The following autobiography covers a time period in Johnson County, Missouri from 1866 to 1877. David Reed (1847-1938) Autobiography - Johnson County, Mo. Portion. This information was given to me by Donald P. Reed. "These are transcribed copies of a portion of the autobiography that the half-brother to my grandfather wrote in ~1930. Both men were born about 10 miles from my house and both were in the civil war at the same time but in different units. David actually served two hitches. During his life he moved from Ohio to Missouri to Nebraska to Colorado to Arizona and finally to California. He was married twice- first to Charlotte Groves, who he refers to as "Lot" in the attached pages. It appears that this marriage was very bumpy. He seems to have had a tendency to exaggerate a little when it comes to the number of cattle, hogs or bushels of grain etc. but the beauty of the book is his description of the events of the time and what appears as a great memory for the names of his friends, neighbors, and geographical locations. Those of you in Johnson County will undoubtedly know where the "Warrensburg & Chilhowee" road or where the "Post Oak" creeks are located. The comments in
the book are sometimes disjointed and hard to follow.
Most will make sense if you "ponder" them for awhile."
I finally got across the Mississippi and reloaded on the other side and started for Warrensburg in Johnson County, Missouri. We both had saddles and I had given $40 for a side saddle but Lot had never ridden much and new leather will stretch and the saddles were in the railroad car. I put them on the mares for the agent told me it was risky to leave them in plain sight. I was expecting Dad there to meet me but he hadn't gotten my letter and was not there. Lot insisted that she could ride Nancy and she was very gentle. When I inquired the way, we were directed wrong and it was a good thing for we would run into a gang of bushwhackers. Before we had gone three miles, I mistrusted the instructions and felt we were on the wrong road and cut across some open prairie and headed for a house. I discovered that Lot's saddle girth was very loose and since she was gaunt, was working back. I told her to stop and stay on and I would tighten it. There were some sumac berries just where she stopped and Lot had never seen any of them. She had her foot shoved tight in the stirrup and just as I lit on the ground, her saddle turned and she swung under Nancy and commenced to scream. I got Nancy to stop but before I could get hold of her, Lot grabbed her leg and scared her and she started to run and Lot was sailing in the air. The colt stayed with Sal and I nickered like a colt and she stopped and waited until I got to her and got hold of her. I got Lot out of the stirrup after she was loose. She was scared unconscious and her clothes were torn but there was not a scratch or bruise anywhere. We had crossed some water and I ran and got some in my hat and wet her forehead and wrists. She commenced to come to when I rubbed her and sat up with me steadying her. I went to Nancy and straightened the saddle. By this time, she was able to walk and said that she was not hurt. After we had walked a bit, she said she had been reaching for those red berries when the saddle turned. She asked if they were good to eat and I said they weren't but were good for scurvy. She got on Nancy once again and I led her and when we got to this house and stopped to inquire, a lady came out. They only had 10 or 12 kids in their yard and one of them knew where Dad lived. They called their dad who was out in the corral doctoring a sick horse which he thought had colic. I told him it has got the bots (transcribers note: bots is a type of worm). I lifted its upper lip and looked at it and told him there was nothing he could do to save the mare. I told him that there were at least 40 bots which had eaten out her stomach. This mare died and a few days later, he through curiosity cut out her stomach and he counted 72 bots which had eaten through. This lets the whole stomach drain into the insides and they soon die.
We made our acquaintance with Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Sullivan and family. He had been in the Union Army and was glad of my coming. When we reached my father's, I soon saw that it was no place for Lot. She was homesick for her mother and it was only a few days until I found a note on my door reading like this: "Ten Days for you to get out or death will be the penalty". Well, this did not look very good to a newcomer but there were 11 of us in all and they all had gotten the same notice. We all got together and decided to stay. We were all in the forks of the two Post Oak Creeks and this was brushy and timber land and it was these bushwhackers hiding place. That was why they didn't' want us there. Their main hiding place was about 2 1/2 miles south of where we lived on the Lyons place. Wilson Houts lived on the south and Billy Mar on the west and Melon on the north and Guin on the east. Our house on the Lyons Farm was back about a quarter of a mile from the Warrensburg and Chilhowee Road. Now all these men but me had gotten there in time to put in some wheat and we had to be on the look out and all helped each other in the wheat harvest. Tom Houts and myself would always make the others carry their weapons as it was very burdensome to cradle and bind with 2 big Colt revolvers strapped around you but it was the only safe way. After the wheat was all cut but one three acre patch up towards Chilhowee which belonged to a man by the name of Upton, some of them got together to harvest that wheat and did not let Tom and I know anything about it. They left their weapons at the edge of the field in some brush and after they had cut two or three rounds, these bushwhackers sneaked up, got their guns and captured them all. They lined them up in a row and shot them down with their own weapons. This left Tom and me alone and it was only a few days until there was another note on our doors to get out in 10 days or death will be the penalty. We got together and decided to stay and die there, if it had to be so. I was very well acquainted with a man in Warrensburg by the name of Nathaniel Bludget and he, with the help of others, organized a vigilante committee of over 500 in two nights but would not have any who would not take the obligation and it wasn't any saints obligation but it was the only thing that saved Tom and me for these men were scattered everywhere but most of them lived in or near Warrensburg. Now, the 10 days had passed and I was poor and had to work at something to make a living. I was chopping stove wood and hauling it to Warrensburg. I was getting four loads a week and just making a bare living for myself and team and did not know how long I would live for I did not know what minute I would get a load of buckshot when I was chopping or on the way with a load of wood. I was always on the look out and this was not a pleasant feeling. I had had similar feelings when standing in line of battle but was generally soon over. In Missouri, it lasted two years and even then, when I would hear a sudden noise in the brush, some streaks would come up my back until I found out what it was. I was sure they would try to carry out their threat, but it was apparent they wanted to scare us for we got another notice and we still stayed. I had gone to Warrensburg with a load of wood and as I was on my way home, I came to Tom Houts' place and Lucie, his wife, was standing in the road watching for me. She was screaming and wringing her hands so she could barely talk. Finally she told me to hurry home and meet Tom at the road crossing at the Houts' school house as the whackers were back. Well, I put my horses down to a lope and when I got home, I got more information but I jerked the harness off and jumped on Nancy with my weapons on and started for the crossroads where I was to meet Tom. Before I got to the crossroads, I met him and he was perfectly cool and said it was all over for the present, but we must look out for tonight. Then he told me what he had done. "When (Craig) came and told me they were back after he had been to your house and you weren't there, I thought I would just take a chance and see what I could find out. I rode to their den and came in sight of it. He and his wife were in the yard and when they saw me, they both hurried into the house. I rode up and dismounted and his wife came rushing out and said, " My husband is awful sick and I am going for the doctor"". Tom said, " Is that so? Well, I 'll go in and see him". Tom shoved the door open and he was just getting in bed. Tom got the drop on him and he said, "Oh, Mr. Houts, I am awful sick" and Tom said, " I'll just make you A G D sicker" and shot him dead there in bed. He had a revolver gripped in his right hand and was doing this to get the drop on Tom. It didn't work. We went to our homes then to get ready for that night. We were aware that the whole bunch were there but just before night, we both got word to stay at home and bar the doors and not to go out no matter what we heard outside. This was from the Vigilante Committee . We both obeyed. They put a heavy guard around both of our homes and guards on every crossroads. Everything was quiet until about 11 o'clock when the secret men saw 9 men ride up to a house and tie their horses in a secret place in some brush and go to a house where a man by the name of Sanders lived. Very soon , a heavy guard was thrown around this place and after they had watched them and saw they were drinking, they put a heavy guard around their horses after they had moved them and loosened all their saddle girths. The vigilantes made some noise and when they came to where their horses had been, the vigilantes said, "Surrender" but they started to run and they fired and killed two dead and slightly wounded 3 others that they captured and later, captured two more. The other two got away. They took these 5 prisoners to the Black Water Bridge and hung them on a elm tree that stood on the bank of the stream along side the bridge. There were hundreds of people who saw them for they were left there very near all the next day. It was reported that one of the two that got away was scarcely wounded but can't think that this could be true unless they had some secret hiding place but true or not, we were now two and two. Tom and I had plenty of backing but still this did not make us safe from these desperado's. Everything was quiet for over a year. I thought it was all over and I had taken a lease on the Johnny Gardner farm. Lot had come back and we were living there in a little box house 14 X 14 and I was farming now. Tom Houts owned an old slut (female dog) and he had loaned her to a boy who lived across the West Post Oak Creek, nearly west of my fathers house. This Andrews boy was training a young hound with this hound that belonged to Tom. He would come over in the forks of the Two Post Oaks to hunt deer. This morning I heard Old Fanny's voice south of where I lived and we were out of meat. I had not yet got over saving one load for emergencies. She got up and started off and I could have killed her with the other load but something stopped me. She ran away. I loaded the other barrel and put on the cap. I heard a noise and it was a buck fawn trailing her. When it came in sight, it stopped short of the house and I killed it and reloaded my gun. I listened to the hounds and they were bellowing south of me and I waited but nobody came. I carried the fawn and started for home. I crossed the fields the way I had come and was about half way across a 10 acre field when I heard somebody holler. It was the Andrews boy and a man on a dapple iron gray horse. He tied his horse to the fence and then laid the fence down and the Andrews boy rode in and he came on foot. I had laid the deer down and set down on it with my gun across my legs with the muzzle to the left. His first words were, " You have my deer." I said, " I have got the deer and am willing to abide by the hunter's rule - first blood the hide and half the meat" He ripped out with an oath and pulled his gun down on me with both hammers back. I was looking it in the muzzle and it didn't look good to me. I took a chance and turned my head and said, "Who's that coming there?" and he looked and I got the drop on him. I said, "Drop that gun or die" and he dropped the gun. Then I told him to go straight to his horse and not look back or you will be given a load of buckshot. He went then and the Andrews boy and I took the deer. He carried his gun and when we got to my house, We skinned the deer and not a scratch on it, only what shot had hit it. I gave the Andrews boy half of the meat and loaned him a sack to carry it in. When he was on his horse, I handed him Nichols gun and told him to give it to him. I had told Cal about the old doe and he wanted me to go with him and show him where she was. Finally, I told him I would go and I went through the field while he went around by the road and met with Nick. I saw him give him the gun from where I was and then Nick disappeared from my sight. I showed Cal Andrews where I had shot the old doe and he had gone to get the hounds. He was calling them with a horn but they didn't want to come. I heard a noise and looked in time to see Nick Bender aiming at me. It was brushy and a tree was there. I lost no time getting behind it and I stood there until my temper got the better of me and I could not hear a sound. I decided I could shoot just as quick as any other man. I got ready and stepped out but he was nowhere in sight but I feared he might take (ronces) on me. I backed into some thick brush with its leaves on. For the first time, it struck me that he was one of those two who had gotten away. I struck for A. C. Sullivan's and told him. As soon as I described him, he said, "Oh, that man has come to get you and Tom Houts". He told me to go and tell my dad and he would go to Warrensburg. After he told me this, I wanted my Spencer rifle. It meant I must go home and change guns which also meant a mile and 1/2 further but it would be safer because I could out distance him. I started the nearest way and when I got there, Dad was extracting honey the old fashioned way and the bees were very thick. I had leaned my gun against a tree near where we were talking and the bees got after me and we moved back Dad took his bee net off his head and I was telling him about the situation when I saw them coming. I said " Here they come now" and started for my gun. Dad said, "no, leave that sit there and I will go and see what this means." When he was about half-way, Nick said, "Stop or I will shoot you". Dad pulled his shirt open and said, " Shoot me right here" and kept on going until he got to the fence. Nick told him if he got over the fence he would kill him dead but dad got over and got the Andrews boy's gun. Nick leaned forward in his saddle and started on the lope and I dashed for my gun and pulled down on him. I fired just as he was going in the timber and the ball hit his suspenders and cut them in two where they crossed his back and tore the back of his vest. It "blued" the skin but did not break the skin. The Andrews boy told Dad that neither one of them had fired a gun that day and Dad gave Cal his gun and he rode on home. Nick was getting ready to leave and Mrs. Andrews patched his vest and fixed his suspenders. He told her that he had come on purpose to kill Reed and Houts but they were on to him now and he would go before they got him. He said, " I could have killed Reed but he fooled me and I wanted to make sure of both of them but now they are on to me, I will go". The vigilantes were not far behind him but he dodged them for he had plenty of people to help hide him but his back got sore and lame. He could not stand the long hard ride and the vigilantes located him. When they returned they told of getting him, that he confessed and told them all and said that if he could have stood the ride, they never would have gotten him. They said he told them he never had been baptized. It had turned cold and froze Grand River where it ran slow. They cut a hole and shoved him in and after the bubbles quit coming out, they left for home. This was two weeks after I took the shot at him and I was told by some of that party that if his back had not been lame, he never would have been captured alive. Their story of the vest and suspenders corresponded with Mrs. Andrews story. This ended the feud. Tom Houts died some 5 years ago and I am the only one left to tell the story. I am very sure I never want any more of such times for the strain was worse than anything that I saw while in the army. I must praise Tom Houts and the Vigilante Committee for what they did for I think that everything worked out for the best. They put down that outlaw outfit all but the James and Younger boys. Nick Bender was the last of the Quantrill outfit. This may not have been his real name but this was the name he gave the Andrews family. Now I am not in favor of mob law, but at that time, it was the only thing for there was no chance to try them and then their friends would swear them clear. This would have lasted ten years longer if the vigilante committee had not done what they did to save the lives of good citizens. I was living on the Johnny Gardner farm and had taken a lease on 30 acres for two years. I was to have everything I raised on it for cleaning it up and breaking the land for it was nearly covered with hazel and sumac brush. On this same ranch was where Lot reached for the red berries. It was very fertile soil and would raise anything. I planted it to corn and melons and truck garden and raised this big crop of everything. There were two darkies living on this same ranch and they had married sisters. Black Tom, as he was called, lived a quarter of a mile east of my house and Henry Turner a half mile southeast and Sanford lived one mile very near south of Tom Mars Farm. These three men were renters and were supposed to give one-third of everything they raised. Black Tom was the only honest man of the three but it took some time for me to find this out. He raised more crops and made more money than the other two put together. Tom was making more money than his brothers-in-laws and they were jealous and would steal from him or anybody else. The Warrensburg standard newspaper had offered a prize for the biggest water melon and I had one I was expecting to take the prize. Henry had one that he had raised from some seed that I had given him but mine was the most perfect and largest. My house only had one door and this door was in the back side of the house. My melon patch was in front of the back door. I had two hooks made out of a hickory forked limb and kept my double-barreled shotgun laying up on them just over the door. The door was not any longer than it needed to be and I could get the gun very quickly. I had a dog that I called Liney, and I was working on some ax handles that I was making. I had been out deer hunting that day and my gun was loaded with No. 8 buckshot. It was around 10 o'clock when Liney, the dog, commenced to bark. I walked to the door, opened it, and bang came a big rock and struck within a few inches of my head. It was moon-lit and I lost what little religion I had and reached for my gun. By the time I got out in the open, I saw the shape of a man and with what I already had happen, was expecting a load of buckshot anytime. I went into the yard so he would not hit Lot, my wife, and because I would be safer myself. I fired very quickly, not thinking what was in the gun and caring less just then. He saw the flash and dropped to the ground and the buckshot went over him. I had planted 4 rows of corn on the east side of the place where this big melon was laying but I never saw him leave and I didn't go look until morning. I didn't sleep very much that night but in the morning as soon as I could, I went out and there were the tracks where he had crawled on his hands and knees. I tracked him clear to Henry's wood pile. I lost the tracks then and went back home with a glad feeling for I had not seen a single drop of blood and I felt sure that I had not hit him. I also felt sure it was Henry trying to steal that big water melon. My corn was about 60 yards from where I had stood and the corn from the ears up were riddled with buckshot. It was about four months before I found out who it was for sure that I had shot at. Tom had lots of corn and somebody was stealing it. He got Henry to help him watch and Henry had a big bunch of hogs and no corn. I had missed some before I got it gathered that I felt sure the crows had not carried off. This helped to give me another idea. One day I was talking to Tom and he said he was still losing corn. He asked me if I would help him watch. I said, "Yes, just let me know when you want me". Then he told Henry that I was going to help him watch. Henry said, " You're going to get somebody killed, you mind what I tell you, for if he catches anybody, he's going to shoot". Tom told me this and one morning, Tom came and told me that he had marked the crib and somebody got several sacks. I told him that if he would let me plan it, I would catch the thief but I would watch alone and he must do just what I told him to do. I told him that he must not tell Hannah or anybody else and I would watch alone. I told him that after supper, he should take his usual place beside the fireplace and chew and smoke just as he did every night. He agreed to do this. A friend of mine from Ohio had come out and was at Dad's. He was coming over to visit with me. I got him to sit in my usual corner and sandpaper ax handles. I sneaked out and went over to Tom's corn pen and concealed myself where I could see anybody who walked between me and Tom's candle light. I hadn't been there very long until I saw a figure pass and disappear. After a bit, I heard Liney bark and he and Henry had gotten acquainted. It was a bark of that kind and about the time I was looking for him back, I saw somebody pass between the light and disappear. He came to the crib, stopped, listened and then he opened the door to the crib. He threw his sacks in then, listened again, and crawled in and went to work to fill the sacks. While he was rattling the shucks, I made for the door and shut him in and called Tom. It was not long until he was there and Henry was pleading for dear life and Black Tom was preaching his funeral. He said., "Now, Henry, you know I would have divided the last nubbin with you" and he got down on his knees and prayed to the Lord for mercy on Henry "for Mr. Reed was going to tell those vigilante people and they're going to hang Henry and dear Lord, help Henry get ready". Henry was trying to talk to the Lord, too, but he was trying to get him through me and I had been on probation for over two years but had not been sprinkled yet. Tom wanted his brother-in-law to be with him in Heaven and told him he must make a clean confession. Henry said, "Mr. Reed, that was me that you did shoot at and I was going to steal the melon but did not throw the rock at you, just at the dog. When I saw those streams of fire, I went down and them buckshot just flied all round me but the Lord was with both of us and them chickens you bought from Sanford. I did help him steal them and you both know I have fed my whole bunch of hogs with stolen corn. Now you both knows it all and have mercy on me, Lord, but if I is going to hang, I want the vigilantes to hang Sanford, too, for I don't want to be over there all alone". I asked, "Henry, where did you get those chickens?" He said, "Well, sir, I don't know because I just rode with Sanford and he went this way and then that way and I just don't guess that he could find them places to save his life and I 'm guessing I couldn't either". I said, "Do you still have your chickens?" and he said, "No, sir, when Sanford told me that he had sold you 5 dozen, I let him have 2 dozen." "Then I have got 4 dozen stolen chickens," I said. He said, "No, Sir, you only have 3 1/2 dozen stolen chickens". When I asked how this could be, he said, : Well, sir, you see Sanford went the other night and stole 6 of them." Well, this was news to me for I had not missed them yet, but I still had 3 1/2 dozen stolen chickens and this might get me in bad. After he made all kinds of promises, we turned him out and I told him if he would be good from then on, I would not tell the Vigilantee Committee about either one of them but they must go straight. In about a week, Black Tom lost his whole bunch of fat hogs and could not find them anywhere nor get any trace of them. There were about 40 in all and he was just ready to sell them. I was out hunting one day and came by Sanford's place and thought I would take a look for the 6 chickens and knocked at the door. There wasn't anybody about and I thought I heard hogs under the floor and could smell them but there weren't any chickens about. Now this was a very large hewn log house and built on a high foundation which was fully 3 or 3 1/2 feet from the ground and there was plenty of room to hold 40 hogs under it. After seeing what I did not smell, I went home and the next day, Black Tom came along and had not heard of his hogs. I asked him if he had seen Sanford and he said no. I said, "Maybe he might know something of your hogs". He said, " Oh, no, he is my best friend and he would come and tell me if he knew anything about them". Well, I said, "If I were you, I would go over right now and see him", but he repeated his feelings that his friend would have come to see him. I asked him if Sanford had any hogs and he said he didn't, that he was planning to buy his meat off Tom. Then I said, "Go over now as it is only a mile" and I said, " You didn't believe Henry would steal either but he did". He started over and Henry came and asked if Tom had sold his hogs. I said no because he hasn't found them yet. I was blocking out ax handles and was sitting astraddle of the saw horse when I saw Tom coming back. Henry asked where he had been and I told him he had gone over to Sandord's and I could see that he was in a hurry and when he came up, he spoke to Henry and said, "I found my hogs under Sanford's house and there wasn't anybody there. I just wonder where he is". Henry went back with him and they turned the hogs out and it was some time before anybody found out where Sanford was but they fixed it up some way. I never heard just how. There was a revival and they all got religion and joined the church and this generally fixes everything all right. I had taken a big job of work making rails and posts. The order called for 40,000 rails and 8,000 posts. The price was 75 cents per hundred and the timber stood near where I lived. This job lasted 7 months and 11 days and the man's name was Henry Shoop and he was a Dunker and a very fine man. He favored me in many ways and I attended their church often as it was only two miles away. It was a little log building and would not hold over 35 or 40 people but I watched those women and men wash each other's feet and saw how calm they seemed to be and how they baptized their converts in Post Oak Creek and put them under three times face down. They all kissed each other and I never knew why sometimes but I would get kissed, too. They kept their kisses inside the church as far as I could see and I never went to sleep while I was there for I believed they were sincere in everything they did and I enjoyed that better than the job I had then for I was breaking a bunch of wild horses for Johnny Gardner that had never had a rope or a strap on them. They were from 2 to 7 years old and these horses had run wild on the prairie and rustled their own living during the war. There were 75 head of them and he wanted them broken so he could sell them. I was to have 50 cents for riding a 1/2 mile and back and two dollars for breaking them to be gentle and 5 dollars to break them to the saddle and to drive single and double. They were fat and fine and there was one 7 year old stallion that had the finest coat of hair I ever saw on any horse during my whole life. You could slick it down and see your reflection as in a clear pool of water when the sun is just right. He was awful wild and I had a pulley up on a strong straight limb on a shade tree that was in the corral where I was roping them. I had a pulley fastened on this limb so we could put a rope through it and draw their heads up so that they could not kick and I had Henry Turner's oldest boy hired to help me. It was his job to hold their heads up by holding onto the other end and he was a big husky boy who would weigh at least 160 pounds and had been doing fine. I had left this fine horse until almost the very last as I had been trying to buy him but could not. I got him and had put the big strong halter on him and had his head drawn up so that he could not kick and was petting him and rubbing him under the belly when the boy let the rope go slack and he kicked me with both feet and knocked me out for a bit. When I came to, Johnny Gardener and his two old maid sisters were caring for me. The girls had their hands locked under my shoulders and this brought my head and their faces close together. This must have been what brought me to. Their names were Rachel and Rebecca and they were old maids and very wrinkled in the face. They were fine girls but I did not know how old they were. I had never studied the wrinkles on old maids but I could tell how old a cow was by the wrinkles on her horns and a mare or a horse by their teeth but knew nothing about the age of old maids. Their brother, John told me I was the only man they had ever had their hands on in their lives. They wanted me to give up the job but I said "No, I will finish the job if they kill me". I did finish but it was several days before I could throw a rope. When I was through with their job, I was going on to W. H. Burford's farm on another lease that I had taken there. Henry Shoop had made the best offer I have ever had but Lot would not listen to it and I had to pass it up. I just lost $28,000 that I could have made in 6 months had she been willing but she had her way. I could have bought 400 acres of prairie land for 5 dollars an acre. A railroad was put through it and it was about nine miles southwest of Warrensburg, Mo. And the town of Center View was started and Henry sold it for 75 dollars per acre in six months later. I was grubbing and splitting rails to get money to send back to her mother again. Well, the house that I lived in belonged to me and W. H. Burford sent Ben Bartley with a team and wagon and two long poles and we pried the house up and laid these long poles on his wagon and mine and fastened the (cupin loles) to the pole and the rear hounds and put them under each side of the house and moved it to the Burford lease on the two wagons with all the household goods in it. It was all homemade furniture made out of boxes but we moved and the whole job was done. We ate dinner on the Burford lease. I had already build a calf pen and hauled some rocks to put under the house. After we ate dinner, we let the house down on these rocks and got a big flat rock for a doorstep. We set the house with the door in front this time and there were a few blackjack trees for shade and a large hickory tree where I built the calf pen. I was milking 3 cows and Ben Bartley and myself went after the cows and by letting the calves suckle the cows, they would come home at night. I had to haul our water for house use until I could get time to dig a well. This was not very soon for I had to fence, brake, and plant this 60 acres in corn. There was some grubbing to do and I must make and haul these rails two miles. I hired Bill Linn and Sam Mathews because Lot had gone back to Ohio and I was alone to cook, milk, and do everything. I was on the job late and early but attended church and Sunday school on Sunday. This seemed to rest me for the next week. I accomplished all that I undertook and raised a big crop of corn and lots of melons and found a splendid market but not at a very big price. After the hard work had been done, Lot came back and I had to get a hired girl. A little later, my oldest boy was born who is living now. This was in this little box house and I had plenty of everything but money but Mr. Burford had a big wheat crop and bought a March harvester machine. I had never seen one before and he could not find anybody who could bind their half of the wheat as it took two good men to sit on it and take the bundle about. George Laufman could come as near to it as anyone. They were offering 5 dollars a day and this meant from daylight until dark. The grain was very heavy but I felt some dubious of my ability to do the work but never yet had seen the man who could beat me binding on the ground. They had tried out about 20 men and George was the only one so far that could come any ways near doing it. The man who had sold Mr. Burford the harvester told him that two men could do it with a big crop and it was getting ripe. They were anxious and I had been talking to the Ag. Agent and he wanted me to come and try it. I was busy with my garden and did not want to leave it but they kept at me until I finally told them I would be there in the morning. I was on time and they were just starting around a 40 acre field and in opening up, there was no way of avoiding taking a full swath and the ground was very rough. I had ridden all kinds of broncos but never one like this. We made the round and I never missed a bundle but George had to throw off 4. The next round, Ben Bartley thought he would try me out and he let the team walk fast. He had not learned to regulate the reel and there were some very tall and some not so tall and the reel when they walked fast would throw it too far back on the canvass. This made it come up uneven and the bundles were hard to bind and made ragged looking bundles and hard to make a double band. I said "Whoa" and the horses stopped. I said, " Ben, you must regulate your reel as you come to these different heights of the grain" and he did better from then on. I stayed with it from then on until the last bundle was bound and I left blood on every band the 1st day. My hands punished me for several days but after they got well, I soon got my neglected garden cleaned out and commenced to haul potatoes, cabbages, onions, peas, beans, and then melons, but before I got the stuff, silver was demonitized and the market went bad. Where I was getting 10 cents apiece for 25 pound watermelons, I could get but $3.00 per wagon load of 90-100 melons to the load. I got a letter from W. H. Burford and he wanted me to go to the timber and make rails and fence my garden as I must sell him my cornfield because he was coming with 29 cars of Texas steers and must have my corn on the stalk. Well, I went to work and got the garden fenced and the letter stated he would be there in two weeks and it was very near a week in getting to me. While this was happening, he was buying and shipping and was away from any communications, and he was sending them by train load and the last shipment did not pay the freight and his salesman had a hard time getting word to him. When he did catch him, it was when he had gone ahead of this drive to order the cars. He received them and finished paying for them but the word came that he was busted and all my neighbors thought I was foolish to let him have my corn. They thought I would never get anything for it but I pitied him for he was a useful man in the neighborhood and I let him have it. I did not know what I ever would get for it and if I had not let him have that field, he would not have had any field on his farm that would have held them as the fence was 5 1/2 feet high. Now, he had a wife named Mara and he called her Molly. He also had a saddle mare that he called Molly and when he was talking, you could not tell which Molly he meant and get the wrong meaning. It would make me laugh but I got the fours that he ordered and met him at Warrensburg. I was there when the train pulled in but the stockyards were not big enough to hold all of the 29 cars and it seemed that the whole town was out to see the long-horn steers. I was on Nancy and Burford had shipped Molly, his mare, and he was on her giving orders and after they were all out but 4 cars, the stockyards were full and we let some out and were holding them by the side of the corral. Just before the last were let out, I had been trying so hard to hold them that Nancy was white with foam and when they broke out, I headed them and got the lead one on the right road and tried to get ahead of them to hold them back. I could not get ahead of them but everybody had been told to keep off of this road and I had prepared a wide opening in my fence that I had built across the road but somebody had opened the fence and didn't put it up. I was over in a field trying to head them and Nancy was getting pretty well winded and I wasn't very much better. All of this had been a hurry-up job without very much rest but I like W. H. Burford and he liked me and I felt I could not do too much for him. It was up to Ben Bartley and me to make the arrangements for these cattle and we both had seen some of them before this but none with such horns. They ran from 4 to 7 years old and were most any color you could name except a bright red. Molly, the mare, was on the job as was Molly, his wife, but the mare was very stiff and could not head these cattle and, believe me, that was wild and scary. It was with much difficulty that we finally got them in my corn field but did by careful management. Now there was plenty of spring water in this field but they circled the fence to find some place to get out. After they found none, they commenced to get reconciled with their new home and it wasn't long until they commenced to know me. The fear they got when we were unloading them was caused by city noise for there was a string of box cars on a switch along side of where we were trying to hold them and when the whole top of these cars were filled with men, women and children it made them break away from us. The string was all of two miles long but after they were once on the right road, they followed the lead ones and they all went like they had started to Texas. They were going the right direction. Now I was very busy getting my fall work done and had not expected to have to feed these steers but W. H. had a very large corral at his barn and the fence was a solid board fence, big and strong. After they had eaten this corn crop and tramped the watering places until the water was getting bad, he moved them to this big corral and they were very discontented in there. There were some big lumber piles on the side nearest the house and it was piled on logs about a foot through and the bottom board was of (hour) at this place. They had a little boy about 2 years old and he sneaked out and crawled under this lumber pile. He was in there among those cattle and I had gotten my fall work done and had been making rails and building a feed lot. I had the fence all up but a little at the corner and was setting a gate post near the house when I heard Mrs. Burford screaming. Then I could hear little Gack, as they called him, and I ran and found that he had crawled through this hole and was in among the cattle and they were bawling and he was screaming. I leaped over the board fence and lit on top of this lumber pile. There were 6 or 7 steers had him down and were trying to hook him but their horns were so long that they were in each others way. There were two steers who stood close together with their tails to the lumber pile and I jumped between them and yelled at the top of my voice. They lunged and knocked the other steers away and I grabbed the child and leaped for the lumber pile and swung him over the high fence to his mother. By this time, there were two steers with their front feet on the lumber pile trying to get me but I jumped to safety on the other side of the high fence. We took little Willie or Jackie, as they called him, to see how bad he was hurt but after we got him cleaned up, we found that he was not hurt very badly, but believe me, I won the hearts of both his parents, especially Molly, his mother. Willie was taught to hug and kiss me for it. Now Molly gave orders that the steers must be moved from there and we got busy and finished the feed lot and moved the cattle. I had full control of the feeding and I was the only person who could dare go in that feed lot afoot. I spent many days in there cleaning those pole self-feeders and some of the cattle got so gentle they would lick salt out of my hand as well as corn, but a stranger sure had to climb if he was seen by any of them. There was one steer that had horns 7 feet and 4 inches from point to point and from that down to 4 feet. The way I got the measurement of his, there were two trees that were just 7 feet and 4 inches apart and if he walked between them and hit the center, he would scrape both trees. If he didn't, he would have to turn his head so one would point up and the other down. Now, as well as they liked me, I never tried to ride any of them, and believe me, I watched them when I walked from one feeder to the other. By the time these steers were fat, the market had got back to normal. They got Jack Burford out of debt and he had money left. He rewarded me for what I had done and I never needed to be out of work while I lived on his ranch. Mrs. Burford's father lived about 8 miles from Jack's farm and owned a big ranch. He was a hard working farmer and was plowing some distance from his house. He had unhitched to go home and went to mount his horse. When he went to get on the horse, he lost his balance and his leg went down between the tug, between the back and the collar and scared the horse. It started to run in a circle and he struck his head against something hard and it killed him. When the horse had run himself down and he was found, he had been trying to cut himself free when he was killed for his pocket knife was sticking in the tug and the tug was over half cut in two. It took a hard pull to get it out. It was a painful scene to witness that body and a loving mother with all her big family. Poor Molly took it harder than any of them and little Jack, the boy I saved, just screamed when he saw his grand-dad in that condition. It was heart-rendering even for me who had seen plenty of mangled bodies before but none that made me wilt like this. When word came, I went to them and later to the funeral. Well, I seeded my cornfield to spring wheat and got the seed from a man who was contracting to furnish seed for two dollars per bushel and buy the entire crop at 2.25 per bushel but there were only a few of the best farmers who got in on this deal. He was to furnish sacks and take from the machine. I was to do the rest and he was an honest man and played fair with all his men. Most of the people thought he was a swindler but he did just what he had agreed to in every way. He had a good kind of wheat and he knew just what it would do on good land with a good farmer to handle it. The contract bound me to turn over the entire crop and this I did. I was to notify him 10 days before the thresher would be there which I did. The price was so much more than wheat was selling for that everybody except W. H. Burford was sure that nobody would ever come to receive it, but his teams and sacks were there on time and he himself was there. He thought I had a wonderful crop which it was. People thought where I was cinched was that the contract called for every grain and this would be impossible to save every grain, but he drove in just as the thresher had begun to stake down the thresher and horse power. When he looked at the stacks, he was pleased and he had brought the sacks and canvass to cover the ground to prevent any waste. After it was threshed and cleaned up around the machine, I wanted to buy some of it as did others when they saw what a yield it had made. He would not sell anybody a bushel but when we were through, there were 2,240 bushels off of my 55 acres. After it was all on wagons, he told me to meet him at the Ridens Bank in Warrensburg and he would pay me. He paid me $5,600 for my crop. This same bank failed a few years later after Mr. Ridings had brought 150 thousand dollars worth of township bonds that were afterwards declared worthless and they made a run on the bank. With the help of W. H. Burford and myself (W. H. played the bluff through me), the bank still held up and did business but finally, after the court decided that the township bonds were illegal, they made another run after I had moved away. The worry soon killed Mr. Ridings but he was an honest man. Jack traded for a span of fine-looking mares and they were full of pep and were afraid of hogs. W. H. did not know this and George Laufman was working for him. He gave him this team to drive and Jack had bought several carloads of hogs in and around Chilhowee. As usual, he had some large ones that gave out and had to be hauled. I had been helping drive and knew where these hogs were and could lift a big load myself. He sent me with George to haul these broken down hogs and we loaded a big sow that would weigh near four hundred pounds. She could not stand up until she could get the devil to help her. When he got in her, she stood up and commenced to squeal and her head was on her front (hand) and it was towards the team. They got scared and were running while I was astradle of her head and had her by the ears to keep her from going forward toward the team. After they had got to run pretty fast, George jumped off and threw the lines to me. I got hold of them and had barely got them tightened when they turned a corner in the road and turned the wagon upside down. We struck a post and rail fence and broke two posts off. They dragged me under the box until the coupling pole broke and one line that was wrapped around my hand. Then the old sow turned the box on edge and we were both scrambling to get to our feet when I heard a crash. The team had come to a deep wash and one jumped and the other didn't and they both went into the wash on their backs, the front wheels on top of them. They could not get up until they were cut loose but they were not skinned up as badly as I was for I without knowing it had been taken to a doctor's office where he had a little drug store. I had gotten near enough to the team to see that the wagon tongue was broken and the way the horses laid. I either fainted or something else for there was a time that I did not know what was going on. When I came to, my head was all bandaged and I had trouble getting my breath. By the time George got there, and patched everything up so we could go home, I was better and it was nearly dark when we started for home. The doctor's wife wanted to take me in their buggy but I told her that it would be a bad trip for her to drive there and back as I was alone then, I would have no way of taking care of her at my home. It was lucky for her for after we got about half way home, I got worse and was too sick to sit up and laid down in the wagon box and forgot what was going on until we got to my home. George was trying to get me out of the wagon when I came to and threw up. It smelled like whiskey and I guess it was for the doctor had given me something in a tumbler that he called a stimulant. After I got through vomiting, I was able to walk to my bed and there I was for two weeks. Just as soon as Mrs. Burford heard, she came and waited on me until Jack got home from St. Louis, Missouri. She was a wonderful help to me for she looked after the stock and chickens and saw that everything was tended to. Jack took the job off her hands and he paid the doctor bill and paid me wages while I was in bed. George Laufman and his wife would come and stay until bedtime nearly every night and Ben Bartley milked and tended to everything while I was in bed. This surely taught me to know what it means to have a friend when you are sick or crippled for a word spoken by a true friend means a lot to help cheer a downcast heart. This is especially true of someone who has all they can bear without being sick and this was my case then and several times later. Jack sent George and Ben after the old sow and some others and Jack told me that the old sow was not hurt. I haven't forgotten holding her ears until the lines came in the wagon. I grabbed them a little too late to save the calamity but this was the last time they tried to haul hogs with this team. Jack had a longhorn steer which he could not gentle. He jumped off of the ferryboat at St. Louis and then ran up through the town. Jack took after him on Molly but he turned back and left him for the city authorities to take care of. The last he saw of him, he had started through a yard after a sight-seeing lady and he never claimed the steer. He didn't hurt the Lady much, just tore her clothes and scared her but Jack carried a good gun and he knew how to use it. I always believed that he killed the steer and never claimed him for he would just laugh when I asked about it. I knew Jack well enough to know he never would have turned back without killing that steer and it was my guess he did it to save the lady. Now a shoemaker patched the lines and harness and a blacksmith fixed the wagon tongue and coupling pole so they told me. Jack said the turnover broke 3 posts instead of 2 but it really just seemed to me like a dream. The doctor told Jack that I had 3 fractured ribs and I well know there was something out of whack or I would not have been in bed so long. I don't like being in bed after it is light in the morning. Now a man lived near me by the name of Alexander Bush. He was a church member and had a boy, a girl and a fine wife. There were some others who lived farther east and their name was Fike. Mrs. Burford was raised a Methodist and I asked Mr. Bush if he thought we could organize a Sunday school at the Burford Schoolhouse. He said he thought we could and so we did. The first meeting we had the house was full but it was small, about 16 X 18 with slab benches. We met every Sunday and had a jolly good time for some time. Then there were objections raised for having Sunday school in the schoolhouse and it was the Catholic members who thought it was wrong and one of them had been elected to the school board. Well, we still held Sunday school there until it burned down. Well, of course, nobody knew who did it but there was some very close guessing. A petition was circulated to take in a part of another district and build a new schoolhouse near the center of the Catholic settlement. Well, this got up some ill feeling and caused some people to guess out loud who they thought burned the schoolhouse. I had been looking for a location where I could trade in livestock and not interfere with Jack Burford in his locality. I did not expect to stay in this neighborhood long and I had been exchanging work with some of these Catholics and had been getting along fine. O'Brien had married a Methodist wife and she would send her children to the Methodist Sunday school where I went. She was a lady who believed in getting down on your knees to pray and in those days, a lot of people did, but then everybody wore low-heeled shoes and didn't have as many corns as now. I must be careful or I might step on one. I was trying to locate somewhere I could buy a small place where there was a chance to add to it as I would get the money to buy with and I wanted to feed, farm and work on a sure plan. This first 40 acres appealed to me as being the very place I was looking for and it did prove to be all right but this same place raised more grasshoppers than they could feed and they migrated to Missouri. One day they got so thick in the sky that they hid the sun at two o'clock in the afternoon. My chickens went to roost because they thought it was night. About four o'clock that afternoon, the grasshoppers commenced to light and it became brighter and the chickens flew down off of the roost. They had the time of their lives until they got full. I hurried and covered my cabbage all that I could before they ate it up and when I was shoveling dirt on the heads, it was impossible to tell where their heads were as there were grasshoppers on every head and they just left a hole in the ground where they ate the turnips and radishes and the fields of wheat that were 2 and 3 inches high were brown and bare in less than 20 minutes. They never left a leaf on any tree and when they went to roost on the stakes, they would tip the stakes out of the ground with their weight for they would pile on top of each other and when they left the next day, the fences looked like new rails. They had eaten the outside off but there was plenty stayed to lay eggs - enough to eat everything in the spring. I had 85 hogs in a pen and they ate so many that they looked like they were bloated but I never missed any hogs so they did not eat any of them. They did eat everything else that they liked, even to the bark on young fruit trees and one man who was traveling told me that he left his wagon sheet on the (bows) and in the morning, the wagon sheet was gone and the bows were chewed until they looked like new and this was a reasonable story for they were hungry and had to have something to eat. It would have been better for me if they had eaten my whole bunch of hogs for I had just bought 40 tons of shipped stuff for feed and it would have sold for a great deal more than the hogs ever brought. I fed half of it to the hogs and sold them and then sold the other half to the same man I got it from and it brought nearly double what the hogs did. There were a lot of black oak trees in the feed lot and these hoppers that my hogs ate had filled themselves on these leaves and then could not raise to go with the drove when they left the next day. These hoppers gave my hogs chronic colic that it took two weeks to get them back on their feed and they never did any good. The feed would have brought three times what I got for the hogs for I fed a lot of corn that would have sold for more than one dollar per bushel. Now the hoppers that got all they could eat could not raise to go with the drove the next day and they stayed and laid a big crop of eggs to hatch the next spring and they ate everything as fast as it came out of the ground. It sure looked like starvation was at hand. Crittendon was governor of Missouri then and he set aside a day for prayer and the young hoppers had no wings yet and the ground was solidly covered. They were all traveling northwest where I lived and if you would stand still, the earth just looked like it was moving under your feet. It would make you dizzy for they were from 1/2 to an inch deep and this was on the morning of the day that was set for prayer. The next day, there was scarcely one left and what become of them, I am not able to tell but they were gone and there were some counties that only had a few and they didn't pray. Their hoppers stayed and they were bothered for several years after but with us, in a week everything was green and everybody planted and got a big crop of everything. This caused some to believe in prayer who never had before. I had always believed in prayer for I had been taught that from a child and still believe in prayer and believe if you want the answer, to get down on your knees in secret and not try to make too much of a show out of it. Before I left Johnson County, the Methodists had a revival and there had been some trouble between myself and Mr. Graham. He was going to shoot me with an old army musket and I noticed that he had lost the cap off the tube but the hammer was back. I was on one side of the fence and his whole family was siding with me for we all belonged to the Methodist Church. I didn't run but he didn't shoot but went home making some hard threats, and when we met, we never stopped to kiss each other. I was attending this meeting and was there when he got happy and he has some by-words that he used so often it was a habit and in his excitement, he made use of some that night after he had gotten so full that he was shaking hands with everybody. He started for me and came with these words flowing out loud, "Well, David, we have been acting like damned fools long enough. Let's make friends." Of course, I was ready and while we were shaking hands, everyone was trying to figure out what he would say next when they all commenced to sing and so did I. We were friends after that. I left Johnson County and many friends besides Mimmy Graham. Later, all of my kindred but one brother followed me but my brother, Samuel, died there many years ago. Some of my good neighbors followed me but Susan and her children are there yet as far as I know. Now my uncles and his brother-in-law moved to St. Clair county, Missouri along with John Strickler. They had known me from a child but they lived in the Anderson Prairie and I bought in the Whitley Prairie about three miles from them. This was not like going to a perfectly strange neighborhood but I often thought of the many kind friends I had left in Johnson county.
|Name: Donald P. Reed|
Referred by: Mo GenWeb
From: Bucyrus, Ohio 44820
Comments: My g g grandfather, Samuel Reed and his family moved from the Marion/Morrow/Crawford County area in Ohio in 1866 to Johnson County, MO. He eventually moved in 1877 to St. Clair County,MO and died in Schell City in 1880. One of Samuel's 7 children from his second marriage was David. David also moved from the same area in Ohio a few months after his father to Johnson Cty. and lived near Warrensburg. In his 80's and early 90's David wrote a remarkable autobiography which discusses, in great detail, the names of farmers etc. that lived in his area near Warrensburg and stories about the vigilante committee that saved him and neighbors from local bad guys. Neighbors names like: Lyons, Nathaniel Bludget, Johnny Gardner, Tom Houts, Nick Bender, Henry Shoop, Henry Turner, W.H.Burford, Ben Bartley, Bill Linn, Sam Mathews,George Laufman, and many others. With the possible exception of David's one brother, Samuel, who probably died in Johnson County, most of the Reeds moved on to St. Clair Cty, MO. Thanks.
Preface: In 1978 and 1979 in preparation for publication of "Families of Crawford County, Ohio" by the Crawford County Chapter of Ohio Genealogical Society, Inc.., we became interested in this project. With the help of various relatives, we began collecting data on our ancestors for this book which was published in 1979. Through David A. Reed of Grants Pass, Oregon, we obtained a copy of the autobiography of David Reed (1847-1938) who wrote it in long hand about 1929 in his home in Whittier, California. We understand that his great grand-daughter in Colorado typed the original of the copy we received. She apparently took great pain to type it exactly as it had been written by David. Most of his words were spelled phonetically--as a word sounded rather than as it should be spelled. As will be seen in the original text, David had a very limited formal education and it is remarkable that he did have such a large vocabulary. Nevertheless, reading the original typed version of his book was extremely difficult, both because the reproduction was poor and because of the phonetic spelling.. In an effort to provide easier reading by those in our family who were interested in our genealogy, and for those who may happen to read this in the future, we decided to retype his "book" and make it easier to read. It is not our intent to expurgate the original text in any way. However, due to our interpretation of what we read in the first typed copy, there may be some thoughts or words which have been incorrectly translated. Whenever possible, when a word or phrase was either not legible or unintelligible, it was either omitted or retyped "as is" and enclosed in parentheses. We offer this explanation only in the event that our revised typed version is separated from the original so that anyone reading our version can refer to the original for the "pure" story. In an effort to perpetuate the continuity, we request that anyone making copies of the 1985 version also make and attach copies of David's 244 pages. Transcribers notes: Donald P. Reed sent me both his wife's version and copies of the original book that pertain to Johnson County, Missouri. I asked Donald's permission to transcribe his wife's version since it was much easier to read. He has no problem with this as long as I tell the reader that if you want copies of the original book or any additional information you must contact him for them : "Donald P. Reed" email@example.com Transcribed for the WWW by M. Antal (c)1999