Today’s blog post is an interview conducted by Louise Todd Hunt with Jeff Todd and his sister Zula Todd McIntire. Also presented is information from Abner Newton Todd’s notebook with details of the wagon trip from Arkansas to Garland, Texas. The wonderful picture above, taken in 1904, was recently posted on Ancestry.com by a cousin. I added the children’s names – if any are incorrect, let me know. This summer, I plan to retrace the Todd/Bickle route as best I can using current roads.
All the information below is from “The McIntires and the Elliotts of Bickle’s Cove, Stone County, Arkansas and the descendents of John McIntire of Maury County, Tennessee” by Pauline Mitchell Pierce, published January 1997 and used with her permission. Pauline’s work is in italics below.
On August 1, 1900, Arch Bickle and Abner Todd with their families left Stone County, Arkansas and arrived 18 days later in Garland, Dallas County, Texas to make their home. These men were first cousins.
Mr. Arch Bickle, his wife Roxie (Gaylor) Bickle, Allie, age 2, and Joe Bickle, the baby, had one covered wagon. His mother was Aunt Nan Bickle, sister of Frances Elmira Hay[n]es Todd.
Mr. Abner Newton Todd, born 1854 (the 1910 Stone County, AR census gives his birth date as Mar 1859, as does the Stone County Marriage record, but family charts from his family give the Oct 1859 date. PMP) in Cannon County, TN had migrated to Arkansas and married Almeda Elliott. They were bringing to Texas nine children in two covered wagons loaded with their possessions. One wagon was bought new for the trip and one he had made in his shop. The home-made wagon was made from green oak timber from the homestead. As the lumber had not been seasoned, it began to get loose and at night water was carried and poured on the wheels hoping they would swell and tighten up. It seemed as though they might fall apart.
Riding with the wagons was Barney Haynes, a 19 year old cousin, son of Noah Haynes. He was the hunter for the trip. Another rider was Craig Futrell who stayed in Garland for a few years, engaged in the photography business.
On leaving Mountain View, Arkansas they crossed Sylamore Creek (part of the White River) on a ferry near Calico Rock. The first day, they covered 30 miles and were as far as Clinton, then 14 miles to Scotland, 20 miles to Appleton and 21 miles to Russellville where they crossed the Arkansas River on a bridge and only made 3 miles that day, stopping at Dardanelle.
One day, Arch Bickle lost his dog who had been trotting alongside the wagons, Mr. Bickle rode back 10 miles and found the dog at the campsite of the night before.
The homemade wagon gave trouble. Abner Todd was uneasy about it. After the 59 miles to Magazine, he came the next day to Booneville and bought a new wagon. He left his homemade one to be sold. The spokes for the wheels had been shaped with a draw knife. A straight bar of steel bought and heated in the forge and shaped into an iron bank, one for each of the 4 wheels and welded together. He never received any money for his wagon he had left at Booneville.
Mr. Bickle lead the way with his wagon. The mules had never seen a train. As they came into Booneville and saw parked box cars on the tracks, Mr. Bickle started across the tracks. When the mules reached the tracks, a switch engine was coming and the frightened mules reared up in the air and bawled like a cow. They ran backwards and backed the wagon away from the tracks. If they had gone forward the wagon would have been hit. It was carrying Arch, Roxie, Allie and baby Joe.
Abner Todd had a 160 acre farm, a house, barn, a well and a blacksmith shop. It was a homestead, it was yours after you lived on the land 5 years. There was no sale made on the land. He sold the crop, his 20 head of cattle, 20-30 head of sheep and 50 head of hogs before leaving. Later he did sell the farm, sight unseen, for $500 to a Mr. Panther who lived on Mud Lane. He paid this $500 by gathering a cotton crop and giving Abner Todd his team of mules. They went to a Lawyer in Garland to prepare for the transfer of the 160 acres from Abner Todd to Mr. Panther. Later on, one of the Gaylors bought the place.
On the 8th day, they moved from Booneville to Mansfield, 21 miles; 9th day 12 miles to Hartford with was the last Arkansas town. The 10th day, they crossed into Indian Territory and came to Read Oak for 22 miles that day. This area was noted as a hideout for outlaws and a watch was set for each night that they were in Indian Territory.
The 11th day, they came to Wister Junction; the 12th day 22 miles to Wilberton. One night along the way they spend with a family named Lynn. The women spent all the next day visiting and washing clothes.
After crossing the Red River, probably at Bells, they were in Texas and did not set their guard at night. The first jack rabbits they had ever seen were around the southern part of Indian Territory. The rabbits were in droves; they ran in all directions. Barney shot some with his Uncle Abner’s gun.
A stop was made at Writewright, Texas for a visit with the John Todd family. He was a first cousin, also from Tennessee. At the John Todd farm they saw a steam thrasher at work in the wheat field. A big boiler was belching steam in the hot August sun.
It was a hot dusty trip of 18 days. They slept outside at night to be as cool as possible. They brought a milk cow along on the trip, brought food they had raised in Arkansas and purchased some supplies along the way.
Mr. and Mrs. Conner lived at Garland and the group came to their place and camped in the yard. The Todd family lived in a tent the first winter here. It snowed while they lived in the tent. Jeff Todd was 5 years old when they came. He had his 7th birthday, while they lived in the tent.
Following is a list of supplies with cost:100 lbs flour $3.00 1 sack meal .70 1 can oil .50 1 box starch .10 1 spool thread .05 molasses 2.60 bran 1.50 quinine .50 sugar 1.00 pencil .05
Abner Newton Todd, the son of Walker Everett Todd (see Civil War stories) and Frances Elmira (Elvira) Haynes, died on October 13, 1904, from a gunshot wound. There is speculation on the cause of the gunshot, but most believe it was suicide. (from family stories – amp)
Almeda (sometimes written as Alameda) went on to raise their twelve children and became a very successful farmer and business woman, leaving all the children a nice inheritance when she died on May 14, 1935. She never remarried.
copyright © 2013 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho