Abbie B., age 23, Kansas


I put my journal away, thinking I would have more time when school closed, which it did last Friday. The school house caught fire again. One of my good boys put it out, but another, a regular lomix, from the school south, got on the roof and with a stick knocked a hole in the chimney.  I was very much attached to my own scholars, and sorry to leave them, but the others O. dear.

It is a comfort to me that the building did not burn down, while I was teacher. Some times when there was a high wind I would go out to see that the roof was not on fire.

A week ago school closed, then Saturday a. m. Bess  and I mounted the ponies and came up here. The roads were rough, frozen hard. The ponies were not shod, so we road very slowly, and finily got off and walked over two miles, and led them. When we got to the creek there was three or four feet of thin ice along both sides, and an open current between. The water from the late rain and thaw had run off, so the water was not deep.

Bess’  horse, the one I had trouble with some time before, would not cross that strip of ice, and got frightened. Then Kit got spunky, and I could not get her to cross. We got off, and broke the ice with a stick. No good, acrost they would not go. Then we decided to go back to Mr. A leave the ponies in the barn—and wade the creek. Mrs. Awent along as she said, to see the “performance.” We took off shoes and stockings, rolled up our drawers, took our skirts over our armes, carried shoes and stockings and started. Bess [Belle] first. I thought Mrs. A would hurt her self laughing. It was a cold crossing, first through ice—then water, then ice again which we had to brake with our feet. We dried our feet and legs—on our skirts as best we could, put on stockings—which fortunately were heavy woolen ones—and shoes—then on we went through the timber to brothers, while Mrs. A still laughing, went home to tell the men when they came for dinner, of the comical sight she had seen down at Pine Creek.

Fortunately neather of us caught cold. The mile or more walk through the timber warmed us up. In the p. m. some of the men went for the ponies. They followed right along through the creek, but would not go first.

Bess  went home Monday.   The creek wading was too good to let pass. So near Valentine day too. So I sketched a picture of Besse  in the creek—shoes in  hand, riding skirt and clothes all gathered up.   Mrs. A on the bank laughing, while from behind a tree, peeping at her was a handsome man. Katura  said it was good, so I sent it to her for a Valentine and addressed it this way— Now listen while I tell This letter is for Mrs. Bee’s Bess, Near Williamsport doth dwell, In Warren Co. Who from? Now guess.

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