Friday, May 31, 2019

Wagon West

Last week, my husband Murray got a reminder of what he’d posted on Facebook six years ago.

We drove with our daughter Rebecca for her summer internship, from Cleveland to Phoenix, Arizona. Along the way Murray shared our adventures with his Facebook friends.

We've started out for Arizona Territory. Pa said we'll provision up again at St. Joe, Missouri. Ma and Sister are in the wagon but Pa said I had to walk.

We had our first river crossing. The horses are the only ones who liked it. Pa shot some rabbits this morning. It will be great having meat in the stew tonight.

We met some indigenous persons this morning, and Pa swapped them some tobacco for deer hides, to make shoes. I wish I was indigenous so I'd get my own horse.

We reached the first settlement and laid over 3 days for repairs. Pa said I had to help Ma the first day, but then I got to help him. Lot of wagons going thru.

Outlaws! Real outlaws! They were getting after the wagon in front of us, and two of the settlers chased 'em off! I'm not worried - Pa said they won't bother us.

Made it to Illinois. The grass is beat down from wheels, it's an easy road. Ma made me work on reading for 2 hours tonight. She cuffed me when I complained.

In Missouri, headed for St. Joe, overland because Pa said the boat trip up the Missouri is too dear. Rafting the Mississippi was fun, but Ma and Sis cried out.

We made it some ways across Missouri. We're camping tonight near a country saloon. Ma didn't want to but Pa looked around and couldn't find any other water. Ma washed some of our pots tonight and that will help the taste. Hoping not to run across any of them angry indigenous persons tomorrow.

We got up before the sun. Pa said we're not going to St. Joe, we’re going to Springfield, Missouri to provision up. He said there are alarming tell of natural covering fires and outlaws along the Missouri, so we're headed south. Ma said she wasn't sure she wanted to meet southerners, and Pa quick looked around to see who might of heard, and asked her to hush.

We are stuffed full! Came across settlers driving some cows. One broke its leg, so they shot and cooked it. Twas more'n they could eat or cure, so they fed us!

Pa is irked at me! We met settlers headed for Oregon, and I told them Arizona is better. He said the best Arizona land's limited, and not to add folks after it

Made Springfield, took longer than I thought she ought. At the mercantile, my eyes near popped out when I saw the cash money Pa had. No wonder he feared outlaws.

Pa don't smoke, he don't gamble, he don't drink, he don't curse, he don't cheat - I always wondered how me and Sis was born.

Today got to Oklahoma Territory. Pa said the whole place is set aside for indigenous persons. That seems fair. He said they'll leave us be if we do the same.

It's hard to get our wagon across Oklahoma. Going around hills and going around the creeks and rivers as the trail do, it seems what we go 10 miles to get 5.

Poor pa. At a provision station, he came out yelling they's crooks, that we'd starve afore he paid their prices. Ma made him go back in and get us some stores.

We stopped to water the horses, and Sis fell in the creek, I expect this is a sin, but I sorta wish they hadn't a fished her out.

Mostly across Oklahoma, should make Texas in the morning. I'm hoping maybe Pa will let me join up with a cattle drive if we meet one. Always wanted to see Kansas.

This is the worst night of the trip by far. We're camped in a field with 8 or 10 other wagons full of settlers. And I do believe every adult is snoring. I'm sure the sound will draw dangerous critters.

I will never understand folk. Getting to leave this morning, I saw the Ma in another wagon, and she was a scared. Told this to a boy in the wagon and he got mad.

Texas! So far I seen a Ranger arresting a drunk cowboy, windmills, indigenous persons in a teepee, 2 cattle drives (Pa said NO!), a shootout, an a bat ball game

Got to Conway, Texas. 3 houses, a blacksmith, and a deputy. Pa aimed to barter for beans and fat. Ma said one day a singer should name hisself after the town.

Into New Mexico, last step before Arizona. Ma made me work on reading last night. I told her cowboys didn't need book learning, but she didn't mind, she just smiled.

Pa decided to make camp early tonight, in Gallup, New Mexico Territory before our push into Arizona Territory come morning. There are settlers and wagons everywhere, and too many townspeople to count. Seems like most are indigenous persons or Hispanic (non-white). We ate a meal that someone else cooked up! Pa said we have spent less on provisioning than he expected, so we could afford the occasion. On a scary note, we encountered but had no physical contact with a wagon where the folks had or were suspected that they had the typhus.

I asked Pa this morning how long we been traveling. He thought and said that, if we'd been on the trail just days, this'd be our 4th and last. Oh, so looking forward to seeing Arizona Territory, our new home.

Pa wanted to take a small jog in our trip, he heard tell of a bunch of logs that are as stone, we went there and it was true. Pa didn't know how it happened.

Pa said I have to cease my jottings now that we're arrived, so this will be my last. It was an exciting, tiring trip of many weeks, with just enough danger to make it worth my while. Pa said the hard part starts now. We have to build our cabin, improve our fields, and I heard him and Ma talking about school, but I'm hoping they forget that, once they see how much of a help I can be on the farm. I've been hearing a lot about Montana Territory. If they really take that school foolishness seriously, maybe I can slip on out one night and head on up thatchers a-way.

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