Kansas MemoryKansas Memory

Kansas Historical SocietyKansas Historical Society

Abbie Bright diary

Item Description Bookbag Share

 

 

Sept. 2nd 1870  After planning for six months, that which I hoped for has come to pass, and I am at Red Oak Shelter Indiana.

 

So much to see, and talk about. I have not had a chance to write of our stop at Reading Pa - or our visit at Westerville, O.

When we reached Williamsport, a friend of brothers was in town, and he brought us out to his home. I was hungry enough to have been satisfied with a piece of bread—but peach pies were baked, and chicken fried—and as Katura said "We faired sumtously."

 

After dinner the horses were hitched to the big wagon again, and off we started for Red Oak Shelter eight miles farther. We sat on a spring seat, which was untop of the waggon-box. My feet did not touch the floor, and when the horses went faster than a walk, I had to hold fast to the seat, to keep from bouncing off. It would have been less tiresome to have sat on my trunk, and rested my feet on the floor.

 

So much for my first ride in a "Husher [Hoosier?] buggy."

 

Sept. 7—The weather is delightful—the children interesting, and the days too short. Last Sunday we went twelve miles to Crows Grove to church. There was to have been a wedding—but on the way to church, the bride got timid, so they stopped at the Squires and were married, then went on to church. It was known over the country, that the wedding was to be Sunday, so there was a big crowd there, and the disappointment at not seeing

 

[page 2]

 

the marriage was great. However we saw the bride, and she looked very happy and sweet. She wore a silver gray silk, with a velvet hat to match.

 

Coming home Katura [Rhoda] told us when they came west fifteen years ago, the woman nearly all wore sunbonnets. Her wedding bonnet was very pretty, and much admired. A neighbor girl was going to be married, and wanted her bonnet.

 

After some dickering, they made a trade—the girl got the bonnet, and Katura [Rhoda] got a pig.

 

"That pig" said she—"was the sourse of the hundreds of pigs we have raised since—"

 

As we drove along some prairie chickens flew up from the road side. They were the first I had seen. When I asked about them, Katura said, "there are only a few now, years back there were plenty, and they were not so wild. When there was snow, they would find shelter and food in corn shocks. They make a peculiar noise in the Spring when mating. In the morning one heard their do-do-do o o o in every direction—Now we seldom hear them.  When Harry Hoch was little he told me they talked dutch.

 

"What!" I said, "Yes they do" he insisted, "One says ich kin do do do o o o, and another says was koust do-do-do-o-o-o! Not a bad imitation."

We rode in a spring waggon, which was called in that locality, a buggy, and were just beeing bought by the more prosperous farmers. The farm houses were far apart, no trees—except what were planted around the buildings. The farms were generally large.

[page 3]

 One field we passed, was a quarter section, 160 acres, and only used for pasture. It was an interesting drive, but would take too long to write about all I saw and heard.

 

Brother's home is at the edge of timber. There is timber west and north of the house, great oaks, maples, hickery ct. The house faces the East. The barn, sheds and corn cribs are west of the house, There are nine horses and a number of coalts, nearly 200 head of cattle over 200 hogs, and 300 sheep, not counting the lambs.

 

Sept-16  Two weeks since we came. How fast time passes. Brother has some of his cattle out on the open prairie. One day he was going out to see them, and asked me to ride along. We went through the timber—crossed Pine creek, and some four or six miles farther came prairie.  From there direct west for twenty miles, was open prairie and not a building of any kind—and only one lone tree.  How that had escaped the fires that in times past had burned over the prairie—was a mystery.

 

From the last house we rode until we came to hit herder, some five miles out—not far from a little shack, where he lived and kept his pony. There were several hundred head in the herd, which were grazing near a big pool or pond. It was a wonderful sight, no fences, no houses, nothing but grass and a few flowers.

 

Back of us in the distance, could be see the tops of the last grove we had passed.

 

The cattle were under the care of Mr. Goo[dwin all Summer. The owners going out every few days with]

 

[page 4]

 

 supplies for him, and to see how the cattle were doing. I asked how far we were from the Ill. line, and was told we had crossed it a mile or two back. I got out of the waggon to pick some late blooming flowers—and walked a short distance.

 

The cattle not beeing used to petticoats, soon had their heads and tails up—and were either going to run at me, or be frightened and stampeed.

 

Mr. Goodrich called my attention to them, and said I should hurry back, and get into the waggon. I did not need a second telling—for one look at their lowering heads and hornes was enough. Going back we stopped in the timber near Pine creek— and picked up a half bushel of wild plums.

 22st—We attended the fair at Pine Village the other day, and I met many nice people. The exhibits were not extensive. People went mostly to meet acquaintances, and visit with their neighbors. We took dinner at a dining hall. The desert was vinegar pie. I thought it strange when fruit is so plenty and pumpkins too. I think it was made of sugar, spice, and everything that is good and nice.

 

As I want to teach—and the schools begin in Oct. I thought it time to see the directors. I started out on Coly—and was riding leisurely along enjoying the sunshine—the ride ct, when I heard the report of a gun. Up went Coly's head, and she danced round and round in a circle three or four times, then stoped and listened. When I spoke to her she moved on.

 

[page 5]

 

It was all so sudden I wonder how I ever kept my seat. I told them about it at the supper table: and was told Coly had been an army horse, and always acted that way when she heard the report of a gun.

 

After the close of the Civil War there were sales of army horses in Ken. and brother had gone down and bought several. Here come the children, I promised to walk with them, down to the creek.

 

23d—I learned there were three schools in the district lack­ing teachers. I choose one eight miles from home. Where I could board at Mrs. Bees, and have less than a mile to walk to school, Provided I get a certificate. Tomorrow brother is going to Williams-port on business, and as the Co. Supertendant holds examinations there, I will go along.

 

24th—Well the examination is over, and I got along nicely. Part was oral and part written—I need not have worried about it. The certificates are given for six months to two years. Mine is for two years, much to my surprise. All the applicants did not fair as well, and I wonder if they did so much poorer than I, or if I did so much better than they. Only one in this district, had higher mark­ings than I, and he has been teaching 18 years.

 

In grammar, the question, "What part of speach are two—too and to." then we were to use the three words in describing something. Very few could answer, hence their low grade in grammar. As for me—I must be studying U. S. History to improve my standing.

 

[page 6]

 

My grades are—Orthography 95, Reading 100, Writing 100, Arithmetic 90, Grammar 90, Geography 85, U. S. History 75.

School begins the middle of Oct. A four months term, $40 a month, and $2 a week for board.

Oct. 14—These are busy days. I am a slow worker, but try to help. Ive made apple butter of three barrels of cider.

Apples are plenty, and good. When little O finds an extra nice one, he brings it to me. Yesterday he came with a fine bell-flower, "Here is a pig belt for you," he said. He is the youngest, and we all pet him.

 

Brother has so much hired help—it keeps Katura busy cooking: besides the fruit and garden to look after. The older children are good help.

 

We got the mail to day.  Letters from home, all well. M is so good to write, and keep me posted.

 

Oct. 21—I came down Sunday.  School began Monday.

 

The school house stands at a crossroads on the prairie.

 

No fence around it. Back of it grows slough grass and big weeds, no trees on the lot, and no building of any kind besides the school house. A load of coal dumped by the door. "Simply this and nothing more."

 

The first fire I kindled with weeds and dried grass. The next morning I picked up pine cones in Mrs. Bee's yard. Going home last eve—I saw there was bark on some of the fence posts I passed, so this morning I pulled off enough, to kindle fire this morning, and next Monday. I must see about getting some one to have some kindling.

 

This is my first experience with soft coal, it

 

[page 7]

 

kindles easily, but how it does smudg.

 

Have eleven scholars, will have more when the corn is out of the way.

 

The scholars work well, so I have no trouble to keep order, and how they do like to sing. Motion songs delight them. I can teach them tunes.   I wish I was a good singer.

 

Nov. 4—This is the third week of school. I have been up to Red Oak Shelter once—and they sent my mail down once. Sometimes I write a letter and it is four or five days before it gets mailed. I do get so anxious for my mail. Would like to go up this evening, but it is too stormy. School moves along smothly.

 

One of my best boys was a New York waif. He was sent west with a lot of other children, who were adopted by people in this, and adjoining Counties.

 

George is tall for his age—13.  He has a very good face and good manners. I wonder about his parentage. I have been told that he now has a very good home.

 

The days are coalder. I have learned how to keep the fire over night. Close the door, open the draft, and the room is soon warm in the mornings before the children come. There was a mouse running around the room to day, much to the amusement of the children.

 

Nov. 24—Some time since I wrote here, but I have written many letters in the mean time. I do most of my writing at noons, or after school. Rode home last Fri. after school. I am becoming quite a rider. Two good letters from home.

 

[page 8]

 

Dec. 5—I had a glorius ride home Fri. evening. Did not get started until 4-30—and these short days, the sun sets early—but it did not get dark as the moon shone in all her splendor. It was a grand evening for a gallop over the prairie, to the timber.

 

Mrs. Bee [Butler] lets me ride her pony when I go home.

 

Going home I ride fast, coming back I let Kit poke along.

 

Sunday one of their neighbors was buried. I went with them to the house, but not to church, as it would have made me too late starting for here. When we got there, several men were making the rough box, which wen finished—was sent to the grave yard.

 

After a while the coffin was carried out, put into a big waggon, a sheet spread over it, and they started for the church. Not a word was said—no preacher there. Some two years ago Mrs. B's [But­ler's] husband was burried—and his funeral sermon had not yet been preached. So at this time—the sermon for both was to be preached. They tell me it frequently happens that the sermon is preached weeks after the burial. I suppose it is owing to the scarcity of ministers.

 

I reached Mrs. Bee's in time to go with them to church at Fee's Hall. We went in the big waggon. There were an endless number of children there. One little chap, after screaming lustily —ran away from his mother—up the aisle—unto the platform, and crawled under the preachers bench. It was comical. I ought to remember the text, but I dont, there was too much noise and con­fusion. 

 

[page 9]

 

Dec. 19—Did not get home Fri.   So no mail for over a week.

 

The boys went to town, and I sent letters along to be mailed. No one seems anxious for the mail but I.

 

Last Saturday was my twenty second birthday.

 

Age is creeping on, but I fear it does not bring the expected wisdom with it.    Last Sat. I spent the day sewing, and answering letters. The other week when I was up home, I made of a black and green wool goods, a suit for little 0 and he is to wear it when he has his picture taken.

 

This is a snowy Monday.   There are but six scholars.

 

Dec. 20—Yesterday p. m. Mr. W came for his children, and I had a sled ride home. C brought us all up this morning. The sleighing is good. It is so cold it will last some time.

 

We are all invited to a party to night. Bess and I would rather stay home, but to please the boys I expect we will go.

 

Dec. 21—We went to the party last night. J came around this way for us. There were seven in the sled, and we had a merry time. More boys there, as usualy at their merry makings, than girls—and I danced until my ankels hurt. I do not like to refuse any one.

 

Some lack polish, but they are mostly well-meaning, up right boys. There are to be several other parties soon, but I shant go, I feel too stupid next day.  It is very cold—only six scholars to day.

 

[page 10]

 

Dec. 23—I shall leave school out early, and go home. I'll have a cold ride, but am so anxious for mail. There was a party last night, but I would not go. This morning I ate breakfast standing by the cookstove, and started to school when some were still in bed. I like to have the room good and warm when the children come. Have a good stove and plenty of coal. The kitchen is a leanto—and cold— This morning I washed at one end, and by the time I wiped my face, and walked to the other end to comb, my hair was frozen. I am glad my hair is shingled, it dont take much combing, and another cold morning I will not wet it.

 

Dec. 28—Christmas is past. I spent it at my brothers, with the children—and a plenty of apples, nuts, pop corn, homemade candy and cider. I had a pleasant time.

 

It was so cold Mrs. Bee [Butler] did not want me to come up Fri., but I was determined to go.

 

She gave me a pair of drawers to wear, that were made out of a blanket, and they kept me warm, except my feet, which were frost bitten a little. If women rode crosswise like men, how much warmer and better it would be.

 

Kit seemed to like the outing, and travelled well.

 

[page 11]

 

There was no school Monday. I came down by way of Fees Hall in the p. m. When I turned the corner there, a team came up behind me to pass, but Kit would not let them. She started to run, and run she did for three miles, with the team close behind us. A little way from Mrs. Bees they turned off, and Kit slacked up.

 

That was the fasted riding I ever did.

 

They say Kit never lets a team pass her.

 

Jan. 2—1871—Did not go home last Fri. as I had school Sat. to make up for Monday.   Went to church at Grows Grove yesterday.

 

When we came back Mr. De T -  was here. He gave me a pair of kid lined gloves, with fur at the wrists, very nice. They are a philopenia forfeit. There is a sort of crase, play­ing philopenia, just around here.

 

The sleighing is gone. One evening last week we spent at M -  Their little girls come to school.

 

Jan. 4—Mrs. Bee had her butchering done yesterday. All her children were here to help. Mr. Hcalled to ask me to go with him to a party tomorrow night. It is much warmer, and all the children are at school again.

 

Some times I wish I could have these children under my care for a year.  How some of them would advance.

 

They have to "unlearn" some things taught them in former terms of school—which is hard to do.   More than ever have I wished that I was a good singer.  Some days ago, Sallie, my largest girl, came to me with a song book, and asked, "Could you teach me this tune?" She had heard it

 

[page 12]

 

 somewhere but could not remember the tune. The tune was Dennis, the words— "A charge to keep I have A God to glorify An never dying soul to save And fit for the sky."

I wrote the words on the black board. We sing it, and I believe all the children have learned it. We are also singing several other hyms of Sallies choosing, but they like the ones I first taught them. Shall we gather at the River, Music in the Air, and the motion songs best.

 

Jan. 6—Last night I was home by five o'clock, and dressed when Mr. H came. The invitations said be there at six. Mr.  said he thought it would be a very nice party. I was tired and did not want to go. I wanted to rest, read, and go to bed early.

 

I find one cannot always please ones self.

Well we were at O - about fifteen minutes, when Squire - entered the room, followed by a lady and gentleman.

 

When in the center of the room, he turned around and married them. We were surprised, but just so it was. After congratulations, we went to supper, and an excellent supper it was, finishing with nuts confectionary ct. After wards we danced, I have never en­joyed a dance more. The bride is a relative of the O. The groom and his brother and a friend who came with him, are from Laffayette. The brother reminded me of Prof. S.  I was his partner in three cotillions. I danced with the groom too. They are excellent dancers! too bad I never expect to see them again. Of course I danced with Mr. H and the others also, which was more than a little for a girl who started the evening tired. Bess danced as much as I did. One of the strangers, always addressed her as Miss Lillie, as

 

[page 13]

 

she is a brunette, we think he must have meant a tiger lily. On the whole it was a merry party and I am glad I went, and told Mr. H so.

 

Jan. 20—Noon.  I am going home this evening. I want the mail.

 

Had a new experience to day, and must jot it down while it is fresh in my mind. We often see a mouse run around the room. Last Monday there were two frozen on the stove hearth. This a. m. I was sitting by Ruth helping her with the arithmetic lesson, when I felt something move between my dress and skirt. I was wise enough not to make a fuss, for I guessed what it was.

 

I got up quietly—went out the door, shooked my skirts vigor­ously—and down dropt a mouse.

 

Another thing to be thankful for—that I am not afraid of mice.

 

Jan. 23—Friday I rode Bess' pony, as Mrs. Bees had a sore foot.

 

The roads were rough, it had thawed then froze. I could scarcely go faster than a walk. It got dark when I was more than two miles from home. When we got to a little stream, I could not get the pony acrost, because there was a little ice on each side, I coaxed, I whiped, I tried to lead her acrost—but no use. I could not get her over. I then had to go back to Steets, and ask for help. One of the men went with me. He tried and tried to get her over. Finily she got excited, and he backed her over. Then I crossed on the fence, mounted and rode to A - where I asked if I could ford Pine Creek.

 

They told me brother had been there looking for me, but it got so late, he decided I was not coming, and went home. The thaw had raised the creek, and I

 

[page 14]

 

would surely have drowned, had I tried the old ford. They urged me to stay all night. I thanked them, and said if I could cross in safety—I would like to go on. Then one of their hands got a horse and went along.

 

We went up the creek, where it was wider, with a slower current. I managed to keep my seat by hoalding on to the ponies main when going up the steep bank on the other side. He offered to ride home with me, but I thanked him, and said I had already put him to so much trouble. So I road on alone, acrost an open meadow to the timber.  There are no fences there.

 

Then I took what in the darkness seemed to be the right road, but it grew narower—and the limbs brushed me, and when I came to an open place, I knew I had never been there before, so was on the wrong road.

 

I turned back to the creek, went down it to the old ford—and by the light of dim stars found the road and followed it to the timber. When I finely came to the gate that led into my brothers fenced timber, and on home, I was greatly relieved. The owls had been hooting, which is enough to scare timid people, and my feet were cold. They were surprised to see me, I found letters waiting me, and I was paid for my trip up.

 

Saturday night Katura , Nelson and I went to hear a revivalist, who was preaching in a schoolhouse north of us. It was so dark we got out of the road. Nelson road against a stump, Katura's saddle turned, but we got there a little late. Nelson tightened the girths before we started back. I rode Coly, wish I could take her East with me. Started back to school Sunday p. m.

 

[page 15]

 

My foot got cold, and I took it out of the stirup.

 

When about a mile from Mrs. Bee’s, a rabbit jumped up, and frightened my horse. She gave a jump and landed me in the road. It was good I had my foot out of the stirup, or I might not now be writing about it.

 

Had I been riding Kit, I don't think I would have had so many misshaps.

 

Jan. 25—Yesterday at recess—the children came running in yell­ing that the roof was on fire. I could not get up or do anything to put it out. Then I asked George to climb up the lightening rod. By holding to the places where it was fastened to the house. I helped him up to the first place—and then he could reach the rest.  When up he pounded the fire out with his hat.

 

George is the N. Y. boy, he was here early this morning and we had quite a visit before school time. The children have been bring­ing cat tales to school, and he told me by soaking them in coal oil, they make good torches. He also said he had gathered and stripped them for pillows.

When I told about the fire at the supper table, I learned there was much bad feeling about the location of the school house, some wanted it moved, others did not, and some wished it would burn down.  Well, I thought—not while I am teacher if I can help it.

 

Jan. 27—My school is larger than it was, have 19 pupils, and that just fills the room. A school south of here closed, and several from there, now come here.

 

Alas my "good order" is not so good. I am glad

 

[page 16]

 

 that in two weeks, my four months are up.

 

The other day I met a so called phrenologist, He was a great talker. Bess had told me about him, and that should I meet him,   I was not to take him seriously, as he was daffy on the subject.

 

He soon introduced the subject, and after a time I asked how he accounted for it when the bumps on one side of the head were larger, than on the other. He answered "if larger in the right side, all interests centered in self. If larger on the left side, it denoted great generosity."

 

He went on to tell me, that my mental faculties were no better developed than those of the majority of people.

 

I was well balanced, a lover of order, have a good memory, do not like to see people ridiculed, thought a comfortable living indis­pensable to happiness ct. ct.

 

I wonder what more he would have said, had not others come, and the subject was changed.

 

Last night we went to a Spiritualist meeting at Fees Hall.

 

To me it appeared to be all slight of hand, but many around here believe in it.

 

Feb. 2—A cold windy day. I have my hands full now.

 

We had a good school, and every thing went well.

Had good order, and the children were learning fast -  until that school closed south of us, and the five pupils from there, came here. Variety they say is the spice of life -  not in this case.

 

Feb. 17—I put my journal away, thinking I would have more time when school closed, which it did last Friday. The school house caught fire again. One of my good boys put it out, but another, a regular

 

[page 17]

 

 lomix, from the school south, got on the roof and with a stick knocked a hole in the chimney.

 

I was very much attached to my own scholars, and sorry to leave them, but the others O. dear.

 

It is a comfort to me that the building did not burn down, while I was teacher, Some times when there was a high wind I would go out to see that the roof was not on fire.

A week ago school closed, then Saturday a. m. Bess  and I mounted the ponies and came up here. The roads were rough, frozen hard. The ponies were not shod, so we road very slowly, and finily got off and walked over two miles, and led them. When we got to the creek there was three or four feet of thin ice along both sides, and an open current between. The water from the late rain and thaw had run off, so the water was not deep.

 

Bess'  horse, the one I had trouble with some time before, would not cross that strip of ice, and got frightened. Then Kit got spunky, and I could not get her to cross. We got off, and broke the ice with a stick. No good, acrost they would not go. Then we decided to go back to Mr. A leave the ponies in the barn—and wade the creek. Mrs. Awent along as she said, to see the "performance." We took off shoes and stockings, rolled up our drawers, took our skirts over our armes, carried shoes and stockings and started. Bess [Belle] first. I thoughed Mrs. A would hurt her self laughing. It was a cold crossing, first through

 

[page 18]

 

ice—then water, then ice again which we had to brake with our feet. We dried our feet and legs—on our skirts as best we could, put on stockings—which fortunately were heavy woolen ones—and shoes—then on we went through the timber to brothers, while Mrs. A still laughing, went home to tell the men when they came for dinner, of the comical sight she had seen down at Pine Creek.

 

Fortunately neather of us caught cold. The mile or more walk through the timber warmed us up. In the p. m. some of the men went for the ponies. They followed right along through the creek, but would not go first.

 

Bess  went home Monday.   The creek wading was too good to let pass. So near Valentine day too. So I sketched a picture of Besse  in the creek—shoes in  hand, riding skirt and clothes all gathered up.   Mrs. A on the bank laughing, while from behind a tree, peeping at her was a handsome man. Katura  said it was good, so I sent it to her for a Valentine and addressed it this way— Now listen while I tell This letter is for Mrs. Bee's Bess, Near Williamsport doth dwell, In Warren Co. Who from? Now guess.

Fer. 21—Poor Journal how I am neglecting you, but it cant be helped. I had an errand down at Mrs. Bee’s, so I left at 3 p. m. yesterday.   The roads muddy, slow riding, it seemed 12 miles instead of eight. They were surprised to see me. Bess  had the valentine, and was having much fun over it. Started back at 8 a. m. Had a pack of

 

[page 19]

 

 my clothes to bring home, and Mrs. Bee  sent some things along for her daughter, who is one of our neighbors. She put them all in a pillow slip, and I carried that big bundle on my lap all the way up, in constant fear of dropping it in the mud. However I reached home safely. Saw a big flock of prairie chickens on the way up. Found two of the children in bed with bad colds.

 

Feb. 25—I expect this will smell of calomel, oil, ct. The children have been quite sick with lung fever, are a little better but very restless. They both had fly blisters on their chests; now we put on bread and milk poultices, which must be changed often. It is after midnight. Katura has laid down, brother and I will be up the rest of the night.

 

I sewed until I got sleepy—now I am trying to write.

 

It is almost a week since we had the mail.

 

Brother Philip came west, about time I did, but went farther. Had a letter from him last week. He is in Kansas. I wrote to him the other day. Told him my school was out, and after visiting the cousins I supposed I'd go home, but would like to see more of the west; did he think I could get a school out there.

 

He is in some out of the way place, and I suppose it will be two weeks before I hear from him.

 

March 3.—The children were much improved, and brother thought it safe to leave them, and bring me over here to see the Ill. cousins. We came over that twenty miles of open prairie I saw last Sept. when we went out to look at the cattle. Now the ponds are full

 

[page 20]

 

of water, and look like lakes. The Jordan was as dry as a stick when we crossed it last Summer. Now it is quite a stream, with ponds here and there like beads on a string. One place we crossed a little stream, and the horses nearly mired. Indeed one laid down and there was danger of drownding. Brother talked to them and encouraged them. After floundering around they found firmer foot hold, and pulled the spring waggon buggy out, I feared the buggy would pull to pieces, and dump us in the water, but "all is well that ends well."

 

Brother called my attention to the bull rushes growing there, and said he should not have crossed there, as it was likely to be boggy where they grew.

 

We found cousin Emma's family well, and next morning brother started back.

March 10—I am having a very happy visit here. Made a dress for the baby, and did some other sewing. Went to school one p. m. with the girls. Was pleased with the school, good order, and good teachers.

 

The cousins have many books. I have enjoyed reading some of Shakespere plays and from Goody's Ladies Book out loud to cousin Emma.

 

She has good help, so does not need to

 

[page 21]

 

 worry about house work.

 

March 10—I had expected to have gone down to Egypt to see cousin Sallie [Barnes], and had engaged passage in the buss from here to Danville, twenty miles to the railroad.

 

It rained and the Vermillion was so high the buss could not cross. The buss only makes two trips a week, and every seat was en­gaged for next trip. I waited a week, and in the mean time it rained some more and the water was high again. I think some of giving up the trip. It is 150 miles direct South, but I must go a round about way, which will make the trip much longer.

 

March 23—Olive P. O. Ill. Here I am at last. The bus left for Danville at 6 a. m. Monday just two weeks from the time I had expected to leave. We had only gone a few miles when it began to rain and blow. I could hardly hold the umberela. I had to use it, as the bus had no top.

 

The Vermillion was still high, the water going over the hubs when we crossed. There were only three passengers, I was sur­prised to hear one of them discuss Greek mythology with the driver. Spent the night in D—and next morning went as far as Toulon, where I changed cars to the Ill. Central and waited three hours for the south bound train. From Toulon to Oden is a grand prairie, the most extensive I have seen. When night came we could see away to the East a prairie fire. Beached Oden at eight, and spent the night there. Next morning took an east train, and reached Bridgeport after twelve p. m.

 

[page 22]

 

The cousins had been in twice to meet me, not knowing about the high water—they had decided I was not coming.

 

A friend of theirs—who knew of my comming, secured passage for me with a man who was going on past their home. He was an elderly man, and very talkative, so by asking a few questions, I learned much of the country and the people who live there.

 

The cousins thought I had given up coming, and were surprised to see me. They have two children, and we have already become good friends.

 

April 4—The other day we went to church at Olive Branch. It is a log church, the first I have ever been in.   The women sit onone side of the church the men on the other. Nearly all the women wore sunbonnets. I dont see how they can hear with them on. The P. O. is a mile from here.

 

I walked over for the mail, and was rewarded with three letters. One from sister Mary. How good she is to write to me so regularly.

 

April 7—Fine day. The peaches have bloomed, now the pears and cherries ct. are in bloom. The soil does not seem as fertile here as farther north. This end of Ill. is called Egypt. They have such odd names for places around here. Hard to find—Deadhog— Greasy—Foggy—Possum-point—ct. Cousin Sallie put water in the ash hopper, and a few days later, when she had lye enough, she made pretzels or is it Bretzels? They were excellent. I always supposed they had to be made in a factory. One Sunday we were to a Presbyterian church—some miles away. Part of the road led through low land

 

[page 23]

 

and as the buggy—(The cousins have a top buggy which is great luxury out west) jolted over a strip of corduroy road, I noticed rose canes among the tangled underbrush by the road side, and asked what color the flowers were. Cousin Jim said he had never noticed, and when I asked the name of a shrub with a yellow fringe of bloom, he said, "I cant tell you, really I only know the name of one flower." "What is that," I asked. Then he could not remember it. How we did laugh, but we laughed more yet, when some time later he said, "I remember now, it is the Johny jump up."

 

April 9—We went to the log church this p. m. The people seem devout. There was a good lesson in the sermon.

 

A woman, and a child two or three years old, sat in front of me. The boy wore leather boots. They stood up when they sang, and the boy stood on the bench, and refreshed himself from the ma­ternal fount.  Why not?

 

The days go by so fast. We visit, and sew. I made a dress for cousin Sallie, and wrote many letters.

 

April 12—Tomorrow I leave Luken Prairie where I have had such a pleasant visit. The cousins urge me to stay longer, but I think I will hear from brother Philip, and for that reason am anxious to get back to Red Oak Shelter. The weather is delightful.

 

April 18—Cousin Jim took me to Bridgeport, reached Vinenness at 1 p. m. Missed connections and had to wait until 7 p. m. When I studied about this old

 

[page 24]

 

French town, I little thought I would ever be stranded there six hours. When 7 p. m. came, I had walked around the town, sat on the bank of the Wabash, read all the love stories in Harpers Magazine, and embroidered a little. Spent the night in Terre Haut, and had another long wait at Green Castle, from 8-30 to 1 p. m. "What cant be cured must be endured." I tried to wait patiently. There was timber near the depot, and the red wood or red bud was in bloom. I sat there and read and em­broidered, so the time did not seem so long.

 

At LaFayette waited another two hours—and finily reached W. Glad to get back to Red Oak Shelter where I found several letters waiting for me.

 

Brother Philip wrote his address is Wichita Kans.

 

He had spent the winter in Kans. and Indian Territory.

 

He says he knows nothing about schools, but if I want to come west, I can take up Government Land, and after living on it six months, can prove up on it by paying $1 1/4 an acre for it. He took up a claim some time ago, and if I go—I can stay with him, his house is almost finished. I am only to take heavy strong clothing, and what ever I will want for a bed. The rout is via Quincy— Kansas City, Topeka, Emporia—There a stage runs to Wichita, where he will meet me, or 20 miles to Ninnescaw River, on the old Texas trail. If I decide to go, I shall do so at once. Brother says he would go with me, but his men are plowing with five teams, and another planting

 

[page 25]

 

 corn, so he cant leave now. I wonder what mother will say, when she hears I am going to Kans.

 

April 24—I wrote to Philip at once, that I would leave here the 25th. That will give the letter a weeks start of me. These have been busy days. Now my trunk is packed, It would not hold all— so a pillow with an army blanket was reaped on top. I will carry my big brown basket, with lunch and toilet belongings ct. and two shawls, beside my wrap.   All ready to leave early in the morning.

 

May 1st 1871—Ninnescah River Kans.

 

The 25th brother and Katura took me to W and I left for Kans. Crossed the Mississippi at night, reached Kansas City next morning, where I had to change cars, and have my trunk rechecked.

 

The pillow and blanket that was roaped on top of the trunk, were loose, and no one had time to roap it again, so I had to take them in the car with me.   I wrapped them in the single shawl as tight as I could, and it looked just like a baby bundle. After we left Topeka I inquired of the conductor about stage connections at Emporium—He said the R. R. was now finished to Cottonwood.'' I should get out there, and get a ticket to Cottonwood. He would take my check and recheck my trunk. "Dont hurry I will wait for you." he added.  There at Emporia I saw the first Indian.

 

[page 26]

 

Soon after leaving E. the stage agent came to book those who left by stage next morning.

 

I asked if it was necessary to do so before reaching Cottonwood, and was told that to be sure of a seat it was. So I paid $10 for a passage to Wichita, 80 miles from E. I asked some questions about the country, and we had a very interesting conversation, and a laugh about my pillow and blanket bundle.

 

He said the winds were so strong, that by the end of a month, I would be tanned the color of a buff envelop.

 

The hotel at C is nearly a mile from the depot, and the hardest looking place I ever stopped at, with so many idle men lounging around." I went at once to my room, and found I was to share it with a young girl—who had come down on an earlier train.7

 

We soon became acquainted, She reminded me so much of A. D. R.  . Gifted A. D. R. why did Providence allow him to die, after so short a time missionary in India. What memories a face will recall.

 

The stage was to leave at 5-30. We left the lamp burn all night, as a help not to over sleep. We were up in time for breakfast, which was the first meal I had bought since leaving Indiana. My lunch held out well. There were two stages—four horses to each. Both were packed tight. The exceedingly young—and exceedingly silly bride, who came down on the train I did, and my roommate and I, sat in the back seat. What with my basket and bundle I was some­what crowded. Some one shouted "All ready" and

 

[page 27]

 

away we went. They changed horses every ten or twelve miles, and at times drove like fury. Sometimes your head would bang against the top; then those riding out side, would call, "How's that for high." A very common expression out here.  When we came to rough places—the driver usually called out "Make yourselves firm." Knowing what to expect, we grabed hold of the side of stage or the seat, and avoided getting badly thumped.

 

The bridal party left at the second or third change of horses. Some one said he was running a store near there.

 

We got out once, and walked, until the coach came up.

 

It was not far, for they changed horses in a marvallously short time. There were very few improvements to be seen. One place we saw a buffalo calf, tied with a rope to a stake.

 

At Eldorado some of the passengers left to go over another stage rout. The girl got out too. She had told me that she was going to work in a hotel there.

 

I was sorry to part with her. From E to Augusta there was but one stage, with six horses and fifteen or eighteen passengers. I was the only woman, and kept quiet, and tried to be dignified, whether it was a success or not I do not know; but I do know that I was always treated with courtsey.

When we crossed White river  the water ran throu the coach. I raised my feet in time, but my skirts got wet. The late rains had raised the water in the river, which is not wide—but deep.

 

The passengers kept up a brisk conversation. A man from Wis­consin would lean on his umbrela

 

[page 28]

 

and grumble about the country, the weather ct.

 

It was a dreary cloudy day for late April.

 

After riding a long time with nothing but prairie to see—we passed a sod hut. Then they called his attention to "the great and magnificent improvements." He was provoked and "talked back," when one told him they were only obeying the bible command which said "When a stranger comes along, take him in."

 

Augusta was the Land Office, and all but six of the passengers stopped. We changed coches to a smaller one, with four horses. From A to Wichita we changed horses once. All but the Wisconsin man and I, got out and walked on. The walking was good. We had come all the way of the Santa Fe Trail, tramped flat by thousands of Texas cattle driven over it last year.

 

The new teams were fine grays—and rather wild.

 

A little way from the stable was a draw or water course some what stony—or at least very rough.

The driver called "Make your selves firm." We went over the draw, and part way up the slope, on a run—then something hap­pened. The driver yelled to the horses and finaly we stopped. Then he yelled—"if there is a man in there, get out quick, and hold a horse. If I get down I will loose controll of all." Wisconsin was so long getting out, I felt like pushing him, and by the time he did, the man from the stable was there to help. He had started when he heard the driver yell to the horses.

 

They fixed the harnes, and we started, only to

 

[page 29]

 

have the same horse begin to kick something awful.

 

“Shall I get out," I asked. "Stay in with your baby." Again the pillow, blanket and shawl were taken for a baby. I got out, and the man who had walked on, came back, thinking they had gotten on the wrong road.

 

This time they had to go back to the stable for new harness. The driver explained that the horse that made the trouble, was a new one, on the team, and not broken in yet. We were detained about an hour, and it was nearly dark now. When ready to start, the driver said, "The lady and two or three men get in, and when the men let go the horses, I will drive like fury, slack up later, but not stop, and the rest can get in." He certainly drove like Jehu, and the men got in with considerably difficulty. The last ten miles, we almost flew. We certainly had a good driver, one who understood horses.

 

When we could see the lights of W, I began wondering where I would stop. The men began to talk about hotels, and one said, "there are two, one about as good as the other."

 

When we stoped at the first, the clerk came and opened the door and asked, "Any passengers for here?" When no one moved to get out, I said I would, and was the only one to stop there.

 

In all that ride of 80 miles from 5-30 a. m. to 10 p. m. I was treated with the greatest respect. It was a great disappointment not to see or hear something of my brother. The clerk suggested that he might not have my letter—as he lived 20 miles out along the Ninnescah. I was tired and went to my room.

 

[page 30]

 

It was a new hotel—the room was clean, but very simply furnished. The partitions were boards, and one could hear the talk in the other rooms.

 

I slept well, felt rested next morning, and after breakfast the landlord went to the P. O. and there was the letter I had written Philip that I was coming. He then inquired if there were any teams going to the Ninnescah river, but found none. So I had to hire a team to take me out. They charged me $7—for the open spring waggon, drawn by a pair of mules. The driver was a boy of sixteen.

 

We forded the Arkansaw.   It was broad and sandy.

 

The water went over the hubs—but not into the waggon.

 

There were a few houses not far from the river, then we saw no sign of life, except a prairie dog town, until we reached N.   In all that distance there is no timber except a very little along the Cowskin creek. The creek has very steep banks, and I was glad when we had crossed it. A fringe of trees came into view, and we were Hearing the river. The driver said we will stop at McLanes Ranch, and inquire for your brother. The ranch was a one room log building, where they sold provision and whiskey.

 

We drove to the door and I asked for Philip. "Your brothers claim is acrost the river—and two miles up." "My Brother's" I said, "Yes you are his sister, you look just like him, but you cant cross the river today, See—" and he waved his hand toward a number of freight waggons, "they have been waiting two days for the water to go down."  Another disappointment.

 

What will I do—where spend the night? I asked, and he said "go over to the house and stay with my wife."

The driver was going back as soon as he had fed

[page 31]

the team, so I wrote a short letter home, and gave it to him to mail, as W_ is the nearest P. O.

 

I then went over to the house, which was a dug out, and acrost a little draw. It was built in the bank. Mrs. McLain was very cordial, not having seen a woman for some weeks.

 

She had rheumatism, and was not very strong. Her daughter of twelve—and a negro girl of fourteen did the work. Some of the freighters took their meals there, while waiting for the water to go down.

 

I slept a while in p. m., but not long, for Mrs. Mc waikened me. She said, "You have slept long enough, I am lonesome for some one to talk to." We took a little walk up the river, but she was not strong enough to go far.

 

There were sheets stretched acrost the room, dividing her bed­room, from the kitchen, where I slept on the floor with the girls. It was not a sound sleep, and when he came in at a late hour, I heard her say "I am so glad you have come. I was afraid you never would." He told her there was no danger, but I heard that there often were rough times at the ranch when so many men got together.. When morning came, I hurried to the river to see if it could be crossed. The first man I met said they would try in a couple of hours.  After the men had breakfast, Mrs. McLain the girls and I ate; then she gave me a sunbonnet and we went to where they were doubling teams, and taking one waggon acrost at a time. It was hard going. I thought one little team would drownd, but they made the other side—and were soon on the old Texas trail. Then one team—the big team was taken back, and hitched as leaders to another waggon, and that crossed safely. It was quite exciting to watch them.

 

[page 32]

 

Mrs. M knew how anxious I was to get to my brother, and told one of the men. "All right she can get up on my waggon," he said. I was helped away up on top of perishable goods which were piled high and reaped on. Those in the waggon box got partly wet.

 

What a trip it was—past a few cottonwood trees, then down into the water, which had a swift current.

 

By the time I began to get dizzy—the leaders struck sand, and we were soon on the old trail, where horsemen and teams were waiting to cross north, but waited for the freighters to come over first.

 

When the driver came to help me down, he asked "where are you going"? "To my brothers, two miles up the river," I told him. "Have you ever been there" he asked. "No, but I can easily walk that far," I answered. "You know nothing about it; stay where you are until we get up to Murrie's Ranch— he will help you."18 There I stayed for he drove on and when we reached a log house—he called to a man at the door— "Murry this lady wants to go two miles up the river." Then he helped me down, I thanked him, and he drove on.

 

I told Mr. Murry who 1 was— He said I could not walk, he would get me a horse. I should go in and wait, and off he started. I looked around the room, which was lined with shelves— on which were goods, those usualy kept in a frontier store. The ranch was built of logs.  You steped over the lower one to get in.

 

[page 33]

 

While I waited— army waggons, drawn by six and eight oxen went by. They belonged to the 6th U. S. Calvary. Soon a number of officers passed.

 

All this time Mr. Murry had been driving a bunch of horses and ponies into the correll that was near the ranch. He brought an Indian pony to the door, put on it a mans saddle, and then I mounted from the log acroust the door, and he told me how to go.

 

I could not see the North house— it was beyond a strip of scrub trees along a draw or water course. I was to ride up around that, then I would see the North house, and they would tell me where to find Philip. He also gave me a letter that had been left with him, for Mrs. North.

 

So I started, on what I hoped to be the last leg of my journey, with the six or eight loose horses and ponies, trotting along. Some­times ahead and sometimes behind. I was fearful they might get kicking or do something to excite my pony and make me trouble. Hower they were all pieceable—and seemed to enjoy the going.

 

After rounding the draw, I could see the North house way down toward the river. There was a garden in front of the house, and not wanting the horses to spoil it, I stopped some distance back and called to the woman at the door to come and get a letter. When she came— I asked where I could find my brother. "He is here" she said and called him.

 

[page 34]

 

At last, at last, I was so glad I believed I cried a bit.

 

After telling him how I crossed the river—and Mr. Murry getting the horse ct. I said "I am so glad to be here— there were all men down there." He said "Behave like a lady, and you will be treated like one." I shall never forget his saying that. All the same, I felt out of place although I could not at any time have been treated with greater consideration.

 

When I told him the 6th Calvary were going to cross, he said he knew men in that reg. and would take the pony and her bunch of followers back to Murry and see the men.

 

It was then arranged that for the present I should stay with Mrs. N.   Mrs. N was a talker, and I soon had the lay of the land. A Scotch family by the name of Rose lived acrost, and up the river. When a party of young men came here last fall to locate, they stopped with or near the Roses, and helped build some houses— North's and Philip's and a dug out near North's were some of them stay.

 

Mr. N was clerking in Whichita, Mr. Smith freighting. Some doing carpentering work ct. All earning money to pay for their claims. The men in the vicinity had gone on a buffalo hunt. Philip was going along, when he accidentally cut his leg. He was fishing, and after cuting bate for the hook, stuck his hunting knife into his boot, then stooping suddenly had cut his leg. So he stayed that he could better care for it. A neighbor woman stayed with Mrs. N at night, and Philip had come up from his cabin to the dug out to be near the woman while the men were away. When Mrs. N saw me coming, and the

 

[page 35]

 

loose horses racing around, she thought a party of Indians were coming, and called Philip to stay with her until they moved on—That is how he happened to be there, and fortunate it was for me.

 

May 2nd—Left Red Oak Shelter the 25th.  On the train that night, the next at Cottonwood Falls, next at Wichita, and the next at McLains ranch, and then here the 29th. Had no chance to write in journal until yesterday, when I wrote until tired. . . .

 

This house is about 14 by 12, built of cottonwood logs, which grow along the river.  The furnature consists of a bed, stove, table, two stools, boxes used for cubbards, a bench an dtrunks.   My trunk and bundle came up today. The water has gone way down—no trouble to cross now.

 

Mrs. N is a gentlewoman from Ohio.  Illy fitted for a pioneer life.  She longs fo rthe time they can pay for their claim, and move to town. This is a new settlement. A year ago I understood there were no white woman within 15 or 20 miles.  Last winter the Osage Indians camped along the river. Their tepees are still standing, I have been told.

 

8th—Mrs. N and I walked to the river, I wanted to see the Indian tepees, When nearly there, a skunk blocked our way and we fled in haste. As soon as Philip gets to Wichita and lays in a suply of provision, we will move to his cabin. This is the Osage Preemption Land, or The Osage Trust Lands, You select a claim of 160 acres, then you "file on it." After living on it six months, and doing a certain amount of improvements, you pay $1.25 an acre, and then it is yours.

 

[page 36]

 

Philip has been on his claim that long, has broke some land, and planted corn. He and some men have selected my claim, and when he goes to W- he will "file on it." Then no one can file on the same land.

 

He selected a suitable place, and plowed it for a garden, not having a harrow, he hitched the oxen to big brush and dragged it back and forth until it was well raked.

 

The garden is about a mile from Norths, I have no hoe yet, but with the help of a stick, I have managed to plant a number of seeds. Katura  gave me garden seeds. I hope they will grow.

 

One day when going to the garden, I saw three antelopes and a coyote. There are three deer around, the men see them and I see their tracks in my garden. There is a heard of buffalo twenty miles out. The boys have promised to take me along when they go again. The last time they were out, they brought in a lot of meat, and that is what we are using now. Provision is scarce—potatoes $3 a bushel. The railroad 100 miles away, and the men on claims raising their first crop.

 

They have been breaking sod near here with yoke of oxen. One man drives, one plows— and one followes with an ax— he chops into the upturned sod, and drops corn in the cut, puts his foot on the place, and takes a step and repeats. I will watch that piece, and see what it amounts to. We live on buffalo, fish, bread, molasses and coffee. All have good appetites. I dont drink coffee— but we have good water.   Mrs. N - don’t know hot to bake yeast brea, but bakes salt-rising, which is good, “for those who liek it,” as some one said, mostly however she makes biscuits.  She saves all scraps of break and biscuit

 

[page 37]

 

puts them into a two qt. pail and covers them with water.  After a time it gets sour,  I have seen it work and run over the bench. When she wants to make biscuit, she pours of as much water as she wants to use, and then with soda makes biscuits.

 

Mr. Rose [Ross], the Scotch man, was talking about shooting, he said he liked to shoot crane, "they came down like an old pair of pantaloons." As to the truth of prairie dogs, ratlesnakes and owls, living together, he had not been able to prove it.

 

May 12—Last week a party of Indian Chiefs—passed up the trail, on their way to Washington, D. C. They said they would stay two moons."  Now I must write letters.

 

May 16—Yesterday I finished a shirt for Philip, and got dinner. Buffalo stake, radishes, bread, molasses, stewed peaches, and coffee. A greater variety than usual. At 3 p.m. I walked down the river a mile or more to see Mrs. Lane. I can cross the draw near the river, when the water is low, and there I saw three gars—a kind of fish, but not good to eat they say.

 

Coming home, Jake [Jacob A. Sohn] who had been working down the river, overtook me. He and Philip sleep in the dug out. The Lucky woman, who had been spending the nights with us, has company and dont come now.

 

Philip's ankle has not healed yet, from the knife cut. I feel uneasy about it. I am so anxious to go to his cabin, I think it would be better for us both.

 

19th—Early in the morning we can hear the prairie chickens drumming. I wonder if it is their mating song, or are they hunting nest locations. Yesterday I went up to the garden, was gone from 10 to 4 p. m. I boroghed a hoe. Hoed the beans, peas, planted corn ct.   It was very warm, and I was tired out.

 

[page 38]

 

We have little twilight here. The sun sets, and in a few minutes it is dark.

 

Monday 22—Mr. N] spent Sunday here.. He brought our mail from Wichita, a bundle of papers and letters. There is some talk of having a post office at the crossing. We would get our mail more regularly if they would.

 

Brother started to W early this morning. Now I hope we can go to the cabin soon.   He has been working up on my claim when he felt well enough. Katura gave calico before I left and I am making a dress. My wardroab is rather a slim affair, but it does for this frontier life.

 

25th—This has been a busy week, Mon. worked in gar­den and sewed. Tues. washed and ironed. Wed. made a tick and two sheets. Today went down to the cabin where we will live, until the dug out on my claim is finished. Coming back, it rained, and I got wet through my clothes. So many new flowers: mats of sensative plants with a base of red bloom, prickly pair in bloom and many new plants I do not know. One day I saw what I thought was a white cloth on a stick, way beyond my garden. So I walked to it, thinking some one had staked out a claim. Behold it was a white flower on a long stem.

 

 27th—I am baking yeast bread, with dry yeast Katura gave me. Will write while it bakes. When finished I will go down to the cabin, and hope to stay. Would have gone yesterday, but my bed tick, was not yet filled with wild hay. This is frontier life for sure. The bread is baked, and "a perfect success." I am jubilant over it. wont Philip enjoy it.

 

29th—Keeping house at last; moved last week. The cabin is back from the river, with big cottonwoods trees in front. The wind in the tree tops keep up a constant sing-song. The cabin is 12 by 12 feet, with a fireplace made of sticks daubed with mud. My bed is a curious affair. Sticks with crotches are driven in the ground, and then limbs laid acrost, and resting

 

[page 39]

 

at the head on one of the logs of the house. Then poles are put acrost, and the tick, and so my bed is fashioned.

 

Along one side I have stretched the double blanket, shawl, and the single shawl acrost the end. It is very nice, but a warm place to sleep. Cook in the fireplace. Have a dutch oven, a skilet, teaketle, and coffeepot. When Philip batched, he had a kettle in which was water and flour, hanging up out side the house, when he wanted biscuits, he poured of the sour water. Now we have yeast bread, and dont need anything of the kind.

Mrs. Lane told me how to make pie out of sorrel leaves—or wild oxalis. the kind that has a purple flower.  I could not find any, and as the crust was made, I patted it flat, and made a crumb pie, which I knew Philip would like.

 

31st—Mrs. N moved to town. She gave me her cat. Cats are very scarce here.  J. R. an acquaintance of brothers is stoping here. Not very convenient to have him. He has selected a claim next to mine. I am kept busy, sewing for Philip, caring for the garden and cooking. The baking is tedious, can only bake one loaf at a time in the dutch oven. I kneed a loaf out, when that is light, I put it in the oven, and kneed out another and when the first is baked, the second goes in oven, and the third is kneed out. All the time I must keep the oven hot enough to bake and brown the bread, which is quite a task and takes three hours or more. But Philip likes it, and so I enjoy baking. It takes me all fore noon to bake a batch of cookies.   Can only bake five at a time.

 

June 2nd—We have a table now, Jake said we should have the one up at the N house. I believe he made it. He was down for dinner, and took J. R. back with him.

 

Supper is ready.  I was to the garden. It is so far away, and someplaces I wade through grass almost up to my shoulders.

 

June 4th—This has been an unusually long day—and I feel de­pressed. A shower is coming, hope it will cool the air.

 

[page 40]

 

The heavy rains raised the river, and a heard of cattle in crossing, stampeeded, and 15 or 20 were drownded. Every week thousands of Texas cattle are driven north over the trail. If the cattle stampede, and dont want to cross the river, the hearders yell and fire off their revolvers.

 

Sometimes we hear them here, and it sounds—as I suppose a battle does. It is the cattle that keep the trail worn so smooth. Their droppings are called "cow chips," and when dry, are burned by those who have no wood.

 

Before Mrs. N left, two skunks fought on her door step— then ran to the spring, and scented that, that they could not use the water.   Mrs. Lucky carried a revolver at her side, but when a skunk scared her she forgot to use it. I have not seen her since Mrs. N moved. I think she moved too.

 

It is windy, and the cotton wood seed is flying each with a bit of cotton, making it look like a snowstorm. Here come the boys and the rain too.

 

6th—Baked to day, A family of Springles live not far from Lanes. They are from Virginia. Their son is home part of the time, and goes hunting with the boys. Some time ago, he gave me three arrows he had taken from a buffalo he had shot. The Indians had shot the arrows, but none went deep, and the buffalo got away from them, and was killed later by Mr. S  Philip says you cannot kill a buffalo—unless he is shot in the eye—or back of the shoulder, and hits the heart.

 

Philip put a couple of sticks or canes at the door, and charged me never, never to leave the house with out one. There are some snakes around— one passed the door this a. m. and ran into the brush, before I had a chance to kill it.

 

June 8th—P brought letters, papers—and a pack of seeds from

 

[page 41]

 

the ranch. They talk of making it a post office. I wish they would. Then we would get the mail regularly. Now who ever goes to W takes letters along and brings back mail for the settlers.  The sun is setting, and the sky is gorgeous. Yester­day I went down to Lanes— acrost the draw—or branch, which was so high I had to wade. Always a trouble to put on shoes and stockings again. Today I baked and finished reading Leena Rivers. Am now reading Martin Chizzlewit.

 

One of the boys gave me a bunch of buffalo sinews.

 

They use them for thread, and to fasten arrow heads to arrows. P showed me some bushes—called arrow wood, that the Indians make their arrows from.  

 

Mr. Rose gave me some seed of “pie mellon.”  He said P should “ask permission of the neighbors to plant ig as it grew so fast it would soon be over all creation.”

 

Three weeks since we moved, and in that time there has been but one woman here.  No church, no nothing - plenty of time to “comune with with nature, and nature’s God.”

 

Soon after I came, while I was with Mrs. North - a min­ister came from W to go on a buffalo hunt. He preached Sunday, we went to hear him at Springers. Monday he went hunting with the boys. I saw a deer leaping thru the grass —over toward the garden.

 

17th—Mr. Rose called acrost the river, that there were letters at the ranch for us. Philip will go down, and I can send what I have written home, to be mailed.

 

18th—Good long letters, and papers from the East came yesterday. Very warm but not dry. Back a way is a big bunch of cow tongue cactus in bloom. If it was home how it would be admired. To warm to walk now. When I came I enjoyed walking, and did quite a bit.

 

[page 42]

 

Early in the spring, before the Indians left, They burned a strip from the river towards the prairie. The dried grass all gone, one could see piles of buffalo bones, and their wallows—where they had rolled until the sod was gone. Into these wallows, sunflowers and other seeds had drifted and grew, and now are nearly as high as I. This morning I washed, hung the clothes on the bushes to dry. Browned coffee and put more hay into my bed tick. Now it is 3 p. m. I am going to the garden for radishes and peas for dinner tomorrow.

 

20tii—I visited at Roses to day. This is the first time I have been across the river since I came.   Of course I had to wade— The river is low. I wore my new calico dress and a white apron. Thought I looked nice. Wonder if I did? I carried a cane, not because I looked gay ct. but on account of snakes, and no rocks to pelt them with. I enjoyed my visit very much. The Rose children have been down several times. They are very interesting. The eldest will soon be a young lady.

 

A Mrs. Ingrahm  called while I was there, I will try and call on her soon. She did not seem well. It is so different on that side of the river. A high bank, then prairie as far as the eye can see. The trail to W too is in sight.

 

23d—I was too busy to write yesterday. Baked such good bread, then dressed the biggest turkey I ever saw, Philip had been saying for a couple days that if that turkey did not stay away he would shoot him. The breast I slised and fried like stake. Mrs. Lane came, in time for dinner, I went part way home with her.  We were resting in the shade when Jake came from work.  She urged me to go home and spend the night. Jake said if I would he would go down

 

[page 43]

 

 and get supper and breakfast for Philip.

 

Philip is not well, and I felt I could not leave him that long. I told Jake to go with me and get some turkey, which he did, and after supper went home with enough for two meals, and Mrs. L. took enough for her and Mr. Lane two meals, and we have some left yet.

 

Brother has been ailing all week, think he is a trifle better this eve. The bugs are coming in, I must put out the light.

 

24th—Philip had the ague very bad to day. Jake brought us some fine wild plums he had found.

 

25th—This morning it was so rainy and Philip so sick he could not attend to his oxen. When the bread was baked. I put on his boots—   and went up to get someone to move the oxen.  I was a wet fright when I got there, and did not go in the house. Mr. Smith was there. I met him when I came down in April, but he had been away several weeks freighting. He is from Maine, and one of the nice men I have met in Kansas. He wanted me to ride one of his horses back, but I declined, as I was wet already. I hurried back, and he and Jake soon came to see Philip.

 

Last Fall Mr. Smith had several acres broken on his claim. This Spring he was away when it should have been planted. The high winds carried sunflower seed over it, after the sod was turned, and I saw it the other day two or three acres in solid sunflower bloom.

 

27th—The Rose girls were here yesterday, and I exerted my self to entertain them. They wanted to go to Lanes— but it was too far. Then they teased to go and see Jake. Found him writing letters.  Foiund him writing letters. All these young men came here last fall as did the Roses . They helped build the Rose house—a two story one— and stayed there while locating their claims, and building another house or two.

 

[page 44]

 

Mr. Rose told me many funny things that happened last Fall and Winter, and some more provoking than funny. "When the house was roofed, they all slept in it but your brother, he slept by a hay pile. I had gone up to W and bought a load of corn. Every day that pile of com grew less, and I thought your brother was feeding it to his pony at night. Well after a time all that slept in the house were lousy. Then we knew why he preferred to sleep out, and he was the only one who was not lousy. I found out too—where the corn was going, and that party soon left these parts."

 

June 29th—A little rain this a. m. and cooler since. Yesterday p.m. I went to Roses.  Her parents and brother have just settled on a claim not far away.-r' They were going over, and asked me to go along and call. We had a merry ride and a pleasant call. I do like to hear Schotch people talk, although I cannot understand all they say. The river is very low. The Rose children caught a 25 lb. catfish in a pool. No trouble to cross the river now. But one must be careful not to step on sandburs before getting stockings and shoes on again.

Mr. Smith brought me a letter from Mother and three from friends. All keep well at home. I made two fans from the feathers of the turkey Philip shot, also one for Mrs. Rose from feathers of one he shot last winter.

 

Philips ague is broken, but he looks so bad.

 

Was to the garden this a. m. brought down a lot of cucumbers, and sent them up to Roses.

 

30th—Went to Lanes this a. m. Had intended going to see Mrs. Springer [Summers] but she was not home.

Two more Companys of U. S. Calvary went north. They spent one night at the crossing. The Majors name is Harper. He is from Bucks Co. Pa.

 

 

 

[page 45]

 

July 2—Last evening I saw a deer leap over the sand hills. A shower is coming, we need rain badly. The boys brought more wild plums.

 

3rd—I had expected to spend the 4th at home. Saw Jake to day, and he says there is to be a picnic down at the old Indian Encampment, and all the neighboorhood is invited. Mr. Smith is coming for me ct.

 

Baked in a. m. Good bread, How Philip en­joys it. Called at Roses this p.m. Mr. R gave me a snake rattle with 10 buttons, It must have been a big snake. Mosquitos so bad I must stop.

 

4th—The glorious fourth, not a cloud in the sky. Mr. Smith came for me with a two horse wagon, and we took other women along on the way. There were two dozen there counting the children. Five or six bachelors, I the only single woman— the rest married folks and children.

 

Of course they teas me. They think I am an old maid 22 and not married. Girls marry so young out here.

 

As I have no stove— they had sent me word not to do any bak­ing. Mrs. Rose, Mrs. Lane and Mrs. Springer had all baked a plenty. Then we had canned fruit, lemonadade— coffee and roast meats. A swing for the children, gay conversation for the elders.

 

I am tired this evening. Philip did not go to the picnic.

 

5th—Washed this a. m. to the garden this p. m. From here it is quite a walk, over a mile. From the garden it is not far to where my dug out is to be. I wish it was finished, for I think Philip would be better if we were farther from the river.

 

A little way from here and toward the garden, are sand hills. Sometimes I walk a crost them, and

 

[page 46]

 

sometimes around them. The higest is 15 or 20 feet high, and hollowed out like a saucer.

 

The wind blows the sand that way. There are fine yuccas growing near there, with bloom stalks higher than I am. The other way from here— toward the North house— is Philip's corn and mellon field.

 

A Mr. Philips was here for supper. He and a Mr. Cramer have claims up the river—and live in a dugout.

 

6th—While I am not living on my claim, it is beeing im­proved all the time. The dugout will soon be finished, and for Philips sake I will be glad to get away from the river. The people here think I am a bunch of contentment, because I dont get home­sick, and fuss. If I do not feel well or am blue, I dont tell every Tom, Dick, or Harry, that is all, except that I possess a big bump of adaptability. When brother is not well, I try to be cheerful and hopeful, although I could say, and with truth.

 

"I am not merry, but would feign disguise The thing I am, by seeming otherwise."

 

7th—This a. m. went to Roses and ground a lot of coffee. Sometimes I pound it in a bag.  Mr. Rose brought me a big letter from my home.  He said "Miss B - if you dont get decent letters, you need not expect me to hurt myself carrying them to you."   He keeps a suply of quinine on hand, and some other drugs, and suplies those who have ague— and there are several afflicted now.

 

But it is Mrs. who is the Good Samaritan in this locality. One day when I was there, she was taking care of a sick hearder, who was lying in the shade of the house. She was making broth for him ct.

 

[page 47]

 

10th—Last Saturday I walked way past Lanes, down to Marklies, Mr. M - had told Philip he would be away over Sunday, and his wife was so timid, so P suggested I go and spend the night with her. She was so glad to see me, she could talk of nothing else for a while.

 

They are only half a mile from the trail. Sunday a. m. we saw coming over the divide a great heard of cattle and some hours later another heard. They crossed the river and moved on toward Whichita.

 

While we were eating dinner, we heard a noise, and some two dozen oxen had come over the river and were in her garden— We yelled—and with a broom tried to drive them away — Then they went to a corn patch, and it was not safe to leave the house—as they get cross— and their immense horns are wicked looking. Mr. Rose told me he had seen steers whos hornes were five and six feet from tip to tip. He also said they were driven north— butchered, and the meat packed in their own hornes—and shiped to Chicago, Such yams I hear a plenty.  Well it was 4 p. m when some men came riding a crost the river for the cattle, and in that time they had nearly destroyed two acres of corn.

 

I had promised to go to the grove where we had the picnic, and help organize a bible class, but it was so late before it was safe for me to leave, that I went direct home. J. R had been sick. Jake had been down and took him up with him— I have not done much to day.

 

Looks like a heavy storm was coming.

 

11th—Baked. Slow raising and took me all morning. Plenty of rain last night. The storm must have been terrific out on the prairie.

 

[page 48]

 

Philip saw a hoarder who told him a heard of 2000 cattle had stampeeded in the night and scattered in every direction. Not likely they will ever find them all. I am so glad they never come this way.

 

12—I am out of sewing. The river to high to go to Roses, and it is too far walk to Springers to get some stiching done. P -  has had a touch of ague again. Fixed some plums to dry. Wrote a four page account of the picnic. Will send it to a W - paper.

 

13th—The warmest day we have had. Between the sand hills and the trees, we get little breeze. I scarcely know what to do, just now I am seeing considerable of the unromantic part of life in Kansas. Even too warm to sleep.

 

15th—Yesterday went to Roses  - sewed, and stayed to supper. This a. m. the children came, we forded the river, and went pluming.  Gathered eight quarts.

 

16th—A cool windy night, and a good sleep. Some of the boys are down from W. They stop at the North house, which we call Bachelors Hall. They called this a. m. Brought me some mail. They were full of fun. They are working hard to pay for their claims. Wichita is 18 months old, and claims 1800 inhabitants.  It is a fast place in more ways than one.

 

17th—Washed, hung the clothes on the bushes to dry.  Will borrow Mrs. Roses irons to iron a few pieces.  Do not iron often. . Glad when the clothes are clean and smell good. Nearly out of writing paper— Home folks keep us in stamps— Mother send hops—and I make hop yeast— that is why the bread is so good and sweet. Jake rode down on a mule this eve. He is going to town to morrow. Phillip is sending along for some things. I asked him to bring me a pennys worth from town. When he left— I said "dont forget the pennys worth," and as P- was walking up the path with him, I called, "I must remind you of that

 

[page 50]

 

pennys worth." He just hawhawed and laughted.

 

Some of these young men are nice, and we do have merry times, but it could not be, if my brother was not here. He is so quiet and particular, and would soon rebuke me if I should be indiscrete.

He is a good brother. The Roses Jake and others think so much of him. Jake deserves a good wife, and I think there is one waiting for him in Ohio.    .    .    .

 

19 - Yesterday went for plums. In p. m. sewed a while, then put the cabin in order, and started down the river waiding from one sand bar to another. So much easier, and nearer than going through the high grass, and not so likely to meet snakes. Today I saw the skelaton of a very long snake caught in the brush. It must have lodged there during the high water.

 

Mrs. Lane urged me to stay all night, but her brother is with her for company, and Mrs. Merkle is alone again, so I went there, which I knew would please my brother. She was glad to see me. Her baby is too heavy to carry—so she stays at home when he is away working.

 

After breakfast, I called at Springers, and she went with me to Lanes. Found Mrs. L— in bed shaking with ague. Left Mrs. S— there and went on home. It was almost sun down. I was in the middle of the river on a sand bar—dress up—shoes in hand, when I stoped and looked around. The river made a turn, and the trees seemed to meet over the water. It seemed like a lake. On one side a high bank—the trees coming to the waters edge on the other. O it was beautiful. Think I will never forget the scene.

 

20th -The usual a. m. work, then cut out a basque or sack for me. Am getting out of every day dresses, but have lots of

 

[page 51]

 

petticoats. Called at Roses this eve. She had so much to tell of her trip to town, and I of my calls down river, we just laughed. The sun went down—and I had to hurry home. I dont like to cross the river unless I can see the sand bars, and it takes time to put off and on stockings and shoes. I promised to go back as soon as my sack is finished, and tell her all I know. "Yes," she said, "and you can manafacture some more in the meantime." The evenings are cool, the mosquitos not so bad.

 

Brother tells me Jake has ague. Too bad. Papers from home. How they remember us.

 

22.—Put off writing yesterday until evening, then I had bread to set—and beans to shell, then it was too late.   The mellons are almost ripe. The boys are working at my dug out. It is near our garden. Went up this p.m. to where they are working, then to the garden, and brought eatables home. Philip spoke to me about the old dress I had on, I like to please him so I will wear another. Mr. Rhas been to the post office— we have one at the ranch now called Clearwater I believe.

 

He is calling, and the boys have gone a crost the river. He is horse back, and on account of the quicksand it is dangerous to cross at night with a horse. Two letters for me.

 

24th—I wanted to wash but it was cloudy. I baked however, and sewed. J. R. will not be here this week, he will help Jake make hay. It is much pleasanter for me, when brother and I are alone. Jake rode by this eve with a big bunch of onions, when I asked for my pennys worth, he said it was up at the house, and if not worth coming for, I could not have it. Then he threw a big onion at me, and rode on. 

 

I am to help Mrs. Rose with her sewing some day this week.  Mr. R wanted to know who  Observer was that wrote up the picnic foot the paper.

 

]page51]

 

 July 30th—Have not written for some time, as I am nearly out of paper. We had a terrible storm last night, and this morning it just poured down. The roof leaked for the first time. I slept very little and am nodding now. The house looks very untidy, only one side leaked which was fortunate.

 

31st—The end of the month and I have accomplished so little. A good letter from sister Mary. All well at home.

 

Aug. 2nd—Yesterday washed, cloudy so put clothes on the grass to bleach. This a. m. rinsed— starched, and hung them up to dry. Ironed them as fast as they dried. Mrs. Rose [Ross] lends me her irons. Baked two loaves and a pan of yeast biscuits, made some medacine for Philip, by boiling some roots, stewed plums for sup­per, mended, went up the river on this side, and picked 3 qts. of plums. There are many green ones yet, and we have been using them six weeks. Wish they would last another six. This was my busy day. We have had corn some time, and the mellons are ripe.

 

3 -Went to Lanes— They are going to town, and we sent along for $10 worth of provision. Comming home I killed an ugly snake.  Letters to day.  The P. master says B’s sister gets more letters than any one else.

 

4—Rainy to day, Had expected Mrs. S and Mrs. L to spend the day here. Mr. & Mrs. Lane were here for tea, we had the biggest mellon I ever saw, but ever. Have been all week making a doll for little Ida S -

 

6th—Baked up all my flour yesterday, went up to I in p. m. Should have gone before, Several of the family have the ague.  Their roof leaks -  and that is bad.  We have so many mellons, my limbs and head ache.

 

[page 52]

 

Hope I am not getting the ague.  P got flour.  Did not get any letters last eve.  The Cowskin creek is so high, no one can cross.  There are three streams to cross to get to Wichita The Ninnescah - Cow skin and Arkansas, and usually one or the other are high.  It has been cool for two weeks, and we have had much rain. The crickets are so bad. When I turned my bed tick, there was a handfull in the corner, next the wall.

 

They eat holes in cotton goods. Lost a handkerchief up near the garden. When I found it, it was full of holes, and they were having a hop on and around it.

 

7th—Wonder if I am having the ague. Have had fever some days.

 

8th—Brother says, we will move soon. Felt well this a. m. Gave the cabin a good cleaning. The cat had dragged a rabbit under my bed, and eaten a part. Tom is a nice pet, but sometimes he is a nuisance.

 

Later I took the tub to the river, and washed the colored clothes. In p. m. went up river, on this side, and found two qts. of plums. Tired and dizzy when I got home.

 

10th—Baked yesterday, in p. m. fever came worse than ever. P said I was getting ready for the ague, and had better take quinine. So I did, and this a. m. another dose, by to­morrow I think the quinine will help me. I do not have chills. Shall not tell the home folks, it would only worry them. Philip went to W this morning, and will bring me writing paper. Copies of a W paper and their compliments ct. came. I will write another article—as soon as I am free of this pesteriferous ague.

 

12th—Last eve Philip brought me three letters. Here comes the waggon and we move.

 

16th—Moved at last. All I remember of the moving, was sitting in the waggon, holding the cat. When we

 

[page 53]

 

got here, the fever had me, and I could not do a thing. Philip made a bed on the floor, and I laid down. My bed was not fixed yet. When evening came, I was better but scarcely able to walk. Philip had worked all day—besides moving, had hauled two loads of wood, and Sunday, was not able to be up. J. R. who has been working on his claim, and sleeping there, came over, but he is poor help.

 

We had callers too and the house all in confusion.

 

Monday I managed to bake, and Philip fixed things around the house, but at 11 had to lie down with chill, and in the p. m. I had to do the same. I had taken quinine but not enough. My fever was over by sun down, but his kept up all night. Yesterday a. m. it left for a short time, then came back, and he was delerious. When I cooled his head with wet towls, the teers would fall. I was in trouble.

 

When J. R. came for supper, I had him go and see Mr. Ross, who came back with him. He said it was an attack of bilious fever, and left medacine. This a. m. Mr. Rose [Ross] came again.   Brother is better.  I am so thankful—thankful—

 

This is my day for ague, but I have taken such big doses of quinine, it may not come back, but the quinine its self makes me half sick. Philip does not complain, he is so patient. I must lie down part of the time, but hope we will soon be well. I think it would have been better for us, had we moved from the river sooner.

 

17th—A letter, two papers, and two pens came, glad for all. Did not need to lie down all day. It is 4 p. m. have just one hour to write. Brother is still poorly, has fever sometimes, and dont know what he says. My appetite is coming back. These are our dark days, but I am not homesick. I am glad to be with P - every once in a while I can do something for him.

 

[page 54]

 

Sometimes I think if I had not come, he would not have stayed in this ague infected place.

 

18th—Last night he was wild with fever. I cannot write what I suffered. To day he is quite sane, but so weak. Washed this a. m. and baking now.

 

19th—The usual work then spent the rest of the day, trying to make something to tempt his appetite.

 

20th—This is Sunday, had expected to write so much, when my work was finished, but not dressed yet. Mrs. Springer and son came. The mail came yesterday— a letter from sister Mary, in it a very handsome colar. and Mrs. L sent along fresh buffalo meat.  So I was fixed for dinner.

 

J. R. had put a big mellon in the well to cool. After dinner when he brought it in, it slipped out of his hands shot right at Mrs. S-, fell at her feet and broke in two—

 

It was so funny, I was glad to have something to laugh at. It eased a nervous strain I was suffering from.

 

After they left I wrote a long letter home. Jake went to W and has been sick and not returned yet. So many have, or had the ague, I believe it is always so in new settlements. Brother is getting well slowly, but his appetite is poor. Had intended having soup for dinner of the buffalo meat, but was too inexperienced to make it for company. We had for supper however, and it was good, and he ate a little of it.

 

21st—I call this place Cottonwood Rest. I want to de­scribe it, if I can. So if I read this journal in years to come, I can then shut my eyes, and know just how it looks now.

This is Township 29, Range 2 West, in Section 29. I think this description is correct.

 

We are about a mile from the river. There is a bank here, which many think was the bank of the Ninnescha—at some time back. From here to the river it is

 

[page 55]

 

very level, and my garden is on this level meadow not far from the dugout. Back of us is prairie a little rolling. The men first dug a well, and at 6 or 7 ft. found plenty of water. They covered it, and it is reasonably cool. Not far from the well they dug a trench like walk into the bank, when the sides were 4 ft. high a 12 by 14 ft. hole was dug out, logs laid to fit the sides. When high enough—a big log was laid acrost the middle the long way, then split limbs and brush were fit on top for a roof, and that covered with dirt piled on and pressed down. A fire place, and chimney were dug out and built up, at one end, plastered with mud and it answered well.

 

The logs used in Philips cabin as well as in this dugout, were trees cut down by Squaws the last two Winters. Owing to a scarcety of feed, caused partly by the grass having been burned in the fall, and an unusual amount of snow, the trees were cut down for the horses to eat the buds and limbs.

 

This room is a little larger than the cabin. My bed in the corner has one leg. A limb with a crotch at one end, is sharpened at the other end, and driven into the ground, 6 feet from one wall and 2 1/2 from the other. A pole is laid in the crotch-with one end driven into the ground wall. This supports poles the ends of which are driven in the ground wall at the head of my bed. Then comes my hay filled tick, and my bed is a couch of comfort. The double shawl

 

[page 56]

 

 along the side, and the single one at the end—and it looks neat. Next to the bed, is my trunk, then the table— The next side has the fire place. The door is opposite the table, then the buffalo robes on which brother sleeps, and his roll of blankets. While in the corner at foot of my bed are boxes and various things including the tub, which is often pushed under the bed.

 

Boxes are nailed to the wall, in which the table furnature is kept, also some groceries. Our chairs are pieces of logs.

22nd—The day has been warm, the sun will soon set. I am sitting on the wood pile. The view from here is beautiful. In front is the meadow with its tall grass—and a few buffalo wallows, which are filled with sunflowers,

 

Acrost the river with its fringe of trees—is the Igmire dugout. That is the only sign of civilization in my circle of vision.   Then toward the right, a little back of the river are the sand hills and a clump of cottonwoods.

 

While farther on are Philips big trees—and the cabin which we cannot see from here. Still farther on are his corn and mellon field. While still farther on is the branch, with scrub trees, which shuts off the view of the North house, where the men batch, and be yond that is another branch and brush, which cuts off their view of Lanes—Springers and Merkels.

 

"Beautiful for situation" this certainly is.

 

23d—Set the house to rights, made yeast, then went to the garden. Gathered two dozen late cucumbers—a cantilope and a mellon—and came back J. R. came with corn and we

 

[page 57]

 

 had dinner. After wards I comed and changed my dress and sat down to write letters. Later—Messers. Smith, Stafford and Jake came. They teased Philip; told him "You wont keep your housekeeper long." "My gun is loaded" was all he answered, as he pointed to where his gun hung.

 

Jake is going to town, so I gave him letters to mail—and sent a lot of mellons along for them and Mrs. Lane. One of Philips steers died, they think of Texas fever. It is such a pity. He was a good worker—   Now the yoke is spoiled.

 

24th—Heavy shower last night. As we have no door to close it rained in some.  Browned coffee ct.

 

25th—This p. m. I sat down to write, when a waggon drove up to the door. I went out—and there was Mr. Rose with brother H from Ind. and cousin Tom from Ill. We were so surprised and glad to see them.

 

Sept. 1st—Wanted to write before; had no time. When one has nothing but a dutch oven to bake in, and four men to eat bread (J. R. does not stay on his claim as he should) it keeps one busy.

 

Must go back and write up. I had baked the Fri. they came. Then baked again Sat. to have bread and pies over Sun. It was supper time before I got ginger cookies baked. Brother H had found some elder berries at the river, enough fore one pie. There were five of us for dinner, so I cut it into five pieces, Mr. Rose coming while we were at dinner. I treated him to my piece.  That day the men were up and over the country and along the river. When they came back at eve—they had made arrangement to go hunting Monday, and said I should bake a lot of bread. I set yeast that eve, and baked all a. m. Sunday, got dinner, after that was tidied up, I was glad to lie down. I had taken quinine to ward off the ague. I would not be sick while they were here, if I could

 

[page 58]

 

 help it. After resting, felt better and got supper. Another heavy shower and it came in at the door.

 

Monday put the house to rights, packed provision and beding— and were ready when Jake drove up with a team of mules to a waggon, and J. R. and George, who lives with Jake, rode the other two. They loaded an open barrel in which to pack the meat, a sack of salt, wood to cook with, bacon & skillet, bread and coffeepot, ct. The driver called to me "Here is a good place to sit," and I climed up to the spring seat, over which a blanket was folded. "All ready" and away we went to the south west, away from the Ninnescah, all in gay spirits.

 

I had given up going on a hunt, after we had so much ague. Now we were on the way, and it was quite exciting—

 

The buffalo had been within six or eight miles of us a few days before. The hearders had shot some, and driven others away. Now there was no telling how far we would have to go, or if we would see any at all. When out about six miles we passed two carcasses that had lately been shot.

 

We went by a dogtown, and saw them frisk into their holes. We also saw antelopes, prairie chickens and a gray wolf. This was upland prairie, short grass—buffalo grass, no trees or brush in sight.

 

All watched to see the first buffalo—which we spied some five miles on, and to our left. We went on, and soon saw five more, within 3/4 mile. It was decided, that as Brother H and cousin Tom had to hurry home, the hunters would try to get one or more of those, and go no farther. So we camped there at Sandy creek, fed the mules—and had lunch. Philip and Jake being the best marks men—started in the direction of the buffaloes. The depres­sion of the creek hiding them somewhat. They are very hard to kill, unless close enough to shoot them in the eye, or

 

[page 59]

 

back of the shoulder. Rather than run a chance of loosing them, they decided to wound them that they could not run far. The one Philip shot, had its leg broken and went a little farther, but the other one though wounded went a bout a mile. The men hitched the team, we drove near the first one, and we all got out of the waggon, they walked nearer.  I stayed by the team. We were all looking at the fallen monarch of the prairie, when unexpectedly he jumped up made a dash toward the team, which in turn dashed to run, I being near grabbed a bridle, and managed to hold them.

 

That was the buffalos last effort, he fell and was dead.  The boys complimented me on "saving the day" as they said. They began at once to cut up the meat, some at one anamel, and others had driven over to the one farther away. They saved only the hind quarters. While they were doing that—nine big ones passed within half a mile, and in the distance we saw a great heard cross the divide, graze on this side, then cross back.

 

We drove back to Sandy creek—and camped for the night, as it was well toward evening. The boys spread the waggon cover on the grass—then cut the meat in pieces to cool, and put it on the cover, while cousin Tom and I got supper.

 

We had brought wood for fire, and cooking water along.  Besides bacon—we had buffalo stake, bread and coffee, which we ate from and drank from tin cups. How all enjoyed that supper. How they joaked and laughed, for every one was satisfied with the days sport.

 

My eyes hurt from looking so much, and the hot sun. Brother H put a robe under the waggon, and I laid down—using a comfort for cover, as it grew cool when the sun went down. I kept on my sun bonnet—to keep insects out of ears and hair. I did not sleep much, the boys

 

[page 60]

 

were so noisy. A skunk chaced J. R. and he could not come back to camp, until one of the boys— went out and shot it. Then when all would get quiet, I suppose someone would say something funny, and another laugh would follow.

 

The first thing we heard Tuesday early, was brother H crowing with all his might. Some salted and packed the meat in the barrel, others got breakfast, and still others fed the mules.

 

That over we started back, with all the mules hitched to the waggon.  I drove some miles "four in hand," and felt great.

 

Sometimes I drove through a buffalo wallow, where they had lately rolled in the dust, and we would all get a jolt. Brother H- and cousin Tom, were pleased with the hunt: so was I. After we have been having the ague so much, I had not expected I would have a chance to go.

 

We reached home before noon. Mr. Rose came and got some meat for himself and gmires.   We did not want much.  I set sponge at once to bake, as the boys leave tomorrow and I want bread for their lunch. I pelted the sponge, and baked after the others had gone out to sleep.

 

Brother H wanted me to go with him, but I said no, I will stay the six months—and I wont leave P- now. Up early next morning. I wanted to go along as far as Lanes. A heavy dew, and the boys thought I had better stay home, but I wanted to go so badly.

 

They went ahead, I followed holding up my clothes the best I could. My shoes, stockings, and even garters got wet. When we reached North's house they were hitching the team. When we got to Lanes I got out, and they drove on. It hurt to see them go. Mr. & Mrs. L and her brother were all ailing. I tidied the house, and worked all a. m. to give her

 

[page 61]

 

a rest. After dinner I got a chill then fever.

 

I said I must go home, I did not want to leave brother alone. She urged me to stay, that Mr. L would take me home in the morning. I knew how it would go in the morning, and said if they would get the pony, I'd go.

 

When I got as far as the North house (bachelors Rest) I stoped to rest. George lifted me from the saddle, Mr. Smith made a cup of tea—and after a time was able to ride on, Mr. Smith insisting that George get a horse and ride along. I thank them whenever I think of it as I was hardly able to sit on the pony, and I found Philip with fever again.

 

Sept. 1st—Wrote to mother and rested.

 

Sept. 2nd—Almost discouraged, Philip still has fever. I had another chill, and have no appetite.

 

3d—Baked two loaves for over Sunday. If we dont eat more, they will last a long time. I fed and watered the ox. He is quite a pet, although he has long hornes, I am not afraid of him. I fed him corn and mellons. When I call him, he comes as far as the roap will let him. I was moving him to a new feeding place, and he put his nose on my shoulder. Too bad his mate died. They were such a good yoke of oxen—and so tame.

 

Thousands and thousands of Texas cattle, were driven north this Summer. Some have been allowed to graze on this side of the river before crossing. Texas cattle generate -I think that is the word -in their feet during the long trip, a substance that poisens the grass-   This does not hurt them -but if native cattle eat that grass it poisens them and they die of what is called Texas fever. That is what killed

 

[page 62]

 

the one ox.

 

Philip thinks he is a little better this evening. J. R. just came. He should stay more on his claime.

 

Brother H[iram] brought us apples, material for a shirt for P and calico for me a dress. Such a lot of writing paper—and buff envelopes. P had brought a lot along from W. So I’ll not soon be out of writing material.

 

4th—Philip scarcely able to walk. J. R. said he would go to Roses for medacine yesterday p. m. Then put it off until today. Now he is sitting on the wood pile. Philip said "Can you go?" Yes, I am planning to go, as soon as the table is emptied, I told him.

 

I am stronger than yesterday. Arming myself with a stout cane off I started. It is hard walking through the long medow grass. When near the river I saw a big snake curled up under a tree. It did not move, and I backed away, badly scared. I had my cane, but was too weak to kill it.

 

I called acrost to Roses, who live near the bank, and one of the girls brought the medacine over. Mrs. R has the ague now. Coming home the wind waved the grass that it looked like waives, and I got dizzy— I feared I would fall, and wondered what next—

 

I finily got to a bunch of Sunflowers that grew in a buffalo wallow. There I shut my eyes, and rested in their shade until I felt stronger— Brother was watching for me, and glad I got back, while I was glad to give him the medacine, and lie down.

 

This p. m. I made new pickle for the meat and fixed some to dry. After it is salted enough I get on top the dugout and hang it down the chimney. Very

 

[page 63]

 

very handy—only one must be careful not to have a big fire.

 

I am asked sometimes if I am not sick of Kansas. No I am not. It is very sickly, nearly every one gets the ague. But so it is in most new settlements, and one is not always careful.

 

Philip was hardly over the bilious attack, when we went on the buffalo hunt, and the long ride in the sun was too much for him. I took that walk through the wet grass the morning the boys left, and I think that brought on the chills and fever again.

 

Mr. Smith had chills and fever, and was flighty, he thought he had a two story head, and could not keep track of the upper story. That amused the boys. With all our ague—some funny things happen—and on our free days—we have some hearty laughs. I do not write all that happens—only a sketch.

 

The sun is setting, the sky is a glorious vision of colors.

 

5th—Another day gone, and little done, Philip is so con­cerned lest I do too much, and get sick.  Another lovely evening.

 

6th—Philip continues to improve, his appetite is com­ing back.

 

I tend the ox—must dip up so much water for him. This a. m. washed, p. m. baked two loaves of bread and a pie. Had the ox to feed and water this evening again.

 

Will answer letters now.

7th—The sun is just setting, a great red ball in the West. To the south we see a great volum of smoak. A prairie fire, but out of sight.

 

10th—Have not written for two days. Had time, but there was nothing of special interest to write. Finished P- shirt, all but button holes. No mail for some days. Two weeks ago brother H was here. Time passes— My six months will soon be up. Philip wanted to take

 

[page 64]

 

me on a trip to Indian Territory, but we have both been too ailing. I think I will go home, and he will likely spend the winter in Indiana. Have been thinking of going to the cabin, since I feel stronger. Went this p. m. Took my time and walked slowly. Sometimes it seemed as if I was taking good bye looks. Perhaps I was. It is a long walk. I find I am not nearly as strong as when I came to Kansas.

 

We have corn, mellons and potatoes—back of the cabin. I tried to eat a mellon—but have taken so much quinine, that mellons sicken me.   Such a lot going to waste.

The cabin, so lonely— I could not even rest there— The walks to well and river grown over. It did not seem like the old cheerful place, and I left— Went up the river to the plum patch, found three qts.

 

Was acrost the river from the Rose house. Would have gone over, but had on such an old torn dress— I still have a little self respect left.

 

Coming home I stopped at my garden and got sweet corn for supper. Had dried apples soaking. Stewed some plums—drained them, and boiled the apples in the plum juice, and they are much better.

 

Do not think I will have a chill tomorrow. I am getting thin, I will soon look like the man who had ague so long, that he looked like two knitting needles, stuck in a mellon seed, as Bess Bee said of some one.

 

14th—George came with mail. Jake had been to the P. O. Two letters and two papers. Mr. Smith is sick again. George said they expected the doctor from

 

[page 65]

 

Wichita. I gave him letters, and asked him to give them to the Dr. to mail in W. George had scarcely gone when I had a chill and went to bed. Philip got supper, and made me a cup of tea.

 

15th—Philip had a chill to day, but it did not last long.

 

The baking was a trouble to day, I must make new yeast before I bake again. Mother sent me hops again—and I will make yeast soon.

 

When Mrs. North moved to town—she gave me her cat Jimmie, Now the mice and rats are so bad up at Bachelor Hall, that they borrowed Jimmie.

 

I will miss him. He often slept at my feet.

 

When on our hunting trip, the handle of the teakettle was broken, and it made it very unhandy to use. Now Philip has fixed it. He is so handy about the house, when he is well. He made a darning needle for me, out of a piece of wire. Browned coffee, and pounded a can full, in p. m. copied my expenses for the year, and did other writing.

16th—There were two angry people here to day - and we are not our good natured selves yet.   J. R. uses P- blankets. Fortunately he sleeps out, or up at his clame most of the time when not working down at the ranch or elsewhere. This morning P saw that they were lousy.  His indignation was justafiable.

 

We put one at a time in the big camp kettle and boiled them, and I finished them in the tub. Such heavy work. Now I hope he will get

 

[page 66]

 

blankets of his own, and sleep else where. I hope we wont be sick tomorrow, it will be Sunday, and I must go and do some baking.

 

17th—Neither of us feeling well to day. Letters for both & papers. The other day I heard some one call— Went to the door, there was a hearder on a horse, when he saw me, he jerked off his hat. He was surprised to see a woman. He inquired about some lost horses—then rode on. His horse had four brands W. 4- O -A. one below the other. A few horses have been in P - corn patch, and a white one has spoiled my garden—and comes here and eats the corn P wants for the ox. He was tame, so P caught him and tied a tin can to his tail, which I hope will keep him away. Jake sent up some sweet potatoes. We could not get any sweet potato plants last Spring when we wanted to plant the garden.

 

22nd—A long time since I wrote. I hate to begin, for I know I will get tired writing and miss some things. Monday-while I baked, Philip went to see the neighbors—and get the mail. Came back at noon—and reported Mrs. L very sick. He thought I had better go down. It was 3 p. m. when I started. Took a loaf of fresh bread along for Mr. Smith, who is getting better but has no appetite. Thought it would be better than soda biscuits. Had quite a visit with him. He told me of parts of New Mexico and Arizona he had been in, and wished I could see them, par­ticularly Jacobs Well and Inspiration Rock. When I left he said, "Be very careful, dont try and do too much, and get sick."

 

There had been a log acrost the branch where I used to cross, it was gone and I had to take off shoes and stockings and wade. It was a miry place, and I went in over my feat, such ugly mud, had trouble to wash it off.

 

Found Mrs. L in bed— Mr. L just able to crawl, and her brother getting supper.   Mush and milk, coffee and pie.

 

The L - are one of the very few, who keep a cow. After supper fixed to bake bread next day, then commenced at the

 

[page 67]

 

dishes, which sat around in confusion, seemed not to have been cleaned for some days.

 

A little room, two beds, a table and stove. The brother sleeps out in another building, where they keep barrels ct.

 

She moved to the other bed while I made hers, then back, while I made that one also. Then I bathed her. She has what she calls "the flu." East we call it dysentery. What with waiting on her, and the mosquitos so many, there was little sleep for me.

 

Next morning waited on her (wonder who did it when I was not there), washed dishes, pots and pans, I had not found the evening before, dressed a chicken, browned coffee, and what not. Had chicken and sweet potatoes for dinner. It was long after noon when the bread was baked, and house tidied up. Then they wanted me to go to the P. O. I was too blind to see, what I do now, that any one who could eat as heartily as they did, were better able to go to the office than I was. I got on Cricket their Mexican pony and rode over. It was the first time I had been to the trail since I came in April. Struck the trail as the last of a heard were crossing the river. I asked a hearder if it was safe for me to go on. He said, "no danger, the beeves are a mile or more ahead, these are young cattle and laggards." Forded the river—rode to the post office, only to be told that one of the boys had been there, and taken it along. Coming back, a large flock of prairie chickens flew up, and fright­ened the pony. I managed to stick on. Mrs. L required wait­ing on during the night, but I got some sleep.

 

Wednesday. One of the boys passed, and gave me a letter from sister Mary. Set yeast to bake again.

 

[page 68]

 

She takes medacine day and night.

 

When morning came baked pies and bread. From some hunters Mr. L bought a piece of buffalo eat as big as my body. He put in on the table, and I was ex­pected to cut it up, and salt it down, which I did. When dinner was ready I was too sick to eat. They talked of going to town soon. "I can go to day," she said. I was surprised, as she had only set up while I made her bed.

 

The dishes were not finished when I had a chill. I said I must go home, I was feeling so badly. By the time they got Cricket—the chill was over, and fever had come on.

 

When I passed the Hall Jake came out with a paper for us. Mr. Smith was getting supper, Mr. Philips was there.

 

They invited me to stay for tea, but I rode on. Their fresh buffalo and sweet potatoes did not tempt me.

I was anxious to get home, and anxious about Philip.

 

I took the foot path across the branch between the Hall and our place because it is nearer. Cricket did not want to cross, and at a steep place whirled around and started back. I talked and coaxed and got to the bottom again, thinking he would waid acrost, but he made a big jump, and started up the bank full tilt. I grabbed his main and kept my seat. It is a mystery to me how I ever kep on, for I had a mans saddle—and was riding side ways. They say "angles take care of children, and old people," wonder to which class I belong.

 

I remember nothing more of the ride home, when brother lifted me from the pony, and I could not stand.

 

I sat on the grass until he staked Cricket, then he helped me in. I have been wondering to day how I

 

[page 69]

 

lived to write about it. I promised brother I would never ride Cricket again. He said he was not safe for me to ride, and was angry at them for letting me come home a lone—when I had fever.

 

23d—Resting today and writing, will ahve much to do tomorrow.

 

24th—A  Mr. Newcomer west here yesterday.  He wanted me to stay with his daughter, while they went on a hunt.  I cannot do that.  I am not going to leave brother now, neither of us strong.  Started new hop yeast and baked bread.  Made plum jam.  Had a chill ct.  This morning Ifelt hungry, had no supper last night.  This is Sunday, am comed and dressed will write letters and rest today.

 


25—Philip went to W was gone one night.  He brought me chocolate, nutmegs, cookies and medacine.  I wanted  two pounds of brown sugar for cookies - have plenty white he got seven pounds, because he could get that much for a dollar.  They do so much buying here by the “dollars worth,” Last  eve a skunk walked up to the door, I was almost afraid to breath, for fear it would come in but it turned and left.  The prairie is on fire acrost the river, and behind a divide.  In the evening the reflectin is georgeous.  Brother says it is early for prairie fires.

 

30th—Since Monday have been in bed nearly all the time. Had an attack like Mrs. L. Thankful to be better. I came the nearest to being homesick I ever was. Philip has been doing the cooking. I have no appetite, and that worried him. It is laughable to see him bake flap jacks for himself. To be ill and not see a woman for a week—is hard luck. I am better so let us rejoice. Philip has gone to see if he can shoot a prairie chicken.

 

The sun is seting— I must take a look at this last of Sept. sun set. and may a picture of it be on memories wall for a long time.

 

[page 70]

 

Oct. 1st—A beautiful morning. Two letters from home. They have kept us in papers—so we have kept track of the Franco Prus­sian War, ct. The Springers were here to day, Mr. S - is a tease. It seems to him I ought to marry one of these young men.  I'd rather keep them as friends.

 

Oct. 3d—Wanted to wash yesterday, but the tub leaked, so I put it to soak. Baked with the new yeast, and the bread is a "perfect success." Also baked ginger snaps.

 

Mrs. Springer here to see if I would stay with the children while she went with the men on a hunt. Wrote letters until my hand got tired.

 

4th—Washed in a. m. and ironed. Saw prairie fire, such a sight.

 

6th—Yesterday we had a real wind storm. Had a blanket up at the door with sticks acrost it to keep it from blowing up all the time. When it was open great rolls of tumble weed would come in. What a house we had.

 

Mended a pair of pants, and vest for Philip and tried to read. Towards evening, a thunder storm came. Then it was as unpleasant as it could be. Cold wind and almost dark. This is the way some people live all winter. I have not wished myself else­where, for I want to see how it would be to live on the frontier in all seasons.

 

I was chilly, although dressed warm, and went to bed early to get warm.

 

Oct. 14—Over a week since I wrote in my journal. I should have taken it along. Now I have much to write, and most likely will miss some things of interest.

 

Saturday I was fixing a duck for dinner, and a goose for Sunday, when Jannette Rose came with a letter for

 

[page 71]

 

me. Father sent me a draft of $300.00 to prove upon my claim.

 

Then Mr. Springer came for me, they were ready to start on a hunt. He wanted brother to go along, but he said he was not well enough. He was in a flurry about "shooting irons." Wanted all he could get.

 

I would rather have stayed home, but had promised Mrs. S I would stay with the children. He had a good saddle, and the best riding horses I have seen in this state. I enjoyed the ride, my horse paced along. Mr. S who is from Va., talked all the time, with his southern accent. He declared that if he was a young man I "should never leave the Ninnescah single." I laughed at him, and said there are very nice young men in the East. When we crossed the branch, we saw a very large snake. The largest I ever saw, "Well" he said "if I were not in such a hurry I'd get off and kill it."

 

They had the waggon packed, and left soon after we got there. When leaving Mrs. S said, "There is nothing in the house but flour and bacon."  I thought she was joking.

 

When dinner time came, one of the children said "I guess you will have to bake bread for dinner." I looked, but there was not a crum of bread in the house. And no soda. She had started "salt risin" in a tin cup, but that would not be ready before night, and I had never baked any. I had left a duck dinner, with good yeast bread ct. Here were three of us, and almost an empty larder. I found a few potatoes and dried fruit, also yeast—and started bread at once—which I baked Sunday.

 

When we were out on a hunt we were gone one night, and I never thought they would be away more than two nights at the long­est. Well they left Saturday morning and never got back until Wednesday evening.

 

It was windy all the time they were gone. Pieces of the chinking would fall out from between the logs, on the south side of the house. The house which was 18 by 14 had no windows. Along one side were two beds—at one

 

[page 72]

 

end a stove, along the other side were a table and chairs—and at the other end chests or trunks.

 

The neighbors were too far away to go calling, and none came to see us.   The children were good, but we all seemed stupid.

 

Tuesday I had a shake. I had many chills—but never a shake, before Then came the fever. So time draged on, and not one word from Philip, and I was worried.

 

I was as glad as the children, when they came Wed. evening!

 

They had to go so far, before they found any buffalo, is what had kept them so long. I wanted to go home at once— but they said it was too late, and they were tired, would take me home in the morn­ing. Thursday early—we saw smoke and thought the fire was com­ing over the divide towards us. so they rushed out to plow a fire guard beyond their hay stacks. The wind favored them, and the fire did not get on their side of the branch, but all between the branches—and beyond—way up this way, and on to the river.

 

Brother was alone, and had his hands full. He quick "back fired" when he saw the fire coming, then moved the ox there, after which he had to watch the dugout. Half our wood burned and a load of chips. The ground thrown out when they built the dug out, helped to save it. From Springers we could see the flames beyond the branch—when it burned the sunflowers on Mr. Smiths dame, It burned Elsworths hay stacks and some others, also Mr. Smiths stable and corn crib.   He is away freighting.

I was so anxious about my brother - but could not go to him. J. R. was at Elsworths, and could not get to his claim or my dugout until the fire had burned down.

 

When he came up here, Philip had gone to the river to see his cabin, which fortunately escaped.   

 

J. R. saw a skunk in the dug out, and shot it behind

 

[page 73]

 

my trunk.  In the meantime the Springer men did not get back to the house, until 2 o'clock. Then we had dinner and the boy brought me home. Mrs. S gave me some buffalo meat and two preserving citrons. She offered to pay me for staying with the children, but I considered it an act of neighborliness, and told her so. The S are not poor, but in loading up when they left, they in their hurry had taken the eatables along, and left us short. She is a vary capable woman. When the boy and I finaly got started in the big waggon toward home, and when we rounded the branch we were on burned over ground. Down toward the Hall we could see where the fire had run through three acres of corn. The wind was so high, the fire burned the dry leaves and some of the husk, that many ears were half exposed, others that had fallen down, were still smouldering. The stalks were mostly standing.

 

Rounding the head of the other branch between the Hall and home, we saw three deer, running toward the sand hills. What a dreary sight it was—not a green thing in sight, except the trees at the river. I had expected to find things looking bad, but my imagination was short, far short of the fact. The prairie had burned black and even; but over the bottom where the grass grew rank, it left the blackened stalks standing. The ground was still hot, and a high wind blowing.

 

We were both glad to be together again, and I was so relieved to find him as well as he was.

 

Everything in the house was covered with burned grass—that blew in—and O the skunk smell, how it sickened us. Philip was angry at J. R. for shooting the skunk in the house—but that did not help matters any, after he had gone to the Hall.

 

[page 74]


Philip tried to clean up a little. Fresh wood ashes back of my trunk absorbed the scent to some extent.

 

He was baking sweet potatoes for supper. I soon laid down— after he told me of his fight with the fire, leaving the cleaning of the house for next day.

 

It was cloudy and windy coming from Springers and I got chilled through. After going to bed fever came on.

 

Some time later Brother called me. He said if I felt able, I should wrap up well, and come out and see the fire, that it was not likely I would ever see the like again.

 

The scene was grand beyond description. To the North there was a sheet of flames extending east and west. To the west there was fire beyond fire. Acrost the river, a hay stack was burning. Jake had the logs for his house ready to put up, the fire got among them, and did much damage. I cant give a description of the wild fearful—yet facinating sight.

 

I went back to bed, thankful that we were safe. The first fire, the one that came over the divide early in the a. m. while it swept on, at a terrible speed, did not extend far in width. I cannot understand how so many fires in different directions, should be burning that night.

 

The people and hearders acrost the river did not expect the fire to cross, but it jumped the river, and caused much trouble. One heard of cattle and ponies stampeded—and some were burned. Another hearder lost $700. Before morning a thunder storm put out all the fires.

 

Oct. 18th—Have been too busy to write. Cleaned the house and wrote letters. Monday washed, baked and made brine for the meat. Yesterday finished the white clothes, dressed a prairie chicken, and wrote a letter.

 

[page 75]

 

It still smells of skunk. Had to turn the head of my bed, it prevented my sleeping. There have been three deer around, but too far away to shoot.

Philip took his ox to town and sold him for a cent a pound. He paid $100 for the two, did a little breaking, then one died.

 

There was a man here this a. m. hunting a girl. His wife was sick and they needed help.  They were from N. Y.

 

My first thought was, I must go and care for her, she is ill and so far from home. Then I knew I could not leave here— It was ten miles down the river, and I would not put that distance between brother and me, under present conditions.

 

He had two fine horses. One had a ladies side saddle on—seated in blue velvet.

20th—Baked four loaves of bread, Philip shot a coyote from the door way. We will dry the pelt for me to take home. He just came from the sand hills with a big wild turkey, I am drying some pieces of buffalo meat, that I will take home.

 

21st—This a. m. P shot a rat at the foot of my bed. That is the third he has shot here. They call them wood rats. One day when crossing the upper branch among the scrub trees, I saw one fussing in the crotch of a tree with little sticks. Our cat is still down at the Hall.

 

Baked pies this a. m. out of pie mellon. Mr. Rose gave me the seed last spring. I dont care for them, and there are enough to supply the whole settlement. Our squashes are fine and good to bake. The fire scorched the garden badly.

 

23d—Two letters from home. Yesterday I was not well, and P got dinner, and a nice one it was. This a. m. my head was all right—so I washed. Flocks of wild geese along the river. The air is so still at times, one hears a long distance. Heard some one sing, but did not see the singer.  It was pleasant to listen.

 

25—Mr. Stafford came to plow, but his plow would not work, so he went home. His sister Mrs. L had come along to

 

[page 76]

 

spend the day, and was cheated out of her visit. I got a pie baked before they left, and we enjoyed eating it together. Mr. Rose came in time for pie. He was full of fun, and told many rediculous things that had happened since he came to the river. One new comer complained of his bad luck hunting. "You must wiggle your gun man. Wiggle your gun when you shoot." The poor innocent believed.

 

We drove down to the garden with them, and got four pie mellons & a watermellon for them.

28th—Quite forgot my journal yesterday. Baked and sewed. Philip shot a young turkey. Had a fry for breakfast, pot pie for dinner, and enough for dinner tomorrow.

 

29th—Lizzie Rose came over on their pony. She had three letters for us and a bundle of papers. In p.m. Mr. S came with two more letters—and another bundle of papers. What a terrible fire they have had in Chicago.

 

The boys were to the river, and came back with two wild geese. Mr. Stafford stayed for supper.   We had turkey, squash, stewed peaches, pie, bread and coffee. He promised to do the plowing next week.  It is very smoky.  The wind from the North.

 

31st—The last of the month. As soon as the plowing is done we will go to Augusta and prove up. It is cold and stormy. Yesterday it rained all day. The rain froze on the grass. I baked and had a slow time. The geese are fat, stewed one, it is very nice.  I am alone to day, just had dinner— baked a little corn bread in the skillet. Am seated by the fire, writing on my lap.

 

Nov. 2—Busy all day, and accomplished little. P shot a goose, it took so long to dress it. They are plowing to day.

 

4th—Plowing with two yoke of oxen. P is helping. It will take them five days next week, to finish. Lanes had their best horse stolen, what a pity they cant get the thief.

 

We are having pleasant weather. Mrs. Springer spent the day here. She rode up— and brought the band she stiched for me on her machine. A letter from Reading to day. Game is plenty   we have had three geese and a turkey within a week.

 

[page 77]

 

Sometimes a thousand geese and brance [brants] fly up and down the river, and fill the air with their gabbling. The coyotes often make the nights hideous with their howling. Have not had any ague for over two weeks—but take medacine every other day

 

5th—Here come the men with three turkeys, now I cant write - must help dress them.  I am getting tired of game.

 

7th—Rainy and cold all day. Hope it will clear up and not hinder the plowing. Yesterday I baked and cut up the turkeys. Put some in a jar, and covered it with brine. George is helping plow. Came in yesterday with a chill. I told him of the salt cure.

 

8th—Just finished baking snaps—we like them. It is nothing but cook turkey all the time, feel as if I did not care to see another for a year. It is fried for breakfast, potpie for dinner, roasted for supper—cold for breakfast ct. ct. Today is clear and the plowing going on. Baked two squash pies. They are real good. Mrs. S told me how to bake them when we have no milk or eggs. Had an early dinner. They came in before I was ready. I slept so well last night. Some­time I lay awaik for hours. We had pancakes for breakfast. I cant toss them over like P can. Sometimes he sends them over the second time, to see them flap.

 

Heavy shower last night over east. We thought it might reach here. Sometimes the rain comes in at the sides— so I took my clothes down, put them on a stool, then under the table. We dont have any chairs, just stools, two are cushioned with robe. Some time a go P raised his bed from the floor. When J. R. is here he sleeps on the floor.

 

We have no broom. When I sweep, I take a turkey wing in each hand, sweep out a corner, then step there, and sweep a head of me, until the floor is all swept. Sweep every thing into the fire place.

 

[page 78]

 

11th—This is a rainy Sunday. The stars were shining when I went to bed, but it is raining now. We expect to get to the land office this week. Friday eve the boys brought home two turkeys and a prairie chicken. Five turkeys in one week. P is a good marksman. Sent Lanes some turkey. Prairie chicken we had barbacued for dinner. It was better than turkey. Will have turkey and sweet potatoes for dinner.

 

It still smells skunky. The other day when the boys came from Jakes, they saw seven skunks along the branch—

 

I am drying the skin of a large gray wolf. If it gets dry, I will take it home with me.

 

15th—The days go by and we have not been to Augusta yet. Were to have gone to day, now it is tomorrow. Yesterday I washed, baked bread and pies, was busy all day. The boys did not get home until an hour after sunset. They had a goose and prairie chicken.  It took me all a.m. to dress them, do my work and get dinner; then no one came to eat it.   I am beginning to gather my possessions together, and pack.

 

Jammie the cat had been with Jake at the Hall for a long time. The other day they found him dead. They think a coyote or gray wolf killed him. The boys have come—and it is decided we go tomorrow.

 

16th—Up at 3 a. m. After breakfast we packed eatables, and started for Lanes. The team and waggon was brought up last night. It was cold, but we took a lot of blankets and my comfort to wrap around us, so we did not mind the cold. The three miles ride to Lanes was truly grand. The sun was not up, but the gaily colored clouds were georgeous. No one said "Morning red will bring down rain upon his head." Although some of us may have thought of it. We reached Lanes at sunrise. Mr. Stafford got in, It was his team, and he drove. The Ninnescah was low, and we had no trouble

 

[page 79]

 

to fording it   So different from last April.

 

After we reached the trail it clouded over, and became very windy. The trail was good traveling, yet the 20 miles to Wichita, in a big waggon was a long ride. The wind was so strong, it blew the dried cow chips on edge, and they rolled along on the trail like wheels. Philip told me that hearders and travalers, when out of wood, gathered them and burned them. In Whichita we sat in the waggon and ate our dinner of roast goose, chicken and pie, that we had brought along. We had our drafts cashed, and about 3 p. m. we started toward Augusta.

 

Night came on. Not being in sight of timber, we camped by a hay stack. It was too windy to make fire,  so we had a cold supper, after which they put the waggon cover on which was a shelter from the wind. I slept in the waggon, and the boys by the stack.

 

20th—We started early next morning, expecting to come to timber soon, and have a warm breakfast, but we were farther from Walnut Creek than they thought, and it was nearly noon when we stoped, and had a good warm meal of bacon, coffee, and the rest of what we brought along.

 

After leaving W a few miles, there were almost no signs of settlers. The first settlers always choose clames near some stream where they can get wood for fuel. Most of the way there was no road—just went acrost the prairie in the direction of where they expected to find Augusta.

 

After eating we drove on into Augusta. While Mr. Stafford cared for the team, we went direct to the Land Office.   I waited in an adjoining room, while brother went in. They were very busy. Brother knew one of the clerks, and we were waited on, sooner than we other-

 

[page 80]

 

wise would have been; which was fortunate for us. Philip had attended to all the prelimatery parts, before I was called in. I had little to do, beside sign my name and pay $1.25 an acre or $200—, and some office fees, after which we received a certificate. The pattent will be made out in Washington, D. C, and sent to us. Now I am the owner of 160 acres of land. Were my nice smooth land in Pa. it would be worth a little fortune.

 

We left Augusta before 4 p. m. and had reached Four Mile Creek when it began to rain very hard. There was a frame house near the timber, Philip went there and asked if I could stay all night. They said I could, and the boys went and camped among the trees.

 

I had a good nights rest—  a good supper and breakfast.

 

I wanted to pay Mrs. Long but she would not let me.

 

I should write her a letter when I go home, that would be all the pay she wanted.   I certainly shall write to her.

 

One of their daughters was home. I spent a very pleasant eve­ning. She asked me about my Summer—and my home in the East, and told me of their many moves— They were comfortably settled now, but her husband was getting restless, talked of moving to Medacine Lodge.

 

In the morning it was colder, and the rain had turned to snow. The most dessolate and disagreeable day I ever knew. The snow soon covered the tracks we were trying to follow, and at times they did not know which way to go. The waggon cover protected us some, but the snow blew, and we could only see a little way ahead, and it was so cold.

 

We expected to strike the Arkansas river at a place they called El Paso.We missed the road, and came to the river ten miles be­low El Paso. Two men who had charge of the ferry there, said the ferry was out of order, that they

 

[page 81]

 

would fix it in the morning, and take us over We had expected to reach Lanes that evening— but had to camp there by the river. They made fire and stretched a blanket between trees, to shelter me, while I tried to warm myself. I asked Philip if I could not go to the dugout and get warm.    He said "no it is too dirty a place for you."

 

We were out of bread. So the boys had the men bake us some biscuits for supper, after which Philip fixed the waggon— and I went and laid down. He charged me "If you take off your shoes, keep them near you, or they will freeze, and you cant get them on in the morning." It was cold, however I had plenty of blankets and my comfort, and I slept a little.

 

Philip slept under the waggon with Mr. S and J. R. by the fire. Every where it was so wet and snowy. I think they got little sleep. They called the storm a "Northener." I would never have believed it could get so cold in sunny Kansas. The men baked more biscuit for our breakfast, and we had bacon, coffee and gravy to go with the biscuits. The ferry was out of order, and the boys worked hard to get it fixed. Then when they tried to use it, it stuck fast on a sand bar, and was no good.

 

Too provoking, we had lost the whole morning.

 

When they found they could not use the ferry, and get paid for taking us acrost, they told of a place a mile down the river where we could ford. We drove down and crossed without much trouble, except the ice bothered the horses.

 

We reached Bell Plain about 2 p. m. I went into a house to warm while they fed the horses. They bought a sack of crackers— but could get no bread. I had been dull and stupid, and a chill followed by fever came on. Philip was worried, and tried to make it as

 

[page 82]

 

comfortable in the waggon as he could. I do not remember about the rest of the trip, until some one said "Now we are acrost the Ninnescah." Then I roused up for I knew we would soon be to Lanes. We stayed here all night. I was so tired, I thought I might as well stay and visit her now as I would soon be starting East.  Philip went to the dugout and moved some things down to his cabin by the river, thinking it would be warmer. J. R. has his trunk at Jakes and is patiently or impatiently, waiting for a chance to go to Wichita. Too far, and too bad walking to go to Springers. So I finish this then write a letter.

 

21st—Another chill and fever. Philip was down, he will bring my medacine tomorrow. Four hunters out from W to day. They shot 31 prairie chickens, saw four deer and some turkeys.

22nd—Philip brought my medacine. I helped Mrs. Lane make butter out of pie mellon from my garden. Expect to go to Wichita Sunday, so I must go up tomorrow and pack my trunk.

 

23d—It was nearly noon when I left Lanes on old Bill— It was cold, When I passed the Hall there was no one there but J. R. He went along to the dugout. I packed some things, gathered others together, then rode to the cabin. No one there, then I thought I would go and see Roses, but I could not get old Bill to ford the river. Then I stayed at the cabin, and J. R. took the horse back to Lanes.

 

I had covered the coals, so I soon had a good fire. Being hungry, I made coffee and boiled mush—which I ate with much molasses, and considerable

 

[page 83]

 

relish, having had no dinner. Hunger is a good cook. Philip did not come for some time. He had been hunting. Had shot a turkey which he took to Lanes, was surprised not to find me there. Then he went to the dugout and brought more things down. He wished he had not moved as it made it so inconvenient for me.

 

24th—Last night in the cabin. Up early. Breakfast of mush, molasses, sweet potato and coffee. I bid the cabin good bye, and went to the dug out to pack. Met Mr. Rose in a big waggon. He wanted me to go home with him, but I could not— I had to pack. I made a big fire, and went to work. So many things to pack I scarcely knew where to begin; what to take and what to leave—Dried buffalo meat, turkey fans, wolf and coyota pelts ct. I put on enough petticoats to make me look like a barrel, but it was so cold, I needed them.

 

Philip had said if I left any clothing I should "give it to the Igmires they have children." There were many things I did not pack, and later he can give them away.

 

When done packing, I made a can of chocolate, and ate some ginger snaps. There I sat by the fire, and went over the days I had spent in the dugout. I never got to Roses  after we left the cabin, The slow way of baking took so much time, then reading and writing—trying to make Philip comfortable, and having the ague so often filled up my days. Trying days when Philip was sick. Exciting days when brother H, and cousin Tim came, and we went on a buffalo hunt. Dreary days when it stormed. Light hearted days when I could go to the garden and plant, or bring up good fresh things to cook, and now a sad day of leaving. I dont want to leave brother here— he is not well, and has only half promised to go East for the winter.

 

[page 84]

Finaly I looked at the little home, the well, the garden and the surroundings, then started on my long walk to Lanes.

 

The snow was melting, and my feet got wet. We were both in­vited for dinner, to help eat the turkey Philip had shot, and we were both late getting there.

 

25th—Have been helping Mrs. Lane all day. It is de­cided we go to Wichita tomorrow. Someone shot a deer—so we have deer stake.

 

26th—Cloudy, windy, exceedingly unpleasant all day. I did not see the Roses or Springers to give them good bye— Will have to write to them. The boys got my trunk last night, but it was after nine when they came this morning, so we got a late start. I have a poor place to write, so it is impossible to give the particulars of our leaving.

 

The Ninnescah was easily forded. The Cowskin was bad. The driver Mr. Stafford feared we could not cross the Arkansas, but two teams ahead of us crossed, and the ice was broken, so we had no trouble. We stopped at the Harris House. It has changed in every respect, since I was here last Spring.

 

It is now a three dollar a day house. We had a good supper which did me much good, after our cold ride of twenty miles.

 

27th—Slept well, and felt rested. Philip got roap and roaped my trunk.   Then I went down town and bought shoes.

 

Called at the Southern Hotel to see Mrs. McLain. When I left the Hotel, I met Philip, who had been over town hunt­ing Indian curiosities for me to take home. All he found was a pair of moccasons. We went to Woodenings store, where he bought lunch for me to take along. The Lanes and Mr. Smith came in, and we talked until it was time for them to start home. Then I gave them all good bye. Philip too. He said he would likely go East before long, which made

 

[page 85]

 

me feel better.  I went to the street and watched the waggon as it moved out of sight, then back to the Hotel.

 

The coach left soon after noon for Newton, 25 miles away, and now the end of the R. R. Here I stay until 4 a. m. when the train leaves.

 

28—Left Newton at 4 a. m. Stoped at Florance for breakfast. The ground was frozen and rough. Going to a restaurant for breakfast—one of my new shoes split from the lacing to the toe. When I got back to the cars, I was glad to put on my old shoes. Philip had planned a trip down to Indian Territory. Owing to our having ague so often he gave it up, and was disappointed that I did not see more of the Indians.

 

When I was leaving he told me about the Potawamies at St. Marys, and wanted me to go there if only for a day. I did not promise, but as we neared Topeka, I decided I would, knowing it would please him. Left my trunk at Topeka— got a ticket for Harrisburg for $38.50—with lay over priviledges.

 

Then a ticket for St. Marys 25 miles west. On the train I sat by a lady agent— She said they had been burned out in the great Chicago fire, and she had to do something to help her family. There is no hotel here—but we were directed to a private home where they sometimes took boarders— In the p. m. we visited one of the big Catholic Schools. There is some controversity now about the government withdrawing the help it gave the schools. We were only taken through halls—and to one empty class room, so were disappointed in not seeing and hearing a recitation. We walked around town, and saw many squaws and papoos.

 

29th—This morning I went up town before train time. Stoped at

 

[page 86]

 

a shop and bought some curos. The shop keeper told me much about Indians there.   Many of them are farming ct.   He called my attention to one who was passing, who he said was Chief Big Foot. He had on many coats and the out side one was a linen duster. As the ground was covered with snow, he was a sight.

 

I have wondered since—if the shop keeper knew I was a "tender­foot," and was stuffing me. When I reached Topeka, I had my trunk rechecked.   Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

 

4th—Once more at Red Oak Shelter. How pleasant and comfortable to be here. The children have grown, and are full of fun. Little O comes to me and says "you may have a kiss." Dear child. Katura cheerful and lively, and such a good cook.

 

20th—The days slip past so fast. Philip came last week. He will soon grow stronger here, and to me, such a relief to know he is here. What a varied fifteen months it has been for me. Thanks be to Providence no calamity befel me.

 

Tomorrow brother H takes me to W and I will be home in time for Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

[Front Cover]

 

Our Star Composition Book No. 612

 

Journal kept while in Kansas 1871.

 

[Page 1]

 

Gladbrook Iowa Feb – 1914

 

I was three years old when my Mother had a serious illness.  I remember being in her room and near the bed, when the nurse led me from the room.

 

This is the earliest I remember – but the entire setting is very distinct.  The bed with a valance around it; my sick Mother; and nurse Nancy.

 

Here memory begins, all proceeding that – is a blank.

 

All through my childhood, Nurse Nancy was a person of great importance in our family.  When not engaged – in nursing else where.  She sometimes visited us.  How we children loved her.

 

When father was sick, and I went home, she came and spent a few days.

 

It was not long after that, Nancy [Dormer] had died.

 

[Page 2]

 

The Bright Forever.  1868

 

Breaking through the clouds that gather,

O’er the Christian’s natal skies

Distant beams, like floods of glory,

Fill the soul with glad surprise;

And we almost hear the echo

Of the clear and holy throng,

In the bright, the bright forever

In the summer land of song.

 

Chorus

 

On the banks beyond the [rivers]

We shall meet no more to [sever]

In the bright the bright [forever]

In the summer land of [song].

 

Yet a little while we linger,

Ere we reach our journey’s end;

Yet a little while of labor,

Ere the evening shades descend;

Then we’ll lay us down to slumber,

But the night will soon be o’er;

In the bright, the bright forever,

We shall wake, to weep no more.

 

[Page 3]

 

I cannot recall anything more until I was going to school.  I do not know how old I was, probably before I was five, as Penina and Philip were going – the school house less than a quarter of a mile away so I doubtless went Spring and fall when quite young.

 

I am not sure, but think my first teacher was Fanny Wilson. A gentle Quaker lady.  For some years the lady teachers boarded with us.  They paid Mother a dollar a week board.  A school month there was twenty two days.  We had school every other Saturday.  We had two months early fall school – and two in May and June, which were taught by ladies, and they were paid sixteen dollars.  While men were employed for the three or four Winter month, and they were paid thirty-dollars.  It was thought woman could not manage a winter school, because of the big boys who attended.

 

[Page 4]

 

I was once to the home of Fanny Wilson.  The one thing I remember above anything else, was a big bunch of Yucca, or as we called it then “Adam and Eve’s Thread”.  Later we had the plant too, and I think it came from the Wilsons.

 

A later teacher, Mary McGinigal, I remember very well.  Her father lived up toward the Journeytown Hills.  Once she asked me to go home with her, which was a great treat.  We started after school.  It was Sept, and the roads were very dusty.  I was accustomed to going bare foot, so I carried my shoes and stockings – so I could walk easier, and she carried some clean clothes for me to wear Sunday.  As we neared her home, which was some five or six miles from mine, the air became smoky, which grew thicker, and thicker – and she explained to me that some are not far away was burning new ground.  The McGinigal family consisted of the father, three sisters and a brother.  Susan was housekeeper, Mary taught, and Sarah helped

 

[Page 5]

 

where ever needed.  That evening she came home after we got there.  She said “I was walking along and saw little tracks in the dust, I wondered whos they could be.  Then when I came home, here you are.”  Then she went on to tell me she had been helping a neighbor cook for a “log – rolling”.

 

Then much ground was still covered with timber – which was cut down – rolled or dragged together when dry, and burned – usually in Sept.  I think – and the neighbors helped each other.  The ground thus cleared was called “new ground” – and was cultivated as soon as the brush and stumps were gotten rid of.  My father’s farm was in the Valley – and had been cleared before they moved there.  So clearing new ground was all new to me.  This visit to the McGinigal home was one of the great events of my childhood.  There were no little children there, and they all petted me, and entertained me, beyond anything I had ever known.

 

Sunday I was dressed in my best, with my hair curled, and went with them to church at Washingtonville.  They were Presbyterians.  Sunday [p.m.] they took us to my home, and the big visit it was over; but what a pleasing memory it left. 

 

I visited there a number of times

 

[Page 6]

 

afterwards.  It was there I saw the first – white – strawberries, and learned to know the Juniper tree.  There was me standing by their Spring home.

 

The last-time I was at the McGinigal’s home, was to attend Susanne’s funeral.  I was East – on a visit – when she died.  Mother, sister Rebecca and Mr. Sidley and I drove up and attended the service at the house.  They sang two verses of the hymn, “Just as I am”.  Whenever I hear that hymn, I always think of the McGinigals – They were a fine family.

 

I remember little of the many other teachers we had, except a Mr. Sanders.  He was considered an excellent teacher and father and two others paid him extra – above his salary – to have him teach the winter [time].  He lived in Danville – and drove in and out; keeping his horse in our barn – and fed for nothing – which showed how much father was interested in having good teachers for his children.  The school was very large that winter, fifty some [who] [came] – ranged in age from twenty-two to five years - Of course he could not do justice to all.

 

I suppose I was a mischievous one – a little one – sitting in the first bench, dangling my feet – I do not remember what I did, but he picked me up, and carried me around in his arms like a baby while he walked up and down the room hearing a class recite.  He only taught the one term.  He received a good position somewhere, and left Danville.

 

Another teacher, a Mr.  [XXX]  - I remember well, but am uncertain as to whether I went to school [to] him, as was only a visitor, going sometimes with Penina to school.  He taught them to line up in a row and courtesy to every one that passed by, when they

 

[Page 7]

 

 were on the school ground, not merely a bow or nod of the head – but the knees were to bend.  Years afterward when Penina and the Curry girls met – I have seen them courtesy to each other – and then have a good laugh.

 

We always had men teachers for the three and later four month Winter term – A school month then was twenty two days, and we had school every other Saturday. 

 

The women teachers were paid sixteen dollars a month and the men Thirty, which never seemed right to me.  I am glad to say that I was the first to break the rule, and was hired at thirty dollars a month to teach the winter term in 1869 and 1870. 

 

The  [XXX]  Wilson, McGinigal and McGinnis boarded with us, paying a dollar a week board.  They went home Friday or Sat. evening – returning Sunday eve or early Monday.

 

There was an iron furnace within half a mile of the school house and the children of the families who lived there six or eight Co. houses, came to school, as a rule they were more noisy and mischievous than the farmer children.  One morning the teacher was calling the roll – and in place of saying “present” a boy called out “A.B.C. crack a louse and kill a flea, in granddaddy’s knee.”  Many things happened to break the monotony  - The teachers watch having stoped – he sent a boy to the nearest house to ask the time of day.  On returning he called out – ”Miss M said I should tell you it is the same time it was yesterday at this time.”

 

Some of my earliest recollections in connection with school are of an old man with a long white beard.  His name was [Ott].  When the scholars were out doors – and anyone passed – team – buggy – or whatsoever he trained them to line up in a row and courtesy to the passers by not a nod of the head, but to bend the knees – a courtesy .    The Curry’s lived beyond the school house – and were our special friends.  The three girls were about the same ages as sister Penina – myself – and Sister Mary, Elisabeth Jane, Agnes Harriet – and Ella. Agnes – or Ag-as

 

[Page 8]

 

always called her, was my special comrade, and the friendship lasted until her death – which occurred when she was fifty nine (Aug. 1877)  The great-grandfather of [these] girls – had been a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War.  Later moved his family to [Sunberry] on [N.] [Thumberland] on the Susquehanna River, and was killed by the Indians near where the Curris lived.  Was an interesting story, but too long to write here.

 

Ours was a typical “Little Red School House” Red inside and out.  The platform and teacher desk, were opposite the door.  Long desks along each side of the wall with benches between them and the wall leaving just room enough to walk

 

In front of the desks were lower benches on which the little scholars sat.

 

A large stove with an egg shaped fire pot, heated the room.  We burned hard coal, as that was the only kind mined east of the Alleghenies –

 

Fathers land joined the school grounds, and when the field was in sod, he always allowed the scholars to play there – While the  [Mauses] lived nearer the school house than we did – and the drinking water was usually brought from there, When Ag and

 

[Page 9]

 

I went for water, we went in the other direction to my home, and I would run into the for something to eat.  One time Mother gave me some fresh rhubarb pie.  Ag had on a new purple calico dress – and the pie juice ran down the front of it, and took out the color – we felt so badly.  It really seemed a tragedy to us.   A calico dress was considered very [choices] then or at least half the year we wore home spun flourmill dresses and skirts.

 

As far back as my memory goes – we always kept sheep, and as children we liked to feed them – and usually had some pets among them.  Some years there would a cross buck – then we had to run, and always be on guard that he did not bump us – One buck that used to be on guard that he did not bump us.  One buck that used to make us run – as well as every cow or horse in the yard, except an old gander – and when the gander stretches his neck and hissed.  Lallicoffer fled for save quarters.  That was during the Civil War in 1862 – and we named the buck Zallicoffer, after a rebel general.

 

Every year some wool was sent to the [carding] mill.  When it came back it was in rolls as thick as your little finger – and about a yard long.  Rebecca did most of the spinning – although I remember seeing mother spin also.  We always had our own yarn for stockings  (Everyone wore hand knit woolen stockings for winter)

 

Wool was also spun for blankets, dresses, skirts, and cover  [XXX].

 

When the Civil War began in 1881, the price of all goods advanced in price – and spinning which had become a lost art to many was taken up again by thrifty housewives.  When I was 14 – 15 I learned to spin

 

[Page 10]

 

and for the next 3 or 4 years – we spun considerable.  The yarn was woven by a neighbor – we had no loom – then sent to a factory.  When it was washed and dressed, and sent home in big fluffy or fleecy rolls.  All homemade blankets have a seam through the center.  Before I went to house keeping, enough was out from those rolls to make four blankets.  Which according to custom, I marked with my initials.  That was nearly 45 years ago and they wore well, one of them is still good.  My girls each got some new ones, which had been their Aunts.

 

We also spun for “coverlets or coverlids” as we called them.  Those were covered down near Reading, or at a factory over at Louisburg.  They are rare now, and highly priced.

 

The [courser] wool was spun for carpet chain.  We used raise flax – and had rolls of linen in the  [XXXX]  but I can only remember once helping to pull it.  I do not think Mother spun much flax.  I remember hearing her or Rebecca tell of how much yarn Catherine [Ann] Barack spun for them. 

 

Father’s farm joined the school ground, and when the field was in sod, he always allowed the scholars to play there.  The larger ones played “round [town]” and the little girls made play-houses

 

I think the most exciting time in my school days [then], was when the first train ran over the Cattawina R.R..  Father came to the school house – and told the teacher to close school, and take the children through the [fields] half a mile to the new road.  The train came along slowly, and stopped often for the men to take down the [lines] fence.

 

[Page 11]

 

The farm on which I was raised, was part of a tract of land that had been deeded to Philip Mause, about the close of the Revolutionary War, Mr. Mause had furnished the Colonial Army with woolen socks  [XX]  and had been paid in Continental Money which depreciated in value.  I have heard it said that he had a bushel basket of it.  I know that his grandson Philip Mause the second, gave our folks some, and I have a piece now.

 

At Mr. Mause’s death, the tract was divided in four parts, one part was given to his daughter Mrs Betsy Strawbridge, her husband Philip Strawbridge kept a “tavern” and farmed.  When my two grandfathers David Bright & Philip Thomas Evans were looking for a farm for my parents, The Strawbridge farm was for sale, and they bought it.  Each paying half.  That was in 1832 or 33 – In the Spring (March, 1833) they moved from Reading to the farm near Danville.  One of the first things father did was to cut down the pole that held the sign.  The sign was Valey Tavern Philip Strawbridge[.]  The lettering was gold in a blue

 

[Page 12]

 

sanded ground.  All the time I was home, that sign was in the old garret, and used to cover a barrel.  The farm cost $5,300 and contained 180 + acres.  The [Mahoning] Creek ran through the north end of the farm, as one side was a limestone ledge, where hemlocks, and when children we liked to play.  There were quarries and a lime kiln there, where thousands and thousands of bushels of lime were burned every year.

 

The farmers bought the lime to fertilize their land.  Many a load of lime was exchanged for chestnut rails.  Then rail fences were in use, and chestnut was considered a durable wood.

 

Between the creek and north line, was a meadow, well sprinkled with hickory trees.  Some of the trees bore choice nuts.  I’ve always had a plenty for ourselves, our friends, and sometimes sold some.  The south end of the farm ran to the foot of Montour Ridge, and was

 

[Page 13]

 

timberland.  There were two good springs there – The water from one was piped to the house, and we always had running water.  This water was soft and we used it for all purposes – The stock drank from a big trough or tank, into which it ran.  At the end of the trough grew a big weeping willow tree.  A beautiful tree, with the thin branches hanging to the ground on our side of the fences, and on the other they were eaten off – as far up as the cattle could reach – The cattle were allowed at certain times to drink out of the trough, then driven back to another yard – There was a large yard between the house yard and barn yard – So the unpleasant order did not annoy or reach the house.

 

It was a fine farmhouse.  No farm in  [XXXX]  Township had such a variety of fruit, and so many flowers, as we had – The road from Danville to Milton passed the home – which faced Montour Ridge – the front of which was nearly half a mile south of the house.  The Ridge began at Chelaska down the river (Surquetawah) ran along the river to Danville then turned west and in part our home in toward [Morrisburg] and [Hinton].

 

The original house was frame, lathed in the outside and plastered.  Before my time a large brick addition was built two stories and a half high.  Dormer window which made its garrets nice and light.  There were two stairways to the cellar [two] to the second story and [two] to the [garrita] – Over the front door was a half circle window.  The hall

 

[Page 14]

 

was wide, with a door at each end, and in Summer time we often used it for a sitting room.  There were three fire places downstairs, and one up.  We had good parents, and a good home, and in that home there grew to man hood and women hood three boys and four girls.  Father was born at Reading Pa. In 1801 and died near Danville [18] (Peter Bright) Mother – Mary Evans was born in 1807, near Reading, on the Evans farm – and died in Danville 1894.  The seven children were Rebecca – (Mr. Sidler) Hiram, Dennis, Penina, Abbie (myself) and Mary.

 

As soon as we were old enough, we were taught to work, in the house and out.  There were no corn planters then, so we dropt corn, hoed corn & potatoes, raked hay bound wheat in harvest time et.  During the Civil War the boys were all in the army, and help was scarce, and Penina & I made a hand in harvest.  The men charged $3 a day.  Our wrists got almost raw, binding the wheat.

 

I was about 15 when I started to school in Danville and went the Spring time.  That was 1864.  Mr. Kelse had charge of the “Danville Institute.”  Penina had gone there before I did.  We walked to school as a rule 2 ½ miles, unless someone had business in town.  The first day I went I road down on a load of hay.  The scales were then on Main Street, in front of the old Montgomery-Russell stone house.  When the wagon was on the scales.  I slipped down on the scale box – then someone helped me to the ground.  My old schoolmate – Agnes Curry was going to school there to, but she stayed with her Aunt in town.  Lil Blue, Jim Fenstermacher, and Eugene house were among those who walked to school that Spring

 

[Page 15]

 

I started to school again in the fall, often the potatoes were dug, and fall work generally out of the way.  This was the year of Pres. Lincoln’s second Election, and the war was the great-topic of discussion.  Before the election each party had a parade.  The repub. had theirs just a few days before election.  It was a cold unpleasant day.  There was a large float trimmed with binding and yards of hemlock wound around  [XXXX], the Goddess of Liberty seated high in the center, surrounded by the States, represented Michigan.  Was a great day for me – a timid country girl.

 

Brother Denis was one of the Marshalls – how fine he looked – and how proud I was of him.  He had been in [Peoria] when the war began, and enlisted at once, and was sent to West Virginia where he was shot through the ankle, which lamed him a trifle for life.  He came home when able to travel, but was soon ordered to a recruiting out west.  He left on crutches and sometime later ordered back to his regiment.  He was [Fst] Lieu. owing to his lameness he was put on some generals staff, and at the battle of Pitsburg Landing his horse was disabled, and his ankle badly hurt again, so he resigned and came home.  Soon after he was appointed Revenuer Assessor, and had moved in town at the time of Lincolns second election.

 

Brother Philip who was with the Army who took Ft. Fisher was shot through right wrist and the [ends] or three fingers were cut off.  Brother Hiram lived in Indiana, and belonged to the Artillery – He was in Tenna. very sick.  They sent their Dr. for him and he was home when the war closed.  Philip in a hospital at Hampton Rode Dennis in Danville.

 

[Page 16]

 

I often think of Mother, and what she endured those years of the war.  She belonged to the Aid and how she and Rebecca served.  We children gathered blackberries, and Mother made blackberry cordial for the hospitals [et.]  She evidently found relief for her worries in work.  One morning when I had walked to town, I met Mr. [Bowman] on the street.  He was editor of a paper – he said to me – “Well your brother has had enough [harm] for one person.”  And then he showed me Philips name in a (Phila – paper,) a list of those wounded at Ft. Fisher, that was the first we knew he had been wounded, and it was some days before we knew anything more.

 

When it got cold, and the walking got bad I stayed with Mrs. Ramsey for company.  Their son Capt. Joseph Ramsey was in the army and Mr. Ramsey was away much of the time, I was there from Monday to Friday eve.  The Ramseys were old family friends, and it was a nice place to stay.  One night – I got awake and there was a big fire near them.  I wakened her telling her not to get excited et. but she tried to dress, and  [XXXX]  away with a [refracting] hoop skirt, (it was the day of big hoops) I was soon dressed, and then helped her.  She put or she supposed, some of her valuables into the safe that stood in the front hall. Later she told me – she had put in an old pair of shoes and a fur hood, and how she did laugh.  On one of my trips East after we lived at Gladbrook  and after Mrs. R death – she gave me one of the candle sticks Capt. Ramsey had used in the Army and a tray,  [snuffer] tray of hers.  Capt R- 

 

[Page 17]

 

died while I was East, and I attended his funeral.  So [those] we knew pass away one after another. 

 

1865 – When Spring came I left school to help on the farm.  Penina was going to school at Millville. 

 

I started to school again that fall.  Philip had been discharged, and he went too, also sister Mary and Colin Cameron, who stayed with us several months.  The Camerons had been old neighbors – but moved to Watson [town] before I remember them.  Philips wrist had healed but never had the use of the three fingers. He had very nice hands.  The town girls spoke of them.  “The Brights were noted for nice hands and tender feet”  some one said[.]  Mary stoped school at Christmas, and I stayed with Miss Jane & Sallie Bardman – until Miss Sallie died in May.  She had been sick all winter, and often she was not able to go down stairs, I waited on her morning and evening – and she gave me good bye just before she died.  That was the first time I was at a death bed.  It was a peaceful passing - The Bardman ladies, were about Mother’s age.  They had lived on a farm near [my] home and were particular friends of Mother.  I remember mother taking me there when a child.  I was lifted to a chair, and given [Fox’s] Book of  [XXXX] to look at, while they talked.

 

That was rather a pleasant Winter, Miss Grier, one of the teachers, started a reading club.  We met at her home and read Abbots Mary Queen of Scots, I am surprised even now when I think how much we learned the short time we went.  The others – except Hattie Bougler – did not seem interested so the club discontinued.  Hattie R – was from Frosty [Valley] I liked her so much.

 

I did not go to school often – Miss Sallie died.  I helped with the spring work.  Rebecca I think was in Indiana so I was needed at home.  Rebecca was home by July.  One [morning] we hoed corn – and in the p.m. we

 

[Page 18]

 

went over to the Sidler’s School house to the Teachers Township Examination – Mr. Henry was Co. Super.  How it would amuse the young folks of today, could they hear an examination as it was conducted then.  Well I passed and was hired to teach the Appleman school for $16 a month.  Rebecca was a good experienced teacher and had a choice of several schools.  We have began the latter part of Aug. and closed in Nov.  It was a walk of nearly [a] quite three miles, a very few times they took me to school.  I kept dry stockings at school, and on rainy evenings, could change to dry ones.  I do not think I ever enjoyed an Autumn like I did that one.  I started with through the orchard to the R.R. then down the R.R. to the Washingtonville road.  Past the Reformed church where we went to S.S. and church on through a cluster of homes called [Florida] , to a crossroad where I took the Cambelltown Hill road, then it was up hill past the Rluses, Mannings, Bennets and Applehances.  All of them except the A – had worked more or less for my father, and when father bought his McCormack reaper  - some of them said – the reaper would throw them out of work and they were not at all pleased.  There were five [villages] of the Mahoning Valey from the hills, and where the  [XXXX]  railroad and the wagon road, all passed between Old Bald Top – and Blue Hill – and the fog from the rivers, of a morning often shut out the view beyond , but on a clear day Danville could be seen.  Danville was a great iron center then, thru rolling mines, and five furnaces, to send up volumes of smoke and steam, It was nearly all up hill going, and down hill coming home.  Sometimes I went home back of school house, to [Indian] Hollow, which was a fine walk, through timber.  The one exciting event of the three months, was a fire.  The chimney started in the loft on a timber [frame], Some way the timber got a fire and the bricks fell down, loosening the boards of the ceiling.  By putting a chair on benches, I reached and I pulled the

 

[Page 19]

 

boards down, Fortunately we had a bucket of water and the fire was about out when help came.  The first thing Mr. Hoppleman said was, “Well if it had been any other teacher the house would have burned down.”

 

I enjoyed teaching and felt that I had learned so much, but as Nov. was cold and the walking not so good, I was glad when the term closed.

 

Largely through sister Rebecca’s planning it was arranged that I should go to the Keystone State Normal at Kutztin, some 18 miles from Reading.  Father & Mother were raised at Reading, and most of our relatives lived there.  Some of the Evans cousins were visiting us, and I went with them to Reading the beginning of Dec.  Mother had sent word to Uncle Charles, to go with me to Kutztin.  Before we went, cousin Jane Evans and I went into a barber shop, and I had my hair shingled, so I would not spend time curling it.  We got off the train at Lyons, and went by bus to Keystone Normal at Kutztin.  We were in time for a late dinner – after which uncle went to hunt up cousin Geo. Evans, and John Van Reed – and I went to the office.  Rev. [Emantent] was principal.  After questioning me he assigned me to classes, then some one took me to my room, which was on the second floor of the girls living room, Miss Morrison, one of the teachers had charge of the hall.  The room was pleasant; had one window facing the street.  Beside the bed there were two chairs, a table, coaloil lamp.  Washstand et. and a small stove in the corner of the room, also my trunk, we hung our clothes on nails back of the door.  A chamber maid, carried the coal, and emptied the  [XXXX], but we made the bed and kept our rooms in order.  I roomed alone a few days, then Annie High came – She was an agreeable girl, did not like school, and left in six or eight weeks.  She talked in her sleep, and many a laugh I had at the things she said.

 

I spent the Christmas vacation with relatives at Reading – [XXXX], Evans and  [XXXX].

 

I had been at school so short of time before the holidays that I had scarcely become acquainted.

 

There were some 300 students – but more two thirds

 

[Page 20]

 

being boys.  We met in the chapel before meals, then marched to the dining room in the [bicement] girls going out one door – boys out the appropriate door.  In dining room the girls passed from head of table down the side, and the boys from the foot up the opposite side.  First I sat at Prof Raub’s table, which was the second one.  In Jan. I was moved to the first table [and] sat next to Prof Sufer who sat at the lower end – He was generally quiet: but sometimes we had very interesting conversations.  Later some girls left and I was moved three or four chairs farther up, apposite “Teasing” Ben Lechman, Adam Daniel [Rice], William Schenbach, The girls were Mrs. Martin, Miss Martin – Gwin Suppen – Hawk Philips, Keop, High, Hock, Hartman Waggoner et, et.

 

The lady teachers sat at the first table also.  Four teachers from Hamburg came for the spring term.  They were quite an addition to our fun loving [crowd].

 

There was great interest in the language of flowers that Spring and Summer.  Three or four of us had little books advertising perfumes, and they also gave the language of flowers – If any of us were a flower, someone would take from his/or her pocket the book, and look for the meaning.  (I still have my book)

 

One day the Mothers of the Hamburg girls, visited them and brought bouquets of white and purple lilacks – I suggested we all from our hall, wear white lilacs for dinner – we all tried to look innocent – as we heard “Too young to love” – who would have thought it – “do tell” et.  At Supper time we wore purple lilacs – “First emotions of love.”  Then the pent up fun broke loose.  Nearly 53 years ago – Adam Daniel Rice – died a Missionary in Indiana years ago.  Teasing Ben is dead also – I have lived west [so]

 

[Page 21]

 

long – I have lost track of nearly all.  One of the girls Maria Sheradin – whose father’s farm joined the school grounds, I became well acquainted and we still correspond, We saw little of the boys – except during recitations – and at meal times – but we did have lively times at the table sometimes. 

 

I liked the school work and got along in all my studies except spelling – and it seemed as if I could not learn to spell.  I have Prof. Raub’s report card for Spring term 1868 – Grammar Term .99 ¼  Ex – 100 Written  [XX]  term – Ex – 100.

 

Prof. Ermantrout had a class in “Evidence of Christianity,” which he taught Sunday p.m.

[Annie] High left school in Jan.  Then Hannah Hoch asked to room with me.  She said she wanted to “learn better English”, she spoke Pa. German.  She left at Spring vacation, then Miss Philips moved with me.  I spent the weeks vacation at Reading.  Made a calico dress for myself at Aunt Janes – and Cousin Marie Evans helped me make a [dress] wool one.  It was hemmed with ribbon - and when I wanted to put it on in a hurry, the trimming on one sleeve, was on the under side.

 

School close late.  William A – Teasing Ben – A.D. Rice – and W. [Marc] were all in the graduating class.  The day before W.A. was called to attend a funeral.  I spent the Summer helping at home and attended the township examination in Aug:  I got a [good] certificate partly because Supt. Henry knew I had gone to Normal School.  He had met Prof. Ermantrout and had talked of me.  I taught the Blue’s School that fall – three months for $16 a [month] – of 22 days.

 

[Page 22]

 

[Housekeeping Chart was not transcribed – see original copy for Chart]

 

The school was nearly two miles north from home.  The road from Danville to Washingtonville passed it north.  The house was in the woods – Pine, oak, maple et here all around it.  Back of the house the ground slopped down to a ravine, where there was a good spring.  The trouble was to get up again.  One had to hold to huckle berry bushes to keep from slipping back.  I boarded at home, walking back and forth.  Usually going through fields and lanes to shorten the distance.  The land all around had once been owned by the Blues, but at that time they were all dead or moved away.  David Blue had married Lucy Gray.  As a child I thought it odd.

 

Being in the timber, we were pestered with mosquitoes.  A former teacher, had a class standing up to recite – when the first boy saw a mosquito on the cheek of the next boy, and slapped him hard, so hard that he fell against the next boy – and he against the next, and so on that the class all fell down except the first boy, when the teacher demanded “why did you do that?” he replied “I only wanted to kill the snoke.”  He evidently was of Pennsylvania German extractions. 

 

Well I enjoyed those three months.  I taught the children to sing.  They had not had singing before and the parents as well as the children were pleased, then too I had had the advantage of some formal training, and supposed I taught – differently from some former teaching.

 

I took one whole months wages – and bought a set of garnets – pin and earrings.  I am sure I had [more] than $16 worth of good from them.  Later I had stick pins made from the earrings.

 

Paid not teach that Winter or Spring.  I was needed at home.  Penina was West, and I think Mary was at school at Bloomburg.  In 1869 I taught our home school [three]

 

[Page 23]

 

[Housekeeping Chart was not transcribed – see original copy for Chart]

 

Months for $16 a month, then the Winter term of four months for $30 a month.  The first time they had had a woman teacher for the Winter term School closed in March.  Mother visited school the last day – and helped me carry home books et.  The school was less than ¼ mile from home. 

 

Then I went back to the Keystone Normal for the Spring time.  I found many changes.  W.T. taught mathematics.  Miss Keof roomed with me.  [Fred] Holn and Sallie Hartinstine graduated that year.  Alice McNinch was a pleasant acquaintance, and I became better acquainted with Maria Sheridan, Whose father had moved from the big stone house on the farm, to a new brick home all most opposite the Normal.

 

About the middle of the term 3 I had the measles.  I was quite sick.  Dr. [Tresler] attended me.  When School closed I went home and helped with whatever work, in the field or house, there was to be done.

 

Took the Aug. examination for Teacher.  Had the choice of three schools, I wanted to go west – so took the Blue’s school again, on condition that if I decided to go west, they would let me off and I was to find them another teacher.  Hiram and Rhoda came East, and I only taught two weeks.  Sister Rebecca finished the school.  I went west with them, we first went to Reading, and stopped a few days, then to Columbus O.

 

Lucy Rupert lived at Columbus.  She was one of the Bloomsburg Cousins – Her great grand father married father’s Aunt Katy Bright.  The Ruperts and [Brights] were distant relatives we valued very much.  I took dinner with Lucy, and the others stayed at a hotel.  In the p.m. we took the bus for Westerville – 12 miles out:  Where Uncle William Bright lived – Lydia, William and some other cousins were home, Hiram was well acquainted with them, but this was the first and last time I saw Uncle William.

 

[Page 24]

 

A[Dar.] Allen – who owned a very valuable horse, took me riding – Our visit was short, as we left next day for Columbus.  Going to C – part of the road was ordinary – and riding was rough.  We took the train the same day for Williamsport Ind. and reached there next morning.  George Butler – Rhodas brother lived near there, so we went there, and after dinner they took us to Hirams home, H – had left John Mankey, and [May] who was Rhodas sister, in charge of the stock and farm – while he was East.  They had a baby come two weeks old – and her other sister Bell was there doing the work with Ellas help.  Ella was about 13 and Frank 10 – the other children – Butler and [Oakley] had been East with their parents.

 

Gladbrook Iowa – Aug. 14 – 1921

 

I will try to continue this history, and with the help of an old diary, to supply what I might otherwise have forgotten, will be able to give the most interesting happenings.  Mary [Kloppruy] last roommate at Kutztown, and I had, arranged to write to each other letters in the form of diarys, and after my return East, to exchange them.  And it is from those letters, that I expect to get help to write those pages.

 

We left home the 23 of Aug. 1870, and after stoping at Reading, and Columbus, reached Hirams the 2nd of Sept.  Mary Klop was not in Reading – so I did not see her, but W.M. [Achenbath], who was teaching at the Normal, came down to Aunt Kittie Greenes, and spent an evening with me – and we decided to correspond while I was West.

 

When biding Mrs. Ramsey good bye at Danville – she cried, because I was going so far away, and

 

[Page 25]

 

gave me a puter (pewter) drinking cup, which I have yet.  For the trip I wore a wool mixed Jamestown, of a lead blue color, and a hat to match.  I carried a circular, made with a large cape, which looked in front like sleeves.  I also carried a lunch basket. – This first trip West, was a wonderful trip.  Over the Pa – Central – The Horse Shoe Bend, Altoona, Juniata River, Pittsburg of historical importance et.  A.W. seemed as if I enjoyed every bit of it.  There were no sleeping cars then.  We did not know anything about [those] cars and considered it a great privilege to the traveling in cars with cushioned seats et.

 

One of the noticeable things in Ohio & Indiana, was so many houses built – with the gable toward the street, do not think I have ever saw one in Pa. 

 

I suppose what we are accustomed to seeing in childhood and youth, will always be the unit by which comparisons are made.

 

So far I have been disappointed in all the rivers we have crossed or seen.  Not one of them can compare with the broad winding Susquehanna.  Columbus is a beautiful city.  Cousin Lucy went with me to the State – House – and showed me many interesting places.  The ride out to Uncle Williams was a great satisfaction.  Ever since I was old enough to understand general conversation, I had been inquisitive as to what a “corduroy road” was, There was a low place in the road between Columbus & Uncle Williams, and when the [buss] went – bump a bump a bump – we were told we had struck the corduroy.

 

My first experience in riding in a big farm wagon – was going from Williams/and Hirams, the box was high, my feet did not touch the floor, and they drove fast over the level roads – The land is so level, the water does not run off well, and the roads are almost impassible in Spring.  There are almost no buggies.  Hiram has a spring wagon, which they call open buggies here.  When we got to Burtin, Minerva bustled around, killed spring chickens, and baked peach pie for dinner.  I never saw a meal gotten up so quick, and  [XXX] went to the

 

[Page 26]

 

garden and brought in her melons.  His wife was a Van Reed and when they were married, they took a trip East, Where they were with us.  I could not have been more than 13 or 14 and he said before all the family that he “had picked me out for his second wife.”  I thought it was a terrible thing to say such a thing when he had just been married.  He was the greatest teaser and joker I ever knew.  Afterwards he became an auctioneer.  Minerva out lived him. 

 

We reached Hiram Fri. Eve – The next day Bell went home.  Mrs. [copy torn and cannot read] is widow – living with Bell and two sons, on a farm 8 miles from [copy torn and cannot read].

 

There was plenty of work to do, Hiram kept a couple hired men.  Minerva sick with [gathers] [breast], the baby, first – etc.

 

The first Sunday I was there we went twelve miles to. [copy torn and cannot read] Iowa to church.  There was to have been a wedding after church, and that drew a big crowd.  On the way to church the bride became nervous and timid, so they stopped at a square and were married, then they borrowed his carriage and went on to church.  After going 12 miles, it was a disappointment.  The bride wore a silver gray silk, trimmed with blue and velvet hat & feather, the color of her dress.

 

This home of Hirams is on the edge of the prairie, or they sometimes say “or they sometimes say “they live in the timber.”  There is timber West & North of the house. 

Great oak and maple – and nut [copy torn and cannot read].  The house faced the East, and across the street is a large orchard.  The apples are fine, and a dozen or more barrels of cider have been made this season.  They made apple butter of three barrels.  West of the house is a log barn.  It seems small for the amount of stock they keep.  9 horses, several [colts], nearly 200 head of cattle, over 200 hogs, and over 300 sheep – besides lambs.  The stock ran in the timber are there are sheds that give shelter.

 

He had 100 head of cattle out on the open prairie, and one day he asked me to go with him to see them.  Four miles West we came to the prairie.  It was a wonderful sight.  No fences, no houses, no trees, nothing but rolling prairie, covered with high grass and flowers.  North, South and West one could see nothing but prairie, but 4 miles East the [outlines] of groves could be seen. While at a large pond could be seen a bunch of cattle watering.  So we went on West.  Sometimes 

 

[Page 27]

 

in an old trail, and at times making our own road, until we reached the heard, which numbered several hundred, of which Hiram owned 99.  All these cattle were under the care of one man.  Mr. Goodwin, who had charge of them all Summer.  He lived in a little shack – with his [horse] he kept the cattle together et- while the different owners went out every few days to ask how he and the cattle are doing.

 

I asked M.G. how far we were from the Ill. Line, and he said we had crossed it a mile or more back.  I got out of the spring wagon to pick some flowers, but the cattle not being used to petticoats, some had their tails up, and were either going to run at me – or be frightened themselves, and run away.  I hurried and got into the wagon.  After a long talk with the hearder and we started home, Stopping in the timber, we picked [up] a half bushel wild plums.

 

Sun after I was at H’s, pumping I strained by back or had lumbago.  It was off in a weeks time.  How often in my long life, I have had the trouble repeated.

 

There was a fair at Pine village some 5 miles from Hiram’s.  We attended two days – met many new people, took dinner at an eating house – when they served Vinegar pie.”  It seemed strange – at the time when [fruit] was plenty.  There was not a very extensive display of anything.  People went mostly to visit.

 

I decided to teach school, and applied for one, and had three offered to me.  I decided on a school 8 miles from Hiram and board at his Mother in laws, Mrs. Button – Have three quarters of a mile to walk to school.

 

[Well] I went to Williamsport to be examined, and got along finely.  They grade the Certificate from six month up to two years.  I got a two year certificate.  [Of course] I was surprised.  My school is a four month term – 20 days to the Month, and $40 a month.  Began teaching the middle of Oct.  Pay $2 a week board.

 

The Butler family consisted of Mrs. – Bell – Coleman and Will.  Then a man by the name of Jim Murphy stayed there – Mrs. B – don’t like him, but he is a friend of Bells.

 

[Page 28]

 

So many young folks together, we have gay times.  Have been to three neighborhood parties when they dance.

 

Nov. 28.1870   Sixth week of school.  The scholars work well.  Have no trouble keeping order.  One of the best boys was a New York waif – sent west, and adopted by a family here.  The school house stands in the prairie, no tree or out building near –

 

 A pail of soft – coal is dumped by the door.  Before school closes – I put a chunk in the stove, shut the door while, when it melts and seems to bubble, and spreads all over.  Then I open the door, and close the draft, Next morning, close the door, and open the door the drafts, and some have a warm house.  But if the wind is in the wrong direction – the soot will fly around and [smirk] things.

 

I usually go home Fri. evening – usually I ride.  I am becoming quite a rider.

 

Dec. 5  I had a glorious ride home Fri. evening.  I did not get started until after 4 o’clock, and these short days – the sun sets early, but it was not dark, for the moon shone in all her glory.  It was a grand evening for a gallop over the prairie to the timber.  Mrs. Butler lets me have her pony to ride when ever I want it.  A hard trotter, but then she will gallop – and when I go home I ride fast but coming back Sundays I start early, and ride fast or slow, just as I feel.  Yesterday I was three hours coming the 8 miles.

 

Sunday one of Hiram’s neighbors was buried.  I went with them to the house, but could not go to the church or grave yard, as it would have made me too late starting  [XX]  [here].  When we got there several men were making a rough box which when finished they sent to the grave yard.  After a time the coffin was carried out, put in a big wagon – a sheet spread over it, and they started for the church.  Not a word was said, no preacher there. 

 

[Page 29]

 

There was to be a funeral service at the church.  Mrs. Brown’s had been buried some two years before, but his funeral sermon had not yet been preached, So that Sunday both Mr. & Mrs. Brown’s funeral sermon were to be preached.

 

They tell me sometimes there is a funeral and not a word said.  Then four or six months later, the sermon will be preached – suppose it is owing to the scarcity of preachers.  Sunday evening we went to church at Free Hall.  It is three miles from here, we went in the big wagon.  Mr. Murphy drove, and I sat on the seat with him.  The rest sat on straw and the wagon floor.  There was an endless number of children there – One little fellow after screaming loudly ran away from his mother, up the aisle up the steps, and crawled under the preachers bench.  It was too comical.  The Miss DeTerke from near Reading were there, I sat with them.

 

Dec 6  Last night when I got home from school, the wagon was ready to take us down to Mrs. Dicks for supper.  Mrs. Dick is a niece of Mrs. Butlers, and the DeTerke girls are nieces of Mr. Dick.  The girls expect to start East today, so Mrs Dick gave them a grand supper.  We played “Ghost.”  Do you remember when we played “Ghost” in [No. 103]?  Prof Bear taught us.  I have promised to visit them when I go to Reading again.

 

Coleman Butler gave me a nice pair of cuffs, from Penina [Personals] and last night [won] another [fine] from Mrs DeTerke.

 

Dec. 9  Another Fri, has come, and tonight I go home, Bell says “I’ll have the pony all ready, Look there in the saddle on the fence, Friday [X]  give.”  She is the greatest Bell that ever lived.  +++++  I am anticipating a grand ride tonight wish you could be with me.

 

School moves along nicely – I was told I had the best certificate in the township, except one man and that had been teaching 18 years.

 

Mrs. Butler has a grove of white pines in her yard

 

[Page 30]

 

 and when I first began teaching,  gathered up the cones and took them to school to start fire, but of late I pull the bark from the from the fence posts or I walk to school.  Sometimes I use slough grass and dried weeds.  There is no fire but a pile of coal by the door.  But as the fire keeps from Monday to Fri.  I do not need much kindling.

 

Dec. 13  Why don’t you write Mattie, or are you sick?  I am so out of humor, or depressed in spirits, that I almost wish the prairie winds would blow me away.  Bell went up home today to sew on Rhodas machine, she is making a dress for her self.

 

Dec. 19  Mailed the last pages of my journal to you last Saturday with four other letters.  Saturday by the way – was my twenty second birthday.  Age is creeping up on Mollie, but I fear it does not bring the expected wisdom with it.

 

I did not go home Fri., as have had no mail for over a week.  This is a snowy Monday, I have but 8 scholars today.

 

Dec. 20  Last night Mr. Woods came for the children, so I had a ride.  Coleman brought us all up this morning.  The sleighing is good, and so cold it will last some time.  We are all invited to a party at  [XXX]  Stumps to night.  Bell and I would rather not go, but to please the boys – we feel obliged to go.  What did you think of the “Devil’s darning needles” I sent you?  Werant they curious!

 

Dec. 21  Well we were at the party last night.  Jim Hunter came soon for us – There were seven in the sled.  There were more boys than girls, and I danced until my ankles grew tired.  Bell and I would dance together sometimes but her brother told us the boys did not like it.  There are to be several other parties soon, but I shant go.  I feel too bad next day.  It is very cold.  I have only 6 scholars today.

 

Dec. 24  I shall leave school out early, and go home, but I have a cold ride.  8 miles.  Last night there was a party two miles from Butlers.  They [wanted] me to go, but I would not.  It was very cold.  Mrs Butler carried her bed into the sitting room, and she and I slept on the floor, and kept up the fire.  It was after 3 a.m. when they came home from the party.  I must laugh at somethings I see in this Hoosher country.  There was Mrs. B – and I sleeping on the floor, and four boys and three girls warming at the stove.  They had company for the night.  This morning I ate – standing by the wood stove and started for school, before some were up.

 

[Page 31]

 

The kitchen is as cold, I wash in a basin at one end, and when by the time I walk to the other end, my hair is frozen.  My hair is shingled you know, so it don’t take much combing.

 

In spite of three young men in the family, they are nearly always short of dry wood for the cookstove and it takes us so long to warm the kitchen.  The school stove is extra good.  I put on draft this morning and soon had a big fire.  There were three dead [mice] on the stove plates this morning.

 

Dec. 28  Christmas is past, and a very quiet day it was.  I spent it at my brothers.  Did not receive any present, except a letter from [Luania] Sheridin with a good picture of herself.

 

They were afraid to let me come up, it was so cold, but I was so anxious for the mail.  Mrs B – gave me a pair of drawers made out of a blanket – and they kept me warm.  There was no school Monday, and that day I visited at Van Reeds.  Mr. V – is a cousin of Mothers.  Then rode down here in p.m.  I came by way of Free Hall, when I turned the corner, a team came up behind me to pass, but Kit would not let them, she started to run and run she did some three miles, with the team close behind her.  A little way from Butlers, the team turned off and Kit slacked up.  That was the fastest ride I ever took.  They say Kit never lets a team pass her.

 

Jan. 2nd  No letter from you yet.  I did not go home over Sunday, as I had school on Saturday.  Yesterday I went to church with Mr. & Mrs. Woods, to Crows Grove, we took dinner at Mrs. Swishers and it was night when we got back to Butlers.  Mrs. DeTerk was there, and gave me a pair of lined kid gloves, with fur at the wrist – for a [philopena] present.  Such a nice gift.  The sleighing is over.  Last week we went to Moffits one night.  And one night Mr. Hunter took me to church.

 

1871

Jan 4  Now that I have not heard from you for so long, it is almost a task to write in my journal.  Mr. Hunter called yesterday and asked me to go to a party with him tomorrow night.  Butlers butchered yesterday, and all Mrs B children were there to help her.  Rhoda came down with the Manleys, Oakley was along, the dear little fellow.

 

Jan. 6  Last night I was home by five o’clock, soon dressed and had supper.  Mr. Hunter came - and we started for Osborne –

 

[Page 32]

 

[Clothing Expense Chart was not transcribed – see original copy for Chart]

 

The invitations said to be there at six, and Mr. H. said he thought it would be a nice party.  I just did not care if I went or not.  Little did I think how much I would enjoy my self.  We were there about fifteen minutes when Eugene Stump entered the room, followed by a lady and gent, when in the center of the room he turned around and married them.  We were all very much surprised, but just so it was.  The gent wore black  [XXX].  The lady wore a dress of lead colored wostered goods.  They looked very nice.  The groom – Mr. McGachin was a widower with one child.  The bride was a widow Osborn.  They were strangers to me.  Then we had a splendid supper, confectionary, nuts et.  After supper we danced, don’t think I ever enjoyed a dance more.  The groom is from near Lafayette, His brother & a friend came to attend the wedding.  The brother reminded me so much of Prof. Schaffer.  I took quite a fancy to him.

 

[Page 33]

 

[Housekeeping Chart was not transcribed – see original copy for Chart]

 

Danced six cotillions with him.  Bell B – danced with him too and he called her Lillie, (and she is so dark)  I danced with the groom too.  They are both such good dancers – too bad I never expect to see them again.  I can’t tell you what fun we had.  It was 4 o’clock when we left and five when we got back home.  I slept two hours – then got up, and later went to school.  I am going up to brother Hirams after school, on horseback.  Bell was in bed when I started to school, and I did want to talk to her so badly.

 

Jan. 20  It is rather discouraging to write to you, when you do not answer, but this is Friday.  I go home to night, and may hear

 

[Page 34]

 

from you.  School moves along as usual.  I do think the children are doing well.  Have no trouble to keep order, and it is easy to keep the house warm.  But such a baron room, not a tree around, only a pile of coal at the door.  I carry all the kindling I need to start the Monday fire.  Either take it from Butlers, or pull bark from the fence posts as I walk to school.  Barb wire fences along the roads.  It is not worthwhile to buy books or pictures for the room, as I will be here so short a time.

 

Jan. 23  Your long looked for letter came, Last night when I got to brothers, there were letters for me.  Sister Mary writes regularly and keeps me posted about home affairs, she is so good to write.  I must tell you about last night.  Mrs. B. pony had a sore foot, so I had to ride Bell’s pony.  The roads were awful, I could scarcely go off a walk.  It got dark, and when I came to a brook some two miles from Hirams, I could not get my horse across it, because there was a little ice on each side.  I coaxed, and I whipped, got off and tried to lead her but no use.  I could not get her across.  I then went back to  [XXXX] , and a man went along to the little stream.  He had lots of trouble with her.  Finally, she got excited, and he backed her over.  Then I crossed in the fence, mounted and rode to Alexanders, there I asked if I could ford Pine Creek.  They said the old ford had been washed out, I would surely drown if I tried.  That Hiram had been there looking for me, but it got so late he decided I was not coming.  Mr. Allen got a horse and said he would show me where we could cross.  The snow had melted, and the creek was very high.  We rode up the creek, where it was wide with a high bank on the other side.  I held on, and managed to keep my seat.  Then we hunted the road, and he offered to ride home with me, but I thanked him, and went on a lone – almost the open to the timber, nothing was fenced – all open – At the timber I took an old wood rode by mistake.  It was so dark I did not find it not for some time.  The limbs almost brushed me from the saddle.  Finally we came to an open place, and I know I had never been there before.  So I turned around, went back to the creek, and started again.  This time on the right road.  It was about a mile through the timber, a cold night, and the owls hooting.  It really was scary, but I go there

 

[Page 35]

 

after a time, and they were surprised to see me.  Two letters for me, one from Mary, and yours.  The home folks are well and Beckie is visiting at Reading.

 

The Cambalites have church some three miles north of Hiram’s.  Saturday night Rhoda Nelson (a young man who works for them) and I went up horseback.  It was so dark we got in ditches – Nelson ran against a stump.  Rhodas saddle [turned], and mine was so loose it slipped from side to side, so I had to balance myself – we had a  [XXXX]  ride.  The only thing I remember about the sermon was the [seriatim], “It would take a Philadelphia lawyer to read it.”  Nelson tightened the girth before starting back and I rode a lot better.  I had the best riding horse – Colby – wish I could put her in my trunk.  I’d take her home.

 

I was riding her last fall, when we heard the report of a gun, she danced round and round in a circle and it was some time before I could get her to go on – When I told it at home, Hiram said she had been in the war.  He had bought her in Kentucky – and whenever she heard a gun – would always act that way.

 

I started back to Butlers Sunday p.m.  My foot got cold and I was riding along with it out of the stirrup, when about a mile from Butlers, a rabbit jumped up and frightened the horse.  She gave a [jump] – and landed me on the road.  I got up at once, and tried to catch her – but she galloped home.  I was not hurt a bit, and walk on as fast as I could.  Butlers say the horse, and were frightened, thinking I might have been killed.  Charly McBride was there on a horse, he started to hunt me as fast as he could ride.  Well, he said I must ride his horse back although I would rather have walked.  Up I go, but soon this saddle turned.  ( [mare’s] saddle) He tightened it and I finally reached Butlers, safe and sound, after all my varied experiences. 

 

Yesterday at recess, the children came running in yelling that the roof was on fire.  After a while I persuaded a boy to climb up the lightening rod, holding on to the places where it was fastened to the house

 

[Page 36]

 

and he, using his cap put it out.  There has been an effort to have the school house moved to another location – and there has been some bad feelings about it.  So when I told it at Butlers last eve – Mrs. B. said “why did you not let it burn down.”  I thought not while I am teaching, if I can help it.  When I got home they were all ready to go to a party.  I put on my duds and went along.  4 o’clock when we got home.  I don’t care for dancing any more.

 

Jan. 27  My school is much larger than it was.  A school South of this closed, and several from there come to me now.  The teacher is country girl.  The boys told me one day she was walking along the road, and there was a cow in the road.  They were plowing inside the fence, and she called to them – “Mr. Butler will this cow bite.” and acted very silly.  Well I now have 19 pupils and that just fills the house.  But my good order is not so good any more.  I am thankful I have only two weeks to teach.  There are two girls coming, and I would not teach again where they go, for a good bit.

 

I forgot to tell you that last week I met a phrenologer at a party.  He was a great talker, “He said my intellectual facilities were no better than any body elses, but that I was very well balanced, a great lover of order, have a good memory, do not like to see people ridiculed, a great lover of home, and thought a comfortable living indispensable to happiness.  A lover of music, but have no talent so cannot teach it:”  I suppose he would have told me more, but some one claimed me for a dance.  Last night we went to Free Hall to a Spiritual Session.  I think it is all slight of hand, but there are many around here who believe it.

 

 Jan. 30 1871 Did not go home last Fri.  Helped Bell on Saturday make a dress – Was a gray plaid, trimmed with folds of black alpaca.  I think it is beautiful.  This is a blue Monday

 

[Page 37]

 

seems as if the noon hour would never come to an end.

 

My Height

 

When I was two years old, I was measured, and was just 2 ft. 5 ½ inches high.

 

When done growing I was again measured, and was 5 ft. 5 in.  This proves that the saying is true, when a child is two years old it is just half as tall as it will be when done growing.  Oct. 1868.  A.B.

 

($150.)  Badger Hill Home

 

Oct. 14, 1887

Received of Abbie B. Acheubach one hundred and fifty dollars for horse Jennie.

W.U. Acheubach

 

[Page 38]

 

Hannah Flora’s cake receipt –

 

Put one cup of milk, two cups of flower, one cup of sugar, half cup of butter, two eggs, one teaspoon full of soda, two of cream of tartar,

 

Divide into six parts, spread each as thin as possible in pans of uniform size.

 

Bake about three minutes, when done lay together with layers of jelly between; cover the upper layer with sugar.

 

Railroad Cake.

 

Six eggs, two cups sugar, two cups flower, one teaspoon of soda, one of cream of tartar.

 

This can be used for a jelly cake, by adding half cup of sweet cream.

 

[Page 39]

 

Kisses

 

From trial I learned that a cup of sugar to the white of an egg are good proportion for kisses.  A.

 

Marble Cake

 

The whites of four eggs, cup and a half white sugar, Half cup butter, half cup sweet milk, half teaspoon full of soda the same of cream of tartar, mixed with two and a half cups of flower.

 

The yolks four eggs, cup of brown sugar, half cup of molasses, the same of butter, and buttermilk, Teaspoon of allspice, same of Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  Half teaspoon of soda, and a whole one of cream of tartar, two & a half cups of flower.  1870

 

[Page 40]

 

Spiced Peaches.

 

A pound of sugar to a pint of good cider vinegar, spices to suit the taste, and four pounds of peaches with the seed, or six pounds with out the seed.

 

The vinegar, sugar, spices are to be brought to boiling, then throw over the peaches, the next day do the same and the third time boil the juice sometime, then put the peaches in a short time.

 

This is Mrs. Ramseys way, and I have tried it with success.  1870

 

Sponge Cake

 

Cup of sugar, two spoons of water, three eggs, and a cup of flour.  Will beat much faster if warmed a little.

 

[Page 41]

 

Yeast.

 

Cottonwood Cabin Kansas

Aug. 8, 1871

 

Take one tablespoonful each of molasses , flour and water.  Mix and let it stand a day or two in a warm place until it ferments.  Use this to start  [XXX]  or potato yeast with.

 

Feb. 2 – 1871  This is a cold windy day.  Can scarcely keep the school house warm.  What a thankless task is a teachers lot.  I have my hands full now.  Only six days more.  Everything went well, and I liked the school, until I got five new scholars from a school South of this –

Tomorrow is Fri. I expect to go home.  I am so glad, but I do hope I will not have as many adventures as I had last trip.

 

17th  I put away my writing, thinking I would have more time when school closes, which it did last Fri:  The school caught fire again, one of my good boys put it out, and another  [XXXX]  took a board and knocked a great hole in the chimney.

 

Well last week we went to a party at Hunters, About a mile south of Butlers by going through the field.  Bell rode behind Mr. Murphy, and I behind Coleman B - who is a gentle, quiet young man.  Will B. and a Mr. Marshall rode along, they opened gates & fences,  I will say right here, I don’t like to ride two on a horse.  There were three or four widowers at the party.  Mr. Jim Hunter – at whose house the party was, is the most intellectual and best mannered man I have met out here.  I am tired of dancing

 

[Page 42]

 

but I had a good “heel and toe polka” with Bell and a grand Scottish with a Mr. Fenton, besides six or eight cotillions with others.  Again I tell you I am getting tired dancing.  I was invited to an oyster supper & dance last night, but did not accept.  The excuse was a bad cold.  I wonder what they will say, for I have been going with that crowd all Winter.

 

I am at my brother’s now, and will do just as think best.

 

A week ago school closed, then Sat. Bell and I mounted the ponies and came up here.  The roads were rough – frozen hard.  The horses were not shod, so we rode very slowly.  Then we walked about two miles and led the horses.  When we got to the creek, there was two or three feet of thin ice along the creek edge,  Bells horse would not cross, and got frightened, then mine got spunky and would not cross.  Then we got off and broke the ice, still they would not cross, So we went to Alexanders and put the horses in the barn, and said we would waid the creek.  Mrs. Alexander went along to see the performance.  We took off our shoes and stockings rolled up our drawers, took our skirts over our arms, and carried shoes & stockings, Bell started first.  I thought Mrs. A would hurt herself laughing.  It was a cold crossing, first through ice, then water, then ice again.

 

It was pretty cold, we dried our feet and legs on our skirts as best we could, then put on stockings and shoes, and had one mile to walk to Hirams.  Neither of us caught cold.  Some of the men

 

[Page 43]

 

rode over to Alexanders, and brought our horses back.  They followed right along through the creek, but would not go first.

 

Bell went home Monday.  The week waiding was too good to let pass – So near Valentines Day too.  So I sketched a picture of Bell in the middle of the creek – shoes in one hand, and her riding skirt and clothes all gathered up.  Mrs. Alexander on the bank laughing, while behind a tree peeping at her was a handsome man.  Hiram & Rhoda said it was good.  So I sent it to her for a Valentine.  I expect she will blame me for sending it.  A letter from Mrs. Martin Sat – and one from you Wednesday.  I want to tell you how I directed Bells Valentine. 

 

Now listen while I tell –

This letter is for Butler’s Bell,

Near Williamsport doth dwell –

In Warren Co., This is no sell.

 

 There are some funny people out here, a man told our folks “I go to see a girl, she has a big Thomas Cat, and she calls him Lucy.”

 

Feb. 21  Poor journal how I am neglecting you, but it cant be helped.  Butlers and Oakley are both sick with lung fever.  It is after midnight, Rhoda just laid down.  Hiram & I will be up the rest of the night.  I served until I got sleepy, now I am trying to write.  It is almost a week since we had the mail.

 

I had an [errand] down at Butlers, so I started at 2 p.m. yesterday in Coty.  Roads very muddy.  The 8 miles seemed 12.  They were surprised to see me.  Bell had the Valentine, and those that saw it, said it was perfect.  I started back this morning about 8.  I had a pack to bring, and Mrs. B – wanted to send Mrs. May Mankey some things, so she put them in a pillow slip and I carried the big bundle up on my lap.  It was a cold muddy ride, I saw a big flock of prairie chickens.  Coby is an excellent ladies horse.  I must stop writing for it is up and down.  I must watch the

 

[Page 44]

 

children all the time.  I would not for the world have them catch cold.

 

Feb. 25  I expect you will smell calomel, quinine et. when you read this.  I told Rhoda to go to bed.  I would stay up until 1 or 2 o’clock.  The children are much better, but Oakley is very restless.  They both had fly blisters on their chests, now we put on bread and milk poultice, which must be changed every 3 or 4 hours.  In a few days we will not need to sit-up at night.

 

Earnestly, candidily, I think I shall never get married.  I expect you were surprised to see [Prof] Burgen, where does he keep himself.  Has he changed any?  Miss Philips married!  Surprising.

 

March 3.  This moving around here and there and getting my Rossville goods scattered, is making me careless in the  [XXXX]  [XXXX]  Hiram brought me over the first of March.  Saw many wild ducks, geese and cranes.  The Ponds were full of water – they looked like lakes.  The Jordan creek was as dry as a stick last Summer when we crossed it.  Now it is quite a swift stream, with ponds here and there, which make me think of beads on a string.  One place we crossed a little stream and the horses near by mined, indeed we laid down and there was danger of her drowning.  Hiram encouraged them after floundering around a while they got firm foot hold and we got out.  Hiram said there were [bullrushes] growing there, and he should not have crossed there, as it was likely to be boggy where they grow.

 

I expected to find a little new cousin – here, a month or two old, but was mistaken.  When cousin Emma took me to my room, she said “I think I’ll be sick tonight, but don’t – don’t be frightened.  I slept very sound after the 22 or 23 mile ride, and when I went down stairs next morning, there was a big ten pound boy.

 

[Page 45]

 

Did you get any Valentines?  Mr. Hunter asked me for a photo.  Told him I send him one for a Valentine.  So I made a  [XXX]  out of paper, and sent it.  Well he answered it, directing the envelope in rhime.  This is what he wrote.

 

“For a woman I long have sought.

And mourned because I found her not.”

I received your present so excellent and charming,

Then opened the envelop without harming,

And : such a nice beautiful Miss

I knew not her name, so called her sis.

Her form appearing so elegant and nice,

I opened her bonnet and kissed her twice.

After opening her dress – as you might suffice

I found how she was constructed from top to toes.

Since to her dress my mind is confined,

I find it is out all open behind.

Then I find she is nothing but paper

Cut out with such an excellent taper.

A lesson from this I have learned & always shall know,

That girls are not always what they seem to appear so

A few excuses I am compeled to make

For nobody else, but my own sake,

Not being skilled in cutting and drawing

I content myself by humming and [hawing],

And always being willing to do the best I can.

I am sorry I can’t send you a man.

For this and your trouble my dear  [XXXX]

I must say I never got so much for so little

Such presents are very scarce, and few

So I send my compliments and thanks to you.

 

I had expected to be down at Cousin Sallie Barms, but “the nice laid schemes of mice and men,  Oft  [XXX]  [agree].”  I expected to take the bus here for Danville, 20 miles – on Thursday

 

[Page 46]

 

but it rained, and the Vermillion Creek got so high, the bus could not cross.  Then I planned to go Monday, but found out Sunday eve, that every seat was engaged, no room for me.  Then I engaged passage for tomorrow, and but it rained last night and today so the creek is higher than ever.  I almost felt like giving up the trip.  It is 150 miles direct south, but I must go in a round about way which will be over 250 miles.

 

I am having a pleasant time here.  I made the baby a dress and a shirt for the hired man.  Went to school one p.m.,  [XXXX]  Annie and read a lot – Cousin Abe has many books, and have been reading Shakespeare – and Gerday’s Ladies book lend to cousin Emma.  They have good help, so Cousin Emma does not need to worry.  Eliza her housekeeper, has told me of some of her troubles.  How little we know of the troubles and trials of others. 

 

18  I was glad to see sunshine again, the children have been raking the yard.  Little 4 year old

Geo – helping.  While Annie was in the house, he took an armful of dried grass and threw it on the smoke house fire.  We were all in Cousin Emmas room, when Geo came in – he stood in the door way and said in his deliberated way, “The fire is as high, and the meat falls down.”  He rushed out and the smoke house was on fire, they got water, I climbed on a coal shed, then in the smoke house and threw the water down the chimney – then we opened the door and threw water on the meat, so got the fire out.  The men out in the field saw the smoke, and came in a hurry.  The meat was not all spoiled – they trimmed it, but it made so much work.  The chimney had been filled with straw, to keep the smoak in, and there was a little smudge fire in center of building, but the dried grass Geo threw on the fire, made it blaze and caused the trouble. 

 

The bus only runs twice a week to Danville, and I will leave Monday if it don’t rain again.  Cousin Ewing had given me a jar of fruit to take to Sallie.  I had packed it among my clothes, It began to [XXX]  and ran over on my clothes.

 

[Page 47]

 

[Celine] P.O. Lawrence Co. Ill.  March 23 – 1871

Here I am at last, Cousin Abe took me to Roseville, Monday morning.  The hack or bus leaves for Danville at six a.m. morning.  Had only gone a few miles, when it began to rain, and so windy.  I could hardly hold the umbrella.  The Vermillion was still high, the water going over the [hub].  I was surprised to hear the driver, and a passenger discuss Greek Mythology.

 

Cousin Abe has a brother John living at the edge of Danville.  He wanted me to stop there, and stay all night, but I had never seen him.  I said no – but he wrote John – I was coming, he should stop the bus, and keep me all night.  Which he did, and next morning John took me to the depot.  I went as far as Toulon when I changed cars to the Ill. Central and had to wait three hours for the south train which came at 3:30, from Toulon to Oden we passed through grand prairie, the most extensive and level, I have seen.  When night came, away to the East, was a grand sight – prairie on fire.  We reached Oden at 8, and I had to stay all night, or the train did not make good connection.  I had good accommodations, and left in the East train at 9 next morning, and reached Bridgeport after dinner. 

 

The cousins had been in twice to meet me – but owing to the high water, I was detained.  A friend of theirs found a man who was going out that way, and I could ride along.  He was a very talkative elderly man, we had a very pleasant ride.  Cousin Sallie was surprised to see me.  Thought I had given up the trip.  I had never seen cousin Jim [Baun] before.  They have been married five years, have two children.  Mr Baun went to school at Millenville.  Do you remember the “[Word] battles” we had at K – with [Warren] Lehman, Row Ct. till if “war  [XXX] [sharpenth]  [XXX]  “  We will be sharp here.  I did not think I would have such a pleasant visit –

 

[Page 48]

 

The P.O. is over a mile from here, and when I feel like it, I walk over.  The other day I got three letters.  One from you, one from sister Mary, and one from Annie Garnand.  It is warm, and the peaches are in bloom.  This part of Ill. they call Egypt.  We are some 10 miles west of Vincennes Ind.

 

April 4  How time flies.  Last Sunday cousin Sallie and I went to church at Olive Branch.  A nice walk ½ a mile.  It was a log church, the first log church I ever was in.

 

April 5  This is a fine day.  Peaches, plums, pears and cherries in bloom.  I have been here nearly three weeks, doing nothing and living off of my relatives.  A letter from Miss Sheridin.  She writes, “the Keystone bell is cracked and they are getting a new one.

 

April 7  They have such odd names for places out here, Hard to find, Dead hog, Greasy, Faggy, Possum point et.  Cousin Sallie put water in the ash hopper, and when she had enough lye – she made Bretzels, and they were good too.  The children are so good.  They stay with Jim when Sallie and I go to church – and with Sallie, when Jim takes me to church.  He took me to a Presbyterian Church some miles away.  Part-way the road ran through low land along a little stream.  The road sides were crowded with underbrush.  Some were in bloom, a bunch of yellow fringe.  I think it was sassafras.  Cousin Jim said he “only knew the name of one flower.”  And when I asked him what it was, He could not remember.  After riding a mile or two, he said, “O I remember now, it is the Johnny jump up.”  How I did laugh.

 

April 12  Tomorrow I leave Luken Prairie, where I have spent three pleasant weeks.  I go back a different way, and will have to change cars three or four

 

[Page 49]

 

times.  Cousin Sallie urges me to stay longer, but I think I’ll hear from brother Philip when I get to Hirams, so I feel that I ought to go.  Cousin Sallie and I went to the funeral of a Mrs. Stanfield who committed suicide – she belonged to the Presbyterian Church, and the funeral was held in church.  The husband seemed crushed, two men supported him, and at the grave he sat in a chair.  She left two little children.

 

April 18  Rainsville Ind, well I am home again, gone over six weeks, and such a good visit.  Cousin Emma Gernand and cousin Sallie Baum are sisters.  They are Uncle John Evans daughters.

 

One Sunday cousin Jim and I walked to Olive Branch Church, “the log church.”  The men sit on one side, and the women on the other.  In front of me sat a woman with a boy two or three years old.  He had leather boots on; When we stood up to sing, he stood in the seat and refreshed him self from the “maternal fount.”  Sallie told me afterward, that Jim was so provoked, There many of the women wore sunbonnets to church.  Jim took me to Bridgeport, to take the train, Sallie told him he should go to the store and buy me a pair of gloves, which he did.  I made a dress for cousin Sallie, and did help her right along – so she wanted to give me a keep sake.

 

The train came at 12 – 30 and we reached Vincennes at 1.  When I should have made connection, but I missed the train, and had to wait until 7 p.m.  When I studied History about Vincennes being the oldest town in the West, and Settled by the French.  I little thought I’d wait for a train six hours there.  When 7 p.m. came, I had walked once around the town, Read all the love stories in Harpers Magazine and embroidered a little, Sat on the bank of the Wabash.

 

[Page 50]

 

From Vincennes to Terre Haute I had good company – an interesting talker.  Had to stay all night there.  I asked the conductor about the Hotel, and he said he would recommend the Terre Haute House, which I found all I could wish for.  T.H. is a beautiful town.  Fine houses, Street Cars – and a large Normal School.  Left in the morning, Reached Green Castle at 8-30 and had to wait until 1 p.m.  “What cant be cured, must be endured,” so I tried to wait patiently.  There was timber near the depot.  So I went there and sewed & read.  The red wood, or red bud, was in bloom.  A new tree to me.  It was 4 p.m. when I reached La Fayette, there I waited 2 hours – and then came to Williamsport.  Geo. Butler lives at the edge of town, so I went there.  That was Fri. evening.  Sunday they took me to his Mothers, and Hiram & Rhoda came there, and I came home with them.  There were 8 letters waiting me.  One was from brother Philip, who has been in Kansas & Indian [Territory] all winter.  I wrote him some two months ago or [more] that my school would soon close, and I was not ready to go home.  Would like to see some of the West.  He wrote I could come or go to him, that his house would be finished by the time I got there, so I start west Monday, the 25.  Away to the frontier – to live in a log house.  Philip wrote I should bring warm clothes, and blankets or whatever I wanted for my bed.  Hiram says he would go along, but they are plowing with five teams, also planting corn, and he cannot leave.  I have such a bad cough, wish I had some of  Dr. Trexler’s medicine.  Mrs. Martin writes she is going to Kansas with her sister’s family.  I do wonder what Mother

 

[Page 51]

will say – when she reads that I am going out to Philips.  Saturday Mr. DeTerk is going to take me over to cousin Emma G. – I left some of my clothes there when I went down to cousin Sallie’s.  We will come back Sunday, and Monday I start West.

 

Rhonda teased me, and says Mr. D will propose – No danger for he is too sensible a man, and I have never encouraged him.  What a grand ride it will be.  20 miles in a top buggy (they are very scarce here)  Over 16 miles of the distance is open prairie, with lots of flowers.

 

Ninnescah River, Sedgwick Co. Kans.  May 1st 1871.  The 25 of April Hiram & Rhoda took me to Williamsport and I left for Kansas.  When the train stopping at Springfield, I was almost tempted to stop a day or two, and look up Lincoln’s home and his tomb et.

 

Reached Quincy at 9 p.m. and changed cars.  I was disappointed because I crossed the Mississippi at night.  Reached Kansas City at 8 next morning.  I had to change cars, and have my trunk rechecked.  When I left Indiana, I had a pillow wrapped in an army blanket roped on my trunk.  It had gotten loose, They would not fasten it for me – and I had to take it with me in the car – or loose it.  I still think someone pulled it loose.  I was carrying two shalls – a double blanket shall, and a single green shawl, with a big bunch of silk embroidered flowers in one corner.  I wrapped the pillow & blanket in the single shawl.  It made a big bundle, and was taken to be a baby by my fellow travelers.  Reached Topeka at 1 p.m.  Changed cars again.  There were only five women on the train.

 

[Page 52]

 

One a bride of about 15 years old, and so silly.  I met such obliging conductors, and this one was especially so.  My ticket ran out at Emporia, and I asked about stage connections at Wichita.  He said the R.R. was now finished to Cottonwood, and the stage left from there.  That he would recheck my trunk, and I should get out at Emporia, and get a ticket, I need not hurry, he would wait on me.  There [copy torn and cannot read] saw the first Indian.  Before we reached Cottonwood the stage agent came to book those who went by stage next morning.  I bought a seat.  Then asked some questions about the country, and we had a very interesting conversation, but I have a notion he was a wild piece, although he was very gentleman like to me.  The hotel at Cottonwood is nearly a mile from the depot, and the hardest looking place I ever stoped at.  So many hard looking men around.  I went at once to my room, and had for a room mate a young girl who reminded me so much of Adam Daniel Row.  I soon got acquainted with girls, and we were chatting [copy torn and cannot read] a little while, we left the lamp burn all night, we had to get up early, as the stage left at 5 – 30.  I had taken lunch with me, and the breakfast at Cottonwood was the first meal I had bought since I left Indiana.

 

The Stage drove up, my trunk was on, and we were packed tight.  Two coaches with 4 horses to each.  The girls I slept with, went only as far as Eldorado.  They change horses every 10 or 12 miles, and at times drive like fury.  Sometimes your head would go bang against the top, then those riding on the outside

 

[Page 53]

 

would say “how is that for high.”  A very common expression out here.  Once when they changed horses we got out and walked until they came up to us.  We passed a buffalo calf tied with a rope to a stake.  We changed coaches at Eldora.  From there to Augusta, there was just one coach with six horses and 15 or [copy torn and cannot read] passengers.  I was the only woman.  I tell you I was [copy torn and cannot read] quiet and tried to be dignified.  When we crossed [copy torn and cannot read] White river, the water ran through the coach.  I raised my feet, but some of my skirts got wet.  The rivers in this state are small, at least many of them are.  The heavy rains had raised the water in White River, which is not wide – but deep.  The passengers kept up a brisk conversation.  A farmer from Wis. grumbled about the weather – the country et.  (It was a dreary, cloudy, cold day near the last of April)  After riding a long time with nothing but the prairie to see – we passed a sod hut and they called his attention to the “great and magnificent improvements.”  He was provoked, but they told him “when a stranger comes along, take him in.”

 

Augusta was the land office and most of the passengers stoped there.  From there to Wichita we had [one]  [XXX]  have coach and changed horses.  Once when we changed all the passengers but the Wisconsin man and I got out and walked.  The walking was good, we had come all the way over the Santa Fe Trail.  Tramped [feet] by the thousands of Texas cattle driven over it.  The new horses were four fine grays and rather wild.  A little way from the stables was a “draw” – or little water course, and the driver called “make yourselves [firm]”, as they always did when they crossed a stream, or a rough place, and intended to drive fast.  We ran over the draw – and part way up the slope, when one of the leaders jumped over his mate.  The driver on top the coach yelled to the horse and partly got them stoped , He yelled ”if there is a man in the coach, get out and hold the front horses.  I darint get down or I’ll loose control of all.  Old Wis. was so long getting out, I felt like pushing him, but by the time he did get out the man from the [barn] was there to help.  They fixed things, and we started on, only to have the same horse begin to kick something awful.  I asked should I get out, the answer was “no, you have a baby, stay in.”  The bundle of beding and shawls, was again taken for a baby.  I got out, and the men who had walked ahead came back, to see if they had gotten on the wrong road.  They had to go back to the barn for some new harness – and we were detained

 

[Page 54]

 

 about an hour.  It was dark by this time too.  When ready to start again the driver said “the horse that made the trouble was a new horse on the team and was not broken in yet:  that the lady and one or two others should get in, and when the others let go holding the horse – he would drive like fury, and slow up later on – and the rest get in then.”  So he did, and the last ten miles, we almost flew.  It was 10 o-clock when we reached [copy torn and cannot read].  I wondered when I would stop.  Then I heard the men ask about the hotel.  One said “there were two, one just about as good as the other.”  We stoped at the first we came to.  The clerk came to the door and said, “Any passengers to stop here.”  When some of the men got out I said I would, and was the only one to stop there.  I want to say here that ride of 80 miles – from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. I was treated with the greatest respect.

 

I asked the landlord if he knew anything about brother Philip, he said he did not but would inquire for me next morning.  I was very tired, for dinner I ate some lunch, Rhoda gave me, not wanting to leave the coach when the men did, and before going to bed I ate a little more.  Before going to bed I fastened the door securely, and looked around the room, the partitions were all [copy torn and cannot read] boards, and one could hear what was said in the adjoining rooms.  Board ceilings as well as partitions, I put out the lamp and put [copy torn and cannot read]  and put curtain up – When I noticed across the street a man with no shades or else not pulled down – and a number of men walking around in their shirts.  I slept well, and felt rested next morning – and dressed as neatly as I could, went down to breakfast.  After wards the landlord went to the post office, and there was the letter I had written Philip telling him I was coming.  As he lived 20 miles South of Wichita, and no teams were going that way.  I had to hire a rig to take me out.  They charged me $7.  It was an open spring wagon, drawn by two small mules. The trunk was put in the pillow bundle, lunch basket and myself, and we started.  We forded the Arkansas River – it was wide and sandy.  The water went above the wheel hubs, but did not come in the wagon.  There are a few houses the first two miles, then we saw no trace of civilization until we reached the Minnsecah River, 20 miles from Wichita.  In all that distance there is no timber except a little along the Cow Skin Creek.  The creek was deep, the banks are very steep, nearly an angle of 45 – was glad when we were across it.

 

[Page 55]

 

We passed a prairie dog town too.  When we reached the Minnsecah River stoped at a ranch (a little log building, where they sold provisions & wiskey) and I inquired for Philip – I was told that his claim was across the river and two miles up stream, which was so high it could not be crossed.  There were a number of freight teams, with loaded wagons, waiting to cross – they had been there some days waiting for the river to go down but they thought by next morning they could cross.  I asked where I could spend the night, and the ranch man said I could go over to the house and stay with his wife – The driver said he would go back in half an hour – so I wrote home, and gave him the letter to mail, as Wichita is the nearest P.O.  I went over to the “house,” which proved to be a “dugout” and was acrost [copy torn and cannot read] little draw, and built in the slope of the elevation.  Mrs. McClain was very cordial, not having seen a woman for weeks.  She had rheumatism, and was not very strong.  She had a daughter about 12 and a Negro girl of 14 was who did the work.  They gave meals to the men – who were waiting for the water to go down.  After dinner, being very tired, I laid down and slept.  But not long, as Mrs. McClain wakened me saying I had slept long enough – She was lonesome for some one to talk to.  We took a little walk up the river, then down a short way.  I slept on the floor with the girls a sheet stretched acrost the men, separated Mrs. – bed from where [copy torn and cannot read] slept – as there was but one room in the dugout.  I heard Mr. Lane come in during the night, and heard her say – “I am so glad you have come.  I was afraid you never would come.”  He assured her there was no danger.  But I learned later, that there was gambling and shooting – rough times generally – at the ranch house when so many men got together.

 

When morning came, I hurried to the river to see if it could be crossed.  I asked the first man I met.  A man with a revolver and bucknife strapped to his belt.  He looked savage but was very polite.  He said he would assist me if he could.  Then I went to breakfast.  Later Mrs. McClain gave me a sunbonnet to wear and we went to the crossing.  The River was still quite high, but by hitching the teams of two wagons together to one – they crossed – A short way, they had to swim, then struck a sandy stretch on the other side, which was hard pulling, when through that they were on the solid Texas trail again, and the one

 

[Page 56]

 

team would go back.  It was quite exciting to watch them.  I was anxious to cross – thinking if I was only acrost – I could easily walk the two miles up to Philips cabin.  Mrs. McLain talking to one of the men, said I wanted to cross – He said all right.  I would get up in his wagon, Mrs. – said “keep the bonnet until you send for your baggage.”  So I was helped way up on top of the perishable things which were piled high.  What a trip it was, past a few big cottonwood trees – down into the water which had a strong currant.  By the time I began to get dizzy and sick, the leaders had struck sand and we were soon on the old trail.  When the driver came to help me he said “Where are you going?”  Up the river two miles to my brothers, I said, “Ever been there,: he asked I said no, but I could easily walk there.  “You know nothing about it, stay there until we get up to Murray Ranch, He’l help [copy torn and cannot read].  There I stayed for he drove on toward a log hut – not [copy torn and cannot read] away.  I should have mentioned that there were teams and horseman on that side of the river also, waiting to cross.  When we reached the Murray Ranch, the driver stopped and said to a man at door.  “Murray this lady wants to go up the river two miles to her brothers.”  And helped me, I thanked him and he drove on.

 

Mr. Murray said I could not walk, he would get me a horse, and told me to go in and wait, and he started off.  I looked around the room – which was lined with shelves – a regular frontier [stove] built of logs – you stepped over a log to get in.  While I waited some 20 wagons, drawn by 6 or 8 Texas Cattle went by.  They belonged to the 6th U.S.A. Calvary – the Reg: was several miles back.  Before I left a dozen or more officers came riding by.  They had been in Texas, and were going North.  While a Reg: from the North were going South to take their place.  All this time Mr. Murray had been driving a bunch of horses towards a corral – that stood near the ranch.  He got them in, and brought one to the

 

[Page 57]

 

door – a little indian pony.  He put on a mans sadle and told me how to go, also gave me a letter I was to leave at West’s – and there they would tell me how to find Philip.  I could not see West’s – it was on the other side of a strip of brush, along a draw or gully, and I had to ride around the end of that – So I started, and the [right] or often loose horses or ponies trotted along, sometimes ahead sometimes behind.  I fearful [lest] they would get kicking.  After minding the brush, I could see the West house half a mile away toward the river.  As I was near I saw a woman in the door.  There was a garden, or a plowed [copy torn and cannot read] in front of the house, and not wanting the horse to run over it, I called to the woman, to come and get her letter.  Then I asked her about Philip.  “He is here,” she said.

 

Philip had an ox team, and was driving near by, when Mrs. W – saw me round the brush, she thought a lot of Indians were coming, and called to Philip to come and stay with her till they were gone.  He had not heard from me, and thought perhaps I was not coming.

 

Most of the men (five or six) in the immediate neighborhood were off on a buffalo hunt.  Philip would have gone too, but while fishing, he had stuck his hunting knife in his boot leg – then stoping suddenly, he had cut his leg.  So he felt it best to stay, and doctor the wound.  While the men were away, he slept in a dugout near the West cabin, to protect Mrs. West and another woman, whose husband was away.  And as I found him, after a long journey, I told him how I had crossed the river, how Murray got the pony – and about the soldiers et. and said – I was so glad to get away, as there were no other women there.  I shall never forget his answer – “Behave like a lady, and you will always be treated as such.”  And I have found it true.

 

Well it was arranged that I should stay with Mrs. West, and he would take the pony back.

 

A number of men took up claims along the river last fall – and are now away earning money, Mr. West is clerking in Wichita, Mr. Smith freighting, so on.  Before they left, they helped Mr. West build his house, about 14 by 12.  There are big

 

[Page 58]

 

3 cotton wood trees along the river, and they build with them.  There was but one room – a bed, a stove, a bench, two stools, a table, and a few cooking utensils.  Stone boxes were used for cubbards.  In the dug out, was a barrel of provisions, et.  Mrs. W did not know how to bake yeast bread, but could bake good salt risen bread, mostly however, she made biscuits.  On the bench she had a sack of flour & a bucket for water and under it a two qt. tin bucket, into which she put pieces of bread or biscuit that were left and would [copy torn and cannot read] with water in time it would sour.  I saw it ferment and run over some times – Well when she made biscuits, she poured that sour water off, and used it with soda to make biscuits – she was a genteel woman from Ohio, [copy torn and cannot read] fitted for a pioneers wife.  She was a little older than I, but not strong, and had doctors a good bit.  She told “a Dr. told her she was made of finer clay than most people.”  She longed for the time they could pay for their claim, and move to town.

 

Philip took the pony to the ford – and the soldiers had not yet crossed.  He met a number that he knew.  He arranged to bring my trunk & et. up next day, as water would then be low enough to cross without any trouble.

 

May 8th -

 

Two weeks today since I left Hirams.  No letter in all that time.  This is a new settlement.  A year ago, I do not think there was a white woman within 20 miles of here, and last Winter the Osage Indians camped along the river, their teepes are still standing.  Now there are several families scattered along the River.  One day Mr. W – and I walked to the river, and a skunk backed toward us, we fled in haste.

 

As soon as Philip gets up to Wichita to lay in some provisions we will move to his cabin down the River.  This is the Osage preemption land.  You select a claim, 160 acres, then you “fill in it.”  After you live in it 6 months and do a certain amount of improvement, you pay

 

[Page 59]

 

$1.25 an acre, and then it is yours.  Philip has been on his that long.  Now he and some men have selected one for me.  It is back from the river – when he goes to Wichita he will file on it.  He selected a suitable place, and plowed it for a garden – then with a lot of brush he harrowed it, the oxen dragging them back and forth.  I bought a lot of garden seeds from Indians.  The garden is about a mile from Wests.  I have no hoe or rake, just use a stick.  Sounds funny don’t it?  I saw three antelope one day, and a coyote.  There are three deer that keep [above] my garden, but I have not seen them yet.  There is a great heard of buffalo within 20 miles of here.  The men have promised to take us with them the next time they go out.

 

Provision is scarce – potatoes $3 a bushel, the railroad 100 miles away; and those on claims, raising their first first crops.  We live on buffalo, fish, molasses, bread and coffee.  Native cattle are very scarce, and the Texas cows are so wild they cannot be milked.  Nevertheless, I get along very well, and will stay here until I get tired.  There is a Scotchman living acrost the river, a Mr. Ross – he was telling me that “this is such a healthy country, if they want to start a grave yard, they would have to shoot someone.”

 

Last week a party of Indian chiefs passed up the trail, on their way to Washington, They told some one, they were going to stay “two moons.”  Perhaps I will get to see them, when they return.  I have not seen a single unmarried woman since I am here.  There are seven married women in this neighborhood and I will not likely see another all Summer.  They all tease me, and say I am a curiosity – to the many bachelors around here. 

 

16th  Yesterday I finished a shirt for Philip, and cooked dinner.  We had buffalo stake, radishes, bread, molasses, stewed peaches and coffee.  A greater variety than usual.  At 3 o’clock I walked down to see Mrs. Lane, they live down the river less than a mile.  There is a path that crosses the ravine, so I did not need to go up around the head.  I saw 3 or 4 gars in the river.  The first I had seen.  They are something like a

 

[Page 60]

 

a fish.  They have a long bill, with little saws along the edge.  They were a foot and a half long.  They are not considered good to eat.  Jake is working down the river, and when I started home, he came along, and we walked home together.  We gathered flowers and had a fine bouquet.  Jake is one of the young men who came here last fall when Philip did and took up a claim.  It seems they all helped to build Wests house.  He and Philip sleep in the dug out a little way from the house.

 

I am so anxious to go to housekeeping, or squatter or whatever it will be.  Philip has a very sore ankle I do hope it will get better soon.

 

17th I wish you could hear the prairie chickens of a morning.  Their drumming sounds like this – Pch – cin - du- du – du.  Then another begins, was ku – yas – do – do – do u u et.  Yesterday I went up to my garden and was gone from 10 to 4 p.m.  I had a hoe and hoed 2 hours, planted corn et:  It was warm, and I was tired when I got home.  One of the neighbors is having some plowing done, has six oxen to one plow, one man drives, and another plows.  The way they swear is [copy torn and cannot read].  We have so little twilight here.  The sun sets, and in 6 minutes it is dark.

 

Sunday May 22nd Mrs. West expected Mr. West out Sat. and when he came, I was going down to spend the night with Mrs. Lane.  It rained nearly all day, so he did not get here until quite late and we were in bed.  So while he was tying his horse out, I made a bed on the floor, and got in.  He is a nice looking scholarly man, more refined than she, I believe.  He brought me quite a pack of letters, three papers & an almanac.  One of the letters was from the polite stage agent I met coming down.  He wrote that a waterproof cloak had been left at the office, and he heard that I had lost some baggage – if mine he would send et. et.  How very kind every one has been to me.  I have not lost anything so far, and wrote to him that it was

 

[Page 61]

 

not mine.  Perhaps he  just wrote to start a correspondence.  Mr. West went back yesterday p.m.

 

Brother Philip went to Wichita early this morning.  I think we will go to house keeping soon.  I am making my self a calico dress.  My wardrobe is rather a slim affair, but it does for this frontier life.  I was up to my garden this morning.  There have been several deer walking over it.  I saw their tracks.

 

May 25.  I have been so busy this week.  Monday 3 worked in the garden, Tuesday washed & ironed, Wednesday I made a tick and two sheets.  Today I went down to the little cabin where we will live – this is on Philips claim.  Coming back it rained and I got wet.  So many new flowers coming open,  [XXX]  of a vine that is sensitive if you touch a branch or vine the leaves close.  They too have a red ball of a flower, some prickly pear in bloom too, and others I do not know.  One day I saw something white waving on a stick[.]  I walked a long way to get to it thinking some one had staked off a claim, but when I got there it was a white flower on a very long stem.

 

27 I am baking bread this morning, and will write while it is baking.  As soon as it is finished I expect to go to Philips cabin and think I will stay there.  I would have gone down before, but my tick was not filled.  This is frontier life for sure.  In my next, I expect I can tell how it goes to keep house in Kansas.

 

The men talk of going on a buffalo hunt – soon, and have promised to take me along.  Then I’ll be a huntress and chase the antelope over the plain.

 

My bread is a “perfect-success” and I am jubilant over it. 

 

29 Keeping house at last, moved last week.  The cabin is just a little way back from the river, with big cottonwood trees in front, the wind in the branches, keeps up a continual roar.  A log cabin 12 x 12 – with a fire place.  The roof is split  [XXXX]  covered with dirt and now there is a growth of sunflowers and grass on it.  Which if it

 

[Page 62]

 

7 keeps so warm, will soon dry up.  I have one corner shut off for my self & bed, my double blanket shawl is stretched along one side, and the single shawl across the bed.

 

Cook in the fireplace, have a dutch oven – a skillet, a teakettle coffee pot etc

 

Philip left me a tin kettle hanging up, out side the door, in it he had flour & water stirred together.  Of course it got sour then he poured it off to use for making biscuits, but we have yeast bread now.  Mrs. Lane told me how to make pie with a kind of sorrel, or wild oxalis, it tastes like rhubarb when baked, but I could not find any, and as my crust was made I patted it flat and made crumb pies.

 

May 31 Mrs. West moved to town yesterday, she gave me her cat.  Cats are very scarce here.

 

John Roberts an acquaintance of ours in the East, came and is stopping with us.  Not very convenient to have him.  I saw some wild turkeys and a jack rabbit the other day.  The men talk of going hunting next week, we are nearly out of buffalo meat.  I made biscuits today, the first I ever made, the boys said they were very good.  I have so much to do. Sewing for Philip, tending my garden, and cooking, it keeps me busy.

 

June 2.  We have a table now.  Jake was here for dinner yesterday, he took J. Roberts with him, and he will not be back until Sunday, then I hope

 

[Page 63]

 

they will bring my mail.  I baked this morning.  Can only bake one loaf at a time in the dutch oven & washed a little, and in p.m. went to the garden and worked until I was tired, coming home I gathered grasses – I want to dry in the shade.  Now supper is almost ready.  For supper we have buffalo, gravy, onions radishes, molasses, bread, coffee.  I am real tired this evening.  It is so far to the garden, and some places I wade through grass, nearly up to my shoulders.

 

June 4.  Sunday  this has been rather a long day, and I feel unusually depressed.  It has been very warm for some days – There is a shower coming, hope it will be cooler afterwards.  Had some heavy rains last week.  The Minnsecah River was high.  A heard of cattle crossed down at the trail, 25 drowned.  Every week from 7 to 10  thousand of Texas cattle are driven North over the trail.  If the cattle stampede, and don’t want to cross, the herders yel & fire off their pistols.  We hear them sometimes, and it sounds as I suppose a battle sounds.  It is the cattle that keep the trail worn so smooth, their droppings are called cow chips, and we used to burn, where there is no

 

[Page 64]

 

wood.  One night before Mrs. West moved away, two skunks fought on her door step, then ran down to the spring, and scented the water.  A Mrs. Ellsworth – whos husband was often away, would spend the nights at Wests, She wore a revolver at her belt: but when the skunk chased her, she ran, and forgot to use the gun.  Philip cautioned me about becoming intimate with her – as her husband was suspected of steeling horses.  I never saw her after Mrs. West moved.  I think they left as soon as they proved up on their claim.  The boys came in before the shower came, I got supper, and have things cleared away.  It is a little windy and the Cottonwood seed is flying, until it looks like a snow storm.

 

June 6 Baked three loaves of bread and a  [XXXX]  cake, Kneed out one loaf and let the rest get light again.  When the loaf is light I put it in the oven and kneed out another loaf, which is light by the time the first one is baked, so on – a slow process.  There is a family of Summers living not far from Lanes.  They are from Virginia.  He was a slave overseer.  He has his second wife.  Frank a son by his first wife is a nice young man.  He has gone up to Wichita to work.  I had a letter from him, asking me to correspond with him, but I have so many letters to write now.  Some time ago he

 

[Page 65]

 

[three] arrived, that he had taken out of a buffalo, that the Indians had shot into it – and it had escaped, to be shot later by him.  Philip has a couple of canes or sticks by the door and charged me never to leave the house without one.  There are a good many snakes here.  This morning one passed near the door, and ran into the bushes, before I had a chance to kill it.

 

I hear from home nearly every time I get mail.  They were surprised that I came out here.

 

June 8 – We had such a late supper.  The boys were down to the ranch, They brought me two letters, one from Miss Keop, and the other from that Mr. Smith, who wrote to me about the lost cloak.  He evidently wants to correspond.  Philip advised me not to answer it.

 

We still use salted buffalo meat.  Philip says if I eat so much of it – I will get a thick neck like the buffaloes.

 

Jake Somer is batching in the Wests cabin.  He is so nice and brotherly.  He brings us our mail, if he happens to go to the ranch.  Today I got two papers – and a pack of seeds.

 

June 10 The sun just set, we are having a glorious evening.  Yesterday I went down to Lanes – acroust the bottom, and over a branch.  It was so high I had to take off my shoes & stockings and wade.  Today I baked, I have finished reading Lena Rivers, and now reading Martin Chizzlewit.  I received a present from one of the boys, a bunch of buffalo sinews.  They use them for  [XXXX].  I gathered a bunch of devil darning needles.

 

11 There is a large herd of Texas Cattle grazing South of here.  It is not safe for a woman to be out where they see her.  They would go for her.  They have such

 

[Page 66]

 

big horns, they look frightful.  I have a hoe now, and my garden is doing finely.  Mr. Rose a Scotchman who lives acrost the river and up gave me some seed of a “pie melon,” he said I should ask the neighbors before planting it, as it was a rapid grower, and would run over the whole neighborhood.

 

The mosquitoes are so bad, and it is so warm at night – in my little bedroom.

 

June 12 This is the third week I am house keeping and in that time there has been but one woman here besides myself.  No church, no parties, a wild Indian sort of a life.  Plenty of time to commune uninterrupted with Nature, and Natures God.  I like it but if some one said I must stay here always, then I fear I would not.

 

14.  We are having such a pleasant rain, I saw a deer today leaping along through the grass.  Today we heard the Indians had made a Bluff Creek and killed a man – that is only 35 miles from here.

 

June 17  This morning I heard someone calling, so I went to the river bank, There was Mr. Ross on the other side, He said there were letters at the Ranch for us.  Now Philip will go down, and I can send down one for Mary Keof – one for sister Mary, one for Cousin Sallie Evans, and one for my new correspondent – Mr. Smith.

 

18  Yesterday I ricd. Letters from home, and papers.  It is very warm here, but not at all dry.  We have had plenty of rain ever since I am here.  There is a large plant of cow tongue cactis near here. It is in bloom, and has large yellow wax like flowers.  If we had it at home we would think it grand.

 

It is too warm to take walks now.  When I first came it was just nice to walk, and where the grass had lately been burned, you could see here and there

 

[Page 67]

 

piles of buffalo bones, and back of the river bottom were buffalos wallow, where they had rolled until there were hollow places – with the sod gone. 

 

This morning I washed, you would have laughed to have seen the clothes hang among the trees to catch the breeze.  I did so many things today.  [Ground] coffee, put more hay in my bed tick, and now 3 p.m. I am going to my garden for peas for tomorrows dinner and radishes.  Was up to the garden Monday it looked so nice.

 

John made a rolling pin for me today, before that – I used a tin can to roll the pie crust and cookie dough.

 

June 20  I was visiting at Rosses today, just came home and got supper for the boys.  It was the first time I had been acrost the river since I came here, and how think you I crossed?  I took off my shoes and stockings and waided!  I had on my new calico dress and a white apron, and I thought I looked pretty nice, wonder if I did!  I started out with my stick, when I go walking I always carry a cane.  Not because I look so gay, do I carry it to keep the  [XXX]  away, but because there are so many vermants, that crawl around, or in other words, there are so many snakes and no stones to pelt them with.  I have not killed any, though I have seen several.

 

I used my cane to  [XXX]  and knew just how deep the water was, I followed the sand bars mostly and had no trouble whatever, now that I have been acrost – I will doubtless go often.  I enjoyed my visit very much, very much indeed.  While at Ross’ a Mrs. [Lginire] came.

 

[Page 68]

 

She seems so down hearted and weary, I am going to see if I cannot cheer her up some day.

 

It is so different on the other side of the river.  A very high bank, then prairie as far as the eye can see.  The trail to Wichita is in sight also. While at R – four hearders came thru horse back.  One rode such a pretty pony, [to] but I would like to have it.  Rather wild looking men, with their revolvers.  They have straight black hair, and dark complexion.

 

It is so warm like July in Pa.  Sometimes I wish July was past; but it will pass quickly enough.

 

June 21  I wanted to write yesterday but was too busy.  I baked bread, splendid bread.  Then dressed a large wild turkey that brother shot, the largest I ever saw.  The breast I sliced like steaks, and fried.  Mrs. Lane came just before dinner, She would have me go with her aways.  I went as far as West’s house.  Jake was not home, We opened the window and got in.  We just [XXXX]  around.  Drank his coffee, put his pipe in coffee pot spout [etc.]  We were sitting outside in the shade, eating wild plums, and chatting away when Jake came.  Mrs. Lane was determined I should go home with her, and stay all night.  Jake said if I did he would come down and get supper and breakfast for Philip and John.  Philip is not very well, and I thought I had better come home.  I told Jake he should come down for supper and get some turkey.  So he did, and I gave him enough along for two meals.  I had given Mrs. Lane enough

 

[Page 69]

 

For her & Mr. Lane, three meals, and we have had four meals off of it – so you can think how large it was.  Brother has been ailing all week, think he is trifle better this eve.  The bugs are coming in.  I must put out the light and go to bed.

 

June 24  The sun is down, I must write quick or it will be dark.  Philip had the ague very bad today.

 

Yesterday I went plum hunting acrost the river.  It is fine waiding the river, One cannot go straight acrost, must follow the sand bars – and keep out of the currants.  It takes a good while to cross.  Found very few plums, When I got back, Jake was here.  He had found nice plums, and brought them to me.  This morning it was so rainy and Philip so sick he could not attend to his oxen, so after baking was over, and house put to rights, I put on his boots and went up to Jake’s to ask John to come and attend to the oxen.  I was a wet fright – when I got there, and before I left, Mr. Smith came out of the house.  He is from Main.  He is one of the nicest men I have met in Kansas.  When I first came I met him.  He had been away several weeks, freighting I think he said.  He thought it awful that I had walked up through the wet grass, and wanted me to ride one of his horses back, but I did not, as I was wet already.  Later he and Jake called to see Philip.  He said I had such good taste in arranging flowers.  Have a gorgeous bouquet.  Last fall Mr. Smith had several acres broken on his claim.  This Spring he was away when it should have been planted.  The high winds

 

[Page 70]

 

Blew sunflower seed over it, and I saw it when there were three or four acres of solid sunflowers in bloom.

 

June 26  I did not write yesterday, Ross’ girls came and I had to exert myself to amuse them.  They wanted me to walk with them down to Lanes, I thought it quite too far.  Then they teased to go up to see Jake – so we did[.]  Found him writing letters, He had been out to [XXX]  and was dressed up, and looked better than I had ever seen him.  He is from Ohio.  All these young men came here last fall, and so did the Ross family.  And they helped Ross build his house, then they stayed there until they selected their claims,  and built another house or two.  Mr. R – told me – “they all slept in the house but your brother, he would not come in but slept by a pile of hay, I had gone to Wichita and bought a load of corn, Every day the pile grew less and I suspected your brother was feeding it to his pony at night; Well after a while, all that slept in the house, got  [XXXX],  Then we knew why he would not sleep in the house, he was the only one that was not [XXXX].”  The Ross’ came from Scotland, I like to hear them talk.  Mr. R – told me many amusing things that happened that fall and winter.

 

I washed this morning.  It is exceeding warm, reminded me of the 4 of July we had a picnic – how Mr. Ross walked between Mrs. Heffner and I, and how quick Mr. H – jumped over the fence – we wore our red white and blue aprons – and the week after school closed and most of those friends we never expect to see again.

 

[Page 71]

 

They think I am an old maid out here, 22 and not married, Girls marry so young here.

 

Brother had the ague again today.

 

June 28.  This has been such a pleasant day.  There was a little rain this morning, and it is cooler since.  Yesterday I went to Rosses after dinner.  Her parents and widower brother have just settled on a claim not far away,  They would have me go along and call.  The brother made us some good lemonade.  The river is very low, the Ross Children caught a big 25 lb. Cat fish in a pool.  No trouble to cross the river now. Only be careful not to step on a sand burr in the sand, before you get your stockings and shoes on again.  Mr Smith brought four letters for me, from the ranch yesterday, one from Mother, one from Cousin Emma, one from Miss Sheradin and one from Dr. Trexler.

 

I made two fans from the feathers of the turkey brother shot I also made a fan for Mrs. Ross, from feathers from a Turkey shot last Winter.  Philips ague is broken.  He looks bad though.  Was to my garden this

 

[Page 72]

 

morning.  Sent a dozen large cucumbers up to Rosses.

 

June 29  Such a pleasant day.  Went to Lanes this morning, had intended going to Summers – but Mrs. Summer was not home.  Two more Companies of U.S. Calvary going north.  They spent the night at the trail crossing.  Their Majors name is Harper – He is from Bucks Co. Pa.  Saw two of the soldiers at Lanes.

 

30th Baked this morning and was to my garden this p.m.

 

July 2 Did not get any mail yesterday, was disappointed.  Last evening I saw a deer bound over the sand hills there is a shower coming, we need rain badly.  The boys brought a lot of wild plums.  They are nice, not like the wild plums East, They are more like our tame red plums.

 

3rd I had expected to spend the 4th at home, but I saw Jake this p.m. and he invited me to a picknic.  It is to be down at the old Indian encampment.  All the neighbors are invited.  Mr. Smith is coming for me in the morning.  Baked this morning. Good bread.  How Philip likes it.  Called at Rosses this p.m.  Mr. Ross gave me a snake rattle, with ten rattles.

 

The mosquitoes are so bad I must stop writing.

 

4th of July.  Evening has come around again, and it finds me very weary.  This morning Mr. Smith came for me in

 

[Page 73]

 

in a big two horse wagon.  We stopped and gathered up all the women on our way there.  There were some two dozen people there and we had a real merry time.  I was the only unmarried woman there.  There were 5 or 6 bachelors there, and the rest were married folks and children.  We had a splendid dinner, lots of canned fruit, peaches, pine apple and Lemon aid et.  Had a good evening too, They had told me not to take anything as I had no stove to bake, Mrs. Ross had baked a lot, so had Mrs Lane & Mrs. Summer.  Philip would not go.

 

5th  Washed this morning, and to the garden this p.m.  From here it is quite a ways to the garden – A little way from here – and toward the garden, are sand hills.  I sometimes cross them, and sometimes walk around them.  The largest one is 15 or 20 feet high, and is hollowed out like a saucer.  The wind driving the sand that way.

 

There are fine stocks of yucca growing [near] there too.

 

Mr. Philips was here for supper.  He and a Mr. Cramer have claims up the river, and live in a dugout.  

 

[Page 74]

 

July 6 – 1871  A letter from Mrs. K she makes fun of our house.  I told her we were raising a crop of sunflowers on [top].  When the hot days came they were in bloom, and dried up.  Philip is going to put up a dugout on my claim soon.  Then I’ll tell you all about it.  I pity some of the bachelors out here, they are so nice, and would make good husbands, but there are no girls here for them.  They would not suit you though, for they are neither rich or talitentia but they are industrious hard working men.  The people along the river here think me a bunch of contentment – because I don’t get homesick, and fuss.  If I do not feel well, or get blue, I do not tell every Tom, Dick or Harry, that is all.  John Roberts is not well to night.  Brother is quite over the ague now.

 

7th  This morning I went up to Rosses and ground a lot of coffee.  When we went to house keeping, the neighbors said, “if you are only going to stay six months, I would not get this, or that, it wont be worthwhile, and we will lend you those things.”  So we get along with few, and don’t borrow much either.  Sometimes I put the coffee in a bag and pound it.  M.K. Your last letter was so big, Mr. Ross said,

 

[Page 75]

 

“Miss Bright after this, if you don’t get decent letters, you need not think I am going to burst myself carrying them to you.”  He is a funny man – Mrs. Ross has a brother here who is a widower.  Mrs. Lane teases me about him.  I am so used to being teased.  I just grin and bear it.  Was to my garden this p.m.  Tomorrow I will bake, then go calling down the river after dinner I think.

 

8th  While I am waiting for the boys to come to dinner I try and write.  You know my object in coming here was a desire to cross the Mississippi and a love of traveling.  Well when I came; everybody had taken a claim, or was going to.  So brother said I should take one too.  It was the [fashion] and fashion has a great influence on some people.  Any person over 21 years of age, can file on 160 acres of land live on it six months, put up a house, do some plowing et. then pay $1.25 an acre, and get a [patient] or deed.  This is the Osage Indian Land that was put on the market within a few years.  There is splendid land here, and a prospect of a railroad near, so some think the claims will become valuable in time.

 

To be sure a person must put up with a great many inconveniences; but to me it is a [novelty]

 

[Page 76]

 

and I think it fine to live this way awhile.  I have been here [some] months, and although I have not been living on the claim, I have been improving it.

 

July 10th   Last Sat. towards evening I walked down to Mrs. Marklies, some ½ mile from the trail.  Her husband is away, and she gets very lonely, she was so glad I was going to stay all night with her – for a time she could talk of nothing else.  Sunday morning I looked up the old Santa Fe trail, and there was a heard of cattle coming over the divide some five miles away.  I heard afterwards there were 2300 in the heard.  Later another heard came & so it was all day.  They find the river at the ranch and go in towards Wichita.  While at dinner we heard some cattle, and there were some two dozen that had crossed the river, and were in the garden.  We yelled at them, they left the garden, and went to a corn patch near by.  We tried to drive them away but they were cross, and it was not safe to go near them.  I wanted to go to the grove where we had the picnic, as we were to meet there and make arrangements for a bible class.  It was nearly 4 when they came

 

[Page 77]

 

for the cattle, and in that time they had destroyed about two acres of corn.  

 

It was nearly sun set when I reached home – tired from the long walk – and glad to get home.  John had been sick all day, Jake had been acrost the river horse back, and when he came back he took John up with him.  I did not do much today.  Philip not very well.  Went up this evening to see how John is.  He is much better.  A heavy shower coming.

 

11th  Baked this morning, it was very slow, so it took me all morning.  Had plenty of rain last night.  The storm must have been terrific out on the prairie.  Philip saw a hearder, and he said one man lost 2000 head of cattle down on Slate Creek.  You see when they get frightened, they stampede – and run in every direction, and it is not likely he will find near all of them.

 

I am not busy now, almost out of sewing.

 

12th  Well I am out of sewing, and the river is too high I cannot go to Ross’ and too far to walk to Mrs. Summers to get some stiching done.  Brother has had a touch of ague again.  I fixed some plums to dry today.  I wrote a four page account of the picnic, and am going to send it to the Wichita  [XXX].

 

[Page 78]

 

July 13  The warmest day we have had yet.  I scarcely know what to do with myself.  Out on the prairie there is a good breeze, but we are here behind the sand hills, and on the other side the trees keep the wind away.

 

Just now I think I am seeing considerable of the unromantic part of life in Kansas.  It is even too warm to sleep.

 

15th  Yesterday morning baked, & after dinner went to Ross’.  Had such a nice supper.  Mr. R – was to the office, and brought me a letter from Mrs. Jennie Ramsey.  I had written to Mrs. Ramsey [Sun.] and I answered it.  This morning Ross’ children came and would have me go pluming with them.  We forded the river and went down to the sand hills.  There had been lots of plums there but there were several hearders there, and they had taken the ripest ones.  We got about 8 qts.  One of the hearders talked to us, he seemed to be a real nice man.

 

16th  Instead of a sultry night, it was cool and windy – and I slept well.  Mr. West and Frank Summers came from Wichita last evening, and this morning they and Jake came here, they were

 

[Page 79]

 

just full of fun.  Mr. West brought me your letter, and pestered me to know what was in it.  The pieces of your dress made it a thick letter. 

 

Such a good welcome letter, the boys have the ague so much, it requires all the spirit I have to keep cheerful.  I have not been to church since the last Sunday in April, when a Preacher came out here on his way on a buffalo hunt, and rested Sunday, and preached down at Summers.  Mrs. West and I went.  Mrs. West asked me to visit them in Wichita, but Philip does not like her much so I will scarcely go.  Then too, I am not particularly fond of her myself.  She said a “Dr. told her she was made of finer clay than other folks.” And I think she believes.

 

17  Washed, my washings do not amount to much two dark shirts for the boys, towls, a sheat and pillow slip, a few things for my self.  I have such an old camp kettle to boil clothes in, I do not boil my better clothes as it would rust them.  The boys do not bother me with bed clothes, they sleep on two buffalo robes, and a lot of blankets.  They sleep out doors most of the time.  I have no clothes line, hang them in the bushes & trees, and the breezes [waft] them dry.  I have no irons, so I go up to Ross’ and iron the few starched pieces not expecting to stay long.  I am living as simply as possible.  I have named the home cotton Wood Vila.

 

Wichita is only 13 months old, and they claim 1800 inhabitants.  It is a fast place in more ways than one.

 

[Page 80]

 

I am nearly out of writing paper again.  Went up to Rosses this p.m. They went to town, I sent along for several things.  Took tea with the children.  Came home and got supper for Philip.

 

Jake came here on a mule.  He is going to town tomorrow.  John is going along.  I asked Jake to bring me a penny’s worth from Town.  After he started [home] I called after him, don’t forget the penny’s worth.  He stopped way up to the path to talk to Philip, I ran out and told him I thought I had better remind him of that pennys worth.  He just leaned over and hawed – hawed.  Some of these young men are so nice, and we do have merry times, but it could not be so, if my brother was not here.  He is so quiet, and particular, and would soon rebuke me if I should be indiscreet.  He is a good brother, and the Ross’, Jake and others, think so much of him.

 

Mrs. Lane has the ague, and sent word that I should come down tomorrow.

 

July 19  Yesterday morning I baked, then went acrost the river for plums.  While picking them 6 hearders passed on horseback.  There was no trail or path, they go just where they want to.  I filled my pail, or bucket, started to waid back, when I saw all six up the river on a sand bank, a couple were washing clothes, the

 

[Page 81]

 

others were patting each other with sand – It is quick sand, and very moist.  After dinner I put the cabin in order – sewed a little, then started down the river.  I waided from one sand bar to another, all the way down near Lanes.  I saw the skelatin of a snake very long, fastened in the bushes along the river.  It evidently lodged there during high water.  Mrs. Lane wanted me to stay all night, but her brother is with her for company, so I thought I would go to [down] to Mrs. Markleys, who is alone.  Called at Summers on way down.  Mrs. M was glad for company.  After breakfast I went to Summers.  Mrs. S – did some stiching for me.  Frank S – and his father were both  [XXX]  home.  Mrs. S – went with me to Lanes, it is on my way home.  We found Mrs. L. in bed shaking with the ague.  Gathered a little bucket of plums on way home.  After supper I went up to Ross’, I was in the middle of the river on a sand bar, dress up, shoes in hand, when I glanced at the sun.  It was almost set.  A georgeous sun set.  I stoped to look around me.  The river made a turn, the trees above and below seemed to meet.  It seemed like a lake.  On one side a high bank, on the other low with trees coming to waters edge.  O it was beautiful, think I shall never forget the scene. 

 

20 This morning I gathered plums, and cut out a calico sacque for me.  I am getting out of every day dresses but have lots of petticoats.  Mrs. Ross brought me some jars.  I went to see them last night, She had so much to tell me of her trip to town, and I so much to tell her, that we just laughed.  It was getting dark so I had to hurry home, don’t like to cross the river when I cannot see the sand bars.  I told her that when I got the plums put up and my basque made, I would come up and

 

[Page 82]

 

and tell her all I knew.  “Yes” said she “and a good bit more for in the mean time you will have time to manufacture more.”

 

The evenings are very cool now, and the mosquitos are not as bad.  Jake has the ague, and a high fever today.  They are all telling me that I will get the ague too, but I hope not.

 

Three papers from home came yesterday.

 

Note – (I think some leaves from the journal to M.K. have been lost.  I wish I had some of the letters I wrote home during my stay in Kansas.)

 

22 Yesterday I put off writing until evening, then I had to fix for baking, and shell beans, thus it was too late.  The boys try to make me believe all kinds of things.  That down among the nations (tribes) they sift cornmeal, with a ladder.  The mellons are almost ripe.

 

The boys are working at my dugout.  It is quite near my garden.  This p.m. I went up to where the boys are working at the dugout.  I will have a nice view from there.  I went to the garden, then came home.  Philip scolded me for wearing such a  [XXX]  dress.  I do like to please him, so I will wear another.  This morning I baked.  Mr. Ross went to the ranch.  He is calling now, from the other side of the river.  The boys have gone over.  He is on horseback, but on account of the quick sand it is dangerous to cross at night with a horse.  A letter for me from Beckie, and one enclosed from Aunt Abbie Fisler – Phila.

 

23 Sunday.  It is cool and cloudy.  Looked over my album and that usualy makes me half sick.

 

24 I wanted to wash – but it was cloudy, I baked however and did a little sewing.  John will not be here this week.  He will help Jake make hay.  It is much pleasanter for me, when Philip and I are alone.

 

Jake was out riding last eve, he went by here.  He had

 

[Page 83]

 

a big bunch of onions.  I asked him if he had that “pennys worth,”  he said it was up at the house, and if it was not worth coming for I could not have it.  Then he threw a big onion at me, and rode on.  If it clears off I will wash this p.m. for I want to go down the river one day the beginning of the week.  I am drying plums, it is slow work.  Evening.  Washed and ironed this p.m.  After supper went up to Ross’ to take their iron home.  Mr. Ross asked me if I had seen an account of our picnic in the Wichita paper.  I said no, so he showed me the paper and sure enough, there was the article I had sent.  I had signed myself Spectator.  Must try and get some letters mailed tomorrow.  Have an errand at Summers – Perhaps I may go to the P.O. myself.  If I do, it will be the first time.  One day this week I will go and sew for Mrs. Ross.  If I can get that paper I will send it to you.

 

The cabin on the envelope is the best I can draw of this place.  Back and to the left are shoemack and arrow wood bushes.  Sunflowers and grass grow on dirt roof.  It faces the Minnsecah River – with large trees between – A grape vine grows up the cabin side.

 

July 30.  I have not written for several days.  Not because I did not want to write, but because I am nearly out of paper.  We had a terrible storm last night and this morning it just poured down.  The roof leaked for the first time.  At 2 this morning I had to change my bed, as only one half the roof leaked.  You cannot imagine what a wretched house we have today.  I believe it is clearing off.  If it does, then I will hoist the wet things out doors.  I slept very little and am nodding now.

Evening, it cleared off beautifully.  Thought I would wash tomorrow, so many things got wet and dirty last night, but I just brought a bucket of water from the river, which is very high, and so muddy.  I cannot use it to wash now.

 

[Page 84]

 

29 The editor of the Wichita Tribune, sent me his compliments, and several papers.  So I hear, but – have not seen.  The man who was to have bought the papers is a hard case.  Some threaten him with the “linch law”  Do you know what it?  Well when they catch a horse thief they hang him to a tree, that is all.

 

July 31 The end of the month, and I have accomplished so little.  Had a letter from Sister Mary Saturday.  She says  [XXX]  McWilliams is much interested in my welfare.

 

Aug 2 Yesterday I washed, it was cloudy, so I spread the clothes on the grass.  After dinner went up to Ross’.

 

This morning I rinsed and starched the clothes, and ironed them as they got dry.  Mrs. R. lends me her iron.

 

Baked yeast biscuits for dinner, and two loaves this p.m. Also made some tea for Philips medicine out of roots, stewed a dish of plums for supper, mended some clothes, and went up the river and gathered 3 qts. of plums.  There are lots of green ones yet and I have been using plums six weeks.  Wish they would last another six weeks.  Have I not been busy!  O yes, I ate almost a whole watermelon too.

 

Yesterday was mail day, I don’t know when I will have a chance to send to the office.  We have a P.O. at the ranch now.  The P.O. master says, “Brights’ Sisters gets more mail than anyone else.  I have five or six qts. of plums dried.  Some I scald in a strong sugar syrup, they are so nice.  Don’t think I will dry any corn until after we [move].  I will be farther away from Ross’ then and cannot go there as often as I do now.  Now I must get supper.

 

3 Baked three loaves of bread this morning, then went down the river to Lanes.  They are going to W—and we sent along for $10. worth of provisions.

 

[Page 85]

 

Coming home I killed such an ugly snake.  I was washing on the sand bar in the river, carrying my shoes – It is easier walking and nearer than going through the grass.  I feel so tired this evening, my bones ache.  A letter from Bell Butler today.  Mary wants me to send her some nice bugs and butterflies, but I cant catch them.

 

4  Rained this morning, Had expected Mrs. Lane & Mrs. Summers here to spend the day.  Mr. & Mrs. Lane were here for tea.  Had good yeast biscuits.  Had the largest mellon this p.m.  I believe I ever saw and it was “best kind.”  I don’t get any sewing done worth talking about.  I have been all week making a doll for little Ida Summers.

 

6 I baked up all my flour yesterday morning.  After dinner I went up to [Pgmoires].  I should have gone long ago.  Several of the family have the ague.  O such a distressed looking place!  They live in a dugout, and the roof leaks.  They gave me a big mush melon to bring home.  We have so many water mellons.

 

When I came home, my limbs ached so badly, and such a head ache.  I am afraid it will be the ague.

 

Brother got some flour last night so I baked two loaves of bread and two pies, and it is Sunday.  My head but little better and my limbs ache so.  I did not get any mail last night.  That   [XXXX]  creek the Cow Skin is so high, no mail can cross for three or four days.  Too bad, for I am sure there are letters for me, between this and Wichita.  There are three streams between W – and here – the Arkansas River the Cow Skin Creek, and Ninnescah River, and one or the other is nearly always high.  It has been cool for two weeks & and we have had much rain.  I cannot tell you how bad the crickets are, they eat our clothing.  When I turned my bed tick, there was a double hand full in the corner next the wall.  Now I must write to Rhoda.

 

7 Dear one – I wonder if I am having the ague.  I have had fever ever since Saturday.

 

[Page 86]

 

31 Aug – 8 – 1871  Brother says, if he can get a wagon, we will move tomorrow.  So perhaps this will be the last writing I will do in this cabin.  Felt pretty well this morning, gave the cabin a good cleaning.  The cat had carried a rabbit under my bed and ate part of it.  Then I went to the river and washed the colored clothes.  After dinner went – went pluming, found two qts.  Very tired and dizzy when I came home.

 

10  Yesterday I baked and felt so well in the morning.  After dinner the fever came harder than ever.  Philip said I was getting ready for the ague, and had better take quinine.  So I took a dose, and this morning another big one.  This p.m. fever was worse than ever.  By tomorrow I think the quinine will help me.  I do not have chills, so am not sure if it is the ague.  I do not tell our folks at home, it would only worry them.

 

I was going to write so much today, but have been too ill.  Feel a little better this evening.  Philip went to W – this morning, will be back tomorrow night.  Then I will have lots of writing paper.  It was windy & cool, so the mosquitoes did not bother me today, which was good.  Have not seen a woman since Saturday.  Received a letter from Miss Sheradin.  Got a Wichita Tribune, so now I will send them another article.

 

12  Last eve Philip brought me three letters .  Here comes the wagon and we are going to move.

 

17  Philip has two oxen, with which he helped do breaking – perhaps I should explain that the first time land is plowed it is called breaking.  He had to borrow a wagon, and when I last wrote he was coming with a wagon to move.  There is so much to write I hardly know where to begin.  I have just recd. your letter, two papers and two pens.  I thank you for them.

 

I think I had better write about our new home first.

 

[Page 87]

 

I call this new home Cotton Wood Shelter, The other was a log cabin on Philip’s claim.  This home is on mine.  The logs used in both, were trees cut down by Squaws either last Winter or the Winter before.  There was a scarcity of horse feed, cause partly by the fires in the fall that burned the grass – and partly by a heavy snow.  So they cut down trees for their ponies to eat – the buds & branches.

 

The Ninnescah River is not very large now, but half a mile from it, there is a sloaping bank, which makes one think that at some time it was the bank of a great River,  From the bank to river is very level, and covered with high grass.  My garden is in this bottom land not far from Cotton Wood Shelter.  I will try and describe our home, but I wish you could see it.  As you come from the river, the bank is quite noticeable; back of it the prairie stretches down to Sumner Co. & Indian Territory.

 

The men began digging a few feet up the bank.  A ditch or passage way a little over 2 ft wide.  They kept on until the side was four feet from the sod to bottom of walk.  Then they dug out a room about 12 X 16 with a wall 4 ft high.  Then they lay logs – like a log house above, with one log through the middle.  From this middle log, they lay split logs – timber, et. then cover it with dirt for a roof.  And now you have a dugout.  At one end is a fire place.  Above the 4 ft of dirt, the chimney is made of cotton wood timber et. laid like a log house & and plastered with mud.  Ours drains well, as the top is a little higher than the prairie.  One window which is closed now with a piece of wood.  The floor soon gets trampled solid and as the passage way slopes from the house, the rain runs away.  In one corner, 6 feet from the wall one way and two ½ the other way  A big limb of a tree with a branch, or crotch is planted in the ground, then a pole rests in the crotch with one end, and the other end is driven into the wall, pieces are laid on the pole and the other end is driven with the wall, pieces are laid on the pole and the other end driven in the wall – So my bed was made, and when my hay tick was on top, with

 

[Page 88]

 

pillows and covers.  I had a good bed, one side I used my double blanket shawl for a curtain, and on the other my single shawl.  Brother has two buffalo robes he sleeps on, and uses blankets for coverings.  John’s claim is next to mine.  He has a sort-of dug out there, and is sleeping there part of the time.  He works down at the ranch or when ever he can get work, when he is well enough.  We have a good lookout from here, and it is healthier than down by the river.  Our room is lighter and more cheerfull.  A little way from the house, they dug a well on the levee, only five or six feet deep and we have plenty water.  We keep it covered so it is reasonably cool.

 

I thought I would describe the Dugout first then tell of our getting settled here in Cotton Wood [shelter]. 

 

When we got here I had such a bad attack of ague.  I had to take blankets and laydown on the floor as the bed was not fixed yet.  When evening came, I was better, but scarcely able to walk.  Philip worked all day, hauled two loads of wood et. and Sunday was not able to be up:  John came but he was about as much good as a wooden man.  He made me some tea, but that I had to ask him to do.  We had callers, and the house all in confusion.  Monday I managed to bake.  Philip fixed things around the house, but at 11 he had to be down with a chill, and after dinner I had to do the same.  I had taken quinine, but not enough.  My fever was over by sun down, but his kept up all night.  Yesterday evening it left for a short time, then came back, and he was delirious all day.  O but it was hard, and the tears would fall when I cooled his head with a wet towel.  John works up on his claim.  I got him an early supper, and asked him to go to see Mr. Ross and tell him how he was.  Mr. R came back with him, he said it was an attack of bulimia fever.  He left some medicine which he was to take as soon as the fever left him.  This morning Mr. R – came again.  He is so much better and I am so thankfull.  This is my day for the ague, but I took so

 

[Page 89]

 

much quinine this time it may not come back.  Nevertheless the quinine its self makes me half sick.  I lay down some of the time, but hope we will both be well in a few days.  Having ague has prevented my writing in my journal also I have not finished an article I began for the Wichita paper.  I recd. a letter today, that had been written in June.  It had wandered down to Summer City.  These few days I have realized some of the unromantic sides of life on the frontier.

 

Last Sunday Mrs. Lane wanted me to so badly to go with her until I got well, but on brothers account I am so glad I did not go.

 

17  All the writing I did yesterday was in my journal.  I have been very busy to day, and did not lay down once.  It is 4 o’clock, and I have just one hour to write.  Brother is still poorly, has fever – and part of the time, don’t know what he says.  I am quite well again and my appetite is coming back.   These are our dark days I expect – but I am not homesick, O no, I am glad to be here with poor sick Philip.  Every once in a while I get up to do something for him.  Last Aug. I came west to Indiana and later here, and I have not spent a cent for hats since – have no occasion to wear one I have sunbonnets I wear every day.  My hair is up and I have not written much.  After supper – I am sitting on the wood pile, the view from here is beautiful.  In front is the meadow – with its tall grass and my garden patch, it must be nearly a half mile to the river, with just a few trees, and acrost the river I can see the roof of [Lgmires] dug out; and that is the only sign of civilization in my circle of vision. – Down the river a little, are the big cottonwoods on Philips land and in from the river are sandbanks and a clump of cotton woods.  A little farther in is Philips corn patch, where the mellons – lots of them are rotting.  The sun is setting, it is so nice here.  If Philip were only able to sit out here too. 

 

18 Last night brother was wild with fever.  I cannot tell what I suffered, but today he is quite sane but very weak.  I washed this morning, and am baking now.

 

20  This is Sunday and I had thought to do so much writing today but just when I had finished my work, and before I was dressed, who should drive up in an open buggy (the first I have seen in 3 months)

 

[Page 90]

 

but Mr. Frank Summers and his step-mother & little Ida.  They were here for dinner.  John had been to the P.O. yesterday and brought me a letter from home.  There was a handsome colar in it.  He came back by way of Lanes, and Mrs. L – sent me fresh buffalo meat, enough for three meals.  I had fried for supper & breakfast, and par boiled the rest thinking to have soup, as I had not made any before.  We had a nice dinner without it; but I made soup for supper, and it was fine, and I wished I had made it for dinner.  John went to the garden and got a big mellon, put it in the well to cool.  After dinner when he got it - it was wet and slippery, and fell out of his hands, in front of Mrs. Summers and broke in two.  It was too laughable, It was an extra good mellon but we could not eat it all.  Frank is hearding or something up near Wichita & when ever he comes home, he comes to see us.  Now Mrs. Lane will have something to tease me about.  She is a great teas.  After they left, I wrote a long letter home.  Jake S went up to Wichita, was sick, and has not come back yet.  Brother is getting well slowly, & his appetite is poor.  It is terrible to be sick, out in the frontier.  I have three letters to write, but it is too late to do more tonight.

 

21  This morning I set the house to rights – set yeast for biscuits for supper, then went to the garden.  Gathered 2 doz. cucumbers from my late vines, then got a mushmellon & a water mellon, and came home.  John came with corn, and we had dinner.  Wrote to Miss Sheradin and Dr. Treder.  We have such lovely sunsets and evenings.  Tomorrow I must write to Mrs. Gussie Ramsey and work at my paper for the newspaper.

 

22  I baked this morning, and fixed Philips shirt.  John went to the garden and brought up six mellons.  After dinner I  [XXX]   and dressed and started to write.  Then who should come, but  [XXX]  Smith, John and Stafford.  They teased Philip – told him he would not keep his house keeper long, “My gun’s loaded” said Philip, and pointed to where his gun hung.  Jake is going to town, so I gave him letters to mail – and sent some mellons to Mrs. Lane, she is sister of Mr. Staffords.

 

One of Philips big [Steers] died.  It is such a pitty, he was a good worker, now the team is spoiled.

 

[Page 91]

 

23  This morning was busy until noon, [browned] coffee et.  A very heavy shower last night.  As we have no door to close, it rained in some.  John has fever to night and is flightly.

 

Cottonwood Shelter – Aug 25.  Yesterday I put off writing until after supper, then it was too late, for the boys came home late.  This p.m. I got paper and was just going to write – when a wagg on drove up.  I went to the door and there was Mr. Bass with brother Hiram and cousin Tom Evans.  We were so glad to see them.

 

Sept 1  Have not written in my journal for nearly a week – wanted to but had no time.  When one has nothing but a dutch oven to bake in and four men to eat bread, it keeps one busy.  I must go back and write up – I had baked the Friday, the day they came, but knew we would need more bread.  So I baked Saturday to have bread for Sunday.  Baked a nice lot of bread and pies, but it goes slow with a dutch oven and it was supper time before I got ginger cookies baked.  Hiram had found some elderberries at the river – enough for a pie.  I flavored it with whiskey – and they pronounced it good.  We always have a bottle of whiskey on the shelf in case of snake bites, but I never knew any one to taste it.  Saturday eve they said I must bake a lot of bread for Monday they were going on a buffalo hunt;  So I set yeast and baked all Sunday a.m. then got dinner.  I was so weak I could hardly stand, they I laid down a couple of hours.  I had taken two doses of quinine, so I would not have the ague while they were here, and they made me have fever I think.  I felt better and got supper.  We had a very heavy shower – it came in the door ever so much.  Monday morning we packed our provisions and bedding.  I put the house to rights.  They did not come very early.  Jake was driver, he had the two best mules hitched to the wagon, and John Roberts & George – who lives with Jake – rode the

 

[Page 92]

 

other two. We had an open barrel in which to put the meat and a sack of salt to salt it, and wood to cook with, and skillet et.  Jack said “here Abbie is a good seat.”  So I sat by him on the spring seat, which had a blanket on it.  All ready, and away we went toward the South West, and away from the Ninnescah.  I was the only girl, They all treated me so thoughtfully.  The buffalo had been within six miles of us, 10 or 15 days, before and the Texas cattle hearders had shot some, but the men did not know how far we would have to go, or if we would see any – When out about six miles, we passed carcases of buffalo that had been shot by the hearders in driving them away from their cattle.  When we saw the first buffalos, we were some 12 miles from our dugout – when we saw the first live buffalo.  Before that we saw a gray wolf – prairie chickens, and rode close enough to a dog town to see them frisk into their holes – also three little flocks of antelopes, “bounding over the prairie.”  Some place we saw lots of cactus or prickly pair.  This was upland prairie, the grass was short, no trees or brush in sight.

 

Of  course we all wanted to be the first to see the buffalo.  Jake spied the first one, about 5 miles to our left.  Then we went in 2 or 3 miles further, when we saw 5 within ¾ miles.  It was noon, and we had reached Sandy Creek, so we camped, and had dinner, and fed the mules.  The creek was well named, there was no water in it.  It was a [slight] [depression] running towards the south.  Philip and Jake being the best marksmen, started along the depression in the direction of the buffalos.  They are hard to kill, unless one is near enough to shoot them in the eye, or just back of front leg.  As Hiram and Tom did not have time to stay long, they thought they had better try and get the first they could.  It is a well known fact, that the older bulls keep on the out skirts of the heards – as sentinals, one might say.  The boys got close enough for each to shoot one in the leg, they followed the wounded animal, by crawling in the grass and got near enough to shoot again – then we followed slowly in the wagon.

 

[Page 93]

 

Wounded buffalos are very savage, and it is not safe to go near them with a team.  We stoped a short distance from the first one, which was lying down, and we supposed not get up again.  We got out of the wagon, and was looking at the magnificent monarch of the prairie, when unexpectedly he jumped up and made a dash towards the team; John ran & jumped into the wagon and I, who was standing near the heads of the mules, grabbed their bridles of the nearest, just as they made a dash for to run away.  The boys championed me in saving the day, et.  The quick dash of the buffalo, was his last effort as he fell down and died.  The other one did same half mile away.  Unless you have seen one you have no idea how ugly and savage they are.

 

The boys cut them up – saving only the hind quarters – then we went back to the Sandy Creek, and camped for the night.  It was well toward evening.  The boys spread the wagon cover in the grass – and cut the meat up and put it to cool in the cover, and cousin Tom and I got supper, besides bacon we had fried buffalo – good coffee – and bread.  I looked so much all day, in the bright sun, that my eyes hurt and head ached.  They were a jolly set of men and had lots of sport.

 

Hiram put a robe under the wagon , and I laid down using my comfort for cover, and keeping my sunbonnet on to keep the insects out of my hair and ears.

 

A skunk chased one of the boys – and he had a time getting it away from camp, and shooting it.

 

I did not sleep for a couple hours.  The boys laughed and cut up.  I forgot to mention that while they were getting what meat they wanted from the animals they shot.

 

We saw so many buffalos, a big one passed within ½ mile and a great heard crossed the divide – grazed on our side, then crossed back out of sight.

 

The first thing we knew Tuesday morning early, was Hiram crowing with all his might.  Some of the boys

 

[Page 94]

 

salted and packed the meat in a bowl, the others got breakfast.  Then we started home, with all the mules hitched to the wagon,  I drove four or five miles, “four in hand” was not that grand?  I drove and Jake whipped.  Sometimes I would drive through a buffalo wallow, and we would all get a jolt.  Hiram and Tom were much pleased with the hunt; Indeed we all had a fine time.

 

We reached home before noon.  We had enough bread for two meals, so after dinner I set [sponge] to bake.  Mr. Ross drove over in p.m. and got meat for himself and Pgmires.  We did not want much.

 

The boys had to leave next day, a short stay, but Hiram has so much stock – it is almost impossible for him to get away at all.

 

I  [XXXX]  the yeast all p.m. and after they had gone to bed, I baked a loaf and four large biscuits & little loaves in one pan for them to take with them for lunch.

 

I slept so good that night, and got up early Wednesday morning.  I wanted to go with the boys as far as Lanes.  A very heavy dew, and they thought I had better stay at home, but I wanted to go so badly.  The boys went ahead.  I followed and held up my clothes as much as possible but when we got to Jakes, my feet – stockings, even garters, were all wet.  Mr. Smith made a big fuss about my walking through the wet.  They were hitching the team when we got there, when we got to Lanes I got out.  I was sorry to see them go, but it could not be helped.

 

Mr. & Mrs. Lane and her brother are all ailing, walked around all a.m. thinking to give Mrs. Lane a little rest.  In p.m. I got a chill, then fever.  They wanted me to stay all night, and Mr. L – bring me home next morning, but he was poorly, so I said

 

[Page 95]

 

if they would let me have Cricket the pony, I would come home.  When I got as far as Jakes, I was so tired I stoped to rest.  George lifted me from the sadle – Mr. Smith came to the door, he was just getting a chill.  He is a great talker – made some tea for me, and I must eat some stewed cherries and biscuit.  John R – was lying on the floor with fever.  After a good long talk with Mr. S – (who is from Maine) and a laugh or two I felt better.  He would not let me come home alone, so George got a horse and came along.  It was nearly dark when we reached here.  O but I was glad to get home.  I was tired too after my ride in a man’s saddle, Geo. Took Cricket with him.

 

Philip was in bed.  When we came from the hunt he felt sick, and laid down, and has had fever ever since.  Thursday (yesterday) I felt very weak, did up the house work, and wrote to Mother, and laid down about half the time.

 

Sept 2  This morning things look bluer than ever.  Philip still has fever and is weaker.  I am weak and have no appetite.  I forgot to mention, Mr. Smith was here yesterday.  He don’t want me to take so much quinine.  He uses some kind of pills for the ague and gave me some.  I took four yesterday – had a very slight chill last night.  I have a cold too, and that makes me feel miserable.

 

Sept. 3 – Sept. This morning I puttered around, and baked two nice loaves of bread for over Sunday, but if we don’t get better they will last a long time.  I fed and watered the ox.  His name is Redie.  He is quite a pet, although he has big horns.  I am not afraid of him.  I feed him corn, mellons et.  When I call him, he comes just as far towards me – as his rope will let him.  Today I was untying him from the log, and the first thing I knew he had his nose on my shoulder.  Too bad his mate died.  They were such a good yoke of oxen.  Such good workers. 

 

[Page 96]

 

Thousands and thousands of Texas cattle have been driven North over the Trail this Summer.  Some heards were allowed to graze this side of river, before crossing.  The Texas cattle generate – I think that is the word – in their long journey, a substance in their feet or toes, that poisons the grass – This does not hurt them, but if native cattle eat the grass where they have been, it causes them to have Texas fever, and they die.  That is what killed Redies mate.

 

Philip thinks he is a little better this evening, I hope so.  John R. just came – Jake sent me an apple.  It was sour so I ate it.  He is sick too.  Hiram brought us some apples, material for Philip a shirt, and calico for me a dress, and a lot of papers.  It is not likely I shall get out of writing paper or envelopes, for Hiram brought me two packs of yellow envelopes and a lot of paper, and Philip had just laid in a supply for me.

 

4  Yesterday morning I awoke with a head ache.  I still had a fever, but when I got up to make some tea, he said I should go back – he would make it.  John got his own breakfast.  He had a chill the night – before and such groaning, it was a perfect nuisance.  We are a sickly set.  I don’t mind myself, but it hurts me so when Philip is sick, and he was scarcely able to walk this morning.  John talked of going to Rosses yesterday, then he said he would go this morning but he is so [contemplative] slow.  While he was sitting out on the wood pile this morning, Philip said, “can’t you go.”  Yes, I am planning to go as soon as the table is cleared.  I did not have a path all the way, and when I got near the river, I waided through grass 3 and 4 feet high, and weeds lots higher.  Near the river under a tree, I saw a big snake coiled – It did not move and I went another way.  I was frightened.

 

[Page 97]

 

Of course I had a cane – never walk with out one.  Ross’s house is near the river bank.  I did not cross – just called and one of the girls brought the medicine over.  Mrs. Ross has the ague too.  Mr. Smith didn’t like me to take so much quinine, and shared his pills with me.  I have two yet – I think they are better than quinine.  I cant stick to a subject, things get mixed. 

 

Coming home from Ross’s, I got so weak and dizzy at times, I was afraid I would fall down.  It got very warm too.  I was so glad to give Philip the medicine, then I laid down in my bed, and rested.

 

This p.m. I made fresh pickel for the buffalo meat, and worked with some we are drying.  I just walk out the trench, then up the bank, until we get behind the dugout, then we get in the roof, and hang the meat down the chimney.  Very handy.

 

I am asked sometimes, if I am not sick of Kansas.  No I am not; Hiram wanted me to go along back – but I said I would stay my two months yet.  It is very sickly, but so it is in most counties, people are careless too.  Philip was not over the bilious spell – when we all went on the buffalo hunt and the long ride in the sun was too much.  I took that walk through the wet grass the day the boys left, and ate mushmellens at Lanes.  Which I should not have done.  So it is nearly all carelessness.  I would dearly like to go on another hunt and not be so hurried.  The sun is setting, the sky is a glorious vision of colors.

 

Mr. Smith had chill and fever the other night and got flighty.  He thought he had a two story head, and could not keep track of the upper story.  That amused Jake, with all our chills and fever, some funny things happen – and on our free days, we have some hearty laughs.

 

5. Another day gone – and little done.  Philip is so afraid I will over do, and get sick.  This p.m. I sewed, mended, made a

 

[Page 98]

 

bag out of a gingham apron for the dried meat.  The meat hung around until I was tired seeing it.  I want to take some East when I go home.  When the hearders out here need meat, they kill a steer.  Slice the meat thin, hang it on rope in the air, and it soon dries.  Then it is called “jerked meat.”  The air out on the prairie is so dry and pure, it soon dries.  Mrs. Lane gave me some jerked meat they had bought from a hearder.  It was very sweat and nice.

 

Philip is much better, his appetite is much better than mine.  J – went – away this morning.  I watered Reddie this evening.  Had to dip so much water.  Another lovely evening.

 

Sept 6 This a.m. washed, and p.m. baked two loaves of bread & a pie.  I watered Reddie this morning, carried all the water and wood for washing.  Philip is very weak yet, but John lay on the  [XXX]  nearly all day, while I scarcely took time to sit down, except while I wrote a letter to Rhoda.  I got one from her last night, also one from cousin Emma Martin.  We get our mail oftener since they have a Post Office down at the Trail.  It is called Clear Water P.O.

 

7 The sun is just setting, a great – great ball of fire in the West.  To the south we see great volumes of smoke.  The prairie is on fire but out of sight.  It reminds me of an Indian chief captured not long ago down in the Territory.  He was to be shot, for some crime he and his fowlers had committed.  He was pleading for his life and said, “Let me go back, and teach my children peace.  To [kill] me, it will be like throwing a fire brand into the dry prairie.  Have been busy all day.  This p.m. cut out a shirt for Philip.  John got some medicine today.  Do hope he will get over the ague.  Some times he groans like a young Vesuvius or Mt. Etna.

 

10 Have not written for two days – I had time, but there was nothing special to write about.  Finished the shirt all but button holes.  Did not get the mail, am sure there is mail at the office for me.  Two weeks ago the boys were here.  How fast the time flies.  Only October yet, then my six months will be over, and I will begin to think of the East.  Indeed I am thinking of it already.  Philip had intended going to Texas, but his health not being good I think he will spend the Winter at Hirams, and we will start for there just as soon as I pay up on my claim.  It’s just one month since we left the

 

[Page 99]

 

“The little cabin home, by the rivers [booming] side.”  And all week I have been thinking of going over to see how it looks.  I started this morning just as soon as my work was done up.  Just about a mile, took my time and walked leisurely along.  Sometimes, it seemed as if I was taking good by looks, and perhaps I was, for it is a long walk and I am not as [strong] as I was when I came to Kansas.  We have corn, potatoes and mellons near the cabin, I took a small mellon to the cabin.  O how lonely and dreary it seemed, paths grown over, leaves dropping from some of the trees, and the cabin don’t seem like that old cheerful place at all.  I ate a little mellon, then left.  It was so dreary I could even rest there.  I went up the river to the plum patch.  Gathered three qts.  Was in sight of Ross’ home, had I been dressed, think I would have gone over, but my shoes are bad and I had on an old dress.  I still have a little self respect left.  Coming home I got two [messes] of corn – and a bouquet of grasses, which I will try and dry in the shade.

 

When I reached home there was no one here.  Suppose they have gone to Jakes.  Mr. Smith has been quite ill, had fever something like Philip had, but is better now.  Am stewing dried apples for supper.  Stew some plums – save the juice and stew the apples in that, it makes them taste so much better. 

 

When we were out hunting Hiram broke the handle of our tea kettle, and it was so unhandy, Philip fixed one on yesterday.  He is very handy fixing things, when he is well.  He made a darning needle out of a piece of wire, for me.  The boys just came and brought the mail.

 

Sept 12  Yesterday I intended to bake, kneaded out two loaves, but they would not get light, baked one just before dinner, it was like led.  Mixed more yeast, with what I had in the tray, pounded coffee – (we have coffee mill) had browned the coffee first.  Filled a can with pounded coffee.  All the time the bread worried me.  In p.m. I copied my expenses for the year, and some other writing, then I took a chill, and laid down – I got supper.  I managed to kneed the bread stiff.  P – said “let it go.”  This morning it was nice and light; and the loaf I put in a pan yesterday morning was very light; and I baked it at once.  It is something like salt risen bread.  I never had such a time before.  One of our neighbors hunted for bone set tea.  I do not think it grows here.  Am taking a new kind of medicine today.  Believe it is Sulphuric acid and quinine.  It is sour.  Mr. Ross is a sort of an ague Dr., at least we consult him.

 

[Page 100]

 

Washed this a.m. besides baking three loaves of bread.  I don’t think I will have a chill tomorrow.  I am getting thin.  I will soon look like the man who had ague so long he looked like two knitting needles stuck into a mellon seed, as Bell Butler said Jake would call this a “Hefty letter,” a little new slang.  He is helping put up a house for a Mr. Lucky. 

 

14  I did not feel inclined to write yesterday.  George came up in p.m. said Jake had been to the office.  There were two papers and two letters for me.  One letter was from cousin Lizzie, and the other was the one I sent to Rhoda some days ago, they had made a mistake.  Mr. Smith is poorly, Geo said they expected the Dr. from Wichita.  So I gave him Rhodas letter and three others, and asked him to have the Dr. mail them in Wichita.  Geo. had scarcely gone when I had a chill, and went to bed.  Philip got supper and made me tea et.  The fever was not very high.  Today I have been taking Mr. Ross’ medicine, and don’t feel very spry.  P – had a chill today but is quite over it now.  Had a worrying time with my baking today, must get new yeast before I bake again.  Our folks sent me one [I] [hope], and I have kept in yeast, by making it with corn meal and drying it.  When Mrs. West moved to Wichita, they gave me their cat – Jim.  He has been lots of company, when we moved up here.  I carried him in my lap.  The mice and rats are so bad down at the Retreat, that Jake has borrowed him.  I will miss him, I often get awake at night, and he is lying at my feet.  I don’t think I will have a chill tomorrow, and then I will sew, and write letters home.

 

Last weeks W – Tribune had “Here and there from Brains Journal” on front page.  Quite flattering, but it was too  [XXX]  an article for such a conspicuous place.  John went down the river this morning – wish he would stay a week – makes me so less work.

 

15  The month half gone – Philip and I had a big job this morning, and one for which John is responsible – When people are careless, and live like they do at some of the ranches – and bachelor establishments, and don’t wash – they get lousy, body lice.  Now Philip is very particular, and never lounges around or sleeps at

 

[Page 101]

 

such a place.  He never sleeps away from home, unless he goes to Wichita.  But this – John is not so – He has been sleeping down at the ranches at the trails, and got lousy – Then he slept in Philip’s blankets and they got lousy.  So we boiled them in the big camp kettles, one at a time and I washed them in the tub as best I could.  Then P – boiled his clothes.  He kept the fire going, and carried the wood, while I finished them in the tub.  John had been out at the wood pile – he came in and said, “boiling your clothes?  Well I believe I will boil mine too.”  I felt like letting my tongue loose, but managed to keep still.  I do not want him to be able to say anything ill of us, when he gets home, although he lives off of us and is seldom on his claim.

 

16  Another day almost over, have not been strong today, sewed some, baked two crumb pies, and had biscuits for supper.  J went to the ranch.  Hope he will bring me some letters, wrote home yesterday, fortunate to get it off so soon to the office.  Mary has been visiting at Marietta at the [Camerous].  Went home via Reading.  Tomorrow is Sunday, if I feel well  I will write some – The other day I heard some one call, so I went out – There was a hearder on such a pretty pony.  It had a brand W40 and one I have forgotten.  When he saw me he grabbed off his hat.  He was so surprised to see a woman.  He inquired about some lost horses – and then rode on.  Philip leaves a gun – and told me to use it if any one should disturb me – So far I have not been alarmed.  How the boys would protect me if it should be necessary.  They do treat me so brotherly – one reason is they think so much of  Philip.

 

17  Well our mail was two letters for Philip, a long letter for me from Miss Sheradin, and two bundles of papers.  When writing to Maria S. – I always sent a message to her brother Will.  In my last I said next year is

 

[102]

 

Leap Year – and if he don’t want to say no to me when he sees me coming, he had better run.  In her letter she say he sent this message.  “I will not run, and will not say No. even if it is Leap Year.”  Well Will “A little message now and then is relished by the wisest men.”  I know Will enjoyed the message and it is good to have a little fun occasionally

 

Jake sent me a mess of sweet potatoes yesterday.  We could not get any plants last Spring.  I have just finished a letter to Hiram, and will write to cousin Emma now.

 

22  It is such a long time since I wrote, that I almost hate to begin for I have so much to write.  Monday I baked – P – went to see the neighbors.  He came back at noon – said “Mrs. Lane was very sick.  I had better go down.”  It was about 3 o clock when I started.  I took a loaf of fresh bread along for Mr. Smith.  He is getting better, but has a poor appetite.  I thought it would be better than soda biscuits.  The grass was high, and no path.  It was hard walking.  I rested at the Retreat and had a long talk with Mr. Smith.  He said he wished I could see some of the sights in New Mexico and Arizona that he had seen.  He mentioned in particular, Jacobs Well and Inspiration Rock.  When I left he said, “You are not strong, do be very careful and don’t get sick.  Don’t try to do too much.” 

 

There had been a log over the branch between the Retreat, and Lanes, but it had been moved, and I had to take off my shoes & stockings and wade.  It was a miray place, and I went in half way up to my knees.  Such ugly tary mud.  I had a great time washing it off before I could go on.  When I got to Lanes, Mrs L. was sick in bed.  Mr. L. just able to crawl around and Mr. Stafford her brother, was getting supper.  They all seemed glad to see me.  I went to work at once, fix supper, we had mush and milk, coffee and pie.  After supper I set

 

[Page 103]

 

set bread to raise, then commenced at the dishes thought I would never get done.  So many things setting around a little bit of a room – two beds – and every thing topsy turvy – Mrs. L got up and I made her bed, then Mr. L bed.  The brother sleeps out in a sort of dug out – where they keep barrels et.  After that I bathed Mrs. L.  She had what they call the “flue”, East we call it dysentery.  I was very tired when I laid down and the mosquitoes were so bad, I could scarcely sleep.  Tuesday morning I got breakfast and waited on Mrs. L – who I thought made more fuss than was necessary.  Washed the dishes and lots of things I did not see [XXX]  night before.  Dressed a chicken, kneaded the bread – browned coffee, and what not.  Had chicken and sweet potato for dinner.  It was long after dinner when the work was done, and bread baked. 

 

Then Mr. Lane wanted me to go to P.O.  So I got on Cricket, their Mexican pony, and rode over.  It was the first time I had been to the trail since I came in [April].  I stuck the trail just as the last of a heard were passing.  I asked one of the men if it was safe for me to ride on.  He said there was “no danger.  That the beeves were all ahead a mile or more and these are just young cattle, and laggers.”  So I crossed the river and rode to the P.O.  The p.m. was out side, He said Mr. John (Jake) had been there and got the mail.  Coming back a large flock of prairie chickens flew up, and frightened the pony – but I managed to stick on.

 

Got supper when I got back.  Went to bed so tired, I slept like a log.  Got up once to give Mrs. L – medicine. 

 

Wednesday a.m. Jake passed and gave me my letter, it was from sister Mary.  She writes they have so many grapes.  How I wish we had some.  They would help fight the ague.  Was busy until after 3 p.m., then went and called on Mrs. Elsworth & her sister Mrs. Luckie.  Luckies move to town next Tuesday.  She invited me very particularly to visit them in Wichita, but I never go to town.

 

After supper, I set yeast again.  Got up in the night to give her medicine.  When morning came I fixed the bread, and baked four pies, three out of pie mellon, and one plum pie.  Mr. L – stopped, some hunter, and bought some buffalo meat, about the size of my body.  He put it on the table, and I was

 

[Page 104]

 

expected to attend to it.  I cut it up and salted it in a  [XXX].  I got dinner, but when it was ready I got sick in my stomach.  I had given Mrs. L. her dinner before, and shant soon forget how particular she was.  After the men sat down to dinner I lay down. After dinner they left the house, and the table stand and stove, Either one of them could have emptied it.  Later I went out vomited and felt some better, cleared the table and washed the dishes, but was obliged to lay down again before finishing.

 

The Lanes intended going to town just as soon as she was able to ride that far.  When she announced that she “could go today” I was surprised for she had not sat-up 15 minutes at a time, since I was there.  Then to think of riding 20 miles in a big wagon.  She certainly is very imprudent, or else not nearly as ill, as she has acted.  I said I would have to go home, I was feeling so badly.  Mr. L – got Cricket and I started home, by that time the chill was over, and the fever had come.  When I reached the Retreat, Jake came out with a paper for me (the editor of the Tribune sends me a paper regularly now) Mr. Smith was getting supper – Wm. Philips was there for tea.  They urged me to stay for supper, but I road on; their fresh buffalo and sweet potatoes did not tempt me.  I was anxious to get home and lie down, and anxious too about Philip.  I took the foot trail acrost the branch – as it was nearer.  Cricket did not want to go any farther and at a steep place, whirled around and started back.  I plied the whip and got to the bottom, and thought he would wade the water, but in place of that he gave a big jump, and started up the other side full tilt.  I grabbed his main, and stuck to the saddle.  It is a mystery to me how I ever kept my seat, as I had a mans sadle, and rode side ways.  I remember nothing of the rest of the way, but I know when I got

 

[Page 105]

 

home, Philip lifted me from the saddle – and I could not stand.  I just sat down – after a time I went in and to bed.  I wonder I lived to tell the tale, after Cricket capered around so.  Well I promised Philip I would never ride Cricket again.  He said he was not safe for me to ride, and was indignant at Lanes for letting me have him when I was not well.  I feel much better than I expected to, after my long ride home last Evening.  Philip took Cricket home this morning.  He is going with them to W-. I sent along for some things.  Have been very busy to day, so many things to do.  Started hop yeast, which I will thicken with corn meal in the morning, then dry.  Baked two loaves of bread.  The boys were out and had been using sourdough and soda, browned coffee and et.

 

Sept 24  I did not have the house [XXX]  up yesterday morning, when Mr. Newcomer came.  He is the father of Mrs. Elsworth & Mrs. Lucky.  He is here for a visit.  They expect to go on a buffalo hunt, and want me to stay with Mrs. E – who is not well until they come back.  I scarcely knew what to say.  P – does not like Elsworth – he owes brother and he has the name of running off cattle et.  I was puzzled what to say, but told him P – was not home and it would all depend on him – He said he would be back this morning.  He [gassed] about an hour – then left.  Now an hour is a long time to loose, when one has baking in hand et. I put bread in pans, made dry yeast:  put it in paper today.  Then I scraped three mellons, got about 3 qts. of juice, this I boiled down, then thickened with plums long after dinner when it was boiled enough.  Besides the bread I baked a plum pie.  Did not feel well, but there was so much to do – after being away so long, but at 5 p.m. I had a chill – and John had to get his own supper.  I slept pretty well last night.  This morning I got up early and got breakfast.  I felt so hungry, as I had not had any Supper.  I put the house in order, then washed and [combed] and sat down to write.  This is Sunday, and I intend to rest.  Expect Philip towards evening.

 

25  P – came home about 3 p.m. yesterday, and had walked nearly all the way from W (20 miles).  He brought me a cake of chocolate, nutmegs, medicine, and

 

[Page 106]

 

nice cakes.  I wanted a couple pounds of brown sugar for baking, we have plenty of white.  He got 7 lbs. Because he could get that much for a dollar.  Lanes will the sugar – and some other things when they come home.

 

Have not been well to day, a bad attack of diarrhea.  Last night I wanted to go out, and there was a skunk in the door way.  The prairie is on fire somewhere acrost the river, and behind a divide.  In the evening the reflection river, and behind a divide.  In the evening the reflection is gorgeous.  There have been fires several days – and the air is quite smoky.  It is early for prairie fires.  This p.m. I finished, “I Dreamed a Dream the other Night.”  I’ll send the paper home, if it is published.

 

1871 Sept 30  Since last Monday have been in bed nearly all the time.  An attack like Mrs. Lane had.  So thankful to be better.  Philip has not been very well, but he did the cooking – brought me some of my meals to my bed.  I sent to Mrs. L for some of her medicine.  She sent me just a little, but it helped me, little as it was.  I have no appetite.  How I did dream, I came the nearest to being home sick I ever was.  Philip gone out to see if he could get a shot at a prairie chicken.  Hope he will get one.  It is laughable, to see Philip baking flap jacks for himself.  John is at Lanes – making hay, is near time of the year to make hay, but grass in some places is fine.

 

To be sick a week, and not see a woman is pretty hard, may I never again experience it.

 

We have not seen Jimmie cat to day.  I am afraid a coyote or gray wolf caught him last night.  A letter from Carrie Raver this week.  This is the last of Sept.  One month yet, and I will be thinking of packing, and home.  O I believe there is magic in that word, and yet I shall regret to leave this place.  The sun is setting, I must have a look of this last Sept. sunset, and may it be pictured on memorys wall for a long time.  This p.m., I took a little walk looking for Jim cat, did not find him.

 

Oct. 1  A beautiful morning.  John came back, had two letters for us from home, one for Philip and one for me.  The Summers were here today.  Mr. S – likes to tease me, it is a pity I don’t marry Frank, and some six more.

 

[Page 107]

 

O you Reading girls come out and help me.  When they left – they went to our mellon patch.  Since I am taking guanine, I cannot eat mellon – it makes me sick, and there are so many going to waist.  I ought to write two or three letters to day but do not feel able.

 

3  Yesterday I did up the work, thinking to wash to day – but my tub would not hold water, not having washed for two weeks.  I kept the tub under my bed – have it on pieces of wood.  Baked, had “perfect success.”  Yesterday I baked ginger snaps – Just finished a long letter to Mrs. Sheridan, and started one home.  Mrs. Summers was up to see if I would stay with Elisha and Ida while she goes with the men on a hunt.  I promised I would, and they will come for me tomorrow.  I have written this p.m. until my wrist aches.

 

4  Washed this morning, I [XXX]  colored clothes after dinner.  I have an iron I borrowed from Mrs. Lane.  Summers did not come for me.  Saw prairie fire last night, such a sight.

 

6  Yesterday we had a real wind storm.  Was obliged to put a blanket up at the door, and put sticks acrost the inside, to keep it from blowing up all the time.  When ever it was open – great rolls of tumble weed would come in.  What a house we had.  I mended a pair of pants and vest for Philip, and tried to read.  Toward evening a thunderstorm came on, then it was just as disagreeable as it could be.  Cold, windy and almost dark.  This is the way many people live all Winter.  How true it is that one half the people, do not know how the other half live.  I did not wish myself elsewhere – for I wanted to see how it goes to live in the frontier in all the

 

[Page 108]

 

realities, I was dressed warm but was so cold, I went to bed early to get warm.

 

Oct. 14  Over a week since I wrote in my journal.  I should have taken it along.  Now I have over an hours writing to do, and most likely I will some points of interest and write others of no importance.  Last Saturday I had my morning work finished, and was cutting up a duck for dinner, and fixing a goose for Sunday dinner.  (Brother had shot them at the river,) when Janette Rose came with a letter for me.  It had a draft in it for $3.00.  Then Mr. Summers came for me.  They were ready to start on a hunt. He wanted Philip to go along on the hunt, but he said he was not well enough.  Then he asked John – and he went.  He was in a great flurry about “shooting [XXX]”  wanted all he could get.  We soon started – I would rather have stayed home with Philip – but it had been arranged that I should stay with the children.  I was on the most comfortable sadle and the best riding horse I have been on, in this state.  It was a real nice ride.  I just paced along while Mr. Summers who was an overseer of slaves in Virginia, before the war, kept talking all the time with his southern accent, and declared that if he was a young man, I should “never leave the Ninnescah single.”  I laughed at him, and said there were very nice young men in the East.

 

When we crossed the branch down near Lanes, we saw a very large snake, I think the longest I ever saw.  “Well” he said, “If I was not in such

 

[Page 109]

 

a hurry, I would get off and kill it.”  They left soon after we got there.  When she told me there was “nothing in the house but flour and bacon” I thought she was joking.  When I went to get dinner – Lish the 12 year old boy – said “I guess you will have to bake bread for dinner.”  Would you believe it, there was not a crumb of bread, or a bit of soda in the house.  She had started salt-risen bread in a tea cup, but that would not be ready before night, and I had never baked any either.  I found a few potatoes, and some dried fruit.  Here I was, with little to eat for three of us, and I had left a duck dinner – good yeast bread et. came those miles – to an almost empty larder.  When we were out on the hunt, we were gone one night.  I never thought they would be gone more than one or two nights, but I missed it.  They were gone from Saturday until Wednesday evening.

 

Sunday I was not well, I took a little walk, and was so miserable, I just laid down in the grass.  I was just over the spell of dysentery, and the food I had to eat, brought it back.  So far seven meals I ate – toasted bread.  I baked three loaves of yeast bread on Sunday.  It was windy all the time they were gone.  Pieces of chinking would fall from between the logs on the South side of the house.  The house though of good size, had no windows.  Along one side were two beds, at one end a stove, and table and chairs on the side – just one big room about 18 x 14.  We used all the cut wood, and Lish was too lazy to cut as much as he should have.  The neighbors were too far away to go calling, and none came to see us.  The children were not troublesome, we all seemed stupid.  Tuesday eve I had a regular shake, I had often had chills

 

[Page 110]

 

but never a shake before.  So the time dragged along.  I was as glad as the children, when they came back Wednesday eve.  I was so anxious about Philip, and wanted to get home, but it was so late – they said they would take me home next morning.  All day there had been smoak to the West, and I was afraid the fire might sweep down to our dugout.  They had been gone so long because they had to go so far before they found any buffalo.

 

Thursday a.m. early, by the smoke, they thought the fire was coming over the divide toward us, so they rushed to plow a fire guard beyond their hay stacks.  The wind favored them and it did not cross the branch, but came this way, burning two hay stacks for Elsworth, and two others I do not know whose, also Mr. Smiths stable, and corn crib, and all the bottom down to the river.  Philip was alone, and had his hands full.  He quickly “back fired”, then moved the ox Ready, then had to watch the dugout, and about half our wood burned, and a load of chips, I am so sorry about, but ought to be thankfull it was no worse.  So much lost ground, thrown out when they built – helped save the dugout.  From Summers’ we could see the flames strike up, I was so worried, what if Philip was sick.  John had gone to Elsworth early in the a.m. and could not get back.  Later, after the fire had burned down, he came up here, Philip was not home, he had gone to the river to see if his cabin was burned, but it escaped.

 

[Page 111]

 

When John got here, there was a skunk in the room or dugout, and what did the – [skunk] do but shoot it behind my trunk!

 

Summers men did not get back until 2 o’clock.  Then we had dinner, after which Lish hitched up and brought me home.  I did think one of the men might have gone along, to see how things were up here.  Mrs S – gave me three nice pieces of meat and sent some along for John, she also gave me two preserving [citrine].  She offered to pay me for staying – but I considered it an act of neighberlyness and told her so.  Frank gave me three arrows that had been shot into a buffalo.  Last winter when out hunting they shot a buffalo that the Indians had been chacing, and there were seven arrows sticking in him, and he gave me three.  I think them quite a curiosity.  It was not easy for the Indians to kill a buffalo, unless they shot them in the eye or back of the front leg in the heart.  Their skull is so thick an arrow glances off.  The Summers are not poor people, but Mr. S is a poor provider, and Mrs. S does not get to town.  They will certainly have buffalo meat for a while, for they got over a barrel full.

 

Mrs. S. has very good beds, and nice beding, nice linen tablecloths & towels et.  The sheets – the nicest lot I have seen since I left home.  She has a sewing machine too.  She told me she had spun most of it during the war – when they lived in Virginia.  I suppose she was married just before the war.  She is the second Mrs. Summers and much younger than he is.  Truly a very nice woman.

 

[Page 112]

 

Well, Elish and I finaly got started in the big wagon toward home.  We rounded the head of the branch – which is bordered with a low growth of trees and brush, and then soon in the burnt over ground.  Down towards the retreat – (West’s House) we could see where the fire had ran through acres of corn – there was such a high wind, the fire burned the dry leaves – and the husks – so that some ears were half exposed, and others all.  The stalks were still standing, with here and there an ear that had fallen down, still smoldering.  We rounded the second branch.  The one between the Retreat and home – and saw some deer bounding towards the sand hills – poor things they have few hiding places now.  What a dreary dreary sight, in place of high waving grass over the bottom, not a green thing in sight, but the trees at the river.  I expected to find things looking bad, but my imagination was far short of the facts.  The prairie is burned black, and even, but over the bottom where the grass (and sunflowers in spots) was high it left the chared stocks standing.  The ground was still hot and a high wind blowing.

 

Philip was getting supper.  Every thing in the house was covered with little black pieces of burnt grass.  I think we were both glad to be together again.  But O the skunk smell.  P – was so provoked at John for shooting the skunk, John had gone back to the Retreat, and I was glad.  I was sick, but tried to show it as little as possible, for P – had had a hard day, and needed company and rest.  He was baking sweet potatoes, and I ate some.  I was so thankful to be home, even if every thing was covered with cinders.  The high wind had carried so much in.

 

[Page 113]

 

It was cloudy and windy – so I got chilled coming home.  After supper I went to bed and then the fever came on.  By that time it was dark.  After a while Philip came in, and said if I felt able, I should wrap up well, and come out and look at the fire.  I put on shoes and wraps, and walked around the house – and got on top.  The scene was grand beyond description.  To the South and Western ½ mile there was a sheet of flame extending East and West.  To the West there was a fire beyond fires.  To the North acrost the river there was a hay stack burning, filling the sky with smoke and causing it to be very dark.  Jake had the logs for his house ready to put up, and the fire got among them doing a lot of damage.

 

I cannot give a vivid description of the wild, fearful – yet beautiful sight.  I went back to bed, thankful that – it was burned around us.  A fire always creates a high wind, the first fire, the one that came over the divide in the morning.  While it swept on at a terrible rate, did not extend for either side – the high wind carried it into the River.  I cannot understand how so many fires in different directions, should have all burned at one time.  The people and hearders acrost the River were not expecting it to cross, but the wind was so high – the fire jumped it – and caused much trouble et.  One heard of cattle and ponies, stampeded and scattered, and some burned.  One hearder lost $700.  In the night a thunderstorm put out all the fire, and today has been cold and rainy.  I have baking on hand, and made up some citmin, the boys say it is good – so I will make up some more.

 

Oct. 18  I have been so busy, I have neglected my journal.  Sunday I wrote a long letter home.  Monday – washed, baked and made [brine] for on the meat.  Yesterday I finished the white clothes, dressed a prairie chicken for supper, and wrote a letter.  It still smells strong of the skunk John shot behind my trunk.  I was obliged to turn the head of my bed.  The smell prevented my sleeping.  There were three deer around, but they went too

 

[Page 114]

 

far away to shoot, and then it got dark, and they lost them.  Philip took his ox Ready, to Wichita on Monday.  Sold him for a cent a pound, he paid $100 for them -  Did some breaking, then one died.  He had Lanes pony, and was gone all night.

 

There was a man here this morning, hunting a girl.  Some one had sent him after me.  He had two good horses and one had a lady’s saddle, done up in blue velvet.  He said they were New Yorkers.  His appearance was gentlemanly, he said his wife was sick.  Lived 10 miles down the river.

 

Oct. 20  Baked 4 loaves of bread.  Philip shot a coyote from the door.  Skinned it, and are drying the pelt for me to take home.  The boys went to the sand hills, and came home with a big wild turkey.  Am drying some nice pelts of buffalo, that I want to take home.

 

21  This morning the boys shot a big rat at the foot of my bed.  That makes three that they have shot.  Our cat is over at the Retreat, we don’t want him now, as Philip is going to put out poison for graywolfs and coyotes. 

 

I baked pies this morning, out of pie mellon, never heard of them in the East.  Went to the garden yesterday, and have all the mellon I could eat.  We have very good squashes, I am fond of them.  The fire scorched things in the garden.  John has gone to the P.O.  Have not had any mail for over a week.  Two letters for me from home.  John just came back.

 

23  Yesterday I did not feel well, lying down nearly all day.  Philip got dinner, and a very nice one it was.  This morning the headache was gone, so I washed.  Such flocks of wild geese along the river I never saw before.  This morning I heard a hearder sing, he was out of sight.  It sounded very nice.

 

25.  This Morning Mr. Stafford came to plow.  I was so glad, we have to have a certain amount broke before we

 

[Page 115]

 

can prove up.  Well he tried it awhile, but his plow would not work, so he went home.  Mrs. Lane – his sister was with him.  She had never been here before, and was cheated out of her visit; We drove down to the garden and she took four large pie mellons with her.  Philip had covered them for her.  We found a good watermelon too.  I got an elderberry pie baked before they left.  They said it was very good.  Mr. Ross came. And he had a piece of pie too.  He was here some two hours, and of all the ridiculous things they talked about, John thought he could do  [XXXX]  if he only had a gun.  Stafford lent him a gun – but he had no luck.  Mr. Ross told him he must wiggle the gun when he shot it.

 

28  Yesterday I quite forgot my journal.  I baked and shelved some.  Philip shot another wild turkey.  We had a [fry] for breakfast, pot pie for dinner, and enough to [fry] for tomorrows dinner, It was a young turkey.  I baked pies this morning.  The boys have gone to Lanes – Hope they will get my mail.

 

29  We go to bed early, and got up late.  Lizzie Ross came over on their pony.  She had a letter for Philip – two for me and a roll of papers.  One letter was from Beckie, and the other from Dr. Treden.  He has had a sore hand and been indisposed.  In the p.m. Mr. Stafford came up.  He had two more letters for me, one from Miss Germand and Miss Sheradin.  There was another bundle of papers.

 

What a terrible fire they have had at Chicago.  The boys went to the river after dinner, and came back with two wild geese.  Mr. S – was here for supper.  We had fried turkey, squash, stewed peaches, pie, cake, coffee.  He promised to do the plowing next week.  It is smoky, and the wind is from the North, making it cold.

 

31  The last of the month, and my time is up.  As soon as the plowing is done I will prove up, and go East.  It is very cold, and a strong North wind blowing.  Yesterday it rained all day, the rain froze in the grass!  I baked, and had a slow time of it.  Stewed one of the geese, it was very good.  Had enough left for breakfast.

 

[Page 116]

 

The geese are so nice and fat.  I will roast the other one for supper.  The boys went down the river this morning.  I just had my dinner.  I baked a little corn bread in the skillet.  I am seated by the fire, writing on my lap.  The house was very uncomfortable yesterday, we had a blanket up at the door and a buffalo robe, inside that.

 

Nov. 2  A very pleasant day.  Have been busy all day, and accomplished little.  Philip shot a goose this morning.  I was most a.m. dressing it.  I am stewing it for Supper.  It is so unhandy to roast it in the oven, as the oven is small.  They began plowing to day.  I am glad I washed yesterday.

 

4  They are still plowing with two yoke of oxen.  P – s’ helping.  It will take them five days next week to finish.

 

Lanes had their last horse stolen.  What a pity they cant get the thieves.  If they did they would use the linch law on him.  We are having pleasant weather. 

 

Yesterday Mrs. Summers spent the p.m. here.  A pleasant visit.  She road up and brought my band, she had stitched on her machine for me.  John came from the Ranch, had a letter from Reading for me.

 

Game is plenty, we have had three geese and a turkey within a week.  Sometimes a thousand geese and  [XXXX]  will fly up and down the river, and fill the air with their gabble.  I save the feathers and have half enough for a pillow.  The coyotes often make the night hideous with their howling.  I have had no ague for three weeks, but take medicine every other day. 

 

5  I have been answering Dr. T’s letter.  It is something of a task.  I try to be careful what I write, and yet make it interesting.  I must stop writing the boys just came in with three turkeys.  I am getting tired of game.

 

7  It has been rainy and cold all day.  Now we have a shower, for it is thundering.  Hope it will clear up and not hinder the plowing.  Yesterday I baked and cut up the turkeys.  I put some in a jar, and put brine over it.

 

The man (George McQuillom) that is plowing, came in yesterday with a chill.  I told him of the salt cure.

 

[Page 117]

 

He tried it, and said his shake was not nearly as hard.

 

8 Nov. 8  I have just finished baking ginger snaps, they are real nice.  It is nothing but cook turkey all the time.  I feel as if I did not want to see another for a year.  Fried for breakfast, potpie for dinner, roasted for supper – cold for breakfast, stewed for dinner et. 

 

Today it is clear.  They are plowing.  Perhaps they will finish tomorrow.  Then I wonder when we will get to the land office at Augusta.  I baked two squash pies today.  They are real good if made right, even if one does not have eggs and milk.  Mrs. Summers told me how.  We had such an early dinner.  They came in before I was ready for them. 

 

I slept so well last night – Sometimes I lay awake for hours.  We had flapjacks for breakfast.  I cant bake and toss them over like P – can, sometimes he will send them over the second just to see them fly.

 

A heavy shower last night over East.  We thought it might reach here.  Sometimes it comes in along the sides – so I took my clothes down – put them on a stool under the table.  We don’t have any chairs, but four stools.  Two of them are covered with  [XXX].  P – bed has only one leg, the poles are driven into the wall, John when here sleeps on the floor on a big buffalo robe!  I keep the bread in the tub, and washboard on top and all under my bed.  We have no broom, when I want to sweep I begin in a corner, with two turkey wings, clean the corner, then step there – and sweep ahead of me, until the floor is all swept, sweep everything into the fire place.  Two small stove boxes – resting on wooden pegs – serve for cupboards.  I have them curtained, on one side are two boxes; one upon the other.  In one I keep the groceries – in the other dried fruit.  We have a shelf for papers and books.  Two more shelves near the fire place, with cans, bottles et.  Another large box – on top of which is the flour sack, and inside the coalvil can et.  And a block on which we keep the water bucket.  And two trunks – that I believe is all the furniture.  I forgot the table – “cheap and handy, varnished, and never gets soiled.”

 

[Page 118]

 

Nov. 11  This is a rainy Sunday.  The stars were shining when I went to bed, but this morning it is raining.  John slept over in his dugout last night.  About a month ago, he slept there a week.  P – thinks he will have trouble to prove up.  We expect to get with Land office this week.  Friday evening the boys brought home two turkeys and a prairie chicken.  Just think five turkeys in one week.  P – is a good marksman.  John goes along, and carries the game.  We sent Lanes a nice lot of turkey.  The prairie chicken we had barbecued for dinner yesterday, it was better than turkey and just as much as three could eat.  We will have turkey and sweet potatoes for dinner today.

 

It still smells skunky.  I think some of calling this place Skunky Retreat.  The other evening day when the boys came from Jakes, they saw seven skunks along the branch.  They skinned a large gray wolf.  I will take the skin home with me if it gets dry.  John is no hunter, and has no “shooting arm” except a small revolver.  He loaded some of his clothes today.  I told him I found something on his shirt when I washed it, and he owned up that they were lice.

 

Nov. 15  The days go by and we have not been to Augusta yet.  We were to have gone today now it is tomorrow.  Yesterday I washed baked bread and pies.  I was busy all day.  The boys did not get home until an hour after sunset.  They had a goose and prairie chicken.   It took me all  [XXX]  [XXX]  to dress them do my work and get dinner, and then no one came to eat it.  Had barbecued chicken, potatoes, squash, coffee, and not cakes – Was thinking perhaps I could start East next Sunday, but “the nice laid schemes of mice and men Oft gang [agee].”  I am beginning to gather my duds together.  Jim cat has been at Jakes this long time.  The night the coyotes or gray Wolfs killed him.

 

16  Up this morning at 3 o’clock.  After breakfast we started for Lanes.  John had brought the team wagon up last night.  It was real cold, but we had a lot of blankets and comforters to wrap around us, and we did not find the cold.  The three miles to

 

[Page 119]

 

Lanes was truly grand.  The sun was not up, and the gaily colored clouds were the most gorgeous I ever saw.  Long after the other stars had disappeared.  Venus that star of love, kept her place, and seemed to defy the rising sun.  Reached Lanes at sunrise – There Mr. Steffens the driver got in, and we started for Wichita.

 

After we reached the trail – it clouded over, and became very windy.  And so it was.  The wind blowing all the time we were gone.  We had no trouble fording the Ninnescah.  Very different from when I crossed it last April.  The trail was good traveling, yet the 20 miles to W – was a long ride.  The wind was so strong, it blew the dried cow chips up on edge, and they rolled along the trail like wheels.  Philip told me that the hearders and travelers, gathered them up, to make fire for cooking, when in need of some wood out in the prairie.

 

We sat in the wagon and ate dinner in W – Roast chicken and goose, and pie, that we brought from the dug out.

 

John and I had our drafts cashed, and about 3 p.m. we started on towards Augusta.  Night came on and we were not in the sight of timber.  So we camped by a hay stack.  It was too windy to make fire – as it might have set the grass on fire, So we had a cold supper.  They put the wagon cover on.  I slept in the wagon, and the boys by the stack.

 

17  We rose early, and as it was dangerous to make a fire we started on, thinking we would soon come to timber, and then have a warm breakfast.  Well we were longer than we expected, and it was nearly noon when we reached Walnut Creek.  There we camped and had a good warm meal.  Bacon and coffee and what we brought along. 

 

Then we went on to Augusta.  While Mr Stafford cared for the team we went direct to Land Office.  I waited in an outer room while Philip went in.  They were very busy, but Philip knew one of the clerks, and so we

 

[Page 120]

 

were waited on, sooner that we otherwise would have been.  Which was fortunate for us.  We paid $1.25 an acre $200 – then an office fee, after which we received a certificate – The [patient] will be made out in Washington City and sent to use later.  Now I am the owner of 160 acres of land in Kansas.  Were it in Pa. it would be worth a fortune.  We left Augusta about three.  Still cloudy and cold.  We had just reached 4 mile creek, when it began to rain very hard.  There was a house there, I went there and asked if I could stay all night, they said yes.  The boys camped under the trees.

 

18  I had a good nights rest and supper and breakfast.  Mrs. Long would not let me pay anything, but would like me to write her a letter when I got home.  Which I certainly will.

 

Very heavy rain until towards morning, when it turned colder and snowed.  Very disagreeable traveling, but we started traveling, but we started on amid the snow and blow.  The snow soon blotted out – the road over the prairie – and at times we did not know which way to go.  The wagon covered protected us some, but the snow blew, and we could only see a little way a head, and it was so cold.

 

We expected to strike the Arkansas River at a place called El Paso.  But we missed the road and came to the river ten miles below El Paso.  The river was high, and the ferry out of order.  Two men who were batching there, said they would take us acrost next morning.  We had expected to reach home that evening for supper

 

[Page 121]

 

But getting out of the right road delayed us, and we ran out of bread.  Philip got the men to bake us some biscuits and for supper we had biscuits and butter.  It was still snowing and as unpleasant as could be.  We camped among the trees along the river, made fire, the boys stretched a blanket – between the trees to shelter me, while I tried to get warm – after supper Philip fixed the wagon and I went to bed, He charged me, “If you take your shawl off, keep them near you or they will freeze and you cannot get them on in the morning.”  It was cold, but I had plenty of cover and slept some.  Philip & Mr. Staffard slept under the wagon – and John by the fire.  They called the storm a “Northerner.”  I never would have believed it could get so cold and blustery in sunny Kansas.

 

19  The bachelors baked us more biscuits, and we had coffee, bacon & gravy for breakfast.

 

The ferry was out of order, and the boys helped to fix it, working hard, and when they tried to use it, it was nearly noon, and then it stuck on a sand bar, and was no good.

Too provoking when we had lost the whole morning.  When they found they could not take us acrost, and get good pay, they told us of a [finding] place just a mile below.  We went there, and crossed without much trouble, except the floating ice bothered the horses.

 

We reached Bell Plain about 2 p.m.  I went into house to warm, while they fed the horses.  John tried to buy bread, could get none, all he got was a paper of crackers.  I had a chill, and fever on the way, then headache.  P – fixed a place for me

 

[Page 122]

 

to lie down.  I don’t remember much about the rest of the trip.  It was 9 p.m. when we reached Lanes.  Mrs. Lane got us a good supper.

 

20  We stayed at Lanes all night.  I thought I might as well make a little visit as I would soon start east.  I went home and moved part of the things down to his cabin by the River, thinking it would be warmer than the dug out.  John took his trunk to Jakes, and patiently or impatiently waited a chance to go to Wichita.  I had another chill and fever, not able to go to Summers.

 

21  Another chill and fever, very severe.  Philip was down – is coming in the morning.  Will bring my medicine.  Four hunters out from Wichita.  They shot 31 prairie chickens.  Saw four deer, some turkeys.

 

22  Philip brought the medicine but it did not have time to have flue affect, but the chill and fever were not so severe today.  Mrs. Lane made a nice lot of butter out of some pie mellons she got out of my garden.  We also filled a can of citron preserves. It is the can May B sent to Philip with peaches.  Now I will return it with citron preserves.

 

We expect to go to W – Sunday so I must go up tomorrow and pack my trunk.

 

23  It was nearly noon when I left Lanes, mounted on old Bill.  It was very cold – No one ever knew it to be so cold here before.  I stoped at the Retreat – no one there but John.  He went

 

[Page 123]

 

along up to the dugout.  I packed some things gathered others together.  Then we went to the cabin, expecting to find Philip, but no one there.  Then we went up the river acrost from Rosses, but could not get old Bill to ford the River, I did so much want to see the Rosses.  Back to the cabin and I determined to stay there all night, John took the horse home.  I took off some wraps – and made fire.  P – had covered the coals.  The cabin looked  [hard] .  There were only a few things down from the dug out, a blanket up for a door, making it dark.  Being hungry I made coffee and some mush, which I ate with much molasses and considerable relish, “Hunger is a good cook.”

 

It was quite late when P – came – he had been hunting, shot a turkey, took it to Lanes, was surprised at not finding me there, then went to the dugout and brought me a load of bedding down to the cabin for me to sleep on.  He had had his supper.  He wished he had not moved as it was so inconvenient for me.

 

24.  Up this morning early.  A breakfast of mush molasses, sweet potato and coffee.  I bid the cabin good bye – and went to the dugout to pack.

 

I met Mr. Ross in a wagon – He wanted me to go home with him but I could not.  I built a big fire, and went to work.  There were so many things, I scarcely knew where to begin.  Dried grasses, feather fans, dried buffalo et. but I finally succeeded in getting nearly every thing into my trunk.  I put on enough petticoats to make me look like a hogshead.  I had said if I left any clothes, I should give them to Pgmyers, but I had

 

[Page 124]

 

already given Mrs. Lane a dress.  Still there were a good many things the Pgmyers could use. 

 

When done packing, I made a can of chocolate and ate some ginger snaps – then started for Lanes where P – had left the turkey, and when we were both invited to dinner.  Only half the turkey was cooked.  P – was not pleased and no wonder.  The snow was melting, and coming down over two miles, my feet got quite whet.

 

Now I have had the last look at my Kansas claim, and the dug out.  Where I spent many weeks.  I felt real sorry to leave.  As I stood alone by the dug out – no one in sight, no visible sign of civilization – except the roof of Pgmyers acrost the river (the trees along the River shut out Ross’ buildings)  I felt depressed, I was so glad to be with Philip for over seven months.  Now I was leaving, when would I see him again?

 

Nov. 25  Worked around doing little things for Mrs. Lane.  The boys came down after dinner.  We will start tomorrow.  Ambrose shot a deer, so we have deer stakes.

 

26  Most a tremendous windy cold day.  The boys took the team up last night, and put in the trunks.  It was after 9 this morning when they came.  Mrs. Lane and her husband, quarreled worse than ever, and I was afraid we would not get off.

 

Tis impossible to write all the particulars.  I did not see either the Ross or Summers to say good bye.  Crossing the Ninnescah  was not bad, but the Cow Skin was, and we were afraid we could not cross the Arkansas at all.  But a wagon or two had crossed, and the ice was broken.  We stoped at the Harris House.  It has changed in every respect since I was here

 

[Page 125]

 

last Spring.  We had a tip top supper, and it did me much good after our cold ride of 20 miles.  In the evening I read in Olive Logans’ “Behind the Foot Lights.”  Don’t think much of it.  This is a $3 a day house.

 

27  Slept well last night.  After breakfast I read in Reed’s , A Terrific Temptation, until Philip came to the door, he put a roap around my trunk.  I went down town bought a pair of shoes.  Called at the Southern Hotel to see Mrs. McLain and give her good bye, but Dr. Hillard there.  When I left I met Philip – he went into Woodlings Store, he had been buying a lunch for my basket – He also got a pair of old Indian moccasins for me.  Lanes came in, also Mr. Smith.  We talked until it was dinner time, then I gave them all good bye, Philip too – O but I felt bad to leave him.  He went back with Lanes.  I wonder if it was lonely at the Cabin, and if he missed me.  I do not like changes.

 

The coach left soon after dinner.  Good bye Wichita 25 miles to Newton, not as far as I staged it last Spring.  John was on the stage too.

 

28  Stoped at a hotel in Newton.  The train left at a little after 4 a.m.  Stopped at Florence for breakfast – The ground was rough and frozen and in going to the restaurant for breakfast, one of my new shoes, burst from the lacing to the toe.  When I got back to the cars I was glad to put on my old shoes.

 

Philip had planned a trip down to the Territory – but owing to our having so much ague, he had to give it up.  But he advised me, to go to St. Marys – west of Topeka, and see the Pottawatomies, most of them are farmers, and civilized – By the time I reached Topeka, I decided I would.  I bought a ticket for Harrisburg for $38.50 – had my trunk put in the baggage room, I gave John a good bye – he going

 

[Page 126]

 

on to Chicago.  Got a ticket to St. Marys – 25 m. West of Topeka.  A lady agent who came on the same train with me to a private boarding house as there was no hotel.  The Catholics have two big schools here, and many of the Indians have accepted their faith.  We visited one school in p.m. and walked around town.  Saw a number of squaws a papoos and some half breeds.

 

29  Went up town before train time, at a shop & bought two arrows and a piece of petrified wood.  Saw several more indians.  Chief Big Foot among the others.  Took the train and when we reached Topeka, I got out, and had my trunk rechecked to Quincy.  I changed trains at Kansas City in the evening.

 

30  We reached Quincy before day.  I saw little of the Mississippi River.  A few boats frozen in, near the depot.  Reached Williams port at 3:30 p.m.  Have a lay over ticket, walked up to Geo. Butlers, They knew I was coming, so were not surprised.  Today was Thanksgiving, the cars were crowded.

 

Dec. 2  Hiram came for me today.  I stoped at a store and got calico and cotton, to make a comfort in place of the one of Rhodas, I left in Kansas.  The children have grown so.  Oakley was almost wild.

 

4  I sewed up both sides of the comfort – calico then sewed at a shirt for Butler.  It is so nice to be here.  Plenty of apples, nuts and cider, with a lively family, and Rhoda such a good cook.

 

[Page 127]

 

5  Rhoda washed – she would not let me help.  Finished the shirt, and began another.  Wrote in the evening, Ellie just came home a week ago from Oxford, where she was going to a private school.  She and the boys go to school here near home now.

 

6  Finished the shirt and ironed.  Rhoda helped put the comfort in, and we quilted a little before night.

 

7  Began quilting early this morning, a heavy comfort, and hard quilting.  A letter from home.

 

8  Finished the comfort before dinner.  Not at all well to day, diarrhea.  Rhoda is baking tomorrow we to Butlers.

 

9  After dinner we started for Butlers.  Pleasant ride but a little cold.  Quite natural to be there.  Bell is to be Married Wednesday to Murphey.

 

10  A beautiful day, we came home after dinner.  The Alexanders & Miss Perry A – were here when we came  It is high time I get home, for Sundays are losing their quiet pleasures.

 

14  Monday and Tuesday we were busy.  I made a coat for Oakley, it is braided and belted.  We also made him a pair of pants.

 

Yesterday we went to Butlers, Hiram, Rhoda Oakley and I.  We had the blacks – Mike and Cody in the buggy.  The roads were good and we just more than sailed along.  We were almost the first there.  Went up stairs to arrange our hair.  The bride was already dressed.  Drab dress blue bow, hair curled.  I never saw Bell look so well.  Relatives and neighbors were there.  Rev. Clark married them.  Dark when we

 

[Page 128]

 

reached home.  How well the ponies travel.  A few more rides, then good bye.  To day I finished binding the comfort – Ive quilled last week, and made Ellie three colors.  Tomorrow Hiram is going to Williamsport.  I will go along and stop at Van Reeds until he comes back.

 

15  Very pleasant visit at Van Reeds – Mrs. V evidently thinks “Convention improves more than meditation.”  I was well shaken when I got back, when will this ague leave me.

 

I have more out landish pains, than any one would think, and such a savage appetitie.

 

16  Finished a jacket for Frank.  After dinner Ellie and I walked over to Huffs.  They were not home.  Then we crossed over to Mag Mankeys.  She was looking for Bell and John.  Ellie did not stop, she was afraid she might give little Jane, the whooping cough.

 

Bell & John soon came, also Al and a friend of his.  Al played the violin, Bell and I danced several round dances, then Al walked home with me.

 

Philip had come while I was away.  After I left Kansas he had been sick again, so he came to spend the winter here.

 

17  We had a roast today, Bell and John were here, Huffs, & Mr. DeTurk spent the evening, Rhoda and I got so sleepy.

 

19  We butchered yesterday, nine hogs.  To day I packed my trunk.  It is full to the brim.  The last night here.  Wish I could take Oakley with me.

 

[Page 129]

 

He comes to me and says, “You may take a kiss.”

 

20  We left early for Williamsport, 12 miles away.  Philip stood by the wagon when we started – looking not very strong.  I think the last thing I said to him was – “write to Mother.”  I shall never forget how he looked when we left, never, never.  I have spent happy days in Indiana, and sad ones too, “There is no sunshine that hath not its shade.  Nor shadow that the sunshine hath not made.”  Well the goodbyes are all said, and we leave.  It was cold – We left the trunk at the depot, went to G. Butlers for dinner.  Hiram started home, and I walked to the depot, the cars left at 3-30 – They were all full.  Changed cars at Ft. Wayne.

 

21  Reached Pittsburg 4 p.m. 4 hours late.  Cars crowded, and cold.  Frosted my feet.

 

Harrisburg 4 a.m. Did not leave until 1.55 p.m.  Very rough traveling.  Cars stop with a gang and jerk one until ones head aches.  They say it is caused by the intense cold, and frost on the rails.

 

Dennis got in at No. Thumberland.  He wanted me to stay all night, or else he would get a rig and take me home, but I wanted to walk.  I was not afraid, I would not have him go farther than the Co. Lane, on account of his lame leg.  I was not afraid, and the walk seemed unusually short.  I surprised our folks – walking in so late.

 

[Abbie Bright diary – blank page]

 

[Abbie Bright diary – Inside Back Cover]

 

[Abbie Bright diary – Back Cover]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item Description

Copyright © 2007-2021 - Kansas Historical Society - Contact Us
This website was developed in part with funding provided by the Information Network of Kansas.