A JOURNEY BY WAGON
MISS SARAH FOOTE
(Mrs. Sarah Foote Smith)
WHILE JOURNEYING WITH HER PEOPLE
Town of Nepeuskim, Winnebago County,
April 15 to May 10, 1846.
To the reader of highly seasoned modern fiction the following
plain narrative may seem to have no excuse for publication. But
appreciation will not be wanting from those few still living, who were
members of that family of movers nor from their numerous prosper-
ous families of children and grandchildren.
To the educated and thoughtful person, though unacquainted
with the author, there is always a charm about a bit of real history.
Sarah Foote is one of the six children of Mr. and Mrs. Percival
Foote of strict New England Puritan stock. Mr. Foote was a cousin
of United States Senator Solomon Foote, of New Hampshire.
This Foote family had been pioneers in Ohio and were going
farther west to the territory of Wisconsin.
Sarah was a country school girl in her teens. She had learned
in the district school in Ohio, to read, write, cipher, and to parse and
spell. She was known as a good speller by schools surrounding her
district, which fame had been won in rival spelling contests.
Considering the fact that this Puritan maiden wrote this journal
without a thought of its being seen by others, and that it was seen
by no other eye until fifteen years afterwards, we get a vivid idea of
the every day practical discipline of the youthful life of sixty years
Considering also the fact that this bit of writing was done mostly
at night, after the day's journey, and that the precious manuscript
made of folded sheets of the old blue writing paper, is perfect in
spelling and grammatical expression and remarkably direct and defi-
nite in language, we may well hesitate before claiming immeasurable
superiority for the modern schools.
With the exception of a few changes in capital letters this pub-
lication is a verbatim copy of the original which is now in possession
of her son. CHESTER W. SMITH.
Kilbourn, Wis., April, 1905.
This is a record of our journey in the spring of 1846. The names
of places and the prices of things are all correct. As to the rest, I
asked but few questions, being rather unwilling that such an under-
taking should be known, writing at night what I could remember of
our observations through the day.
Fifteen years have passed since this journey and how many
changes have taken place! But no other eye hath seen nor hath ear
heard what is here written. I think I will show it twenty years from
now when it may be interesting to those who shared the events. My
visit back again to the old home, to the old school house and to the
dream land of youth has never been even anticipated, I might say,
probably never will be.
MRS. S. F. SMITH.
Poysippi, Washara Co., Wis., Nov. 1, 1861.
Foreword to Second Edition.
Sarah Foote, the young school girl who kept this brief diary,
was of the ninth generation of American pioneers. Many of her fore-
fathers and foremothers (builders of roads, of communities, of towns,
of states) had taken parts of considerable importance, in the estab-
lishing and development of English colonial life in the new world of
Her father, Elisha Percival Foote (born in Lee, in the Berkshire
Hills of Massachusetts), early left his father's dwelling (a house still
admirable and sound, still occupied by Footes) and went out west,
to Ogden, Monroe County, New York, where relatives had settled in
the early part of the century. About 1826 (he was then twenty-three
and had a wife and child), Percival moved on farther west, to the
fertile and lovely upper corner of Ohio, called The Western Reserve.
It was there, in Wellington, in 1829, that Sarah was born.
With all the books now on the shelves of our greater public libra-
ries, with memories of the narratives of certain pioneers of long ago,
it is not hard to re-imagine the beauty of the country those adventur-
ing pilgrims sought and found, as (unresting and ever sanguine) they
pushed on from border to border, from state to territory.
Although so many days away from Massachusetts (and all that
Massachusetts had come to mean to America, in the way of educa-
tion, of the larger commercial opportunities and the daily amenities
of life), we are easily persuaded that, in the 1830's and 1840's, North-
ern Ohio was a sylvan paradise.
At the time Percival Foote acquired his farm of one hundred
acres, all the ridges left by the ancient recedings of Lake Erie were
heavily timbered. The forests of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky
differed from all other primeval forests. The variety of tree life was
an astonishment and the forests, in which no white man's camp had
been marked by refuse and destruction, were as clean as Eden and
merited Audubon's enthusiastic exclamation, "O, the beautiful, the
darling forests of Ohio!"
There were tree giants :'n those days, giants of hickory, oak, wal-
nut, beech, locust, poplar, sycamore, horse chestnut, white ash, sugar
maple. To clear those one hundred acres was hard work but it seems
no one was afraid of hard work then. The cleared land proved very
fertile and 0, so satisfyingly free from the small stones and the
granite boulders of the fields back in New England !
On her way to country school (where she learned to spell, and
correctly, from Webster's blue spelling-book), Sarah doubtless picked
the same sorts of wildflowers that her mother had picked in western
New York and that her grandmother had picked in western Massa-
chusetts. But the varieties were in greater profusion in the Ohio
woods and clearings.
Millions of passenger pigeons sometimes darkened the Ohio sky,
like a rain cloud, their weight breaking branches from large trees,
when they rested. Wild turkeys were still common and there was an
occasional wolf or bear, for the children to romance and wonder about.
A housewife in that section was awakened one night, by an unfamiliar
sound in the kitchen, but gave no alarm. In the morning, it was found
that a mother opossum and all her young had come in at the cat-
hole; and, looking about for food, they had overturned a large stone
jar of peach preserves. They had eaten all the preserves and, when
discovered, were very industriously licking the jar quite clean. The
pioneer of that household (Mr. Lucien Leavenworth Peet) put the
mother opossum and all her children into a bushel basket and walked
a mile with them through the clearing to the woods, their woods.
Wild fruits and nuts were luscious and abundant and, to be sure,
the watching and the gathering of the wild strawberries, the wild
raspberries (white ones, red ones, black ones!), the wild plums and
frost grapes, the hickory nuts and beechnuts and walnuts and butter-
nuts early developed in pioneer children the wood lore and wood craft
and love of Nature that are so manifest in many of their children's
But, at the age of forty-three, Sarah's father again heard the
unconquered West a-calling. Land agents eloquently were represent-
ing Wisconsin Territory as the one true paradise, the delectable land
long sought, flowing with milk and honey. Wisconsin, beautiful with
forests, rivers, lakes, was indeed the newer empire and there choice
farming land could be had for $1.25 an acre.
So, in 1846, Percival Foote sold out in Ohio and, with all the equip-
ment of an experienced, a wise and far-seeing pioneer, he and his
family moved on and established a new home.
By water, he shipped a great chest containing the tools needed
by a blacksmith, a carpenter, a cooper, a tanner, a shoemaker, a den-
tist. Also, he sent on necessary household equipment, such as may
be seen today only in museums. There was a large spinning wheel,
for the spinning of wool; a little spinning wheel, for the spinning of
flax; a reel, to take the yarn from the wheel; and swifts to wind it
into balls from the skeins.
Also, there was a great loom for the weaving of cloth, accom-
panied by a quill wheel, upon which to wind bobbins for the loom.
No mention is made of the huge soap kettle nor of garden seeds nor
a favorite rose bush, but undoubtedly they went along.
All went well in Wisconsin Territory and the family grew and
prospered in that far land, in that pre-machinery day, when families
were home-fed and tranquilly independent of outside markets. The
Foote Neighborhood that developed with the years was a unique
example of the old American patriarchy, a community of brethren
living together in accord and prosperity.
Sarah Foote's eldest daughter (now living in California, Amer-
ica's last frontier) has very appreciative memories of that Foote
Neighborhood, in which she grew up.; She says the old Foote house
(a big, white, Colonial one) still stands and looks quite as attractive
and as young as its neighbors. There was a building on her Grand-
father's place called The Shop, where the great tool chest was kept
and where useful things were made, made well and often beautifully.
She remembers homemade rolling-pins, butter paddles, cradles, a little
red chest, a big red chest, and even a pair of shears. (Many of the
toys and wooden utensils for kitchen use, such as we now import from
Germany, were then made by self-taught pioneers, from the hard
woods of their own t'mber lots. Some of them, still prized as heir-
looms, are admirable examples of craftsmanship, of design.)
She fondly remembers the district schoolhouse, where she learned
to spell correctly, in pre-phonetic days. It was a long, cold mile to
the schoolhouse but all along the way were the homes of nice uncles
and aunts and cousins. In winter, her Uncle Jonathan Foote used to
send out a fine team and a very big sleigh, to take all the children
to school. In that pre-harvester age, all the men of The Foote Neigh-
borhood helped one another with their farm work and the women
helped one another in the periodic, greater tasks of their households.
During the four seasons, there were of course numerous happy gath-
erings of the family and everyone went; not one child ever was left
at home. The Foote 'Neighborhood was one great family, genial,
capable, hospitable with a feeling of strength and unity, of pride
The history of any old-time American family or household is
well worth writing or reading; but the printed chronicles are still too
few, as, year by year, the old letters and diaries disappear, by accident
or by intent.
The complexities of life in a modernized, a Europeanized America
have made a memory of many worthy and well loved customs of the
old home life; but it is with a quietly deepening affection that the
hearts of the old-time pioneers still turn to dear, little, old Mother
New England. And, assuredly, after the lands of their ancestors have
been acquired by uncomprehending people of other races and other
ideas, it is by men and women of Pilgrim-Puritan lineage (whose
characters have been developing under the discipline of pioneer hard-
ships, of small town life) that the glory of old New England is to be
emphasized and preserved.
"It is by men and women of Puritan lineage, developed by relig-
ious tolerance and universal education, that the institutions and the
glory of New England are to be preserved, after the homes of their
ancestors have been occupied by people of other races and other
Francis H. Underwood.
April 14, 1846.
Tuesday evening and 'tis to be the last night for us here in our
old home in Ohio, for all of our things are packed and all but what
we most need were sent on by water to Milwaukee. The rest of the
things nearly fill a large wagon.
Father, mother, Mary, Sarah, Orlena, Alvin and Lucy are to ride
in the family buggy.
Tonight we girls are to stay with our schoolmates, Elvira and
Samantha Bradley. Their brother Charlie is going with us to Wis-
consin Territory to drive one of the teams.
I have prepared this little book and am going to try and keep a
journal, but I must go now for I expect to meet a few friends. I feel
very sorry to part with them all, but I anticipate a great deal from
our journey and think I shall enjoy a visit back again in three or four
years very much.
Apr. 15, 1846. Wednesday morning and pleasant. Many of our
friends and neighbors gathered to see us off and after the usual ex-
changes of good wishes, goodbyes and sad farewells we were on our
way at 10 o'clock. As we passed the old school house it was the sad-
dest of all leave-takings though a silent one.
But we were soon away from home scenes and with many new
objects gaining our attention our minds turned from sad thoughts to
new and pleasanter ones. We passed through the center of Brighton
the first town west of our home, now a small village. It has a large
white church. We next drove through Clarksfield Hollow, with its
fine water privileges and a lively business place. Norwalk came next
with its level straight streets, beautiful shade trees and a very pretty
village. Here we saw a young buffalo that a man was showing. I sup-
pose the animal came from somewhere in the great west. We had
good roads and pleasant country the rest of the day. At night we
stopped at the town of Richland at a private house where we provided
our own beds and meals.
Here we are the first night 24 miles from Wellington, in a room by
ourselves with a stove. We think it is very nice for all of us.
Thur. April 16th. This morning we got an early start. Father
paid our host 75c for house and stable room.
We found good roads excepting three miles which were very
sandy near Bellevue village.
We reached Hamer's Corners at noon and stopped to feed the
horses and take lunch. Here we found that one of the wagon tires
needed setting and as there was a blacksmith shop handy Father got
it done, while there we sat waiting for two hours. The setting of the
tire cost 75c. We finally got started but now found very bad roads;
being rough with deep ruts.
After going two or three miles Father noticed something wrong
with our buggy and after examining it, he said we must all get out
as the reach was broken. So we called to Alvin to bring the axe, and
while we girls and mother walked on, they fixed the buggy good and
strong with some sticks they cut and a rope from the wagon. So this
was not a serious breakdown this time. We soon came to Lower San-
dusky river which we crossed on a fine bridge.
Then we came to the macadamized road where we had to pay 81c
After going a mile we came to a tavern for the night, having
traveled 31 miles. Well, after all the hindrances of the day its simple
history is scribbled down.
April 17. Our tavern bill was one dollar. Now we found a good
road, a high turnpike paved with broken stone but we had to pay 81c
We passed through Perrysburgh and Maumee City and crossed
the river by bridge which cost sixty-six and one half cents toll. We
found bad roads the rest of the way. At night we stopped at a tavern
called The Pennsylvania House, which was a tolerable place.
Sat. Apr. 18. We paid 75 cts. for our fare and all of us felt rather
down, for we had had poor water to drink for a day or two, so differ-
ent from what we were used to. Soon after starting today we came
to two roads both leading to the same place, the right hand road lead-
ing through Cottonwood swamp and the left lead through a worse
road so some had told us. Others declared the left hand road was
better. Finally after a great deal of inquiry we took the right hand
We reached Michigan state line at noon, and stopped to rest and
lunch. In three miles farther on we came to the great swamp and of
all the roads this was the worst. The mud was deep and stiff except
places where logs were laid across and this made it very rough.
We all walked most of the time, for it was so hard for the horses
we had to stop and rest them very often.
It was only five miles but we were nearly all the afternoon getting
through. They are commencing a turnpike through them and I hope
it will be finished when we go back. After getting two miles out of
the swamp we found better roads.
We put up for over Sunday at a new tavern and found it quite
thickly settled about here. We traveled 20 miles today and feel tired
and quite like resting. We find better water here and all are feeling
better than in the morning.
Sun. Eve. April 19. We have enjoyed ourselves very well today.
We found first rate folks and we are resting. Father has gone to
meeting this evening.
Mon. April 20th. We are all well this morning and in good spirits.
Our tavern bill was 10 shillings. We got started at 6 o'clock and found
the roads very stony and rutty. A little past noon we passed Devils
Lake. Great name that is!
One of our wagon wheels now was about given out. It had turned
inside out already, yet we were in hopes to reach Chicago Turnpike
before it gave up. But about 5 o'clock it smashed down flat and there
we were in the roads, and the only building in sight was an old school
house. So here we concluded to stay over night while Father went on
with the broken wheel and buggy to find a wagon maker. We found
an old stone fire place in the school house and here we cooked our
supper and ate it, using the high benches for tables and the low
benches for seats. Our horses had to stay out doors all night tied to
trees. We have only gone 20 miles today.
Tues. April 21. We slept uncommonly well for we were in no-
body's way. We had for breakfast pork, potatoes, tea and sugar, and
bread. After eating and washing the dishes, while Mother was plac-
ing things in order, we girls rambled about the place to find amuse-
ment, and all waiting for Father to return. We found plenty of sassa-
fras growing and dug some roots for tea.
About 10 o'clock Father came back. He had gone on 9 miles the
night before to find a wagon shop where he left the broken wheel and
then came back a mile to a public house to stay over night. His bill
for himself and team was one dollar. In the morning he borrowed a
wagon wheel and came back to us and we were scon on our way to
the village where we got our wheel fixed. We had to wait over an
hour for Father to get the wheel which cost 18 shillings for being
We finally got started in the afternoon and soon found better
roads and country. We now began to see large fields of wheat grow-
ing and beautiful oak openings. These latter looked like large
orchards to us. The trees are smaller with spreading branches, so
different from the heavy timber we have been used to seeing. We
bo't two bushels of oats for 50cts. We are now stopping for the night
at a Temperance house which we have not usually found. This is
also a very good place.
Wednesday morning April 22. Today we went through Jones-
ville which is quite a large place. Here we bought two loaves of bread
and had to pay 25cts, also a trace chain for 50cts, and enquired the
way to Coldwater. On our way we saw more fine looking wheat fields,
60 and 70 acres they said, in one fielcf ! We bought a bushel of wheat
for 25cts. At noon we tried our loaf of bread but found it was good
for nothing. It looked nice but it was so sour we could not relish it
at all. At Coldwater we bought two bushels of oats for 44cts.
Eight miles farther on brought us to Garey's tavern which made
33 miles we have traveled today. While the others are working I am
writing or trying to write about the day's travel. We have a room
by ourselves tonight and all find some work to do in fixing up things
for the journey.
Thurs. 23rd. We got an early start and the first village we came
through was Brunson where we bought sixpence worth of potatoes
and enquired for Sturges Prairie. When we arrived there we found
it a very pretty village. Here we saw some few orchards in which
were some very large apple trees. It now began to rain some but we
went on twelve miles farther and put up at a public house in White
Pigeon. It is a poor place for us but as it rains hard we are obliged
Fri. Apr. 24. Our bill was $1, and we got started at six o'clock.
It is pleasant this morning. For the first time since our start we
overtook a family of movers going our way and they wanted us to join
company, but they could not keep up with us so we soon left them
behind. We came through three villages and did not ask their names.
We bought a bushel of oats for 25 cents, and some crackers and bread
for 32 cents. It was good bread too this time and we ate it with relish.
The next village was Adamsville and then came Edwards Prairie.
Here for the first time we were out of sight of trees. It is a handsome
village, so level and with smooth roads. We got two bushels of oats
here for 40 cents and enquired the way to Bertrand where we arrived
at 7 p. m. We staid over night at the M. Hargins house.
Sat. Apr. 25. This morning Charley Bradley came across an old
acquaintance. This is a very good tavern, and we bought some more
crackers. Today about as usual, a little after noon we came to a fork
in the road. Some said take one direction and some the other, just
as they were interested I suppose. The left hand road went through
Laporte, Indiana and the right through Michigan City. Finally after
a great deal of disputing on both sides we thought best to take the
right hand road. We passed through Hamilton's Prairie and Spring-
ville, a small village where we stopped for the Sabbath.
Sun. Apr. 26th. Here I am writing up stairs. There is no meet-
ing and folks seem to be just amusing themselves, and in various ways.
The place takes its name from a fine spring that is by the roadside.
It seems to be an endless supply of water. In the house here they are
supplied with water by pipes, conducting it into several rooms and
also to the barns. We got some papers and have sent back two or
three to our friends in Wellington.
Mon. Apr. 27. We find ourselves well rested and ready to go on.
We found this tavern a good place. We had oats of the landlord and
our bill was two dollars. We went about 8 miles and came to Michigan
City. It is a great place for a city ! As we entered we noticed a large
and elegant dwelling house, but it was desolate and unoccupied. Going
on a few rods we came to an old liquor still, in good progress. There
seemed to be houses enough for a city yet very few good ones. Sand
is everywhere. Some of the houses seemed to be nearly buried up in
Soon after leaving this place we came to very thick heavy timber
where we found some wintergreen berries which were all new to us.
We picked a good many by the road as we traveled. We finally came
to a tavern that was built under a very large pine tree, and we stopped
here to eat our dinner. After resting an hour we went on and found
the roads very sandy.
We also found plenty of wintergreen berries and we had plenty
of time to pick them too, for the sand was so deep that the horses
could not go out of a walk.
At about 4 o'clock we came to another fork in the road and as
usual we took the right hand road. But of all the dismal places we
had ever seen this was the worst. A thick forest was on one side of
the road and on the other were great sand banks nearly as high as
the trees. And to crown all the (I thought) dismal roar of Lake
Michigan could be heard in the distance beyond these sand hills. The
roads were so bad we had to put part of the load from the wagon on
to our buggy. Soon after we had done this we met a man who told us
we would soon ccme to a road turning off from this road. But of all
the crooks and turns this certainly beat all. The sand banks grew
higher and the distant though unseen roar of the lake grew louder.
We thought that if we were only on top of the highest bank we
might see the great lake, a sight we had long wished for. So while
the horses were resting Mary, Orlena, Alvin and Charles took a notion
to climb the hills for a view. Mary and Orlena climbed the first hill
but no lake was to be seen, only higher hills beyond met their gaze,
so they turned back. But Alvin and Charles kept on yet they got
only a far distant and faint view of the lake after all.
After the lake searchers came back we started on through the
sand. We had been told at the last house we passed, that it was nine
miles to the next tavern and we thought we could easily get through.
But soon after this we were overtaken by a man in a buggy and he
seemed to know all about the roads. He said it was only three miles
to the next public house, and said we had such a heavy load we'd
better let some of us ride with him, but we thought not! So off he
went and we kept on and on. It grew dark and still no house was in
sight. We were sure we had gone the three miles and more, so Father
left us to rest or go slowly and went on alone to find a house, but he
finally came back without finding any thing but the same sand hills,
and so we concluded to camp out, for it was past 7 o'clock. We made
a fire and found some water which we boiled in our iron teakettle.
For supper we had some bread, butter, tea and sugar. After supper
we fixed a bed in the wagon for the boys and one in the buggy for the
rest of us, all but Father. He rested in the forward part of the buggy
and did not sleep much.
Thurs. Apr. 28. We woke early and found ourselves in the sandy
woods and tolerably rested considering our beds. As soon as it was
daylight we were all up. While we were getting ready to start a
number of cows came around us and Father milked a little in a cup
for Lucy. We did not stop to eat breakfast, but started off at once
and after going two miles we came to a good tavern where we bought
a good breakfast and were ready to go on again between 7 and 8 a. m.
It began soon to rain and rained most of the forenoon but the
afternoon was pleasant and we put up for the night at Specs and
Rays. They tell us here that we shall see Chicago tomorrow. This is
a good place here and our bill is only 75 cts. Today for the first time
we had a fine view of Lake M'chigan. We rode within three feet of
the water. It was a grand sight for us. We were about three miles
from the city and it began to rain and the wind blew up real cold.
As we could see but little of the city we did not stop. We were greatly
disappointed, yet as there was no other way we had to put up with
it. We were however soon out of reach of the city. Now we came
upon the awfulest of roads, muddy deep ruts and no chance to avoid
them. It was jerk and jolt, this way and that. We were glad enough
when we came to a tavern called the Oplain Higgins tavern. We have
been 26 miles today.
Thurs. Apr. 30th. This is a very pleasant place and as it rained
we did not start out till 10 o'clock. We soon found ourselves on an
extensive prairie out of sight of timber. We saw no trees of any
account for about seven miles and we came to Elk Grove. Beyond
this again was a beautiful rolling prairie. At noon we stopped near
several bluffs or mounds, some of them being about twenty feet high
and all were covered with small stones or pebbles of many shapes and
all colors. I wonder how they came there? Some body said perhaps
they were once covered with water! But who knows?
Friday May 1. It rained this morning but we got an early start.
On enquiring for Crystal Lake we learned it was eleven miles there.
We expected to find mother's uncle Stephen Bradley at this place and
intended to spend Sunday with his family. After crossing Cornishe's
ferry we came to a fork in the road and being told that the left hand
road went past Uncle Stephen's and the right one by the village we
took the left hand road. Soon after the turn into this road the wagon
which went ahead was fast stuck in a mud hole. Father and the boys
got some rails from the fence and after prying up the wheels the
horses made out to pull the wagon out. We went on to the place
where uncle had lived and found that the whole family, uncle, a son
and daughter, had lately moved to the village which was four miles
farther around. We found them about noon and they were usually
well and very glad to see us.
May 2, Sat. Today we spent recruiting up, washing, baking etc.
This is quite a pleasant place yet there are very few trees in sight.
It seems to be a large and level prairie all about us.
Sunday May 3rd. This afternoon mother and cousin Bradley
went with us girls to see the lake, and a pretty lake it is, so clear and
still with its white pebbled banks sloping to the water's edge. We
gathered a few white shells, and pretty stones. In returning we went
through the village burying ground, a sweet retired place midst a
grove of small trees. Cousin B pointed out to us several graves
covered by beautiful flowers, placed there by affection's hand. We
enjoyed our walk very much and returned just as the sun was hiding
behind the hills. It was to me a new and charming sight. It was a
beautiful sunset on the wide and open prairie. I can not describe it
nor can I ever forget the sweet thoughts that came into my mind.
No words can express them and I'll not try.
Monday May 4. After bidding our kind friends goodbye we got
started about nine o'clock. We soon after saw ahead of us some
movers' wagons and we thought perhaps it was Mr. Grant's teams,
and sure enough on coming up with them we were saluted with "Hur-
rah Mr. Foote!" Here we were, old neighbors, met in a strange land
and we traveled in company the rest of the day.
Just after noon we crossed the line into Wisconsin. About dusk
a man came along who wanted to trade his oxen for our horses, but
we could not stop there, so we enquired for the next good stopping
place and told him to come on, and then we went on about three and
a half miles to a tavern.
Tues. May 5. Our bill here wa^ 60 cts. The man who had the
oxen was here and so this morning after looking over his cattle Father
traded the old horses that had been so faithful so far for five oxen
and one cow. Our company of the day before had gone on and now
we did not expect to keep up with them. We traveled 10 miles before
noon and got to Darien. Here we bought some ammunition and my-
self a pair of combs for 15 cents. We went on 12 miles farther in the
afternoon and stopped at Humphrey's tavern. Here we bought some
corn for 16 cents.
Wed. May 6th. Our bill was 7 shillings. It is rainy this morning
and bad roads. We came across Mr. Grant's people who had stopped
to visit. About an hour after this it rained hard and we stopped at
a private house until 2 o'clock. We then went on to Torrey's hotel.
We also passed through Fort Atkinson which is quite a large place.
We bought some tea here.
Thurs. May 7. The tavern where we stopped was a good place
but the charges were very high, $2.50 ! almost double former charges.
It now rained again but we went on. We were now within ten miles
of Watertown. We passed through Asterland and at noon stopped at
a small red house and Father asked the woman of the house if she
would get us a dinner of bread and milk. She very soon had it ready
and a better dinner we had not had since we left home. Then she
thought 25c. would pay her for her trouble. We thought it cheap.
After going on four miles we got the wagon into an awful mud hole
and it took an hour to get it out.
Of course we went around with our buggy, so we avoided the
worst roads. About a mile farther on we stopped at a log house. We
have been only 14 miles today and are yet 2 miles from Watertown.
Friday May 8. Our bill here was 75 cents and a good place, too.
At Watertown which is really a large place for this new country
we bought a bushel of corn for 16 cents and 4 pounds of crackers for
our lunch, for 32 cents. We also bought 18 pence worth of oats, and
100 w't of flour for $2.00. We have been through very pretty country
all day. We all think that if it is as good land as this where uncle
John and Henry are we shall be contented. At night we found no
signs of a public house so enquired at a log house of a man who said
he could keep us. So we took his word for it and stopped. But when
we went into the place we found a hard looking situation. But as
they said it was some ways to the next house we concluded to make
the best of it and stay here.
Sat. May 9th. After paying the bill which seemed to be greatly
needed, we went on, getting a very early start. We were now between
40 and 50 miles of Rush Lake, Winnebago Co., our destined home, so
concluded to leave Alvin and Charles behind with the oxen and the
rest of us would go on with the horses and buggy as fast as possible,
for we did not like to be out over Sunday again. While feeding the
horses at noon we saw Baliph Grant, but we soon left them all behind
for we found good roads, mostly level prairie. At a place called
Hewitt's we bought some cookies for lunch and they proved to be
good ones too. It was a warm sunny day and we enjoyed the ride first
rate. At about 3 o'clock we found ourselves in Ceresco, a Fouerite
settlement where they pretend to live all alike and have all property
in common. Here we expected to meet brother Henry, or uncle John,
to guide us the last ten miles, but we learned that they had been there
and had given up our coming, so had gone away. They had left about
two hours before we arrived, so after resting awhile and gaining all
the information we could about the roads, we set out.
After going a short distance away from the Settlement we came
to a small stream over which was a bridge made of planks laid length-
wise and all loose. We thought it looked as though lumber was pretty
scarce there. Mother thought we better not ride across, but Father
said, "Sit still all of you. I'll get out and drive very slowly and we
shall get over all safe." We went on and got over except the back
wheels of the buggy. They dropped down through between the planks,
up to the hubs. Then Father said, "Sit still, I'll lift you out," and he
did, so that we were finally over safe, for all our fright. About a mile
farther on we passed a log shanty and three miles more another build-
ing and then all was woods, prairie and oak openings. We finally
came to a road leading off to the right. Father was much puzzled
by this, but concluded after considerable hesitation to keep on this
road. We went on until about dusk and then the bushes became very
thick. It soon got so dark we could hardly distinguish any track but
we kept moving slowly. Now and then we had to stop to look for
the best crossing to a creek, and found the very best bad enough. It
was not wide but deep. Father did not like to wait for us to all get
out so with one or two exceptions we staid in the buggy. Many times
we had hard work to keep from being thrown out, as the horses liked
the plan of jumping across creeks rather than walking. We girls
began to get very uneasy and began teasing Mother to know whether
she didn't think Father was really lost and whether she thought we
should ever find any body off here in this wilderness. But she told
us to just keep still and that all would be right, she guessed; and
guessing was all that could be done I guess at that time. There was
no moon but the night was clear so it was not so very dark.
At last we came to a sort of turn out track and we stopped to
investigate. After looking about we came across an upright stake or
pole, split at the top and in this split was a stick crosswise. But
owing to the darkness and our ignorance of that sort of guide boards,
the affair was no guide to us so we kept on in the same track. We
had not gone far before we got into trouble again by coming to a
watery slough or marsh. The water got deeper and deeper and finally
Father thought best to stop and call three times which he did. There
we waited with anxious suspense and there* came from a distance an
answer, faint but from some person. We waited with great anxiety
for several minutes and then heard some one or something coming
towards us and right through the water too. Then when near enough
the call came again and we all knew it was Uncle John!
After much rejoicing and glad explanations he told us that we
must turn around and go back to the place where we saw that split
stick, that they put it there as a guide to us to turn out. When we
reached this place we went on and soon met Henry who had gone
that way to find us, supposing we had taken this road. The road we
started on they traveled in the winter when it was frozen and this
one we were now on they used when the marsh was full of water. We
soon found the way around the niarsh and a jolly rejoicing crowd we
were and when we reached the log shanty as they called it we were a
happy company. There was brother Henry, Uncle John and his wife
Aunt Laura and little Harriet, and all so glad to see us!
We were now at our journey's end. We ate supper, and after
talking for I don't know how long, we fixed beds on the floor of the
shanty for most of us, and the boys slept in the wagon out doors, but
we slept well.
Sun. May 1C, 1846. This day finds us somewhat rested, in a log
house 16 by 14 feet, situated on the north shore of Rush Lake town
of Nepeuskun, Winnebago, Co., Wis. There is a fine sugar bush near
and all new. But there are no neighbors around.
Toward night the men all went to look after Alvin and Charles
who were coming with the oxen and wagon. After going about two
miles and not seeing anything of them they returned. The next day
they started out again and found the two boys coming slowly and on
the right road, although they did not know it, and were very glad
indeed to see friends as they were tired out almost. So now here we
are all of us, ready to begin life in the woods, and here I must stop
for the present, though I might continue and perhaps make it inter-
esting too, but do not feel really capable ; so here is an end to the jour-
nal for now.
The Children of Sarah Foote Smith and William Champlin Smith.
Percival Henry 1848-1848
Julia Orlena 1850
Md. Samuel Justin Foss of Sher-
William Chester 1851
Md. Clara Louise Daggett
Sarah Rosalia 1853-1859
Marcella Lathrop 1855-1859
Lucy Helen 1857-1894
Md. Eugene Earle
Jay Foote 1862--
Md. Elizabeth Melissa Crawford
Freeman Webster 1864-1913
Mark Wilmer 1,869
Md. Williettie Sage
Ernest Stanley 1874-1874
Line of Descent of Sarah Foote from Nathaniel Foote of
Nathaniel Foote of
Sarah Fenner of Saybrook
Jonathan, Jr., of Lee
Deliverance Gibbs of Sandwich
Capt. Alvan Foote of Lee
Sarah Percival of Lenox
Roxalana Freeman of Ogden, N. Y.
William Champlin Smith
B. abt. 1593,
M. abt. 1615,
Md., second, Thomas Welles,
Magistrate and Governor of
Dau. of Lt. Samuel Smith of
Wethersfield and Hadley
Dau. of Thomas and Margaret
Lawrence Smith of Springfield
Dau. of Lt. Noah Wells
*From "Nathaniel Foote of Wethersfield and His Descendants;
By Abram W. Foote; 1907.
**Great-great-great-Grandfather of Harriet Beecher Stowe and
Re. v.Henry Ward Beecher.
Line of Descent from Edward Fuller, Passenger on The
Capt. Matthew Fuller of Barn stable 1603-1678
Lieut. Samuel Fuller of Barnstable 1676
Lieut. Thomas Fuller of Barnstable 1661-1718
Lieut. Benjamin Fuller of Barnstable 1690-1748
Rebecca Bodfish 1693-1727
Lydia Fuller of Barnstable 1716-1801
John Percival, Jr., of Sandwich 1719-1788
Capt. Elisha Percival of Sandwich 1743-1836
Abigail Smith of Sandwich and 1747-1834
Sally Percival of Lenox 1779-1867
Capt. Alvan Foote of Lee 1775-1872
Elisha Percival Foote of Lee 1805-1858
Roxalana Freeman of Ogden, N. Y. 1808-1849
Sarah Foote of Wellington, Ohio 1829-1912
William Champlin Smith of Le Roy, N. Y 1824-1887
"The marriage ceremony was performed by Captain Myles Standish, Magistrate.
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