Colorado Settlers Homesteaded Close to Family

Colorado settlers and family members all stuck together and worked together to make it in Moffat County, Colorado.

| Good Old Days

After my father, W. C. Lewis, and my two married brothers, Lemuel and Gwynn, each filed on 640 acres of land in Moffat County, Colorado, in 1916, they returned to our home near Denver to tear down all the barns and salvage what lumber they could use at the new homestead. The wood was loaded in boxcars, along with the horses, cows, chickens, and all our possessions, and shipped by rail to Craig, Colorado. These Colorado settlers traveled with the stock, to care for them, and my two sisters-in-law, Mother, and I, then about seven years old, rode the train over the old Moffat Road to Craig, Colo.

We all moved into a vacant cabin on the outskirts of Craig. We lived there until plans were completed for the 40-mile trip to the homestead and the wagons were loaded.

I remember how surprised I was when we drove to Craig for groceries and I saw the American flag. I thought we had left the United States.

My folks knew of two vacant cabins on Timber Lake Draw, not far from our new land, so that was the place we headed for, always watching Baker's Peak and the Black Mountains ahead of us. The roads were terrible. I remember how frightened Mother was when a hayrack, loaded with furniture, turned over. She thought Gwynn, who was driving, would be hurt, but he had jumped and saved himself.

We had been warned in Craig about the danger of ticks. We were advised always to carry a bottle of turpentine and to touch the ticks with turpentine when they stuck to the skin. One morning I found a tick on my leg and I knew that was the last of me. After a big commotion the tick was removed and we were on our way. But I grew sick, and my folks, inquiring of other homesteaders they happened to meet, heard them say I had mountain fever. I recall we stopped to water the horses at the Herring homestead but I remember nothing more of the trip until Father carried me into the cabin.

Mother gathered sagebrush roots to burn in our stove and Father made a bitter tea from the sage leaves and he was able to get some down me. Then my sister-in-law came from the other cabin, across the ravine, where my brothers' families were living, and said Gwynn was sick with the same symptoms I had.

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