Our farm [in Boscawen, New Hampshire - ed.] was located about twelve miles northwest of Concord, the State Capital. Our community was not a village, but the name of the township was Boscawen. As I remember, it seems to me we were on the south side of a road running east and west. We had a very comfortable home of six or seven rooms and, although it was very plain, it seems to me to have been very cozy. On the road west of us, about a quarter of a mile, was the school house where I went to school. I remember, more distinctly than anything else, walking on top of the snow drifts, as high as the stone wall, which had a crust on them strong enough to bear me up and I loved to walk on them. It was much preferable to walking on the open road, just as children now prefer the drifted snow or water to a good, hard path. I can see the big snows, two or three feet deep, with all the neighbors all turned out with their oxen and wagons or sleds to break the roads.
There I learned to read and sew and knit and I used to help my mother to hem and do easy parts of the family sewing, though I was only six and on half years old when we came west, but I started school when I was three years old. This was where we went to church too, sometimes.
I am going to tell you, Frank, [Frank is her son - ed.] about a few of the neighbors names so that if you should ever visit this place it might be easier to find it, though it is not likely any of them will be there, yet there might be descendents of those I remember. Just a little ways north of this school house, there was a family by the name of Putney. I think they were pretty well to do. Had a better house and better furnished than ours, but Mrs. Putney was a good friend of my mother's. In the other direction, half a mile or so, lived my Uncle Moses Trussell. He had a son Hezekiah and a daughter Almena, a chum of my sister Mary, and they used to corrrespond with each other after we came west. Julia was my little friend, but I don't suppose any of them are living. The first neighbors on the east side were named Hardy, and then the Trussell kin. John and Seth were their names, and I think one of them was my father's first cousin and the other a second cousin, but I do not know whether they were father and son or not. I remember of the Cloughs and the Littles and that is all I can think of.
My father had a brother who lived somewhere in New York State, and two sisters but none of them had children. My grandfather Jewett lived in Hopkinton [nearby in New Hampshire - ed.] and he built a fine house on Sugar Hill as they called it, and that was where my mother was born [Harriet's mother was Laura Jewett, wife of Amos Trussell - ed.]. I do not know when they moved to Ohio. A record of the Jewetts that I have seen says that it was in 1805, but I do not think that is true -- think it was later -- but when they moved they left your Aunt Harriet (Jewett) in New Hampshire. After a time she came west and wrote mother of their prosperity and how nice it was to farm on the Ohio River bottom, and as my father and mother had so many boys and a small farm, they became discontented and decided to go west too.
It was hard work to provide for a large family in New Hampshire on a small farm. Mother had to do as all other country women did in those days, spin and weave wool and flax and make our clothing and then sew them by hand. For nice clothes for father and the boys, she would send her wool cloth to the factory and have it dyed and dressed for pants and coats. When I think of it, I can't imagine how she could have done it, but she was a good mother and ambitious for her children and I think we were always well fed and clothed, though not as children are now ... but maybe we made just as good men and women as those who were rich. It was decided that we should move west, but it was a good many years before mother was reconciled to the change. My Uncle Shorah [Shorah Jewett, namesake of Harriet's brother Shorah Trussell - ed.] had bought a section of land in Meigs County, Ohio and he told father that, if he would move out there, he would give him a quarter section of it [a section is a square mile or 640 acres, a quater section is still 160 acres! - ed.]. I do not remember much about this journey, only that it took us about a week or more to make it [Harriet's older sister wrote a description of the journey - ed.]
I remember the trip from Providence to New York in 1838 and how I disputed with my brothers whether we were in a boat or a house (I contended we were in a house and they that we were in a boat.), that we crossed the mountains in a stagecoach. We were kindly received by Uncle Sumner and wife and Uncle Lorenzo, who was a batchler. Uncle Sumner had one child and they lived in a large house. My brother Otis and sister Mary went on to Aunt Harriet in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Otis to teach school and Mary to help her aunt. One or two borthers worked somewhere.
In the spring we gathered together and went on to Meigs County [Ohio - ed.] and father rented a farm on the Ohio River bottom for two years, and then we moved right across the river into Virginia and rented some land there for three more years, and in the meantime they [Amos and his sons - ed.] went back and forth [across the river - ed.] and made our home in the wilderness.
I have always thought of our life with pleasure. We were quite near the river and used to build a fire and take our clothes down to the bank to wash and that was great fun, though I was not old enough to know much about the hard part. Then we had a skiff and my brothers could, any of them who were old enough, row a skiff across the river. We had a good home there and, while I was there, I went to a school which was about a mile and half distant. We lived in a log house, and went to school in one. My sister Mary was married while we were there to Henry T. Lawson, a Methodist preacher, and they moved into Ohio about thirty miles from us. Then next year I went to visit them, and rode, horseback, in one day.
In the spring of 1844, we moved over onto the farm. Father and the boys had cleared and fenced one large field and built a good log house. It was a story and a half high, had a living room and two bedrooms downstairs and rooms upstairs for bedrooms and we went up and down on a ladder. There was not any chimney before we moved in, but one was built before the summer was over. There was a space left in the floor for a fireplace, and in the roof for a chimney and sometimes we had a fire in the yard ... like a campfire.
One of my cousins, a Mrs. Rudolph, from Augusta, Georgia, came to see us that summer. She was a city lady and my mother was much embarrassed because she had no better way to entertain her. It was long after this before my mother became reconciled to the change made in moving west. Almost all the country around us was new and here was little fruit, except for wild fruit, and she always had plenty of that in the east. Then she always had plenty of butter and cheese which she made herself and she was exceedingly fond of the latter, but when the cows had no pasture except the woods, the milk was rather scarce.
I forgot to say that my father was a house carpenter and could and did build a better house than most pioneers. He was a shoemaker too, and often made shoes for his children.
For several years we had no church to go to except when the Methodist's circuit rider came once a month and held sevices in one of the cabins among those who were members of his church. But in a few years, we had a church built and a Presbyterian minister from Racine was pastor and we all went to Sunday School and church after that. My parents were Freewill Baptists in New Hampshire, and my mother went to the Presbyterian Church, but my father did not.
Uncle Shorah [Jewett] had a part of the section of land that had been cleared and cultivated for some years and he kept a good many sheep. My mother used to take wool and spin and weave it on the shares; that is, give them part of the cloth. That was a hard way to clothe her children. Once when I wanted a calico dress, my Father told me if I would glean the wheat field that I might earn my dress. I did so, and got my dress ... and can remember what it looked like now. I was bale to make my own dresses too. I began, when I was about thirteen years old, to cut out my dresses and make them myself. I think it was about that time that I began to spin, although it sounds so different from what girls do now. I was the youngest girl and didn't have to do much of the heaviest work. My sister Hannah was about eight years older, and she did not like to sew or spin and did more of the housework.
I always attended school when there was any to go to, but I think we usually had only four or five months in a year. When I was sixteen years old, I taught a summer school of three months at a salary of six dollars a month and boarded around, as they called it; that is, I boarded with the families who sent children to the school as much as was due me from them according to how many children they sent.
The next winter, I was permitted to go away from home to school in Racine, six miles away, where I stayed with the Presbyterian minister and worked in his fammily to pay for my board. The next year I taught the summer school in the same place and boarded around again.
That was the year Aunt Harriet Robertson came to visit us, when her little girl, her only child, was five years old and, while she was there, her daughter, Harriet Sharp, died with scarlet fever. She went home broken-hearted with the little body and wanted mother to promise to let me go and stay with here the next winter which she did, and so brother Hambleton took me up there about Christmas time and left me and went on west to Hamilton, Illinois, and I never saw him again.
My Aunt Harriet provided from that time on till I was married; only went home for a visit each year for a few weeks. Three of my brothers were married. In that time my father build a sawmill on the farm and a new frame house. My second brother was killed instantly in the mill one day by being caught in the machinery in trying to oil it when it was in motion. They had a fine orchard there and everything was properous.
I remained with my aunt until the next September and during that time she had become engaged to be married to an Irishman of Pittsburgh by the name of McMaster and decided to be married in the Fall. We started in September and stopped for a visit with my Uncles in Steubenville and the river got so low we could not go on and had to remain there for six weeks. My cousin had to go back home but, as there was no railroad, we were obliged to wait for the river to rise, which was about six weeks. This cousin was very nice to me and gave me her pretty clothes for she had an abundance and I did not have very many. She was a very cultured lady, a daughter of my Mother's brother Jasper [Jewett - ed.] who went away when he was a young man and married a Georgia Lady and settled in that State. They had two children, a son and a daughter. When the son was grown, he joined a military company and, one day, when loading his gun, it exploded and killed him.
They did not know anything of their relatives North for a long time. My Uncle had died before all this happened and, after Mary was married, she heard of relatives up north and came to see us the third time after her second marriage to Mr. Dutenfoffer. You remember, Frank, [she is addressing her comment in the letter to her son, the Rev. Frank Trussell Fulton, Providence, R.I. - ed.] she came to see Aunt Harriet [Jewett - ed.] on her deathbed and that she gave Ralph his watch. She died herself before the next Christmas, but had asked her husband to send the watch to me and he did so.
Going back a little in my story -- while we were waiting for the river to rise, my aunt got her wedding dress and we made it. Then we went down the river to visit some home folks but she had not long to stay. I remained at home the next winter, and then I was invited to return to Pittsburgh to stay with my aunt as that was where she went when she was married. She wanted me to do to school and become a teacher as she had been. That was about the only lucrative and honorable occupation for girls at that time -- the only one, save hosework and work in a factory. I remained with her for three years. The first year, I went to high school. That was about the beginning of High Schools supported by the public, I think. Miss Aull was my teacher and she boarded with my Aunt and we roomed together most of the time. She was a great help to me in every way in my education and we were always fast friends during her life. She helped me in getting a school the next year, and I taught in the ward schools, one of them, I should say, for years, but never felt that I would make a very successful teacher and really taught more for the money that was in it than because I loved it.
When I was in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1851, I met Robert Fulton and I thnk we both fell in love at first sight. The next summer after I went back to Pittsburgh, he came to see me and told me of his love and so after that, our engagement took place and this was our only love. We did not see each other very frequently as he could come only once in a while. He was a busy farmer and, although we were no widely separated, it took more time to make little trips than it does now.
I had little social or society life in my young days and had very few acquaintances in Pittsburgh among the young people. I went regularly to church and my Uncle and Aunt and I sometimes taught in the Sunday School, but I regret to say that never till after I was married, did I take my stand with the people of God and confess Jesus Christ before the World. I thought a great deal about it and don't know why I did not, but I think it was because no one talked to me about it. I was married May 15, 1855. the next year, after our marriage, one communion season, our pastor came to see us and had a talk with us about our duty and we both went into the church, and took our first little son to be baptized. I am glad my children have all done better than I did and gave themselves to Christ in their very youthful days.
Context: Even before the Colonies declared their independence on July 4, 1776, major battles were fought between the Minutemen and the Redcoats. The most notable were thos that came in April 1775 when the British, searching for arms and munitions and looking for subversives, fought with colonialists at Lexington and Concord, MA and in June 1775 at the Battle of Bunker Hill (in Boston). At Bunker Hill, the British managed to drive a determined colonial contingent from the site but it was a hollow victory for they suffered enormous casualties and the colonials came to realize that they could be galvanize4d into a potent fighting force. Perhaps the story of one Moses Trussell, of Hopkinton, N.H., who borrowed a rifle from his older brother James, to join Colonel John Stark's Regiment, is representative of the colonial experience. John McClintock's history of New Hampshier tells it this way:|
[Moses was 32 years old ... records show he was still on the pension in June 1840.]
to Laura's Sister, Harriet Jewett in Stuebenville, OH.
Boscawen, Sept 18th, 1830
The long looked for letter has at last arrived, the 2nd of Sept. Often have I regretted that I ever advised you to visit Ohio, fearing something had happened which caused your silence. I heard you were teaching school in New York which gave me some uneasiness but am happily disappointed. I was glad to hear that you [are] there and had a pleasant journey, likewise were many of your friends who were often inquiring about you. Miss L. Page, Mrs. Way, called on me, about three weeks before I received your letter, to know if I had heard from you. She had long looked for a letter and felt anxious to know.
You would probably like to hear how I get along. I have another son added to our number, born 22nd of August. [Laura is referring to Amos Davis Trussell ... my great grandfather, born on 22 Aug 1830 in Boscawen ... son of Amos and Laura Trussell]. I am comforted, and the rest of the family, but since your departure, some of your acquaintances have gone the way of all the earth and have their names enrolled in the catalogue of the dead. Mrs Kerriman is no more. She had taken an emetic but it did not operate. It cramp her. Mrs. E. Kinsbury, that left town a short time after yourself, arrived at the place of her destination and died in a few days of the fever.
As it respects your bonnets, I have not disposed of either. My husband carried the leghorn to Concord soon after you left here. Miss Hubert did not want it. She had on hand more leghorns than she could dispose of at a cheaper rate than yours. The Navirens have improved the sale of others.
I want to hear more how you like the State of Ohio, where your employment is, when you expect to return to this country, or if you have any news from Gillman. I can think of enough to fill a small volume but I must break off since my baby cries.
[A new hand begins here - ed.] Sister Harriet, while taking my pen to fill this letter, I hardly know where to begin. Doubtless, when you wrote yours, you expected to hear from us before this, but one disappointment generally causes another. Perhaps it would be gratifying to you to hear something respecting the season and crops collected. Since you left here we have generally had a good supply of rain. Hay, we calculate about a middling crop. Grain of all kinds, abundant, although some damaged the last of July by a long storm which continued one week, which logged wheat and oats very much and prevented wheat from filling so well as usual. Corn is backward, being much damaged by worms the first of the season. But if we have no frost we calculate about a middling crop.
We had a good prospect for potatoes but the rust has taken mine and others which I expect will cut them short. Apples are plenty on high lands but in low lands scarce or none. Since you have been saluted with mortality, I would again inform you of that Mr. Thomas Shepard is gone the way of all the earth. Mr. Jacob [words missing] youngest son. Likewise Isaac [words missing] idiot daughter. Mr. Thomas Bone ... [words missing] about the 12th or 13th of July, near [words missing] by Mrs. Samuel Moriss Jr. While fis ... [words missing] gone but not otherwise much inj .. [words missing]
Kimbal moved to this place soon [words missing] you left here so we have preaching every Sat. [words missing] Since there has been quite a revival in this town this season, there has been 12 or 14 baptized and a number more has given a reason of their hope Doctor George among the rest. I have no other news except a general time of health among our connection neighbors and acquaintances with very few exceptions. Irene has returned from Lowell in poor health. So no more at present ...only give our best respect to Father, Brothers and sisters etc. We conclude by subscribing ourselves your affectionate
Brother and Sister
Miss H. Jewett
From section, entitled, "Sierra Madre", p. 337.
"In February, 1881, Mr. Carter purchased 1,100 acres of the choicest portion of the Beautiful Santa Anita Rancho, which was then in its original wild state, a tract of sloping land from the Sierra Madre Mountains gently to the south, partially covered by magnificent oak trees, and backed by numerous springs and streams of the purest mountain water. It was immediately surveyed into smaller tracts of twenty, forty and eighty acres, for the location of self-sustaining and healthful homes. From abundant springs in the mountains immediately north of the oft-styled "model colony", a large main brought a bounteous supply of the purest snow water to the tract, where distributing pipes received and conveyed it to the highest portion of every lot and building site. And it is in this matter of water supply that Sierra Madre claims precedence over many of her most enterprising sister settlements. The water right runs with the realty. Land at this early period sold at $50 to $65 per acre. The pioneers were John Richardson, James Smith, and Mr. Bailey. The first purchasers of land were A. D. Trussell, A. Gregory, Miss Fannie H. Hawks, Messrs. Burlingame, Cook, Hosmer, Pierce, White, Rowland, Clements, Seaman, Spalding, etc.
The next year, 1882, was a busy one. Mr. Carter, above mentioned, built and donated to the public a school-house; also erected the Ocean View House, which was opened for business by J. E. Richardson; and many other buildings were erected, a postoffice was established. E. T. Pierce was the first teacher.
During 1883-84, there settled here Mrs. C. B. Jones, previously City Superintendent of Schools of Los Angeles; Professor John Hart, a musician; W. B. Crisp, W. H. Robinson, Messrs. Andrews, Wilson, Hook, Jones, and Hilton. The first marriage in the place was that of E. B. Jones to Miss Winona Trussell, March 7, 1883. This year at least twenty-five new cottages were built.
From the section entitled, "Amos D. Trussell", pp 654-655
Amos D. Trussell is a pioneer of Sierra Madre, being the first to purchase land and take up his residence upon the Sierra Madre Tract. This was in July 1881. At that time he bought twenty-two acres of wild and uncultivated land and immediately commenced its improvement, planting grapes and citrus and deciduous fruits. Mr. Trussell early saw the advantages of the beautiful Sierra Madre Tract, in location, climate, soil, etc., and from the first has been one of the most active in promoting the success of the colony and inducing a desirable class of people to build homes in that section. He has been an earnest and active supporter in every enterprise that has tended to build up and benefit his chosen locality. Mr. Trussell sold off a portion of his land in 1887, but still retains his beautiful home, "Piedmont" which is located north of the business center of town. Mr. Trussell is a native of New England, dating his birth at Merrimac, New Hampshire, in 1830. His parents, Amos and Laura (Jewett) Trussell, were both natives of that State. When about eight years of age his parent moved to Ohio, and settled in Meigs County, where his father engaged in agricultural pursuits. The subject of this sketch was reared and schooled in that and the adjoining county of Jackson, becoming inured to the practical life of a farmer, and later learning the trade of carpenter and millwright. He remained in that county until 1869, and from 1853 was engaged in his calling and conducting milling operations. In 1869 Mr. Trussell located in Brown County, Kansas, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits in Cloud and Osborne Counties and was the owner of a mill in Brown County. In 1876 he moved to Richardson County, Nebraska, where he conducted farming and other operations until he came to California in the Spring of 1881. In addition to his horticultural pursuits in Sierra Madre, he has been engaged as a contractor and builder. Mr. Trussell is a straightforward businessman and a public-spirited citize3n. He was one of the promoters and original incorporators of the Sierra Madre Water Company. In political matters he is a Republican, and has represented his district as a delegate in several of thecounty conventions. In 1858 [actually, it was 12 Jun 1856 Š ed.] Mr. Trussell was united in marriage with Miss Sarah H. Reasoner, a native of Ohio. From this marriage here are living the following named children: Calvin R., who married Miss Nellie Town, and is now residing in San Diego County; Dayton, also a resident of that county; Raymond, who married Miss May Rhodes, now living in San Diego county; Winona, now Mrs. Edward B. Jones, of El Monte; Jacob R. of Antelope Valley; and Constance and Harry D., who are members of their fatherÕs household. The marriage of Winona Trussell and Edward b. Jones took place March 7, 1883, it being the first wedding in the Sierra Madre Colony. The Rev. A. G. L. Tren, Dean of Southern California, performed the ceremony..
About the Author
The author, Robert Rhodes Trussell, is the oldest son of Robert Lloyd Trussell, who was born in San Pasqual Valley on July 16, 1915 and Margaret Elizabeth Kessing, who was born in Stockton on April 27, 1917. Robert L. Trussell, the ninth and last child of Ray Trussell and May Rhodes, was the only one of the Trussell children to be born in the 1905 Trussell Home that still exists in the valley today. A registered mechanical engineer, he worked for Consolidated Vultee, Convair, and General Dynamics (all the same company, but different names) for 38 years, playing a lead role in the design of one of the models of the PBY during the second world war, the invention of the anti-lock or anti-skid brake, and numerous other innovations. He died of leukemia on May 20, 1985, a few weeks before his 70th birthday. His wife, Margaret taught physical education at Escondido High School for several years, eventually becoming Vice Principal there. For a period of time she was also Executive Director of the Escondido Historical Society. She is now remarried to Sheldon Eller and living in Escondido.
Rhodes is married to Elizabeth Shane, an attorney specializing in secured transactions, and lives at Hastings Ranch in Pasadena, CA -- less than a mile from the location of the first Trussell home in Calif-ornia. The home still stands at the end of Olive Tree Lane in Sierra Madre. Ironically Liz's father, Ken Shane, was the State Vetinarian responsible for San Diego County in the late 40's and early 50's and knew the Trussells and Judsons well. Rhodes and Liz have two children, Robert Shane (Jan. 14, 1974) and Charles Bryan (May 20, 1977). As of Spring 1998, Shane is in graduate school in engineering at UCLA and Bryan is an undergraduate in engineering at U.C. Berkeley.
Rhodes has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Sanitary Engineering from U.C. Berkeley and is a member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, the National Academy of Engineers, and the EPA Science Advisory Board on Drinking Water. As a youth he spent a great deal of time in San Pasqual Valley and came to love it dearly. He has made a hobby of collecting memorabilia on the San Pasqual Trussells.
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