Father joined the rafting crew and helped float a raft that was a half-mile long, to Cincinnati, Ohio. They floated during the days and tied up along the bank at night. From there he took the train into Eastern Kansas, where he worked on a wheat farm until winter. He then walked into the western part of the state until he found the place that looked best to him and homesteaded. Built a sod house, broke up some land, and came back for the family in the spring of 1880. Then at the age of nine years I began to travel.
We boarded the train at Wellsville, N.Y. and traveled five days and nights to reach the city of Larned, Kansas. There we hired a team of mangy ponies and a farm wagon and traveled two long weary days farther. We arrived at the old soddy at sundown.
Father had purchased some lumber and one of the neighbors had laid a floor for him while he was gone. There was one door and two one-sash, four-light windows, 10" x 12" glass. The roof was supported by a heavy ridge pole and pole rafters, covered with willows over which was laid about ten inches of sod.
We arrived in the midst of a dry period. It rained only once that summer. Just a shower in the night, moistened the soil only a half inch deep. Corn that was planted failed to reach the tasseling stage. The buffalo grass was short, sparse, and yellow, but stock kept fat on it. A large percentage of the settlers left during the summer, returning to their old homes. Those who stayed either had nothing to go back to, or were too stubborn to give up.
The next spring, at the age of ten, Father straddled me over an old saddle, strapped to the back of an Indian pony and I rode herd on our own and neighbors cattle for the next four years. We left the ranch and moved to the county seat in 1885, where father bought a feed and flour mill, powered with a large windmill.
In 1888, lost both my mother and sister. In April, 1889, Father sold his business, and with a small team and a covered wagon, and accompanied by a cousin and a school chum, we drove west to Pueblo, Colorado. We worked for wages that summer and until December when we sold everything we had except such personal belongings as we could carry as baggage, and took the train for Seattle, arriving Christmas morning at 10 o'clock, 1889.