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 6, 1997

Location: Gibbon, Nebraska - Location: 40:44:54N 98:50:40W Elevation: 2060 feet

Summary: Wood River to Gibbon

Journal entry: Dear Linda from Blair, Hi. Remember when I told you I would tell you when my feet stopped hurting? Well, I'm not there yet. But I think it's getting closer. I still miss our laughing times together. What can I tell you about walking through Nebraska? The wind blows sideways. Everyone says I have a great suntan. But I think it is a windtan. The dust blows when the cars and trucks pass us. There is certainly a lot of farmland out here. It goes on and on and on.

Question I asked John, Heber Dew's cousin,"How far do you walk with a rock in your shoe before you stop and take it out?" I always stop and get it out was his reply. My answer,"It depends if it is rubbing on a blister or not." Then I might consider doing it. But you know you'll be a quarter of a mile behind the group if you stop.

The trail between WoodRiver and Shelton was a sight to see. Oh, it looked like regular Nebraska farmland with one exception: every fifteen feet or so was a wooden cross. Attached to each cross were strips of material-- 10 strips of material to each cross. Between WoodRiver and Shelton were 600 crosses. If you do your math right, you will figure there are 6000 strips of material. The community of Shelton placed these as a memorial to the 6000 people who died along the Mormon trail.

In our early morning devotional, Rhonda from Shelton gave us the history of this stretch of the trail. They started last January planning this commemorative event and the crosses were part of it. It was a a touching sight to those of us who lost ancestors along this trail.

Boy Scout Troop 142 of Shelton actually was the group that built and erected the crosses. Their Scoutmaster Jim Gourley said it took months from beginning to end. Talking with the boys their favorite part of making the crosses was the hot dog supper at the park after it was over. Cute boys! (Typical boys). Thanks for pulling the carts, too, boys!

Today also the unveiling of a special memorial in the park. This was an Eagle Project for Joe Cole, son of Bob and Pam Cole of Shelton. Under the direction of Rhonda, Joe made a beautiful wooden sign that stands at the west end of the park. Joe says it is made of cedar wood. He started this project the end of February, first of March.

Today was the special ceremony for the unveiling and we were all privileged to attend. On the sign is written Shelton, Nebraska, Wood River Centre, Mormon Trail Transit Station. It is beautifully done. Joe says there was a lot of cutting of letters and staining of wood. He did many coats of stain. I asked how many hours he spent on this project. He said he had no idea. Thank you so much Joe and every else who spent hours and hours on such a lovely Eagle Project commemorating part of my ancestors past.

I asked Joe what he likes to do when he's not Scouting and he says he runs the medley relays for the school track team. This Scout troop is sponsored by the VFW and the American Legion. The Cubs who did the highway cleanup are sponsored by the Methodist Church. Great work, Scouts. I am proud we can all be a part of the Boy Scout organization.

The ladies of Shelton actually got me to buy some Platte River quicksand. Boy, are they good salesmen. It is all for a good cause. Good luck with the historical marker. I hope you earn your $3000 quickly. Our love and thanks to a wonderful community. It is very obvious you are proud of your town and its history. Wilbur Donaldson, I hope you find your Thomas Christensen relatives soon.

The welcome into Gibbon was nice. We stayed at the park and had a great turkey dinner. The cutest little lady was playing the accordion. I sure wish I'd gotten her name. After walking quite a difficult day, the kids had a splashing good time in the horse trough. It started with just soaking the feet and turned into an all out wrestling match in the water. What a sight.

Today I want to write a little of Arianna Herterich's mothers thoughts. Her message was long so I edited it a little.

Kimberly Sue Herterich; age 40; Hemet, Ca. Homeschool for 11 years.

I am having a very difficult time finding my place here. My 4 children and I came to this group with only a minimum amount of knowledge as to what we would actually experience. We left our loved ones to have an "experience". We knew it wouldn't be easy. We want to make it the whole way.

We are proud of our ancestors who walked this country.

I am probably feeling the same as my great great grandmother Ann and Grandfather Henry Grow felt when he was crossing the plains. At the Elk River Crossing the company she was crossing with went up river to find an easier way. They were separated from the group for much of the journey. I feel that I am on a separate trail. Instead of walking each day as I had planned, I have been driving. I have spent most of my time making and taking down camp; packing and unpacking. I check out the next campsite, plan meals on a limited budget, cook, clean up and pack lunches.

The clothing is a different story. We try to save our authentic looking clothes for big media days since these clothes are limited. We wear our jeans and sweatshirts, trying to stay warm by layering. Winter coats we didn't have. Coats of a sort were brought, but have no worth in this cold. Our flannel blankets are such a blessing. We use them all day and sleep with them over our heads at night. I am trying to keep my kids warm and healthy and not be short with them.

When I was walking there was not time to do everything else. My muscles would lock up and after the shuttle I couldn't move. I would have to find the kids among the wagon train, make dinner, and get ready for the next day. By then I am completely out of energy. The sopping wet and freezing cold, splitting fingertips from the dry air, the chapped sore face and frozen toes make everything more difficult. I wake up at night to check the kids and don't get enough sleep.

I have finally come to the conclusion that in order for my four children, Arianna, age 14; Jeremiah, age 12; Rebekah, age 10; and Orrin, age 8, to have a memorable, good experience, I will be their support system. Just like my choice of being at home with my children and not working out of the home, we want to experience life with them through homeschool. My decision was to support them so they can make new friends, and write in their journals. These experiences will be theirs for a lifetime. The support I give them during this trek is only needed for a short time.

I love this experience with them. I feel very honored and grateful to be here. I love my husband more and more for helping make this possible for us.


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