Saturday, April 20, 2013

Into Nebraska: In Search of a Pretty Spot


 
Jon's grandfather goes on in his remembrance (see previous post) of the route his family would have taken from Deadwood South Dakota,  the summer of 1890 his father worked, grading the path for the railroad tracks with a team of horse.
 
The letter goes on to talk of the trek up and back from and to Nebraska...

"We made the trip in a covered wagon,almost the full length east to west of Nebraska
from Saunders County to Black Hills.camping along the way, living in the wagon and a small tent; continuingthat manner living all of that summer and fall. The trip across Nebraska
had to be at a slow pace, as the Sand Hill Trails, called roads of that time,
were hard for the horses. During the summer of 1890 the men and horses
had worked preparing a level grade for the new railroad, but by early
fall my parents knew that we were returning to Nebraska to resume farming in 1891."
 
 So, leaving Deadwood, we headed south...

in search of the route Frank Kelly would have taken, the letter providing more clues...
 
"I must return to my story of the Black Hills and the early fall of 1890, when we were making our return trip to Nebraska; this time along the Niobrara River. The Niobrara is the Northern most of the three principal rivers that start in the mountain state and flow east to where they empty into the "Wide Missouri". The Niobrara has a special meaning to me because Mother ofton spoke of its valley as so beautiful and peaceful. 'The most peaceful place in the world,' she said."

The modern Highway 27 goes right over the Niobrara River...


 and all though we can no be certain it was the trail Frank Kelly took, it fits the description in his son's letter. I am not surprised that such a place, after a summer in a muddy, dirty, man infested railroad camp would not have been very appealing to his mother. Where the line of trees on the horizon would almost always signal a river, an oasis in the spans of sand the horses were dragging their wagon through...
 
The river is very pretty, very similar to the rivers we have here in Colorado...


and there are many rutted trails coming down to the water, cattle probably, but perhaps remnants of wagon, still etched in the protected hillsides were the wind can not blow...


 Mari Sandov, was an author who wrote about her beloved Nebraska, in the 1930s, in honest and true stories...
She had a hard life, an abusive father who made her stay out in a snow storm to work the livestock and so she suffered with snow blindness the rest of her life, though she eventually returned home and wrote his biography, love of a father is a funny thing.
 
She is honored with a historical marker near the town of Gordon Nebraska ...
 
We started our journey home, now finally turning back West- through more of the flat land of Nebraska and the farming communities, where my love of grain elevators gained some more inspiration...
                        
 

 

But to get back to Colorado, we would have to enter into Wyoming again...
 
 
 

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