Sunday, September 21, 2014

It was the Walk from Civil War Missouri that Required Tremendous Bravery

When we went to Missouri/Arkansas I thought we would find the story of a civil war soldier but it rapidly became the story of a civil war woman who must have had the bravery of a lion.

Downtown Licking, MO

Living south of Beulah, Missouri, Thomas Logan Johnson, was about to prove up in 1862 on over 160 acres of land he had filed homestead patents on in addition to lands he proved up on in 1856.  In May, he married Julia Ann Dension, ten years younger than he was. Oral family history says Julia was a small, dark-haired woman.

Logan (as he always went by) was 29 years old.  There was a spacious well built house on his farm in Spring Creek Township, Phelps County, Missouri and he was a slave owner although I've not been able to find out how many.  Known for raising fine horses, the new Mrs. Johnson must have looked forward to a bright future.

It was not to be.  In August of 1862, both the Union and Confederate armies were conscripting soldiers.  Thomas Logan Johnson went with his neighbors to Oregon County, Missouri and wound up in Company C of the Missouri 8th Infantry CSA as a 2nd Lieutenant.  He would not see his wife, nor the new baby, Annie,  who arrived in the Spring of 1863, for three years.  He also would not see any paycheck the entire time he served.

Meanwhile, Julia endured I don't know what from both Confederate and Union raiders.  The Union Army had moved into the county seat, Rolla, with 10,000 soldiers after the defeat at Wilson's Creek.  In it's infinite wisdom, the government in Washington D.C. paid it's army in useless script with the result of turning 10,000 hungry soldiers into the county raiding for their daily bread.  It must have been horrific.

How long Julia managed to stay on the farm, I haven't discovered.  But in August of 1864, the Union Provost Marshall in Rolla began seizing all the Confederate farms for 'bushwhacking' activities.  By the time the war ended in the Trans-Mississippi Area in May of 1865:

a)  Thomas Logan Johnson had fought in 3 battles;  Prairie Grove in Northern Arkansas shortly after enlisting in December of 1862, Battle of Pleasant Hill south of Shreveport, Louisiana in early April of 1864, and at Jenkins Ferry in Central Arkansas in late April of 1864 where he was on the Confederate Roll of Honor.  He was also now 1st Lieutenant of Company C. 

b) Where was Julia by the end of the war?  Somewhere near Beulah, Missouri but she had no slaves, no farm, no horses and no home. At some point, the house had been burned.  Everything had been swept away by the war.  All she had was three year old Annie.  And where was her husband?

One of the released soldiers from the unit told her.  Logan was in a military camp, Camp Magruder, near Minden, Louisana, too ill to make it home.  Twenty odd miles from Shreveport, he had been too ill to even go to Shreveport to sign the oath of allegiance - a requirement for release.  She had to go get him -- almost 400 miles through wooded countryside with a military government and hundreds of bushwhackers.  She was going to have to depend upon the generosity of strangers to eat and for shelter.

And so she decided she WAS going to get him.  She didn't know if he would be alive when she got there.  And she was taking Annie with her.  

I questioned why she would take a 3 year old on such an ardous journey.  I decided it was because she didn't know what awaited her, perhaps a dead husband, perhaps a man who couldn't make it home, perhaps she couldn't make it back.  Leaving her child to an unknown fate was not a choice she wanted to make perhaps.

Starting from Beulah according to family oral history, she made her way to Licking, Missouri, where she managed to get a horse, albeit one that was old and barely servicable, from the Union Army in Licking.  Putting Annie on the horse (and maybe herself also) she started for Louisana.

A few traces of the Civil War or post war era remained in the architecture of Licking.  However I found out nothing about the post war occupation while there as the local museum was closed.  Perhaps the next trip.

Cornice of one of the buildings in Licking.

The railroad station to the left.  This had to be a post civil war station or perhaps even early 20th century as the railroad ended in Rolla during the war.

Next -- The trip

Sunday, September 14, 2014

When did Summer Happen?

Time really got away from me this summer.  It seems like I was sooooo busy yet do not have much to show for it.  Actually I had to go from part time at work to full time (and then some) and that really threw me for a loop.

The Civil War vacation was wonderful and we both so enjoyed the two weeks.  I will try to get some posts up on that.  Learned a lot!

Rebecca wants a picture of a calf so here you go ---
Most of our cows are about 3/4 angus now even though they might have a full belt.  Our bull is angus so we don't get too many belted calves anymore.  Occassionally a spot or two but the full belts are becoming rare.  Which for us is good as they dock you severely at the sale barn for white spots let alone a fully belted calf.

I did manage to do a little sewing this summer.  These were changing pad sheets I made for a gal I work with.  She had an adorable baby boy.

We went to a driving clinic in Gering Nebraska in May and had a great time! (Highly recommend the city campground in Gering.)  I fell in love with this mule who was the nicest boy ever, and his owner was a very nice person.  I believe his name was Festus and she would not part with him for love nor money and I can see why!

Course what's summer without baseball (or T-ball)?  Here #1 Granddaughter is at bat.

#1 Grandson had already had his game prior so he & Grandpa were playing catch.

AND BIG NEWS!!  We have a new granddaughter arriving late fall.  This is the little bib outfit I made for her recently, lined with green flannel and little hat to top it off.

And that pretty much sums up a summer that was way too brief.  We never even got up to the mountain this year.  But in addition to work overload, we've been busy trying to find a contractor (and are going with Morton Buildings) for a 60 x 100 arena/barn.  This is on five acres next to our #1 son near town.  A retirement place.  We will still spend spring/summer at 60 miles North of Nowhere but last winter, we decided it was no place for old people. 
Who wants to deal with this when they are retired??? Not ME.
So we will become snow birds.  Ha Ha. and go 60 miles SOUTH for the winter.  Horses will go with us, but we feed big round bales so we can set enough for the cattle for a week and come check them and feed them.  But retirement is still a few years off.  In the meantime we will enjoy that riding barn immensely.

Fall is really upon us.  In a few weeks the calves from the 'herdlet' will be shipped off and we will bring in two semi-loads of big bales of hay -- 44 tons.  Each bale weighs 1300 lbs and have to be moved with the skid-steer (tractor type machine).  I am not ready for winter again.  We had snow clear up to April and then just last week.  It seems it snows most of the year the past few years but boy did we have the GRASS this year.  And that is good.

Okay next posts have got to be about our vacation and what we found out and what we saw!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring in Wyoming, Mud and Snow!

This past winter was rough, not the roughest I've seen but we had slightly over 100 inches of snow.
The lane to the Highway from the house.

It was a good thing Hubby had our John Deere Skidsteer but by the end of the winter that nice wide plowed lane was down to one skidsteer width.  YOU did NOT want to get high-centered (stuck) in it as you couldn't open your doors to escape the vehicle!!!

Snow + Spring in Wyoming = MUD, SERIOUS MUD

And we've had it although I did not take any photos.   SERIOUS MUD + Warm Spring Weather = GRASS

And we are waiting for that warm weather.  We have 'some' green grass but it's really not coming in yet as it's been too cold.  Freezing most nights yet.  We had purchased extra hay last fall and it was a good thing we did. The past few years we've been done feeding usually by the third week of March.  This year we are STILL feeding but are down to about 2 1/2 tons left.  That's only one more week of feed.  Good thing we bought 12 tons more than the year before!

C'mon Grass!  We are Ready. July 2012

Only one more cow left to calve from our 'herdlet'.  We got one fully belted bull calf that is the prettiest thing.  I will have to take a picture of him before he gets much bigger.
The 2013 Calves

Tomorrow we are getting ready to leave for two weeks for a trip to Missouri and Arkansas.  We are going to attend the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Jenkins Ferry.  Hubby's gr gr grandfather fought for the Confederacy at Jenkins Ferry and we also going to Minden, Louisana, to trace the route/steps that Julia Johnson walked to and from to get her husband, Thomas Logan Johnson, from Camp Magruder at the end of the Civil War.  He became deathly ill at the camp and was unable to get home on his own.  You can read their story in more detail HERE and HERE.

I intend to take my laptop and hopefully find time to post some photos and information about the trip as it occurs.   I haven't had much personal computer time since January as I've been so busy with work.  I am hoping to get caught up and have more time by summer.  Sure hope that's not a Pipe Dream!

Hit a pretty good snow squall on the way to work this morning!  So still not raining but snowing......

Which brings me to the question -- Do Eskimos ever complain about the weather?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Some Days are Diamonds and some are

Lumps of Coal.  Today was a coal day for me.  STUCK both vehicles trying to get out.  Hubby even plowed at 5 am but the road drifted shut right after he left for work......


This was the road last Friday ... before the most recent snowstorm this Tuesday.  Me thinks we need to relocated our road elsewhere (like maybe Florida??? ROFL)

Tonight both cars are at the highway.  I will WALK out tomorrow morning.  

And what's crazy is the temperatures are in the 40's and upper 30's and I've been stuck....

Having FUN now!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How High can it GO?

Well I THOUGHT it was a good plan.  Do an end run through the pasture, around the drifts, and then JUMP THE HUMP and voila! I was back on the road at the Gate, and at the Highway......but I did not have enough steam going and FAILED .... slid to the fence and was stuck......

Know what the say about close only counts in Horseshoes?  Its TRUE!

Here's the road after it was plowed .... I stuck the car the day before this picture.
You can see it in the distance at the end.

Are we having Fun Yet???????

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fun on A Cold Wintry Wyoming Night....NOT!

6 pm - Dark out, snowing like crazy, wind blowing.  Animals are all fed and watered.  Hubby & I enjoy stew and homemade bread for supper.  Watching streaming TV on the merrily blazing in pellet stove.

7:04 pm - power flashes 2 times, goes out.   Hubby groans, pellet stove automatically switches over to back-up battery.  No TV, No radio, I forgot to charge my kindle, so no reading either.  Hubby says mild swear words.  Calls power company so we are on the call back list with updates on power status.  Told power will be on at 11 pm.  We sit and stare at each other in the dark, and sleep .....

Hubby is a Master at Sleeping in Place

8:45 pm -  I give up and go to bed with lots of covers.  Hubby sleeps on couch in living room to man the pellet stove, our only source of heat.  Stronger swear words about power company as I go to bed.
Use bathroom and flush the ONE tank of water we have down the toilet and hope power will be on Soon.

11:00 pm - I wake up to flashlight coming through bedroom.  Battery out on pellet stove.  Hubby coming in for some more clothes as he has to go out with battery to charge it up on pickup.  Calls power company, finds out restoration time shoved back to 3 am.  STRONG words about power company.  Hope power will be back on soon.

11:30 pm -  Hubby comes back in with battery partially charged.  Pellet stove back on,  Temps down in middle 60's in house.  Pray power will be back on soon.

3:00 am - NO POWER.  Battery out again.  Hubby looks different and language is barely understandable other than he his MAD.  Refuses to go with battery yet again.  Says power is suppose to be back on shortly.  Curses....repeatedly.  I go back to bed.  Realize we never may have power again----EVER.

4:30 am. -  NO POWER.  Temps in mid 50's in house, it's damn cold.  I put on my coat, and head scarf and call power company.  Restoration  time now 8:00 am.   Check gun locker and make sure it's still locked.  Inform hubby.   WORDS.  Hubby goes out and charges up battery again. I've given up and wonder what my fate will be. Death at the hands of this mad man or simply freezing to death.

5:00 am -  Pellet stove going again.  Still cold, cannot catch up.   I stay in coat, scarf and sit on couch.  Hubby has many many words about power company including 'grenades', pieces of s..., etc.  Plotting revenge.  I say nothing.  One wrong word and this guy will kill ME.

7:00 am - Hubby goes out and gets propane tank off BBQ grill and Little Buddy Heater to help pellet stove catch up.  I turn on gas oven and stare at mound of dirty dishes from supper and guess water is probably froze up.  Don't know, power out, no water. Hubby Struggles with tank, heater for quite a while.  He calls Power company, restoration time now 1:00 pm.....words under his breath, not discernible.

7:50 am -- Hubby has Little Buddy lit up and heating.  56.8 degrees in house.  Still in coat, scarf, and non verbal as threats are flying fast and furious.  Power company will be toast when this guy catches up with them.

8:05 am - POWER COMES ON.  Blessings, water is not froze in kitchen sink, I do dishes, fix breakfast.  Hubby returns to normal and goes to bed.  Cranky, but not a zombie anymore.  

And so goes life without power at 60 Miles North of Nowhere.

Hope it stays on - lows of -4 tonight predicted and -12 Sunday Night........Keeping fingers crossed.

Winter Moon