Murdo Girl…Horse Creek

I think this is a good time to write about Horse Creek where my mother’s family lived until she was eleven. I’ve written about it several times in the past, but this will include a description written by my mother’s older sister, Helen. My cousin, Bobby, who is Helen’s son, shared it with me.

My mother, Loretta, often talked about her horseback riding adventures, working outside with the boys in the family while the girls helped Grandma inside, and going to school with the thirteen Osborn kids.

Helen Sanderson Haverberg wrote the following…

Dad was excited about our first Model T. Ford but it was a worry for Mother for fear it wouldn’t last and we would have to go without so many other things. We had a Model A touring car later, which made the seven mile trip to Murdo much more pleasant. Two miles were on dirt and the other five were graveled.

My two younger sisters (Loretta and Elna) were born after moving there. The rural school was three and a half miles over hills and valleys. The school had a barn for horses, two outhouses, and a cistern for rain water. We always rode our horses although we were unhappy they went without food all day. There were twelve of us in the eight grades. Most of those were from the Osborn family which had thirteen children. As each of us started school, our big challenge was to remember the names of all the Osborn children. The older girls were motherly to the beginners.

The struggle by the Osborn family will explain the courage and determination needed at that time to survive. They lived in a three room frame house, heated by a wood-burning stove, but several of the boys had to sleep in the attic of an out-building. Several also stood at the table to eat. Mrs. Osborn made delicious bread and they each carried a sandwich to school made with “cocoa junk” between the slices. They mixed cocoa, sugar and whole milk together which soaked into the bread. We felt fortunate that we could have sardine sandwiches, our favorite for years and they were four cents per can. The larger came in mustard or tomato sauce and were also good.

I was never unhappy because our family pulled together and Dad was a strict disciplinarian. When things got too rough for Mother to handle, she would lower her voice and say, “I’ll have to tell Dad.”

Wayne, Mary, Ella, M.E., Loretta on her mother’s lap, Melvin (Jeff), and Helen on her father’s lap.
The little girl on the left might be an Osborn… Mom, (Loretta) in the overalls and hat, Ella, in the checkered dress, and Helen holding baby, Elna. They’re standing in front of the log cabin.

I would like to go on record as saying I’m pretty sure I would prefer cocoa junk over sardines…

2 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…Horse Creek

  1. sanjuan831 May 14, 2021 / 9:53 am

    This is priceless. Aren’t we lucky to have “come from good stock” as my Mom, Ella, would say to me often, Cuz, we should try cocoa junk some day. Sardines were healthier and gave them protein.


    • Mary Francis McNinch May 14, 2021 / 10:09 am

      I had the same thought about trying cocoa junk. You make the homemade bread…


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