An American Revolutionary Daughter
The following article is from
The Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society,
Vol XXI, No. 4, Published January 1929
Transcribed by K. Torp
Mrs T. Catherine Harrell Dartt, of Maunie, Illinois, the daughter of Joel Harroll [sic], a Revolutionary soldier, is the only living "Real Daughter of the American Revolution in Illinois." There are but fourteen now living, in the United States.
In 1918, Mrs. Harriett J. Walker published a contribution to the unwritten history of the State of Illinois, under the title of "Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Illinois." There were about 668 names with their service and authentic record. A few years later, Mrs. Walker published a supplement list in the Illinois State Historical Journal and in this list will be found under "White County,"____
Joel Harrell was born in Betie County, North Carolina, in 1748. He enlisted in Martin County, North Carolina, serving three months in Captain May's Company. He removed to Botetourt County, Virginia, and in August, 1781, served two months under Major Lochard and was at the siege of Yorktown. he came to White County, Illinois, and there, April 3, 1843, applied for a pension, but not having served six months it was not granted. He died June 30, 1846.
Bureau of Pensions.
Through the suggestion of Mrs, Chalon T. Land of Enfield, White County, Illinois a non-resident member of the Springfield Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, an effort was made to have the grave of Joel Harrell officially marked. It was then urged that Mrs. Dartt become a member of the Daughter of the American Revolution, whereby she might receive the pension granted to a "Real Daughter" by the National Society.
Joel Harrell lies buried in the Enfield Cemetery, Enfield, Illinois. the grave is marked by a crumbling field stone, upon which is rudely carved
R. V. Solger [sic]
|Joel Harrell was an old man when Catherine was born. He had reached the age when a man likes
to sit before the fire and recall the adventures of his youth. Joseph Hawthorne, who lived on a nearby farm, was
an old friend and comrade in arms during the Revolution. Those two aged veterans spent many hours together talking
over the days when they served under General Washington and had marched, leaving the strains from their bleeding
feet upon the snow. Little Catherine listened, entranced, to these reminiscences, and when he died June 30, 1846,
these stories were so deeply graven upon her memory, that she has never forgotten them, and for her grand-children
she still weaves enchanting tales of when their "Great=grand Pappy" was a Revolutioner.
Joel Harrell and his family came to Illinois from Kentucky in 1817. Among the very earliest land grants recorded in White County is,--Joel Harrell, S. W. quarter of section 2 T. 5 R. 8 East, November 25, 1817. After the father's death, the family continued to live on this farm, near Enfield. From the log cabin, the sons and daughters were married, Dolly to James Patterson, Clarn to Thomas Cameron, Betsy to James Cameron, Josiah to Melissa Patterson, Jeremiah to Polly Childers, Sally to James Smith, Rebecca Jane to Joseph W. Markley, Kitty Todd (named for her paternal grand- mother) to James Sweetin, Peter to Sally Weeks, (their romance was short-lived for Peter answered President Lincoln's call for volunteers and died after the Battle of Shiloh) and Talitha Catherine the youngest child and subject of our sketch, married to John Parnell Dartt.
Autobiography of Catherine Harrell Dartt as told to Mrs. Chalon T. Land on a recent visit to "Aunt Cassie" as she is affectionately called by all who know her.
Talitha Catherine Harrell was born near where the village of Enfield, ILL., now stands, August 16, 1836, the year of Van Buren's election. Her father died when she was ten years old but the mother kept the family together until the year after Catherine's marriage.
Catherine was married to John Parnell Dartt on May 19, 1853. They had planned to marry on Thursday the 23d, but fearing a charivari they ran away to McLeansboro in an ox cart and were quietly married there to outwit their many friends. The wedding dress was of lawn with alternate stripes of green and white. Through the white stripes ran two rows of tiny red roses. The waist was high with a loose bodice, made in the empire style. The skirt was full and swept the ground, for as Mrs. Dartt says "Gals in them days was ashamed to show their feet let alone their knees." With this flowered frock, the bride wore a deep leghorn bonnet. Everyone wore a bonnet in those days. Shaker bonnets made of straw could be bought from the stores, but many of the bonnets were made at home.. The tails were so long that they formed a shoulder cape, and some extended even to the waist line.
For a year after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Dartt continued to live with old Mrs. Harrell. Then the old farm was sold to Harrison Robinson and the family, including Mrs. Harrell, the mother, and a brother, Joel, moved to the new home not far away. The old house had had two rooms of hewn logs, with a hall through the center. The floor of this hall was of dirt and a log was lain from the door of one cabin to the other for passage. The new home at first had only one room, but another room was added when the family grew larger. Mrs. Harrell lived with her daughter for many years. Her death followed soon after the birth of the youngest of the Dartt children.
The brother, Joel was somewhat of a miser. Since the nearest bank was at Shawneetown, ILL, he kept his fold in a sack---Just before his death, he went to the orchard with his store of gold, and returned without it. Mrs. Dartt still thinks that somewhere on the farm this buried treasure will be found.
Life in those days was made up mostly of hard work--- Mrs. Dartt worked in the field many a day--She plowed, hoed corn and cared for a garden, looked after the chickens, milked and churned, All this besides the work in the house. Ten children were born to John and Catherine Dartt, and five of them were grown before a sewing machine was even used in the house. All the clothes for the boys and girls were labouriosly stitched by hand. In facer Mrs. Dartt had even made her husband's wedding suit. They had two spinning wheels and raised their own cotton, flax and wool. The loom was kept busy weaving cloth. Candles were made from beef tallow. The cotton was corded and spin for the wicks, and tallow, too, was used though it had to be mixed with lard, for the deer tallow was too hard, used alone, and would "shiver off" in the cold weather. The flax had to be broken before it was ready for the hackle. Mrs. Dartt can explain every step, from the planting of the flax, to the taking of the woven cloth from the loom and maki9ng it into clothing.
Until after the Civil War there were lots of game in the woods. After night they would call the old "Houn Dog," and start off on a coon hunt. Many a time has she sat all night by a fire waiting for daylight to shoot the treed coon. She also went deer hunting. Her husband would sometimes kill four or five in a day. They would bend down the nearest suitable sapling, tie the deer's hind legs together and tie it to the top of the sapling. Then when they turned it loose the deer would hang high out of the reach of marauding animals. When a big snow was on, they would take the sled and a team of oxen and go after their fame, Quite often they would have us many as ten pairs of venison hams hanging in the smoke house at one time.
When Mrs. Dartt's children started to school they had to "sign" and "pay" $1.25 a year for each child. Often, instead of money, the teacher would accept other things worth that amount.
Mrs. Dartt now lives with her daughter, Mrs. Robert Lamar in Maunie ILL, on the banks of the Wabash River. She is able to gel around the house in a wonderful way for a woman of her advanced years. She finds he way around the yard, though her eyesight is too dim for sewing of any kind. Her tall figure is stooped from with and age.
She loves to talk and takes a lively interest in everything that concerns her family today.
She has always been an ardent Democrat, and has voted ever since the women have been given the franchise, and she says she thins she had some influence on the way her husband voted before they thought women were smart enough to vote. But this year, 1928, in November, she voted for Mr. Hoover. Mrs, Dartt knows from experience what "hard liquor" does and she hopes to cast a vote against it.
There is no religious tolerance in her decision, for her husband was a Catholic and is buried in the Catholic cemetery. The children however embraced the Protestant faith.
The children of John and Catherine Dartt
On last Memorial Day Mrs. Dartt came to Enfield, ILL., as is her custom, to visit her father's grave. For almost a hundred years this grave has been marked by a field stone, but now a bronze tablet surmounts the old field stone. This tablet was presented by Mrs. Isaac D. Rawlings, Regent of the Springfield, Ill., Chapter of the D.A.R. Dedication services were held on Memorial Day. The program was very impressive. Patriotic songs were sung by a group of school children, a biography of Joel Harrell was read by Rev. John Newman of Enfield, and an address was given by Judge J.M. Endicott of Carmi, ILL. Mrs. Dartt shared the honors of the day with four Civil War veterans.
It was touching to see the joy with which she greeted old friends whom she had not met for years. Their faces were indistinct because of her failing sight, but many she could name when she heard their voices. After the services she and her son visited the grave of the Revolutionary hero. It was just at sunset, the flags were drooping, and it was pitiful, the grief of the old, old woman for the father who had died when she was only a child, but whose memory is yet so vivid to her.
Through the efforts of the Springfield Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, a beautiful white marble headstone, a gift of the United States Government, will replace the crumbling one, which has stood so many years. It was to have been delivered October first, 1928, but has been delayed. The application goes through a long routine, but we can safely say that it will be placed at the grave of Joel Harrell before next Memorial Day.