Saturday, March 9, 2013

SERENIA'S KANZAS.....An honest look at Kansas Pioneers

Albert Bierstadt's Buffalo Crossing at Sunset
Ever wonder what the world was like in Kansas and Missouri just before, during and after the Civil War?  Now you can take a peek at two families' lives who strove to keep to their Christian training by helping the slaves escape.  This book, SERENIA'S KANZAS takes you into this private world and shows how this became for these families' an ultimate sacrifice that stripped them of their own means of living and threw them into a frightening world filled with the unknown, uncivilized Native Americans, and a rough hewn land where one had to start by carving out a house and begin all over again.  Here then is an excerpt:

"The path the men had chosen took them from Rock Springs and would take them to Elm Creek about lunch time.  Then they would have to cross the Smoky Hill River soon thereafter where the Elm Creek and the Smoky Hill converged.    The land had grasses so tall that they covered the heads of most men.  The main stands of trees were confirmation of water running amongst their roots.  Also, the terrain consisted of rolling hills which were wide and far apart, wherein an Indian could hide if trying to remain hidden.  It was most beautiful at daybreak and sunset with colors so vibrant that the best artist would be hard pressed to recreate the vibrancy of the displays.
About the time they reached the convergence and were planning to break for lunch they heard the rumble of an approaching herd of buffalo and then saw their second herd of buffalo winding their way across Elm Creek as they drank of the waters within.  The skies were looking like a storm might be brewing but they had to await the herd or possibly be stampeded by the dumb animals.[1]          
They stopped short of the herd and decided to have their lunch while watching the enormous herd that went as far as the eye could see into the horizon slowly cross this body of water.  When the lunch was over the beasts were nearly across the stream and where they had crossed, there was no water.  This would be a story to share with grandchildren in the ages to come, for sure.
            The families had spent an extra hour awaiting the herd’s slow progress and were glad they were not that far from their goal.  The crossing of the Smoky Hill River was easy with so little water left from where the buffalo had drunk, leaving mostly just mud to follow to the other side.  There was quite a bit of mud, but actually more sand than mud and the children begged to walk it, thinking it safe with the low water level.  Nellie had to explain to the boys about undercurrents and quicksand to frighten them enough to not want to try this foolish request.
            The fact that the water was gone exactly where the two wagons would be crossing only made their crossing that much easier.
            “We will have to thank the Lord for this over our meal this evening, Perry.” Ira offered. 
            “I agree.  It puts me in mind of Moses parting the water.  It was beyond fortuitous; it is right up there with miraculous in my book.” Perry agreed, shaking his head at the immensity of such a miracle."

[1] Buffalo were known to stampede when spooked.

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