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Caroline Dunkle Miller, daughter of Michael Dunkle and his wife, Carolina Boyer, was raised in rural Pine Hollow, in Perry Township, Clarion County.  She became a teacher and a homemaker.  Throughout her almost 97 years, Carrie was vitally interested in issues of the day.  Following is a transcription of Carrie's tape-recorded reminiscences in 1956, at the age of 92.  The tape was originally transcribed by Carrie's son, Art Miller.
Michael Dunkle Carolina Boyer Dunkle
Michael Dunkle Carolina Boyer Dunkle

"I was born August 31, 1864, in a big white house on top of a hill overlooking the Clarion River in western Pennsylvania.  I was the youngest of eight children who grew up.  I often compare my mother's family to the poem, 'They grew in beauty, side by side, they filled one home with glee.  Their graves are severed far and wide by field and stream and sea.'

"One of my earliest memories is of my fifth birthday.  My mother had hid a pair of black cloth shoes, or gaiters, and white cotton stockings in a bureau drawer.  I, being of an inquisitive nature, was looking through and found them.  I didn't tell anyone; and, when my birthday came, I pretended to be surprised.  I felt quite grown up and took a basket out to the woodpile, filled it with chips, and brought it in for my mother to use in her wood cook stove.

"My grandfather [Henry Boyer - see his bio on this site] was a shoemaker and made my everyday shoes of calf-skin.  He had a vat and tanned the hides.  I was warned not to go near, as I might fall in and be drowned.

"My sister, Olive, was the oldest and worked hard to help my mother feed and clothe us all.  My brothers came in a row.  I was the youngest.

"My oldest brother, Peter [see his extensive memoirs on this site], was my hero.  He taught school and was gone most of the time.  But, winter evenings he would read poetry to us as we sat in a circle around an open fireplace with coal burning in a grate.  I recall his reading Urias Green and His Flying Machine, Betsy and I Are Out, and Over the Hills to the Poor House.  I would be sitting on one of Mother's braided rugs in front of the fire.  Sometimes I would go to sleep there.

"I didn't like to go to bed in the dark.  I was afraid of spooks.  I slept with my sister.  She would be knitting.  I was hard to wake and get ready for bed.  They threatened to go to bed and let me lay.  One night they did, and when I waked up I made a bound through a dark room and onto the bed.  Olive waked up and got me undressed and under the covers.  She took me in her arms and warmed me.

"I have very pleasant memories of those evenings:  Father sitting in a big rocking chair; Mother and Olive taking turns at the spinning wheel and knitting.  My brothers would often be playing games on a slate.  We were very saving of paper.  They played fox and geese, marbles or checkers.  One of my brothers would bring in a pail of apples from where they were buried in the garden.  We had a cellar for vegetables and apples, but apples kept better buried.  Often there would be a row of apples roasting on the hearth.  We had chestnut and walnut trees.  Father had a half-bushel measure that he would bring corn in to shell for the chickens, and sometimes we would parch some of that.

"The school teacher boarded around.  I was glad when it was our turn to have him.  Then we would have ham and mashed potatoes for supper.  Cornmeal mush and milk was our supper when we were alone.

"My parents were very hospitable, and when traveler or peddler came into our neighborhood, he always stayed at our house.  Mr. Gwinn, Will's father, came once a year with a wagonload of woolen goods from a factory to trade for wool.  We had a flock of sheep and a shearing pen.  It was fun for me to watch them shearing sheep.  We had mutton occasionally.  I remember Mr. Gwinn saying his oldest son wanted to go West.

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