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Weston Wagons West - Episode F4 - Ferrell and Julia Became Part of Their Community

Updated on June 2, 2019
DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

William Dolan talked about his six horses

Six horses grazing
Six horses grazing

Ferrell and Julia Got To Know Their Neighbors During 1802 And Beyond

One of the farm families that Ferrell and Julia got to know in the months of 1802 after moving into the old cabin on their farm was the Dolan family. There place was about a half mile away, also on the fringe of the Ames community. William Dolan was probably nearly fifteen years older than his wife, Catherine, who was about the same age as Ferrell and Julia. William was a kind and gentle man, but tended to be fairly tight-lipped. Even after knowing them for a while, about all of his background they knew was that he was from the Boston area, had an Irish ancestry, and they had come through Pennsylvania on their way to the Marietta area. They had arrived during the past year and already had three young children. The children were Betsy, now about 4, John T, now 2, and Mary, who had been born in January of 1802, still just a baby. Julia was thrilled, of course, to be able to spend a little time with Catherine and the baby.

William had six horses and so he and Ferrell mostly talked horses. When talking horses, William was quite the conversationalist. He knew each one of his horses intimately and was anxious to learn what Ferrell thought of each one. This was especially true when he learned that Ferrell had a herd, himself, that he would be moving from Virginia to the farm in due time. Ferrell also discovered that William loved farming and was willing to share many of the little secrets of being a farmer in those times. Ferrell realized he was still fairly new at the business and had not yet learned a whole lot of the fine points of planting, nurturing and harvesting the crops of the Muskingham River valley. Ferrell, of course, looked at his farm as a subsistence farm that supplemented his main occupations of farrier, blacksmith and horse breeder. He didn’t bother to mention that to William, of course. Ferrell was just happy to keep William talking about his interests, so Ferrell could learn how he might be of assistance. Service was Ferrell’s primary motivator.

As the months passed, Ferrell and Julia met and got to know a number of their other neighbors, as well. It was a friendly community, and everyone leant a helping hand when they could. Ferrell had gotten their new cabin build and they felt good about inviting neighbors over to their house for Sunday afternoon visits. They felt very much a part of their new community. Although Ferrell had never been a church goer, when Julia invited him to attend services at the nearby Congregational Church he went along on most Sundays. This expanded the reach of their involvement in the community even more, of course. Before long, even Ferrell had gotten into the routine habit of attending services at the church on Sunday morning. There was beginning to be talk of opening a community school next door to the church. Although they did not yet have children, both Ferrell and Julia encouraged the talk, because they knew a school would be good for the community.

Ohio became the 17th State of the Union in 1803

Map of Louisiana Purchase and Ohio 1803 Statehood
Map of Louisiana Purchase and Ohio 1803 Statehood

Ferrell Saw His Businesses Grow With The Community In 1803

The work of the territorial legislature continued, of course, with Ephraim Cutler working hard to assure that slavery was not allowed in Ohio and that education maintained a high priority. Both were achieved as 1802 became 1803 and a state constitution was adopted. In Washington, D.C., both houses of Congress approved the Ohio state constitution presented and that bill was signed by President Thomas Jefferson on February 19, 1803. Ohio became the seventeenth state of the Union and the first state established in the Northwest Territory.

Later in 1803, of course, President Jefferson also culminated the Louisiana Purchase from France to add vast lands to the United States west of the Mississippi River. He commissioned Meriweather Lewis and William Clark to explore this vast region and report back to him on their findings.

On the evening of September 13, Marietta was involved in the preparation of the Lewis and Clark expedition when Meriweather Lewis and his crew stopped there to lay over for the night on their way down the Ohio. Their progress was delayed several hours, in fact, when they discovered the next morning that two of the crew had gone ashore and gotten drunk. They had gotten so drunk that they were of no use until later in the next morning. This was just one of many sets of voyagers down the Ohio to grow the country to the west.

One other family of note to pass by was the Chapman family who settled in Washington County, in a log cabin on Duck Creek. They are really only notable in that one son, name John, became notable far and wide as an eccentric, thirty-year-old who became famous as Johnny Appleseed.

Their son, Joe, was born March 1, 1804

A baby boy
A baby boy

Ferrell Saw His Family Grow As 1803 Became 1804

During the latter part of 1803, both Catherine and Julia found that they were pregnant. For Catherine, it would be her fourth child in a six or seven year time frame. For Julia, of course, it would be her first. Julia was pleased to be able to spend time with Catherine in those months of the fall of 1803, each of them being due early in the spring of 1804.

Unfortunately, as was not unusual on the frontier, Catherine miscarried her pregnancy during the year-end holidays of 1803. Great sadness was shared by the neighboring families, of course, but life went on. Catherine recovered and was very supportive of and helpful to Julia as her pregnancy continued into the new year.

Julia gave birth to a strong and healthy son, they named him Joe, on March 1, 1804. Ferrell and Julia were thrilled, of course. Catherine was able to be helpful, and each of the children wanted to be helpful, as well. They were fortunate that a mid-wife, her name was Hazel, lived nearby in the Ames community and was able to be there for the birth and helped the process go as smoothly as possible. Many of the other neighbors that Ferrell and Julia had gotten to know in the recent years were also very helpful with the new mother and her son. It was a loving community and Ferrell and Julia were very pleased to be a part of it.

Note by the author

The Fx and Hx series of historical fiction family saga stories consist primarily of characters that are fictional. Any real persons, Dolan, Barker, Cutler, and Putnam, for example, are used here fictitiously. The Dolan family in Marietta were actual direct ancestors of the author’s wife. Two of the Dolan sons were her third great-grandfathers. She and I have visited the area doing family history research. Activities and events are consistent with known historical facts, but are entirely fictitious. Cousins of these Weston characters, the Jacob and Levi Weston characters, were first created as a part of “The Homeplace Saga” stories. The first 20+ episodes of this Lx series filled in the early years of the lives of Levi, Jacob and their family, also descendants of Thomas and Fred Weston. The author first created the characters Joe, Jake and Hank Weston in 1998 (they had not been published prior to this hub series).

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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. I really respect your opinion and appreciate your comment!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      One thing I like about your series: it's not romanticized. It's just the way it was, and I appreciate that.

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