The Diary of Luna E. Warner: A Kansas Teenager of the Early 1870s, 1
Edited by Venola Lewis Bivans
Autumn 1969 (Vol. 35, No. 3), pages 276 to 311
Transcribed by Molly Powell; HTML editing by David A. Haury
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.
Walter W. and Alice Cleveland Warner homesteaded in Kansas in 1871. Their daughter, Luna who was 15 years of age at the time, was to spend the remainder of her life on the homestead on the Solomon River south of Downs. Luna was married at the home place in 1881 to Frank Lewis, and there they reared their children. The farm is now a part of the Glen Elder reservoir area.
Luna Warner began to keep a diary while the family was living near Barre, Mass., making preparations to move west. The Warners and their fellow emigrants traveled by rail from Jersey City, N. J., to Solomon, Kan. In Solomon they bought a team and a wagon and traveled up the Solomon river valley in search of land on which to settle. They found a suitable homestead and began their new adventure.
This diary is an interesting social document because its author was an intelligent and literate teenager with unusual powers of observation and a sense of humor. Her views of life on the Western frontier are presented here because they constitute a new and historically refreshing commentary. Some repetitious personal references have been omitted from the diary by the editor, and other material, illegible in the original, does not appear here.
The Warner party from Massachusetts was made up of the following:
Walter W. Warner and his wife Alice (Cleveland), and their two children, Luna, the diarist, and Louie.
Frank Warner and his wife, Julia (Cleveland), and their four children, Oramel and Arabella (actually children of Frank's first wife, Sarah, deceased, who was also a Cleveland sister), and Alton and May.
Eli Warner (brother of Walter and Frank) and his wife, Lucia (Cleveland), and their three children, Velma, Venelia, and Vesteen.
Venola L. (Mrs. A. H.) Bivans, daughter of the diarist, spent her childhood on the old homestead and attended country school and Downs High School. Mrs. Bivans also attended Washburn College in Topeka for two years, and taught school for a time. Now retired, she resides in Boulder, Colo.
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The oldest daughter, Viola, was teaching on Staten Island and did not go with them, but came west later. Vesteen was called Teen or Tene.
Ephraim Cleveland (brother of Alice, Julia, and Lucia), a widower, and his daughter, Gena. His oldest daughter, Genelia, also teaching in the East, came to Kansas later.
Alpheus Cleveland, called Alf, a distant relative of the Clevelands listed above.
Howard Holden, brother of Ephraims's deceased wife.
Walter Warner worked in Cawker City as a clockmaker at least part of the time while living on the homestead, but there is no reference to this in the diary. A physical handicap prevented him from doing heavy work, which explains why the rest of the family did most of the gardening and other farm chores.
Eventually, except for the Walter Warner family, all the relatives went to California.
II. EXCERPTS FROM THE DIARY, FEBRUARY, 1871-MARCH 31, 1872
Thursday, February 23, 1871-Cool. The day of our auction. We were pretty busy. The sale commenced between 10 and 11 o'clock. Almost everything went very low. There were not a great many here.
Friday, February 24-Papa went to West Brookfield to settle up his affairs. The rest of us worked just as hard as we could packing all day. We are to go to Gilbertville tomorrow to take the cars. It rained in the evening. Mama and I are to sleep at Mr. Snow's tonight. The rest sleep on the floor here.
Saturday, February 25-Pleasant. We got up and went home, but went back to Mr. Snow's for dinner, then started for Gilbertville. Mr. Snow took our baggage and us on a large corn wagon. Mrs. Snow, Emma and Francis Newton came to Gilbertville to see us off. We started to load the cars before 5 o'clock and loaded until 9 or 10, then not even done in fact.
Sunday, February 26-We got into New York City this morning. It was raining. We rode over to Staten Island on the boat, then to Uncle Henry's on the cars. They were all there but Uncle Eli, Venelia, and Teen. Arabella and Alpheus went over to Wilsons. They were married this afternoon.
Monday, February 27-Pleasant. Venelia, Teen, Alpheus, and Arabella came from Keyport. We all had a splendid time. Viola had
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to keep school. Gena and I played on the piano some. Papa and the men and Louie went to New York City. Papa got a Remington revolver.
Tuesday, February 28-In the morning we all started for New York bag and baggage. When we got there all the girls got into the horse cars and rode up to 8th Avenue. The girls got their pictures taken. Then we went back to the Astor House and stayed until night when Aunt Abbie, Lamartine, Viola, and Genelia went back to Staten Island and the rest of us went over to Jersey City on the boat and took the cars for Kansas. We had a car to ourselves.
Wednesday, March 1-I was sick of riding in the cars this morning. I vomited on my handkerchief. We stopped at Harrisburg three hours. We girls all took a walk. We crossed the river before noon, then rode nearly all day by the Juniata River and past the Blue Ridge mountains and through the Alleghenys. We passed through two tunnels - one a mile long.
Thursday, March 2-Pleasant our of the cars but not inside them. It is so smoky and dusty. . . . I do not eat more than a spoonful of victuals a day, and that does not taste good. The cars stop quite often.
Friday, March 3-Every day is the same, only each is more tiresome than the last.
Saturday, March 4-Uncle Ephraim and Gena stopped at Junction City. We got to Solomon City about 7 a.m., washed up, and had breakfast. We had buffalo meat. We do not like it very well. Gena and Uncle Ephraim came at dark There are eight of us to sleep in one room. There are three beds in it.
Sunday, March 5-The weather is just about perfect. We all took a long walk up the river this morning. Some people went to church this forenoon. We have been to see two or three dugouts. . . .
Wednesday, March 8-There was quite a severe snow storm this afternoon. It makes it very muddy.
Thursday, March 9- This afternoon we came about three miles from Solomon and put up the tent by a creek. We built a campfire and made tea. Uncle Howard and Henry Everett each shot a rabbit. We are all to sleep on the ground. We all went to a store in Solomon City and were weighed. I weighed 106 lbs.
Friday, March 10-This morning we cooked the rabbits and some potatoes and had a nice dinner.
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Saturday, March 11-Cold and rainy. We loaded up, pulled down the tent and started up the valley. We ride on Uncle Eli's wagon on top of goods. There are so many of us that some have to walk all the time. We passed several prairie dog towns. We stopped at Lonzsey Hotel at 8 o'clock. Gena is sick. She rode all day. We had a good supper.
Sunday, March 12-We ate breakfast and loaded and started, came to a creek, and just as they were across the whiffle-tree broke, but they got a new one and went on. We came through Minneapolis about noon. We camped on a creek. They put the tent up on trees. We are beginning to have good appetites and nothing to eat. Gena and Arabella slept in a log house near by.
March 13-Cold this morning. Mama, Velma and I started walking. We stopped at Delfoss [Delphos, Ottawa county] and got warm. We stopped at 2 houses, bought some bread and eggs, ate our breakfast and waited for the wagon to come along. At dark we came through Asherville and stopped at Mr. Gates's log house and had supper. The women slept in the house and the men in the haystack.
March 14-At noon we stopped at Beloit. It was a warm day but at night it blew up cold and we went into a store to stay tonight. We are hungry most of the time. We do not have much that is good to eat. We are to sleep on the store floor.
March 15-Cold and stormy. We moved into a dugout. It is a nasty, dark place. We went to most every house but could not find a warm place. We froze all day and starved too. In the afternoon Mama and I started out to find a place to sleep. We are to sleep in the Post Office. I am awful homesick.
March 16-We went to the dugout again and ate what passed for a breakfast, then the men had a jaw and the women a cry, then we started on a-foot as usual. It is most all prairie dog towns all the way. We left Mr. Wilson at Beloit under the doctor's care. At night stopped at Glen Elder on Asher Creek. It is quite a pretty place for Kansas.
March 17-We started early this morning, arrived at Cawker City about noon. It consists of 4 or 5 finished houses, one store and 2 or 3 unfinished houses. The men hired a little frame house with two rooms about as big as closets. The cracks between the floor boards are a half inch wide. We shall be pretty well crowded. All the men sleep on the floor in one room and the women in the other.
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March 18-All the men started off to hunt up claims. The 3 boys went hunting. They got back at dark with 5 lbs. of buffalo meat which they bought at 3 cents a lb. There are 3 kinds of flowers in bloom here. We bathed for the first time since we started from home.
March 19-We are awfully crowded in the two little rooms. The men got back towards night. They have not decided upon any claims. There are wild geese flying over every day. We are right in a prairie dog town.
March 21-Very warm. Some of us walked down to the forks of the river. We wore no coats but almost melted. It is quite pretty by the river. We took off our shoes and stockings and waded in the river.
March 22-The men went to look at some claims. They found 6 just the other side of the river about 5 miles from here. They went over to the land office and filed on their claims.
March 23-Quite warm and pleasant. Uncle Frank hitched up his team and most of us went to the Great Spirit [Waconda] salt spring about 3 miles away. It is a beautiful place. We went past the soldiers' camp. Uncle Frank says every day that he is going back to Massachusetts but he doesn't start.
March 24-Some men went to the claims with rifles and shovels to work. All the men and boys that were left started off buffalo hunting. We all eat nothing but spider bread and meat and sorghum until yesterday we had beans. We eat more all the time and are just as hungry.
March 25-We all went up the river to see the claims. I like ours best. Papa brought some potatoes - the first we have had for a long time. They were $2 a bushel.
March 27-We started for a log house just opposite our claims to live till we get houses built. I walked. We crossed Oak Creek. It is a very bad crossing. The log house is one little room. The men went back to Cawker after another load of goods. Gena took Henry's revolver and I took Louie's and we waded across the river and went over all the claims. We saw 5 wild turkeys and 2 ducks. I shot at a turkey but did not hit it. We waded back across the river and went home. It was dark when we got there and the folks were out hunting for us. We got some gooseberries. I shot at a
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large animal in the dark but did not his it. When we went to bed we had to pack as tight as we could. Some slept out.
March 28-Mamma and I went over to our land and set out some gooseberry bushes. The men got a prairie chicken
March 29-Our family went out onto our land and commenced to dig a cellar. All the men have been at work on Uncle Eli's dugout. It is the south side of the river. We girls get lots of funny stones along the river. We all played drop the handkerchief in the evening. There are lots of flowers around here.
April 1-Gena and I put on old dresses and went bathing in the river. The water was above our waists.
April 2-Very windy. We looked out this fore noon and saw bows and ribbons of all colors flying over the prairie. Arabella's trunk had blown open. We saw 7 buffalos across the river. Uncle Frank went after them but did no good. We went over to Uncle Eli's new dugout. It is very nice. In the evening there was a splendid prairie fire northeast of us. There is a prairie fire in sight every night almost and sometimes 5 or 6.
April 3-The men went buffalo hunting. They got home in the evening with a buffalo in the wagon.
April 5-Mercury was at 92 through middle of the day. Uncle Frank's family started for Solomon City on their way home to Massachusetts. Alpheus will take them to Solomon and bring our goods back.
April 6-Temperature 98. We planted peas, turnips, and squash on the claim.
April 7-Papa got some early rose potatoes and planted them on the claim in buffalo wallows. Velma came over and baked bread in our stove. It sits outside the house.
April 9-It rained and hailed this evening. The fireplace smoked so we could not stand it. This morning we saw 6 buffaloes coming down the river. Louie took the rifle and I took the revolver and went under the bluff until we got opposite them. They came toward us and we lay down and waited until they got near, then Louie fired. He shot 5 times. How they did run!
April 10-The snow sifted into our faces all night. Our fireplace smokes very badly. It keeps our eyes crying all the time. Toward night it cleared off and the wind went down. I have found 8 kinds of flowers here. The cabin is full of mice.
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April 11-Louie and I started for Cawker on foot. The other side of Oak Creek, Vesteen overtook us with the wagon. We went on to the store and bought 20 pounds of provisions. I bought a gallon of sorghum.
April 12-We picked dock greens for supper. They were very good but made us sick.
April 13-Uncle Eli's folks have made a bridge across the river. Alpheus came from Solomon with part of our freight. All of it came to over $90. He has bought a hen and a rooster. The Indians have permission to go all through this valley. There are a lot of them down below us.
April 14-Rainy. I dug fish worms and went fishing. Waded in mud up to my ankles. Every speck of mud sticks to your feet. There have been Indians seen in a good many places. We have to be very careful.
April 15-We took the things out of our barrels and dried them. They got wet when it rained. Alpheus and Louie went buffalo hunting this morning. Uncle Ephraim killed a badger and a skunk. There are a good many skunks here. Uncle Eli's folks see antelope every day. . . .
April 16-Alpheus and Louie came home this morning. They brought a buffalo-a very large one. Louie shot it once. The bridge has washed away.
April 17-I saw a prairie squirrel. They have holes in the ground. There are a good many here.
April 18-The wind blew very hard. Everything out of doors blew away, even to two pails of water. Papa salted a tub full of buffalo meat.
April 19-Louie and I went over to Uncle Eli's. The wind blew so hard we could hardly get there. We had to wade the river.
April 23-We went out on our claim and picked out a building spot on this side of the river. We had baked antelope for supper. It is like mutton.
April 24-Uncle Eli plowed a spot for our house and garden and started digging on the cellar. I went out by the river bare foot and came very near stepping on a small rattlesnake.
April 27-I killed 3 snakes today. Helped Papa plant onions and peas, sweet corn and melons. The cottonwood trees are leafing out.
April 29-The men finished hewing sills for our house. I planted morning glories and mustard. There are a great many blue violets here. There are swallows.
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April 30-We set out two young elm trees - one each side of the house spot. We found 3 new kinds of flowers today - one beautiful red cup, one pink and one yellow. There is a little plant that smells and tastes very nice. I saw a king bird.
May 1-We set out another elm tree. Louie and Teen went hunting. Louie killed 3 ducks and shot at a rattlesnake. We got some flowers and hung May baskets. Uncle Eli brought us some fruit trees-4 apple, 2 peach and 1 pear. Also 3 hens and a rooster.
May 4-Alpheus plowed about an acre for us. The men worked on the timber. Papa got us some good butter. The first good butter we have had in Kansas. Choke cherries are in bloom on Oak Creek. . . .
May 5-There was a white frost this morning. The water froze in the water pail. Uncle Howard and Henry got the sills on our house today. Mamma and I planted 81 hills of melons. At night I went and drove Mr. Ray's cattle away from our garden with Buffalo bones. I found some flowers like verbenas. It makes 20 kinds that I have found.
May 6-Uncle Howard and Henry worked on our house. They raised the frame. Louie and I went down to the raising. Then went home with them and played drop the handkerchief.
May 7-Several of us started for the bluff, 2 miles and a half. We found 11 new kinds of flowers. The prairie was covered with them. They are beautiful. We went to the top and found verbenas, geraniums, celery, sorrel, and penny royal. Found the queerest stones - some like turtle shells. Brought some home. We found blackberry and gooseberry vines. Then we went on to Burnses, 2 miles above 12 mile creek. Had a splendid supper. On the way home we forded the river. Saw 4 snakes, 4 buffalo and ever so many antelope. We found yellow violets.
May 8-Mamma and I waded the river and went over to our claim. We have peas, potatoes and pumpkins up in the buffalo wallows. We saw 5 buffalos off on a hill about 2 miles. They were lying down. The men went after them. They killed one and broke the leg of another, which they finally killed after it ran down into the river. Then they got the team and cut up the buffaloes and brought them home. The buffaloes smell like skunk.
May 10-We planted potatoes. Saw 2 beavers and a turkey gobbler.
May 13-All the men went to the raising of a log house up on the river 2 or 3 miles. We killed a rattlesnake here. There were 2
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in Uncle Howard's cabin and the girls killed one of them. Some cattle were being driven past on the road and Papa and Mamma went up & bought a red cow. . . .
May 17-I am 16 years old today. I do not feel so old. Mamma and I went across the river and went all over our claim. It is splendid. The trees are beautiful. The mice or birds or something are disturbing the things in our garden. The mosquitos trouble us very badly when the wind does not blow.
May 20-I have been bringing water from the river. It is hard to get it . It is so slippery. I found a dandelion. We have found 37 kinds of flowers. I milked some this morning. We get 4 or 5 quarts of milk at a time.
May 26-Two loads of lumber came from Solomon City for our house. They raised the roof today. We went to a dance in Cawker. Arabella curled my hair and I wore my white dress and slippers. We all went in the wagon and sang all the way. The dance was in a little house with 3 rooms. Two sets could dance at once. They had fiddles. The music wasn't very good but we had a good time and danced till 2 o'clock then had refreshments and came home over the trails in the dark. Got home at 4:30.
June 2-The men got back from buffalo hunting. They got a buffalo and gave us a quarter. They went 20 miles. Uncle Eli's folks saw 27 this morning. I went fishing and caught a catfish. I found a sensitive plant in blossom. It is beautiful. It rained very hard in the night. The lightning was splendid.
June 3-The men worked on our house. I went down to the garden and set out turnip plants and some cabbage plants that Papa got of Mr. Ray. The mosquitoes trouble us nights. We went over to Mr. Coop's and practiced shooting.
Jun 5-Hotter'n blazes! All the lumber is here so the men can work on our house right along. Gena is 18 today. She and Henry think of being married Sunday. Gena is going to commence teaching school next Monday in Cawker. We plant garden at night because it is so hot.
June 6-When Uncle Howard and Henry went back home from working on our house, the river had risen on account of showers up above. It came over the bridge. Henry tried to cross but it was over his head before he got to the bridge and he came near drowning. Uncle Ephraim and Tene had been to Cawker. They all had to stay here and went down to the new house to sleep.
June 8-71 kinds of flowers. Papa and I planted corn. We are
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teaching the calf to drink. It is a splendid calf. Gena wants me to go with her next Sunday when she goes to be married. . . .
June 9-I waded the river and went over to Uncle Eli's. Alpheus is going to contest the claim west of ours. Henry homesteaded his.
June 13-It rained and blew very hard last night with thunder and lightning. We all slept in the new house for the first time. I went bathing in the river. Lately the mercury has been from 90 to 100 and over.
June 14-Last night some wild animal came and caught one of our hens. Alf shot at it and it dropped the hen and ran off. Louie and I went over to Uncle Eli's with Alf and his team. We ate dried buffalo meat all the way back.
June 15, 1871-Gena came over at 4 o'clock and we went in swimming on boards. We floated from here down to Mr. Ray's watering place. Had a splendid time. . . .
June 16-It rained all day. At 11 o'clock Venelia came from Mr. Barr's afoot and alone and brought her large bag. She was done working there. The river is risen so that she can not get home. It is still rising fast. All but Pa and Louie went down to the house to sleep. Uncle Howard has made us two bedsteads, a table and sink.
June 17-The river is nearly two feet higher than it has ever been before. Uncle Ephraim came horseback and stayed to supper. Venelia and I went over to the river opposite Uncle Eli's cabin and read a letter to Aunt Lucia from Viola.
June 18-The river is very high yet. Uncle Howard came over. He tried to cross the river on a raft that he made. The raft sank and pitched him into the water. He came near drowning before he could get out of the current. Venelia stays here because she can't cross the river to get home.
June 19-Uncle Howard, Venelia and I went to the river to cross. Gena and Henry came down on the other side at the same time. Venelia went across with her clothes on. Gena and Henry came across. Henry and Uncle Howard went to Cawker to build Henry a house. . . . I made two vases of limestone.
June 20-Gena and I went in swimming. Stayed in a good while. Nellie Ray was fishing just at dusk. Uncle Eli and Alf came with the goods from Solomon. They could not find one barrel. After we had all gone down to the house, a team came with Uncle Ephraim and Uncle Howard. Henry and a boy came and stayed all night. I made another vase of limestone. I am going to send them to Aunt Abby and Ann and Julia by Uncle Howard.
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June 21-A very hot day. We got up early. Arabella curled Gena's hair. The men went over to Uncle Howard's cabin and got Gena's trunk. After breakfast Gena went down to the house and dressed to be married in her white pique and pink ribbons. Henry was dressed very nice. They are going to Beloit to be married. Uncle Howard and Uncle Ephraim are going to Massachusetts.
June 22-Alf brought home a nest of young birds when he went chopping. After dinner I went over to Uncle Eli's and carried them back. Venelia, Tene, and I went bathing. Had a nice time. I did not get back till dark. Papa got the stove set up. . . .
June 23-Venelia and I started for Cawker on foot. I went barefoot part of the way. We got the mail. Henry and Gena were married Wednesday [June 21]. They and Uncle Ephraim came up to Uncle Eli's. . . .
June 24-Hotter'n blazes. After dinner Gena and I went into the river. We went upstream and floated on our backs. The fishes bit us. Uncle Ephraim and Uncle Howard thought of starting for New York today. Louie is sick with boils. Our stove is splendid.
June 25-Very hot indeed. I planted a few potatoes. Mamma went over to Cawker with Alf and Arabella. They got home about one o'clock, brought me a pair of shoes and four kinds of pink calico. Papa was cross today. Alf had a chill on the way from Cawker.
June 30-This morning Mr. Coop came before we were up for Ma to go with him because his wife is sick. She got home just before noon. We went all around Alf's claim. It is very nice.
July 1-Alf went to Cawker with Uncle Eli, so Louie and I went to water his horses. I rode one and he the other. Then Gena rode one back. It was fun.
July 2- Cloudy and cold. Louie and I went up to the cabin and went buffalo hunting with Alf and Arabella. We went past Mr. Coop's and up Dry Creek. Louie shot a jackrabbit. We crossed Dry Creek and went over to Twelve Mile Creek, then up the creek 2 miles and ate our lunch, then we started for home. . . . We found 10 new kinds of flowers.
July 3-We had the rabbit for dinner. It was splendid meat.
July 4-Cool and pleasant. Mama, Louie, and I went up to the cabin and started with Alf and Arabella for Cawker. When we got there we went up to the arbor made of green boughs. It had a floor filled with seats and the seats filled with people. They had singing, speaking, and reading. After that some played baseball. They had running in bags and such things. Then they set the tables in the arbor and had dinner. . . . We danced all afternoon.
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After the lanterns were lighted they had a minstrel performance. Just as it was though, it commenced to rain very hard. We all started for the hotel on the run. It rained about 5 minutes. Then we all went back again but were wet to the skin. We danced on the wet floor until one o'clock, then started for home. We hated to come, the dancing was so nice. Charlie rode home with us and then walked home. He is nice. Venelia, Velma and Tene stayed here all night
July 5-I woke up a 7 and was not a bit sleepy all day. I think of the dance all the time.
July 6-We had peas, summer squash, turnips, and onions form our garden. Gena and Henry started for Cawker afoot. They are going to live in their house.
July 8-Papa went to Cawker with Alf. He got a churn and a keg to make vinegar in. . . .
July 9-After breakfast the girls started home to go to a meeting up the river at Mr. Jakas's. I wanted to go but had nothing to wear. I went across the river with them. I have 22 squares of an album bed quilt done.
July 10-There were showers all around us. It rained here about two minutes. We had new potatoes, turnips, onions, and cucumbers for dinner. I found 3 hew kinds of flowers and some beautiful grass. Mamma commenced my pink calico dress. Papa played the violin and I danced all alone.
July 15-After supper Louie and I went to Mr. Lamb's to get some well water. Alf came down to see what day it was. He thought it was Sunday.
July 16-Very warm. The sweat drops off us all the time. I went into the river and had a good wash, then we all went over to Uncle Eli's and stayed to supper. Had rye biscuits and buffalo meat that Uncle Eli got when he went to the meeting up the river today.
July 17-Hot's mustard. We went over the river and got 3 pails full of sumac berries to make vinegar. We took the water that they were soaked in and sweetened it. It was good as lemonade or better. It goes good when we have no water to drink but what is milk warm. In the night there was a tremendous shower and the wind blew a gale. The house swayed back and forth and I was frightened.
July 19-We didn't do much of anything today. I rambled around a little and went across the river. We let the cow loose over [on] the other side. I do wish I had somebody to go to 7 mile bluff with me. I picked 6 cucumbers today. We have a great many sweet melons ripe. We had sweet corn.
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July 21-Louie and I went up the river picking berries. We came back past Uncle Eli's and Aunt Lucia came home with us. She waded in the river for the first time. I got the revolver and went back to Uncle Eli's and Velma and I went to the bluff. I found 7 new kinds of flowers - one, a day lily. I killed a devil, and imp, and a scorpion. We found no berries on the current and blackberry vines. Got some transparent stones. When we got back we went into the river but it was cold. Our cow got into the corn field last night and did a good deal of damage. There was an awful shower this evening and the wind blew.
July 22-Comfortably cool. Arabella came down and churned. Ma churned. At 7 Velma and I started for Oak Creek bluffs. Took our lunch and some sticks to kill snakes with. The rolling prairie we crossed is beautiful. It is a great ways to the bluffs. It is very steep - almost straight. We climbed to the top and could see our house. We then went down to the creek ½ mile, got in the shade and ate our lunch. We had a cucumber that we dug out for a water cup. We came down the creek within a mile of the crossing, then came out to Mr. Comb's and got into the road and came home. Got here about 5 o'clock and were hungry. I went barefoot most of the way. I got a sore heel. Found 2 new kinds of flowers -117. Alf's dog has 4 puppies.
July 24-There was a hard shower in the morning. Velma came over barefoot lickety cut to tell Louie there were buffaloes over the river. Just then we saw one down by Arabella's garden. Louie went for it. It came right towards him and he fired and hit it. It ran a little way, then walked as if it was wounded.
July 25-Louie went buffalo hunting with Alf. Velma came over to borrow some soap. A black dog came with her. They found it by the haystack this morning. Louie came home about 10. He had a sick headache. Alf killed a buffalo on Elk Creek and Louie had a lot of the meat.
July 26-Uncle Eli's folks came along on their way to Cawker. I got ready and went with them. We went to see Gena. Henry is working quarrying stone. He came home to dinner. They are building several houses, some nice stone ones. There are two lumber yards and one brick yard in Cawker.
July 27-It rained a little in the evening. We picked the first sweet melon off our vines. The grasshoppers were eating it. It was very nice. Ma made mince pies and sausages of buffalo meat.
Luna Warner, about the time she was keeping this diary
Flowers and unusual rocks attracted Luna to this bluff, which she mentioned several times. The photograph undoubtedly was taken some years later than the period represented by the diary
The old homestead, also at a later date
Views of Cawker City in the early 1880s
Walter W. and Alice Cleveland Warner, who brought their family from Massachusetts to settle in Osborne county, Kansas, in 1871
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July 29-Alf started for Solomon City after my piano. We went over to Uncle Eli's to go to the bluff. They could not find the horses so went up the river to look for them. About 3 o'clock after they found the horses we all went to the bluff. Came back through Venelia's claim. Ma read aloud in Martin Chuzzlewit.
July 31-Pa went to Cawker with Uncle Eli, and bought two building lots. At night there came up the hardest thunder shower I ever saw. It rained so that you couldn't see an inch, thunder and lightning enough to blind and deafen anybody.
August 1-The river rose in the forenoon quite high and down to its usual level before night. Uncle Eli started for Solomon City after Uncle Ephraim, Genelia and the party of settlers that are coming with them. Mr. Coop and Mr. Ray killed a buffalo on Alf's claim. They brought us some meat. We had a melon. There was a hard shower at night.
August 3-Watched impatiently all day for Alf and the piano but did not see them. About half past 9 after we had gone to bed, he came. Soon after he got here it rained hard. Pattie has her puppies in a wolf's hole near here.
August 4-They unloaded the piano and got it into the house. We all worked about all day getting it set up. It was soaking wet and the varnish spoiled but the inside is all right but needs tuning badly. I played all evening. . . .
August 5-I played most all day on the piano. Mama read some and I drew the face of Madam Malibran. We had a sweet melon.
August 6-I played a food deal. The piano does not sound swell at all. Ma finished reading Martin Chuzzlewit. . . .
August 8-I drew on writing paper a picture of the Princess of Alexandria of Wales. The river is very high. Just before breakfast Uncle Eli, Uncle Ephraim and Mr. Root of Staten Island came. . . . There is going to be a dance in the next house Friday night.
August 11-I went over to Uncle Eli's and the girls came home with me. The river is so high we could hardly cross. We went over to Mr. Ray's and had the best watermelon that ever grew. I was crazy to go to the dance at Cawker.
August 14- Genelia, Louie and I went into the river. We dressed and undressed in the weeds by the river. They are 10 feet high. Mr. Root stays here. He is the hatefullest person that ever lived. Uncle Ephraim is here too. He is very nice. Pa bought a spy glass.
August 15-I slept with Genelia last night. The mosquitoes
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troubled us very badly. Pa, Uncle Ephraim and Mr. Root all started for Concordia with Alf at 2 o'clock. . . . We have a tiger cat that followed Genelia from Hiliker's. We picked 23 melons. There is a man ploughing for us.
August 17-Alf's claim contest is to come off this morning at 9 o'clock. We all went over to Uncle Eli's and ate melons all day except when we were in the water. I commenced drawing a landscape from our west chamber window.
August 18-The men got back from Concordia. Alf got his claim without any contest. Pa homesteaded his.
August 19-We heard last night that the Indians are up the river about 15 miles. Just before noon Tene came over with the team and brought us some buffalo meat. A man that was over to Uncle Eli's shot it. Read a good while in Nicholas Nickelby.
August 20-Velma came over to get Alf to take his team and carry a load of folks to the bluff. Then after dinner we started for the bluff. It was blazing hot. We saw a buffalo when we were going over. Alf chased it. I brought a large stone from the bluff.
August 21-I saw 3 buffaloes with the spy glass. I went over to Alf's claim and watered his calf. I took my drawing materials and commenced a picture of Uncle Eli's dugout.
August 22-Uncle Ephraim, Pa and Louie tried running the lines of our claim. Just this side of the river I saw a very large rattlesnake. I shot at it with the revolver. It squirmed around behind the tree and I could not find it. I picked nearly 3 pails of cucumbers. After supper we saw a buffalo coming on the other side of the river. A man on horseback chased him. He crossed the river just a few rods below here. Louie ran out and got a shot at him and hit him in the side. He ran out past Mr. Ray's corn field, we all after him. Alf and Arabella and the dogs stood on top of the cabin. They killed it beyond Mr. Ray's. We all went out to see it and then came around by Mr. Ray's and home after dark.
August 26-I finished my picture of the cabin. We saw a buffalo coming from the road. Alf and Mr. Coop went after it and killed it two miles beyond Mr. Ray's. . . .
August 27-Cloudy and rainy. We went over to the river opposite the cabin to talk to Uncle Eli's folks. The river is rather high. Mr. Phillips of Cawker City died today of typhoid fever. There are a good many sick with it.
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August 28-Arabella came down to bake bread. We saw a buffalo come down the ford. Louie went after him but did not see him. A little while after, the buffalo went past on the other side of the river. I waded across and went around on to the next claim but did not see him. . . . This morning Uncle Eli and Venelia and Uncle Ephraim and Genelia started for Concordia. Ma read in the evening. I keep the piano locked when I am not playing it. . . .
August 31-The folks came back from Concordia. Genelia and Venelia got claims back of Uncle Eli's and ours. Uncle Ephraim shot a crane. Its wings measured 6 feet. From eye to end of beak 9 inches. Devil take Root. I locked the piano when he was playing. Pa was mad and took the key away from me. Our old cow got tangled in the rope. She was hitched on the river bank and choked to death. She was dead when Pa went to get her at night.
September 2-Ma went to Cawker with Uncle Eli's folks. She got me cloth for a dress, a round comb and 2 apples. Velma got a pair of calf shoes.
September 3-Pa, Ma, and Louie went up the river with Alf to look at some cattle. I wanted to go but had to stay at home to keep Root out of mischief. Tene came over to get me to go over to eat some mammoth melon weighing 28 pounds.
September 4-Venelia went to Waconda to work in the boarding house. Pa, Louie and Uncle Ephraim helped Alf raise his house.
September 7-Mr. Root and Uncle Ephraim went to Cawker. They came back at night. It was a blessing to have Root gone. He hardly steps outside the door. The cat yawls at my window most all night.
September 8-Pa went to Cawker. He bought a coffee mill. Mr. Root stole a picture that I made and put it in his trunk. I just told him I'd take it so he handed it over.
September 9-A real rainy day-a rarity in Kansas. Genelia read nearly all day aloud in Oldtown Folks. Mr. Root gets watched pretty close and when he does anything he has no business to do I just yep at him.
September 10-It rained all day again. It seems pretty dismal. Towards night I went over to Uncle Eli's after some milk. It was so muddy I could hardly get up the bank. There was a man here to get Pa to fix his gun.
September 11-Rainy all day. Louie was sick all day. Ma is afraid he is going to have typhoid fever. I am mad at Root, mad as fury.
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September 12-It rains steady day and night. I went up to Alf's and got some magazines. Got some pretty stones across the river. Uncle Royal came with Uncle Ephraim. He got into Kansas Saturday. He left his family in Massachusetts.
September 14-It began to clear off. All but Genelia and I went off looking for claims, then the men went to Cawker with Alf's team. The soldiers went up the valley. Three buffaloes came down past here and crossed for food.
September 15-Louie had a chill. He took quinine. Ma has to stay with him all the time.
September 17-Louie had a hard chill. He was crazy. Alf sold 26 trees. We went up to Mr. Jakas's 2 miles beyond. We saw a fox squirrel and a prairie squirrel and some prairie chickens.
September 19-A man came to haul drift wood across the river. Poodi  and I crossed the river. got a few grapes. Poodie got a sandbur in his mouth. Mr. Root acts like the devil. Louie is better. He was hungry. Uncle Ephraim got him a duck. I carried Uncle Howard's rubber boots over to Aunt Lucia so she could wade across the river. I got some milk. I have a little mouse in the well.
September 21-Cold. Arabella and Genelia had to come over here and stay all forenoon to keep warm.
September 22-Louie had a chill. I got dinner. We had plum pudding. Uncle Eli's folks went to Cawker and Genelia, Poodie and I rode with them and went to Waconda. Genelia got frightened at some cattle. We had to wade a mud puddle. Poodie got tired but we got to Waconda, waded the river, put on shoes and stockings and went to the Whitney House where Venelia and Velma work. We stayed there half an hour then went up to Gena's. They had two accordions and played on them until 9 o'clock, then we went to bed.
September 23-We went to the store and got some apples for Louie-3 for 10 cents. After mail time I came home with Uncle Eli. We saw prairie chickens and hundreds of ducks.
September 24-Alf took the men out buffalo hunting. They went up to Elk Creek. Didn't see a buffalo. Uncle Royal packed up his valise. I sent Aunt Julia a picture of our house. Genelia sent her picture of the dugout to Aunt Ann. Ma read The Virginians. Two young gentlemen brought Venelia and Velma home. . . .
September 25-Uncle Royal got up at 4 and went over and got
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Alf's team. Ma had breakfast at 5. Then the men all started for Cawker. Uncle Royal is going to take the stage there for Solomon on his way back to Massachusetts.
September 27-There was a slight frost, the first of the season. Aunt Lucia came over and stayed to dinner and Poodie and I went home with her to say all night-cause-Root. We had hull corn for supper. It was splendid.
September 28-Very cold in the morning. I most froze. I came home before noon but went back again and drew on the picture of Alf's house, then husked corn a little while. Tene shot a duck.
September 30-Very windy. Papa and I picked corn. Our corn is very good. I went over to the popcorn garden and got a little.
October 1-Warm. Louie had a chill, a little harder than yesterday, but a little later. The men went up the river. Saw 52 buffalo. Uncle Ephraim killed one with one shot. I took our washing to Mrs. Ray's. They asked $2 for doing it. Nellie Ray has the chills too.
October 4-Uncle George came and he and Pa went up the river to look at a claim beyond Alf's. Ever so many wild geese flew over. We heard cranes in the evening.
October 6-Frost killed everything last night. I went to Cawker with Uncle Eli. Saw 21 antelope the other side of Oak Creek. Went to Waconda to see the girls. They were just starting for Beloit to a dance. Pa got a peck of apples.
October7-Uncle George came at breakfast time. Has been to Concordia and back-a hundred miles-on foot. Got contest papers for the claim next to Alf's. I went over to Uncle Eli's after milk. Waded the river with rubber boots.
October 8-The wind blew a hurricane. All the men were out hunting turkeys all day. Did not get any but wounded 2 or 3. Pa shot a coon. Arabella came over-is going to stay all night. She had a chill.
October 9-Cool and windy. Root and I had a fight. Louie and I crossed the river with Uncle Howard's boots. Uncle George and Jerome Cutter were here to dinner. We had coon. They are chopping logs on Uncle George's claim for houses. After noon Mama, Poodie, and I went up to Uncle George's claim. Went most all over it. It is splendid.
October 10-Very pleasant. There was a slight frost last night. We stewed pumpkin and made tomato sweet pickle. After noon Ma and I went over to Mr. Beal's and to Rays'. Mrs. Ray and the children have been having chills.
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October 11-Louie had chills this morning. I went over to Uncle Eli's. Wore the boots across and left them for Aunt Lucia. She came over at noon. I went out and picked the popcorn. It is not good for much. Pa and Root went to Cawker with Uncle Eli. They got back at night. Uncle George stopped here to stay all night.
October 12-I went down across the river. Saw a turkey and a squirrel. Pa and I went up the river looking for game. Ever so many geese went over. Some stopped in the river. Mr. Root went to Cawker with Uncle Eli. He heard that a great part of Chicago is burnt and the fire is still burning. Alf shot a turkey down by the river. . . .
October 14-I went over to Alf's. Just before I got there I saw a drove of turkeys 3 or 4 rods from the house. They went over the bank. I ran and told Alf and he went out with the shotgun and killed 3 turkeys with one shot-2 hens and 1 gobbler which weighed 12 pounds. He gave it to me. I shouldered it home. They gave Uncle Eli one.
October 15-Gena slept with me. There was a very hard frost. We had the turkey, stuffed and baked, for dinner. It was splendid. Gena and I play duets. The middle of the afternoon Henry and Gena started home. I went out a mile with them. We saw 12 turkeys and saw some more at night.
October 16-Mama did a very large washing. I went over to Uncle Eli's after sour milk. Velma is at home for a few days. She has had 2 chills. We saw turkeys around all day. I hunted them after noon. Shot at one over the river. Root went to Cawker.
October 18-Uncle Ephraim went out turkey hunting early. Wounded one but could not get it. Alf and Uncle Eli started for Solomon, going after Uncle Howard and company. Arabella came over here to stay while Alf is gone. Pa is going to milk their cows for the milk.
October 20-Louie went over to see a herd of 1300 Texas cattle that went up the river on the other side. There are fires burning in all directions every day.
October 21-After noon I went over to Uncle Eli's and stayed to supper. Then came home and got the boots for Velma to wear across the river. She braided her hair when she got here. Pa tried to burn a strip to keep off fire but it was so still it would not burn. We had turkey for dinner. The folks played high, low, jack all evening.
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October 22-After breakfast I went home with Velma. She took down her hair. It looked beautiful. Mr. Cutter carried Louie across the river to Uncle Eli's. I commenced a limestone vase.
October 26-Alf and Uncle Eli came at last form Solomon all alone. Uncle Howard and Viola did not come. Mr. Lines and family came as far as Cawker. Alf bought 2 pigs. He brought us an old tabby cat. Pa brought Mr. Root a letter with $50 in it.
October 28-I saw 11 turkeys coming towards the house. Pa went out and shot one dead-a young gobbler. Alf, Arabella and I started for Cawker. There was a prairie fire opposite Youngs'. We saw Miss Lines. We had dinner with Gena. Got home before dark.
October 29-Windy, cloudy and cold. A glorious day, because Mr. Root went away for good. Mr. Beal carried him and his trunk to Cawker. We had turkey for dinner. Mama and I dug potatoes. Pa drew corn fodder with Alf's team.
October 30-What a relief to have Root gone! Mama and I dug potatoes. There was a prairie fire that came down to Uncle George's claim. Uncle Eli and Venelia came along. Venelia stayed with me. They brought word that Uncle Howard is in Solomon. Alf will go after him in the morning.
November 1-After noon we saw a fire coming in the bottom beyond Ray's. We all went out and set fires all around the ploughing. Before we got the road burnt, the fire came sweeping down from Beal's, swept across the road into the bottom. Then we burnt side of the path to the river and kept burning until night and made out to save the premises. We were tired. . . .
November 2-Arabella and I went over to Uncle Eli's. Had a splendid vegetable dinner. We came home by the ford past Arabella's house. It is burned clear to the river. Several trees burned.
November 4-I put on Pa's old overshoes and crossed the river. Got some red berries. Alf, Mr. White and Uncle Howard came. Uncle Howard was drunk. He has been drinking for 11 days. They had a terrible time. He is very sick. . . .
November 5-Uncle Howard is very sick. He vomited all night. Had the delirium tremens. Uncle Ephraim sat up with him. Miss Lines played the piano all day. Henry came this morning horseback. After noon he and Gena started for home on horses. Uncle Howard lay abed all day. Felt better towards night. . . .
November 6-Mr. White stayed here over night. Tow of the men that came from Massachusetts went to Concordia. Uncle
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Howard is quite well. He and Louie went across the river hunting and got a duck. A man came with a team and took Uncle Ephraim and Miss Lines to Cawker just before dark.
November 8-Uncle Hoard was crazy all night. All the folks were up half the night. Had a terrible time. Mr. White and two of the men started for home. Pa bought some seeds of them. After noon Ma went and got Alf's team and we all went up as far as Mr. Jakas's looking for a cow. Didn't find any. I took the team home. Aunt Lucia gave me a duck's wing.
November 9-Pa is 48 years old today. It rained and blew all night and all day. Uncle Howard was crazy all night and all day today. He came over three times. Was as happy as could be. A herder came over here and stayed a good while. They are herding the Texas cattle on the other side of the river.
November 10-Uncle Howard came over and shot us three quails and a prairie chicken. I saved some feathers.
November 11-The ground was white as snow with frost. Very windy all day. Uncle Howard and Louie went hunting and got 3 quails and a rabbit. Alf's little pigs were here. Alf saw a gray wolf out be Mr. Delay's cabin.
November 13-Uncle Eli, Uncle George and some other men started for Concordia before sunrise. Uncle George's claim contest comes off tomorrow morning. The ground was white with snow. Ma went up to the cabin and got 2 ¾ pound of butter and a quart of milk. Pa was very sick all day. Was in terrible pain some of the time. Louie shot a lame turkey.
November 14-Beautiful, beautiful day! Ma washed. Did not get through till most supper time. Pa did not get up today. He is real sick. Louie went hunting and shot a squirrel and a large hawk. Arabella went to Cawker with Alf. They saw several wolves.
November 15-Uncle Howard is making a foot bridge across the river. Tene shot a turkey. Louie set a trap in the wolf hole. Pa is about the same.
November 17-The wind blew a hurricane all day and the sleet and snow was enough to cut anybody's head off.
November 18-Cold as the pole. Just after we got up Alf and Arabella came. They were covered with snow when they woke up. It snowed all day and blew so we could not see the river. Our chickens were all frozen into the wood pile. Alf and Louie pulled them out and brought them into the house. They had hoods of ice all over their heads and I froze my fingers in 5 minutes. They had a terrible time over to Uncle Eli's.
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November 19-Pleasant and very cold. There are great drifts on the banks. The ice on the river will bear up a man. About noon Uncle Ephraim came up the river. He stayed on Granite Creek during the storm.
November 20- Louie and I went skating. It is not very good. Uncle Ephraim shot a turkey. . . .
November 21-Uncle Howard came soon after we got up. He saw 8 rabbits up by our drift pile. We had turkey for dinner. Louie shot a grouse with his revolver.
November 22-Uncle Eli's people are moving to Cawker. Aunt Lucia went today. Alf went to Cawker and Arabella stayed here while he was gone. Genelia cut and curled her hair. I rode Alf's pony over to Uncle Eli's. He slipped down on the ice.
November 23-It snowed all night. The big herd of cattle is over the river on our claim. Pa is about the same.
November 24-Louie went to Cawker of an errand on Alf's horse. When he got back I rode the horse over to Uncle Eli's to leave the saddle. Uncle Ephraim shot 2 rabbits and 2 squirrels and Louie shot one rabbit and one squirrel. I played on the piano for the first time but one since Pa has been sick.
November 25-Very pleasant and mild. It thawed some. Uncle Howard, Eli and Tene came up and got a load of hay and their cow and calf. Louie and I went over to the elms. Beautiful evening until 8 o'clock, then it began to blow. Was very cold and snowing when we went to bed. Louie shot 2 rabbits.
November 26-Alf and Arabella came over. Alf butchered a few days ago and sold it at Cawker. They brought us a piece. It was tough but nice. We killed 6 roosters.
November 27-Towards night the sun came out. There were 2 sun dogs, very bright and a rainbow-colored circle around the sun and just the same around the moon all evening. Pa does not get any better. The river is still frozen thick.
November 28-Cold. Uncle Ephraim went out to chop. He cut his foot very badly. The axe went in to the bone and almost the whole width. Jerome came over and chopped up most a cellar full of wood. Mr. Lines and Mr. Morse came to see Uncle Ephraim. They stayed to dinner.
November 29-Uncle Howard and Henry started for Cawker horseback. Jerome started for Osborne City a foot. At one it began to snow very hard without a breath of wind. Nearly 4 inches fell before dark, then it stopped. Uncle Howard came with a team.
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He has bought him a wagon. He is going to the dance tomorrow night and I am going. . .
November 30-Thanksgiving Day. It did not seem much like it. Jerome came from Osborne this morning. He got lost last night and went to a house. Uncle Howard was here. He was not very well, not well enough to go [to] the dance. We had chicken and plum pudding for dinner. Uncle Eli and Miss Lines came. Uncle E. went back and she stayed. Louie froze his feet. Had a terrible time all evening.
December 1-Uncle Howard moved Alf and Arabella over to Uncle Eli's dugout, then started for Cawker with Alf's team. Miss Lines and I went with him. Had a pleasant ride. Stayed at Uncle Eli's till sunset then started for home. It was rather cold. Go home hungry.
December 3-The wind rose about 5 n the morning and it began to storm. The air was full of snow all day very much like the 18th of last month. Uncle Howard went home but came back again and stayed all night, then went home a little while and came back to stay all night. It cleared off before dark.
December 4-Rather cold but pleasant. Uncle Howard went home early but came back about noon. He and Louie shoveled out the calves' barn. After dinner they went up the river on Henry's claim and killed a Texas cow strayed away from the herd. I went over to the cabin a little while and got a story to read in the evening. Alf and Uncle Howard came with a team and brought us half the beef creature.
December 5-Very warm and pleasant. Louie and I slid down hill on our feet. The beef steak is very nice and tender. Uncle Howard went to Cawker. He and Henry came along in the evening with a yoke of oxen. Pa came downstairs and stayed all afternoon.
December 6-Henry went down to Cawker, came back after dark with Gena, Miss Lines and a load of goods. Louie went to Cawker horseback, came back with Alf. Uncle George and Jerome came afoot. We have a houseful. I went over and borrowed a pail of flour of Arabella.
December 8-It thawed a good deal. Uncle Eli came up and Louie and I rode over to the cabin with him, then up to Uncle George's claim and set his traps for beavers. Louie shot at a bald eagle but did not hit it. Uncle Eli went back. There are three men from New Jersey at his house.
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December 9-Ma went to carry Arabella's flour home. Louie went to his traps. Uncle Ephraim sent me after Uncle Howard. I went up to the cabin on the river on skates. Uncle Howard was not there so I went on up to Uncle George's claim, and found him and Louie. There is a nice place to skate up there. Genelia and Mr. Curtiss of Waconda came and stayed until after dark. Then Uncle Howard and Uncle Ephraim went to Cawker with them.
December 11-Beautiful day. Louie and I went up to his traps. There was nothing in them. We saw seven hawks eating two prairie dogs. The mud and water are terrible. Towards night Uncle Howard and Mr. Clark from New Jersey came from Cawker. . . .
December 13-Uncle Howard and Louie went over to Uncle Howard's bottom land and killed a black Texas steer. I went over to Arabella's and saw them dressing it. Henry and Gena came over with the ox team and brought us a quarter of meat.
December 14-Uncle Eli and some other men came up and got a load of wood. They had a terrible time getting up this hill. I practice a good deal on the piano. Uncle Ephraim, Uncle George and Jerome started for Waterville.
December 15-Pleasant and mild. Uncle Eli and Mr. Irvins came up after noon. I got ready and went home with them. I drove part of the way. It is very muddy and wet. Got there at dark. I slept with Aunt Lucia and Venelia. Did not sleep but two hours all night. Their house is very nice.
December 16-Had quail pie for dinner at 2 o'clock. I started for home at half past four. I am drawing a little picture of Uncle Eli's dugout to send to Viola.
December 17-Louie and I went over to the cabins. On the ice at the ford was an ox cast [?] and could not get up. Uncle Howard, Alf and Louie go it off the ice. Henry is very sick. Can not speak his throat is so sore. Uncle Howard and Alf came over and brought us some wood. They went on to Mr. Young's after hay. Venelia and I went part way. She was going home but it snowed so that we came back.
December 18-I went skating. Venelia and I read Dombey and Son. I finished it this evening. Uncle Howard came over to stay.
December 19-Venelia and I started for Cawker afoot at 20 minutes of eleven. I went as far Mr. Cawker's. Got there at 20 minutes of one. Got back home at 20 minutes past two. Mama had a sick headache. I made biscuits for supper, did dishes and made beds. Mama went to bed at suppertime.
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December 22-Louie and I skated up to the cabin. It snowed before we got back. Snowed all day. Uncle Howard drew us a load of wood Alf came from Cawker, brought Ma a letter from Genelia. She and Mr. Curtiss are going to be married Christmas at Uncle Eli's. Uncle Howard came over as usual to stay all night.
December 23-Very cold. The wind blew in the night and drifted the snow very badly. Uncle Howard started for Cawker afoot at eleven. Louie and I shoveled snow.
December 25-Very cold. The coldest still morning there has been. Uncle Howard got ready to go to Cawker. We all went with him-Mr. Morse, Gena, Henry, Alf, Arabella, Mr. Wilder, Nellie Ray, Ma, Louie, and I. We sat in the bottom of the wagon with the hot stones. Had turkey supper, then the wedding came off and Genelia was married to Mr. Curtiss for life. Then we all went to the dancing hall. The hall was crowded. I went to supper with Mr. Hoffman and danced schottish like everything with Mr. Phillips. We started for home after five.
December 26-Considerably colder than yesterday. We did not go to bed at all but sat around the stove trying to keep warm until eleven o'clock. Then Mr. Morse brought us home. It was rather a tiresome ride. Uncle Howard walked.
December 28-Quite warm. Uncle Howard started for Cawker this morning. He talks of going buffalo hunting in a day or two. Henry stopped here when he went past with a load of hay. Alf came over in the evening and chopped mincemeat for Arabella. I play ever so much on the piano now days.
December 29-Very pleasant and warm. Mama baked three loaves of bread an I baked seven for the buffalo hunters. Uncle Eli came and brought the New Jersey boys. Pa and Louie went over to the cabin and saw the hunters start-Henry, Howard, two Mr. Morses and the men from New Jersey.
December 30-Uncle Eli's folks came and went over to their cabin and got some potatoes. I went over to Alf's and got a book, David Copperfield. Ma read in it this evening.
December 31-Very cold in the morning. Ma read a good deal. We stayed in the house most all day. Uncle Eli's cabin got afire and burned down. Alf's folks got everything out of it. They took Uncle George's boards, cut them up, and made a floor for his house, then moved in upstairs feeling awful nice. . .
January 3, 1872-In the morning Pa, Ma and I went over to see the ruins of the dugout and Henry's and Alf's calves. After noon
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Louie started for Uncle Eli's with his rifle. I went with him as far as Mr. Hiliker's. There are Texas cattle down by the creek. They are savage. I commenced a delaine bed quilt.
January 4-Ma went over to Alf's to carry Gena some things Genelia sent up the other day. While she was there Genelia and Velma came with Uncle Eli. Velma came home with Ma. We chopped mincemeat and made pies. When Uncle Eli came along we had dinner. Velma brought me a tatting shuttle Louie bought me. After dinner they started for home. Ma went with them to stay several days. It is lonesome. I sewed patchwork in the evening.
January 5-After breakfast I made a loaf of bread, then went over to Alf's and stayed two or three hours. Genelia and Gena came home with me, and stayed till most supper time. Gena practiced.
January 6-Cloudy. After noon there was a dog on our haystack. It had been fighting or got hurt some way. I fed him. Just before night Mr. Curtiss came up after Genelia , brought Ma and Louie. He went over to Alf's
January 7-Mr. Curtiss, Genelia, Gena, Alf and Arabella came over and spent the day. We kept the piano going most of the time. Genelia and Curtiss went to Cawker and Gena stayed with me. Pa jawed in the evening about reading.
January 8-After breakfast Louie and I started up the river with gun and revolver, stopped at Mr. Owen's to see about calves. The weeds and grass were bent down with frost. It was very beautiful. We were sopping wet. Dried ourselves by the hot open fire, then went up the river to the head of Twelve Mile Creek and ate our lunch. While we were eating a rabbit jumped up from my feet. We whistled, it stopped and Louie shot it. We went on up the creek several miles, then started back across the prairie. It was very wet and bad walking. Had another jaw in the evening.
January 10-After breakfast I got ready and started for Cawker. It was very bad walking. I was just two hours going. Carried the revolver. Mr. Carroll was at Uncle Eli's. Uncle E. and Aunt Lucia went to Beloit so I concluded to stay all night. . .
January 11-Cooler than it has been. I slept with Velma. After breakfast went to the Post Office. Mr. [W. C.] McDonald is postmaster. Got a letter from Uncle Royal and one from Uncle Frank. Arabella had one from Aunt Julia. There was a letter in it for me from Alton. We went out to Mr. Lines' new house, then came
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home. Got here before noon. Carried Arabella's letter over to her. It is very wet and muddy. Mr. Heinck is drawing wood out of our drift pile.
January 13-The Texas cattle are coming up to Uncle Howard's claim. We had boiled dinner. While we were eating Tene came afoot from home. Alf came over. We all played cards.
January 15-Rather windy. Tene started for home. Mr. Wilder went with him. Pa started twice but came back, so I got ready and went. Was not long going. The big ravine is half full of water but it was frozen over. I went to the store and bought some things, then went over to Uncle Eli's. Leander Bell  came Saturday. He was down to the river with Uncle Eli after wood so did not see him. After dinner I came home. Ma washed, did not get through till night.
January 16-Uncle Eli, Leander and Tene came. Leander stayed here until Uncle Eli got a load of wood. He is just the same as ever. After dinner they went home. Pa went with them. Louie was riding Mr. Hendrick's pony in the herd all day hunting for Alf's cow. Henry got home. The rest of the buffalo hunters are a day's journey behind. Ma read in David Copperfield.
January 17-It snowed a little in the night. Louie thought he saw some wild animal over on Uncle Howard's claim. He came home and got his rifle and went over there but saw nothing. Louie went up to the cabin and saw a rabbit. The buffalo hunters came. They have been into Colorado they say, and saw a good many Indians. Killed nine buffalos.
PARTICULARS OF THE BUFFALO HUNT
There were seven men and one two-horse team. Up sixty miles they crossed a sand plain, then came to rich soil again. One day they saw and enormous cedar tree on a rocky bluff. There was no other tree within miles. The South Fork of the Solomon starts in two little brooks-one running east and the other west. This is in Colorado. There is no timber on the stream except now and then a tree. The Pawnee Indians are there hunting buffalo. They met one of them and asked him how far it was to timber. They made motions with their fingers. They found a little willow swamp and three large cottonwood trees. They made camp there. High up in the tree was a platform with the Indian clothes hanging around it. A string of scalps and a white blanket hung in the tree.
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One night before they got there, they were traveling to get ahead of the Indians when they saw dark objects moving at a little distance. Uncle Howard thought they were buffalo so said to the men, "We will have shot at them in the dark." Just then an Indian called out, "Ugh, good Omaha, buffalo twenty miles away."
One afternoon they saw a buffalo at a distance of several miles. Alison Morse and Uncle Howard started for him. They had to run to get ahead of him and were pretty well out of breath when they came within shooting distance. They killed it, then Uncle Howard started for the team to haul it, leaving Mr. Morse there to skin it. But before he had gone far he saw more buffaloes so gave chase a long way but got none. Then he did not know which way to get back to camp, so walked back to Mr. Morse who said he knew the way. So he took the lead and they started on. It was now about sunset. They traveled on and on. At last they concluded they were going the wrong way, so turned and went another way but found no camp. Several times they saw a light and, thinking it was the camp lantern hung out for them, followed it but it proved to be Indians. Once they fired, thinking if it were any of their men they would know what it meant and answer it. The light disappeared and they saw it no more. They had eaten nothing since morning. At last Mr. Morse gave out and they had to stop. He was very cold. They had but two matches and did not dare to use them for fear they would need them worse before they reached camp.
While they were resting an Indian came to them and they learned by signs that he was lost also and did not know where to find their camp or his. They gave him one match and a small piece of tobacco. He whistled to his pony which knelt down for him to take off its blankets. He then tried to have Uncle Howard lie down on them, but he would not. They went on and left him. At three o'clock in the morning the Indian came into camp, took out of his pocket the match and tobacco and showed them to the men and pointed out the direction that he had see two of their men. They asked him if they were there now and he shook his head. He cooked his breakfast at their fire. It consisted of buffalo meat packed in the skins of buffalo inwards.
Uncle Howard and Mr. Morse got into camp before noon the next day. The Indians sent a white boy to them asking them to come with them but they did not go.
The men took turns watching nights. The wolves howled around them one night. One came quite near, frightening the horses very.
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much. They killed nine buffalos in all. After they got started for home the wagon broke. There was one ash tree in sight. Uncle Howard cut it to repair the wagon. He had to make holes four inches through with jack knives and hot irons. At last they got started again. Their boots were worn so before they got home that several of them had to walk with their bare feet on the ground. They killed a good many of grouse and rabbits. When within two days' journey of home, two of them asked leave to go ahead and got home before the team. Another came on after them and Wednesday, two weeks and five days after they started from home, they all got back where they could get something besides mush and meat to eat. They saw splendid stones while they were gone. There were squaws with the Indians. They were dressed fancy.
January 19-It kept snowing and clearing off all day. The wind blew very hard. About nine o'clock Louie started for Cawker with Uncle Howard and Mr. Morse. I finished the picture, "Sounds of the Alps," and commenced another little picture. I went over to Alf's and got some singing books and Whittier's poems.
January 20-Three of our hens laid today. Uncle Howard and Louie came form Cawker afoot in the afternoon. I have been reading Whittier's poems. Like them very much.
January 22-Pa and Uncle Howard started for Cawker to see a yoke of oxen. Ma read in David Copperfield. It is the best book I ever saw. I went over the river to the old river bed and Mr. Ray's island. The men got home after dark. Pa brought some butter.
January 23-Alf came over to get Louie to help him drive a cow over to Mr. Young's. Poodie and I went down the river as far as Mr. Ray's claim. There was a fire on the bluff in the evening. Mama read in The History of New York.
January 26-Pa worked all the afternoon, getting wood on to the river. Henry skins Texas cattle at fifty cents apiece.
January 27-Pa made a hat block of cottonwood. Ma finished reading The History of New York.
January 28-Last night was about as cold as any night here has been. The wind blew hard. Ever so many Texas cattle died last night. Louie was most sick with a cold.
January 3-Pleasant. Louie was with the herders most all day. Mama and I went up to Mr. Owen's. We stopped at Alf's. I skated up the river and carried Poodie. Widow Rice, Mrs. Russell and
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another married lady thirteen years old were there, besides all the men in the neighborhood. I like Mrs. Owens very well. Mr. Owens showed us a wildcat skin killed near here. Ma was very lame before we got home.
January 31-Pa jawed. Leander, Velma, Tene, Uncle Eli, Mr. Ivins, Mr. Clark and Mr. Sawyer came. The men all went claim hunting. At night they all went home but Leander and Velma. They are going to stay a few days.
February 1-We went over to see Gena. All the Texas Cattle were at the river where we crossed.
February 3-Leander, Velma, Louie and I went to Cawker afoot. We went to the store and got me a pair of calfskin shoes (bull hide). Louie went over to Carr Creek with Tene and Leander. Venelia and I started for home. Mr. Thompson and Miss Lines passed us in a gay little team. They took our bundles. My shoes hurt me so I took them off and wore my rubbers. When we got here Mr. Thompson and Miss Lines were here. They stayed until after dinner, then went over to Gena's. Miss Lines teased her up to go home with her. We went over to Henry's cabin while she was getting ready. Then they came over and started for Cawker. Louie came home from Cawker with drunken herders.
February 5-It snowed in the night enough to make the ground white. Louie was up to the herders' camp most all day. Venelia and I went up to her claim and ate lunch. Had a gay time sliding down the banks. Uncle Howard came over and made him a rake.
February 8-Louie and I went up to the bluff. The wind blew very hard indeed. I carried my hat in my hand. We hunted among the stones. I got my hat full and brought them home. We saw two herders on the bluff. Pa went up to Mr. Hawk's and got him to come down and draw wood off the river. Twenty-six horsemen and eight on foot came from Cawker and arrested Mr. Mann for dragging lawyer Clark with a rope around his neck. They took up Cole and Coopes on a cattle case. They looked splendid. Came up on the other side and went back on this side of the river.
February 9-Mama started for Cawker. I went with her. Just this side of the big ravine we met Aunt Lucia, Tene, Mr. Bell and Mr. Clark. We got in and rode home. The boys had been to Concordia and got claims. They went to see them and came back here to dinner. It began to rain. They started home in the hardest of it. Louie and I went over to Alf's. Uncle Howard and Alf caught a Texas steer that chased Alf and choked it.
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February 10-Mama and I started for Cawker again. I went beyond the creek. There we rested, then she went on and I came back. It was very muddy before I got home.
February 11-I kept busy all the forenoon, but it was lonesome after noon. Mr. Morse, Mr. Freir and Alf were here. The two Texas steers that got in the river died today, broke their necks. I wish Mama was at home.
February 13-The wind blew all night. About 10 o'clock I looked out and saw Uncle Eli, Mr. Bell and Mama coming. Mr. Ivins came afoot. The men went over to Osborne. They came back in the evening, ate supper here, and went on.
February 14-I went over to Alf's and got Oliver Twist and Sketches by Boz. Commenced reading Oliver Twist. The river is high. Uncle Howard could hardly cross it. . . .
February 17-Mama went up to Rays' and got a nice calf they call Lady. I am going to have it for mine. All Mr. Ray's cattle came down, and his pigs. Ma left my mittens up to Ray's and I went and got them. The calf got away and ran home, Louie's calf with it. Pa and Louie got them back again. There are thirty-one houses and dugouts in sight of here.
February 18-When I got up Ma was over to Alf's. She came back to breakfast, then went back and stayed until night. Arabella and Alf have a little boy, weighed 6 ½ pounds. Louie went over to Alf's and got The History of the War. I played and sang most all day, read some. Louie went up to Mr. Ray's. We had to let the calf go home. Mr. Ray got money without selling the calf. We are afraid Uncle George's claim is lost or will be soon.
February 25-I finished the picture. It is beautiful. I commenced another picture, "Home Farewell." Pa started for Cawker again to look for oxen. . . .
February 27-The calf ray away. I went up to Mr. Ray's with Louie after it. It was not there. He went on up to Coops' and got it. Ma read in The Old Curiosity Shop. A load of emigrants went past.
February 28-It snowed. The ground and trees were white. I finished the picture "Home Farewell" and started another like the one I made for Miss Lines.
March 1- I drew a good deal. Uncle Eli, Charlie and Will came. Louie went to Osborne with them. Did not get back until 8. They all came here to stay. I got a valentine from Root.
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March 3-Ma had a letter from Uncle George. He is anxious about his claim. Mr. Curtiss went home. Every day he has been here I have played to him ever so much. The herders are moving down into our riverbed camp. Will and Charlie came, took their team and drew wood across the river for Pa. They all stayed here to sleep.
March 5-The boys went up to their claim. Mr. Morse came with his filing papers. We cannot look out without seeing herders.
March 6-I set out two box elder trees. Pa set out two and one cottonwood. Mr. Wilder was over to the camp last evening. He started for home with a dishpan of flour and walked off high bank into the ravine. Hurt him some.
March 7-Mr. Henrick's cattle all came to our hay stack. We drove them away. Lady broke her rope and went with them. Louie and I went after her. We had an awful time getting her home. Louie had to run fast a good ways and had to let go the rope once. Charlie and Pa came out to meet us and Charlie led the calf or the calf led him the rest of the way home.
March 8-Uncle Howard and Morse have been making a good bridge across the river. I went up to Rays' and borrowed an auger for them. A man called to see about Mr. Morse's claim.
March 10-Venelia curled my hair. Will came down. Pa and Uncle Howard came with him. After dinner I came home. Charles Clark was here. Mr. Morse goes up to his shanty early in the evening. Mama went to Alf's. The baby is very sick.
March 11-Venelia came up with the men. Leander and Uncle Howard came. At one o'clock Mr. Delay came after Ma for Arabella. Her little Burton is dead. Genelia and I went over afterwards. Mrs. Ray and Mrs. Beal were there. Louie shot a wild goose out on the prairies.
March 12-Papa went to Cawker afoot. Leander went up to Mr. Morse's claim with him and staked out a piece to plow. Aunt Lucia and Tene came. Louie and Tene went across the river with the pony over to the herders' camp. Aunt Lucia went over to Alf's after dinner. Mama had the sick headache very badly. There was an awful fire over the bluff and one in every direction. Made it very smoky. Mr. D. Morse came from Cawker in the evening. He said Mr. Scrafford and another man had a fight.
March 13-I was quite sick in the forenoon. Will and Charles came along just after noon. Leander went to Cawker with them.
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Alf's little baby was buried at 3 o'clock. Ma and I went over. Nellie Ray was there and quite a number of others were there. They buried him under the box elder bushes. Pa came home from Cawker, brought Arabella a letter. I carried it over to her. Pa said a man and a horse were burned in the great fire yesterday. Louie had a letter from Eddy.
March 14-Before I got up this morning, Mr. Curtiss and Genelia came. I was about sick. Mr. Curtiss smoked most all day, liked to have killed us all. Genelia and I went over to Alf's. It was pretty cold. We stayed quite a while. Genelia and Jim Curtiss slept on their claim last night. They have a little board shanty on it.
March 15-Very cold. It snowed enough to make the ground white. Stopped before noon. Mr. Curtiss and Genelia started for Waconda.
March 16-A little warmer than it has been. Mama washed. I helped her until noon. After dinner Poodie and I went over to Gena's, waded the river, and carried Gena some things Genelia sent her. Stopped at Uncle Howard's and told him that Mr. Huff has got back from Concordia with filing papers for Morse's claim. Henry cut up like everything while I was there. . . .
March 18-Mr. Bell, Will, and Mr. Clark came in one team, Tene and a Green boy in another. Louie went across the river and skinned two beeves. All the men went up to Mr. Huff's and had a talk with him. I waded in the river. Ma went over to Arabella's. I planted yellow pine seed. Louie went home with Tene. A man came here on horseback-Mr. Bruce. Pa smoked a shoulder of beef in a hollow tree. I went down to the river, saw on the other side of the river in a hole in the bank, a Texas steer lying on its back alive. It had been there since yesterday morning if not longer. I saw it move, so came up to the house and got the rifle, waded the river, and shot it twice in the head.
March 19-Cold in the morning but pleasant the most of the day. In the morning Mama went to Cawker with the boys. Uncle Howard and Mr. Morse went. It was election day. At Mr. Young's they elected the county seat and officers. Alf was chosen treasurer but declined the office. The calf (Louie's) ran away to Mr. Ray's. I went and got him. I sowed spruce seeds and made cookies.
March 20-Very windy but pleasant. Just after breakfast Pa started for Cawker afoot. Alf brought over four letter for him to carry. Mrs. Coop came and left a breast pin for Pa to fix. About eleven Alf brought Arabella over on his back. I got dinner. Mr.
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Morse worked on the stable. Alf has 8 pigs. Alf and Arabella went home about two o'clock. I got ready and started for Cawker. I wore my best dress, got there half past four. Ma and Aunt Lucia spent the afternoon at Mr. Lines'. Venelia curled Velma's hair in over fifty curls. It looked beautiful. About 8 o'clock she and Leander Bell were married. Venelia and Will stood up with them. They all looked splendid. Velma has lots of new things. They had two kinds of wedding cake. Mr. Curtiss and Genelia came up to the wedding in a buggy. I went home with them to a dance they had at their house. Wore Genelia's slippers. There were only Miss Lines and Mrs. Mudget there besides Genelia and I. There were lots of men there. I danced every set but a waltz until 12. I danced with Charlie Bruce twice. He is nice. Mr. [Frank] Noble boards at Genelia's. His is nice. . . .
March 21-Very windy and rather cold. It snowed a very little. We did not get up until 8 o'clock. They had five men to breakfast. After breakfast I started for Cawker. Pa started for home before I got there. After dinner Mama and Louie started for home with Mr. Coop. I stayed a half an hour longer, then started towards night. I went over to Arabella's and carried them some wedding cake.
March 22-Mama and I went up to Mr. Ray's to dig up trees. We dug a long time on an elm but the ground was frozen so hard we could not get it, do dug up a small ash tree. When we came home Mr. Leggett and Mr. Lines came horseback, stayed a little, then crossed the river and went up to Mr. Lines' claim, Uncle Howard with them. After dinner they came back, had lunch, stayed quite a while, got some box elder twigs to set out, then mounted their horses and rode away. Louie and I went over to Alf's. Carried his rooster home and got ours. Louie brought home one of the puppies. He is going to have it. It ate gruel. We put it in the little dugout Louie made for it. Huff told Mr. Morse to leave the claim.
March 23-The little puppy squealed most all night. Alf sent word to have the pup brought home. He is going to give Mr. Smith his choice. I went over to Gena's, carried her wedding cake. Rode Mr. Morse's horse across the river. When I came home I saw and elm tree down by the river blossoming out. Our hen is hatching. Pa set out three large trees-two cottonwood and one elm-below the house.
March 24-Very warm. The wind blew very hard in the after-
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noon. Louie went over to camp. Our calves ran away. We did not know when they went. I looked all around the river for them. Looked out with the spy glass as much as an hour. Saw a good many people. Henry is herding. Mr. Cole has got back. Alf hired Mr. Henrick's team and carried Arabella to Cawker. Ma went with them. Got back at suppertime. Mr. Leggett's little dog bit Alf on his hand quite badly. Pa went after the calves. Found them over beyond Alf's. Louie did not get home from camp until after 2 o'clock. He went up to Hendricks' with Alf. Shot a prairie rooster. I picked it.
March 25-Pleasant. Mr. Morse and Uncle Howard started for Cawker before light, came back before noon. After noon Pa went afoot and crossed the river and dug up two ash trees, came back, got the axe and went and cut the large roots off. He set them out without much root. Mr. Clark and Will came up on to their claim. I planted evergreen seeds down by the river. Louie skinned a beef on the sand. Three Mexicans were down by the river. Mr. Morse shot his gun at a mark right in range of them but did not hit it. They were mad, thought he was shooting at them I suppose. Mr. Morse dug on the stable. He ate his supper on his claim. We chopped mincemeat in the evening. Had the prairie chicken for dinner. It was good. We have eleven little chickens.
March 26-Tene came up to plow. Louie went over to camp to get his pay for skinning. He did not get it. Tene came over to stay all night. A buffalo came across at the ford. Will and Mr. Cole chased it. Mr. Cooper chased it on horseback from the cabin up most of Hank's, where he killed it. Mr. Cooper gave Louie a nice piece. The boys came here to stay all night.
March 27-Louie went over with Tene. They tried to get their pay again but did not. They came back after noon. I went over to the old riverbed with then to pull up ash trees. Got a few. I took off my shoes and stockings and went into the water and pulled up some. Hurt my feet and ankles.
March 28-We set out our ash trees. Have quite a grove. Pa went to Osborne with Will. Uncle Eli and Aunt Lucia came towards night, came to work on their claim. Mr. Curtiss came up to work on their claim. He came to see Pa about buying his oxen. He gave Louie his belt to set out thirty trees up on his claim. He went up and dug ten holes for the trees.
March 29-Rather cool. It snowed a little. Uncle Eli and Aunt Lucia went over the river. Louie and I went with them. Went up
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to Pat's house, then picked out a building sit for a dugout. Uncle Eli ploughed his garden. When I came home, I saw a turkey fly out of the bank. Uncle Eli helped set out sixteen trees on Mr. Curtiss' claim. Ma went home with Uncle Eli after noon.
March 30-I got breakfast. Pa started for Cawker at half past four. Before noon Mr. Lines came a little while on his way from Osborne. He started for home last night and got lost on the prairie. Mr. Morse was up on the bluff and saw buffaloes. When we were eating dinner Pa, Ma, and Willie Ivins came. Brought a music box from Mr. Cawker's. Will went up to his house, then came back to stay over night.
March 31-The boys went up and worked on their house. Louie went with them. They came back at three o'clock and went to Cawker to get mail. We made an onion bed and planted it with top onions. I planted some pine seeds Eddie sent Louie. Pa cleaned the music box. We played it all day. This morning Will shot a beautiful duck, gave it to us. I got wings, tail and ever so many splendid feathers. I saw four ducks.
1. At Solomon they had bought a team and wagon, loaded part of their household goods, and started up the Solomon valley in search of homesteads.
2. These claims were near where Downs now stands, though the town had not yet been established. Most of them were a little farther west up the river. They kept to the river bottom because they wanted timber.
3. No one was allowed to go out without guns because of fear of Indians. They had raided through the area the year before and settlers were killed in nearby Mitchell county.
4. A U.S. land office was then located at Concordia.
5. Poodie was Luna's poodle dog.
6. The now defunct town of Waconda was in Cawker township of Mitchell county, 16 miles west of Beloit.
7. The Chicago fire began on October 8, 1871.
8. Leander Bell was a family friend from Massachusetts.
9. Texas cattle with Mexican herders had been driven up to the Solomon valley in the fall to winter on the range, but most of them died because of the severe weather.