Aunt Lib Cook’s letter about early childhood memories

at the top of this typed letter it says “From Aunt Lib Cook:” who was John’s eldest sister. There is no date. I have typed it as it is originally typed.

Dear Mary, Homer, Lucille and all:

The first trip G.A. and I took together, Mother knit a pair of stockings for Mrs. Metcalf and sent them to her by us. I was three and G.A. two. There was a woods on one side of the road and the Metcalf place had a rail fence in front of the house – and had bars to let down – we were too small to let them down so we crawled through. We brought yeast back for Mother to bake bread. Many times Mother sent us to get things.

Then we moved near Mechanicsburg and many things happened. Father had a cutting box and we though we would cut straw for the horses until Father came home. I fed and G.A. turned and I got my fingers in and he almost cut two of them off. We were very small yet – but four years old and sister Savina Ellen just died that year and he thought I would die too and he took it awful hard. Mother had to walk about a mile to take supper to the men so she put G. A. J.W. and me to bed after putting my fingers in still writing paper. We all cried ourselves to sleep.

The next thing that happened, we three thought we would help Mother. We had a springhouse quite a ways from the house so we thought we would carry the crocks in for Mother to put the milk in that night. J.W. helped of course and he let one fall and break, and Father gave all three of us a whipping and sent us in the house. It broke our hearts as this was the first whipping Father ever gave us.

We had a cousin Harry Lambert that lived with us. He enlisted and went to war. We had a big peach orchard and Mother put up peaches for cousin Harry as he was to come home and be married that winter. But he got killed and didn’t come home. A while after our neighbor John Longbrake lost their baby. G.A. and I got to see the baby. They buried it in an old fashioned bureau drawer – and he and I could hardly get over that to thinkit was buried that way. Those days when anyone died they had a man come and take the measures and make their coffin as they called it. As this baby’s Father liked his drink they had no money. A little while later brother and I were playing there and Mrs. Longbrake sent Johnny and his sister out to cut some wood. Johnny cut his sister’s finger off and their mother didn’t put it back on but put it in a bottle and put some whiskey over it – but as their Father liked his drink so well he drank the whiskey and of course it didn’t keep.

At this place we liv4ed near Grandmother Fursts and very often went to see them. Mother’s Mother and we went one time and they had a little colt, or course Grandma said she would get some of it’s mothers milk. G.A. very very freckled and Grandma said the milk would take the freckles off. She washed our faces with the milk. The colt’s mother was gray with little red specks all over it which I thought looked like freckles and at first brother and I didn’t like the wash so well – but of course it was Grandma and if it wasn’t all right she wouldn’t have done it.

We then moved to the John Bauldin place at Catabe Station on six hundred acres. G.A. was six, I was eight and John was four and so many things happened at this place. It was here we started to school and the school house was on the corner of the farm about a mile away. Father built a little place to put in the house and we drove. We were quite grown up as we drove to school when it was bad and put the horse in the shed. Then Uncle Joseph Lambert died and left three children. FRather took two of the children – Lewis and Frances. They were older than I and went to school with us but as they couldn’t manage Frances they set her back. Uncle Mike Lambert was her guardian I think, anyway he came after her and took her back. But Lewis stayed with us until he was of age and then went back and was married and lived around or in Harrisburg, Penn. Frances married an old tramp they said but he died long ago and she died about sixteen years ago.

On this place we started to Sunday School – and started to a country church called Wild Rose church and went there for several years – I think it was a Methodist Church. For some reason or other there wasn’t anymore there and we went to Catabe over the hills to Sunday school. Al, John, Emma, and I and we drove a mule and his name was Jack and he was so lazy we wouldn’t go fast so we got Father to let us drive John so then we could run around anything on the road – a mule too. We went there until we moved to Hillgrove. We all worked and worked hard. Al harrowed when he was six years old and did anything he could. Father was a large stock raiser. He kept about forty head of mules and colts, five hundred sheep, forty or fifty head of cattle, twelve to fifteen head of work horses and twelve to fourteen milk cows. Al and I always fed them and when we went to Sunday school Al, John and I got up and milked often fourteen cows and fed the calves and would skim twenty or thirty crocks of milk and the two boys would pack them up out of the cellar and than many crocks down for that was about what we got at a milking. I would wash the crocks and the boys would hang them on the fence. Then I got breakfast. Lewis and the tenant man on the farm did the feeding and when I got breakfast I called Father and Mother on Sunday morning, they never got up until breakfast was ready. I new if I wanted to go to Sunday School what I had to do – so I got the boys up and started then to work. I was ten then. We didn’t have Sunday School then in winter in the bad weather.

When Al was eight and John was six Father had a thrashing machine of his own and run by horse power and we did our own thrashing for seed wheat. Mother drove the horse power and Father fed the machine and the hired man picked the sheaves and Lewis and I measured the wheat and Al and John took the straw away. We always did this thrashing in the field. We took two horses and a long pole and dragged the straw over the field. It took a great deal of seed wheat as Father always put out about a hundred acres of wheat and the last year we lived there Al and I loaded one hundred and fifty acres of wheat and oats. Al was twelve and I was fourteen.We loaded and pitched all the sheaves to Father on the stack as he stacked all the grain. He was the champion stacker in the neighborhood and none spoiled.







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