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How does a person find....part 2

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Here is what becomes my interest in the Donner family. Just wanted an idea of the trail. Sometimes what you have in mind doesn't turn out what you wanted but here it is.





Returning a gift may seem problematic at times in a store in modern times but in 1851 on a small farm in Iowa it solved all the problems for this young couple.


The Gift Returned


In 1849 there was the gold rush. It was mostly spread by word of mouth and cheap one page newsletters (for the most) which everyone believed. News struck Iowa and the farm of John Marsh and his wife Amy of this wealth that is sweeping California. They dreamed of new things for the farm and things they wanted. They discussed it for weeks and made up their minds they would make the trip. Together they had the horses and carriage, the work ethic and the quest for something better. John had a brother named Jim that would tend to the farm while they were away. They agreed to two full years and then would return.


Amy took the bare essentials. But she made sure to bring her strongbox. It was a box that carried everything she cherished because it had gifts given to her by family over the years. As John was packing the carriage she made him promise nothing would ever happen to this box and together they would always have it.


John promised with all his heart.


John thought of the box as nonsense mostly. Not out of disrespect but out of gender. There were girly things in there, and what was to her worth keeping wasn't in his mind. But whatever made her content in such bad times it always brought her back out of depression and made her happy and that was all the reason for a promise. He was a man of his word, and back in 1849, that was more than anything.


It was a long and grueling trip to California from Iowa that took months. The carriage was light though and finally the young couple arrived and set up camp at a place called Camp Summit. It was hard staking claim at first but they did and began to actually find gold and yes, this is where the story begins.


California was warm. But very expensive.


John would take his gold and save it at first. Over some time like many other hard working men, he found himself addicted to gambling and drinking the whiskey in the saloon. Before you knew it, he changed from a caring man to a greedy soul that cared more for himself than anyone, including his Amy. Amy would stay at the makeshift tent that was home for now, sleeping with her strongbox.


Oh yes with the gold she bought things she wanted and things she liked. Before she knew it their abode was cluttered with things they didn't need.


A year passes. Then another 6 months.


Amy wanted to go home. Their agreement of two years has almost expired.. she still slept curled around a box she's always owned while John stayed out.


By now the gold is scarce to their knowledge and they leave with John not agreeing but still leaving. He was bitter and rough to deal with in conversation the whole time. Amy doesn't even see the same husband she used to have. They are almost halfway en route back to their Iowa farm and John is a broken man. So broken, he wants to turn back and try it all over again. Amy refuses Johns intentions and he leaves anyway. He takes one of the horses and lightens Amy's carriage so the other horse can pull the load. He pitches all the stuff she bought with the gold, and more importantly her strongbox without thinking of the promise. It was cold. It was November


Amy remains towards Iowa without John.


John goes back towards California.


John on his horse, he thinks of the things he did wrong and turns back towards the Iowa route again. Praying at this point he didn't mess things up too bad. By this time he is at least two weeks behind her.


He is on the trail back to Iowa and to his surprise, he sees the heap of the things that he discarded weeks ago untouched and looking around sees the strongbox. It was always heavy but his horse was strong. It has a lock on it that needed a key only Amy had, she always did, worn on a necklace her mama gave her. Sure John could pry it open but it wasn't his. John wanted Amy back, and the box of girly things is what glue was needed to mend his mistake.


December 25, 1851 Iowa


Amy is alone and should've been happy, but she is very heartbroken over John. When she arrived back to the farm two weeks ago, she was impressed by the work of Jim, John's brother. He did a great job tending the farm and the crops were so good while she was gone, they were in good financial shape! But, she was mad at John about her box and this is what stewed her mostly.


The dogs barking is what drew Amy toward the window. It was John! She rushes out the door and they share a majestic kiss is the freezing cold. She grabs him to coax him inside, but he says he needs to tend to the horse, he does and afterwards comes in with the box.


She cries tears of joy when she sees the box. And quickly notices that it's still locked. She puts the box by the fire and tells John to sit and get warm, there's something she wants to show him.


John acts like he always did about this strongbox. He acts like he's listening but really doesn't care about what's inside until he sees the contents.


Amy opens the box and inside some fringe and lace her grandmother gave her years ago, is a pile of gold. So much gold John can't believe it. They got their riches all along by Amy's saving and hiding. Amy explains she had to keep it hidden for fear of it being lost in a game of cards and it was supposed to be a gift for them when they returned back home. John agreed of Amy's actions of course.


Amy also tells John she's pregnant and it was Christmas night. She explains that a tent in California wasn't her cup of tea and would stay anywhere with him but she couldn't when she knew she was expecting.


The strongbox was more than any kind of gift John and Amy could have had returned.

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