From Standefer, Standifer, Standiford - A Family History and Genealogy by Harry Standefer
Elizabeth James Standifer
Elizabeth James entered the Standefer family through marriage but her courage, her daring, her accomplishments were so outstanding that they must be recorded here for the benefit of her posterity and the pride of all her relatives.
Elizabeth James and Anderson Standefer were married in Georgia, April 12, 1809. Soon thereafter they went to Hickman Co., TN. At this time, Cherokee Indian land was being made available to the pioneers. They lived in Tennessee perhaps five years. During that time Anderson served an enlistment in the Army for the War of 1812. Also, during that time their first two children were born. After 1814 they decided to move to a highly publicized area known as American Bottoms in Southern Illinois. During the next six years their last two children were born. Soon after the birth of baby Sarah, Anderson died leaving the mother Elizabeth with four youngsters, one babe-in-arms. Elizabeth met this catastrophe with super-human courage. She disposed of the property, fitted out an ox-wagon, loaded it with absolute necessities and headed for Elbert County, Georgia to her family. Imagine, if you will, this widowed mother sitting up front in a covered wagon, with a babe in her lap driving, perhaps, two yoke of oxen, through an Indian infested, strange land, practically no roads, through swamps and across flooded streams, camping wherever nightfall overtook them, perhaps, several times unable to prepare food because of a rain storm. This ordeal would last for at least one month before she reached her relatives in Elbert County, Georgia. After a year or more in Georgia she went, in the same manner of travel, to Franklin County, Alabama.
At this point let us add, it is believed that Anderson and his father Benjamin had planned to move to Texas together. Upon Anderson's death Benjamin decided, instead, to move to Marion County, Tennessee, which he did.
In 1827 Elizabeth joined the Henry Young family in Franklin County, Alabama and went to Bastrop County, Texas. This journey, of course, was made in ox-wagons and driving across Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and East Texas south to Bastrop County. A trip at least 700 miles crossing dozens of streams including the Mississippi and, the dangerous Red River with its deadly quicksand bottom. Picking their way across the Blackland of East Texas where, in rainy weather the mud gathering on the wagon wheels had to be chopped with an axe.
This group was going through a wild country to a wild country. A country ruled by Mexico. No shelter would be awaiting them. No employment other than their preparation to farm. What should they take with them? Food to last for months, planting seeds adapted to this new soil and climate, at least a minimum of farming tools. Before they left Alabama they had to fit new tires on all the wagon wheels. The tires must last until they reached their destination. If a tire falls off the wheel the driver must stop instantly or else break the spoke, thereby ruining the wheel. The drivers must find enough dry wood or pine knots to build a circular fire the size of the tire, place the tire on the fire. Heating the tire will expand it so it will slip back on the wheel (which was removed). Water must be available to cool the replaced tire before it burns the wooden fellas.
The oxen must be shod with eight new steel shoes before starting the journey (the cleft foot of an ox requires two half shoes). Extra shoes and nails must be taken along for replacing the ones worn out or lost.
We also wonder did they take along any extra animals: milk cows or pig? If they did would one or more of the youngsters walk and drive? Elizabeth had with her the youngest three children. James Williamson had remained behind in Alabama where he married Sarah King October 21, 1828, and followed immediately.
At night the oxen would be turned loose to forage. Maybe one would be tethered to encourage the others to stay nearby. The oxen were especially suited for this type of use. They would fill their "first stomach and the next day they would regurgitate the roughage, chew it and swallow it again for final digestion.
From a story submitted by Betty Jo Dorris Kindle:
On day when the Standifer men were to plow and plant, the younger women of the family decided to go along and pick berries within the patrolled area while the men worked. Elizabeth Standifer, the grandmother, had been left at home with the young children. It happed to be a soap-making day, so she delegated Mary Standifer, the oldest child of James Williamson Standifer to mind the smaller children while she was cooking her soap in a big wash pot in the back yard. About mid-morning, Mary went to the window to call to her grandmother. She screamed to her that three Indians were creeping up behind her from the barn. Elizabeth kept stirring the soap with a long-handled gourd and told Mary to lock the shutters and ring the dinner bell. Mary ran to ring the bell but was not tall enough to reach the rope that came down through the attic into the kitchen area. She quickly managed to get into the attic to grab the rope and ring the bell. Elizabeth, in the meantime, had turned around with a dipper full of boiling soap and managed to scald all three Indian men, then she ran to the kitchen door. The men returned home and along with neighbors who came from hearing the bell ring at an unusual time, they formed a posse and caught the three Indians. These Indians were taken to the Bastrop jail and held 4 months before being escorted by Texas Rangers back to their allotted lands.
After that, when the children would be playing outside, they would be warned not to get behind their grandmother if she was making soap!
*Notes by Carol Lee Yarbrough.
Anderson Standifer married Elizabeth James on April 12, 1809 in Elbert County, Georgia. Soon after they migrated to Tennessee then on to Randolph County, Illinois after 1815. In 1817, the court of Johnson County, IL, issued a tavern license to Anderson Standofer who was going to establish a tavern in Elvira. He was to pay five dollars to the court and one dollar to the clerk and this license was to become effective October 10, 1818. Benjamin had business dealings with his friend Jacob Littleton in Jefferson Co., IL, who had also applied for tavern's license. No doubt, he named his third son after this friend: Jacob Littleton Standifer. (From History of Johnson Co., IL by Mary Ellen Mount) The Southern IL area Anderson and Elizabeth Standifer resided was known as Randolph Co. In 1812, Johnson Co., was formed from Randolph Co. In 1819, Union County was formed from Randolph Co. These counties were sometimes referred to as the "American Bottoms". That would account for Anderson appearing on both the Union Co. and Randolph Censuses in 1820. Anderson died in Union Co. after 1821.
In Sarah Standifer's biography* the writer states that Elizabeth spent some time in Missouri before migrating to Texas. In fact, that is where Sarah (daughter of Elizabeth) met John Thomas Litton whom she married many years later when he left Missouri to go live with his uncle, Leman Barker in Texas. Elizabeth later married Leman Barker in 1830. Elizabeth died in Elgin, Bastrop County, TX on February 09, 1832 and is buried there.* Her daughter Sarah, b. June 9, 1820, married John Thomas Litton in 1834 in TX.
Also, according to Sarah's biography, Elizabeth and her young children made the trip to Texas from Missouri alone.
Harry Standefer states they left Franklin Co., AL for Texas in 1827 with the family of Henry Young. For some reason, Elizabeth must have left that party to depart for Missouri.
*From the book Pioneer Women of Texas by Annie
Doom Pickrell, 1929; Pub. The E. L. Steck Co., Austin, Texas; p. 277.
(Contributed by Mrs. S. J. Smith, Austin, Texas).
*Elizabeth did not died in 1832. On 18 Apr 1838 "for and in consideration of the sum of Ten Thousand dollars to me in hand paid" she sold "unto Michael Young a certain tract or parcel of land to wit lying and being in the County of Bastrop and being the north east half of League No. 24 and being the League of Land granted to me and y heirs by the State of Coahuila...." Elizabeht Standerford [sic] made her mark and James Standeford [sic], William Standerford [sic], Jacob Standerford [sic] and John Litton signed.
In an affadavit made by Jacot Standifer 27 Nov 1897 he stated: "In 1838 soon after the conveyance of the North half of the league to Michael Young as above state, my mother Elizabeth Standifer died intestate...."
Also, Elizabeth Standeford [sic] and James Standeford [sic] and Sarah, his wife, are shown on Austin's "Register of Families" as arriving in March 1829. Others who arrived from Alabama at the same time were A. J. James, a single man, Michael Young and his wife Rachel, Silas Jones and his wife Emily and William Scott, a single man. *Contributed by Ruth Young Crowson.
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