Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Margaret Clark Journals

May 10, 1997

Location: Lexington, Nebraska - Location: 40:46:51N 99:44:28W Elevation: 2389 feet

Summary: The train coming into Lexington, NE

Journal entry: The trek into Lexington may have not taken very long today, (4 and 1/2 hours) but it still was 14 miles. We were hauling. We had youth daywalkers from the Kearney [LDS] Stake pulling 7 of their own handcarts. I hope the pace didn't kill them off. But you did a great job, kids. You made it!

This morning the wagons lined up five wagons abreast and pulled down the field together. It was an interesting sight. All the cameras were clicking. This was a demonstration. In pioneer days as a protection against Indian raids, the wagons frequently traveled four or five abreast across the prairie land.

Just before we arrived in Lexington, we noticed a fine looking riding group approaching the train. Upon inquiry, we were informed that the Pony Express Riders were here to welcome the train to Lexington. They were dressed in uniform and had beautiful flags just waving in the breeze. It truly was a gorgeous sight. They were led by their national president.

Before leaving last night's field, I need to thank Mr. Audrey Labart for allowing our group to camp in his fields for the night. He kindly said it was his privilege having us. Mr Labart told us how his family acquired this piece of land. He said when he was 17 years old, he went with his grandfather when he bought this 160 acre tract from the Railroad. He paid $6000 about 60 years ago.

Today was showers, laundry, shopping day. We usually are allowed to shower at the community schools. We totally invaded the laundromat. We have in our group a very special woman who has taken it upon her to make sure we have a nice place to put out our tents and possibly have a nice warm shower. Her name is Grandma Gretch Gretchen Petromallo. She is a jewel.

On our trek is the Tyler family. The trek matriarch is Sherilyn Tyler. With her are two of her daughter Crystal (age 17) and married daughter, Becky Shelly with her daughter, Kimberly (age 11 mo). Also along is Jonathan (age 18). Sherilyn's other family members will be joining her later. Sherilyn had an interesting experience on the third day of the trek, and she wrote it up (slight editing).

Grandma's Crazy Ride in the Porta-Potty

The trek's third day and all was still not organized. Everyone was still becoming acquainted---with each other and with the system of how "things" operate. One of these things was how to coordinate the porta potty breaks with the location of the walkers. You see, the walkers are slower than the wagons and when they finally catch up with the train, the porta potties are always at the front of 25 wagons. So, you put down your hand cart and walk another quarter of a mile just to "answer the call of nature." Then you have to turn around and go back another quarter of a mile and pick up your handcart. With feet that are very tender with blisters and sores, walking this short distance is quite an effort. Especially when you know that when you get your handcart again, you would have traveled that small stretch of road three times......with very sore feet.

But Grandma Sherilyn had to go, so with sore feet, she began the real trek.....to the john. Upon arriving, the driver of the pp's (we shall now call them) got a brilliant idea! "Why don't we drive two pp's to the end of the train for the walkers!" Outstanding wisdom!!!! So, just before Grandma had a chance to use the facility, she found it heading in the opposite direction--back to where she had just come from. In a fit of desperation and feeling every sore on those tender feet, she got the brilliant idea of riding on the pps back to the end of the line. So, Grandma Sherilyn and a few others stepped up and held on tight. The driver took off, but only for a short distance. He realized the unsafe situation and asked all to get off. Grandma was at the rear, and not hearing the request was still hanging on. Before she had a chance to jump, those pps took off again at an outstanding pace. Fearing now for her well-being, but unable to jump, Grandma Sherilyn opened the door, closed the lid, had a seat and held on. It was a crazy, wild, interestingly-odoriferous few minutes. But upon arrival, Grandma did her thing, opened the pp door and found that she had been first in line.