Pat Mathes,CZT
Facebook: GramTangles

Friday, December 18, 2015

Our Tangled Lives - Week 51

This week's journal prompt was to honor our culture, our ancestry, our heritage.  I chose to honor my family history in Kansas.  These roots are what made me who I am today.  My family was old - to me!  My parents were in their 40s when I was born; my oldest brother has a daughter my age.  My oldest brother had 11 grandparents growing up; I had none (I was 4 when my last grandparent passed).  But I had aunts and uncles and great aunts and uncles who had stories from their families of their lives during the hard times of settling in a new area in a time of unknown, Indian raids, through the dust bowl, through the depression.  And they told their stories.  And their children told their stories.  And I heard them from family and friends as I grew up.  We were not a rich family, but we were a proud family and shared love.  My oldest sister, who died in 1995, was our family historian and I have pieced together some things I was able to find.  I relate a story told by family of the Indians and Wild Bill Hickock.  As I was putting this together, I restudied my family timeline, the steps taken, the losses.  It was a time of rememberance. And I refreshed my memory on who I am.  Why I am.  How I am.

The narrative doesn't show clearly in the photo:

My grandparents on both sides arrived in Kansas in 1886 and 1887.  Their early years and ancestry was in the east, both sides having soldiers in the Union Army.  I think my mother’s side came from Germany originally, the first child being born in the US in 1770.  There is Pennsylvania Dutch background there too. But I want to share this story, related by my great or great great aunt (I am having some issues with the time line as parents named their children the same name).  I think this took place in the late 1870s  in Republic County, Kansas.

Father and Mother went to town and left us kids at home.  The Indians came and we were afraid.  Our house was partly in the hillside and Father had dug back and made a place to store potatoes, etc.  My sister (my grandmother, I think)  had long black hair and we were afraid the Indians would steal her so we put her in the root celler and shut it up, and the other young children went to the caves while the older sister watched for Indians.  Father heard in town that the Indians were coming so they came back as soon as they could, arriving after the Indians were gone, and got quite a scare when they came in and no kids.  But when the main group of Indians arrived Wild Bill was with them, so all was OK and the children were safe.

Another time, Mother said she and the children were alone; the men had gone to the mill to have grain ground for flour and to get groceries and feed.  Usually several teams went and brought back enough to last for several months. Some Indians came through there on their way to hunt.  She said they always were glad when a lot of Indians came through if Wild Bill Hickock was with them.  But they were never sure when they first saw them coming if they were renegade tribes or not.  This time they were camped near them and Wild Bill Hickcock came to see if he could get water from their well and they did.  It was early spring and one of the children had a bad cold and was terribly ill in the night.  Someone knocked on the door.  They were all scared, but the knocking continued.  Her mother opened the door and it was Wild Bill.  He had seen the light from their camp and knew the baby must be worse than when they were there for water.  He brought medicine and made poultices and cared for the child, and in the morning he was better.  It was cold and raining.  Mother said there was water everywhere.  Hickock and his men cut wood and did the outside chores, milking, etc.  The Indians helped.  She said two old Indian women came up and sat with them so their mother could rest.  Mother said they were good, they were scared.  She said the old women grunted and talked and kept the house warm and tended the sick child.  Mother said they weren’t near as afraid of the Indians after that.

I was trying to put this together and put the family members in the right timeline, especially reading about Wild Bill Hickock and his history in Kansas.  In doing so, I found a wonderful website that had an awesome timeline of Kansas history.

No comments:

Post a Comment