Read Hannah Saves Samuel (Wanted: Wives In The West 1) Online

Authors: Trinity Ford

Tags: #Fiction, #Victorian, #Sweet, #Western, #Historical, #Mail-Order Bride, #Romance, #1880's, #Forever Love, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Series, #Wives In The West, #Short Story, #Christian, #Faith, #Inspirational, #Tragedy, #Georgia, #Texas, #Edge, #Pastor, #Embarrassed, #Congregation, #Hell's Half Acre, #Fort Worth

Hannah Saves Samuel (Wanted: Wives In The West 1)

BOOK: Hannah Saves Samuel (Wanted: Wives In The West 1)
10.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Wanted: Wives in the West

Book 1: Hannah Saves Samuel

 

 
By: Trinity Ford

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015

All rights reserved

 

DEDICATION

 

 

This short story is dedicated to the following:

 

Our Lord, who has always been there for me.

 

My three angel babies, who bring smiles and love to my life every day.

 

My Mom, who has always been my pillar of support.

 

Countless author friends, who all set an example of fiction fearlessness and encouraged me to move forward with my own creativity.

 

My editor, who not only delivered a wonderful service, but who taught me along the way.

 

Texas, my home, and its rich history, which I cherish proudly.

 

 

 

Please visit me at
http://trinityford.com
and sign up for new release updates and other special notices!

 

New:
Story #2 is out!

The Mail Order Midwife’s Secret

 

 

 

 

Nineteen-year-old Hannah Browning hurried down a narrow road in St. Mary’s, Georgia, anxious to get to her favorite magnolia tree and sit beneath its canopy shade, inhaling the fragrant flowers. She couldn’t wait to see this month’s copy of Hearts and Hands, a publication which carried photographs and descriptions of eligible bachelors on the Western frontier who were seeking wives.

 

She’d only seen three issues so far, not including the one she’d found hidden in her cousin’s dresser drawer when she went to retrieve a bonnet for her. So far, she’d never found anyone worth replying to. They were all either too old or too ornery sounding for her, and she wanted to find a husband who lifted her up in spirit, as her Pa had done for her Ma.

 

Hannah liked to get lost in the descriptions. She loved hearing about the faraway cities and responsibilities that were being asked of the readers.
Hard-working young woman, 18-25 sought for 35-year-old widower. Must love living in Kansas and be willing to help raise twin boys, age 10. Cooking, cleaning, and raising chickens required.
For a moment, she would imagine their lives – what they sounded like when they spoke, how they looked, and their temperament. Were the boys sweet and helpful, or the kind who would be experienced at picking a switch off the tree for punishment? How many chickens were running around the farm?

 

She hurriedly flipped through the pages, glancing around at the pictures and descriptions to see if anything stood out to her. That’s when she saw him. It was an unusual picture because it wasn’t just
one
man, but a group of five, all standing together on the front steps of a church. The others in the picture stood upright and stiff, looking directly at the camera. But he was looking away, as if some pressing thought or concern was stealing his attention.

 

Fort Worth, Texas

 

Local pastor seeks to help single men of congregation settle down with good-hearted, Christian women ages 18-30. Must be willing to stay in the Western frontier on the Chisolm Trail with married couple as chaperones and work for up to six months during courtship, in exchange for room and board as well as a small stipend. Please reply with brief background and photograph.

 

It was the first group listing Hannah had ever seen! A quiet voice filled her heart as she whispered out loud, “Please, dear Lord, give me a sign that this is the right journey for me – one that will guide me to a loving husband who I can start my life with and serve as a faithful wife.”

 

She took one last glance at the man looking away in the photograph.
What was he thinking about?
she wondered, imagining all the troubles that might be brewing behind those distant eyes. She plucked a magnolia off the tree and tucked the publication under her arm as she hurried home. Ma would scold her for being late. She was expected to be home right after work so that she could help with the household chores. She’d been working for the Patrick family for three weeks now, trying to help Ma with her weekly budget.

 

Ever since Pa died, Ma had been rationing the funds slowly, and Hannah could see how worried she was every time she had to spend a penny on anything. Hannah felt bad that she wasn’t betrothed to anyone yet. She hated being a burden on her ma and her little sister, Jenny. But there just weren’t any eligible bachelors around. The Civil War had initially caused a drought in husbands, and now all the young men Hannah’s age had gone West in search of fortune on the frontier.

 

Sometimes she wished she were a man and could take control of her own destiny. She loved adventure. Pa had taught her how to ride horses and read. He was a savvy businessman, and she’d soaked up every encounter he had with people when he was trading. He let her tag along and always shed light on how to read people. “He puts on airs in public, but if you noticed, he had beads of sweat up on his forehead while he was paying me,” her Pa would say. “Sometimes, Hannah, people are going through tough times but they don’t want anyone to know. Romans 15:2 says,
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
I like to do something good for those I see in trouble.”

 

And he did. Later that day, Pa had Ma deliver a basket of homemade goods to that man’s house. Turned out his wife was gravely ill, and the time he’d spent by her side caring for her and his kids had caused him to fall short on his money. Pa wound up helping the man get back on his feet. That’s just the kind of man he was. The kind of man Hannah wanted for herself – loving, Godly, and neighborly.

 

Oh how she missed her pa. He had passed away a year ago from dysentery, catching them all off guard. Because of his kind generosity in the community, the townsfolk had rallied around and kept her ma afloat by repaying their debt to the family. But it wasn’t going to last forever. Hannah had to find a way to start a life on her own, one where she could possibly help her family out in the process. It would take more than what she was making at the Patricks’.

 

“Sorry I’m late!” Hannah yelled to her ma as she ran into the house and started cooking dinner. Jenny was playing by the hearth with her doll, but Ma was nowhere to be found. She must be out back doing the wash, or lying down for a nap. “Jenny, I got you something,” Hannah said with a sly grin. Jenny raced into the kitchen, closed her eyes tight and held out her hand. Hannah laid the magnolia in it. “This is a beautiful flower from the tree Pa planted for Ma when they were younger. Where
is
Ma?”

 

“She’s crying in her room,” Jenny said, with a matter of fact tone as if this happened all the time.

 

“Crying?” Hannah asked. “Why is she crying?” Just then Ma emerged from the bedroom, apparently having overheard voices in the kitchen. Her eyes were red and swollen and she held a piece of paper in her hand, placing it down in front of Hannah as she went to sit in the chair, dabbing her handkerchief at her eyes and sniffling.

 

Hannah dried her hands and picked up the paper.
Regret to inform you … seizing the property … six weeks to vacate
. The family was being kicked off their land! “Hannah,” Ma said softly. “Jenny and I will be going to live with my sister Agnes in Savannah. She doesn’t have room for you, but I’ve asked some friends if they’ll consider taking you in until you marry. I’m so sorry I’ve let you down.”

 

Hannah hugged her mother with a smile on her face, but deep down, she felt such shame. Not only was she unable to find a suitable husband in her home town, but she wasn’t sure who would be willing to take her in now. And what if no proper suitor was ever found and she remained a spinster till the end? No. This was the sign from God she’d been waiting for. This was the push she needed to fulfill her own destiny and find her forever home.

 


 

Pastor Stanley Littlejohn was ecstatic when the replies started coming in. “Look, Mabel, another one!” he exclaimed to his wife as he sat at the breakfast table. Letters had flooded into the post office ever since he made the bold and controversial decision to act as matchmaker for his flock.

 

Just four weeks before, he had looked out over the pulpit and seen more empty pews than ever before. The numbers were dwindling as more of the single settlers got enticed by Hell’s Half Acre on the south side of Fort Worth. It was the first thing they saw when they entered town, and though many made it through to the church and respectable businesses, the majority got caught up in gambling halls, saloons and other places of ill repute.

 

Fort Worth was rapidly growing, and the townspeople were torn between needing the businesses that were lacking in morals to help the town grow and profit, and wanting them gone so that the town would gain a respectable reputation and make other fine, upstanding citizens want to move there.

 

When the pastor met with the young men in his congregation, they complained about the lack of proper women to settle down with and raise a family – a true homestead on the plains. Many of them chose to head up the Chisolm Trail on a two-month cattle drive instead of setting down roots and working for the new processing plant or railway.

 

Not everyone in the congregation was pleased with the pastor’s idea to publish mail order bride ads on the east coast. After all, it was exactly what Charlie Everman, owner of the Emerald Saloon, had done to get the famous “painted ladies” to come to the bad side of town. Although his purpose was different, and the types of women were, too, many didn’t care that his gesture was pure.

 

The idea had come to him when he saw Samuel Radcliff sitting in the back of the church one Sunday morning, his head bobbing as he struggled to stay awake from his late night gambling away the money he’d worked hard for in a drunken stupor, trying to dull his pain. The pastor knew he was in a tug-of-war with the Devil himself for this kind soul of this church member. Samuel had been hurting for months now. He had come here to set down roots, with the promise to return to his home in Georgia, marry Abigail Husted and bring her back with him.

 

He’d held up his end of the bargain, braving the Wild West and securing gainful employment with the meat processing plant so he could afford a beautiful ranch just on the outskirts of town. He envisioned himself raising a big family, teaching his sons how to raise cattle and fish. He’d introduced himself to those in the congregation and become like a son to the elders. He couldn’t wait for them to meet Abigail.

 

Before he could return to wed her, he got a letter in the mail. She had married another and apologized to Samuel for letting him down. Ever since that day, Samuel had been distant with the townspeople. Part of it was embarrassment, Pastor Littlejohn figured. After all, Abigail was all he could talk about as they got to know him. Now, everyone knew he had been jilted. He was humiliated and broken-hearted. All he wanted was to disappear.

 

“A wife is what he needs,” the Pastor, unable to get the fight for his flock off his mind, told his wife, Mabel, after church that day.

 

“Well, why don’t you find him one?” she asked.

 

“In case you haven’t noticed,” he said, “Fort Worth isn’t exactly overflowing with Godly women. I’m finding it hard to compete with the Acre and the women Charlie brought in with his ads out on the east coast. Even if I wanted to introduce Samuel to a nice, young woman, there’s no one to choose from!”

 

“Now, Stanley Littlejohn,” she said as she kissed his forehead while he sat eating his dinner, “I’ve never known you to back down in a fight against evil! You need to listen for the voice of the Lord and let Him guide you to the answer.” Mabel always kept him grounded whenever he was in turmoil. He felt blessed to see her beautiful face and have her by his side each and every day.

 

The pastor had tossed and turned all night. How could he find a suitable woman – not only for Samuel, but for the other men yearning for a Christian soul mate – and convince her to leave her life behind and settle down
here
forever? After all, most respectable young women wouldn’t travel across the country to an unknown place, and few would be willing to work like the women in the frontier often did. “I’ve got it!” he shouted as he shot upright in bed in the middle of the night.

 

“Why, Stanley Littlejohn!” Mabel said, alarmed. “You scared me half to death! Are you having a nightmare?”

 

“No, Mabel,” he said excitedly. “I’ve found the answer.
Isaiah 43:6: I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.
I’ll bring them here from the North and the South – from far away!”

 

The pastor had called an emergency meeting of the church council. He wanted to run his idea by them before taking any action they might frown upon. “We have to do something to help our young men settle down in an honorable way,” he said to the group of ten couples. He had asked each council member to bring their spouse, because this plan would involve everyone.

 

“One of the saloon owners on the south side has been bringing in his singers and entertainers using ads on the east coast,” the Pastor said. “I want to do the same, only with a focus on bringing lovely, Christian young women to the area so that our menfolk can put their focus on home and family, not the Acre where lives are being ruined.”

 

Pastor Littlejohn had already heard about Sheriff Lockhart’s arrest of fifteen men the previous night at the gambling hall. A fight had broken out during a game of pistol pool, where the billiards were shot with a gun instead of a pool cue. Shots were fired, all right, but not at the pool table. This resulted in the death of a trail driver who was well-known for acting like he was ten feet tall and capable of wrestling a bear to the ground after he’d had a few of the bartender’s favorite rotgut specials. Disorderly drunks made the Acre a very dangerous place at night – or during the day, for that matter.

BOOK: Hannah Saves Samuel (Wanted: Wives In The West 1)
10.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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