The following is an excerpt from my great-great-great grandmother's memoir. She was born in 1842 in Jennings County, Indiana. She lived there all her life, and died in 1931. Much of the description of early Indiana in my book has been taken from her memoir.
I am an old woman now, so old that some of my grandchildren have grandchildren of their own, and my daughter is writing this for me just as I tell it to her. If it seems rambling at times, remember that I am telling things just as they come back to me.
There has been much of sorrow and hardship but also much of joy in my life and as I look back over the past eighty years, I can see my life like a pattern woven in with the lives of so many others. It seems, as I look at it from here, now that it is so nearly finished, that there is plenty of brightness to offset the dark, gloomy part of my weaving.
My grandparents on both sides were pioneers in the Ohio Valley state where I was born. They belonged to that old race who kept pushing farther and ever farther west. My people settled in the poorest part of the state, not far from the Ohio River, but it seemed a goodly land to them, with springs and little creeks of pure water and good pasture for their cattle, an abundance of sugar maples to furnish sweetening, and wild berries everywhere. The woods were full of great luscious blackberries and raspberries and there were wild strawberries along the creeks. Plenty of acorns too, to fatten hogs, which were allowed to roam the woods at will, and beechnuts to give the fine flavor to the Thanksgiving turkey, to say nothing of the abundance of walnuts, butternuts, and hickory nuts for the children, no store candy for them. Then there were the wild grapes, large rich fox grapes for jelly in the summer and after frost came the fall grapes, small but delicious in flavor.
Almira King Holsclaw