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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Short History of Jonathan Wells

History of McHenry County, Illinois, 1885
Click on the image for a larger view.

Oliver Terrell; English French War

Waterbury, Connecticut. Click on the picture to view larger.
Oliver Terrell of North Milford, Conn. served in the Rev. War as a private in Warners Co. the Ct. line. He enlisted 26 May 1777 for 8 months. Discharged 9 Jan 1778. Oliver Terrell was with Capt. Eldad Lewis, in War between England and France, from Waterbury, marched to scene of danger in the "Fort William Henry alarm" in 1757. (Lake George)

History of Waterbury, Connecticut by Henry Bronson, M.D., 1858
History of Waterbury, Connecticut by Henry Bronson, M.D., 1858

Thursday, February 23, 2012

War Ration Books

My great grandfather was much shorter than I would have figured as evidenced in the Certificate of Register above. I vaguely remember him but he was quite old then and I was quite young. Fortunately for those of us who like our family history grandma Charlotte save lot of stuff.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

J.D. Cronk's Bill For Furniture

A bill for furniture to J.D. Cronk, 1901

Grandma (Charlotte Cronk Craddick) gave me what she believed is the Golden Oak Dresser $19.50, fifth from the top which I still use. When you look at this list of furniture and see it came to less than $90.00 without the $3.60 discount it's pretty amazing. Wish I had all of it now except for maybe the carpet.

More Posts on JD Cronk

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Totten Ranch & Home

Totten Ranch. It was the Lem Earnest ranch as I grew up 1/2 mile down the road.
Picture labeled as Totten Ranch in McCloud, CA
I did a lot of enhancement on the lower photo to get it to this image. The original is so faint and faded I couldn't see what it was. Fortunately someone wrote on the back. I can only hope that it is correct because I don't think anyone living knows.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thomas and Viola Arnold Farm, Pittville Totten Road

Front of the old house.
Looking at the back of the house.
Thomas and Viola are in their watermelon patch in the upper photo. Viola tending pigs and Thomas with a team of horses in the lower.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Joel Enoch Cronk Story

Cronk house in Belvidere, IL. Joel Enoch Cronk and Charlotte Boomer Cronk sitting. Four of their children: Lottie, Araminta, Louis, and Ben standing.

******Notes on the Cronk Family dictated by Joel D'Aubigne Cronk to Lois (Cronk) Startt, November 15 1945.******

Joel, Enoch's other son, born September 17, 1829, was my father.  He stayed with his father on the farm in Illinois and the two worked together to improve and enlarge their property. Together they purchased adjoining land and increased their holdings to 120 acres.

Joel fell in love with Charlotte Bommer, a girl from Garden Prairie, seven miles away. He decided to seek his fortune in the West and in 1852 made his first trip to California. There he found  wages and trade more lucrative than mining. At one time he worked in a saw mill for $150 a month, fabulous wages for those times. Something drew him home for a few years, but in 1855 he returned to California. This time he went to New York and boarded a sailing vessel which brought him around Cape Horn to San Francisco.  He again found that work paid well in the West.  He was able to return home with enough money to finance his big venture.

In 1857 he bought 110 head of cattle and two horses and with a comrade started West to increase his wealth by butchering.  This time he stayed on the Oregon Trail and arrived at his destination with 100 head of cattle and one horse.

He covered Southern Oregon and Northern California as far south as Marysville, selling his beef to the miners and settled for food. His venture was a great success, and he returned to Illinois, where he invested some of his capital in farmland and adjoining his father's farm.

He built a log cabin near the old farm house, where he took his bride, Charlotte Boomer, in 1866.  There his first two children, Florence and Joel D'Aubigne, were born in 1867 and 1869.

About 1870 Enoch and Mary Cronk moved to a small farm nearby and turned over the original farm to Joel who bought up land around his father's farm until his holding measured 480 acres, one mile long and three-quarters of a mile wide. He was then ready to farm on a large scale.

During 1877, a typical year, his farm inventory included 52 Durham dairy cows (milked by hand); 90 calves, and bought from neighboring farms to be raise and sold as steers;100 head of fattening hogs, 4 teams of horses, 40 to 50 colts to be sold as 4-year-old work stock; 60 beef steers, 280 acres of pasture and hay land, and about 200 acres of oats and corn.

He purchased much of his stock feed from his neighbors. Corn was then around 20¢ a bushel, and 4¢ a pound was a good price for a fat hog, which was not considered ready to sell until it weighed between 300 and 400 pounds.

Although Joel was a hard-working man his many activities required many hands.  He employed three steady men the year around and more during haying season. He also hired a dairy women and at least one girl to help in the house.

Establishing the dairy house became so expensive that it is doubtful if this ever was a farm asset. The walls were built of sandstone and were a foot thick. A cellar was equipped for storing milk and butter. On the ground floor, 3' x 8' tin vats were installed for cooling the milk. Cold water pipes under the vats regulated the temperature. Skimming and churning were done by hand.

The barn was a usual mid-western structure, measuring 40' x 60'. The first floor was termed a basement but was not excavated. It's walls were 6' high and were made of stone. One side was filled in to make a driveway onto the first floor. The dairy cows were kept in the basement. Part of the first floor was a stable. Above the horses were the granary and hayloft. For many years and overhead hay carrier was installed. The young stock were kept in a separate shed during stormy weather.

The house yard consisted of four acres, about half of which was a family orchard made up of apple and cherry trees. There was a flower garden enclosed by a picket fence, but no lawn since this was before the invention of lawn mowers. Grass grew in the orchards, and part of the area was pastured by the calves; the rest grew tall and rank. It made a fine place for the children to play or to hunt for apples that had dropped from the limbs above.

A garden big enough for a large family was grown each year. Much attention was given to root vegetables suitable for storing in the cellar for winter use.  Drying was the only method of preserving that was used.

The farmhouse was large, but considering the size of the family Joel Cronk raised, it hardly seems ample. It was the practice in that period to build a two-story upright with a one-story wing. The front section had a bedroom and living room downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs; the wing had a bedroom, dining room, and kitchen. There was a full basement under the house.

Little thought or time was given to recreation on a farm in those busy days. Boys and girls learned to do chores and an early age, and pride and satisfaction in doing work well was instilled into each member of the family. Card playing and dancing were forbidden by the religious background of the mother. There was some time for play though, and the boys found many natural outlets for their vigorous natures in boxing and wrestling. Their mother was a great reader, and some of her children acquired her preference for historical books. Many of her children bear the names of her favorite historical characters.

Sunday was strictly observed as a day of rest and worship. The family went to town to church, and often there were friends invited for Sunday dinner afterwards.

When the children became older, the parents became more intensely interested in the family's religious life. The mother, Charlotte, disliked living so far from her friends in town and felt it hampered her religious work. In 1881 when the children were grown and some had left for homes of their own,  Joel moved his family to Belvidere.

From that time on his affairs were not so successful. The long drive to and from the farm was burdensome. He was no longer as robust as he had been, and his venture in raising race horses combined to prove his undoing. He died on October 25, 1904, in Belvidere, Illinois, leaving most of his life's work manifested in his children. His wife, Charlotte, died while visiting her daughter, Araminta Wilkins, on August 8, 1924, in Mishawaka, Indiana.


EXCERPTS from Phoebe Terwilliger Diary in which she mentions briefly that Joel Cronk was a member of the Gage-Terwilliger train. The diary published in the 1973 issue of the "Siskiyou Pioneer", a publication of the Siskiyou County Historical Society.

The New Lebanon emigrant train started out from New Lebanon, Dekalb County, IL., on April 5, 1854. On April 26th, it was joined en route by Joseph (sic) Cronk and his companions with two wagons and a drove of cattle. (p.2) On p.23:"...9 men a horse back armed well went to see if the could get track of the Indians, S. Gage, T. Fuller, W. Stone, Mr. Keen, J. Palmer, one of J. Cronks men and 3 of the Scotch which makes the 9..."

p.34;"..went about 15 miles without nooning then follows a dry creek down to the river and campt this afternoon we find Alkali all alone here J Cronk had one of his oxen die before the wagon a day or two before one of his cows died..." p.38;"..after crossing the river the last time we went upon the rocks and put our names on them one of J Cronks cows died..." [This was the famous Three Crossings of the Sweetwater River near Independence Rock.] p.44; July 23, "...came to Bear River again now the road passes between two mountains here we campt this afternoon some wood some washed and the men shoed some cattle two of Joel Cronks men was taken with the mountain fever...". p.45;" of J C--men very sick..."