Veterans of the Great War

The 11th Hour of the 11th Month, 1918. The time when all fighting would cease in France after the Armistice had been signed that morning. The end to the Great War. That was 100 years ago.

So I figured I would dig through my family history information and honor those ancestors who served during that war.

I already mentioned Fred McKinley (1890-1972), Brooklyn, IN; my Dad’s Great-Uncle on his Paternal side. He served in the US Army from April 27, 1918 to November 1, 1918.

Fred’s cousin, Frank B. Crider (1896-1978), Morgan County, IN. Served in the US Army from July 22, 1918 to January 16, 1919.

Then there was Chester Emmett Boone (1892-1954), Connersville, IN; my Dad’s Great-Uncle on his Maternal side. He served with the US Army 309th Supply Company, Quartermaster Corps, Private, #778964. He departed from Newport News, VA June 6 1918. He left Brest, France June 29, 1919. Arrived July 8, 1919 at Hoboken, NJ, listed as a Private 1st Class.

Chester’s cousin, William Hobart Boone (1896-1991), also served in the US Army. The only information I have about his service is that he served in 1918.

On Mom’s side of the family—they were first generation citizens at the time of the War. I wonder how they felt heading off to Europe to fight against what might have been their own relatives.

First, the brother of my Great Grandmother, Amanda Steinhaus Beiersdorf (1894-1973):

William Steinhaus (1896-1963) from Sheboygan, WI. Served as a Private in the US Army M D, Private, #2822606. Departed from Brooklyn, NY to Europe Sept 17, 1918 with Ambulance Company 342-311. Listed on roster of sick or wounded in Hospital in Bordeaux France 11/16/18 w/ Left Inguinal Hernia.

William’s father, Otto Steinhaus (1869-1954) had two cousins who also served:

Paul Richard Steinhaus (1892-1964), Sheboygan, WI, US Army, Private, #2822617. Departed from New York, NY to Europe Sept 9, 1918 with the 86th Div, 171st Infantry Brigade, Company D, 342nd Infantry. He left Brest, France on June 12, 1919. Arrived in Hoboken, NJ June 20, 1919. He is listed as part of the US Army Machine Gun Company, 55th Infantry.

Herbert August Steinhaus (1895-1957), Plymouth, WI, served with the US Army Field Remount Squadron #318, #2831867. He departed from Newport News, VA on Aug 14, 1918, listed as Acting Corporal. He left Brest, France on June 23, 1919. Arrived Boston, MA July 5, 1919, listed as a Private 1st Class.

Who would have thought when these men came home from their service, that their sons would once again take up arms in another war in Europe.

So, remembering just a few named veterans from my family tree who served during the Great War 100 years ago. I also thank the other veterans who served our country in other times of war and conflict

© MJM 2018

An Unfortunate Accident

One of the data-bases in the Ancestry.com collection is “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011.” Naturally, I have used this collection to try to find the death certificates for my many Indiana ancestors. The certificates can help fill in some of the connections—such as parent’s names, spouse’s name, occupation, dates of birth and death. Obviously, the death certificate also includes the cause of death. Most of the time, I’ve found the cause to be pretty standard—cardio vascular problems, respiratory problems, cancer, etc. Occasionally, I find a more intriguing cause of death…

Burton Minton was the son of Thomas Minton (1844-1916) and Eliza Ann Cummings (1845-1927). He was born in the community of Wilbur, IN December 6, 1870. He was a nephew of my GG Grandmother, Mariah (Minton) Portis (1848-1923). He was a farmer & trader. He was a member of the Poplar Grove M.E. Church. Burton married Vesta Fowler December 24, 1890. He and Vesta had 9 children and lived in the Wilbur community together for 57 years.

Burton’s Death Certificate from Ancestry.com indicates that he didn’t die of “natural causes.”

BertMintonDC1

BertMintonDC2

Incidentally, his name is spelled “Berton” on the death certificate. I found his obituary in the Morgan County, IN Library. It was not sourced so I’m not sure what newspaper it came from. It stated that “his buggy overturned about 10:30 Monday night on the Baltimore Road.” He was found Tuesday morning. He died “at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon in the Robert Long Hospital in Indianapolis.” He had never regained consciousness. The obit. also stated that searchers had looked “through the night” for Burton. “The parties had passed along the county road beside which Mr. Minton lay after his buggy had slipped off a culvert, but the buggy had turned over in such a deep spot that it was not seen at night…” It also reported that Burton “had evidently crawled about 30 feet along the gully.” He was found about 3 miles north of Wilbur and had reportedly been traveling home from Monrovia, IN.

The first time I read his obituary several years ago, I really had no idea who he was. I skimmed it and didn’t think much more about it. Because he died in a horse and buggy accident, I figured he died in the early 1900’s. Obviously, I didn’t look at the date written on the obit. Burton died May 3, 1949; well into the age of the automobile. Hard to imagine someone was still traveling by horse and buggy. I would guess he didn’t have much light on the roadway at that time of night as well. Anyway, the unfortunate accident claimed his life and added another sad story to the family history.

© MJM 2018

Farm Girls

FranMarg

Frances & Margaret Millikan

 

My Grandmother, Margaret Pauline Millikan, was born September 17, 1917. Her sister, Miriam Frances Millikan, was born November 20, 1918. Their parents were Arza Millikan (1883-1964) and Mary Boone Millikan (1897-1992). They grew up on the family farm on Mulebarn Road near Sheridan, Indiana. The two girls were almost inseparable growing up.

 

Farm life was full of responsibilities. Feeding the chickens was one chore the girls could do while they were rather young.

MargFranchickens

Grandma said they also had the responsibility of driving the cows “to the 30.” The two girls would take the herd of 8-10 cows from Arza’s farm down the road about half a mile to 30 acres of land that his Mother, Martha Ellen Barker (1858-1932), inherited. Grandma described this chore when I interviewed her in 2006:

“Frances and I drove the cows every day…We were 10 years old when we started herding the cattle from the barn lot down to the corner. You had to keep them from going west or south, you had to get them turned, be sure that the gates were locked on everybody’s fence…We drove those cattle from the home over and over again to the corner again, back up to the 30…We’d drive those cattle back and there was no fence. We had a lane we drove them back and part of the time that would be a big corn field clear back to the woods. You had to keep them on that lane and get them back to the 30…There was a big water tank like the old water tanks were that you pumped a full tank of water. And we’d pump a full tank of water and walk home. Then go back and get them in the evening. We’d pump a tank of water at the barn for when they got back. We did that for a long time.”

She also remembered other chores on the farm: “And Frances and I worked in the field. I remember one time when I—Daddy had plowed that big field over at the 30 that was East of the woods and I rode a drag. I mean a drag that was just heavy boards with a couple of 3 rocks on it to help hold it down. And it had dried out…and I could hardly ride the drag. ‘Course you stood up on it, but it just pulled my arms ’til I was nearly sick. That field was so rough and the disc just didn’t cut it down. Daddy had a tractor of course and we had disked it but it didn’t work. I never rode the disc—that was a little dangerous because you’ve got all those cutters. But I had a harrow and that drag and that was one of the hardest jobs I ever did in the field.”

Margaret and Frances helped load beans: “Daddy and Grandpa Millikan would pitch the beans, work on beans on a wagon…They’d pitch those up and we’d have to cram them down and move stuff around. We did the same thing with hay.” Grandma remembers one time when she was a teenager and almost had a heat stroke when helping with the hay. They also helped plant potatoes and load the silo with corn. “Those kind of were dirty jobs; you didn’t have any bathrooms or bath tubs to clean up in. Used water in an old tub.”

But farm work wasn’t all they did growing up. They would play tag in the yard at night with neighbor kids. They would read a lot. Their Father, Arza, worked his Grandfather’s farm when the girls were little (Clark Millikan died in 1926). They would accompany Arza to the farm either by wagon or in “the old open touring car” mornings and evenings when he would go to do chores. She remembers “we got roller skates and learned to skate on the sidewalk that went up to the front door.” And she remembered “turning somersaults in the yard, because they kept the yard mowed and we didn’t at home…Frances & I were turning somersaults in there one day and I don’t know if it was Aunt Allie or Aunt Angie that came out and told us the chickens had been in that yard and they didn’t want us to get the chicken manure in our hair. Such a crazy thing to remember.”

When Margaret started school, Frances went along. The two sisters stayed close all of their lives. They double dated when they were teenagers. They worked together at the Sheridan Grille restaurant before Margaret got married and Frances went to college. Margaret married Loran McKinley in 1936 & Frances married Robert Haskett in 1939. They started raising families & eventually Margaret settled in Sheridan and Frances in Westfield. Both ladies were active with the church & supported missions.

In the 1970’s Mary Millikan sold the farm and moved to a house next door to Frances in Westfield. Margaret and their other sister, Betty Lou, lived with Mary. Eventually, Margaret and Frances moved to a Quaker-run Senior Apartment complex in Westfield. Margaret died in 2007, she was 90 years old. Frances continued on until this year. She died April 1—Easter Sunday. She was 99 years old.

I’m sure there were many more stories that we would have loved to hear from Margaret and Frances. They shared what they wanted to, or what we asked them about. As it is, we do know they were shaped by their early years working hard on that farm near Sheridan, IN.

horseMargFranMargaret & Frances with one of the horses at their home near Sheridan, IN.

© MJM 2018

 

Growing Tomatoes for Van Camp

I found a piece of paper in my GG Grandfather’s stuff & wondered what it was all about. So I did a little digging. Here is the contract between GG Grandpa Lewis Elwood Millikan (1855-1949) and the Van Camp Packing Company:

LEMillikanVanCamp copy

So is this the same well known Van Camp company that makes Pork & Beans? And how did Elwood get involved in growing tomatoes for them?

Looking into the history of the Van Camp company, I found a notation at the Indiana State Library website. The company was started by Gilbert Van Camp in Indianapolis, IN. Gilbert’s son, Frank, is credited with adding catsup and bacon to the the baked beans recipe to give it a unique taste. So yes, this is the same Van Camp company that makes Pork & Beans!

How did Elwood get involved? He probably attended this meeting announced in the Sheridan News, January 10, 1902:

SherNewsJan101902p12VanCampAd

Seeing that the contract was initiated on January 25, he must have figured it was a good deal. He contracted for 3 acres of tomatoes. The last line of the agreement, however, gives an “out” for the company if they did not get a commitment of enough acres—their minimum was 300 total acres.

Another announcement in the Sheridan News January 31, 1902 indicated that the company was reaching the quota:

SherNewsJan311902p1VanCamp

One more article in the Sheridan Weekly Sun November 13, 1902 gives a little information on how the overall crop did:

SherWeeklySunThurNov131902p8VanCamp

I don’t know much more about Elwood’s crop. I wonder how much money he made from this contract & if it was worthwhile for him. I did find that the Van Camp company advertised again in the Sheridan papers for tomato crops in the years to follow—so it must have been a lucrative deal for them.

So there it is, looks like GG Grandpa Lewis Elwood Millikan probably provided tomatoes to the VanCamp Packing Company at least for one season—what an interesting find!

© MJM 2018

An Inventor in the Family

One of the first things I do when looking for information on an ancestor is a simple Google search. I did that one day on a guy named Silas Portis & found an interesting piece of information. The first time I “Googled” Silas, I saw this drawing for a patent on a gate opening device.

SilasPortisPatentDraw

Lately, the Google search gives a link in Google Books to Scientific American magazine from February 4, 1893, pg.73. This includes a nice illustration as well as a description of Silas’ device.

SPortisScientificAmer

The whole idea is that a person would not have to get down from the wagon or carriage, hold the horse steady and at the same time open the gate, then repeat the same process to close the gate once the wagon had passed through.

Looking at the US Patent office rules, a person who wanted to file for a patent would have to submit a detailed drawing and description of the device as well as the appropriate fees. I searched the US Patent & Trademark office website <uspto.gov> for more information on Silas’ patent. Since the first drawing I found had a patent number, I was able to find the actual patent for Silas’ “Gate-Worker.” The Patent No. 436,543 was dated November 17, 1891. The specifications are very technical with a description of each element of the device and how it all worked in sequence to open & close the gate. Other information found in the Patent paperwork was that Silas was from Monrovia, Indiana and he assigned two thirds of the patent to Telemichus N. Bennett and Albert Taylor who also lived in Monrovia.

So who was Silas Portis? He shows up in the 1850 US Census in the Northern subdivision of Davidson County, North Carolina with his Mother, Rachel and siblings, Emeline, Elizabeth and George W (my GG Grandfather). Silas attended school within the year and is listed as a laborer.

1850PortisFamilyNC

Silas was born June 14, 1833 according to his headstone. Other records list 1834 or 1835 as his birth-year. In 1860, he shows up in the US Census, still in North Carolina, but this time in the Southern Division of Guilford County. He is listed as an Engineer with a group of other men, including 2 Miners, a Blacksmith, Carpenter, another Engineer and several laborers. The assumption is that he worked in a mine. There were gold mines in Guilford County, NC. His wife, Rebecca and their two daughters, Louise & Charlotte, are in a separate listing from Silas, but on the same page. I haven’t found any information as to what Silas did during the Civil War.

In 1880, Silas was living in Guilford Township of Hendricks County, Indiana. He has married a 2nd time after his first wife, Rebecca died. The 1880 Census lists Silas with his wife, son and step-son. At this time he was working in a Saw Mill.

1880SilasPortisIN

On June 18, 1883, the Hendricks County Republican newspaper reports “Silas Portis has hired to the Monrovia millers as an engineer. Silas has been with us for some time and we regret that he is going to leave us, though while we lose a good citizen Monrovia gains one.”

A sad event occurred in Silas’ family in September of 1888. His 10 year old son, Cecil died. The report is that Cecil was leading a cow to pasture with the rope tied around his waist. The cow became frightened and ran, dragging Cecil and killing him.

In 1900, Silas lives in Monroe Twp. of Morgan County, Indiana. He is listed in the US Census with his wife, Mary and 18 year old daughter, Ovis (or Avis). His job description is again Engineer. By this time, he has already secured his patent for his Gate-Worker device.

Silas died March 14, 1904. He was 70 years old. He is buried in West Union Cemetery, Monrovia, Indiana.

So, even though Silas Portis was not a direct ancestor of mine, he is still part of the family & it’s kind of cool to know that he has his name on a US Patent. I wonder if he made any money off of his invention? Knowing Silas’ story, maybe it’s not so unusual that some of my relatives have the need to “tinker” with things.

© MJM 2018

The New Mexico Homestead, Part 6

Proving Up.

Three friends from Indiana, Arza Millikan, Harry Kincaid and Elmer Davis filed homestead claims in New Mexico in February 1907. They moved out to their claims in August 1907. According to the Homestead Act of 1862, if they “improved” their claims—put up a house, fencing if needed; lived on the land & farmed it for 5 years, they would receive it free from the US Government (aside from filing fees.) However, they could also get the land quicker if they improved the land (put up a house & put in crops) and resided on it for 6-8 months. They would then pay a certain amount of money per acre to get the title to the land. The original Homestead Act set the price at $1.25 per acre. I’m not sure if this was still the price in 1907.

When a homesteader was ready to take legal possession of the land, they would get 2 neighbors or friends to vouch for the fact that they made improvements to the land and that they resided there for the required time period. These witnesses would sign the “proof” document. Notice of the intention to “prove up” was published in the local newspaper for 5 weeks to allow anyone who didn’t agree to contest the claim. When we visited New Mexico in 2007, we found actual newspapers from that time in a museum and saw the “proving up” notices for the three friends.

Harry’s notice was in the May 1, 1908 edition of the Nara Visa Register. Elmer’s notice was in the May 8 edition of the Nara Visa New Mexican.

On May 22, 1908, the Nara Visa Register included Arza’s “proving up” notice.

ArzaMillikanNMnotice

UnionCoNMCourthouseThe friends were witnesses for each other. The notices were recorded from the land office in Clayton, New Mexico, which was the county seat for Union County. So I guess the young men would have traveled the 39 miles up to Clayton to the courthouse to file their paperwork. This picture shows the Union County Courthouse as it would have looked at that time. It was hit by a tornado later in the year and had to be rebuilt.

One final notice in the Nara Visa Register from June 12, 1908:

AMEDHKleaveNM

Then on June 19, 1908, the Sheridan News reported the return of the young men to Indiana

.SherNewsFri6191908p7AMreturnfromNM

So the three friends have returned home to the Indiana farms where they were born and raised. The New Mexico report indicates that they were going home for the Summer and would return to New Mexico in the Fall. As far as I know, they did not go back to live on the land. Perhaps they realized farm life would be easier on land in Indiana than New Mexico. Whatever the reason, they stayed in Indiana.

Arza made an entry in a farm ledger book January 1, 1909. In it he summarized his New Mexico adventure. I’ve already included part of that entry in some parts of this story. The rest follows: “We boys proved up and came back to Indiana June 13, 1908. A few days ago I rec’d Patent from the Gov’m’t. My claim cost me $600. beside almost a years time & hired help at grandpa’s.”

I have a copy of Arza’s land patent from the Bureau of Land Management’s website. The original is in the possession of a family member.

SER_Patent_30001

The land is still in the family. We visited it in 2007—it’s a pretty barren piece of property. But one must consider that the Dust Bowl affected this area of the country. Hard to imagine the land with any crops as the pictures saved from 1907/08 show the same thing we found—dirt and tufts of grass. Comparing it to the Indiana farmland where the young men came from, I think I can figure why they stayed in Indiana.

Arza continued helping on his Grandfather, Clark’s farm until he got married in 1916 and took over the farm of his Father, Elwood. Elmer stayed on the farm just down the road from Arza’s the rest of his life. Harry got married to one of the girls from the Sunday School class, Florence Hinshaw. He worked at an automobile factory.

Here is one final picture of the three friends, Harry, Arza and Elmer, probably taken in the 1950’s:

HKAMED1950sIN

Harry Kincaid, Arza Millikan, Elmer Davis

They shared an adventure in New Mexico—maybe trying to find their fortunes with land—but ended up back home in Indiana where their fortune could be found much easier.

© MJM 2018

 

The New Mexico Homestead, Part 5

A Visit From Home.

The Sheridan News from December 20, 1907 reported that “Mrs. Elwood Millikan left last Thursday for Nara Visa, New Mexico where she will spend the winter.” A notice from December 27 stated that she went to New Mexico “for the benefit of her health and to visit her son Arza.” Arza’s Mother, Martha Ellen “Mattie,” took the train out to stay with him for the Winter. Hard to imagine what benefit it would have been to her health, staying in a small cabin out in a field with no running water and leaky walls—remember snow came in between the boards. I have a couple of pictures from her time out there:

Winter1908NM

Here she is standing outside of Arza’s cabin. Looks like she was a small woman.

insidecabinNM

This picture was taken inside the cabin. I wish it was better quality. But some details can be figured out. First, it looks like there may be a curtain next to Mattie’s right elbow. Perhaps this was used to give a little privacy in the sleeping area. Behind Mattie is the bed with a quilt covering it. There are clothes hanging on hooks on the far wall next to what may be a small closet. Just below the clothes, leaning up against the wall in the corner is a rifle.

The Sheridan News again announced Mattie’s travels. On April 10, 1908, it reported that Mattie had returned home to Indiana the Saturday before. A letter sent to Arza from his sister, Edna, in May 1908 told a little about how Mattie fared while out in New Mexico: “We weighed mamma a few days after she came home and she weighed 95 1/2. We weighed her today and she weighed 102. She lost about 9 1/2 while in New Mexico and has gained near six since she came home.” I wonder if all that good food Arza reportedly had—canned milk, dried meat, beans and cornbread—had anything to do with her weight loss. But Edna tells of something else that may have contributed to it: “I suppose the steam baths and not eating very much was the reason she lost.” She then talks about borrowing a “cabinet” for a steam bath like Mattie had while out in New Mexico.

I found a couple of advertisements for these cabinets:

BathCabinetAlbuquerqueNMCitizenTueJune211898p2This ad is from the Albuquerque Citizen, June 21, 1898.

 

VaporBathThe Indianapolis News advertised this cabinet on February 17, 1900. A large advertisement for the Vapor Bath Cabinet included the information that it was “A Godsend to all Humanity…Guarantees Perfect Health, Strength & Beauty to Every User, and Cures Without Drugs All Nervous Diseases, Rheumatism, La Grippe, Neuralgia, Blood & Kidney Troubles, Weakness, & the Most Obstinate Diseases, by Nature’s Method of Steaming the Poisons Out of the System. It is an air-tight inclosure, in which one comfortably rests on a chair, and with only the head outside, enjoys at home, for 3 cents each, all the marvelous cleansing, curative & invigorating effects of the famous Turkish Bath.”

The price for the wonderful treatment device was $5.

I don’t know what kind of medical condition Mattie had that would have sent her out to New Mexico in the Winter. I’m sure it’s no wonder that she lost weight though if she regularly used a steam cabinet like one of these.

A couple of months after Mattie left New Mexico, Arza and his friends proved up their claims…

© MJM 2018

The New Mexico Homestead, Part 4

Settling in New Mexico

On August 22, 1907, the three friends, Arza Millikan (my Great-grandfather), Elmer Davis and Harry Kincaid got off the train in Nara Visa, New Mexico. They were ready to settle on their homestead land. Each had 160 acres in southern Union county, north of Nara Visa. Their claims were in a row, with Elmer’s farthest West, then Harry’s, then Arza’s, then the Moody family’s claim. It would have been a good day’s trip to go to Nara Visa for supplies from the train.

One of the first things they had to do was put up shelter. My understanding is that the men used some type of “kit” houses with pre-cut lumber. My Grandmother told me that Arza had a Sears-Roebuck house. However, Sears did not sell kit houses in 1907. Other companies had kit houses at that time, but I haven’t been able to find what specific supplier they may have used. Anyway, the supplies would have come by train to Nara Visa, then the men would have taken them by wagon to their claims. I’m sure this wasn’t a quick or easy process. The homes themselves were single-room cabins. It would have taken about a week to build one from the pre-cut kit.

The best picture I have from the homesteaders is of Harry Kincaid in front of his cabin.HKCabinNMex

I also have a photo of Arza’s cabin. In the background to the right is possibly the Moody cabin.

AMCabinNM

Arza Millikan’s Cabin, New Mexico 1907

One thing that was pointed out to me about these cabins is the windows. They didn’t use just a simple single pane window with a hinge and latch. They used sash windows which would have been more expensive. Other than that, the cabins were pretty basic with only boards—no insulation or inside walls. So if there were cracks between boards, the wind would blow through & in the winter, snow would come through the cracks.

My Grandmother said Arza used cow chips for fuel. He did not have a well, so he had to haul water. He used canned milk, dry meat and lots of beans and cornmeal (used for mush, I bet). He also pulled his own teeth, gargled with kerosene and if he needed a doctor, he would travel to Amistad.

I have no idea what kind of crops the men may have planted while proving up their claims. I do know that they had time for a little fun. My Grandmother said the young men went to square dances & spelling matches and other activities at the Amistad school. The pictures she saved show evidence of some of their fun times enjoying the countryside.

dugoutNM

hillsideNM

They played croquet with the Moody girls. In the background is possibly Mr. Moody’s well-drilling rig.

croquetNM

playing croquet New Mexico 1907

One final picture shows someone’s sense of humor:

tailefoningNM

“Tail-e-foning”

The caption on the back of this picture is “Tail-e-foning”. Note the hat the lady is wearing. When we visited a little museum in Amistad, we saw another picture of several people wearing the same style hat. We were told it was a common hat in Amistad. Remember the Wood’s (from the Hoosier Colony in Amistad)? Mrs. Wood was a milliner. I wonder if she made the hats?

So much for the fun times on the open range. Next time, a visitor from home…

© MJM 2017

The New Mexico Homestead, Part 3

Thanksgiving in New Mexico

Jumping ahead a little in the story of Arza Millikan (my Great-Grandfather) & his friends Elmer Davis & Harry Kincaid homesteading in New Mexico. They secured claims and moved to New Mexico in August of 1907. At the same time, other members of the Sheridan, Indiana community moved to New Mexico to homestead as well. The Woods family moved out to settle on land near Amistad in Union County, NM and helped establish a “Hoosier Colony.” On December 13, 1907, the Sheridan News published a letter sent from the Woods family describing the first Thanksgiving day the homesteaders shared:SherNewsFriDec131907p6headline

The letter continues: We thought that perhaps it would interest our friends in and about Sheridan to know how we spent our first Thanksgiving day in our new home. We attended services at our little town of Amistad and you would have been surprised if you had walked in and seen the crowd of people that were there, measuring about 300. After several songs by the choir and accompanied by two cornets and organ the latter presided over by Prof. Kelsey, late of Boston School of Music. Our pastor then gave a splendid address, theme “Our New Mexico Home as We See It,” which was heartily applauded.

We then sat down to a fine dinner consisting of turkey, chicken, cranberries, pumpkin, mince and other pies, cake and hot coffee, in fact all of the good things that go to make a Thanksgiving feast. After an intermission of one hour we were called to order and in a very short time $285 was collected to finish paying for the church and Academy building. Also $15 was raised for a charity fund. The service was closed with a splendid prayer by one of our many preachers for which this locality is noted. The rest of the day was spent in getting acquainted with our neighbors which we find to be a very fine class of people from almost every state in the Union. At the close of the day’s service the air resounded with the Academy yell which is too complicated to write in detail. As our party of 8 wended their way over the trail homeward (1/2 mile south and 3 3/4 east) we could look over the prairie and see the people going in all directions, some walking, some horseback, others driving burrow, horses & mules. Many in big wagons pulled by bronchos as was our own wagon.

After doing our chores, we had our regular Thursday evening prayer meeting and our hearts went up in prayer for our loved ones and friends in our good old Hoosier state of whom we had thought a great many times during the day and we thanked our Heavenly Father for his many blessings and tender care for us in our Western home. The Woods Family

Since Arza and his friends settled near Amistad as well, it is expected that they attended this gathering.

I do have a picture labeled “Thanksgiving at Moody’s.” Most likely it is from Thanksgiving 1907.

NMThanksgiving1907

The Moody family had the property bordering Arza’s on the East. Alfred Moody and his wife, Mary had three daughters, Sylvia, Florence and Helen. Sylvia and Florence were teen-agers in 1907. I expect they were a little infatuated with the young men who lived nearby.

The photo isn’t the best quality & the people are unidentified, but I think the 3 in white are the Moody girls.

So the homesteader’s first Thanksgiving in New Mexico was spent visiting with new friends, enjoying food, company and entertainment. I guess that’s what holidays are about.

©MJM 2017

The New Mexico Homestead, Part 2

Westward Ho! Well, almost. As mentioned in Part 1, Arza Millikan (my Great Grandfather) and his friends Elmer Davis & Harry Kincaid were making plans to move out to the land they had made claims on in New Mexico. They gathered their supplies, made plans to take care of business at home in Indiana, and prepared to head West.

SherNewsFriAug91907p1Other members of the “Hoosier Colony” were on their way in August. This article from the front page of the Sheridan News, August 9, 1907, tells of the Woods family moving out West:

Arza, Elmer and Harry were ready to leave later in August. But first, they had a going away party with some of their friends. On August 16, 1907, there was a notation in the Sheridan News of this gathering:

SherNewsFriAug161907p7

One of the items my Grandmother gave me was a collection of pages stitched together at the top to make a little booklet. I think each young man received one of these from his friends at this party. It contains a few practical hints and recipes for the men to take along with them.

recipe8jpg copy

Recipe Book pg. 8

This little recipe booklet gave Arza the basic recipes for such staples as Mashed Potatoes, Baked Beans and Potato Salad. Then there were the recipes for Puff Ball Donuts & Good Graham Gems. Our favorite recipe is for Fried Mush—an Indiana farm staple. Step one of the recipe is to go to Harry’s and get some leftover mush.

Each recipe or hint was personally written for Arza by one of his friends.

So then the young men took their hints and well-wishes from friends and family and headed out to New Mexico. Arza’s journal entry stated that they “shipped goods, provisions & mules down in a car with Walter Edwards & Tim Jones.” The trio of friends left August 20, 1907 with Mrs. Susan Walker & Cyrus Johnson via Chicago this time. They were met in Nara Visa by Clarence Walker on Thursday evening, August 22, 1907.

Arza’s notes do not indicate if the men went directly to their claims or stayed in Nara Visa for a while while they gathered all of their provisions and building supplies. Homesteaders often stayed in Nara Visa in camps while waiting for supplies. There is a picture of Arza standing in front of a tent which was reportedly made for him by the young women of Sheridan. I wonder if this photo was taken in Nara Visa.

ArzaTent

The three friends have made it to New Mexico to start their adventure. I wonder what they will encounter out there?

To be continued…

© MJM 2017