In the Autumn of "55" Father married a widow [Valeria Young, 1819-1897, widow of Job Dewey] with three children notwithstanding the remonstrances of all his children who were bitterly opposed to it. My sisters immediately left him and soon after Emily was married to Dr. Hunt ["Docks" Benjamin Franklin Hunt, 1832-1910]. The subsequent winter we lived in the S.E. corner of the county on a farm father had bought, but in the spring we moved up in the Hunt settlement on another of our farms.
|Approximate locations of John Nosler (1800-1864) and Docks, in "55". Detail from the BLM record for "Benjamin J. Hunt" in Polk County, Iowa. This is all just north of Des Moines.|
|Same areas, in the larger context.|
This spring Caroline was married to Jerrymire S. Dawson [Jeremiah "Jerry" S Lawson, b 1833] , Bird Vowel and Wieth Nosler moved to Wis. (?) (probably Neb.) [Bird Vowel and Wieth (Riley Wyatt Nosler, 1822-1878, James' oldest brother) moved to Nebraska--I find record of "Wieth" in Nehama, Nebraska in 1860].
|"Wieth" Nosler was in Peru, Nemaha, Nebraska by 1860, so this is possibly where both he and Bird Vowel went to in 1856. Peru is shown relative to Des Moines and Omaha in this modern Google map.|
I had my first experience in farming this summer, during the winter went to school [he was 14]; in the fall John [his brother John, 1831-1907] moved to S.W. Iowa and in the coming spring Jerry moved to Nebraska, taking Will [William Nosler, my 2nd great grandfather, 1840-1914] with them; in May the old folks, Docks, and myself went on down to look at the country in Nebraska. We left Docks and went on down (taking Will) to look at Kansas; from thence up through Mo. and back to Iowa. Docks got back sometime after.
|A close up of Colton's Kansas and Nebraska (1858), in areas where the Noslers were likely looking around, trying to find a place to settle. Nebraska and Kansas are in colors on the left of the Missouri River, Iowa and Missouri on the right. "Wieth" was in Nemaha (arrow) by 1860, and the counties in Missouri where Noslers went are circled.|
|From "Annals of Polk County, Iowa: and city of Des Moines" on Ancestry. This may explain all the moving around in this year, even though James didn't mention it by name (the Panic of 1857).|
That winter I went to school some [I need to look at what record there would be for schools in Polk County in that time]; attended the first revival I ever was at. Docks and Will experience religion, at last, seeing everybody else go I went forward, and just done what they required of me, but all in vain. I think now I wasn't sufficiently charged with electricity, or I might have showed to advantage too.
This must be a reference to the beginnings of the religious phenomenon now referred to as the Third Great Awakening in America. It doesn't seem James was that into it.
Father had bought a house and lots in Winterset [in Madison County, Iowa, same place where the later novel "Bridges of Madison County" took place]--lived there during the winter while Will and I stayed with Docks; in the spring he intended moving to Mo., taking Will and I with him. A step sister [Angeline Dewey, 1842-1918] had in the fall married Austin McLain [William Austin McLain, 1837-1863].
|Winterset, Madison, Iowa in relation to Des Moines. James' father John Nosler would die almost 7 years later in Winterset in 1864. Although John's mother Martha Snavely is not mentioned in James' diary as far as I can tell, she was still living and would die in Madison County in 1871 at age 95. From "Parker's sectional & geological map of Iowa" (1856).|
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