Saturday, August 8, 2009

Memory Mondays~Run For the Fort!!

Springerville, Arizona

This memory comes to me from my mother Helen Hamblin Ellsworth who told me the story many times when I was younger. It is about her own father when he was just a baby.

Don Carlos Hamblin was born February 16, 1882 in Springerville, Arizona but back then it was a settlement called Amity. He was the youngest son of Jacob Hamblin and Sarah Priscilla Leavitt Hamblin. His family had settled in eastern Arizona one year before his brother Dudley was born in 1880. This is a story about the two of them and their adventure in the "old west" one day. My mother estimates her father was a little over a year old at the time our story takes place so I shall use my artist's licence with a few assumptions such as...

It was a fine spring day in Eastern Arizona. The sun was shining and winter's cold had given way to warmth and blowing grasses. At the settlement of Amity there was a structure called Milligan Fort. It was a settler's stockade, not military, and had been built in the 1860's to protect the people from Indian attacks. Within the fort there were shops and trading going on. Outside the walls were the settler's homes and farms. The children were out on this particular day enjoying the sunshine. Among them were two small boys, Dudley Hamblin age 4 and his baby brother Don Carlos age 1. It is easy to imagine them chasing an occasional grasshopper or lizard, as well as picking wild flowers to take back home to their mother Priscilla. Perhaps Dudley felt very grown-up having been given charge of his younger brother but Priscilla kept watch on them out of the corner of her eye to make sure they didn't wander too far. She could have been outside of the cabin doing the family's wash in her big tub or she could have been working to ready the family garden for planting. At one point as she checked on them she noticed that they were sitting down facing each other. They were staring intently at something on the ground in between the two of them. She probably breathed a sigh as she realized they were not wandering any farther away.

It wasn't long after she last checked on her boys that she heard it; that dreaded sound. Someone at Milligan Fort was sounding the alarm. This sent chills through Priscilla as she knew it meant only one Indian attack! The thought of an attack always seemed ironic to this woman who was married to the only man in the territory whom the natives respected enough to listen to when he spoke of peace. Jacob had spent most of his adult life serving missions to and working for peace among the Lamanite people of southern Utah and northern Arizona. He was known as the "Buckskin Apostle" by members of the church and a "peacemaker" by most of the native chiefs. Four years earlier, just after Dudley had been born, the men of the community came to Jacob one night begging for him to go out among the local tribe who were on the war path. He did so willingly and once again worked his magic among them.

The settlers, upon hearing the alarm, acted instantly. Priscilla was no exception. Her older children could run to the fort on their own as they had been trained but little Dudley and baby Don Carlos would need her help. As she ran toward them she saw the cloud of dust rising on the horizon and moving toward Amity. Adrenaline must have coursed through her veins as she reached her sons, grabbing up her baby and yelling at Dudley to follow quickly! Nothing would stop her in her race to the stockade for within its' walls was her family's only hope of safety. She never noticed the extra weight she was dragging along behind her as she ran. It wasn't until she was inside of Milligan Fort that she turned to make sure Dudley was behind her...and he was indeed!

The family would laugh for years at the picture she would create in their minds as she would tell the story of how Dudley had taken a piece of string and tied his big toe to that of his younger brother's! Priscilla had dragged him all of the way to safety! So intense was her focus that she never heard his cries or felt the extra load. (I might venture to guess that both boys' big toes were stretched a bit longer that day!)

Oh! About that Indian attack! As it turned out it was only some men from town who had been out on the range and were driving their cattle home creating quite a dust cloud as they went!My Grandfather Don Carlos Hamblin 1882~1941

My Great-Grandmother Sarah Priscilla Leavitt Hamblin 1841~1927

P.S. I am still composing my Designer Monster story...hang in there big brothers! You shall be immortalized soon!


URFAVE5 said...

What a wonderful story! I so enjoy "Memory Mondays". I love reading them to my children. Thank you for sharing this post with me. It gave me quite a little chuckle.

Love you,

Nancy Face said...

This Arizona girl absolutely LOVED reading your wonderful story! :)

Helen Ellsworth said...

Marianne I just got around to reading this blog/ You did a wonderful job. Daddy would have gotten a kick out of reading it/ Too bad he didn't get a chance. You know he was only 59 when he was accidentally killed. I thought he was old. He was five years younger than Sharon when she died. Way too young to go. Keep up the good work/ I enjoy it. I love you.+