of the company which was fatal for Mr. Zumwalt. EARLY DAYS IN POLK COUNTY A series of articles written by J. M. Zumwalt I was born in 1841 in Polk County, Missouri; never had a residence outside of it and will try to give you my recollections of the conditions and customs of the people who first settled in the northeast part of the county. I was raised on Lindley Creek and will begin by telling you how it got its name. About the year 1828 my father, Adam Zumwalt, came out to the Sac river country before there was any Polk county and built him a cabin on Walnut creek, on what is now the southwest part of the county, and then went back to St. Louis and stayed one or two years, when he again came out to his cabin. He was accompanied by Joseph Inks. They crossed the Big Niangua River and stuck the prairie where the town of Buffalo, the county seat of Dallas County, now stands. There they fell in with David Williams and Derret Bartley and came upon a head of a Buffalo that had been killed by the Indians. One of the Bartleys stuck the head on a stake and called the prairie Buffalo Head Prairie, by which name it is still known. They also camped out on a small creek near where Reynold’s Nursery is located. The next morning Zumwalt and Inks left the Bartleys and traveled down the creek all day, when late in the evening they shot a deer, but only wounded it. They put their dogs on its trail and ran it into a deep hole of water on the creek now known as Cedar Bluff Hole. It was dark by the time they got their deer, so they camped for the night. During the night they heard fussing over their bed and supposed some settler must live near by and when daylight came they set out in search of his house, but could not find any. They found the hogs and they were gentle, so they told every man they met and told them to spread the news of the finding of the hogs. There was a man by the name of John Lindley who had moved through Sac River and settled in what is now Cedar County. He crossed at the mouth of what is Inglis creek. He camped there for the night. He was driving his cattle, sheep and hogs. That night there came a heavy snow and during the storm Lindley’s hogs got away from him and the snow covered up their tracks so that he could not track them. He hunted for them until he gave them up as lost and went on. He finally heard that Zumwalt and Inks had found them and he came and got them. So the creek was called Lindley creek and the bottom in which the hogs were found was called Hog Bottom, which names they both still retain. Zumwalt went on out to his cabin on Walnut creek and remained there till after Polk county was organized when he sold his claim and removed to Arkansas. He stayed there one year and then came back to Polk County, Missouri, and took up a claim in the lower end of the Hog Bottom. It is now owned by Phillip Ashworth. Inks took up a claim in the upper end of Hog Bottom, now owned by Jesse R. Payne. His claim included the farms now owned by John W. Pope, V. E. Tinsley, Arthur Tidwell, William Barker, and Russel Pope. He built a frame house and weather boarded it with four-foot clap boards, which he made from the fine burr oak timber of the Hog Bottom. He also made the doors of clap boards, six feet long, which he shaved with a drawing knife and pinned them together with oak pins. He cut and split hack-berry logs into puncheons and hewed them and made his floor of them. His house had no windows but a small peep hole by the side of the fireplace. His doors fastened with a wooden latch which could be opened from the outside by pulling a string. The chimney was made of sticks plastered inside and out with mud. This house was the most pretentious one in all that country. It was neither ceiled nor plastered. J. M. Zumwalt About the year 1842 my uncle, John Zumwalt, settled on a creek now known as Panther Creek. He settled the farm owned at present by John Stokes. He was the first man that ever settled on the creek and it was called Zumwalt’s Creek. There was a man by the name of Ansel Lawson, who soon after settled on an adjoining claim above him. He sold it to Wm. Inglis. It is now the farm of the Rev. B. F. Chanberlin. The way the name of the creek came to be changed is this: In the fall of 1843 Deret Bartley, John Ragsdale, Roy Vincent, Jay Steel and some others who had settled on Brush Creek went on a deer drive with their packs of hounds, when they scared up a panther near the old Ragsdale place. They chased it down Rush Creek to Lindley Creek and down Lindley Creek to the mouth of Zumwalt’s Creek and then up that creed to near the claim of John Zumwalt’s who owned two very brindle cur dogs of the stump-tail variety. They were large and powerful and about as savage as dogs ever get. When they heard the hounds coming up the creek they went to meet them but met the panther first. They pressed him so hard that he had to take a tree. When the hounds and men came up they concluded to shoot him through the mouth and see the dogs kill him. So Bartley shot the panther’s tushes out and he jumped out of the tree and the dogs caught him. After a long and severe fight in which he whipped the hounds, they let my uncle’s curs loose and they finally killed him. He measured five and a half feet from the end of his nose to the tip of his tail, and was the last panther I know to be killed in this part of the country. So in honor of the above event the name of Zumwalt’s Creek was changed to Panther Creek, by which name it has ever since been know. The first Sunday school I ever knew in this part of the county was organized by the Methodists in a small log school house a little north of where Jim Hockenhull’s house now stands. The books used were the Methodist catechisms and the Bible. The next Sunday school was organized by the Baptists about the year 1852 in a log school house about fifty yards west of where Mt. View Baptist Church now stands. The books used were Webster’s Elementary Speller, McGuffeys, First and Second Readers and the Bible. Before the Civil War there was a Baptist Church built on the same ground where the Mt. View Baptist Church now stands, but during that unpleasant time the trustees of the church sold it to Jeremiah Vaughan, who tore it down and hauled it to Sentinel and built himself a store house out of it. Sentinel Prairie post office was first established on the farm of Jim Hockenhull, then owned by Sam Little, the father of Dr. Little of Goodson, who was the first postmaster. During the Civil War, Little moved away from his place and Jeremiah Vaughan was appointed postmaster and Sentinel post office was removed to his store some four miles north of Sentinel Prairie and on the south edge of Lindley Prairie, or Pitts Prairie, as it is now called. The name of the office has been changed within the last few years to Sentinel because it is not located on Sentinel Prairie. Vaughn failed in business and sold his place and moved away, leaving the post office without a postmaster. The mail carrier had the key to the bag and he would stop and leave the mail in the old store house that was for Sentinel Prairie, and everybody that wanted to go in and take what they found that suited them and go on their way rejoicing. J.M. Zumwalt In my last article I stated that Inks?house was the most pretentious house in the community. I will now try to describe some of the less pretentious ones. Jack Blankenship’s, Ples Dame’s, Joe Young’s, and several other houses, were built of round logs with their bark left upon them. They were just high enough for one log over the door to the roof. They had no floor other than the ground; the roof was of 3 ft. clapboards laid on rib poles and were weighted down by one straight pole to each course of boards. There was but one door and the shutter was made of clapboards fastened to two straight poles. The boards were put on crossways of the door and were humg on the outside of the house on wooden hinges. Their chimneys were made of sticks, plastered inside and out with mud. The cracks of the house were daubed with black mud, and they used their hands for trowels and their finger prints were left in the mud in the cracks. Their furniture consisted of bedsteads or scaffolds made by driving a stout stake in the ground the proper distance from the wall with two auger holes bored in it and one in the wall. Some people had only straw beds, while others had feather beds. Their chairs were stools made of juggles of wood, with auger holes bored in them and sticks drove in for legs. They lived principally on venison and honey with plain corn bread and milk. They sometimes hung up their venison in their spacious chimneys and dried it. This they called jerked venison. The women folks make the clothing by carding cotton or wool on hand cards and spinning and weaving it into cloth. Some of the men would dress deer skins and have them made into leather breeches and hunting shirts. Their hats were made of wheat straw for summer and their caps of coon skins for winter. Inks sold his claim to a Methodist preacher by the name of Callison, who sunk some tan vats and tanned leather. This partially supplied the settlers with material for footwear. They made their own shoes at home and when they could not get enough leather they finished out with moccasins made of buckskin. Callison sold his claim and tan yard to another Methodist preacher by the name of James Batten, who carried on the business until a few years before the Civil War. These first settlers who lived in the cabins were great people to take their entire families and visit their neighbors and stay all night. They also had many “ho-downs?or dances during the winter months. Those were the days before the advent of matches, and on retiring for the night, the last one going to bed was usually asked if he had covered up the fire, pinned the door and looked up the chimney, which chimney being made of sticks and clay was sometimes on fire; if the fire in the fireplace happened to go out during the night and they did not have a supply of punk on hand some of the family would go to some of the neighbors?house after fire before they could have breakfast. J. M. Zumwalt There is a large hollow that empties into the big Niangua River near Mennet’s Mill called the Dance Yard Hollow, where the Osage Indians used to hold some of their festival dances. I remember seeing them pass through in the fall of the year going and coming. They would camp on Lindley Creek at the lower end of my Grandfather Zumwalt’s field, now owned by Bob Emery. On one of their expeditions, as they went back to the Osage Mission, they ran out of provisions. They came upon the place of a settler by the name of Redmond. The place is now in Cedar County. Redmond had a pen of fat hogs. The hungry Indians began killing them. When Redmond tried to stop them, they whipped him with their gun sticks and finished killing the hogs. At that time the Militia was required to keep an organization and had regular days to muster. The colonel of the Militia which my father belonged was named Nall. Redmond came after him and his command to go after the Indians. They found them on Horse Creek and escorted them back to the Mission. My grandfather brought with him when he moved on his claim a pair of small millstones which he used to grind meal for family use (by hand), the nearest power-mill being seventy-five miles. The first mill built near enough to patronize was built on Pomme de Terre by William Luttrell where Flower’s mill now stands. It only ground corn. Shortly afterward there was a Virginian by the name of James Williamson, who built a mill about two miles below Luttrell’s that grounded both wheat and corn. The flour had to be bolted by hand. The wheat was ground and carried up to the second floor in a bag. Then it was emptied into the hopper of the bolting chest where the operator fed it in with one hand while he turned the bolt with the other. This was the first mill I ever saw. During those early days what goods the people used was hauled on wagons, mostly from Missouri river points. The settlers would make up a drove of beef cattle and mutton sheep. Four or five men would drive them to St. Louis and sell them, and buy such supplies as the owners ordered for each having sent cattle or sheep, to the amount his share brought in the market. They would take with them a big wagon, to which they worked two or three yoke of oxen, in which they brought back the goods sent for. It took about forty days to make the trip. On their arrival at home they would notify the interested parties and they would come and get their goods. About this time there came an influx of settlers of a more substantial kind, among whom were James and John Jump, Leonard Richards, and his sons Merdia, and Jack, John W. Howe, Erasmus Hupard, James Inglis, James and Hudson Martin, Jacob Bowlinger, Caleb Luttrell, Moses Keith, Madison and Peach Snapp, John and David Lightfoot, Bert Stevens, Mat Alderman, Dr. W. Coon, Joseph Payne, Joe and Richard Jenkins, Sterling Brown, Leroy Vincent, Jay Steele, Wm. Hale, Thomas Standley, Evan Stewart, and many others. The first track of land entered in this part of the county was entered by my grandfather’s brother, Wm. Zumwalt, where the widow Hockenhull now lives. His wife was the daughter of James Bryan, who was a brother of the wife of Daniel Boone. Another of my grandfather’s brothers, Henry Zumwalt, married Jemima Boone, a daughter of Nathan Boone, the youngest son of Daniel Boone. One of his daughters, Sarah Zumwalt, who married John Jump, Jr., is now living about two and a half miles east of Polktown, this county. She is 66 years old and is the great grand daughter of the great backwoodsman Daniel Boone. J.M. Zumwalt About the center of Flint Prairie there is a patch of timber of a few hundred acres, which is the seat of some ancient mining activity. There is between 75 and 100 acres of land that is literally honey- combed with mining shafts and long trenches. The mining has been done in three different places. They are on a line a little southeast and something near one and one-half miles in length by from one-fourth to one-half of a mile in width. The mining appears to have been done by people who did not know the use of powder of other explosives. The shafts sunk are only to the bed rock of the earth. The mines are very old as the timber is growing all over the dumps, some trees being as much as 3 ft. in diameter at the ground. The rock thrown out by the miners are flint, limestone and a kind of porous white rock resembling burnt bone. My father and Joseph Inks discovered the old mines on their first visit to the country. In 1841 they began to clear out one of the old shafts to try and ascertain what the mining had been done for, but did not discover anything that they judged to be mineral of any kind. At about 20 feet deep they struck the bed rock, which is solid limestone. They stopped till they could get powder and drills and before they went back to work there came a wet spell and the shaft caved in, covering up their tools. They never went back to dig their tools out and they are still in the shaft. If any one should ever go to work in these old mines and find the picks, shovels, etc., left by Adam Zumwalt and Joseph Inks in the shaft they might conclude that the mining had been done by modern civilization. These old mines have never been examined by expert miners. The people have never been able to find any kind of material taken out by the parties who did the work. It is the opinion of the citizens here that who ever did the mining found what they were looking for or they would not have done so much work. It would have required the labor of five hundred men two or three years to have done the work. If this should fall under the eye of some expert miner and he will come to my house I will show him the old mining place and let him see if he can find out what the mining was done for. Some think it was done by the Spanish on their trip of exploration, but I hardly think so, for they would not have stayed so long in one place and done so much work on uncertainties. Some think it was done by the Indians to obtain flint to make knives, arrow points, etc., but I don’t think it was. Whoever did the work was obligated to know the use of tools made of iron and steel, so you see if the Indians had known the use of iron and steel they would not have wanted flint to make knives and arrow points. Anyone wishing to know more about this can find me at Polk, Mo. For the benefit of my friend, W. A., I will tell him how “Stinking Creek?got its name. Before anyone had settled on that creek, Bill Richards went hunting on it one night and he had three combats with polecats at many different places and everyone that passed Bill to the windward side knew he had been in mortal combat with the cats. So they kept him a safe distance. When Bill was asked where he met his antagonists, he replied, “On Stinking Creek? and it is still known by that name. As to how Opossum Creek got its name I do not know. J.M. Zumwalt The first farms were all broken out with ox teams. The sod was too strong for horses to stand the steady heavy draft caused by the heavy prairie grass, the blades of which grew as high as a horse’s knees and sometimes as high as the hub of a wagon and the seed stems as high as a man’s head. The plows turned a furrow from sixteen inches the smallest plows, to twenty-six inches the largest plows. It required from four to eight yoke of oxen to pull them. The plow had a shin and shear all in one piece and the mold board was made of a piece of twisting tree split open and dressed smooth so it would shed the dirt. The beam was fastened to trucks to gauge its depth. The above described plows were used for breaking smooth prairie. The plow generally used to peak timbered land was a bull tongue with a standing colter before it; sometimes a turning plow was used which only turned a furrow of eight or ten inches. I used to drive an ox team that sometimes was used for breaking post oak runner land and the plow turned a furrow of ten inches. It had a beam fourteen feet long. The plow was set to run ten inches deep and was regulated with a gauge wheel under the front end of the beams. There was a man by the name of Silas Chesley, from Wisconsin, who held the plow and we worked ten of full grown oxen to it, there being one yoke of oxen for each inch the plow cut. We used two heavy log chains looped together to the plow. We often put the plow under roots and stumps so tight that both of us could not pull it and would have to take the front yoke of oxen loose and hitch them behind the plow to pull it out. The last piece of post oak runner land I ever drove a team to break was for Jeremiah Vaughn. The land is now owned by Wm. Redey and G. W. Howard. It lays west of Sentinel. I don’t know of but one old time driver except myself that now lives in the county and that is Uncle Russ K…of Jefferson township. If you want any further enlightenment on old time timber land plowing see Uncle Russ. The different religious denominations like to hold camp meetings which would last from one to three weeks. The Christian people of denomination would go and camp on the ground and treat other with all the Christian love and charity they possessed. I remember attending one of these meetings that was carried on by the Presbyterians. Their principle preacher was the Rev. John Alsup. He was the first preacher I ever heard preach. He preached once a month at the residence of my grandfather, John Zumwalt. He was assisted in his camp meeting by the Rev. James Batten, who was a Methodist, and the Rev. Wm. F. Spillman, who was a Missionary Baptist. In those days they thought more of worshipping God than they did of worshipping their denominations. My father was a Presbyterian and my mother was a Missionary Baptist. I have often seen girls walk four and five miles to church. They would carry their shoes on their arms till near the place of preaching then they would sit down and put them on and go on with as much composure as the girls of the present day do. When starting home, if they had a beau they kept their shoes on, but if not, they would pull them off as soon as they were well out of sight of the congregation. They were rosy-cheeked jolly and a few of whom are still living in this vicinity. J.M. Zumwalt About the year 1846 my grandmother went back to St. Louis on a visit and brought back with her the first cook stove I ever saw and, from what I know, it was the first one ever used in Polk County. When the line known as the base line was run through this part of the state it was run by a surveyor by the name of Barecroft. Wm Jenkins and Adam Zumwalt were two of the chain carriers. Barecroft started in the east and ran west to the west line of the state. The 36 mile or base line, as it is called, is crooked. It bends north. Of a morning Barecroft would set up his compass and take his course. He would ride his horse, and his chain carriers would chain after him. He would only take his bearing once in several days as he went west he varied to the north, and when he got near where Dunnegan now is he took his bearing to see where he was at and found that he was one mile and three quarter too far north. He would not correct back, but set his compass, so as to get back to the proper place by the time he got to the state line. When they crossed Sac River and go on the high prairie they found a colony of bees has settled in the grass made their comb and filled it with honey and appeared to be as well satisfied as if they were in a tree. When the country was sectionized, it was done by a surveyor whose name was Wright and when he came to Barecroft’s crooked line, he had to throw all the land north of the middle of the sections into lots, beginning to number them north to the base line and at the widest place lots are numbered as high as 9. This is a source of bother to some of our deputy assessors who assess the north tier of municipal townships. I remember, about the close of the Mexican War, James Jump was assessor and also collected the taxes as deputy collector in Green township. He only assessed cattle, horses, and mules 3 years old and over. Household goods, farm implements and hogs were not assessed. I know one man who paid 50 cents outside of his poll tax. Nearly everyone lived on claim, which was yet Government land, and the burden of taxation was not very heavy. The first school I ever attended was a subscription school taught by George Jump. The whole school, teacher and all, are dead, so far as I know, except myself. The school house was a room about 18 feet square, built of round logs. The fire-place consisted of a wall of stone built against the log wall on the inside of the house and was about 6 or 7 feet high by about 10 or 12 feet long. The stem of the chimney was built on a joist by placing one end of the sticks of which it was made on the joist and the other end in a crack in the wall. It was directly over the center of the stone wall or fire-place, which had no jams. The seats were made of logs split open and the splinters scraped off with an ax. They had no back. They rested on four legs, which were made by boring holes in the slabs with a 2-inch auger and driving in legs made of stout sticks. They were generally swinging as regular as the pendulum of a clock. The teacher would go to the school house a little after sunrise and build a fire and, as soon as any scholar came in, he took up books. He gave recess in the forenoon, an hour playtime at noon and recess in the evening and would dismiss a little before sunset. We studied our lessons vocally, every one spelling or reading in a medium tone of voice. We recited our lessons in the order we arrived at school house, the first to arrive recited the first lesson. The door of the house was in the south side and the window was in the north side. It was made by cutting out a log as close to the wall at each end as possible, which left an opening from 10 to 12 inches wide. This had neither glass nor shutter, but stood wide open the year around. The writing desk was made by boring two auger holes in the wall under the window and driving into them two stout pieces and placing on them a slab. This we thought was all right. We learned to write after copies set by our teacher. We had two writing lessons a day, after which we would hang our copy books on the wall until the next day. When the school districts were first organized in this part of the county under the public school law, the districts were large. The one we lived in was about six miles square and we lived in the southwest corner of it, about three and one half miles from the school house. We had to cross Lindley three times. We had to walk a foot log when it was not too slick from rain or sleet. When too slick we had to scoot across and this made our clothes wet. When we would reach the land we would get up and run till we would come to the next crossing and then we would have to perform the scooting act again. The crossings were about far enough apart for our clothes to get warm. When we got to the school house it would take till about noon for our clothes to get dry. In our crowd of boys who had to cross on the above described foot logs were Bennett Shaw, Bob and K. Howe, Steve Terry, my brother and myself. We generally attended school as much as two and a half months out of a three months term, which was the length of our school year. This system of school lasted until about 1855, when there was a reorganizing of districts and systems. The first county school commissioner I remember was Nat Anderson, who lived near where Morrisville now is. The law made it his duty to visit each district school at least once each term, which he did. Our schools were taught on the vocal system, each scholar, talking in a moderate tone of voice. Our public schools have gradually improved until you see what they are at present time. In the time of my school age, each child attended on an average of a little less than three years. Now, the children must attend school on an average of seven years for the same lapse of time. There was no apple orchards of grafted fruit in this part till about 1850, all the orchards being seedlings. About the year 1849 or 1850 Dr. Wm. Coon came from Indiana and bought a farm and planted the first orchard of grafted fruit. There was several seedling orchards bearing that had been planted as early as 1840. In March of 1850 two of my uncles sold their farms and bought 150 head of cows to take with them to California. There was a young cow four years old that they thought was too poor to start on so long a journey, so they sold her when they sold their other property, to the highest bidder, on 12 months credit, and she and her calf brought 4.00. In 1852, cows rose in price on accoutn of the California trade to $10 per head. The stock raisers were much excited over that price than as the stock raisers would be at $40 per head now. I knew young Pitts to buy a 100 head of heifer calves in 1851 from $2 to $3 per head. My father was a soldier in the Mexican War under Col. John W. Gilpin. He bought one of the best horses he could find from Wm. L. Morrow, of Buffalo, for $50, on time. He was to pay for the horse when he came back and if he never came back Morrow was to never collect for the horse. He came back and Morrow got pay for the horse, but would not have any interest on the debt. I don’t know of but one man, who is living, that belonged to the same company as my father and he is Bill Barnes whose farm is one mile west of Buffalo, in Dallas County. The captain of the company was Thomas Jones, Co. B; colonel, John W. Gilpin, Mounted Dragoons. J.M. Zumwalt
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