History Record View

Title: Mrs. Anne Wilson-Barnet
File Attachment:
Attachment Type:

Historical sketch of life of Mrs. Anne Wilson-Barnet, daughter of Ann and George Hogue, Gentleman:

I was born in Muncy, Pennsylvania, Northcumberland county, October 20, 1802.

At the age of three and one-half years I was lost in Muncy Hills, on the west branch of the Susquehanna river, on the morning of the 22d of February, 1806, and found the evening of the 24th, being lost three days and two nights. My mother was making sugar in a hollow that runs up into the Hills, and my father was teaching school three miles away. I was with my mother, and she left me at the camp while she went to gather the sugar water, so I and my little dog ran off. We took to the Hills, six miles across to the river. They were very mountainous and inhabited by bear, pather, wolves, and caramount. It was thickly settled below- we lived at the foot of Muncy. As I often went to the homes of friends, my mother supposed I had gone to some of the neighbors, and did not think of the hills. When the alarm was given that I was lost, it was exciting times and more than three hundred people engaged in the search.

The weather was freezing cold at night, but warm in the day time. I slept by old logs in the leaves at night and was warmly clad. Took of my shoes the first night and cried the next morning because there was no one to put them on for me, so I wore out my new woolen stockings climbing the hills and at last was not found by anyone hunting me.

There were three boys making sugar on an island up the river. They had heard of the lost child, and as they heard a child's cry across the river they thought it might be it, so they got into their canoes and rowed across- once, twice, three times, they thought they must be mistaken, for i had grown wild and would keep still when they came near. One of them stooped down and spied me hanging by a laurel bush, having slipped twenty feet down the rocky bank, which was twenty feet more overjetting the river. They made an Indian ladder to get me down. I was so weak I could not stand- having nothing to eat all that time. Runners were sent out that the child was found, but too weak to be brought home. Word was sent back immediately to bring the child by all means, for the people were wild with excitement and the parents almost distracted. Trumpets were sounded and I was carried up the road amid the gazing crowd, whole loud and long was the glad cry for my deliverance. I was the youngest child and the object of admiration ever afterward.

In after years, when settled in my hone on the frontier in western Indiana, a traveler stopped at the gate and asked for a night's lodging. During the evening he proved to be a native of my old home. He asked me if I had ever heard of the lost child of Muncy Hills. I told him "I was that child." He said: "Yes, and I was one who engaged in the search."

My father died when I was nine years old. I learned the tailor's trade of my brother, and at the age of seventeen years wer moved to Ohio, Darke county. I had never seen buckskin clothing and hunting shirts. Oh, how I longed to go back to civilization, but I had to stay. I was married to John R. Wilson, December 27, 1821. My husband was the first white child born in Chillicothe, Ohio, his birth occurring May 14, 1797. His parents were Joseph and Mary (Polly) (Wright) Wilson, who later removed to Darke coutny, Ohio near Greenville. We removed from Ohio to the Wabsh in the year 1826 to the site where Attica is located. There were but four cabins there then. William Compton had a two story log house. He took us in to stay with his wife while he went down the river to buy goods to set up the first store. We built a cabin, but had no pens for our stock, so our cows ran off. I told John to go untill he found them. He left me sick abed, with two horses tied to a wagon and two children. He found them twenty miles away and brought them back. There was a little mill on Shawnee creek that ground corn and buckwheat, but we had to sift the buckwheat.

The winter of 1826-27 was the coldest winter I ever saw; snow was from ten to twelve inches deep and we often heard of people freezing to death on the prairies. Times were hard and money scarce. I had an industrious husband, but men's work brought no money. I was a tailor and worked hard at my trade day and night. Men had come out to raise crops and had to have sewing done. I could make money and this is what saved us. I received $1.50 to $2.00 for making coats and fifty cents for making a pair of pants or vest. I got more than I could do, for there was no tailor here.

Warrington, the first county seat of Warren county, was laid out about a mile above the mouth of Pine creek in 1827, and the first steamboat came to Attica in May of the same year. In August the Indians became hostile at the lead mines and threatened the settlement. News came to Attica that there were five hundred Indians at Cicot's, or Independence, and that they would take Attica that night. Every man was ordered to take his family and fort at William Compton's- the women and children in the house and the men on guard. We were all so still you could hear a pin drop- not a child cried that night. Some time in the night word came that the Indians were in sight, but it proved to be a false alarm. But the people were frightened and left their dead and fled to Attica for safety. A young woman in Warren county had died that day.

In the year 1827 the land came into market. My husband and Henry Stump bought a mill site on Pine creek where Dick's mill now stands.

The winter of 1827-28 was the wettest, rainiest winter I ever saw. We had no snow until February 27th. The Wabash was away out of its banks and snow fell eight inches deep that night and we had to move to a three-sided camp on Pine creek the next day. There was no railing aroung the boat on which we crossed; this gave us much trouble, stock jumping off and swimming back. It took us all day to get across. Some of the stock drowned. We made our beds on the snow and slept on the banks of Pine creek while the river and creek raised all over the bottom and a skim of ice froze that night.

Left our stock on half-acre island. We tried all day to get them off, but failed, so had to go on and leave them, as it was getting dark. Soon we came upon seventy-five Indians camped on Fall creek, making sugar. Our horses scared at their campfies, cleared themselves of their harness and left us; we did not get them for two hours.

We left our wagon at the camp and went on horsebak over the snow and up the hills to Mr. Stump's cabin. I thought this Pine creek country was an awful looking place. I told John this must be the "jumping off place," if there was any. We had only a camp and we wanted to build us a house so as to be ready to go to work at the mill with Mr. Stump, and I wanted to make sugar. I made one hundred pounds.

The Indians' dogs were very troublesome. John killed one of them and this made the Indians very angry. I saw four Indians come within eight rods and took aim at my husband. He went into his camp, got his gun and walked out. They got on their ponies and rode off, cursing him for a d--d Yankee. When we got out house logs ready, sixteen by eighteen, we raised it ourselves; he lifted and I propped, and without windows or doors, we moved in. Then our horses ran away- started back to Ohio- and, though I had never stayed at night along, I told him to got till he found them. He was gone three days and two nights, and Indians so near. He found them above Lafayette. He could not swim the river and Pine creek was very high, so he withed two logs together and made the horses swim.

William Harrison, the proprietor of Williamsport, laid out the present county seat in 1828, as Warrington was a failure.

My husband and Henry Stump built a good saw-mill and had it running by the first of August, 1828. But then they could not sell inch oak lumber for fifty cents per hundred. There was no money to buy; people had to make puncheon floors. John and Stump made mill-stones of grayheads and placed them in one corner of the mill, where they ground about eight bushels per day. The meal would grit a little, but the people would patronize it, as there was no other mill near.

But the hardest trial is to come. When death entered my household, in a stranger's land, and took away my bright and promising little four-year-old boy August 24, 1828, this was almost more than I could bear. I had to make his shroud myself and his father had to dig his grave. Mr. Stump went to Attica for the coffin, but a man by the name of James Quick and his wife came before he was buried- no one lived nearer than Mr. Stump. John PUgh lived on what is now the William Furgeson farm and Thomas Doan lived on the old Goodwin place, west of Five-points. The Goodwinds had bought it, but had not come out here yet.

My husband had business to Ohio, intending to be gone two weeks, and was detained seven. I began to think I was a widow. No letters in those days. He did not get back till the first of December. I had the three-day ague when he went away. Carried and cut my own wood for four weeks, tended my corn-cracker, got my toll and hired hands to run the mill. Others had come out by this time. I got the hands to kill a fat hog for me and had it in the middle of the floor, cutting it up, when my husband came hom. In the year 1829 we sold our mill property to Peter Christman and bough out Joseph Norman, which is now called the old Wilson farm. On this farm my husband grubbed and cleared up one hundred acres himself, and burned the brush by night. In the early thirties we bough land adjoining this farm, on the south, from the government. We worked hard, but we were happy that we could now see our way to a comfortable home. My husband had to much to do, I sheared the sheep and my wool-pickings when he had his log-rollings and we had jolly old times in those days. I spun my wool and flax and wove them on a loom my husband made for me. Made our own wear and sold hundreds of yards to Messrs. Hains and Dickson, Geroge King and Lowery. I made my butter and cheese and went to the market on horse-back with a bucket of butter in one end of a sack and four or five cheese in the other. Only got six cents per pouns and paid from twenty -five to thirty-seven cents per yard for muslin and calico. I had never been used to such hardships, but I found where there is a will there is a way and with a true and kind husband a woman can do almost anything. That husband, the partner of my youth and hardships died August 28, 1854. In him I felt as if I had lost everything. He died an example of industry and piety, at the age of fifty-seven years, and left an estate of more than thirteen hundred acres.

I have lived to see the fruit of my labor. I have all of the comforts of life and many of its luxuries. The country that seemed like a wilderness when I came here is now under much cultivation. Churches and schools are numerous. Shipping taht was first carried on by the river, and later by the canal, is now done by railroads. The Wabash railroad was built through Warren county in 1856.

My home is now part of the old farm, as it has been divided, with my second husband, Moses Barnet, who is also one of the oldest pioneers of this Wabash country.

Note-The above sketch was written by the subject's daughter, Mrs. Thomas B. Brodie, who read it before the meeting of old settlers of Warren county, at Williamsport, Indiana, in September, 1877.

After the death of Mr. Barnet, in 1878, his widow resided in the home of her daughter until her death, February 10, 1886, aged eighty-three years, three months, and twenty-one days.

She was the mother of eleven children and eleven grandchilden. Lawrence Wilson, a grandson, owns the old Wilson farm purchased in 1829.


Date: 1/1/1913
Origin: Past and Present of Fountain and Warren Counties Indiana
Author: Thomas A. Clifton
Record ID: 00001098
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

Information in this record is provided for personal research purposes only and may not be reproduced for publication. If you have questions about copyright issues contact the archive source listed above.