Stranded in a Sea of Mud

1870

Their travels took them into newly settled country where the roads were sometimes very difficult to negotiate. On one occasion in Missouri this left them in a distressing but somewhat comical situation, described in a letter to Edson and Willie:

Stranded in a Sea of Mud

I spoke five times in Hamilton. We started to visit an afflicted family who had lost a child 14 years old. Father preached the funeral sermon in the Methodist meetinghouse. We were provided a double wagon and horses by Brother McCollester.

We rode finely for two miles [three kilometers] when we tried to cross a mud slough. When in the center of rods of mud, the horses were stuck (stalled is the Western phrase). The mud was up to the horses' bellies. They could go no farther. They were struggling until they lay flat in the mud.

We were puzzled to know what to do. Father walked out on the pole [tongue] of the wagon and separated them from each other [and the wagon] and then used the whip and they, after making a terrible effort, struggled to terra firma, leaving us in the wagon in a sea of mud.

Father decided to venture out on the pole and ran lightly over the stiffest part of the mud. The stiff mud bore him up. He tried to get a board for me to walk on over the mud. I had no rubbers. The board refused to come off the oak posts.

I decided to follow your father's example. I ran out on the pole and his hand met mine and I got safe on terra firma. We left the wagon [in the mud] and horses [tied to the fence] and walked back to Hamilton, two miles [three kilometers] (letter 11, 1870).

We told the donor of the team where his horses were, and with strong ropes he has gone to see if he can get them home (letter 17, 1870).

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