Description of Figure/Doll

Female stuffed cloth doll from Alabama and Missouri. This lady is wearing a black bonnet and apron. Her hair is made from fiber, and her facial features on embroidered on her cloth face. She is wearing a long print dress and holding a hand made quilt. She also has a wooden book, printed with the words “Holy Bible.” Her belt is made from a small rope.

Link to higher resolution images at ClipPix

USA: Missouri

Location: Midwest USA

Capital: Jefferson City

Main language: English

Currency: US Dollar


Construction: cloth, fiber, rope

Height in Centimeters: 41

Height in Inches: 16

Free land! -- Building a homestead in the Missouri Ozarks

Reading Level: 4.94

I’ll never forget the day my Daddy came home from the Civil War.  It was the spring of 1865.  We were so happy the terrible war was over and he was safe.  After a few days at home, Daddy announced, “We are moving from Ohio to Missouri!”  We can get free land there and make a new start!

While in the army, some of the soldiers told Daddy about the Ozark area of southwest Missouri. They raved about the wonderful climate, pure air and water in the Ozarks. He explained that the Homestead Act would allow us to get 160 acres of land for free.  All we had to do was build a house and farm the land. Then, after 3 years, we could file a claim and be land owners!  Daddy said that most people had to live on the land for 5 years, but his 2 years in the Union Army would count.

Mother was not thrilled with the plan. She loved the idea of owning land. However, she knew the trip would not be easy. Nevertheless, we soon loaded a wagon with supplies to head west. It took us two months to get everything ready. We only had one covered wagon, which had to hold everything we wanted to take. We needed to pack tools, kitchen supplies, food and clothes. Of course, we also took our family Bible. We sold as many things as we could. We knew we would need money to build a house and buy cattle when we arrived in Missouri.

Our wagon was pulled by a horse and a mule. At night, we slept in the wagon or pitched a tent. The roads weren’t too bad across Indiana and Illinois. However, once we passed St. Louis, the trails were full of rocks and weeds. We also had to cross many rivers, some without bridges. Sometimes we stopped to hunt or rest a couple days. During the day, we rode in the wagon, or we walked. 

On the journey, our folks taught us how to build a fire, cook, shoot guns and hunt. These were some skills we would need “out west.” We hunted wild geese, turkeys, and rabbits. They told us we were privileged to be pioneers in this great country.

After what seemed an eternity, we arrived at a small settlement called Cedar Creek in the Ozarks. We found a plot of land for our homestead and filed the initial claim. However, the hard work was not over. Next we had to clear the land, plant crops, and build a house. We had no money to spare, so our first “house” was one small room with a fireplace.

Over the years, our little community grew to include a church and a school. We worked hard, made friends, and learned to love Missouri. What a wonderful feeling it was when we filed the final claim and owned our farm!

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