a Mr. Adams of Columbia, Missouri. Young Coulter was shifted
from McClary's to Ballantine's people in central Nebraska until
he reached the age to manage his mother's homestead, which he
had inherited and lived on until death in 1960.
Coulter Ballantine willed the ranch to the
McCook, Nebraska, Elks with a provision the Nebraska Historical
Society take possession of certain personal items, among them
the two known journals written by Ena. Upon the second trip
to Stockville Senator Art Carmody, Doc Wimer, and the writer found
the first journal dated January 6, 1873, through October 1874,
with the words: "I cease to write my journal because I am
weary of the weakness of my words." This journal was found
under a high heap of junk and covered by debris carried in by
packrats. Letters in an old trunk indicated the other journal
was with daughter Anne in Columbia, Missouri, the where Donald
Danker, Nebraska State Historical Society, was presented the journal
by Mrs. Adams. It opened with the words, "Febr. 18th,
1874. I have broken my vow inviolate." The two journals
portray illuminating history of the pioneers and the settlement
of Stockville and the organization of Frontier County.
In 1960 several ancient elms yet stand as
sentinels and as memorials to Paddy Miles and Wolf's Rest, his
homestead in the Medicine Valley. It was named by Ena for
a huge wolf found dead in a copse, with a trap on its leg.
The animal was traced to Storm King's trap line some 30 miles
south. Embedded in the crotch of an elm tree was Paddy Miles'
branding iron, laid there some 60 years ago, only the lettered
end visible. We were tempted to file that end off, but considered
it a valuable relic for others to see. Someone did, though,
and took it along. The other side of that tree was Paddy's
iron coffee grinder, so deeply embedded we peeled back the bark
to identify it. It too was whittled out by someone.
At the same time, we visited Sunset Cemetery,
the fence long since rotted down, working through rank weeds and
Spanish nettles, and entered the sacred place in a tangle of undergrowth.
Rodents had built up mounds and drifting soil covered the few
gravestones. Utter desolation! Mankind, even Ena's son had
deserted, but not God. A lone tree grew there. It
was now a large tree, but not a symmetrical tree. It carried
the marks of age and of raging storms, with lightning scars down
to its roots, and its top storm flattened. Its ragged limbs
reached out in all directions, but it leaned into the prevailing
winds with staunch character, typifying the resolve of those pioneers
asleep at its protective roots, people who had learned to endure
the storms of life, but meeting each sunrise with pride.
At its foot is the small soil-covered headstone
of Ena Ballantine, the woman of destiny and the victim of tragedy.
Two of its roots reached out on either side, almost encircling
he stone, so symbolic of a heartbroken mother holding close to
her heart with loving embrace the crushed body of a daughter.
A year to two later, Mrs. Sutton and I returned,
armed with tools to open a path. We liked to think that
Mona Bae Sha, the Little Sioux Woman who had mothered Ena, returned
at the time of the hunter's moon as promised, only to find that
Ena's spirit walked the skies to the eternal hunting grounds,
and in loving memory it was she who planted the tree at the headstone.
And this is not far fetched. Both the Douchey and the Shelley
children of Stockville often went there, seeing shell beads and
colored stones laid cross-fashion over the grave. Who other
than Mona Bae Sha?
A storm was fast brewing in the northwest,
ragged clouds caught by the lowering sun, scintillating the splashing
colors oval all, even on us. Streamers were flying here
and there, much as a pathway leading from Sunset Hill for the
Little Sioux Woman, hand in hand with the