Early Pioneer Days in Texas
Mrs. N. C. Jones
I was born in Franklin County, Georgia [sic Virginia], in 1838. My father, Armstad W. Ramsey, came to Texas in 1851 in a four-horse wagon, starting on the 6th of October and landing at T. R. Williams the week before Christmas. T. R. Williams lived about one mile above Bois d'Arc Springs and had a water mill there. The 4th of the next July we were all taken down sick. We moved out to the prairie in a log hut on Tolbert Myers' place, the place where Bettie Ramsey now lives, and from there we moved to a log hut on Wilson Allen's place. The next January father died, and was the first one to be buried at Vineyard Grove. That old church was just being built at that time. A Baptist preacher by the name of Brisco put up the house. While we lived on the Allen place we went to school at the chapel in an old log house. A man by the name of Stovall taught the school. That was the only school house within ten miles or more, and the ones that lived off a distance came on horseback, three on a horse. I don't know of but six who are living that went to school there. With us there are Peyton Wheeler and his wife, Clem Wheeler, George Carpenter, my sister, Lucindy Johnson, and myself. Mother was ninety years old when she died. She raised six children and had never lost a child, all of whom were living when she died, but all of them are dead now excepting Philander Jones. My husband is eighty-two years old, the oldest of eight children, who are all dead but him. We never had but one child and he died last June in his fifty-ninth year. We are almost alone, having two grand children and four great-grandchildren. Had a sister die about a month ago, Mrs. M. E. Buie. When we came to Texas it was very thinly settled, just a log cabin now and then, with one room to cook , eat and sleep in, and a puncheon floor with the roof nailed on with logs ; one door, the shutter, made out of boards, and generally opened on the outside to save room. They were so low that there was but one log above the door for the door to shut against. We had no cook stoves, cooking on the fireplace, and had stick and dirt chimneys. If there was a plank house anywhere in this country I don't recollect it, or an oak plank or pine plank, as none had ever come this country then. There were lots of wild animals here. I came very near being eat up twice, once by a bear and once by a wildcat, but I was pretty swift on foot in them days and I outrun them. These bottoms were full of wild hogs at this time and they were sure bad ; the only way you had to get away from them was by climbing a tree or getting up on a high stump and staying there until they had left. But I tell you one did not enjoy waiting for them to leave very much. I forgot to mention old man McCart. He came to Texas in the fall of 1852. I think he came from Missouri. He came in an old wagon and settled just north of the Nicholson place, a short distance. I don't know whether any of them are living or not. And then there was old Jerry Word, Ely Prickett, Mark Dalton, Adam and Columbus Yoakum, old man Lewis Stephens and Joseph Morrison, and the Allen brothers, Hal Wilson, young Elbert Stanmore, old man Gwaltney, a hard-shell preacher, and David Peavler. He lived near where the German church now stands.