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A Colorado Heroine

A Colorado Heroine image
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On Friday night of lafit week, iA one of the small páftá of Colorado, iying among thé mountains on the Ñorth Platte, there was a curïoüs scène. There ] in a place fifteen miles away from the nearest neighbor sat a woman, ( ed by her faniily of seven children, and . watching the dead body of her husbaud. ] A large fire which she and her oldest . boy, a lad of 14, had built, threw a ; ghastly glare over the lonely landscape. , The broad sky above, and the hnge hills j J around made more intense tïie sense of , desolation and the littleness of ty, and the murmur of the stream near by and the bark of the fox in the ( tance were the only utterances of ( tude to grief. This woman's story, as , told in the Denver Tribune, is one of the most affecting in the strange annals of American pioneer adventure. Her ; hnsband, W. H. Ostrom, had come to ; Colorado from Alabama, and, on account of the depredafions of the.grasshoppers ' had not been very prosperous. He had prepared a new home for his family in a park on the North Platte, and set out that morning from Pïne Grove gulch for the journey of twenty miles, in a Western wagon drawn by a team of mules, and loaded with his household and his household goods. Toward evening, as he was crossing a small stream at a rough part of the road, one of the mules shied, and the wagon was overturned. It is probable that Ostrom was walking beside it, and flung bimself in the way to try and save his wif e and children. They were thrown vio-' lently out and he was caught imder the overttirned wagon and borne to the ground with the cross-bar of the wagon-bed across him and a weight of 1,500 poünds crushing him. His terrified wife found him lying in this way, cool and considérate, but very pale. He directed her in her vain efforts to pry the wagon over, and died within five minutes, even while assuring her that he was not dangerously hurt. The oldest boy was on foot, driving a ców, and came up only in time to join his mother in her attempts to release his father's dead body. With true pioneer readiness and sternness the team was unhitched and put to drag off the wagon, the corpae was rolled in a sheet, a fire was built, the mules were corralled, and the widow and ötpbans sat down in their dismal bivouac. Even when death comes by slow approaches and with fair warning, where the care of anxious friends and the comforts of civilized life mitígate suffering, the loss of a husband and father is a calamity that evokes our sympathy for the afflicted. It is a grief that no condolences can soften, no wealth alleviate, no companionship render endurable. It would be useless, therefore, to dweil upon the terror of death when it struck down 'the head of a family unexpectedly and violently in a Colorado wiiderness, leaving a woman and children desolate, with darkness and Ihedesert aboutthem. We think a picture of this watch of Mrs. Ostrom would be as characteristic of a great phase of American liie as any scène that the imagination could conceive of. In her bitter experience, giving us a glimpse of the sufferings of the women of the Western frontier, we have something to suggest the trials and labors of all that hardy generation which pushed slowly on from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, before whom the nessreceded likethe horizon. It is the j fault of our time to underrate the rough I virtues of the pioneers, and forget the value of their achievements. We are I losing sight of the romantic and heroio aspects of their life, in the refmements and luxuries of our own. Hor story should bring back old memories to those in the heart of civilization, and teach them what they cost. It was not by enchantment that the log cabin was changed to the brown-stone mansion, the homespun dressés to silk, the emigrant wagons to family carriages. The metamorphosis was rapid, but it was the result of the sacrifice and endeavor of ages heaped into a few years. The Colorado woman, sitting all night in her mournful bivouac, with her seven children around and the corpse of her husband just outside of the glare of the fire, stiffening in the frost- this penniess widow a rousing herself in the morniug, taking the dead body on the wagon and retracing her steps toward civilization, is as distinct a type of American womanhood as the gayest lady that attends church in New Yorkto-day. They have different missions; but neither of them should forget that they are


Old News
Michigan Argus