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 12, 1997

Location: Cozad, Nebraska - Location: 40:51:35N 99:59:13W Elevation: 2486 feet

Summary: Lexington to Cozad

Journal entry: Before we leave Lexington, a very interesting item of notice is that this community used to be called Plum Creek. According to the local people and local folklore, there was a hanging in town and Plum Creek came to be known as the town that did a hanging. The residents did not like this reputation, so they decided to change the name. One of the wealthy people in town had come from Lexington, Texas, and it was thus named after that town.

Getting up this morning was very very cold. We traveled out of Lexington hoping the wind would be a little more gentle today than it was yesterday. The wind is constant. All the Nebraska folds say yup! We get wind. I guess they do!!!! One other thing about Nebraska, Spring has arrived. It is not uncommon now to see tulips and daffodils. The lilac bushes are also in full bloom. It is a welcome sight. The leaves are partially budded out on most of the trees. People who live here say this is a very cold Spring and that flowers are generally always out by now. Lawns are greening up and the blossoming trees are just beautiful Some of them are already dropping petals.

We walked about 14 miles today. I guess most people said it was a fast and easy paced day. I know it really helped to have some of the area LDS missionaries with us to help pull carts. We ALWAYS appreciate people to help us pull carts.

Today when we were stopped and resting for lunch, some pony express riders rode in and offered to take any of our mail and mail it. They would also use a special pony express cancellation that was specially created for this occasion. It was really kind of fun. So, Cozad is the second town to have a special postage cancellation commemorating the Mormon Trail wagon train coming through. I think Gothenburg also has one. The roads are getting dusty now and when the wind blows, we eat dust. And let me tell you, the wind blows. Today crossing the railroad tracks most of the horses cross just fine, but those mules are really stubborn. They really have to be coaxed. I got a picture of two of the wagons crossing. We stayed in a field tonight and had a country band for entertainment. It was pretty good.

I am doctoring two brand new blisters tonight. Same socks, same shoes. Strange! Right on the balls of my feet. Will they never end? We walked on a lot of pavement today. Maybe that's the reason.

I asked Shalisse Lewis to write an entry for the website. She walks.

My name is Shalisse Lewis and I'm twenty-one. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have always possessed a very strong love of history. For example, when I was about three years old, I became very angry with my mother because I wasn't born a pioneer. History is so important because everything we associate with has history behind it. If you are involved at all in the business world, the company you work for has a past and a story of how it came into being. What about you and your own story? You are important because you are history. History does not have to be a boring, abstract class which turns into nap time. I teach history and in my class if you fall asleep, I will kick your desk. Besides that, my main goal is to make history come to life as much as possible. The Mormon Trail Wagon Train re-enactment is an enormous simulation of history. When the chance came to go on the train, I knew that I had to practice what I preach. Now here I am on the train.

Obedience School For Horses: (a re-telling)
First of all you must understand that I am a pure-bred city girl. I've never really been around animals much. While I was growing up, I had dogs, fish, hamsters, and even a toad, but nothing that could have prepared me for this new adventure. The first lesson I learned about horses is that unlike dogs, when you tell a horse to stay, it doesn't.

The wagon train was stopped for lunch. Two of the teamsters, Ferns and Gary, were standing in front of the horses so they wouldn't think it was time to go. Brett, another teamster was standing in the wagon; we were both cleaning up after lunch. Suddenly the horses began to walk forward. Ferns and Gary yanked on the horses' bridles, but it was to no avail. Brett gallently plunged for the reins but one of the horses didn't have a bit in his mouth. As a reward for his effort, Brett ended up with a scratched hand. As for me, I had just lifted the tailgate when the horses began to move. The tailgate crashed down onto my shin and I instantly grasped the chain. Thinking I was some kind of warrior woman, I tugged and held onto the chain with all my might. After being dragged for a few seconds and realizing that the wagon was gaining speed, I aborted my mission. The wagon went thundering into a nearby ditch and the horses kept right on going through a barbed-wire fence and a couple of mules. Fortunately the spreader mowed down a fence post and pushed the barbed-wire out of the way. Someone saw the danger and moved the mules in time. None of the animals were hurt.

In hindsight, it really wasn't that tramatic an experience, but being a potentially dangerous one, but it sure got my adrenaline pumping. I wonder if obedience school for horses wouldn't be such a bad idea. Horses could learn a thing or two from dogs, the first thing of course, how to stay unless instructed otherwise.

Shalisse Lewis

Thanks, Shalisse. HappyNetTrekking!