The Hickman Family
Lois Mosby’s aunts in the Hickman line left some stories that I’ve transcribed on this page.
Ella (1876-1862) Lois’ mother wrote about the move to Annadarko, OK.
Lucy (1889-1975) wrote about life in Golden City, MO. I’m surprised that she had such fond memories after what happened to her.
I’ve included letters between Charlie (1871-1895) and Ella when he was a cowboy in Texas, including his tragic end.
Olive (1882-1943) wrote about a slave’s bravery when she faced bushwhackers during the Civil War.
The 4th daughter, Jennie (1878-1945) didn’t leave any writings that I’ve found.
I have taken some editorial license with them:
Lucy’s Golden City story was all one big paragraph, and I’ve divided it up.
Olive’s story of Cicley’s Trust has Cicley’s dialog rendered in slave patois, and I have translated it into modern English.
The Hickman sons were:
Edwin Temple (1859-1937) by John’s first wife Martha.
William Pery (1868-1897)
Ben F (Frankie) 1869-before 1880)
Charles Thomas (1871-1895)
The family came apart.
John Edward Hickman (1831-1899) was born in Virginia, moved to Johnson Co, MO where his second wife was Sarah Jane Boisseau (1843-1912) in 1876 he moved his family to Golden City, Barton Co. MO. He had only one arm and traded stock (cattle) and was also the city assessor.
The death of Frankie might have been the incentive to move to Barton County. Charlie left home to be a cowboy about 1890 and was accidentally killed in 1895. Olive was raised by Lucy Boisseau Marr, Sarah’s sister. Ella left home in 1892 at 16. Jennie was arrested for burglarizing homes in 1896 when she was 18 and tried to commit suicide. William Perry was killed in 1898 while resisting arrest for beating and choking his sister Lucy. A week later Sarah was arrested for disturbing the peace and judged to be sane but “a holy terror.” J. E. died in 1899. In 1896 Ella married R. M. Denny and in 1901 they moved with Sarah to Oklahoma.
DENNY FAMILY HAS STRUGGLE ARRIVING BEFORE AUGUST, 1901
By Mrs. R. M. (Ella B.) Denney (1876-1962)
My husband, two children, Lois and Neva, and I left Golden City, Mo., July 13, 1901, in a covered wagon headed for Anadarko and we arrived on July 27.
We found the new townsite a beautiful sight with waving corn just ready for consumption. We had, as did others, corn on the cob for a daily diet until groceries and vegetables were available.
While on the way, a few hours drive before we reached the Kansas line, we saw a farm house where there was a well of water. The water was drawn by a windlass.
We had been without water for several hours and our tongues were hanging out. Mr. Denney started to the house which was about a quarter of a mile from the highway wit a half gallon tin bucket.
When he reached the house and old whiskered man met him and told him, “you can’t have any water from my well. Travelers are drinking it dry.” Mr. Denney explained the situation telling him if he could just get enough water for his wife and two little girls he would ask for no more.
“I told you that you could have no water from my well, said the farmer. Mr. Denney turned and came back to the wagon and got his double barrel shotgun and went back with his little tin bucket. He brought back water.
WELCOME SIGN FOUND
Just a few hours drive from the well episode, when we had crossed the line into the state of Kansas, we drove almost square into a big sign which read, “free water, drive in, water your team and fill your kegs.”
There was a beautiful arch-way entrance, gravel drive and a big windmill – one of those beautiful old farm houses and all the nice things that went with it.
After going without sufficient water for several days, it was a very happy occasion.
In Anadarko, Mr. Denney rented the first house, one room, that was for rent. It belonged to Mr. John Greggs, who was an Indian Trader.
We paid $10 per month and made our own furniture out of lumber. Our nearest neighbor was A. J. Perry and his daughter, Grace, now Mrs. Charles R. Ellis. They were wonderful neighbors.
RECALLS INDIAN EXPERIENCE
We lived there over a period of months until we could rent a larger house. The location was what is now 600 block of East Broadway.
My first experience with an Indian occurred just a few days after we arrived.
One morning, shortly after Mr. Denney had gone to work (he was hauling groceries and other merchandise to Anadarko from Chickasha for prospective merchants) a little old Indian man came to the door, or flap, of our wagon sheet home and tried to tell me something.
I could not understand either his words or his signs. He pointed to Lois, who was just outside and then to Neva who was in the tent with me. By then I was getting badly scared.
However, imagine my fright when he pointed to the ax which fortunately was inside. I just stepped onto the ax with both feet. He smiled and went away. Later my husband told me his name and that he wanted to borrow the ax. The Indian came again and borrowed the ax from us.
DENNEY PLANTED TREES
The old maple and elm trees around the court house and in the east and west public school blocks were planted by Mr. Denney soon after the sale of lots in Anadarko, or rather as soon as the city approved the project.
The city engaged him with a group of helpers to plant elm and maple trees on the three public blocks. The trees were secured along the Washita river banks.
I noticed as I went to town the other day that one large maple near the southwest corner of the courthouse lawn is still beautiful as are the stately elms on the court house lawn.
Mr. Denney also planted many of the same kind of trees on property of the new homes here, many of which are still standing. These trees are still supplying shade and protection for us all and Mr. Denney has been gone for a quarter of a century.
HELPED NURSE SICK
Mrs. C. A. Cleveland (the first) and I nursed the sick during the typhoid epidemic under the direction of Dr. Charles R. Hume who was at the time the agency physician and superintendent of county health. He was appointed by the governor of the Indian Territory.
We took turns as to the first half of the night and from midnight until early morning. I remember during this terrible malady, five out of one family died in about a week.
People were still living in tents. Many of the business and professional men built a lean-to in connection with their permanent business buildings until they could secure material and labor for their residences.
We at the time were living under our wagon sheet just south of the railroad bridge in what is now a portion of Randlett park.
I walked on my way to near the east city boundary at midnight and morning, and visa-versa, many times. The Rock Island depot, where great piles of lumber were stacked and hundreds of sleeping men were upon the lumber.
One morning while on my way home about 100 yards from our place, where an old man lived alone, the U. S. marshall and a group of men were gathered.
I stopped and learned that the old man had been killed in the night. Those things happened often and very little could be done about it.
(Mrs. R. M. Denney, Anadarko, came to Caddo county by wagon on July 27, 1901, from Golden City, Mo., and located in Anadarko.
(She later lived in Oklahoma City, Everett, Wash., Newport Beach, Calif., Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kans.
(Early day neighbors were Judge A. Perry and daughter Grace, John Gathers and family and Jim Ridgel.
(Mrs. Denney was born August 23, 1876 near Golden City, MO., and was married in 1896 to Russell M. Denney at Golden City.
(She is a member of the Christian church and Royal Neighbors of America. Mrs. Denney has two daughters, Lois Mosby, Indian, Calif., and Neva Stuchell, Everett, Wash.)
Cheryl’s note: R. M. Denney died in an explosion in 1927, so this article was written in about 1952. All I have is a clipping, but they didn’t save the dateline.
EARLY DAYS IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI
By Lucy Marr Hickman Heatherton (1880-1976) written in 1948.
In mid-August of 1876 my parents moved to Southwest Missouri. Their first abode was a one-room cabin. The family consisted of Father (John Edward Hickman), Mother (Sarah Jane Boisseau Hickman), Father’s son by a former marriage (Edwin Temple Hickman) , and my two older brothers (Perry and Charlie). Soon after their arrival a daughter (Ella) put in her appearance, swelling the family number to six. Into that one room, which was none too large, they crowded a bed, cook stove, kitchen table and chairs, a rocking chair, cupboard, provisions, clothing and such other belongings as could not be safely left in the covered wagons. Father, Mother and the baby slept in the cabin, and the boys in the wagons or on pallets spread on the ground. How they managed to exist under those conditions I’ll never know, but exist they did, and, so far as I have learned, were none the worse for the experience–probably due to tIle fact that existence in those days did not require the frills of today. Much to their satisfaction, their stay in the cabin was short. Late in September, the house on the farm Father had purchased was vacated, and the family moved into more comfortable quarters.
This early-day farm house was built of heavy logs, the floors being of hard hickory wood. There were two very large rooms with an old-fashioned fireplace in each one, quite different from the fireplaces of today. The wide stone chimneys were at each end of tho house. Between the two rooms was a wide hall with a crude stairway leading to the upper room which would now be called “the attic” but in those days it was known simply as “the loft.” Here Mother put up beds with shuck mattresses under sweet smelling straw ticks on which the boys slept. Later there was a feather bed for every bed. Mother raised her own geese, picked them and made these beds.
In the combination kitchen and every-day living room a cook stove and kitchen table were placed to the left of tho fireplace. On the wall above the table, over a large sheet of oilcloth were hung skillets, baking pans, griddles and such other utensils as were supplied with means of hanging. In the center of tho room was a larger table on which meals were served. Split-bottom chairs with ladder backs surrounded this table. The old-style cupboard stood conveniently near against the wall to the left of the cook table was the wash bench on which were a tin wash basin, a soap dish, a cedar water bucket with shiny brass bands, and a gourd dipper which was later replaced by a new tin dipper with a wooden handle. A long roller-towel hung between the bench and the outside door opening to the back yard.
Against the wall opposite the fireplace was a bed with its shuck mattress and huge, soft feather bed on which Father and Mother slept, and close beside it a box cradle for the baby. By a window near the door facing the road, Mother had placed a drop-leaf table covered with a red-and-white checkered cloth which hung to the floor. Many times when someone came sister Jennie would get her new shoes and hide under this table for fear they would get her shoes. On this table were kept Mother’s writing materials and the few treasured books she possessed: New Testament, concordance, Thomas Moore’s poems, Webster’s dictionary, books of Biblical reference such as Prince of the House of David, Josephus, City of the Great King and a few others. Her one book of fiction was The Children of the Abbey, which, as we grew older, she read to us. Reading aloud from the Bible was a daily occurrence. An almanac hung by the window within easy reach. These books she read and studied while sitting in her rocking chair resting and nursing her babies.
We four younger ones (Ella, Jennie, Lucy and Olive) were born in that old log house. As the family increased, another bed was needed, so Father went to town in the big wagon and brought home a trundle bed for us girls. This bed was pushed under the big bed during the day to prevent over-crowding the room.
The floor of the large front room was covered, wall to wall, with a new rag carpet heavily padded with clean straw, and tacked down securely. How we children loved to walk barefoot on that tightly-stretched, padded carpet! In one corner of the room was the “company bed” with its clean, white sheets over which was neatly spread Mother’s grape-cluster quilt. On a white background she had appliqued brown and Green vines, green leaves and purple grapes. Her quilting was of the tiniest stitches in pattern of leaves, vines, grapes and curled tendrils all over the quilt, with the exception of the border which was quilted according to its pattern. The under side of the quilt, where the quilting showed to perfection, was as beautiful as the top. She was pardonably proud of this beautiful quilt. Large goose-feather pillows leaned against the bed’s headboard. One sham bore the embroidered inscription, “I Slept and Dreamed that Life was Beauty,” the other, “I awoke and Found that Life was Duty.”
The walnut bureau with its framed mirror hanging above stood near the bed. In another corner were Mother’s spinning wheel and wool carders. These were brought into the kitchen-living room when in use. Her sewing machine, which was the only one in that part of the country at that time, stood under a window near the spinning wheel. The horsehair sofa and chairs were properly placed. A comfortable rocking chair with a fringed linen towel fastened over the high back seemed to invite one to sit and rest a while near the fireplace. The center of the room was reserved for the marble-top table on which were the large family Bible containing the family records, and the plush-covered album filled with photographs and tintypes of relatives and friends on both sides of the house. A large coal oil lamp, always clean and shining, stood between the Bible and the album. Pictures, mottoes and wall pockets hung on the whitewashed walls. A clock in its wooden case occupied the center of the mantelpiece. Tall glasses for holding sweet-scented flowers were on each side of the clock. Father’s two favorite books, The Lady of the Lake and Robert Burns’ poems lay on each end of the mantle. Father had formerly been a school teacher, and those were saved from his teaching days.
How well do I remember the charm string fastened in wide loops from one end of the mantle to the other, the ends dropping almost to the floor. For those of you who are not familiar with the charm string: On a strong, waxed cord were strung many different styles of buttons, large and small, collected down through the years from relatives and friends. Also along the string were attached all sorts of trinkets. The charm string had much the same significance as the patchwork quilt, serving to call to mind this or that friend or relative–either near or far distant, or having passed on–memories of times past, spanning the miles between here and there, and bringing tho dear ones near as we lovingly fingered the buttons and trinkets along the string. Here we spent much time reminiscing and reliving pleasant past hours. Dark-green shades and white curtains completed the furnishings of this old-style front room, or parlor as the “higher ups” would call it.
Always on Sunday there was company, and company meant opening and airing the front room. We children loved those days when we could sit cross-legged or lie flat on our stomachs on that clean, rag carpet, and turn tile pages of the family Bible, with its brightly-colored pictures, or of the plush-covered album and look at the pictures of grown-ups attired in their Sunday best, brides and grooms in wedding finery, children standing or sitting properly–but best of all, I think, I liked the babies in their long, white tucked and ruffled dresses trimmed with delicate laces and embroideries. To this day I thoroughly enjoy browsing among old pictures, trying to imagine what were the aspirations, the dreams, the hopes that gave grace and poise to one person and sweet, shy bashfulness to another.
One end of the wide hall served as a storehouse for provisions such as barrels of sugar, flour, meal, bags of salt, rice and dry beans, and always in winter there was a large keg of sorghum molasses. Jugs of honey taken from our own bee hives were lined up against the wall. Father could never go near the hives without being stung. Then it was Mother’s task to apply vinegar-and-soda packs, and such other remedies as were known to country folk in those days. Mother could work with the bees during long periods of time and ,was rarely stung, therefore it fell to her to rob the hives and bring in the honey. Always there was sufficient honey left in the hives to insure food for the bees during the winter. Against the wall separating the hall from the kitchen was Mother’s loom on which she wove the flannel for our winter dresses and petticoats, the boys’ and Father’s wool shirts and the lovely white wool blankets that kept us warm on cold winter nights. On the opposite wall, under the stairway, hung the best sets of harness, the men’s saddles, Mother’ s side saddle and her long black riding skirt. High above these, beyond the reach of us smaller ones, were the boys’ shot guns. What fun would living in the country be for a boy if he could not shoot squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, ducks, geese, quail and snakes?
The well with its “old oaken bucket” was at a convenient distance from tho back door, and furnished us with practically ice-cold water the year-round. Not far from the kitchen, under large shade trees, was the smokehouse where our meat was cured: delicious hams, shoulders, sides of bacon, salt meat to be cooked with vegetables, sausage packed down in lard, head cheese, pickled pigs’ feet and dried beef. It was here, too, that Mother made lye from hickory-wood ashes. She always said hickory-wood ashes made the best lye. She was now ready to make the year’s supply of soap and an ample quantity of corn hominy.
Ofttimes in the cool of the summer morning, after the men had gone to the field, Mother put on her sunbonnet, took a large pail from the bench outside the kitchen door where the pails, pans and crocks were sunned; and went to the pasture where along the rail fence and always in the corners blackberries and dewberries ripened in abundance. In practically no time she was back with a pail full of large, luscious berries. Having replenished the fire, she set about making pies for dinner and supper. There were also plenty of wild plums, gooseberries, black haws and red haws in the woods, all of which Mother and we children gathered enough for present and winter use.
Saturday was a ‘busy day for Mother and the older girls. There was bread to bake, loaves and loaves of flaky white bread and salt-rising bread. Churning must be done to insure fresh, sweet butter for. the Sunday dinner. Cottage cheese must be made to which, in the morning, a generous amount of rich, sweet cream was added. Delicious pies and cookies were browned to perfection, and tasty jelly-rolls were made .’ A large bowl of beets was cooked and pickled. There must always be large quantities of food because there was no way of telling how many families would come for dinner after attending the service at the little stone church. The butter moulded and the baking done the floor and cook table were scrubbed clean with warm soapsuds, and everything put in readiness’ for Sunday. Last, there were the baths taken in the big wash tub.
Early Sunday morning a half dozen or more chickens were killed, dressed and put in a large covered pail which was lowered into the well just above the water to keep fresh till time for cooking. Ham and dried beef were brought from the smokehouse and sliced — Mother’s Sunday dinner was not complete unless. she had two or three kinds of meat on the table. The big black iron pot was filled about two thirds full of green beans which were partly cooked and set aside. New potatoes were scraped and covered with ,later to be added to the beans when we came from church. Cucumbers and onions were sliced and covered with vinegar to which sugar and salt had been added. Fresh and canned fruit and two or more varieties of jams and jellies, set out.
Breakfast over and the dishes washed and put away the children were washed, combed and dressed for Sunday school and church. Since the church was in walking distance of our house, we were sent on ahead to Sunday school. Father and Mother, after finishing up at home, brought the baby and came in time for church service, ofttimes getting there in time for Sunday school. Almost invariably Mother picked up my older sister’s fan. from among the wild flowers or under the plum trees growing a little back from the road. If she failed to find it, it was’ given to her at church, as all the neighbors were familiar with sister’s habit of laying it down to pick flowers or eat plums. Father bought and sold live stock, and could not always go to church on Sunday as he was busy with sellers of stock.
The sermon, songs, prayers and handshakings over, we were rounded up and started home. Since we walked, we could count on three or more families having driven up before we arrived. Whoever came first went in, built a fire in the stove and started “the pot to boiling.” Even now as I write, I imagine I can smell the savory odor of ham and chickens frying and the aroma of coffee steeping for those Sunday dinners. The women, wearing clean gingham aprons Mother had laid out for them, were visiting and working at the same time; and it was only a short while till they had the delicious meal on the long table. And how everyone did enjoy those meals! Father was the proud and jovial host, and Mother the perfect hostess who anticipated the desires of her guests, and, without flurry or interruption of the conversation, passed the right dish at the right time.
The congregation attending our little church was made up mostly of Presbyterians, North and South Methodists and Baptists. Mother and a few others were members of the Christian, or Campbellite church, as it was often called in those days. The men of the neighborhood had hauled rock, bought lumber and other material required, and furnished labor to build the church with the understanding that the four denominations were each to have charge of the service one Sunday in the month, the fifth Sunday, when there was one, being reserved for a Christian minister to fill the pulpit. As time passed, Some of the other denominations decided that in addition to their regular Sunday, they should also have the fifth Sunday. This was too much for Mother, who was a “real soldier of the cross” when her religion was attacked or slighted. So she set about consistently praying for the church to fall. Don’t mistake me, she was not doing this through any spirit of spite or vengeance, but was really conscientious and thought she was doing tho right thing.
Hadn’t four of her men folk given time, labor and money toward the erection of that church, and should not the members of the Christian church, which in her opinion was the only church, be entitled to have charge of the service on the few fifth Sundays of the year? Well, “believe it or not,” one night a heavy windstorm brought down part of one wall of the building, doubtless due to faultless construction; but no one could ever make Mother believe this. She had prayed and her prayers had been answered.
In the meantime my half brother had married (Rebecca Davenport 1862-1917) the daughter of staunch Presbyterian parents. From the time the storm damaged the church, my sister-in-law lived in mortal fear of incurring Mother’s displeasure and having prayers offered for some dire calamity to befall her. She warned all her relatives and friends to be very careful, “because when Ed’s Mother prays for anything, she never stops praying till her -prayers are answered.” This might be a good plan to follow today. Be that as it may, after the building was repaired there was no further trouble about the fifth Sunday service.
Father, a buyer of stock, was often gone from home several days in succession, ‘”as always away several days when he shipped his stock to the Kansas City market. Mother and the boys together with the hired hands looked after the farm during his absence.
On many a moonlight summer evening after the chores were done and supper over, we children would lie on a quilt spread on the ground, and try to count the stars in the big and little dippers, the bear and other constellations. Mother sat on the doorstep with our faithful dog, Shep, lying on the ground at her feet. Brother Charlie would come with his French Harp (harmonica),. seat himself beside Mother, and entertain us with old-time melodies.. I can truthfully say that no well-trained orchestra of today has a more appreciative audience than did our brother while he played Listen to the Mockingbird, Nelly Gray, Swanee River, Sweet Evalena, The Little Mohea, The Last Rose of Summer, Annie Laurie, Flow Gently Sweet Afton — Father’s favorite — Home Sweet Home, and other old-time melodies. From the patch of timber between our house and that of a neighbor about one and one-half miles distant a hoot-owl or a whippoorwill would occasionally sound a mournfully, and the neighbor’s hounds often joined in with doleful howls.
On other nights when the boys were out “keeping company” with the country belles, Mother just as most mothers do, lay awake till they came home. Along about midnight, she would say, “they’ll be here in a little while now. I can hear them coming by the graveyard. This was literally true, for when a boy turned off the main road to the road through the timber, where a clearing had been made for the cemetery, he whistled a lively tune to keep the ghosts away. The whistling continued till he was safe inside the home gate.
Always in the fall there were the corn huskings, carpet rag tackings and quilting bees. These neighborhood gatherings were pleasant sources of recreation as well as means of accomplishing considerable work in an evening. There were the box suppers in the school house where the older children had learned “reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.”
The harvest had been gathered in, the barn loft filled to. capacity with sweet scented hay and clover, cribs were piled high with red, white and yellow corn. Meat had been cured, lard rendered, and an abundance of canned fruit, sweet pickle peaches, preserves, jams and jellies stored away. There were bags of dried peaches and apples for delicious thrn-ober pies fried in the big skillet.
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, turnips and apples ‘were packed in sand and leaves, covered with straw, and buried in the ground sufficiently deep to prevent their freezing. How good they did taste when brought up fresh and sweet on cold winter days! Black walnuts were hulled-they were plentiful. in our locality–and spread thinly on the ground out by the wood pile to dry, then taken to the loft and stored away together with hickory nuts, hazelnuts and pop corn.
I shall always look back with pleasure on those long winter evenings when Mother sat before the fire knitting socks, stockings or mittens, and Father nearby reading the “Drovers’ Daily Telegram,” while we children roasted eggs, apples and nuts in the wide fireplace, popped pop corn or roasted field corn in the skillet over tho glowing coals.
There is an end to everything, and the end came to our days on the farm. Mother’s brother (probably Daniel Thomas Boisseau) came and took charge, and we moved to the small town five miles distant where … … …. these feet must hide In the prison cells of pride.”
–Lucy M. Heatherton August 1948
Letters exchanged between Charlie Hickman (1871-1895) and Ella B. Hickman
Osceola~Hill Co. Tex.
April 13th 1891
I received your kind and ever welcome letter the other day. Was glad to hear from you. I have been gone on the trail ever since the 1st of Dec. We started down with 77 hundred head of Moss horns. We drifted down the Devil River and on to the Pecos river. We just drifted from one to the other all winter till the spring grass come, then we drifted north and got in home the last of March and I found your letter waiting for me at the ranch.
I am in the timber now taking care of the Cattle and helping tend some land. I believe Ma ask whether I was getting better or worse. Tell her that went to meeting a while back and got two pockets full of religion. Tell Bob Cromwell I will write to him just as soon as I can. How are you all getting along? I am fat and saucy weigh 148 lbs and stout as a mule.
I ride any thing I come to and have never been throwed yet. I like this country fine. My boss told me he would give me $50 a month to break horses on the range this fall. He has got 200 head of fresh ponies from Mexico to break. All I will have to do is just to ride them the first time and then turn them over to the boys. Some times we have lots of fun – we ride out to the corral and rope a wild Spanish pony, throw him down, blind fold him, put the bits in his mouth, then let him up. He will just stand and tremble while we put the saddle on him. Then we get square in the saddle, jerk off the blind and give him the full benefit of a pair of spurs and let him go.
I must close. Write soon direct to Osceola Hill Co. Tex.
Yours Truely, Charles Hickman
Osceola Hill Co. Tex.
Nov. 30th 1891
Mill Ella Hickman
I received your kind and welcome letter today. Was glad to hear from you. I am well at present and hope this will find you all in the same condition. I am getting along splendid. Can find plenty of work to do at good wages.
You asked me if I was coming home Christmas I don’t guess I can, I won’t have money enough to come up there and pay my expenses next summer. If I pay my own expense I get things lots cheaper. I have been cutting cord wood and riding wild horses since I quit work at the Gin. I have broke three to ride and am going to ride one next Sunday. I have me a pony that pitches every time I put the saddle on her. So you see she keeps me in practice.
You want to know about my girls. They are pretty and good but not overly wealthy. I went to see one of them yesterday and had a fine time with her. Her name is Anna Lewis. When was the last time you heard from Minnie Snead? I have not wrote to her in a long time. I got a letter from Sue last week. She give me down the country for not writing to her. I have not wrote to her since last February. Who did Bob Day marry or did you ever learn? I heard that Parson Tom Jones was married.
What kind of weather are you having up there? We have not had any snow here since I’ve been here. There has not been hardly weather fit to kill hogs here this winter. I neither get cold nor hungry but I do get sleepy so I will close (hoping to hear from you soon) and go to bed.
Your brother, Charles Hickman
Oh – how oft times do we forge a life long trouble on ourselves by taking false for true or true for false.
Granbury, Hood Co. Tex.
May the 8th. 1892 .
Miss Ella Hickman
I seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know how I was getting along. I am well at present and hope this will find you the same. I am at work now on a ranch 12 miles west of Granbury getting fair wages. Ella, I got a letter from Perry a short time ago. He told me that you had left home. How about it? What was the course of your leaving and who are you staying with?
Ella, you had better go back home if you can possibly get along there. It is heap the best for you to stay at home a few more years yet. You are too young to start out for yourself or even to think of doing such a thing. Now don’t think I am mad at you because you left. That is not what I mean. I have lived long enough to see that a girl without a home is in a pretty helpless condition. Now I want you to study the matter over and see if you don’t think what I have said is for the best, and try and live at home. I will close hoping to hear from you soon. Excuse bad writing and spelling.
Your brother, Charles Hickman
Lipan, Hood Co. Tex.
Nov. 12th. 1892
Miss Ella Hickman
It is with pleasure I seat myself to answer your kind and welcome letter that I received some time ago. Was glad to hear from you that you was well. I have not entirely forgotten you but I am ashamed of myself for not writeing to you sooner. I guess you all think me dead; I am not. I am well and still able to run my own boat with any assistance.
I was glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself so well at the dance. I would have liked very much to have been there but under the present circumstances I could not come home this summer. I don’t know when I will come. I have bought me a horse and Saddle this summer. I give $35.00 for a horse 4 years old and traded him for a mare 4 years old, 15 hands high and got $2.00 difference. She is a deep bay with a star in her forehead and as pretty as a picture. Branded 22 on the left shoulder. And my saddle cost me $25.00. I have been offered $100.00 for my outfit: that is my mare, saddle, bridle, stake rope and two good blankets.. I have been offered $75.00 for the mare alone by two or three different men.
Well I will close for this time. Direct your letter to Granbury and write soon.
from your brother Charles Hickman
Granbury, Hood Co. Tex.
Jan. 30. 1893
Miss Ella Hickman
It is with pleasure that I seat myself to drop you a few lines in ans. to your kind and welcome letter that I received yesterday. Was glad to hear from you. You will please excuse me for not ans. your other letters. You must not expect me to write so often for I am so busy buying cattle. I am buying on a contract.
Ella, what was the troubles you wrote to me about? Sometime back you said you would write me the particulars in your next letter but you did not. Now I should like to know what it is.
I have been to several dances this winter. Have had a very nice time. I have not been to preaching for something over a year. I think if next Sunday is a nice day I will go to church. I don’t know when I can come home. My pony has had the distemper pretty bad for 8 or 10 days.
Well I will close for this time. Write soon.
from your brother, Charles Hickman
Granburv. Hood Co. Tex.
March 16th 1893
Miss Ella Hickman.
It is with pleasure I seat myself to drop you a few lines in ans. to your kind letter. Am ashamed of myself for not answering sooner. You must not expect me to write so often. Ella, I get on an average of 10 letters a week now and its almost impossible for me to ans. them all but I will never forget to ans. yours. I have just finished reading a letter from Ed in which he says they have a 10 pound girl at their house about three weeks old and her name is Eva. He says she is pretty as a pink. He also told me that Bill Fell, Colonel Pope, Jim Waddle, and Ben Simpson was there and says the Orange crop is fine.
Ella, I am well and hope that this letter will find you well also. You will please in your next letter grant my wish, at least you said you would. I would like the best in world to see you all now but guess I will have to content myself the best I can without seeing you. I am kept very busy now gathering cattle and delivering them. I am going to quit buying the first of April then I guess I will go to work on the ranch. Well I will close for this time by asking you to write soon.
from your brother, Charles Hickman
Karasona, Knox Co, Tex
May 14th 1894
Miss Ella Hickman
My dear sister,
It is with great pleasure I seat myself for the first time in so long to write to you. I hope you will look over my neglect in not writing sooner and not be angry with me for I have been so busy that I could not write. Today we are nooning the cattle at this little office and I told the boss I just must write home so he let me off a few minutes. I will now try to tell you what I am doing.
I quit work on the Ranch just a few days before I received your letter and the next day after I quit I went to work gathering cattle for Simmons of Weatherford. We got them gathered and started for the plains Floid Co. we have been on the trail 20 days and I am getting sleepy and tired. We have to guard the cattle every night. We have six hundred and thirty four head of them and they are hard to handle after night.
It has been raining very near all the time for the last 10 days and they have given us lots of trouble. Ella, you ought to be here to see the deer and antelope and pretty country and above all else the little prairie dogs. They are just as saucy as can be. They will get just on top of the ground at the edge of their holes and bark at us as impudent as you please and they look so cute.
Tell Ma and the rest of them that I will write more when I get through. It will be 10 or 12 days yet. I will close for this time. Write me at Floid City, Floid Co. Tex. I send my love and best wishes.
your Brol, Charles Hickman
Golden City, Mo. June 22. 1894
Mr. Chas Hickman
My dear brother,
Your kind and always welcome letter was rec’d with pleasure. Didn’t you get my last letter, Charlie? Perry is at work out near Maple Grove I think.
Charlie I am getting along slow. Pa is doing very well as far as I know. We have been having such rainy weather for over a week. I hope it will be nice the 4th of July for I want to have a nice time.
Charlie why didn’t you ever answer any of the letters that I. Barnes wrote to you? You and him used to be great friends and for the sake of old friendship I think you ought to treat him better than that. He told me that he had written several letters but had rec’d no answer. Please tell me the reason you didn’t answer his letters.
Where do you think you will spend the 4th? You had better come home. The band boys are going to play on their stand tomorrow night but I don’t guess we’ll go to hear the music.
Jenie weighs 130 lbs and I weigh 120 and Lucy will soon be as large as me. I don’t know how much she weighs. Charlie I wish you would give me the names of some of your friends out there and tell me about them. Is there many girls out there?
June 9. 1894
Miss Ella Hickman
My dear sister.
It is with pleasure I seat myself again to write to you. I wrote to you from Kasoga about three or four weeks ago but did not give you my address right and thought I would write again. I am well and hope you are all the same.
I saw Joe Davenport sometime in March. He came out to the ranch where I was at work and stayed a day or two. He told me that Perry was making a crop with Jim Gilliland on our old place. How is he getting along? Ella, how are you gettin along at present? What is Pa doing?
This is a pretty country. There is no timber, nothing but level prairie. There are lots of antelope and about 15 miles east of here there are lots of prairie dogs at the ranch where I worked last winter. They had two pet deer. They were just as tame as could be. When we would go to the house they would come up to us for us play with them.
I will close write soon and excuse mistakes.
With love your bro. Charles Hickman
Golden City, Mo.
Feb/ 21. 1895
Mr. Charles Hickman
My dear brother,
I wrote to you some time ago but never rec’d an answer to my letter and therefore I did not know where to address, but Ma got a letter today and so I thought I would write once more and wait patiently by for an answer.
We are all well at present and hope this will find vou well also. Charles. I must tell you about our run away. It was an narrow excape for us both.
One beautiful evening just a short time ago (in January I believe) Mr. Denney and I went to a dance out by Dadevlle. Russ was driving a livery team that were not any too gentle (but I am not a bit afraid of them now nor was I then.) We had gone about four miles south to the corner where we turned east and just as we turned the corner the neck yoke broke and let the tongue down and the horses could not turn the buggy and to keep the horses from getting into the wire fence Russ had to turn them at a hard jerk which turned the Buggy over.
We were both thrown out but I was not drug more than half as far as Russ was. When the buggy turned the horses got scared and tried to run away but Russ held them thinking I was still in the Buggy. We were neither one hurt very badly.
Mr. Bud Wilfley and his wife came out with a lamp (we were just in front of their house) and Russ and Mr. W. soon gathered all the scattered horses and single tires etc. Mr. W. loaned us his horse and buggy and we went on to the dance and had a splendid time. Russ cut his little finger and I cut my forehead a little (the scar still remains but does not show bad) and that was about the account of our misfortune. By the way what do you think of my little story, a narrow escape.
Charlie how is the old world treating you? Write me a long letter and tell me all about yourself. Charlie, cousin Sibyl (Marr) (I do not know her husbands name) is dead. She died about a month ago. She had the Dropsy – oh Charlie I just wish you was here I could talk to you so much better than I could write. I would tell you all about the folks in Johnson Co. and about what nice times had while there.
Jim and Edie sent me one of Little Eva’s pictures and I just wish you could see it she is just as pretty as can be. James Darey said she was the prettiest little girl he ever saw. Well my paper is giving out and I guess you are getting tired reading this any how 50 I will close hoping to hear from you soon I ever remain:
Your loving little sister, Ella
Aldrich Banking Company
Golden City, Mo.
Aug. 28, 1895
Ella. Charley was killed today in Texas by a horse, and will probably be sent here to be buried, and will be here in two or three days.
Come as early as you possibly can.
Your father J. E. Hickman
CICLEY’S TRUST By Olive E. Hickman Barbour (1882-1943)
My Grandmother (Sybil Ann Duncan (1898-1891)was widowed during the Civil War. Grandfather (Benjamin Waddle Boisseau (1892-1863)) had died, leaving her with four children, one son in the war, a younger son and two daughters. The daughters, Sarah Jane and Lucy Marqaret (Jane and Lucy) were aged 19 and 17. Prior to his death, Grandfather had freed his slaves. But old Aunt Cicley had stoutly refused her freedom papers. On being asked by Grandmother, “Cicley, don’t you want to be free?” she very emphatically replied, “I’m just as free as I ever want to be.” “Don’t you want to go and have a home with your people?” “I’ve got a better home than they’ll ever have.”
Grandmother was more than glad to have her stay, for all through the years she had been willing and efficient household help and a real “mammy” to the children. Provisions were made in Grandfather’s will that she was to have a home there as long as she lived, and at her death was to be buried in the family cemetery. These provisions were carried out to the letter. Right well do I remember her grave in a corner just inside the gate. Grandmother had covered it with daisies, and it was completely white in the springtime, with the grass around it neatly trimmed as around the other graves on which bloomed beautiful flowers of many colors.
CHILDHOOD AT THE HOMESTEAD
That little old fashioned cemetery was a marvel of beauty to me. I well remember a certain clump of red poppies that. I always coveted, but. Grandmother would never let me pick them. Instead, she would take me outside the grounds and fill my arms with lilacs and other flowers. after which I would march home proudly.
We lived one half mile up the road, and I was sent down every day to see if she needed anything, for she was determined to live there on the old home place alone.
The house was a large old fashioned one with a fireplace in each end, and a stairway also leading up at each end. I loved to visit in that grand old home where I was privileged to run at will through the wide halls and large airy rooms. It was my delight to play in the shade of the locust. The sun and wind played hide and seek through their lacy leaves, and scattered the delicate scent of their beautiful creamy blossoms all over the place and beyond its boundaries. Grandmother loved flowers, and all about were neatly kept beds of annuals and perennials, blooming vines and shrubs, each of which yielded its own sweet fragrance, making the place seem like a little Garden of Eden to which had been added the luxury of a grand old house.
What was more enticing to a little girl than all this beauty and fragrance were the nice cookies and swept nicknacs that were always tucked away somewhere for me. Regardless of how many I ate, the supply never seemed to be exhausted. I am very sure that every little girl and boy will agree with me when I say that when the Lord thought of making Grandmothers, He thought of something extraordinarily nice. But I am getting away from my story. I wIsh to tell about Cicley Just as my foster Mother, the Lucy of the story, has often told it to me.
One night after the girls had gone to bed, Grandmother called the old black woman to her and said, “Cicley, I am sorry to have to leave at this time, but I cannot put off going to town any longer. There are so many things needed. In fact, every one of us needs something, so I have decided to saddle old Bess in the morning and ride over to Holden. Take good care of the girls. I’ll leave all the money I won’t need with you. Don’t let anything happen to it Cicley, for it is all we have for support till the crops are harvested.”
In the morning before leaving she gave Cicley the money which she had kept hidden in the house again charging her, “I’m leaving you in charge Cicley, Take good care of everything.” “Yes, miss Sybil, I sure will. Now you just trust Cicley, and don’t worry any mo about it. Everything is going to be right here when you ride in tomorrow night.” “Well, I hope so” was grandmother’s parting remark. And, to be sure, it was a matter of uncertainty, for there were bands of guerrillas that roved through the woods. They were known as “bushwhackers” who were going about the country pillaging and plundering, living by prey and spoil. They burned and destroyed property. Oft times the people were more afraid of them than of the war itself.
Holden, the nearest shopping point, was some distance away, and Grandmother rode along enjoying the fresh morning air and praying that God would take care of her loved ones at home and in the war.
As Cicley had taken care of the girls ever since they were born, she had no trouble in that regard. They obeyed her as readily as they obeyed their mother. All went well the first day. The girls flew around cleaning and doing things to surprise and please their mother on her return. In those days girls did not receive as many gifts as now, and both Jane and Lucy well knew that when their Mother returned there would be something nice for each of them.
An additional reason for the delay in going to town was the fact that there were a number of cases of small-pox in the country, and the science of medicine had not progressed sufficiently to be able to effect a cure. The people were in terror of this dread disease. Not even war was so dreaded as small-pox, for it was considered almost certain death. One afternoon Jane had ridden several miles to visit a friend, and upon her arrival was surprised and dismayed t.o hear her friend call from an open window. “Don’t get off your horse, I have the small-pox” Putting whip to her horse, Jane rode home terror stricken lest she take the disease from that distance.
About ten o’clock the second day of Grandmother’s absence, Jane came running in from the yard all out of breath, “Oh, Cicley, Cicley, the bushwhackers are coming! I can see on the hill road about two miles away. They are coming fast and there are a lot of them. Oh Cicley, they’ll get Mother’s money.” “What will we do?” cried both girls in a breath. “Never you mind about that money. I tell you what you girls are going to do, and don’t let me catch you wasting any time about it. You am going to get up those stairs and stay there, and don’t let me see hair nor hide of you till those bushwhackers are gone. I mean it sure enough.” When Cicley spoke in that tone, the girls knew there was nothing else to do, so they disappeared quickly in the stairway. Jane went obediently up the steps, but Lucy called protestingly from the stair door, “Cicley, let me help you, what are you going to do?” “Now you never mind Child, about what I’m going to do. You go along and be quick about it.” Jane watched from the upstairs window for the bushwhackers, but Lucy was so curious she stayed at the bottom of the stairs and peeped through a little crack she had left in the door.
There had been some sickness that spring, and Grandmother had moved a bed into the big front room near the fireplace. Cicley made a rush for the money and hid it under the feather-bed, then rumpled the feathers and put the covers awry. Grabbing a nearby chair, she placed it by the head of the bed. On the chair she put a pitcher of water and a glass partly filled, some spoons and as many medicine bottles as she could get hold of in her- wild haste. In a double jiffy her clothes were off and replaced by a nightgown, and her head wrapped about with a white cloth in such a way as to leave only enough of her head and face visible to show she was black. Then she opened the front door which faced the road and the stile block and gave full view of the bed, letting the morning sunshine stream across the room.
Jane had reported that the men had stopped down at the little creek to water their horses, and were now on their way to the house at a gallop. Cicley jumped into the bed, rolled over and tumbled the covers, and such moaning and groaning and carrying-on as she did the girls had never heard before.
Upon arriving, the leader- of the gang dropped from his horse, with a half dozen of his men following, and came tramping over the stile block and up to the porch steps. He thumped the butt of his whip in thundering tones on the porch. The only answer was a series of groans and moans from Cicley as she lay apparently writhing in pan on the bed. With a great oath, the men came stamping into the room and ordered: “You black wench, get out of that bed the quickest you ever did anything in your life, and get us something to eat. If you hurry we’ll pay you for it; if you don’t, we’ll burn you out like rats.”
Turning slowly, as if in great pain, Cicley raised up on one elbow and said meekly: “Mister, have you ever had the small-pox?” Leaping half way across the room at one stride, the man let out a loud “NO!” and was out of the room like a flash. He and his men fairly fell over- each other getting over the stile block and on their horses, losing no time making their getaway in a great cloud of dust.
The girls, hysterical with joy, rushed down to help clear away the mess Cicley had made in her wild haste. They could hardly wait till their Mother rode in that. evening to tell her the wonderful news.
You may well believe that Cicley received plenty of praise; but she stoutly insisted to her dying day: “Miss Sbyil, I never told a lie about that, I sure didn’t. I just asked him if ever he had it.”
A true story. Olive E. Barbour, Clymer, PA.
Olive Eunice Hickman was raised by Lucy and John Marr and she went by the name of Olive E. Marr. O. V. Barbour was her third husband.
Cheryl’s note: Jesse James is related to the Mosby family when you go all the way back to almost the first Mosby in America.
W. Quantrill, Cole Younger, Frank James, Jim Younger and Bob Younger
Bushwhackers were guerilla soldiers on the border of Kansas and Missouri. They led raids back and forth across the state line. One of the leaders of the bushwhackers was William Clark Quantrill. Other well known bushwhackers included Frank and Jesse James and the Younger brothers.
William Clark Quantrill was a Confederate Bushwhacker. He was born in 1837 in Ohio. He spent several years on the frontier as a gambler, ne’er-do-well, and petty thief. He became entangled in the border skirmishes between Missouri and Kansas and used the upset conditions for his own purposes. Known also as Charley Hart, and Billy Quantrill, he fought at Wilsons Creek and then undertook guerilla operations in Missouri. On the 11th of August in 1862 he captured Independence Missouri. Four days later he was commissioned a Captain in the confederate army with about 150 men under him. Later in November he went to Richmond VA. and claimed that he had been given a Colonels commission.
In the meantime his men had been fighting in Missouri and Kansas, Quantrill did not join them until January or February of 1863. On August 21, 1863, his command burned and plundered Lawrence Kansas. About 150 men and boys were killed and about a million and a half dollars worth of property was destroyed.