Augusta's Journal

Augusta's Journal

by Ralph &. Marjorie Crump


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452017785
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 07/20/2010
Pages: 380
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.85(d)

First Chapter

Augusta's Journal

Augusta Seeks Her Fortune In Gold Mines of two New Territories: Colorado; Montana 1860 - 1870
By Ralph Crump Marjorie Crump


Copyright © 2010 Ralph & Marjorie Crump
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4520-1778-5

Chapter One


Return to Lawrence 1860

Returning to Lawrence that July we found the area as dry as Eldorado. The river was so low, oxen wading the Kaw River were pulling ferries from the New Hampshire Street slip to the other side.

We arrived on Thursday, about noon, in late July leaving the horses and wagon at the end of Connecticut Street, close to the river, upstream two blocks from the ferry landing, where there were still patches of green grass for the horses and walked over to Mrs. Fiske's place. She was back from Emporia with her health restored looking so much better than she did when we offered her a ride out there earlier this summer. She's a widow, but she looks ten years younger than she did last June when she was "under the weather". She has resumed running her boarding house, though it seems rather small to me, if she intends to "make it pay".

She was most hospitable and immediately suggested that we help her run her business. We told her about our selling out in Eldorado, but she already knew. Can you beat that? She had already heard about it. In fact, she said both Mr. Stone over at the Whitney House and she had discussed it, hoping we'd both be available to one or the other of us. I thought there must be a shortage of female help.

I asked Mrs. Fiske if she was full.

"Yes, but I can always make room for you two. My own bed is too big for just me. You can just crawl in with me. Every other bed in the house has two men in it, but I have an upstairs room with two dormer windows. I can dress it up and put a bed up there for you two.

I looked at Adda. It was obvious that Mrs. Fiske's offer was better than nothing.

Adda response was "I'd like to walk down to the Whitney House and see if we can board and room there for a week or so until we figure out where to live."

I said, "Adda, I can't go there. Have you forgotten how that man treated us? How many weeks we all went without pay until our friend from Plymouth, Mr. Montague, took Mr. Stone to the woodshed on our behalf? He'll never forgive me for that embarrassment.

"Well, I need a bath. I've been sweaty and dusty for a week and I don't want to live in the wagon when I know I can rent a bed and buy some hot water in a half dozen places in this town. I can put up with Mr. Stone."

"What happens if he doesn't have a room?"

"We'll try the Cincinnati House. With Aggie Rourke the food is better there anyway. There are three or four places in town ... How about the Killam's place? If the whole town is full, the three of us in Mrs. Fiske's bed beats another night in that dusty wagon and Mrs. Fiske has a bathtub."

Mrs. Fiske piped up, "Just say the word and I'll buy a bed and we'll fix-up that upstairs room for you."

It was obvious that Adda wasn't going to spend another week in the wagon, knowing she had better alternatives ... all within walking distance.

"I have an idea. I'll go down to the Whitney House. I'll ask Mr. Stone if he's got space. I'll be able to tell in a second if we are welcome. Yes or no, I'll come back and tell you."

"Well, if you are so determined, I'll go with you."

"Fine, but let me do the talkin'.'"

About five o'clock we walked over to the Whitney House. I was apprehensive. To my surprise Mr. Stone could not have been nicer. We had learned from Mrs. Fiske that Mr. Stone had his family out here from Detroit for the summer. When Adda asked if he had a room for two more boarders for a week or so, much to our surprise Mr. Stone invited us to be his guests for supper and said he had a spare room if we wanted to stay at the Whitney House.

Adda asked, "Can I get some hot water for a bath before supper?"


He seems to have changed, especially towards me. He knew my name, used it and behaved as though all that difficulty over our back wages and Mr. Montague's visit never happened. The Stone family, which includes Mrs. Laura Stone and their three "children", all eat at their own table. Mr. Stone invited us to join them. I counted seventeen boarders. Some of them, like Mr. George Burt and Mr. Esterbrook have been boarding here for several years. Many board here but live elsewhere. That's customary. At supper we walked around and said hello to several of the "old timers".

Then I saw why Adda was so insistent about a room and a hot bath before supper. Who was at table number three, shaking hands with my just bathed sister, none other than John Graton., the handsome gunsmith.

So, I thought, that's what all this has been about. Although we both sat at Mr. Stone's table, Mr. Graton came over mid meal to bid a good evening to Mrs. Stone but it was really to make another hello to Adda ... who was beaming.

Well, who am I to deny my little sister some romantic attention from an eligible bachelor, although he appears to be several years older.

The quality of the main course made it obvious that Aggie Rourke was not running his kitchen anymore, but he had arranged a special dessert ... a rum-flavored bread pudding. I wondered what has come over the man. He actually allowed the cook to use eggs and cream and a generous amount of rum-soaked raisins in making a delicious bread pudding, which is more than he ever allowed us to use when we were working for him. Adda says it's all because his Misses is with him. I suspected that Mrs. Stone had made the dessert.

During dessert Mr. Graton graced our table again. This time his excuse was to compliment Mr. Stone on the quality of the bread pudding, saying he hadn't had a pudding like that since a banquet at the Parker House in Boston several years ago. Mr. Graton boards mainly at the Whitney House and rooms with the Reed family.

Before we left at 9 o'clock, Mr. Stone asked if we would both come back to work. Adda said she'd think about it, but would need a day off each week and said she'd expect to get paid regularly each week ... on Friday. He said, calling her Miss Stewart, that she could not only count on it but she could expect to make more this year than last. He walked us to the front door and in making his good night he held my sister's hand in both of his, like she was a daughter.

At the front door I explained to him that we had left the horses and our wagon down by the river. Had it been a brighter night, we probably could have seen them from the front porch. I asked him to hold the room ... that tomorrow we'll board the horses at the livery and find a safe place to leave the wagon, but that we'll take all three meals tomorrow with him and a room for the two of us.

After the long prairie twilight it began to get dark and we were concerned about our two horses and the wagon with all our "stuff" unattended. The nice old dining room that Adda and I knew so well, the prepared hot supper and unusual hospitality with the Stones would soon be quite a tempting contrast to spending the night as we had the recent five in the wagon. We walked in the dark back down 7th Street toward the river until we could hear the horses by our humble mobile accommodations.

As we "turned in", we could faintly hear, down river, some activities from one of the docked riverboats. I asked Adda if she had her little revolver ... in case of prowlers.

"You betcha".

Before we went to sleep, I asked Adda if she wants to go back to work.

She said, "Not for a while, but if I do I'll go back to the Whitney House. Did you notice Jule Johnson was waiting tables tonight? Do you remember her?"

"Certainly, I remember the whole family ... fine abolitionists. I think Mr. Johnson, Jule's father, was in one of Jim Lane's militia. Why do you ask?"

Well, I think she also has her eye on Mr. Graton." It was quiet that night and very warm.

Just a note: August 8, 1860. Today is my 21st birthday. Young in years ... old in heart" ... I seem to have known so much misery and disappointment for someone so young ... and I'm a widow. Among all my friends I don't know of a single girl widowed so young. Why me?

A letter from Sam Chase, my husband's father, finally caught up with me. He complains that he had written several letters (all unanswered). I must find a way to explain that some mail simply doesn't get out here to the territory and I guess I should tell him that I no longer live in Eldorado.

During a week inspecting available houses and visiting old friends, we made a call at the Riggs bank. Now that abolitionists are in the majority, I noticed the bank has hired a few people with northern accents. When we asked to speak to one of the managers who was familiar with the Diggle fraud of last year, he informed us that Mr. Diggle had never gone to trial. "Oh? Why?" asked Adda.

"Several weeks ago he died of complication from back injuries." My little sister gave me an under-the-table poke on my thigh but said in almost mock-somber tones, "Oh, what a shame." But immediately she was grinning ear to ear.

We still owed the bank some eighty dollars including interest. We said we wanted to deposit two checks: one from Mr. Martin and the other from Mr. Little, using those deposits, we opened an account, telling the banker that he could expect that we would be drawing on it to buy a house here in Lawrence and that the bank, in time, could expect checks drawn to us from two gentlemen from Eldorado. We explained to them the sale of the sawmill and land.

Three days later on the 14th of August we met the seller of the house in the 600 block on Rhode Island Street at the Riggs Bank and after a little good-natured haggling bought it. The two-storey house is within sight of the cottonwoods along the river and not far from the docks. Our block is bounded by two streets, later named Warren and Henry. It will be nice to see the riverboats come and go. It turns out that the bank was carrying a loan on that new but vacant house. Leaving the bank Adda said we ought to try and invite Mr. and Mrs. Gates over. I laughed and said "Well, Adda, let's get some furniture, some rugs and plaster all those bare spots first.

Even though the house needs some inside lathe and plastering, and the stairwell casing has never been adequately anchored in-place, Adda and I decided to move right in. Adda, thinking of her beau, I'm sure, said, "Let's board at the Whitney House 'til we're ready to cook here, eh?"

We did have one bed, the one we brought up with us, but with two upstairs bedrooms, we'll need another bed. We were impressed that the builder had installed one of those new, short-handled cast iron pumps, right on our back porch, which with a pump or two brought up "good quality" drinking water. I expected that we'd have the usual crank-up well close by, some place in the yard. But to have it on a covered back porch is quite a luxury. The pumping action moves a vertical rod up and down, which must lift up the water that's already in a pipe. Being near the river, I suspect that the water table is not very far below us. We're only twenty to twenty-five feet above the river.

We wondered how or when that well was dug, since it was just outside the kitchen door. It was customary for the well to be some distance from the house to accommodate farm animals as well.

A family from Indian Creek, who claims the Indians stole their child, recently has decided to return to Ohio. They had two cows and we obliged them by the purchase of both. "It's an ill wind that doesn't blow somebody some good." We'll need to build a cow shed before winter sets in and I'll get some heavy planking for a walkway to the outhouse.

There's plenty of space in our backyard for a garden, though I'll need some help to get that ground turned over. I suppose it's too late for my cantaloupe seeds but I'll certainly get carrots, turnips and potatoes in.

We returned to some optimistic news and town excitement. We heard that ground was broken by the Missouri-Pacific railroad in Kansas City near the river, (old Wyandotte) with plans to go southwest through Emporia, Council Grove and on out to Fort Riley. Of course, we were anxious to see if it would go through Eldorado.

Mr. Stein from Eldorado is here with the bad news that Mrs. Carey, our old neighbor out there, has died. She was sick only two days. There is something wrong with that valley. I remember how quickly last year our two faithful oxen were taken ... with a totally unknown disease.

Well, the plasterers said today they are finished.

This is the worst piece of plastering I have ever seen. They must have used sticks trying to get a smooth surface. Little hard lumps and grooves are all over the place. How can I ever paint it? I made the mistake of not being here for two days to supervise these two incompetents. Mrs. Leiby was sick and she sent a note recalling my nursing days during the small pox episode at the Gates here in town and would I come care for her? I was only gone two days and counted four empty whiskey bottles tossed in our backyard when I got home. I certainly won't use these two blockheads to finish the stairwell. We need a good carpenter to address the one-inch gap between the stair casement and the walls on both sides. The staircase wobbles insecurely whenever we go up and down the poorly anchored stair well. I immediately thought how quickly Chase would handle this problem.

Adda, with or without me, takes all her meals at the Whitney House, has gone riding again today with "you know whom", so I can't count on her to help me deal with these two scoundrels.

Yesterday we were delightedly surprised by the delivery of a half a keg of sweet, ripe peaches and some absolutely white, fine-grain sugar. They must be from Missouri or Iowa, but what a pleasure. I asked Adda who in the world would send us such a generous amount? Adda thinks it's Mr. Graton. He's invited her to go riding again today. I've given some thought to asking him to help me deal with these pestering plasterers. I haven't paid them yet, though I certainly paid for the plaster and lathes. They come by every day looking for their money. As the plaster dries, it turns yellow and emits an awful odor. I've asked them twice what in the world they dissolved that plaster with to give off such a smell. They just grin at each other. Now, I'll have to paint over their plaster job, but it will be fun to choose the paint color.

While Adda and I were enjoying the ripe, juicy pealed peaches sprinkled with some of that complimentary sugar, that didn't need it; I asked Adda what she knew about Mr. Graton.

"He was born in Leicester, Massachusetts, which he says you pronounce as Lester. 'Lester' is a few miles northeast of Springfield, where the Gates had their hotel. His mother's maiden name is Lucy Adams. He takes particular pride that she's from the Boston Adams family.

"Like us, he went to private schools ... then to Shelburne Falls Academy, which combined three years of high school and two years of college with drafting, mathematics, physics. He calls it "Mechanics Arts."

He was accepted as an engineering and design apprenticeship in an armory located in Providence, Rhode Island, where he learned to design gun parts, make them, assemble them, and test-fire them. He had classes of gunpowder chemistry and knows how to make it. This armory often made special guns for both the Navy and the Army, so he traveled throughout New England demonstrating their gun models to get arsenals to manufacture them. He claims he knows every major gun manufacturer in New England and New York State.

"How long was he in the Armory??"

"At least two years including the summers."

"He said he occasionally attended anti-slavery lectures and rallies around Boston, which is close to Providence, both rabidly anti-slavery. In 1857, a year after us, he joined a group and came out here. They were able to put their wagons and teams on the boats in St. Louis and came across Missouri on the riverboats, unthreatened. He's very patriotic. He writes to his folks in Leicester regularly and has a sister here in town named Julia. She's a little older than Mr. Graton and I get the feeling that she's been married before but I've never asked. In fact, what little I know about Julia, I've learned from her brother.

There's also a brother-in-law here in town, Mr. Haskey, but I haven't met him."

"How old is Mr. Graton?"

"I don't know."

"Well, do you now when he was born?"


Excerpted from Augusta's Journal by Ralph Crump Marjorie Crump Copyright © 2010 by Ralph & Marjorie Crump. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


HISTORICAL PROLOGUE....................xiii
INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME IV....................xix
53. Return to Lawrence, 1860....................1
54. Lawrence - Adda Marries, Winter of 1860 to Spring 1861....................19
55. Lawrence, Kansas - The Eve of Civil War, March 1861....................41
56. Lawrence, Kansas - The Civil War, Summer 1861....................63
57. Graton - Part I....................77
58. Graton - Part II....................93
59. Lawrence and the Early Months of the War - Rumors of a New Scourge: Quantrill, Summer 1861....................111
60. Going to Colorado, Spring 1863....................131
61. Kenosha House-Tarryall, Colorado, Early May 1863....................149
62. Harriman Ranch - Tarryall, Colorado, August 1863....................169
63. Harriman Ranch - Tarryall, Colorado, Early Winter 1864....................189
64. Virginia City: We've Arrived, Summer 1864 Part I....................209
65. Gold, Virginia City: Montana Territory, Summer 1864, Part II....................229
66. Gold - Alder Gulch Mining Camp, Montana Territory, 1865....................253
67. Alder Gulch Mining Camp, Montana Territory, Fall 1865....................275
68. Nevada City & Virginia City, Montana Territory, 1866....................297
69. We Begin Our Family and Move to Silver Star, Montana Territory, 1867....................315

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