Showing posts with label pioneers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pioneers. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"I Would Kill Every Rattlesnake In The Yard"~Aunt Kate

A. W. Pillsbury at the graves in West Point, CA. 

My dad,  A.W. Pillsbury and his sister 
Patricia Ellen Pillsbury Youmans  
at the Pillsbury graves in Sutter Creek, Ca.

You could see why the rattlesnakes could be a 
problem in that country. 

Chapter 14

I have said that I did not intend to teach. I intended to continue to keep my home running smoothly, work in the garden and among my flowers, look out for the sheep and cattle of which we had a good many, and doctor them when they need such attentions, that the chickens went to roost at the proper time every evening, and if there were no men around, kill every rattlesnake that ventured into the yard. But according to the old adage, "Man proposes and God disposes". The old order of my life passed from my hands that year.

At that time there was a big water project, the construction of a dam, going on high up in the Sierras at Relief, and Jim Jr. and his father, went there to stay until operations should close for the winter. After working for a month or so, the work was stopped, and the men laid off. My men came home, the elder Jim being filled with the idea of building or quartz mill on his own mine and crushing his own quartz. It all sounded very promising. There was rock enough at the dump on the shaft to make a net cleanup of a thousand dollars if it could be crushed in his own mill. 

Well, the mill was built. Timbers had to be taken out, a mortar block furnished, shakes made, lumber and machinery bought, and living expenses for five persons. I couldn't see anything else but that someone had to go out and get a job. I applied for the primary department of the West Point District School and was hired at sixty dollars a month. My board and room at the hotel were ten dollars. I went home every Friday night in the low back-cart behind old Bill, wearing the same hat and shoes that had done me duty in Sonora. On Saturday I laundered my clothes and did the family washing, starched and ironed my one school dress, a gray chambray, and Sunday afternoon went back to West Point. I was at this school eight months and I think I proved satisfactory.

When I went out to teach I thought it would be for one year only. By the time school would be out, the school would be finished, the rock crushed, and we would be on easy street. When all was done and the clean up made, there wasn't enough left to pay the mill man. Just another one of those things that came our way. 

The failure of that rock was a keen disappointment to us all. Jim felt it worse than anyone else, and for that reason I hid my emotions all that I could, in order to keep his spirits from falling. He was anxious to try it again, so the next year I taught at Railroad Flat in the Eureka District. I was here fifteen years. 
(to be continued)

Grammy T. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"It seemed very quite and almost lonesome."~Aunt Kate

Nieces and Nephew of Aunt Kate

Chapter 12 

It seemed very quite and almost lonesome now that so many of our summer family was gone. It gave me time to think. One thing I had to think about was the question of school. How was I ever going to send my children to a school four miles distant. When I thought of the long miles through the woods, facing wind, snow and rain, the wild animals they might meet, to say nothing of snakes in the summer, I turned sick with dread. But something had to be done. They could not be allowed to grow up in ignorance. For awhile I tried to teach them at home but didn't meet with much success with James Jr. He was somewhat of a problem pupil, and when he did go to school I felt a great sympathy for his teachers. Finally he and Kathryn went to Railroad to school. 

Ever since her first school year Kathryn wanted to become a teacher, and I encouraged her in every way I could. But the obstacle that had hindered me from climbing higher in my girlhood days was still hindering me from giving my daughter the thing we both valued and longed for more than anything else, - an education.

In our school at that time we had an excellent teacher, a man who had inspired many of his pupils to go onto something higher and had helped them all in their preparation. He coached Kathryn in all the subjects for her teachers’ examination and advised her to take the test in Sonora in May, this was 1907. She did not want to go until I told her I would go with her and take the test too. When I gave her that promise she was delighted. 

It had been twenty eight years since my last day in school and my life had been spent in cooking, sewing, gardening, mining, surveying, cattle and sheep raising, and a thousand other things so necessary to make a home run smoothly. 

The next question was what to do about clothes, but I managed that. I had a skirt belonging to a suit that cost four dollars, fifty cents in 1898, and a pair of shoes of the same vintage. I bought enough cotton cashmere for blouses and made them up according to a Delineator illustration. Kathryn was already supplied with shoes and for hats I sent to Sears Roebuck and Company and bought two at fifty cents each which were really quite nice. The weather was warm so coats didn't mean much, fortunately. It was sort of tempering the wind to the shorn lamb, and we got along nicely. 
(to be continued)

Grammy T.