Center Falls Schoolyard by Jacob Houston
According to Larry Hitchcock, who first posted this to a Rootsweb Message Board, this is a transcription of a letter that was made from a poor photocopy. There are a few words and sentences that could not be deciphered.
The painting above is not the painting referred to here:
"The grandma in the painting, wearing the gold beads, was my mother's grandmother, Hannah Nichols Coon Grandy; and her mother was an Egelston. This is as far back as my knowledge of that family goes.
Hannah's father and family lived at a place called White Brook, RI. There was fine white sand in the yard, and the first of her recollections was of sitting in that sand when she was about two years old and dipping it up with a teaspoon and eating it like sugar. And a brother rode up on a big black horse and said, "Get up, Hannah, or I'll ride over you.", and it frightened her so she never forgot it.
She and Elisha Coon sang in the church and she was the handsomest woman in church. When she was 18 years old, she and Elisha Coon were married and to start their own home, they came "up country" to Washington Co, NY about a mile from Union Village. There was no road and they had to come on horse back on an Indian trail, with all their worldly possessions on the horses' backs. Her father and brother came a hundred miles with them, and then turned back, and she never saw them again. When they got to Washington County, they stayed with neighbors until Elisha could cut down enough trees for a house, and when the frame was up they moved in, before there were doors or windows or fireplace, ?? bears and other wild things in the woods. They had to go by marked trees to neighbors. Elisha was a carpenter and had to work for others to get money to buy doors and windows; and Hannah stayed in such a house all alone some nights when his work was too far away for him to get home.
One night she heard some one in the part of the house where the chimney was started, and a hole for the fireplace, and she called "Who's there?". He said, "It is I, Tommy Tinker". She said "Look out, I've got a trap there to catch rogues in"; he said "I guess I'm one - I'm in". He was a neighbor. But once when she was alone a big negro came and scared her most to death, she made believe.....
When her second child was 3 weeks old came that raid. The Union Village DAR book says it was in August 1776. Folks had heard the soldiers were coming, so they buried their pork in the garden that had been plowed so that it did not show where the ground had been disturbed; there were peas sowed. They had all agreed to go to a house on a hill when it was certain the soldiers were coming. Hannah took her baby and ran, but kept falling; she thought it was because she was frightened, ?till? she thought she was weak.... neighbors took charge of her boy, and...... for three weeks.
The Indians destroyed meal by throwing the bag across a pony's back and opening it so it would be scattered over the ground. Hannah hung her sunbonnet behind the door and when the Indians came and took the other one's bonnets they did not find hers. When she saw them taking the other's necklaces, she took hers off and put it in her work bag and sat the baby on it, and so saved the beads which her father gave her, which I now have.
The soldiers put their goods in a two-wheeled cart and set Elisha to drive the oxen, but he would not help to carry off his own stuff, so he made believe he did not know how to drive oxen, and tipped the cart over. So they called him a fool and set someone else at it. They took Hannah to a Tory's house in Canada, where she soon took hold to help; and they sent her for wine, which she helped herself to, and it helped her get strong. I understand she was kept there until fall and then allowed to come home. They let her have her old feather bed but claimed they could not find her new one; and she saw a girl making Indian meal mush in front of an open fire wearing her "calamink??" skirt all scorched, so she did not want that..
There are no more details but when she got home all they had to eat was the pork they buried in the garden and the peas that had got ripe and shelled out on the ground.
After this there seems to have been no special happening until there were seven children. Elisha Coon was then very low with consumption. His doctor told him to take a sea voyage, go to Cuba. Hannah went to New York and saw him on board a boat and bade him goodbye, never expecting to see him again; and she did not, for he died and was buried at sea. He made his will before going to sea, and willed his wife the use of 1/3 of his farm and to his son James 2/3; and James was to work his mother's 1/3 and he named numerous things that she should have for the use of her 1/3. I do not know how long James stayed on the place but after awhile he sold his 2/3 to Elihu Crandal; and Elisha had willed that when his wife died, the 1/3 should go with the 2/3 to son James, but as it went first to the 2/3, Crandal got it.
I do not know how long after Elisha died, the 8th child was born; she was the first Olive. When the two youngest children, Betsy and Olive, were from 6-8 years old, their mother married Bezaleel Grandy. He was a soldier and had a pension of $8.00 a month; he was a carpenter and built a frame house on the site of the old log house. Olive was married quite young, I think, to Oliver Bailey. She had two children, Hiram and Ann, and when Ann was two years old Olive died and Betsy had been married but a little while. She was asked to take Ann, which she did, and Ann immediately claimed her for a "ma" and she could not get her to call her "aunt". Ann said the other little girls had a ma, and she wanted a ma, although Betsy said she felt green to be called a ma, when she had no children of her own. She was "ma" to her ever after.
When Betsy's first child was born, she was the 2nd Olive. Betsy's husband was Simon Chubb; they lived in Troy, and when Ann was about 15, she went to live with her grandmother to held do the work. Ann was married Nov 17, 1833, and was 18 on Dec 25, 1833. After that another grandchild stayed with her until Betsy Chubb's family were all away, when she went to live with her mother. I do not know whether Grandy was alive then or not.
Emily has a book one of DAR neighbors loaned her that is a history of Greenwich from 1809 to 1909. They have what they could find out about Elisha and Hannah Coon. They tell of the raid when Mrs. Coon was taken prisoner, and they tell of two other times when she was taken and got away; but I never heard of any such thing.
Great grandmother died at the age of 95, a little while before I was born, which was Sept. 17, 1844. Grandma Chubb came with all the dishes and things the grandmother had willed Ma; got there about a week before I was born.
Hannah's children's names were: Elisha, the oldest, Billy Coon's grandfather James, I think Hannah was the oldest girl and married Ben Prosser; Sally married a Washburn; Anna died young, consumption; think one married a Henderson; and Betsy and Olive were the youngest."
Sarah Ann McClintock was the daughter of Ann Bailey Pullman granddaughter of Olive Coon Baily and great granddaughter of Hannah Nichols Coon.