From "Life in a Covered Wagon" by Alice Rebecca Cline Cox
I was born in Sand Springs, Iowa, October 26, 1882; the second child of Andrew Mathew and Catherine Ann Cline. When I was a tiny baby, we moved to Nebraska where we lived until the summer of 1886 when we traveled by covered wagon to Wyoming landing there in the early fall with thirteen head of cattle and our horses. My parents homesteaded on the Old Woman's creek in Converse County near Lusk and immediately started to build a log house. My father and a man by the name of Chip Hilliard who was living with us, and our only neighbor, a Mr. Petz, worked all week on the house. On Sunday, my father, mother and sister Emma, who was found years older than I , and my little brother Clarence, who was three years younger than I, went to see the new house. My brother went to sleep and Mother laid him on a quilt by the side of the house in the shade. I was sitting at the corner digging pitch out of logs. The top log on the house rolled off and struck my brother on the head and me on the shoulder. My brother was so badly injured that he died within a few hours and was buried on a bluff overlooking the homestead on Old Woman's Creek.
The winter of 1886 was a dreadful one and all the cattle drifted away in the storms and froze to death with the exception of one white cow named Sally. All the horses with the exception of one “Old Charley” died and one night he was brought into the kitchen to keep him from freezing to death. When brought in, he was covered with ice and sleet.
Our house consisted of two bedrooms and one large room that served for kitchen, living and dining room combined.
Wild deer and antelope were plentiful and we always had plenty of meat. In the fall, my father went to Lusk, twelve miles away and laid in a supply of food, kerosene and tobacco, for he chewed and smoked both. My mother, sister and I would each hide a plug, and a sack of smoking so when Dad ran out and got too cranky, one of us would bring out our tobacco and thus tide him over quite awhile.
When we ran out of coal oil, we girls would hold pine torches so our mother could see to do her work.
There were still a lot Indians roaming the county and would stop and trade for sugar and coffee and I have often been held on an Indian’s knee. Sometimes they were not too friendly but never bothered us for Dad said he always treated them right.
We lived there a year or two but Dad was no farmer so we moved to Manville where Dad started a blacksmith shop with all out doors for a shop and the blue sky for a roof and we lived in and around Manville (except for one year spent in the Big Horn Mountains and the town of Big Horn) until the spring of 1893.
My sister, Clara, was born in a log cabin about one mile and one-half miles out of Manville. I think west of town. It was while we were living at this place that there was a big Indian scare and lots of people took their families and beds and went to Manville and stayed in the upper story of a large grout building and fixed the stairway so they could pull it up after they were all in. But my folks stayed at the home except for one night when they put the feather bed on a horse and went to town, but the Indians never came.
My father had a young man by the name of Billy Little living with us who was from Richmond, Virginia, and he told such wonderful stories about Virginia that we decided to move there. So in the spring of 1893, he rigged up two covered wagons and with twenty-one head of horses, we started out for Virginia sometime in April. Dad always said he never wanted to take any Wyoming dirt away with him so just as crossed the state line into Nebraska, we had to cross a big water hole and he got on a saddle horse and hitched a rope on the end of the wagon tongue to help pull through the mudhole and it was so deep his feet were under water so we said he washed his feet of the Wyoming dirt alright.
The wagons took the lead and the horses trailed behind with Billy, Emma and I riding in the rear. When a baby cold was born, we would haul it in the wagon a few days till it was strong enough to follow. We cooked our meals on a campfire and slept in the wagons. My mother was an expert at camping and could bake the nicest light bread while traveling along having it ready to bake at camp time and bake it in a dutch oven.
It was fun traveling most of the time but when it was rainy and the roads became muddy, it wasn’t much fun and, at that time, the roads were nothing but wagon trails. At night we could pull out beside the road where the horses could graze and pitch camp. Billy slept in a bedroll at the outer edge of the grass range to keep the loose horses from roaming too far from camp and after we got down into Kansas where farms were fenced, we would camp at one end of the lane and Billy would sleep at the other and at bedtime stretch a rope across each end of the lane and the horses grazed there during the night. If by chance anyone was traveling through they would let the rope down and let them through. But there weren’t very many times they were ever bothered as they didn’t travel much at night in those days and only wagons or horseback riders.
We followed the route through Julesburg, Colorado, Sidney, Nebraska, Concordia and Emporia, Kansas, Joplin, Missouri and down into Arkansas, as far as Green Forest when the cold weather come on and we stopped there and that was the nearest we ever got to Richmond, Virginia. By this time, it was late October making between seven and eight months we had been on the road. Of course, the men stopped and worked whenever they could and Dad was quite a horse trader and that all took time. Then we never traveled on Sunday unless unable to find a place where the horses could feed.
Dad traded a team, harness and wagon and a shotgun for 160 acres of land about three miles from Green Forest in what was then known as the Egypt of Arkansas. It had a house, barn and an apple and peach orchard on it. Was very rough as it ran up on the sides of the Boston Mountains with all kinds of timber including hickory, walnut, oak, sycamore, paw-paw and many others. The woods were full of nuts and wild grapes and the squirrel were plentiful so you can imagine coming down here from bleak Wyoming what a heaven on earth it seemed to Mother and we older girls. We roamed the woods and gathered nuts till we had the attic, or loft as it was called there, packed full of nuts and such fun to sit around the fireplace and crack and eat them all during the winter for everyone had a fireplace – that and a cook stove was the only heat we had.
Dad and mother put in a crop the next spring and as Dad was no farmer and
not much patience, sometimes the air would be blue from the language he used
while plowing around the stumps and roots with which the ground was full.
Anyway, they raised a fine crop of corn and sweet potatoes as well as all
kinds of other vegetables. The
black berries grew wild in every fence corner and in the blackberry patch was a
million or more of chiggers of which we were covered with most of the time.
Chiggers are a small red bug around the size of a point of a pin and
cause terrible itching and sore spots.
We lived here two years and I cannot remember if they sold or traded the land or just left it. We went from there to Cave Springs in Benton County and spent one winter there.
Sister Emma and I were now quite big girls and enjoyed the parties given in the homes where we played Skip to My Lou, Miller Boy, Old Dan Tucker and many others; mostly kissing games but lots fun, with a taffy pull once in a while for a change.
Dad ran a blacksmith shop in Cave Springs and we girls went to school and writing school. Cave Springs was a small place consisting of a store and post office, school house, half a dozen homes and an old water wheel mill that hadn’t been used for years and what a spooky and romantic old thing it was. The place was named from a very large spring that flowed out of a cave in the side of a large hill owned by a mane named Barlett who had a lovely home high above the little town and had a fish hatchery at the mouth of the cave. A very beautiful spot was Cave Springs.
In the spring of 1896, we left Cave Springs and drove up through the Indian Territory and Oklahoma, through Kansas and up to the mountains of Florence, Colorado. Dad prospected awhile then turned and went back to Oklahoma where landed at Perkins just in time to pick cotton. We went to pick for Charley Crane near Plumb post office in Payne County, Oklahoma and lived there that winter and around there for two years; Dad always running a blacksmith shop.
In December, 1897, Emma married a man by the name of William Munroe Cox and went to live on a farm he owned by Ephraim Cox, but not related. That spring she took typhoid fever and died the 7th of July, 1898, having been married only a few months. It was while my sister was living on this farm that I met the man that I was to marry later on. He was the son of Ephraim Cox and was attending writing school at Harmony school house. I went with his sister one evening and sat with Lucius and wrote his copy for him. When the teacher came to examine the papers, he complimented Lucius on the improvement in his writing. That spring he and his parents moved to Guthrie, and I did not see or hear of him for some time. During the fall of 1899 we began to keep company and went together all winter. In the spring of 1900, my parents decided to go to Colorado and we left Oklahoma in April. I had been having chills and malaria and chilled every other day most of the trip which was made in covered wagons belonging to my sister Emma’s husband’s brother and wife and his father and mother and my brother-in-law, Bill Cox. When we reached Nepesta, Colorado, Clara, my younger sister became very ill with typhoid fever. This was early June, 1900. My father, Bill and Mamford Cox got a job putting up alfalfa hay and we rented a room in the farm house and moved Clara into the house. She was very ill for weeks, hovering between life and death.
The weather was dreadfully hot so in August, the doctor said she would never get well there. The only hopes of saving her was to get her to the mountains where it would be cooler. My father and mother debated what to do. They were almost afraid to start out for fear she would die on the road and they were sure she would die if they stayed where they were. So they fixed up a nice bed in the covered wagon and we started out traveling slowly and after the first day they could see Clara had improved and she continued to be better. By the time we reached the foothills nea4r Canon City, she was ever so much better and continued to gain. She was so thin and frail we hired a baby buggy to wheel her around in and she had to learn to walk all over again. As soon as she was able to get around by herself, my father and mother would buy a wagon load of apples and take them over into the Wet Mountain Valley or to the San Luis valley and sell them to the ranchers and grocerymen there.
I got a job at the Fremont County Hospital as cook and even if I was only 17 years old, I did the cooking for 30 people. I had to bake all the bread, about 17 loaves twice a week. At that time we did not have electric lights or running water. So it was quite a job but as we were not used to modern houses, we did not notice it so much.
About the first week of October, my mother took sick with typhoid fever and only lived a short time. She was buried on my eighteenth birthday. After her death, I took Clara and kept on working for awhile but she was still very weak and required quite a bit of my time so we went to stay with some friends for a few weeks. I made some dresses for Clara and then, Dad, Clara and I went back to Oklahoma arriving just before Thanksgiving. We stayed at Lucius’ mother until we were married on the 9th of December 1900. We lived for a few weeks on his father’s farm near Ripley.
Just two weeks after we were married, our best friends and pals, Eustace Straughn and Lizzie Laughlin were married and he and Lucius rented a place near Yale, Okla., from Lucius’ brother, Orlando (LANDIE)
We each had a one-room shack located about 100 yards apart and we girls tried to make them into a home. Our shack was everything but clean and attractive. The first morning we were there Lucius was laid up with lumbago and couldn’t get out of bed.
I started to clean and scrub. I papered the walls with newspapers, put my pretty new light green window shades up and hung my lace curtains over them and it really looked as cozy and home like as you please. I used sheets to put a curtain around the bed, thus making two rooms out of one.
We had to haul all the water we used in a barrel; some times from across the Cimmaron River, a distance of two miles and often drove a team and wagon across the river when we would have to tie the wagon box to the running gears to keep it from floating off because the river would be so high.
We were 2 ½ miles from a post office and got our mail about once a week. There was no telephone, electricity or daily newspapers, so the only amusement we had was a few monthly magazines and maybe the weekly Kansas City Star which was 25cents per years. Lizzie and Eustace and Lucius and I would get together at one of our homes and spend the evenings playing dominoes.
The boys started to dig a well midway between the two houses and had it down about 5 or 6 feet deep. One Sunday evening Lizzie and I were out walking and thought we would play a trick on our husbands. So we jumped down in the well and thought they would soon miss us and start looking for us. We were disappointed though – we could hear them going about whistling doing their chores, and when it began to get dark we decided to get out and go home. But to our dismay, we found we couldn’t get out. We decided that if one of us could get out we could pull the other one out, so Lizzie (who was the smallest) bent over and I stood on her shoulders and managed to climb out. Then I pulled her out and we went to our respective homes to find our husbands calmly reading not a bit worried about their young wives. They had seen us jump in!
Our chicken house was a little low log building with big cracks between the logs and a clapboard roof. I had a hen setting and every day an egg or two would be missing. One day I went out and found a big bull snake with its head under the hen and one egg already swallowed. I got the hot and tried to kill it but it was too strong for me to hold with the hoe and crawled up under the loose clapboards so I couldn’t get at him.
I called to Lizzie for help and we got the old muzzle loaded shotgun that kicked like a mule when it was fired. Lizzie got down on one knee with the gun and I stood behind her to brace her and she fired the gun and the old snake came rolling down all shot to pieces.
We had a lot of fun that summer if we didn’t raise much of a crop, for it was a very dry year and I am afraid we didn’t work too hard.
During the summer of 1901, the Caddo, Comanche Counties of Oklahoma (which was then a territory) was opened for settlement. All the boys of our crown registered as it was opened by lottery. One afternoon that summer, we were in Ripley at Dad and Mother Cox’s – I was sitting on a work bench out in the yard when Dad Cox came up behind me and held a telegram in front of my eyes. When I opened it, it was to let us know Lucius had been lucky and drawn 160 acres of land in Caddo County. We were so happy about it and we were the only ones that did get any land.
We arranged to move down there in January 1902 and loaded our worldly possessions into a covered wagon with my father and sister Clara and two young couples, we started out. The roads were not very good, the water terrible, and part of the time it was rainy and bitter cold. We put up in camp yards where we cooked and ate; everyone cooking on the same stove and eating our meals at long tables. We slept in our wagons.
When we found our land, it was as level as a floor and not a switch as large as your finger on it. We made camp, put up the tent, took the overjet off the wagon and put it hear the door of the tent and it was home. Dad and Lucius drove to Mountain View, about 14 miles away and got lumber to build a shack 12’ x 14’ and the men set to building the house. Clara and I kept pretty close to the tent for it was cold and our only fuel to burn was cow chips and it keeps one busy firing with them.
Well, in a few weeks, the house was finished, had two doors and one window and a real nice floor and a grooved roof that leaked like a sieve everytime it rained which I did plenty that spring. The only place that was dry was where the bed sat. We had a little loft overhead where Dad and Clara slept.
That spring, Lucius broke up some sod and planted a crop and I had a garden and we were as happy as if we had good sense.
Dad and Mother Cox came in June and stayed several weeks with us.
As were were expecting the stork in September, we decided to do back to Ripley where we would be nearer a doctor and our Lucy Winona was born September 3, 1902, and we were more happy than ever if that were possible. When she was just a few days old, we got a chance to sell our farm and did sell it so I never saw it again. Lucius went back on the train and packed up our few belongings and shipped them back. When they arrived and I went to unpack the dishes, I found them nearly all broken. Clara and I just had to shed a few tears for even if you don’t have very many you hate to lose them.
In a short time we bought the 160 acres where we lived at first, where we lived until 1909.
In July, 1904, our second baby, Ruby Goldie was born. She was a dainty little thing and only lived fifteen months. Her death was a great blow to us and we were very sad and lonely for many months but time is a great healer and after a while life went on very much as usual.
In the spring of 1907, the wanderlust got the best of us and we decided to rent the place and take a trip to Colorado-in a covered wagon of course. We had a beautiful team of big grey horse called Barney and Bob. Lucius took so much pains in building the top on our wagon. We put square bows and had the sides of canvas that was in sections so each one could be rolled up when we needed them up. The back had a small window so we could see out to the rear. In the back end of the wagon bed, we built a cupboard with compartments for different articles. The door let down and made a table to work on. We put the bed springs in the back end of the wagon out on top of the side boards and there we had as good a bed as we ever had in the house. Underneath, we carried our luggage and the feed for the horses. The first part of April we were ready to start out with everything ship-shape and we in high spirits but we were soon to have a disappointment for when we reached Ripley, Lucius’ brother, Orlando, was down with smallpox, and as he and Dad and Mother Cox had planed to go with us in their wagons, it was impossible for them to leave until he was better and to see if either of them came down with it. Orlando was very ill for quite awhile but no one else took it from him at that time. Of course, we could not go into the house so we drove slowly on our way till we arrived at Wichita, Kansas, where we camped and waited for him to get well and catch up with us. We were there several weeks and had a lovely camp in a big grove of walnut trees on the outskirts of Wichita. The time did not drag even though we had nothing to do.
When they finally came, we started out on our trip. There were four wagons in the crowd – Dad and Mother Cox, Orlando, Mr. And Mrs. Bell and their little girl, and Lucius, Lucy and I.
Poor Lucy was so homesick the first few days that we were almost sorry we had taken her away from home but she soon got over it and was a happy as a little five-year-old girl could be.
When we reached Pratt, Kansas, the town was full of farmers looking for harvest hands to help harvest the huge wheat crop that was raised in Western Kansas at the tat time. We all went to help harvest. Dad and Mother Cox, Landa, Lucius and I all for the same man. I helped cook for the men and got $1.00 per day and my meals and did I think I was getting rich fast for I had never received more than $4.00 per week before in my life. We worked there 12 days and then started on our way again. We had a lot of fun sitting around the camp fires at night and sang songs and told stories.
At last we arrived at Colorado Springs and found a camp in Colorado City and the men worked a few days at a big gold smelter there. We also visited the Seven Falls, Helen Hunt’s grave, Garden of the Gods and started to walk up Pikes Peak – Dad and Mother Cox, Mr. And Mrs. Bell and daughter, Lucius, Lucy and I. When we reached the half-way house, Lucius, hi mother, Lucy and I decided to go no farther as it was surely a terrible climb, but Dad Cox and the Bells went on their way and succeeded in getting to the top about as much dead as alive, I guess. It was terribly cold up there even though it was July or August. Well, we all got home after a time and the next day we were so sore and stiff we could hardly get around. Even though Dad Cox was 60 years old, he was better than any of us. So much for Pikes Peak. We never wanted to try it again; once was enough!
We then drove on up to Denver where we spent several days going up on the West Plum Creek road. We camped one night and bought hay at the T Ranch which we came to know so well in later years. After leaving Denver, we drove back over the same road as far as Colorado Springs then we went to Florence and Canon City. We crossed over the Sangre do Cristo Mountains over the Madanaw Pass which was a pass in name only as there surely wasn’t much of a road. After crossing over, we followed down the bed of the Madanaw River which had a very little water in it, but sand almost hub deep. We camped at noon near a small lake at the foot of the big sand dunes and to make the loads lighter, we didn’t fill the 5-gallon kegs we had on the sides of our wagons to carry water in for emergencies thinking we would find plenty of water on the way. It was dreadfully hot and the poor horses had all they could do to pull the wagons through the sand. Soon after we left camp at noon, the water sank in the river bed and we traveled till late at night and never found any more water. That night, we didn’t even pull out of the road to camp and all the horses had was dry hay to eat as we were all out of grain and all the water we had was a little in the gallon jugs we carried in the wagons. All we had to eat was pancakes and syrup and coffee.
The next day was Sunday. We finally pulled out of the sand and out into the San Luis Valley. I was walking ahead of the wagons and came to a cattle path where the tracks all went one way. We followed them and found a water hole. We stopped and gave the horses a drink and after a time we came to a large ranch where we got water for ourselves. We drove on to the town of Hooper and we sure laid in a supply of food and feed and thought “tonight we have a square meal” but when night came it was pouring down rain so we couldn’t cook much again.
We crossed the Valley and at Del Norte we stocked up on food and feed and I got a piece of boiling meat and we started over that range of mountains and by night we were up at quite a high altitude. I put the meat to boil and let it sit on the fire and simmer as long as the fire lasted. The next morning it was so tough you couldn’t stick a fork into it so it cooked every morning, noon and night for two days and we never could get it tender. We decided it was the high altitude, as a good part of the time we were up to, or above, timber line so we just had soup.
When we arrived at Pagosa Springs we stayed there several days and enjoyed the hot springs. There we became acquainted with a Mr. And Mrs. Whitney and son Fred. They had been there several weeks so Fred could take the baths for rheumatism which he had very bad. When we left they decided to go along with us and we traveled together down into the southern part of Colorado, in San Juan County and down the San Juan River which we crossed ten times in ten miles and every time we crossed it was deeper and more swift until the last time we thought we would never make it across but we did by the skin of our teeth. We camped on the banks of the river on a small plateau far from any town or ranch except one Mexican rancher.
While in Pagosa Springs, we heard great tales of the wild horses in Southern Colorado and that is what took us into this wild region to try to catch some of them who belonged to whom ever could catch them. They roamed over the mountains in small herds with a stallion as the leader of a band of ten or fifteen mares and colts and they were as wild as deer and about as fleet on foot.
We pitched camp in the early afternoon and Dad Cox, Orlando, Lucius and Fred saddled up the horses and rode up into the hills to try and locate some horses. Well evening came we women folk had supper ready and no men. Finally Dad Cox and Orlando cam riding in and said they had lost Lucius and Fred. We waited and waited and became very worried as it was such a wild country and what Mexicans there were, they were not very friendly to white people and we didn’t know what might happen but there was nothing we could do until daylight so we went to bed but I don’t think anyone slept much. Early the next morning, we were up and men got the Mexican rancher to go wit them as guide and started out to hunt them. About the middle of the forenoon, Lucius and Fred came riding into camp, a pretty tired and hungry pair of men. They had become separated and Lucius rode down the river and when he started home the canyon became so steep and narrow he could not make it in the dark so he unsaddled his horse and they spent the night on a narrow ledge far above the river. The night was very chilly and finally he found the head of a match in hi picket and by tearing up his note book he got a fire started and managed to gather enough fuel to keep a fire going and so kept warm. As soon as it was light he started to camp. When he came out on top of the Mesa and was riding along he happened to see Fred riding as fast as his horse could go away from camp. He had sat up all night, had not even built a fire or unsaddled his horse. He was about frightened to death. Poor kid was only 15 years old. We were all very happy when everybody was in camp safe and sound.
They then hired the Mexican as a guide and built a corral out of poles and after many days of hard riding, they succeeded in getting a number of the wild horses inside but then they decided they were too wild and not worth bothering with so turned them out and let them go. We were there about two weeks. I used to take the 22 target and go out hunting and could shoot a rabbit as good as any man.
One noon when the men were riding into camp for dinner, Lucy ran out to meet her Daddy and he got off his horse and put her in the saddle and started to lead his horse in. When the horse looked back and saw her, he began to buck and threw her off right over his head. Lucius just looked around in time to see her come flying through the air and luckily he caught her in his arms. If she had landed on that rocky ground, it would probably have killed her but we were all very frightened and that stopped her riding for a while.
Then we started toward home over those hills with sometimes no road more than a cow path to follow and had to cross ditches that were so deep and steep we broke the wagon bow on the horses’ backs as would go down in and out of them. Many times we could not find water and had to use stock water that was not fit for tocks, let alone human beings. Naturally we traveled very slowly and one evening just before we stopped for the night the dog into a fight with a porcupine and got her mouth and head full of quills. After we camped the men tried to pull them and it was so very painful that they had to pull her head in between the spokes of the wagon wheel to keep her from biting them. They finally got most of them out but for months after they worked out through her jaws and the top of her head.
After traveling for several days over country without a road we came out onto a nice highway and we sure thought our hard traveling was over but we were doomed for a disappointment for when we asked a Mexican if that was the right road to a town we were heading for he said no, we would have to take a road leading off to the left which was almost as bad as what we had come over. How we did hate to leave that good road and you can imagine how we felt when after several days of driving we came into the same nice road leading right into the town we were headed for.
At that time the natives which were mostly Mexicans resented any white people coming into their country and would make it as uncomfortable for them as they could refusing to sell us hay or feed for the horses or allow us to camp near their places.
One day we came across a man with crates of peaches packed on the back of burros and bought a crate of peaches. That night at camping time it was pouring down rain and we had to travel till dark to find a place to camp. Of course, it was impossible to get any supper and none of us had any bread, so I said to Lucy, “I guess we will have to eat peaches” and she said, “All right Mama, give me my peach.”
Well, the men unhitched the horses and made them as comfortable as possible and Lucius went to the Mexican’s house and they sold him the bread they had made for their own supper which consisted of a few tortillas and two little loaves of the hardest bread I ever saw in my life, but it was bread anyway and we divided it between the three families, and Lucius opened our grub box enough to get out a picnic ham we had, so we feasted on raw ham, Mexican bread and peaches. Anyway, we didn’t go hungry!
No matter how hard it rained, we always had a nice dry bed to sleep in for our wagon never leaded a drop. We went down to Santa Fe and spent several days looking around there then started to head straight for home for by this time it was getting late in the fall of the year and the nights were pretty chilly. We carried a square of board that I would heat by the camp fire and let Lucy stand on it to keep her feet warm when we were camping.
As we were crossing the Panhandle of Texas, we passed through Amarillo which was a very small place at that time and it was somewhere on the plains of Texas that we encountered our first snow storm in late October, early for that country. We camped for the night with very little wood and the next morning it was snowing hard and kept it up all day so we couldn’t travel. We all sat around in one tent and had a sheet iron camp stove for heat. The men went up to a small house not so far from our camp and found it vacant but had quite a pile of poles up against the house so they borrowed (?) enough to keep us warm until the storm broke and we could be on our way.
Nothing of much interest happened as we traveled on across Texas and western Oklahoma and we arrived home on the 6th of November, just seven months to the day from the time we left in the spring and during the seven months we only slept in a house one night and that was at a town in Northern Oklahoma where we camped by the home of an old lady and one night it looked like a bad storm and she was afraid and wanted us to come in and stay with her and so we did.
It seemed good to be home again although it is hard to be content in one place after being on the road so long.
In September of the next year our baby Opal was born and we were so happy to have a baby in our home again. She was a tiny doll of a baby with black eyes and hair and a face like a doll. When she was five months old, she had bronchial pneumonia and went from that into whooping cough and after that had malaria fever so we came near losing her. She got so thin and tiny, only weighing 12 ¾ pounds at one-year old so we decided to take her away from Oklahoma. We rented our place again and had a sale and sold everything we had and in the fall of 1909 we left Oklahoma again. This time we traveled on the train. We went up to Missouri and visited with Lucius’ relatives for a while, then on to Canon City, Colorado, where my father and step-mother lived. There we rented a little house and bought enough furniture to get along with and stayed there until the last of January when we decided to go up into Montana where my sister Clara lived. We arrived in Mondac on February 1, 1910. It was a beautiful day and my brother-in-law met us there in a two-seated covered spring wagon and we had to make the rest of the trip with horses as the railroad had not been built into Sidney yet. We got to Clara’s late that evening and the next day we had a real Montana blizzard; a terrible storm and something new to us going there from Oklahoma where it was so warm.
We stayed at Clara’s for about two weeks until we could rent a ranch. Then we bought a stove and what we had to have to keep house with and moved to ourselves. It was about eight miles from Clara’s and 20degrees below zero the day we moved but we didn’t freeze and there was a big heating stove in the house so we managed to not suffer with cold although Lucy and Opal had to spend a great deal of their time playing on the bed to keep their feet warm.
It wasn’t much of a house, just two rooms and a leanto where we stored things but was as good as most people had at that time.
Lucius hustled out and got coal and soon bought a team and wagon and some farming tools and about the first of March it began to warm up and my! How the snow did melt and the water ran everywhere. We began to get over our homesickness for we surely had been blue and lonesome. Before long, we were busy in the fields and making garden. That year was an awful hot and dry one and we sat and watched our crops burn up as this was a dry land farm. We managed to irrigate the garden some from the well and had a few beans and cucumbers.
At that time they thought vegetables wouldn’t grow in Montana and very few people tried to raise a garden but I said if we had an irrigated ranch I bed I could raise a garden so the next year we moved to an irrigated ranch down near the Yellowstone River and even though I wasn’t very well that summer, I sure raised the finest beets, turnips, onions, celery and cabbage. In fact, everything enough and more to buy our groceries and people came for miles to see my garden. So I claim to be the Mother of the gardening in the Yellowstone Valley where they now raise the finest vegetables and fruits that can be grown anywhere.
In October of 1910, we lost our only son. He was a still-born baby and this was a terrible disappointment to us for we had planned so much on having a boy. But such is life and one has to be strong enough to carry on in spite of the disappointments and sorrows.
We lived on this ranch for two or three years. Then we bought a small piece of land and built us a little new house and once again we had our own home. We continued to farm on a large scale and I raised a garden but not as much as I did at first. We were getting well out of debt and life was looking quite bright for us. By this time the oil boom was on in Oklahoma and we leased our land there for oil and got several thousand dollars in lease money the next few years which was a big lift to us. In the winter of 1917 we decided to have a sale and take a vacation for a year or two. We had our sale in January with the temperature around 20 degrees below zero all day the day of our sale.
Lucius got a large tent like they used to use for horse tents on the railroad and we had all the small articles and household good in there. We cooked and served 25 pounds of beans and made into soup; cooked in a large iron kettle that would hold 50 gallons. Beans and crackers and coffee and doughnuts made a fine lunch for a cold winter day. Our sale amounted to over $3000.00. We moved our few belongings into three rooms on the second floor of the hotel in Crane to wait for the weather to warm up so we could travel. Lucius helped one of the neighbors with this spring work and I did a lot of sewing for ourselves and also for other people. Lucy and Opal were busy in school. Lucy graduated from the eighth grade that spring. She and three other girls were the only graduates and their teacher put on a lovely commencement for them and we were very proud of our sweet girl graduate.
Lucius went to Sidney and bought a new Ford and drove it out home. So, of course, we had to take a ride in the new car so Lucius, Opal and I and Jessie Graham our friend and Opal’s teacher, drove back to Sidney, a distance of eight miles. One of the neighbors, a young man, wanted to ride home with us so he and Lucius were in the front seat and Jessie, Opal and I in the back. It was a touring car as most of them were in those days and we had the top down. It had been a nice day and the snow was melting fast and the ground thawed out and water running in every little draw.
We came to where a bridge was washed out and had to leave the road to get around. In order to miss hitting a telephone pole, Lucius turned the car real quick and we shot over the bank into a washout about four feet deep and four feet wide with water running at the bottom. When the car hit the bank, Jessie, Opal and I tuned a complete somersault over the men’s heads and windshield and landed about 9 feet in front of the car, in the mud. Lucius never left the car, and the young man found himself standing in the water. Luckily none of us were badly hurt and the only damage to the car was broken headlights and a bent radius rod. A friend took us home and Lucius went back after the car the next morning. That was our first experience driving an automobile.
A short time later a neighbor borrowed our car to go to another town to get his little girl. On their way home, she was in the back seat and her Daddy was driving and struck a rut or something and the car turned over, throwing the men out and the little girl was under the car. They could hear her screaming and was afraid to turn the car over for fear of crushing her, but when they did she was not hurt at all. She had fallen between the two seats. Again a little later on, the car was parked along side the hotel where we were living and a spark fell in the back of the front seat cushion and when we looked out the car was on fire. We rushed down and soon had it out, after pulling a lot of the padding out of the back of the seat. By this time we decided the car was hoo-doo-ed and Lucius went to Sidney and traded it in on a new Chevrolet.
This was a much nicer car and more up to date, as it had a speedometer on it and we could tell how fast we were traveling.
On June 15, 1917, Dad and Ma Graham (as we lovingly called them) who were both in their 75th year, and daughter Jessie, Lucius and I and the girls Lucy and Opal were a busy bunch packing our cars for a trip through the Yellowstone Park. We had tents, camp stove and our bed rolls for we camped out every night and slept on the ground in our tents.
The evening before we intended to leave our friends and neighbors from miles around gave us a surprise party, brining ice cream and cake. June 19 we were all ready to travel and again friends came to see us off and bid us good speed.
On the entire trip from Crane, Mont., through the Yellowstone Park, I do not believe we had any hard-surfaced roads. Most of them were wagon roads, and we had to carry a shovel to dig down a high center every little while.
One evening Jessie complained we were driving too slow, and Lucius asked her if she had any idea how fast we were traveling? She said “No”, and he told her we had been making 20 miles per hour most all day. Thanks to our speedometer we knew, for her car was an older model and not so well equipped. After driving a team for so many years this seemed fast to us!
We took our little dog, Topsy, with us and the first night we were in the Park she got into some tar and got it all over Opal’s coat and the back seat of the car. It took us until noon the next day to get things cleaned up. We had to clip Topsy which about broke her heart, and dip the coats in gasoline. We always thought some soldiers threw hew into a pit of tar.
We enjoyed our trip through the park, even if it was still pretty cold and was too much snow in some places for us to see all of it.
We traveled together as far as Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Grahams went west to California and we came east to Denver, Colorado, and Canon City, Colorado. We visited with my father and step-mother a week or two then went on to Oklahoma. We bought a small house in Yale and Lucius worked a while as a night guard in the oil fields. He then decided to go to Kansas City, Mo., and go to automobile school. He left about the first of October 1917, and the girls and I stayed in Yale until Thanksgiving day. We decided we would go to Kansas City too. We wrote to Lucius we were coming, but when we arrived there was no one to meet us. He hadn’t received our letter.
We called him and he came and got us and we rented a 4-room house, got enough furniture to get along with and was happy to be together again.
Even in Kansas city in 1917, our house was not modern in any way except water on the back porch. We had no electricity and used coal to cook and heat with. Of course, many homes were modern, or as modern as any in those days.
Lucy and Opal went to school until we left in May 1918 for Colorado. Traveling by car we stopped and visited in Canon City a few days, then came on to Colorado Springs and Lucius worked in Strang’s Garage for a while. But he couldn’t stand the gas thrown off by the cars and didn’t think he could stand it much longer. We still owned our place in Montana, also our farm in Oklahoma; but Montana was so terribly cold and Oklahoma so extremely hot we didn’t want to go back to either place, and we thought if we could find a place near Denver, Colo., it should be about right.
We read an advertisement in the Denver Post of a ranch for sale near Castle Rock, and drove up one Sunday to look at it. It seemed so far back off the road that I was not interested in it much. I noticed the house was nice and cool, and good spring water piped down to the door. It was a stone house with walls about 18” thick. Lucius looked at the land and stock and asked me if I would trade our place in Montana for it. I said “Not if I have to live out here!” We told the man we would let him know in a few days.
Lucius wrote him an offer he didn’t think he would accept, but he did, and came to the Springs and took us up so quick it made our heads swim, and nothing would do but for Lucy, Opal and I go home with him so he could leave for Montana the next morning.
Lucius couldn’t quit his job right off, so he stayed on for a few days and drove up after work on Saturday evening, expecting to find three lonesome and home-sick girls but indeed we were not. We were having the time of our lives! We had traded our 40 acres of irrigated land in Montana for this 160 acres of dry land in Colorado and paid $1600.00 for all the livestock, machinery, and household furniture, so all we had to do was move in-on June 1, 1918. We got 6 nice cows, five of the milking; 3 head of horses; 19 hogs; about 30 hens and 90 young chickens just ready to fry. It was lots of fun to have something to do after bumming around for a year or more.
The crop was all planted, also a nice patch of potatoes and a nice garden.
We spent a pleasant summer there. Then when school started the girls had to Castle Rock, 7 miles. They rode back and forth with our good neighbor’s children (the Ehman family) as long as the weather was nice; then we boarded them at a cafe and they slept at Ehman’s little house in town.
The next summer I had a very serious attack of rheumatism and spent three weeks in bed and was not able to do much all summer so we decided to sell the place and move to Castle Rock.
We sold the ranch in the spring of 1920 and bought a house in town so the girls could be close to school. Lucius worked on the County Highways for a while, then he bought the feed business and ran it with the help of Opal and Lucy once in a while.
He put up a little pop stand where he sold cold drinks, candy, cigars and cigarettes, and Opal was his main help there.
During the summers he used to plow gardens and sometimes put in a crop of
wheat in the country.
In the winter of 1921, Lucy had an illness and a stroke of facial paralysis and lost all control of the muscles in her face, and had to lose a half year of school. She was not in her senior year, which was pretty hard on her. However, it affected her eyes which gave her a lot of trouble later on. She recovered and was able to continue with her school the next fall (1921) and was graduated from high school in the spring of 1922 and won a 4th scholarship. She went to State Teachers College in Greeley that summer for a 10-week course in teaching and got a school over on West Plum Creek and taught that winter-a very successful school-until in December, one of her eyes became very bad and she had to quit for a while but managed to finish out her term. It gave her a lot of pain and had to keep it under a bandage most of the time.
On May 18, 1923, Lucy was married to Ward Spencer Richardson and moved to Louviers where he was employed by the DuPont Powder Company and where they continued to live to the present time (1954).
Early in the Spring of 1922 we discovered we were going to have another baby, and after so many years it was really a surprise, and on Dec. 12th, 1922 our darling little blue-eyes Alice Lorine was born. The older girls and Dad and I were all happy it was a little baby sister for it they had a brother they wanted one nearer their own age. So there we were with a daughter old enough to marry, another in high school, and a baby girl!
Opal was quite thrilled and very proud to take the baby down town in her carriage. At this time we were keeping a little girl of one of our friends, by the name of La Vone Bergen. She was with us for three years and as proud of the baby as if it was one of her own family. We all idolized Alice and needless to say we succeeded in spoiling her badly.
Opal graduated from high school in the spring of 1926 and then took a course at Barnes Business School in Denver and entered the business world as a bookkeeper at the early age of 18.
She worked in Denver several years and on Dec. 31. 1930, was married to George Harrison and continued to live in Denver.
January 3, 1961
Several years have passed since I made an entry on these pages. A great many changes have taken place and our families have all left Colorado to seek a home in warmer climates.
Our daughter, Opal, that I mentioned last, now lives in San Francisco, Calif., and is still employed by the Singer Sewing Machine Co.
Our youngest daughter, Alice, married Dec. 24, 1942 to Mr. Harry Myers, who at that time was in the Army and located at Salina, Kansas. After his discharge, he returned to Denver where they lived until 1946 when Harry decided to go to Alaska to see if he could find work as jobs were pretty scarce in Denver at that time. He landed on Kodiak Island and found a good job right away. Alice went to Alaska in 1947 and lived there for three years. IT was a rather rugged place and everything was on a truly rough western style of living. She returned to Colorado in late 1950 and Harry remained in Alaska. Alice worked in Denver a while, then went to Los Angeles, Calif., to work, where she is still employed by an auditing company and lives at Baldwin Park, Calif.
Our oldest daughter, Lucy, and husband Ward Richardson, retired from his job as a painter for the DuPont Company at Louviers, Colo., in October 1958. They purchased a trailer house and now spend their winters where it is warm and summers in a cool climate. This winter (1960 and 1961) they were in Phoenix, Ariz., and in California. They are two people that are really enjoying retirement.
Our oldest grandson, Robert Warren Richardson, his wife Maxine, and two girls, Vicki born May 7, 1954, and Diana, born June 19, 1958, live in Wichita, Kansas, where he teaches in the South High School.
Our youngest grandson, Harold Ward Richardson (Buck) and wife Donna, two little boys Michael born March 1, 1953 and Chuckie (Charles Ward) born March 7, 1956, and little daughter Shelley born Feb. 14, 1958, reside in Whittier, Calif. Harold is employed at the Sheppard Machinery Co.
Both boys have lovely wives and nice homes and surely enjoy our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren when they come to Colorado to see us.
My good husband is now completely retired. For many years he had his own small saddle shop. After selling it he has been bailiff for the District Court in Douglas County until Jan. 1, 1961. He is now 81 years old but an active man for all his years. We have celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary-on the 9th of December 1960.
As for myself, I have several hobbies that I can keep busy at. I have pieced and quilted crib quilts for all my great grandchildren, also a doll quilt for each of them. I make braided rugs and do a little oil and textile painting.
We have our comfortable home here in Castle Rock, Colo., and are fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to California and to Wichita and on into our old home state of Oklahoma once in a while.
Altogether though, all my 78 years it has been a very happy life and I look forward to many more happy years.
Alice Rebecca Cline Cox
(note: Lucius died in 1974 at age 94)
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