Mojo Monday ~ Hardships for Lizzie and Family

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Nevada ship log showing Lizzie and family.

Lizzie is featured in the center of this photo.

The continuing story of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Talmer Roberts Shepherd.   The first installment began here.

In the spring of 1893 Lizzie’s husband Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd decided to move the family into the Big Horn Basin area of Wyoming.  The Church of Latter Day Saints had encourage the settlement of this area and Rollins Don Carlos has heard that there were good opportunities to be found in the area. The family, which included 7 small children, loaded their belongings and supplies into a covered wagon and set out on a journey of about 550 miles to the north.

One of the family stories mentions that a small pony was purchased for Earnest Wiggett, who at twelve years old, helped to drive their cattle.  The family started off with 75 head of white face cattle, which would have given them a good start on a herd, but due to feuds between cattle and sheep men of the west, a significant number of their cattle were killed during the journey.

Lizzie, expecting again during the trip, cared for the small children, including six month old Edna, who was ill almost the whole trip.  Their son Laffe (Marcus de Lafayette) had trouble with an injured eye all the way and for years following.

The area that the settlers moved into was a large fertile valley about 25 miles east from either Basin or Greybull, Wyoming.  Earlier settlers had been trying to establish an irrigation system, but the undertaking had proven too great for their small numbers.  Many of those settlers grew discouraged and sold their interests to a man by the name of Wiley.  He enlarged the irrigation ditch and settled the area with German settlers and in turn became know as Germania Bench.

Lizzie and Rollins Don Carlos located their wagons, when they arrived, along a bend in the Greybull River and it became known as Mormon Bend.  Others in the group were the Bill Clark family, Tom Jones and William Packard.  The Shepherd family had arrived too late into the summer of 1893 to begin clearing land.  That year Rollins Don Carlos worked for other farmers in the area.  They moved their wagon from Mormon Bend on to the small ranch owned by Jim Goodrich.  It was here that their third daughter, Adeline Shepherd was born on September 7, 1893.

It was a very hard winter for Lizzie.  She had a newborn baby and little Edna, who was not yet a year old, was ill a great deal of the time.  After the new baby was born both of the babies were breastfed.  The entire family lived in, around and under the covered wagon.  It provided little shelter and food was very scarce.  Rabbits and other wild game was used as meat when they were available.  Wheat was ground in a small hand coffee mill.  The wheat was used as cereal, toasted and brewed as a warming drink, and twice ground for bread.  An old man living alone in a wagon down near the river starved to death that winter.

In the spring someone sent word that they had one of the whiteface cows with the family brand. Rollins Don Carlos went to get it, but the man insisted that he could not take it home alive, so the cow was killed and taken home as much needed beef.

It was a very hard and discouraging year.  By spring all the supplies had been exhausted.  Rollins Don Carlos decided to make a trip to Billings, Montana, a journey of about 200 miles.  Young Earnest Wiggett (12 years old) was left to take care of the camp.  Many years later daughter Edna Hanna wrote a story about this journey titled “Never Marry An Old Man”  It was on the return trip from Billings that an accident occurred.

To be continued….

What are your thoughts about the challenges and hardship this family faced? 

I know it gives me pause and perspective regarding what I might consider challenging and difficult in my own life today.

Have you come across any daunting stories in your own family history?

About Michelle Fairchild

Michelle Fairchild is a writer and artist who at heart is a soulful and sensitive intuitive, a courageous creator, a resilient visionary, a self-esteem fluffer, a marvelous music mixer and one who offers up bridges of connections to her fellow travelers. She believes We Are All Meant to Shine! You can read more of her writing at her web site: We Are All Meant to Shine. (https://weareallmeanttoshine.com/) She is happily married to a middle school science teacher and is the adoring mama to identical twin daughters, who are very active 7-year-olds who keep her dancing. She has a small creative business called Red Boa Productions and also works for a non-profit foster-adoption agency in Northern California.

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Mojo Monday ~ Tragedy Strikes | We Are All Meant to Shine!

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