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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

McCafferty, Mrs.
Imogene St. John McCafferty,   pp. 41-47 PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 43


persons wintered in the cabin. We were the first fam-
ily to occupy it. Our family consisted of my father,
Samuel W. St. John, mother, two brothers, Levi and
Griffin, and myself, Imogene G., the only daughter, and
the young men.
    In 1835, October 5, our long journey ended and we
took possession of the little cabin. ( Later I will give
our personal history and a sketch of our journey.) In
Chicago, then a small village, my father met the Holmes
boys who were there for supplies. They gave such glow-
ing accounts of the country he decided to return with
them. So, mounting one of his fine, large, black horses
who brought us all the way from Vermont, he journeyed
into Wisconsin and made his claim in the Rock River
Valley. Some weeks later he concluded to return, via
Milwaukee, then a village of a few families, where he
could take a boat for Chicago. At the close of the first
day out he staked his horse, took his blanket and camped
under a large oak tree and went supperless to sleep as
well as he could with wolves howling in the distance.
He had hoped to find some inhabitants on the journey,
but did not. The next morning found his horse so lame
that he had to leave him. So he hung his saddle and
blanket high in a tree and completed the journey on foot
with his compass for a guide, reaching Milwaukee that
night, and on to Chicago by boat where we were await-
ing his return.
    After making the necessary preparations for the
journey to the new country, we started through Illinois,
traveling mostly over prairies with no roads. As there
were no bridges, we had to ford all the streams we en-
countered. Some days we would travel without finding
water. The first day our oxen suffered terribly, and
when they did scent water they broke into a run and
could not be restrained until they reached the stream. I
shall never forget my own sufferings as well. My father
had not dreamed but what water would be plentiful.
After that day's experience we were provided with water.
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