The Second Hundred Years-Sequel Ch. 03bywoodmanone©
I suggest you read Parts 1 & 2. It will explain the characters and events so far and how they flow into this continuation.
Part 3 became longer than I intended, but my characters wouldn't let me stop until their story was told completely.
Constructive comments, emails, and critiques are more than welcome and very much appreciated.
I hope you enjoy the story.
The Randals, all four of them, trooped into the den after supper as if they were on a mission. William took Chante's journal from the mantel and sat in his big easy chair. James once again sat at his feet on the ottoman; Lewis and Alyssa pulled their own easy chairs closer.
"Grandpa before we start will you tell me about our family, I mean like since Grandpa Jim," young James asked. "Most of the kids at school don't know their family back very far."
"Okay, I can do that for you," William replied. "Let's see, guess I'll start with James and Chante. They married in 1889 and had John in 1890. Then John and Morning Star married in 1908 and had a son they named William in 1909. With me so far?"
"Yes sir," James answered.
Next William and Sarah married in 1926 and had a boy named John Ambrose in 1927. John married Rebecca and they had a boy in '46. Which was 'Me," William said making a face and smiling. We're getting closer son. James giggled and smiled back.
"Your Grandma Susan and I were married in 1962 and had John in '63. He married Ellie in early '82 and they had your Daddy that same year. Then you were born in 2008." William stopped then said, "Whew, and there you are. Your family history all the way back to 1890."
"It's really confusin," James said. "I mean with all the kids named John and James and William."
"That's a fact son," Lewis added. "But it's a way to honor the family before you."
"You mean like the Lakota?"
"Just like that son." Turning to William Lewis said, "You know I never thought about it before but all of our male ancestors had one child; a son and no other children. Sorta strange."
"This isn't the first time I've thought about that," William replied. Returning his attention to James he held up the journal and asked, "You remember where I left off last night?"
"Yes sir. You'd just read how Grandpa Jim disappeared and that Grandpa Iron Buffalo and Uncle Will looked for him until winter."
"That's right." William opened the journal and took up where he had left off previously.
I have stopped crying every night when I go to bed. I still miss James but I have our son to raise and Eagle's Nest to take care of. The ranch will belong to John one day.
Will has become a part of the family. He does most of the outside work with the cattle and around the ranch. James had told me that his brother had not wanted to be a rancher and left for California when their father died. Looks like he has changed his mind. I don't know if it is because he wanted to come home or because James has left us but he has taken over running the ranch and I'm glad he is here.
At first Will lived in the bunkhouse with the two cowboys he hired to help him with the round up and branding. I finally got him to move into the downstairs bedroom in the lodge. He loved to play with John and could spend more time with my son living in the lodge. He is James' brother and not a hired hand. Family needs to live with family.
A strange thing happened yesterday. Will came back from the trading post with a cut over one eye and a split lip. He told me he walked behind a horse and got kicked. I don't believe him.
Today I made the ride to the Thomas trading post. John stayed at the lodge with Mrs. King because he has what she calls a cold. There were two men in front of the building when I rode up on Sampson. They quickly stepped out of my way when I went to the door. Nodding at me they mounted their horses and left, spurring the horses into a gallop.
I entered the post and Mr. Thomas greeted me. "Hello Chante, looks like those two learned their lesson," he said. He saw the puzzled look on my face and asked, "You don't know, do you?"
"I don't understand Mr. Thomas. What lesson?"
"Last month Will was in here and he and those two got into a ruckus. He liked to beat them to death before I could stop him."
"A ruckus? Oh, you mean a fight. Why were they fighting? Will seems to be a gentle man."
"Well....one of them asked Will how he liked sleepin with a squaw. The other one said some things about you that I couldn't repeat to a lady. Like I said, Will damn near beat those two to death. Pardon my language."
Will was sitting on the porch when I got back to the lodge. I walked over to him and as he stood gave him a hug. "Thank you brother," I said. He got red in the face, nodded and said, "You're welcome. Come on let's eat."
"Why would those men say bad things about Grandma Chante?" James asked.
"Back then the Indian troubles and wars were still on a lot of people's minds," William explained. "Didn't matter that Chante hadn't been involved in the fights, she was an Indian and some people didn't like her because of it"
"Some people are just plain stupid," James said. Lewis smiled at the boy's response.
I haven't written much lately. It is not that I haven't had the time but it makes me sad to read about losing James.
My father came to our house today to say goodbye. He is moving the tribe to Canada to live with some other Lakota there. "I'm getting to old to fight and I won't go to the reservation where the white man tells me I have to live. Bring John Maza to see us, he needs to know of his family and earn his Lakota name."
"Yes father, I will," I answered. It was sad to see him and the people leave but I had to stay. James would not want me to give up Eagle's Nest. The ranch would belong to our son some day.
I must get over the sadness from reading some of my words in this journal. I know that James has been gone for over six seasons. But I don't feel as if he is dead. I feel his spirit at our ranch, watching over us.
John brings me happiness like a sunrise every time I see him. He looks like his father and has a white streak of hair over his right ear. Just like James. Our son is old beyond his years. He plays and laughs like any child but there is a serious side to him that most children don't have.
Sampson and John have become great friends. There is a bond between the two of them. If any of the hands try to saddle him the big horse fights until they leave him alone. One of the men got a nasty bite when he tried to force a saddle on Sampson. Another just missed a kick to his head. It would have killed the man. Sampson will only allow John or me to ride him. He will allow Will to feed and curry him, but even he cannot ride Sampson. I have ordered the men to leave Sampson alone. John and me will take care of him.
A strange thing happened today. Will and our two hands were out finishing the round up so we can drive our cattle to the rail head. Three men rode up to the front of the house and yelled for me to come out. I did not know the men so I carried James' Winchester with me out onto the porch.
The biggest man said, "Y'all will have to leave the ranch by next week. We'll be takin over. It ain't legal for an Indian to own land, especially a squaw."
"This ranch belonged to James Randal, I am his wife. Eagle's Nest now belongs to me and my son."
"The boy's not of age and besides he's a half breed," the big man answered. "Course you're a right fine lookin woman. Maybe we would let you stay if you was nice to us."
I worked the action of the rifle cocking it. "I would rather mate with a diseased bear."
The man on the left slowly reached for his pistol. As I aimed the rifle at him we heard a voice from behind the men.
"If you touch that iron Mister, I'll shoot you outta your saddle."
The three men turned and looked behind them. Will stood with his pistol drawn and pointing at the men.
"I'm not as fast as I used to be so ifin I have to shoot I'll have to shoot to kill. Don't have the speed to pick my spots anymore," Will said. The men slumped in their saddles and Will continued.
"Now real slow, one at a time, drop your pistols and then your rifles to the ground. You first Mister," he ordered, pointing to the man that had reached for his weapon. The three men one at a time slowly drew their pistols and then their rifles dropping them to the ground.
Will ordered them to back their horses up. He picked up the pistols one at a time and unloaded them. He unloaded the rifles next.
"Just so you know I'm Will Randal. James was my brother. Check the deed on file at the county seat. It shows James and me as the owners of Eagle's Nest. With him gone, I'm the owner. And there ain't no law against a man's brother inheriting property."
Will gave the guns back to the men after unloading them. "Don't come back; don't bother my sister in law or me again. Ifin you do, you better pick a spot for your grave. Now git."
"I hadn't heard that part of the story," Lewis said.
"Knew there were some problems early on but that's the first time I heard the full story," William admitted. Then with a smile he added, "Don't pay to mess with the Randals.
We have had no more trouble with the three men who tried to force us off the ranch. Others have learned that Eagle's Nest belongs to us. I took my first trip in a stagecoach and on a train last month. John and I traveled to Moose Jaw Canada to visit my father and the Lakota that live in the area. James made a promise to Iron Buffalo that our son would learn about the Lakota and his ancestors. Will said he would take care of the ranch so John and I spent the summer with my people.
The tribe had a welcoming ceremony for John. He stood so tall and proud as he was introduced to his people. I am so happy and sad at the same time. My son is growing into a man so I am happy. My son is growing into a man and I will lose him soon so I am sad.
While John was learning of the Lakota ways I got to spend time with my father, my brother and his wife. Chayton is no longer my little brother. He is a grown man with a family of his own. I enjoyed meeting my nieces and nephews. It was a good thing.
"That's so cool. It's just like I do every summer isn't it Dad?" James asked.
Lewis nodded and replied, "Yes son. To be honest it was your Boompa that suggested you should learn about the Lakota and your ancestors."
"Thanks Boompa," James said. He stood and hugged William and then sat back down to hear the rest of the journal.
"You're welcome boy," William responded with the hint of tears in his eyes. Dang he thought, that boy pulls at me as much as Lewis did when he was young.
This was my last year going to Canada. John enjoys his time with the Lakota. He spends all day with the other young men hunting, fishing, and testing their skills against one another. My son does not need his mother all the time. He is growing into a man. The Lakota have accepted him and soon he will take his quest to earn his tribal name.
At night he sits with Iron Buffalo and Chayton and hears the story of our people. I think my son has become a Lakota brave at heart.
I had bad news for John when he came home from his yearly visit to Moose Jaw. Sampson died while John was with the Lakota. Sampson was 21 years old that is over 62 in human years. The big horse was our friend and companion for over 16 years and 4 years before that with James. He helped John grow into the man he is now. I have prayed to the Great Spirit to watch over Sampson.
John talked to Will and they have agreed that my son will soon take over the ranch. Will has promised to stay and help but John will be what they call the ramrod.
John has been given his Lakota name. He gathered feathers from the eagles and made a war bonnet for Iron Buffalo. He has a scar on his right cheek and another on his forehead. The eagle's made John pay a price for their feathers. My son is sometimes too brave for his own good. He is now called Ska Anunkasan or White Eagle by the Lakota.
"Will I get a Lakota name too?" Young James asked, excited at the idea.
"In a few years you will earn your name son," Lewis answered. "Don't get too excited, you've still got six or seven years before you can take the quest."
John surprised me and Will when he returned from Canada this time. He brought home a wife. John had taken two horses with him on this trip to Moose Jaw. He said they were a gift. I did not know that they were a bride price for his woman. The girl is called Morning Star in English. I can understand why John was so taken with her. She is a beautiful young Lakota maiden with a sweetness about her. I love her already.
John and Morning Star told me today that she is going to have a baby. John will make a good father.
Will and John went to Prescott two days later and were gone overnight. I didn't know the reason for the trip until they returned to Eagle's Nest. William signed some papers turning the ranch over to John.
"Time for the deed to the ranch to be brought up to date," Will said.
Morning Star had a son today. She and John named the boy William. It was the only time I saw my husband's brother cry.
Will gave John a small leather bag. "This is for the boy when he comes of age." Inside the bag was a gold nugget about the size of an acorn.
William stopped reading. "James go to my bedroom. Open the cedar chest at the foot of the bed; in the tray is a leather bag. Bring it to me please."
"Okay, be right back," James said. He was back in less than two minutes. "This the one you want Boompa?"
"Yep, that's it," William answered. He untied the draw string and opened the bag. Reaching inside he pulled out a thin strip of rawhide. It was tied around an acorn sized irregular shaped gold nugget. "This is the nugget that Will left for me," he said handing it to James.
"How cool." The boy looked at the nugget turning it over and over. Then he handed it to his father.
"I've seen it James," Lewis said. He took the nugget and showed it to Alyssa. She looked at it and returned it to William.
"This is yours now James," William said pointing to the nugget. "I'll hold on to it until you're older but from now on it belongs to you."
"Wow," James exclaimed. "Thank you Boompa. I'll take good care of it"
"I know you will son. It'll be in the cedar chest and you can look at it anytime you want to. Now let's get back to the journal."
Will surprised us today. "I'm headin back to California after the roundup," he told us.
Me and John and even Morning Star tried to talk him into staying.
"You're running the ranch just fine John and don't really need my help," William said. "Sides, I never did cotton to ranchin. Time to get back to the ocean."
Early October, 1914
Will left for California this morning. He has been a great help to me and to John. We will miss him.
I only write now when something I think is important happens. Life on a cattle ranch is not very exciting. It is a matter of doing what needs to be done and enjoying our family.
Today young William, John and Morning Star will make the boy's first trip to meet his Lakota family. It is a good thing.
John, Morning Star, and me are alone on the ranch. William took the trip to Moose Jaw alone this year. He is now 15 and almost a man.
We received a telegram from William today. Iron Buffalo has gone on to the next world. My father had a rich, full life and made his own way in the white man's world.
I will leave for Moose Jaw tomorrow to honor him. John gave me a small piece of cowhide with the brand of Eagle's Nest burned into it. He said it will protect Iron Buffalo on his journey. I will stay the summer with my grandson and the Lakota. William will return with me to the ranch at season's end.
William has returned from his quest. He has been given the Lakota name of Wicasa Nunpa Cantes or Man of Two Hearts.
"That's you she's writing about, isn't it Boompa?" James asked. "You never told me you had a Lakota name," the boy added.
William smiled. "It never really came up before. It's not something you run around talkin about."
"At least you don't," Lewis said. "I never knew you had earned your name either."
"Why did they call you Man of Two Hearts Boompa?"
"Chayton and I held a two day prayer vigil at Iron Buffalo's burial platform. It's a sign of honor to the person who died for you to call out your ancestor's names. It's supposed to bring their spirits to help guide the soul on their journey."
William paused and smiled, "Anyway I talked about my grandfather Jim, who was white and my grandmother Chante, who was Lakota. I also talked about my father John, who was half white and my mother Morning Star, who was Lakota. Because of my mixed blood Chayton named me Man of Two Hearts."
"It's getting late," Alyssa said. "Maybe we should finish the journal tomorrow night. It's past James bed time."
"There's only one page left," William said holding up the book.
"I think we can get by running the ranch if James sleeps in," Lewis suggested with a smile. Alyssa nodded and William read the last entry in the journal.
I have made my last trip to Canada. Other than Chayton and his family there are not many of my band left there. Most have moved away. Chayton promised to bring his family for a visit next season.
My brother Chayton, his wife Little Elk and their three children have come to Eagle's Nest for a visit. I hope they stay forever. I am enjoying getting to know my niece and two nephews. It is a good thing.
Chayton and his family are leaving tomorrow. They will visit the Sioux reservation at Lake Traverse South Dakota. We have tried to persuade them to stay at Eagle's Nest. There is enough room for everyone. They want to be back among their people. I can understand. If it hadn't have been for the ranch and my son I would have returned to the people better than 30 years ago.
Much has happened since I last wrote in my journal. There have been weddings and births and some deaths. Raising and guiding a family takes a lot of time and I've been more interested in the children than I have in writing. I will bring my writings up to date after I return from the high country.
I am 79 today or near as I can tell. Tomorrow I will go to the high country. It will be my last visit, at least on horseback. I am getting old and cannot ride for very long and it is getting harder to climb the trail to the rock butte. I want to see the eagles soar over the ranch that is named for them. They are a bridge back to my husband James. Soon it will be time to give John, Morning Star, and William my journal.
"Well that's it," William said as he closed the journal.
"Why didn't Grandma Chante write more?" James asked.