The American Experience of Clara S. Olmstead

Clara S. Olmsteads parents

Samuel Baldwin Olmstead was born in Otsego Co. NY in 1810; he came to the Northwest in early manhood, and resided in Minnesota and Iowa . He was engaged in government contracts about Fort Ripley for a time. He moved to Texas at the close of the Civil War, and settled on a farm in Burnett Co. where he died 27 Jan. 1878. (From; Minnesota Place Names published by the MN. Historical Society.)

Lucy Howard Olmsteads family history can be found in the book "A History of Isaac Howard of Foster, Rhode Island and His Descendants Who Have Borne the Name of Howard" by Daniel Howard A. M., published in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, 1901.

Samuel Baldwin Olmstead of Crawford County, PA married Lucy Howard of Erie, PA

When you go to ancerty.com on the internet and punch in Baldwin Olmstead you will find that his land is documented in Minnesota and Texas.

Baldwin Olmstead 1838

On the 1838 Iowa census Baldwin Olmstead is residing in Clayton Co., IA. There were 7 males and two Females. At that time only head of household was named. Clara S. Olmstead was born in Nov.1839 she was the oldest daughter of S. Baldwin and Lucy A. (Howard) Olmstead.

Iowa 1840-1844

S.B. Olmstead is still in Clayton county, IA. In looking for Clara S.Olmstead all this census tells us is that there is a female 0/5 living in the home at that time no name was listed. Samuel B. Olmstead was a Delegate to Iowa state constitutional convention, he assisted in the framing of the State Constitutions of both Iowa and Minnesota. Iowa has had three constitutional conventions, all held in Iowa City. The first was in 1844. The constitution drafted then was later rejected in a popular vote. The second constitution, drafted in 1846, was the instrument by which Iowa became a state. A later convention was held in 1857 which drafted the document still used today (although much amended). Each of the conventions had central disputes which were the subject of debate.

Unfortunately, as the records of the 1844 and 1846 conventions are fragmentary, the full extent of the discussions is unknown.  The new arrivals brought more than their belongings and hopes for a new start. They also brought their past experiences and attitudes about law and government, politics, economics, and society. With a few exceptions the civilization they wanted to establish was based on old forms, modified by the demands of the new environment.

When Iowa Territory was established in 1838 the appointed governor, Robert Lucas, selected Burlington as the first territorial capital as population continued to move west the capital was relocated in 1841 at Iowa City. The first formal attempt to gain statehood came in 1844 when a Constitutional Convention was called. The effort failed, however, defeated by a dispute with Congress over state boundaries. In 1846, a second Constitutional Convention was called. A few minor changes in the old 1844 Constitution were made and proposed boundaries defined. this time, congress accepted both Constitution and boundaries, and on December 28, 1846, Iowa became the twenty-ninth state.

S.B. Olmstead
1850-1855

S.B. Olmstead has moved to Sauk Rapids District, Benton county, MN. As head of household, he is 37 b. in New York. His wife Lucy is age 36. Their children were Lafayette, age 17 b. in PA. Clara S., age 12 born in Iowa and Esther, age 6. Also born in Iowa. Many men are living on the homestead with the Olmstead's one of them is Freedom Howard in the research on Lucy's family we find that Freedom is Lucy's brother. The Olmstead's were under contract with Fort Ripley to supply meat and vegetables for the Fort it seems to have been a large operation.

One of the first new residents brought to this part of the country by the establishment of Fort Gaines (later Fort Ripley) was S.B. Olmstead who took up land on the east bank of the Mississippi and obtained a contract for furnishing the Fort with meat and vegetables. Samuel Baldwin Olmstead was a contractor of Belle Prairie and Fort Ripley, he was a member of the territorial council in 1854 and 1855 and was president of the council in the former year. (From: Minnesota Place Names published by the MN Historical Society.)

S. Baldwin Olmstead was prominent in public affairs and he assisted in the framing of the State Constitutions of both Iowa and MN. He was a member of the Minnesota territorial House of Representatives 6th District, 1851; He was a member of Minnesota territorial council 5th District, 1854-55; In January 1855, he was elected president of the Council (Senate) of MN. He was also the Indian Agent.

Clara S. marries Franklin Howard 1856-1857

On the 1857 Territorial Census of Crow Wing County, Minnesota S. B. Olmsted is 45, his wife L.A. is 43. On this census a female named C. Howard and a male Frank Howard are living with them this census ties everything together. Now we know as young newly weds Clara S. and Franklin Howard lived with the Olmstead family.

Crow Wing Co. was divided by the Mississippi River. In 1836 part east of the river was St. Croix County, Wisc. In 1849 it became part of MN Territory, Benton County . 1856-part of Morrison county, 1857 Crow Wing Co.

S.B. Olmstead
1860

The census 1860 Jun 6 Military Reservation, Crow Wing county, MN p 42 Olmsted, S. B. 48 NY Lumberman Real estate 5000.Wife Lucy 45 NY, Daughter Esther A. 16 IA, a son, S. B. 9 MN, a daughter Lucy Ann 4 MN, a daughter Emma W. 1 MN, Winton, Two boarders Emma 44 NY Seamstress, Christian, Johnson 26 Denmark

There is some disagreement about the origin of the name Crow Wing. Most agree that the 19th century town, the county and the state park honored the name of the river. Some claim that the river was so named because an island, prominently located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers, is shaped like a crow's wing. Others claim that the name is a mistranslation of an Ojibwe word for raven or raven feather. Still others say that the name is derived from the Little Crow chiefdom and lineage of the Dakota, who inhabited this region before the Ojibwe.

The fur trade era brought the voyageurs of the Northwest and American Fur Companies. Soon traders established posts along the rivers and a branch of the Red River Trail brought ox carts through the area. Leaders of the territory and the state settled here. Allen Morrison, the first citizen of Crow Wing, established a post below the southern mouth of the Crow Wing. Missionaries came to teach the Indians and build mission churches.

The settlement of Crow Wing, which began in 1839, had a history of about forty years. From 1839 to 1844, it was primarily a fur trading post where merchandise was traded to the Indians for furs. Also it employed quite a number of French Canadian and mixed bloods (French Canadian and Indian) who acted as voyageurs by traveling up surrounding lakes rivers, and streams to trade on behalf with the natives.

In 1845, the East Woods Trail was opened from Pembina in the Red River Valley, to St. Paul. Crow Wing then became a favorite stopping place for the long caravans of ox cart teams that travel led south each summer hauling buffalo hides, furs and pemmican and afterwards returned north laden with food staples, manufactured goods, liquor, guns, and ammunition.

Lumbering and the fur trade were the two main industries at Crow Wing for the next twelve years. By 1860, Crow Wing had a population of over two hundred and was ranked as the largest inhabited place north of St. Paul. This expansion ended in 1861 when the Civil War began.

The Sioux outbreak of 1862, and the Ojibway troubles of the same year, frightened people so that even after the Civil War ended in 1865, few were interested in staying.

Clara S. as a young mother
Minnesota 1860

On the 1860 Morrison county, Minnesota census, film # 0014831 page # 454 we find 22 yr. Old Clara S. born in Iowa, married to 26 yr. Old Franklin Howard from NY. Franklin was a farmer. They had two little boys Fred H. (3) and Franklin Jr. (1).The young couple had a farm hand and his wife living on the farm plus a servant. The township was Bell Prairie. The type of farming would be growing crops to feed themselves small grain and a few head of cattle, hogs and chickens. Also, land clearing of trees and logging would have been taking place as well or perhaps they helped Clara's father with his government contracts.

Benton County was the parent county of Morrison County.Morrison County was named in honor of William and Allan Morrison, both from Montreal, William was French fur trader that formed a series of trading posts on the northern boundary of Minnesota and the Crow Wing River. French explorers and traders settled this county.

The Dakota (also known as Sioux) and the Ojibway (also known as Chippewa). The Native American People who were confronted by European fur traders and explorers and white American settlers as they moved into traditional lands. The French explorers and traders entered the lands that became Minnesota.Both tribes were forced to give up what is now known as Minnesota in treaties. The Dakota were left with only narrow reservations along the upper Minnesota River. Thus by the mid-1860s, much of the Ojibway and Dakota lands had been transferred to the United States government for sale to white settlers.

1866 Clara S. is still living in Minnesota at this time, she had a daughter there after the Civil War. Clara S. and Franklin name their daugther Pearl Howard. Just as Clara S. stayed close to her family and move from state to state with them Pearl would do the same with her mom and step-dad. Sometime between 1866 and 1870 Franklin Howard died Clara S. and the Olmstead's moved to Texas at the close of the Civil War.

Clara S. marries Louis Miller

Clara S. and Louis Miller married in the late 1860's because they had their first child together in 1870. It was a son they named him after Louis, they had a child every two years until Louis died. The next son was named Otto V. born in Aug. 1872. Then they had a girl Minnie Maud born in June of 1874 she was named after Louis's mother, Minnie Westerdam, again they had a son in May of 1876 they named him Baldwin O. after Clara's dad there seems to be a pattern to the names one would think that Otto V. may have been named after Louisa's father. Florence a daughter was born in May of 1878 and in Aug. of 1880 William Service Miller was born in 1882 Charles W. was born then Toby "abt 1884".

On the 1880 census it was reported that Louis Miller was born in Holland as were his parents. Family stories say he was born in Germany there may have been local prejudice against Germans or he may of spoken German and been from Holland. He fled the Austrian border by stowing away on an coal boat at the Austrian border along the Rhine River. When he got to America, he wound up in the U.S. Army and was captured by the Confederates. As a prisoner, he used his training as a tailor to make army uniforms.

The Rhein River starts in the mountains of Switzerland. Water is coming from various smaller tributaries which eventually join together into a navigable river just before the border to Germany.

The Rhein River flows north, from this point on to the city of Basel, a major port area on the border between Switzerland and Germany. From there, the Rhein forms the natural border between Germany and Switzerland, then Germany and France.  Eventually the Rhein makes its way cross country into Holland where it empties into the North Sea at Rotterdam.

During the Civil War Louis served with the union army he was captured and place in a prison camp. It is unknown which one of the prisons he was place in the most notorious prison camp was Andersonville. There are 3 Louis (Lewis) Miller's on record as being there one died there. As the family story goes our Louis Miller made army uniforms for the confederate soldiers because he was a tailor by trade so it is unlikely that our Louis Miller was one of these men from Company C regiment 18 or 41.

A Franklin Howard also died there on Aug.11, 1864 he was captured 9/20/1863 since his last child Pearl Howard was born in 1866 this could not have been Clara S. Olmstead's first husband, we do not know if Frank ever served in the war. The following depicts the prison life at Andersonville.

In November 1863, Confederate Captain W. Sidney Winder was sent to the village of Andersonville in Sumter County, in south-central Georgia, near the present-day towns of Americus and Plains, to assess the potential of building a prison for captured Union soldiers. The Deep South location, the availability of fresh water, and its proximity to the Southwestern Railroad, made Andersonville a favorable prison location. The settlement of Andersonville, with an 1863 population of less than 20 persons, could not politically resist the building of such an unpopular facility. Andersonville thus became the site for a prison that was soon to become infamous in the North for prison conditions and the thousands of prisoners that would die there before war's end.

A prison for enlisted soldiers, it was designed to hold 10,000, but by August 1864, due to deteriorating resources and the breakdown of the prisoner exchange system, the prison population had swelled to over 32,000. This atrocious overcrowding quickly led to health and nutritional conditions that resulted in 12, 912 deaths by war's end in May 1865.

The prison guards, composed mostly of older men and boys, watched from sentry boxes (called "pigeon roosts" by the prisoners) perched atop the stockade and shot any prisoner who crossed a wooden railing, called the "deadline." The prison pen initially covered 16 1/2 acres, but was enlarged in June 1864 to 26 1/2 acres. A small, slow moving stream running through the middle of the stockade enclosure supplied water to most of the prison.

Eight small earthen forts located around the exterior of the prison were equipped with artillery to put down disturbances and to defend against union cavalry attacks.   Handicapped by deteriorating economic conditions, the Confederates lacked the necessary materials and amounts of food for 10,000 prisoners, not to mention the 26,000 that were confined there by June 1864. Available shelter was deduced to crude shelters huts of made scrap wood, tent fragments, or simple holes dug in the ground. Many had no shelter of any kind against the elements of rain, heat, and cold. No clothing was provided, and many prisoners were left with rags or nothing at all. The daily ration for the prisoners was the same as for the guards: one and one-fourth pound of corn meal and either one pound of beef or 1/3 pound of bacon. This sparse diet was only occasionally supplemented with beans, peas, rice, or molasses.

With these unspeakably miserable conditions, almost 30 percent of the prisoners confined to Anderson Ville died at the camp during its 14-month existence. Diseases such as dysentery, gangrene, diarrhea, and scurvy took many. The Confederates lacked adequate facilities, personnel, and medical supplies to combat the diseases.

In studying this war we find that disease or accident took more lives then the war its self. In looking at a random regiment it listed 55 men mortally wounded and 126 men dieing from disease or accident. So even out of the prison camps the men were twice as likely to die from disease.

They begged for money next to fort for bullets Union army Taylor.

Fort Concho Texas 1870-1880

In 1870 a town, which later became San Angelo, began to form across the river from the fort. The little community of San Angelo, was a "resort for desperate characters and mainly made up of gambling and drinking saloons and other disreputable places. Both the town and the countryside were filled with the greatest set of scoundrels that ever lived on the face of the earth. San Angel's inhabitants were described as drunken cowboys, ex-Confederates, pimps and prostitutes. As civilian law enforcement improved, Fort Concho ceased to be of any value as a military post; from 1882 to 1889 the fort was mainly a holding point for soldiers awaiting reassignment .

Fort Concho, in San Angelo, was one of a number of United Sates military posts built to establish law and order in West Texas as settlers began to move in after the Civil War.

At fourteen we find Pearl Howard living with her step-dad, Louis Miller, her mother Clara age 42, older sister Estella born in 1861, a brother Curtis born in 1865, all from Clara's first marriage to Franklin Howard. And younger half siblings Louis born 1870, Otta born 1872, Baldwin born in 1876 was named for Clara's father his middle initial was O. Iâ?Tm sure for Olmstead and Florence born in 1878. They are on the 1880 census.

Census place: Precinct 1, Tom Green County. TX. Source : FHL film 1255328 National Archives film T9-1328 page 383A. They had a black housekeeper living with them her name was Lizzy Bond. It seems that many people of that time had this luxury. It is unclear why the Louis Miller family always lived at forts, it was thought to be because Louis Miller was a tailor and made army uniforms. After the Civil War the forts had a stock pile of uniforms, If they needed a tailor one of the enlisted men would do the job. The occupation for Louis on the census report was laborer. Clara S. spent most of her life at or around Forts.

For 22 years Fort Concho had self-styled architects that kept construction in confusion. The first problem was in setting on an exact site. More than $28,000.00 was spent in preparing one area before it was rejected in favor of the final choice. The civilian builders contracts and the other source of materials usually were so ill-timed that when the employees were available, there were no supplies with which they could work. By the time the material arrived, the workers had been discharged and sent home. Louis Miller may have been a Laborer for the construction at the fort, it was abandoned before it was finished.

Fort Concho furnished personnel and supplies for three major Indian campaigns: Mackenzies 1872 campaign, the 1874 red River War, and the Victorio campaign 1879-80. Food from the commissary was sometimes supplemented from the post garden at nearby Bismarck Farm or purchased from the sutler's store.

Grain and meat were contracted from local suppliers. Hunting parties killed buffalo and turkeys when possible. Drinking water came from a clear-running spring three miles south of the fort, and water for cooking, washing, and animals was abundant in nearby rivers.

Many campaigns against the Indians were fielded from Concho, except for the chase of Victorio in 1879-80, they did not involve many troops. For all intents and purposes, the troops had brought peace to the plains. Along with its sister forts of the frontier, it became increasingly obvious that the need had passed for Concho. In 1889 it was abandoned and the army marched away. A crowd of prosperous and secure citizens watched as the flag came down for the last time, the band struck up "The Girl I Left Behind Me." and the troops swung into column and marched away. The Miller's left in 1884, work for Miller may have been too hard to come by.

The Miller family lived at Concha Camp or (Fort Concho) Tom Green County, TX. In the early 1880s thousands of black cavalrymen were recruited by the United States government to open the West. They protected settlers, carried the mail when no one else could get through, and fought battles against Native Americans led by great men such as Geronimo.

They came to be known as the Buffalo Soldiers. (The nickname "Buffalo Soldiers" was first given to the men of the 10th Cavalry by the Indians of the plains who likened their hair to that of the buffalo). This proud cavalry unit served in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, wherever they were needed to track down Apache renegades.

The story of black Americans fighting under their nation's flag is older than the flag itself. First introduced as slaves by the British early in the 17th century, blacks served alongside their white masters in the first colonial militias organized to defend against Indian attacks.  Although the Civil War had ended slavery, many men enlisted because there was still little acceptance and few opportunities for blacks. In the army they hoped to find a freedom they had never known..

Though the Buffalo Soldiers had fought bravely, made large areas safe for white settlements, and saved the lives of countless people, they received little thanks and no respite from the racism that haunted them. The safer they made the country for white civilians, the more dangerous white civilians made the country for the soldiers. Some of the worst trouble came from the town adjacent to Fort Concho, Texas.

Phoenix Arizona 1900

On the 1900 Maricopa Co., Arizona census we find Clara S. Miller head of household born Nov. of 1839. Her son Frank Howard age 40, born Nov. 1859 was living with her, this backs up the 1860 MN. Census that has Franklin age one on it . A son Curtis Howard 39 born Dec. 1860 he and Frank were both born in MN and working as miners. Otto Miller is 27 born Aug.of 1872. Minnie born June 1874 is 25. Baldwin born May 1876 is 24 and an engineer.Florence born May 1878, William Service Miller at 19 working as a laboer born Aug.1880, Charles born May of 1882 also working as a laborer.(Clara S. was listed as a farmer The type of farming would be growing crops to feed themselves small grain and a few head of cattle, hogs and chickens.)

Death of Mrs. Miller

May 30th, 1906. Mrs. Clara S. Miller died yesterday at the family residence. No. 14 North Sixth Avenue. She was sixty-eight years old and was well known in both Phoenix and Prescott, these two towns having been her home for the last twenty-one years. She was respected by all who knew her as a good woman and a devoted mother. The funeral will be held this afternoon at 4 o'clock from the family residence and interent will be made in the Masonie Cemetery. This was taken from The Arizona Republican Newspaper.

For more information or the rest of the story contact: Carol A. Powell, 1860 W. Main, Lehi,Utah 84043