I am a voracious reader and history is my particular passion. In coming posts I want to share with you the rich history of our home, Cheyenne, and Wyoming. Many of the stories I’ve read are even more interesting, funny and exciting than anything that a writer’s imagination could dream up. While researching people associated with the history of the mansion, I ran across the following story. Since it wasn’t what I was searching for at the time, I failed to note the particular newspaper and date…but the story itself has stuck with me.
The setting was a remote family owned ranch in the late 1880s. One morning while the rancher was out on the range with the livestock, “the missus” hitched up the team of horses to the wagon and headed off to pick up wood along a distant creek (trees were rare on the prairie and were usually only found along the occasional creek bed). While she was working around the wagon, the horses were spooked, and she was knocked beneath the wagon. The wheel ran over her leg, nearly severing it from her body.
Though in great pain, the woman had enough presence of mind to tie her apron around the leg and she began to crawl back across the prairie toward the ranch. The poor woman crawled all day, and though she didn’t reach the ranch, she amazingly managed to get as far as the area where their herd of sheep was grazing. The hour was dusk and her husband was checking on the sheep when he saw a dark form creeping toward the sheep. Thinking it was a coyote, the husband fired his shotgun at her and only learned it was his wife when the form collapsed and he went to examine it.
Fortunately he’d missed and she’d finally collapsed from exhaustion and pain (probably thinking “this is not a good day”). He collected her, took her home to bed and went for a doctor while she remained in bed struggling for life. She died three days later.
I can’t think of a story that better illustrates the type of fortitude and endurance it took to live on the plains in the early days!