My great-great grandfather Morgan traveled west, following his Uncle William’s footsteps.
William crossed the plains with wagon and oxen in 1852 and was one of three men who began the town of Weiser, Idaho in the 1860’s and soon after, moved to Malheur County, Oregon.
Morgan was a teetotaler, a marshal, rancher and family man. He lived the west.
Wrangling an existence for his family in eastern and central Oregon, he and his wife braved harsh conditions and even the loss of two precious children.
I admire their courage and determination.
Central Oregon is a hotspot of family history for me. I can visit my great-great grandmother’s and grandfather’s graves- from both sides of the family- at the base of Pilot Butte in Bend or drive up to the little town of Prineville to visit Morgan’s. I can visit Lake Owyhee reservoir, under which was once some of my ancestors’ ranch land. Generations were born, raised and buried there and in south-western Oregon.
We are westerners through and through.
The old west has been romanticized, I know, but there’s still something special about those who blazed trails, endured hardships of every kind, developed a bounty of skills and stood firm in a rugged land in order to make something of it.
In honor of those mighty ancestors, I value practical skills- including gun knowledge and use. I used to be extremely frightened of weapons. Lucky for me, I’m married to a skilled gunman who uses great caution and thoughtful care.
He’s taught me well, has helped me overcome my fear and replace it instead with knowledge and diligence.
He’s provided food for our family and protected our farm (and vulnerable animals) from brazen foxes and coyotes.
Such animals have done things like wiping out an entire flock of our chickens in one night. Chickens that were in a fenced enclosure, preyed upon and their carcasses left strewn across acres of land.
I’m ever learning and don’t want practical skills and freedoms to be lost. All creatures have their purpose and beauty, but protection on our own land of our weaker animals is crucial to our farm.
Learning sensible, servicable skills and putting them to work when needed.