At Easter, as you recall, there was some digging into the confines of the old stone dugout which has been overtaken by the creek these past hundred years or so. Some bottles were discovered. There were promises made of revisiting the site. That structure was the original shelter built on the land by George Washington Blakley. I'm sure he had help from his four brothers who rode beside him that day. George was the youngest boy at 21, the legal age to stake a claim. Here are some of his descendents.
Our final adventure on Mother's Day was a long awaited visit to a different stone dwelling a few miles away. This one belonged to George's eldest brother, Samuel Robert Blakley, who also joined in the great horse race that was the Cherokee Strip Land Run, in September of 1893. Sam already owned land a mile or two to the south of the South starting line (what is now state highway 51). Although Sam could not legally stake a claim in the Cherokee Strip, because he had run in the Run of '93, he was running as "insurance". One of his brothers might not get lucky. Sam rode just a mile north, reined in, set his flag and waited. His brother Uly did the same on the quarter just to the west.
The house we visited on Sunday was Sam's stone house that his family lived in until they built their big one out of the most plentiful timber around, Cottonwood. Sam had already set up a sawmill on his south place so there was timber already curing.
Time has passed and families have grown up and gone. Most of the brothers and some of their children and grandchildren lie in the cemetery at the top of hill on the place George staked in that race. The big wooden house on Sam's place is only a memory, but the stone house remains. That was our destination.
After much tramping through the woods we found it, or I should say Audra, Maggie and Zane found it. Grandma was done before the final push. This is the inside with a lovely arched ceiling. The creek to the west has flooded many times and the house has silted in quiet a bit. I have a picture of the place in the twenties and the window in the front was at eye level.
The roof is a skin of cement over those arched native stones and has a 'bucket of cement chimney.
The trees are encroaching. Here are all the cousins, three generations down the line from George and Sam, peering out the doorway. And here is Uncle Able, representing the Blakley name.
(Everett and Rowan sitting in the window.)
It is very moving to me that this place still stands and is still sturdy. I love it that these guys were all very excited to discover it. It is part of their heritage. I am sad Danny wasn't there to share the discovery with them. He is the link...well, my kids are links too.
It's a long chain that winds back to Ireland, mostly. I have done a lot of work on the genealogy of that line, the Blakley line, for them. I think it is interesting to know who our ancestors were, because they are a part of who we are. I can see the blue eyes and think blonde hair of Danny's grandmother, George's wife Susannah, very clearly in my Abbey. See this little Everett, her son, with his short, sturdy body and gentle dark eyes? That is what his great great grandfather, the cowboy, looked like. Everett also loves horses.