The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

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than necessary to turn around upon, and the rear end of the wagon about 60 feet from the creek.  The storm soon burst a hard one and lasted the balance of the night.  In the morning the creek had raised so as to backwater but a little over the point.  They drove out in the morning and found the buffalo and cut out the hams, brought them into camp and had a good breakfast.  This first day of August was a beautiful day.  They then began the work for which they came - cutting logs to make a cabin.  At evening it again looked like a storm and the timber having so well protected them from the wind the previous night, they again drove down and assumed the same position.  Stevens put a large limb under the hind wheels of the wagon and set the brake; tied the team to the hind wheels.  Some 10 or 12 feet behind the wagon stood a water elm about as large as a stove pipe, their wagon had the top box widened to make better sleeping room.  The rear opening of the wagon cover had been left as large as possible, to give large ventilation, and was closed when necessary by a drop curtain.  They went to bed with no apprehension of what a few brief hours would bring.  Mrs. Stevens and children, Grace and Ada, five and four years respectively, and Edwin, thirteen months old, slept in the wagon, and Alf. and D. E. under the wagon.  At ten minutes before two o'clock it began to sprinkle and Stevens got into the wagon.  The storm increased with great violence and in a very short time Alf. called to Stevens that he was being drowned out and that they must get Annie and the children out from there.  Stevens got out dazed and his wife passed the girls out to Alf., who took them in his arms and started for higher ground.  Stevens helped his wife and babe out but could not get away from the whiffletrees.  The water came over that bank as it would over the chute of a dam.  It washed his wife under the wagon tongue.  By superhuman efforts he pulled her up and helped her into the wagon again.  He passed quickly to the rear and cut the horses' halters, and they swam to higher ground.  He then climbed on the top box and held his wife on his knees.  The water soon ran over their laps, and running just length wise of the wagon; it backed up and caught one of the horses between the end of the wagon and the small tree mentioned above.  He examined the tree with his right hand through the end opening of the wagon cover, with a view of getting into the tree; it was too small.  A small branch, not as thick as his wrist, was in reach.  Mrs. Stevens seized it, holding the babe in her left arm.  He grasped around the tree with his right arm, the wagon shook violently, swung around and was gone.  He realized in a moment that he could not long sustain that strain with one arm, so he twined his limbs around his wife and put his other arm around the tree, she clinging to the branch and the babe.  Day break comes early the 1st of August, yet all this happened seemingly a good while before day break.  The storm did not begin till nearly 2 o'clock; he looked at his watch and there is no guess work about it.

Nothing heard from Alf. and the girls.

They clung to the tree, floating as a buoy. The water riffled over their faces and with difficulty they kept from strangling.  At times his wife thought the babe was dead.  The rain had ceased and the water receded slowly.  Just after day break he heard Alf calling; he was in a tree about 80 feet from them and had both girls.  Soon after this his wife found that she could touch the ground with her feet, and then they stood up until they could wade ashore.  He chafed her and the babe a few moments and then went to Alf's relief.  The logs and branches that they had cut the day before had formed

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