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Narrator: Mrs. Margaret Sigman, 84, of Hamilton, Missouri

Plowing with Cattle

Dodge School

Play Parties

Hamilton Mill

Mrs. Sigman's parents were David Ford and Nancy McIntosh formerly of Scotland, who lived in Canada. The Ford family came to Missouri in 1868 because the Tait family of Canada had come here and praised Caldwell County highly. When Mr. Ford came, he bought the property mid-way between Kingston and Hamilton on the Stage road, later to be generally known as the Half Way House. The family were terribly blue for awhile, for this country was so different from Canada. Here was nothing but work to break up the prairie grass; some of their farms had been cultivated but not much.

Mrs. Sigman recalls in 1870 seeing old William McCoy who then owned a ten acre tract on the Kingston road about one half mile south of Hamilton (now Booth land) break up the soil with five yoke of oxen hitched to a plow. This Wm. McCoy in 1870 moved to town to two lots (present Hawks Garage site) and on the east end built a two-story frame with a grocery store on the first story. This store stayed for three generations in the McCoy family - Wm., Clark and Roy.

Mrs. Sigman attended Dodge (Independence) School, where long benches were placed around the walls and low writing desks fastened to the walls. D.G. McDonald (later a merchant at Hamilton and still later a conductor on the Hamilton-Kingston Railroad), Celia Tattershall, Wm. Church (who married a Lunn) were some of her teachers. They had to cross Tom Creek everyday to get to school. They crossed on the trunk of a fallen tree without any railings. One day, they went across when Tom Creek was up level with the log, but they went bravely on.

They attended church and Sunday School at Dodge School and also at the Joe Williams school near Kingston. Walking a few miles meant nothing to them. They often walked to Hamilton to trade or mail a letter or get mail. Perhaps they might catch a ride with a passerby. Wm. Curp, a near by teacher was also a music teacher and held singing school in the winter at night in the school house which helped their social life.

Mrs. Sigman spoke of "play parties" as a type of amusement. This expression came also from three other old people as a term for social evenings which seemed to have been devoted to singing and skipping games or a form of disguised dancing allowable to strict church members. (Even an old Darky used the expression "play party." Saying "the negroes used to jig individually or in a set at play parties." Interviewer's note.)

Mrs. Sigman was married 1875 to John Sigman (b. 1825 in Ohio) a Mill Wright who came to Hamilton 1868 and built the Hamilton flour-mill which he sold to Austin and he to Henry Clark and he to his son Frank Clark. It was under the Clarks that the mill explosion occurred, killing Alex Crow, a farmer in the mill yard. The mill was burnt 1878 rebuilt and finally abandoned as a mill. It now serves as an ice plant.

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