My Worst Trip to St. Louis
I, Wash Hawkins, lived on the outskirts
of West Plains. When I was going through West Plains to St. Louis
I saw a man outside by the name of Josiah Howell. I stopped to talk
to him. His house was made out of logs and sticks.
He said, "Why are you out
in the hot sun?"
I said, "I'm going to St.
Louis to buy food and to trade furs." Then my dog, Keeper,
jumped out and ran away. I said, "Bye," and made my horse
go very fast.
It was very dark and stormy, and
I still hadn't found Keeper. Suddenly, I heard a noise. It sounded
like a bear, so I tied my horse up and went to see what it was.
Keeper was fighting a big black bear. I went over to the bear and
noticed how sharp its teeth were. Keeper was down on the ground,
and her stomach was all scratched up. I ran to my wagon
and got my gun really fast! I ran back, but Keeper wasn't there.
The bear tracks were leading to the woods. I saw an Indian tribe,
and I asked them if they had seen the bear. They said, "Yes!"
I left and got Keeper. I ran to
the wagon and put alcohol on the cuts and bandages too. I put Keeper
in the wagon and left. Now we were near Crawford County. There wasn't
even one house! I heard a hissing noise. I went to see. There were
copperhead snakes everywhere! I told Keeper, "No wonder no
one wanted to stay!"
I decided to get out of there!
On the way back to the wagon the biggest snake came right at us!
The horse saw the snake and broke the tongue of the wagon and then
ran away. I thought I was dead meat until I shot the snake right
in the head!
I had to pull the wagon by myself!
I was soooooo hot!!! Soon I came to a little general store. Guess
what? They had a horse for sale. I got a little bit of medicine
and the horse.
We went about 5 miles until I heard
a thump, thump. I went on. It got faster and faster, and louder
and louder. I saw some big black things. When they got closer I
knew what they were. It was a stampede of buffalo! The horse was
so shocked it wouldn't move. I kicked it, but it still wouldn't
go. I put my hurt dog on the horse and kicked as hard as I could!
The horse ran so fast that dust flew into my eyes, and they started
to water. I looked back at my wagon and it was a disaster! The herd
went by so I went back to my wagon and packed my stuff and left.
Now I am really close to St. Louis.
I finally made it! You wouldn't believe what happened on the way
home. It's a long, long story! That's the end of my "Worst
Trip to St. Loui'.
Author's Note: Although my story
is fictional, Wash Hawkins was real. He was my great-great-great-great
grandfather, who settled near Bakersfield in 1837. During his lifetime,
Josiah Howell was one of Wash Hawkins' closest neighbors.
Our Trip to St. Louis
In 1840 my family and I had to
leave West Plains to go to St. Louis so we could trade our furs
and skins for supplies. We left on the day I turned 9 so Ma had
to bring along my birthday cake.
"Pa, don't forget to bring
your gun," I called out. He had to bring his gun 'cause we
might have to kill an animal.
We all got loaded up in the wagon.
It was a beautiful spring day when we left. Finally, our journey
began. It would take 10 days to get there and another 10 days to
On our way through Shannon County,
it turned night. We made a campfire and went to bed. All night I
heard owls hooting, coyotes crying, bears growling, and other animals
making noises. Even though I had 5 covers, it was still bitterly
All of a sudden, I heard my little
brother crying. I ran to him as fast as I could. Right beside him
was a dead snake. Ma, Pa with a gun, and my two sisters had done
and got bitten. It took one whole week to heal. The morning we left,
the ground was pale white with ice, and we shivered in the cold.
After a few days had passed, the weather turned warmer, and we made
it to St. Louis where we bought all of our supplies.
Coming back, on the ninth night
we were sleeping when a black bear attacked our wagon. We all knew
what to do so we acted dead. Before he left, his tremendous paw
smashed my leg. It was so hard to keep from screaming, but I had
to. When he finally left, I had a broken leg. We had to stay another
The next week we left on April
12, 1840. We got home the next day. I was on crutches. I survived
but wasn't wanting to go back the next year.
When My Family and I Went to St. Louis
In 1840 my family left on a cold
winter day to go to St. Louis from West Plains, Missouri, to buy
and trade supplies. It took us ten days to get there. We passed
almost ten rivers, and I saw a rattlesnake. It bit my horse's leg,
and hurt him pretty bad. After that the wheel of our covered wagon
came off. We only had a few blankets and three coats. We almost
froze to death.
Finally, we fixed our wheel and
got to safety. The horse's leg was better. The roads were mostly
hog trails or plains. We went right on with our trip. All we had
to drink was water, and all we had to eat was bread.
The next day we got there. We went
straight to a shelter. We slept the rest of the day. The next day
when I woke up, the rest of my family was already up and ready to
go out for supplies. We went and got a lot of food after we sold
our deer skins. We stayed three more days, but on the third day
we left to go back home.
When we started back we went about
two miles and saw a herd of buffalo. We had to get to the side of
the road and wait for the herd of buffalo to go by. After that we
got right back on the road. After another two miles we saw three
snakes fighting so we had to stop again. It took about 15 minutes
till we could go by them. We went till it was dark and slept at
the side of the road for about 5 minutes. We heard a noise. It was
another wagon coming so we went on with our trip. I was under the
deer skin where it was warm. We made it back OK.