Thursday, August 30, 2012
Remembrances of the Tidd Family
By Annie Hosmer Sherk (1960)
I am writing a history of the Tidd family, for Zella, at her request. I hope my children will find it interesting, also, so I am making copies for them.
Daniel Tidd, our grandfather, was born at Holliston, Massachusetts, July 11, 1825. His family had been in this country for at least one hundred years before that – perhaps longer than that. They had come from England by way of Holland, and there is a tradition in the family that there was an Irish ancestor, named Sir Daniel Tidd, somewhere along the line. At any rate there was a Daniel Tidd in each generation. Our grandfather’s father was Daniel Tidd, and back as far as we know, there is a Daniel in the family. When Earl and I visited Holliston, which is a small village, we found many graves of the Tidd family in the cemetery adjacent to the Congregational Church building. This was the church to which our grandmother Tidd belonged. One grave was that of a Daniel Tidd, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. It was marked by the emblem, which is placed on the graves of all veterans of the Revolution.
Another thing that interested us at Holliston was the pond. Many New
England towns have a “pond”, which is really a very small lake. The one at Holliston is not more than a fourth of a mile across. But we were interested in seeing it, because our grandfather often spoke of the fun he had as a boy, swimming and fishing in the summer and skating in the winter.
Our grandfather Tidd was the only son in the family, but he had four Sisters. One of them, whose name I cannot recall, died in her early twenties, from tuberculosis. Mary was the one who married a wealthy man, but she died young from the same disease. I think she had two little boys but both of them died before she did. Betsy Ann married Silas Loomis, and she died when her first child, Annie Elizabeth, was six weeks old. Annie grew up to be a very bright and charming woman. She taught in the public schools in Washington, D.C. for over fifty years. She wrote several books for children. The fourth sister was Abagail. She married Willard Darling, who was a tin peddler in New England, in his early years. After a few years, he and his family went to Iowa, and settled on the farm adjoining your father’s farm, which I knew as the Westphall place. About 1870 the family moved to Colorado. They were part of the famous colony sent out by Horace Greeley, and they founded the city of Greeley. Aunt Abby, as she always was called in the family, lived a long and very useful life. She was a very religious woman and started a Sunday School whereever she lived, and was active in all good works. There were a couple of years that the family live in Fayette County, Iowa, where life was more primitive than in Buchanan County. There Aunt Abby taught a public school in her own house, because there was no school-house. There were four children in the Darling family- Frank, Mary, Mortimer, and Cora. Only Cora Bliss is now living. (1960)
When our grandfather Tidd was about fifteen years old, he ran away from his home, and got work on a whaling vessel, bound for the Indian Ocean. This was a sad blow to his parents, who wished him to remain in school. His father went after him with a horse and buggy, but reached the sea-port just one hour after the ship had sailed, and there was no way to bring him back. They did not see him again for three years. After he returned from this long voyage, he went on several short trips on ships. In a few years he went to work in the large shoe shops, where his father had worked for years. Both of them became professional shoemakers.
In 1850 our grandfather married Sarah Eldridge, a beautiful young girl from Bangor, Maine. I do not know how they happened to meet. She was a tall, slender brunette, with black eyes and hair. From all accounts, she was a very lovely person. She grew up on a farm near Bangor, and one of our mother’s cousins, Ralph Eldridge, still owns and lives on this same farm. The Eldridge family, like the Tidd family, were of English ancestry, and had been in this country since some time before the Revolution. There is a tradition that during the Revolution, some branches of the family were Tories, and some were Revolutionists.
Sarah Eldridge had five sisters and two brothers. The boys were Hezekiah and Nathaniel. The girls were Abagail, Lucy, Cordelia, Jerusha, and Mercy. You can see where your mother got her name,- Lucy Cordelia. All of them except our grandmother, lived to be old people. Cordelia lived to be ninety-nine years old, and several others lived to be near ninety.
Our grandparents had six children. Elmon and Willis were the oldest. Both of them died at the age of two years. They are buried in the church-yard cemetery at Holliston. The third child was a boy, also, and was named Elmon, in memory of the little who boy who died. He was a very bright and promising boy, with much artistic talent. He died at the age of seventeen, from tuberculosis. My mother, Jennie Alice, was born in 1857, Herbert was born in 1860, and your mother, Lucy Cordelia, was born in 1866. All, except Lucy, were born at Holliston.
About 1860 our grandfather’s health failed. The doctor’s advice was to cease work in the shoe shops, and do out-door work. Otherwise he would die of tuberculosis, as had so many of his family. So they decided to go to Iowa, where the Willard Darlings were living. We can only imagine what a hard trip that was for them with three small children, aged five, three and three months. Train travel was slow and inconvenient, compared with that of today. They stayed in Chicago several days to rest. Finally reached Independence, Iowa on July 4th, 1860. Our grandmother and Aunt Abbie Darling were very fond of one another, and were happy to live near each other. Grandfather Tidd built a house on the farm where he lived until his death in 1913. We can hardly imagine how that country looked at that time. It was a wide open prairie with a few scattered houses, and no trees, except along the river, several miles distant from their home. There were no fences and few roads. Grandfather Tidd’s father came to Iowa with him and lived with the family until his death in 1871. Our great Grandmother Tidd had died some years previously of tuberculosis.
My mother often told me that she had a very happy childhood, playing with her two brothers, out on the prairie. There were many wild flowers and she used to pick many bouquets. Grandfather Tidd was very fond of the out-of-doors, and it was from him that she learned to notice the song-birds. When I was a little girl, there were a number of nice bird-houses, up along the eaves of his house, where a number of families of martins lived every year. Grandpa used to refer to them fondly, as “my martins”. In good weather he always took a long walk through the fields on Sunday afternoon, when I was a little girl. He was a very quiet, reserved man. I cannot remember that he ever took me up on his lap or played with me, when I was a child, but still I realized that he loved me dearly, and I loved him.
Elmon died in 1872. And our grandmother died in 1873, just two days before Christmas. She had pneumonia and was sick only tow days, so it was a terrible shock to the family. My mother was just sixteen, Herb was fourteen, and your mother was just six, All three of the children were young for their ages, but my mother learned to keep house, do the sewing, and care for your mother, who was a very shy, timid little girl.
Having so much sickness in the family, and three deaths in three years, left our grandfather heavily in debt. It was many years before he was able to pay the mortgage on his farm. He was a very industrious man, and a good farmer. As he grew older, Herb did all the fieldwork on the farm, and Grandpa devoted his time to the garden. And he loved his garden. No one in the neighborhood raised such fine strawberries, and raspberries, and blackberries, and grapes as he did. He sold many pounds of them to the stores in Independence. He and Herb made sorghum molasses every autumn. In those days Iowa farmers all used Molasses on their tables. It was eaten as regularly as butter. And every farmer raised an acre or more of sugar-cane. Farmers from all over that county used to bring their sugar cane to Grandpa, to me made into molasses. He had a long, low building south of the house, where there were a series of big shallow pans, where the cane juice was boiled and skimmed, and then boiled again and again, until it was a good thick sweet molasses. Out in the yard was a big press, and the power was furnished by a team of horses, walking round and round. Uncle Herb used to feed the cane into the press, and the juice, which looked like green water, was collected in huge tubs. One year I remember that they made two thousand gallons of molasses, and they would be busy making it for about six weeks.
When I was a little girl, the most enjoyable event of my life was going to spend a week at Grandpa Tidd’s house. I usually went during the strawberry season in June, and again in the fall when molasses was being made. Grandpa and Uncle Herb and Aunt Lucy did everything to please me and entertain me. When other things failed to please, there was always the attic, which was a fascinating place. What I liked best were the many barrels full of old copies of the “Youth’s Companion”. I used to pour over them by the hour. Then there was some old hoop-skirts and bustles, which my friend, Edith Gifford, and I made use of in dressing up, in the old dresses we found up there. But most of the time was spent out of doors. There was my favorite apple tree, with low-growing branches, which I could climb, and there I used to sit for hours, reading or just looking around. Grandpa used to whittle little wooden paddles for me to use in sampling the molasses he was cooking. And I never tired of playing with the little fox terrier, Billy. Billy was a very intelligent dog. He loved to go with the horse and buggy, but Uncle Herb did not like to have him go, when he went to Independence. It Billy saw the buggy brought out of the carriage house, or if he was Aunt Lucy hand the grocery list to Herb, he would disappear, and when Herb got as far as the Ames Hill, a mile or more from home, Billy would be sitting at the side of the road waiting for him, and nothing would induce him to go home.
Aunt Lucy was a very gentle, kind-hearted person. I remember one time when I was there in the fall, a boy came with a load of cane, and several people were ahead of him, so he had to wait quite a while. Aunt Lucy sent me out with a large piece of chocolate cake to give him. Her life was full of little acts of kindness like that. One time in the spring, I gathered a little bucket of wild strawberries down in the pasture south of the house. Aunt Lucy made them into a little short-cake for me, and it still seems to me it was the best thing I ever ate. I never have eaten chocolate cake as good as those she used to make. She was an exceptionally good cook. So the family loved to tease her about the tramp who came to the door one day, asking for food. She assembled a nice lunch on a plate, but when he was it, he shook his head mournfully and said, “I’m hungry but I can’t eat that.” Later it developed that the man was an escaped patient from the insane asylum at Independence.
Uncle Herb and Rose Love were married in 1900. Aunt Lucy had kept house for Grandpa and Uncle Herb for nearly twenty years, ever since my mother was married, so this made a change in her life. In 1901 she married your father, and in 1903 you were born. When I came to Oregon to live, you were nearly a year old, and your were a fine healthy child, and very pretty. Your mother certainly enjoyed you. The last memory I have of her, when I left Independence, she held you up high in her arms, so I would have a good view of you.
This family history was written by Annie Hosmer Sherk who was born 27 September 1882 in Independence, Iowa. She was my grandmother Zella Straw Olsen's cousin. Zella was born on 20 July 1903 in Independence, Iowa. In about 1920 my grandmother moved to Oregon and lived with her cousin until her marriage in 1926. They remained fast friends throughout their lives. Annie died on 26 February 1970 in Albany, Oregon and Zella died on 7 May 1996 in Gladstone, Oregon; both were widows of many years.
Zella Straw and Annie Hosmer in 1904 in Independence, Iowa.