Plains Settlers: Wyoming Settlers' Arrival Marred by Diphtheria

Family of Wyoming settlers struggles through settlement of rugged West land.

| Good Old Days

My parents and us three little girls were living in Iowa when the lure of becoming plains settlers, free for our settling there and improving it, proved too much for our dad. He, along with other men from Iowa and our Uncle Frank, went west to the wild plains, we became Wyoming settlers, without a tree, with nothing but buffalo grass and sagebrush.

It was the year 1908 when my parents decided to make the move. The horses, one cow, chickens, household goods, machinery, and our dog Bessie were shipped by railroad. Dad traveled with the animals to take care of them. Mother and we girls went on the passenger train.

On the train, I came down with diphtheria, and when we arrived at Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, we were moved into a small house and quarantined there--no one could go out or come in. Our dad decided to stay with his family until I was well.

So all our belongings had to be taken care of. It was lucky for us that Uncle Frank had been there long enough to have his place improved, so he and some friends from Iowa took our things to their home to care for them.

The men, with Uncle Frank in charge, built a barn and started a house for us.

Dad had to have a well drilled; our well was over 300 feet deep. He put up a windmill to pump water and made a tank to hold a reserve supply. He had to make fences and plow the ground, and it took good horses on a breaking plow to turn that land. We made a sod house for our chickens, and Mother had a garden. She planted a yellow rose bush she had brought from Iowa, and the little thing lived all those bad winters.

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