Sara’s Reader

Or     “Why I love local  history “


Pretend  for a moment,  you were a crew foreman for 10 years.

Then  a new job  takes you out-of-state.

25 years later  you  step back into your old  position  at the same company and  realize things have really gone down hill  in the time  you ‘ve been  gone.

There are new faces on the crew. People  are padding their time cards, leaving work early to go  road drinking…and worse,  most of the crew think this is normal.

What do you have that the rest of them don’t have?



Hang on to that word…perspective.  I’ll come back to it in a minute.


Last weekend  I  grabbed a Mcguffey Reader  off  my shelf published in 1833.


Not a reprint but an original addition. Back in 2007 I was doing some research on a local history project and bought several old books on E-bay on a lark. This was one of those old books.  I noticed for the first time, the name  Sarah Ann Strawn dated 1838 in the inside cover.

Just for fun, I did some checking on the Internet to see if she was mentioned anywhere at all.

I hit a gold mine.

I found her mentioned several times.

I’m not going to give you too many details of her life just yet.. 🙂 but I will tell you  this…Between Sarah Ann, her husband Will and her mother-in-law, there is enough raw material  to write a whole new  Little House on the Prairie series….anyone want to help me????

Getting back to Sarah…

Sarah Ann marries when she is  just 17.    Her and her husband  Will   owned a hotel that entertained this young man  on several occasions:

I wondered what it was about their story that stirred me so?

Was it just the thrill of discovery?

A lust for knowledge?

It wasn’t until yesterday that I was finally able to connect the dots and put a name to my inner angst.

Their story gives me Perspective.

When I read about Sarah’s mother in law  with 7 sons carving out a livelihood in 1831, dealing with Indians  on the rampage murdering neighbors it gives me perspective on how good I have it.

When I read about harsh midwest Winter storms dumping 2 feet of snow and ice  and  young families  trying to keep warm in a 24 by 16 ft log cabin and all they had to eat was corn dodgers, salted pork and coffee  it gives perspective on how comfortable I have it.

When I read about how a  families meager salt  supply  runs low so a mom  is forced to let her 15 yr old son and his  7-year-old brother travel 90 miles with 3 yoke of ox to get salt in the dead of winter, it gives perspective on  worry and anxiety.

When I read  about an economic bubble popping   in our nation in 1837 which plunges our country into 5 years of  extreme deprivation, it brings perspective in these uncertain economic times.

    Found a quote on history that  also speaks to me:

     “The writers of history seldom give more than the rise and fall of nations, biographies of great men, kings and princes, and but little or nothing of the common people – a matter of far more importance, and more interesting.

To know the intelligence, opinions, tastes, amusements, method and means of living, routine of every day life, the hopes and fears, which swayed and controlled a people, would be far more interesting than the life of a prince socially far removed from and having no feelings in common with the masses”

So what do you think?

What would you do if  the electrical grid were to go down for a month?

What if  we experienced the popping of another economic bubble and all the wage earners in your home were suddenly out of work…long term?

It really does come down to our perspective.  (attitude)

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.  (I originally wrote this on my original heart to heart blog that is currently off line.  A  couple of you may remember it.) DM


10 thoughts on “Sara’s Reader

  1. We’ve just got back on line after two days without WIFI, so see that as a kind of training for non-grid. We live a basic life, and often wonder what people did before 24 hour opening, on-line shopping and banking, ATMs, Credit Cards etc. We asked a friend how they’d manage, and their initial response was that they could manage just fine without TV. We then mentioned little things like shopping (electronic payment), putting fuwl in the car (electric pumps and electronic payment), water supply and drainage, central heating. They went white. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Canada and Mexico, India, Thailand, England, Ireland, and Scotland. The poverty in India and Thailand is humbling, to say the least. The amount of joy I saw amongst the Thai people of all classes, was also humbling.

        I think I learned the most from my travels to India and Thailand, because I was visiting with people of the middle/upper middle class, versus simply visiting as a tourist. I was able to experience more that way.
        Although there are more places I would like to experience someday, I am a happy homebody for the most part.


  2. I think about that all the time. What to do when the power goes out for a lengthy amount of time. I would probably pack up my gear and head into the wilderness. The city would just turn into a mass of looting and chaos and anarchy. Not safe for humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

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