I, Catherine Bassett, was born in Dearborn County, Indiana, on June 13th. 1822 and moved with my parents
to Shelby County in 1826, and lived in Shelby County until near 1837; then moved to Carroll County, Missouri, with
my sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester
Bassett. We went in wagons pulled
by oxen. We were on the road six weeks, and had quite a nice trip, considering the roads and the slow travel. We
traveled with Mormons for quite a while, and they were very nice people, and we were treated well by them. The country
was almost a wilderness and the roads rough, nevertheless we enjoyed it.
On August 30th. 1837, I was married to Jonah Bassett. In December of the same year, we came back to Shelby County, as we did not like old Missouri very well. We then thought there was no place like old Shelby County, and I have never had any reason to change my mind, since that time.
I have three children living, and three dead. I have sixteen grandchildren and thirty-three great-grand-children. When I moved to this county with my parents in a two-wheeled oxcart, as we traveled, we had to follow the trail by the big trees being "blazed". If we did not, we would have got lost in the wilderness, as there was not much land cleared then. Only here and there a little settlement and they were few and far apart. We moved on a piece of land near Lewis Creek. It was nothing but woods. Father built a log house and cleared up some land, and built sheds and raised some corn, some wheat, and some flax. He did most of the work with a hoe. Sometimes we would have a big "log-rolling," with a big dinner cooked by the old fire-place. We had all the wild game we wanted to cook, such as venison, wild turkeys, and wild hogs. Father was a good hunter and a good marksman.
I will relate a few little indicents that I remember. First, a snake story. We had some snakes in those days. Some of the people ran into a big snake in the woods. It was a very large one. They were badly frightened, and ran to the house and told father, and asked him to get a gun and shoot it, as it was too big to tackle with a club. He said he was not afraid of any snake that ever crawled. He killed it, but wished for his gun before he did, as it was a rattlesnake eight feet and three inches long and measured twenty-three inches around the thickest part, and had twenty seven rattles and a button.
When I first saw Shelbyville, it was not then laid out as a town. It was simply a field, with a lot of stumps on it. No sidewalks; just mud roads, and about twelve log cabins. There was no courthouse, and no jail. We did not need them then, as everybody was good and behaved themselves. John Walker owned the mill, a log mill, and very rough at that. It was run by a horse in a treadmill. (Some mills wasn't.)
I will tell you of a little experience I had with some wild hogs. One day, tow of my cousins went to the Spring to get some water. When we were coming back, we were attacked by three wild hogs. We made a run for a for a fence, and two of us got over safely, but Cousin Jane, being a little slower, the hogs caught her tore almost all her clothes off. But we succeeded in getting her up safely. Father and some men trailed those hogs for half a day before they killed them.
Our only way of going any place was to walk, or ride in a big wagon, or on horseback. That was the way we went to Church. We did not have any Church-house in those days, but had meetings at a neighbor's house, and the next time at some other neighbor's. Just to think how wild the country was then! Some times, when I was riding a horse through the woods, the wolves would follow me. I remember, one time, when I was riding through the woods, some wolves followed me, and when I got home, I otld father a lot of dogs had followed me. I did not then know they were wolves. They had killed some sheep and were not hungry, so did not attack me.
Dr Kipper was our first doctor. He lived in Shelbyville, uptown, in one of the fine houses we had in those days, a log cabin built of round logs. John Walker and Sam Walker were our first storekeepers, as we called them at that time. Their stock of goods consisted generally of one sack of coffee, and one barrel of sugar, one bolt of calico, one bolt of musling and a few other things about in proportion to the stock named. You did not need much money to go shopping in those days, nor did it take very long to make your selections. My first schoolteacher was Carey Brown. I walked two miles to school, over mud roads and through woods. Our most prominent citizens were David Thatcher, Wm. Colescott, and Dr. Morris, the latter being the oldest resident. My first teachings of the Bible were by my mother, whose father was a Baptist minister. She would gather us around her on Sundays and read to us out of the Bible and sing to us those old religious songs which most of us like to hear yet.
I joined the Methodist Church when I was about ninteen years old, and later became a charter member of the First Baptist Church of Shelbyville. I am the only one of the charter members now living. I have lived in Shelby County for eighty-six years.
The years of my life have been many, but they have quickly passed. I may possibly live to meet with you again next year; if not, I hope we may all meet in the great Reunion beyond, where there will be no parting. So good-by, and may God guide you through life, as He has me, and may His richest blessings rest upon you, is my prayer.