A Woman's West - Part II by Allen Henriquez

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Martha Collins Ashford begins her journey west.

Part II

William Collins took Martha into town the next morning for the noon stage to Abilene.  The stagecoach departed with three passengers in addition to Martha at 12:30PM.  The coach was observed headed south by Benjamin Moss, an older Black man who worked on William Collins’ place.  The homestead would be short a worker to help with the sheep herding and tending their modest crop of vegetables, because Benjamin was presently assigned to follow and watch over Martha.  Benjamin, a man in his sixties is riding a roan horse with food and supplies in his saddle bags, keeps a safe distance from the stage.  He, for the time being didn’t wish to interact with Martha and reveal his presence.  The hired hands that remained on the Collins’ homestead Ruben Sanchez and his eighteen year old son, Manuel, would help Martha’s father with the work.  The sheep herding wasn’t overly strenuous because Collins had two well trained sheep dogs.  The sheep dogs, like most well trained ones, were superbly detailed in their supervision of the sheep.  Ruben, originally from Mexico, is in his forties and has worked ten years for Collins.  Maria, Ruben’s wife, didn’t work in the field, but did all the cooking, house cleaning and laundry for the Collins household.  The temporary loss of Benjamin Moss left no major discrepancy for Collins and his workers, but his absence would be felt because of his clear headed thinking in issues of general problem solving and his good relationship with all would be missed.

 

Martha’s stage ride to Abilene would be over rough terrain with a still untamed frontier confronting her.  She however would have the other passengers to interact with for the journey.  Martha having been a school teacher in Lubbock years earlier wasn’t lacking in communication skills.  One of the passengers was Rhonda Elliott, an employee of the “Molly Musical Revue” company.  Rhonda is a young but well traveled person who works as a singer, dancer, for the group, but is also their chief talent scout.  The Revue travels throughout the west providing music, song, dance, and entertainment.  The stage’s other traveling companions were Joseph Socorro, a stone faced, middle aged man who is a jeweler’s assistant.  The man Joseph works for is Wilbur Meyers.

 

Joseph Socorro’s father was a Texan, his mother a Paiute from Arizona.  His father, Lester Joseph met Joseph’s mother, Sensay, while he was a member of a wagon train.  Lester married Sensay and brought her back to Texas, but she caught pneumonia and died when Lester Joseph, Jr. was ten.  Lester Sr. left his son along with his eight year old sister Kathleen, and in great sorrow, joined the Army.  Lester Joseph, Jr. changed his name to Joseph Socorro when he was twenty years old.  Joseph never saw or heard from his father again.  Joseph Senior is believed to be still alive and living somewhere in the south west possibly Nevada, working as a miner.  Joseph Jr.’s sister, Kathleen, married a Paiute scout for the army and moved to New Mexico.  Joseph last saw his sister four years ago at which time he worked as an assistant for the local blacksmith and spent time getting to know, Tina and Jimmy Joe, Jr., his niece and nephew.


Submitted: August 20, 2015

© Copyright 2022 Allen Henriquez. All rights reserved.

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