L. L. Greene Richards, "For Our Little Folks: Favie's Scrapes and Scrambles," Juvenile Instructor, 1 Nov. 1900, 727-730.
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"To the West, to the West" was theme of their song.
As weary and footsore they journeyed along,
O'er rivers and sterile plains;
Those pilgrim exiles, the "Pioneers,"
With all their burdens and cares and tears,
They sang, and in lofty strains,
Their praises rang out on the silent air,
For they knew their God and His peace were there.
They sang of the faith which had made them strong,
Of hope and charity, and their song
Was one that the Lord might hear;
Leaving the world with its hard, rough ways,
They sang of the future's brighter days,
With gratitude, love and cheer.
And the song of their hearts was an earnest prayer,
For God and His angels and peace were there.
Having vacated his house, which he had sold, Brother Kane with his family commenced life on the camp ground, as the company was not ready to start.
The next day or two Brother Kane spent helping several widows to get their things on to the camp ground, and assisting the brethren in organizing the company. On the 11th they started to travel.
That day they had to climb a long, steep hill. They doubled teams and took one up, then returned with teams for the other wagon. Norman, their young neighbor, was helping them off; he hooked up and forgot to put the chain through the iron on the tongue of the wagon. When part way up the hill, the tongue dropped and the wagon went rolling backward down, down, down! at a rapid rate.
What the feelings of Brother and Sister Kane must have been can scarcely be imagined, for two of their children, Nellie and Lillie, were in the wagon, which was loaded with boxes and goods of different kinds. The road being full of ruts and stumps, was very rough; and as the little girls were bounced and batted about among the boxes, Nellie threw her arms around her baby sister to shield her as much as possible from being bruised and hurt.
"Oh, Nellie! do you fink we are going to be killed?" Lillie asked.
"I don't know, dear, but if we are, we will go together," said Nellie heroically.
And Nellie almost felt a satisfaction in the thought that if they were to be killed, it was herself and not one of the other children who was taking care of Lillie at the time, so great was her love for her little sister.
Today it is a pleasant curiosity, and is becoming a not infrequent thing, to see the "automobile," with smiling occupants and no apparent assistance, gliding along the street. But its course and motion are controlled by the power of man.
Very different was that fast ride of Nellie's and Lillie's, nearly fifty years ago, as the wagon they were in went whizzing, twisting, bounding and leaping down the long, steep, jutted hill, beyond the reach of human power to guide or check its mad flight.
But, "God and His angels and peace were there."
The wagon in its wild course down the hill was about to strike a huge stump which would have shattered it in pieces, and likely have killed or injured the children, when fortunately the iron in the end of the tongue caught a snag in the road, which cramped the wagon in such a way that it soon stopped, having turned completely crosswise of the road.
The wagon was damaged some; the people who witnessed the "runaway" were badly frightened; and that snag was looked upon as a most providential interruption. The children escaped with only a few slight bruises.
The company camped that evening, and the next morning drove to the ferry on the Missouri river before breakfast.
After a great many of the company were taken across, brother Kane's turn came. The boat leaked and the water had to be bailed out all the time. There were many things to attract the attention of the children, and while the family were crossing, somehow three-year-old Lillie fell overboard into the wide, deep dark river. A nail on the edge of the boat caught the hem of her dress, which prevented her sinking out of sight, and a brother by the name of Edwards reached down and lifted her out of the water. She was unhurt except strangled and frightened somewhat. But Rhoda and a dear kind-hearted girl who was called Satsie, cried over Lillie because of the accident, and agreed that some influence was trying to kill her, and that one or the other of them must keep hold of her after that. And many times, during the long, hot days that followed, as the company journeyed over the great desert, when Lillie would cry because the sand burnt her feet, and still she did not want to ride when all the others were walking, Satsie and Rhoda would take turns carrying her. And often Favie carried her and drove his team at the same time. Or he would place the little one upon the broad back of one of his oxen and let her ride there.
One day it seemed as though the sun was more terribly hot than usual. And in the afternoon, all of a sudden a fierce thunderstorm came on, and the company had to stop and unyoke their oxen and tie them to the wagons to prevent their running off.
Sister Kane climbed into one of their wagons, and under its cover, with her children crowded in around her, sat watching and listening to the storm. A deafening clap of thunder and a blinding flash of lightening came very near to them, and as it cleared away, they saw that it had struck and killed a large bull which was fastened to the back of a wagon only a few steps from their own.
Favie, who was out with the men herding the loose cattle, ran to the wagon to see if any of the family were hurt, and found them only shocked and pale. The company all felt thankful that it was an animal and not a human being that had been struck.
After awhile the storm passed over and the teams were again hitched up and a short drive was made before the company camped for the night.
The evenings were usually welcome, restful times for those weary travelers. The evening meal was enjoyed with greater relish than that of the morning or mid-day, for it could be eaten more leisurely, and pleasant chat could be carried on while it was partaken of. But in the morning it was necessary to hasten all preparations for the day's journey, that they might go as far as possible before the sun had risen high and made the air and ground so fearfully hot.
And by noon the sun would beat down upon them with such force that to sit or lie in whatever shade they could find, seemed better than to eat.
A boy about Favie's age, who drove a team just back of his, lay down under the wagon during the noon rest one day, and went to sleep. And so fatigued was he that he slept on, no one noticing him, when the teams were again hitched up and ready to travel. They started, and William, (that was the name of the poor boy,) slept on; the wheel of his heavily loaded wagon passed over his body and killed him. There was great sorrow in the camp over that sad death. But the only thing that could be done was to dig a grave, make a coffin out of some goods boxes, hold very short funeral services, bury the dead, and leave him there.
The camping for evening was generally interesting; the wagons being so arranged as to form a circle. The fires were kindled by some of the people, while others unyoked the oxen, or hunted up fuel of any kind that could be found, to help cook their supper.
Favie was a great hand for pancakes, "flap-jacks," he used to call them; and he had learned in some way how to "flap" the cakes over when they needed turning. Satsie could not do it, nor Rhoda, nor any of the girls; they had to have a knife to turn the cakes. But Favie would catch hold of the handle of the frying-pan, give it a little shake and a toss, and over would go the cake so slick and so quick that all hands were amused at the action.
After supper, there would be singing, always of a comforting and cheerful nature. The young woman, Satsie, was from Wales, and would sometimes do her part towards helping to entertain by singing a Welsh song or hymn. That would please the young people very much.
Satsie was a great favorite in the Kane family. She had come to them in Kanesville, during the time of their sore affliction, when the dreadful sickness of which you have been told was upon them. And she had been so faithful and kind that she was now regarded almost like one of their very own household.