Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Life and Times of Lindsey Travis

This interesting article contains some early history about life in our area and genealogy on one of our pioneer families. It was written by the late Braxton McDonald, a local teacher, superintendent, artist, and historian of Crittenden County.

One of the earliest recollections of the writer is of passing a little log cabin near Tribune and seeing an old man sitting in an old hickory-bottomed chair, musing, perhaps, of days past and gone.

The man, Uncle Lindsey Travis, was then over 90 years of age. He was born in 1821 and died in 1916 being in his 96th year at death. Many interesting incidents of his life are told.

Once when he was about 16 years of age his mother sent him and a Negro boy to old Centerville to swap some chickens for coffee. Centerville was about 12 miles from the Travis home and Uncle Lindsey and the Negro boy walked and carried the chickens. They took along a pillowcase in which to get the coffee. 

Coffee was very difficult to get at that time, but at this particular time President Jackson had sent several hundred Indians via Centerville to Illinois. These Indians were camping at the ford at Centerville. Government agents had supplied the Indians with quantities of coffee, sugar and other supplies. They traded these supplies for produce of the surrounding countryside.

Uncle Lindsey walked up to a large group of Indians and offered them his chickens for coffee. The Indians in front did not, or pretended not to understand him, and reached out their hand to feel how fat the chickens were. They kept passing them back to the Indians behind them and saying "Me feel, me feel" until they had taken about all the chickens.

By this time Uncle Lindsey was becoming suspicious and began to press them for the coffee in exchange. They gave him a small amount of coffee and told him to go. Feeling very resentful, he walked slowly down toward the creek, and seeing a small Indian boy near the path he said "I'll stomp you in the ground." The Indians, hearing this and seeing that there was some excitement gave a great war whoop and started toward Uncle Lindsey. 

Years later when he would tell this incident he would start by saying, "One time I out ran 2,000 Indians, but – they were after me." He said that this was the only time he out ran the Negro boy in his life, and also the only time he ran across a wide creek without getting his feet wet.

Several large groups of Indians were sent through Crittenden County by President Andrew Jackson. Most of the time they would camp a few days at the ford at old Centerville and then go on toward the Ohio River, passing near the present location of Marion. Traditions have it that they were paid large sums of money for their Eastern lands, and hid this money in a cave near Marion, wishing to hide the money before crossing the river. It is said that many years later small groups of Indians would come to this locality looking for the hidden treasurer.

Some family genealogy about Lindsey Travis.

Lindsey M. Travis was the sixth child of James and Rachel Travis. He was first married to Elizabeth McDowell. They lived on the Flynn's Ferry Road north of Copperas Spring.

His obituary from The Crittenden Press, July 20, 1916 tells some more history about his old gentleman.

"Lindsey Murray Travis was born January 20th, 1821, and died July 16, 1916. He was married three times. His first marriage was to Mary Elizabeth McDowell, August 20, 1842. To this union there were born five children.

He professed religion when young at the old Wilson Campground on the Flynn's Ferry Road, located between Repton and Tribune. He and Uncle Billy Lamb professed the same year and both joined the Methodist Church, he remained a faithful member of that church until his death.
Uncle Linze was one of the oldest men in the county at his death and lived longer than any of the Travis family. He was 96 years and six months old, lacking four days.

His mother, Aunt Rachel Travis lived to be 92 years and six months old, his brother, James Harvey Travis, lived 92 years and three months, and his sister Susan Elvira Travis Brantley lived 87 years and six months old at her death.

Uncle Linze was a quite, inoffensive man. He did a great deal of pubic business, but never meddled with business that did not come before him. He was generous and hospitable and everybody found a warm welcome in his home. He was appreciative any kindness shown him, and warmly made you feel that appreciation.

Lindsey Murray Travis is buried in the little, but historic James Wheeler Cemetery, located on Just-A-Mere Road, as are many of his descendants of Crittenden County.

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