Monday; March 13, 1916, Messers. S. W. Searle; Orrin S. Holt and I called on Mr. and Mrs. S. B. Hendren who live in the old "Billy" Brooks' house at 4106, Fifth Ave., Rock Island.
While Mr. Searle got a "story" from Mr. Hendren on the Military prison on the Island, during the Civil War, Mr. Holt and I spoke with Mrs. Hendren. She said:---
"My mother was born in France the daughter of a German family, and came to this country when she was 18 years old, Father was a scotchman. They came here before the indians left. One of the Wells' performed their marriage ceremony at Moline. I was born at what they called Pleasant Valley-not the one near Carbon Cliff, This is the one they called Sugar Hollow, in Moline. Father moved on to the sand ridge just south of the Moline High bridge across Rock River where the Dr. A. M. Beal farm is now.
Do I remember indians? Well I guess I can remember indians. They'd come to our house and lay down on the floor all night, in our log-house. One night I had a fever and got up to get a drink and started for the other room and tripped on an indian. He had a bell on him and he started with a "Woof" and scared me so I didn't get over it for a week.
The wolves were so plenty that sometimes mother would sit up all night to keep firebrands going and hot water in the kettle to fight them with in case they should attack us.
One times we had no time-piece and nothing to tell one day from another and some folks came along and Mother was doing her washing. It was Sunday but she thought it was Monday. We had to tell the time of day by the sun.
Father was one of the guards at the hanging of the Davenport murderers in 1845. Another guard was so frightened he was going to shoot right into the crowd of spectators and father knocked his gun upwards so he wouldn't hurt anyone.
Aaron Young's rope broke and he said "Don't choke a man and then hang him". They gave him a drink and then hanged him again.
Uncle Henry drove us to the hanging. Everybody went and there was a crowd along the road. When they'd run into our wagon Uncle Henry would get mad and swear at them, and Mother would say 'You'll get into a fight'. There was a crowd of people --- wonderful, going to the hanging of the Col. Davenport murderers. Men were racing along the road. We didn't have anything but a board to sit on either,--not a spring seat.
One time when we were living on the sand ridge Father went to town and I was left home alone. We had some bloodhounds and there was a terrible lot of rabbits. I went out with the dogs to see if we could get a rabbit but the dogs got after a pig and killed it. I tried my best to drive them off the shoat but I didn't have anything but cornstalks and so the pig was killed and we got no rabbits. I was scared about killing the pig and as soon as we got home I washed the blood off the dogs. The neighbor who owned the pig came over in a few days looking for the shoat but I never let on. After two or three months I couldn't hold in any longer and I told father our dogs had killed the pig and that I had been hunting for rabbits and broke cornstalks over the dogs' heads but couldn't stop them.
Afterwards we lived on the Monmouth road where father owned a farm (he was Bailey Nathaniel Kinner) and from there we moved to Camden--or Milan as they call it now, where father ran the ferry. We lived on Vandruff's Island and knew the Vandruff family. Our folks used to exchange dresses, and the Vandruff women would come over and borrow mother's dresses, They had 14 children. We lived right by Mrs. Kalbaugh who was a Vandruff daughter. The Kalbaugh house is still standing.
We used to go to school on Big Island,--a frame building of sawed lumber. Among my schoolmates there were Isabella McLaughlin,--Newton, ----- Chinstrom children, they were swedes, Mosier's--not of the family now on Hampton Bluffs.
Mother used to tell us some awful stories but I've forgotten them all. She was here when the indians planted corn on Vandruff's Island. An indian would stand on the Watch Tower and call commands to the indians planting corn on the island. You could hear those indians call for several miles.
Back of the Watch Tower lived Mrs. McCaw whom everybody said was a witch. If our churning wouldn't fetch butter we'd say Mrs. McCaw has bewitched it, and if we didn't behave Mother would say: Mrs. McCaw will get you. She drove oxen and would holler "Gee" "Haw" and she'd have a big whip. She was awful tall. She never drove anything but oxen and would have four of them to a load of hay, hauling it to Rock Island. I used to drive oxen too, but I never drove them to town,
Yes, we knew the Gokey's (or Gouque). Old Mrs. Gokey wore the blanket as the indians did. She was an indian; but her two daughters wore dresses. They used to carry us on their backs to get little wild onions to fry them. They were nice. The old man Gokey wore leggings like the indians. He is reported to have said Mrs. Gokey was spoiling their son Joe by letting him carry water and get wood for his mother. Joe Gokey used to go out hunting with father. Father could talk indian and held be out a whole week with Joe, out hunting.
My father used to take care of the sugar camp at "Sugar Point" just south of Carbon Cliff, and be out there two weeks at a time, and Mrs. Gokey never missed being there too. There used to be so many fleas and at Milan they used to have a story of a man getting a load of sand. After he'd gone some distance he looked back and all his sand was gone. They were all fleas and they had jumped out of the wagon. Another story was that they graded the road but the next day it was level again, all the fleas had jumped away.
The mosquitoes also were extremely bad and Mother used to almost smoke us to death trying to smoke away the mosquitoes. On the sand mound we had such lot of sand burrs.
We didn't have any washboard and would put the clothes on a bench and pound them with a paddle. One time I took a lot to the River and it got away from me and floated down the river.
My father could have gotten the land right in Rock Island for $1.00 to $1.25 per acre.
We'd pick up maple seeds and sell them at ten cents and fifteen cents per bushel to those who were starting groves on their prairie farms.
We were always afraid to pass that house in Sears. Father would hear screams from there all hours of the night. Mother used to tell us indians' stories and we's be so scared we'd be afraid to go to bed.
Father was a wonderful hunter, and old man Buford and Joe Knox and Mixter and Drury. They'd come out and stay a week or more in our log house. We had plenty of beds. Father would shoot a deer or prairie thicken right from our door.
In those days you couldn't get anything for a front quarter. It was only the hind quarters of a deer that would sell. We'd hang deer tenderloin up in the rafters of our house and let it dry. We'd only dip them in salt, hang them up and they would keep fine. To eat it we would slice it just like we do dried beef. (Mr. Holt says they would skin out the front quarter of a deer, throw it away and bring in the hind quarter wrapped in the skin).
Father used to wear horse-hide boots and we children had awfully clumsy shoes which we were not used to wearing. On the way to town going to a circus or something we would soon take off our shoes and keep them off till we got near town, then get into a thicket and put them on again.
Yes, the Hadsells used to come to our house Dr. Hadsell built the Hotel where the Harper House now is.
And the Van Sant's? Sammy Van Sant, the governor used to come to see me---yes he waited on me a long time. And 'Lias? Yes, held dance and preach and everything. Held go to church and pray and then come to our house and cut up like everything. He'd say: "I can do anything,--preach, doctor horses or anything. His brother Sammy never was like that. Father wouldn't let anyone sit up with us after 10:00 at night, and held say: "It's time to go", and Sammy would say: 'I'll go home when I please". Father couldn't drive him away. Sammy always was a nice little fellow.
Our house on Vandruff's Island was a great big two story one. Brunot's lived on the Island too--where Lowell is. He was a great church man and every Saturday took a swim to be ready for Sunday, and he was drowned.
My maiden name was Ruth Ann Kinner. I was born in 1841 and will be 75 years of age the 20th of next November. Have been married between 50 and 51 years. My husband, S. B. Hendren was born at Duncan, Mercer Co. Kentucky, November 17, 1842.
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