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Children Frightened on the Hay Rack

At the time of this story, the Hutchens house was located in The Meadows close to Perry’s Lane.
At the time of this story, the Hutchens house was located in The Meadows close to Perry’s Lane.

Mary said her father, William Hutchens, had placed his hayrack quite away from the house, but it was inside their place; the rack had a sort of box bed on it that was used to hold the grain.

One day in 1865 her parents went to town, taking Dave the baby with them. It always took almost the whole day by the ox team, and Charles, Mary, Mel, and John were left home. The children decided to go down to the rack and play on it. So, with a great deal of difficulty, Mary and Charles finally succeeded in boosting and pulling young John up onto the rack.

They had only played there a short time when they saw a cloud of dust coming towards them up the road. Charles got down from the rack and ran to the road to see what caused it. They couldn’t see well from where they were because the roadway was lined with willows. Charles came running back, all excited, saying it was a band of Indians on horseback. When they came nearer, they evidently saw the children and decided to have some fun, as they came running and shouting over to the hayrack, surrounding it and trying to touch the children who crouched down in the center. The horses stood side-by-side all around the rack, as close as possible, and the Indians urged them forward, trying to make the horses touch the children. But of course, the animals would drawback their heads when they came too close, but the Indians would again urge them forward.

The children were much frightened, and they cried, but Charles didn’t cry. He tried to comfort them, telling them that the Indians didn’t dare hurt them. Finally, the young Indians were tired of teasing the children, and the one who apparently was the leader gave a whoop and backed away and headed for the road, 2nd Street, with all the others following him.

That night when her parents came home, they saw that all the children's little dusty faces were streaked with dried tears, and they ask them what had happened. Charles told them, and his father said he would see the Chiefs as he wasn’t going to have his little children frightened. He evidently did this, for after that incident the children were never frightened in that manner again. [1]


[1] - Autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Hutchens Sherner, Mary Elizabeth – Her Stories, dictated to her daughter Dorothy A. Sherner, manuscript, 1933, p. 85.

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