Sunday, January 27, 2008

Robin Byrd's Adventures

The following is an experience Robin Byrd recounted. I kept the original spelling, punctuation, and format. Bob Byrd told me Robin had an accident and was hospitalized with burns. During this hospitalization a man came and wrote down some of his adventures. There were thirteen or so letters. Bob only had two of the letters.

Robin Byrd was Alexander Marshall Robinson Byrd, born in Smithville, Platte County, Missouri in 1858. His family allowed him to choose which name he would be known by. Do you suppose he was a budding ornithologist and "Robin Byrd" appealed? My Dad always called him Uncle Robin. He was my grandfather's uncle. At age 6 he crossed the plains with his mother and siblings. His father had left the Confederate Army, abandoned his Missouri farm, and went to search for Gold in Denver and later in Montana. His mother drove a wagon and team of oxen to Montana with five children, ages 15 to 2. As you know, Missouri was a border state and received horrible war fallout from North and South. I can see why they just left. The following story is pretty disgusting, but what happened, happened.

"In the year 1879, in the month of October, I was employed by John Samples, herding beef cattle near Miles City. When Samples came to me asking if I did not care to take a trip? I asked where and he replied, “Oh, North of Benton.” I was quite willing to go. He first sent me to the Bank with an order for seventeen hundred dollars, all to be in silver dollars. This I put in two leather bags and packed on two horses. Our outfit consisted of the two horses loaded with the money, one horse loaded with camp supplies, which were limited, and the horses we rode. We took a course Northward and coming to the Big River (Missouri River) we camped there one evening, about four O’clock. The next morning about six O’clock a Steamer came along and was hailed by Samples. The Captain had a gang plank run out and set us and our out-fit across the river. We continued Northward, until beyond the Canadian line. We came to the camp of Sitting Bull, who greeted Samples as an old friend. Samples dickered with the Indians for two or three days buying buffalo hides and beaver hides. I baled all these hides. Two ox teams appeared. Eight or ten yoke to the team. Each team drawing two wagons upon which were racks. They brought among other things a barrel of alcohol a quantity of tobacco, dried apples and sugar and some cases of bottles. Also a large brown kettle. The teams were loaded with the hides and left the next morning. The apples sugar and tobacco were boiled together and then mixed with the alcohol making, “Injun whiskey.” This was bottled and sold to the Indians at one dollar a bottle. The Indians entering one end of the tent and going out at the other bought the whiskey as they passed through – it being sold to them over a rude counter. Some of the Bucks were drunk and fighting. The squaws tied them down and they themselves began buying Firewater and soon they too were drunk and began cutting the Bucks loose. Samples said it was now time to go telling me to get our horses which I was not long doing. We left the tent and some gallons of the mixture and hurried away. We rode all night mostly at a gallop. About nine O’clock the next morning we camped when Samples said we were some eighty miles from the camp of the Sioux. We recrossed the Missouri in the same manner as before this time waiting two days for a boat. We had secured the furs and had most of the money back."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Winter Seeks Us Out

At last winter has found us. Last week it was so dry and dusty, a vehicle traveling down the road would raise a plume of dust. We woke up this morning to an abundance of snow. Hurray! This is a great blessing!

I had to take the four wheel drive to church. I couldn't get my gas saver car down the lane without burying it in snow. Hiking from our house to Garage-mahal in a dress was a wet, cold business through drifts up to my knees. My only regret is that a picture of me in my Sunday dress with hiking boots is not available for publication in some of the more prestigious fashion magazines.

The labrador retreiver mix doesn't see that a low of -20 is any reason to skip his daily walk. He thinks the snow is fabulous. Enroute to Garage-mahal he drove through drifts, jumped them and rolled on top of them. He LOVES snow. I would post a picture of Wilbur's perturbed countenance due to this weather event, but he went to a meeting.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Thanks, Eglantine, for the improvements to the appearance of my blog!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

History of Elise Othilie Evensen Skoug Hansen

The following is a written history of my great grandmother. The picture is of Annie Margaret Hansen Miller, the person telling the story. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of Elise Othilie Evensen Skoug (pronounced "Scow") Hansen the person who the story is about. My Mom's side of the family wrote down a few a stories like this. My Dad's lore is all passed down verbally. Possibly, that is why Dad's side of the family has some wild stories.

"My mother was born in the capitol of Norway. She grew up on a farm her father rented. My grandmother used to do the cooking for rich people when they gave a big party. When my mother grew up, she used to go with her and serve dinners. As she got older, she went to work for a merchant as a helper in their home. Took care of the baby at night. Carried it from the cradle to its mother to nurse it, and then back to the cradle. The floor was hardwood, polished, and cold as ice. She suffered with a toothache, so she did not get much rest. Got up in the morning early to sweep and dust the store and then back to the house. Did the work in the dining room. It was dark and cold all winter in Norway. They could do no washing. The clothes were folded and put in trunks until spring, then washed by hand. Mother scrubbed them between her hands until she wore the skin off. It took a long time to wash many clothes that way. She said she carried them to the river to rinse them one day, and while she was rinsing a bedspread it was so heavy it almost pulled her into the river. Her brother had to haul water in a long tank up a steep, icy hill. He worried about it because it was so slick the horses could hardly make it. One night in his sleep, he went and got a load and did not wake up until the water splashed on him. While going uphill, he woke up and found himself in his night clothes, but he made it.

After all the clothes were dry, she (Annie Margaret’s mother) had to iron them. She had to iron thirty white shirts a day besides other work. It used to take six weeks to wash and iron. After she grew up, she married and had four children. Then, her husband died two months after the last baby was born. Now being a widow, she helped a dressmaker sew, living upstairs. Had to go to the river and get boards, bark, and slabs and carry them upstairs. She had to dry them for firewood to keep her and four children warm. Then the elders found her. And she listened to them and believed what they told her and came to this country along with four other widows that had four children a piece.

My father was there [Norway] on a mission. He was put in charge to take care of them on the ship while on their journey over here. When they got here, she settled in Sanpete County, Utah. Took in sewing for a tailor and made 21 pair of pants a week to earn a living for herself and four children. My father had a sweetheart in Salt Lake City waiting for him. They got married and lived close by Mother. He was her Ward teacher, so he kind of looked out for her welfare. After he had been married for 15 months, his wife died while having a baby, which also died, left him there alone. One day while they were cleaning the meeting house (Mother was helping) she was scrubbing the floor on the stand. She started to sing a hymn. Father stopped to listen and thought that must be a wonderful woman to sing while she worked.

She was a wonderful singer. She sang the alto while my sister, her oldest girl, sang lead. I loved to hear them sing in their language. I could not understand the words, but the tune was wonderful. I, like my father, thought what a wonderful mother I had. After my father’s wife and baby died, he married my mother and moved to Rush Valley where I was born. She had 10 children. She had four of her own and raised six to my father. She lived to be 73. She moved to Tooele, bought a home and died and was buried in the Tooele cemetery.

Father had been bedfast for about three years. It was hard to take care of him. He was so helpless. She could handle him. She lifted him until she broke a blood vessel in her head. Then she took a stroke and was quite helpless until she died. I wish I had been closer to help her. She always liked me to do things for her, and I liked to do it for her. She was so appreciative for a little help.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Christmas Wish List for 2008


1) During the year, notice the worthwhile qualities and attributes of others. Acknowledge them verbally if the situation permits. Acknowledge them in writing if you would rather. Write me a letter for Christmas telling how you benefited or changed or what you learned by doing this.

2) Have family scripture study for a year. Give five times a week a good shot. The church puts out funny book type scripture materials that make sense to use with kids. At the end of the year, write me a letter telling me about any good things that came of this. I’m open to hearing funny things too.

3) Hold family home evening each week. Once a month incorporate a story about one of your ancestors into the home evening to teach a principle. The ancestor doesn’t have to figure as the hero or heroine. Feel free to use an ancestor’s story about why NOT to do something too. Write me a letter telling me what you learned or what difference this made to you or your children.

4) Whenever someone irritates you or makes you downright mad decide not to take offense. Study D&C 64:8-11. As queen of offense taking, I KNOW this is really a toughie. Do the best you can. Write me a letter telling me how this went.

I love you guys!