Reminiscences about life of Catherine Engle Boyd


This is a brief account of the life of Catherine ENGLE BOYD Catherine Engle b. 2-28-1815 married on March 19, 1831 James Boyd II, d. February 6, 1881 daughter of:

John PETER ENGLE, b. Oct. 17, 1780, baptized Nov 19, 1780, Reformed Church Berlin, Pa. He was a farmer, teacher and first Deacon of the Greenville Reformed Church. (German Baptist Dunkard Preacher.) and Barbara Garlets. And Granddaughter of Clement ENGLE

Mother of 18 children 15 who survived to adulthood. She also raised one grandchild and a homeless child.
The first four of her children were born in Somerset Co., Pa. The next three in Tuscarawas Co., Ohio. The next seven in Noble Co., In. and the last four in LaGrange co., In.

I am proud to be a descendant of this Pioneer Lady, who braved many hardships and set a good example for her children and her children's children. (Barbara Boyd Stewart)

From the notes of her Daughter Elizabeth Boyd Frisbey

With 18 children, the older ones were married and had children before their parents younger children were born. The only time all of the children were all home at the same time was at the wedding of Elizabeth Boyd and Cary Frisbey.

Catherine Boyd was a kind, good natured woman who was always called upon by her neighbors in time of sickness and trouble and was ever ready to go to their aid.

She washed, carded and got the wool ready for the spinning wheel and made most of the children's clothing and much of the bedding for her large family.

She was never known to punish the children. A short reprimand in a kind voice was enough to get them to mind or do what they were asked. Her house was immaculate and she took pride in her beds.

James Boyd was a hard working, industrious man and for truth and honesty none surpassed him and although not a wealthy man, the needy always found shelter beneath his roof and the beggar was not turned away from his door.

When the neighbor boys and girls came in for an evening with his children, they could make all the noise and have all the fun outdoors they wanted, but woe to the unlucky fellow who dashed through the house if he had gone to bed.

Grandfather and grandmother were very strict about going to church. They belonged to the Lupold Church German Baptist or Church of the Brethren.

[The following story was related to me, Barbara Boyd Stewart, by Frances Dekker, granddaughter of Catherine ENGLE Boyd. The story had been told to her by her mother Elizabeth.]

One day three of the boys heard Catherine calling for help. They went to the barn to find she had fallen through the floor and couldn't get out. They told her two of them would go down and lift her up far enough so the other could lift her out. She told them absolutely not, none of her sons were ever going to see her pantaloons and petticoats. They would just have to go get their father from the field and obedient sons that they were they went and got their father from the field and he came and got her out.

How things were when Catherine first came to Indiana... as recalled by Elizabeth Boyd and Cary Roger Frisbey at their farm home--Rustic Retreat-- Clay twp. LaGrange Co. Indiana February 2, 1923

{They are talking about their parents coming to Indiana when they were children and the Boyd cabin mentioned is the one built by James and his sons when they moved to Clay twp. In 1842 to Elkhart twp. Noble Co.and in 1854 to Clay twp. LaGrange twp.}

When we came to Indiana, the country was new and most of the farmers had small patches of land cleared and it kept them busy to make a living and pay for their homes.

The Boyd's log cabin in Clay twp. had one room with two beds at the end of the room. They were beautiful beds with trundle beds underneath for the children. At the other end of the room was a cupboard and a ladder to climb upstairs which was one big room with a low ceiling. The stove was in the middle on one side and a table and chairs constituted the furniture.

For lights, they used a saucer in which was a "slut wick" made of cotton and tallow and burned not to brightly. Later it was an iron lamp holding a tin of lard or tallow. This had a spout to open on top with a rag pulled up through the spout and lighted at the end. Later yet they made candles of tallow in molds.

There were no carpets on the floor but it was kept spotlessly clean. They lived on milk and butter and ate lots of corn bread. They had a good garden and there were no potato bugs. As trees grew and produced they had apples and other fruits.

But wheat was raised and had to be cut with a cradle, raked and tied by hand, then thrashed with flails. Later the thrashing machine came along, thrashing the wheat but leaving the grain and chaff together. Still later came the separator and the farmers were happy. Farmers who had wheat to sell had to draw it to Ft. Wayne, In about 50 miles away and got from 40 to 50 cents a bushel for it. Corn was the main crop and sold for 15 to 25 cents a bushel.

In clearing up the land, farmers would cut down timber, make what rails they needed for fences and burn the rest. Lots and Lots of timber was burned that today (1923 remember) would bring $50 to $60 per thousand feet. There was a tannery at Lima (now Howe) and they used white oak bark with which to tan. In the spring when the bark peeled they cut down large white oak trees and peeled the bark by the card.   The first sawmill came after we had lived there awhile.

There were lots of wild game in the forest.... deer, turkeys, geese, ducks, prairie chickens, quail, pigeons, and pheasants. Also, there were wolves, foxes, badgers, ground hogs, wild cats, skunks, weasels and squirrels. A good hunter could go out in the woods and come home with a deer or a turkey.

Cattle and hogs lived in the woods and marshes in summer and farmers went to the Hobbs, Spaulding and Newton marshes to cut hay for the winter. Hogs would get wild in the woods, have their young and in the fall farmers would look them up for pork for the winter. Hogs were worth $2.00 to $2.50 per hundred pounds and a good two year old steer or a cow $12.00 to $15.00.

Buggies were a rare thing in those days and people often went to church in wagons drawn by oxen.

There were no public schools and if people wanted schools, they put up a log cabin, paid a teacher by subscription and there were good schools with dandy school marms that the kids just loved.

Elizabeth attended the LaGrange Collegiate Institute at Ontario and later taught until married. [Elizabeth was James and Catherine Engle Boyds Daughter and Frances Dekker's Mother]

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