PLAIN VIEW FARM,

RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:


"GIANT FOOTPRINTS,"

by Ronald Ginther

Dedicated to his Aunt Ruth Stadem Harrington

TRIBUTE TO DAKOTANS OF THE FRONTIER,

1865-1945

Part One: Coming of the Sodbuster

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Prairie majesty was grass waving man-tall

until the horse joined tribes that were first to pass

into this land of glacial course,

where bison trod each water source,

eyed sharply by the wolf and eagle;

fangs and talons bred no remorse

as age on age they served to cull

the weak'ning cow, or aging bull.

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Death as much as life enriched this earth!

Come thaw, grasses spring flowered, forest-dense,

and sheltered both prey and predator's birth;

bright Joseph's coat immense, the Plains

--yet to know a single fence--stretched living and vibrant around,

beneath a multitude gone since the gun

and plow turned keen to hunt the grass and bison magnificent.

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Can you still hear music?

A million hoofbeats' thunder as bison rush a Platte salt lick?

Moonlit howls--no hearthside purr!

And milkweed pods go ric-tic-tic!

Wing and wind strum from the sky,

each stem and feather a harp pick,

while drumming beat and chanting cry

fill the Prairie's songbook by and by.

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Everything about this Realm cried "Giant!"

The Frontier overflowed with richness.

Empire free of tax and tyrant

ranged with room for all to bless;

Horace Greeley urged, and Youth cried, "Yes!"

The Argosy of Dakota had no doors.

Wealth beyond gold no man could guess,

gently rolling, or smooth as floors,

a Niagara that pours and pours!

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Adolf Stadem, Grandson of Sjur and Oline Stadem, Middle On Horse-Drawn Water Tank Wagon,

brings water to the men working the fields:


East and South, Civil War was waged.

A rail-splittin Lincoln led the way to freedom for the slaves long-caged.

The Union, yea or nay?

A starry flag with stripes, not bars, was pay.

And America rose from Gettysburg renewed.

(One day thence, where Black Hills lay, Mount Rushmore faces would be hewed from granite cliffs a dreamer viewed.)

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The honor was not made too great;

few would argue with the Four.

Even at this late a date, the stone is speaking evermore:

"This flame of Liberty we bore

'tis best served by loving Power least,

lest men wax tyrant, oppress the poor."

Yet men would still turn savage beast,

and drive the Indian from the east.

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Yet not all! David Guth--brave young man!--trekking west, he left Wisconsin.

To Dakota Territory bison trails ran.

Parting from the last of kin, he found a choice spot to settle in.

For fuel bison "chips". Water? Nothing that a pick can't win.

From thick sod he shelter rips.

All else he brought along on trips.

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Stadems, Second Wave of Immigration,

Homesteaded like David Guth in a Sod House in Dakota Territory, 1880s


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No bride but lots of soda crackers!

A cow, a horse, three dozen chickens.

His wagon overturned on hay as warm as furs.

And snug beneath it, safe from cold winds,

he spent three years, and dreamt of corn-filled bins?

Now imagine yourself in his place!

This modern life, its sins and dins,

day after day the old rat race,

exchanged for a fresh, new lease on God's grace!

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What kind of soul was David Guth?

Independence, self-sufficience, and hard work showed he had just the right stuff.

But wicked things in men's hearts lurk

that can cut heads off like a Turk!

One day came an Indian chased by enemies berserk.

Guth saved the bleeding, wounded one, just like the Good Samaritan.

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It's sad how some must lump men all,

the dross along with purest gold!

At risk to life a lesser man must fall;

but Guth, alone, proved firm and bold,

upheld the Golden Rule old.

He hid the man in a haystack,

and his pursuers, it is told, chased his horse off down the track

--thus a life was given back!

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Please go to links to next installments of "Giant Footprints," as the phenomenal, nation-building pioneer experience unfolds into the Twentieth Century, and the sons and daughters come of age to meet the century's great challenges to America's very existence as a free country and free people.


Links to other sites on this Website

WHAT FOREBEARS KNEW--A TRIBUTE TO PIONEERING GENERATION


THE STADEM FAMILY GENEALOGY


CENTRAL FOR RON'S WRITINGS


CENTRAL FOR ROAD MAPS


NEW PAGES AND LINKS FOR RETURN VISITORS


PRAIRIE FARM LIFE AND BEYOND


CENTRAL FOR GIANT FOOTPRINTS


GIANT FOOTPRINTS, PART TWO, COMING OF THE IRON HORSE



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