In the 1800s, Stone County, Arkansas was home to our Eoffs, Eliotts, McIntires and Todds. Last week, two fourth cousins gave me a grand tour of Stone County. My gracious hosts were Alfred Via and Pauline Mitchell Pierce Via, recently married and 3rd cousins themselves. Alfred was raised in Bickle’s Cove and while Pauline is a proud Texan, she has done enough genealogy research in the area to feel like a native.
For those of you that recognize Pauline’s name, she is the author of The McIntires and the Elliotts of Bickle’s Cove, Stone County, Arkansas and descendents of John McIntire of Maury County, Tennessee. She still has a few copies left, a great hardback book with over 500 pages of research and source documents. Let me know if you want to purchase the book and I’ll put you in touch with Pauline. The book is $65. I was able to use the documentation in the book for my successful DAR application with Jacob Eoff as the patriot ancestor.
Here is the photo tour, which included the McIntire cabin on private property. We had permission to visit the site. In the winter, with no leaves on the trees, I’m told the cabin is visible from the road. Even with bug spray, we got chiggers and ticks. Didn’t see any snakes, though!
John and Mary Jane McIntire lived in this cabin, where my great-grandfather Hendrix McIntire was raised. Stories indicate John McIntire was a stone mason. The old stone fireplace is still straight and strong, as is the foundation to the cabin, though the cabin may not last much longer.
Bickles Cove Cemetery
Mountain View, Stone County, Arkansas is in the scenic Ozarks, well worth the trip for the scenery alone, but when you add the family connections, the area is even more special. In a later blog, we’ll visit the court house.
While browsing on Ancestry.com, 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.
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.
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.
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: http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/3552949/story/e7e26028-a91c-45f7-a5a2-36f9c24e4b0c, accessed May 4, 2013. Those with an Ancestry.com account, follow this link to see the original posting.