Rivers Run West Ch 1 page 2
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From Pioneers to Entrepreneurs

Sarah Ann had been born in Urbana, Ohio in 1818 while Ohio was still a frontier state. In 1809, her father, Charles Dickason, married Hannah Leg in Monroe County [W] Virginia. They migrated to Ohio in 1811 and were an early Ohio pioneer family. Sarah Ann married William in 1839 and went with him to live in Fort Smith, Arkansas while it was still the farthest western outpost in America, and bordering the new Indian territory.

This was the same year President Jackson forced the five civilized Indian tribes of the southeast to leave their homes in Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Alabama and travel to the recently established Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. This migration, which took them through Fort Smith, was so terrible thousands of Indians died on the way. It became know as the "Trail of Tears".

Even though Sarah's steamboat trip on the Ohio, Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers to Fort Smith in 1839 was an easy and relatively comfortable way to travel, there were times after she left Fort Smith that she thought of her own travels as a trail of tears also, for it seemed to her That she and William never stopped traveling.

They did settle and live in Fort Smith for ten years, the longest time they lived anywhere, but in 1849 they started to travel again. This time by covered wagon to Texas shortly after the Mexican war when Texas became a state. Two years later, they traveled again by covered wagon through Mexico and the American desert and Indian lands to Los Angeles, then by sailing ship to San Francisco, arriving there July 9, 1852. They lived in four different places in Northern California for 17 years, raising their children: two wild "Gold Rush" mining towns and two peaceful farming communities.

They heard about a land boom in Ventura County in southern California. Sarah was tired of the uncertainty of the life in mining towns. William was restless and had the "gotta move on" feeling again. They had not been impressed with Los Angeles when they passed through the first time in 1852. Nevertheless, they left Hornitos in northern California and once again set out for greener pastures. Sarah hoped this would be the last time.

In all their other moves the family had stayed together, but this time they had to leave behind their two older married daughters, Susan Eliza [Titchenal] Morrison (27) and Rebecca [Titchenal] Hail (23) along with their grandchildren. Their son, William Charles (25), though single, was sick with tuberculosis and stayed in the north with his sister, Susan Eliza. David Dickason (11) liked Hornitos and didn't want to leave, so they agreed to let him stay for a while with Susan Eliza, also.

John Jackson (26) would later become my grandfather, Martha Jane (14), and Samuel Henry (9) were the only children with them on this move. The 20 years of wandering from one western frontier of our expanding country to another had taken its toll on all of them. Out of eleven children, four daughters had died while still babies, probably because of the lack of medical help and the hardships they had endured along the way.

William had now ended a life of pursuing his dream of upward social and economic mobility in the frontier. He may not have realized it then, but he was about to make the transition from pioneer farmer and miner to an entrepreneur and businessman. We may never know what had driven William but he was very much a part of the generation of Americans that believed going west to the Pacific was the "Manifest Destiny" of our country.

They must have been caught up, like many ordinary people of their time, in the westward sweep of the nation as a way to improve the life of their family and future generations. The desire to acquire cheap land by moving to a new frontier was a part of William's heritage. For six generations his ancestors, as well as his wife Sarah Ann's ancestors, had all been moving west and living on the frontiers of America.

Even though only a few of the Titchenals made the history books, each generation of Titchenals, and their wives' families, the Harberts, Dickason's, Buckalews, and Jackson's, had sons and daughters among the first to live in each new frontier of America. One or more of the men from these families fought, and some died for their country, in all American wars, from the Indian wars, to the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. The Civil War split some of the families - some men fought for the Union, while others fought for the Confederacy. Later generations continued to have men in the Spanish American war, World War I and World War II. It was not that these families liked wars, but they all believed in America and were willing to fight for their beliefs. Regrettably, from today's perspective, some were also very much a part of the dislocation of the native American Indians, and some were slave owners.

William's descendents, for the next generations and into the 20th century, would follow his footsteps by marrying with other early American families, such as Arnetts, Keiths, Morrisons and the McClures (some with Cherokee Indian blood).

My generation of Titchenals has the genes that represent the genuine "American Melting Pot" of peoples of many nations with the heritage and the blood of the Dutch-French, English, German, Scotch-Irish and Cherokee.

Looking back from a 350 year perspective, it seems as if the personal individual beliefs, travels and actions of our ancestors, together with the action and policies of foreign kings and the American government came together like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle without an inkling of the final picture. When the picture was not to our ancestors liking they would change their response to the current situation and in so doing changed their lives and their descendants (our) lives. Time completed the picture for each generation (to their liking or not). They have left us the same opportunity to mold our lives today and in the future.


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