Leonard Bradley Sage left his family safe in Waukisha, Wisconsin,
and before Thanksgiving Day, November 1871, was on his way to the
South West. He traveled by rail to Lincoln, where he bought a little
mule, and on this mule he rode over a large portion of south eastern
Nebraska, continuing his traveling throughout December and January,
occasionally making his way back to Lincoln for Divine Worship. He
left the Nebraska prairies in February, being at that time well
covered with a deep snow, and returned to Wisconsin. When the long
Wisconsin winter was over and the roads were clear he prepared for
his second trip to Nebraska. Having gathered together various farm
implements and carpenters tools, he packed them in the bottom of the
wagon, the kitchen utensils, bedding, etc., were placed next, then
his wife and three small children were seated among these, and
having a good strong cover over all he started out about the middle
of May 1872.
Mr. Heath of Fall River, Wisconsin, mapped out
the route for him, which lay mostly along the old military or
government road. He drove a team of mares, and had a boy on
horseback to drive his two cows along behind. The weather was
beautiful and the load heavy so they journeyed slowly along making
between twenty and twenty-five miles a day, but resting on Sundays.
The journey was quite uneventful until they were well on their way
through Iowa, when they came to a deep swift stream and stopped
there for dinner. Mrs. Sage went down the steep bank to the stream
for water, and the oldest child intending to go with her ran down
the bank going faster and faster until unable to stop, she fell
right into the stream, and was being carried swiftly away by the
water when her mother who was just below grabbed the child just in
time to save her.
When they had left the old military road
and almost finished the journey through Iowa, they were overtaken by
the first severe storm. Hail fell and rain poured down in torrents,
then the wind capsized the wagon in a little ravine. Mr. Sage sprang
from the front of the wagon over the horses seizing them by the bits
to prevent a runaway. Water ran down the ravine in a good sized
stream and poured right through the cover of the wagon. Just before
this they were joined by other immigrants traveling to the south and
these women helped to pull Mrs. Sage and the babies from among the
pillows under the load. Mrs. Sage's left arm was broken, this
happened on Wednesday and they had to travel until Saturday before
they came to a place where it could be properly attended to. On the
Friday they came to the home of kind Mrs. Yerga who wrapped the
broken arm, cared for the babies and fed all the hungry travelers.
The next day at Red Oak a doctor gave the arm proper attendance.
Mrs. Sage will never forget the grating bones of that arm as she
carried it over the top of her head as the wagon jarred along over
the rough roads.
After they had crossed the Missouri the
other people turned south towards Peru, while they kept on to the
west towards Lincoln. They stopped some fifteen or twenty miles the
other side of Lincoln, where Mr. Sage did a good big washing, and
the next day they arrived in Lincoln and stopped for a short time in
the street when her father put his head in the front end of the
wagon cover, when they were all very glad to see him.
Sage stayed in Lincoln for a few weeks while Mr. Sage came out to
the claim, it being the South East quarter of Section 12 in Liberty
Township. There were six acres broke on the claim, so he planted
beans, potatoes and cucumbers, the beans turned out very well, they
sold a good many bushels at seven cents a pound, besides putting up
pickles enough for a year. The babies were all sick while in
Lincoln, so Mrs. Sage came out to the claim while her arm was still
useless, things were not very cozy, but they lived only one moment
at a time, and matters soon improved.
A little later Mr.
Sage went to Crete and secured a big load of lumber and before long
a tiny house went up on the claim with a floor en which as someone
remarked, "The neighbors will hear you walk lor miles around." They
had brought several things with them such as a barrel of pork, a
good many pounds of sugar, etc., so they were quite comfortable that
first winter. It was during that winter that they had their first
glimpse of their new neighbors, and in the spring when the ladies
visited them they were very pleased indeed. Even now after the old
home is broken up and Mrs. Sage has left the district, she sometimes
thinks of the old times and says, "O for my dear old 'neighbors!"
She also remembers the visits from the Indians, and how "The
pipe of peace" was passed around, and how the "big Indian" tripped
his toe and fell headlong over a squash vine as he was chasing down
a chicken; much to the amusement of the children.
all glad to attend the Sunday school at the J. K. Barber's sod
house, and later the preaching in a sod house not far from the north
east corner of his place.
One morning in the early spring as
Mr. Sage was looking over the place he came across a nest containing
what looked like nine little kittens; every one exactly alike, and
thinking to please the children he brought them home, but O! what a
disappointment there was when they understood just what they were.
These were evidently skunks, sometimes mistakenly called polecats.
One morning he was starting to the field and the children
were playing outside when they heard a great commotion and on
looking out they saw the little boy's heels (then nearly two years
old) sticking out of a box of lime which lay already prepared for
plastering, it was thick and heavy for the hair and sand were mixed
in it. He pulled the little fellow out and took him to the tank and
had his clothes removed immediately. The blood oozed through what
little skin was left on his face, and for a week or two they
despaired of his ever seeing again, but he finally same out all
right no doubt with the help of the clear air and the bright
sunshine of the prairie country.
Mr. Sage has passed to his
reward and Mrs. Sage spends her time among her family, and in
looking back over the years she remembers that in spite of
difficulties and the newness of it all, as long as they were well
they were happy.
Pioneers of Fillmore and Adjoining
Source: Pioneer Stories of the Pioneers of Fillmore and adjoining
Counties, by G. R. McKeith, Press of Fillmore County News, Exeter,
Sites I Like To Visit
Broken Line or Submit
Please let us know if one of our links don't work or you
would like to add your site to our pages!!