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Archive for November, 2009

All day long the little train had traveled through the storm. Windows grew increasingly dark and small towns spread farther and farther apart. The engine became over heated and everyone aboard grew increasingly tired. Then at last the rugged little train chugged into the Cadillac yards and passengers disembarked, looking forward to a little exercise, a warm meal and a good night’s rest.

Among the passengers that day were Thomas Gould and his wife, Alice, with their 6 year old son Elmer. The family had left Mason, Michigan to settle on a homestead near the village of East Jordan. They spent the night in a local hotel and rose the next morning to find the streets and yards still blocked with drifted snow.

Nevertheless, the whistle blew, telling the passengers that the train was planning to leave on schedule.

So, carrying their luggage, the Goulds forged their way through the drifts, protecting little Elmer from the wintry blasts as best they could. Arriving at the station, they settled themselves in the coach and after much huffing and puffing, the little train was on its way.

It moved slowly forward, stopping many times to reverse itself, gather speed and ram its way through great banks of drifted snow.

Then, several miles out, it became obvious to the engineer that the little train was not going to make it. He returned to Cadillac, and again the Gould family found themselves descending the train steps, making ready for a night in Cadillac.

After a restless night the family rose in the morning to find the snow piled higher than ever, but the train whistle screamed its readiness to leave and the passengers hurried to get through the drifts and seated in the coach. Again that day the train returned to the station.

Finally on the third day the sky was clear. A most discouraged group of travelers gathered at the station. They boarded the train and sat back to watch, as smoke drifted past the windows, forming fleeting pictures that swirled against the snowy backdrop.
Suddenly the family felt more cheerful. Their ordeal was nearly over.

Later that day the little train pulled into the small town of Boyne City and the Goulds disembarked. They found an ox team to continue their journey, wrapped themselves in layers of clothing to keep out the cold, and started the long trip to their homestead.

For 2 months they stayed with a near neighbor by the name of Pryor, while Thomas built a home. He shoveled 4 foot of snow from the site and, despite the abundance of trees on his land, he had to bring in lumber from the town of Charlevoix.

Finally their home was ready. Thomas, Alice and Elmer settled into a typical pioneer life.

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