The Oak Dell Story:
A Pioneer Woman’s Tale of Discovery and Hardship
Editor’s note: Esther Mosher was born in 1845, and grew up in Ohio and Iowa. She married Wellington Eggleston in 1872 in Iowa, and with Wellington and his small son quickly departed for a new life in Colorado, considered at the time to be the “Far West.” Several decades later, around 1912, she wrote this account of the early Colorado years. Other than a few minor spelling corrections and alterations, Esther’s story, syntax and style (she wrote autobiographically in the third person) were left intact.
By Esther Mosher Eggleston
In the year of 1872, the brothers of the old home wended their way through “sloughs” of mud in the public highway to take their sister with her husband and four-year-old son August, to take a train for their far west. In the gloom of early night, good byes were said, hands reached up for a final clasp as heart stings wrenched.
Car doors banged, and the darkness enveloped the travelers. All night long the rattle of car wheels, and the toot, toot of the engines never heralded through the gloom and the darkness.
Another morning the train slowed down for the crossing of the “muddy river” with the whirl and swirl of rushing waters; then on and on again following up the Platte toward its source in the Rockies. Days and nights, and nights and days the Union Pacific in its scarce varying monotony led past telegraph posts, that had been chopped off by Indians, leaving stumps, reestablished, and rubbed down by buffalo, that had appreciated these rubbing posts; found ready for their use.
Once the startled wife looked with inquiring eyes, at what seemed like the sweep of cumulus clouds of her native land. “Yes it is mountains, it is mountains” was the answering reply, and long did her eyes feast, on what never became to her a palling sight; during all the years of intimate acquaintance following.
On and yet on the slow moving train rolled. This was not the day of flyers and lightning expresses. The road bed but newly laid, was not certain in its tenure, and the depredations of Indians were yet to be guarded against. Occasionally a herd of antelope scurried away, holding their white striped ensign on high. But finally Cheyenne was reached, the Union Pacific left behind, the first railroad to Colorado took them to Denver. After a detour which carried them to Boulder, with a few days outfitting at Coal Creek and Louisville, the journey was resumed, this time by ox team. The road which seemed to follow no beaten track, but looked a law unto itself, over rolling billows, hillocks, behind ridges, through meadows of native grama grass, took them again to Denver. Household furnishings, stove cooking utensils, chairs, etc. were packed in the wagon bed, or secured behind, for room was left some where in that wagon for sleeping for two people with the little lad at their head. Provision were stored in the wash boiler, secured on the top of the stove.
Then began the journey proper: what had gone before seemed but child’s play. The husband trudged along by the wagon side. The woman and little lad sat within, with eyes that were ever noting the fascinating scenery; for now Pikes Peak stood over in all the grandeur of its snow capped top at their right. Once in crossing the “divide” at Palmer Lake a snow storm over took them, causing them to camp in a little “pilgrim” cabin, for two days.
There the wife learned to manipulate her first “baking powder” biscuit. Her first initiatory into the camp “bake oven” cookery, with which she became familiar later in many a camping bout.
Here, under the snow laden pinon trees, with their resinous, health giving odors, she first fell in love with the piney mountain fragrance, which makes “earth like to one great altar, where saints their prayer filled censers swing.”
Again the journey continued along the foot hills of Monument Park, with the grotesque form of rock capped pillars and monuments.
Down across the barren plains the thirsty oxen had been panting with lolling tongues until, eagerly as a new impulse seized them, no longer urged on by whips or worse they galloped until suddenly a many foot wide ditch of running water gathered them into its pooling depths. The pitch down the bank jolted the boiler of provisions until they saw, in dismay, their cherished biscuits floating down the turbid stream.
When the oxen had slaked their thirst, another mighty effort took them out of the banks. But where was the good man? Anxious eyes looked sharply round, but were soon awarded by seeing him make a powerful sprint, and by dint of scrambling get out on the same side of the now satisfied oxen.
Here, at Colorado Springs, terminated the railroad and then was there taken into the wagon, the box shipped from the prairie home; emptied straw tick, to be refilled with pine needles, if no straw could be found in that new country; twenty-five yards of newly woven rag carpet; cracks and corners filled with bed linen, quilts, home spun and woven wool blankets, table linen, towels, etc.
Oh a very treasure trove was that pine box, but its occupancy excluded any further sleeping accommodations in that wagon box, consequently a sleeping room had to be secured from that time.
A barn with its fragrant hay, formed such a room during the two or three nights spent in Canon City, and once, later, a sandy arroyo was chosen, where, if one of the sudden, not infrequent, mountain deluges had surprised them, there would scarcely have been left a fragment to tell the tale.
Passing through Copper Gulch, they came to the home of Joe Lamb, who for the next years to come was their most effective neighbor, as it was he who frighted lumber for flooring, doors, window casings, etc., for the new house to be built; broke up the virgin soil to be planted to potatoes, garden, etc., and with the same meek eyed oxen, hauled provision from Canon City, thirty-five miles away, for a long time the only Post Office.
Leaving this place, there was another six miles to traverse, which in itself was barely a mountain trail, up a little stream bordered with scrub oaks; often having to use an axe to widen the way; until a foundation laid of poles was reached, the site of the future home in the little valley, after known as Oak Dell.
Building of the new house
The quiet oxen turned out to graze on the tender grass, and browse on succulent herbage, the attention was next turned to unloading the full wagon of its contents, and making of its box, now placed on the ground, a comfortable bed chamber; for as such it seemed during the weeks which were employed in securing the walls of this primitive house.
The aspen grove surrounding the chosen site of this foundation, was made to yield its wealth. Day after day the chopping and the hewing continued, and as log after log was placed in position, the walls rose, until the apex now was reached, and the ridge-pole was forced by the united strength of the two into position.
For this house was the house that Jack built, with only the help of his faithful Jill. Lumber was freighted from the Texas Creek saw mill, by the neighbor Joe Lamb – with the ever faithful oxen Buck and Bright – on the running gears of the dismantled wagon, A floor was laid in the cabin, door and window frames made and put in place, truncheons split and laid on the roof, to be covered many layers deep with the black alluvial soil, the crack between the logs chinked and daubed, windows inserted, door hung, and stove set up, a bed stead manufactured from native material, the box unpacked to get at bedding, linen, etc., and one glad night the cottage was for the first occupied, under the shelter of their own roof, they listened to the first rain that had fallen during their trip and labors.
There were still many hours, reaching into days, of work in getting settled. Three widths of the new carpet were laid in the back of the room, furnishing the parlor bedroom, where also stood bureau, and sewing machine.
A cot was framed at one side for little August; a broad board was secured to the wall under the window, to which was hinged a falling leaf, to take the place of the hitherto primitive box tops, for a table.
A cupboard was built in one corner, back of the stove for the dishes and utensils; another in the opposite corner for a milk repository, as a pile of shining milk pans had been brought in anticipation of the dairy yet to be. For convenience of construction, few modern houses could compete. The housewife could stand in the center of her domain, and reach in any direction, to parlor, table, stove, or boudoir.
The visitor: Friend or foe?
All was now in readiness for the actual business of the enterprise, so one morning early, the good man started out in search of the dairy herd, to be secured in the up river provinces. The wife was busy in one of her apartments unpacking her trunk which she had not found time to disturb. Little August was near her, and her occupancy of laying out familiar articles of clothing, all teeming with the home and life she had left behind so recently, kept her mind so absorbed that she took no note of time, until suddenly the room darkened, and she glanced up to see the narrow doorway occupied by a stalwart Indian.
Frightened? yes, but a pioneer’s wife must know naught of cowardice. She advanced with as brave a front as possible to meet the guttural “how, how” of the savage. His curious eves peered around the room, taking note of everything. She was not at all reassured by seeing him accompanied by a gusty young brave. Some remnants of food on the table called out the demand “swap.” Tremblingly, she gave over the slices of bread. “Where man?” was the next query. What should she say? She was afraid to tell them he was gone for the day, not knowing what the next move might be. She feared to admit he might be near, lest it prolong their stay. She compromised with her own conscience by saying, “He has gone to the bush after cows.”
At last they departed with their guns, and as the day passed on, she began to breathe easier once more, on realizing that she and the little lad were not massacred. But at three in the afternoon she heard footsteps, and saw their return from mountain-ward, but this time her fear was not so keen, and at their renewed solicitations to swap, she was ready to barter, especially as they held out for her inspection, a delicious roast of mountain sheep, killed by them during their absence, with some lovely specimens of alpine moss.
Again the bread excited their attention, but more, a pitcher of molasses excited their envy, “But you cannot carry it,“ she objected. They however were full of expedient and pointing to a tin cup suggested its transfer there to. “But you won’t bring it back.” They vociferously denied the accusation. She filled it for them and they rewarded her confidence by returning the cup in a day or two. Her fears were again renewed by their continued query, “where’s man?” She was infinitely relieved by the appearance of “the man” at this juncture. She learned afterward, that they belonged to the not at all unfriendly Indians of the Ute tribe, who at this time were located in their reservation at Saguache and came over the Poncha Pass each spring on their way to Canon City to barter their winter’s supply of pelts in exchange for supplies. The older of the men was familiarly known by the old settlers as “Old Spoke,” a minor chief of the tribe.
The summer passed by, ever filled with unexpected and interesting events of daily life.
One morning as they sat at breakfast, they heard the cut, cut of a fowl and the man sallied out to see a wilt turkey with her brood of little turks at her feet. One or two little chicks graced the board, from this sally. Many times the gobble, gobble of the lord of the harem was heard from over the hill in the early morning, but he ever escaped capture.
One day a horseman rode up to the door and apologized for having chased a bear across the garden the day before, not knowing that he was infringing on any one’s domain. One morning in the early days of their settlement, the wife came upon the carcass of a grizzly within a few rods of the house, and was somewhat startled to subsequently learn that four bear had been shot by one hunter, within twenty minutes time, the autumn before, within a narrow margin of the enclosed improvements.
The day that the man had made his first trip to look for cows, he came home with his overalls tied at the feet into bags and filled with seed potatoes flung over his shoulders. There formed the nucleus of the finest crop of potatoes ever raised.
All summer long the revivifying rays of the sun, from a cloudless Colorado sky, warmed the earth, bringing forth plants and flowers.
The front of the cottage was made rainbow tinted by the clambering morning glories, and the day never passed but little August’s first joy was to run out and count, uno, dos, tres, quattro, cinco, etc., all through the Spanish numerals, for mountain range and Mexican towns had made this almost a more familiar tongue than his own native English.
‘Never rains in Colorado’
August days were coming on apace. The wife had been told in the old home, “It never rains in Colorado.” Cloud forms were beginning to float over the mountains. Shadows began to troop between earth and sky. Again the husband made a trip up the Arkansas to reinforce the daily herd; and one day while he was gone, the lowering sky began to drop moisture. All day long it rained. The mother and little August, grown unafraid of Indian, bear, or man, had the cows milked, corralled, and wood box filled and made ready for bed.
Already the little lad had crept into mother’s bed, and she preparing to follow, was startled by hearing the drip of falling water. The roof that had withstood many hours of rain was leaking.
Hastily removing articles that could be injured without cover; she followed from one part of the room to another. Books were put into bureau drawers, or into boxes and slipped under the bed; until in two hours time not a dry spot seemed left. To go to bed was impossible, to sit up but little improvement.
At last donning her husband’s overcoat; she sat down on the foot of the bed, “Mamma, I’m wet.”
“Are you cold?”
“No I’m not.”
“Well cuddle down and try to go to sleep.”
Morning dawned at last, and with its first beams, the mother was astir. The first thing was to make a fire in the stove, which in the stifling days of mid summer had been removed to the outside of the house, the wagon sheet stretched over it, from the walls of the house to form a shed.
Dry flannels were looked up for the little lad, and he was lifted, dripping wet from the bed and carried to the fire. A vigorous rub, and encased in dry clothes, with his little red-riding hood of a cloak, the horizon of his life soon changed to sunshine.
There was nothing that could be done that day but to attend to the animals, cows, pigs, and chickens, keeping up courage for all by abundant food.
But the night was coming on again, and the rain inside the cabin, no less abundant than that outside, was, in addition, muddy water. Even the ridge pose would bring small comfort. A cozy bed was improvised for little August on a big trunk that stood under the protection of the wagon sheet, and the mother sat on the wood box at its side with her feet resting on the stove hearth, to allow the streams of water running by, free access to the near by creek. Through the night she sat there, with her hand on the trunk, ready to nestle little August, if he stirred. Once she dreamed the little bubbling brook had become a torrent, and that her old father of prairie country was trying to irrigate.
Once she heard the pigs in the pen some rods away, woof, woof, and she thought it might be a bear.
But again came the morning, and with it the clouds rolled away, to bring blessed sunshine. Now there was plenty to do. Bedding was quickly transferred to the line outside, and the work of drying it began. Water was swept from the floor, emptied from the milk pans which stood brimming under the ridge pole where they had been placed, to try and catch the drip. But you cannot make that wife believe to this day that “it never rains in Colorado.”
That day brought the husband home, too, with his own tale of discomforts. A cow having escaped him, and crossing the river, he was compelled to camp in a deserted cabin, with only a corduroy bed, spread with rushes, without other cover than his own clothes.
But together again, they made light of trifles.
Though it was weeks before the walls of the cottage were dry and free from mildew, neither father, mother, nor child suffered so much as a cold, resulting from the exposure.
The summer passed. The long brooding days of Indian summer followed, when “calm sweet days in the golden haze, melt down the amber sky.”
The stork’s winter visit
The winter shut in at last. The wife yearned for the sound of a woman’s voice, the touch of a woman’s hand. Three months of this passed by. There was a night of suffering, of pent up agony. Before the burst of dawn the husband laid in her arms a little daughter. Born, not of the spring snowdrops, or the June roses, little Pipsisserva came with the odor of the fragrant wintergreen, in the frost laden air, and the swaying of the redolent balsam and pines of the forest.
Life in the virgin land was all an unread book to the wife and mother. The companionship of the many friends of her girlhood was replaced by constantly changing incidents of a new and often startling nature. One day little August, on the floor, intently pushing his box of Crandall blocks under the bureau cried out, “Oh mamma here is a snake.” Oh no! child, but within a heart beat there was at his side, to find hanging over the back of a chair the hideous length of a spotted rattler.
With one quick move little August was picked up and set outside the open door, and the father called to the rescue. His arm soon dispatched and laid out in its slimy length a great bull snake.
But it was long ere the mother could heed her husband’s chiding, and stop the sobs that shook her, as she held August close to her throbbing heart. She had realized all the terror that could have been hers, if the harmless snake had indeed been the venomous rattler of the mountains.
Sometimes a loping bear was seen traversing the hillside. Sometimes the shy timid fawn was discovered frolicking by its mother’s side in the open, among the aspens. Again the growl of the mountain lion resounded through the night air, yet the bear was trapped in the swamp, the lion was driven from its feast of young pig, by the squeals and assaults of the irate mother hog.
The year after Pipsie’s birth, a new house, all lumber, with shingle roof, was erected. The preacher who has come with his three-year-old Bertha, astride his horse in front of him to see that wonderful baby, her first woman visitor, came to have a hand in this house raising. For a skeleton frame raised the new house to the dignity of a second story.
The months passed on into another year, when the Indians again passed through. Brave, squaw, papoose, in all the paraphernalia of strapping board cradle, varicolored beads, teepee poles, ponies, and dogs. This time they camped far up the mountain side above the homestead.
In the early mornings the wailing songs of the squaws were heard as they collected the pony herd. The first morning that little Pipsy heard them, she came creeping down the stairs, her eyes wide with wonder, exclaiming, “Coyotes mamma coyotes.” They remained in camp for some days, passing in and out. One day a young brave stopped at the kitchen door where the wife was dishing dinner, his face filled with animate exclamation points, none of which she could comprehend. She piloted him to the dining room thinking that might be the explanation.
He received food unconcernedly still jabbering unintelligible jargon; when the good man turned to his wife with, “Is not this the one who visited us that first spring?” She shook her head unknowingly for one Indian was as like as another to her. He questioned the young buck. Were you here before? His face lighted as he animatedly replied, “Si, si, new house,” pointing to the floor above, more papoose. A little four stop organ was one of the gems of the new house. He was invited to sit down to it, and showed the secret of the pedals. He went away, coming back late in the afternoon with two or three – sweet hearts – maybe. He asked that they might sit at the organ. After initiating them into the movement of the keys, he suddenly put the pressure on the pedals, and how he did laugh at their jump of surprise.
August was sent off toward evening in the nearby pasture for the sows. The young brave approvingly exclaimed, “Buena papoose.”
Plague on the earth
All was not prosperity in the new home. In the late summer of 1876, the grasshoppers dropped from a cloudless sky, the sun was obscured, and destruction began. Husband and wife worked rapidly as possible in an effort to save crops, but soon even the corn stalks were stripped of their leaves. Garden disappeared as if by magic; where before had been plenty, devastation stalked.
When all was destroyed the hoppers took to wing and wended their way over the mountains to the southwest. But not until they had done their work, for the hopes for the next year’s crop was again blasted, when with the bright springtime and the growing crops, myriads of tiny grasshoppers were seen to spring from their winter’s bed, from the eggs laid in the soil the fall before, and then indeed destruction came. A field of waving grain would disappear as if by magic in a few hours, and earth, brown as though by fire, the only visible remainder. Growing crops did not suffice for their ravages. The grass was mowed as by a machine, trees were made barren from loss of leaves, until finally, strength in their wings, and their newly fledged wafted their way over the mountains after their predecessors. Another springtime came and brought new hope, for these had winged their way as soon as able to fly.
Again were the gardens tilled, grain sown. Vick the great hearted seedsman sent out was “I will supply seed for all those who will apply from the grasshopper belt.” The earth grew green once more, with grass and vines and grain, when one day Pipsy with her little brother Trot, for another little papoose had come – come running excitedly, with – Hurry up mother, and get dinner on, for the grasshoppers are coming back and we want something to eat first.
True enough, again was the sun hidden by the hoards of flying insects, come down from the northeast plains, and the battle began afresh. There must be something strangely invigorating in the mountain breath for these did not lose courage as the pall settled down upon them.
Many days the mother and children were without flour and meat in the home, as the husband packed his kit, and went to the mining camps to secure the means to feed the hungry children.
It was no easy matter for the mother to hear the children cry for bread, yet never for a moment did she listen to the beseechings to come back to the old home. If there had been milk for the babies it would not have so wrenched her heart, but with the disappearance of the grass, the cows and calves must be driven into the mountains to eke out a subsistence best they could.
Summer squash, and (?) became a very limited diet, when confined to them alone, as the only vegetable apparently undevourable by the grasshoppers. Another winter waned and spring came again, with its multitude of young insects hopping everywhere – but unknown miracle, they never flew again.
Whether it was a heavy storm of early rain or a parasitic insect that brought destruction to the scourge was not known, but certain it is, there has been no return of the pest.
The years passed by. The first decade was nearing its close, when the losses by the grasshoppers, and alluring interests elsewhere, had won the good man to a new venture, and leaving the homestead in charge of a tenant, a new start was made. The little flock was collected; August growing fast toward his teens, Pipsy gathering the little ones, Dot, Trot and Bunny, whom she has sister-mothered since each one’s birth; while the mother tried to still the ache of her burning heart, as she for the last time knelt at the grave of her latest born, little lily white Vincent; lying beneath the spreading cedar, under the shadow of the mountain, beside the little sister Elsie who had come to Colorado hoping to find health, and had found – rest.
There were days of journeying up, up over the mountain passes, until at last, hidden in the very heart of the Rockies the cavalcade came to a rest, by a boiling, broiling torrent.
August and his father had climbed the nearest pass with the dairy herd. Ever following at their feet Dulce the faithful collie, who aided the children in many an adventure.
Three summers were spent among these mountains. The first one of these, a tent home formed shelter from the rains that oft times deluged the hills.
August on his pony Pet, with his milk cans astride, climbed up the steeps to the mining camp Bonanza with his daily supply of milk for the leaded men at the smelter.
One evening when he had gone for the cows, he was seen galloping home in frenzied haste. When his mother saw his blood stained hands, her heart sank in fear. He could scarcely stop to shout, “I’ve killed a deer,” (his little rifle was always an accompaniment when off in the hills) and am after a rope to tie it on Pet. He admitted he felt that he would break through the earth, his foot galls seemed so heavy. Happy thirteen-year-old boy over his first deer. Another spring he was long gone in bringing up the calves, and when he came in sight that time, he was seen to be carrying a load which proved to be a lovely spotted fawn. Its mother had run with it into a marsh, where it had mired and he had captured it. He kept it all summer, until it had grown into a fair sized deer, when he sold it, for the dogs from town became a menace to its life. But many a frolic did Trot and Bunny have racing across the hillside paths with it in their wake. One evening when Pipsy and Dot had been with Dulce for the cows, they came home all excitement, to tell of the deer they found grazing with the cows.
All was not so well. Little Bunny was disturbed with night terrors, until at last her mother gathering her close in her arms elicited from the troubled lips, “The man is after me.”
Questioning the children the following day she was told that a miner who crossed the trail where they played had teased the little one day by day, with the assurance that he would take her home with him. The mother told her if any man came to take her baby, she would get him with a sharp shooter. The next time the scene was enacted the little one stopped only long enough to fling at him, “My mother will get after you with a sharp shooter,” turned and ran for the tent house. The annoyance was not repeated, though the little girl’s nerves never recovered from the shock.
But many were the delightful days the quartet Pipsy, Dot, Trot, and Bunny had there among the trees and the flowers. A park, across the Kerber Creek was just aglow, with the azure columbine, beautiful State flower. Long sprays of hanging bluebells did see their image given in the sparkling brook, where, “The blue eyed gentians looked though fringed eyes to heaven.”
Sometimes a pleasure party of sight seers came by, and took August or Pipsy with them, far up the mountain height, above timber line, where the snow lay all the year, and fell in blinding extreme in the month of August, and flowers could be gathered in one hand, and snow balls made with the other. Oh, the blue of that ether, where sound no longer lingered of cricket or katydid, and you could look far out beyond the mountain ranges to the plains of New Mexico or Utah.
One night a gaunt form came down on the camp of Bonanza. A little child was lost; strayed off just as night fell. All night, stern bearded men searched streams and ravines, visited every cabin house, shouting, “Stella, oh Stella,” until the echoes rang. Once they found the print of her little bare feet, on a foot log crossing a rushing stream. Half the town was out, and the other half only waiting as a relay until morning.
The mother at the tent house, leaving her own brood fast asleep was out at the first rose burst of dawn, to listen and watch. She heard a glad shout with gestures from the opposite mountain side. “We have found her.” Clad only in a summer slip without wrap or head cover; she had at last crouched down by a log, not daring, she said, to answer the shouts she heard, she had awaited the day. Once, some soft furry animal brushed by her. God gave his angels charge.
During their stay at this camp, the rain clouds shrouded the mountain peaks as only mountain clouds can, and when the word went forth, “our president, our gifted Garfield is dead by the assassin’s hand,” the little flock sobbed, “the clouds are raining tears for him,” and twined wreaths of evergreen, to hang over his pictured face.
On to Salida
The mountain land was left, and again the way was wended down to the valley past Villa Grove, over the mountain pass of Poncha, to the Arkansas, where the father had preceded, and furnished a home by the river side. There by the rapid, turbid stream many years were passed; the children growing into man and womanhood. Many incidents have left their impress. When the spring floods came, bearing the burden of twenty years of debris, the water fowl darted, and flitted before the amazed eyes of the children. August bagged many a sack of ducks, tiny teal, many hued mallard, and many unknown species graced the prowess of his hand. Once, proudly bearing, he brought home a wild goose.
One day the little girlies Trot and Bunny were seen by their mother meandering from far down the river in wavering uncertain lines. As they neared the home they were seen to be driving a wild goose. The bird with a broken wing. For weeks it kept its place, feeding with the poultry, but never quite trusting itself to be corralled with them. The autumn brought the arrow formed lines of wild geese, passing to the south, and their honk, honk was heard far into the night, flying low over this river bed. One morning the delight of the children was unbounded to see a young goose, which had dropped down during the darkness to the answering call of the crippled bird, and hobnobbing with it among the scattered grain, in the poultry yard.
Dot and Bunny spent many hours fishing, hooking the speckled trout at their feet, even within the precincts of the narrow yard; while Pipsy kept fragrant with wild roses gathered from the bank, the table, morning noon and night.
All the children made new acquaintances, friendships, loves in the schools which they were for the first time privileged to attend. A little lad, child of their old age, was born to them here. Alwyn – Beloved, who came to fill the gaps in a little measure, caused by the departure of the other ones. First Pipsy gave her hand, one eventide, to one who carried her away to fill and grace his own home. Then August brought home fro a welcome his bride. Dot, Trot, and Bunny finished their high school courses, dropped their childhood names and went out to careers of their own, from the south, to the Pacific coast.
Alwyn too, as the years went by, found his mate, and the bride of forty years ago sits above by the river side, awaiting the tide that will carry her over the flood, to him who has passed beyond …
(Editor’s note: Esther had nicknames for her children. August is Charles (1868-1935), Pipsy is Elsie (1873-1949), Trot is probably Wallace (1874-1956), Dot is probably Myra (1876-1953), Bunny is Effie (1878-1950), and Alwyn is Alwyn (1888-1970). There is confusion on Trot and Dot: Trot is referred to as both a brother and as a “little girlie.” So it’s possible that Trot and Dot are reversed.)