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Monday, March 21, 2005

History, Your History

Please note that no research was done for this segment, just imagination. I just wanted to suggest what Ray's family may have been like. I would also like to suggest that if you want to add or take away from mine, please do so. I am anxious to see where this takes others. Remember no research was conducted at all. Enjoy!

Walter Singleton was only ten years old when he met Sarah Howard, but he knew from the first day he met her that they would marry. Walter always pretended to be a Frontiersman out on the prairie farming and Sarah always pretended to be frontiersman's wife cooking out in the open. Walter asked Sarah to marry him when they were only twelve.

Sarah's only reply, "If you promise to take me some place far from here where we can grow food and look for treasures." Walter wouldn't have it another way.

Even though they had to decided to marry each other some years back, Walter and Sarah ended up marrying on a whim.

Walter worked with the town's blacksmith's after school fixing horse shoes and helping Mr. Archer make them as well. One day when Walter was working a man came in to see if they could help with his horse's shoe. While Walter worked on the horse's shoe, Mr. Archer and the man talked about where the man was from and where he was going. The man had introduced himself as Mr. Rhodes, Don Rhodes. Walter was surprised to hear the man was on his way with his wife and children to meet up with the wagon train that was headed towards the west. Walter could not believe what he was hearing. This is what he and Sarah had been waiting for. Walter asked Mr. Rhodes when he would be leaving to meet the wagon train.

Mr. Rhodes said, "Probably not until Monday. My wife insists that we attend church on Sunday."

Walter asked Mr. Rhodes if he minded a tag along. Walter said that he had his own wagon, but just needed some help getting to the wagon train. It was always best to travel in groups than by yourself. Mr. Rhodes said that they would love to have company. Walter was so excited that he quickly left to tell Sarah about the good news.

Mr. Rhodes yelled after Walter "How many will be traveling with you?

"Walter replied, "Just me and my wife."

When Walter reached Sarah's house, he was out of breath. Sarah thought something maybe wrong. Walter told her about Mr. Rhodes and the chance to meet the wagon train and go west like they'd always dreamed. Sarah was so excited, too. Sarah quickly reminded Walter that her parents wouldn't let her set off to the west with Walter.

"We have to be married." Sarah said sadly.

Walter, already having plan this out said, " I know. I thought maybe we could get married this Sunday at church. What do you think Sarah? What do you say?"

Sarah couldn't believe that it was happening so fast. Would her parents let her? They still had another year in school. They were only sixteen years old.

Walter talked to Mr. Howard that night and asked for his daughter's hand in marriage. Sarah's dad had always liked Walter, he had a good head on his shoulders. Even though they were young, Mr. Howard knew they would make it. He agreed.

That Sunday, May 23, 1870, Walter Singleton and Sarah Howard became man and wife. The very next day they set out on an adventure that would change their life. They met up with the Rhodes early that Monday morning to head to the wagon train that would be in Richmond, Va. in two weeks. They were in Shanadoah, New York. Ten days away, if the weather was good.

The ladies of the church quickly came together to help stock the wagon for Walter and Sarah. Sarah was so excited. She wanted adventure and she got it from day one of their marriage. Both were very excited.

Looking back, Sarah would not recommend marrying one day and leaving on a 3,500 mile adventure the next. It was a hard trip and a long first year of marriage, but Sarah and Walter's marriage strengthened because of it.

Walter and Sarah left the wagon train in Colorado; Wilson, Colorado because Sarah had become pregnant with their first child. Walter did not want to take Sarah over the Rockie Mountains and chance delivering a baby there. It had taken them six months to get this far, and they were tired. Walter and Sarah had had enough adventure for one year, especially with a baby on the way.

The Government was enticing people to go west by giving land out to those who would farm it. Mr. Rhodes helped Walter find the people to talk to about land and made sure that he got what the government had offered.

"Sometimes the government takes advantage of young people and I want to make sure that you get what is rightfully yours." Walter appreciated Mr. Rhodes help.

Once Walter and Sarah were settled on their 50 acre plot, Walter began to build them a small dugout. Something that would keep them warm in the cold winter that would soon be upon them.

After their first winter in Wilson, Sarah knew that they had found their new home, and the adventure that they had hoped for since they were kids was upon them. Walter held true to his promise to Mr. Howard. He took wonderful care of his daughter.

Chester Donald Singleton was born on April 17, 1871. It was in that same year that Singleton Farm began.

Chester Donald Singleton was the only child of Walter and Sarah. When Chester was ten years old his daddy built the only other house that Chester ever lived in on the 150 acres that he would farm his whole life. Chester loved his parents and his life. Chester's mom always took him out to look for Indian artifacts and taught him the history of Odeo county. Chester loved looking for treasures.

When Chester was becoming a young man, a new family moved to Wilson. They were the Blanchards. Mrs. Blanchard look up the Singletons the moment they moved to Wilson. Mrs. Blanchard was the daughter of The Rhodes, Don Rhodes. Sarah and Walter could not believe that Sally was so grown now. She married Louie Blanchard soon after arriving in California. They now had three children, Laura was their oldest, Rebekah was next, then Louis their youngest.

The Singletons and the Blanchards rekindled an old bond. They became the best of friends, especially Chester and Laura.

Even though Laura thought Chester to be nothing but a country farm boy, she still enjoyed his company. Sally and Sarah taught school to the children. It was there that Chester and Laura shared their separate worlds with each other. After lessons everyday, Chester and Laura would go to the woods for hours at a time. Laura took her books, that her grandmother Rhodes had given to read on their journey to Colorado, and read them aloud to Chester while he set traps, built tree stands for hunting, or while he fished off the bank of his pond.

As each day went on, Chester fell more and more in love with Laura. Chester was very shy in expressing his feelings to Laura. He felt more comfortable showing Laura how he felt. Chester felt that his feelings would never be reciprocated, because Laura longed to be at the ocean again. She always said that on her eighteenth birthday she would be on a train back to California where she belonged. But until then, Chester would reveal to Laura the magic of the ordinary day.

Laura enjoyed Chester's company, but often became frustrated because he had no adventure to him. He wanted to stay on his farm forever. He could care less what was beyond his perimeter. Laura couldn't understand why Chester didn't want to see the mountains, the ocean, the Grand Canyon or the Redforest. How could he spend all of his days on an ordinary farm?

On Laura's fourteenth birthday, Chester gave her a row boat that he had built so she could pretend that she was once again on the ocean exploring exotic ocean life. It was there in that boat that Laura realized that her ocean was a pond at the edge of the Singleton's farm.

On Laura's eighteneth birthday, December 14, 1899, she didn't get on a train to California but in a truck, Chester's truck, filled with balloons that had a sign on the back that read Just Married!

Chester and Laura moved in with Walter and Sarah after they were married. The house that Walter had built when Chester was ten years old was a big, two story house that had plenty of room. Sarah and Laura developed a strong relationship that was good and healthy for the two of them. Laura learned how to cook, wash clothes, and keep a neat home.

Laura felt lucky to have married into such a wonderful family. They treated her like she was their daughter. Laura never tired of sharing the house with Sarah. They were company to each other because their husbands had to spend many long hours out in the fields.

Laura never regretted staying in Wilson, but she did become homesick for the ocean from time to time. When she did, Chester would take her out in her little rowboat to the Singleton ocean at the edge of the property. It was there that their first child was conceived.

Laura had a difficult pregnancy. She was sick all the time and didn't feel good any of the time.The day of the birth was long and grueling. Laura had a hard time. Sarah and Laura's mom, Sally, were with Laura. The doctor came later in the day. The men stayed out of the house because the pain that Laura felt was too much for them to hear. Chester, being a devout christain, as was his father and mother, went to the barn to pray for his wife and unborn child. He was there for what seemed to be hours. When he finished praying, he went back into the house to hear how things were going. When he walked in, Chester heard nothing. He thought maybe that Laura was resting or something. Within moments, Sarah appeared on the staircase. She hurried to Chester with tears in her eyes. She gently told Chester that his daughter did not make it. She had been born breech and during delivery, the cord wrapped around her neck. This was a dark time for the Singletons , something that would not be gone for months to come.

Sarah and Laura became even closer than before. Because you see, Sarah, too, had lost a child at birth. The two spent hours talking and even more in God's word and prayer. Chester was thankful that Laura had his mama, but Chester needed Laura to come to him as well for comfort. It took time, but Laura realized that she needed Chester. She had been afraid that Chester was disappointed in her for losing their baby. Chester reassured Laura of his love for her and shared his feelings of loss for their daughter. It was that night that Chester and Laura resumed their marital relationship, six months after the loss of their first child.

In the years to come, Chester and Laura built a bond with each other that lasted a lifetime. It was a few years after the loss of their daughter, that they had another child, Martha. She was beautiful with her head full of red hair.

"She looks just like her grandma Sarah." Walter beamed after seeing his granddaughter for the first time. Martha spent many days being spoiled by her granddaddy Walter. She had all she needed and wanted.

A few years later, Chester and Laura had a son, Raymond Donald Singleton. He was the apple of his mother's eye. After the birth of Ray, Chester and Laura had no more babies until nine years later. Daniel Walter Singleton was not a mistake to anyone, but merely a surprise to all. Daniel came at another dark time at the Singleton house. Walter passed away tragically from heart failure only a month before. Young Ray had found his Papa Walter sitting on his tractor, plowing his fields. Daniel would be described by all who knew him as "the adventureous one". He was much like his mother and grandparents, always dreaming of the ocean.

The Singleton history stays in Wilson, Colorado, not because they lack adventure, but because they embraced the magic of ordinary days.

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