Adams County History & Genealogy

Adams County, Ohio Articles

Wisecup Childhood Recalled

The following account from Margaret Wisecup Smalley and her sister's childhood was told by Mary E. Wisecup Cokonougher to her children and grandchildren, and is told on pages 28 and 29 of History and Genealogy of The Ancestors and Relatives of Ralph William Cokonougher by Ralph Cokonougher. Isabel Skidmore Wisecup was Mary and Margaret Wisecup's stepmother; Joseph Wisecup was their father; and Proba Frost was their grandmother. This story took place in Adams County, Ohio.

Mary and Margaret Wisecup felt that their stepmother, Isabelle Skidmore, was one of the meanest women who ever lived. She did not care for her stepchildren and treated them poorly. Whenever Joseph had to leave the home on business, Isabel would refuse to allow Margaret and Mary to eat, and consequently, they were forced to go hungry for long periods of time. When Proba Frost, the children's grandmother, learned of their plight, she arranged to feed the children without Isabel's knowledge.

Each day, Isabel sent Mary and Margaret to a far off spring to fetch a bucket of water, one getting a bucket in the morning, and one getting a bucket in the evening. Twice a day the children's grandmother put food into a pail and hid it in the bushes near the spring. As the girls came along to do their chore, they would hunt for and find the pail, and, in that way, get at least one badly needed meal a day.

Joseph had to leave on business quite often. One time when he had to leave, Isabel strongly protested his leaving, and they got into an argument. Joseph told his daughter Margaret to go to the barn and saddle his horse. Isabel ordered her not do so. Once again, Joseph told the girl to saddle his horse, and she did as she was told. Joseph then left and went about his business.

As soon as he was gone, Isabel cut a switch from a yellow rose bush in the yard and whipped Margaret with it. The switch still had the thorns on it, so the girl bled profusely. By the time Joseph returned, the blood had dried so hard and so thick that he had to soak Margaret's dress from her lacerated body. It was plain that the two girls could no longer live with their stepmother so Joseph took them to their grandmother Frost and asked her to care for them. They both lived with her until Joseph's wife Isabel died. Mary then lived again with Joseph. Margaret continued to live with her grandmother until she was a fully grown adult.

When Proba Frost died, Margaret and Mary Wisecup each inherited 20 acres of land from her estate. Both sold the land.

The following transcript is from a newspaper obituary clipping of Margaret Smalley, newspaper unknown:

Margaret Wisecup, daughter of Joseph and Phoeba Wisecup was born Oct. 16, 1853; departed from this life on Christmas day, Dec. 25th, 1914, aged 61 years 2 months 9 days. She was united in marriage to Willis Smalley [in] June 1873. To this union were born five daughters and three sons; one daughter and one son preceding her to the better world. She leaves a husband, two sons and four daughters to mourn their loss, besides 13 grandchildren, two sisters, and one brother. In 1905, she united with the Mt. Zion U.B. Church, of Grover Hill. In her death the church has lost a loyal member; the home a true wife, mother and sister. Her life has been one of blessings to those who knew her. Surely heaven has become dearer and richer by the entrance of such a life within its portals.

                Farewell, thou mother, darling wife,
                Basking in the brightness of everlasting life.
                May thou, in peace untold,
                From all harm, safe in the shepard's fold.

The funeral services were conducted at the home by Rev. Northdraft. The body was laid to rest in Syloan cemetery, four miles west of Chelsea.