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

Sturtevant, Gene
Susa Viletta Humes Sturtevant,   pp. 130-135 PDF (1.4 MB)

Page 131

strength of character from her sturdy forebears, was ex-
hibited at this early age, when through a misunder-
standing between her mother and sisters, each supposing
that the others had the baby with them, she was left
alone in her cradle, in an otherwise empty house, after
the family had actually started on the first lap of the
long journey to their new home in Wisconsin. The plan
was to spend the night at the home of a relative, in order
that an early start might be had the following morning,
and when the family had assembled there, lo! the baby
was missing. Her father and uncle hurried back to the
deserted house, a distance of a mile, with a lantern, and
there, quietly sleeping, they found her safe and sound.
    In 1848, overcome by the privations and hardships of
pioneer life, her mother passed away, and then began the
growth of self-reliance in the child, which has been mani-
fest through her mature years.
    While she was still a tiny girl, between three and
four years old, she had mastered the alphabet, her father
being her teacher and the text book used, the family
Bible; and later, tenderly watched and guided by an older
sister, she was a constant attendant at the primitive
"deestrict" school, which was held in a little log school
house, where her aptitude and desire for knowledge
caused more than one of her teachers to coach her in-
dividually, in branches which were not generally included
in the curriculum of the country schools of that day. Even
in her childhood she showed a literary trend of mind, and
encouraged by her devoted sister, took great pride in her
school work in English composition. At the age of elev-
en years, she wrote a poem, which to her chagrin, her
teacher considered too good to be original. However,
when she was about sixteen years old, another teacher,
without the knowledge of my mother, secured publica-
tion in a weekly newspaper in Janesville, of a poem,
which she had submitted in her school work instead of
the usual "composition." The elation of seeing her verses
in print, over her name, fired ambition and thereafter her
writings found place in newspapers and magazines.

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