Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Eldred B. Tresize Narative Part 6 Moving on

This is a narrative that covers the history of the family of Edward John Tresize and their immigration to America from England. It was originally posted on but is not avail. May have been posted by his children.

We reached Salida, Colorado and a man at a livery stable let us stay there for a week or two in one of the stalls. There was a spring wagon in back of the barn with a lot of frozen yellow squash in it. He gave us all the squash. We lived on squash for weeks; boiled squash for breakfast, fried squash for dinner, baked squash for supper, cooked on an oil stove or over a camp fire. I hate squash to this day!

We moved on to Pueblo, Colorado where the winter set in again and a blizzard came up. We lived in a barn at the state fairgrounds until the storm was over. My folks were very proud and were strictly against begging. But I was the oldest and I knew the situation was desperate so I went to a house several blocks away and told them of the condition we were in. They gave me a dozen potatoes and some bread. My folks did not like it one bit that I did that but we had some food to eat anyway.

We moved on. It was so cold and the breath from the horses heads swirled like a cloud of steam and our breath made puffs of white as we struggled along in the icy wind with our heads bent down low. We could not ride in the wagon. Tom had holes in his shoes and cried a lot. I gave him my coat because I was afraid he would freeze to death. I remember the sky being fiery red at night. My father said it was going to be a cold day tomorrow and it turned out that way. Later that evening, near Swink, Colorado, we came across a little abandoned two room shack that had no windows or doors and holes in the roof. A herd of cattle was around the building but they were all dead. They were frozen and us kids could jump from one frozen carcass to another without touching the ground. One cow was frozen stiff in the doorway of the shack but we climbed in over it and stayed in the shack for the night. We could not move the cow out of the doorway so we led the team of horses over the dead cow and put them in the one room and the seven of us slept on the floor in the other room. We hung blankets over the windows and put the oil stove in the middle of the room on top of the wagon seat. We had only one joint of stove pipe for the stove so we set it on the wagon seat so it would be higher. That made the pipe closer to the hole in the roof. The black smoke from the stove pipe rose straight up in a perfect circle and went out through the hole above it.

We brought in snow to melt to have water for cooking and for the horses. We intended to make it to Florida and needed the horses to take us there. I remember being so cold and miserable that I could not sleep. Everyone squirmed and moved around all night long. We moved on the next day, walking along in the snow. The wagon wheels sounded like violins squeaking. We found some hay in a field and fed the horses. It was Christmas Eve, 1909 and we were looking across a frozen landscape, there were no roads, no fences, and no trees. We were not lost because we knew we were headed east. As it got dark, we could see the lights of a town and headed in that direction. As we went over hill after hill, the lights did not get any closer. We finally saw a farmhouse about 11:00 at night. My father knocked on the door and asked how far the town was. The farmer was surprised to see us and asked what we were doing out on a cold night like this? He said the town was Las Animas and it was 8 miles away. These people were a young married couple named Maynard. They invited us in and we were warm at last! The wife was only 16 and Mr. Maynard laughed as he told us he "robbed the cradle". That was the first time I had ever heard that term. He had bought a box of chocolates for her for Christmas. He gave each one of us a chocolate. We had a wonderful Christmas.

Mr. Maynard got us a job excavating an irrigation ditch from the Purgatory River. He directed us to an old two story stone house on the river and we lived there until spring. Father used the team to work on the ditch. The farm was called the Carmen Ranch. She died not long after that. They were the nicest people I ever met.

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