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302 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana

PIONEERS

The surviving old settlers have from time to time held reunions, picnics, etc., refreshing one another's memories of pioneer experiences. At the close of the 4th of July celebration at Clinton in 1881, an association, for the purposes of mutual entertainment and preservation of history, was organized by the election of the following officers: James A. White, Sr., of Helt Township, President; Decatur Downing, of Clinton, Secretary; W. G. Crabb, of Clinton, Treasurer; Vic-Presidents, for the respective townships -- John Hamilton, Clinton; Abel Sexton, Vermillion; S. W. Malone, Eugene; and R. J. Gessie, Highland; and Executive Committee -- J. H. Bogart, John Wright and B. F. Morey, of Clinton; William Wishard, of Helt; and George H. McNeill, of Perrysville. This committee was given the authority to call a meeting of the society, but it is said that they never even met, for any purpose, and thus the association died.

It happens, however, that the chief poet of Vermillion County, Dr. E. T. Spotswood, of Perrysville, knows how to celebrate pioneer times, in true Hoosier dialect, and we here insert two specimens from his happy mind.

The first was published in a newspaper of an adjoining county, over the nom de plume of "Daniel Dundell."

THE HOOSIER HOEDOWN, OR BACKWOODS DANCE OF THE OLDEN TIME.

To the Edytur: Sur: These lines is most respeckfullee dedykatuted to all uv the yung fellers who run around here when the Coal Branch wuz small an' the water wuz fust turned into the Wabash, -- sich yung chaps as John Collett, Tom Cushman, O. P. Davis, Abe Sexton, John W. Parrett, R. J. Gessie, R. D. Moffatt, Lem Chenoweth, Smith Rabb an' all uv the boys uv that crowd 


Pioneers - 303

who cum to this kentry when it wuz new an' mostly in a state ov natur, an' likewise peple; also thereof before it wuz so improved that all natur is druv out uv it. In the good old times, when workin wuz more respektable than lafin', when stealin wuzent called spekilashun, when honesty wuz konsidered the best policy, when brass didn't count for brains, an' cheek for moral principul, when muney wuzent allus the measure uv the man, when sham and shoddy wuznt on top, an' modest worth an' manhood on the under side in the fite, but when brains, pluck, honesty an' mussel wud win agin the world, -- to these yung chaps uv olden time I dedykate the poem, an' subscribe myself in the Coal Branch Hollow, whar they will alus find the latchstring out, a smokin' hot corn pone, a bowl uv cold buttermilk, a clean gord in sparklin' water, a rousin' hickory log fire, an a warm wellcum from thar friend,
DANIEL DUNDELL.
Coal Branch Hollow,
Vermillion Co., Indianny

THE COAL BRANCH DANCE.
Down upon the Coal Branch in the Indianny State,
Whar things go movin' slow along at the good old-fashioned gait,
Thar men an' wimmen good belong, an' gals that ar the sweetest,
An' boys that's hansum, tuff an' strong, an' jes bilt up the neatest, --
Whar the people all ar' sociable, an' thar aint no falls pretenses
Dividin' uv the nabors up with pride an' folly's fences, --
Whar work an' frolic, hand in hand, goes moving' on like friends;
An' when one gits in trouble all to him their help extends;
An' when a feller gits behind an' lags along the road,
You'll find 'em all together jined to help him lift his load, --
That is to say, if he's "all squar," an' aint no ornery cuss
That won't at workin' take his share, but goes from bad to wuss, --
Then every nabor will turn out at any kind uv work,
An' help the chap, an' not a man among them all will shirk.
They make a frolic uv their work, an' call in every nabor,
An' wind it all up with a dance, to liten up thar labor.
Late in the fall when craps is ripe, an' the grass around is wiltin',
The gals they glo a-slippin' round a bittin' up a-quiltin',
An' the boys all round they understand
Will cum an' lend a helpin' hand,
In shuckin' corn or clearin' land;
Then, when the corn is gathered in,
An safely stowed up in the bin,
The fodder piled up in the shock,
Enough to feed the winter stock, --
The quilt is tuck from out the frame, a-lookin- new and neat;
It's stitched an' tacked an' hemd an' sode an' finished up complete.
Then, when the long day's work is dun,
An' night cums with the settin' sun,
An' all have had a glorious treat,
At supper time, uv things to eat, --
Uv hog an' hominy, pork an' beans,
Uv corn an' cabbage an' sich greens, --
Uv nicnacks sweet which you will find
The wimmin have been mixin', --
Besides 'most every other kind
Uv first-rate chicken fixin', --
Jes now, when every one about
Is full uv fun all over,
Is when the Coal Branch blossoms out,
An' feels herself in clover.
From corn-cob pipes the old ones smokes,
An' chats and laffs an' cracks thar jokes,
An' smiles an' winks an' slyly pokes
Thar fun at the younger bashful fokes.
From bright tin cups their cider sips,
An' stands with hands upon thar hips,
A-lookin' pleased between thar nips,
To see thar sturdy boys an' gals so rapid growin',
Expectin soon that each thar own row will be hoein',
An' all the while with biznes eyes they are sum items takin',
Which shortly in the by an' by they'll use in sly match making',
Then, when uv jucy punkin pie they all have eat a lunchen,
Each feller hunts his pardner up an' steps out on his punchen,
The gals are standin' round in rows,
Tricked out in spankin' calicoes,
All waitin' to be chosen.