Note: The historical/genealogical facts and statements here are based on mountains of research that I conducted from 1998 to date. The book “Prairie Paths” was written based on this research and facilitated greatly by the research and findings by Bonner Ruff. His prior work made my research easy, especially with the advent of the internet and Ancesty.com!
And to my mother’s dismayed question, “Are you just naturally nosey?!!!”, a resounding YESSSSS!!!! Finding new clues and documents and letters just feed the fire. I have a detective’s heart and canNOT help myself! 🙂
Preparations began for the trip west. Charles Henry, the oldest child, who was eleven, recalls the family’s parting from Pennsylvania.
How anxious we boys were for the dray-man who took our baggage. I shall never forget how Grandmother Gephhart put her arms about my shoulder and wept and bade me promise to come back to see her when I became a man, and I can still feel the pat Grandmother Stevens gave me on the shoulder we never saw them again, though they lived to be very old. Arriving at the train, Grandfather Stevens saw us placed as Mother wept, and then without a word stalked out of the coach, our last sight of him. Charles Henry Ruff
But the children, being children must’ve been excited. Not only were they riding a train for the very first time but they were going to live in a new state!
Their arrival three to four days later in Larned was met by Charles who was surely as anxious to see them as they were to see the wild, new plains they would be inhabiting. The story goes that they boarded the new lumber wagon and set off for new adventures. One of their daughters recorded,
We were jubilant over the fun of riding after this manner and every bump added to our merriment. We traveled until nightfall, over the old trail. We stopped at what was called the halfway house, stayed all night and in the morning resumed our journey. Father was constantly calling mother’s attention to the wonders of the new, new country, and mother declaring she had seen nothing yet.-Mabel Ruff Thomson