Things I Remember




Mildred Allen Hotchkiss


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During the final days of preparation for leaving the homestead on Ice Creek, I was parked at Aunt Sarah’s. They lived on a hill. Before that tho’ a sewing woman (I think it was Delia Moore Haley) came to the house. She made me two nice new dresses for the trip to Kansas. I was picked up at Aunt Mags on the Pike. I don’t know who took the family in to Ironton. It must have been Uncle Harrison or Uncle Med. (Uncle Med had rented our homestead.) The family was dumped at Aunt Sorilda’s to await the coming of the boat for Cincinnati. Our cousins Millie and Margaret Markin went with us to the wharf. We waited ‘til midnight for the Katy Stockdale but went on the Granite State (am I right?). We kiddies were asleep on the baggage under the tables when they told us the boat was in . Ethan was the youngest of eight children and was running everywhere. It took all of us to keep track of him.

We boarded the train at Cincinnati. Ten of us & Illa Spicer. It took 3 days and nights to reach Parkerville, Kansas. I was car sick all the way. Somewhere two of the boys had lost their new overcoats bought especially for western climate.

We were received (not cordially) at my Aunt Harriet Stivers who lived over her store. She had 5 rooms and an attic. Her bachelor bro. Newt Dilley lived with her and managed the store. Emma Johnson had come from the east and married Dr. Dan Hall. Newt Dilley west east and married her sister Mary Johnson. Then Candace came out, lived with the Dilleys and married James Sharp.

We reached Parkerville in December 1884. Lived until March over the Post Office in two rooms. Wonder who was postmaster? Was it the Morgans? We would lie on our beds Sat. nights and watch the dancing at the Seth Hotel next door. Ad Bruce visited us while we lived in 2 rooms.

He must have started to school. My teacher (I believe) was Emma Johnson Hall. But we soon moved to the farm owned by Harriet Stivers. How many acres? Three miles out. Aaron Parks was very reluctant about moving off of it. We had 3 rooms. The kitchen roof leaked badly. We were two miles from school Hurino. The name was made up out of the school board’s names. Hu for Mr. Hurley, ri for Mr. Rider, no for Mr. Nordeen. Our first teacher as I remember was Sue Downing. She wore the same dress all year.

Mr. & Mrs. Rider came to see us the first day at the farm. They lived east across Laird’s Creek and had 2 daughters and one son grown up. Helen, Maggie and John. Other neighbors at that time were Prescotts and Lunds. While we were living in 3 rooms two of the Keys came to visit. I think it was Uncle Coleman and Uncle John Keys.

Harry Simmons was to build a new house.


This particular writing ended here, but following are remembrances from some of her other writings.

The biggest event of the year was a picnic at Parkerville Park. Of course, it meant the entire day. The park was a block square, grassy and well shaded. It was fenced with posts supporting a heavy iron chain. The speaker’s platform and seat were provided but no picnic tables.

Four girls in the family naturally needed new dresses for the occasion. Women never have the right thing to wear already handing in their wardrobe. A new dress meant a new hat and shoe, too.

Aunt Mildred tells about one dress that she remembers she had. It was of buff chambray. It was ruffled and trimmed in Valenciennes lace edging. She had ironed at least three starched petticoats to wear under the dress. They had been all tucked, ruffled, and hung from the waist. They were starched so everything gave a nice rustling sound when she walked.

When breakfast was over, her father would say, "Now I want you all to be ready so we can go early. By ten o’clock we can tell what the day will be like." The team was hitched to the lumber wagon with one spring seat, a board with a quilt on it, a chair or two, and thy were ready for the three mile trip.

On arrival they would find that the whole countryside was already gathering. The platform had been decorated with flags and bunting. The young girls would promenade around the park to show off their clothes and see who all was there.

The program with Dan Rider in charge consisted of the Fife and Drum Corps led by Ham Rinard. But the main event for the younger ones was the picnic dinner.

Uncovering the clothes basket that contained the menu for the day found it full of fried chicken, fresh pickled beets, hard boiled eggs colored in the beet juice, cabbage salad, cottage cheese, fresh applesauce from Red June or Early Harvest apples from their orchard, wild plum or wild grape jelly, and the big watermelon cake made by the mother’s prize recipe and baked in two round cake pans. It was decorated with red sugar for the center and raisins for seeds. A big tablecloth was spread on the ground and everyone sat around it. Horses were hitched to the big chain fence all around the park. The flies joined in, of course.

The Methodist Church group served homemade ice cream. Milk and eggs had been donated by farmers around the area. Jim Parker would yell, "Right this way to get your lemonade, made in the shade by an old maid, and stirred with a spade!" Proceeds went to the Baptist Church.

In the afternoon they often had a prominent, out-of-town speaker. One time they had Carrie Chapman Catt (She must have been brought in by Mildred’s Aunt Harriett Stivers and Harry Simmons for they were strong for Prohibition and Women’s Rights.) Carrie Nation and Carrie Chapman Catt were two different people. Carrie Nation was born in 1846 and named Carry Amelia Moore. She died in 1911. Carrie Chapman Catt was born in 1859 and died in 1947. However, they were from the same area of Kansas and shared the same ideals and values.

If the girls were permitted to stay for the evening, they would watch the square dancing. However, for the Allen girls to appear on a public platform would have been a disgrace to the family. Fireworks climaxed the day. They were wonderful.

What a day it was! The cows went unmilked but who cared. The next day everyone was exhausted. However, they had a whole year to rest up for the next one. In later years a band was organized and the Allen boys played in it and helped out with the celebration.