JANUARY 20 2000I had received an email from
Pam CrainPO 362 Lamont OK 74643 email@example.com
She is looking for info on a Fanny AbercromibieIn her research of
Abercrombies she had found a lot of information on Andrew Jackson
Abercrlmbie .He was evidently a son of Clem Abercrombie of Beltoit Kansas.
She is sure her fannie is related to this family asFannie married a
William A Shanley in Fay Oklahoma and that is where Andrew jackon
Abercrombie and his family migrated from Beltoit Kansaas.
I am interested in contacting other descendants of this Andrew Jackson Abercrombie and We are trying to find the LoHurl Miles Meuller who wrote this biography
ABERCROMBIE FAMILY- LONG TREK TO FAY OKBy LoHurl Miles Mueller
In the year of 1893 or early 1894 the Andrew Jackson Abercrombie family
made their journey to Oklahoma Territory. They had first journeyed from the
State of Georgia where Mr. Abercrombie's father had settled when he
emigrated from England in the early 1800s.Three brothers had immigrated to
the promised land of America, one settling in Maryland, one in Georgia and
one in Arkansas. Mr. and Mrs. Abercrombie were a young couple with two small
children when they moved from Georgia to near Beloit, Kansas. They had made
the long journey by covered wagon and had lived in their wagon until Mr.
Abercrombie could plow and lay by the sod for their first home.Thirteen
children were born to the couple.One was born in Arkansas while visiting a
brother, and one child died there.
Five of the children were old enough to take claims, but there were no more
claims to be had in Kansas and there was no money to buy land, so the
homestead in Kansas was sold for a small grubstake and all the belongings
and family were loaded into two covered wagons and headed for Oklahoma
Heading toward western Oklahoma and following a dim wagon trail they spent
many weeks on the long trek.Although they had brought flour and meal to
last, and pork in brine, it was necessary to replenish their larder now and
then, so some of the grown boys or Mr. Abercrombie would take their guns and
go hunting. They camped as close as they could each night to a running
stream if possible, so that they could water their stock, wash their
clothes, and replenish their supply of water for the next days journey.
George, the eldest son and Exer, the eldest daughter, drove the leading
wagon loaded with all their household goods, their plow and hand tools, and
led a cow behind.Mr. Abercrombie brought up the rear with all their
bedding, some of their food and the younger children.Newton and Young
scouted ahead on their ponies for river crossings and campsites.
After many weeks on the trail, they reached the banks of the North Canadian
River in late evening.They debated about spending the night where they
were, or crossing promptly and taking no chances on the river rising during
the night and delaying them longer; they decided to cross immediately.
George and his sister took the lead and were almost across when they kept
hearing something like wind in the treetops, but there was no breeze
stirring.They looked up the river and could see, coming around the bend of
the river a wall of water some five or six feet high, rolling, rushing and
tumbling in its effort to forever smother their cries of terror.George and
his sister pulled their wagon up onto the bank and began hollering and
waving their arms and pointing up stream to warn the family of their danger.
Then suddenly Mr. Abercrombie saw the water and whipped up his tired
horses and finally he got them to move a little faster.Just as they pulled
out of the streambed, the water closed in behind them wetting the back
wheels and end gate.White faced and trembling, the family dropped to their
knees 'in prayer, thanking the Lord for their deliverance.There was no
horseplay in camp that night as the family busied itself in preparation of
supper.They unloaded the little iron stove and set it up with its oven in
the stovepipe, as Mrs. Abercrombie started mixing her biscuits for the
evening meal.The older girls were busy cleaning and dressing the quail the
boys on the ponies had brought in.One of the older boys was milking the
cow and getting ready to picket her out in a grassy spot for the night.The
horses too were picketed out where the grass was greening and plentiful.
They had their breakfast early the next morning and knowing it was not much
farther were anxious to be on their way, This morning, sons Newton and
Young, had talked to some people driving north in a covered wagon, who had
given up their claims.The boys were directed to the land they had just
left and were told that there were other quarters close by; so the boys rode
off in that direction eager to find the land before anyone else should do
Soon the two pony riders had located the four quarters of land in a straight
line about eight or nine miles northwest of what is now Fay, Oklahoma.
Riding back to the wagons to announce their lucky find, they rode off once
more to lead the way to their new homesteads.
The end gate of the wagon that the family was riding in was left down so the
children could tumble out and run behind when they were tired of riding.
Mrs. Abercrombie was still nursing her last baby and often rested on the
bedding while she nursed the little one.It so happened that she had
changed places with her daughter Nancy and had just settled down to nurse
her child when the boys came riding back to announce that they had found the
four quarters of land, with one quarter being taken in the middle by someone
There would be one for George, one for Exer, one for Newton and one for
Young.That left Nancy out and she was old enough to take a claim, too.As
the boys rode off to point the way Mr. Abercrombie whipped up his horses and
whooping and hollering hurried for his claim.As he came up out of a deep
dip in the trail the bedding and all the family slipped out of the back of
the wagon and onto the trail.Mr. Abercrombie was making so much noise with
his hollering that he could not hear his family yelling for him to stop, so
on he went hurrying his team as fast as he could to their future home.
Grabbing the stake he had ready he jumped out of the wagon and drove it into
the ground, claiming the quarter section for his daughter Nancy who sat
beside him on the wagon seat.Nancy was going blind and with her father's
whooping and hollering she had not heard her family's yelling either, and
had she looked back she could not have seen them.
When Mr. Abercrombie in his exuberance turned to show his family the first
stake, he stood in shock for a minute realizing for the first time that he
had lost his family.With trepidation he mounted the wagon seat and
prepared to retrace his trail.About a quarter of a mile back he came upon
his grim faced wife and uneasy children sitting on the bedding waiting.The
children started up a din of conversation, but Mrs. Abercrombie picked up
her baby and waited patiently for the bedding to be reloaded and all the
children settled in the back of the wagon before she handed up the baby and
climbed in with the children without a word.Not until they were back at
the claim did her expression change.Mr. Abercrombie noticed that although
her back was turned toward him, he could see her shoulders shake as if she
were laughing, and he knew she was seeing the whole ridiculous situation at
last and finding it funny.He knew he would be forgiven.
After a hasty lunch Young and Exer and Newton rode on to stake their claims.
George stayed with the family until all were settled in cabins or half
dugouts, helping to build and dig and line his sister Exer's home.
Cottonwood logs had to be hauled to Kingfisher, a distance of about forty
miles or so, to be sawed into lumber.It was a three or four days trip both
ways and when it came time to haul the logs for sawing into lumber for
Exer's dug out, she rode along to do the cooking and take care of her
brother on the way.When they arrived at the settlement of Kingfisher they
found that the sawmill was owned by a colored family. As Exer sat in the
wagon in the hot sun, one of the colored women came and invited her into her
home to wait until the job was done.From the women's conversation, Exer
found that the sawmill had been stolen in Georgia and brought to Oklahoma by
a group of people through the swamps of Arkansas where many of their people
had taken sick with malaria and died.
Back at the claim a few days later, her brothers soon had her dugout lined
and ready for occupancy.The town of Fay had not been established yet, so
Exer became the first postmaster in the settlement.The post office was
known as Exer and her post office was the upper right hand corner of her
mother's kitchen cupboard.Every day she would ride her pony to her
mother's and stay the day, returning at evening to spend her nights alone in
her dugout.She had to have a livable home of some sort and spend at least
six months out of the year on her claim in order to prove up on it.The
filing fee was two dollars.Her brothers farmed her claim for her.They
raised cotton and corn; when cotton-picking time came the girls worked along
side the men, the same long hard hours.Belle, Alice, Gracie, and Levica
were old enough to help a lot, while John and Harvey and Lizzie stayed near
the homesite to run small errands.
When the town of Fay was established, the post office of Exer was closed and
a post office was opened in Fay.The Exer postmistress was paid $1.00 per
month for her services, so it was of no great loss when the office was moved
George moved on to Laredo, Texas.Nancy and Gracie never married, but the
rest of the young folk found wives or husbands in the community and raised
families of their own.
No stranger ever stopped at the Abercrombie place needing a night's
lodging or food for himself and team that did not have their needs filled.
Although many times the stranger may hear gunshot early in the morning, it
was not unusual to see Mr. Abercrombie or one of his boys coming in with a
handful of quail or a rabbit or two for breakfast.Mrs. Abercrombie's hot
biscuits were talked about and bragged about by every one who had the
privilege of sitting at her table, and her wild plum or wild grape jellies
were talked about for days afterward.Being from Georgia, hot biscuits or
hot corn bread was served at every meal.It was not until Exer was married
that she had ever seen or tasted light bread.Milk or cream, hand skimmed,
or any other food that was to be kept for the next meal was hung in buckets
by a rope into the hand dug well, and water was brought up by a pulley for
the family's use. Their first stable was made by setting long poles into the
ground and nailing horizontal poles to those and stuffing prairie hay in
between them. The top was covered with cottonwood planks with hay or straw
piled on top.The cabin was also built of cottonwood planks nailed up and
down to a framework.Most of the furniture was handmade.Only the living
room was floored w it h cottonwood planks.Over these were laid rag rugs
made by Mrs. Abercrombie or one of the girls.Usually Nancy helped with
this work since she could not see well enough to work in the field except to
pick cotton.She could sew by feel and could braid the long strips of rags
to be sewn together for floor coverings.The living room was built first
and it was set up on sixteen-inch stumps.Both the bedroom and kitchen were
lean to's, and they both run the full length of the living room.The
bedroom was curtained off into three compartments by unbleached muslin
sheets.All bedding was of unbleached muslin and all comforts and quilts
were hand- made by the women folk, pieced in crazy patch or of some old
pattern they remembered from earlier days.
Washing was all done by hand on a washboard and water drawn from the well
and heated in an old iron kettle in the yard in summer and in a big copper
boiler in winter. If the well seemed to be low the old iron kettle and
washtubs and washboards were loaded into the wagon and driven to the creek
where the water was clear and a fire built on the bank and the washing done
there.Then the wet clothes were brought back and hung on the garden fence
and clothesline out back of the house.
In the fall they would dry pumpkin and squash in the sun on muslin sheets
and hang them in flour sacks on pegs on the kitchen wall.Corn also was
dried for winter use.There were few fruit jars to be had and usually the
only fruit was butters and jellies made from wild grapes, plum and currants,
put into jars and sealed with sealing wax.
Eventually orchards were set out which were mostly peaches and plums.
Dried apples could be bought in big tins, or wooden boxes.The beds were
homemade frames with boards laid across and with mattresses of corn shucks
or prairie hay.Mrs. Abercrombie saved every feather from wild ducks and
geese and finally got some geese of her own, which soon had them all
sleeping on feather beds.When a child had a stomachache they were usually
given a dose of castor oil and when one became the victim of poison ivy,
they would hunt a jimson weed and bruise it on as an application.Sometimes
they would mash nightshade berries and mix with cream, with the idea that a
poison would kill a poison.These remedies usually gave relief and comfort.
Cotton was not baled, but sold by the wagonload and corn was 150 a bushel
on the cob.Soda crackers were bought by the wooden box and these boxes
were about two feet long and about fourteen inches square on the ends and
held around two hundred or more crackers; these could be ready to eat bought
for 350 to 400.The first ready to eat breakfast food I remember was
Egg-O-See.Enormous boxes of oatmeal could be bought for 120 to 150 and
hominy was used a lot for breakfast cereal.Eggs sold for 100 a dozen and
if your neighbor needed milk, you gave it to him.Almost everything was
barter and trade system.There was very little money in the country and no
one expected to get rich; and as far as I can remember, no one ever did.
Everyone worked hard and in spite of the hardships they enjoyed life and
seemed to have time now and then to visit with their neighbors and friends.
Mr. and Mrs. Abercrombie were my grandparents.They lived long and useful
lives, serving their fellowman as best they could in any way they could.
Mr. Abercrombie preceded his wife in death about fourteen years, and when
she died at the age of eighty-nine, she left behind 120 living descendants.
They lie side by side in the little Mount Hope Cemetery north of Fay,
Oklahoma, loved and revered by all who ever knew them.
By: LeHurl Miles Mueller
I have also inserted this story on my abercrombie page on my web site
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Gage OK 73843
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