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Fictional Account: The Great West

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Tara Miller


Fictional Account: The Great West

Journal Entry

August 4, 1885

I secured a job with the railroad with in days of arriving here and am working hard to get my son and wife here with me. I miss them terribly and not having a family to come home to at the end of a long day is quite difficult. I ate the last of the bread that my sweet Ida sent me with and had to buy a loaf of white bread for 5 cents. I much would have preferred to come home to her cooking.

Now that I have employment I will save the money needed for railroad fare to get them here with me. I know they must miss me as much as I miss them. Being separated from family is by far the hardest thing I have encountered.

It is just as well I suppose. Suitable housing still eludes me. Living out of a tent is not suitable for my wife and young son. If timber weren't so scarce building a home would be my first priority but what does one build a house with in the land of no trees. Other homesteaders are building sod homes but I question how we would fare a winter in a home built of sod. According to others winter here in the Great Plains can be brutal.

I was talking to my cousin Walter who came before me and he said when digging a well they had to go to 150 feet to get water. Lack of rain is a huge issue for crops but clearly it's an issue for families as well. Living here is dirty, the wind and dust cover you from head to toe and we will need drinking and washing water fairly quickly.

Soil quality coupled with lack of water has me questioning how we can homestead here. I am not sure crops and animals are even a possibility for us. We will do what we can to work the soil as much as humanly possible. I am determined to make it work so we can have our own land and home but a lot of others have come here full of hopes, dreams and promise only to leave broken.



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