Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 74

          Mrs Liston had a neighbor, a Protestant lady, living about three miles away. One day while she visiting Mrs Liston this lady happened to pick a book from a table. It was Mrs Liston’s prayerbook, and when the lady saw what it was, she dropped it like a hot goal and very soon went home. Her husband’s name was Hamilton and I think he was Scotch. Some time after my first visit to Godfrey, Mr Hamilton met with an accident and had a leg broken. The doctor ordered him to be taken to Denver and treated at the Sisters’ hospital. It was like a sentence of death and his wife and children bade him goodbye in tears as if taking a final farewell. While he was in the hospital I visited him often and we became good friends. He told me of his feelings when he was taken to the hospital and of how surprised he was at receiving such kind treatment. He invited me to visit him on my next visit to Godfrey. I did so, but he was not at home, having gone some miles away for a load of wood. His wife, however, was pleased to see me and spoke of the hospital with a spirit of gratitude. I met Mr Hamilton on the road as I was returning from the visit, and he was most friendly and glad that I had gone to his home and visited his family. 

          Another sort of a visit was one that Mrs Liston received. A band of roving Indians had pitched their tents in the vicinity and began to scour the prairies for antelope. They had come down from the mountains and were not supposed to be hostile, but they were great beggars and their methods were not always those of peace. One morning a big buck Indian came to ask for something to eat. An Indian seems to be always hungry, and Mrs Liston had fed a number of them already. She told this one that she could not spare any more food, but he saw a ham hanging on the wall and reached for it. Mrs Liston was a woman of courage and weighed over two hundred pounds. She had a pistol on the shelf, and taking it she turned to the Indian and told him to drop that ham and get out. The Indian took the hint, and leaving the house ran as fast as he could to a ravine where she could no longer see him and he could join his tribe at his leisure. They bothered her no more. However, they did a kill a boy who was herding cattle on the prairie. They probably wanted his horse, but the horse escaped them and came running to the station riderless and with blood on the saddle. A posse of neighbors armed themselves and set out to punish the Indians but, although they found the body of the boy perforated by bullets, the Indians had gone and were never seen around there afterwards.

          My first assignment to a parish came after my return from my first mission trip. It was but temporary, for it was to the parish of Georgetown from which Father McGrath had gone on a visit to Chicago. This was a good mission, with two churches where mass was said every Sunday and a mission where mass was said during the week upon assignment. It happened that just after my arrival there was an outbreak of smallpox in the village of one of my churches; in the Village of Silver Plume about two miles from Georgetown among some very rich silver mines. For a time only a few people were affected and not so seriously as to need my ministrations. I thought this a good time to go to my more distant mission at Idaho Springs, fourteen miles away. In the afternoon. 

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