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September 2, 1969

The following is a copy of a letter written by
Laura (Ziegler) Lewallen in 1924 at age 61, Parenthetical
statements were added by the copier ...Norval F. Ziegler

My great grand-father was a full-blooded German.
He was a Ziegler, born and educated in Germany, and came to
this country just after the Revolutionary War. I don't know
his name, but think it was William. He was wealthy and had
a fine library which he brought with him. I heard Father say
his books lined the library walls from floor to ceiling- all
in the German langauge. He bought land and settled in Virginia
near Richmond. He planted a large vineyard and was a wine
maker by trade. That was an honorable occupation in those
days. He raised a large family. Part of the boys went to Ohio
when they grew up. That was far West then, and the Land was
new and good. They settled large estates and prospered. A lot
of their off-spring are still prospering. One of them, John
Ziegler, a civil engineer, came down thru Tennessee in 1880
engineering the Cinncinnati-Southern RR to Chattanooga from
Cinncinnati. He was a fine man and a second cousin to my father.

The ones who stayed in Virginia did not prosper as well. The
land there was not good and they went back (came?) to Tennessee.
was (Jacob Johram)  I think my grandfather's name^Johram Ziegler. 
He was a whiskey distiller which was an honorable occupation then. 
He married Mary Rasson. She was of Scotch descent and had red hair and
brown eyes. They had 6 boys and one daughter. They named
her Polly and she had red hair like her mother. The boys were
named Mike, Johram, Jacob, Benjamin, Joseph, and William.
Although their father was a distiller, they were all sober men
and Christians. One of Father's aunts was married to one
Benjamin Tisen. Johram, Mike, and Benjamin, my father, were
farmers. Joe was a fine blacksmith and had many prizes won
at fairs for fine work. Jacob was a Baptist preacher and
William was shot dead when a child while plowing by Wils
Jordan for no reason at all. Grandfather died in Virginia and
the family moved to East Tennessee about 1840. Think Father was a tobacco grower. He
drank from Sulphur Springs on his way to Knoxville and it was
all alone in the forest and it is now a health resort. Father
liked the country where he passed and went home and moved his
widowed mother and children to McMinn Co., Tennessee, near Athens.
Just across the ridge from them lived Widow Mansell with 6
daughters and 3 sons. Then Mike and Ben married two Mansell
girls. Then John Mansell married their sister, Polly and took
her to Fanin Co., Texas, where their children now live. Two of
the cousins from Virginia came to Tennessee and married two more
of the Mansell girls and settled in McMinn Co. near Athens. 
Someof Mike's and Melinda's children and grandchildren are in 
Shawnee,Oklahoma, now. My father was in the Mexican War, but
was 48 when the Civil War broke out so was exempted. My older
brother, Joseph Ziegler served 4 years. I don't know what would
have become of us for Mother was an invalid and the children
were small, Ben was 16 and the only one old enough to help. It
kept Father busy keeping him from running away and joining the
Confederate soldiers. Once Father got him as he was boarding the
train. Father had taken the oath of allegiance and if Ben had
gone it would have gone hard witn Father. I was born in 1863
during those bad times, I was the youngest of ten children.
There were 7 girls and 3 boys. Father had a nice farm on Mouse
Creek near Athens during the War. When Sherman made his march
to the sea, his men took all of Father's fine horses and anything
else they wanted. Father sold the farm to get money to buy
more stock and became a renter. He never owned another farm.

Mother died in 1879 and was buried in a beautiful valley between
the Cumberland mountains and the Tennessee River. I was the
only child at home then and Father and I lived together. He was
the best man to his family. I have one brother and two sisters
living. My father and I came to Arkansas in 1882, March 29, and
lived 10 miles east of Hot Springs until I married Jeff Lewallen
in 1886. Father lived with us till he died on Oct, 8, 1887 at
the age of 74. He was a member of the Baptist Church. Now
I will tell of my mother's mother. Her name was Mansel and she
could neither read nor write. She was a noble woman. She died
in 1890 at tile age of 102. I used to stay with her. The last
time I stayed with her she was 85 and had never been sick enough
to take a dose of medicine. She said if she felt bad she would
fast for a day and that would cure her. I think she was Irish.
She was short and heavy set and blonde, Her people came to
Kentucky with the Boone immigrants when she was a baby and came
to Middle Tennessee when other people left Kentucky for Tennessee.
There were no roads or wagons. They came by pack horses. They
packed their clothing and bedding on horses and donkeys but the
people walked most of the time. Men carried guns to protect
them from Indians and for hunting. They camped in the open and
and made bread on a Johnnie Cake board, It was an oak board
shaved slick on one side. They patted the meal dough, made
with hot water and salt, out on this and held it in front of
the fire until it browned and cooked, They got to Middle
Tennessee which is divided into three sections- West, Middle,
and East. Grandmother's maiden name was Billingsly_. They made
a home in Middle Temmessee. The bears were plentiful and they
could have no hogs (because the bears) took them from their pens
in the daytime and ate them. So Great-grandfather Billingsly
killed bears for meat and made bacon for summer use. They had
no soap so got ashes from the fireplace and caught fat possums
and made soap of them. Sometimes they washed clothes with honey
they got from trees. A bear almost got grandmother. They
carried water in large cedar pails without bails. She carried
one on her head and one on each hip, The pails were home made.
The spring was across the creek and a foot-log was put high on
two pens to keep it from being washed away. Grandmother was
coming across the log with the three pails of water and couldn't
look back. Her father was standing in the cabin door and saw
this bear behind her. As the bear climbed onto the first pen
her father shot over her and killed the bear. Once,when a
child, she was lost all night in a cane brake and it rained all
night, too. They made their own cloth for clothes and bed
clothes. They also made furniture and tools. They couldn't
buy sugar, but got sap from maples and made their own sugar.
They tapped the trees and boiled the sap into sugar in big
kettles. They would take bedding and provisions and put up a
cabin and stay until they put up three or four hundred pounds.
Qnce a panther came and he (Great-grandfather Billingsley)
was gone. There was only a bed-quilt over the door but he
screamed and passed on. When Grandmother Marthy Billingsley
grew up she married Burel Mansel and her sister, Betsy, married
his(Burel's) brother, Robert Mansel, and they came to East Tennessee
to live. They took up land. Entry must have been in 1836.
They had 6 girls and 3 boys. The girls were Betsy, Malinda
Milbey, Susy, Sidney, and Francis. The boys were Richard
John and Burl. Burl died while young. John and Richard went
to Texas long before the Civil War in a wagon. There were no
railroads and it cost 25 cents to send a letter. It took many
weeks for the letter to reach there. Grandfather died when
the children were small. Susy was my mother- a little thing
weighing only 90 pounds. She was the mother of 10 children and
spun and wove cloth for their clothes, knitted stockings, and
did the house work. She cared for an invalid child, too, until
she became an invalid herself. There were no public schools
(during my parent's day) but very good private schools. My
father taught school in the neighborhood when he was a young
man. Mother went to school to him. After the children grew
up and married, she(Grandmother) lived alone, although some of the 
daughters lived near her. She had a fine orchard and saved lots of fruit.
When her husband died she had four negro servants and she set
them all free for she thought it wrong to own slaves. She
could have sold them for a thousand dollars but just set them
free. My father fell heir to two Negroes at his father's
death. One Negro was a fine blacksmith and he could have
sold them, but set them free. When Grandmother was 90 years
old, her two boys, Rich and John, came to see her. They were
old men then. They came to Athens on the train and to the
house where their mother lived. She did not know them.
They said, "Mama, don't you know your children?", and she said,
"You are not my children". Grandmother and her sister married
brothers. Two of my sisters married brothers and two of my
(brothers married sisters). I married Jeff Lewallen in 1886
and had 7 children. Raised all of them but lost my oldest son,
Ben, in an automobile accident on Feb. 29, 1929. I have 16
grandchildren, 75 great-great nieces and nephews. My children
still living are Bennie,Ina, Mary, Eva, Willie,and Hazel.
I wets born and raised in East Tennessee, came to Arkansas in
1882 with my father and lived near Hot Springs since.

By Laura LewaLlen age 61
November 14, 1924


Well, I've finally gotten around to making a text file of Laura (Ziegler) 
Lewallen's letter and I'm attaching it to this message.  The letter was 
printed also in "The Record, Garland Co. (Ark.) Historical Society, 1971".  
There are some differences in my copy and the printed copy, but the context 
is the same.  

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