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Narrator: Mrs. Eliza (Thornhill) Stephenson Kidder, Missouri

Covered Wagon Days

Indians in Daviess County

Frank James Story

Mrs. Stephenson was born 1834 and almost reached her one hundred years. She was born in Kentucky and was sixteen years old when her parents left their farm and brought a dozen slaves and two covered wagons to Missouri settling near Gallatin in Daviess County. It took them a month to come, but it was a wonderful trip especially to the youngsters, with out door meals and new sights every day. After they built their new home she saw Indians but they were what people called "friendly or begging Indians." By 1860 the occasional wandering Indians in this section did not bother anyone except for cooked food.

During the Civil War, the Thornhills sided with the South. One day a body of Union troops passed their home. Her brother promptly showed his mother's training by yelling "Hurrah for Jeff Davis." The soldiers quickly scared him into silence.

She loved to tell a story about Frank James, the famous Missouri bandit. She had then moved to Kidder. One of the family was called back to Kidder on account of illness in the home. She got on a train, by mistake, which did not stop at Kidder. She pled in vain to have the train stop there to let her off. Suddenly a passenger informed the Conductor that the train WAS GOING to stop at Kidder. When the astounded Conductor recognized the passenger as Frank James he naturally stopped the train at once.

Miss Thornhill was married 1862 to William Vallandingham and to A.J. Stephenson in 1882.

Interview taken 1934 (shortly before her death).

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