A Halloween story

Halloween is a good time to tell the story of Barbara Hufford, born 1860 in Rossville, Clinton County, Indiana. Barbara was the daughter of John (b. 1814), son of Abraham Sr. (b. 1788), son of Casper (b. 1762), son of Christian the immigrant. Barbara, her husband, and their children are on page 63 of the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY. She is with her parents and siblings on page 52 of the book.

Barbara married John DEAL when she was 19; she birthed seven children. She died at 31, in 1888, with six children surviving. Her son Manford was seven-and-a-half years old when Barbara died.

In 1971, Barbara’s son Manford was 86 years old and living in Traverse City, Michigan. His wife had died the year before. He made a return trip to his childhood hometown – Pyrmont, Carroll County, Indiana. Manford’s son Francis Ronald was with him. Manford visited with a few old cousins, saw a childhood friend, and walked some of the same roads he had walked as a child.

A few weeks after he returned to Traverse City, he told his son a story, and his son wrote it down. Here is the story that Barbara’s son told, 79 years after Barbara died:

“Now I’ll tell you a ghost story that happened when I was about seven years old, and I ain’t nary told a soul all these years except a little while back, after my brother Irvin passed on [three years prior, in 1968]. I asked a preacher if such a thing could have happened, and he said it most certainly could.

“Well, the day of my mother’s funeral we’d been busy with lookin’ out for friends and family that had come in, y’know, and the girls were late getting at the chores. I always went down to the barn at milking time and helped out what I could. They always throwed hay down through a place in the floor of the loft to feed the cows, and there was always some hay left over, so when they got to milking, I’d curl up on the hay and go to sleep. One of the girls waked me up, and said since they were going to be later than usual that night, I’d better beat it up to the house and get to bed before it got any darker.

“There was a path that led from the barn up to the road and across the road. It went up on a little rise like and then sloped from there up to the house. When I crossed the road, I saw someone standing on the rise. I was pretty tired, and it didn’t seem out of the way at all when I reached the top of the rise and found my mother waiting for me. She walked to the house with me and followed me upstairs where I always slept. She waited until I’d gotten undressed and into bed. She tucked me in and said, ‘I’ll just look in on Laura,’ (she was the baby then, you know) ‘and see that she’s all right.’ She came back in a little bit and said, ‘Now we mustn’t tell John or Irvin anything about this,’ and I never did neither. I never told nobody all these years ’til they were both gone.”

Barbara had a twin sister; it’s unknown whether her sister was an identical twin. However, what IS known is that her twin sister had died in February 1888, more than four years before Barbara died.

Barbara and her husband, the Rev. John Edwin DEAL (1854-1939), were German Baptist Brethren (Dunkard).

They had seven children:
Irvin, b. Sep. 1880; d. 1968
Ada May, b. Apr. 1882; d. Aug. 1910
Mary C., b. July 1883
Manford J., b. Apr. 1885; d. Jan. 1976
Harry, b. Feb. 1887; d. May 1888
Elva Ellen, b. July 1889
Laura, b. Jan. 1892

PAGE NOTE: Barbara Hufford is listed on page 63 of the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY.

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