After Grandpa built up his business he built his family a
large home, adding a school and a church on his property.
“My father had a freight line.
It was quite a distance from the coal mines to the places he
had to deliver his coal, so he put a tent close to a creek a
day’s drive from the mines. Every other night he stayed with
Mother at the tent. He kept plenty of wood cut and they got
water from the creek. Can you imagine a creek so clear and
fresh as to drink from it, cook from it, and also do
“Daddy stayed home on Sundays.
He built a lot of things to make it easier for Mother and he
also taught her how to shoot a gun. Mother said she was very
frightened some times but never let Daddy know. Indian women
often were alone for long periods of time so she thought if
she took the oath to live in the Indian Way, she would have
to get over being afraid.
“One morning after Daddy had
left on his trip, four men stopped not far from their tent.
They were on horseback and all had bedrolls behind their
saddles. She knew when she saw the bedrolls that they were
traveling men. They watered and fed their horses and did
some gun practice but never came near her tent. They mostly
were lolling around on the ground.
“She had some chickens in her
yard and the hawks were always trying to steal the baby
chicks. When she heard chickens squawking, she grabbed her
gun and ran out to the yard. A hawk was flying overhead so
she proceeded to shoot him out of the air. Now one has to be
a good shot to shoot a bird on the wing. The men all jumped
up to see what she was doing. They saw her shoot the bird
out of the air and they cheered and whistled. Then she went
back inside the tent.
“The men spent the night in
their camp, but did not come near the tent. Mother stayed
awake all night with the gun across her lap. The next
morning another man rode into the men’s camp. They talked
for a while and all of them got on their horses and left.
Daddy got home about noon and Mother told him what had
happened. Daddy asked her what color their horses were. Then
he told her that there had been a bank robbery and the five
men had got away. Their horses were the same color as the
men’s horses. Daddy thought they had left a man in town to
see and to hear what happened. Then he rode out the next
morning to tell the other men the news deciding then which
way they would go.
I suppose my Mother had a lot
of exciting times while she lived at that creek. Her first
three children were born there.” (Including my mother. MEE)
Times are physically easier for women today and
we must display our courage and skills in different ways,
but one thing remains constant across generations of women.
We can do what has to be done and we must always rely
on God to guide us.