April 29, 1997
Location: Genoa, Nebraska - Location: 41:26:55N 97:43:49W Elevation: 1580 feet
Summary: The trip into Genoa.
Journal entry: The severe storm that is supposed to come today has moved Northward. We may see some heavy rain, but not as severe as we thought.
Wake up is 4:30. It is dark. It is also quite cool, but no frost. The wagons and horses pull out of the field first...handcarts and walkers last. We turn a corner and immediately face a canal bridge. Some of the mules and horses refuse to cross. It takes a lot of encouragement to get them going. Right after the bridge is a sharp left turn and the mules and some of the horses refuse to do that. Some wagons are pulled off to the right into a giant field in order to get a straight shot at the canal road ahead. This works and we are again in order and heading down the trail.
We have two groups of schoolchildren with us today. The Genoa Elementary School is here and are riding on the people wagon. Occasionally they get out and walk.
The other school is the Norfolk Alternative School--a Junior High for kids who have problems at the regular school, but want to keep trying. We had these kids pulling handcarts and they worked hard. They did a great job, too. I could tell they were very tired at the end of the day--and today was only 9 miles.
I talked with Polly Brown, the English teacher. She said that these fourteen students here today had to qualify for the trip on a point system. Out of 25 kids in the school, 15 qualified and 14 came. Steven Rodriguez said about the handcarts, oIt's hard work!" The students also had to interview a pioneer. Brian interviewed me. Preston and Brandon are great handcart pullers. Want to help tomorrow, boys? Only nineteen miles.
We also enjoyed having a lot of people from Columbus who brought their horses or rode or walked. Thanks for joining out trek. Our journey today was so picturesque. We spent most of the day following a canal. The trees and bushes were budding and I finally saw my first green leaves. The wild plum bushes were blossoming and smelled so fragrant. We couldn't help but pick a few branches to take along.
The folks of Genoa lined the roadside as we pulled into town. I have new blisters--and I need a shower--bad! We have had a wonderful rider with us since the beginning--Chuck Dannelly from here in Genoa. He has helped us, encouraged us, and gotten us to his hometown, Genoa. And now he opened his home to a lot of us to shower. The high school was also available for showers.
Chuck took several of our group out to ride horses. How can we ever thank you and repay you, Chuckles. You are a wonderful person. Keep on dancing!
Genoa was first built as a way station for migrating pioneers. It was begun by the Mormons under the direction of Brigham Young. I was told it did not last long and was abandoned after two years.
A very exciting thing happened to Joseph and me today. We were at the right place at the right time. A man by the name of Jerry Carlson from Genoa asked if we liked history. Of course we said yes. He then said, "Come with me." We loaded into the cab of his truck and he drove us to his uncle's farm on Plum Creek, just a few miles away. He took us to Council Creek where the bridge crosses the main highway. We then went through the fence to the right and hiked up a small hill. Here he showed us where the John Dunbar missionary station was located. There were four similar dug-out type holes in the ground. Trees were growing in the dug-out areas. Jerry pointed to a field across the road and stated that this way the location of the government station of James Case. We hiked to the exact spot-now his uncle's field-where the buildings were located. Joseph found a rusted door hinge. We also picked up small chunks of red and yellow building materials that are now part of the corn furrows. The Pioneers crossed and camped at this exact place on Thurs., April 22, 1847.
Before returning to camp, Jerry drove us to a field of native prairie grass--an area never cultivated. Here we saw the depression in the earth, the result of countless wagon wheels crossing over the ground. This is physical evidence of the migration of thousands of people to the West. I was impressed. Thanks so much Jerry for taking time to show us history. God bless you and Chuck and all of Genoa.
The rain arrives! Happy NetTrekking!