Thursday, September 21, 2006

Prairie Life in Gillette, Wyoming


This is a picture of my mother and her older siblings and a prairie chicken taken about 1918/19 in Gillette, Campbell County, Wyoming. My mother is the baby crying. She was born June the 6th, 1918.

Her real given name is Ethel America. She was nicknamed “Janie” because she would pitched a fit when things didn’t go her away, just like the little girl in the next farm over named Janie.

Janie stuck with her for a lifetime.

One time a known outlaw gang came to their farm. The leader said they just wanted food and a place to sleep for the night. My grandfather gave them food and let them sleep in the barn. My late aunt, who remembered the incident well, said they partied hooted and hollowed and rode their horses around the house off and on during the night. My grandfather sat near the steps of the house in the darkness with a gun. The next morning they went on their way.

Janie was born in Gillette. About two years later their mother and father decided they could not feed their children on the prairie any longer. They packed up and headed back east.

Interesting, they went in two groups. The mother, young kids, and the girls went by train. The father and the two oldest sons went by covered wagon.

Every night they slept under the stars and saw sights of animals and landscapes to behold. I would say that is quality time with a parent.

One of the sons on the covered wagon return trip is the only sibling still living of fourteen kids. He is in a nursing home. He has his good days and bad days and sometimes gets things confused. Last week was his 96th birthday. When his daughters told him what birthday he was celebrating he said they were mistaken, it was his 35th. His daughter that I email with is still trying to decide if he was joking or not.

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