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TO LOVELY RIDGE IN A COVERED WAGON

Narrator: Mrs. Hattie Bennett Smith, 74, Hamilton, Missouri

Mrs. Smith is the eldest child of Thos. Bennett born 1834 and wife Betsey Gibson Bennett. They were both born in England but met first in America. Thos. Bennett was a poor man and came into Caldwell County 1871 to get a farm cheap. His brother-in-law Fred Gibson had moved here and told him about the county. At that time, the Bennett family was composed of man, wife and three children, the eldest boy being nine years old. They came here in two covered wagons which held all they had. Bennett drove one wagon, the little boy Jim, the other. They had no extra horses so had to make frequent rests by the road side.

They bought two miles west and one-half mile north of Hamilton in Lovely Ridge district. It was a two room house with a lean-to. They were so poor that they had no carpets at all which meant much scrubbing. The girls and boys "worked out" for the neighbors. The children set out hedge plants around the farm by the road and in a dry spell carried buckets and buckets of water to save them.

The Lovely Ridge community had frequent revivals in the school house. After the service the host would treat the crowd to cider or apples, and people would try to beat each other in pealing an apple without breaking the pealing. The Bennetts were Methodists; other Methodists there were the five families of the Jones tribe, the Bray family, Altmans and perhaps others.

Going to church in town became quite common in the late 70's; when the big Bennett family would fill the lumber wagon with chairs (probably all the chairs they had). If the horses gave a lurch at a whip or a passing train etc., the chairs were apt to land the youngsters backward. There was a baptizing hole to the north where converts of all denominations from that part were immersed; in fact immersion was much more general those days than now; and a "baptism" drew big crowds as a mild diversion on Sunday afternoons.

Interview taken April 1934.

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