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The following Family Stories and Letters were provided by Micki Burger, 29 November 1999.
OUR COVERED WAGON TRIP to TEXAS
Transcript of the story of her childhood, written in the 1950's by,
Viola Mabel (Miller) Burger Hall
(Note: Words in
parenthesis added by me, Micki Burger)
It was late summer of 1893. Father (Cambridge Graham Miller) and
Mother (Sadie Francis (Rupert) Miller) decided to sell the farm at Salina
(Saline Co, KS) and go to Texas after twelve years of many dry summers, blowing
sand, small crops, and small potatoes. Some
homesteaders would trade their homestead in West-Central Kansas for a watch and
go back to Pennsylvania. That was Mother and Father's home state.
Father had a sister in Texas who was coaxing us to come down there where
the flowers bloomed the year around and there were vegetables and fruit, and
sweet potatoes grew so large they would throw a plow out of the ground.
So we packed our belongings in two covered wagons and a spring wagon.
Three teams of horses - the two wagons ahead - the sping wagon, with mother
driving, with the ladies and us little girls to follow.
There were six of our family. Father,
Mother, we four children. My brother ( John C. Miller) 9yrs was the oldest, and
we girls ages 3 (Lulu), 5 (Viola), and 7(Caroline). I was the middle girl.
The others were a brother of my Father's and his two teenage children, a
girl and a boy, and a maiden sister of Father's.
I remember going through Oklahoma, Indian Territory then. The sand was so
deep, one place it came nearly to the hub of the wagons.
Traveling through this was very slow - so we children took off our shoes
and played in the sand and ran along behind, or sat in the back of the spring
wagon and have our feet in the sand.
We were six weeks on the road and mother got very tired baking biscuits
for that hungry crowd - on a camp fire in a skillet - but they sure tasted good.
Mother could bake the best biscuits in the world with half a chance.
She was a good Pennsylvania cook. Bread
wasn't available those days like now. We
usually camped near a village so we could get provisions.
Father had a tent and on Saturday he usually set up the tent, much to our
delight, for over Sunday, as we didn't travel on Sunday's, Father and Mother
being very religious folks, and the teams needed rest. Mother often got out our good clothes on Sunday and maybe we'd
go to the Church in the village.
People who lived there knew those streams and told us not to drive into
them without first watering our horses, not to stop in them, as many a wagon had
gone down in "quick sand". There
were no bridges. But I do remember
one stream, two of the teams had gone on through, but the third wasn't making
it. The team began to struggle.
So father called excitedly to my uncle to bring back the lead team.
He was back in a flash. Father
lifted us children out over the wheels and carried us to shore, and uncle
wondered if we should unload the wagon. But
the other teams pulled it out before the water got up into out wagon. My heart beats and extra "pitter patter" even yet
when I think of it.
We settled about thirty miles from the coast.
Then while we lived down there we took the tent and went to the beach to
enjoy a dip in the gulf, but hadn't much more than gotten there when my brother
took the mumps, so we didn't stay many days.
Transcripts of letters
postmarked New Cambria, KS Feb 6,
1882 and Feb 24, 1882.
Addressed to Miss Sadie F. Rupert, White House, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, from Cambridge Graham Miller.
(NOTE: Spelling is as written, no corrections applied)
Miss Sadie F. Rupert, Dear
I take the pen to drop you a few lines.
I wrote you a letter near two weeks ago and reseaving no answer, I
thought the time very long between letters as we are a long distance apart I
thought it would not be out of place to write again.
We are having pleasant weather at present, today is warm about a week ago
we had about one inch of snow, it soon went away again.
We are all well, Dessie likes the place very well.
I oftentimes think of you. You have been the subject of much thought and
meditation on my part for several months, or really ever since last winter when
I was in Cumberland Co, Pennsylvania. My
effections are sentered on you, and I feel willing to confess that I love you
with more than a friendship love or efection, "I would be happey if I could
claim your hand in marriage", "Will you be my wife, to share my joys,
happiness, and pleasures for life" I
leave this question for you to deside. This
is a question that I have never asked any other Lady in my life.
This may come somewhat unexpected to
you, but I do confess I cannot ------- my feelings in regard to my love
for you. Trusting that my
proposition my meet your approval and that we may share lifes of joys and each
others true Love through life, I anxiously await your anser. If your anser is favorable I will write to your Father for
his consent. If satisfactory, you
may name the time. I would just
remark that it would suit me about the last of
Feb (this month) or first of March.
I think that I could be there by that time.
Trusting that my love for you is reciprocated and that we may have the
pleasure of each others company for life, I anxiously await your answer.
Expecting to hear from you soon, I remain as Ever
Your True Friend,
(signed) Cambridge G. Miller
Miss Sadie F. Rupert; Dear
I reseaved your letter of the 10th on Saturday last, it was red with much
pleasure. I was sorry to here that
your sister was unwell. I had been
informed of your Father's marriage I reseaved the word here the third day after
the marriage. There has been a good
number of my acquaintances and friends in different parts of the country been
married this last winter. Time
appears to me to be passing by very fast, to look back on the past it appears
but a short time since we (my Father, Mother and I) took the Train in Newville
for our home in Kansas, yet it was this day one year ago.
They are well pleased with this part of the country.
The people here are sociable and kind, so to the
-------------------------- it is any worse than it is in Pennsylvania.
Some days are very calm, no wind at all, there is mostly a breeze on air
blowing from some direction, owing to the country being level with no mountains
to break the wind. This breeze is
very invigorating and very excepable in teh summertime.
Father says it has not been as windy since he came to Kansas as he has
frequently seen it in Pennsylvania. The
climate here is so healthy very little sickness here.
The winter has been warm, Farmers have been plowing nearly all winter.
Today is calm and warm. Dessie will
write a sheath of paper and I will send it in this letter.
You asked me to let you know what I thought of the subject of which I
wrote to you in the last letter. You
say you think you are too young to get married and go so far from home,
I would say that I don't think so, if I did I would not have asked.
------------------------------you excepted a proposal to concider our mutual
adaptation to each other in marriage, an as I have fully and finelly canvassed
this matter in its various aspects, it now becomes necessary eather to
consummate or else to dismiss this proposal.
I for one, have deliberated fully and desided finelly, and are now
prepared to act. All I have been
able to learn in respecting you has
but confirmed that high regard for you which dictated my proposel.
To me your manners are pleasing, and your modes of saying and doing
things agreeable, may I then be allowed to Love what I so much admire, I will
bistow my love on you , on condition that yo bistow yours on me, but no others,
for only mutual affection can render eather happy, having concidered the subject
carefully and having inquired at the inner tempel of my own being I am satisfide
I can love you will all my own heart, providing you can love me with the whole
of yours. Have I this privilege on
this condition and for life? Forever: I will make yo my wife, to live with you
and for you, to offer up my whole being a living sacrifice on the alter of your
happiness and to make you the giding star of my hopes, labors, and life. Shall I
there enshrine your as the queen of my Soul, can you fully return my love.
Rest assured this is no trifeling compliment I thus pay you in making
this candid confession and asking this important question, I have duly weighed
all the probabilities involved, I am willing to do anything that lies in my
power to render your life happy, do you accord me this priveleage.
So to coming west I think you would be well pleased with this country, I
expect to live with my parents this year (or rather they with me), Dessie will
likely be at home, we will do all we can for your happiness.
If you should not be contented to stay in the west then I would try and
go farther east. I think that I can
do better in the west than back in Pennsylvania.
If you can fully reciprocate my love, give me an answer in your next
letter, you could arrange the time to suit yourself.
I was thinking that in April or May next would be a pleasant time to
travel. If you should deside on
coming west before harvest. I think
that April or May would be the pleasantest time, the summers here are quite
Expecting to hear from you soon, I remain as ever
Your True Friend,
(Sadie Francis Rupert and
Cambridge Graham Miller were married in Pennsylvania in November 1883, then
returned by train to New Cambria, Saline Co, KS)
Last update: Sunday, March 23, 2003 00:12:10
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