While cleaning up at my parent’s house, I came across a folder full of family history materials. There were a couple of genealogical charts, some handwritten sermons – more on that later – and a diary. The diary is typed (apparently copied from the original) and titled “DAY BY DAY REPORT OF A COVERED WAGON TRIP FROM LAWN RIDGE, KANSAS TO UNION CITY, OKLAHOMA made by Wilson W. Jackman, Dave Todd, and others. Lawn Ridge, Kansas – March 28, 1893.” (Dave Todd was my great grandfather, born 1866 in Holton, KS)
Some of the text has faded and is unreadable, but the parts that are still legible make for interesting reading. The closing paragraph is a fantastic blessing from Wilson Jackman to Dave Todd. A couple of months ago Mark Scott told us that a handwritten letter is a warm and personal way to communicate with someone. This blessing from Wilson is just that.
We are pretty badly sunburned but, withal, as hale and hearty as can be. I enjoyed every day of the trip and feel sorry that it is over. David tired of it, though he stood it pretty well. David is a good boy and always does his part. He is good company and, remembering that last dinner and forgetting all the other, I can recommend him as an excellent cook. I wish him the success he deserves in all his undertakings, matrimonial and otherwise, and trust that he shall be blessed with a worthy helpmeet to accompany him through the “journey of life”, and that as the somber shadows of “the night” shall lengthen toward the close of a long and useful life, when the pleasures of the world shall cease to delight, the consciousness of the close and ever nearing proximity of the unexplored ocean of eternity shall depress, and only enjoyments which afford comfort and consolation is in the happy reflection of a life well spent in the exercise of piety and virtue, may he recall with pleasure the incidents of the journey we took together from Kansas to Oklahoma and ever fondly cherish on memory’s fairest page, the pleasant days of April eighteen hundred ninety three.
As this year comes to an end, and we prepare to begin again, may I also wish for you a fond recollection of the incidents of the journey through 2014. Even when we look back on the tragedies and sadness we’ve known this year, I pray your memories are filled with the good times and love you’ve known – may you enjoy the “comfort and consolation in the happy reflection of a life well spent in the exercise of piety and virtue…and ever fondly cherish on memory’s fairest page, the pleasant days of” 2014.