|Birth: ||Oct. 25, 1855|
|Death: ||Mar. 16, 1943|
RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS OF JENNIE BEACH
My father, David Austin Tanner, was born January 13, 1827, in Munson, Ohio. He was the oldest of a family of ten children. On August 18, 1848, he married Angeline Saterly. They came out to Iowa in 1853, accompanied by his brother Luther.
My sisters, Mary and Ruth, were born in Ohio and were brought west when they were children. They both died before I was born. Ma wanted to go back to Ohio and then Pa got lung fever and nearly died. She was so thankful when he recovered that she felt resigned to the loss of her little daughters, and her life in the prairies of Iowa.
At Civil War time many of our neighbors were Democrats, having come from Kentucky and Tennessee. We were the only Republicans around there.They called us black lamb and black abolitionist -- they painted our gatepost with those names. The children at school locked me in the coal house one day because my father was a Republican. When the Civil War came, Pa enlisted in the Union Army as a private, and was promoted to second lieutenant of Company C, 40th Infantry.
While Pa was away at war we went to Georgetown from Springfield, where we had been living. My mother was one of seven "war widows" who lived in a sort of apartment house. I was the first one to see Pa coming home on furlough. I had been sent to a neighbor's home on an errand with a crock. As I walked along I saw him coming and I just put that crock down in the path and ran as fast as my legs would carry me. He had been shot in the leg, and had come home to recuperate. As soon as he was strong enough he returned to war. He was away at war three years.
Yes, I have lived through three wars and now another one may be coming any day. I remember the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and of course the World War. My Pa was in the Civil War and my boy Charlie was in a training camp at Little Rock, Arkansas, just ready to go overseas when the World War Armistice was signed.
When I was little, we lived in a log house. The floor was puncheon--that is, split logs with the flat side up to walk on. The shingles were hand made. We had little hardware--the hinges were leather and the fastenings were wooden latch and string. That is where we got the expression about "leaving the latch string out".
We didn't have fences. The cows of all the neighbors were herded together and we children took turns every three weeks going after the cows. One time when I went for the cows, the horse got into a wild grape thicket. My head caught in the vines and I was pulled off the horse. He was trained to stop so he just waited till I scrambled out of the tangle and mounted again.
Some girls and I were blackberrying when an eclipse occurred. My friends thought the world was coming to an end. I knew what was happening because Ma had seen an article in a newspaper and she had told me what it would be like.
The first time I gave a reading for a school program I fell asleep during the session and the teacher woke me up, and thinking I would be too drowsy to say my piece, she promised me a pretty little knife of hers if I would speak my piece. I was wide awake in a hurry! I remember the reading, it was "Unfurl the Flag". Another time I recited "My Pa Has Gone to the War", because my father was at war.
Once I went into the barn and saw a little kitty near the wall. When I approached it, the animal started after me and I realized it was a civet cat. I grabbed a pitch fork and caught it between the tangs, and called for someone to come and kill it.
Jerry brought a neighbor girl to a party to which I had been invited. When I saw him, I said to my two girl friends, "It is a good thing for that girl he doesn't live around here or I'd cut her out".
Before he knew me Jerry was passing our place and he saw me drawing water at the windlass. He seemed impressed with the way I was hustling. He said, "There's the girl I'm going to marry if I can get her". He had just moved into the neighborhood, coming from Dubuque, where he had stopped a short time on the way out from Kentucky.
Long after we became acquainted we compared notes on our first comments about each other.
As a young girl I went with some of the boys just to get to go. One of our neighbor boys took me to a party where there was dancing. I didn't go to dances and he knew it but he lied to me. Jerry and his sister were there too, and he had brought two other girls. He seemed to know I didn't want to dance so he took me and his sister home. That night he asked if he could take me to a box social. The next day the school kids wrote on the board these lines: J is for Jennie
Who lives by the road
J is for Jerry
The white headed toad.
The girls were mad at me, but I got Jerry!
One day Jerry came for a daytime call and found me behind the house washing out some of Bert's diapers. I was barefoot and much embarrassed.
We were married January 21, 1875.
I still have two griddles that were part of the cooking utensils we got when we were first married. In that collection of iron we bought a coffee boiler, two skillets, a boiler, a kettle, a three-legged pot, a tea kettle, and a stove, all for fourteen dollars--second hand. Morris Kruse (who later became Bert's father-in-law) made a safe (a storage cupboard) for us. He had a furniture store in Rose Hill. We also got a bureau he had made for Nell Beach Wilson. Jerry bought that for my thirtieth birthday.
I have seen Iowa change from unbroken prairie to the state of fine farms and highways and towns we now have. We used to drive the stock to Ottumwa where they were shipped by boat to market.
The town we know as Rose Hill used to be called Ornbum, because the Ornbum farm was cut up to plat the town. Before the railroad was built, Jerry hauled lumber from Sigourney for the first store built in Rose Hill. I remember when they built the Rock Island railroad to Rose Hill.
The first man around here to have an automobile was Fred Aldrich of Fremont. He made it himself. It had large wheels and was very noisy. The first telephone line had not been built as far as our house when our boy Harold choked on a collar button. Someone had to go for the doctor and by the time he arrived Harold had died.
In earlier days we didn't have lamps or electric lights. In fact we made our own candles. At butchering time we saved the tallow of beef and rendered it and poured the tallow into molds. When we had candlelight we didn't stay up at night any longer than necessary. Maybe that is where I got my habit of early to bed and early to rise.
There were no glass jars in which to can food. We used large stone jars and tied cloth over the top and smeared a paste on it, then put another cloth over that. Later we had stone covers for the jars, then glass jars came on the market. At first the caps were of glass.
Sugar was hard to get and then it was brown sugar. We raised cane and made molasses, or bought a supply in the fall. A large family usually had a fifty gallon barrel full. We used it to sweeten foods. The woods were full of wild fruits and we gathered berries and apples and dried them for winter use.
All our daughters had home weddings. The first was that of Elda and Lillie, who had a double wedding. It was held on the lawn under a large tree, and the officiating minister was the same that married Jerry and me. There was a large crowd. I remember we cut and served seventy-five pieces of pie. There was some excitement afterwards--someone stole the cigars, and Willie Tanner created a disturbance by sliding a folded paper of gun powder under the door and igniting it.
Speaking of powder, reminds me that one day when Harold was little, I was working in the house when I heard a puff that sounded like the stove had exploded. I investigated but everything was all right. Someone suggested that perhaps the train had gone through the bridge. When Jerry came home he told us some boys in Oskaloosa had used the powder house as a target. They used baskets to pick up little pieces of the boys. Buildings nearby were shattered. We had heard the blast fifteen miles away.
To think of spending a life of 85 years or 31,045 or more days, that seems like a long time. To look back over that time, every remembrance fits so completely into the picture that the years melt away and it seems only yesterday this or that happened. And there is always tomorrow.
David A. Tanner (1827 - 1888)
Jared Robert Beach (1853 - 1924)
Created by: J. A. McMahan
Record added: Mar 27, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 87448133