Horizons Project 2009

Lincoln County Crossroads

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A New Home



In 1880 the Miller family crossed Main Street and the newly laid rail road tracks in Crestfield. Eagle Valley was about thirty five miles north of Crestfield and hopefully the last part of their trip. The Miller family would spend a day or two resting and getting more supplies. When they came down the hill into Eagle Valley and to what would be their new home, you could hear a sigh of relief. They had been traveling for so long, they were tired and exhausted and all Thadd could think of was next time we’re taking the train.

There was a piece of ground south of the Aldridge family and east of the Donavan family and just north of a new family, the Grays. Fall was here and Thadd had been told by many that winter comes early to Eagle Valley. Now the race was on to make a decent house and shelter for the animals. There was a small shack there, but hardly anything you could call a house. Thadd bought the place from a gentleman who spent more time drinking than working. The patriarch of the Aldridge family was a judge, so he made sure the deal was on the level.

Thadd and Adam started cutting down trees for the house and barn. Ray Donavan would come over with his boys when he had a chance and help out. Sarah, Rose and Daniel would work gathering the wild grass for the livestock.

Sarah had come back to Thadd, the little Indian girl they had taken help bring her back. They named her Rose because she was red. That part of the trip was behind them, now they would struggle to survive an Idaho winter.

Thadd and Adam worked feverishly to get logs down for the new home. Thadd knew it would be a difficult task so they would build around the old shack. That would give them a place for now and a larger home when finished. Ray Donavan and his boys, with Matt Aldridge and his son, helped with the tree cutting and home building. They would do their chores then come over and help Thadd.

Thadd worked from dawn till dusk, and then at night his mind would race with thoughts of getting the mill up and working next spring. Sarah could see Thadd was killing himself, working so hard for them. She tried to talk to him about slowing down.

“We have a place to live in for the winter; you don’t have to work yourself to death.” Sarah told him.

Thadd was as stubborn as most men and caried on, even though he knew she was right. Three weeks had passed and they had the sides done and started on the roof. The roof was over half done, when one day Thadd didn’t get up. Sarah was afraid he was dead. She could tell he was still breathing so she let him rest. When Ray and his sons came over, Sarah thanked them and told them there would be no work today.

Thadd slept for over thirty hours. He was completely exhausted, the extended trip, the nights up watching the wagon and his family after leaving the wagon train, now building a home, had all taken its toll on Thadd.

When Thadd finally woke up, he still wasn’t ready for work. He would take another day of resting before getting back to work. Thadd was glad the roof was almost done because he could tell he would not be working fast for quite some time. They finished the roof and made a shed for the live stock, just as a heavy snow began. With help from their friends and neighbors, the Miller family might make it ok. Now they would see if they could survive the winter of 1880 in Eagle Valley in the Idaho Territory.