Continuing with Elias

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

After his marriage, Grandfather Elias moved around a good deal by oxteam and wagon. One of his anecdotes involved his two oxen, Broad and Brandy* — he picked up two children along a road. One of the children asked what the oxen’s names were. He said “Broad and Brandy.”

“Which one of them is Broad?

“That one.”

“Now which one is Brandy?”

[The oxen in question were really Mike & Reilly — Broad & Brandy were another team.]

Bert Shute tells me a tale that gives real color to a vague recollection that I have of Grandfather fording rivers with oxteams and wagons: It seems that Elias went somewhere with the wagon and on his way he forded a small river but before he reached it on the way back there had been a cloudburst in the upriver region and the river was in high flood. Pausing at the river, he debated whether to wait till the water went down or what?’ Calculating that Sabina would worry if he did not arrive as expected, he decided to ford the stream anyway. So he took off all of his clothes except his straw hat and bundled them into the wagon box,. but being like myself an absent- minded cuss he neglected to fasten the wagon box down. While crossing the stream, it floated off and down the river. He arrived home to Sabina with a team and bare wagon, garbed only in straw hat, sunburn and blisters. She thought he must have gone crazy from the heat.

[Note: Mabel says that the loss of the wagon box was the result of misbehavior of the oxen and that Grandad did not take off his clothes till the situation became desperate. The only clothes he got out with were his straw hat and boots. The river he crossed was the Canadian and his reason for crossing in the first place was to get to a Government project where he was employed.]

1 don’t know too much about this period except that they lived in some definite1y Frontier areas in Missouri and Kansas. In one place at least, they lived in fear of Indian attack. He told or the case where someone had abandoned his team and plow in the field. The Indians stole the horses with the harness on but since they did not know how to unhitch, they cut the leather tugs free with a knife.

[They also spent some in Missouri – as stated]

Elias and family went back to Iowa. He lived mostly as a renter or sharecropper and in due course Dad was followed by three sisters – [Hattie was the oldest child], Emma, and Ruby — two brothers, John Milton and Myron Wilson. Myron was about 14 [17] when he arrived here [Orient] in 1905. I don’t remember the details but he had laid over for most of the winter in Spokane. Roses were blooming in the early spring in Spokane when we left there, but the snow was still wading deep at Barstow when he got off the train.


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