”years Came Along One After The Other …”

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A neighbor ranchman decided to leave, so we went on his place, took care of the stock, and made better on shares. We were doing fairly well when in two years he came back and wanted his place again. So we moved back on the claim. We stayed there a while with no water and lived on corn meal for nearly a year. My husband got a chance to put papers on a discarded timber claim, so we went ahead again with hearts brave and true to make another home. Traded our first claim for a one-room house and sort of a summer kitchen. This we moved out to our claim. We had a fair-sized granary on our first claim. We moved it out and put them together, making quite a home for us. The granary was made into a living room and two bedrooms. This claim was down in a big draw and we put the buildings beside a small stream where there were nice springs of water. We toiled on, not losing heart, and soon got us some milk cows and started a dairy.

 

Hardships and trials came along in their turn. Got a young team to deliver our milk to town. A baby girl came to us, making the second that came to us in Kansas without doctor or nurses and practically no help except the two older children.

We got along very well when a terrible storm and cloudburst came upon us and we lost almost everything, except the cows and an old team in the pasture. It came on the twenty-third of July. We had a nice cow barn put up and that day they put up a stack of millet the whole length of the barn. It commenced to rain in the afternoon, but in due time we started the children to town with the milk. It was a general downpour and the creeks were commencing to rise. So my husband started out to meet the children and get them home in safety. My husband said to the children, “We will be good to the ponies tonight and put them in the cow barn and give them some nice millet.” They hadn’t been in the house very long before we discovered our cellar was full of water from the outside door, and the well curb and toilet were gone.

The creek was up to the house and still pouring down. My husband investigated and found that the underpinning of the house was going and that we had to get out. We took a lantern and matches and some blankets, and started for the side hills. When we opened the door to get out, the water came up to our necks. We had a struggle to get out and I can’t tell to this day how we ever made it, but the Lord must have been with us. My husband carried the baby girl in his arms as high as his head. We soon got out of the deepest water, as there was a turn in the creek. We went by way of the horse stable and found we would be safe in it. Still the water was up and it was pitch dark. The matches were wet, so we couldn’t light the lantern.

We stayed there until the storm abated and the water went down. Then we started out to see if we had a home left and to our delight, even in such a mess, we found it still standing. It was still dark and we couldn’t see what havoc the storm had made for us. We found some dry matches and lit the lamp. Such a deplorable sight words can’t express. We couldn’t shut the door when we left the house, so the kitchen was full of rubbish and everything had been swimming in the high water. Many things were upside down. The water didn’t get into the other rooms so badly, but when the water went down there was an inch of mud all over the carpets and floors.

When daylight came it was a sad sight to behold. Our cow barn and ponies were swept away, also our stack of millet. Practically everything we had was gone or ruined: machinery, wagons, and nice garden. Back of the house was a nice patch of potatoes, but it washed them out clean and the soil as far as was ever plowed. Our ponies washed down stream about sixteen miles to the Saline River before lodging. When they were found, they were still tied to the same ridge pole. We did not have much to eat for breakfast, as all our food and groceries were in a cupboard in the kitchen and everything was ruined in the cellar. Even the water was not fit to drink. One of our good neighbors rallied to our relief and by night had us another team of ponies and harness ready to deliver milk when we could get things together again. Two years afterward some of our harnesses were found in the bottom of the creek. This is only a partial list of the flood disasters.

We finally got started again in the dairy business and got more cows. My husband thought if we could get nearer the town with our daily work it would be easier for us. So we rented a pasture close by town and built us a house in the suburbs with the assistance of the Building and Loan Association. We still held our timber claim and raised feed for the dairy.

Thus, we got along very well until our milk business wasn’t so profitable, as the price of cows went down and so many bought cows, some only paying fifteen dollars for one. I worked so hard to get along. I did my share of the milking, took in washing, and did everything I could to earn a cent. Hard work brought us a seven-months baby boy, who lived only fourteen days. Still we toiled on. I worked from five in the morning until ten at night without ceasing,

After two years another baby boy came to us. About this time my husband got a chance to go out on a big ranch as foreman, so we decided to rent our house and sell part of the cows. We got along very well and after eighteen months another baby boy came to us. I nearly lost my life then but the Good Father spared me to do farther work in the new country and arise by my children. Toiled on for some time and then my husband got a bigger raise in his salary from another ranchman still farther away, so we decided to move again. He was to take charge the first of April, so he engaged teams to move all at once.