HOMESTEAD AND HARD TIMES
THE old fort was typical of many of its kind to be found throughout the West at that time. It was built in a hollow square around a parade ground of well-kept lawn. When entering the big gate in the barbed wire fence, the barns and stables were on the right, while on the left was a big granary, which was set up off the ground on piles. On top of each pile, before the sills were laid, a tin pan had been placed upside down to prevent rats or mice from getting in. The soldiers' barracks were on one side of the parade ground, the officers' houses on the other. These were small but neat, well- built dwellings of lumber. The officers used to see that they were kept warm in winter, as they had great ricks of mahogany wood which cost from forty to sixty dollars a cord and which had to be brought on mule-back for long distances on mountain trails. We took up our abode in what had been the captain's house. Our furniture was scanty; there were neither blinds nor curtains at the windows, nor a carpet on the floor. A big bed, chairs, and a table, besides our cooking outfit, was the extent of our household goods.
My wife spent her time making baby clothes. She startled me one morning sooner than we had expected by saying that she was suffering from labor pains. We were alone. We had planned to get Mrs. Vance, who was acting as a midwife for her neighbors and who lived ten miles away. My wife said that she did not think the baby would come during the time it would take me to drive over and get the old woman, so I hitched up and started at break- neck speed for help. When I got to the Vance farm the old lady put on her hat and coat and got into the wagon; I was not two hours in making the twenty miles.
Just ahead of us my wife's father and mother pulled in from Willow Creek. Mrs. Vance hurried into the house while I drove the team back to the barn and left them for the old man to unhitch. I went to the house on a run, where I found that my wife's mother