) ( ( ) Good Morning Family! ( \ .-.,--^--. ( Come on in. . . \* ) \\|`----'| - The coffee pot's on. . . .=|=. \| |// ...and we even have decaf, |~'~| | |/ tea, and hot chocolate! | | \ / _|___|_ ------ (_______) Today's topics include: 1. Welcome to new cousins 2. The Overland Experience, Part III 3. Fathers TO OUR NEWEST COUSINS ~~ On behalf of the entire family, I'd like to extend a most hearty welcome to those cousins who came into the family fold this past week. We are very glad to have you with us and hope you'll stay and remain a part of our online family. As soon as you're comfortable with us and the list, please send in your list-surname lines so we can all see how we're related to you. We do not have a fancy format for sending in records or queries to the list. Post as many as you wish! If the data has anything to do with our list-surname ancestors that might help someone, please feel free to post it. Every scrap of information is appreciated. You're welcome to share this Coffee with your genealogy friends and relatives. If they are not members of our online family and would like to begin receiving the Coffee, they are now able to. Simply have them send a blank email to <[email protected]>. THE OVERLAND EXPERIENCE, Part III June 14, 2002 Does it EVER get cool here in the West??? We started out from Nebraska in the mid-80's and the temperatures seemed to continually climb all day. It's 7 p.m. now and the temperature sits at 94. We pulled into Cheyenne, Wyoming today. It was another scorcher. Between the heat and all the traveling, we're beginning to get a little tired. The kids slept a good part of the day today as we made our way across the rest of Nebraska and into this state. We've been making quite a few road trips, taking in the sites as we pass them, but the kids are tired of traveling. I have to admit that, day after day, it does get boring traveling every day and living out of a suitcase, especially in this heat. Thank goodness for air conditioning! As luck would have it, the van got a flat tire today. *bummer* Fortunately, hubby drove to the next exit and got us another one. It was a dry and hot two-hour wait for him though. I'm afraid the kids and I got a little cranky at him because it took so long and we were HOT! Since we were on the side of the highway, I wouldn't let the kids get out. *misery* They began arguing with each other again and again. This day just wasn't fun. We're going to Pizza Bar* tonight, walk around Cheyenne a little, come back here to the motel for a swim, then watch TV and go to bed. On second thought, perhaps we'll take in a movie. From previews on TV, it looks like a couple good ones have come out. [*fictitious name] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ August 31, 1853 Another day up at 6:00 A.M., and the entire party feels the weariness of travel, but oh!... through this month we've made real progress! We have gone a total of almost 800 miles since we left Independence. The wagonmaster says we have been in Missouri Territory* for a number of weeks now and we are a third of the way to Oregon! The land has been flat for the most part and we saw nothing but tall grass for two weeks. I can see in the far distance that the land is beginning to rise ~ like there are mountains ahead of us. We are headed for Fort Laramie. [*Our pioneer family is actually in Wyoming, part of Missouri Territory. Nebraska Territory wouldn't be created until 30 May 1854.] Resting on Sundays has been a huge benefit. The oxen and other animals receive a much-needed break, and we women have a chance to tend to our domestic chores, particularly doing the laundry. The dust on the Trail pervades every article of clothing exposed to it. If we have arrived at a source of clean water, our wagonmaster twice allowed us a special stopover for laundry day. Our wagonmaster has been rather lenient with us, I believe. Some captains reserve only Sunday morning for religious activities and move on during the afternoon. Their trains arrive at their destinations worn and have suffered many deaths during the trip. The summer heat has caused our lips to blister and split in this dry air. Our only remedy is to rub axle grease on our lips. While not a perfect solution, it does soothe and give protection. Like many, many others, I had to leave a piece of my life on the side of the Trail. My beloved piano is now gone. It broke my heart to leave it, but the oxen are tired and we need them to get us to our destination. Our only recourse was to lighten their load. My one consolation is that I still have the grandfather clock. Hard stretches of the trail are littered with piles of "leeverites" ~ items emigrants ahead of our train, and now many of us on this one, had to "leave 'er right here" to lighten our wagons. We lost five more people two weeks ago while trying to cross a river. It is heartbreaking that two of those lost was a new mother and father. Their orphaned baby lived and is passed from breast to breast to be fed. I imagine someone from the train will adopt her. In another wagon, a boy about eight years old was standing on the wagon tongue driving, when he lost his balance and fell beneath the wheel. It crushed his head, causing instant death. His burial took place that night ~ a strange sight as people stood around with light as they sent him to rest in a boot box for a coffin. September 15, 1853 We have gone about 180 miles and we are facing huge mountains. Surely we are not going over them! The mountains we have begun to climb are already very difficult. I have to tell you about Fort Laramie. I was expecting much more than we arrived at. There was only one building at Fort Laramie that was worth visiting ~ that being the post trader's store. According to the store clerk, the trader's store was the only reliable post office within 300 miles. We were able to purchase supplies there, but the prices were outrageous! Sugar goes for $1.50 per pint or cupful; flour, $1.00 per pint; tobacco, which can be had in St. Louis for a nickel, costs a dollar here. Luckily, only a few of us really need to purchase supplies. Most of us wanted to sell our extra supplies, but the fort isn't buying. So, many of the wagons simply dumped their extra weight right there at Fort Laramie. The Trail near Fort Laramie was littered with heirloom furniture, stoves and food. One person commented on seeing ten tons of bacon by the side of the Trail. Despite the temptation, most emigrants don't pick up this valuable litter because weight is the great enemy of our wagons. I want to tell you about all the river crossings we have had to make. They have been a constant source of distress for all of us. If we are not worrying about getting ourselves across, we are fleeced by ferrymen. They charge up to $16.00 per wagon, almost the price of an oxen. One ferry earned $65,000 in just one summer. What are we to do? We *must* cross, so we pay what the ferry asks. One of the women on the train went insane, announcing to her family that she was not proceeding any farther. Her husband was forced to take the wagons and children and leave her behind, though he later sent their son back to retrieve her. When she returned on her own, her husband was informed that she had clubbed their son to death with a rock. He raced back to retrieve the boy, who was still clinging to life, and on his return found that his wife had taken advantage of his absence to set fire to one of the family's wagons. Cholera has gripped the travelers of our train. Our two youngest children died yesterday from the unseen destroyer, cholera.* They were in such pain that death was a relief. However, my heart feels such a weight of despair and sorrow. My only medicines, whiskey, castor oil and quinine, were of no help. We had no elaborate funeral for the children as the wagonmaster said it would slow our progress; we placed them together in a shallow grave and covered it with as many rocks as we could find. Oh my babies, how I miss you so! I can grieve only as I walk away from you. [*Cholera crept silently, caused by contaminated water: people camped amid garbage left by previous parties, picked up the disease, and then went about spreading it, themselves. People in good spirits in the morning could be in agony by noon and dead by evening. If death did not occur within the first 12 to 24 hours, the victim usually recovered.] Four others died in the last several days. Three others are sick with diarrhea and vomiting. We know they also have cholera and left them behind with a watcher.* They will die very soon and the watcher will catch up with the train. [*Many watchers were in such a hurry that they started diging the grave before their companion(s) were dead. No one is sure, but evidence strongly suggests that some were accidently buried before they took their final breath.] It's hard to realize all this death. We *must* make it. I have given up the grandfather clock. The oxen are having a hard time fording streams with the continued weight and if we are to make it to Oregon, I must sacrifice for a promised future in Oregon with the children we still have. September 23, 1853 Another 100 miles and how the landscape has changed. I cannot imagine that we have come so far. Death follows ever so closely. I often wonder now about my own mortality. I counted 150 dead oxen this past week. It is difficult to find a camping ground destitute of carcasses. My husband has begun losing weight. Shirts I sewed for him in Indiana are now literally hanging. We work even harder now, that we are having to cross mountains. It takes many hours and slows us down considerably when we meet with hills so nearly perpendicular that it is necessary to attach ropes to the wagons' rear axles, and to station men to hold them back as they make the descent. We take as many routes around the mountains rather than go over them, but our time is very short and we must make the crossing before the snows begin. We are told we will soon come to South Pass. Sublette's Cutoff crosses a barren, arid stretch of country and for 50 miles there will be no water and very little grass. If we survive this route, we will save 85 miles and a week of travel. Our train will be taking it. However, this will cause us to bypass Fort Bridger, a stop I was hoping for as we are running out of food. The sky is clouding up and a violent wind is beginning to blow, making the atmosphere raw and uncomfortable. I hope this doesn't mean snow. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ June 15, 2002 I'm tired today, and so is my husband. We're going to go on to Fort Bridger, stay there tonight and have a look around for the rest of day, then move on tomorrow. Fort Bridger, as I understand it, was a stop on the Oregon Trail. How interesting! Fort Bridger, here we come! :) Next week: Oregon is near FATHERS When I was: Four years old: My daddy can do anything. Five years old: My daddy knows a whole lot. Six years old: My dad is smarter than your dad. Eight years old: My dad doesn't know exactly everything. Ten years old: In the olden days, when my dad grew up, things were sure different. Twelve years old: Oh, well, naturally, Dad doesn't know anything about that. He is too old to remember his childhood. Fourteen years old: Don't pay any attention to my dad. He is so old-fashioned. Twenty-one years old: Him? My Lord, he's hopelessly out of date. Twenty-five years old: Dad knows about it, but then he should, because he has been around so long. Thirty years old: Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks. After all, he's had a lot of experience. Thirty-five years old: I'm not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad. Forty years old: I wonder how Dad would have handled it. He was so wise. Fifty years old: I'd give anything if Dad were here now so I could talk this over with him. Too bad I didn't appreciate how smart he was. I could have learned a lot from him. Writer Unknown HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, GUYS! :) It's family ... and that's what we're all about. I so enjoyed spending this time with you today. Thank you for sharing it with me. I wish each of you a week filled with health, productivity, fun, and above all, filled with love and inner peace. ) ( ) _.-~~-. (@\'--'/. Colleen ('``.__.'`) `..____.'