(7) Mina Ward (6) Mahlon Jr. (5) Mahlon (4) John (3) George (2) James and (1) George
Reflections of the Old Homestead
Editor's Notes: For ease of reading of this old manuscript on this web page, we have separated some of the text into smaller paragraphs. No text was omitted. The start of the trip might have been around the year 1880, based on known birth dates. Ron Haworth, editor.
A beautiful water color of Haworth Kansas (now called Cuba Kansas)
A picture of their headstone
A picture of Mahlon's headstone
Mina Vivian Ward Simmons Parkhurst, December 1983,
Daughter of John and Maude Ward;
Granddaughter of Mahlon and Phebie Haworth.
The wagons rolled westward from Indianola, Iowa. They were heading for Kansas where they had heard that the grass was greener, the soil blacker and the trees grew taller.
It was around 1878, (could be the year 1880, editor's note) Mahlon Thornburg Haworth and his wife, Phebie Ann and their six children were housed in one covered wagon. In the wagon following, were their belongings. Mahlon's grown brother's and sister's were in their own wagons trailing behind forming a caravan of horses and wagons was this family of Haworths.
They traveled slow by day and camped before dark, in order to get their camp set up before dark while they could see. They had to go out and scout for wood to build a fire and to cook with. This took time. Usually the older children would get wood while the grownups did other things like unhitch the horses from the wagons to let them graze on the good green grass, and fill their hungry bellies while they were resting from their hard days of pulling the heavy wagons. While the men were taking care of the horses, the women folk were unloading the wagons of the necessary items for the night.
They had been a long time in planning this trip, and were well prepared with fried down meat, put in two and three gallon crocks with the grease poured over the meat to keep it. They purchased some of their necessities as they passed through towns and went by farms, where they bought fresh eggs and milk, for they started their long journey in the spring. The teams of horses couldn't make it more than ten to fifteen miles per day, depending on the weather, for the wagons were loaded and heavy. The roads were just two wagon wheel paths made by the wagons that traveled this route.
Mahlon and Phebie's youngest child, was a brown haired little girl with big blue eyes. Her name was Maude. She wore pigtails as she bounced along on the seat between her mother and daddy. She was just two years old, not big enough to remember all the goings on but was aware that she was riding high in the air and could see a lot farther than her brothers and sisters who had to ride in the covered wagon. But sometimes they were allowed to get out of the wagon and run along by the side. This, Maude couldn't do, for her little legs were just too short to keep up. Her older sister, Delia, couldn't get out and walk like the others either, for although she was seven years old, she wasn't much taller than Maude. Delia was a dwarf. Her little arms and legs were short, but her body was normal size. She had light red hair, and blue green eyes. She couldn't climb in and out of the wagon like the other children unless they helped her. But she was an independent child and did much for herself, even did for the other ones sometimes.
The two boys, William Penn, who was around twelve and Linnely Orin, nine, were big teasers with their sisters. Like all normal boys, they picked and ran, but nobody else better bother those sisters of their. Mary Emma, a daughter of fifteen, was the oldest child and a big help to her mother. The next daughter was Martha Jane who wasn't as strong.
Mahlon and Phebie loved their family dearly and wanted the very best for them. Each night when they made camp, just before they retired, Mahlon would get the bible and read, then each one would say their own special prayer. They were of the religious sect known as the Quakers, and served God the very best they knew.
Traveling during the daylight hours and stopping early to make camp, the miles from Indianola passed slowly. Then if it came a downpour of rain, they had to stop somewhere for shelter until the rain ceased. Sometimes the wagon wheel would break down or one of the wooden spokes would break. They would have to stop and pry the wagon up and let it rest on a rock until they could repair the wheels. The wheel had to be greased where it fit on the axel with heavy axel grease to help the wheel roll easier. When this would happen often, they would be close to a stream of water and could do their washings and dry them by throwing the clothes over the bushes in the sun to dry. They always tried to make camp around a stream of water, thus enabling them to take bathes and store up on water. The children enjoyed the delay for it gave them time to wade in the water and play.
The day finally arrived when they crossed the Kansas line and their eyes starting searching for a place to set down permanently. Their journey from Iowa brought them across the northern part of Kansas up next to the Nebraska line. They had traveled for weeks now on the old rough road, over hills and through the woods. They kept track on the calendar they had brought with them, marking off each day when they camped at night. The wagons kept rolling along hitting rocks and deep ruts in the road. The kids were fussy and the grownups were tired.
As they rode down a hill, there it was! A valley spread out before them, with a muddy creek winding through the valley of trees. As they came to the bottom of the hill, Mahlon waved the wagon to a halt. Climbing down from his wagon he said "well I believe we have found our spot!" Everyone drove their wagons off to the side of the road and climbed down. They looked the land over, the soil was rich and black, the trees were plentiful and the water was there even if it was muddy. Mahlon was a blonde young man with long blonde whiskers and mustache. He was strong and wise and knew how to use the gifts God gave him. As the women prepared food to eat, the men looked the trees over. Mahlon found plenty of big ones and marked them with his axe as he found them.
The layout didn't exactly suit his brothers and sisters and their families, so they stayed the night and traveled on the next day to find their spots. They settled over the rise in the next valley. But one brother spotted a place up on the hill a piece from Mahlon's. The ground was always rich in the valley. Mahlon loved the trees and so did Phebie. She was delighted with them and began at once to find the exact spot for the one room log cabin. Mahlon cut down the tall trees and chinked them together with the help of his neighboring brothers. In a few days there stood a log cabin. The walls were at least eighteen inches thick, for the trees were big.
So the little town of Haworth started to unfold. A store was erected and a post office in part of the store. A railroad ran between Mahlon's home and the store. They built a small depot by the side of the tracks and down aways they built an elevator and stockyards. Mahlon purchased 60 acres and farmed it. He had the money to get all set up, with the help of his brothers. The children all needed schooling so they put up a schoolhouse middle ways of the farms. A place to worship is what was needed next, so they built it in the opposite direction of the school. Mahlon and Phebie raised their family here until they were grown and married.
They had lost four children by death before leaving Iowa. They were Agnes Eldora, Hensley Lincoln, Mina Lucinda, and Ida May. So all in all they had borne ten children. Mary Emma grew up and married Charlie Waggoner a farmer and lived out of Cuba Kansas on a farm and later moved to California, where they lived to the time of their death. They had: a daughter, Bertha, a school teacher, a daughter, Ona, who was retarded, one son, Loren who was a farmer and teacher in Wyoming, a daughter, Gretta a teacher, and a daughter, Florence a teacher.
Martha Jane married Tood Chappell, a farmer out of Haddem Kansas. They had a daughter who died in childbirth leaving two sons, Arlo and Billie Mackenstock. Another daughter, Edna, who was a musician, had a son, Vyrle. Otis the only boy had twins and five other children. His wife died in childbirth. They lived in Arizona. A daughter, Olga, died in childbirth and left a baby daughter, Bonnie, who Edna took to raise until Bonnie died from a ruptured appendix when she was nine. Her little body was shipped back to the old home place and lay in state there until her burial. Martha Jane passed away with TB.
William Penn married Charlotte Edwards. They had a daughter, Vesta. Linley Orin married Clara Rosenkranz. He farmed and was a new car dealer salesman, for a car company in Clyde Kansas. He had red hair like Delia and had four children: Ilah a daughter, and 3 sons, Creston, Melvin and Harold. Mahlon and Phebie ran the store and post office for as long as their health was good. But it became so bad that they turned it over to Delia to run for thirteen years. Maude took care of them and the house and chores.
After the death of Mahlon and Phebie, Maude and Delia stayed on the sixty acres. Delia was willed a life lease on the place. She never married, just dated. She had an offer once to marry a little dwarf like her. He said he had three hundred dollars and wanted to marry her but she just laughed. Maude sang in revivals and felt a call to preach. She was singing in a revival at a schoolhouse when she met the evangelist, John William Ward. Later on, they were married and to this union were born: Perry Haworth Ward in the year 1914 and died in 1916 with summer complaint, Dorthea Ann, named after her grandmother, March 12,1917. Next was Mina Vivian named after her dead aunt Mina. Mina was born November 13,1919. John and Maude pastored a church in the two years that Perry was alive. When Perry died , Delia wanted them with her so they gave up pastoring and went back to the old home place to be with her. So here is where Dorothea and Mina grew up. Delia died when Dorthea was nineteen and Mina was seventeen (1936). The old home place was sold and the money divided among Delia's brothers and sisters.
The house squatted among the huge trees at the end of a dusty driveway. The old house which in the beginning was a one room log cabin, stood stately and sturdy against all the winds that blew across the strong Kansas hills. Around the house and yard ran a fence and in back lay a moss covered cave, dug out by hand and covered with logs and black dirt. It was no wonder the moss bloomed so beautiful in the spring, the soil being so rich in all the goodies it takes in the soil to make things grow. The garden stretched out in back of the house and cave. Behind the garden there was a little house with a slanted roof and one single door. Inside there were two holes cut out of a seat made of wooden boards, the holes were just the right size to hold a bare behind. There was an old sears and roebuck catalog hanging over a loop of wire fastened to the wall with a nail. This special little house had pictures pasted to the walls, it had a floor in it too that got its scrubbing once a week, same as their big house.
It was a big relief to go to this little house, and you didn't have to flush the stool either! In the spring the lilacs in the yard burst forth in full bloom distributing their delightful scent, then carrying it in whichever direction it happened to be blowing. There was always a good breeze blowing in Kansas. To the east of the house, at the end of an old wooden walk was another gate. Over this grew a wild grapevine under which you had to pass to get to the well. The only way you could get water was to grasp the pump handle and move it up and down until water flowed out of the spout and into the bucket that you carried from the house. Large flat rocks lay on the ground forming a walkway, larger rocks than these formed the walkway from the wooden porch to the front gate. Down and back from the well stood an old barn, garage and corncrib tied together with one roof.
The garage was in the middle and it housed the old model T Ford that Dorothy and Mina first learned to drive. Corn raised off the forty acres by a sharecropper, was stored in the corncrib. There usually was an enormous crop, the ground being so rich in substance and drawing some of its moisture from the creek that wound its way around through the land. The creek was always muddy and tall trees grew from its banks. Along the edge of the cornfield next to the creek Maude had a garden of mostly tomatoes ,for she loved tomatoes. Mina was usually by her side, and when Maude would go to the garden, Mina was at her heels. Before Maude left the garden she would kneel down and pray to heaven, this had a big influence on Mina's life.
As the land rose and ended at the top of a rocky hill, the corn grew shorter and scantier. An old apricot tree protruded and produced big juicy fruit, that is when the frost didn't get it. There was always a jersey cow that made her way in and out of the barn, her rich milk was their main food. With it, Maude made butter out of the rich golden cream, cottage cheese from the milk. And always before going to bed, Dorothy and Mina would get a large bowl of homemade light bread and milk and eat it all. It was no wonder Mina always had nightmares. In back of the barn was a forest of trees, some were large whose branches reached heavenward almost as in worship to their creator. Some times it would seem as if they would clap their branches as one would clap their hands in great delight and joy to be alive. Many were cut for fire wood.
There was an old black heating stove in the dining room that kept the house warm in the cold winter. The stove had foot rests on each side and when Mina and Dorothy would eat their nightly snack this is where they would sit with their feet resting on the foot rests. They would get their tummies full and their feet and bodies warm and go to a cold unheated bedroom and crawl in a cold bed, but they were healthy and soon they were both sound asleep.
The winds blew hard in Kansas, be it spring, summer, fall, or winter. In November, snow always began to fall and would get deep and stay on and be added to until late March or the first week of April. Spring was the nicest time of the year as it was nice and comfortable out. The summers and falls were so hot and winters were so cold that spring was a welcome event. The trees that were so plentiful around began to take on brand new cloaks of different shades of green. The grass, so long covered with white, miraculously began to turn green too. All the little flowers that had returned back to mother earth, burst their tiny heads above the warm soil to greet "Mr. Sun", who before long had raised the earth to life was again. The lilac bushes were about the first to blossom out in all their beauty. These grew to the side of the old house. At their feet spread the beds of white flags, who before long were in full bloom.
Once again the yard and trees became alive with all the vibrancy of an orange bursting with juice. It was again time to set out the gorgeous blooming moss on the cave that sheltered them from the high winds that came with the summer months. The swing that hangs from the limb of the big tree in the yard, was Dorothy and Mina's swing. John hung it there. Maude always saw to it that the girls had a swing. The odd looking piece of grass in the driveway was named by the girls as "grassy spot". It was so hot in the summer that the dirt road burnt their feet when they went after the mail. The rural route box was up the driveway and across the railroad track. It was quite a distance for two small girls to run over hot ground to get the mail so grassy spot was a cooling place for their little feet. The girls could climb the tree with the limb going out near the ground, real easy. They were always climbing trees.
Out in the woods there was wild grapevines they would swing on. One time the creek was up high, after God had washed the earth with his tears and the girls swung out over the water on a big grapevine. Their guardian angel had to be with them, for if the vine had broken they would have drowned, for neither of them could swim a lick. Funny thing how God always dries the earth and trees with his sun. Then the earth and all its beauty is so clean and smells so good. The window at the top of the house was the attic. Maude stored things, old clothes, shoes etc. It was a fascination to the girls and their little friends to go up there and dress up. They had to climb up a ladder to the window that swung outward.
The rain barrel at the corner of the house caught rain that ran off the tin roof of the back room. The well water was real hard and had to be broken with lye before you could wash clothes in it. While Maude was in the garden, John went to the woods and would kneel by an old log. His prayer would start out low but before he was done he could be heard for a country mile, his voice carried so far. People who heard him would stop what they were doing and listen to him. He prayed with power from on high. One back "sliden" preacher heard him pray and came back to God. He prayed for his descendants salvation along with many other things.
John was a man of large stature, broad shoulders, a handsome man. One morning John woke the girls up with a start. The dogs, corky and ring, had treed and killed a coon. It was a mother and had little ones. He told the girls they could keep the babies if they could find them. The girls dressed fast and followed their daddy to the big drift of wood that lay across the creek bottom that was almost dry. They could hear the baby coons crying and looked and looked but couldn't find them. After some time of searching Dorothy pulled back some old dry limbs and leaves in the creek bank and there were four little pairs of little black beady eyes shining out of the nest. What cute little creatures! They looked like little puppies except they they had bushy tails. They didn't have teeth yet so they couldn't bite and were to small to run, even though they had their eyes open. Most small animals are born with their eyes shut. The girls picked up the baby coons and carried them home. Maude found some bottles and some rubber nipples, filled each bottle with warm milk from the old jersey cow and gave the bottles to the girls. Dorothy took one coon and Mina took one and put the nipples to coons mouths and quick as lightning, rolled over on their backs wrapped all four paws around the bottles and sucked until the foam ran down their chins, if coons have chins.
The girls cousin, Merle Haworth, was visiting from Montana, and when he returned home with his aunt and uncle, he took one of the coons with him. They crated it up and shipped it on the same train they were on. When he got home the neighbor wanted a pair, so John crated up two more and shipped them to them, leaving the girls with one. They named him Jackie. He was a pet of the whole family. They made a mistake of bringing him in house one time, after that he always wanted in. One day he got in, and they heard him and went to check on him. Well, guess what! He had taken his paw and slipped it inside the cabinet door and opened it and had one paw inside an almost empty jar of salad dressing, holding the jar with the other paw he would lick his paw and put it right back in and swipe out some more. When he saw them looking he looked up at them, and just went right on cleaning the jar. He washed all of his food, regardless of what it was. Mina put a pan of water on the floor and gave him some bread. He took it and washed it and washed it, then tried to pick it up and eat it, but it was all dissolved so he gave it up and backed off and made a dive for the pan of water spilling it all over the floor. This scared Mina, so she got up on the couch out of his way. It might have made him mad because he couldn't eat the bread. By this time he was getting pretty big, He and corky would play like two pups.
But the day came when he decided to go back to the woods, John caught him in time and built a cage for him in the corner of the garage. But he didn't like it in there, and one day when John reached into his cage to feed him, Jackie bit him through his hand. So John decided to put him on a leash in the barn. Later John went to check on him and found him dead. He was hung by the leash; Jackie had tried to make a leap and didn't land. They all cried and he was the cutest pet they had ever had. John skinned him and tanned his hide and made a rug.
The girls had a bunch of dolls. Maude took up orders out of a catalog and her pay was two dolls. They came in the mail, and one day the girls ran to the mailbox across the old grassy spot, to get the mail. The postman handed them a big box and said there was something in there that cried mamma. They took the box and ran home fast. Sure enough there were two beautiful dolls, Dorothy took one with brown hair and eyes that opened and shut, even had eyelashes. She named hers Irene. Mina's doll was blonde with blue eyes and had eyelashes, she named her Ruth.
There was a piano in the front room and they played it and sang at night. Maude walked with the girls down the hot railroad track, three miles once a week during the summer months to take piano lessons from their cousin Edna. They stayed the day at Ednas, and walked home in the evening. Dorothy and Mina sang duets at church. They called them The Ward Sisters. Their cousins said they should be on radio, but that never developed! The family always assembled at the little Quaker church one mile down the road south. They seldom missed a service. The church was lighted by gas lamps that hung from the ceiling on hooks and had to be pumped every so often with a little air pump to make them burn brightly. In this church Mina first met Jesus and he has been precious ever since.
This old home place has held down through many years, many happy memories to all the ones who remember it. I wonder if Mahlon Thornburg and Phebie Ann realized just how much it would mean to their descendants.
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