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THE STREETER FAMILY IN DODGE DISTRICT IN 1855

Narrator: Geo. W. Streeter, 81, of Hamilton

Mr. Streeter is the son of Horace B. Streeter and Cornelia R. Gillett and grandson of Josiah Streeter and Ruby Stebbins of New York and Massachusetts respectively. Horace Streeter was born in Cayuga County, New York and came to Caldwell County as a prospective settler in 1855. He made the first trip prospecting. He came as far as Palmyra in the train (that was the end of the railroad) and "hitchhiked" the rest of the way to Caldwell County where his old neighbors, the Dodges, had already settled. He bought land from the government for $2.50 an acre near the Dodge farm and across Tom Creek; his land being the present Silas Dodge farm; and went back after his family. They came in 1857 by train and by water up to Camden and then by wagon to their new home. At this time, George W. was four years old and has but a dim memory of the trip out here.

He recalls his first experience at school. On his first day, the teacher was angry with him because he did not know his letters, for at that time it was customary for parents to teach the A,B,C's to their children before they started to school. The teacher sent him home and his parents kept him there until he was in the Second Reader. That was an old log school, then a better one was a frame which stood on the site of the Tom Creek Coal Mine. It was formerly called the Dodge, but now the Independence district. The present site is changed. In those days of the early sixties, children from Hamilton used to come out and go to school there at Dodge because there was no school in town. He recalls some of these children-the Formsby children, the Richardson children, (not the Squire Richardson family). This must have been about the time that A.G. Davis had a governess come to teach his children. The town was very small. Two early teachers at Dodge School were Jap Carter and Henry Gee. Seats were placed all around the sides of the room with a writing desk against the wall. If the children wanted to write, they turned toward the wall.

Walking wasn't much of a chore those days. Children not only walked to school but to Hamilton to trade or to Kingston to Sunday School which was between three or four miles. Nobody had buggies out there; few had farm wagons. The Streeters had an ox-cart about 8 feet by 3 1/2 feet used with oxen for farm labor. Sometimes a farmer owned three pair of oxen, especially if young ones were being broken in. They used a heavy ox yoke which was held by a bow-key to a log and a ring to the plough. If this slipped, the oxen became loose. Mr. Streeter told of his near escape from death in an ox-cart. It was during the Civil War when one day the yoke-key loosened and the oxen almost threw him into the creek.

There was a covered bridge one hundred feet long which once stood over Shoal this side of Kingston where the road then ran. In fact, the later bridge of the 90's used the same buttresses and stone work that belonged to the old covered bridge. It was about twelve feet high above the floor. George B. often took grist to mill over at the Spivey Mill at Kingston and passed over this bridge. He carried a full bag on each side of the horse to balance the load.

He recalled Bennett Whitely avaricious elder of the Hamilton Baptist Church in the late 60's, the old Baptist Chapel, east of the park, the Whiteside store which stood by it and later became a barn. He knew old Wm. McCoy when he was not old, and when he ran a little farm on Kingston road into Hamilton. He knew the Paxton boys, the Kempers, father and son, Geo. Lamson, the depot agent and banker. He said Geo. Lamson was the next to the best banker ever in the county. Dan Booth was the best. He recalled that picturesque character of the early days, Sam Hill, who lived out his way for a while.

An old graveyard was on the Dodge farm. It now lies behind the Diem house in a pasture. There were several graves there in his youth. A Union soldier was buried there without a stone; his own little brother lies there without a stone. Possibly some transients lie there. Some say that started as a Morman burying ground. Mr. Streeter said that might be so, for the Mormons once lived on the Dodge farm and a Mormon log cabin was still there in his youth. Mrs. Nellie Snider, a daughter of Dwight Dodge, said that they always spoke of one part of

their land as the Mormon field because it belonged to the mormons in the Mormon period.

Interviewed July 15, 1934.

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