Story Homestead, Sweet, Homestead


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"Ready up," Mark sang out, "let's move."

When they had stopped to iron out the problem of where they were headed, tired people needed the rest. Now they were restless, ready to move. There seemed to be a lightness, a relief that the caravan had been whittled down to the core seven; and the core was happy.

Wagons creaked and horses leaned into the traces as the heavy wagons inched forward.

Clara was following Judy with the heavy freight box, pulling the hospital cart. Sitting up so high, she felt scared to death to handle the six up team. Corbin had assured her, that she would be ok, especially since she was driving his own personal team that was very well trained.

Corbin was the last wagon, with the loaded sewing machine cart on behind. One of the cows and the stud cold trailed behind him.

Clora was the first wagon, smiling giddily and hearing praise music in her heart. The night before, she and Mark had softly discussed the relief and openness they felt about the split.

"I feel guilty, feeling such relief. I understand the goodness of the people traveling with us. We raised them," she said with a chuckle. "There seemed to be such a varied and diverse range of opinions, frankly, far out of the bounds of what we had established for our family."

"I agree," Mark spoke with a warm contentment. "I feel the same relief. We will miss Corbin and Clara and Judy; but I understand the pull of returning to the farm where his roots are. Did I hear you right, Tess is the motivating factor to head toward Iowa?"

"Yes, she is so excited to be regaining some of her 'knowing.'

"Well, if we're going to get there in time to prepare for winter, we have to get a move on and fast. By my reckoning, we have approximately 300 miles to go, to reach the Des Moines area. That's another month of travel in the least. This is the end of May, we could very well be into July before we get there." Mark was pensive with worry.

"Get us up early," Clora teased, "we are rested from our mini vacation."

She said the correct words to Mark; as anxious as he was to be on the move.


Brown Coat
Thank you Mrs. PAC

marking my stake in this new one.

Thanks muches, glad tess it regaining her mojo. :-)



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Mark was good to his word. Faint dawn was just breaking, when he went around rousing the clan. During the rushed breakfast, that the sons had predicted would happen, Mark visited each family and explained the reasons for hurry.

"If we can make another five miles per day, look at the savings in time, and days. This last push will be exhaustive, we need to be single minded about not stopping. I propose that we stop at the regular time tonight, in order for the ladies to cook ahead. We will get up the same time tomorrow morning, but we won't be stopping for lunch, and will drive until dusk." Mark spread the word.

The sons stood grinning, each had accurately predicted what their father would do, and had forewarned their wives. The wives were feeling terribly pressured, but agreeable.

To a lady, they were thinking that the sooner they could get to their new homes, the better.

Tess was thinking that she could drive forever, now that Drill Sargent Millie had the triplets under control. The sweet little darlings were "yes'am, and no' mama' they were practicing potty trained, sleeping without the bed time traumas of stalling, eating by themselves, and in general showing themselves to be worthy clan members.

Suddenly all the children were behaving better, and mama's, when they had a minute to gather and talk about the subject, firmly decided that Gary's boys were the cause of the difficult strife that had occurred.

Each woman was deeply sorrowful over David and Scotty having some sort of bone disease, and nightly prayers were sent heavenward for the boy's recovery.

The husbands were aware of the sentiment, and all agreed that the two foundlings were unusual, at best.

Mark ranged out in front as far as he dared, scouting the terrain and attempting to choose the best trail to follow. To his reckoning, they made twelve miles the second day, an increase of two miles. That ramped up the enthusiasm, and determination ruled the day.

By the end of the fourth day, Mark was telling the group they should be reaching the town of Kingdom City, where they would turn North.

That milestone was celebrated on the outskirts of the ramshackle, wood slab sided town. A crossroads of major importance, Kingdom City had one store for re-supplying, and Mark went into investigate.

Toby and Milo took the brief downtime to inspect the horses; checking on shoes, harness and the wagons. The ladies did quick washes of the most important pieces of clothing that were dirty.

Clara was helping Corbin inspect their teams and wagons. "Another two days at the most, and we will turning away and going East," Corbin was testing the harness. "I want to stay South of the lake, as we head to Bowling Green. I've been debating, but I believe I will lead, then Judy as second and then you, Dear. The team I'm driving are broke, but not mature, if that makes any sense. Both you ladies have well mannered outfits, and they will reliably follow. Clara, I've been forgetting to ask you about Judy's team and wagon. Did you buy them, or do I need to negotiate their price with Mark?"

"Judy and I bought our way in by sewing clothes for the clan," Clara smiled at her new husband. "Mark said that was more than sufficient, but I'm afraid the supply cart behind Judy's wagon belongs to Clora."

"What's in it?" Corbin mumbled.

"Clora's sewing machine, and sewing supplies," Clara sounded wistful, but tried to cover her disappointment in having to leave the one machine she was an expert in using.

"We'egotoneathome," Corbin mumbled. "In fact we have two, … I think. Mom's and Grandma's machines are up in the attic. I'm the fourth generation to live in that house, and I can assure you, they never threw anything away."

"Oh really," Clara breathed in excitement, "Oh Corbin, I could give you a great big hug. Judy and I had dreams of setting up a dress shop, or general clothing or whatever the neighborhood people wanted to have sewn, kind of shop. I can't think of any better way," and Clara dropped her voice to speak directly into Corbin's ear, "to have Judy introduced to a whole new variety of people. Young gentleman type people, specifically."

"You certainly are a devious type woman," Corbin teased, "will you make me a shirt?" he tried to project a piteous little boy attitude, and totally failed.

"Oh yes," Clara promised, "I'll even embroider little red hearts and some flowers on the collar, maybe some down the front,"

"The hell you will," Corbin mock growled. "I'm too old, and totally manly, to do sissy stuff like that."

"Not too old, but totally manly," Clara approved with a wicked grin, "oh my yes."

Corbin straightened up from inspecting the harness with a grin that matched the wickedness Clara was beaming. "hum, come over here little girl, let the big bad wolf see if you really mean it." he cajoled sweetly.

"Not by the hair on your chinny, chin, chin," Clara retorted laughing.

"I don't have any hair on my chinny, chin, chin," Corbin smoothly whispered, "or haven't you noticed?"

"I have," Clara whispered back as she got a toe tingling kiss. "I'd better have another, to make sure, you understand."

"This one's free," Corbin half growled, "and so is the next one." He made Clara sigh with pleasure.


Brown Coat
thanks Mrs. PAC

Sometimes following one's heart is just the right thing to do, esp. an God Wills it.



Has No Life - Lives on TB
Thank you much. Yes some folks no matter how much you love them seem to have a black cloud around them or over them and when they leave it feels like the world is lighter.


Veteran Member
Thank you, just had a thought, (scary I know), hope Corbins house is there still. But we will find out if the story takes us there.


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I hate to see them split up again!

If Corbin's area has good, productive soil, why doesn't the rest of the family settle in that area? Is there something about Iowa that is calling them? Other than Tess's feelings? Is Corbin's area closer? If it is, they could be planting sooner, and as Corbin is from the area, they'd have an "in" on getting settled and getting supplies, livestock, help, etc. Just a thought.........


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Robert urged his group to get ready to travel. As usual, Abby was ready; the rest of them not so much. It didn't take a lightening bolt for Robert to realize that Mark's presence, was the deciding factor. Everyone in the train behaved and worked for common good, because Mark expected them to be accountable. It was totally frustrating to be ignored, his directions shrugged off.

The wagon boss gave a deep sigh, Gary was the laggard. His brother just couldn't seem to coordinate his work to flow smoothly, there were half undone chores that threatened to overcome and drown the family. Robert went to harness and hitch Gary's team, at least he could do that much to speed up the departure.

Gary nodded his thanks to Robert, as Jainy bent over the fire and stirred the oatmeal that refused to cook. Little Guy was fussy, finally tuning up into a loud howl, he needed his breakfast, and finally Jainy disappeared into the wagon to feed the baby.

Gary was moving around camp, picking up all the miscellaneous odds and ends that were strewn about, and not watching the cooking oatmeal. "Gary, the oatmeal is starting to burn," Robert observed.

"Well, stir it," Gary snapped back, "can't you see I'm busy."

"No, my hands are dirty from the harness and horses. If you don't want a burned breakfast, stir it yourself." Robert watched his brother bristle up like a banty rooster confronting a much larger rooster, sighed and left Gary's horses half way hitched together.
Robert was thinking that if Gary was going to be so obstinate and fractious, he could be that way, all by himself.

The rest of the morning was like the exchange Robert had earlier with Gary. Everything was off kilter and uncooperative. In fact, Robert was thinking that they had experienced three days of difficulties.

There was no way Robert was going to admit that heading West was probably not the way God wanted them to go. It boiled down to a 'pride' thing, they were going West and that's all there was to it. Struggle compounded struggle, but the haughty, prideful free will of man, ( disguised as grit and determination to willful people) wouldn't let them be reasonable.

The clan headed to Iowa had problems, but they were faced with the correct attitude and willingness to overcome. The morning that Corbin decided they needed to turn East was a bittersweet time. Clara and Judy made the rounds hugging everyone twice and Corbin shook hands with the men and smiled and said thanks to the women. There was a prayer meeting, thanks given for their safe travel, and requests for a hedge of protection as they parted ways on the journey.

Try as they might, there was no way to take both the smaller carts that were left. The clan wagons were full; and each wagon pulling a cart that was heavily laden. Bruce volunteered to pull a double cart, if the last one was empty, and Corbin took the remaining cart with heartfelt thanks.

Toby had the stud colt behind his cart, but the young horse cut up so much, that he was transferred up to Clara's wagon where he walked contentedly beside the milk cow.

Splitting the band of horses had been the most difficult problem the original split had encountered. Robert had felt the need for each and every one of the animals, and only Mark's intervention had prevented a problem. Mark insisted that each group take a four horse trained team as extras, and then the mares and untrained horses were divided up.

Tempers had flared over the division, and Robert was angry that he lost three very valuable and trained mares in foal. That he had the same three trained and one almost trained mares in his remuda was of little note. It left a bitterness in Robert that he couldn't shake.

As the Iowa group moved ahead, it was clear they didn't have enoughpeople and wagons to accomplish what needed to be done. Mark called a halt to the clan, as they were slow and cumbersome pulling a medium sized hill.

"This isn't working," he explained as they gathered for a quick lunch. "The wagons are too heavy, it's really stressing the teams. The only solution I can see is to have Millie drive a team with the two smaller wagons attached, so we can spread out some of the weight."

Millie looked as thrilled as if she were jumping into a wading pool of hungry sharks. When it was finished, Millie had a four up, made up of a trained mare from each of the other teams. The two smaller wagons had items from each of the trailing carts, and Millie's goat, standing on the seat beside her.

Millie's team wore the extra harness, so that was a weight from Milo and Honey's cart. The plow, and loose pieces of the sawmill filled the carts Millie was pulling.

Try as he might, the extra weight all the wagons were pulling, dropped the mileage back to ten miles a day.


Veteran Member
Thank you Mrs. Pac. Stubborn makes things twice as hard, don't ask me how I know. LOL!


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Dissension in the ranks....

Will it smooth out????

Additional chapters will reveal....

Thanks Pac for the chapter....


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That night at supper, Clara asked Corbin if he missed Mason.

"Not particularly," was his dry reply. "Deep down, Mason has the same personality as his Dad Wade. My brother is weak minded, nothing is ever his fault, and he doesn't take responsibility well. His daughter, my niece Kay, is a sharp cookie and he ignores her in favor of Mason. I hope he passes the operation of the furniture business to her. Wade will make more money with the dray business I gave him, if ….. he pays attention. But, there are no guarantees."

Corbin gave a small laugh, "How about you Judy, if we get a dray business going, will you be interested in running it; when we get too old?"

"Be careful what you wish for," Judy teased right back, "I just might."

It was the first time Judy had voluntarily responded with anything other than a sob. "I kinda like driving horses, better than putting up with a man, for sure."

Wisely, Corbin nodded without saying a word. That was an argument he didn't want to get close to, in any way, shape, or form.

Clara walked past with the pan of used dish water, flipping the sudsy water out into the dark.
"Tell me Corbin, how vulnerable are we, traveling with just three wagons." she questioned.

"There is always danger, but I don't believe we will be attacked." Corbin scratched his chin and looked up at Clara as she came to sit beside him by the fire. "I have made a lot of friends in this area, hauling freight in and hauling crops out to the city for sale. I treat people fairly with dignity and honesty. That's the way I want to be treated, so that's the courtesy I extend to others."

A movement across the fire caught Corbin's eye. "Well, don't that beat all. It's that strange dog the belonged to those sick kids. He's the most unfriendly dog I have ever seen, I wonder what he's doing here."

Clara and Judy turned to watch the large brindle colored mastiff. "Do we have anything to feed him?" Judy asked.

"A couple of biscuits, that's all." Clara stood up to go get the biscuits. "I want you to stay away from him Judy, I honestly don't feel he is trustworthy, and I don't want to see you get mangled or bitten. What do you think Corbin?"

"I think it's very unusual that he has been following us, he seemed to be attached to the boys.
If he's here, I say feed him, he's a good set of ears and could be useful." Corbin looked to Clara to see if she approved, and he got a small nod and a doubtful frown.

"I say let him stay until he causes a problem, but I won't hesitate to shoot him if necessary. That dog scares me," Clara said in a small voice.

Judy took the biscuits and tossed them gently toward the dog. The mastiff curled his lip and growled low, but hungerly advanced toward the biscuits as soon as Judy stepped back. "Can we feed him more tomorrow?" the teen asked hopefully.

Clara nodded yes, "If he is still here tomorrow, we'd better get to bed. How far do we need to travel to get to your place Corbin?" and Clara yawned, and went to the wagon.


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Corbin, Clara & Judy have a fourth member, Dog....

Thanks Pac for the chapter....



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Abby was irritated beyond measure. There seemed to be no way to get the group up and moving in a decent amount of time in the morning. They had been on the trail three days and that was a wasted hour for each of the mornings. If this kept up, they would loose a full day in a week.

She was irked at Robert whom had seemed to loose his direction and zeal for pushing forward. Twice, Abby had asked him at the night campfire how far they needed to travel, it was her intention to wake up the loose knit group of vagabonds. It had fizzled mightily; as it made not a whit of difference to the bunch of indifferent travelers.

The third night, Abby angrily confronted the drivers hunched near the large bon fire, as they tried to cook supper in the too hot flames. "What is the matter with you people. You are slacking and acting like it's no big deal, like we have all the time in the world. Well here's a news flash people, we don't. We have enough food to get us out to the West, but we will be too late to grow anything because of all this piddling around. Are we going to be like the Donners? Who wants to be the first person eaten?

There was not one voice raised in protest or denial. Mason coughed and sputtered a little, he had that sinking feeling in his stomach that his avowal of independence had been a little premature and perhaps he should have listened more closely to Uncle Corbin.

If only good old Uncle Corbin didn't have to be right all the time, Mason thought he might have been more inclined to consult him about which group to stay with. Now, it looked like his first grownup independent choice was the wrong one and he was already sorry for his deal. Being sorry didn't change the fact that he had chosen the loser group, and now he didn't know how to change.

Abby spent a restless night. She had come to the determination that Robert's leadership was going to doom them all to starvation or they would be caught by winter weather before they had a chance to prepare and provision themselves.

Praying, she spent her sleepless night reviewing all the choices she had made and slowly, it was her conclusion that she needed to pull out, retrace her tracks and try to intercept the Iowa group.

Abby was awake at first light, she dressed, harnessed her horses and pulled out, hardly interrupting the loud snores coming from the still sleeping men. Jainy heard her go, wishing that she had the gumption to hail the woman down, and go with her. That was a fanciful notion at best. She had a broken hand, two sick children and a baby to care for. Gary seemed like he had lost his mind, blindly following Robert's direction to head West. Jainy had a sick feeling that the whole train was doomed.

Phoebe and Seamus heard Abby leave, looking out the curtain of their wagon, when they heard her unhook the trailing cart.

"Oh Seamus, will she find them?" Phoebe whispered.

"Aye looove, she will. We canna noot go with her, we are needed here. It won't be long for the wee bairns, and Miss Jainy will be needing us." Seamus answered slowly.

"It's going to be real bad, isn't it?" Phoebe whispered again, and felt the tears gather as Seamus nodded yes. Seamus couldn't talk, his throat was closed with emotion, but he hugged Phoebe tightly.


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Seems like the group needs to come to terms and get with it or lose...

Thanks Pac for the chapter....



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Abby made it back to the crossroads where the two groups had split. Pulling up the Iowa track so it wasn't apparent that she was a lone woman, she made camp in the near dark. Unharnessing and staking the horses out to graze, Abby dug a Dakota hole for her fire and reheated her stew for supper.

She was not a timid person, but she definitely didn't care for being alone in this particular situtation. Abby wished she had a dog, another set of ears to help guard during the night, but if she wished in one hand and spit in the other, she was fairly certain which hand would fill the fastest.

It was an uncomfortable night; Abby couldn't help but start awake at every noise, the horses seemed exceptionally restless, stomping more than usual due to the rising wind. About an hour to sunrise, Abby finally fell asleep, jerking awake when the hard driven rain drops thundered against the roof.

It was daytime, it just didn't look like it. Low hanging clouds and foggy conditions closed the visibility to several hundred feet. The lack of sleep made for a grumpy teamster as she harnessed the horses, cleaned up her camp. There was no coffee. The wind had blown over the partially filled coffee pot, completely dousing the fire.

Bundled up in her rain gear, Abby set out, praying that the rain wouldn't erase the Iowa groups tracks. She didn't let her horses slack, driving then hard in the miserable conditions.

The Linderman clan was all bundled up against the weather. Mark with his drovers coat and hat pulled low against the rain, helped Milo and Toby harness the horses; sparing the women the task while they tried to cook a breakfast worth eating. Bruce, when he got done milking, showed up, asking if anyone could reset a shoe; he had a mare with a loose one.

Mark was muttering at the delay, clearly displeased, frustrated as all get out with the slowness. None of the children wanted to get out, so mama's took bowls of oatmeal to the wagons. Unhappy horses stood hitched, backs hunched against the drumming rain and rising wind. Purely miserable conditions.

It was almost 10:30 before the clan got on the trail, everyone was silent, simply enduring the harsh weather. The wagons began leaving deep tracks in the oozing mud, straining the horses, until Mark found a decent hillock and called a halt to the progress.

Members heaved a sigh of relief, and set about creating dry spots to start a fire and cook a warm meal to stop the shivering.

Abby didn't stop, pushing herself and her team to close the gap to the other group. Her lighter wagon was leaving ruts, but not like the heavy laden wagons. Determined to change the poor decision she had made, Abby drove as long as there was light to see. She found the place where the clan had camped and used some of the soggy wood they had left behind.

Wet wood created billows of smoke, the smoke roiling into the low ceiling of clouds, to be blown about by the fickle breeze. Abby circled the fire several times to try and keep the smoke out of her eyes. Abby had heated the small amount of stew she had left, and finally coaxed the pot of coffee to perk. The hot liquid was warming her nicely, then there was a shout out in the foggy dark.

"Hello the camp, may I come in?" the deep masculine voice boomed loudly.


Veteran Member
Oh, my! Lord, be with Abby!!

Hopefully since he "asked," the male is a good one, not a bad one! A bad one would have watched and just took.


Veteran Member
Are they going to pick up another stray? Did Mason change course? Only Pac knows.

Thank you!


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Is Abby carrying her pistol????

Thanks Pac for the chapter....



Veteran Member

Abby, with her drovers coat and slouch hat on, gloves covering her hands, prayed that she was more like a man to the oncoming visitor. The second he spoke, her hand reached for her rifle and she growled out in the deepest voice she could muster, "show yourself."

"I'm coming in," the faceless voice called out once again, "don't shoot, I mean no harm. I'm wet and cold, could I borrow some time next to your fire?"

"Come ahead, ... slowly," Abby growled once again.

The man that materialized out of the foggy rain and darkness wore a long coat and battered slouchy hat dripping with water. The way the brim shaded his face, Abby couldn't see what he looked like.

"Thank you," the voice spoke. "I've been on the trail a mighty long time and I'm out of food and coffee. Would you be able to see your way clear to spare a cup of coffee?" the man hunched down close to the fire and stretched his hands toward the warmth.

Abby waved her hand in the direction of the coffee pot, preferring not to speak any more than necessary.

"I'll get my cup." the man stood up and Abby instantly leveled her rifle, suspecting a trap, when he went to his saddlebags.

"Hey, easy now...." the man objected, "I was just going for my cup. Don't be so jumpy and suspicious. I'm on the trail of a group of wagons headed West. You wouldn't have happened to have seen them, have you?"