The following is my own version of a young couple who fell in love, married, had three children and died so very young. This couple was my second great-grandparents on my Dad’s side of the family. The young man was Collin Graves DANIEL the son of Drury DANIEL and Catherine Margaret GAINES. Collin was born about 1855 in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky the fourth of eight children born to his parents. His father Drury had been married previously and had seven children by that marriage, so the house was quiet full. The family was also quite poor so everyone had plenty to do to make ends meet. Collin was about two years old the first time his family moved to Izard County, Arkansas from Crittenden County. I am sure that he was mystified by the move and wondered what in the world was going on. By the time Collin was five or six the family had moved back to Kentucky. I can imagine this was a very disruptive experience to this young boy. Then when Collin was about eight or so his mother died suddenly.
Can you even imagine what must have been going through his mind at that young age? Collin’s father Drury married a widow woman by the name of Mrs. Susan JOHNSON in 1865 and she had apparently died by 1867. In 1867 Drury married another widow woman by the name of Mrs. Nancy RUSHING. This marriage did not last, because by 1870 she is back living with one of her stepson’s by her marriage before Drury. Maybe she could not handle taking care of a large house full of children. In 1870, when Collin was 15 years old, he and his father Drury were living with Collin’s half brother James Albert DANIEL in Crittenden County. They were all working as farm laborers around the county.
I suppose it was while working at different farms in the county, that Collin met his future wife Louwanda Bigham ELDER. Louwanda was the daughter of Samuel Henry ELDER and Sarah Catherine BIGHAM. Louwanda was born on Tuesday the 14th of April 1857 also in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Louwanda was the fourth of six children born to her parents. Her father Samuel had been married previously and had five children by that marriage. The ELDER family was quite wealthy compared to the DANIEL family. Louwanda was an infant baptism at the Bethany Presbyterian Church in 1860. In 1871, she became an official member of that church and attended meetings regularly with her family. Some of Louwanda’s family members were preachers and singing evangelists, so she came from a very religious family it appears. Collin probably worked for Samuel at one time or another, but I don’t know for sure. That is probably how he and Louwanda met.
Love soon blossomed in the young couple for at the age of eighteen and sixteen respectfully in the year 1873 they were married. I have yet to find an official record of their marriage so I do not have the month or day. Their first child, my great-grandmother Rose Etta DANIEL was born on Tuesday the 29th of September 1874 in Marion. Their second child Emma soon followed in 1877; month and day are unknown to me at this time. Hopefully one day I will find her complete birth and death dates. Louwanda, received a letter of dismissal from Bethany Presbyterian Church in 1879, this meant that she was moving from the congregation. Soon after Collin, Louwanda and their two daughters moved to Hutton Valley in Howell County, Missouri.
From here on out things seemed to go downhill for this young family. From a couple of different stories, that have been handed down in the family, this is what I believe probably happened. Collin and Louwanda with young Rose and Emma were with a wagon train of families all from Crittenden County on their way to Missouri and Arkansas. Louwanda was about 7 ½ months pregnant with their third child. It was wintertime, very cold, with lots of freezing rain and snow. Louwanda probably caught a cold that just would not leave. This probably left her very weak and sickly, which didn’t help since she was pretty far along in her pregnancy. They arrived in Hutton Valley after a few weeks on the trail, but she did not get any better. Then on Wednesday the 4th of February 1880 with a freezing rain falling down on this family and in the wagon, Louwanda gave birth to a little a handsome little boy. They named the baby Samuel Drury DANIEL after both his grandfathers.
The baby seemed to be doing fine but Louwanda was slowly dying. The birth had been difficult, coupled with the flu and after the long journey from Kentucky to Missouri, she could not seem to regain her strength. The next day less then twenty-four hours after the birth, on Thursday the 5th of February 1880, Louwanda breathed her last. She was only twenty-three years old. I believe she probably had her new baby boy in her arms and her two young daughters by her side. Collin was there holding her hand, willing his strength into her small frail body. But it was not to be, the woman he loved and the mother of his children died. The grieving family and friends dug a shallow grave in the frozen earth along the trail they had come. A young black woman that had come with the wagon train took baby Samuel in her wagon and nursed him along with her own child. Young Samuel owed his life to this loving woman.
Collin and the children had a hard time with the loss of their wonderful wife and mother. By June of 1880, they had left Missouri and had gone to Izard County, Arkansas and were living with Collin’s brother Thomas Jefferson DANIEL and his family. Tom’s wife was Louwanda’s sister Eliza Eunice. They took in the little family and loved them the best they could. Collin could not seem to get over the death of his young wife. Some believe that he may have gone just a little crazy. I believe he was probably suffering from severe depression, which wasn't something people really knew about, back during those times. Collin would work when he could and he would take the children out in a little two-wheeled cart pulled by an old ox, so he could have them with him. After a little over two years Collin was still mourning the death of Louwanda. Sometime in August or September of 1882 he left Izard County and went back up to Hutton Valley, taking the children with him in the little two-wheeled cart.
Collin’s brother Newton and his wife Emmira were living in Howell Valley at the time, so they lived with them for a short time. Collin would take the children almost everyday and set by the grave of his sweet Louwanda. Rose and Emma would pick wild flowers and lay them on the grave of the mother they could barely remember. Little Samuel, only two years old would play in the dirt by the grave. On the last day that they probably ever visited the grave a storm came up while Collin was lying beside the grave. Little Rose took her sister and her brother and put them in the little two-wheeled cart to keep them out of the rain. She tried to get her daddy to take them back to her Uncle Newton’s house, but Collin would not leave the grave that day.
Lightening hit a tree near the cart and spooked the old ox and he started to run. Rose kept screaming for her Daddy but he could or would not hear her. Suddenly the cart flipped over and Rose, Emma and Samuel were caught underneath the cart and it is a wonder they were not all killed. Then from out of the woods a wild bull came charging across the clearing towards the cart. Rose screamed for her Daddy again, but this time he truly did not hear her. Collin had died, of a broken heart, while lying on the grave of his darling Louwanda. Collin was only twenty-seven years old.
The children were saved by the old ox that suddenly walked in front of the wild bull, right before it could hit the old two-wheeled cart. All through the night the children cried for the Daddy and Mommy who could no longer comfort their tears. The next day their Uncle Newton came looking for them, wondering why they had not come home the night before. He found the children lying beside their father on the grave of their mother. Newton picked up the baby and told the girls to following him, but Rose grabbed the baby from him, screaming that they couldn't leave Mommy and Daddy in this cold scary place. A friend of the family happened by about this time and between them they finally got Rose, Emma and Samuel in the wagon and back to the house. For many days after, Rose would sit for hours looking out the door calling for her Daddy. Rose was eight, Emma was five and Samuel was only two and now they were all alone.
In November of 1882, either their Uncle Tom or Uncle Bud DANIEL, came and got them and took them back to Kentucky. I am not sure which one of these men came to get them or if they both did, there are conflicting stories. They arrived back in Marion in December of 1882. Rose tried to convince them to let the children stay with her and she would take care of them but it was not to be. Their uncle, Tom DANIEL kept Samuel with his family, Emma went to her uncle, James Tilford ELDER’s home and Rose went to live with her aunt, Sarah ELDER PATMORE.
Emma was taken good care of by her Uncle James, but just a few short years later she caught the typhoid fever and at the age of eighteen she died and was buried at the Old Marion Cemetery, beside many of her mother’s family. Samuel apparently went and lived with a few different uncles over the years working as a farmhand. By the time he was sixteen or seventeen he had left Kentucky and headed out to be on his own and sometime around the turn of the century, Samuel landed in Coal Hill, Johnson County, Arkansas. He soon met a young widow woman by the name of Darcus Madina GAGE BURNS, who had two small children. In 1903, they were married, raised seven children of their own, plus her two and lived the rest of their days in Johnson County, Arkansas.
Rose did not have as good a childhood as her sister and brother, at least from her point of view. From everything I have ever heard about her, I believe she may have also suffered from depression just like her father probably had. She told that her Aunt Sarah or Jenny as she was called was quite mean to her. She would have Rose do all the chores, while her own daughters would go out and play. Rose had to do the laundry, keep the house clean, take care of the babies, cook the meals, plus help in the fields. In 1891, when she was seventeen years old she met George Anderson BEARD and soon after they were married. George had previously been married to Rose’s cousin Nellie ELDER. Nellie had died in childbirth along with their child. Rose and George had eight children, the last two being twin girls. When the twins were eleven years old in 1924, her husband George died, just one more misfortune in a string of misfortunes to befall Rose Etta DANIEL BEARD. Now at the age of fifty, Rose was once again all alone, in this old world.
Written by Rose Etta Daniel Beard’s, great-granddaughter Vickie Dale Beard Thompson, on 11 August 2001.