Excerpts from the notes of Frank Kermott
[The following was typed by David E. Kermott on May 4, 1997. The original papers that were typed by ??? Kermott. This manuscript is still in relatively good condition—the paper yellow and the type has the faded look of an old key press typewriter. I have not changed any punctuation, grammar, or spelling and will scan the letters into the computer to keep the time quality of the papers.]
Excerpts from notes of
Frank W. Kermott:
…Last Sunday Evening, I started to tell of the travels of the Covered Wagon. It is the story of my father and mother—Pioneer Home Missionaries—fellow members of that band of fearless; strong spiritually and physically, sent out by the American Baptist Missionary Society, to help colonize, and bring thw word of God to the far West. The first station had been Levenworth, Kansas.
Then word came—”The frontier of western missions is to be Santa Fe, New Mexico. You next station is there, 850 miles from Kansas City, over the Santa Fe Trail.” The so called Santa Fe Trail was just a wheel track in the grass—no road, no bridges across the creeks and rivers. So in the covered wagons, we began the journey. The Missionary Board had in their wisdom (felt) the Santa Fe Trail would be the route of the first railroad….The route of the first railroad was built almost exactly along the old wagon mark in the grass called the Santa Fe Trail.
We traveled the trail 14 miles a day for two months……. We journeyed to the land of the Blue Sky where the Spaniards had settled in 1600. The land of Poco Temo, the land of pretty soon where nothing was done today that could be done tomorrow. We lived in part of a great house half a block square: walls of adobe, no outside windows, and the door was an immense gate, opening to the street. Through this came people and live stock into a great court: the home of the house, little donkey, chicken and dog. In this house of mud walls with a dirt floor, my sister was born….
Do you know what a Madonna is? It is a picture of the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus in her arms, and is reverenced, especiallly by christians of the Roman Catholic faith. Tradition says that the beloved physician companion of Paul was not only a physician, but an artist, and was the first to paint a picture of the Madonna. Pictures of the Madonna were discovered as early as the fifth century, and the greatest pictures of the Madonna were painted in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Italian masters. The name (Madonna) has come to apply to any young, beautiful mother and her baby…..The Mexicans looked with reverence on Mother and her baby, and she became known as the Madonna of Sante Fe, a fact which afterwards saved our lives.
More Prophetic news from the Home Missionary Society. They said in their message… “Your work at Santa Fe is completed, the new frontier is Omaha, Nebraska.”…….
Father started immediately by stage coach to Kansas City with a guard of cavalry. Mother again loaded her babies and her possessions into the covered wagon, and the long journey back over the Santa Fe Trail began. Our train was again composed of 20 wagons, but we came to a camp of soldiers and were commanded to halt until there were 100 wagons in the train. When we again started the line of wagons stretched for two miles on the trail.
One dark night, as we sat around a camp fire, there suddenly crept from under the wagon, an Indian Chief followed by a score of braves. These were the first Indians we had seen with their war paint on, and carrying their tomahawks. Resistence was useless, the manager of the train knowing that they had broken our defense, sensed that in all probability there were hundreds more concealed in the long grass; so he welcomed the indians peacefully, and inquired to what he was honored by the pleasure of their visit.
The chief said too many white people had come into their country which was bad, and the red men had decided in council that no white people should be allowed to leave their country alive. Instead of antagonizing the chief, he complimented him on his wisdom, and the wisdom of his warriors; but, he said, “We have no white people in this train—we are designated to guard and deliver to her people, the Madonna of Sante Fe.” Mother stood up, her shawl fell from her shoulders, and holding her little baby in the hollow of her arms, she reached down and patted my head as I clung to her skirts, and smiled at the chief. The Mexican train manager removed his hat, and bowed on one knee as if in worship, and the miracle happened! Slowly, the chief and his warriors backed away, and disappeared into the darkness.
I have said much of the bravery, both spiritual and physical, of the Pioneer Missionaries. May I say that the hardship and dangers were born equally well by the consecrated women who followed their men into the wilderness. Today there is being cast, statues by direction of the Daughters of the American Revolution, commemorating the bravery of the early women of the western trails. These statues are gigantic, eighteen-feet high, and by strange coincidence, to the desendants of Amanda Kermott, the Madonna had three figures—Mother and daughter, and little son at her side. One of these will stand guard over the Santa Fe Trail.
You may like to look this over. The little boy in the story, later because my father in law. After this they traveled over the States building Baptist Churches.