The Life and Times of
   and Ambrose CAIN
Line of Descent:
Guillaume VIGNE and Adrienne CUVELIER (1st Generation)
Dirck VOLCKERTSZEN and Christine VIGNE (2nd Generation)
Volkert DIRCKS and Annetje PHILLIPS (3rd Generation)
Dirck VOLKERTSON and Maria DE WITT (4th Generation)
Volkert VOLKERTSON (DERRICKSON) and Dinah Aeltje VAN LIEU (5th Generation)
Abraham FULKERSON and Sarah GIBSON (6th Generation)
James FULKERSON and Elizabeth McMILLIN (7th Generation)
James Monroe FULKERSON and Mary Ramsey MILLER (8th Generation)
Sarah Amanda FULKERSON (9th Generation)
  I. In Missouri
 II. Texas Frontier
III. Oregon by Train

Chapter I - In Missouri

SARAH was born on the 2nd of July, 1825 at Jefferson City, the state capital, in Cole County, Missouri. Her father, James Monroe FULKERSON, born in 1803, moved with his family from Virginia to Tennessee in 1807 and then to Missouri in 1817. There, in the early 1820's, he married Mary Ramsey MILLER. James was an upstanding citizen - serving as a judge and a member of the state Constitutional Convention, and with his brother-in-law Richard Miller had organized a Baptist church (Richard married James' older sister Nancy in 1821). Sarah was the second of ten children and grew up among numerous aunts, uncles and cousins in what must have been a very stimulating environment.

  By 1845 Sarah's family had moved to Nodaway County, Missouri, and there on 30 Oct 1845
Ambrose CAIN
she married Ambrose CAIN. Ambrose, five years her senior, was originally from North Carolina. His parents were Jesse CAIN and Merriam LOWE, who were born in England and came to America on the same ship as infants. They married and then moved to Missouri where Ambrose was raised. One of Ambrose's daughters wrote to a niece in 1934 that, "Your Grandfather Cain was just himself. He was a very plain good man and had good judgment in everything. He was not much for riches but his aim was to do the right thing -- and he lived up to it." She left out his intelligence, pride and interest in the world around him, but we'll get to that soon enough.

  Sarah and Ambrose settled in Maryville, Missouri, and chose to remain when her parents, brothers, sisters and several aunts, uncles and cousins went West on the Oregon Trail in early 1847. By the end of that year she must have received news that her mother, her younger brother Frederick and her uncle William HINES had all died on the journey. Closer to home, her grandfather James died in December of the same year. Sarah still had many Fulkerson relatives left in Missouri, but what remained of her immediate family was practically a universe away.

  She got on with her life. Sarah and Ambrose had a boy and three girls while living in Maryville. In 1858 they moved south to Springfield, and in the spring of 1859 began their own covered wagon journey to a distant land -- they left civilization and went south to Texas.

  They went at first to Collin County (north of Dallas), then westward to Wise County and settled five miles south of Decatur. After a year they moved one county south, to Parker County. Finally "at home" in Texas, they had two more daughters, both born at Springtown (in 1861 and 1864).

Chapter II - The Texas Frontier

  The following is from a 1929 letter, typed by Sarah's granddaughter and as told to her by Sarah's oldest daughter, Mary Ellen, who was then 80 years old.

  Grandfather (Ambrose) taught school at Goshen first, then later taught at Springtown, Texas, about five miles from Goshen. He rode horseback and finally the school got so full he had Mother (daughter Mary Ellen) help him teach. She also rode horseback. She had a side saddle and riding skirt 'Home spun and buttoned all the way down the front.' As Mother expressed it, "Grandfather was very foolish about his daughter Mary Ellen and thought she could do things better than some others could."

  During the first part of the Civil War Grandfather Cain and family lived one mile north of Goshen. There were three squads of scouts; One would go for ten days and guard [against] the Indians; then the second; and, then the third company of scouts. This was when Grandmother (Sarah) lived in so much fear, when Grandfather would be away on guard.

  The later part of the war Grandfather moved to Springtown. While at Springtown he operated a carding machine, wove and spun wool in rolls and made thread. He was one of the Home Guards and did not go to war.

  The Indians [Commanche and probably some Kiowa] gave the settlers more trouble in Parker County the first year after the war closed than during the war. So many of the settlers had moved away by this time and it gave the Indians a better chance to do mischief.

NOTE: At this point, Ambrose and Sarah decided to seek their
Mary Ellen CULWELL,
daughter of
Sarah Fulkerson CAIN
fortune in a safer locale. In 1866 he moved his family to Fayetteville, Arkansas, but - just like her mother Sarah some 19 years earlier - Mary Ellen had met her beau and chose to stay behind in Texas. At the age of 17 she married William Thomas CULWELL and moved onto his parent's farm. William's father died a few months later, leaving the farm in the hands of two very young people.

  Father and Mother lived on Grandfather Culwell's farm at this time, the year 1867 when Sarah was born. In the following I quote Mother as she tells how the Indians raided Grandfather Cain's old home on which Uncle Hez Culwell, Mother's brother-in-law, (then) lived:

"The Indians often raided the country and it was very dangerous to live there. There were scouts sent out to guard the frontier and there were two or three families living in the same house or in the same yard. My mother-in-law (Culwell) and (her) children lived in the house with us. The Indians would sneak around and be in the settlement before the settlers would know it, and maybe in the yard.

At one time after the war had ended, we heard the dogs barking about one mile from where we lived. All the men were away from home. We suspicioned the Indians were in the neighborhood. The horses would run and snort and the dogs would bark. We climbed up on the mountain near the house and saw them at our old place (later known as the Mary Ellen place). Hez had gone away from home that morning to his brothers. He rode a pony Father (Ambrose) had given me. Hez heard the Indians and started for home at once. When he got to the house one Indian came up and gave a yell and went running back to the brush for the other Indians. While the Indian was gone for the others, Hez and family left the house, went to the creek and waded water up the bed of the creek a mile or more to another house. The Indians killed my pony; emptied a feather-bed on it; robbed the house; took the clock down and threw it out in the yard; broke the dishes and tried to destroy everything. They tore up the floor trying to find the family.

We saw them from the mountain top leaving the house and thought they were coming to our house. We left the house and went to the cornfield and scattered out. It was in August 1867 and we suffered for water so much. Sarah, my oldest child was three months old. I let her nurse till just could not stand it any longer. We had a little dog that followed us down there. We could hear the Indians yelling and other dogs barking. Our little dog would bark too, so I took my string garter and tied its mouth so it could not bark. My mother-in-law prayed so much while we were in the field.

The Indians passed about one mile east of us. There were some men that came to the house looking for us. My mother-in-law (Lucinda Culwell) slipped around and saw them so we felt very much relieved and we went to the house. Hez had not come home but it was not long until he came. Oh! how his mother shouted.

So me and my husband's mother and children moved about 10 miles east of Veal Station which was to a thicker settlement. We lived here for a few months and the Indians were still bad [so] we moved near Springtown. Lived there about one year and then moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas about 1868 near my Father and Mother on one of Father's places on White River where Thomas and Necie were born. We stayed there about six years and moved back to the Old Culwell place and then to mine and William's home place three miles north of Agnes."

  It was about August 1866 Father and Mother Cain moved to Arkansas. Grandfather Cain built a carding factory about 50 miles from the Ozark Mountains. He sent to St. Louis, Mo. for the machinery. He located there in order to be close enough to the sheep growers and they brought their wool to him to card. He made good money. After Father and Mother [Mary Ellen and William] went to Arkansas, father (Wm. T. Culwell) worked in the machinery department and made good wages.

  Grandfather and Grandmother Cain lived in Arkansas about seven or ten years. They moved
Martha Cain BURROW
back to Texas about 1877, left Aunt Martha Burrow [behind] as a young bride - she married Oct. 22, 1877. They lived in Texas until they moved to Oregon in 1880, then Mother [Mary Ellen] was [for the second time] left alone in Texas with her husband and children, as Uncle Monroe, Aunt Emma, Aunt Lizzie and Aunt Nan went to Oregon with Grandfather and Grandmother Cain.

Chapter III - To Oregon by Train

  Sarah, Ambrose and four of their children made a journey to Oregon (see MAP) in 1880, one far different from that experienced by Sarah's parents a third of a century earlier. Two of their children - James Monroe and Elizabeth Jane - were also married and may have had children by this time. It was a journey undertaken by an extended family, venturing into the previously unseen wonders of the West. Perhaps Ambrose can describe it best:

page 1

A Statement of our trip from Texas to Oregon

  Left Ft. Worth, arrived at Dallas for supper. All aboard. Arrived at Texarkana for breakfast. All aboard. The next place of importance Little Rock. Could see but little as the road ran under the hill. From here for St. Louis. Axle broke on the route. No damage done. Passed through the Iron Mountain Country, a poor-looking country. Arrived at St. Louis for dinner. It was raining. All bustle and noise. Bells ringing and cars running and people jarring and talking. The depot large and the waiting room commodious. Changed cars. Started for Council Bluffs at 8 and some minutes in the night.

  Traveled on double quick. Eat breakfast in Maryville, could not stop.


  Traveled over a beautiful country, arrived at Council Bluffs for dinner. Here we had to change cars and recheck our trunks. Took our bedding out of our small trunk and sold it for one dollar (cost $3.50) and at five o'clock started across the Missouri River.

  By a decision of the United States Supreme Court the eastern bank of the Missouri River is the terminous of the Union Pacific railroad, known as the transfer grounds. These grounds are about half mile east of the bridge. Here the tracks of the four eastern [rail] roads terminate at the eastern front of this building. Between these [rail] roads are platforms over which passengers pass through the Building. You will find Union Pacific trains waiting on the west side. The Missouri River bridge has hollow Iron columns


22 in number, two forming a pier. They are cast Iron 1-3/4 inches thick & 8-1/2 feet in diameter, 10 feet long & weigh tons each. They are bolted together and sunk to bed Rock in one case 82 feet below low water mark.

  After crossing the River our train stops in the Omaha depot, a large building with one enormous span overhead, built of Iron and glass with 6 tracks running through it from end to end. Omaha is one of the most progressive Cities in the The West. It is related that the first postmaster used his hat for a popst office and while out on the prairie some person would want a letter and chase him for miles until he would overtake the traveling post office and get his letter. Large oaks from little acorns grow is illustrated in this case. It is


headquarters for 5 Railroads, 23 churches. The City has 430,975 dollars invested in freeschools. The high school is the finest building in the west. It stands on Capital Hill and is the first thing that attracks your attention. About one mile above the bridge the [railroad] company have located their principal shops [and] the lumberyard. Tracks cover about 30 acres of ground. The company manufactures all their own cars.

  Our train runs through the southern suburbs of city on an ascending grade 3-2/10 miles to Summit Siding, a flagstation where trains seldom stop. 1,142 feet above the level of the sea. 176 feet higher than Omaha depot. But our rout is now downward for 6-3/10 miles to Gilmore. More next time.


direct your letters - Eola   [note written by a traveling companion, and his handwriting DOES improve for the next several pages]

  I commence my journey noting the principal towns on our rout. Valley - this station is where the Omaha & Republican Valley Railroad branches off southwesterly. The next station of importance is Wahoo. Leaving Wahoo the face of the country becomes more rolling and making a run of 8 miles we come to Weston. We are now going up the Platte River & for many miles we pass closely along the North Bank. We come to North Bend near the River bank. Passing on we come to Colum-


bus situated in a fine looking country & supposed to be the center of the United States. Numerous railroads from here are projected North and South. Passing several stations we stop at Grand Island, a regular eating station. We stop for breakfast. This station is named after Grand Island in Platte River. The next place I will note is North Platte City, elevation 2,789 feet, distance from Omaha 291 miles. Here is the end of the eastern division. Here the company have a round-house of 20 stalls, repair shops all of stone. Leaving here we travel on. We come to Big Springs - derives


its name from a large Spring running out of the Bluff on the right of the [rail] road. Here is where the Robery took place in 1877. Passing on we come [to] Julesburg, elevation 3,394 feet, from Omaha 377.

  Passing on our train gradually rises on the table land. Here we can catch a glimpse of the Black Hills of Wyoming stretching their cold ruggedness far away to the right. Away to the left rises Pike's Peak. Robed in snow, they say on a clear day it can be seen a distance 175 miles. After passing over several cuts & fills the track of the Denver Pacific R.R. can be seen directly ahead.


  The magic city of the plains. Cheyenne (pronounced Shian) which is the capital of Wyoming, the largest town between Omaha & Ogden, just half way to Ogden - 516 to Omaha & 56 to Ogden. We are now ascending the eastern slope of the Black Hills of Wyoming [Laramie Mountains]. 6 miles west of Cheyenne we reach the junction of the Colorado Central railroad - the track turns off to the left.

  Otto next, where the passenger trains usually meet. We are now 6,724 feet above the level of the sea. Granite Canyon 5 miles west of Otto & 574 feet higher. Up. Up. Still higher to Sherman, 8,242 feet above the sea.


  I believe I left off at Sherman. It was named after General Sherman. 70 miles southwest is Longs Peak, 165 south is Pike's Peak, both visible. To the northwest about 100 miles is Elk Mountain, another noted peak. From seeing the great amount of snowsheds you would suppose there was a great quantity of snow but it is the drifting of it in the cuts during the winds (so they say). Leaving Sherman the road [track] turns to the left, and passes through several long snow sheds and deep rock cuts to Dale Creek bridge. This bridge is Iron. From the bridge the stream looks like a silver thread below us. After we cross the bridge we turn northward through long snow sheds and rocky cuts. Along here


you can see the Rocky Mountains rising range upon range, peak over leaping peak, away up covered in perpetual snow over 100 miles away.

  We are going down grade - need only brakes. To the right of us is very rough. Sand stones rear their peaks from 500 to 1000 feet above the plain. Laramie City, population about 4,000. Directly east of this place can be seen Cheyenne Pass wagon road - the old immigrant route. Here was the first place in America or in the world where a female jury was impaneled. But I am too tedious.

  We have traveled some time now and are near the summit of the great backbone of the Continent. They say 7,030 feet above the level of the sea, 2-1/2 miles west is a sign board


with the following. Continental Divide, 7,100 feet above the sea, 737 miles from Omaha, 1,177 to San Francisco. If a spring should rise here its waters would eventually mingle with the two Oceans.

  The track seems to be warped up & doubled out of sight. The stations along the road are numerous, but have skipped them and arrive at Green River Station, 845 from Omaha. We are now at Evanston, just half way from Omaha to San Francisco. Wasatch Station four miles further cross. The line between Wyoming & Utah territories is marked by a sign board - one one side Wyoming, the other Utah. A little on we pass through the longest tunnel on the road, 770 feet long. On goes the engine, whirling us past & under hanging rocks.


  After crossing Echo Creek 31 times in 26 miles we pass Pulpit Rock. It appears here like we must pitch off into the valley & river below. We come now to the Narrows. Shortly after entering the Narrows, the 1,000 Mile Tree is passed, bearing on its trunk a sign board that says 1000 miles from Omaha. Just a little further we come to the Devil's Slide. It is two ridges of rocks parallel to each other about 10 feet apart. Rushing swiftly on, with but a moment to note its beauties, the massive walls close in with just room for the track.

  We come to Weber. This station lies between 2 Mormon settlements. Devil's Gate next. On we go. We have now passed through the gorge of rocks & catch a view of Salt Lake to behold broad plains &


the first view of the Great Salt Lake. We have now passed through the Wasatch Mountains and are in great Salt Lake Valley. Uintah is 4-1/2 miles from Devil's Gate. Near the station in the broad bottom in 1862 was the scene of the Morrisite massacre. The country is fertile and dotted with well tilled farms. They were digging potatoes and culling hay. We arrive at Ogden - the distance from Omaha 1,032 miles, from San Francisco 882. It is 36 miles to Salt Lake City. Every thing changes cars at this station. The station's building stands between the two tracks in which is a waiting room. Can get a square meal.


  ...All aboard is now the order & our train glides away. In a few miles the Ogden River is crossed. We have passed several stations & come to Promontory - distance from Omaha 1,084 miles - is celebrated for being the point where the connection of the two [rail] roads were made in 1869. The last spike was driven on the 10 day of May 1869 (& gold one at that) but it is not there now.

  We now resume our journey.


  We are now at Kelton. There are large water tanks here. They fill their water cars (a train that runs daily to supply stations). From this station a daily line of coaches leaves for Idaho & Oregon. We are now in the American Desert. All is desolate in extreme - beds of shale or gray sand. Evidently this was once a saline lake. We have passed the western line of the desert where in early days the weary emigrants [faded] of water & grass. Ages must pass before nature will make this desert fit for man. We now have down grade for 311 to Nevada desert. We arrive at Wells. Is the [faded] of the Humboldt [faded]. The station is 1250 miles from Omaha, 640 to San Francisco.


I would like to give you a description of these wells, but have not time. Suffice it to say, they have no bottom. Undoubtedly they are the craters of Volcanoes. The valley in which the wells are situated is 5 miles long by 3 miles wide.

  Elko. The county seat of Elko County. Near the town some warm springs are noticeable. We pass on down the canyon. We pass the Devil's Peak, a perpendicular Rock perhaps 500 feet high. Passed over a considerable distance and arrive at Winnemucca, 1451 miles from Omaha. From Winnemucca the road [track] bears southward. We come to Rose Creek and next we come to Raspberry. Why one should be called Rose Creek and the other Raspberry we will tell

Please contact me if you have further information (or pages!)

  Sarah and Ambrose arrived in Oregon and settled near her parents at Monmouth in Polk County. Ambrose did not take up farming in Oregon, but was appointed Postmaster at Crowley Station. Daughter Mary Ellen's husband William died five years later, but she remained in Texas and died there in 1931. Daughter Martha also stayed behind, and died in Oklahoma in 1911. The children who accompanied them on the 1880 train journey spread out to numerous locations in the Oregon-Washington area. Ambrose died at home in Monmouth of an apparent heart attack in 1892, but Sarah survived him another 15 years.

Sarah's four children, who accompanied her with Ambrose
on the train trip to Oregon
James Monroe CAIN Emma CAIN Elizabeth CAIN Nancy Madora CAIN

  Sarah, Ambrose and many of her family were buried at Etna Cemetery in Rickreall, Polk County. The cemetery was part of the LaCreole Baptist Church which was founded by her father and uncle, overlooking the farms owned by James Monroe Fulkerson, Solomon Crowley and other families who had together crossed a continent and built new communities on the Oregon landscape.