After many requests from readers, I have taken the time to prepare this chronology of family Fielding. I have made every effort to list the stories in a semblance of the correct order. You may find some stories listed before or after ones posted previous to them because of the time in which the story occurred. I have tried to show the relationship of Fieldings in each story. I know some of the characters (specifically in Rewards of Virtue) do not show the full relationship. They come from a different branch of the family that I have not developed.
I hope this helps those of you who wanted to know an order in which to read these stories and the partial family tree of my characters. I will try to remember to update this submission as/if I write more Fielding stories. Many of the stories in the Steelville Universe are not directly about the Fielding family and I have not listed them here even if they do mention a Fielding in them.
I have no intention of spending more time on this list so I hope it is sufficient and please do not request clarification.
3. THE RISE OF FAMILY FIELDING
William Fielding, Father, Mabel, Mother
Anthony (Tony) Fielding, wife Elizabeth Jacobs. (Spanish American War & After)
Peter, son born 1899
Simon, son born 1900
Mary, daughter born 1903
4. Future (WW1 Era)
5. Future (WWII Era, Possibly Korean War)
6. EYE OPENING TRIP
James (Jim) Fielding, wife Ann
7. EYE OPENING TRIP NO 2, THE AFTERMATH
8. EYE OPENING TRIP NO 3, ANN FINDS NEW LOVE
9. EYE OPENING TRIP NO 4, JIM AND ANN REDUX
Edward, Jim & Ann’s son
Paul, Jim & Ann’s younger son, his wife Jennifer
Jeffery, Paul’s son
Charles (Charlie), Pauls son
10. JEFFERYS DIVORCE AND RECOVERY
Jeffery, first wife Amy
second wife Abigail (Abby)
11. CHARLIES PAIN AND HEALING
Charlie, first wife Charlene
12. CHARLIES PAIN AND HEALING—-Amanda
Charlie, second wife Amanda
13. SECOND HALF OF LIFE
Jeremiah Fielding, Joanna, wife
14. A NEW DIRECTION
Jennifer Fielding, Charlie & Amanda’s daughter
15. BETTER DAYS
16. REMOTE HEALING. Set several years after Charlies Pain and Healing
17. REWARDS OF VIRTUE
Donald (Don) Fielding, wife JANICE
Alexander (Alex) Fielding (his father = Donald)
Sam Fielding, son by Alice Fowler
Julie Fielding, Daughter by Alice Fowler
Joseph Fielding, son by Brandy
NOW, ON TO THE NEWEST STORY ABOUT OUR HEROES, THE FIELDINGS...
THE RISE OF FAMILY FIELDING
BY SW MO HERMIT
JULY 1, 1898, Somewhere on San Juan Hill, Cuba
A dirty, emaciated young man groaned and tried to roll over as he frantically pulled at his stained and torn uniform trousers. As he moved, he screamed in pain, then felt his bowels spasm. A runny mess shot out of his rectum, coating his lower extremities and fouling his clothing.
Tony (Anthony) Fielding shouted, “FUCK.” He bent almost double, curling in pain from his injuries and the results of his intestinal pain as the wounds he received in the recent battle and malaria wracked his body. He looked around in fear. Where the hell was he and what the hell was wrong with him? It looked as if he was in the middle of a battle or war or something. His memory returned as he became fully aware of his surroundings. He was, or at least had been, in the middle of a battle.
He was in a soul-destroying panic as he tried to figure out what was wrong with him and where he was. He dimly saw a pair of strangely dressed men moving toward him carrying a stretcher. When they got closer he saw the red cross on an armband on their left arms. As they kneeled beside him everything went black.
JULY 3, 1898
Tony was so cold and his bed was wet. What was the matter with him? He must be sick. He pulled an olive colored wool blanket as tightly around him as he could and looked around. He could hear moaning and low voices talking in the background as his teeth chattered from the cold. The walls of the room he was in were the same olive drab color as the blanket. Wait, he was in a tent. Yes, and he appeared to be laying on an army cot. No wonder the bed was so hard.
Fuck! Now he was burning up he was so hot. He threw the blankets off and lay sweating as he listened to the noise and tried to remember. A woman walked rapidly up beside his bed and gave him a tired smile. “Awake are we? Good.” She leaned over and handed Tony a glass and some pills. Take these pills for me like a good Sergeant. Do you need to go to the latrine?” After getting a negative reply and watching him drink the water and swallow the pills the woman stuck a thermometer in his mouth as she took his pulse.
The woman watched Tony for a moment, then picked up a clipboard that had been hanging at the foot of his cot. She read some of the papers on the clipboard and made a couple of notes. “Just relax Sergeant. You came in with the other casualties from San Juan Hill. Between the shrapnel wounds and malaria you are a very sick man. It looks as if you will pull through but you need to rest.”
Tony felt a surge of fear rush through his head and stomach. If there had been anything in his stomach he would have retched. This was supposed to have been a cake walk. Everyone knew the Spaniards were a pushover. He, along with his unit charged with Colonel Teddy Roosevelt up San Juan Hill. Tony just lay on the bed and stared at the woman. Finally she gave him another sickly smile, adjusted his blankets and walked away to another cot farther down the long line of cots.
Later that afternoon, after what he considered a putrid lunch, most of which he couldn’t force himself to eat, Tony heard and saw the woman talking to an almost cadaverous man at the entrance to the tent. He didn’t hear the entire conversation but what he heard was even more frightening than any of the more recent events. She said, “Doctor, I’m worried about SGT Fielding. He claims to not remember anything about the battle. He said the last thing he remembers was waking up on the battlefield. He has made several other strange statements since he woke up. I think we should consider transferring him to an asylum to see if they can help him.”
“Hummm. Some of the men brought in with him say the artillery was pretty heavy. Let’s wait and see how he recovers first; give him time to regain his memory and get over the illness and wounds before we burden the asylum with another case. This is probably just another case of battle fatigue and he’ll get over it as he recovers.”
Tony remembered learning how crazy people were treated and he wanted nothing to do with that. He got almost no sleep that night as he worried over his problem. Finally he decided to do his best to play the game and pretend he was fine and remembered all his past. He was glad now he had bugged his grandfather constantly about his time in the army. Maybe that would help fill in the holes in his memory. Maybe he could muddle through until he could wake up from this nightmare or figure out something to do before they shipped him to some insane asylum.
SEPT 25, 1898, Montauk, NY
SGT Fielding was standing in formation with his friends, his brothers in arms, as their great adventure came to an end. He was still completely lost and alone, his mind still confused. What was he going to do? Return to a home he knew but didn’t know? How could he do that? Would it even be right to do that? What if he did something to mess everything up? No, he couldn’t return to Missouri, but how could he not? He had to return to keep things on an even keel but it wasn’t him, it wasn’t right. He had already messed up so many times trying to pretend he was someone he wasn’t. His officers and men knew he wasn’t right in the head but thankfully they made allowances.
Finally, Anthony heard the droning speech end and the voice said in a louder tone, “Regiment, ATTENTION, DISMISSED.” The men in the formation snapped to attention the rapidly relaxed. Many of them grinned and turned to the man beside them in the formation or moved to find a friend somewhere else. There was much hand shaking and backslapping as the men returned to their barracks for one last time to get their bags before heading for home. Most of them headed for the railroad station to catch a train to points west and home. Some just went into town, others began walking or headed out to purchase a horse for the trip home. It was over; they were civilians once again and could get on with their lives.
Anthony stood a moment, still unsure what he should do. He knew he had to do something and finally moved toward the barracks for his gear. After telling a few of the men so long, he pulled a back pack on and headed out the door.
Like many in the regiment, he walked out the gate for the last time and headed to town. Unlike most of the men discharged with him, he had money in his pocket and a plan. He was headed home and was excited to see his parents and grandparents again after his experiences.
Unlike most of the men, Anthony had already made plans—unconventional plans to be sure, but plans already acted upon in part. Several days before the date the regiment was to be disbanded and its men discharged he made a clandestine trip into town. While he was there he purchased his transportation home. He purchased two mules, two really good mules, one of which he planned to ride, the other to use as a pack animal. Why he could save at least twenty dollars by riding home instead of taking the train and he could use the mules on the farm after he got home. He couldn’t go wrong with that idea.
Most of the men headed for one of three destinations when they reached town. They either headed straight for the train station or to a saloon but a small percentage headed for their favorite whorehouse to get one for the road. Anthony made straight for the livery stable and his mules. When he arrived he settled up with the stable owner then rapidly saddled his mules (one with a pack saddle) and headed out of town for the road he planned to take across nearly half of the country and a home he was anxious to see once again.
While Tony was in no hurry to get “home” he was anxious to arrive. He knew that made no sense. He wanted to get there but he was really looking forward to his great adventure; riding a mule half way across the whole United States in the golden age of the nation. Well, he thought of it as the golden age in any event. Sure there were dangers still traveling alone by horseback (or mule back) but he was trail wise he thought, and careful. He was also well armed and more than a little competent with weapons and hand to hand fighting. He was excited by the prospect of seeing the sights as he travelled. Besides, he was apprehensive about meeting people he was supposed to know well but had poor or no memory of.
Tony planned to head more or less straight home but would take the easier (he hoped) route. He had good clothes, camping gear, and plenty of supplies. Besides, if he needed to he could purchase more of almost everything as he travelled. He didn’t advertise the fact but he was carrying over $1,000, a veritable fortune in this day and time. Part of the money was his pay but the majority of it came from gambling winnings.
As much as he would like to move slowly, he planned to head down the road fairly expeditiously because winter was coming to the northeast. Some of the mornings were already pretty nippy.
After he had been on the road for a week, Anthony came to an interesting, comfortable feeling small town. It was nestled in a small valley outside Philadelphia and somehow called out to him. Anthony lodged his mules in a livery stable and checked into a small hotel nearby for a well deserved rest. The next morning after an excellent breakfast in the hotel dining room Anthony walked through the small town seeing the sights. After checking on his mules he walked next door into the blacksmith shop and watched the smith work for a short time.
Unfortunately the smith managed to stumble and fall when walking back toward his forge from a stack of metal. This in itself wouldn’t have been too serious except he fell into the stack of metal and cut his left arm and hand deeply as well as stabbed a piece of metal into his side over his hip bone.
Fortunately for him Tony was there with his memory of battlefield emergency medicine fresh in his brain. Tony jumped to his aid and began first aid while yelling for the smith’s assistant to get the doctor. Hiram, the assistant, spit a large squirt of tobacco juice onto the packed floor and said, “‘taint none ‘round. Recon ole Smitty’s jus’ gonna have ta do with whatevah ya kin do for ‘im.
“Well FUCK! Ok then, you get a clean pan or bucket and fill it with clean water then put it over there on the forge to boil. Find me some alcohol, a sharp knife and a needle and thread. NO. Forget that for now, this place is too dirty to work on him. If he was married, find his wife and get her down here. And find someone to help get him home or somewhere cleaner where I can work on him then have those items there when we get him home.”
“Cain’t do that. His missus done died on ‘im. His old maid daughter works over ta tha general store though. Want me ta get her?”
“Yes, she needs to know. Now hurry up and get me some help here.” Tony cringed when the young man stepped out of the blacksmith shop and began yelling for help as he trotted down the street toward the store.
“Help! Help quick. Smitty’s done hurt hisself and’s bleedin’ like a stuck pig. Some feller’s atryin’ ta fix ‘im up but we needs some hep a gettin’ ‘im ta home.”
Several men came running down the street and into the shop. Several minutes later, as they were carrying the smith out of the building a pretty young woman came running up. She was crying as she pushed her way through the crowd and up to the men carrying the smith toward a small house just behind the blacksmith shop.
The woman stared at the blood covered smith and wailed, “Oh, Papa.” She looked around and asked the men carrying him, “What happened? Is he going to be all right? How badly is he hurt?”
One of the men said, “Don’t know girl. That there feller over there been workin’ on him. Maybe he can tell ya more.”
The woman turned toward Anthony and placed her hand gently on his forearm as she asked, “How is Papa? Is he going to be ok? Is there anything I can do to help?”
“I really don’t know Miss. I’ll do all I can for him but it all depends on how badly he is injured and whether he gets an infection. I’ll know more after we get him somewhere cleaner and with more light. I need to clean him up and really look at the injuries before I can say for sure. The wounds are pretty deep and he lost a lot of blood before I got the bleeding stopped. If it all goes well, yes, he should recover but its too early to tell right now.”
The men carried the smith into the kitchen and placed him on the table at Tony’s request. He turned to the smith’s daughter and began making requests for the items he would need to help him. “Ma’am, I need boiling water, soap, a needle and thread as well as some strong alcohol and any pain relievers you may have so I can help your father. The water needs to boil hard for at least 20 minutes.
“By the way, what is your name? I’m Anthony Fielding but most folks call me Tony.”
Anthony turned his head rapidly toward her when the young lady said, “Mr. Fielding, I’m Elizabeth Jacobs and I am very grateful you are helping my father. I’ll get everything I can for you as quickly as I can. Please do all you can to take care of papa.”
Tony felt his attention shift from his patient as he considered this new problem. He had never felt this way before. Just meeting this young lady sent a thrill through him he couldn’t describe. Tony felt a force or pulling, a pressure in his head.
Over the next week Anthony and Elizabeth grew closer as they cared for her father. Anthony found out the smith’s name was Jack Jacobs but, as in most towns he was called Smitty because of his profession. When they were not caring for Smitty or talking to each other Elizabeth put in some time at the store where she worked and Anthony tried to do some of the work he knew how to do in the Smith’s shop to help out. His work was marginal but the simple jobs he could do adequately.
Finally, Anthony decided he could leave and Smitty would heal without needing further care. He made the announcement at the supper table. Elizabeth jumped from the table and ran from the room crying. Smitty looked at Anthony and said, “Son it looks like we both have a problem here. You are the first man Elizabeth has ever taken to and now you’re leaving her. Does she not mean anything to you or have you been leading her on here? Are you married and you didn’t tell us or just dumb?”
“Sir I ... I feel strongly toward Elizabeth but...”. Tony sighed and placed his napkin on the table. He said, “I do love your daughter. I know I have not known her long but I do. Sir, I need your permission to ask Elizabeth to be my wife if she will have me. But you need to know I still need to leave and get home. My folks are old and I need to get back to help them as soon as I can.”
Smitty smiled and said, “Now that’s more like it boy. You have my permission, not that you need it. Elizabeth is a strong willed woman just like her momma was. Why don’t you go talk to her now son? And don’t worry about leaving. I knowed she would leave me sometime son. It’s the way of life. Like the good book says, she will abide with you and whither thou goest, so shall she. ‘Course I am not sure I said that just right but it is something like that I know.”
Tony followed the sound of Elizabeth’s sobs toward her bedroom. He hesitated at the closed door but took a deep breath, knocked and pushed the door open as he slowly entered the room, ready to run at a moments notice. He stopped beside the bed and watched her shoulders shake with her sobs before he sat on the edge of the bed and gently rubbed her back.
Tony softly said, “Elizabeth please stop crying. It kills me to hear you doing it. I really do have to leave but that doesn’t mean I have to leave alone honey. I asked your papa and he said you could go with me if you wanted to. Of course, I would insist we was married first. That is if you will have me.”
“What? Oh, yes. Yes I will marry you. How soon do you have to leave? How long do we have to do everything,” Elizabeth asked as she rolled toward Tony and wrapped him in a tight embrace. “I know we haven’t known each other long but I want to marry you with all my heart.”
The next two days were a madhouse. Elizabeth was a whirlwind, constantly in a tizzy as she prepared for their wedding and packed her belongings for the trip across country. They were getting married Sunday after services, two days after Tony asked her to be his wife. They planned to leave early Monday morning after the wedding.
During the pot luck lunch and reception after their wedding Tony and Jack were talking. Jack said, “Son, I’ve got an almost new wagon behind the shop I’m giving you for a wedding present. You can carry all of Elizabeth’s truck easier and have a place out of the weather to sleep on your trip. Your two mules will pull it fine. It was made by the same fellers that make all of them big Conestoga Prairie Schooners but it is some smaller.”
“I don’t know what to say Jake. Are you sure you don’t need it?”
“Naw. I been trying to sell it ever since I took it in trade for some work but no one wants it for traveling ‘cause it’s so small and it’s a little wrong for work so it has sat for over a year. I keep it inside and serviced but it is just using up space. Besides, I don’t know how much longer I will be here anyway.”
“What makes you say that? As far as I can tell you are healing fine. You are not sick some other way are you?”
“Naw. Business is just slumping. They’s two young smiths moved close by and they are taking a lot of my business. They are just starting out and are cutting prices on their work so I do not get as much to do. One would have been good because I had too much to do at times but the town just will not support three of us.”
Tony sat a moment watching Elizabeth interact with the ladies and listened to them laugh as they cleaned up after the meal. As he sat, he thought about what Jack said and about things as he remembered them at his home. He turned once again to Jack and said, “Jack, if you are really thinking about moving away from here why don’t you come with Beth and me? I think we could use another smith down home unless one has moved into the area since I left for the Army. The closest one we had when I left was over six miles away and he was getting old and slow.”
“Ya know boy, I just might do that. That is if it will not bother you none for yer wife’s ole man ta tag along with ya.”
“It will not bother me at all. I think it would make Beth happy to have you close to us and I am sure we can use you back home. I do not know exactly what I will do when I get back. I may be able to help you some if you need it. I am not sure I can do farm work now with my leg injuries.”
It took another two days for them to load the equipment from the shop and the personal items Jack wanted to take. When they finished, their little family group had three wagons filled almost to overflowing with things they were taking with them. It worried Tony somewhat moving that much expensive, highly desirable gear with only two men to guard and work the wagons but he didn’t know what to do about it. He said as much to Jack and was told, “Well, son, I know what you are saying. I ‘spect we could get Hiram to come along if’n ya wants. He is a little slow but could drive a wagon just fine and he is a good helper in the smithy. His woman is not much better but she is the quicker of the two.
“Ya seems ta work well with him. I ‘spect we would have ta wait ‘nother day for them ta pack if ya wants ta take him and he wants ta go.”
“That would work. I am getting worried about being on the road this late in the year though. I do not want to delay any longer than we have to. We might be better off to stay the winter here.”
“Naw. We will be fine if we get out of the hills in the next two months and we can sure do that. From what you tell me it is only about a thousand two or three hundred miles. With the fine roads they have now we should make eighteen or twenty miles a day. With good weather and no problems we could be to your home before Christmas easy. It will not be too bad traveling that early in the year for sure.”
“Yes, I suppose you are right. I am just worried about the Ladies.”
“Well ya do not have to worry none, son. Your Elizabeth has sand and knows about the cold and I am sure Hiram’s woman Mary does too. They all growed up here ‘bouts and lived in the cold winters all their life.”
Early the next morning the men hitched the teams to the wagons and moved them near the buildings containing the items to be loaded. They had hired several local men to help load and were done by early evening. They spent the rest of the day saying good bye to friends then went to bed early so they could get an early start.
The days on the road were long, tiring and becoming colder as they progressed. To everyone’s great joy the trip was unremarkable except for the excellent time they made. They encountered their first major trouble in St. Louis nearly two months after leaving Elizabeth’s former home. They had pulled into town late in the day and each set out to take care of errands before meeting at the hotel for the night. The ladies had been shopping for food and items they needed to perform what household chores they did on the trek, leaving the list with the storekeeper to be picked up the next morning. The men spent the time inspecting the wagons and harness, making repairs as needed.
Just after dusk the men entered the hotel lobby, headed for the restaurant to meet the women for supper. The hotel had a lobby in the center and to the left in a separate room, a bar. The restaurant was to the right, entered through a door beside the desk.
When the men entered the building they saw Elizabeth and Mary trying to get past two rough looking men and enter the restaurant. The men were loud, obviously drunk, and insisting the ladies come into the saloon with them for a drink. Tony took three rapid steps toward the men and barked, “THAT IS ENOUGH! Take your hands off those ladies NOW Miller.”
The largest of the two pushed Elizabeth away and turned toward Tony. He sneered at Tony and snarled, “You aint my Sergeant no more asshole and I will have a drink with these wimmin iffen I wants ta. Now mind yer own bidness or I will make ya.”
“This is my business Miller. Not only is one of these ladies my wife but it is obvious they do not want to drink with you. Now, get before you get into something you cannot get out of.”
“You got no right ta order me around no more. I have had all I can take of you.” As he said that, Miller began to draw his pistol. Before it cleared his holster there was two loud bangs. He got a shocked look on his face just before he dropped his weapon and slumped to the floor. His friend stood staring at Tony, hands held to the side and said, “I do not want any part of this Sergeant. It was all Miller’s doing. If you will let me I will just be on my way now.”
“PVT Thoms, I think that is a good idea. I suggest you be more careful choosing your friends. This is not the first time Miller got you in trouble but I guess it will be the last. After the law is done with us I suggest you ride out of town.”
“Yes SGT. Thank you SGT.”
As the conversation was ending Elizabeth rushed into Tony’s arms and stood holding him. They both turned toward the door with everyone else when a policeman stormed through the door saying, “What is going on here?”
After everyone gave their story about the altercation and death the policeman allowed them to return to their business. Tony and his group entered the restaurant for their delayed supper. During the meal Tony explained that Miller and Thoms had been Roughriders with him in Cuba. “I am afraid they were not very good soldiers, but Thoms was the better of the two. The world is better off without Miller.”
The next morning the small group resumed their trek to Roland, Missouri, Tony’s small hometown just outside the little metropolis of Steelville. Roland was about three miles from Steelville by road and consisted of a half dozen houses, a school, and his grandfather’s small general store. There was a corner of the store that served as a Post Office and they sold beer and whiskey in a small add on room. As was common in those days, the store was the gathering place for the small community and sold anything and everything the community needed from food to clothes, tools, implements and feed for livestock. In addition they purchased extra produce and other farm raised items from locals.
The weather was mild for this late in the year and they made good time down the road. It only took them six and a half days to reach Rolla, MO where they stopped for two nights for rest and to replenish their supplies. They also made minor repair of their equipment. Early on the third morning they mounted up and headed for Springfield, MO.
Five days after leaving Rolla they camped about three miles from Springfield. Tony was becoming excited about getting home. He knew they were only about eighty miles or so from Roland now. After they had the camp set up for the night Tony told his friends and wife he wanted to go into town to purchase supplies to take with them.
Elizabeth said, “Why do we need more supplies, honey? We just purchased supplies in Rolla and we are not out of anything.”