By Frances Helm McClure
(Written for my great-grandchildren, Byron Keever Lighty, Jr. Charles McClure Lighty and Louis Porter Guth, May 13, 1934)
 submitted by Carol Lackey

We had to cross some rivers that were pretty deep. The Platte River was so deep we had to stay there all one day, while the men cut down big sapling trees. They lashed these together, making a raft to ferry the wagons across. Ropes were tied to the trees and the raft was guided with these, and the wagons kept them from going down stream. They had to swim the stock across.
We moved slowly, we were in sight of Pike's Peak for many days. In one place, we could see it so plainly that it didn't seem far from our road, but it must have been miles.
At another place, where we camped, there was a spring of cold water, and about three steps from it, a hot one -- so hot that it would burn you finger. There were no holes dug, where these springs were, the water was just running out over the top of the ground. All of us children had a lot of fun playing here. My sister, Melinda, and I always had to mind the smaller children, whenever we camped, and we were never allowed to go farther than a few feet from the wagons, for fear of Indians.
Even when we were gathering "buffalo chips" or sagebrush limbs to cook with, we had to stay close to the wagons. But we were all young enough to have a good time playing every chance we had.
I think it was at the same camp, where the hot and cold springs were, that we saw the rock pile they called the Devil's Gate. It wasn't far from our camp, and when the grown-ups went to see it, all of us children trailed along.
That is how I happened to get the chance to walk through it. It was a lot of rocks, with an open space between them, and with a long rock laid across the top -- like a gate, with an arch over it. All of us walked through it, before going back to camp.
For miles we would travel and see nothing but sagebrush. And, the little prairie dogs would come up out of holes, like squirrel holes and bark at us, then dodge back underground again. They were as cute as could be. We also saw lots of coyotes and a few mudhens. We never killed these, however, for they weren't good to eat.
One time, the train had stopped to water the stock. (They didn't all water at one time, but after the first one got through, they would drive out a ways and stop there and wait until all of the wagons had taken their turn.)
This time, a man and his wife, who had been before our party, drove out a little distance from us, and stopped to wait. I was out of our wagon and I saw that this woman was holding a baby her arms. So I went to their wagon and stood looking up at the baby. The woman then held the baby up so that I could see it plainly and asked me if I'd like to get in the wagon and hold it for a while. I told her, "Yes," and up I got. I was happy as could be, for I always like babies.
I, straightway, forgot all about time. Soon my mother was looking anxiously for me. She didn't know where I had disappeared to. In her search, she came and found me up there in the wagon, still holding the baby. These people had been with our train once before, though, and she knew them and knew that they were nice and had meant no harm and would have let me out of the wagon when it was time to move on. The baby was pretty and cute, and I remember the woman kept saying to her husband, as she looked at me, "Oh, isn't she pretty? She looks just like your little sister."

n all those months we were on our way, I don't think the fear of Indians ever really left us. And, our fears were not groundless. One time, my sister, Louisa, was riding horseback a short distance ahead of our slow-moving wagons. She had a fine saddle horse, and liked to ride with my brothers, Wesley and Allen -- who were driving  -- whenever our father would let her. This time, my brothers happened to see the Indians. They told my sister to ride as fast as she could to get to the wagons. The Indians had been hiding in some brush, waiting for us to come up to them.
When my sister started back toward the wagons, they took after her. Father saw her coming and saw what was happening. He jumped out of the wagon and started on a run to meet her. And he was just in the nick of time, for as he grabbed the reins on one side of her horse's head, one of the Indians grabbed the other side.
In a flash, my sister was off the horse and ran to get in the wagon. If the Indian had beaten my father to her, they would have led her horse on a run into the brush and taken her captive. That was what they had intended to do, because that was one of their tricks.
As soon as the men saw what was taking place, they stopped the wagons and got out their guns ready to fight. But when the Indians saw that, they fetched a blood-curdling whoop and turned and went away -- disappearing in the brush.
That was the last we saw of them, but it wasn't long afterward that we knew there was going to be more trouble. For three days we knew that our train was being followed and watched. There were gulches and rocks and brush all along our road -- and during these three days, now and then, the men of our train, or the boys who were driving the loose stock, would see an Indian's head raise up, out of a gulch, or peer around some rocks or brush. And then, on the third day  when we had stopped to prepare and eat dinner, quite a few of them appeared and came right into camp.
At first, they pretended they had come in to try and trade for tobacco, bacon and powder for their guns. But the men could see that they were taking in everything about our train -- seeing what we had and how many of us were in our party and all.
The place, where we had stopped, was near a creek. I don't know if it was dry of not. I don't remember going near it, to see if there was water in it, for the Indians scared me too badly to be at all venturesome for a long time. But I did remember that there was high grass all about. This had made our train stop at that particular place so that the stock could feed and rest while the women-folks were busy cooking and we all had our noon meal.
My father and mother had two small, light sheet-iron stoves. These had been set up on the ground, a fire made in them and mother and my older sisters and sister-in-law were busy about them, getting our dinner ready. We had lots of provisions with us, and always had plenty of good hot food to eat. Dough would be "set", and bread baked in the stoves; and we had lots of dried fruits and cans of honey for sweets.
I remember watching the Indians as I helped take care of the smaller children. The Indians were all stark-naked, except for a breech cloth. They came right up to our stoves, shoving themselves in among our women-folks, who were cooking and kept peeking into the pot that was boiling;  whatever food that was being cooked for our meal.