Now I expect my parents with my brothers and sisters lived on their new farm in Arcada, Lapier county, when they suffered so from the seige of fires. Brother David says it was and surely he was old enough by then to remember. I very often hear both Father and Mother talk of these terrible forest fires.
There would be long continued times of dry weather. The country all was new, much beautiful standing green timber of beech, maple, hemlock pine, etc. Also old slachings where the good timber had been lumbered off. Fires before this gone through leaving old dry wood etc.
Men were buying up these lands to convert them into farm homes. In clearing tip these lands it was necessary to make heaps of logs and brush, let them dry and burn them. The men in most cases watched these fires and kept them under control. But occasionally even when it was supposed the fires were all out, wind would blow them into flame when unguarded. Sparks and cinders would be carried to uncleared lands and if timber and underbrush was dry, away went the fire, leas ing a path of ruin and some times death in its way.
One fire Mother use to speak of. There had been fires in the distance for weeks and very much smoke, but there seemed to be no danger to the little home the were making there in Lapier county, so on a beautiful Sunday morning, Father and Mother started and walked a number of miles to a school house where Father had a preaching appointment.
It was a calm peaceful morning. They reached the place of worship and Father had preached the word and was about to has e a testimony meeting, ss hen a gust of wind struck the building and smoke filled the place. Father dismissed the congregation, and they started homeward as fast as they could svalk, part ot tlw time on the run.
I have a vague impression they carried a babe in arms and that it was holy. The wind was blowing a gale. dry parching, hot. They could smell fire, and soon through the smoke they could see fire. There were woods between them and home. In fact the place was surrounded with woods.
Now they reach it and flames are darting high and wide. They reach a small bridge. This is on fire. Men are there fighting the fire. Father calls to Mother, “Go back! Co back! Your dress will catch fire.” And away he goes on the run. Two of the men catch Mother and try to hold her. Try to persuade her to go back to the nearest house. But she breaks away from them and rushes on. By times she is stopped by flames darting across the narrow road. Then again dashes on, finally reaching the edge of the Haight clearing and is rejoiced to see the house and barn still standing. It is really not so much these buildings of which she has been thinking, but beneath her breath she has been gasping “God save my children”. Yes, she finds them all safe as yet.
Jamie, David, and Willie were all old enough to do something. They had carried water and filled every available thing. Now Father is endeavoring with the help of the children to svet thehroof of barn and house, but the burning woods is very near and flames fairly roll over them. Both Mother and Father are silently calling on God for help while they work, and the children are crying, “Oh. God, save us.” When all at once there is a clap of thunder and great drops of rain commence to fall. It continues to rain untill all danger is past. “He shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee.”