Horizons Project 2009

Lincoln County Crossroads

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Thadd and Sarah

- I -
  Thadd and Sarah

  The sound of a roaring engine breaks the calm.  “Hey, aint that Buzz?” Bo asks.

“And the Double Zero.” Luke replies.

“Yep, the only car that ever whipped the General in an overland race,” Cooter states.

“Thanks for reminding us,” Luke says.

Bo kind of smiles, “Listen to that engine.”

  The dark blue Mustang with flames on the front of it, throttles up its engine several times, while Buzz smiles and waves at the guys.

 Vance James rolls over and sits up on the edge of his bed. He shuts off the alarm clock a few minutes before it’s to go off, and thinks to himself, the Dukes reunion movie, huh what a dream.   That wasn’t what was really on his mind though. Lately because of the Historical Society meetings, his mind has been taking him back into the past.

In 1880, the news was THE RAIL ROAD IS COMIMG! THE RAIL ROAD IS COMING! The town of Crestfield
was founded as a rail town. Having the railroad go through your town meant you where connected. People and goods could move more freely than before.  Wagons or stagecoaches would still be used quite a bit longer. Yes, for the people of Crestfield things where changing. The railroads crossing the country may have been good for the settlers, but it was devastating to the American Indian. The railroad cut across hunting grounds and buffalo where killed for sport.

 Vance lives north of Crest field, Idaho, and these days drives truck for the local Highway department. He says he likes to hear the gentle whine of the turbo all day long. Vance does his morning reading, exercises and gets ready for work. As he puts his sandwich in his lunch box, his wife Kitt steps out of the bedroom and says, “Good morning.”  Kitten was her given name, but every one called her Kitt. Vance quite often thought she was much more of a Katt than a Kitt, but maybe that was just to him.

 Good morning dear he replied in a soft low voice.  “Are you ready to leave?”  Kitt asked.

“Yes dear, love you and I’ll see you tonight,” he said.  

“Love you too,” she replied.

 Vance was out the door to his old pickup and headed to work. When he got to town he had to wait for a train crossing the tracks. As he waited for the train he went back in time to the stories he’d been told about the Miller family. Thaddeus Miller was eight years old when the civil war began 1861. After four years of bloodshed the war would be over, but families and the nation wouldn’t be reconciled for quite a while.

They lived close to the Mason Dixon line so all in all they weathered the war as well as could be expected, but the boundary line was surveyed about a hundred years earlier and cut across the nation could not compare to the lines that cut across the hearts and souls of the people of that nation.

 The Miller family had a saw mill and worked with wood; it didn’t matter what side you where on, everybody needed lumber.  Their neighbors, the O’Connell family, lived just down the road from the Miller family and they fared as well as they could also. The O’Connell family had a daughter, Sarah who was a couple month younger than Thaddeus. Sarah and Thaddeus had grown up together and had been friends since they could remember.

 After the war the Miller family worked hard helping in the rebuilding of their area and the rest of the south. Unfortunately, carpetbaggers went all through the south buying up all the land they could for the back taxes. During the war, the South didn’t pay taxes to the Union government in the north. President Lincolns’ dream was to bring the south back in to the union and rebuild it, but after his assignation his dreams were never seen through to the end. At that time, it left parts of the south completely devastated. Many families packed up and headed out west. The promise of land out west gave people new hope, and the opportunity to carve out a new life for themselves and their families.

 Wagon trains would gather around Springfield Missouri, to head out west in the spring of the year. The trip was a long one, taking six to eight months, depending on what happened along the way. The weather was unpredictable, strong winds, rain, dust storms, and river crossings made the journey difficult, if not downright dangerous. That was just the weather, with thirty to fifty or more families traveling together there would be other problems as well. It took a special kind of person to lead a wagon train and Brent Jennings was one of those special people. We’ll come back to Wagon Master Jennings in awhile.

 Thadd loved Sarah; it took him until he was fifteen to come up with a plan. It would still take some time to accomplish, but it was a plan indeed. Thadd talked to his father about buying a piece of ground from him, and then building a house. By the time Thadd was eighteen he had completed the house and put up a picket fence for a flower garden for Sarah. He had built the house on the back side of the home place so it would be a surprise to Sarah. She often wondered why he was gone so much and what was he doing?

 Now, Thadd would ask Sarah to be his wife, but he would have to hurry. While Thadd was building a home for them the other young gentlemen around had been trying to win Sarah’s favor. Who wouldn’t want to win her favor, Sarah was five foot, five inches tall, petite figure with long gently curled chestnut hair. Sarah’s mid southern voice was soft and her blue eyes could peer through to the soul of any man.
“Sarah,” Thadd asked, “Would you be my wife?”

”Oh Thad,” Sarah replied and then asked, “What are you thinking?”

Thad said, “I have loved you from as far back as I have memoires. There isn’t anything I can remember ever doing that we weren’t together, and I don’t want to do anything else in my life without you with me.”

 Sarah thought about it, and realized Thadd was right. In all their lives they had done most everything together. She remembered school picnics, walking to school together, going to each other’s house, playing games, and being together just always. After thinking about it, she said,  “Yes Thadd, I can’t imagine my life with anyone else but you either.”

Thadd and Sarah were married June seventh, 1871. Sarah was surprised to see the house Thadd built for them. It was a beautiful home to raise a family in, and the picket fence to keep the pets out of her flowers. Life was good.

 The following April Thadd and Sarah were blessed with a son, Adam. Two years later they were blessed with another son, Daniel. The Miller family truly was blessed; the house Thadd built was turned into a wonderful home.   Thadd and Sarah lived in their own utopia.    
Several years went by, Adam and Daniel grew, getting bigger and stronger all the time. In a few years Sarah knew they would be getting ready to settle down, still that would be a few years away.
Sarah was going to have another baby; it had been five years since she had Daniel. Sarah wondered sometimes if she would have another child, some things only the Lord knows. When it came time for the baby, things didn’t go well. The baby was born dead. A little baby girl; Sarah never said she wanted a baby girl, but it would have been nice. After the loss of their baby Sarah, slipped into a state of depression. Melancholy was what it was called in those days. Thadd tried to comfort his wife, but he could tell she was slipping further and further away from him. Thadd would pray, Lord what can I do to help her? That was the summer of 1879; unfortunately six weeks later, Sarah’s mother died unexpectedly. Things went from bad to worse, by the beginning of autumn, Sarah had lost two people in her life.

 Thadd, Adam, and Dan (they call Daniel Dan for short) took care of Sarah the best they could, but her melancholy continued to deepen. Thadd had heard about the West, after the war a lot of people their family knew headed out West, if nothing else, it was wide open spaces. Thadd didn’t want to leave his home and family, by spring he would have to make a decision. What will I do? He asked himself, what will I do?