The Nebraskan. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1892-1899, December 01, 1892, Page 37, Image 9

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. . , . M Fair and Worthy Raaper,
John Payne whs a curious character who
lived in the northern part of Indiana for sev
eral years. He was a shiftless follow with
no ambition for advancement in his financial
or intellectual condition, but was content in
working small patches of ground about his
place sufficiently to obtain a mere living.
His place had a forlorn appearance, as if it
were unoccupied rather than being the
abode of an able-bodied man. His neighbors
had split surplus logs into rails, making
strong fences around their farms, and had
whitewashed the walls of their log cabins
giving them a bright appearance. With en
ergetic perseverence they had cleared large
tracts of land, utilizing the ground that the
thick briar patches and forests had before
covered, for raising extensive crops. The
country was nearly one entire mass of forests
and thickets before the white settlers pushed
into its midst and began to clear away then
selected farms for making a permanent set
tlement. Usually they settled in groups for
protection and companionship to each other.
It was in the 40's that John Payne came
west and selected a small farm near one of
these groups. He was a widower, and had
a boy of ten and a girl of five. The neigh
bors were always glad to see an addition to
their 'flock," as they often termed it, and
aided John to construct his log cabin, and to
get him settled in his new home. Although
they found him to be a poor addition after
wards, yet he never bothered his neighbors,
nor gave them any cause for complaint. He
stayed at home most of the time, except
when he went to the village, about eight
miles east, to trade, and learn the news.
Payne's stock consisted of two bony horses
and a cow of doubtful age. He had but few
farming implements, of the most rude kind.
In spite of his unsociability he was'kind to
his children, and' a total' abstainer from the
use of intoxicating liquors. His son, Harold,
was a strong boy for his age, and did much
about the place. The daughter, Anael, was
too young to do anything when they first
came west, but had a sweet disposition which
filled the home with sunshine, and drove
away the lonesomeness of this back-woods
abode. The first five years soon passed
away, and Anael had assumed the house
hold cares, while Harold did most of the
work on the farm, for his father was adverse
to labor, and only did so at first to keep
from starving. Now that his children were
growing old enough to relieve his shoulders
from laborous duties, he took to hunting and
idleness with increased eagerness.
The woods were full of wild flowers, and
Anael often spent an afternoon in gathering
a beautiful boquet of violets, buttercups,
daisies, ferns, and dozens of others varieties
of enhancing beauty.
In the early 5o's the California gold
fever was still raging, and penetrated to this
back-woods neighborhood. Another un
hewn man, about of like character to Payne,
dwelt some four miles away, and they re
solved to join a party going west in search
of the hidden wealth. He put all his belong
ings in one wagon, over which a rude cover
was fashioned. The farm was traded for
two good teams, and some money to carry
on the expenses of the trip, and living ex
penses until more was acquired from the
mountains. A string of eight wagons journ
eyed westward, comprising fifteen able
bodied men and boys, and a little over half
that many women. A strict guard was kept
but no intruders bothered them.
After a six month's journey they arrived at
their new destination during the last of No
vember. Once in the famous gold valleys
they began to look for a claim. They 'found
great difficulty in obtaining 'a location in' any
l. "'TV.