Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 4 Number 5
Transcribed by LaVonne I. Bennett


     LaVonne has received permission from Grayden Slowins to edit and submit Sebewa Recollector items of genealogical interest, from the beginning year of 1965 through current editions.


THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR, Bulletin of the The Sebewa Center Association, Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association, April 1969, Volume 4, Number 45

 

APRIL FOOL is what it might seem when the front side of our paper looks like what the back side is supposed to.   April fool or not, at least it was an unintended APRIL FLUB.

THE ARTICLE, COLD FRIDAY AT SANDBORNTON was sent to us in the YANKEE MAGAZINE by Thomas Crapo of Walthan, Massachussets.  Thomas is the grandson of Columbus Sandborn.  The little town of Sanbornton, N. H. was listed in our Sandborn family history as the town of which Deacon Daniel Sandborn was a grantee in the 1700’s.  At present it is listed in the atlas as a town of 50 people.  It has a First Baptist Church, a Second Baptist Church and a Third Baptist Church. 

GARLAND BAYLIFF told his story on tape without any preparation.  When transcribed it seemed that to change any of it would distract from the style and flavor.  So that is how it is. 

     MRS. NORA SINDLINGER never recovered full consciousness from her January accident.  Her death marks the end of the second generation of the Christian Sindlinger family.  The Sindliners were the first immigrants to Sebewa and arrived in 1855.  Christian Sindlinger’s brother, Frederick, does have a nonagenarian daughter, Mrs. Tracy Snyder, living in Sebewa with her daughter, Mrs. Homer Downing. 


OUR MEMBERSHIP FIGURE for the year seems to have gotten stuck on 329. 


TRAGEDY ON “COLD FRIDAY”

(Reprinted with the permission of YANKEE MAGAZINE, Dublin, N.H.) 

Author’s Introduction:  When my sister and I were small, and living near Laconia, New Hampshire, our parents often took us for Sunday afternoon hikes.  One place in Sanbornton I remember them taking us several times was to “where the Ellsworth place used to be.”  My father would tell us the tragic story connected with it, and we would never fail to be impressed and saddened by it.  In these days of affluence and, for the most part, luxury and comfort, it is perhaps worthwhile to remember that it was not always so....

  January 19, 1810, was the “Cold Friday” and “a memorable May” throughout New England.  From the mild temperature of 43 degrees above zero at sunset the evening before, the mercury sank to 25 degrees below zero in 16 hours.  This change was attended by a violent, piercing wind, prostrating trees and overturning buildings.  Young cattle and wild animals were frozen, and many a stage-driver and school-boy received ear-marks which they wore through life.”  Thus was occasioned the death of the Ellsworth children, the most tragic event that ever occurred in Sanbornton.  We give a more extended account than of other casualties, taken, with slight amendments, from the Boston Journal of March 18, 1869:

     “The farm-house of their father, Jeremiah Ellsworth, on the old New Hampton road, gave way to the violence of the gale, half an hour before sunrise, the windows being blown in, exposing the whole building to destruction.  Mrs. Ellsworth and her youngest child took refuge in the cellar.  Mr. Ellsworth covered his two other children in bed and started for his nearest neighbor’s, David Brown’s, reaching there at sunrise, and though but a hundred rods distant, yet with feet and face badly frozen and himself unable to stand.”

     “Mr. Brown hastened to the house with his horse and sleigh and found the inmates as left by his father, except that the wind had blown off the clothes from the oldest children.  He loaded mother and children in the sleigh, covered them with the bedding, and started for his house.  Twice the sleigh was overturned by violent gusts of wind.  The first time Mr. Brown urged the mother to try and reach his house immediately, as her limbs were beginning to fail.  She did so, crawling much of the way on her hands and knees; while he, having a second time loaded the half-dressed children, soon found them again scattered upon the frozen snow, with his sleigh broken.”

     “Covering the youngest under a log, he started with the two oldest on foot towards his house.  Their cries stimulated him to intense exertion; but before he reached the house they were frozen stiff, so as to die in a few minutes after.  Other neighbor boys came to the rescue, and the body of the remaining child was soon returned.  Mr. Brown was blind the rest of his life, in consequence of this exposure, and the children’s parents suffered long and severely from their injuries.”

     ..NELS, REV. M. T.  HISTORY OF SANBORNTON, New Hampshire, Volume One of two volumes.  Alfred Mudge and Son, Printers, 34 School Street, Boston, Mass.: 1882 

YANKEE, INC. is publisher of the familiar THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC. 


WHERE WENT THE COUNTRY LANE?

     Whoever has a farm without a lane?

Not so very long ago the answer would have been quite different from the obvious answer today.  The vanishing flocks, droves and herds have yielded their two-and-from access to pasture to the widening and enlarging grain fields that dominate our farming style of late.  With the airplane cutting in on the tractor for seeding, fertilizing, pesticiding and herbiciding, we may all be moving out to the pavements in another generation.

     For the nostalgia of those who remember the farm lane and for the enlightenment of the diaper set, who may never have first hand knowledge of the country lane let’s reminisce about that institution.  A lane was what you went down to bring the cows up when the stupid dog would not do the chore for you.  Sometimes on a frosty morning it was in the lane where your icy feet would find an oasis of heat where the cows had lain the night.

     A lane was two fences for the horses to stretch their necks over and leave wisps of mane hair stranded around the restraining barbs.  The nest building birds knew where the hair was to be found.

     A lane was a place for the stock watering tank in summer where the overflow fed the hog wallow to the delight of the swine and a few frogs who found the place.

     A lane was two long zig-zags of rail fence and a natural thoroughfare for squirrels on the top rail.  Some ugly old rail that might have a knot hole and a rotted opening just right for a bluebird next.  Never was a rail that would not give to the pressure of the legs of a clumsy horse.

     A lane was a place to race to the first gate when more than one youngster went after the cows.  A lane was a place where you no longer had to drive the cattle once they were herded from the pasture field.  Their movement on to the barnyard was automatic.

     A lane was where you took a cushiony ride on a high load of fresh hay, only to return to the field with innards shaking jolts, sitting with dangling legs on the edge of a flat rack.

     A lane was where you watched the processes of erosion after a hard rain.  The little sand bars, the cut channels, the pooled sediments—all were there.

     A lane was where you puzzled why there should be horse potatoes, berries and cow pies and where, after dark, a bare foot could identify each of these.

     A neighbor’s lane was something to judge him by.  How many wires, props and other contrivances did it take to hold his gates closed?  How much did his animals respect his efforts to contain them?  Did he get his abandoned machinery to the woods for a last resting place or did he leave it in a convenient corner of the land?  Did he cut the last shade tree in the lane or was there comfortable protection from the noontime sun?

      A lane was where the cattle displayed their going-to-rain-prediction-kicking up their heels, floating their tails and making a playful charge for some distance.  Similarly the horses took a frequent gallop the distance of the lane and could have repeated the race and made every turn blindfolded.

     A lane was the way to the woods whether for a load of wood, a basket of berries or an armful of spring flowers.  A lane was two deep and sloppy ruts to the sugar bush.

     A lane was a place for idle target practice with clods of earth or pebbles if any were to be found after years of firings at errant cattle.

     A lane was where you might count your steps to a certain gate to compare with the count you made the day before.

     A lane was a place where dogs and wild carnivores might nibble and tear at the carcass of a dead critter whose owner had not found the convenient time to bury it.  The bleached bones might remain in the area for years.

     A lane was always decorated with a worn cowpath that never went quite straight and faded to oblivion when it reached the pasture.

     A lane was a resting place for boulders snaked out of the fields and left for disposal at a more convenient time.

     A lane was a place where bull thistles and mullen grew.  Those two plants gave no pleasure to an animals’ mouth.

     A lane showed the burrows and mounds of the groundmole.  Where it dipped to low ground were the canopies of the crawfish and the uncovered holes gave a burbling sound when small pebbles were sent to the water below.

     A lane was all these things and more; but now a lane is what your memory makes of it.  None can be removed to a museum for future generations to feel, to see, to smell or to take the measure of. 


SOME OBITUARIES OF THE 1890’S

     As soon as the concept of death becomes instilled in a person the interest in obituaries seems to become universal.  An obituary gives some insight on the times in which its subject lived, some details of the life of the person and often reflects the views of its author more than anything else.  This selection is made from obituaries published in the PORTLAND OBSERVER about Sebewa people.

     March 9, 1892.  JOSEPH CROSS died in his home in the village on the west side on Sunday last on the 71st year of his age.  Mr. Cross was a native of England but came to this country in 1836 and settled near Ionia.  Since then he has lived in Missouri and came to Portland from Sebewa a few years ago.  Mr. and Mrs. Cross had lived together for many years, they having been married 56 years.  Mr. Cross had been an invalid some years.  Funeral services were conducted yesterday from his late residence, the Rev. Bird officiating.

     December 7, 1892.  STEPHEN J. LINDLEY, whom the Observer mentioned last week as being very near to death’s door, died on Monday forenoon of this week at 10 o’clock at his home just east of town in the 79th year of his age.  Mr. Lindley had been sick for some time with complications of diseases and only his excellent constitution kept him up so long.  He had been a resident of Portland for many years and leaves a family of grown up sons and daughters.  The funeral services will be conducted from his late residence Wednesday forenoon at ten o’clock.

The Rev. H. H. Halsey of the U. B. Church will officiate.  Stephen J. Lindley was born May 14, 1814 in the town of Boston, Portage county, Ohio.  He was married to Elizabeth Dickson, a sister of the late Thomas Dickson of this village, his first wife in Lorraine county, Ohio May 31, 1836 with whom he lived until 1861.  The following year he married Kathrine Pierce, who survives him.  The deceased came to Michigan 40 years ago and settled in the township of Sebewa, where he resided on different farms for upwards of 25 years, after which he came to Portland, settling on the farm now owned and occupied by George Dinsmore, just east of town.  Following this he owned and occupied a number of farms in this vicinity, settling 9 years ago on the farm where he died.  His first wife bore him several children the following of whom survive him:  S. T. Lindley, West Sebewa, Sarah Green, Leonard Lindley, Mrs. J. W. VanHorn, Alonzo Lindley and Lorenzo Lindley; all of Portland. 

August 2, 1893.  JOHN STANTON, formerly of Sebewa, meets with a terrible accident at South McAllister, Indian Territory.  He was well known in Sebewa and Orange.  He lost his life.  He was conductor on a passenger train on the Santa Fe Road and was standing on a car, giving orders to make a running switch when he lost his balance and fell in front of the moving coaches.  He was 40 years of age.  He leaves a mother, Mrs. A. B. Travis, a brother, Bert Stanton and two sisters, Mrs. E. Smith and Mrs. Chas. McNeil in Sebewa. 

January 24, 1894.  Within the past few months that invisible messenger that enters the humble cottage as well as the splendid mansion, whose dread summons stills the beating heart of childhood, youth, manhood and old age, which has called to that realm which lies beyond this earthly confine, many of the early settlers of this community.  Now another name is added to that list, that of JOHN MAXIN, who fell asleep in perfect peace at his home in Sebewa January 15, 1894.

He was born in Jefferson county, New York July 31, 1809.  He was married to Mary Baker at Dansville, N.Y. August 28, 1836.  Three children were born to them:  Mrs. George Young of Dushville of Isabella county, Michigan; Mrs. F. M. Northrup at Portland, and Mrs. H. S. Brown of Sebewa, Michigan.  His wife passed to her reward May 26, 1891.  He came to Michigan in the fall of 1836 and settled in Oakland County and in 1839 went to Danby.  In 1844 he purchased and moved upon a farm in Sebewa on which he has since resided.

He was converted about 60 years ago and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church of which he continued a true and faithful member until transferred to the Church Triumphant.  He was a member of the first M. E. Class organized in Portland.  He possessed many excellent gifts, which sanctified by a divine grace made him valuable to the church and caused him to be loved by all.  He was frank in his manner and fearless of his convictions, outspoken in his sentiments and strictly honorable in all his business relations.  As a husband, friend and neighbor he was loving and kind, full of the gentle courtesies that make life beautiful.  As a Christian, his life was a constant testimony to the power of Christ to shine through humanity, his life and love.  He loved his church and its services and was truly loyal to all its interests.  Sixty years a Christian, his faith grew stronger and brighter down through all life’s added years.  He had no taste for the vanities of life and sought those things which are pure and of good report.  All who came in contact with him saw the beauty of this character and felt the sweet influence of his consecrated life.  His last illness was very brief and the end came suddenly.  The departure was what would have been expected to follow so pure a life.  Fully conscious that the end was near, death had no terror for him.  His funeral services were conducted by his pastor at his residence in the presence of a large company of relatives and friends, after which, he was tenderly laid to rest in Sebewa cemetery beside his aged companion, with whom he is now reunited in the bright home above. 

March 11, 1898.  PIERCE G. COOK died at his home on Bridge Street in Portland on Monday night last from the result of a stroke of paralysis aged 81 years.  He was born in Saltstown, New York August 6, 1816.  He came to Sebewa in 1848 where he engaged in farming until 1874 when he moved to Portland where he has continued to reside ever since.  During his residence here he held many positions of trust.  He was Justice of the Peace and Director of Schools several terms and always performed any duties devolving upon him with faithfulness in an upright manner with integrity.  The funeral services were conducted from his late home in charge of Miss Inman of Ionia, well known Spiritualist in which faith the deceased had been a firm believer for many years. 

October 19,1898.  MRS. RENEWED HOLMES, an old resident of Sebewa, died at her home in that township on the 1(?) inst. Aged 77 years.  Heart trouble was the cause of her death.  She was well known to many outside her immediate vicinity, having kept hotel at Sebewa Corners for many years. 


HOW WE WENT ‘ROUND AND ‘ROUND IN THE WEST AND CAME OUT HERE as told on tape by Garland Bailiff

     We were in North Dakota from 1914 to 1928.  We left Dakota on account of my mother’s health.  From there we went to Oregon—Mother, Dad and my brother and I.  My older brother, Silas, did not stay in Oregon.  He went back to North Dakota and he is still there.  We worked some at farm work—we never farmed much of our own.  We more or less worked on the road.

     We were in the Willamette Valley with a range of mountains between us and the Pacific Ocean.  We were between two ranges of mountains.  That is south of Salem about 18 miles.  I got married there in Oregon.  Then my wife and I and her people went to California.  We were there about a year and three months.  It was hard times and everything was getting tighter all the time.  You couldn’t buy, borrow or steal a job down there.  We were where Disneyland is now.  Grace’s grandfather had a nice orange orchard there near Anaheim south of Los Angeles.  It was just like everything else in 1929 and ’30, you must didn’t do nothing then.

     We went back up to Oregon; we were up there when Jim was born.  When he was about a year and a half old I had an aunt in Colorado.  She was a homestead owner of a big sheep ranch there.  She kept writing and wanting us to come there.  So we went there.  I and my wife and Jim went to Colorado.  That was about 110 miles northeast of Denver in the northeastern part of the state.  Then the folks they came in the spring after we went there.  Along that next fall my aunt had a stroke.  After she had this stroke she died.  She was my dad’s sister.  She was an old maid—never had married.  Of course everything had to be sold.  We went on the move again.  In the meantime my wife here and I went back to Iowa and stayed one winter where I was born.  I was not born in North Dakota.  We stayed one winter back there and Mary Lee was born.  Then we went back to Colorado and we farmed for a year after that before they got the estate settled.

     We drove through to Arkansas.  We had an old 1924 Dodge and we pulled a 4-wheeltrailer.  The biggest objection to that was we went down through Kansas and got into some of them dust storms.  We was driving along there one day (in 1934) and my dad, of course, got to talking with a guy that was going to the Ozark Mountains there and he got to telling him what a great country it was.  I don’t think he’d ever been there.  We got there in Kansas going down through there and by golly you couldn’t see.  It was like a blizzard.  I finally said to dad “We might just as well stop over at some cabin camp.  We can’t see for the dust”.  So we stopped over for a day.  The next morning the wind had let up and we went right on then.

     Through Kansas we never run into any more of that.  Of course we knew what it was because it was that way in Colorado at times, too.  Mother had a cousin in the northern part of Missouri and we stopped and seen them.  That is where we started for first.  We went down into this part of Missouri where this guy said he was going and we never found him.  Apparently he didn’t find what he wanted and he went on.  So we went on down into Arkansas.

     My cousin’s wife’s sister was down there in that town of Rogers, Arkansas.  Well, they’d been there long enough so I guess they didn’t seem to mind it.  They liked it there.  Well, we rented a place and we stayed and tried our luck farming.  Boy!  I never got into such farming in my life.  Horse farming, that’s what it was.  One horse through stumps and stones.  They raised corn and tomatoes and string beans and stuff like that.  It was during the drought and we never had a good crop in all the time we was there.  They claimed they had had.  I never did see one.  We farmed about 25 acres altogether.  Their ground was so poor.  I think it was run and run and run and nothing ever put back on it.  It probably had been farmed for a good many years.  They did have some waful nice oak timber down there.

     Finally dad just got to thinking maybe we’d better try to get out of there.  Mattie, my sister (Mrs. Harry Meyers) she’d been after us for years to come up here to Michigan.  Then I built a truck.  It was out of the old Dodge car—the front part of it.  It had a ’24 Model T cab on it and a ’29 Ford truck back end on it with a truck rack and all.  I’d have been all right but the rear that come with it had car wheels on it.  When I put them tires on there, I kept having flat tires and I couldn’t figure out why it was pinching the tubes but it was because the wheels were not big enough—the rims wasn’t.  They said they was I forget how many million flat tires that year that we come up here and I belive I had half of them on the way up here.

     We were 28 days coming from Arkansas up here.  That was about as long a ride as I ever took, I believe.  We had the truck covered with a canvas that we would stretch over the back end.  We had it pretty good.  Heck, it was warm yet then until after we got here in Michigan and then it began to cool off.  We camped in farmer’s yards or schoolyards or something like that all the way up here.  Once in awhile there would be a night that was a real nasty night, why then we would hunt up a cabin camp—cabins were only a doller and a half or two dollars a night—a lot different than it is now.

     We made 14 miles one day.  I had a flat.  I rolled that tire better than a mile to a filling station, pumped it up, rolled it back and got it back on the truck and let it back down and it was flat again.  And then I was doing the same thing again and rolled it the other way clear there and back.  Until we got into Jefferson City, Missouri and got out of Jefferson City to a little town and started having tire trouble and a guy in a filling station there said “if you’d go and get you some wheels to fit them tires it would stop your troubles”.

     I said “Do you know where I could get some?”  He said “Yeah, back to Jefferson City”.  “Yeah but”, I said “that’s quite a ways back”.

      He said “I’ll take you back”.  He took me back to Jefferson City and bought the wheels at a discount price and he only charged me a dollar for doing it.  You couldn’t find anybody who’d do that today for you that way.  After that we had pretty good luck the rest of the way up.

     Down in Indiana I had a rod go out of it.  It was the old type rod where the bearing was separate from the rod.  You could slip them right out and slip another in.  People were real nice along the road.  We stayed in a cabin camp that night and I was going to pull it off right out there in the yard, pull the pan, you know.

     Down in Arkansas there were strawberries but I didn’t do much of the strawberry picking but my wife did.  I never was very good at it.  There was a little race on and Grace picked 130 quarts one day.  You get a kick out of them Arkansawyers, they got that long drawed out voice.  Johnny come over one night and I was milking the cow and taking care of the horse.  He come over and was visiting with me and he says “You know, I’m going to beat your wife picking strawberries tomorrow”.

     I said “You are?”  He said “Yeah”.  I said “How many did she pick today?”  “Well” he said “I think a hundred and I just got a hundred.  Tomorrow I’m gonna beat her”.  Next night he come over.  They had a cow in our pasture and he come over and did the milking.  I said “Well, Johnny, did you beat her??”

     “Myah lan’, no” he said.  “I didn’t beat her.  Why, that woman, she picked 130 quarts today.”  But they did have, anyhow when we were down there, awful nice strawberries.  There were no great fields—four, five and six acres of strawberries.  They were all sold in Joplin, Missouri and Springfield.  The guys trucked them in.  They had a good market right there in Rogers but in them days there was nothing that was worth anything, that was the biggest trouble.  Of course, I suppose, it was the same way everywhere in those depression days.  Grace got 1 ½ cents a quart for picking.  When we worked in the canning factory we got 10 cents an hour but I and, now mind you a schoolteacher—he was a real good teacher, he had a good education—we worked for a guy setting out strawberries for 5 cents an hour and I said to him “Bruce, what in the world are you doing down in this part of the country setting out strawberries when you could be up in Kansas where you used to live a teaching school?”

     He said “I was sick of it and I don’t want to do it no more”.  But he did.  He went back to teaching school and before he took sick this time he got to be the postmaster there.  He had a good education, but I don’t know, those that have it don’t want to use it.  A nickel an hour and we carried our own dinner.  We didn’t get no dinner or nothing out of it either, boy!

     But you could go to town then and buy a sack of flour for 75 cents too.  Well, you know I didn’t get no big wages when I first started to work here--.9 a week.  Of course they furnished the house.  But then it seemed like pretty darned good wages too because there was a lot of them worked for less.

     Down in Arkansas there were strawberries but I didn’t do much of the strawberry picking but my wife did.  I never was very good at it.  There was a little race on and Grace picked 130 quarts one day.  You get a kick out of them Arkansawyers, they got that long drawed out voice.  Johnny come over one night and I was milking the cow and taking care of the horse.  He come over and was visiting with me and he says “You know, I’m going to beat your wife picking strawberries tomorrow”.

     “Well” he said, “I think bettern a hundred and I just got a hundred.  Tomorrow I’m gonna beat her”.  Next night he come over.  They had a cow in our pasture and he come over and did the milking.  I said “Well, Johnny, did you beat her?”

     “Myah lan’, no”, he said.  I didn’t beat her.  Why that woman, she picked 130 quarts today”………I said to him “Bruce, what in the world are you doing down in this part of the country setting out strawberries when you could be up in Kansas where you used to live a’ teaching school?”

     He said “I was sick of it and I don’t want to do it no more”.  But he did.  He went back to teaching school and before he took sick this time he got to be the postmaster there.  He had a good education, but I don’t know, those that have it don’t want to use it.  A nickel an hour and we carried our own dinner.  We didn’t get no dinner or nothing out of it either, boy!

     But you could go to town and buy a sack of flour for 75 cents, too.  Well, you know I didn’t get no big wages when I first started to work here--.9 a week.  Of course they furnished the house.  But then it seemed like pretty darned good wages too because there was a lot of them worked for less.

     There were snakes in Arkansas.  Jim was just a little snot then.  Dad was just a fooling a hiding or something.  Dad went in the corn crib and Jim was going to go in but the old dog went in ahead of him and, by gosh, there was a cooperhead in there and he got him.  The dog got bit in the process but you know we thought sure as heck the old dog was going to die.  Them old Arkanawyers down there, they’d come along—his old head—it got him right in here in the jaw—his old head was swelled way up and I thought “Boy, if he ever makes it, it will be a wonder.”  They said “Aw, don’t worry.  He’s a going to be an awful sick dog but he’ll be all right in a day or two”.  And he was.  But he killed the snake.

     A guy was a farmer and he had a nice tool shed and he said “Why didn’t you drive that thing around to the shed and put it in the shed?  After I get my chores done I’ll come in and help you and we’ll pull the pan”.  And we pulled that pan and got a bearing for fifty cents.  He come out after he got his chores done and helped me put it back together and wouldn’t take a penny.  That was in Indiana.  I couldn’t tell you the names of any of them towns anymore.

    There was Three Rivers and a lake and we stayed in a cabin camp there.  Somewhere out this side of Three Rivers there was a cabin camp beside a lake and that’s the only place I can remember outside of Jefferson City there where we stayed all night.

     But how I come through some of them big towns with that old truck I still don’t know.  I even come right through Bloomington, Illinois down there and all I had for brakes was the old type Ford mountain brakes.  They were a brake on the outside.  They hooked onto the foot petal too on the old Dodge.  Boy, it scared me to death for years afterwards to think about it how I came through them big towns.  It wouldn’t idle good and I didn’t have no hand feed on it—the old Dodge used to always have a hand feed you know you could set ‘em.  Grace always rode in the cab with me all the time and when we’d come to a stop sign and it was idling, she’d work the foot pedal or gas feed and when we’d want to take off she’d step down on the feed and I’d release the brakes and away we’d go.

     It was worth the experience.  As far as anybody making any money in them times there was very few unless they had a farm or something of their own.  They was a lot of funny things.  We stayed in a cabin camp down there in Indiana or a park where they could drive in the park and camp and I seen a guy there with a Montana license.  Of course I thought if he was from out in our country, I’ll go over and get chummy with him.  I went over and went to visiting with him and I said “I see you are from Montana”.

     He said “No, I’m from Indiana but I’ve been in Montana the last two or three years herding sheep”.  He had a wife and I believe five children.

     I said “What in the world took you out there herding sheep?”  He said “I couldn’t get a job here and I seen an advertisement in the paper they needed sheepherders and I went out there and got a job, $60 a month and that was big pay.”  It was big pay.  But he said “You know, I couldn’t take my family out there with me sixty miles from town”.  He’d go out there and he’d stay all summer herding them sheep.  All he had was his two dogs and his wagon.  He said “I think I quit.”

     I said “What was the matter?”  He said “You know I could look out over them sheep and see all kinds of faces that I knew”.  I’ve been kind of lucky since I’ve been in Michigan.  I don’t believe I’ve ever been out of a job since I’ve been here.

     But, you know, I never happened to run onto any.  Oh I see ‘em but I always see ‘em when I didn’t have nothing to kill ‘em with and I wasn’t about to walk through the brush looking for something for fear I’d run onto another one.  They never seemed to be in the strawberries.  I never heard of anybody killing any in the strawberry patch.  When we went huckleberrying we always wore high rubber overshoes.  Outside of that we were lucky, I guess.

     In all the time we was in Colorado I never seen but one rattlesnake.  There was a lot of them but, I don’t know, I never happened to run onto them.  I talked with a guy that I worked for part time there.  They dig out a big place and cement it for a water supply for cattle and there was a prairie dog town right in there where they were digging this next to the windmill and they killed 22 rattlesnakes while they wre digging that thing.  I said “It would have been about the second one you killed, if I’d a been working with you, you would a had one less man ‘cause I wouldna been there”.  They told that if you’d go out in the spring of the year in prairie dog town on the first few nice days when the sun was shining nice, you’d find them.  I and my cousin went all through one and we never found any.

     My dad’s people want, he had brothers and two sisters, went to Colorado and homesteaded when they opened up homesteads there.  My aunt and one brother was all that ever stuck to it.  The other ones they had, mostly, too, they just had beans to eat and jackrabbits.  They told that the jackrabbits got where they had boils in ‘em, you know, in the older ones.  He said they just got to where they couldn’t eat ‘em.  One day in the spring it was nice, he said to the boys “If you fellers will keep still, I’ll go out and get a young jack and you won’t say nothing when you get ready to eat it”.

     “Oh, no!” they wouldn’t say a word.  He said his wife fixed that all up nice, fried it.  He said the second boy, the first piece he picked up, he said that piece got a boil on it.  He said that done it.  He couldn’t eat it.  I had quite a little relation out there for a long while and I guess that just the one cousin he went there for asthma.  That’s a great country for asthma.  He got over it.  There was one thing about Arkansas and I heard my dad say that a good many times while we’s down there that nobody could point their finger at you and say “There goes a poor devil”

Cause they was all just alike, poor as could be. 

     And I’ll tell you another thing.  There was a road went into a little town down there.  We had to go down through a valley and up to a little town.  There was a big spring come out of a cave, an old big cave.  I never had nerve enough to go in it but the other boys had.  Oh it had a heck of a flow of water and there was quite a space covered on the road and they had a plank there for you to walk across.  I was going to town one day and a young feller come from the other way and I waited till he come across.  He got a little anxious and it was cold, in the winter time, and he hurried a little and and he slid off and stepped in the water.  I said “Boy, it’s awful cold to be getting a wet foot, I’m sorry I hurried so”.  “Oh”, he said, “that didn’t make any difference and he took off his shoe and there was a big for the water to run out.  So I’m telling you, they talk about poor people now!  That boy come from a family that lived way back in the sticks.  The mother had died—they had seven children and they had a house that was built out of logs and they put a peaked roof on it and one end of it was closed and the other end was open for light.  That’s all the light they had; they didn’t have no windows, and a door.  In the winter time when it got real cold they’d hang gunny sacks over that opening.  They said that one boy had had infantile paralysis when he was a little feller and he had one leg that wasn’t right and one arm, and they said that all he had for clothes one winter was gunny sacks and flour sacks with holes cut in for the arms and his head.  I guess we’ve been pretty lucky at that when you stop to think about other people.             The end.


THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR
Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association
Robert W. Gierman, Editor
R 1
Portland, Michigan 48875  U. S. A.

 



Last update March 19, 2013