By Dorothy Quinlan Waldsmith - 1971

write_letter FOREWARD

A few days ago I received a book, "These Are The McCreights", edited by a distant, but now cherished cousin, James Edward McCreight. It arrived about noon. Hours later I was still absorbed, when hunger pangs bro't the present into focus. He wrote a good letter also, asking for some early family data, and about my two grand-daughters, who are the only remaining twigs on my slim branch of the tree. He said the three booklets my uncle, M.I.McCreight, wrote about our part of the family, had helped him in assembling his mass of material.

The book bro't back priceless memories about the clan of John Winslow and Eliza McCreight, with whom I've had a life-long love affair. I sent him pictures of my beloved grand-parents. I told him I didn't dare say a word about them, or I'd write a book. And now I know the truth of the saying, "You ain't got the sense you was born with", because at the tender age of seventy-seven, I want to record some of my memories of the family, hoping that my grand-daughters may read them, and feel a little closer to their forbears.

I will write only about John, Eliza, and their children. Aunt Sue, and the wives of their sons, were like mothers to me. They seemed much like my own mother, who was the youngest of the family. Their children have been much like brothers and sisters I never had, yet never missed, because of them.

Their Family Tree

JOHN WINSLOW McCREIGHT tree_with_roots

John was the son of Andrew. His mother, Ann, was the daughter of Captain Andrew Sharp who served under Washington. They married in 1812, and were the earliest settlers in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. They had thirteen children. Six stalwart bewhiskered sons took sections of land adjoining the home farm They called the settlement, "Paradise".

Their son, John Winslow, born in 1821, married Eliza Ludwig Uncapher, whose earliest ancestor to come to America from Germany, was Count Zinzindorf. Molly Pitcher belonged to the same Ludwig family. They were married October 7, 1851. They had twelve children. Six lived to maturity: Susan, Aunt Sue; Joseph, Uncle Joe; William, Uncle Bill; Major Israel, Uncle Maj; Benjamin Bruce, Uncle Bruce; and Mary Lillibell, Lill, my mother.

John was a lumberman, and a good one. I remember being shown a gigantic stump, by the side of the road near Reynoldsville. The marker read, "Felled by Honestsmallpine John McCreight and Wes Murphy." According to Uncle Maj's careful records, it was thought to be the largest pine in the state. He said it took six teams of oxen to haul it to the Sandy, where it was floated to the Allegheny and Pittsburgh. From there, down the Ohio to Cincinnati, where it was cut into ship-lap. It sold for $308.00. When I was a child, Grandmother told me about a wild cat jumping from a tree and clawing the hind quarters of her horse, as she rode thru the woods to take Grandfather his lunch. They had to ride to Reynoldsville for supplies, and when it was necessary to go, John would say, "Liza, can't you contrive?' Grandfather prospered. When he retired, his eldest daughter and her husband, Milligan McCloud McAdoo, took over the farm, and John and Eliza moved to DuBois. They built a spacious home on Brady Street, flanked on either side by two magnificent maple trees. I've been told that Grandfather and Uncle Maj helped establish the Deposit National Bank.

My first recollection of him is of sitting on his lap, braiding his long white whiskers into little pigtails, and tying them with my dolls' baby ribbons. I also used a needle the first time, in sewing white buttons on his black sateen shirt. Grandmother said he started downtown, unknowingly bedecked in ribbons, buttons and bows. I was his shadow. I held onto one finger as we walked to see our relatives. One special treat was to go over to Uncle Bruce's home on Main Street, when Aunt Lill invited us for chicken and noodles. He bro't me the first baby chick I ever saw, in my slipper. He also bribed the Easter bunny into leaving me a pair of beautiful white rabbits that soon had a clan of their own beside the grape arbor.

Grandfather was as serenely calm as small Eliza was quick and fiery. When the weirdfireman frightening fire whistle shrieked during the night, Eliza hurried into a robe and slippers and dashed outside, where she could check her sons' homes; Grandfather would put his hand on the wall, and if it wasn't hot, he'd go back to sleep.

One holiday morning, my father and I were the first to join him at the table, while Grandmother was finishing breakfast. Father asked him if he'd had a good night. In his slow deliberate way he said, "Ambrose, I just couldn't seem to get to sleep. I tossed and turned and---". Just then Eliza called in from the kitchen, "Now, John, you slept just like a baby! Just like a baby!" As Mother came in she said, "Morning, Dad, how do you feel this morning?" He calmly turned to Grandmother, who was bringing in our buckwheat cakes and sausage, and said, "Liza, HOW do I feel today?"

Grandfather died July 23, 1900. We hurried home from Akron. Grandmother's grief was too deep for tears.

B. 11 July 1821 † D. 23 July 1900.

Eliza McCreight

The summer Grandfather died, I was six years old. It was time for school. My father was overseeing the laying of pipelines from West Virginia to Akron, Ohio, where he later piped the Rubber City for gas. Since he and Mother were "on the move", it was natural that I stay with Eliza. I became a happy first-grader at the second ward school. Eliza was tiny. She wore full black taffeta dresses with a touch of ruching at the throat. Her tiny black bonnets had narrow ribbon ties, and were trimmed with either pansies or violets. To see this dainty little lady, you couldn't guess the strength and fire her small frame encompassed. My teacher gave me a permission slip for smallpox vaccination, for her to sign. Instead of writing her name, she wrote, "Unnecessary punishment". Another time at a family gathering, she said forcefully, "Thank Heaven, I raised my family before they had such things as microbes and trained nurses!"

Grandmother's home was home to all her children and grandchildren. Uncle Maj and Uncle Bruce lived in DuBois, Aunt Sue McAdoo was a few miles away in Paradise. Uncle Joe was a dentist in nearby Ridgway. Uncle Bill had a lung condition, spent much of his time in Arizona and Florida, but he, too, frequently came home. He was her greatest concern. Many times, especially on holidays, her house seemed filled to overflowing, but a warm welcome was always waiting for every member of the family. I lived with her during my first two years in school. Then Dad and Mother settled in Akron. However, most every summer vacation was spent in her home. I'd take off to visit relatives, but returned before long, to Eliza. I have often wondered how many of us were smugly sure we came first with our grandmother.

Grandmother and Grandfather spent several winters in Arizona with Uncle Bill, as the climate there seemed best for his health. At first they lived in an adobe house, like the hogans of their Indian neighbors. Later, Grandfather had lumber hauled fifty miles to build one of wood. They lived near Kingman, and in Chloride. Their neighbors were the Wallopi and the Mojaves.

After Grandfather died, Grandmother continued to go west for a few winters. Her zest for living and vigor seemed to be undiminished. She crossed the Mojave Desert riding a burro, like the rest of the group. She was the oldest, and one of the few white women who had climbed Schrum's Peak, near Chloride, 7766 ft. above sea level. She always came home bearing gifts, in addition to the turquoise matrix and cacti we always expected. One year she sent an Indian runner to the Navajo reservation for beautiful blankets for Aunt Sue and Mother, and for chiefs' blankets for her sons. She bro't Indian cradles, "kamotes", for her grand-daughters. All of them got new ones but me. Mine was old, with a soft fiber mat laced together with pounded yucca. It had belonged to Chief Schrum of the Wallopi nation. His thirteen children had been nursed in it.

When Eliza was nearing her eightieth birthday, a small skin cancer on her forehead became a problem. Uncle Maj decided that she should go to Dr. Pancost, an authority in that area. He sent his oldest son, Don, and Aunt Sue's oldest daughter, Bertha, with her to New York City. They arrived on Sunday. Her operation was scheduled for Tuesday. My cousins supposed she'd want to go to a hotel to rest, but when Don asked her what she wanted to do, she said, "Don, I've never been to Coney Island, that's where I'd like to go." Needless to say, she loved it. On their way back, they passed a cabaret. Eliza said pointedly, "I've never been to a cabaret". So, in they went, and at the next table sat a very young girl, with her knees crossed, smoking a cigarette. Eliza leaned over, tapped her gently on the knee, and said firmly, "Now you go home! Go on home to your mother!" She went. The news commentator, O.O. McIntyre, was there and recorded the incident in full in his nationally syndicated column. Her operation, with just a local anesthetic, was entirely successful, and the trip was another adventure. The following May 10th., her birthday, we had our last, and the largest reunion I can remember. It was at a picnic grounds called Hands Park. She seemed truly to be 80 years young.

Grandmother died July 2, 1918 at Uncle Maj's home. She was buried beside her husband in the McCreight cemetery in Paradise. For so small a lady, she left so great a vacuum. In a wonderful way, she had seemed to belong, solely, to each one of us.

B. 10 May 1830 † D. 2 July 1918.

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