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I believe this story was written by my grandmother's cousin, Evelyn Turner Curtiss, after compiling the data in her possession. She is now deceased. Evelyn was the great-great granddaughter of Esther Allen Musick Ewing Hawes.
Think of Esther as a little girl of five years running along with her mother and her seven year old sister Mary Ann on the first afternoon of their arrival at their new home on Sugar Creek in Logan County, Illinois. (This is all written in the 1878 History of Logan County by the older of these two children Mary Ann Musick Judy). They found two bee trees, a great discovery, for these trees would be cut down and an abundant supply of honey would furnish the family sweetening instead of sugar which was a very costly and scarce.
This was the year 1819. Robert Musick, Mary Ann and Esther's father, came from their home in Indiana in 1818 to build a shelter and plant some crops. It was a long 200 mile trip to the wilds of Illinois from Gibson County, Indiana, but the family was experienced in migrating. In the Musick genealogy it says, "Robert and Sarah Roach Musick were married in Tennessee but they lived in Kentucky 3 years where their first child Mary Ann (Mrs. Jacob Judy) was born. They moved to Indiana, making the trip on horse-back with their household goods on pack horses. They crossed the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky and were on the road 5 days."
While they lived in Indiana Esther was born in 1814. She was given the name of Esther Allen, probably from her maternal grandmother, Esther Allen Roach Shirley. While the family was in Indiana two little boys were born also. One lived a very few months but Berry, born 14 Dec 1818, lived and was a very young infant when the family migrated to Illinois in 1819.
When Stringer was writing his history of Logan County, Illinois in 1911, Lucinda Musick (Mrs. John Carlock of Bloomington, Illinois) wrote about her family -- "they moved to Illinois in the fall of 1819. There was one family came with them but they became discouraged and moved back. My father and his family lived 6 weeks with no white people nearer than Elkhart (The Latham's on Elkhart Hill about 15 miles south west) and with Indians for the nearest neighbors."
Lucinda Musick Carlock was one of the 7 Musick children born in Logan County, Illinois. She was 18 and 16 years younger than Mary Ann and Esther. Her older sister Mary Ann was married the summer before Lucinda was born. The wedding of Mary Ann Musick to Jacob Judy was probably the first wedding in this settlement in what was to become Eminence township. Girls frequently married in their teens. Mary Ann married Jacob Judy when she was 18 and her sister Esther Allen was only 16 when she married Joseph Ewing in 1830.
Esther had a pet name "Hettie." It is hard to imagine how she acquired that name but whenever she is referred to in Logan County history she is called Esther A. or Esther Allen "Hettie." Since this information was furnished by her sisters, Mary Ann and Lucinda, you can imagine that it was frequently used by her family. Esther grew up in a large family. After moving to Illinois Robert and Sarah Roach Musick had 7 more children. Of their 11 children, 2 died young but 9 grew into adulthood and married. There was 21 years difference in the age of the oldest child Mary Ann and the youngest Fielden Allen.
Esther grew in a large extended family with grandparents. Her father's parents, John and Mary Musick, came to Illinois to be near their son, and Sarah's mother, Esther Allen Roach Shirley, came to live near her daughter after the death of her second husband Archibald Shirley.
The community around "Robert Musick's on Sugar Creek" grew in the early 1800s and this area became Eminence township. Their neighbors were the Judys, Ewings, Shores, Carlocks, Hawes, Bruners and many others. These were the families that became the marriage partners of the Musick children. One didn't have to go far to meet a future life partner.
Not only did Esther Musick grow up in a large and extended family with grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts but her parents had chosen a place to settle (Sugar Creek) that was a natural landmark. The Indians still came to hunt and camp on Sugar Creek even after they had given up the right to this land. An old military road "Edward's Trace" went by their home. "Robert Musick's on Sugar Creek" became a place-name, almost like the name of a town or settlement.
Esther's family were undoubtedly hospitable and gregarious. Robert Musick was someone that attracted attention. There are more than 25 references to "Robert Musick of Sugar Creek" in Stringers 1911 History of Logan County. They settled only one month after the oldest settlement in the area -- "James Latham's of Elkhart Hill." The government land office did not open for this territory until 1823. In 1824, 4 persons filed for land in this area. "The second one to file was Robert Musick entering land on Sugar Creek, Nov. 19, 1824" (p. 114 Stringer's History). The first to file was Latham of Elkhart Hill.
Esther Musick probably lived in a log cabin for 41 of her 55 years of life. Much of the time these homes were one room cabins. Esther's younger sister Lucinda Carlock said of their earliest home on Sugar Creek -- "as was customary with early pioneers Robert Musick sought a location in the timber, along the banks of some stream. After skirting Sugar Creek for some distance, he finally decided on a location, near that stream in the north-east corner of what is now West Lincoln township, where it corners with East Lincoln, Oran and Eminence township. Here he erected a small cabin, which was partly constructed on boards, sawn with a whip-saw. He soon made friends with the Indians around him. Robert Musick had lost a toe and the Indians were interested in his four-toed foot. They called him "Man-without-a-toe." He was a good marksman and challenged the Indians to shoot at a mark, usually discomfitting them, and they respected him highly on that account" (p. 59 Stringer's History of Logan County).
Any child growing up in these early days in Illinois would be kept very busy helping with the family activities. Little girls learned to spin, weave and sew. The family grew the cotton, flax, wool which they spun into yarn. They wove the cloth, and made all of the clothing for both men and women, at home.
One can imagine that the two oldest girls, Mary Ann and Esther, had to help their mother in all activities including caring for the younger brothers. Another sister was not born until after the oldest Mary Ann was married and Esther was married the same year her little sister was born. Every two years there was a new baby, mostly baby brothers. William born 1816 and died 1817, Berry born 1818 and was 1 year old when they came to Illinois, then came James, John, Henry, George, then Lucinda was born in 1830 and after her birth there was two more boys, Robert born 1833 and died 1835, and Fielden Allen born 1836. There was 21 years difference in age between the oldest Musick child and the youngest. The parents were 41 and 40 when their last child was born.
Esther and Mary Ann must have been very much missed by their mother when they married and left home. Perhaps there were grandparents to help. What skill it must have taken to survived with only your own labor and wits. Their daughter Lucinda said in later years in Stringer's History p. 59 -- "for the first few years they had great difficulty securing supplies (1819 to 1823) until a settlement was established at Pekin some 25 miles away over on the Illinois river. This became their trading center where they sold their grain and perhaps some live stock and bought their supplies. It would be at least 10 years before Postville would be laid out about 8 or 10 miles away in the center of what would become Lincoln County.
At first there were no mills to grind their corn and wheat into flour so they would pound their own with a mallet in a mortar made from a hollowed tree trunk. Even when mills were built along the rivers they could not be operated at all times. In the summer the streams would dry up and in winter they would freeze over. If people went to more distant mills they would often have to spend 2 or 3 days camping out and waiting their turn at the mill.
There are many comments in the statements of the early settlers about the difficulty of getting their corn and wheat ground into flour. When stone mills were used the flour was dirty and gritty. Corn was the staple grain. It was made into "pone" or hoe-cake" or another called "dodger," which were mixtures of corn meal and water, no leavening. Sometimes pumpkin was added to give flavor. Also hominy was made by removing the hard hull of the corn with lye. If these early pioneers had not had so much wild meat from deer, fowl and even their own hogs and perhaps a few chickens, they would not have survived. They couldn't have lived much better than the Indians that came to their door and wanted to trade extra deer meat for "hogee."
One wonders just what were the homemaking skills that Mary Ann and Esther learned as they helped their mother. They would need to know all of these skills when they married. One would hope that there was some pleasure in doing some of these tasks, the spinning, weaving and sewing. The learning to cook at a fireplace with nothing but the "Dutch Oven" and a big iron boiling pot, a skillet and perhaps a coffee pot. The coffee was perhaps parched rye grain.
With so much to do and so much to learn about homemaking tasks there must have been very little time left for formal schooling. The first schools were private subscription schools, parents paying for each child. We do not find any mention of a public school in the area of Sugar Creek until 1855. However, there were some schools operating as early as 1835 when Esther's second husband John Hawes came to Eminence township and taught school for several terms.
It is just possible that Esther and her older sister did not get to go to school. Esther's youngest son, Henry Hawes, says in his life history that they had few books but the Bible. Esther may have known how to read her Bible but have had no formal education. One writer in Stringer's History says that boys were taught arithmetic but for the girls this study was considered useless and the girls were not allowed to waste their time on such learning. When girls married at 16 or 18 and were mothers at regular intervals of every 2 years for the rest of their child-bearing years they had to know many useful things to feed, cloth, organize family life in a one room log cabin, and keep their family healthy and alive. As we review Esther's life in this story we are writing, we know she had to have a great amount of skill, common sense, and belief in her God to have survived and to rear her family. Her youngest son when writing about her says, "I remember her plaintive voice singing the old Christian songs of the period, bringing rest to her tired body and comforting her yearning soul." Religion was what helped her through her troubles.
Eight years after the Musick settled on Sugar Creek, the Ewing family came in 1827 from Kentucky. The father, Samuel Ewing, had 2 sons and 6 daughters. The oldest son, Charles Ford Ewing, was married and had a family when they arrived. He was 14 years older than his brother Joseph who would marry Esther in 1830 when he was 20 years old and she was 16. The Ewing family bought land a few miles north-east of Robert Musick's on Sugar Creek. We know more about Charles Ford Ewing than we do about his father and we know nothing about the mother of the family. Charles Ford Ewing at one time owned 1500 acres of land in Eminence township and he was chosen to serve in the State Legislature in 1840. We don't know just when or how Esther would get to know her future husband Joseph but it might have occured at the Musick home where the persons who were the original members of the Eminence Christian Church met in the Musick home until they finally build a church in 1838.
We know that Esther and Joseph set up a home on their own because in the 1830 census they are counted as a family separate from his father. In 1835 Joseph was buying land and was probably at age 25 becoming a "solid citizen." He didn't live long enough to become as well known as his brother for in 1838 he died at age 28. They had been married 8 years. They had 5 children born in this short period of time and two of them had died. Three children lived, Louisa born in 1832, James Joseph in 1834, and Elizabeth in 1836. Henry Hawes, Esther's youngest son, is the one who remembered and wrote about the 2 Ewing children who died.
Widows with young children such as Esther's family would have had a very difficult time getting along without a husband. Her first husband Joseph Ewing died Sept. 16, 1838. In one year she would marry one of her neighbors, John W. Hawes, whose family had arrived in Eminence township in 1835. Esther and John were married Oct. 20, 1839. Esther's Ewing children were ages 7, 5, & 3. He had not been married before. Esther was 25 years old and John W. was 23.
Esther and John settled on a farm 1/4 miles from his father and mother, John and Sarah Hawes. This was about 4 miles west of Atlanta. Esther and John's youngest son described their life in a one room log cabin, as he remembered it, in his life story written in 1930. He says that this cabin was 16 x 24 feet in size with a large fireplace in the end. This was Esther and John's home for 16 years (1839 to 1855). Later two rooms were added and the fireplace was replaced for cooking with a cook stove for the kitchen that was added to the house. Another room was added for sleeping and a narrow stair was built to the loft to replace the ladder. A porch connected the two new rooms. One had to go out on the porch to reach the new rooms.
Someone might remark that this marriage and many other unions of that day were arrangements of convenience and not terribly romantic. That could be true but the persons involved were very sincere and put the welfare of the family before their personal pleasure. Esther was marrying "a good man." His daughter-in-law (Mrs. Henry Hawes) said of John W., "He was generous to a fault, very fond of his children and grandchildren and could hardly punish them, never said "no" to a person in distress."
Into this one room log cabin were born 4 Hawes children. Esther and John were married in 1839 and George M. Hawes was born in 1840, next was Henry C. 1844, then Sarah Lucinda 1846 and she died when 1 1/2 years old, then Martha Jane born in 1849. Henry Hawes writes in his life story, "as I remember the cabin must have been some 16 x 24 with a loft, 3 windows, 2 doors, with a large fireplace where all of the cooking was done. There was a bed for my parents, and a trundle bed on castors which was run under the bed in the day time, and out at night. George and I slept in the trundle bed." (The Ewing children may have slept in the loft.) When he was 2 or 3 years old they added on another room. Later another room and porch was added, to reach each of these added rooms a person had to go out on the porch to get to the added rooms. Later the ladder to the loft was replaced with a narrow stairway.
As one thinks of a family of two parents and seven children living in 3 rooms, cooking over a fireplace using wicks in oil (even before candles) for lighting, we would think the living crowded and very unpleasant but John and Esther came from large families. There were 12 Hawes children who all grew to adulthood and 9 Musick children who lived to marry. These seven children of John and Esther were surrounded by many relatives. They had Musick and Hawes grandparents. We don't know what happened to the Ewing grandparents. Eminence township was one big family with many marriage of close neighbors.
There must have been some real pleasure and joy mixed with the hardships and sorrows. When Henry Hawes writes about their social life he says -- "the people were honest, friendly and hospitable to a marked degree; neighbors were as a rule widely separated, the people were lonely, anxious for companionship, for the exchange of news, views and friendship. It was a common practice to load up the family in the farm wagon and go unannounced to visit a neighbor or relative. If beds were few, pallots were made on the floor, and all were happy and refreshed by this mingling." Then Henry goes on to say -- "people were to some extent uneducated as to "school larnin" but strong in hard practical sense, versed in the pioneers lore, acquainted with hardships and the deprivations pioneers were accustomed to bear; yet contented, not being familiar with the luxuries and conveniences of the older communities back east. They never experienced any better way."
Death of loved ones is hard to bear and Esther had many sad periods in her life. During her first short marriage of 8 years she lost two children and became a widow at age 24 with three small children to care for. No one tells us how she lived during that year of widowhood. In a year she was to marry a neighbor John W. Hawes, who had never been married before and who was 2 years younger than Esther. It must have taken patience and understanding to start another new home with three little children of the first husband and the birth of 4 more children with a different father. They were all living in a log cabin 16 x 24 feet, in good weather and bad, in sickness and health, and it is pretty hard to believe that at all times everything was "sweetness and love," 7 children and their parents must have found it hard at times. Perhaps it was Esther's and John's religion that helped them bear it all.
If one has observed how lovable a 1 1/2 year old child is one can imagine the sorrow of Esther and John when they lost little Sarah Lucinda in 1848, nine years after their marriage. At that time they had two little boys, George and Henry, then ages 8 and 4. The Ewing children were Louisa 16, James J. 14, and Elizabeth 12. Soon the number of people in the family would change. The older children would marry and leave home.
Louisa Ewing married James Shores in 1849, when she was 17 years old. She was leaving home when Esther and John had their youngest child Martha Jane, born in 1849.
A new frame house was built just a short distance from the log cabin in 1855. This would be the first time Esther probably would live in a frame house. Now Esther was loosing her older girls. Elizabeth was marrying Madison Carlock in 1853 when she was 17 years old. James probably lived with them at the time they were building the house. He did not marry until he was 22 years to Julia Ann Hatfield in 1856. When they moved into the new house the Hawes were George 15, Henry 11 and Martha Jane 6 years old.
At this time the family group was very different. All the Ewing children were married with homes of their own and Esther was becoming a grandmother. The Hawes family had only 5 living at home, and Esther would have been very busy with her young Hawe's children's welfare. The family moved to Atlanta in 1856 so that the boys would have better schools but they moved back to the farm in 1858 to stay until after the Civil War when they made their final move from the farm to Atlanta in 1866.
This must have been a less strenuous time in Esther's life until the dark clouds of the Civil War came and John and Esther suffered the terrible anxiety of having all three of their sons in the war. However, during this period she had a new sorrow, the death of her youngest Ewing daughter Elizabeth, wife of Madison P. Carlock, in 1858. During the short period of 5 years Elizabeth had lost two babies and at the time of her death there was one surviving child, James Howard Carlock, who lived to manhood, and was one of Esther's older grandchildren. Elizabeth was only 22 years old when she died.
When the Civil War started the three sons were James J. Ewing 27 yrs. old, married and the father of two children, and the Hawes sons, George 21 yrs. old attending college, and Henry who was at home attending school and only 17 years of age. When Henry wrote about his "Experiences as a Union Soldier" he says in the first chapter, "my brother, George, who was four years my senior and our cousin started to college at Butler College in Ohio, wrote that they had joined the army. I felt the urge to go, but being only 17 years old and not very strong, my parents could not give their consent. My half-brother James J. Ewing was going to enlist and our parents were deeply concerned and felt they should have one son left with them."
George became seriously ill in the war and recovered to serve three years, but was never completely well after. Finally in 1862 Henry felt he must go to war and his parents consented. To read his story of his experiences in the war is to better understand what a terrible life it was for the soldier. James J. Ewing had to come home for awhile during the war because of illness. Finally in 1865 all three boys were home again. But the war was not over for the family. George never completely recovered from the effect of war and died at the age of 25. When James came home he found an ill wife. Some members of the family said she died as the results of the hardships she endured during the war. James became a widower the same month that George died. He was left with two little children, Joseph 7 and Belle 5. Julia Ann Hatfield Ewing died 3 October 1865 and George M. Hawes died 24 October 1865.
Henry wrote of his return from the war and the welcome from his parents. "Mother saw me coming and ran to meet me and said, "My prayers are answered, you have all got home." She was a woman of great faith and prayed daily and fervently for our return. Her life, example and admonitions made a deep impression on me. The memory of her purity and teaching had great influence on me, and enabled me, amid the temptations and immorality daily met with, to resist evil and come home clean, with no loss of character. God bless my dear mother, I owe all to you."
When Esther's daughter-in-law (Mrs. Corrilla Hawes) wrote about her she said, "Henry C's mother had been a woman of great faith, firm in her convictions for the right and uncompromising. He was brought up to fear God, speak the truth, to be honest and to shun evil."
Esther was probably having her first grandchild about the time she was having her last child. She had 14 grandchildren. Unfortunately we don't know the ages of her oldest daughter's children. Louisa Ewing married James Shores in 1849 so we might assume that their first child would be born in 1850, the year Esther and John's last child, Martha Jane, was born. Of Esther's 3 Ewing and 4 Hawes children, only 4 married and gave her grandchildren.
The people in the above story are buried as follows:
Submitted by Sue Ridenhour