Todd and Bickle Trip from Arkansas to Texas – 1900

Back row: Thomas Jefferson, Margaret, Albert, Zula, James Monroe Walker, Elizabeth. Front row: Lee, Clara, Abner, Almeda, Bertha Mae (sitting in lap), Myrtie. Lee, the oldest son, is not in the picture.
Back row: Thomas Jefferson, Margaret, Albert, Zula, James Monroe Walker, Elizabeth. Front row: Lee, Clara, Abner, Almeda, Bertha Mae (sitting in lap), Myrtie. Lee, the oldest son, is not in the picture.

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 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


While browsing on, I found this wonderful story by Maxine Elliott Gilliam. jdhardin originally posed this story on the Hardin family tree. (1)  It’s always a happy moment when we find the work of other family researchers. To this post with the story from Mrs. Gilliam, I’ve added pictures of our shared Elliott ancestors. The captions with the pictures are mine, as are any errors in the posting.

With a Google search, the only Maxine Gilliam located had recently passed away. However,  another cousin gave me the correct email address for our Maxine Elliott Gilliam, who is still working on genealogy. This story is used with her permission.

Elliott, James Monroe and Margaret Eoff

James Monroe Elliott and Margaret Eoff met and married in Tennessee, then moved to Izard County, Arkansas. He was 45 years old, when he enlisted with the Confederate Army, leaving Margaret at home with 11-12 children. They  went on to have 15 children. James had at least one child with another woman before he married Margaret. See my earlier blog for details on his war service.

Home Front Solider.  Margaret didn’t have a military uniform.  She wore a faded print dress covered by a stained, faded apron as she performed her duties.  She may or may not have had shoes on her feet and if she had them they were not stylish.  She served at home in the remote, rocky mountains of north central Arkansas while Monroe was away fighting the Civil War.  She was home alone with eleven or twelve children to care for.

Cooking and Washing.  She cooked on a wood stove, did laundry with a rub board and a black wash pot, and ironed with sad irons.  Her fate was no different than thousands of other women of her day.  Their water was carried in buckets from a creek or spring.  She was no doubt several miles from the nearest store which probably was not a major inconvenience since there were little goods to be bought even if she happened to have the cash.  Their food was what they raised and ate fresh and canned, dried and salted down what they could.

Food.  Salt was a very scarce item and that was the only way they had to  preserve fish, wild game, pork and beef.  I can imagine her sending the two oldest boys, the twins William and James, into the woods to kill turkeys, rabbits, deer, quail and other wild game for their food supply.  She must have waited anxiously for their return since they were only 14 years old and there was “fightin’ in them thar hills”.  The girls had to walk through woods to get to the creek for water.  There were many outlaws and bandits raiding homes and taking what they wanted, besides the Union soldiers.   When game or domestic animals were killed, they had to be butchered and preserved which is no small chore.

Clothing.  Their clothing was made at home either with or without a very primitive sewing machine.  They raised the flax and cotton, spun the yarn and wove the fabrics that became their clothing.

Home and Homelife.  The winters were very cold and wet.  Their house, of course, was not insulated and probably had large cracks in the walls.  Their heat was from wood.  The summers were miserably hot and storms occurred very frequently.  Can you imagine her fear and that of the children when they saw strangers approaching?   If they ever went anyplace it was to church or to visit a neighbor and both probably happened infrequently.

Health Care:  There were no doctors available so when she or one of the children were sick or injured Margaret had the responsibility of taking care of them.  Modern medicines of course were not available so she had to depend on old home remedies that had been passed down from generation to generation.  In her day every mother had her “good” needle and a spool of white silk thread so she could sew up the cuts that required stitches.   I wonder how many sleepless nights she had with sick children and then assumed her regular duties with the rising of the sun.

Travel:  All travel was done by horseback or horse and wagon on rough rocky narrow roads winding through the mountains.  During the winter there was snow and ice on those roads on many occasions.

Isolation:  Can you imagine how dark the nights were with no streetlights and so many trees around to cast shadows even when there was moonlight?  How quiet the nights were with no auto traffic, trains, etc. to break the silence.  The sounds of wild animals (some of them frightening) were the only night sounds.  There were bears, mountain lions and wolves to break the dead silence of night.

James Monroe Elliott Jr and sons - Texas, about 1918
James Monroe Elliott Jr (son of James Monroe Elliott and Margaret Eoff)  and his sons – Texas, about 1918


Communication: Communication with the outside world was not a common occurrence.  The mail was very slow and infrequent.  Of course, there were no newspapers thrown in the front yard every morning, no radios, no TVs, no telephones and no e-mail.  News, even where it was heard, had to be evaluated since there are always lots of rumors in war time to frighten people or to help carry out military plans.

Children:  The children had a rough childhood compared to children of our day.  They had a lot to overcome in growing up.  This is bound to have affected their personalities for the rest of their lifetime.

Lucille Elliott - oldest sister
Lucille Elliott – oldest daughter of James Monroe and Margaret Elliott.
Melinda Maddox, Almeda Todd, Margaret Ring - three Elliott sisters. Picture probably taken in Garland, TX at Almeda's home.
Melinda Maddox, Almeda Todd, Margaret Ring – three Elliott sisters. Picture probably taken in Garland, TX at Almeda’s home.








another daughter, said to be Mary Jane Elliott, Thomas Hendrix McIntire's mother
another daughter, said to be Mary Jane Elliott, Thomas Hendrix McIntire’s mother



Heroine:  Margaret will not be written up in any history book as a heroine, but she and thousands of other women of her day deserve our respect, admiration and understanding.  Let us give her honor!

And let’s give honor to Maxine Elliott Gilliam for her genealogy work, much appreciated by the current and future generations of researchers.





Source:, accessed May 4, 2013. Those with an account, follow this link to see the original posting.

copyright © 2013 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho


Dallas County, Texas – October 6, 1904

The thin canvas walls moved back and forth with the light fall breeze. Warm sunlight fell through the open flap door on the threadbare bed. The tent was quiet. Unusually quiet. Deadly quiet.

My chest feels like it will collapse or just explode from the grief and the anger, one minute the grief and the next the anger. My eyes ache from the crying. I’ve cried until I have no tears left.

How could he bring me to here to Dallas County, Texas where we don’t know anybody and expect us and the ten youngest kids to live in a tent over a cold Texas winter with rains that could drown the gophers and with hot, hot summers and not a shade tree on these plains? We’ve been living in this tent over a year now, with little prospect of land of our own. He doesn’t like the rich bottom land, because it floods sometimes. He doesn’t like the land on the rolling prairie hills, because the sod is so thick it’s hard to plow.

He’s the smart one, always writing in his journal, planning and dreaming about the future for us and the little ones. Kind of lording over me a bit because I can’t read or write.

I guess I’m only good enough to wash his clothes and have his children. He’s not the least bit grateful for how hard I work; keeping the family fed with what he brings home when he hires out to work on other farms.

Then he’s the one that takes his gun down into the woods along the creek and blows his head off.

The bastard. Bastard. Bastard. Bastard.

If I was a good Christian, I wouldn’t be calling my dead husband a bastard, but he’s sure left me in a mess. We buried him yesterday. I don’t know how I’ll ever pay to get him a proper headstone. Me and the kids are in an awful mess.

I know people are looking at me sideways, wondering if I drove him to commit that mortal sin, but he just wasn’t made for this life. I loved him for his big dreams and his gentle ways – when we were courting he made me a daisy chain crown, splitting the stem of each daisy and threading the next one on. I thought my heart would burst with love and happiness when he asked me to marry him.

He was a grown man of twenty-two and I was three days from turning fourteen when we married in 1881 in Stone County, Arkansas. Babies came quick with Lewis born the next year, then another baby  every two or three years. Our hearts still ache for the one we lost between Albert and Moody.

But his big dreams just got us uprooted from Arkansas, traveling in a broken wagon he made of green wood. That wagon fell apart before we ever left Arkansas. And now we’re living in a tent with a dirt floor and ten kids.

At least, I’m not pregnant.

The kids are at the neighbors’ house. After the service, when I broke down, Mary Alice walked me back here and very gently put me to bed. She’s a kind lady, but she talks and everyone in the area will know how we live now. She took all the kids and told me she would give me one night of rest, but she would need to bring the kids back after breakfast this morning.

I guess it’s up to me now to be the strong one and figure out how we work ourselves out of this mess.

No more dreaming – me and the oldest boys and girls will hire out to pick cotton and corn. Then, I’ll go talk to Clyde Hubbard about that bottom land. Abner didn’t like the bottom land; but with us all hired out the rest of this fall, then starting our own crops in the spring, maybe we can make it. While me and big kids are hired out, Lizzie, at eleven, is plenty old enough to watch the four little kids, including Bertha, the baby, just 8 months old. I’ll need to wean her; it’s early, but I’ll need to do that for me to be able to pick cotton too. No, we’ll take the little ones to the fields and I can nurse her at dinner time. People will be scandalized, but it will have to be done. The colored women take their nursing babies to the fields, so I’ll just do the same. Lee is six years old and stout; he can pull cotton bolls and pull a little tow sack down the cotton rows. Otherwise, he would drive Lizzie crazy.

I’ll take Albert and Jimmy with me when I go talk with Mr. Hubbard about that land. Albert’s a grown man at 20; Jimmy’s a good-sized boy at 13. Mr. Hubbard always acts just a little too friendly around the women, always trying to catch their eye and smiling and winking. And him a deacon in the church. I wonder how his wife puts up with his flirty ways. Abner always treated me with respect.

I’ll be a proper widow, making sure all the children learn to read and write, just like Abner did, even the left-handed ones. I never was smart enough to get the hang of book learning. I do everything with my left hand and never could get my right hand to make the letters. How I wish Lewis, our oldest, had come with us. He is so patient with the kids, but he stayed behind in Mountain View to marry Susie and start his own family.

We’ll never, ever mention what happened down by the creek. I think that clumsy Abner must have tripped over a tree root; now I remember he told me he’d seen some squirrels in the pecan trees down by the creek. That must have been why he took his rifle down there.

We’ll buy that bottom land, to get away from the whispers. Near that property is a good school for the children and someday I’ll have the money for a proper headstone in a proper cemetery for my dear, dear Abner, where we’ll lay beside each other until the Lord brings us home to heaven together. 

Oh, my, look how the sun has come up and I’m still in bed. Mary Alice will be here in no time with the children. I’ve got to get around. I’m a proper widow now.


Almeda Ellen Elliott Todd
Almeda Ellen Elliott Todd later in life

After a career in laboratory management, one of my goals has always been to write historical fiction with the stories loosely based on my ancestors. Several relatives, including my sister, have researched an extensive family tree. I’m researching the family stories and have just started writing historical fiction, with the first story based on the life of Almeda Ellen Elliott Todd, my maternal great great grandmother. She married at 13 to her husband, Abner who was 22. The family moved to Dallas County, Texas in two wagons, one made of green wood that broke down in Arkansas. They lived in a tent for about a year. She was left handed and never learned to read or write; she had 10 children and her husband died of a gunshot in the woods. He was said to be alone at the time. Abner kept a journal of their trip from Stone County, Arkansas to Dallas County, Texas. Stay tuned to my blog for more “After Toil Comes Rest – Dallas County, Texas.” To get notification of new posts, subscribe to my blog. These writings are copyrighted and not available for commercial use, without the written permission of the author.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

James Monroe Elliott – Arkansas Calvary, Confederate, quartermaster.

Confederate Flag
James Monroe Elliott, as a young man

James Monroe Elliott was born on June 22, 1816 in Warren, Tennessee. His father was Stephen Elliott and his mother was Elizabeth; her last name is not known. In 1843, Monroe married Margaret Eoff in Tennessee, where they had three children. After the move to Sylamore, Izard County, Arkansas, Monroe and Margaret had 12 more children. Their last child, Almeda Ellen Elliott was born in 1867. She was Edith McIntire Holder’s grandmother.


According to family sources, James Monroe Elliott Sr. did not speak to his daughter Mary Jane (Elliott) McIntire for about 15 years because she married what he considered to be an unsuitable young man, John A. McIntire. The couple went on to have twelve children, including Thomas Hendrix, Edith McIntire Holder’s father. Edith’s father and mother were cousins.

James Monroe Elliott and Margaret Eoff, husband and wife

Monroe Elliott was 45 years old and had a wife and lots of children when he was more or less forced to volunteer in the Civil War.  At the time Monroe “volunteered,” his oldest sons were William and James, twins who were 13 years old, with three older daughters. Lucy, the oldest, was 20 years old; her husband died in the Civil War.

 Arkansas Peace Society of 1861

 There were many responsible family men around his age in the northern counties of Arkansas who simply did not want a war.  They just wanted to be left alone to raise their families and survive the best they could.  They formed the Arkansas Peace Society of 1861.  This was a secret organization who organized as a home guard to defend their families and their property if they were attacked.  The state of Arkansas was being run by a Confederate government and they accused its estimated 1700 members of treason.  Monroe volunteered to serve the Confederacy, as did most of the men, rather than go to a prison camp.   Monroe enlisted with the 8th Arkansas Cavalry (“Desha Rangers”), Companies F & S in Arkansas County on March 10, 1863, where he served as quartermaster-sergeant, a very responsible position.  

James Monroe Elliott, Sr. age 66

In 1882, Monroe sold his land in Stone County, Arkansas, left Margaret and his youngest three daughters behind. He moved with another female relative, acting as his wife, to the Republic of Texas.  (Monroe appears to be a bigamist, maybe twice! When he married Margaret, he was still married to a woman from Alabama. He must have been quite the ladies’ man.) Monroe died on July 16, 1897 in Gordon, Palo Pinto, Texas, United States at the age of 81, very poor. 



  • Rosters of the Desha Rangers, 8th Arkansas Cavalry, Carlton’s Arkansas Cavalry, and the 21st Arkansas Infantry are posted on Edward Gerdes’ Civil War Page at this URL: Edward Gerdes’ Civil War Page.
  • Index to Compiled Military Service Records, film M376, roll 7.  
  • “The McIntires and Elliotts of Bickle’s Cove, Stone County, Arkansas,” by Pauline Mitchell Pierce.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.