Our Journey West
Mr. & Mrs. Dan Davis - A description of our journey
Mr. & Mrs. Dan Davis - A description of our journey
We started from Mulberry Grove in September, 1900, making the trip by wagon. We were going out west to Kansas to see my 2 sisters that I hadn't saw for 15 yrs. We had a good team & an extension on our wagon bed, but of course you know it was slow traveling in them days. We didn't have cars like they do now. Well we had lots of good people we met up with-wonderful good people & I prayed for the Lord to take care of us & He did.
After a three week stop in Utica, Missouri we arrived at Kansas in Oct about the middle or the last. It was getting pretty cool weather & we were glad when we arrived there. I didn't hardly know my 2 sisters nor they dident hardly no me so we only stayed with them 2 weeks before we rented a rock house & moved in it. Oh it was so cold that winter with snow 5 foot deep in places! We had no fuel but cow chips & we had to gather them up when they was dry & burn them. We like to froze to death that winter. We had to keep putting cow chips in all the time to keep warm when it began to get so cold. The rock house we lived in just had a few poles or willows for a roof with rock piled on top. The roof was bent in so bad we didn't know but what every night it might come in on us & kill us all. Dan Davis said ever night he would go to bed with his cap on to keep his head from freezing & he would say Oh Lord keep this roof from falling in on us!
As soon as it got warmer we moved to Logan, Phillips County, Kansas which you can see on your map if you have one. We rented a frame house off a lady by the name of Hoover. She was a good old woman with a little girl. I guess Mary Etta remembers playing with her. I think she was 8 yrs. old or more & Wava 3 yrs. younger. Anyhow, we stayed there till spring, as well as I remember. We then started down there (to Oklahoma where they had hoped to stake a claim on some land and settle down) but when we got there the claims had been all taken up. We stayed in Oklahoma till fall, however, & we lived in a sod house, so you see what I have went through! Ora went to work in the wheat fields at 16 yrs. old. One night a storm came up & I worried about Ora, wondering if he was allright. They come an afful storm that night & I thought we was all a going to be blowed away but the good Lord spared us. In the morning when we woke up the house had partly blowed in & the cows was looking in at us! While we were there Wava had the dropsy. Her feet & legs were swollen so bad & we didn't have no doctor. We couldn't get one for they was too far away but the good Lord spared her life.
We didn't have no bedsteads only boards to lay on but we had our straw ticks & our feather beds. There was holes all around the soddy that the civit cats could crawl in but we had to watch them. If they bit you they would kill you they said. We could also see centepedes crawling all through the sand. I know Ora could tell a whole lot if he would. He says he don't want to look back. Well I do. I'll never forget the trip to my dying day for I have seen the bear dance don't you forget it! Excuse my poor scribbling at 82 yr. old will you please but I am telling you the truth & I want you all to know it & think about what your mother has went through. I am so nervous I can hardly write. Oh haint it offul to see how I am now! I can't hardly get my breath sometimes. Well I will finish my story if i can.
Well we took another wild goose chase & started back to Mulberry Grove & the boys would get out with there guns & hunt along the road for rabbits. We had plenty of meat & lard them days & wild game. We met up with a family that was going our way partly & we traveled together & cooked our meals outside. These folks traveled along with us, just a man & woman & little girl. You children that was along played with this little girl. Mary Etta knows, surely. She was old enough. They were afful nice people & he had the asthma so bad you could hear him breathing & coughing till you'd think he would die. I expect he didn't live long although they said he had been that way for many years. It was damp & cold for him & on us too. We had to wash & didn't have time to dry our clothes so we had to put them on damp. Well us & that family stayed & traveled together about a week or more I guess, & then we parted. They went one way & us another, but we missed them for they were good people & I hope they are in heaven for surely they are not living. The little girl might be but she would be about Mary's age now.
So we traveled on & on from town to town & over rocks & hills & places where they wasn't any roads. The boys & your daddy both were on ahead hunting. Not far, of course, but far enough they depended on me to drive with Bertha in my arms & Mary by me & Wava behind. Mary wanted to drive & since we had a gentle team I gave her one line & I held the other. We was coming on a culvert when she dropped the lines & the team, wagon & all went down the ditch! If it had a been a deep place probably we might has all been killed, but I could see wese going & I said Oh God help us! But before we went down Mary Etta jumped out, & I know she surely remembers it, & hollered Oh God they're all killed! But her daddy give her a little hickory tea for taking the lines. Poor kid. I felt sorry for her, for I was to blame for letting her have the line, but I had Bertha in my lap & couldn't manage very good. We went in the deep ditch & never hurt anything very much, only an old coal oil can got broken. I had canned peaches in there, canned in tin cans, & it never hurt them a bit because I had them packed good. Then the horses got scared & was about to run away & our extension on the wagon got all twisted to one side. But we were right by a school house when it happened & the school boys all came out & helped lift the wagon out. How many will do that now?
We went on as far as St. Louis when your daddy got blood poison in his eye & it went to his head & he got out of his head. Then Ora got sick. When we got to Mulberry Grove the doctor said he had a touch of TB. He had him to put his feet & legs in ice cold water up to his knees for a few days & he got better. But I will go back to my story & finish. I know you will get tired of reading this but it is all true & no fish story either. You can laugh if you want to, but this is all true. For all of this I expect I have forgot a whole lot of it besides.
Well from St. Louis on to Mulberry Grove Ralph had to drive all the way. He would whistle & spit through his teeth (& had a good old time, being only 12 years old!). We didn't know the way, for daddy didn't know anything & Ora was lying behind, coughing & bad off, too. But our horses knew the way & they took us, for they was coming back to their old home. Old Tom & Doll they sure was good horses. But we fed them good & let them graze on the good grass. She had one little colt & we had to have it shod & they kept them little shoes for a long time. Ora knows that if he would say so. I wish my boys would talk & say something what they know. I would be glad. I use to never say much either but I have learnt different.
That little colt traveled all the way back but it would get pretty tired. So we would stop & rest & it would lie down for it was so tired. Well we went to Uncle Joe's & Aunt Jane's & we stayed there till daddy got all right. We had Dr Barnes from Mulberry Grove & he didn't think he would live for his face & head was all swelled up till he couldn't see. He didn't know nothing but when we got there Milt Ellsworth come over & he thought he would have a little fun out of him. Milt seen he was out of his head but your daddy said, "well Milt I believe I have got the chronic grunts" & Milt laughed & said "Yes, I believe you have". Uncle Joe, poor fellow, he is dead & gone too. He watched over him. I believe it was the 9th day that he was to take a change & the Dr said if he lived over that night he would be all right. So Uncle Joe sat up with him all that night & after that he began to get better. Uncle Joe was a faithful old soul & stuck right with him.
Then when Ora got better we moved to Mulberry Grove where Bertha had a hard spell of sickness at 16 months old. We didn't think she would live & we had 2 doctors to hold consultation over her. She had spinal meningitis & bowel trouble & I would have to change her 12 or 13 times a day. The doctors put a stiff plaster around her body & she got all right, but she lay between life & death for 6 weeks & i would go out in secret prayer & ask the Lord to heal her body. She is living & happy, I hope. Did you ever know me to scribble like this? Flora, whoever reads this, I hope can read it. Its my nerves makes me jump so.
When Bertha got well we moved on Dwight Brunsons place & stayed & made garden & had a little stuff. We had a good cow & we kept her over in the pasture at one of our neighbors. They had a little girl about the age of Wava & she would come out ever time I went over there to milk & watch me milk & talk to me with her little hands behind her. She was about 3 yrs old & you know before we left that place that little girl took the membranous croup & died in one nights time. Poor little thing & that was the only child they had! I felt so sorry for them. They was afful nice people. Well we traded for a place here in Greenville. We gave our cow on it for the first payment to John Bunch, a one armed man. We lived up there by Ed Blacks & I washed for people every day. Then we traded that place to Jim Litch for a restaurant & run it for a while & traded it to a widow woman by the name of Jordon for her place where ralph use to live down here by Clinicks. We stayed there, I don't know just now, how long but anyhow we traded that to old Jim Causey for his place. We stayed there quite a while & while we was living there Ora got married to Minnie Banning. That was in 1910 I think. In 1912 we traded that place for the one I own now.
We never had nothing much till I come here & havn't got much now but I am glad I have what I have for I won't need nothing much longer on this earth. I want a home in glory. If I could only breathe good & have my health I would be happy. My children all is married & I am left alone in this wicked world to weep & to mourn. Of course, Jane & Ora is with me but they can't give me my health. God be with you all. Written by your mother at 82 yrs.