Missouri Carrel Hollenbeck
Born: 23 Aug. 1821 in Jackson County, Indiana
Mother: Betsey Alexander Carrel (born in Virginia; died in Jackson County, Indiana)
Father: Samuel Carrel (born in Virginia; died in Jackson County, Indiana)
Married: to Peter Hollenbeck
Children: Sarah, Elizabeth Jane, John, Matilda Kansas, Mary
Occupation: Shop Owner
Died: 29 Jan. 1907 in Holton, Kansas
Buried: in Holton Cemetery
The following interesting account of life in the Midwest in mid-nineteenth century was written by Missouri Carroll, who was the second wife of Peter Hollenbeck. Peter Hollenbeck (1806 to around 1870) was the son of Jacob Hollenbeck, who came to Indiana from New York with his family in about 1817. Peter married Sally Trulock in Scott County, Indiana in 1828 and they had one child, Henry Madison Hollenbeck in 1835. Sally died soon thereafter. Peter married Missouri Carroll in Jackson County, Indiana in 1839.
This account was hand written by Missouri Carroll and apparently directed to her daughter, Matilda Kansas Hollenbeck who was born in Iowa in 1858. It was kindly provided by Christine Hollenbeck who is the 2nd great granddaughter of Henry Madison Hollenbeck. The document was transcribed by Robert Kleopfer, the 4th great grandson of Jacob Hollenbeck. She attempted to reproduce the document with minimal change. The words and spelling were not changed. The punctuation is mostly mine in an attempt to make it more readable. Any of her comments or notations are in italics.
Grandma Hollenbeck - Peter Hollenbeck
Licking River, Indiana
Moved on Big Prairie in Illinois - 3 years
Moved to Iowa . Willie Hollenbeck born and died age 7 months. (about 1845)
Moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa - built 3rd house there. Baby daughter born there - Beth. (Sarah? -about 1847)
Moved to central Iowa. Another baby girl born - Jane (Elizabeth Jane? - born 1849). When she was 3 years old - Jacob born.
Louise born here.
Jacob and Louise both died Scarlet Fever. (about 1853)
Another boy born one year after - John (about 1855) --- reputed to be a dwarf who spent a career with the Ringling Brothers Circus, but this was not acknowedged by the family
Baby girl born Christmas. (Matilda Kansas 1858)
Started to gold rush at Pikeís Peak. Later came to Kansas.
Hollenbeck half brother (Henry Madison Hollenbeck - perhaps the name Madison derived from Madison, Indiana where the Hollenbeck family landed after their trip down the Ohio River in about 1817.)
Beth (Sarah Beth?)
Jane (Elizabeth Jane?)
I was born and grew to womanhood among the big timbers along the Licking River in Indiana. For amusement we had log rollings, quilting bees, apple peeling, partys, always followed by a dance when the work was done. I must not forget the ever popular corn husking bees where the finder of the red ear was in great luck, for he or she was privileged to take a kiss from the prettiest girl or the handsomest man there. Let me tell you there was lots of tears shed (in private) and some heartaches caused by the red ear of corn. When I was 15 years old my best of mothers died, and left me to keep house for my father and brother. I was not very strong and housekeeping those days was not the easy task it is today with all the modern devices we have to save the housewife so many steps. My father was very lonesome and before the year was out brought home a new mother? But Oh I could not bear the thought of anyone taking the place of my own dear mother in our lovely house, for to me, log cabin though it was, it had always been a happy one. So I asked and gained permission to go to one of my uncles who had two girls near my own age, and though the work was hard and the living rather scanty, for the family was large, we girls had a good time together. I had plenty of "beaux" as our boy friends were called then, but cared nothing for any of them except as an escort. One night at a corn husking given by one of the neighbors, I noticed a tall broad shouldered young man - a Mister Hollenbeck - I had never seen before sitting just opposite of me. I noticed him watching me really closely, so I kept my eyes on my husking. All at once a shout arose. I looked up. He had a red ear. I fairly gasped when he marched across and claimed the kiss that custom gave him for finding the red ear. At the dance that followed, he secured an introduction and we danced together several times. When the party broke up he asked to take me home, on the way home he told me he was a widower, his wife having died a year before, he had a son four years old. Before we parted, he asked permission to come the next Sunday. I told him I would be glad to have him come. So before long he was a regular visitor and I soon found myself thinking of him very often through the week and eagerly watching for his coming, and oh how happy I was when he told me he loved me and asked me to be his wife and a mother to his little boy. We were soon married, for I had no real home and was anxious to get to housekeeping again. So to housekeeping we went. Now my dears, I am going to tell you about our furniture. In the first place we only had a one room log house to furnish that was as good as all new married people had in that country at that time. Well, we had an old fashioned fireplace for heat and cooking, a tea kettle, a bake oven, one or two iron pots, a regular johnny cake if you havenít you have missed something. Our beds were home made corded with a stout rope I laced length ways and across in place of springs with a trundle bed to slip under the big one. We had plenty feather bed covers and pillows, homemade chairs and table and a few dishes completed our furnishings. For lights we had candles made at home, the light from the blazing wood close beside made such a pleasant place on a cold evening. We lived in that community for three years. In that time my father had moved to Illinois. Of course I wanted to go too as I had never been out of the county where we lived. Father had written of the wonderful crops that grew there. So Peter, decided we would go. We were not long in settling our affairs and getting started. The second day out we came to the "Big Prairie", as it was called. It was six mile across. If you can imagine how I felt, who had never seen any prairie before, not a tree in sight. I thought I never saw anything so desolate. We arrived at our journeyís end in due time, bought a little place and settled down. Three years we lived there and then Peter got the Wanderlust again. He had an uncle living in Iowa, and there we must go. We had been married six years, no little ones had come to us yet, but one was on the way when we started in our prairie Schooner to Iowa. I want to try to tell dear, of the hardships we endured on the way - cold, rain, and mud , for it rained all day and we were all chilled to the bone. At last we arrived at uncle Laurenceís, found a good fire in their huge old fireplace and oh such a good hot supper. I thought I had never tasted anything so good as that supper. We arose next morning, warm and rested. Uncle Laurence came in from the barn smiling , turning to your father he said, "Iíll tell you what, Pete I am awfully glad you got here when you did, Iím going to have to get someone to shuck my corn, and youíre just the man I want, now Iíll tell you what Iíll do, there is a house down across the field that will do to live in for a while, weíll move you down there, bring you in some provisions, then weíll go in to the field and get that corn out before the snow flies." Well, I agreed, for any place seemed good to me where I could rest. Uncle Laurence was good as his word - brought down provisions of all sorts from his own house for people there raised what they ate and didnít have to depend on the grocery stores. We staid there until spring, then we moved into a better house on a rented place. Our first baby was born there - your brother Willie (born about 1845). I thought he was the sweetest baby ever, such big blue eyes and curly hair. He staid with us for seven months then he closed his dear eyes and went to live with the angels. Oh how lonesome we were with our empty arms and aching hearts, but we had work to do and time, the great healer came to our aid. So we rented the place for another year, the crops were good and your father began picking up some stash. I was hoping we could stay where we were then came news of the great boom in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nothing would do but we must go there. So we went and truly it was a boom sure enough. Your father put up the third house that was built in that city. We moved in and went to work. Your father worked in a saw mill that ran day and night, so great was the call for lumber. I cooked for six men, 3 on the day shift and 3 night shift. I always had to have a midnight supper ready for the men when they came to change shifts. I served for men making pants, coats, and vests. I had so much sewing had to have a helper. Besides I had my baby daughter (Sarah born about 1847) who was born the fall before to care for. That winter the cold was very severe but many families lived in tents, let me tell you frozen heels were plentiful that winter. Spring finally came then indeed came busy days, houses went like magic. Your father built a larger house and rented it and we staid on in the small one, but I did not mind it so much in the warmer weather. The work however was very hard for me - so many men wanting clothes made. I did what I could, turned lots away so many had to take their cloth some other turn to get it made up. We staid there until fall, then your father got the Wanderlust again, so we moved further south about the middle part of the state. Staid there two years, another little girl came to claim a home with us (Elizabeth Jane born 1849). This one had brown eyes and red hair. Well we "staid on an average" about two years on a place, then we must move for be that some other place was better. He made a good living where ever we went and could gather stuff - cows, horses, hogs - very quickly. When your sister Beth (Sarah Beth?) was 3 years old your brother Jacob was born (about 1851). Three years later another little girl (Louise born about 1853), but she was never strong and when she was 3 months old little Jacob came down with Scarlet fever. He was sick only a short time until we laid him away and in two short weeks laid down little Louise by his side. Then indeed we knew what empty arms meant, but we must take up our burden cheerfully as possible. So life went on in the old way. In one year after Jacob died another boy came to live with us. Three years after, a Christmas gift in the shape of a big girl that was you (Matilda Kansas born 1858) came to make us happy. We now had four children (Sarah, Elizabeth, John, and Matilda) and was getting quite a start on a farm father had bought. We had been hearing rumor of war and also rumors of gold in the Pikeís Peak region, finally father could stand it no longer so he sold off everything, joined a wagon train of prairie Schooners and we started. Your two older sisters were 10 (Elizabeth)and 12 (Sarah), brother John was 3, and your self (Matilda) was 3 months old, oh such s time as I had. You would scream with colic from 4 in the afternoon until 10 at night. I had the cooking to do around an open fire out doors, smoke blew in mine and the childrenís eyes until it almost blinded us, but somehow we got through each day dreading the morrow. We had been traveling very slow and been meeting a good many wagons turning back east, giving up the trip on account of rumors of Indians and the gold fields not what they were thought to have been. Soon after we crossed over into Kansas and went into camp one evening, several wagons drove up from the west - some had Pikeís Peak or Bust printed on the canvas cover, then when they turned back they printed (Busted by Thunder) under the first line. Some others had stronger words printed on them and all looked woe be gone and travel stormed. The sight seemed too much for the owners of the wagon train and that night they all headed east in the morning instead of west. I donít ever remember seeing your father so angry. He had spent almost all he had to outfit us to the mountains and now to have to start again was a pretty bitter pill, but there was no other way open. So back we went to Iowa. It was late in spring to start farming and we started to try to retrieve what we had lost but luck turned against us - too much rain and cold - that was the year that was called the year without a summer. There was frost every month except July. Times were getting close, money hard to get, and very little produce to sell. But like everyone else we stood it as best we could. We began to hear mutterings of civil war - hatred sprang up between neighbors - yes even between brothers. Oh what troubled times these were for every one. The next year nature was in a better mood and the summer was normal. Crops were better but very little money was to be had for anything, people what they ate. So came another spring the memorable spring of 1860 war was upon us in all its horrors. Your two sisters were now almost young women. Calico was 50 cents per yard, muslin the same. Calico dresses were worn by all the farmer girls for party dresses for any better gowns was almost out of the question. As for shoes girls and women went bare foot all summer to save their shoes for church or party. We had no boy old enough to go to war and your father was too old, but he was censured greatly for staying at home and to add to my other trouble, I found another baby was coming. Where oh where was I to get the money to buy the things I must have for the little stranger. You know that was the year of the great drought in Kansas. It reached over into Iowa but not so bad as in Kansas.
Obituary - Missouri Carrel Hollenbeck
Missouri Carroll was born in Jackson County Indiana on August 23, 1821, and died January 29, 1907, aged 86 years, 5 months and 6 days. She was married to Peter Hollenbeck May 30, 1839. To this union were born eight children, five of whom and the father preceded her to the Spirit land. Two daughters, one son, a step son, a large number of grandchildren and a host of friends remain to mourn her loss. She gave her heart to God at an early age and lived a faithful Christian life to the end so that death is swallowed up in victory.