2018 Spring Newsletter

The Busy Life of Sarah Everett S arah Everett was an Osawatomie pioneer who shared a bit of her day in an October 27, 1857 letter to “Cynthia,” which makes the description a “busy mom” an understatement. Everett writes, “If the baby will be quiet long enough I will answer the question in your last letter. John got back from Lecompton as we may have written in some previous letter. We both came through the trail unscathed by either the “winds or the wolves.” And what do you think of me, I have to stay two nights every week and not that but I have three cows to milk besides pigs to feed and chickens to take care of and crying babies to look after.” by Grady Atwater

Adding to Sarah Everett’s work load was made more challenging by the fact that she had become ill, and as she anticipated the symptoms of her ague[ a form of Malaria] getting worse, she was planning ahead, and wrote, “And just now if all this were too little the chills have set in, so with all the rest of my duties I am com pelled to shake every other day- getting in from the field and boiling sufficient pumpkin for the pig- keep ing the cows up so that I may be able to milk early be fore my chills come on fixing food for Franky to help himself to &c. “ However, Sarah’s primary concern was the welfare of her child, and she wrote, “Baby will have the hardest time and I don’t know just how he can be managed – hope this state of affairs won’t last a great while. “

Sarah Everett also had to contend with dealing with wild animals, and took the presence of wolves around her cabin, but took the wolves in stride, and stated, “We have no dangerous wild beast that I know of. Prairie Wolves are not dangerous and those are the ones who howl around our lone cab ins. “Sarah Everett then addressed the reality that Osawatomie’s and Miami County’s pioneers lived in isolated cabins with a calm demeanor that illus trates the courage of the pioneers, “We are not so very far from our neighbors only ½ a mile and we have far more companions among tame beasts than wild ones.”

Sarah Everett enjoyed living on the Kansas frontier, and was the embodiment of the power of a positive attitude, and wrote “and as to hardships Kansas has less of them than many older countries- that however depends in a great measure on the way we look at things – Things that would have been to me unendurable in Steuben are only a little disagreeable here simply because I like Kansas and didn’t like Steuben and I am sure that you would find few hardships were you to come here also.” Sarah Everett was a brave pioneer who endured great hardships to settle Osawato mie and Miami County, and we owe her and the other mothers who reared children on the frontier and helped to establish Osawatomie and Miami County a debt of gratitude and respect.

Grady Atwater

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