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The Untold Story Of The West!

Conquering the Wild West – Edith Kohl’s Trilogy

It was one afternoon of an early fall day in Illinois that a small girl sat playing alone in a farmyard plucking flowers from a late-blooming rosebush twining them in her long golden curls. Delicate of form and feature, she looked younger than her twelve years.

A green cottage stood at the end of a flower-bordered walk and at the front gate, the mounting steps from which she and her sister mounted their ponies.

From the fields came the scent of clover and across the bridge that spanned a narrow branch a string of cows were coming home, bells tinkling. From a nearby tree a whippoorwill was calling in plaintive tone.

But the blue eyes of the girl looked wistfully into the distance. She did not saunter down the lane to head the cows in at the gate stopping to look for four-leaf clovers on the way nor call back “whip-poor-will” to the birds as she usually did.

A slightly-built man, vital and quick of motion, entered the yard. The girl ran to meet him.

“Papa!” she cried. “Papa, let’s hitch up Dan and Roxie to a covered wagon and go “way out West.”

Dan and Roxie, the driving team of light-weight thoroughbreds, were no more fitted for desert traveling than the girl herself. But her father had said they could cover more ground than any two pieces of horse flesh over which he had ever drawn a rein.

He stopped now and looked at her in astonishment, then walked on to the house saying kindly, “Come on in, Edie, and eat your supper.”

But Tom Ammons was troubled at the strange outburst from this mere child for whom the parents had deemed a sheltered life essential. And now that Molly was gone …

It was a strange sad world into which the impressionable girl suddenly had been thrown. Mary Ammons — everyone called her Molly — was dead, leaving a bereaved husband and two children, Edith Eudora and Ida Mary, a year younger. Ida Mary, a healthy, wholesome child, had self-reliant ways and went about bravely making no complaint.

But in those first tragic days, Edith Eudora with her hyper sensitive nature developed a spiritual strain beyond her years. Her world had become dark and unreal and she liked the sunny things of life. Now that her mother was gone she wanted to go away too. She could not go to heaven where God had taken her mother but — “Out West,” as she had heard folk talk of it, was another world; a place almost as remote and mysterious as Heaven itself. Cousin Jack Hunter of the Chicago Stockyards really had been there. The coming country, he called it.

And after all, she reflected, traveling on and on, with blue skies by day and rain pattering, pattering on the canvas of an old covered-wagon by night would be a lot nicer than sitting still on a throne listening to golden harps all day.

They were a solid, thrifty people, the Ammonses, who through many years had planted themselves deep into the soil of Illinois becoming an integral part of Clinton County where they had settled.

Ready to explore more of the west?