Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Albert Takes A Wife - 1886

Albert Takes A Wife - 1886

The rose color of her cheeks made me think of peach blossoms in the spring. Yes, I always was smitten by Alta May Usher’s beauty. We both attended the EUB Church at Leisure. She lived a mile south of the Church just past Uncle Wilshire and Aunt Mary Johnston’s farm. With mom gone, I got to thinking about taking a wife and Alta May was my top choice. After courting her for a short time I suggested marriage and she was very excited and enthused about the idea. Our marriage (January 21, 1886) started out the same year the Statue of Liberty was being constructed.

Alta May, at age 22, became mother to my siblings still at home (Charles 19, Mary Ann 16, and Minnie 12). Plus dad lived with us until the summer of 1886 when he married a second time. It was a good match. Henrietta (Fisher) Warfield had lost her husband, had two young children (Fred and Clara) and needed help caring for her farm 3 miles straight south of us. We were back and forth between the two farms a lot and raised most of our hay on Henrietta’s place. The peaches were becoming our most profitable crop. We were able to invest in new orchards and make some improvements to the house during our first years of our marriage. Household expenses were very low. We paid 10 cents a gallon for kerosene to light the house at night. Evenings were always a joy as we cast away the cares and distractions of the day by playing games and reading to the boys.

Tragic struck the family again in 1887 and sister Olive saved the day. My sister Mary Ann became pregnant by a neighbor boy (Herschel Adkin - 18). They did not get married and Otto was born 4/26/1887. Do to complications, Mary Ann died 9 days later (May 5). Sam and Olive adopted and raised Otto until he was 12 (1899). Then Otto moved to live with his father’s family – Herschel and Eda Adkin who then had 3 boys (Bob 4, Roy 2 and Harry a new born). Later in life Otto Galbreath and Herschel Adkin jointly owned a dance hall east of Pullman on Upper Scott Lake. There was never any animosity between the families. Mary’s death was just one of those things that happened.

In 1888 I took out a mortgage for $2,000 and other money changed hands. As a result, Alta May and I ended up owning the main 60 acre farm. Brother Lonson and Minnie lived across the street. Olive and Sam took title to the 40 acres on the corner, although they lived ½ mile north of the store on the west side of the street. Olive and Sam Galbreath deeded the 40 acres over to my brother Charles and Minnie after they were married (6-21-1891). Dad and Henrietta lived on her farm. (Photo L to R me, Alta May, Henry, Minnie, Lonson, Olive & Sam)

As for our children, we first had Maxwell Glen and then Rosco Glen (see photo). Yes, we always had at least one dog on the farm. The most tragic year of my life, 1891, started out with the death of two and a half year old Rosco. Shortly after our third baby died at birth and Alta May died of complications. My new family had been reduced to Max and me. I felt the same pain in my gut and tornado in my head as I felt when mother and Mary Ann passed. My head told me they are all at peace. I prayed for God to give me a cheerful heart. On the outside I kept positive as the farm and house needed running and 5-year old Max needed me to be strong.

Note - above written by Martin O based on facts and some speculation. Were you at the 100th Overhiser Cousin's Reunion? It was held in 1993 on the same site where Otto and Herschel once owned a dance hall.

2010 At The Farm

The fruit trees are resting. All is well - Cold, wind, snow and looking for signs of spring. May all be well with you in 2010.
Eat fresh, canned or frozen fruit!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Young Adult Albert - 1875/85

Young Adult Albert - 1875/85
I was 18 to 28 years old during this time frame. My world was the farm with occasional trips to South Haven, Glenn, Fennville or Allegan. My first thoughts are of my mother (Sarah) who was always in control of her emotions except for the time of the 1871 Chicago fire. Then she cried for several days thinking the world was coming to an end. The smoke was so dense we did not see the sun for 2 or 3 days. Other times, Mom was in charge of our family. She kept the house running smoothly, kept us well fed, clothed and healthy with her home remedies. We were encouraged to read, attend Sunday school and love one another.

In the fall Mom was very busy preparing for winter. From the garden we would dig potatoes, carrots and turnips for winter storage. Peaches, cherries pears and plums were canned. Meat was smoked or canned and apples and cabbage stored in the root cellar. Day after day the milk cows and chickens provided us milk, butter, cream and eggs.

Church, Sunday school, my McGuffery Readers and Old Ben Franklin shaped my moral principles, and those of our community. We were taught to be self-sufficient at an early age. From the Bible, “to everything there is a season” and “more blessed to give than receive” From our reader, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” From Old Ben, “Waste not, want not” and “don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” These were all great life lessons.

Thanksgiving type meals were shared every Sunday in the fall with aunts, uncles and cousins. The women and older girls would talk while preparing the meal. The young kids would be playing inside or outside depending on the weather. Older boys and us men would say we were going to the barn to look at the new calf or piece of equipment. When in fact, we were testing the hard cider.

We always had hired men and young boys working on the farm. These were all neighbors and many were relatives. Sam Galbreath, at age 22, came to work with us in 1873. He moved to Casco from Indiana and lived with his relatives. My oldest sister, and best friend, Olive was 13 then. Sam kept working with us until he and Olive were married August 3, 1879. The wedding photograph was taken right in the living room of our house. Justice of the Peace, Thomas Iddles performed the ceremony. At this time my brother Lonson was also married and settled on a small farm across the road to the south. Ida had married and moved away.

The year after Sam and Olive were married, Sam Leisure lost both hands working on our farm. He was running sorghum through a press. I helped take him to South Haven to get his stubs stitched up. My dad, Henry, felt so bad about the accident that he paid my new brother-in-law Sam Galbreath to construct a store building for Sam Leisure to run. It was built on the SW corner of our farm and the lumber was milled right on our farm. That same year a wood framed church was built on the opposite corner. Dad helped build the Church and was on the Board of Trustees at the time. Uncle Lonson Overhiser was also a Church leader as was Uncle Wilshire and Aunt Mary Ann (Overhiser) Johnson. That church burned and was rebuilt in 1906. The church, store and I.O.O.F. Hall, at the NW corner, were the main community gathering places all my life.

I had been taking more responsibility for selecting the fruit trees and caring for the farm. Then on March 4, 1884 my mother passed away. This loss hit me like a ton of bricks. She was 46, dad 49 and I was 27 at the time. Also at home were Charles 17, Mary Ann 15 and Minnie 10. Dad tried to run the house but it just was not the same. Olive and Sam helped keep us going. The loss of my mother got me thinking about taking a wife.

Note - above written by Martin O based on facts and speculation.

At the Farm December 2, 2009
The farm fall cleanup is almost completed. The boxes and ladders are out of the orchards. Equipment is being stored for the winter and repairs being made. Trimming has begun on apples and will continue until next spring.

Allan will be attending different agricultural meetings this winter to learn new techniques and help set policy. He continues to serve as the Casco Township Supervisor. A new fire station is being built and the Township is in the process of acquiring a parcel of land on Lake Michigan for a new park. Kim meets herself coming and going to basketball games and practice as all five kids are playing this winter. Snow cannot come soon enough for the kids who belong to a ski club.
Stay warm and eat fruit!