OLD AUNTY - Fountain County INGenWeb Project

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Source: The Logansport Daily Journal - Saturday 16 March 1901 p 5

Veedersburg, Ind., March 15 - "Old Aunty," the mysterious character who has been a familiar figure to the people of Fountain county for many years, is dead. She lived on Allen Boord's farm, half a mile west of Stone Bluff, for thirty years. Mr. Boord went to her cabin Tuesday morning. There was no response to his knock, and he found her cold and dead. It is thought that she died Sunday night. She was never known in the community by any name except that of "Old Aunty," although she told a few friends her name was Mary Francis. She was first seen in the county by Josie Boord Timmons, in 1858. It was a cold, wintry day, the ground being covered with snow, when she was sitting on a log by the roadside. She refused to go to a shelter offered her, and started into the woods. Hunger drove her to the home of Daniel Smith, where she remained for some time. Then she wandered into the woods for a month, having nothing to do with any one, except when she approached a house for food. Thirty years ago she went to a log cabin, drove out the hogs that occupied it and since then made it her home. With the help of neighbors, she equipped the cabin with household comforts, and lived there in seeming happiness. When Mr. Boord came into possession of the farm he gave "Old Aunty" an acre of ground, which she cultivated with her own hands year after year. She became an expert at garden cultivation. For the neighbors she would spade up and plant an entire garden, and charge 50 cents for the work. But she became too feeble in time for this kind of labor. She did other work for the neighborhood and saved her money closely, but in later years she spent her store for necessities. She performed no work without pay, and she received no aid but what she paid for. Who she was and where she came from has been a mystery. To the Boord family she has talked at times, and to them she said her father was rich, had a fine home, and that she "lost her man on the big water, and never saw him after coming to the big city." She carried her secrets to the grave with her. It is thought that she was over 100 years old. An investigation of her home has been made since her death. It is a dilapidated structure, ready to tumble down. She had filled the cracks with stones and mud, and with her own hands had built an addition. There was a chicken coop in one corner, while the fowls roosted everywhere, and cats crouched in various corners. In one end of the cabin was in oven made of stone. The place was so crowded that only two persons could get into it at a time. She never went to church, and did not seem to know when Sunday came. When women went to see her out of curiosity, she offered them something to eat, usually a raw Irish or sweet potato, and she was offended if her guests did not eat. It is thought she was a Belgian.

(GA - she was in the 1880 "Aunty Francis" census following Elijah Boord and in the 1900 "Mary Francis" census following Allen Boord)
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