Great grandmothers Locket
Sarah opens the locket she has worn from her youth. Tears fill her aging eyes as she gazes at the pictures. Sadness and happiness both flow through her mind. Looks up, someone is entering the room. Her mind jolted back from the Civil War to the present. It is 1912, in Salina, Kansas, New Year’s Eve. With Sun warming her shoulders, the Sanitarium attendant enters her room escorting a visitor.
As the young visitor sits down she notices a locket in the elderly woman’s hand says, “You miss him? I do too.”
Sarah’s face lights up with a smile. “Yes, I miss Christian. Today it has been 27 years since I failed him.” With tears in her eyes, she holds tight to her treasure. She hopes never to lose the necklace like she lost him. She asks, “Julie, please stay for a while.” The young lady, somewhat surprised at her response, nods her head in agreement.
I remember Christian; He was a handsome fellow. When I gave him a kiss, I had to stand on a chair. He was a mountain of a man, all muscle. That guy could work harder than any fellow I had ever known. He was kind to a fault; he constantly gave a calm answer, never a vulgar word came from his mouth.
The young lady adds, “He was handsome, and you would be hard-pressed to find a gentleman better than Father. His hands were weather-worn, but they could be soft and sympathetic when he would touch me on the head because I did the proper thing. And his smile would warm your heart.”
Sarah, smiling, “Yes, his laugh would melt me into my shoes. It is hard; it has been 27 years now.”
The young lady asks, “What is this on the table? I don’t think I had ever seen this before.”
Sarah’s trembling voice explains, “I asked the attendant to retrieve it from my travel trunk. So I could share it with you.”
With curiosity, the young lady picks up a wood box with a hook that holds it shut.
Sarah encourages her, “Unhook it and tell me what you see?”
Opening the box, gasping with surprise, “Why, it is a picture of Father he seems so youthful?”
Sarah responds, “It was his traveling papers from Gothenburg, Sweden. You can see the ship’s name on the papers.”
The young lady read, “The ship was a Briggen named Minona Gudiva.”
“I remember Christian telling me about his journey like it was yesterday. Christian was only twenty years old. He told me his story while sitting in the mercantile having lunch. I asked him how he came to America.”
His reply, “Leaving Switzerland, I had turned twenty. Father spoke to me. Times changed and war is in the air. Everything you need is in here. He handed me a travel pack. You are a man now, go to the Land of Milk and honey. He gave me his blessing.”
After leaving home, I opened the pack and found clothes, money, and a letter. Hardship was common with my family. My mother’s name was Julia Engel. She was from Prussia. Jewish persecution there was terrible. She moved to Switzerland, where she met my father, Johann John Jacob Hobieler. The Catholic and Christian led government require Jews to convert to Christianity. If they refused, they would lose their citizenship and the right to own land.
My father’s Jewish name Ya’akov or Jacob, son of Abraham; mother’s name was Yocheved, which means the house of Levi and the wife of Amram, who was Mother of Miryam, Aaron and Moses.
Because of the entire persecution father named me Christian August Freadrich Hobieler, father taught Hebrew and gave me a name that only he and I knew, Zalman. It is the Yiddish for Solomon, the son of King David. My Jewish name Is Zalman Ben Ya’akov.
During my travels, both names have given me safety and guidance as I journey to the land of milk and honey. The trip from Sweden took two months, and then I arrived in New York, a place called Castle Gardens. It amazed me how many people spoke German and Yiddish.
Having only my travel bag father gave me. I had placed my money in my shoe. Journey through the streets of New York, searching for a friend of my father, became dangerous. People were hungry, begging for money and food. A man grabbed my bag and ran. As I chased after him, he ran down the street. He ran between several freight wagons and disappeared.
A man was loading a wagon I called out, “Did you see which way that man was going.” To my surprise, the man replies in Yiddish. He continued loading the wagon. “that thing happens all the time, just got off a boat?”
He smiled and said, “Do you know how to drive a team of horses?”
I replied, “My father taught me, yes.”
He smiled, “My name is Yitz’chak my English name is Isaac.”
Still holding the Letter his father gave to help find Jewish synagogue.
Isaac asked, “What is it you have in your hand?”
I handed him the letter.
Isaac smiled. “After I load these wagons, I will go to this synagogue. Help me get these two wagons loaded and we will go together.”
That is how my father met your father. I remember your father sometimes laughs out of the blue. He says to me, “Sarah, well today I am 40 years old, and so is the homeland.”
Nettie says, “That was the same year that Henry Caesar was born and…”
Sarah interrupts her. “We must not talk about that now! Christian only received one letter from his mother and father. He wrote them while we lived in Virginia. It is there, in the box. Please read it.”
Nettie understands Sarah has always confused her with Julia. Nettie continues to pretend. With all her heart, she wants to know about her grandparents. It something not discussed among the family. She picks up the Letter, reads it out loud and realizes written in Swiss German. Mother, thanks to you and Father, I can read this, but my German is not the best.
Translated into English reads:
My dearest Christian;
We received your letter before being evicted from our home in Nidau Bern. We lost our citizenship because we are Jews. The persecution has become a problem here. We learned we can regain our citizenship by moving to Lengnau or Endingen; the common lordship of Baden is kind to the Jewish people. Now the canton of Aargau is giving citizenship to Jews. Father is doing well. He sends his love. Father is confident that Adonai will give us safe passage. Father and I wanted you to leave before you could get entangled in the war. We praise Adonai that you are safe. Father says, He had a dream you will do well in the new land flowing with milk and honey. Remember to the Shema; do as I taught you. Love Adonai with all your heart, soul, and strength, and love others as yourself. Do not worry, live and serve Adonai. We will see you again in the world to come.
Sarah continues telling the story. The irony of all things Christian came to America to escape war. Now, after several battles fought in Virginia close to home, we moved to Ohio. My father and your father took everything we had and loaded into two large freight wagons. Father had sold everything and put it into hard cash, gold. Father divides the gold into two boxes, which he places in each freight wagon. If we lost one wagon during our travel, this would leave us something in the other wagon.
We left Virginia just after the Battle of Cheat Mountain on September 16, 1861. Father would drive the first wagon and Christian driving the wagon following father’s lead. We arrive in Ohio in the winter. The snow was blowing. Father arranged with the land office to buy a farmer’s house.
At the time I was only seven years old; my father had stocked the house with food. We had plenty of wood for the winter. I remember Father giving my mother a pistol and a rifle to keep. He kissed my mother, Mary, goodbye, and kissed me on the head. He left with Christian. They joined the Union Army at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, Company C, of the Ohio 113th Infantry Regiment. Father held the rank of private, as did Christian for three years’ service under the command of Colonel James A. Wilcox. That was the last time I saw both of them till the end of the war.
We received a letter from my father. Both father and Christian were outside Tennessee. The letter you can read is the next thing in my box. The letters are in order. Please read them, Julie?
February 14, 1863,
My Dearest Mary and Sarah,
It has been a long time since I have written. Please forgive me. Christian and I traveled to many places. We traveled a long way from Ohio to Tennessee.
Today, our company commander asked if we could ride a horse and shoot. We are waiting for orders. Christian and I volunteered. The mounted infantry regiments needed more men to join. Many of the men were sick, and some died. Christian and I have a fresh horse to take care of and a new rifle. It seems we will be in training till they need us. I hope the money I left holds you through the war.
If we do our part here, we will be home sometime soon. You are in our prayers, Christian, and I say our prayer twice, sometime three times a day. We pray for Adonai to make a speedy resolution to this war. We know of some men here have family in the Confederate camps. It grieves us that brother is against brother. We are sure this war resembles the time Israel and Judah became separated from one another. Adonai was not pleased with them, as I am sure he is not pleased with America.
We are well. May Adonai protect and cover you with his wings of protection.
Sarah, with tears in her eyes, says, “Julie, do you understand more about my father and Christian now?”
Julie responds, “Father and Christian will be in the Tullahoma Campaign. They joined the later famous Lighting brigade. They were very courageous men, and many men die it the battles they fought. Now I know why my father did not talk about this when they came back. I read stories of this unit and how they saved hundreds if not a thousand lives, by their courage and fighting skills.”
Sarah quickly responds, Isaac and Christian were heroes in the war. Adonai protected them throughout the war. Please read the next letter.
July 7, 1864,
Dearest Mary and Sarah,
All is well with Christian and me; we are around the area of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and will move soon. Just like Psalms 91: You who live in the shelter of Elyon, who spend your nights in the shadow of Shaddai, who say to Adonai, My refuge! My fortress! My God, in whom I trust! He will rescue you from the trap of the hunter and from the plague of calamities; He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his truth is a shield and protection. You will not fear the terrors of night or the arrow that flies by day, or the plague that roams in the dark, or the scourge that wreaks havoc at noon. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it won’t come near you.
This is our testimony that Adonai has protected us and will, so we may return. Christian says we will return to find the Land of Milk and Honey. I believe this, too, with all my heart. Adonai has heard your prayers.
Sarah interjects, “But, a month after receiving this Letter in September that same year, I lost mother to consumption. Mother was thirty-three years old, and I was ten years old. Before mother passed and had me go to the town, she gave me a gold coin. Mother told me where the two boxes were in case I need money. She sent me to fetch the Doctor. I ran to town a got the Doctor. I gave the Doctor the gold coin, and he said he would take care of everything. The Doctor came, and mother passes that night. Then the Doctor had some men from town to bury mother just outside her garden spot behind the garden house.”
Julie asks, “How did you manage? You were only ten years old?”
Sarah responds, “The Doctor saw the mezuzah on our door when he came in. He knew a Jewish family outside of town and told them about me. Not long after that, a wonderful Jewish lady knocked on the door. She came to check on me. She helped me prepare food; I surprised her I could cook so well. I told her mother taught me, and when she was sick, I cooked soup for her after I killed a chicken. Mrs. Golden was a very gentle person; she helped me for some time. Then one day, she stopped coming. It was just before father returned with Christian. I take care of myself until they returned. Please read the next letter, Julie.”
June 5, 1865,
Dearest Mary and Sarah,
We will muster at Louisville, Kentucky, where our service is complete July 6, 1865. We will come home soon. It will be a wonderful day to see you and Sarah again. It seems a lifetime ago since I kissed you goodbye.
Just like we left, Christian will be at my side. He has saved me from death more than once. He is closer to me than a brother these days.
Words cannot describe the joy in knowing the war is over. It is as if we had been born again as our strength and resolve has increased to continue to search of that Land of Milk and Honey.
We will arrive as soon as possible. May Adonai watch over you both.
Sarah remembers receiving the Letter as she wipes the tears from her face with her scarf she had to cover her head. Sarah regains the composer. “The Doctor, along with the Sherriff, arrived with the Letter the postmaster had given them. They knocked on the door as I had just finished making bread.”
The Doctor enters with the Sheriff following him into our home. The Doctor says, “Is that fresh bread I smell?”
I replied, “Please come to the table. I will give you each a slice. It is cooling in the kitchen. The Sheriff makes his way to the table, passing the Doctor by. As they sit, I give them a slice of hot bread and apologize I do not have butter. But would you like a little honey on your bread?”
The Sherriff amazed. “Dear girl, where did you get this, honey?”
I explained, “I found bees made a hive in the garden house outback. Mrs. Golden, before she stopped coming to help me. She taught me how to get the honey and use it like sugar. I made this bread the way she taught me. How is Mrs. Golden, I miss seeing her?”
The Doctor explains, “I found her not too long ago. We had not seen her in town for some time. So I was close to her home and stopped by. Well, I found her. She had passed. She had a smile on her face, as if she had seen angels. I will never forget how peaceful she looked. I bury her in the town cemetery, next to our other Jewish friends of our town.”
The Sherriff has finished his bread and honey says, “The Postmaster gave us this letter from your father. We wanted to check on you, given what had happened to Mrs. Golden. We are overjoyed, child. Seeing you is doing well. Here is the Letter.”
The Letter in Swiss-German, I could read some. What I could make out is that Father and Christian were coming home. With tears in my eyes, I told the kind Doctor Father is coming home. After I calmed myself, the Doctor says, “Child, if you need anything, please come to town. The Sherriff and I will help you until your father arrives. Do you need anything?”
Think I grew two inches or more that day, as I replied, “Thank you both, but I will be fine. I still have the garden, honey, and some flour left. My chickens are laying. I will be fine till father arrives.”
Sherriff agrees. “I will check on you from time to time till he returns. Miss, you make the best bread I ever had in all my life.”
As I stood at the door, I watched the doctor leave in his buggy and alongside him, riding on a speckled gray horse, was the Sherriff waving to me.
“Oh, I long for father’s return. No longer was I worried about father. Then it hit me, how can I tell father about mother?”
Silence, sadness, and joy filled the room. Eyes filled with tears, “Father will be home soon. How this has set my world upside down.”
Her eyes looking right through Nettie as her face changes. “I remember first meeting Christian in Virginia. Father had a mercantile business in Virginia. It seemed he was always shorthanded for a driver and needed a righteous man to help him. He would stop by the synagogue each time he went to New York for supplies. He would find a driver for a one of his freight wagons. It was not unusual for the person who drove the freight wagon for father to leave him once they got to New York.”
Father was loading his wagons and was in deep prayer for a righteous man to work with him. He saw a youthful man was chasing a robber who took his bag. Father asked, “Just got off the boat?” That is where it started.
Before leaving, they stopped at the synagogue; they took on the journey to Virginia. As time went on, Christian and my father became very close. They prayed together, worked together, and he was part of our family.
Sarah’s thoughts drift to father’s return after the war. “It was a scorching summer’s day at the end of July, and it was unbearable as I sat on the porch fanning myself. On the dusty road leading to our home, I see two men walking. Joy now filled my heart seemed like a dream; it was father and Christian. With tears flowing down my face, I rushed to the arms of my father. He picked me up like I was only a feather’s weight. Joy filled my heart as he kissed me.”
Father asks, “Is your mother in the house?”
My heart sank. I could no longer speak as I took father by the hand and led him to mother’s grave. He fell to his knees as he cried uncontrollably. Christian by his side, looking for some way to comfort him, realizing there was nothing he could do. Christian takes me by the hand, leading me back to the house. Christian and I sat in the house at the kitchen table.
Christian asks, “You’re a fine young lady to take care of yourself. How long has it been, taking care of yourself and the farm?”
Sarah explains, “I told him the story as I have told you, Julie.”
Christian’s reply was, “Your dad has a present for you. Isaac remembered you just had your Eleventh birthday.”
Julie now tearfully asks, “How old was father then?”
Sarah smiles. “He was 26 years old, and I did not understand that we would get married in nine years. But we are getting ahead of our self. I want to share with you what happened when father came in from mother’s grave late that night.”
Julie asks, “How long did grandfather stay by grandmother’s grave?”
Sarah remembers, “It was getting dark as he came into the kitchen where I sat with Christian. Father brought both boxes of the gold coins in with him. He sits them on the table.”
Father says, “It is still all here. Sarah, how did you and your mother do so well?”
Sarah boldly says, Adonai, he blessed us. He provides for us every day. The garden produced more than we could eat. Mother sold the produce in town along with chicken’s, we had more chickens and eggs than we could use. Mother sold them in town. She could trade for milk, flour, and salt. Mother said Adonai has given us a blessing from heaven. I know he will bless your father and Christian with his angels.
My father said she was truly an Eishet Chayil (A Woman of Valor), Adonai be praise she is truly being missed here but now is heaven’s gain. It appears to be the Angels watched over her and escorted her to the world to come.
Then I told my father about my mother, how she gave me a gold coin and sent me to town. Father hung on to every word.
He kissed me and said, “Sarah, bring me my coat.”
I retrieved his coat from the front room. He reached in the pocket of his coat and a small box with a ribbon of yellow. I opened it on there was this locket. There were no pictures. He reaches inside his coat and gives me a brush for my hair. It was so beautiful!
Father said, “The locket I bought for your mother. I am sure she would want you to have it. The brush is your birthday present.”
Julie said, “Mother, I thought father gave you the locket.”
Sarah replies, “Father gave me the locket, but your father gave me the locket after I lost it. Your father put these pictures in the locket. Julie, so this evening before the New Year, I wanted to share this with you. I want you to keep the box and all that is in it. I want you to promise that you will share it with your four children and their families. In this way a part of my mother, father, and Christian can survive through you.”
Julie somewhat puzzled, “Why was my father named Christian, and our family is Jewish?”
“I had the same question. During the Jewish persecution in Switzerland, the Catholic Church used what power they had to make it mandatory to be a member of their church or dreadful things would happen. During the time Christian was born, it was a time of trouble. Like Daniel, and his friends forced to take on Babylonian names, so was the reason father gave him the name Christian August Freidrich Hobieler. His Christian name helped him to get to safety in Sweden. When he arrived in New York, the government changed his name to an English spelling Hubler. Christian explained the name Christian means believing in the Christ, to his father a believer in Messiah, which they believe will come someday. Many Jews had to give up their Jewish names or become outcast, prison or worse.”
My father’s name Christian August, which is truly a Christian, but what was the Freidrich?
It was his Grandfather’s name; he was a very pious Jew, respected by the people in his community. He spent time in jail several times for his beliefs in Adonai’s instructions, which he was an excellent teacher. His kindness extended to others. He had a Jewish name as Rabbi Israel of Zürich. But he went by Fredrick, which was a popular name in Switzerland before and after it became a country. All this was because of the Catholic Church and its influence in the country.
Julie, with amazement, says, “We then have a lengthy history of Jewish heritage. What about grandfather?”
“Yes, his father’s name, Peter Levi Peck. The very name Levi gives way to the fact his family line was of the line of Cohens, which performed the priestly duties when the temple was in use in Jerusalem.”
Julie responds, “Wonderfully, I am filled with joy to know that the family history points to the Land of Milk and Honey. Which once was Jerusalem; it is just a vast desert place now.” Julie thinks for a moment and says, “Mother, what did father mean he was searching for the Land of Milk and Honey?”
Sarah continues saying, “I am glad you asked. Let me finish telling you the story and you will understand. When father returned with the two boxes which had the gold coins in them, he gave one to Christian.”
Father Isaac said, “Christian, hold on to this for me, I will talk with the Doctor and Sherriff.” He took two coins out of the box then, placing them in his pocket. Father closed the box, sliding both boxes to Christian.
Christian says, “I will care for Sarah and the farm.”
Isaac replies, “I will be back before sundown tomorrow.”
I told father, “Father, both the Sherriff and the Doctor have been very kind to me.”
“I know, and then he left.”
Isaac arrived in town and went to the Sherriff’s Office. He saw a boy cleaning the office and asked, “Do you know where the Sherriff is, son?”
Boy replies, “Yes Sir.”
“Sherriff went over to the Hotel to get something to eat there. He will be back soon.”
Isaac asked, “Where is the doctor’s office?”
The boy walks to the doorway and points across the street and says, “There is the Hotel,” then points up the street and says, “That is where the Doctor’s office is. But, if you go to the Hotel, I am sure you will find the Sherriff and Doctor having breakfast.”
Isaac says, “Thanks.” As he leaves the Sheriff’s office, he heads across the street. As he enters the Hotel, he could see there to his left several tables where people were eating their breakfast. He goes to the entrance of the small café and walks up to the Sherriff and introduces himself.
Isaac says, “Sherriff, my name is Isaac Peck.”
The Sherriff stands up and offers his hand, says, “I am Sherriff Henry Masters; this here is Doctor Wiseman. We know your daughter Sarah. How is she?”
Isaac smiles, “She is doing well, thank you both for helping with Sarah and my wife.”
Sherriff responds, “Happy, we could watch after her. Mrs. Golden helped until she passed on. Hope you know that?”
Isaac responds with a grateful heart and says, “Could you take me to Mrs. Golden’s grave?”
Sherriff says, “We are about to finish up here. We can take a walk to the other end of town, and we will show you.”
Isaac asks, “Did she, Mrs. Golden, have any family nearby?”
The Doctor replies, “Yes, about two miles out of town to the West. That is where the farm is. Some kinfolk moved in after that. They heard she had passed about a month ago. Friendly folks too.”
Sherriff asks, “Would you like a cup of coffee or tea while we finish here?”
Isaac said, “I could use a proper cup of coffee.”
The Doctor says, “Understand you mustered out near a month ago. The word is out your entire unit will receive a monthly pension of about Twelve dollars a month. There was a news article in the newspaper this month. We heard about the Lighting brigade of Ohio 113th Infantry Regiment. We are glad you are home safe.”
While the Doctor was talking to father, the Sherriff got your father a cup of coffee.
As father took a drink said, “It is the best coffee I have ever had.”
They sat there looking at father as he savored every bit of that cup of coffee. Father later said, “It appeared everyone in that place watch as he tasted every drop. You could hear a pin drop; it was that quiet as father enjoyed his coffee.”
Christian and I had our breakfast together. I made flour cakes with honey with a fried egg.
Christian watched me in amazement at how I cook to work in the kitchen at such a young age. He said, “Watching you make breakfast was like music played to perfection without missing a note or missing a beat.”
After eating, I asked, “Christian, what are you going to do now the war is over?”
Christian smiled and said, “I will remain with you and your father. It looks like we have a lot of work to do here on the farm to get it in shape. I need to find a safe place to put your father’s boxes today.”
Father with the Sherriff and the Doctor, they walk to the edge of town to the graveyard. There was a simple plank of wood. Above the name was a Star of David, and below written was “Yaakov bat Solomon Mrs. Golden. 1798–1865.”
Isaac said a prayer as the Sherriff and the Doctor removed their hats in respect.
Father told me he asked them both, “Is there a stone cutter in town?”
The Doctor replies, “Jonathan Jones.”
Father takes from his pocket two gold coins and says, “Could you have him make a proper Stone marker with this star on it for my Mary and Mrs. Golden? I want to make a trip out to the Golden farm and have a talk with her family. My daughter is being cared for by my friend Christian, who served with me in the war. Please drop by and visit.”
Sherriff replies, “Just follow that road about two miles. You can’t miss it.”
Doctor speaks up, “I will have Johnathan start on the Markers.” As father walked off to the Golden farm, Father said, “He prayed all the two miles for Adonai’s guidance and favor.”
“Julie. When your grandfather arrived at the farmhouse, a man met him at the door. Your grandfather could hardly believe it. It was a man from 113th, Jeff Jacobson, and his brother-in-law Ira Golden. The short of it was they would move next month to La Clede, Kansas, to establish a Mercantile. People are moving west, and this would be a prime spot to start. They ask my father to join them. So we spent the summer of 1866 in Ohio and our plans changed.”
Julie asks, “What kept you all in Ohio that you left in the spring of 1867?”
“The weather changed, it was terrifying, floods came and twisters. I was never so scared in all my life.”
Twisters leveled a brick schoolhouse in town. So many people died. Then the floods came. The country side was a disaster. Dozens of farmhouses and barns destroyed.
We survived the storms in a fruit cellar that your father had made. A twister destroyed the house, the garden shed, and barn. Mother’s Gravestone father had bought still standing. When the floods came we moved to higher ground to Golden’s farm. Manny people got sick, and some died from the lack of fresh water. It was a time of great trouble.
Father said, “Adonai mercy spared Mother’s stone marker. We are to continue the search for the Land of Milk and Honey. Like Moses taking the people out of Egypt after the plagues. Father and Christian were looking for a home of plenty where Adonai’s Shalom peace will be.”
“Adonai directs a person’s steps, and he delights in his way. He may stumble, but he won’t fall headlong, for Adonai holds him by the hand. I hope you understand now, the Land of Milk and Honey is the home and Land where we can live our lives in the safety of Adonai.”
Nettie asks, “So, what did grandfather do with the farm?”
Sarah explains, “Father and Christian salvage what they could, which wasn’t much. Father went to town and placed the farm for sale. In the early spring someone bought the farm.”
Julie responded, “You were starting all over. Leaving mothers grave behind must have been hard?”
“Mother is in the world to come, the body is in the ground. But, we will see her someday when Adonai returns to the Land of Milk and Honey, child. We must go on our journey as our people have for many years.”
Nettie asks, “Mother, what were your plans?”
Sarah said, “I was thirteen years old, my appearances no longer a child. The spring of 1867 father divides up what we had left of the gold coins in as he had in the past in our two wagons. I would ride with father in the third wagon following Jeff Jacobson, in the second following Ira Golden and his wife, Yentah, in the lead wagon. Christian followed behind us in the fourth wagon. Father bought supplies to for the Mercantile we would start. We had little in household items left from the storms. My father kept me close by his side. Father had a plan, from what I remember. When we get to Kansas, we would start a business buying and selling goods for the settlers headed west. All the men agreed they could work together, building a pleasant life for us all. The plan seemed to work well. Father and I worked mostly in the Main Store of the Mercantile. Christian and Jeff drove freight wagons with supplies for the Mercantile. Everything seemed to go well.” Sarah stops talking and is holding back the tears.
Julie says, “What is it, why are you crying?”
Sarah says, “Give me a moment… I must tell you a terrible story. On one trip, Jeff gave a ride to an immature boy he was about 18 or 19 years old, his name was Nicky Burris.”
Julie gasps, and then says, “No, mother, it isn’t true!”
Sarah continues, “What I am about to tell you, I have told no one over all these years. I was seventeen years old; it was in getting cold in late November 1871 when they arrived. The last trip of the till the following spring because of the nasty weather. Nicky helped unload the wagons with the rest of the men. We had a place for hired workers to stay in the back of the Warehouse. That is where Nicky stayed with an old man by the name of Ben, who we hire to do odd jobs and keep the Warehouse in order and clean.”
Nettie says, “I am so confused, why mother, are you telling me this now?”
Sarah calmly and bravely says, “I want you to know the truth. As a woman and a mother, now, you will listen to my story. I need to have my heart clear about this matter! Nicky was not a friendly boy at all. It was late, and I went from the house to the Warehouse to get some flour. I hear some groaning, and I found old man Ben on the floor with his head bleeding. From behind me, Nicky grabs me, forced himself on me. He left me on the floor, half-naked. I gathered myself and saw Old man Ben was not breathing. I ran to the house and Christian, your father, opened the door. Father and the other men helped me to my room. Christian went after Nicky. Ira and Jeff left after helping me to my room with father. Then Jeff and Ira went to check on old man Ben. They watched after him all that night, but the next day he died.
Christian returned with Nicky two weeks later. Nicky had stolen a horse and Old Ben’s money after raping me. Nicky had taken my locket; he ripped it from my neck when he raped me. Christian took Nicky to the Marshals Office and had him locked up. They had a trial, and later, Nicky hung for murder, horse thief, and rape.”
“It was August 1, 1872; Ida May Burris Hubler was born. Christian gave her his name and the father’s name. Christian felt secrets were the foothold of the devil. Giving Ida May her father’s name; he planned on telling her someday. He gave her his name Hubler to secure the love he would show her as a father till the day of truth.”
Julie asked, “So Ida May was not my full sister, but a half-sister?”
“Yes, it is true. But as far as Christian was concerned, she was our child. Then, before her second birthday, Ida dies from summer diarrhea the April and May sickness.”
“March 28, 1874, Christian took me to Louiseville, Pottawatomie County, Kansas, where we married. He gave me my locket with his picture on one side and my father’s picture on the other side of the locket.” He said this is my wedding gift after placing the ring on my finger. Father was there and was at our marriage. He said, “His cup of Joy was running over. I was 20, and your father was 34. I became pregnant with you, Julie. Through our sadness at losing Ida May, we found joy in having you. It was October 1, 1874, when you were born as Julie Anna Hubler, named after Christian’s Mother Julie, also after my grandmother’s mother Anna, who lives in Germany.”
Nettie, with tears in her eyes, “So I am Father’s firstborn child, what a loss you must have had losing Ida May.”
Sarah smiles and says, “Yes, and you saved your father from the grief he felt losing Ida May. It was the start of the Hubler family. The family grew too. Later on October 12, 1878, Franklin Charlie was born. He liked the name, Charlie.”
“Blessings and tragedies in the next year would change the direction of our lives once. Henry Caesar and Harvey Emil were born just after midnight, 1 January 1879. This is the anniversary of their births thirty-three years ago. Then in 1882 Julie you were born and your twin sister Nettie. You are my Joy Julie.”
Nettie cried, “Mother Julie died in the accident in 1884 she was two! I’m Nettie!”
Shaking and wide-eyed Sarah looks at Nettie… “I am so sorry, it was my fault! I remember, she fell, and I grabbed her. The wheel broke… OH… Julie she fell under the wagon as it dropped to the ground. Nettie, it was you I saved… not Julie?”
“Father brought you here to get better… Mother.”
“Christian is gone too?”
Nettie, “tell you I am leaving for Oklahoma with my husband Jesse. He calls it the land of milk and honey.”
Sarah, “Nettie take this wooden box and locket. Remember us and Adonai how he has watched over us as you go with your family to the land of milk and honey.”