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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Singing (10/31/05)

TITLE: A Personal Choice?
By Kate Wells


All the decisions we make affect others. Even the ones we consider personal and private can have an effect on destiny.

Abraham and Sarah must have thought they were as isolated as could be when they made their decision all alone in a tent in the dark desert night...to have Sarah's maid go into Abraham and conceive a child. Who would know? Personal decision, right?

And now, who doesn't know? The world has paid a dear price for what they thought was a personal choice involving only three people.

I'm sure they could not have imagined their little secret going beyond the tent walls.

Does anyone ever wonder what would have happened if they had waited for the miracle of Isaac instead of creating Ishmael?

Their decision affected the world. So did the decisions of a couple from Canada greatly affect my life.

It was the year 1854 when John and Statira Dawson married in Toronto, Canada. Shortly after the wedding, they chose to go to the wild and untamed American west. I don't know what motivated their decision. Perhaps just a passion for adventure. On the first leg of their journey, they joined others on a steamer ship that was to cross the Great Lakes. But it never made it across. A violent storm capsized the ship. The passengers, including, John and Statira, escaped in life boats. Their lives were spared, but all their possessions were lost. How easy it would have been for them to return to Toronto. They decided, however, to bravely push ahead to Missouri.

I can't imagine what they went through to accomplish this. They had just lost everything but their newly wedded lives. John must have found temporary work. They may have lived as "evacuees" for a time at the charity of those who rescued them. I can only guess at the hardships they might have endured in order to press on to obtain their dream. I do not know the details. Only the basic facts. I know, because John and Statira were my great-great-great-grandparents.

I do not know how long it took them to work and scrimp and save and travel. But eventually they made it to Missouri. They lived there for two years, according to the census - and it was there that Statira gave birth to her first child, my great-great grandmother, Jennie Dawson.

Then...for some reason unknown to me, they moved again. This time, they traveled by ox cart to Corsicana, Texas where they became ranchers of Hereford cattle and Statira had three more children.

Moving, when you have established a ranch is very difficult even in this day and age. In the 1800's - it must have been extraordinarily hard.

But that is what they did. They packed up and moved...35 miles to the east. No one knows why. They moved to a little town named Kemp. John held rodeos in the pasture behind their home and Statira cooked for all the special events at the local church. And they continued to raise their children. Their first born, Jennie, was in her early 20's by this time. One day she received a note from a young man named John Watkins. It said simply, "Would be pleased to accompany you to the singing at church"

Jennie must have accepted the invitation to the singing. Because she and John were married the next year. Less than a year later they had a son, William Watkins. Their only child, my great-grandfather. And then John died at the young age of 30. He and Jennie had been married less than two years.

I often think of how their decisions impacted my life. If John and Statira had turned back to Canada. I would not live in Texas now.
If they had not decided to move 35 miles east...Jennie would not have met John Watkins. And if John had not spontaneously written that little note inviting Jennie to "singing" at the church - my great-grandfather would have missed his short window of opportunity to be born. And I would not be writing this today.

All of our decisions affect others. Even the ones we believe are personal choices. And some day we will give an account for every choice we made.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Gabrielle Morgan11/07/05
An interesting read. So true. If my great grandparents had not migrated to Australia I would not be here! I have often mused about that. Good work.
Phyllis Inniss11/08/05
Quite true. Our decisions and behaviour impact on the lives of others now and in the future. This was quite an interesting telling of how you came to be where you are now.
Jan Ackerson 11/08/05
I wonder if you needed the Abraham and Sarah part; your family's story is strong enough to stand on its own merit. I love stories with family history, where one can see the hand of God working. Thanks!
Karen O'Leary11/10/05
I agree with Jan. Actually, you could develop it into a short story based on their lives. Anyway, thank you for sharing this slice of your history with us. I like the journey.