[This is a document was written by my Aunt Mary Seat about her grandmother and my great grandmother. I annotated Aunt Mary’s manuscript in 2015 and made some slight revisions and updates in March 2021.]
My Grandmother – Rachel Jane Seat
By Mary Rachel Seat
Rachel Seat was the only grandparent I ever knew. She was not more than five feet tall, but had a lot of energy. She was the daughter of S.R. and Elizabeth Clark. They came [to Missouri] from Du Quoin, Illinois, during the early part of the Civil War. Rachel was about ten years old at the time. There was a boy two years younger than Rachel whom she always spoke of as Willie. There was another girl only two at the time. Some of the stories Grandma told us had to do with this journey.
The Clark family crossed the Mississippi River on a ferry which was pulled by horses on the Missouri side of the river. They were traveling by covered wagon pulled by horses and made camp at night. As they got farther into Missouri, they became more aware of the tension of the times. As they were eating breakfast one morning before starting the day’s journey, they were visited by a group of men on horseback. The men demanded that Grandfather Clark stand up on the tongue of his wagon and yell, “Hooray for Jim Lane!” The name meant nothing to Grandfather Clark, but he thought it best to comply. So he said, “If I must, Hooray for Jim Lane!” That seemed to satisfy the men, and they rode off without any further demands.
I think the Clark family already had relatives in the area to help them get settled. There was a small trading post that was called by a variety of names—Fairview or Grant’s Hill—before they finally decided to name it Denver. Great-grandmother Clark was a very devout woman. Since they didn’t know any religious services to attend, she decided they should set aside a day of rest and worship. She asked grandfather to go to town to get some supplies. When he came home, he reported that the store was closed because it was Sunday. Grandmother Clark was very embarrassed because she thought people would think they were heathens. She went ahead with her plan to observe a day of rest and worship but took pains to adjust her calendar so they would not make the same mistake again.
When Rachel was about 18 years old, she married William Seat. His family had first lived in Virginia, then in Tennessee. They had been slaveholders in the eastern states. There is a family record that two little boys in the family had been killed by a teen-aged slave. I don’t know if they brought the slaves to Missouri or not. Franklin Seat gave the land on which the New Hope Church was built. William was the oldest of his five sons.
In September 1880, William died of what they called dust pneumonia. He was 31 and his wife Rachel was 28. He died on his daughter Isabel’s ninth birthday; daughter Annie was seven, Elvis was five, George was not quite three, and baby Rella was born the following January. Among Rachel’s papers was what was called a coupon bond. It had been signed by William and Rachel on January 1, 1880. It was a note for $300.00 to be repaid within five years. It called for interest of nine percent to be paid every six months. Their 40-acre farm was listed as security for the note.
I feel sure that Grandmother Seat had a cow or two to furnish milk for her family, some hens to lay eggs, and that she probably raised some chickens for them to eat. No doubt she raised a garden and probably picked wild berries. I think it likely that her parents and her husband’s parents helped with clothing for the children. She told us of cutting cockleburs out of a farmer’s fields for something like fifty cents a week. She also told us of taking baby Rella to the field with her and putting her on a blanket at the end of the row under a tree where she could sleep while her mother worked. I don’t know if the older girls looked after the little boys or if she had other help.
Daughter Isabel married a local farm boy when she was about 18. His name was Jake Williams. He became their farmer for a couple of years. They had a baby boy whom they named Leslie. Isabel developed an infection that the doctors of that day could not treat effectively, and she died. Rachel took care of baby Leslie for about two years until his father married again. They moved to Montana, but when Leslie was grown, he often came back to visit our family. He was 12 years younger than George.
Rachel was a devout Christian, and the New Hope Church was near her home. They walked the quarter mile or so to church, but sometimes little boys’ legs got tired. Rachel cut stick horses for the little boys to ride, and that helped a lot. When Isabel was burning up with fever, she asked for different people to come to see her. She said she was going to Heaven and asked friends to join her. Some of Jake’s brothers were the ones she spoke to. She made such an impression on several people that when another church was built in the neighborhood, they named it the Isabel Church.
George was my father and he told us some stories of their life when he was a boy. Grandfather [Franklin] Seat gave Elvis and George each a sow so that the boys might raise some pigs. Unfortunately, the sows got cholera and died. As the boys dragged the sows off to a ditch where they could make a fire to burn the carcasses, Elvis cried because the sow was heavy to pull. He didn’t want to admit that he was crying for the loss of the sow. One summer when George was 12 or 13, he went to stay with a farm family that he didn’t know very well. He was to be a chore boy. I don’t think he was to get any wages, just some new clothes for school. He wondered if he did enough work to pay for the clothes, but there was one less mouth to feed at home.
Dad [George] used to tease Grandma [Rachel] about the widowers who came to court her. She said one man was so persistent that he told her she would be sorry if she didn’t marry him and that he would give her a new dress if she wasn’t sorry. She replied to Dad’s teasing by saying, “He never gave me the dress, but I was never sorry that I didn’t marry him.” Some of the grandchildren thought she was reluctant to remarry because she didn’t want any more children. Grandma lived to be more than 88 years old, and she was a widow for more than 60 years.
I never saw the house in which Grandma had raised her family. George had bought more land and that was not as close to the church as they had lived. Grandma told us about how she would toll the church bell when someone died. She would ring once and then wait till the sound died before she rang again. She rang the bell to indicate the age of the person who had died.
George was 26 when he was married in 1904. His mother had been his housekeeper before that time. He moved his bride into the house that was on the farm that he had bought. I know that Dad had worked away from home as a young man. He probably went to school for about six years. He told us that he got as far as interest and that he had been paying interest ever since. He could help us with our problems when we needed help. I think Uncle Elvis had dropped out of school earlier.
Grandma sold her small farm in 1914. She thought we should have a car so proposed to George that she would buy the car if he would be the driver and pay all expenses on the car. That was how we got our first Model T Ford. Grandma was very popular as a woman who was available to help any family who had a new baby. When I was a freshman in high school in Grant City, she took a job caring for an old woman. The house had several rooms. Grandma slept downstairs close to the old woman’s bedroom and my sister [Florence] and I had a room upstairs. I am sure my folks furnished food for us to eat, but Grandma did most of our cooking.
My sister was two years older than I. She had graduated from the eighth grade before the folks wanted to make arrangements for her to go to high school, so she went back to the country school for a year. Grandma’s grandson, Leslie Williams, had been wounded in World War I and was in the army hospital in Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Grandma wanted very much to go to see him, so Florence was elected to go with her. When Leslie was released from the hospital, he came to visit our family.
Grandma was a restless sort of person. We lived at least three miles from the church. When we went to church to practice for a Children’s Day program, we had to walk since Mama didn’t drive. It was a relief when Florence learned to drive. On Sundays, Grandma would get ready and start out to walk. Sometimes a neighbor would give her a ride. When we caught up with her, Dad would pretend that he wasn’t going to stop for her and act surprised that she wanted to ride.
Grandma never wanted to see anything go to waste. Vera is brother Curtis’s widow, and she has good memories of Grandma. She would go to pick gooseberries in the pasture, stop at Vera’s and suggest that they stem the berries which she picked for Vera. On some land that Dad had rented, one hillside was covered with wild blackberries. I didn’t like to pick them because of the thorns. Grandma would pick a huge bucket of the berries, but she expected someone to come and meet her with the car to bring the berries back to the house. She climbed a small apple tree when she was 80 to get a nice apple so it didn’t fall down and get bruised.
The sudden death of my mother in 1937 was a shock to my grandmother, as well as to the rest of the family. Florence was teaching in the high school in Gower, Mo. I was teaching in a country school near Allendale, Mo. My brother Curtis and his wife were living on a farm not far from our parents. My brother Hollis and his wife were living in Grant City, Mo. Hollis was working in the lumberyard with his father-in-law. They had bought an old house and had done a lot of remodeling. They had a baby boy on September 16. On the morning of September 21, Dad and his hired hand were preparing to go to a pasture where Dad had cattle to fix some fence. Mama was fixing some lunch for them to take along. Grandma was eating her breakfast. The hired man came into the house, and found my mother lying on the floor. He called to Dad who had not come into the house, then quickly phoned Curtis’s wife. I think they got to my parents’ house almost as soon as Dad got into the house.
Dad sent the hired man to get me. I had not yet started to school. When he gave me the message that my mother had died, I said, “You mean my Grandma, don’t you?” After all, my mother was only 56 years old, and Grandma was more than 80 years old. Hollis and Helen’s baby boy did not seem to be doing well, and Hollis took him to the hospital in Maryville. The doctor who examined him said his liver had ceased to function, and Hollis brought back a dead baby. He was buried in our mother’s casket.
We were able to hire an elderly woman as a housekeeper. However, she had a grandson whose wife died in childbirth, so she had to leave us and keep house for him. We tried to keep a housekeeper, but some of the young girls were not very reliable. Curtis and Vera moved our Maytag washer to their place, and Vera did the washing for both families. When I came home on weekends, I did the ironing as well as other work. We didn’t want Grandma to be in the house alone because we burned wood in the stove, and we were afraid she might get herself on fire. I offered to resign my job and come home to keep house, but Dad would not hear of it. He was not very well himself and needed a man to help him. Dad was not a very good cook and depended on fried eggs for most of his meals when we didn’t have anyone to do the cooking. He was a good hand at washing dishes though, and I knew there would not be a lot of dirty dishes when I came home on the weekend.
Florence taught for 14 years and decided to take off a year. At the end of that time, she married a widower who had a son who was about 16 years old. Hollis and Helen had another baby boy who was a precious child, very smart. In the meantime I encouraged Dad to marry again. I guess I helped him pick out his wife. She had been a widow for a number of years and had a daughter who was a senior in high school and a son who was in the eighth grade. I readily turned over the home duties to her. She was very good to Grandma who had now passed her 88th birthday.
Grandma enjoyed having her grandchildren around her. Her daughter Annie had married Noah Williams, who was a brother to Jake Williams who had married Isabel. I never heard her mention Noah much, but she did say that he was mean to Annie. Annie died young. Rella married Frank Campbell. People were going to the West in those days. They first went to Canada but then moved to the state of Washington. They had two children, Marie and Walter. Their mother died when they were young. Grandma had made one trip to visit them before Rella died.
Uncle Elvis and his wife had four daughters and one son. The girls were all older than I was. Lawrence was several months younger than I. He was about four years older than my brother Curtis, but they were good friends. When their older girls were old enough to go to high school, they moved to Albany. Uncle Elvis could not get work there so when our house was remodeled in the summer of 1916, Uncle Elvis came up to work on the house, and went home on weekends. Later, they came back to the farm and Uncle Elvis put in a corn crop. This time, they moved to Grant City and Grandma kept house for Uncle Elvis until he got his corn harvested. George and Elvis then rented more land together, and the Elvis Seat family moved into a larger house there. Their two older girls were married by then, and didn’t finish high school. One of my great nieces asked what a girl did if she didn’t go to high school. My best answer was that there were always younger brothers or sisters for her to help with. If she was one of the younger girls in the family, she would have older sisters who were married and she would help with their children.
Grandma was free to admit that George was her favorite child. She thought it too bad that poor George had to work so hard to send the girls to high school. Florence was a better student than I was because I was sick quite a bit. When we were in high school, they offered a class in teacher training. After taking the course and taking an examination, we could get a certificate to teach for two years. For the next few years, we taught in the winter months and went to Maryville to take college classes during the summer.
Florence taught three years in a country school and then went to college two years to finish getting her degree. She then got a job teaching in the high school in Hopkins, Mo. She then went to Gower, Mo., and taught there three years. She insisted that I finish my degree and loaned me money to finish. The years of the 1930s were hard times on the farmers. Florence loaned our father money. Many of the farmers in that neighborhood lost their farms as they had borrowed too much money that they could not repay. Dad said that he would have lost the farm if Florence had not loaned him money.
When Grandma was past 80 years old, if someone asked her age, she would say, ”I’ll be 84 on the second day of October.” Then she would ask if that was right. She was past her 88th birthday when Dad married Alma Parsons. She was still fairly active. However, one day she stepped off a step outside the kitchen door and sat down rather hard. We got her into bed and called the local doctor. She didn’t have any broken bones, but her 88-year-old body had received quite a shock. Dad, Alma, and I watched over her the night she died. It was June 14, 1941. She had outlived my mother more than three years. I felt sure that her greeting in heaven was, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant enter now into the joy of the Lord.”
 Samuel Robert Clark was born in Perry County, Illinois, on August 27, 1830, and died in Worth County, Missouri, on May 23, 1907. He and Elizabeth Ramsey married on January 3, 1851. She was born in St. Clair County, Ill., on January 3, 1832, and died in Worth County on January 25, 1916. Rachel Jane, their first child, was born on October 2, 1852, in Perry County.
 William Alva Clark was born on August 27, 1854, and died on August 14, 1896, and is buried back in Du Quoin, Ill. Emma Rebecca Clark was born on February 21, 1861, and died on March 22, 1937, and is buried in New Hope Cemetery in Worth County, Mo., as are her parents and her sister Rachel.
 At this time, James Henry (Jim) Lane (1814~66) was a U.S. Senator from Kansas and also a brigadier general of volunteers for the Union. Lane was the target of the event of August 21, 1863, that became known the Lawrence Massacre (or Quantrill’s Raid). It was largely in retaliation for what is known as the Lane-led Sacking of Osceola (Missouri), on September 23, 1861. The Clark family’s encounter with the Lane supporters was sometime between those two events.
 William Littleton Seat was born on October 15, 1849, in the part of Gentry County, Mo., that later became Worth County. His grandfather, Littleton, was born in Virginia in 1788 and around the turn of the century migrated with his birth family to Davidson County, Tennessee. Then around 1820, Littleton and two of his brothers migrated to Cooper County, Missouri. He died in what was still Gentry County, Mo., on July 25, 1845. Grandson William Littleton and Rachel Jane Clark were married on November 5, 1870.
 Two years and a half before Littleton was born, on April 13, 1786, Henry and Miles, his older brothers, were killed by a 13-year-old slave boy named Clem. Henry was nine and a half years old, and Miles would have turned five the next day. It seems quite certain that the Seat family brought slaves with them when they migrated to Tennessee. But there is no indication that Littleton or the two brothers who came to Missouri with him brought any slaves with them. Later on, Littleton’s nephews in Cooper County became Union soldiers.
 Littleton’s first child was named Franklin Wadsworth; he was born on March 21, 1818 and died on June 21, 1905. The land for the church and the adjoining cemetery was given in 1877, and the first person to be buried there was Franklin’s mother, Elizabeth (Montgomery). She was born on June 19, 1795, and died on March 8, 1878. Franklin’s brothers were James Thomas (1851~1919), John Henry (1855~82), Joseph Riley (1863~1942), and Samuel Jasper (1865~81). Franklin also had threesisters: Sarah Elizabeth (1845~58), Mary Ann (1848~81; married John Alder), and Icyphena Jane (1860~1901; married a Kent).
 Isabel Tempe was born on September 9, 1871; Anna (Annie) M. was born in February 1873; Elvis Irvin was born on August 1, 1875; George Sylvester was born on January 20, 1878; and Rella Ruemma was born in January 1881.
 Isabel married Jacob Theodore (Jake) Williams (1867~1951) on February 7, 1889. Leslie Ernest was born in1890 and died in 1969.
 George married Laura Magdalena Neiger (born in Worth County on March 24, 1881) on April 28, 1904. Her father was Christian Leopold Neiger (born in Switzerland in 1840) and her mother was Margaret Abplanalp (born in Indiana in 1840).
 Florence Margaret Seat was born on March 30, 1905, and Mary Rachel Seat was born on May 30, 1907. Their parents’ farm was a little over four miles southeast of Allendale in the Dry school district. It was about eleven miles to the county seat town of Grant City—which was quite a distance when the dirt roads were muddy.
 His was a serious leg injury that resulted in amputation at the knee. Leslie sustained that injury on the first morning he was sent into battle. When someone remarked about his unfortunate injury happening so soon, he replied that he was actually fortunate, for those who were not injured that morning were killed that afternoon.
 Actually, the distance from the Seat home to New Hope Church was less than two miles, but it must have seemed like three miles when they had to walk there. And the church was not as far away as the Dry School that the Seat children attended.
 Curtis Neiger Seat was George and Laura Seat’s third child. He was born on April 8, 1912, and married Vera Clarabelle Hardy (1913~2008) on April 8, 1934. He died on June 12, 1981.
 Hollis Clark Seat, born on March 21, 1915, was the fourth and last of the Seat children. He married Helen Lena Cousins (1914~2008) on May 12, 1935. She was the daughter of Ray and Laura Cousins. Their baby boy was named Gary Louis. Hollis died on July 26, 2007.
 Florence married LeRoy Houts (1893~2953) on September 23, 1940. His son was James Lyle (1925~2016).
 Leroy Kay Seat was born on August 15, 1938.
 George married Alma Parsons (1893~1958) on February 18, 1941. Her children were Elizabeth June (1922~92, married Donald Hartchen) and Robert Roy (1927~2005).
 Annie married Noah Richard Williams (1869~1958) were married on March 17, 1892. Annie died on January 12, 1905, and is buried in New Hope Cemetery.
 Rella and Frank Arthur Campbell (1882~1971) were married on August 10, 1903. Their daughter was Marie Edna (1904~76), and their son was Walter C. (1906~83). Rella died on February 26, 1912.
 Elvis and Matilda A. Hill (1879~1959) were married on September 30, 1897. Their children were Sidney Vera (1899~1987; married Henry Delroy Dickey), Averil Inez (1901~82; married Herbert Everett Morris), Annie Martha (1903~92; married William Kenneth Spreckelmeyer), Lillian Violet (1906~2000; married Allan Harold Barringer), and Lawrence Littleton (1908~88).
 Florence’s first school was the Neiger School, two miles east of Denver, Missouri. That school was named after her maternal grandfather, Christian Leopold Neiger, and near where her mother lived as a girl. Florence died on November 8, 1976.
 Mary Rachel Seat died on April 4, 2000, and is buried in New Hope Cemetery as are her mother and father as well as Grandma Rachel and Grandpa William.