13 April 2012

Lottie's Memoirs: The Journey Continues


... This is part two in a series. Please see the initial post for explanation.

The Lee Family at Silver Creek, Nebraska

Lottie Me Lee Houston
Mrs. Andrew Houston
1964

Page 2, continued.

The Lees later built a new frame house on their property, paying the carpenters with two fine colts which they had raised during a five year period. Money was not plentiful and as there was demand for good livestock, they raised much of it. Our father grew up learning all about the care of horses, oxen, milk and beef cattle, hogs and poultry. I don't remember his talking about sheep, although we know that in the Squier family they grew sheep and carded and spun their own wool, using it for knitting and weaving.

Grandfather (Cyrus) tried a short stay in Vineland, New Jersey, to relieve his asthma, but this did not help, so they settled for a time at Pittsford, Michigan. There were five children, Cyrus Homer (1850), Lucy Amelia (1852), William Newton (1854), Thomas Elliott (1859), and Fred Elmer (1867). Their Uncle Thomas Lee, (brother of Cyrus Lee) lived on a farm near Hudson, Michigan, not far away. 

Page 3.

This was the original farm of their grandfather, Cyrus Peck Lee, who had died in 1842, and their grandmother, Lucy Adsit Lee (born 1788), who now lived with Thomas, his wife Evelyn, and their daughter Nellie, or Ellen. Our father remembered going often to this farm to visit his uncle and grandmother, to help with haying or sugaring. The farm "had two good springs, one of which was piped to the cellar. The house was a very comfortable frame house. Lucy Adsit Lee was an excellent cook and taught Mrs. Thomas Lee how to cook. Thomas and his family were Baptists and attended church regularly, but Grandmother Lucy was never able to accompany them. She had had a bad rupture early in life and was very much crippled, making it impossible for her to travel. She spent much of her time by the fire, knitting or sewing. She had not had much education, but had a quick, active mind, even in old age. She died in 1868 and was buried in the little cemetery across the road from the farmhouse." (From Reminiscence of C.H. Lee)

Uncle Thomas' daughter (Nellie or Ellen) married David Kelley, in Michigan, who accepted a job as station agent for the new Union Pacific railway being built west from Omaha, Nebraska. He was assigned to the new station at Silver Creek, Nebraska, as the first agent, and they came out there to live in 1868 or '69. They were so enthusiastic about Nebraska that they persuaded Ellen's father and his family to come out from Michigan by train. This was our great uncle Thomas Lee. He also had suffered much from asthma and found himself greatly improved in Nebraska.

The Union Pacific established stations along their new railroad line about every 10 or 12 miles, in order to provide water for the steam engines. Every station had a small depot and a tall substantial water tank. Later on freight houses and railroad sidings were built. Silver Creek was at first considered the "large station" between Columbus and Central City. Another station "Duncan", to the east, never became a real town. Clarks was between Silver Creek and Central City and was very small until it became a junction point with the Burlington Railroad, after that line was built. Silver Creek was at first called Silver Glen.

Great Uncle Thomas and his wife began farming and wrote to his brother, Cyrus Lee, in Michigan, to persuade him to come west. They needed a doctor very much, around Silver Creek, and as Grandfather Cyrus Lee was a successful and experienced doctor, they urged him to come. He came in 1870, bringing his wife Harriet, and his five children. The eldest, Cyrus Homer Lee was then twenty, the youngest, Fred, was three years old. They took up homestead land and Grandfather began the practice of medicine.

Settlers "were coming in, thick and fast", as the main line of the Union Pacific was here, and the new town had much business. Dr. Cyrus Lee soon established a store, and a little later opened a small hotel. Our father, Cyrus Homer was his main stay at the store, while our Aunt Lucy (later married to T.C. Glenn, 1872, at Silver Creek) assisted him with the hotel. For a time he prospered, but after about two years his asthma returned, and he was unable to go on with his work. His brother, Thomas Lee, had by this time moved on to California, so Cyrus decided to move to California also, and in 1872 he turned over the store to his son, Cyrus Homer Lee.

...to be continued...