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 13, 1997

Location: Gothenburg, Nebraska - Location: 40:55:46N 100:09:37W Elevation: 2567 feet

Summary: We cross the 100th meridian; and into Gothenburg

Journal entry: Will it ever be warm in the mornings? Not likely. It was cold again, can see your breath, ice under the sprinklers cold!! And it is no guarantee that the afternoons won't be hot.

Before we totally leave the Lexington area I must give my greatest thanks for the wonderful fellows in the School District office who again sent off my e-mail. Thanks to John who gave it a good go-around, but found our two computer systems were not compatible. He then directed me to Roger Farr who had the magic solution and fingers and did the trick. Thanks so much for your help. It was very much appreciated.

I talked also with the postmaster who was a little unhappy he hadn't had time to develop a commemorative stamp for this occasion with the wagon train coming through. But he was so helpful and sent me on my way. Please tell your friend the cinnamon suckers were yummy and thanks. They could have been a tad hotter!

Leaving Cozad this morning the train passed through the 100th meridian. It was at this point when the 1847 pioneers passed, that they were really passing into the "West." It is also the point when irrigation of lands was considered a must. The air is getting drier and our altimeter says we are rising slightly. Joseph found the exact location of the 100th.

Today was just a walk day. Walk! Walk! Walk! I think of a lot of things...like..."I am too old to be doing this" "Should I quit?" "Is this really worth it?" "Do I want to walk today?" (NO) "Why do my feet have to hurt all of the time?" "Why do I have blisters again?" "Why don't I just go home?" "I miss my family" "Kathy Webb has done too much work on this for me to just fink out." "Why are we walking so fast?" "Why do I look at the ground all of the time?" "What are those blood spots on the road?"(A mule had cut its foot. It was taken care of after the walkers noticed the blood on the road). "Why did I just step right in that pile of horse poop?" "Why didn't I just step around it?" "Did it stay on my shoe?" "Why don't we stop for a water break?" "I am too old for this......."

Pretty soon we entered Gothenburg. I guess the pony express riders came out to meet us again, but we didn't see it cause we are at the end of the train. It was a hard hill to walk up into camp. Heber and John kept us going with their bantering. We will just have to separate those two boys! (Just kidding, dad. They're a couple of troopers.) That Heber is an ox. He can pull that cart all by himself up the hill. But he won't let us old ladies hold on and.....help him. We have to drag ourselves up the hill.

The field is soft and I always take a nap right away. So nice. The wind turned horrific about 45 minutes after we arrived and we all dropped for cover. Glad we got in before the wind did.

Today I visited the Pony Express Station here in Gothenburg. It is a well preserved little wooden structure with a museum and small gift shop inside. It was originally located just southwest of town. The pony express stations were about 10 to11 miles apart. They originated in St Joseph, Missouri, and went all the way to California. Many of the riders were Mormon boys. It didn't last for long because the train came. The cost to send a half ounce letter was $5.00.

Just west of town is a sod house museum. It is an actual house built from prairie sod. The roof is wood, but the sides are sod. It was really very interesting. There were also wood windows. I know in many sod houses there was no wood for wood was very difficult to find.

Tonight at our camping area, the 4th graders from Dudley Elementary came and sang for us. They did an excellent job. They also did some really good square dancing and they acted like they were really were having fun. The children from Dudley school make quilts about their area and heritage. These quilts from the last few years were hung around the building. There was also some great artwork portraying some of the hardships and problems that the Mormons faced on their trek westward. This was an art display by the children and it was a beautiful job. I want to thank all of you students who participated in any way and a special thanks to your music teacher, Mr Ernie Blecha. You have a great talent with children, sir! Some of the children also wrote essays about the Mormons. I will print two of these tomorrow night.

The program continued with two very talented singers from the high school. One of the LDS Mormon missionaries displayed his many talents, we had story tellers and music. It was all a treat. We were pleased to hear a musical number from Miss Nebraska, Rachel White. What a very lovely person. The evening was very enjoyable. Gothenburg, you have been wonderful to us. We are lucky to be here for two days. See you tomorrow. HappyNetTrekking!

Margaret Clark : She's going the entire distance from Winter Quarters to Salt Lake City during the 1997 Heritage Gateway Wagon Train Re-enactment.