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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

Fifield, Charles, Mrs.
Abigail Austin Doty,   pp. 158-159 PDF (380.8 KB)

Page 159

    The first winter at Janesville was a trying ordeal for
the Austin family. Houses being very scarce they were
obliged to be satisfied with the second floor of a small
frame dwelling on South Main Street, where the Cullen
Apartments now stand. They suffered with the extreme
cold of that year-the house being so poorly builT that
one was able to see the outside light through the cracks
between the boards.
    Abigail Austin, at the age of eleven years, kept house
for her father and sister and with the help and advice
of the neighbors, was able to make bread and attend
to all the household duties. In the summer, she, with
the rest of the village women had to go to the banks of
Rock River to do the family washing, as there were no
cisterns at that time, and rain barrels were at a premium.
    The second winter, Mr. Austin and daughters, to-
gether with another family, moved into a new stone
house built by Judge Bailey. This house was so very
new that the walls were not even plastered but the win-
ter was milder than the preceding one and no discom-
forts were noticeable unless it might be the fact that two
families were living in a six room house. In 1924, this
house still stands as originally built-opposite the Court
House park on St. Lawrence Avenue-probably the old-
est house in Janesville.
    At the time of the lynching of Maybury, near the
old Court House, the Austin girls were eye witnesses.
    Janesville in an early day was very gay-socially,
especially during the winter months and many were the
bob-rides to Johnstown to attend the dances given
weekly at the old Johnstown hostelry.
    In 1847 Abigail Austin was married to Ezra Philo
Doty, also of Janesville and was a resident of Janesville
until her death, January 2, 1916. Mr. Doty died in 1869.
Mrs. Doty, left with a family of five young children to
bring up, proved herself a most loving and dutiful parent.
Of the five children, Edward Philo Doty and Mrs. Charles
L. Fifield, of Janesville survive.

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