Pioneer Memories – The Horse Trade

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Today we reach back into the genealogy archive and unfold more pioneer memories from the farmlands of Minnesota, as experienced by my great, great, grandmother and her sister. These stories are retold through letters that were written in 1943 by one of my distant cousins, Mary Lee Parker, to her cousin Hazel Bolton. Hazel Bolton is also a distant cousin of mine. Spelling and grammar errors are included in order maintain the full flavor of the stories as they were written.

Witchita, Kansas
March 23, 1943

Dear Hazel,

Do hope you are getting my letters. If it is not too much trouble I mean if you can spare the time will you just drop me a card saying the letters are coming through. This is the third I have written. I do not expect you to write me letter in answere(sp) because I know you are busy.

In thelast(sp) letter were stories of some of Grandmother Smith’s experiences in Wisconsin. This is a continuation of Wisconsin sto — No, pardon these are stories of Minnesota. Your Grandmother Bryan and my Mother were both born in minnesota.

Grandmothers youngest sister, Aunt Sarahette, was, I think, eight years younger then Grandmother. She was visiting Grandma once when some Indians called. Perhaps they had seen Aunt S. before since it was not unusual for sev- Indians to drop in unanswered. Grandmother never new they were around until the door opened and they walked in unannounced and uninvited. If they saw anything that caught their  fancy they would ask for it and Grandmother would be afraid to refuse for fear she would incite their enemity(sp).

This day a little dog came in with them and lay down under the cradle where your Grandma Bryan was sleeping. Presently Grandma Smith saw one of the Indians draw a gun. And, horror of horrors, he pointed it – Grandmother thought at her baby but he really was playfully pointing at the dog.

Grandmother snatched her baby from the cradle and started as fast as she could for the field where Grandpa was at work. And in terror she discovered the Indians were trailing along. They all reached Grandfather who ofcourse(sp) was much concerned and I suppose Grandma was breathless and talked with difficulty. But the Indians were voluble (for Indians) and said, “Ugh! white”squa” Heap fraid!” “Me point gun dog, fun” in telling the story Grandma always pronounced squaw short, and without the “w” as the Indians did.

Well Grandfather comforted Grandmother and accepted the Indians apparently sincere apology and all was well.

They had another rather “ticklish” affair with the Indians, who seemed to be rather frequent visitors to them. (I see that  I had started to tell this before I wrote of the gun fright. I was interupted(sp) by the mail coming and forgot about starting with Aunt Sarahettes visit to them.

Evidently an Indian can fall in love for this one evidently fell in love for this one seems to have done so. He went to Grandfather and said “Little white Squa, wat you take for her” Grandfather in a joking way answered, “Oh, I might take a horse.” He did not realize that Indians do not joke.

The Indians went away and the next day here they came back with the horse and expected to take Aunt Sarahette away with them. Grandfather had hard work explaining the them; and the incident frightened Aunt S. so much that she went home; which I imagine was the wise thing for her to do.

Please pardon my mistakes, I seem to make plenty of them this morning due perhaps to not feeling quite up to par. Do hope you are getting along fine and will be having some interesting experiences. Your Heavenly Father is every where so will be near you where ever you are.

With Love from

P.S. I see I forgot to tell you that Uncle Bud Lashmet, Aunt Sarahette’s husband was one of the “Forty-niners”. But sorry to report that he did not acquire a gold mine.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the second letter in this special Pioneer Memories series. Regardless of all the grammatical errors, I find it truly fascinating to hear the stories of past generations. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think of all these retold pioneer memories.

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