Arney Family Migration
to Owen County in 1820

From the "Memoirs of Aunt Nancy Neff of the Trip of the Arneys from Indiana to Iowa in the Fall of 1849"

Submitted by Allison Scott

The migration from North Carolina to Owen County took place in 1820. Henry Arney and his wife Mary Magdalene Arney, their children: Lizzie, Susan, Jacob, Katy, Andy, Polly, Hannah, Henry, Lucy, Peggy, John, Anna and Laura. Their daughters Lizzy and Susan were married and stayed in North Carolina. Jacob settled in Ohio. John Arney came with his parents to Owen County, Indiana and helped them get settled. Then he rode a horse back to North Carolina to marry his sweetheart, Mary Boyles. (They called her Polly.) Uncle Carey Arney said the Boyles were German and that John had to learn to speak German, before he could "spark" his girl. His grandfather had told him this.

Polly's sister Rebecca was married to Frederick Fiscus. They had started to Indiana, but when they got over the mountains to Kentucky, they stopped. On the way from North Carolina, the road was so rough a big round cheese bounced out of the wagon and rolled downhill. He said "cooke a mool, cooke a mool" - look a there, look a there. If someone could find out what language that belongs to, it might point to the nationality of the Boyles and Fiscus families. In traveling, if they met someone who asked where they were from, they answered "Stokes".

John had been riding the horse, and Polly riding in the wagon. Now they put what clothes they could in saddlebags, and they took turns walking and riding until they reached Indiana, and the Arney home. John cut trees during the day for the building of a log house, and in the evening they both burned brush. These are the names of the children of John and Mary (Polly) Arney:

Lucindy - died at 6 months of chills and fever.

Noah - fell into a kettle of boiling water that sweet corn had been cooked in and died. They cooked on a fireplace and the kettle was on the floor beside it.

Rebecca - married Jacob Hauser Oct. 11, 1845, Minister Obediah Winters.

Martha - married Ayers Elsberry while still in Indiana.

Mary - married John Hauser.

William - married Betsy Boyles.

Frederick - killed by a falling tree in the woods in Indiana at 14 years.

Andrew - married Almyra Moser who came from Indiana with them.

Solomon - married Eliza Fulk.

Nancy Jane - married Henry Goodlow Neff.

John and Polly worked until they had 120 acres of land in Owen County. They had the three sons, three of the girls were married. John called the family into conference to talk of future plans where they might all live near each other, since the holdings in Indiana were too small. He told the young men that if they would go to look up a new country where it would be a healthy place to live, and the land was good, he thought it would be better. The first plan was for only the young married people to go, and the father and mother and younger children to stay in Indiana. Later the mother made the decision that where the six children went, they would all go.

William Arney, the oldest son, and Thomas Hauser (brother of Aunt Eliza Irvin) were the ones selected to search out a new land. They rode horses. Some of their friends and neighbors had pioneered to Iowa, and they had written back of the rich land with an abundance of woods and water. So the boys started to Iowa. They came back with a good report, then John Arney and families began preparations for the journey to be made in the fall of 1849.

The first necessity was covers for the wagons, which the women wove of flax grown on the farm. To know the yardage required would be interesting, also to know the length of time required to make the linen from the straw to the finished cloth. The front and rear bows took full widths, which had a wide hem, through which rope was run and drawn up to close the doors (so to speak) for privacy. At least three widths would be required for the top proper, and all the sewing must be done by hand. Grandmother Mary had somewhere along the busy way of her life, learned to do fine tailoring. In later years when she made the suits from homespun for her grandsons in Marshall County, she carried her paper of needles in the pocket of her dress, and would not allow anyone else to use them. She kept a different needle for every type of work and would not sew on a button with the same needle she used to sew with. Jake Boustutter used to say he would rather have a pair of overalls she had made by hand, than any he could buy in stores that were machine made.

John Arney had one wagon with four horses hitched to it and one wagon with two yoke of oxen hitched to it. Frederick Hauser had a wagon with two yoke of oxen. Ayers Elsberry had a wagon with one yoke of oxen. Timber John Hauser had a wagon with one team of horses. (This is not a complete list. Somewhere in my notes is an accurate number of the wagons.) John Arney had three cows and one calf tied behind one wagon, so they had milk and butter. The butter churned by the jolting of the wagon. The friends and neighbors came to the Indiana home to see them start off on the journey, which was so long at the time. Later, many of them came to Iowa. [One of my recollections of my childhood is of my father, Frank Long, sending money to members of the family to come to Iowa. Our home on the farm at Manning was the stopping place for all of them.]*[this must have been typed by my grandmother, Nola Long Boss, who gave it to me.]

Photo of John Arney (1797-1870)***footnote to photo at the bottom.

The first river they crossed was the White River according to Aunt Nancy. Horses can be driven through the water, but the oxen always drift downstream, so the men had to wade or swim and lead them across the rivers. No record was kept of how far they traveled the first day, or succeeding days. When they camped at night, they drove the wagons around in a circle. They had feed boxes on the back of the wagons for the horses. The left the yokes on the oxen and let them graze. They had to hunt wood for a campfire to cook supper. They also had hot breakfasts, but ate a cold lunch at noon to gain time.

A young man named Archie Mann offered to drive the four horse team, if John Arney would board him and give him a place to sleep. He rode the saddle horse, the left horse on the first team to the wagon. The saddle was put on with lines on the front team. As he rode along, he would pick peaches off the trees and toss them back into the wagon. This was in Illinois. They could buy them cheap and often people gave them peaches when they stopped to camp.

Great Grandmother had a large clothes chest in the front of the wagon. They put a sheepskin over it and it was her seat. Three could sit on it. Grandfather John sat on it as he drove the ox team, but the greater part of the time he walked and drove the oxen. Andrew drove the oxen part of the time. The chest sat lengthwise in the wagon. Bushel sacks of dried peaches and dried apples were packed in beside it, to fill the wagon. On top of that were the beds where John Arney and wife slept - a feather bed made it comfortable. The wagon box was longer than the chest, and behind it the wagon was filled with hanks of twisted flax, ready for weaving. On top of these a bed was made for Nancy Jane Arney, and Almyra Moser, from bedding and clothing. Archie Mann, Andrew and Solomon slept in their wagon. Jacob Hauser and wife Mary, and their two children, Polly, about five years old, and Sarah Jane, three months old, slept in their wagon. Ayers Elsberry and Martha, and their two children, Mary and John (named for their grandfather and grandmother Arney) slept in their wagon. John Hauser and wife Mary slept in their wagon.

Nothing of special note happened on the trip as they were passing through country which was already settled. They crossed the Illinois River on a ferry and the Mississippi by going seven miles upstream on a steamboat. After crossing the Mississippi, they did not see any more houses. They drove in a general north-west direction, but after driving all one day with no road or trail to follow, concluded that they were lost. That night they could not find any wood to cook supper, so ate what they had. The women were crying, the children were afraid. In the morning, grandfather had the horse teams start off. If they found any signs of settlers, they were to report. They went but a little way when they saw a house, and found that they had reached the settlement at Timber Creek, for which they had been headed. They arrived first at the home of Blakely Brush, whom they had known in Indiana. They cooked some hot breakfast in the Brush fireplace, then the word got out that the wagon train had arrived and the five families in the settlement came to see them.

The five families were Joseph Cooper, Joseph Ferguson, Jackson Smith, Judge William Smith (first Judge at Albion) and Blakely Brush. They invited the new arrivals to move in with them. Joseph Cooper said they would take Jake Hauser and his family of four. William Smith invited Ayers Elsberry and his family of four. They took their wagons and went to these homes. Joseph Cooper had only a log house of one room, so he let their boys go and sleep in our covered wagon with our boys. The four men went out and began chopping down trees for a house and in two weeks we moved in. The floor was only half laid. Mother stepped in at the door and said "I thank the Lord that I am under a roof I can call my own once more." It was a puncheon floor, and on that clean puncheon floor the pie crust was rolled for the famous pumpkin pie of Arney tradition. The roof was of clapboards. A fireplace was in one end, for both heat and cooking.

William Ballard had settled west of Albion. He heard of the newcomers on Timber Creek and came down to get acquainted. He said the land was better across the river. They came up to look at it and decided to move. He bought John Ballard's claim. He entered it when it came on the market for $1.25 an acre. He traded a horse for the first 160 acres. There was one log cabin where Marshalltown now stands. Also one log cabin at Marietta, where they crossed the Iowa River. In the spring of 1850, they moved to the farm at Arney Bend.

Rosaline Arney wrote in 1942: Grandfather Arney built a log house in Indiana and lived there till their children were getting married so they needed more homes, so they came to Iowa. There were Uncle John Hausers and Uncle Jake Hausers, Uncle Ayers Elsberry and Betsy Arney and husband, John Henry Arney, the father of Luth and Frank Arney. Henry, the father of Uncle Ira Arney and I think Uncle John Irvin and Tom Hausers. Nine wagons all told. The marshy places had to be forded across, no bridges. Aunt Betsy Taylor had asthma and when they came to a marsh she couldn't walk across. To get her feet wet made her sick, so Uncle John Irvin started to go across carrying her on his back and half way across he said he was tired and pretended he was going to set her down in the water to which she screamed so loud he picked her up again.

They called our great grandfather Grand Sire, I don't know any other name for him.

I also have this story "Our Mother" by Rosalaine Elizabeth Arney Long about her mother Eliza Fulk Arney. It continues on past the end here, but that part covers her life in Iowa.Our Mother: Eliza Fulk Arneywritten by her daughter, Rosalaine Elizabeth Arney Long

3 Generation Report on Family of Rosaline Arney Long

Photo of Frank Long (her husband)

Eliza Fulk was born in Owen County, Indiana in a log house of two rooms situated in heavy timber land. Pioneers did not consider prairie land of much value, stating if land would not grow trees it would not grow anything else, so they bought wooded land and cleared off the trees in patches for their fields. They had to have trees for wood to burn and to build their houses, barns, sheds, and fences and they all tried to find woods with hard maples for sweetening.

One of their heaviest tasks was when the sugar sap began running in the spring. The sugar bush was often far from the house, and someone would have to stay out after dark to finish boiling the syrup before leaving the camp for the night. At such times Eliza and an older sister often watched, and were often frightened since there were many wildcats and other wild animals in the woods. One night they heard what they thought was a horse walking through the woods. They hid behind a big tree and waited with fast beating hearts, but nothing came near them, and after a while they crept out, put water on the fire and ran for home.

When Christmas time came Mother told them stories of Jesus. No one had any books except the Bible, and many people could not read or write. For Christmas gifts the Mother usually made such things for the children as her little store supplies would allow. Usually this was maple sugar cookies cut out as animals or dolls.

Eliza had only a few months of schooling. One of her teachers had a good many rules he wanted the children to follow, and one was that no child going home from school should run or jump, especially to jump over a log or stump or anything that might be in their way, but one evening he forgot himself and ran and jumped over a log. Eliza was very much surprised and ran right home and told her mother. In her excitement she told her story quite loud, not knowing her teacher had stopped at her home also and had heard every word she said. She was afraid to go to school the next morning, but her mother sent her anyway. The teacher looked very sober when he saw her but didn't say a word. A short time after that there was a spelling bee held at their schoolhouse where pupils came from nearby schools to contest. Many of them were older and larger than Eliza, but she spelled them all down. As she went out of the door one of the visiting teachers laid his hand on her head and said "Little girl, keep in school and some day you will be a fine scholar." She had a few weeks schooling after that, then had to go away from home to work to earn her living.

When she was about 16 she made the trip to Iowa in a covered wagon with her sister and family, leaving her father and mother and younger brother and sister in the old log house in Indiana. After a few years her brother went to war, was wounded and died without ever seeing his home again.

Regarding photo of John: (from Allison Scott)--I was told by the print conservatory in Boston where I had this picture preserved that this is an early photograph that has been chalked over. They said that when photography was first introduced that it was not a "legitimate" art form and no self-respecting Iowa farmer would have his portrait done in this "new fangled" way. However, itinerant artists cost more than photographers, so there are many similar portraits from that period.