Abbie B., age 22, Kansas


I call this place Cottonwood Rest. I want to de­scribe it, if I can. So if I read this journal in years to come, I can then shut my eyes, and know just how it looks now. This is Township 29, Range 2 West, in Section 29. I think this description is correct.

We are about a mile from the river. There is a bank here, which many think was the bank of the Ninnescha—at some time back. From here to the river it is very level, and my garden is on this level meadow not far from the dugout. Back of us is prairie a little rolling. The men first dug a well, and at 6 or 7 ft. found plenty of water. They covered it, and it is reasonably cool. Not far from the well they dug a trench like walk into the bank, when the sides were 4 ft. high a 12 by 14 ft. hole was dug out, logs laid to fit the sides. When high enough—a big log was laid acrost the middle the long way, then split limbs and brush were fit on top for a roof, and that covered with dirt piled on and pressed down. A fire place, and chimney were dug out and built up, at one end, plastered with mud and it answered well.

The logs used in Philips cabin as well as in this dugout, were trees cut down by Squaws the last two Winters. Owing to a scarcety of feed, caused partly by the grass having been burned in the fall, and an unusual amount of snow, the trees were cut down for the horses to eat the buds and limbs.

This room is a little larger than the cabin. My bed in the corner has one leg. A limb with a crotch at one end, is sharpened at the other end, and driven into the ground, 6 feet from one wall and 2 1/2 from the other. A pole is laid in the crotch-with one end driven into the ground wall. This supports poles the ends of which are driven in the ground wall at the head of my bed. Then comes my hay filled tick, and my bed is a couch of comfort. The double shawl along the side, and the single one at the end—and it looks neat. Next to the bed, is my trunk, then the table— The next side has the fire place. The door is opposite the table, then the buffalo robes on which brother sleeps, and his roll of blankets. While in the corner at foot of my bed are boxes and various things including the tub, which is often pushed under the bed.

Boxes are nailed to the wall, in which the table furnature is kept, also some groceries. Our chairs are pieces of logs.

*(kansasmemory.org, Kansas State Historical Society, copy and reuse restrictions apply)