|Little Home Histories, Part 57 -- William Pickett.|
by Steer, William G.
See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 56 -- Edward Pickett.
William Pickett was the son of Thomas Pickett and Hanna Steer. She was a sister of my grandfather, James Steer Sr. William was born in 1820 at Concord and moved with his parents to Hopewell meeting, three miles south of Malta, Morgan County, Ohio.
William married Rebecca Worthington when she was sixteen years old. They were the parents of nine children -- John, Mary, Elizabeth, Perly, Isaac, Louisa D., Sara M., Edward and Anna. The latter passing away when young. With the exception of John, they all were educated at the Boarding Schools at Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson County, and Barnesville, Belmont County, Ohio.
Mary taught at Mt. Pleasant for several years, and all the others had been teachers except John and Thomas. Sara M., the only one who graduated at Barnesville Boarding School, taught for a number of years at number one school in Warren Township, Barnesville Public school, and Friends primary school at Salem, Ohio
Of the twenty-five grandchildren, sixteen are living, and eleven great grandchildren are of draft age; two of them are in the navy. Father Pickett had little means when married, so felt the need of economizing time. On one mid-week meeting day, he thought best to stay at home and plow. The first round he made he broke his plow, which to repair cost him more than a week's work, This accident confirmed in him the belief that it was not right to absent himself from attending all religious meetings or worship.
At the time of the Civil War, John, the oldest son was of age, so father and he were taken to Marietta, Ohio when they refused to enlist, and were kept there for some time -- then allowed to return home without having been punished in any way.
With the help of his sons he cleared the land and also increased the size of his farm so it was considered one of the best kept and best fenced in the community. In those days all the fences were rail, staked and double ridered. To build such a fence, they had to first make it eight rails high, set two stakes at each panel, and place the two riders. These rails were made of the best walnut, poplar, and oak. The virgin soil was very productive.
Father told me that he grew 100 bushels in three crops in succession or 1,000 bushels on the 10 acres. Also, he noted that he was the first one to use bran to feed stock -- that the millers previously had always dumped it into the river. I am reminded in connection with this, that one evening he had loaded a wagon with sacks of wheat to take to the mill, and the next morning, found his wagon on top of the barn with the wheat in it. This was a Halloween prank.
In the early time of the Boarding School at Mt. Pleasant, a brother, Thomas Pickett, was a student. One day near noon, he received a telegram telling of his brother's serious illness. There was no railroad in Morgan County then, so the only way of travel was by steamboat on the Muskingum to Zanesville. Having to wait until morning for the boat, he started on foot and was soon picked up by a farmer and taken several miles. Then he again walked on until a man in a high wheeled one-seated sulky overtook him and stopped to ask where he was going. On learning from father the urgency of getting to Zanesville in time for the train, the man informed him that the only help he could give was to allow him to hold on to the back of the cart, which offer he readily accepted. In this manner he ran for some time though it required an effort to keep up with the speed of the horse. By being thus assisted, he was able to travel the 28 mile in time for the train to Wheeling, W. Va. It was after night by the time he had reached the boat lauding that crossed to Martins Ferry and no boat was running on account of the heavy ice floating in the river. Although it seemed a hazardous thing to do, he saw no way but to endeavor to cross on the floating cakes of ice, which he was favored to do without an accident. We need to remember that the only light to guide him was the reflection from the blast furnaces. It was still 12 miles to Mt. Pleasant. Yet he travelled on to the home of Asa Raley about half way and soon learned he was too late to see his brother alive.
Father and mother were faithful in the attendance of all their meetings, driving to Chester Hill, 12 miles away over unimproved roads in all kinds of weather. Their only conveyance was an open-top spring wagon. Those who never have had such experiences can hardly realize what it meant to drive that 24 miles and attend meeting the same day.
By 1883, their home meeting being kept up by only a few persons, and two of their married daughters -- Mary P. Taber and Louisa D. Steer -- living near Barnesville, they decided to sell the farm and move there. They bought the Joseph Doudna farm, which was formerly the Joel Dawson farm, located one-half mile from the yearly meetinghouse.
Father was then quite lame and not able to manage the work. so his son Thomas and wife lived with them for four years, after which he had to depend on hired help until 1896, when Louisa and I returned after living nine years in California.
Mother Pickett passed away in 1904. The farm was sold, so father and the two sisters -- Elizabeth and Sara M. -- went to live with us in 1907. The home we had bought at Tacoma, formerly was the home of William and Jane Stanton.
Father told us of one autumn when he failed to get his apples stored before winter. Instead, he covered the piles with corn fodder and the apples wintered in good condition. He was a man of strong character and a very useful member of meeting. Though having little education, he would often repeat a selection he had committed to memory while following the plow. Father and mother were faithful attenders of meeting when able. They were both in the position of elders here and in Pennsville Quarter, Morgan County. She passed away in 1904 and he in 1910, the day after his grandson Louis J. Taber and Edna Bailey were married.
William and Rebecca had been married more than 65 years and were laid away in Stillwater burying grounds, as were all of their children except John and Thomas. The former was buried in Colorado and the latter in Omaha, Nebraska.
Source: Written by: William G. Steer, Barnesville, Ohio.
See next entry: Little Home Histories, Part 58 -- The Plummer Farm.
For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.
This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.
DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 2002 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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