George was three and half years old and Cecil was two years old when the Cheyenne and Arapaho Country was opened for settlement. My husband, Rufus Cobb, my father, George Wesley Stephens, and my brothers, Bill and Jim, left our home on March 21, 1892 to make the Run of April 19, 1892. Our baby daughter, Rexie, was seven days old.
I felt so gloomy and lonely when they left. Reality was even gloomier and lonelier. The hired girl and hired hand had gone to a dance across the Red River and were water bound by flooding river for many days before they returned.
During that time my two little boys set a big hay stack afire near the house. Neighbors a mile away saw the stack burning. They knew I was alone. The hay fire would destroy much property and endanger their own lives if not stopped. Soon there were many people there with buckets of water fighting the fire. The boys could not be found anywhere.
One man said they may be in that hay stack if they tunneled into it and hay fell on top of them. Neighbors went to search the dampened hay. How gloomy my thoughts were.
Sure enough that is where the boys were found. The boys were coughing and blackened with smoke but not burned alive.
It was several months after the men folk left before they would be able to return. Not a word was heard from them. Not a written line was delivered of their well being or how they were getting along. There was nothing to give me hopes, but there were plenty of rumors of disasters, deaths of different kinds that had overtaken all.
One night I sat up late with sick baby girl Rexie getting her first tooth through her gums. She cried continually. I couldn't lay down to rest my own body.
The neighbors had gone to a big three day celebration at Ardmore. People passed by all hours seeing a light in the house stopped for a drink of water. Some were drunken stragglers swearing and talking loud.
About 4 o'clock in the morning the dog set to barking again. This was a different kind of bark. Listening I thought I could hear the sound of our own horses. I knew them well enough. The dog ran to the road and back again trying to tell me some news.
All at once all sounds died down for awhile. The dog returned to the house head down. Then long moments later the dog began his barking and leaping around like he was happy. I heard a voice singing, then whistling, drawing nearer.
Looking down I found the babe in my arms had fallen asleep. It was her father's voice I heard on the night wind a mile away. Tears of joy run across my face.
When Rufus walked into the house I told him the song I heard on the wind. He said the horses could not be held back as they neared home and he was so happy that he was shouting as loud as his lungs would let him. Singing over the hill tops the sound traveled far, notes making the dog so happy. Traveling through the valley the sounds were fainter to the home listener. We sat and talked as the Sun come up through the big forest trees. Baby woke up with a smile. She was happy because she saw my smiles. Rufus said, "Look she smiles. She knows me." I wondered back to him, "Do you think a seven day old baby can remember anyone she hasn't seen for many months?"
When Rexie was six months old we packed up ready to travel to the new lands of new opportunities, new hopes and a new home belonging solely to us and to be handed down to our children. October 1941 we have our Gip homestead staked 49 years since 1892.
It was serendipity
to have Mittie's Journal to read and share in 2008. The calendar days of 1941 are the same as 2008. Richard received the Journal from his mother, Fannie, and gave the Journal to his cousin Betty in spring 2008. This great-granddaughter first had it in hand in July 2008. For a few weeks it was transcribed to email for family. Mittie's Journal blog began October 12, the anniversary of the day Mittie and Rufus landed at Gip, Oklahoma 1892 in open prairie. Check out that Journal entry. It is a blessing to share this Journal with others. To stay in the matching year the remaining Journal days appear in the Journal Archive as they are posted. Thanks for stopping by.