Sarah's Web

Enter The 19th Century World Of Sarah And Her Friends

Excerpt From Chapter One

            Inside, Sarah saw him, and her heart skipped a beat. It felt like a giant hand squeezing the very breath from her. Then, color drained from her face and panic came—cold and sudden. Standing speechless, a terrible fear tore at her throat, and for a split second she thought of the will. Only Sam knew the hiding place. 

            “Sam!” Eliza screamed. “Oh, Sam, Oh, my dear Sam.” She knelt beside her husband, head on his chest, weeping uncontrollably. Sarah rushed to Eliza’s side as Esther flew through the doorway. Seeing her daddy on the floor staggered her, sending her reeling. Her knees buckled, and falling to the floor, she began to pray aloud.

            “What in tarnation be happenin’ in here?”

            The old lady stepped through the doorway. The sight of Sam on the floor, eyes open, unmoving, gripped her insides. Rushing to his side, Granny placed her hand on the front of his neck, feeling for a pulse. She shouted over the crying, “What happened to him?” The bawling only grew louder.

            “Eliza Smith! Git a hold of yerself. Let me try to help the man. What happened afore we got here?”

            “He complained of a headache, and his vision was blurred,” she sobbed it out. “Esther was going to get Doctor Baum, and then he just fell over. Is he dead? Is he dead? Tell me, Granny, tell me the truth.”

            Granny clutched her friend’s hand. “No! He be alive, barely. His heart’s a beatin’ but weak. Not much breath, either.”

            “What can we do? What’s wrong with him?”  

            “I seen it afore, and I’ll not lie to ya. It ain’t good.” Her body stiffened a little, and she turned squarely to face Eliza. “Appears like he be brain struck!”

Wit and Wisdom of Granny Evans

     Once more the howling began, sending a chill down Sarah’s spine. The wolves had moved closer. Stephan was at the edge of his chair, cocking his ear to determine the direction. “Sounds like it’s coming from the south, probably down by the creek.”

     “Relax, friend.” Granny was at his side nudging him a bit. “They be jist wolves. Ya got a gun loaded and ready?”

     “I have several, but guns are no protection from a skin walker!”

     “Man, them be wolves.” Granny wanted to laugh, but thought better of it. “Yer guns will scare ’em off if they come near. Lookit, when I were but knee high to a June bug over there in the Western Reserve, I were a fightin’ wolves in the woods behind our cabin. Ya keep them guns ready.”

“What be goin’ on here? Where be Elizabeth? She ailin’? I got my medicine box in the buggy.” Looking over at Sarah, she warned her in a joking tone, “Watch out fer this old pill pusher.” She pointed at Doc. “He might give ya some of them old German concoctions. No telled what be in it. Make him give ya sompun that has English writin’ on the pillbox. If yer not careful, he’ll slip that German writin’ in on ya.”

   “Sarah girl, ya knowed the good Lord gonna be given ya extra stars in yer crown when ya git to heaven.”

   “He is?”

   “Shore will. Why ya gotta a heart of gold. Tryin’ to stop this here slave chasin’ business be way more than what be expected of ya. Most folks would say there be nothin’ they could do ‘bout it. If them slavers go on up to Newport, well that’s their business. But not you. Fer some reason, ya got a different bent than most folks and cain’t stand by while wrong doin’ be going on.”

   Riding along on the rented horses, the girl glanced over, catching the old lady’s eye in the moonlight.

   “You’re right. I can’t lay my head in sleep when I know lives are at risk. It has to be done, and no one else is going to do it tonight.”

   “Ya knowed, ya got another way ‘bout ya, too.”

   The young lady looked over again. She waited.

   “Ya gotta way with the fellers.”

   “Oh, Granny!”

   “Now, ya knowed what I be a talkin’ ‘bout; don’t try and pretend ya don’t.”

   Sarah giggled. “Well, maybe. That sort of comes naturally. I just try to be friendly.”

   “Friendly, ha! Guess that be one way of puttin’ it. Why, that young man at the livery dint stand a chance of sayin’ no to takin’ these here horses fer a ride in the middle of the night. Why, with you smilin’ like a cat that jist licked up spilt cream and battin’ yer eyes like a toad in a hail storm, that young feller wudda done anythin’ for us.” Granny laughed hard, slapping her knee. “You be sompun, Sarah Ann. There gonna come a day when them womanly ways of yers be comin’ in right handy. Don’t knowed how, but they will. I jist feel it in my bones.”


From The Glossary

AftToward the stern or tail of the riverboat

Bear oilMade from rendered bear fat with fragrance added. Men used it as a hair tonic.

Bed WarmerA metal box with a handle. Hot coals were put in the box, and the box placed in the bed to warm it.

Bullwhacker–The driver of a team of oxen.

Corduroy roadSometimes called a log road, it is a road constructed over swampy areas. Corduroy roads are made by placing logs side by side and perpendicular to the direction of the road.

Dress-waistTerm used for a blouse, the upper part of a dress above the skirt.

Early candlelight - Early evening.

Wet behind the earsAn expression meaning a person who is young or inexperienced.

White-EyesA term Indians used to refer to white people.


Sarah's Escape

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Fun Facts

John Baumgardner, the author’s great, great grandfather, became a doctor in his native country of Germany, sometime before 1856. He heard the opportunities for doctors were much greater in America. Like many before him he left his home for a new start in a land where folks were free spirits like himself. Dr. “Baum” is a character in the Sarah Books.

The “real” Sarah lived with the author’s great, great grandparents, John and Elizabeth Baumgardner in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

In 1858, Hyman Lipman patented a pencil with an eraser.

There were many uses for herbs in Sarah's time and many are still used in the 21st Century. Granny Evans used herbs for "healing" folks, but there were recipes for beauty products, too. Face powder was made from rice flour, while rose and vanilla were popular fragrances for ladies to wear.