When the M.E. Sanderson family lived on Horse Creek, which is about ten miles south of Murdo, SD, the kids all went to a country school. Mom, who was one of six children often talked about the Osborn kids. They were a family of thirteen offspring, and the kids all attended the same country school.
Mom was only eleven when her family moved closer to town which meant the kids would all go to town school. Mom, of course, made it sound like she was really moving up in the world. She always told the story that one of the Osborn girls said they would miss Helen and Ella, (Mom’s older sisters), but they wouldn’t miss her.
My friend, Dianna, found this picture of the Osborn family in later years. Her Aunt was an Osborn…one of the thirteen kids. It really is a small world.
I haven’t heard a lot of Horse Creek stories, but Aunt Elna, Mom’s younger sister, once told me of a Christmas memory she had. The family had returned from visiting relatives in Iowa just in time for Christmas. Little Elna was given a box and when she opened it, a puppy jumped out and scared her to death. She wanted nothing to do with her new pet, which wasn’t the expected reaction. She was only five when they moved, but she had that one vivid memory of life on Horse Creek.
Mom was never interested in housework or cooking. She left helping Grandma up to the other girls. She preferred the outdoor chores and helping with the livestock. One day she was off by herself riding one of the horses. The horse was startled by something and shied which caused Mom to fall off. Wanting some sympathy for her frightening fall, she tried her best to cry until she got home. It turned out, she wasn’t injured that severely and couldn’t keep the tears flowing, therefore, no one felt sorry for her when she told them of her harrowing experience.
This photo is of the Sanderson and the Thomas families. Mom is the one with the short dark hair. Her sister, Ella is the taller girl standing next to her and Helen is next to Ella. Jeff is in front with his hand over his heart. Grandpa is second from the left in the back row. Grandma is next to him, (big hat), and Wayne is behind Ella and Helen.
Wayne was the oldest of the Sanderson kids. When he was bitten by a rattlesnake and Grandpa cut a slit with his knife and sucked the venom out, I’m sure Mom was impressed. I know I would have been. Now they say that type of emergency treatment isn’t the right thing to do. I bet Wayne would argue that point, as he had no serious after effects.
I’ve been to Horse Creek a few times over the years. I remember the picnic we had there with the Haverberg cousins, from Michigan,and Mark and Jeff H. Sanderson. I was probably about the age Mom was when the family moved. Part of the old log cabin was still standing.
The land is now owned by Dan Height. When my cousin, Greg, told told him Mom had requested she be cremated and her ashes spread around Horse Creek, he graciously allowed us to drive a caravan of 4-wheel drives, off-road, to the site of the old log house. The day was beautiful as was the landscape. I looked at all the relatives spreading Mom’s ashes around, and I could almost hear Mom saying, “So there, Osborn kids!”