Tuesday, August 17, 2010

George walked from New York to Iowa--TWICE.

George Frain (father of Mary Catherine Frain Smith).

Mary Painter Frain (mother of Mary Catherine Frain Smith)
George Frain was my G-G-G-Grandfather. In 1840 he moved from New York to Cedar County, Iowa, between Liberty and Cedar Rapids. He took a farm, 40 acres of unimproved land and built a shanty to live in while he homesteaded it. Hr cut down trees and built a 16x16 foot house with a 16x16 foot lead-to for a bedroom. He sawed out slabs for the doors and the floor. He stayed all summer working. He built a sod fence around the entire 40 acres and dug a ditch outside as a fire barrier and so nothing could jump over.

There were Indians in the neighborhood and many nights he slept on the roof of his shanty. He would hear them come into the room below hunting for food. Once found they would leave.

He raised potatoes, beans, and corn that summer and in the fall after harvesting his crop he walked back to New York. The next spring we returned to Iowa with is wife, Mary and his children, John, Peter, Rachael, Elizabeth, and Mary Catherine (my G-G-Grandmother). With everything they could carry they walked to Pittsburg where they bought a raft with a shanty for shelter. They sailed to the mouth of the Ohio River then up the Mississippi to Muscatine, Iowa. Here they disembarked and traveled by wagon to the farm.

Mary Catherine slept in a trundle bed under her parent’s bed, her sister Margaret was born after they moved here.
This story is from Smith family stories by Violet Leonard written in December 1967.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Henry Almund Smith -a Photo History

I’m so glad to have photos of my great-grandfather Henry Almund Smith. He had his picture taken many times including the tintype in 1874 and a snapshot taken in the 1920s.  Henry Almund was the son of Stephen Smith (discussed in previous Blog). I currently have no information on his wife Ella, but then I haven’t looked much. They had three children, Grace, Fay, and my grandfather, Henry Arthur.

Henry was probably in his teens when this tintype was taken.
As he got older the hairline receded and he sprouted a moustache .

This picture is not a tintype but has the look of one.
It’s on a thick paper stock, more like cardboard.
Henry with his wife Ella (Travis) Smith. I wonder if this is their wedding picture

Here is a snapshot of Henry in 1922.
My mother was about 6 years old at this time. She remembered both of her grandfathers.

Henry is the one on the right. I’m interested that all four men are wearing hats inside

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Stephen Smith - good citizen

Stephen and Mary Smith with son Arthur J.
Stephen and Mary C Smith and their youngest son Arthur J. Smith are standing in front of the family farmhouse in Iowa. 
Stephen and Mary are my great-great-grandparents on my mother's side. On the back of the photo is some family history:

Stephen Smith had been a member of the Latter Day Saints church until he married Mary Catherine Frain.  She was not LDS and the church would not accept her -- so -- he left the church.  Later she went into the Methodist church but he never identified with another church.

At his passing my great-grandpa (Henry Almund Smith) was told that Stephen had done more for the community than any other individual.  He would plant larger crops than he needed because he knew there would be others who would need it.   As his sons got older Stephen did not work the farm, (his sons did that) but spent much of his time in the orchards with his fruits and with his bees in the apiary.  He raised apples, plums, cherries and of the small fruits, blackberries and raspberries.  He nearly always kept dapple grey horses. He kept a pair of ponies for uncle Arthur (who was 18 years younger than the next youngest child, Will. 

Before Stephen was married and was still living with his father, John Smith, --one night chief Fontenelle and his Indian's stole all of John Smith's horses.  When Great-great-great-grandpa (John Smith) suspicioned what had happened he and Stephen forded the Missouri River to talk with Chief Fontenelle.  John told the chief that he really needed those horses to earn a living.  They talked for a while and then he left with a good feeling between them.  When he go up the next day his horses had been returned.
Stephen Smith and Mary Catherine (Frain) Smith

Mary Catherine (Frain) Smith
Stepehen Smith