Abbie B., age 22, Kansas


A long time since I wrote. I hate to begin, for I know I will get tired writing and miss some things. Monday-while I baked, Philip went to see the neighbors—and get the mail. Came back at noon—and reported Mrs. L very sick. He thought I had better go down. It was 3 p. m. when I started. Took a loaf of fresh bread along for Mr. Smith, who is getting better but has no appetite. Thought it would be better than soda biscuits. Had quite a visit with him. He told me of parts of New Mexico and Arizona he had been in, and wished I could see them, par­ticularly Jacobs Well and Inspiration Rock. When I left he said, “Be very careful, dont try and do too much, and get sick.”

There had been a log acrost the branch where I used to cross, it was gone and I had to take off shoes and stockings and wade. It was a miry place, and I went in over my feat, such ugly mud, had trouble to wash it off.

Found Mrs. L in bed— Mr. L just able to crawl, and her brother getting supper.   Mush and milk, coffee and pie. The L – are one of the very few, who keep a cow. After supper fixed to bake bread next day, then commenced at the dishes, which sat around in confusion, seemed not to have been cleaned for some days.

A little room, two beds, a table and stove. The brother sleeps out in another building, where they keep barrels ct. She moved to the other bed while I made hers, then back, while I made that one also. Then I bathed her. She has what she calls “the flu.” East we call it dysentery. What with waiting on her, and the mosquitos so many, there was little sleep for me.

Next morning waited on her (wonder who did it when I was not there), washed dishes, pots and pans, I had not found the evening before, dressed a chicken, browned coffee, and what not. Had chicken and sweet potatoes for dinner. It was long after noon when the bread was baked, and house tidied up. Then they wanted me to go to the P. O. I was too blind to see, what I do now, that any one who could eat as heartily as they did, were better able to go to the office than I was. I got on Cricket their Mexican pony and rode over. It was the first time I had been to the trail since I came in April. Struck the trail as the last of a heard were crossing the river. I asked a hearder if it was safe for me to go on. He said, “no danger, the beeves are a mile or more ahead, these are young cattle and laggards.” Forded the river—rode to the post office, only to be told that one of the boys had been there, and taken it along. Coming back, a large flock of prairie chickens flew up, and fright­ened the pony. I managed to stick on. Mrs. L required wait­ing on during the night, but I got some sleep.

Wednesday. One of the boys passed, and gave me a letter from sister Mary. Set yeast to bake again. She takes medacine day and night.

When morning came baked pies and bread. From some hunters Mr. L bought a piece of buffalo eat as big as my body. He put in on the table, and I was ex­pected to cut it up, and salt it down, which I did. When dinner was ready I was too sick to eat. They talked of going to town soon. “I can go to day,” she said. I was surprised, as she had only set up while I made her bed.

The dishes were not finished when I had a chill. I said I must go home, I was feeling so badly. By the time they got Cricket—the chill was over, and fever had come on. When I passed the Hall Jake came out with a paper for us. Mr. Smith was getting supper, Mr. Philips was there.

They invited me to stay for tea, but I rode on. Their fresh buffalo and sweet potatoes did not tempt me. I was anxious to get home, and anxious about Philip.

I took the foot path across the branch between the Hall and our place because it is nearer. Cricket did not want to cross, and at a steep place whirled around and started back. I talked and coaxed and got to the bottom again, thinking he would waid acrost, but he made a big jump, and started up the bank full tilt. I grabbed his main and kept my seat. It is a mystery to me how I ever kep on, for I had a mans saddle—and was riding side ways. They say “angles take care of children, and old people,” wonder to which class I belong.

I remember nothing more of the ride home, when brother lifted me from the pony, and I could not stand. I sat on the grass until he staked Cricket, then he helped me in. I have been wondering to day how I lived to write about it. I promised brother I would never ride Cricket again. He said he was not safe for me to ride, and was angry at them for letting me come home a lone—when I had fever.

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