THE YOUNG LADY, ANGELINA
When our little colony arrive at Fort Bellnap, Pa had no more misgiving
about allowing the redskins to bluff him out, for this was the time he met John R. Bailor, a prominent rancher
from Camp Cooper Colony. Mr. Bailor took it on himself to make the situation clear to all new comers in that part
He was talking to the men of our crowd, but we were all gathered around him to listen. "It's this way, folks.
The Indians have started on you people again. We just finished our turn, and let me tell you they came thick and
fast for quite a spell."
"You oughta know by this time these Indians don't intend to stay on the reservation put aside for them. We've
tried and tried to get Uncle Sam to send enough soldiers so we can push 'em back where they belong. It looks like
we got to do the job ourselves."
Our men questioned him a lot about how to get at this problem. Mr. Bailor should have been a general; he knew how
to organize. He told the men that all the ranchers around Camp Cooper had turned soldiers, and the real soldiers
at the at the Fort were only too glad to provide ammunition. He showed how they dug trenches all around that Fort
and put cannons on mule back to meet the Indians head on. He said the Indians didn't like to face fire that shook
the ground when it hit. He sounded like a good preacher when he said, "We want to be ready for their next
raid and the next, and we want you people to get organized. That's the only way we'll get these devils to stay
out of Texas!
One old settler told us later, "No wonder Indians hated Ole John R. They swung around his big ranch like it
had a curse on it. One thing sure, Ole John hated the smell o' Indians, and he had a mighty keen nose."
Our group decided to camp near the Fort, but in ten days there was still no sign of Indians, so the men ventured
out, one by one, to take up land, build cabins and start planting again. Marion and Geriah decided to stay within
calling distance of the Fort, but not Pa; he was anxious to be on the move again. He told us he heard of a man
in Johnson county who wanted to rent his farm. That seemed a likely way to get ahead.
My folks were thankful to find a farm where the crops were well advanced and the cabin was clean and comfortable.
We would have been very happy enough if only there was some cash handy. I was past thirteen now, and I was certainly
old enough to know that Pa and Ruth worried about this lack of money. I knew Preston would have been glad to hire
out, but Pa needed him on the farm. They were both working their heads off. It was up to me to make the move; so
without saying a word to any of them I went down to talk to Mrs. Swank who lived on the farm next to us. It wasn't
hard to talk to her. She had always spoken to me when she cam visiting, and offered to lend me any books she had,
for she soon found out I was more than anxious to get some more schooling. I finally got around to asking her if
I could hire out as a housekeeper's helper. She was delighted to have me, but I told her there was just one hitch--
I had to convince Pa that this was the proper thing to do. She understood perfectly and wished me all the luck
in the world.
I was so excited I could hardly keep from loping my house all the way back home, but I knew I must act cool and
calm and very grown-up. Wouldn't you know this would be the time Melvin and Warwick even stopped their wood-gathering
to ply me with questions. "Where you been? Why didn't you tell us so's we could go along?"
"I been visiting with Mrs. Swank. You go on with your work. I'll tell you about it later." I didn't need
them hanging around me then. They were getting nearly as tall as I, and right now I wanted my five feet to look
I waited until I could find Pa and Ruth together. I wouldn't have the nerve to tackle Pa alone. I told them I had
a job helping Mrs. Swank. She was to pay me a whole dollar a month for just morning's work.
I could feel Ruth holding her breath, but I was looking Pa right in the eye. That's how I was showing I was grown
up. If I looked at Ruth, that meant I was asking for help. Pa gazed at me a whole minute, and I was expecting him
to blow the roof off, but he fooled me again when he answered in his sweetest voice, "That's a big girl, Angie;
I reckon we can use all the money any of us can earn right now."
Ruth and I smiled at each other. We both knew Pa was actually pleased.
This was a happy three months of my life. Mrs. Swank was so good to me. Even on our busiest days, she always called
for a rest mid-morning and that was when we had our reading lesson. Then I could always take the reader home to
study for the next day's lesson. She was so kind when I came to tell her that Pa had found me a better paying job,
and I would have to leave her. She smiled at me and said, "I would be the first, dear Angie, to encourage
you to better yourself, but come visit me when you can." I'll never forget that kind lady.
Pa explained to me that Mr. Charles Bonnard had built a mill in the district and was looking around for someone
to cook for the mill hands. Pa even told me that Mr. Bonnard had heard that I was a right good hand; he had come
to ask Pa if I could try the job. I was pleased that Pa thought I could handle such a job.
I left our house early enough each morning to prepare breakfast for twenty-five hungry men. I don't know or care
how hard the work was; I was cooking on my first real cook stove. I remember hurrying home that first day to tell
Ruth about this wonderful invention. It had "Golden Hard" written across the top, and it did look like
a little harp. I could cook on the top of the stove and on the inside too. To my surprise, it was as good as any
Dutch oven I'd seen. I told Ruth that some day we would have one in our house. The nicest thing about it was that
it didn't blacken up all the pot-vessels.
I worked for Mr. Bonnard for seven months, and I received two whole dollars a month. About the time I was beginning
to think I was a woman of wealth, Pa suggested I'd best stay home a while to help Ruth. I knew her time was near,
but the very next morning I went in to greet my new baby brother. I asked Ruth and Pa if I could name him. They
seemed pleased that I'd ask for such a privilege. I looked down at his little red face and played like I had a
sword in my hand. "I name you Sir Richard!" I chose that name because Mrs. Swank had read me a wonderful
story about a knight with that name.
Ruth was on her feet again and Richard was filling out fast all over. Pa announced suddenly that it was time to
get hold of some land of our own. Surely the Indians were under control now. It wasn't long until Pa came to tell
us he had some land in Erath County. This was an important more for Melvin and Warwick. They were growing up like
weeds, and it looked like they might be giant men like Pa. They were so pleased when Pa let them help him and Pres
build the new cabin, and even get behind the plow to put in new crops.
Everybody seemed busy and happy but me, and it wasn't long until Ruth took me aside to have a good talk. I could
tell her exactly what was wrong. I was so restless because we were doing the same things, going down the same road,
and we weren't getting any money ahead. Mostly though, I wanted to be out again doing something for myself. I didn't
want to just sit there and rot.
I know Ruth must have been relieved when Mr. McClellan, a sheepman from Bosque County, came by our place and asked
Pa if he knew anyone who could and would come help the ailing Mrs. McClellan. I was so thankful when Pa said, "Angie
here is good hand at such." Mr. McClellan looked at five feet two inches of me and probably guessed I weighed
all of ninety pounds. "You're so little Sis. I want a husky hand to do some good hard cleaning."
I surprised myself by retorting, "I can do anything any other woman can do, and my name is Angelina!"
Mr. McClellan took another good look at me and grinned. Then he spoke in a polite manner, "You're hired, Sis....
I mean Angelina."
I am very proud, even now, when I think how many times Mrs. McClellan told me she thanked the good Lord for sending
me to her. I felt the same way about her, and Mr. McClellan would never get over it when I asked him one day to
show me how to shear a sheep. His best story, which he repeated many times, gave his version on the trials he had
when I decided I could learn to plow.
He and I were going down a row in dead earnest, when he looked up to find some soldiers finding up to the field.
He recognized an old friend, Sergeant Lott; so he turned to me and said, "You plow on out, Angelina, and I'll
go see what's on Lott's mind."
Mr. Mac's story was that he had hardly shaken with Sergeant when asked who I was, and before he had time to answer,
one of the other soldiers butted in with, "I heard Mac call her Susan." Mr. Mac said he just smiled knowingly
and said nothing. The smart guy said, "I'll come and plow for twenty-five cents a day if you'll let Susan
Another volunteered with, "I'll plow for nothing if you will board me and let Susan drive."
"I'll do better than that, Mr. Mac. I'll pay you twenty-five cents a day if you'll let Susan drive."
"That's a bargain!" laughed Mr. Mac.
I plowed on out that row and went onto the house. For it was nearing supper time. I went to the spring for a bucket
of water, and when I came back to the porch, I discovered that Mr. Mac had evidently issued an invitation to the
soldiers to eat supper with us.
Sergeant Lott rushed to the porch steps, took the pail of water out of my hands and placed it on the bench outside
the door. It just happened that neither Mr. Mac nor his wife were there that minute to introduce me to these strange
men; so I thanked Sergeant Lott for his kindness, nodded and smiled at the other soldiers and got to the kitchen
as fast as I could, and there I stayed.
I could tell that the men were ready to burst out laughing, and I knew it had something to do with me, but I didn't
know what the joke was, and I didn't find out until a month later.
Mr. Mac came to tell us some very stirring news. T. C. Alexander was raising a company of volunteers for the Confederate
Army, and the whole countryside was gathering at the village of Meridian to attend a fare well dance for these
volunteers. Glory be! The McClellans were taking me to that dance. Mrs. Mac said I was to have a new dress. It
was made of dainty white swiss, ankle length with a full hooped skirt. I got very extravagant and bought a long
blue sash for the waist, and I got a pair of black kid slippers. I put a beautiful red rose in my hair, and when
I went in for the McClellans to look me over, Mr. Mac bowed and said, "Miss Angelina, you're a sight for sore
We hardly gotten in the door of the dance when Sergeant Lott rushed up to Mr. McClellan and begged to be introduced
properly to Susan. Mr. McClelland promptly turned to his wife and said, "This is my wife, Susan, Sergeant
The poor Sergeant was horror stricken, but recovered himself enough to bow courteously to Mrs. McClellan, who was
enjoying herself immensely.
"May I have the honor for the next dance?" stammered the Sergeant.
"If you will excuse me, Sergeant, my husband has already asked for it."
Sergeant Lott escaped to the cool breezes of the outside and demanded of the first soldier he spotted in his group,
"Who in the hell is that girl who stays at the McClellans?"
"Why, Sergeant, don't you know? That's Thomas McCarty's daughter. That's Miss Angelina."
"Thomas McCarty's daughter! I didn't know he had a daughter. You get in there and introduce me quick!"
The Sergeant hardly finished his bow to me when he started explaining what a blunder he had committed and how very
sorry he was.
"I wish I knew what you are talking about, Sergeant. I am really very puzzled." I guess he could tell
I wasn't fooling.
"Don't tell me Mr. Mac hasn't tole you about Susan! Wait until I get me hand on that man. I mean to make him
suffer. He's been enjoying himself quite long enough."
This joke served it's purpose, though, for all the soldiers gathered around to have another laugh at their Sergeant,
and, of course, I had to dance with each one of them. That's one way to get to be the belle of the ball. No girl
in the whole world could have been more excited and happy for the whole evening.
I was very thankful I had been nice to all of them, for two weeks later they were all called to war, and I had
no idea that I would ever see them again. This is how the Civil War that everybody was discussing became a reality
As you know, this war between the north and the south barely touched Texas as far as battles were concerned, but
these people of the far west begged for news from the battle front. Once a month the newspapers, Austin Courier
and Galveston News, both printed on light brown paper, came to our isolated districts. That was when my reading
came in handy. I read every word of those papers, and if anybody asked me, I read them to those who couldn't read
them for themselves.
In 1862, in the midst of the Civil War, the Homestead Act was passed. That meant that each new settler would be
allowed one hundred and sixty acres at a dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. It wasn't long until our people
were talking about all the new easterners coming in to take up farm land. They made it plain that they couldn't
find work in the mills and factories, and they had no yet to get mixed up in this awful war. These were people
who brought the latest news from the battle fields.
Once in a while Confederate soldiers came into the fields for corn. Pa was one who always willing to let down the
gate for them, but he always warned them not to waste one ear of corn. These soldiers took cattle for beef when
they needed it, but there were two brands they never touched. One was the Texas (a cross with a T on the top an
S off the left end and an E facing down on the right end and an A at the bottom) the other was the MES brand. The
first, spelled Texas, as you see, was the war widows grand started by the cowmen in the state. There were many
unbranded cattle at this time, and when roundup time came, these strays were branded this famous Texas brand. After
the war the increase in cattle wearing this brand was sold and the money divided among the war widows.
The MES brand was started in honor of Brother Mel Fleming, a Methodist preacher, who rode all of west Texas and
brought the word of God to the settlers. The cattle bearing the MES brand finally provided the first church in
Young County, just after the war was ended.
The war was to come closer to me than all this. It just happened that McClellans decided to move to Waco, and they
begged me to go with them. Mrs. Mac explained that they had a very good female seminary there, and she knew I wanted
schooling more than anything else. She knew she wouldn't have to use any other argument. Ruth and Pa thought it
was a wonderful opportunity. Imagine how bitterly disappointed we all were when we arrived in Waco to find everybody
upset by the war, and the seminary had been closed. That was one of bitterest pills I ever had to swallow. I just
felt like sitting down in the road and crying my eyes out, but the McClellans looked sad and sick, and there was
no use making them feel worse.
It was a good thing for all of us that Mr. Mac came in one day to inform us that his young cousin Sam was coming
to visit before he was called to war. If ever there was a fair-haired Prince Charming, that twenty-one year old
soldier was it. It wasn't many days until Mrs. Mac noticed he was casting sheep's eyes at me, and she accused me
on not discouraging him a bit. It was so romantic to be sending a handsome soldier boy off to war.
It was the rule then that each soldier was required to make his own tent, which must be eight feet, squared and
stretched. Each evening soldiers and girls of Waco gathered to work on those tents. The men held the candles while
the eager and thrilled girls plied needles to the course canvas. We were actually in a feverish contest to see
which couple would finish their tent first. I was so proud when Sam and I finished first, and the others were gracious
enough to admire my even stitches. (All thanks to Ruth, Mrs. Swank and Mrs. Mac, who allowed no sloppiness in needlework.)
In a few weeks the word came that these new recruits were to be shipped to Galveston. Sam, the McClellans and I
were preparing to eat that farewell breakfast. Same was having trouble parting his hair and was grumbling about
it so much that the Macs started laughing at him.
Mrs. Mac turned to me with, "Here, Angelina, you do it."
Not this girl! I'd been taught better than that by my Ruth. I laughed it off and kept on setting the table, but
the truth was, I didn't want them to know my knees were shaking.
"Susan, you come do it. Miss Angelina is too lazy." Sam was using his most injured tone. Mrs. Mac frowned
at me and said, "Don't be silly, child! Part his hair and let's get to breakfast."
While I was trying to control my trembling fingers, I was thinking, "I hope Ruth never hears about this. She
had nothing but contempt for a forward girl."
Later in the day Sam said goodbye to everyone, and I hoped nobody saw him plant a hasty kiss on my cheek. It was
just a peck that hit some where on my right cheek, but I knew it must be blazing red.
In February the report came to McClellans that Sam had been killed in action. These dear friends were so grief-stricken;
they didn't know whether they were coming or going, and for the first time that I could remember I was homesick.
I wanted to talk to Ruth; I wanted to see Pa and the boys. I was also very curious about the new place my folks
had acquired on the Brazos River in Johnson County.
As soon as I saw that McClellans were getting over the shock and strain of losing poor Sam, I asked Mr. Mac if
he would take me home. I guess it dawned on them that I had been grieving too, for they helped me get packed in
a hurry and wished me good luck all the days of my life.
It was good to be with my folks again, good to see fair-sized house and fine crops growing. Best of all, it was
good to talk to Ruth by the hour. When I wasn't talking an arm off her, I was following the boys and Pa so I could
know every square foot of my new home. That is why I wasn't very long in discovering that our house was in a poor
location. It shouldn't have been built a half mile back into the field. I couldn't wait to tell Pa that I had found
a spring close to the front pasture. It was perfect spot for the house.
Pa was just half listening to me, but he did answer, "Yes, yes Angie. I've thought of that myself, and as
soon as we catch up a little we'll move the house."
The days went by, and I could see Pa and the boys were just as busy as bees, but I did have the good sense not
to grind Pa about moving the house. It just so happened, though that Pa and Pres had to be gone a week to
haul salt from a salt lake. I watched them out of sight then turned to Ruth to announce, "I am going to move
"Jeanetta Angelina McCarty! It ain't enough for me to live in the midst of a cyclone most of the time. Here
you go starting one all on your own!" Ruth actually threw up her hands and let me know she was washing her
hands of the whole matter.
Well, she didn't say "yes" and she didn't say "no"; so I took it she would help, but her heart
wouldn't be in it. When I talked to Melvin and Warwick, they were really excited. If a little squirt like Angie
could tackle that job, two big hulks could certainly do their share. What's more, a great big neighbor boy evidently
dropped by to see what I looked like, and my brothers enlisted him before he knew what hit him.
Now remember, we studied this job some hours before we made the first move. It contained two sixteen-foot rooms.
Our first problem was to take off the roof, which was made of boards three feet long, which were laid on weight
poles of logs. Each board, each log was placed carefully, for, of course, there was not a nail in the whole house.
I marked every board and log with indigo just as we took it off. I knew I must not make any mistake there. I had
a real problem coming up, though. This house must be level, and it must be square. I went to talk to Ruth.
"When you're weaving, Ruthie, you lay twine strings of the same length diagonally across each other; then
the sides are even. Why can't I do the same thing on this house using ropes." Ruth nodded her approval and
came to help me.
Now for the leveling! It was a disgrace to have a slanting floor. We placed beer bottles nearly full of water at
each corner of the house. We poured a drop of water in each bottle. If the bubble stayed in the center, that floor
It took us four whole days to get this house up again. Ruth was nervous as a cat having kittens. I wasn't sleeping
to well myself, but the boys were having the time of their lives.
The day was at hand when Pa and Pres would be coming in. We could see the wagon approaching very slowly, and we
were all going to meet it. I made the boys promise to keep their mouths shut. I wanted to bread this news to Pa
in my own way. Ruth sat in the doorway and watched us run down the road.
The minute we got to the wagon, Pa lifted me to the seat and gave me a peck on the cheek. He was all smiles until
he looked up the road; then he roared in his loudest voice, "What's happened around here? Where's the house?
Who did this?"
"I did it, Pa." I could hardly get it out; I was that nervous. Pa drove the horses as fast as he could
breathing hard and bellowing in harshest tones what he thought about interfering women. He jumped from the wagon
without greeting Ruth. He examined the house thoroughly as he roared, "Who plumbed it? Who squared it?"
I explained in a very meek voice just how I had done these. Pa turned then to put an arm around Ruth, and all of
us about dropped dead when he said, "Angie, you're a wonderful girl!"
I ran around the other side of the house so nobody could see me bawling my eyes out. Pa had actually given me an
out and out compliment and the shock was more than I could take.
I was soon to learn that we were in a district where there were the best kind of neighbors. In the very next field
lived Mrs. Luch Jackson. She came to see us, so she said, to meet this daughter of the house. I loved her on sight,
and she begged me to come see her when I had a few spare hours. I was inclined to think that the Good Lord had
a hand in this meeting, for I was still upset about not getting to go to the seminary at Waco. Mrs. Lucy was just
the kind of teacher I needed.
I found that she had just lost her husband in a flash flood, and of course I had to tell her all about my Sam.
I felt we had much in common, and it was oh, so romantic! But Mrs. Lucy wasn't about to dwell on the loss of a
loved one. She had so many things to show me. There was a real silver thimble, a whole set of china dishes, beautiful
embroidered, pieces of tapestry, and rolls of silk and lace. I was in wonderland; I had never seen such beautiful
You may know I went down to Mrs. Lucy every day if I could, and she always had things for me to learn. She taught
me to read the Psalms' she saw to it that I memorized the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer and the Beatitudes.
I heard her read many Bible stories and interpret them in a way which might have pained the preachers of our time,
and my Pa, Thomas McCarty, would have denounced them as femalish and new-fangled.
One day after Mrs. Lucy was fully convinced that I was one eager student, she suggested that it might be well if
she corrected my speech and taught me to write. She also thought it would be profitable if we were to take up one
point on etiquette daily.
I couldn't get home fast enough to tell Ruth of my daily lessons, and it was Ruth who absorbed everything like
a sponge. She tole me when I was really grown up some years later, that she had to keep up with me or she would
have lost all control over me. She could smile about it in later years, but she wasn't smiling now. I hope I made
her job easier when I suddenly "got religion."
Brother Fleming was one of the circuit riders who traveled many weary miles on horseback to bring the word of God
to our isolated settlements. On one of his visits through Johnson County, Pa decided to take the whole family to
hear this preacher. It was an all-day meeting and was held under a grove of trees near Squaw Creek.
Brother Fleming read the story of Peter and Cornelius. "Then Peter opened his mouth and said, 'of truth I
perceive that God is no respecter of persons' but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness
is accepted with him'"
The preacher was at the pleading stage of the service when he was asking people to come up front and declare themselves.
"All those believing in God, all those wanting to feel His great love must confess their sins and be baptized."
I was sure I believed in God, but I didn't think I had big enough sins worth telling folks about. I wasn't objecting
to a little water sprinkled on my head, but I didn't want to go up front all by myself. If somebody else would
start, I'd be right behind them. Not another soul was in the mood that day. Then I listened to the preacher as
he was getting wound up. "It's up to you, my brethren, whether you spend eternity in the bottomless pit of
living fire, called Hell, or in the celestial real, called Heaven."
That made me defiant, and I was thinking to myself, "You are not going to scare me into this, Mister! Mrs.
Lucy says that hell-fire, brimstone stuff is the wrong way to think about religion." Then the preacher looked
saint-like as he raised his arms and sang out joyfully, "What a day that will be when His children gather
around His golden throne. Don't you want to be one of that number?"
"Well, I certainly don't want to miss anything." I was really wrestling with myself, now. I was actually
surprised when I found myself walking hurriedly up the way, and before I could turn and run, I was a new member
of the Methodist Church, South. I've had no cause to regret that step, but Ruth said I really surprised my whole
It must have been just a few months after this camp meeting that tragedy hit the whole settlement. The Indians
swooped down one night and left but a few horses in the whole district. Pa and Pres came in to tell us they had
lost twenty head, but the bitter pill was that both Lady Jane and Polly Hopkins were in the herd that had been
taken. Our people couldn't feel too sorry for themselves, though when the news came that the next settlement had
The Rangers had found the Indians, and there was a bloody battle costing the lives of five Rangers, but that wasn't
all. Susan Dugan, her three children and her mother had been kidnapped by the marauders. The next report came in
that Nancy Britt, a negro woman and her four children had been taken.
Word came in from friendly Indians that the Britts were being held for ransom. Jake Britt followed Comanches to
Fort Sill in Oklahoma, where he was told what ransom the Indians were asking. The white people in two settlements
helped him gather the demands made by Indians. These included ten ponies, ten sacks of flour, ten yards of calico
and ten sacks of sugar.
Britt's family came home, but Susan Dugan didn't see her people for four years. You can bet Pa didn't have to be
persuaded this time to get to the fort. Of course, the corn in our field was just ready for harvest; so Pa called
all of us out to the field, and soon neighbors were out there helping, too.
Pa had to use oxen to draw the wagons, for the Indians had stolen all the work teams. When we came to the Brazos
River, we found it a raging torrent due to rains up above. All the settlers waited nervously for the water to lower.
In two days and a half, Pa and the men could tell that the water had lowered belly deep to a horses; so it was
worth taking a chance.
Our big wagon was driven by Ruth. She took little Richard, Melvin, and Warwick in with her. That wagon held our
household goods. We waited nervously, while Ruth went into the river and across to the other side without any trouble
at all. Then Pa nodded to me. I was to drive five yoke of Oxen hitched to the wagon of precious corn. Pa and Pres,
on horseback, tied roped at each side of the wagon and rode along pulling at the ropes to prevent the heavy wagon
from sinking in the quicksand.
I slowed the oxen into that now sluggish stream and all went well until we were about half-way across. One of the
"wheelers" balked and was being dragged by the rest of the oxen. I had to do something in one hurry to
make that sullen oxen move. I reached back of the seat for the ramrod of Pa's gun, and I really punched that stubborn
animal. He jumped like he's been shot, and in a moment we were safe on the other bank.
The next job was to get our little herd of cattle across. Pa and Pres had driven them mid-stream when a large pile
of brush came floating down the river. That was all that was needed to make these nervous cattle start milling
around in the water. We all knew they could all be drowned before our very eyes. I started unyoking one team of
oxen, and Pres knew exactly what to do. He brought his pony to me and drove the oxen toward the cattle. Pres and
I both yelling our heads off to attract the attention of the cattle. When Pres came along side the cattle, he wheeled
the oxen slowly toward my wagon, and the crazy cattle, obedient to any leader in such a crisis, followed the oxen
to safety. When Pres came up to me, he grinned and said, "You're sure a help, Sis." There is nothing
like a big brother who appreciated you and it's nice enough to inform you of the fact.