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Letters, Memoirs & Family Stories
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Linn County


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The following Family Memoir was provided by Irma Ward, 12 June 2000.  This was written by her Great-Grandmother, Mary Anstress Barnard Shattuck.

My Early Life and Travels
By Mary A. Shattuck


My father and mother were E. P. (Elijah Patterson) and Anstress (Foman) Barnard. I was born October 16, 1844 on a farm in St. Charles Co., Missouri.  When I was a year and six months old, my parents started to Oregon with their two children, crossing the vast stretch of uninhabited land called, at that time, the "plains." We traveled with two ox teams, and spent six months on the road. We stopped at a small town on the Williamette River called Oregon City. Here we lived most of the time until the spring of 1849.

When my father learned that gold had been discovered in California, he took his family down the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean to San Francisco.  My brother was born on the Pacific Ocean. Arriving in San Francisco, we found it merely a tent town; we lived in a tent all the time we were there.

Our family spent only a short time in San Francisco. We soon moved on to a ranch on the road to the mines where my father and mother kept what was then called an "eating house." They sold food to the people going to and from the mines, often selling small pies for fifty cents which was regarded as a very high price at that time.  There was no mint in California so my father had money scales and took gold ore in payment for food in place of money, and often the miners were so liberal, they would throw in a little more gold for good measure. I remember a little incident of wastefulness; a miner who had made several trips to and from the mines was so lavish with his gold as to buy sugar and crackers for his mule.

We left this ranch during the winter of 1849 and 50 for Missouri. From San Francisco, we went by water to the Isthmus of Panama, crossing the Isthmus part of the way by the Chagres River and the rest of they way by mule or burro-back as there was not even a wagon road across the Isthmus at that time. We were crossing the Isthmus on Christmas Day, and the sun shone so hot as to blister my face, though I was wearing a Panama hat. There were places where even burros could not pass, and the driver would "Hallo" before entering so if any were in the passage, they would hear and answer.

On leaving the Isthmus, we took a boat for New Orleans, and came up the Mississippi River to St. Louis; then we went out to the old home in St. Charles County. While in California, my father had saved enough money to buy a farm which he had wanted to own, but on his return he did not find it as attractive as he expected and did not buy. We remained there a year, and then went to Wisconsin where my father had a brother. Here, in the little town of Franklin, we lived for a year and six months, and then moved to southwest Missouri, locating about ten miles from Springfield, where we spent the winter.

Again in the spring with ox teams, we started across the plains, this time for southern Oregon. We went by way of Salt Lake City, and spent five and one-half months on the road. In Oregon we located in the Umoqua Valley, being fortunate to be near an academy built by the Methodist Church. It was a good school for those days. It employed three teachers, and the principal was appointed by the Methodist Conference. It is with grateful heart that I bear testimony that it was here that I received my limited education, attending this school almost four years.

Again my father sold out, and we went to San Jose, California, taking 150 head of cattle with us. It seems a simple affair these days, going from one state to another, but it was different then in 1859. The southern part of Oregon and northern part of California was unsettled, mountainous country, being traversed by one main road. We spent three months on the way, traveling as usual with ox teams.

We left San Jose the next spring, looking for a new location. Father was not sure of his destination. We started south through southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas. We journeyed north through the Indian Territory, finally locating a few miles southeast of LaCygne, Kansas. From this home, I was married to William H. Shattuck (8 Oct 1865) who had just returned from four years of service in the Union Army of the Civil War in which he served as second lieutenant with the Co. B, Sixth Vol. Calvary. We went immediately to the old home which he had homesteaded in that year. We lived on this farm for over fifty-five years, and here out nine children were born and reared and here husband and father passed away 30 Sep 1887.

In all these travels we had many adventure and narrow escapes, but came through without loss of life. This does not tell half - only a little memento of my early life and the wonderful early history of crossing the plains in 1846, again in 1853, and again in 1860.

Children of William Henry Shattuck and Mary Anstress Barnard:
Grant Miles 1866 - 1942
Alden H. 1868 - 1925
Oscar 1869 - 1922
Jessie Minona 1872 - 1948
Nettie Maude 1874 - 1954
Clyde Marquis 1876 - 1944
Josie 1879 - 1880
Lenora Edna 1881 - 1916
Ina Estella 1886 - 1964

Gold Bar

Last update: Sunday, March 23, 2003 00:11:30

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