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LIFE IN DAVIS TOWNSHIP BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR

Narrator: Mrs. Mary J. Eichler, 93, of Braymer, Missouri

Mrs. Eichler is a daughter of Conrad Oster a pioneer settler of Caldwell county. She was born in the little town of Mirabile January 27 1841. When she was three years old, her parents moved three miles west of the present site of Braymer. There she grew up amid the simple pioneer conditions of the forties and fifties.

Her father Conrad Oster (b. 1815) was the son of George L. Oster (an 1812 soldier) who came out with his family into this county 1839 and located in what is now Mirabile township. In fact, the Oster family unloaded their big wagon on the very site of the present Mirabile. From there Conrad Oster as said above moved to Davis Township where the Oster name became well known.

While at Mirabile Mr. Oster helped build the first store building erected there for Wm. E. Marquam (pronounced Markum and sometimes spelled that way).

Those were the days of wild turkeys, deer, ox-teams, and cumbersome lumber wagons, when neighbors were few and far between and highly valued. Trips to town meant barter, not spending money. The expression "I finished my trading." meant exactly that. In her youth, Kingston and Mirabile were the only towns in the county. Occasionly the men folks went to Lexington on business.

In 1864 Mary Jane married Henry Eichler a native born German who had served in the United States Regular Army and had been stationed in the western plains. He bought a ranch in Wyoming. Apparently he was in our county to buy cattle for his ranch when he married her. He and his young wife started to drive the cattle back to the ranch and got there after many troubles.

To begin their story, it took them two days to come with their ox team from Davis township to Kingston. They rested a night then started out again. Almost immediately an axle broke and that made a delay. They took ten days to get to St. Joseph (already people were saying "St. Jo"). Then came the hard slow journey in a wagon-train over the plains to Fort Laramie. The wagon-train was not attacked by Indians but their ranch home was destroyed later. Such losses made the Eichlers long for Caldwell County. They had lost their first born babe there also. In 1866 Mr. Eichler bought one hundred twenty acres in Davis Township and later his estate was five hundred sixty acres.

Interviewed 1933.

 

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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998