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Richards R-V Student Stories: Early Settlers

Student Stories: Early Settlers


While studying the history of the West Plains area, we learned about many of the pioneers who settled in this area early in the 1840's. We found that
many of these pioneers would make trips to St. Louis on very rough trails to buy supplies and other necessary goods. To make our history more real to us, we created stories about these trips from the perspective of the pioneers.

Besides our creative writing activity, we also worked together on a class mural that depicted the "Ground Breaking for the West Plains Courthouse."

 


My Worst Trip to St. Louis
by Briana

Our Trip to St. Louis
by Kayla

When My Family and I Went to St. Louis
by Keely




My Worst Trip to St. Louis
by Briana

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.

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Our Trip to St. Louis
by Kayla

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 get back.

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 cold.

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 week.

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.

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When My Family and I Went to St. Louis
by Keely

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.


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