My father, David Sutton, was born in the year of 1799 in the state of New Jersey. At an early age his parents brought him to Pittsburgh, Penn. where he grew to manhood. When at Pittsburgh he learned the shoemakers trade. Later he came to Sandusky, Ohio, where he met Margarette Harpster who became his wife in the year of 1822.
My parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sutton, resided near Sandusky, Ohio, until 1840 and during that time nine children were born to that union. In the year of 1840, Sutton with his family moved to Whitley County, Indiana.
A daughter, Charity, who had previously married a Mr. James Lytle, had emigrated to Iowa. After being in Iowa for a time, Charity, his wife was very homesick for her people. Mr. Lytle sympathizing with his wife, returned to Indiana for the purpose of inducing his father-in-law, Mr. Sutton to come to Iowa.
Sutton, agreeing to Mr. Lytle's request, began to make preparations to emigrant with his family to Iowa. In the fall of 1842 we were ready to start on the long journey. We journied slowly onward toward Iowa in the old fashioned way, with ox teams and covered wagons, traveling in the daytime and camping at night.
Nothing unusual occurred until we had passed through Chicago, which was just a little village at that time, noted for its hunting and fishing instead of the large trading and railroad center that it is now. Before we were out of Illinois the cold weather overtook us with Its severe ice and snow. So much snow called for sleds instead of wagons therefore the little party was detained until sleds could be made. Mr. Lytle being a good mechanic, this was soon accomplished.
Again we took up the long cold journey and finally crossed the Mississippi river at Dubuque, which was about sixty miles from Linn County and our destination. In the course of several days we reached Clarksford, co-named for the Clark families who lived there. Also for the ford across the river at that place (now Central City) This was our destination, reached on New Years Day 1843.
The people of these pioneer days were very hospitable and a house was soon provided on the south side of the Wapsipinicon.
Mr. Lytle returned to his wife and home four miles north of Central City. This being the place where Sutton pet Francis Josephine Lytle, his first grandchild and also the first white child born In Jackson Township, Sutton lived at Central City during the winter. When spring came bringing pleasant weather he walked up the Wapsie toward the North for the purpose of selecting a future home. His selection was made at a large spring seven miles north of Central City. The farm is still known as Sutton Spring Farm. It was a beautiful place at that time as well as a profitable selection, considering the fresh green grass for miles around and the large spring of cold water overlooking the valley below, of good rich soil to be tilled the coming summer. The little spring brook flowing along at the foot of the bluff emptying into-the Wapsipinicon. The useful and valuable timber at the West, of walnut, butternut, hickory, hard maple, oak, and all the different kinds of wood that grow along the Wapsi. The land could be bought at that time for one dollar and twenty-five cents ($1.25) per acre.
There must be a home built before the family could locate at the new home. All the frontier houses were made of logs. Therefore, with the help of his oldest son, Levi, and his son-in-law, Sutton obtained logs from his timber and soon had the house erected covering it with a clap board roof.
There were very few tools for workmen to use at that time so Sutton made the first window in his house with Jack knife and hand saw. The first floor was of dirt, but later we had a puncheon floor. A large fireplace was made for the purpose of heating the house as well as for the cooking utensils to hang on. Each and every piece of furniture, consisting of table, stools, bedsteads, benches, etc. had to be made from the raw timber. It took some time for Sutton to accomplish all this work but when the home was completed, late in the spring, the family excepting one child, Hannah Maria, who had sickened and died, moved from Central City to Sutton Spring Farm. Considering the lateness of the season we had already made our garden at Central City and many trips were made on foot to that place seven miles away during the summer by Mary, age nine, and Henry, age eleven, to bring the garden truck to the farm to be used on the table.
The family lived happily and worked hard at the farm during the summer of 1843 but when fall time came bringing cold weather again Sutton used good judgment by moving his flock to Central City for the winter, thinking they would be more comfortable. We spent the winter in Central City keeping warm and eating venison and cornbread.
In the spring we moved back to the farm bringing with us a new member of the family, Arabelle, born March 12th, 1844.
Again the busy time of year had overtaken us. Sutton and his sons were busy from early 'till late tilling the soil to raise corn, wheat, melons, and all kinds of vegetables which could be raised without much trouble after the planting for there were very few weeds to choke out the seed. All the food, which was plentiful if one were willing to work, was raised and prepared to eat at home . Bread was made from home grown wheat and corn. Berries, crabapples, grapes and many kinds of fruit was very delicious as well as honey made by wild bees and all kinds of nuts could be gathered from the timber. As for meat, there was a bountiful supply of good large fish in the river and all the venison, wild turkey, geese and ducks one would care to shoot in the new country. I must not forget to mention the wonderfully large flocks of Prairie Chickens too. They were caught in home made traps.
The month of July had reached us again and the crops, which were tended entirely by one ox team, look very encouraging. When the small grain was -ripe it was cut by hand with the old fashioned cradle, also tied by hand. Then It was stacked until it could be threshed with a flail and put in the wind for the purpose of blowing the dirt from the grain before it was taken to the mill. Threshing with a flail was very slow and tedious work. A little later it was possible for us to obtain the use of a small threshing machine which was run by horse power and belonged to a man living in Dubuque, sixty miles away. It was often as late as Christmas before the machine reached the Sutton Spring Farm as the owner threshed the grain along the road as he journied toward Central City. The machine being small, It took several days to thresh a small amount of grain.
The nearest mill was fourteen miles from home and many times the supply of ground grain or flour might have been scant but for the kindness of an old gentleman who gave Sutton a hand mill. The hand mill was small and could be placed in one corner of the house. On stormy days the men folks ground corn. This was made into cornbread and mush and gave us a generous supply of food until the threshing machine reached us. Then the threshed grain could be taken to the mill fourteen miles away.
There were no fences at that time and the stock ran at large. Sutton Made a trip to Dubuque about once a year, driving ox team and taking a load of dressed pork to sell at that place. The pork was worth about two dollars per hundred providing Sutton wait as long as six months for a part of his pay. However he received a little money which he exchanged for groceries such as sugar, tea, coffee, tobacco, also thread, muslin and the few books he could obtain for his children.
Our white neighbors were very few. But as to red ones., or Indians, there were a great many. They belonged to Mesquakie Tribe and were very peaceable people. In fact they stayed near the pioneers of that time thinking it sort of a protection from other tribes who were their enemies.
The wolves were very numerous in the new country. The large wolf as well as the prairie wolf. They were always hungry and looking for some sort of food to satisfy their appetite. often at night they came near the cabin and howled until It was impossible to sleep. There were also many wild cats which were not dangerous unless they were molested.
Sutton was making good progress. Each year improving his place with fences and out-buildings to shelter the increasing amount of stock he was raising each year.
Time moved onward bringing more emigrants westward who settled near us making the new country more thickly settled. As the population Increased there was a call for some sort of learning or education. There were no schools until about 1850 when at last the settlers, realizing the great need of schools, built a school house and hired a teacher. The first teachers name was Pithenia Gray of Marion. Each settler donated a certain amount of money according to his means and this was used as the teachers salary, which was small. It was possible to have school only during the summer, )wing to the scarcity of money and it was not so difficult for the mothers to clothe their children during the summer months.
Marion was the County seat and was a small town sixteen miles from home. She possessed one store operated by Joe Mentzer. Transportation was poor and all the goods for the store was brought from Iowa City, the nearest large town, by wagon. There was no Cedar Rapids at that time. our mail came to Marion and we went occasionally the sixteen miles for it.
In the year of 1646 Iowa was admitted into the Union. The population was growing and good progress was being made. Most of the emigrants located near the timber for the benefit of the fuel and protection from wind and bad weather.
Many settled near Central City and many at Jordans Grove south of Central City. So called for the several families of Jordans who came from the East and settled at that place. This was also the place where Sutton buried his daughter Hannah Maria.
In the now country with the settling of the good pioneers there were quite often horse thieves as well. Many horses disappeared about this time and after a careful Investigation by the pioneers the leader of the gang proved to be a man by the name of Vanonder who had settled at Jordans Grove. He was caught and punished. by a horse whipping, for there were no laws of discipline at that time. Wilson, a son-in-law of Vanonder's tried to escape but was pursued by the Vigilance committee and finally shot a few miles east of Coggon.
At Jordans Grove lived William Heaton, a son-in-law of Suttons. In the month of June 1849 a rather exciting incident occurred concerning the Heaton family. Heaton, with his ox team, was assisting a neighbor two miles away with his farming, going early each morning and returning home in the evening. At the same time Mrs. Heaton was confined to her bed with a three day old babe. A girl was left to care for the babe and Mrs. Heaton, as well as two other children, one four and one of two. One morning soon after Heaton had gone to his work the mother missed her four tear old son. He could not be found anywhere about the home and the girl who was staying wit the mother could not leave the two year old child to hunt farther. So the mother awaited her husbands return thinking no doubt the child had gone with his father. But when evening came and Heaton returned the boy was not with him. An alarm spread immediately across the countryside that a child was lost. The entire country heard the news and hurried to assist in the search. The search was continued two days and two nights. It caused great anxiety considering the danger of the wolves and bears in the timber. But finally with joy, on the third day,-he was found in the timber where he had wandered all this time. -He had in some way crossed a stream and when asked how he crossed, replied, "I swam". No one ever knew just how he got across.
The lad, Seymour Heaton, who was Suttons Grandchild, lived to be nineteen and then died for his country at the time of the Civil War. He is buried at Central City.
During the same year that the child was lost in 1849 a twelfth and last child was born to David Sutton and wife. But the child, Florida, only lived four years. Dying in the year of 1853.
Great progress was being made. Nearly every day brought land seekers and tho country was being rapidly inhabited School advantages were greatly improved. One could easily obtain a rural education. The Stone School house where Suttons children attended was built in 1855.
(by Samantha Sutton Long)
David Sutton and Margarette H. were married 21 Jul. 1822.
Born Buried at
David Sutton 1799 Lower Spring Grove
Margarette, his wife 1805 Lower Spring Grove
to this union:
Elizabeth Sutton 1823 Agre, Kansas
Charity Sutton 1825 Prineville, Oregon
Pheobe Sutton 1826 Manhattan, Kansas
Levi Sutton 1828 Geyserville, California
Sarah Sutton 1830 Otto, Nebraska
Rezin Sutton 1831 Memphis, Tennessee
Henry Sutton 1834 Vicksburg, Louisiana
Mary Ann Sutton 1836 Lower Spring Grove, Iowa
Hannah Maria Sutton 1839 Jordons Grove, Iowa
Samantha Sutton 1841 Blodgett Cemetery, Central City, Ia.
Arebelle Sutton 1844 '' " " "
Florida Sutton 1849 Lower Spring Grove , Iowa
Samantha Sutton daughter of David and Margarette Sutton was born July 4th, 1841 at Whitley County, Troy Township, Indiana. She died June 26, 1926. She was married to James Wesley Long May 12, 1864. To this union were born five children. One died in infancy. The remaining four were:
Luther G Long
Neva Elizabeth Mills
She joined the Methodist Church at Spring Grove, Iowa in 1874.
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