|Bear Tracks Quilt Block Pattern Information|
This month, I participated in the 3rd Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge as well as the Reading to Know Classic Book Club. I read the first two books in her Little House Series, Little House In the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie. These are actually re-reads for me, having read them when I was growing up and later with my sons and my students. I have a classroom set of 25 copies of each book from when I was teaching 3rd and 4th grades!
My favorite chapter in Little House in the Big Woods is called "Two Big Bears." Ma accidentally slaps a bear, thinking it is Sukey, the cow. Pa is scared of a bear in the nighttime that turns out to be nothing but a stump!
The best part of reading Little House on the Prairie is seeing how similar my great-grandfather's experience was with that of the Ingalls family. The Ingalls family lived near Independence, Kansas from 1869-1871. My great-grandfather, James Lynch, moved to Kansas in 1867, two years earlier than the Ingalls family, and settled about 100 miles north of them.
My grandmother (his daughter) wrote a biography about him. Here are some excerpts:
"James stayed in Illinois until November 1867 when he went to Kansas after getting letters from former neighbors. . . These neighbors had written to him that he could buy cheap land in Kansas. He took the train to Topeka and the stage to Burlingame (in Osage County, Kansas) and visited these friends. He bid on and bought 134 acres at four dollars per acre. He then went to live with his younger brother Thomas and worked there that winter to get money to farm with.
"The next year, he (James) used a breaking plow hitched to a pony and an oxen and worked for Mr. Condell to pay for the use of them. He made posts and used smooth wire to fence his land. He later bought two oxen. The grass was shoulder high. His land was next to Elm Creek, with running water and shade. On week-ends, he walked to Burlingame and back to get supplies (fifteen miles one way). He bought lumber in Burlingame to build a one-room house east of where the present house is. Mr. Condell and Mr. Cunningham were kind to James and took care of him when he was ill with ague. It was a form of malaria, with chills and fever. It came on regularly each afternoon, so he could only work in the mornings.
"There was only one house between his place and Emporia. It was the Phillips rock house. It was a stage rest stop and inn between Emporia and Burlingame, a distance of thirty miles. There were many Indians near his land, but they gave no trouble. They camped in the timber south of his house and came begging. He would dig a hole in the ground to hide his meat and other foods they wanted, so they couldn't find it. In 1868, the government rounded up the Indians in that timber and sent them to a reservations in Oklahoma. Some wandered back and stayed around."
|James and Caroline Lynch Wedding Photo|
March 3, 1880
I have made a quilt to go with his complete biography. My grandfather led a very interesting life! Click here if you'd like to see my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt.
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Country Farm Quilt Block and Tea with Susan Branch.