101 Stories

with which I follow the road of the Family for a Century

The Garton Covered Wagon Tragedy

Just before the days of the Civil War great-grandfather Garton put most of his worldly goods into a wagon train and undertook the perilous journey overland to deliver supplies for the government to mining camps in the Rockies. After affectionate farewells he, with his son, Elijah, and some of their kinsmen, the Laughlins and others, set out for the West. All went well until they had passed Fort Kearney in Nebraska. One night they camped with the customary precautions for the night, by which all stock was put into a corral made by circling wagons. In the morning as they broke camp, Grandpa Garton was detained a little by reason of a lame mule so was a little behind the wagon train as they moved onward. At this critical hour they were attacked by Indians. All the party were massacred, including Grandpa and his son, Elijah, except two of the Laughlin brothers who had a racing horse which could outrun the Indian ponies. Upon this steed they made their escape. These men were brothers of Grandma Garton and it was a sad message they brought home to their widowed sister. But, true pioneer woman that she was, she bravely carried on with raising her family. Her baby, born two months later (Aunt Zere1da) never saw her father. Our Grandpa Garton, Joseph Duncan, was only ten years old. So he grew up without his father and was deeply devoted always to his mother, marrying late that he might remain with her to help her with the little farm in Missouri.

This tragic tale I have not numbered with the rest because of its special nature and interest.

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