Leon and Lilac

by Arnold Nelson

     After Leon beat up Lilac and left the train he went to back to Independence to get on another wagon train and go to Oregon. He found out there were no more wagon trains going west that year. He would have to wait until next year to get to Oregon.

     One night about two weeks after the beating Lilac told her story: Her father had a nice farm in Ohio they were doing well. Then came two years of bad crops. Her father was in danger of losing his farm. Then Leon came along and offered her father a lot of money for Lilac. Leon said he wanted to marry her. At first her father said no. Then Leon said they would live in nearby Toledo. Leon would start a general store and Lilac would help run it. Leon told her father he could come visit whenever he wanted. So Finally her father reluctantly agreed. Leon gave him the money and took off with Lilac.

     They lived in Toledo about a week then they headed towards Oregon. Leon told Lilac to tell everyone they were married. Lilac was afraid of him, so she did what she were told. When they got to Independence they got on the wagon train. Then the wagon train stepped in and told Lilac she did not have to live that way. There are no slaves west of the Missouri. When Leon told her they were leaving she stood up and said she was not going with him. He got mad and started beating on her. To save herself she fell down and pretended to be unconscious. He gave up then and took one of the horses and rode out. When Lilac tried to get up she found out she couldn't. So she laid there on the ground until someone found her.

     There was a farmer from Kentucky name Jacob Swift on the wagon train. He was traveling with his 3 sons. Peter, James and John. He lost his wife to Pneumonia about a year ago. He decided there were too many memories on the farm and he sold it. He was going to Oregon to make a new start.

     Lilac and Jacob started spending time together. The both had a void that needed to be filled and they were filling each others voids. After about a month Jacob asked Lilac to marry him. She accepted. They went to tell the boys. James and John were happy they were going to have a new ma . Peter got mad and ran off. Jacob said I will talk to him. Lilac said wait Jacob let me try first.

    So she went off to find Peter. She found him a few wagons down, sitting on a log looking very upset. Lilac asked if she could sit and talk to him a few minutes he nodded. Lilac took a deep and she said What's wrong Peter? I thought we were friends. Friends don't do that to other friends. Peter said I do like you,but if you marry pa then you would become my new ma and I'm afraid you will take the place of my real ma.

    Lilac smiled I am going to marry you pa but I would never try to take the place of your real ma. You real ma has a place in your heart and she will be there forever. I would like to have a place in your heart too. I love your pa very much and he loves me and we both have needs. We will help each other with those needs. Your pa needs help raising you three boys and I sure would like to be the one to help. Would you give me a chance? please?

     Peter looked at Lilac with tears in his eyes and gave her a big hug and said I am glad you will be our new ma you are right pa does need the help with James and John. Lilac had tears in her eyes too. She wiped them and said Would you do one more thing for me? Peter said What? Lilac said go to your Pa and tell him that you are happy for him and that you want us to be a family

      So Peter got up wiped his eyes and went to his pa and apologized for his action and said he was happy that they were getting married. Two weeks later Jacob and Lilac got married.

     You may not know this but the wagon master had authority to marry people when there is no preacher around. So Major Zeb Waters married them. Afterwords all the ladies put on a big feast and they had a big party. The newlyweds lived in Lilac's wagon and the boys continued to live in their wagon.

     Just as they were entering Oregon territory Lilac came up to Jacob and said How would you like to have another child? Jacob said Are we going to have a Baby? Lilac just nodded. Jacob just grabbed here and started jumping up and down. They both where laughing. the boys came up and thought they had both gone crazy.

    Jacob said we are going to have a baby. The boys just rolled their eyes and said great and went back to what they were doing. When they got to Oregon they each got a homestead and they put the two homesteads together and had a large farm just outside of Portland. They were a happy family and the baby arrived right on time. A little girl. They named her Bonnie Jean after both of their mothers.

    Back in Independence Leon lived quietly through the winter. He met a lady named Eve Green that was going on the first wagon trail to Oregon that spring. The lady was traveling alone and he talked Eve into hiring him to drive for her. Everything went good for about a month. Then Leon started slapping Eve around and ordering her around. Eve went to the wagon master and told him what was going on. He had a talk with Leon and gave him a stern warning .

    Everything went well for a couple of weeks then the abuse started again. One morning Eve was found dead with a broken neck. Leon was arrested and tied up since there was no Jail on the wagon train. They were about 2 weeks from Fort Kearney so they decided to turn him over to the army at Fort Kearney and make their reports there. They untied Leon's hands so he could eat but they kept his legs tied up until the arrived at fort Kearney.

     The Army put him in the stockade and sentenced him to hang. The day before he was to be hanged he escaped and stole a horse and headed west. After about three days he came upon the wagon train. He made a big detour around the train because he wanted nothing more to do with them.

     When he got to Portland he started asking about Lilac and someone pointed him to the Swift Homestead and told him She was Lilac Swift now. Leon rode out to the homestead and just watched for a few days, When he thought Lilac was alone he quietly went up to the house and entered the back door. He found Lilac in the store room making up a shopping list.

     Leon said Hi Lilac, It 's been a long time. Lilac turned and there was real fear on her face. What are you doing here? she yelled at him. Leon said I came to get what's mine' Lilac said I am not yours anymore I am a married woman now, Please leave, My husband will be home any minute and he won't like it if your are here.

    Leon sneered try again, I have been watching your house he will not be back until dusk. Then he gave her a back hand that almost made here fall but she stayed standing. She screamed as her cheek started turning red. Get out! your not welcome here.

     Just then Peter entered the room carrying one of his father's pistols. Leave my mother alone or I will shoot he said. Leon turn around and looked at the boy with real hate in his eyes and said Give me the gun before someone gets hurt. Leon reached for the gun at the same moment Peter fired and shot Leon in the gut. As soon as Leon turned towards Peter Lilac found a big stick and picked it up and brought it down on Leon's Head with both hands. Leon went down in a heap. Peter said is he dead?. Lilac said no but he soon will be. Let's drag him out in the back yard and when your pa gets home he can deal with him." Lilac gave Peter a big hug and thanked him for saving her life. When Jacob got there they sent for the sheriff and the sheriff took care of everything.

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