My great-great grandparents make their way out West.
Old West Wagon Train
After beginning the new journey to the West, it became apparent that good old “Mother Nature” had other plans for William and Elizabeth. Not surprising, another baby was on the way. They got as far as Chicago and set up camp at Rock Island, Illinois; to wait for a larger caravan.
But, the baby, wasn’t waiting and Elizabeth gave birth to her third son, William Buckingham Cole, on November 12, 1855. They reconsidered the trip to Idaho and felt the road was too hazardous with a new baby, so they stayed behind and set up housekeeping until William was 6 years old.
Around this time, the Civil War recruitment was threatening to claim their eldest son, and they thought it best to get Tom into the West. Joining a large caravan, the trip to Idaho was without serious incident. There were encounters with Indians, but the caravan was large enough to deter any attacks. With Elizabeth along, minor illnesses and delivering babies were left in her capable hands. Later in life, she would say with pride, “I delivered hundreds of babies and never lost a mother or child.”
Upon arriving in Idaho City, Elizabeth set up a boarding house and fed about five or six miners besides her family each day. Even with Elizabeth’s nursing skills, there came another sadness to them, their oldest son, Tom, died on October 22, 1867 of pneumonia. They buried him in Idaho City, “Boot Hill Cemetery”.
William knew it was time to leave the mining life and find another place for his Elizabeth and only remaining son, William.