Father, with most of the accompanying train, laid over for one year at Prescott, Arizona.The attraction at that place was placer gold mining in which occupation they engaged to a goodly profit.But at the end of the year they resumed their journey to California, coming by way of Los Angeles.A number of their train made a permanent stop at Los Angeles, but the families of Father, Clem Buckman, James Guttry, and John Teague journeyedon to the vicinity of Visalia and Farmersville, Tulare County.All these families settled near one another in the neighborhood of Farmersville where, with the exception of the Guttrys, whom we follow later, they continued to reside from 1866, the time of settlement, until their death.All left large families of children that are still residents of mostly on or near the old homesteads.Naturally, these families were our parents' best and closest friends; and would that I had time to follow with a more complete survey of their history, but at this time I must confine my narrative to the history of our own family.
Father's farm, the old Farmersville homestead, was situated about two miles northeast from Farmersville.It was here we children were reared, receiving our earliest education mostly in the Deep Creek Schoolhouse which was situated one-half mile west of the farm and adjacent to the Deep Creek cemetary where lies buried our Grandfather Fly and his wife, and our sister Melinda and her husband, and Uncle Nicholis Fly and his wife, and his two daughters --Nancy and Jane.
What memories cluster around the old homestead!Here the incidents of childhood days enacted and experienced are the most vivid in our recollection.In quiet meditation I am living again among my childhood surroundings and associations.I see the rough unpainted box house with its battened siding; the old-fashioned twelve-glass windows; the uncorniced lean-to porch on the south which was the front; the kitchen built at right angle on the north; the brick chimney on the west with its spacious fireplace, the spreading locust tree, and also the cool and inviting paradise trees that stood in the front yard, and the tall poplars and the low catalpas that grew on a small ditch in the back yard; the everflowing irrigation ditch on the east separated from the east yard by the always large and unchopped wood pile; the family orchard to the west; the magnificient valley oaks standing unmolested over the 90 acre farm; the fowls in the yard, and the hogs, cattle, and horses in the rail enclosed pasture or barnyard.The bark of the old shepherd dog (Tarry was his name) at an approaching neighbor or at an obtrusive pig or chicken, I can almost hear now.In fancy I can see that Father has left the old roan behind to the plow in a nearby growing cornfield while he pumps himself a cool drink from the old squeaky but nevertheless adequate Douglas pump that stands on a wooden frame in the front yard; and perhaps at the same time Mother is sweeping the front porch, pausing now and then to address some remark to Father or to us children who are playing in the shade of the old locust tree or scampering around Father as he procures a drink from the pump.
To turn back to the conditions that obtained in our younger days after having experienced so many conveniences of these modern times, it would appear that life would be dull and monotonous indeed, and perhaps it had been but for the reason that in those days we were happy and contented, deriving enjoyment from conditions that would not appeal to us now in most cases.
We children seldom had money to spend, but when we did have we were taught the value of every penny.Candy was a luxury seldom indulged in excepting that which was often made from honey or perhaps syprup.When we did get store candy on rare occasions, how it was appreciated!As were also other small purchases that our parents had made in town for us.How often have I met my parents on the quiet dusty road as they were returning slowly from Visalia --Town we called it--and on such occasions when Mother would hand me a few crackers or perchance a five or ten cent story book, it would seem to me that life was about complete.So it was with the articles of clothing that came from the store.Mother at this time made most of our clothing by hand--not even then having a sewing machine--but the new hat, new shoes, or new shawl or coat came from town just often enough to give us pleasure when they did come.
Of course, there were no moving picture shows then.Sometimes, perhaps once in four years, Father would load us in the old two horse wagon and spend with us a whole day at the circus which was conducted either at Tulare or at Visalia.This was a treat indeed.
Many times have I accompanied Father on his trips to and from town.Sometimes we would have a load of wheat for the market, or maybe this load was taken to the custom flour mill and in this case we returned with a load of flour, bran, etc.At times we had a load of fat hogs for the market or perhaps a few coops of chickens, and always accompanying these trips were the few dozens of eggs that Mother had prepared for the market by packing them in grain or in bran in an old dry-goods box.These eggs were exchanged for grocries or other supplies that our farm could not produce; but the larger proportion of the necessitis of life, excepting clothing, wree manufactured or produced at home -- such as milk and buttrer, bacon and eggs, vegetables, hone and vinegar, apple butter, etc.