This is a very bad photocopy of a picture that was drawn of my great grandfather, Charles Halfaker, Sr. (left) and his father L.D. Halfaker circa 1900.
Louis or Lewis Daniel Halfaker was born on January 12, 1848 around Marion Co., Indiana. His parents were Sampson Halfaker and Susannah Slaybaugh. Very little is known of his childhood, but most of it was spent in Indiana. L.D. (as my father called him) was raised primarily by his mother as his father died very shortly after his birth.
L.D. married Margaret Jane Poston in August of 1870 in Indiana. She was born on May 15, 1853 in Indiana to John Milton and Nancy Ann Lee Poston. L.D. and Margaret had many hardships in their lives together. To this union, the following children were born:
Susan Halfaker b: July 28, 1872
Sampson Harvey Halfaker b: March 28, 1874
Robert William b: April 14, 1876
Charles Daniel Halfaker b: February 26, 1879
John Milton Halfaker b: December 20, 1880
Their first child, Susan died on September 24, 1874 at the age of only 2 years. Robert William died on September 16, 1892 at the age of 16 years. John Milton Halfaker died August 1881 at the age of 8 months. This family saw a lot of tragedy. Margaret Jane died four days after the birth of her last son, John Milton on December 24, 1880 in Shelby Co., Indiana. She was only 27 years old.
L.D. remarried Margaret's sister, Mary Carter who was a widow. Their only son, Napolian Halfaker was stillborn on December 15, 1890.
L.D. was engaged in farming and trading, but this did not end his desire to venture into the new frontier. He had heard of good opportunities in Kansas City, Missouri concerning horse trading. In 1884, he packed up the family and headed west to Kansas City.
The family arrived in Bourbon, Crawford Co., Missouri after traveling by covered wagon from Indiana. L.D. saw the opportunity to homestead in this new little village and the family settled there. Bourbon is situated on the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Line and it is just 70 miles from St. Louis, Mo.
He settled on homesteading an area that had timber, springs, land for growing crops and even a cave. L.D. decided that rather than spending all his time building a home that first year, he would move his family into the nice cozy cave and he would focus on clearing land and harvesting crops. The family moved in and it made a pretty comfortable and safe home. The cave is still in existence today and is known as Halfaker Cave. My great grandfather, Charlie used to tell stories of their time in the cave as being a true "experience."
A reporter from the St. Louis Post Dispatch heard of the family living in the cave and came out to write a story. L.D. spoke very freely of his desires to build a home the following spring and that this was only a temporary situation. When the reporter was done with the interview, L.D. bid him farewell. When the article came out in the paper, it criticized L.D. for "keeping" his family in a cave.
L.D. was a very strong willed man and he sued the Post and won!!!
A nice home was built the following year and L.D. went on to build a General Store in Bourbon where he sold all kinds of things. "Halfaker Store" existed until around the late 1930's. His son, Charles had made it a furniture store in later years and had the first television in Bourbon. My dad told me how people would come and gather around that one television in town and watch all those old shows. It was truly a wonderful escape from real life, even then.
L.D. lived in the house that he built until his death on August 31, 1923. His wife Mary survived for ten years and died on April 4, 1933. They are both buried in the Hill Cemetary in Bourbon, Missouri.
**Much of the information contained on this page comes from "The Halfaker Family History" written by William E. Rohrer. William is the youngest son of Serelda Halfaker Rohrer.