Chapter 1: Gotta Go
Caution: This Action/Adventure Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, mt/ft, Ma/ft, Fa/Fa, ft/ft, Fa/ft, Mult, Consensual, Fiction, Historical, Incest, Polygamy/Polyamory, First, Oral Sex, .
Desc: Action/Adventure Sex Story: Chapter 1: Gotta Go - Summary: The adventures of 16-year-old Jim Reynolds start in 1856 Virginia. When his family and several others head west to settle near Council Bluffs, his adventures continue, becoming more numerous and earning him the moniker Lucky Jim. Follow Jim as he grows into a leadership role that he feels unqualified to hold, until finally forced to test both his leadership ability and his luck. Another of my "twisted histories."
Dec 1856 Virginia (Modern-Day West Virginia)
About thirty miles east of present day Charleston, West Virginia
I was probably two miles from home, gnawing on a piece of jerky to keep the hunger at bay and waiting patiently in the blind I had built. The blind was at a natural salt lick I discovered in one of the areas where I routinely hunt, but I hunt at the salt lick only during the winter. Animals frequent the salt lick to do just that--lick the salt.
The rest of the year, I stay away so game is more plentiful here when it’s harder to find elsewhere. I arrived well before dawn and spent the last hour waiting patiently--okay, maybe not so patiently. Despite the winter weather being warmer than usual lately, it was still damn cold. Lying motionless left me chilled, despite layering my clothing and wearing the thick rabbit-fur jacket Mom and my younger sister Penny made for me.
I make frequent pilgrimages here all year to fill four small barrels with brine from the spring at the salt lick. The spring is against the face of a twenty-foot cliff. Actually, remnants of a vertical tube on the cliff face look like the spring used to reach the top of it, but twenty feet of the cliff crumbled away long enough ago that the debris has washed away completely.
Very little water runs out of the spring, but after filling my four barrels, the small pool will be full again in a day or two, depending on the season. I usually make three trips a week. Using Rascal and Zeke, our two mules, I leave home right after breakfast with each mule carrying two of the four small, empty barrels Dad bought from the man who owns the tavern in town. The barrels originally held eighteen gallons of ale. At the salt lick, I fill all four barrels just over half full of the salt water, heading home with about forty gallons of salt water.
We briefly considered making our family’s full-time business selling salt, but the water returns too slowly when I fill the barrels. Instead, we keep our family and a few neighbors supplied with salt. The family receives goods, labor, and sometimes cash for the salt, five cents a pound. The occasional times that we receive cash, Dad saves it for me and puts it in the bank. The family benefits since we usually get labor or goods in trade. I consider it fair since Mom and Penny do more of the work than I do.
Mom and Penny boil away much of the water, boiling kettles of it on the wood stove as they cook, and occasionally in the fireplace. During the summer, we use a fire outdoors during the day. We boil them all day long in the winter so the fire keeps the house warm. Each trip nets our family about two pounds of salt. For some reason, the pool refills faster in the winter, and I make a trip every other day. On the off days, like today, I hunt.
Off to my right, I heard a woman scream, along with raised male voices that suddenly stopped. Hearing a woman scream immediately drew my attention, and I jumped down to the ground and began running in the direction of the scream. I ran awkwardly at first since I was stiff from staying still for so long. When I was close to where I estimated the scream came from, I slowed, not wanting to announce my presence by crashing through the brush before I knew what was going on.
I slowed further when the male voices became clearer. They were laughing and taunting someone. When I was close enough to see them, I was glad I had hurried. The two men had a woman tied over a stump and were cutting off her buckskin dress. Even though I didn’t know all the details, I knew the one detail that I needed to know to get involved--they were forcing themselves on a woman.
When the men finished pulling off the woman’s dress, one man undid his pants and dropped them around his ankles. That left only one man holding a firearm and he became my target. As I fired my rifle and he fell, the second man dove for his rifle, which was leaning against a tree several feet away. Knowing he would be looking for me where the smoke from my shot was, I also moved. He was naked from the waist to his feet, and it was all I could do to keep from laughing as his dick flopped around each time he heard a noise and jumped.
Ooooohhhhh, good idea. Once I finished reloading, I found a pinecone and threw it about thirty feet away where it made enough noise that the man spun and fired at it. Laughing openly now, I stepped out from behind the tree with my reloaded rifle aimed at him. When he started to raise his rifle again, I shot him dead center, with the emphasis on dead.
Stopping to cut the woman loose, I saw her face for the first time and suddenly felt terrible for having enjoyed the view of her naked derriere and the sight of her naked breast as I approached. “Mrs. Wilkes, are you okay?” I asked anxiously, while removing the rag they stuffed in her mouth.
“I am now, thank you,” she replied as I cut the rope binding her wrists. She stood and rubbed the circulation back into her hands and I quickly turned away since she was mostly naked. Oddly, she didn’t seem concerned about her state of undress.
I stripped off my jacket and handed it behind me for her to put on. The leggings she usually wore beneath her buckskin skirt were all the men had left of her clothing. She helped me strip the pants off the first man I shot since he was the smaller of the two. After removing his heavy money belt, I gave her his pants to wear. Checking the money belt, I found twenty Double Eagles in it. There was even more money in his pocket, another $87 and change. After I removed the money from the money belt, she put it on and cinched it tight so the pants didn’t fall down.
Only when she was dressed did I further search the two men, hoping to learn something about them. The second man had thirty Double Eagles in his money belt, and an additional $64 and change in his pockets. “Wow,” I gasped when I looked at the rifles the men had with them. Both men carried a new rifle I’d never seen before. It appeared to be half rifle and half revolver.
It was a six-cylinder rifle, yet required a new cap placed just before each shot. When they finished firing, either one cylinder or all six, they still had to reload each cylinder with powder and a Minie ball, although they had six shots before having to reload.
In their saddlebags, they each carried a pair of Navy Colt Revolvers and a revolver that I’d never seen before. The new revolvers had actual brass cartridges, unlike the Navy Colts where I had to load the powder, ball, and percussion cap for each cylinder. Each of the men had a second rifle in a scabbard, and I recognized the Enfield rifles immediately. The Enfields were almost as beautiful as the earlier views I’d gotten of a naked Mrs. Wilkes.
I gasped when I found more gold coins. In addition to weapons worth well over a hundred dollars, each man had $250 in gold coins in his saddlebags. The horses were excellent animals, better even than Midnight, who was indisputably the finest horse in the county. Mr. Brackett collected a considerable amount of money each year letting the stud do what comes naturally with the mares of anyone who could afford the fee. Hell, the saddles on these two horses were barely broken in, and much finer than any I’d seen before. It was obvious that these two men had a lot of money.
I planned to take everything to the sheriff in Charleston to let him sort it out. Mrs. Wilkes insisted that I at least keep the gold, so we headed for my home. Dad and my brothers were taking advantage of the warmer weather by chopping and splitting firewood when we got there. I took Dad aside and explained what happened, then showed him the money. “Damn, Son, looks like you’ve got enough to get your own place now,” he chuckled as he gave me a congratulatory slap on the back. When Dad said that, Emma’s face came immediately to mind. My two older brothers and I were still living at home while we earned enough to afford our own places so we could support a family when we got married.
Mrs. Wilkes insisted that I keep all of the money since I saved her. “It will help you and the Garfield girl start your married life,” she said, grinning knowingly.
Dad insisted that Mrs. Wilkes and I go inside to warm up and eat, and sent my oldest brother Jake to get Mr. Wilkes. Mr. and Mrs. Wilkes have lived next door to us for as long as I can remember, “next door” being two miles away. Mr. Wilkes is frequently gone for two or three weeks at a time as he drives his wagon to farms in a three-county area, selling and buying goods. If he thinks he can turn a profit on something someone wants to get rid of, he buys it, and always for considerably less than it’s worth.
Mrs. Wilkes is full-blooded Cherokee. Mr. Wilkes traded for her when I was a baby. Since she didn’t give birth to any children after two years with her Cherokee husband, he took another wife and traded her to Mr. Wilkes when he expressed an interest. Since she told me the story, I don’t doubt it. Despite the way Mr. Wilkes ended up with her, they’re always happy when I see them together.
Mrs. Wilkes saw me out hunting when I was young and took me under her wing, teaching me how to stalk game, move through the woods quietly, track, trap, make snares, and how to make and use a bow like hers. Rather than waste caps, powder, and lead on the pesky rabbits that constantly try to devour Mom’s garden, I was soon using a bow to defend it. Those rabbits provide the pelts for my new jacket each year. My sister always gets my old one, or Mom trades it to a neighbor for something. Mrs. Wilkes has made me several sets of buckskins over the years. Mrs. Wilkes and my girlfriend, Emma, each wear one of my outgrown jackets.
Mrs. Wilkes claims that I’m her adopted son since she can’t have children of her own. My parents were ecstatic that I was learning so much from her, as well as giving her someone to talk to and help her when Mr. Wilkes was out of town. Even in the worst years, I’ve been able to keep meat on the table for our family, and Mom sells quite a bit to neighbors who aren’t as lucky. Mrs. Wilkes gets the deerskins in trade for making me buckskins.
Mom uses the rabbit pelts, and Dad takes the pelts from the other game I bring home into the city to sell for me each spring, putting the money from my pelts, the meat Mom sells, and the salt we sell into the bank for me. Even though the account is in his name, he says that the money is mine. Evidently, I already have considerably more saved than my older brothers combined.
Mr. Wilkes rushed to his wife when he arrived, making sure she was okay. Once he was assured that she was unharmed, he shook my hand so hard I thought it might fall off. “I always knew you was a good kid, Jimmie. I guess now this makes you a good man, and I should call you Jim, instead,” he exclaimed proudly.
He insisted that I call him Tom, and his wife Dawn. Dawn was short for Dawn Mist, the English translation of her Cherokee name. Tom and Dad accompanied Dawn and me to town the next day to see the sheriff. The thirty-mile ride took most of the day, and we arrived at dinnertime. Despite just sitting down to supper, the sheriff left with us to look at the two bodies and thought about my story. Since she was an Indian, he never bothered to ask Dawn what happened. Still, I showed the sheriff the dress the men cut off her.
When he looked at their weapons, he whistled. “Damn, these two were planning on some serious shooting,” he commented. “These are two of those new-fangled Colt six-shooter repeating rifles. All you have to do is put the cap on before each shot. That’s a heck of a lot faster in a gunfight than reloading between each shot,” he said almost reverently.
“And these two revolvers here are the new S&W Revolvers that use metal cartridges. Damn, Son, you’re lucky you caught them with their pants down,” he said seriously, as he awarded me their belongings. The four of us spent a cold night in the same stable where we bedded our horses.
The sheriff went around town in the morning asking if anyone recognized the two men. The owner of the mercantile recognized them, commenting, “I saw them about a week ago when they came in to buy ammunition. I saw them talking to that new fella, Mr. Blake, or Brake, or something like that.”
Dad’s face paled at the news, and Tom wasn’t far behind. “It’s Brake, and he tried to buy our farm just over a month ago. He said I’d regret not selling to him,” Dad growled angrily.
“Told me pretty much the same thing,” Tom agreed.
“I think I’d better talk to this Mr. Brake,” the sheriff said. “These two fellas are riding expensive horses, have fancy saddles, and even fancier weapons. I’m betting they’re hired guns,” he commented somberly.
“Why the hell is he so interested in our farms?” Dad wondered aloud. “Sure, we have access to the river for water, and the soil is fertile, but there is land along the river five miles away that’s just as good,” he said. Nobody knew the answer.
Since I was inheriting the men’s weapons, the owner of the mercantile asked if I was interested in buying the cartridges the two men ordered for the revolvers, as well as the two additional repeating rifles they ordered. They were already half paid for. After speaking with Dad about making sure all of us were better armed, and using some of the money I confiscated from the men and kept with me, I bought all of them. We were stunned at how much they ordered. There were more than 200 cartridges for the revolvers, enough powder, Minie balls, and caps for the repeating rifles to start a small war. In addition, there were a thousand Minie balls as well as paper cartridges filled with powder for the Enfield rifles. I bought extra powder, caps, and lead for my original rifle, as well as for the other weapons in our family.
At the suggestion of the shopkeeper, we paid a visit to the town’s saddle maker. Sure enough, both men ordered new double hip holsters for the Navy Colts, and cross draw holsters for their S&W revolvers. He said they told him they bought the new revolvers just before coming here and didn’t have time to get holsters yet. I paid more of the dead men’s money for the four holsters.
We stayed in town the rest of the day, not wanting to spend the night sleeping outside in the middle of the winter. The sheriff rode with us the next morning to talk to Mr. Brake. Dad and I rode the two new horses home. My first impression of the horses was right; they were magnificent. When we got home, Dawn hugged me and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, thanking me again for saving her, and then she and her husband continued home. While Dad and I ate a late supper, he told the rest of the family about our trip and about the potential problem posed by Mr. Brake.
The sheriff stayed the night with the Wilkes family and went to see Mr. Brake early the next morning. Evidently, Mr. Brake had a large cabin about three miles above us on a huge parcel of land. He had two more men and four slaves busy building what looked like a bunkhouse and a barn. Brake claimed that he knew nothing about the two hired guns except that they asked him for work as farm hands. The sheriff told us afterwards that Brake had much more lumber up there than he would need to build the bunkhouse and barn.
For a week, I tried to use up all of the cartridges I bought, getting used to the rifle and the revolvers. I was surprised at how quickly I caught on to the revolvers since I had never used one before. By the end of the week, I could hit within a couple of inches of where I was aiming the revolver at twenty-five yards. Just for the hell of it, I even practiced a fast draw using the cross draw holster. I had nothing to compare my speed to, but was confident that I could get the gun out quickly if the need arose. Even Dad was impressed by my speed and accuracy with the revolvers.
The Enfield rifles were more of a challenge. Dad explained that the repeating rifles were for shots of 100 yards or less, and the Enfields were for longer shots. I practiced and found that the Enfield would shoot more than a thousand yards, although I was only accurate to a little more than 300 yards. Dad was impressed with my marksmanship, having tried the Enfield himself.
After a week with no further trouble, I went out hunting again. This time, Dawn went with me so we could watch out for each other. She enjoyed riding one of my new horses and smiled as she stroked the withers of her horse. We found a small herd of deer at the salt lick and quietly picked out the two we wanted. On the count of three, we both used our bows, and each hit the young buck we aimed for. Once the two bucks finally collapsed, and we brought mine next to Dawn’s, she stood watch while I bled them out, removed the scent glands, gutted them, and loaded them onto Rascal and Zeke, two of our family’s mules.
I took Dawn home and helped hang her buck so she could skin it. Leading the horse she rode and the two mules, I started home. Halfway there, I heard a bullet whiz by my head, followed immediately by the report of a rifle. In a second, I was on the ground, sheltered behind a large rock. Backing away from the rock, I entered a small brush-lined depression and crawled about a hundred feet to my right where I found another good-sized rock. This one was inside the tree line where I wouldn’t be nearly as visible in the shade as I was in the sun at the last rock.
I looked to where I thought the shot came from, all the while listening for sounds indicating that the shooter was trying to flank me. I finally spotted a rifle barrel aimed at the first rock. Since I had my rifle and one of the revolvers with me, I aimed where I thought a shooter would be in relation to the rifle barrel that was sticking out and fired a shot. My effort was rewarded with a scream of pain and the ambusher’s rifle dropping forward.
Still, I crawled slowly and quietly, trying further to flank the shooter. I didn’t know if there was more than one shooter, or if the shooter was only wounded and just pretending to be hurt. More than half an hour later, I was behind the shooter’s position where his horse was. There was only one horse, only one set of hoof prints for a horse, and one set of footprints for a man so I crept towards the shooter’s position. He was definitely dead, and the large spot where his blood soaked into the ground was proof of how much blood he lost.
After retrieving my horses and mules, I rolled him onto a hastily constructed travois, tied it to his horse and dragged him home, wondering how many gunmen the Brake fellow could afford. This one had a nice horse and saddle, but his rifle was similar to my old one, and he had a Colt Navy Revolver. Aside from some jerky, his saddlebags were empty, and his belt was a simple leather belt.
Dad gasped when he saw the man’s face. “That’s Brake, the man who tried to buy our farm,” he said. It was still early enough that we tied the man across his horse, and rode into town.
This time, the sheriff had finished his supper before we arrived. “Yup, that’s Mr. Brake,” he concurred when I told him what happened. Once again, Dad and I slept in the livery stable. In the morning, the sheriff returned with us, wanting to look over the scene of the shooting. It was dark by the time we got home, so he spent the night with the Wilkes family again since our house was bursting at the seams.
The next morning, I showed him where it happened. He walked around and looked at everything, pointing out signs I’d already seen for each event I described. He even found the paper cartridge Mr. Brake used to reload his rifle with powder after shooting at me. He was finally satisfied that I was telling the truth, and the three of us rode to the Brake cabin.
The two men working there claimed not to know anything about what Mr. Brake was doing, just that they were being paid to oversee construction of the bunkhouse and the barn. None of the four slaves knew anything, but suggested speaking to Mrs. Brake. We did, and as soon as we were inside the cabin, we heard two horses riding away quickly.
I was surprised that Mrs. Brake wasn’t upset about her husband’s death. “I had to marry him or his family would have killed my father,” she explained indignantly. “He didn’t tell anyone else, but my father planned to leave for St. Louis as quickly as he could, still fearing for his life,” she added.
Then she explained why he wanted our land. He discovered coal about halfway between their cabin and our land. He wanted our property so he could haul the coal to the river to ship it. He wanted the Wilkes’ farm so he could have slaves grow food on the two farms to help feed the miners. The two men who just rode away worked for his family before coming here. They were probably on the way back to Savannah to tell the family what happened. She warned us that there would be trouble when his family found out. Like her deceased husband, they used guns to get what they wanted.
Then she stunned us, asking us to take her with us if we left town. She wasn’t sure what would happen to her if she stayed, but knew she wouldn’t enjoy it. Insisting that we call her Florence, or even Flo, she cleared her belongings out of the cabin, along with nearly $5,000 in double Eagles she said was for starting up the mine. The four slaves came with us, although our family doesn’t believe in slavery.
With the immediate trouble over, we wouldn’t be bothered for a few weeks until the two men could ride to Savannah and the Brake family could get here. Dad and Tom decided to be gone by then. Knowing that, I paid a visit to the Garfield home. Emma Garfield and I have been friends for as long as we can remember. We’d talked many times about getting married when I could afford it. Dad always insisted that my brothers and I have at least $500 in the bank before getting married and I could definitely afford it now. When I told Mr. Garfield what happened, he was surprised. Evidently, his farm was far enough away that Brake wasn’t interested in it.
I told him that I had nearly $2,000 now, and planned to go with my family when they left. Then I asked if I could court and marry his daughter, Emma. I explained that we would be leaving in four weeks or less, so the courtship would have to be quick.
He surprised me, then. “Hell, Jim, you done been courting Emma for years, now. Assuming that she agrees, I think a wedding is in order,” he said as he pumped my hand.
Emma must have been just inside of the house listening as she screeched happily and ran out and threw herself at me. “I guess that means that she approves,” her father chuckled. Mrs. Garfield came out, too, adding her blessing to our pending union.
With her father’s permission, Emma rode behind me as I rode my horse home to let my parents know. Feeling her breasts pressed against my back as she held on to me got a definite rise out of me. My whole family was excited for us, especially Penny, my younger sister. She and Emma were best friends. Emma spent the day at our house, much of it with Mom and Penny. She ate supper with us before I rode home with her. Halfway there, she had me stop and get off the horse.
“I’ve never done this before, but Ma told me how to do it,” she whispered conspiratorially. I almost died when her hands found the lump in the front of my pants. She quickly had my pants around my knees, and knelt in front of me. “It looks so huge,” she whispered before tentatively licking the tip of my cock.
Satisfied that the taste was something she could live with, she took me in her mouth. I lasted all of ten seconds and my brain was so overloaded that I didn’t even think to warn her when I came. “Wow,” she wheezed, coughing a couple of times after swallowing what didn’t spill out of her mouth.
“‘Wow, ‘ doesn’t even begin to describe how good that felt,” I said as I hugged her and kissed her.
“How quickly can we get married?” she asked in a sultry voice that started my cock growing again.
“I’ll marry you tomorrow if our parents agree,” I sighed.
“You must have enjoyed that,” she chuckled.
“I did, but that’s not the reason I want to marry you. You’re smart, funny, and fun to be with. Penny says you know how to cook and sew as well as your mother, and I just enjoy being around you,” I told her. “It doesn’t hurt that you’re the prettiest girl in the county, but I’d marry you even if you weren’t,” I told her sincerely.
“For that comment, you deserve another one,” she whispered and knelt again. This time she let me touch her breasts while she sucked on me. I knew that Dawn’s breasts were gorgeous and firm from the time I’d seen her naked, but they couldn’t hold a candle to the milky white skin of Emma’s generous breasts. I’d seen Emma’s naked body occasionally each summer when we skinny-dipped, but I’d never touched her before. I lasted all of two minutes, and even that might be an exaggeration. With a final kiss, we made sure our clothing was straight, and I finished riding Emma home. Her mom grinned knowingly from behind Emma’s dad when I told them I’d like the wedding as soon as possible.
When I told my family that I wanted to get married as quickly as possible, Penny was grinning at me, too.
The next day we finished taking everything of value from the Brake home. The following day, the Garfield family, the Wilkes family, my family, and the widow Brake all headed for town. It took two days to get there since we were driving four wagons filled with everything we wouldn’t take with us. When we got to town, the first thing we did was arrange for the parson to marry us on Saturday.
While we were doing that, the sheriff accompanied Widow Brake to the bank where she sold the land, pending someone from the bank verifying that there really was coal there. In addition, all three of our families sold their farms, combining the sale of the Brake land and ours into a package deal with river access. Flo withdrew the remaining $2,000 from her husband’s account.
Once she finished, the women found a seamstress to sew a wedding dress for Emma. The seamstress promised that it would be finished in time. Two days later, Emma and I were married.
Since we were leaving the area, both of my brothers asked to marry the Franklin sisters they were interested in. When all four parents had agreed, we ended up with a triple wedding--and the Franklin family joining us on the trip.
The night before the wedding, Dad took Jake and Ben aside and explained a few facts about married life to them. I was surprised when Mom took me aside. “Jim, I’m not going to tell this to your brothers because I don’t think they’d listen. Seeing the respectful way you always treat your sister, even when she’s being a pest, and after Dawn told me how you acted like a perfect gentleman when you rescued her, I’d like to give you some advice about how to make your wife happy,” she explained.
From there, she explained about taking my time to make sure Emma was ready for me before we made love. She told me I could tell if she was wet between the legs. Then she stunned me, telling me that she knew what Emma did for me that first night. She explained that I could do the same thing for Emma, using my tongue on her. She promised that Emma would be much more eager to have sex if I did that for her.
All I could say afterwards was “How do you know what Emma did for me?”
“You forget,” Mom chuckled as she got up from the chair to leave, “your sister is her best friend. Women talk about everything, and the girls got a little loud when Emma told Penny what she did.”
“Shit, now even my sister knows. I guess that explains some of her smug grins lately,” I thought to myself.
The weddings were relatively short. All three couples stood in the front of the chapel, and after a brief sermon about the responsibilities of a man to his wife, and vice versa, we recited our vows and the minister pronounced us man and wife and told us to kiss our brides. The three of us actually splurged and rented rooms at the inn for our first night of married life.
Originally, my brothers planned to sleep in the stable again. When their new wives found out that I rented a room for Emma and me, my brothers got their first lesson in who really wears the pants in the family--and what their wives expected from them if they hoped to get into those pants.
My brothers and their wives were happy in the morning, but Emma practically glowed. I tried what Mom told me, much to Emma’s pleasure. She was eager to help hone my skill and to teach me the finer points of pleasuring her with my mouth and fingers. Only when she was thoroughly satisfied did I consummate our marriage. I was grateful that there was very little resistance, and only a drop or two of blood. When Mom told me about sex, she suggested that I stop for a minute after taking Emma’s virginity to let the pain lessen, but Emma insisted that I continue.
Our three bouts of sex last night left her sore this morning. Aside from walking awkwardly, though, Emma looked like the happiest woman in the world. She even hugged my mother and quietly thanked her for the advice she gave me. Mom beamed at me.
Afterwards, several of us stayed in town for five days while we had the farm wagons that we intended to use for the trip worked on. Farm wagons are bigger and heavier than the prairie schooners used by settlers heading for Oregon or California, but we were only going half as far, and there were decent roads most of the way. That’s also the reason we decided to use mules instead of oxen. Mules would be able to handle the shorter trip, and would travel a little faster than oxen. Besides, once we got to wherever we decided to go, the mules would be better than oxen for plowing and hauling. Oxen could be used to plow, but at a much slower pace, and were worthless as far as hauling a pack. Whoever heard of pack oxen? My brothers and their wives, and Flo with her four slaves stayed with Emma and me to help get the ten wagons we were taking ready to go. Everyone else returned home to finish preparing for our departure.
We had the sides of our wagons raised by two feet, and installed bows to hold up a cover. The women bought enough canvas to make covers for all the wagons. They measured each wagon to determine how big the covers had to be and treated the canvas with linseed oil to help it repel water. While we waited, Emma, my brothers’ two wives, Flo, and Flo’s four slaves cut and stitched the covers for the wagons. In addition, the slaves worked on the wagons, making sure everything was in good repair, greasing everything that needed it. When each wagon was finished, they covered the outside with a coat of tar to seal it.
We managed to sell off everything we brought into town, carefully noting how much each family earned so they would receive the right amount. I had no idea why our families left me in charge of everyone who stayed in town. I would have thought my oldest brother would be in charge.
Each day, I spent an hour teaching Emma how to use one of the repeating rifles and the Navy Colt revolvers. When Flo wanted to learn to shoot, I added her to the practice sessions. I spoke with Flo when the three of us were alone, wondering what she intended to do with the slaves. She shrugged. “It depends on where we go. If we move to a free state, I’ll free them when we get there and hope they will stay and work for us. If we stay in a slave state, I’ll keep them, but will treat them a lot better than my husband did,” she explained.
“Why not free them even if we end up in a slave state?” I queried.
“Because they might be illegally ‘recaptured’ and sold back into slavery if I do. I’ll treat them as if they are paid servants,” she promised.
Since Emma and Flo were learning to use the rifles and revolvers, I decided to splurge. I went to the gunsmith and ordered six more of the repeating rifles, six of the Navy Colt revolvers, and six of the new S&W revolvers, along with four more Enfields, and even more ammunition for all of the guns. I wanted to have as many guns as possible to protect us along the way, and knew none of the other families could afford to buy even one more gun. Dawn and Flo would each get a set, and the best marksmen in our group would get an Enfield, too. I bought eight new shotguns, and plenty of ammunition for them, mainly for the women to use should the need arise. I knew there were plenty of older rifles between all of the families, but I wanted the new repeating rifles for the extra advantage they would give us.
One of the tasks entrusted to me was buying a long list of supplies for the trip. Each family noted what they wanted me to buy. Once their wagon was ready, we filled it with their supplies and someone drove it home to them. My brother Jake and his wife drove the first two wagons, taking one to the Wilkes family and one to the Garfield family. The next day, my brother Ben and his wife drove a wagon to the Franklin family who lived in town and then drove the next wagon home for my parents.
While I was buying oats from the feed store, a man I’d never met before pulled up in his wagon. He laughed at me when I just gawked, dumbfounded at the six mares pulling it. I’d never seen horses that big before. He explained that they were Clydesdales, and he had bought them right before moving here from Pennsylvania, hoping to breed them. Unfortunately, the stallion broke a leg and had to be put down two weeks after he got here. Now, the giant horses just ate and ate and ate. He hoped to find someone driving a freight wagon who might be interested in buying the horses.
“How much for all six horses?” I asked, hoping to keep my eagerness from my voice. We haggled a bit, and I got all six horses for $300. I would have considered $600 a steal.
“You do freighting?” He asked when our deal was concluded.
“Nah, I’m thinking about raising mules. These mares should have some pretty big ones,” I explained.
“I didn’t even think about that,” he admitted. I could see the regret in his face when he realized his mistake.
Two of Flo’s slaves took the next two partially loaded wagons, dropping them off at my home for my two brothers to load--not that they had much to load. Lots of the extra supplies would go into their wagons to even out the loads. I had them take the six Clydesdale mares, too, and tell my dad what I intended to do with them. I hoped our donkey, Wilbur, was tall enough to breed with them. Wilbur was a good-sized donkey, so I felt he could get the job done.
Emma and I enjoyed our sex each night, and she and the other women would gossip and giggle all day while they worked. We didn’t take any wagons home the next day, waiting an additional day until the last wagon was complete. In the morning, Emma, Flo, Flo’s two remaining slaves, and I turned our loaded wagons for home. Flo and Emma sat in the back of our wagon and gossiped while the two slaves and I drove the three wagons home. I was shocked when Emma asked if Flo could sleep in our wagon with us that night.
Reluctantly, I agreed, even knowing that it meant a night with no sex. Still, I could see her point. It snowed last night and promised to be just as cold tonight. Even though there were no clouds to provide a second dusting of snow, it would be damn cold sleeping in her wagon, and Flo by herself in a wagon stood a good chance of getting sick from the cold.
I slept in my clothes, partly due to the cold and partly due to Flo’s presence. When I snuggled against Emma, I was surprised to find that she was naked, even though we slept that way every night since our wedding. I assumed my usual position, spooned against Emma’s sexy backside, cupping her breast. Emma spooned against Flo’s backside.
I felt slightly disoriented when I woke in the morning. It took a few seconds for me to realize what was different. I was still in my usual position, with my arm over Emma, but something soft pressed against the back of my hand. Looking over Emma’s shoulder, I quickly realized it had to be Flo’s naked breast. The last thing I needed was for my new wife to find me touching another woman’s breast, so I quickly crawled out of the wagon and started a fire to cook breakfast.
I rode about a mile back up the road, stopping just before a meadow I noticed yesterday. Sure enough, I found deer grazing, digging through the light snow, looking for the dead grass beneath. Using the repeating rifle, I shot the second largest buck and rode down to get him. After cutting out the scent glands and so forth, I rolled him onto a hastily built travois and dragged him back to camp. Emma looked relieved when I rode into view. With Flo’s help, they quickly skinned the buck and had breakfast cooking.
Trying to decide what to do with the rest of the buck until we got home pointed out a potential problem we’d have on the trip, one I thought about for a few days. What would we do during the day with the game we shot? We couldn’t afford to take time in the morning to process the carcass. We had to get on the road as soon as it was light.
Christmas was two days after we got home with the last three wagons. Emma and I stayed in my old room since each of us kids had our own room. Flo and her slaves joined us for Christmas since she didn’t have any family here. Emma loved my Christmas present. I gave her a simple gold wedding band, and a gold necklace with a heart-shaped locket. Once again, it looked like my brothers would be upset with me since they hadn’t gotten their wives anything nearly as nice.
I also gave Penny and my mother one of the locket necklaces. Considering that our Christmases usually consisted of a special meal and our parents giving us new clothing, it was quite a special gift. I took Emma aside afterwards and asked if she wanted to give one to Flo. I wasn’t comfortable giving jewelry to a woman I wasn’t related to, but knew that Penny and Emma were already good friends with Flo. It was evidently the right thing to do since Emma pulled me away and rewarded me with one of her exquisite blowjobs.
In the afternoon, Emma and I rode to her parents’ home and gave one of the necklaces to Emma’s mother. Emma rewarded me again on the way home. Finally, we rode to the Wilkes’ home. Dawn taught me so much about hunting and trapping that I felt she was both a second mother and a second father. I knew she had no use for jewelry, but bought her something that would mean even more to her. There were tears in the eyes of the always stoic Dawn, as well as her husband, when I gave her the four cigar-box sized boxes of colored beads, as well as new leatherworking tools. Dawn loved making buckskin clothes and moccasins. She was proudest of the ones she made with fancy beadwork on them, and sold them for much more than unadorned ones.
Preparations to leave were nearing completion at home. One of the first things we did when we decided to leave was slaughter the pigs. Much of the meat was painstakingly dried while some was salt cured to help feed us on the trip. Dad hoped to get six sows and two boars safely to wherever we were going. I was dubious at first, but my two new horses already showed that they were trained cutting horses, and our four dogs were experienced herding dogs--just not with pigs.
Penny, Emma, and I went with Flo when she returned to her home for the final time. She was also nearly ready to leave, but I wanted to use some of the abundant lumber at her place. For two days, I sawed and hammered. First, I added a ledge to the entire length of the right side of the wagon. When I was satisfied that it was sturdy enough, I built a wooden cage to keep chickens. That way, we would have fresh eggs on the trip, and would have chickens to start our flock when we arrived.
When the cage was finished, I started on a portable pen. It ended up being four feet wide, eight feet long, and three feet high. We would secure it each night with a metal stake driven into the ground at each corner. The top was simply narrow branches tied lengthwise across the top to keep the chickens inside the pen to scratch and eat. Before we went to sleep, we would put the chickens back into the coop to keep them safer. We continued practicing with the rifles and revolvers. Both women were reasonably proficient with the rifle out to a hundred yards and could hit a man with the revolvers inside twenty-five yards.
When I finished everything for the chickens, I built an odd looking but sturdy, rectangular frame on the back of our wagon. It was six inches higher than the top of the wagon, tall enough that we could get out of the wagon without hitting our heads on it. I braced the top corners of the frame further with an eight-foot piece of lumber secured to each side of the wagon. It might have looked odd, but I could put a hook on each of the two upper corners of the frame. Once we bled a deer out, we could hang it during the day while we traveled. The women could deal with it when we stopped for the day.
Mr. Brake had lots of tools. He had carpenter’s tools, woodworking tools, mining tools, and even gardening tools. We took these and split them between my brothers’ two wagons and my wagon. We didn’t know if we’d need all of the tools, but could sell off any extras when we got to Council Bluffs.
Emma and I made a final trip to town to get the guns and ammunition I ordered. Flo and Penny insisted on joining us. It was a cold, wet trip into town, complete with a lightning storm and the accompanying booming thunder. My two new horses were the only ones that didn’t shy at the nearby thunder. Since I hadn’t named them yet, Emma teased me that I should name them Thunder and Lightning, so I did. Lightning was the one with a white blaze on his nose that looked a bit like a lightning bolt.
We stayed at the inn again, and I rented two rooms for the night. Emma and I practiced our usual evening marital exercises and were quite warm when we finally dozed off. In the morning, we got the guns and ammunition from the gunsmith and picked up the holsters I ordered. I hoped they fit everyone since I had to guess at waist sizes, especially the women. Once Rascal and Zeke were loaded, we headed home, grateful that the rain had stopped.
For the next week, everyone practiced with the new weapons. Even the women took time off to practice with their shotguns. When I gave her a set of guns, Dawn teared up the same way she had at Christmas. Even though she’d never used a gun of any sort, she was a fast learner and quickly matched me with the Enfield.
Three days after the New Year, the bank concluded the deal to buy all of the properties. They contacted a large coal mining company who came out and evaluated the coal deposit. They actually found a second deposit on the opposite side of Flo’s cabin, or at least a second outcropping from the same deposit. Flo received $10,000 for her property, a veritable fortune. Dad, Mr. Wilkes, and even Mr. Garfield received the exorbitant amount of $1,000 each for their farms. Part was due to the chance that the coal seams stretched onto our properties. The rest of the reason for the high amount was to control the riverfront for shipping, and to have the fertile land to grow food the way Mr. Brake planned to do.
Mr. Franklin sold his house back to the bank he managed.
Two weeks after Christmas, our caravan of ten wagons and sundry livestock took the road west to Proctor’s Landing, a two-day journey. When we left Charleston after the weddings, we told everyone we were moving north near Harrisonburg. We hoped the misdirection would send the Brake family in the wrong direction in case they came looking for us. We even told our remaining neighbors the same thing.
We made the difficult decision about where to move before selling off what we wouldn’t take with us, discussing Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, California, and Oregon. Mr. Franklin finally suggested that we settle near Council Bluffs. Word was that the prairie soil was rich, and Congress was already making noise about a railroad to the west coast. The railroad construction would probably begin near Independence, but Council Bluffs was close enough by steamboat to sell food to the railroad. Right now, the economy was suffering and land prices were depressed, despite what the bank offered for our land. We could raise cattle, pigs, chickens, wheat, and corn to sell to the railroad. Surprisingly, the final vote was unanimous.
One of Flo’s slaves drove my wagon, another drove Flo’s wagon, and one drove Dad’s wagon. Dad and one of Flo’s slaves rode herd on the livestock, while Dawn and I scouted and hunted. The other men each drove the wagon for their family.
In Proctor’s Landing, Dad had previously arranged river transportation to Shawneetown. We originally planned to stop in Evansville, a common jumping-off point for settlers heading west. The man in charge said that the river trip to Shawneetown would take an extra day, but would cut at least two or three days off the time of taking the overland route, possibly more. The road from Shawneetown to St. Louis was an actual road while the route from Evansville only followed a muddy, well-worn trail. Considering the overall time the river trip would save us, the $50 it cost us was worth it as it saved us at least three weeks if we traveled overland to Evansville.
My thanks to my editors, Himself, Bigbillh, Lonelydad, Erik T, and Junk1, for their words of encouragement, as well as necessary criticism, corrections, and reality checks that I hope made this a better story.