Pioneers of Marion County
Ose Matthews - Page 143 and 144
Among those mentioned in the list of early settlers, who took claims on the first of May, '43, was Ose Matthews and his families, consisting of Drs. Reuben and Homer Matthews, Simpson B., Warren, and Ose, Jr., together with George Reynolds and Ray Alfrey, sons-in-law.
Ose Matthews, Sr., was born in Massachusetts, March 14, 1784; moved to Troy, N. Y., - date not remembered - where he resided several years; thence to Lake county, Ohio, in 1817; thence to White Pigeon Prairie in '37; thence to Iowa, and stopped below Old Agency in '42; thence to Lake Prairie in '43, and settled there at the time above stated. In '46 or '47 they sold out to the Hollanders, and Mr. Matthews settled again a short distance above Red Rock village, in what is now Union township. After living here about a year he went to Red Rock village, where he lived with his son Simpson several years, till the latter went west, when he made his home with his son-in-law, George Reynolds, in Summit township, till he died, Dec. 20, 1865.
The most important event connected with this family during their residence on Lake Prairie, was the birth of a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Alfrey, Jan. 18, '44, being the first white child born in the county north of the Des Moines river. She was called Amanda Lenora. She is now married, and lives in Des Moines.
What further relates
to the Matthews and the Alfreys will be found in the history of Red
Alexander May, who still lives where he originally settled in the township, and, with several others mentioned in the above list, formed what was known as May's Settlement, was born in Henry county, Kentucky, January 5th, 1801, immigrated to Orange county, Indiana, in 1816, to Fountain county, same state, in 1827,and from thence to Montgomery county, same state, in 1831, and from thence to his present place, arriving there June 22, 1843.
In relating his first year's experience in pioneer life here, Mr. May says in a letter to us:
"In the fall, having to lay in our provisions for the winter, John Riddle and I took my ox wagon and four yoke of oxen, and drove to the old purchase. Having to work for our grain, we put in three weeks of steady labor, by which we paid for forty-five bushels of fall wheat, and thirty bushels of old corn, one barrell of salt, one side of sole leather and one of upper. We got our grinding done at Meek's mill, Bonaparte. No roads from Agency till we got home, only as the emigrant had made them. We were thirty-five days from home.
"The first grain we raised was threshed in the old-fashioned way with horses, and fanned with a sheet. Soon as it was ready we took it to Farmington to mill, the trip occupying fifteen days. The first wheat we got ground at Haymaker's, we bolted through book muslin stretched over a hoop. The first meal we borrowed, my wife got at Joseph Tally's on the north side of the Des Moines river. In this trip she went alone, forded the river at what is now Bellfountain, with a team of horses and wagon, the water being flank deep to the team, borrowed three bushels of meal and bought seven chickens, and returned the same day, a distance of eleven miles. These were the nearest neighbors from whom we could obtain such accommodations.'
Andrew Metz was a native of Germany, immigrated to and settled in the west side of the township in 1844, and died in 18--.
The first day school taught in this township, was by F. Monahan, in 1846, in what is now the north-west quarter of the city of Knoxville. School averaged twenty-five scholars. Mr. Monahan was a native of Ohio, from which State he immigrated to this State in 1844, and to this county in 1846, and settled on White Breast creek.
Hyram Moon was born in North Carolina, August 22, 1818; moved to Indiana at an early age, and from thence to this township, arriving on the 12th of October, '48, and settled on section 31, making what was then the frontier settlement in that part of the county. He was accompanied by his three brothers, Larkin, George W. and Simon P., and another man and his son, whose names have been forgotten, making in all a family of twenty-one persons; and these wintered together in a small cabin on Mr. M's claim. Their nearest mill for procuring breadstuff was Haymaker's, on Cedar, at which they had the good fortune to get a supply of corn ground before the commencement of that terrible winter. They also procured some wheat, of which they made an occasional substitute for corn bread, by grinding it in their coffee mill.
The following is a verbatim copy of some manuscript left by Mr. Moon, narrating an adventure of his in one of those fearful snow storms in the winter of '48-9:
"On the 1st day of January, I went fourteen miles for some corn, and on the second day, on my return, accompanied by my brother Simon P., it snowed on us all day, and we got within six miles of home. Next morning the snow was so deep, and drifted so hard against the axles and fore gate of my wagon, that we got only about three miles, and the horses became so fatigued that we unhitched them and tried to make our way home so. But we soon found the horses too tired to carry us, and, being too tired to walk, I took my old horse by the tail and made him drag me home through the snow. Our wagon stood on the prairie seventeen days. By this time the snow had become so thickly crusted as to bear a team a part of the time; and when they went to rescue the wagon and get it home, the animals would occasionally fall through the crust, cutting their legs so badly that their trail could be traced by the blood after their tracks had become obliterated by thaws."
Mr. Moon was a minister of the Christian denomination, and preached his first sermon here, in his own house, on the first Sunday in March, '49, and at John Asher's on the same day. He organized a church in June, '49, composed of 13 members.
It is related that, in his public services, he used a large family bible, and, in the absence of a table on which to lay the cumbersome volume, he rested it upon the back of one of his brothers, who sat in a recumbent position in front of him.
Mr. Moon was a man
of affliction, being much of his time prostrated by ill health, which
kept him in comparative poverty; yet he continued to preach occasionally
at his own house till about the time of his death, January 25th, 1861.