The Tale of Arthur Taylor Friend

Arthur Taylor Friend is my 3rd cousin twice removed. He was born on May 9, 1886, in Dadeville, Dade County, Missouri, the sixth of nine children born to John Wesley Friend and Margaret Divine. He grew up on a farm that was very prosperous. His family grew Indian corn, oats and wheat and raised cows, sheep, hogs and chickens. They had about 1000 acres of land, and they were able to sell most of their crops every year.

He married Myrtle Montgomery (1891-1964) on April 11, 1906, when he was 19 years old and Myrtle was just 15. They had four children, one son, two daughters and one child who died at birth. They made their home on a cattle ranch outside the town of Morgan. In 1912, he moved his family to Mansfield, Missouri where he pioneered the Mansfield Mining District. He was also Vice President and general manager of A.T. Friend Mining Co. He owned the town drug store as well as many other businesses and properties in the county. He was a member of the Fuson Camp # 611 and The Woodsmen of the World. He was a very wealthy young man, but he was also very arrogant.

It is said that he had a very bad temper and a big ego. Although most people just avoided him because he “owned the town”, there were some men who had no problem attempting to put him in his place. Many men were fired from their jobs in the mines for “disrespecting” him. The following account is from the Mansfield Missouri Newspaper account dated July 4, 1918.

The trouble began on the morning of June 10, 1918, when Arthur and a man named Chester Crain got into an argument. According to the story the two men had several previous “difficulties” over the months leading up to this day. That evening the two men, once again encountered each other on the town square in front of the O H Garage. After the altercation Arthur attempted to leave, heading north. Suddenly shots rang out, 5 in all from a .38 calibre revolver as Chester began to chase him. Arthur began to run through a vacant lot between Reynolds Garage and the Nugget, and then back again to the sidewalk on Commercial Street where he collapsed. One bullet had entered his Lumbar vertebra and another one entered his right arm about 3 inches from his shoulder. He was quickly picked up by some of the men on the square and carried to his home. Drs. J.A. Fuson and R.M. Rogers were called to attend him but his wounds were beyond medical skill. He died about a half-hour later. He was 32 years old.

Chester was taken into custody and sent to the county jail in nearby Hartville. He was released on a $10,000 bond two day later. The bond was put up by several local businessmen and others in the community. He had over 20 prominent persons volunteer as signers on the bond raising it to $200,000! Chester pled self-defense which was backed up by several witnesses. He stated that Arthur accosted him and threatened his life with a gun and Chester was just defending himself. He was eventually declared not guilty and was released.

Arthur’s funeral was a lavish one and was attended by hundreds of people. One person in attendance said that there were 2 types of people who attended the funeral. The first were those who were just making sure he was dead and those who loved his parents. Such a sad commentary of one person’s life. He was buried in the Friend Cemetery in Bona, Dade County, Missouri.

Myrtle his wife, sold everything they had, and she married Paul McCallister. The family moved to Visalia, Tulare County, California where she died in 1964 at the age of 68.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

The Ogan Brothers ~ Westward HO!

John Ogan (1776-1837) and Mary “Polly” Douglass (1780-1838) are my paternal 3rd Great Grandparents. John was born in Virginia, and he moved to Silver Creek, Madison County, Kentucky in 1797. Here is where he met and married Mary, and they had 9 children 5 sons and 4 daughters. The family then moved to Midway, Boone County, Missouri in 1816.

Three of my 2nd Great Uncles were renowned hunters of their day in Boone County. James Simeral (born May 12, 1815) had a large score of trophies to his credit due to his steady hand and unerring eye, he was also very serviceable in ridding his township of wolves which made it almost impossible for any of the settlers to raise lambs or pigs, because this area was over run by them. His older brothers Irving Thomas (born October 15 Oct 1804) and John Martin (born 31 January 1812) killed about one hundred of the wolves and by this means gave the herds and flocks in the area the ability to live in safety. They also brought down deer and wild turkeys and frequently carried home the carcass of a bear to replenish the larders of the settlement, while they added to the comfort of their cabins with the pelts. James and Irving, assisted in founding the civil, educational and social institutions of both Boone and Linn Counties.

Another brother, the first-born of the family was named Alexander Marion (born August 16, 1799) who married Sally Austin (1806-1878), while John married Lucy Ann Harris (1810-1877) and James married Elizabeth Berry Harris (1817-1906) the sister of Lucy.

James, Alexander and John decided to make the long and difficult trek out west to California. They were not going to find gold but to find what they had heard to be “a land flowing with milk and honey”. They left Linn County Missouri in the spring of 1852 with their families in “horse drawn wagons”. They had a total of 24 children that accompanied them, with the 25th child, Sierra Nevada, being born while passing through the Sierra Mountains in Nevada.

Once the decision to make the trip was cast, the trials of the journey began. One major difficulty facing those on the California trail was the scourge of cholera, which stalked the trail from 1849 through at least the mid-1850s. Another difficulty was acquiring the pioneer’s typical outfit which usually consisted of one or two small, sturdy farm wagons outfitted with bows and a canvas cover, six to ten head of oxen along with chains and yokes or harnesses to attach them to the wagons. For traveling about 2,000 miles over rough terrain the wagons used were typically as small and as light as would do the job, approximately half the size of the larger Conestoga wagons used for freight. The typical cost of enough food for four people for six months was about $150. The cost of other supplies, livestock, wagons etc. per person could easily double this cost. This was a large expense for the three brothers and their large families. With a total of 31 people, the cost was about $2250 for the trip. Because the wagons swayed and bumped so much, the majority of the travelers walked most of the way. They typically traveled 11 miles per day and it took anywhere from 5 to 6 months to reach their destination. They arrived in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California in the early fall of 1852.

The brothers each bought 160 acres of an old Spanish land grant, and they found that the land was rich and perfect for planting grain. John and Lucy lived in San Jose until their deaths. Lucy died in 1877 at the age of 67, and John died on June 17, 1893, at the age of 81. Alexander and Sally sold their acreage in San Jose and moved to Berryessa, California where Sally died in 1878 at the age of 72, and Alexander died on May 5, 1874, at the age of 74. Last but not least, in 1869 James moved his family from the San Jose area by wagon to Carpinteria, California located just east of Santa Barbara. Elizabeth died in 1906 at the age of 87 and James died on February 4, 1900, at the age of 84.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.