Next morning took passage on stage to Wichita, Kansas with basket well filled and several bottles English ale at my feet. No charge made for anything received while in Fort Reno. Bidding Ft. Reno friends farewell, I landed in Wichita meeting brother Simeon Bradford, who was attending convention at that place, being a lawyer, of some standing. Remained there until convention adjourned. Accompanied him to his home in Carbondale. Separated and I returned home to Calif. Found my wife well. Without home so we moved to Sutter County. Stayed only short time. Wife wished to visit her two sons at Truckee. While there I saw notice in paper of furnished hotel for rent, located midway between Truckee and Sierra Valley on old and established stage route, owned by stockman who kept stock there through summer and ran hotel himself. Drove stock to valley in winter and rented hotel. Went to see him and he said we might have all we could make if we would take good care of place. Accepted offer. Found comfortable hotel and stock room for 60 head horses with other accomadations. Saw man who had kept it for four winters. Said he had cleared from $700.00 to $800.00 each winter. Concluded to try it. Took possession on Oct 1, For 2-1/2 months did well, Laid in large supply of wood and hay and good stock provisions, knowing snow fell very deep during winter. Had made $250.00 above expenses up to December 16. On the 18th stage returned from Truckee and driver informed us he had received orders from headquarters he must run stage on different route from that date and this was his last trip on that road. Snow twelve inches deep and snowing fast. Bade us good-bye and drove out of sight. Now what were we to do? Could not leave and did not know when we would see friends again. Solemn time. Time passed on. Snow kept falling. About two months before we saw human face, when friend came on snowshoes to find out whether we were dead or alive. Stayed but few hours. Returned to Truckee.

All work I had to do was shovel snow take good care of faithful cow and old dog Prince. Spent time in reading old news over and over again. Much of time was spent in whittling soft pine into knives, swords and guns. About three weeks after first visitor two men came from Sierra Valley on snowshoes and stayed all night. Left for Truckee next morning. We had two pairs snowshoes. Occasionally would take circle of one or two miles on them. A snowshoe is thin board seven or eight feet long and four inches in width, turned up at forward end, with piece of leather like vamp of boot nailed on center of each shoe, and small crosswise piece for heel to rest against and when foot is in vamp, traveler moves with sliding walk.

On April I began to look for warm weather but to our surprise on 14th of April fell deepest snow of season. Snow eight feet deep, still practiced on snowshoes till wife thought she could go to Truckee on them. On May 1 our time expired and we made arrangements to go. Left cow where she could got plenty of hay and water. Made light hand sled and placed on it two blankets, provisions and a hatchet. At 4 a.m. started on journey with old Prince for our guide. His master had told us that at any time we wished to go to Truckee old Prince would be true and faithful guide. Found it to be so.

Sunrise in morning being three miles on way, I consulted wife whether we had better continue on journey or return for safety. Her mind made up to go ahead. Now slid along after old Prince till we came to half way house where I got under barn and got some water to drink and ate lunch. Well improved and pleasant place in summer season. Now clothed with six or eight feet of snow and not a sound of any kind to be heard. Very lonesome. Traveled on. Old Prince taking lead. Kept about fifty steps in front of us. Now and then would grab mouthful of snow, look back and wait for us. At Prosser Creek four miles from Truckee, another improved place where we rested short time. Sun shining and snow began to get soft. Snowshoes became burdensome, so left them here and continued journey. Going over summit south now downgrade to Truckee. My wife being fleshly lady journey became very fatiguing to her but her ambition carried her through; confined to bed for three days, snowblind also. Arrived at Truckee at 12 o'clock. Just as bells were ringing for dinner. Our arrival created quite a sensation in town and there was lengthy editorial in paper giving full description of winter's confinement and our unexpected arrivals. Wife remained at Truckee with her sons while I went to see my children as I had not seen some of them for 18 years. Some lived in Calif. and some in Oregon. I stayed one week with each of my daughters who had traveled with me to California in 1849 and we refreshed our minds of our lonely and perilous journey in those early days. They are both living at this date, the oldest with her family in Crescent City.

During my absence of 18 years I found great change in country. Farmers had gone extensively into business and my Indians had nearly all passed away. I saw my boy Charlie who had the appearance of an old man. Very glad to see me. Several small sawmills built, Lumbering and dairying were principal industries. My house, barn and orchard showed age, and brought back afresh to my mind the nine years of hard toil and pleasant days I had spent in this place. My old friends that yet remained were very glad to see me. Returned to Truckee after spending one month pleasantly with my children. In fall returned to Sonoma County. In May, following with other parties, we removed to Fresno County: here bought land and settled and remained five years. Farming unprofitable being dry country, building of ditches to irrigate being very expensive. We set out fine orchard but in second year grasshoppers destroyed it and our crops. Sold out and removed to Fresno City where we now reside. Next trip was to visit son in Portland, Oregon, who was head sawyer in mill that cut 150,00 feet of lumber per day. Wages were $5,00 per day. His family were all well and his employer gave him his liberty a few days that he might enjoy my company during my stay in Portland. We took in town generally and called on several of my old friends who yet remembered me. I found town had improved very much since last visit, being now rich and wealthy city.

Started out seven miles to see old friend of mine, who joined farms with me in Iowa at time of great Mormon Camp on my place in 1846. When within three miles of his place we learned he had been buried three days. With this sad news we returned back, visiting two other of my old friends. Were confined to their rooms. I learned by letter that both died about one month after my departure. Bade farewell to remaining friends at Portland, and on way home called on one of my daughters in Josephine County, Oregon, and found them well. After short visit returned to Sutter County, California, and visited another daughter, the younger of the two who traveled that long journey in 1849 and 1850 to California and return. Elder one lived 120 miles off my route over Coast Range of mountains and there being no public conveyance, I omitted calling on her, coming home by way of Oakland and visiting my youngest daughter whom I found in good health. I returned home after traveling circuitous route of 1400 miles which I enjoyed very much. My next trip was short one but somewhat interesting. Wife's brother and wife from Iowa spent summer of 1882 in California traveling quite extensively, visiting Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, returning to Fresno. They remained here about three months and being about to leave for Iowa he remarked to me that they had not visited any of the mountains or large timber that were so much talked of. I told him if he would remain four or five days longer I would go with him to accomplish this object. This being agreed to, I engaged a passage in the stage, while he prepared himself with long and strong twine saying he would measure some of the largest trees and tie knots in line at exact measurement of each tree and carry line home with him and show to people as though this would be positive proof of their size. In morning we took stage and drove forty miles to foot of mountains. Next morning took mountain stage twelve miles to mills when my brother-in-law began to realize what mountains were, as we were now at an elevation of 5,000 feet. We took a stroll around mill and then took dinner.

Found jolly old mountaineer who was going out to mining camp after some ladies who were there on a pleasure trip and wished to return to Fresno. Lucky for us. We got in and rode out, passing through the wonderful mountain forest, some of the trees being eight, and ten feet in diameter, which surprised Mr. Lampson very much. We still rolled on, sometimes up and sometimes down, but about two ups to one down, finally reaching the and of our journey, or as far as a wagon had ever gone in that direction. Here unhitched from wagon, un-harnessed and fed horses at wagon. Took stroll around through mines which were something entirely new to friend Lampoon. Gathered few specimens of mineral rock, called at minor's camp and had an introduction to our three schoolmarms. Returning now to our wagons we built our campfire and got supper. This over, and quite dark. Mr. Lampson asked me where we were going to sleep. I pointed toward a tree and remarked that that would be very good place. At this the old gentleman throw up his head and looked as though he was looking at top of tallest trees and remarked that he had never camped out a night in his life, which brought good deal of merriment to Mr. Music and myself. Then we had to relate some of our experience of camp life; that we had spent many a night on a few pine boughs with blanket spread over them on two feet of snow and when we awoke in morning we found another foot of snow had fallen on top of us during the night.

Thus we spent the evening until time to go to rest. Spread down blankets and informed friend that bed was now ready. Stepped to one side in darkness as though to see if there was any danger approaching us, then quietly went to bad, but could not sleep. Got up several times in night and threw more woods on campfire and was glad when dawn returned. After taking cup of black coffee and cracker we placed some of our blankets on our two horses instead of saddles and two of us mounted the horses and others went on foot. Having three miles yet to go up mountain trail to reach Big Trees arriving there just after sunrise. These were monsters sure enough! Hitched horses. Then Mr. Lampson began to unroll twine. I took end and around I went till I met him, line being tightly drawn, breast high. Knot tied, and we proceeded to measure other trees in same manner, strolling around through woods till we became satisfied and tired. Returned to our horses and as I told them I being youngest man of the three, I would take first walk. So they mounted horses and I struck out. Over rocky places I could beat the horses and road being down grade I reached wagon in forty minutes, horses in sixty. We now ate our second breakfast, hitched up, called on our lady friends and were soon on our way homeward. Our schoolmarms were very musical and Mr. Lampson being an old music teacher himself, we had plenty of fine music, and soon would have had the wagon chock full of it if he had not been so "goldarned sleepy," as he called it, that he would get to nodding and spill it out overboard. Then we would all clap our hands and yell our: "There! there goes a bunch through the woods" Then he would throw up his head and bung out his eyes and stare into the woods when we would have another hearty laugh.

Some places road very sidling and other places steep up and down. Some places few rocks to shake us up, but joking, singing and laughing still continued throughout trip. As we emerged out of lofty pines on to more barren, high ridges, we could see to right and left for miles away the grandest scenery of our journey while straight ahead 5000 feet below us the level plains extended 200 miles to Pacific Ocean. We now descended very rapidly till we reached the Toll House, or what is called the foot of the main mountain where we remained all night. Taking stage next morning we reached home at 4 o'clock that day. After resting an hour or two and dinner being over, Mjr. Lampson sat back and said to his wife, "By gosh I don't want to go to the mountains again!" He said, however, that he had seen more in those four days than he had seen in half his lifetime. His twine being stretched across the yard and being correctly measured the largest tree proved to be 95 feet in circumference. There might have been larger trees in the grove but we were in a hurry to return.

On the first day of last July, I with twelve others set out on journey to Minnesette mines, located in Sierras near, head of San Joaquin River, one hundred miles north east of Fresno, driving first sixty miles in light wagons with outfit for journey. Left wagons and harness, saddled the horses, packed tonnage on pack animals and proceeded single file up and down mountains on narrow trail for two days, when we reached place of our destination. When we reached log cabin, several shots fired as salute on our arrival. Now passed one of wonders of these mines. Iron Mountain which is two miles in length and over three hundred feet wide and stands 1,000 feet high, the ore assaying 93% and is said to be largest and richest iron mine in world. Began to examine general appearance of gold and silver mines, which cover, or rather make their appearance over several miles of country. I have spent several years in mines and mountains and have never seen half of its equal in general outward appearance, although there has been so little work done that as regards its value, I have nothing to say. However, I have seen assays reported from these mines that were extravagantly high. We here located what we call a mine. Carrying no tools nor being able to obtain any, after spending nine days in high altitude of 9,000 feet and not being able to accomplish anything in way of work we returned home leaving our mines as we found them.

Now I am well aware of simplicity and irregularity of this little book which will no doubt call forth many criticisms and remarks, which I am prepared to receive. It is a true saying that the young are looking forward to bright future, to wealth and happiness, while the aged are looking back over their lives of trials and disappointments. With the loss of my eyesight to such a degree, and with my age, I am not able to perform any kind of business. Therefore, I made up my mind to spend a few of my leisure hours in composing these pages. Not being able to write any myself my wife has done the writing for me. I have come to the conclusion however, that I will write a more extensive volumn in the future, giving my forty years experience in this State (?) of agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, with a sprinkling of irrigation and speculation and other topics. I will endeavor to do justice to all sides of these topics, as according to my opinion, there has been a great deal said and written of a one-sided character. I will endeavor to gather such statements and facts as are reliable on all subjects which I shall treat.

Submitted by: Harold Williams
Back to beginning of Ward Bradford journal.

This is the transcription of a letter written in the early 1900s. The Homsher family lived in Columbiana Co until about 1851 when they moved to Noble Co, IN. I have added the children and their spouses at the end. Most came from Columbiana Co and several were married there.

"A Brief History of the Homsher Family written from memory as I have nothing to refer to:
Samuel Homsher and Elizabeth Hawk (Haak) were marred October 10, 1821 or 1822 in the neighborhood of Philadelphia. They staid in that vicinity until they had six children. Uncle Albert was their youngest, he was only one year old when they moved away and went to Columbiana Co, Ohio. My Mother remembered all this and she at that time was eight years old. (This must have been written by a daughter of Abigail Homsher born May 5, 1827.)

They moved to Ohio in the Spring of 1835 and Uncle Frank was the first one that was born in Ohio. ((Benjamin F. (Franklin?) Homsher born April 8, 1836.)) They lived in Ohio about 16 years when they moved to Noble Co, Indiana in 1851 in the fall of the year. Their youngest child at that time was six years old. (Mary A. Homsher born July 18, 1845.)

They remained in Noble Co, Indiana the rest of their lives and they were married 59 years and 6 months when Grandmother passed away. She died May 1, 1882 at her home and Grandfather lived one year longer and died at Uncle Harrison Cramer's home.

After moving away from Pennsylvania, they did not write to their folks as they should have done and Mrs. Shoemaker, Grandfather's older sister, said she thought that Sam was dead as she never heard anything more from him. I was at the home of Mahlon Freese who was Grandfather's nephew and met Charles Shoemaker and his brother, Adam, who lived in Philadelphia and I saw some of these menÆs sisters and their families. I thought they were very nice folks and they were very kind to me and they all lived in Philadelphia except Freese who lived 24 miles away in a small town. There were some other relatives that I did not see at all - they lived out of the City. I do not know how many brothers and sisters Grandfather had and do not know how many Grandmother had. I saw these folks in 1876.

I did not see any of Grandmother's people and did not hear of any of them except Abram Hawk, her brother who died in a few years afterward. He lived about 30 miles from the City and there was no one to go with me, so I did not go there.

I have told you all that I know about the history of the family.

Mrs. Martha Kinsie(No date on document)"

Catherine married to Andrew Bushong
Joseph married to Mary Renkenberger
Abigail married to Moses Simon
Lydia married to Daniel Hendricks
Elizabeth married to Anthony DeHoff
Albert married to Matilda Geiger
Benjamin F. married to Julia Bixler
Matilda married to Dep Bixler
Emaline married to Conrad Bricker
Lavina married to Harrison Cramer
Mary Anna married to Jacob Geiger

Submitted by: Annette DeHoff

JOEL BERRY farmer born in Rockingham Co., Va., June 24, 1810. His parents moved to Fairfield Co., Ohio when he was quite young. In 1830 he married Miss Mary Befler who died in 1879. They had: Joshua, Elizabeth, Magdalena, Emily, Isabella, Mary and Samuel. He moved to Seneca Co., Ohio in 1823. Later to Noble Co., Ind. and Richland Co., Wisc. and in 1871 to Nebraska. He married in 1881 to Mrs. Mary A. Borton.

Excerpts from History of State of Nebraska by The Western Historical Company., 1882.
Submitted by: Dusti

James B. Vanferson was living in Noble county, Ind., engaged in farming, when at the age of 17, he enlisted at Fort Wayne, Ind., Aug. 25, 1861, as a private in Co. F, 30th R.I.V.I., 5th Brig., 14th A.C. At the battle of Stone River, he received a gun shot wound through the right thigh. He was taken to the hospital at Camp Chase. At the battle of Chickamauga, he was captured, and held three months at Libby Prison, two months at Richmond, and nine months at Andersonville. He participated in the battles of Shiloh, Stone River, and Chickamauga. His honorable discharged was granted him at Indianapolis, Ind., Jan. 24, 1865. Mr. Vanferson was born in Muskingum county, O., Oct. 31, 1843. In the spring of 1845, he settled in Noble county, Ind. He was united in marriage Dec. 27, 1869, to Cordelia Broughton, born Sept. 3, 1845, in Noble county, Ind. The children born to this union are Arthur, dec., Harry, dec., Walter and Cora. The parents of Mr. and Mrs. Vanferson are John and Ruth (Clary) Vanferson, William and Rebecca (Casper) Broughton. Mrs. Vanderson, only, is living. Mrs. Vanferson had three soldier brothers, Charles, Mortimore and Forbes; all are living. Our comrade draws a pension, is a farmer and his address is Avilla, Noble county, Ind.

Biography of James B. Vanferson. Vol. II, pages 700 / 701. Presidents, Soldiers, Statesmen; H.H. Hardesty, Publisher, New York, Toledo, and Chicago, 1894.
Submitted by: Arlene Goodwin
Auburn, Indiana

Alexander Wright was born July 5, 1844, in Licking county, O. He settled in Noble county, Ind., in 1865. He is the son of Matthew and Minerva (Lake) Wright; the father is still living. He was married Nov. 5, 1866, in this county, to Margaret Hull, who was born May 13, 1848, in the same county as was her husband. Their children are Theodore, William, Rosella, Melvin, and Arthur. The parents of Mrs. Wright are James and Sarah (Drum) Hull, both now deceased. Mr. Wright was farming in his native county, when at the age of 19, he enlisted as a private in Co. A. O.V.C. 2d Brig. 3d Div. 23d A. C. He received one promotion, to the rank of corporal. He was in the hospital at Louisville, in 1864, for three weeks with measles; was in the field hospital at Decatur, Ala., one month suffering with fever. In 1864 for three weeks he acted as guard and dispatch carrier, at brigade headquarters, Atlanta. He took part in the battles of Atlanta, Jonesboro, Buck Head, Waynesboro, and number of minor engagements; his honorable discharge was granted him at Lexington, N.C., July 20, 1865. His brother Willis was in his command, served over a year, and died at Pulaski, Tenn., in 1864; his wife’s cousin, Joseph Hull, was also with the subject of this sketch. Comrade Wright draws a pension, is a member of Stansbury Post, 125, is a farmer, and his address is Cromwell, Noble Co., In.

Biography of Alexander Wright. Vol. II, pages 714 / 715. Presidents, Soldiers, Statesmen; H.H. Hardesty, Publisher, New York, Toledo, and Chicago, 1894.
Submitted by: Arlene Goodwin
Auburn, Indiana

Deb Murray