I am not a McDANIELS researcher but I came across a newspaper article that was so touching and special, that I just had to try to get it to someone in that family tree. I hope this is in keeping with the culture of this message board. So I have typed it and the text follows. I read this newspaper on Ancestry.com.
The Decatur Review newspaper
Decatur City, Illinois
Thursday, February 14, 1929
Title:Miss Madge Lives On In Quaint Home
subtitle: Romance Surrounds Old House Filled
With Pioneer Treasures.
By Edna S. Sollars
Asinith was the quaint and lovely name of the bride brought by E. E. McDANIELS to Macon County at the close of the Mexican war in which he served, to assist him in laying the foundations for a pioneer home, the original structure still stands and inahabited by Miss Madge McDANIELS, a granddaughter of the intrepid pair. Although this home to which several rooms have been added in the course of time, is easilyl within a stone's throw from the hard road, Illinois route 2. Its existence woudl never be suspected by passing autoists, for it is entirely screened from observation by a small grove of forest trees, and yet the whole fforms one of the most interesting, romantic and historic places in the entire county.
Four filling stations occupy as many corners of the slab near the approach to Elwin. Turning to the east on this approach, a few feet brings one to an unsuspected road winding its slow way through the above mentioned grove of trees. I followed the adventurous, twisting trail with increasing thrills of anticipation, and there all at once was the quaintest house imaginable and before it was standing Miss Madge, her face framed in soft, snowy curls.
TAKEN BY PIRATES
The original ancestors of the family braved all the terrors of crossing the Atlantic in a sailing vessel, leaving Scotland and Ireland with prayerful lips but with fear in their hearts, a fear which was well justified, for they were captured by pirates, and only after long months of imprisonment brought to the southern coast of the United States from which they eventually made their escape.
When Asinith and her husband came to wrest the land from Nature's grasp, it was necessary for Mr. McDANIELS to ride to Vandalia on horseback over roadless wastes, between great weeds higher than his head while seated on the animal, to file his Mexican war land grant claim.The bride's honeymoon was spent in one small room with a deep fireplace crossing one end, her only household equipment being an iron skillet and an iron tripod on which a receptacle for making coffee might be placed. These articles are still in the possession of Miss McDANIELS.
But honeymoon days were happy days even to a pioneer bride, so great plans were made for a barn raising and quilting bee. Neighbors were few and far between, but few as they were, they must be made comfortable and how does one sit in comfort without a chair? But barn raising and quilting bee folks laught at obstacles, and the chairs were produced.
SWIM FOR CHAIRS
The Sangamon river was not spanned by bridges, but across it lay a farm from which six chairs cold be purchased. Husky neighbor lads volunteered to bring the chairs across the river, and with this end in view, tied their scanty homemade garments on their heads in a compact bundle, plunged in the water although the ice had barely disappeared, swam across, donned their garments modestly, played rough and tumble games along the way to another pioneer home, were given the chairs, which they carried back to the river's bank, two to a lad, again tied their bundles of clothing on their heads, grasped a chair and swam back.
I followed Miss McDANIELS up the narrow, steep and winding stairway to the upper floor of her home and sat myself down in one of these chairs, low and comfortable, with a springy splint bottom. These rooms were filled with pioneer treasurers, and I went from one to the other, rejoicing more and more that I lived in the very good year of our Lord 1929. There was a great horse pistold, as long as my arm, and old flint lock gun so heavy I could scarcely lift it from the floor. Men must have been Herculean in early days to have thrown such weapons lightly to their shoulders at the frequent presence of game.
A Dutch over, long since discarded from service, reposed on the floor, but its first entrance into the home was a gala occasion. Up to that time there had been only the skillet, but Mrs. McDANIELS, being a woman, desired culinary conveniences. On one of Mr. McDANIEL'S raire trips overland to St. Louis, he brought as a gift to his wife, the long coveted Dutch oven. Upon the way home, he shot a deer and brought along the venison with the new utensil, and a great feast was made in the home. The Dutch oven is really an iron pot, six inches in height, fourteen in diameter, and stands on four inch high legs. It is provided with a bale and a heavy iron lid, and in this many a fine family meal was prepared.
DOLL IN CRADLE
Pioneer girls were natural mothers, and tucked away in a crude little cradle, is a china headed doll, a household treasure for many years. I looked about in vain for a spool bed, but was told that they had long since been sold or chopped up for kindling to make room for iron or brass beadsteads.
The McDANIELS rode on the first car which slid along the Illinois Central rails, not the first train, but the actual first working car, the foreman being a friend of the family.
People went to church when churches were difficult to access, and on one occasion Mrs. McDANIELS mounted behind her husband on horseback, and the pair started for "meeting."Suddently a wolf sprang from the high weeds, Mr. McDANIELS had no gun at the time, so turned his stallion full upon th ebeast, and trampled it to death.
Almost all of the simple family wants were supplied by the labor of hand and brain, but salt was one of the commodities which must be purchased. The family had been without this essential ingredient for many months, and were beginning to suffer in consequence, when Mr. McDANIELS and others made a trip to St. Louis for the precious substance.
Travelling with an ox team is not speedy however, and it was long before a return could be made. He knew that sickness would be eminent in the home if the salt were not forthcoming soon. Then came great rains resulting in floods, and then freezing. The oxen could not travel so one of the men buckled on skates and skated over the intervening miles carrying the salt, and arrived only in time, for the family were in the throes of violent hiccoughs.
Some years ago the old fireplace was remodelled, the andirons removed, small windows placed about it, so that it now resembled an alcove, and is largely used for a small conservatory.
Much to my surprise, I found that one of the rooms in this pioneer homestead had been fitted up as a library, twelve or fifteen hundred volumes reposing on many wide shelves. Miss McDANIELS is fond of reading, preferring stories of adventure and travel to those of romance and love. Since her brother's death, she lived quite alone, and rents the farm to a neighbor. For a number of years a faithful dog was her companion, but he too, is no more.
The old McDANIELS' homestead is the mecca for all the children in the neighborhood. Miss McDANIELS being "Aunt Madge" to them all. She really would like to have another dog both for protection and companionship, but fears she might not find one who would be kind to her little children visitors, and so lives on quite alone. Miss McDANIELS' real name is "Maggie," but she has scant liking for the Maggie of Jiggs, and so prefers "Madge," and as such she is known to her friends.
That is all there is, I hope some McDaniels kin appreciates it.