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the snow soaking through our cloth shoes, caused our feet to freeze, while the cord sewed about the necks of our jackets about chocked [sic] us. Winter did surely set in, but we kept it up getting wood for another week. We were so scant of clothes that this work was a torture. When we finished getting up wood for the winter my older brother hired out to Fred Evans for two months for six dollars per month. My father let me work at the stage station for the same wages. I had four stage horses to care for, and six cows to milk, two yoke of oxen to feed, and being only a boy of fourteen years, it was hard on me. My mother ripped up gunnysacks and made her a carpet for the ground floor, stretching it and pinning it up to the bottom logs, which made it look homelike. My father roasted buffalo meat before the fireplace on an iron hook, seasoned with salt and pepper, and with a pan


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[missing part of narrative from March 22, 1923, Wood River Sunbeam:

sewed and basted it. With cornbread in the oven, coming towards the house, a person could smell the meat half a mile away, and they were meals that John D. Rockefeller might have been proud to sit down to. As our cows became dry we had no butter, but my mother melted buffalo tallow to put on our corn bread and for some unknown reason no matter how hot you put tallow on your bread, it would seem to freeze up in the roof of your mouth. We would actually get up in the middle of the night to eat a meal like that, and it is no wonder that we were all healthy[.] Often my mother would scold us for tracking in dirt on her carpets. Fred Evans gave my brother some clothes that were too small for him, including a cap and boots, and he was well fitted out for the winter. While I was working for Mr. Lamb that winter at the stage station, the stage driver gave me a pair of overalls and boots, and my mother made me some mittens out of blankets. My work at the stage station was very hard, and being a boy, I made harder work out of it. Many times I looked back on the time I was with the circus company, and longed for the treatment. With the company I was treated good and with kindness and I had every thing my heart could wish for, while that winter I was out in the far west, working at a stage station without experience and never a kind word spoken to me. I worked early and late, and they desired to hire me for a year, but I told my father I would rather die. The spring of '61 sooned [sic] opened, and my father put my youngest brother and I to breaking prairie and planting sod corn and pumpkin and squash seed. My brother and I turned over twenty-five acres. After Richard and Anthony Moore got settled, Richard returned to Davenport in May and brought back a bride. Besides Mrs. Moore, Edmund

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O'Brien and John Mahon returned with him and located on claims just east of Patrick Moore. A few years later Mrs. Keefe with her family of three children, James, Richard and Mary Ann, located on a claim just south of Richard Moore. They were all kind hearted people, and my father was very attached to them all. In the fall of 60, Ted Oliver, his wife, brother and sisters and mother, and a family by the name of Owens, who were enroute to the great Utah Valley, stopped here. They believed in the Morman [sic] religion, but had not joined the church, and were endeavoring to make the trip independently. They located on Wood River two miles west of Wood River center, now known as Shelton. Finding it a healthy country, they located in Wood River in the spring of '61. They were very fond of mushrooms. By a mistake one day they picked some toadstools, looking

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just like mushrooms, but on eating them remarked that they did not taste right and in a short time some of the Owen children who had eaten them were taken with convulsions. They immediately sent for my father and he came as soon as he could, but before he could get there one of the two children has [sic] passed to the great beyond. By working with the others and my applying anesethics [sic], he saved them. Had he been half an hour later, they would have been beyond medical assistance. My father was called from there to Kearney Crossing to Bill Esting's, whose wife lay very low with typhoid fever. My father stayed by her bedside for four days. My mother had made my father some shirts from flour sacks, and the brand mark was hard to wash out, and it read "Extra Family Flour"

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across his back. He examined his patient very carefully, and with his pleasant ways and kind disposition his patients all became acquainted with him and liked him. He would tell some pleasing little story to get her mind off her ailment onto something else. Removing his coat she saw the brand on the back of his shirt and began laughing. Her husband said it was the first time that he had seen her smile in a week. His kind pleasant ways won the battle in nine out of ten cases, and in four days she sat up and said she could do her housework but that was not allowed. He pronounced her out of danger and departed for Kearney, where the quartermaster wanted to see him as he had a bad bronchial attack. My father gave him some medicine, and he declared

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he felt better at once. He gave my father a present of a soldier's hat, which you could push, so the crown would be two feet high like a stovepipe, or you could crush to a low crown, also a soldier overcoat, which was very acceptable. He gave my father the rear wheels of a broken down avalanche and some bolts, and a spring to go with it. He also gave him a mule collar, a pair of hames and chain tracers and a bridle. As there were two supply wagons going to start the next day to Omaha, he put the things in the supply wagon and they were brought to our cabin. My father was not long erecting a sulky with ash poles for the shape. These were not quite as large as small saw logs. He put a box on the sulky of cotton wood boards, a

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spring seat, and it was one of the finest things of the kind in the whole country. My father secured a Mustan [sic-mustang] pony from Jim Jackson and made a buck band and belly band out of buffalo hide. My father secured a piece of my mother's clothes line rope for reins, and my father had a convenient rig to carry his medicine case and instruments when making his calls. Jim Jackson kept a grocery store on his farm and was appointed postmaster, of the community which was known as White Cloud. The post office remained in his store until the railroad passed through. He built a store where the town site was located just south of Richard Moore's place. When the postoffice was located, the place was called Wood River. A few years later the

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depot and town was moved to the present site, where Wood River village is now located. Jim Jackson remained there up to the time of his death, as near as I can remember. Mary Jackson passed away in 1881. A man by the name of Berry located on the claim now owned by Pady Frances. In the spring of 1861 Mike and James Crane arrived here. They were sociable and agreeable old gentlemen, and they bought or traded Mr. Berry out of his claim. Shortly thereafter Mrs. Frances, their sister, came here and kept house for them together with her two children. Pady and Mary Frances. In the spring of 1860 as soon as the grass was tall enough for feed, there was a large number of immigrants and freight wagons beginning to pass through to

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Oregon, Washington and California, besides the great Morman [sic] trains to the Salt Lake Valley. These trains passed through all summer. My father with his pony and sulky became quite a familiar figure, as there was considerable sickness among the settlers and quite a number of deaths among the immigrants. Along the bend on Wood River to the Jim Boyd ranch were many graves that held immigrants. Not knowing of the presence of a physician in this wild country, and not giving them the attention they should have had, they in many cases passed away. The hand cart train soon stopped going to Salt Lake. I saw but one hand cart train in September of 1860. This consisted of about twenty-eight heavilly [sic] laden carts pulled by men, women and children. They made their way over the hot

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created: October 2, 2003 by Karen Keehr
up-dated: October 2, 2003