by Ann Thompson Carrel Rowland as written and told to her by her mother, Sarah Alice Thompson Carrel


When the Postmaster handed my sister Frances the letter, he heard her exclaim under her breath, "Oh, it's really a letter from Papa! Now we'll know where he is." The Postmaster smiled and nodded, plainly hoping it was good news in the letter with the Arizona postmark.


By the time Frances had walked a block to the Butcher Shop, praying over and over, "Please, God, make it a nice letter that will make Mother happy, because she's been so patient and cheerful," the news of The Arizona Letter from Fred Thompson had gone before her. The portly butcher leaned his blood-spattered apron against the high counter and craned his neck so that he could see her as she pulled open the squeaking screen door. He was smiling gleefully.


"What's this I hear? A letter from your father? Where's he at, anyway?" Frances took the assault on the family's privacy in stride, looked him straight in the eye and, ignoring his question, said, "A pound of round steak, ground, if you please." The man knew he had met his match; he meticulously went through the routine of selecting a piece of beef from the counter and running it through the hand-grinder, slapping bits of the meat on the scale until the two sides were exactly level, and then transferring the meat to a piece of brown oiled paper in which he wrapped it tightly, folding the ends to secure the package. He then noted the charge to the account of James Edwards, Frances' grandfather. He was irritated because his curiosity had not been satisfied, and handed the package to Frances without a smile, knowing that if Aggie or I had been sent on the daily errands, he would have been able to pump us for information.


The impatient Frances grabbed the meat and started running before the screen door had slammed shut. Her feet flew the two blocks up Main Street, past the old, well-kept houses with spacious, neatly-trimmed lawns, shaded by large maple trees arching over the street. There wasn't another person in sight. Most of the houses were occupied by retired farmers who had prospered, working the rich farm land of Southern Michigan, had raised their large families and seen them off to Lansing or Battle Creek, Grand Rapids or Detroit. Few of these children had had schooling beyond 6th Grade; our mother, Alice Edwards, was an exception with her out-of-town finishing school education. On this day, as on every other day, she was waiting on the front stoop when Frances came in sight, not waving the letter as her sisters would have, but grinning broadly as she pretended to have trouble getting the letter from her pocket; her mother knew immediately that it must be an extra special one.


Mother's tiny hands, which played the piano so expertly on happy occasions, were shaking as she took the letter and recognized the familiar, beloved handwriting. She carried the letter into the house and sat in her favorite rocker, her feet hardly touching the floor as she began to rock quickly, nervously, back and forth, just gazing at the envelope, as though she could make the news good by her wishes. Her long, dark brown hair, caught up in a bun on top of her head, shone in the candlelight as she bent close, turning the letter over and over in her hands. Finally Frances could wait no longer. "Please open it, Mother," she cried softly. Mother's shaking hands jumped as she started to read, and then she went back to read a portion aloud to Frances.


Slowly, incredulously, "Please make arrangements as soon as you can to come to Arizona, to make a new home with me. The enclosed Atlantic and Pacific Railroad passes will bring you and the girls literally to my door at the station in Fair View." The passes had fallen to the floor, unnoticed, as Mother had opened the letter. She picked them up now and stared at them as though her mind was already in this strange place, Arizona. Then she placed the passes carefully back in the letter, folded it and put it in the spacious pocket of her dress under her homemade everyday apron. Continuing to rock, she stared ahead, unaware of her daughter's eagerness to question her about what the letter had said. Instead, the 13-year old sat quietly on the top step and waited, knowing that her mother would talk about it when she could. Silently, Frances asked God to be near. In her confusion, it was all she could think of to do/


It was at the dinner table that evening that Mother told the rest of the family about the letter and its request. Grandfather, his long, thinning white beard shaking with anger long suppressed, reacted loudly. "If you give him another chance, I'm through, and don't ask to come back here!" We three girls all knew that the gentle old miller had said that before, but that he had let us come back to his home to live, several times.


I was 8 years old and hardly remembered my father. I was so anxious to ask my mother about him that I even offered to wipe the dishes so that I would have Mother's undivided attention in the kitchen after dinner.


"What's Papa like, Momma?" I begged, as soon as we were alone.


"Well, Sarah dear, your father is tall, has white hair and is a very kind gentleman," Mother replied, sad and embarrassed that such a basic description had to be delivered to Fred's own child.


But I was unperturbed. "He is? And does he like to drink a lot and call on ladies. like Bob Meade said one day? All I said about his father was that he looked dirty!"



Mother swallowed hard. How could she handle this accusation without lying to Sarah, and without turning her against her father? And too, maybe Fred Thompson had changed his ways. and Sarah, getting to know him, would love him as much as she did. Oh, how she wanted everything to work out! "Well, Sarah, he likes the taste of some different things to drink, yes, and he enjoys talking to ladies, of course!" And then, crouching down to my little-girl level and looking straight into my eyes as if to leave her next words as a sole impression, "But most of all, he will enjoy getting acquainted with his daughters. He loves music as much as you do, Sarah, do you know that? He sings like an angel, and he knows lots of wonderful old songs. I'll bet he can hardly wait to sing them with you!" Mother was becoming more and more excited, as she convinced herself as well as me that what we were about to do was best for all of us. "That tomboy sister of yours will probably learn to climb the trees there too--" then, to herself, "will there be trees there, in Arizona?"


The pure mystery of this unknown place was enough to make it seem romantic, but it was frightening, too. "Well, anyway I'm sure Aggie will love all that space to run and play. Your father will enjoy playing  games with her, and reading to Frances-what a great storyteller he is too." I hung on her every word, anticipating this great new adventure with my father, whom I adored, even though I couldn't picture him clearly.


"And what will he enjoy doing with you, Momma?" I asked, The answer to this question was crucial for the happy contemplation of the event to come.


After a pause, Mother stood up, her straight back reflecting her determined optimism. Then, realistically, "He will enjoy having me cook good meals for him and look after his clothes and take care of him when he gets sick." Could she hope for more? .


The next day we began to pack, planning to stay with Father indefinitely. That meant separating Mother's furniture from Grandma's, and going through all the things we had stored in the extra bedroom. The old friends and neighbors all stopped by to hug us and weep a few tears to think that they might never see us again. Our real friends meant their regrets sincerely; some others, less sincere, held the opinion generally whispered by the Constantine community, that Father had married Mother for her parents' money, and that his infrequent attempts at making a home for his wife and children were nothing more than a gesture. In other words, they wished us well, but expected us back in Constantine in a short time.


Mother hadn't had any new clothes for "ages," For a "best dress" suitable for traveling, she made a two-piece dress of heavy midnight blue silk. The skirt was gored, yards wide around the bottom, and touched the floor, with brush binding on the edge to keep it from wearing out too fast. The waist was a tight-fitting bodice coming to a point in the center of the front and back just below the waistline. It had a standing collar and many round buttons down the front. The long sleeves came to points over the backs of her hands.


By the time we were packed and ready to go, half the town turned out to see us off at the depot, as though we were going to the other side of the world instead of to Fair View, Arizona. It was a four day trip through Chicago to our destination. The Conductor and Brakeman on the Lake Shore train leaving Constantine knew Father, and they stopped and talked to us whenever they went through the train. We girls were  sure that all the other passengers must envy us, getting so much attention from men in uniform.


We had to stay overnight in Chicago. Mother debated whether or not to take us to the great 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, or to see one of the famous stage shows in town. She found that the World's Fair cost more than she had allowed from the money her father had slipped in her purse before she left. He had said, "Take the girls to some place nice in Chicago; they won't have much that's nice in Arizona."


Looking at the selection of stage shows that were playing, she decided that the Lillian Russell show was not suitable for girls  8, 11, and 13, and chose instead "A Trip  to Mars" at the McVickers Theatre, starring the "Lilliputions", a group of midgets from Berlin who performed a kind of futuristic comedy act, We all laughed heartily at their antics.


As a part of our education, Mother wanted us to see the famous Marshall Field's Department Store. Standing on an ornate staircase in the store, we girls got a bad case of the giggles when Mother excused herself elaborately to the lady she had bumped into, only to find that she hadn't recognized herself in her new dress, reflected in a huge mirror on the landing. Aggie and I tried to reenact Mother's error by mimicking her, and Frances had to tell us to stop, or we would hurt Mother's feelings.


Mother had made a doll out of hand towels for me before we left home, and I held onto it tightly, day and night, throughout the trip. I was telling the doll not to be afraid as we boarded the upholstered tourist sleeping car of the Atlantic & Pacific train the next morning. But we soon made friends with everyone, and hardly noticed the changing scenery as the train left Chicago and headed west across the prairie. When mealtimes came, the train would stop and we would go inside the Harvey Eating Houses to eat, served by the "Harvey Girls". I didn't know until years later that Father had known the famous Fred Harvey when Harvey was just getting started in business.


The train stopped on the desert to repair a hot box, and two new friends took us for a short walk to see if we could see some prairie dogs up close. One man succeeded in catching one by the tail, but the prairie dog went on into its hole, leaving its tail behind. That trophy we took back on the train to show to our mother, but she was most unappreciative.


Our mother and her three girls were almost at their destination, and the woman watched the three, imagining what her husband's reaction would be when he saw them. Each was so different from the others. Frances, 13, was attractive, reserved, and very quiet. Agnes, 11, tall, thin and red-cheeked, with straight light-brown hair cut short, was "smart as a whip". Sarah, 8, was chubby, tow-headed and comical.


Sarah later wrote: when the train finally reached Fair View and we piled off, there stood our father, waving his hat and looking like the happiest man in the world. He was handsome, as Mama had said, and six feet tall, his white hair in a pompadour. And he was sporting a black moustache. Just as soon as we had all looked each other over thoroughly and we'd been treated to Sen-Sens from his vest pocket, Father told Mother that it was lucky for the Foreman's wife that we were there, because she was about to give birth, and there was no one to help her. Poor Mother! Some introduction for that little graduate of a Ladies Seminary in Michigan to the "wild and woolly west."


While Mother delivered that baby, Father showed us our flagstop home. That was really all it was, a little square frame shed with a platform to the train. This building served as a telegraph office and living quarters. We laid blankets on the floor at night and slept in rows. Food was easily prepared by opening cans and setting them on the oil-drum heater. There was no outhouse, and we had to go among the trees or low-hanging branches on the other side of the tracks. The station was so near the tracks that to people on the trains, passing it sounded like passing a signal tower or one railroad car parked on a siding-just a click. To us in the house, the passing train sounded like a long roll of thunder that gave us a thorough shaking.



We found out the first day there, that while we had been on the way from Chicago, Father had been fired. But, he told us, the A&P would try him in another place. After two weeks, he was notified that he was to report to Chalender, Arizona, 25 miles east, toward Flagstaff. So we moved to the lumber camp/railroad station, still not having the furniture we had had crated in Constantine for shipping. Living at the lumber camp was an interesting new experience for all of us, although I suspect that Mother was not quite as thrilled about the novelty as we girls were. There was a bunkhouse, a dining- room and a kitchen. Most of the people there were young huskies of many nationalities from all over the United States. We were still at the lumber camp on Thanksgiving Day, and I guess Father realized that we would miss our customary celebration, so he called us in to see a wild turkey that he had shot, sitting nonchalantly in a little rocking chair, with candles burning on either side, as though it were the turkey's wake.



At last Father was offered a position as telegrapher at what we hoped would be our permanent home-Canyon Diablo, east of Flagstaff. When we found out that the name meant Devil's Canyon, we were a little wary, but when we got off the train and saw this wonderful place, we were thrilled. The desert stretched for miles, with not a tree in sight, but the ground was covered with aromatic sagebrush.  In the distance we could see the San Francisco peaks, which were covered with snow. It was exciting to find out that the thin, flat pieces almost covering the soil were pieces of lava which had been thrown for miles when these volcanic mountains erupted, thousands of years before. We soon learned a game to play with the lava: we would dare each other to turn a piece over, knowing that many of them had centipedes hiding under them. The canyon itself was far enough from the station that we couldn't see it at first, so we spent our first day exploring  the station/house. The office was at the front, toward the tracks, with the living quarters for the station agent's family back of it, and the entrance on the side. There were three other buildings besides. There was a section foreman's house where the section hands lived, as well. A ranch house stood across the tracks; this housed sheepherders sometimes, but was empty most of the time. There were no so-called "conveniences". A small shed at the back of the station had lost both roof and door in a windstorm. The roof was lying beside it on the ground, which made a place to sit when we were cleaning rabbits. The door could be leaned up in the opening where it belonged, but we seldom bothered with it, except when trains were due to pass. It was hard to believe that this spot had, only eleven years earlier, been  a roaring boomtown populated by railroad construction men building "the highest railroad bridge in America" across Canyon Diablo. After the two-year project was completed in 1882, the workers had moved on, leaving only the Canyon Diablo flagstop station and railroad maintenance operations at the site.


The Indian Trading Post, just north of the station, was the most interesting place, because it was the center of activity for the area. It stood on the southern edge of the Navajo Reservation, but most of the Navajo people had to ride a couple of days on horseback to trade the blankets, rugs, ornaments made of gold, silver and copper, and fine needlework for the food they weren't able to grow. The Trading Post faced east, like the hogans of the Navajo. A big porch ran the full length of the building on one side and the floor was one step above the ground. Doors opened from the porch into different rooms. In the evenings, we soon found, we would sit on the porch floor, our backs against the buildings and our legs out straight in front of us, while Father sang lovely old songs for us. Everyone enjoyed these peaceful, starlit musicales, and we girls agreed with Mother that Father's well-trained voice was "like an angel's" as he strummed his guitar softly, put his head back and looked off into the night, picturing the scenes he described in "Old Black Joe", "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair, " Swanee River", slipping easily from one Stephen Foster melody to the other.


We soon had settled in, our furniture and belongings uncrated and put away. This was our new home and our new adventure! Our family became somewhat of a curiosity too. One time when a big passenger train was delayed for repairs, the tourists were roaming around, to pass the time. Mother overheard a dowager say, "Yes, I looked in the window, and they have carpets on the floor, 'way out here!" Mother was too much of a lady to tell her that they were prized Brussels carpets too. Father's comment was that we probably had better furniture than "that fat old hen", so not to feel bad. If they had looked closely, they would also have seen fine furniture made of black walnut, including a four-poster and a matching dresser with a marble top and a large mirror. Mother's square piano was made of rosewood, but that was one thing we had left in Michigan.


When the days grew hot and we all developed "mountain fever" there in the desert, Father's good friend Fred Volz, who ran the Indian Trading Post, brought Navajo blankets and covered all our windows to keep the heat out. The Navajo people who came to the trading post were very friendly. Two of the women asked Mother if she would teach them how to make cool cotton shirts with sleeves and collars, and she did, showing them how to use her sewing machine. All of them offered silver tokens they had made, in exchange for drinks of water from our barrel. They seemed to think that I wore a halo, because blonde hair was something they had never seen before. They would ask Father if they could use this curious halo to give their prayers more power, and, with his permission, they would spread their hands above my head as they looked skyward and prayed to their Great Father. Our father was somewhat skeptical of the effectiveness of this procedure, considering the devilish tendencies of the "halo "-wearer. One time the Navajos put on a show for us, and even cooked us a pot of their famous stew. It was cool that evening, and one woman shared the blanket from around her shoulders with me. I began to feel as though I belonged here in this strange and wonderful new place, Arizona.


Mr. Volz had made a corral in which to keep the horses at night. The corral was adjoining the Trading Post, a high fence attached to the building and stretched to posts which were not sunk in the ground, but held up with piles of meteor fragments. These were the "discards"; the "good ones" he sold to the Smithsonian Institution. The Trading Post was also the Canyon Diablo Wells Fargo Station and U.S. Post Office. Many cowboys came there to transact business and pick up their mail. Some of them gave each of us three sisters a burro for her very own! They were perfect pets, so gentle, friendly, slow, sure-footed and small. One time we were eating dinner and hadn't heard a sound, when Frances suddenly pointed to the door. There were the faces of the three burros framed in the doorway, their long, pointed ears straight up, and showing their teeth, as though they were smiling. Oh, how we all laughed! Sometimes we would get Mother to ride on the largest burro, the one which always led the procession, single-file. The second burro would always untie Mother's apron-string bow with his teeth, twisting his head as they walked along.


The trips that were the most fun were the treks to The Canyon, the huge, jagged crack in the earth, with a branch of the Colorado River winding merrily along, way way down at the bottom. Some of the cowboys taught us to lie on our stomachs across a rock and take a refreshing drink from the river. The walls of the canyon were lined with giant rocks of many colors, mostly shades of red and brown. We saw some large, flat rocks on which there were drawings made by native inhabitants many, many years



















earlier, when the river was much higher, for the drawings were high over our heads as we stood next to the river in that year of 1893. To get down to the floor of the canyon we had left our burros at the top and told them to stay, while we followed a tiny trail winding back and forth down the canyon wall. One day I decided to do a little exploring on my own off the trail, climbing straight up the smooth wall, using hand and foot holds worn by

many children over the centuries. I climbed as if by instinct, in spite of the horror of my mother. "Look, Mother, here's the funniest spider I ever saw; it has hair all over its legs, and I almost put my hand right on it!" Mother gasped, and Father roared, knowing that most people, seeing a tarantula for the first time, are terrified, but not his Sarah!


The yucca and cactus in the canyon were beautiful, especially in the early spring when they were in bloom. The fragrance of the balsam, the greasewood and the mesquite, pungent creosote bushes, pinon pine and thorny palo verde trees with their long, wispy branches swaying tiny yellow blossoms, combined with the sight of vivid pink, orange and yellow prickly pear blossoms made this spot a heavenly garden. One time we were caught by a storm, and sought refuge in a cave in the wall of the canyon. We found the fossil of a coiled snake in a rock, and piles of tiny twigs probably collected by a pack rat.


Mr. Volz told us about some beautiful rocks that he wanted us to see. He called them the "Picture Rocks." In planning the outing for us, he said that we would not need to take meat, just a frying pan with mutton fat, because we would catch rabbits "by the dozen." We had perfect faith in his plan, but after we had traveled several miles without seeing even one rabbit, we all began to wonder what we would eat. Finally we could see the Picture Rocks. They were indeed beautiful, and worth coming so far to see, with many shades of red and brown in layer upon layer, and stretching as far as the horizon, like a gigantic painting. By that time we were tremendously hungry, so we made a fire and cooked coffee, as well as frying bread in the mutton fat. That food gave us the energy to explore the colorful area we had come to see. As we came around one end of the mesa, we came upon a group of Indians who were strangers to us. They had tied long ropes across a large area between two standing rocks. From the ropes hung rabbits, "by the dozens", as Mr. Volz had said, but these men had spread out and cleaned the desert of rabbits ahead of us. Mr. Volz tried to talk them out of a few, but they were getting ready for their rabbit hunt dance and needed as many as they could get. So no rabbits for us that day!


Some cowboys who worked as hands on a nearby ranch, with typical hospitality and pride in their Arizona Territory, planned a big outing to show us another of the wonders of the area, the Meteor Crater, which had been discovered and recognized by scientists as a crater only 22 years before, although the meteor which created it was believed to have come crashing to earth some 50,000 years before!


The ring leader of this 7 mile expedition across the desert was cowboy Henry Ashurst: He was a tall, fine looking young man, barely 19, unusually well spoken, with a winning personality. Little did we know that he would later earn a reputation for his colorful oratory, as well as becoming one of the first two U.S. Senators from the new State of Arizona in 1912.

A few days after Henry had mentioned the Meteor Crater to Mother and told her that we must be sure to see it, he and four other cowboys appeared with a buckboard outfitted with temporary seats for us three girls, and room on the front seat with the driver for Mother. Henry had brought all the food, as he had promised he would, but Mother tucked in some of her jelly and cookies, and he smiled at her for those treats. Aggie had pulled some taffy the day before, so she grabbed a bag of it on her way out the door and tossed it to the young brother of one of the cowboys, who was spending his vacation riding the range. That boy must have learned, that summer, some understanding of life from these men, who spent hours alone, with only their thoughts and breathtaking scenery for company. Each one was unique, yet they all shared a serene confidence derived from communing with nature.


The cowboys rode their horses alongside the buckboard, entertaining us, as we rode, with all sorts of feats we had never seen before, even in circuses. One boy had a peg leg, and when he leaned down to pick up something from the ground and dashed past us, his horse galloping at top speed and his foot in the stirrup, the pegleg would stand straight up in the saddle and that's all we could see of him until he completed the stunt. We held our breath every time until we saw him sitting in the saddle again, when we would laugh and cheer and catch our breath.


As our happy little band approached the Crater, we had no warning of its startling immensity, for the rim of it is 150 feet above the surrounding desert. The first signal we had that we were coming near it was Henry's galloping up beside Aggie and, snatching her from her seat and placing her in front of him in the saddle, calling, "Follow me!" He led us on the ascent to the rim of the giant crater. We gazed with open mouths at this huge, bowl-shaped hole in the ground, nearly a mile to the other side, three miles around the rim, and deep enough to hold the tallest building in Chicago, with room to spare. The cowboys told us how a flaming meteor had plunged out of space thousands of years before, destroying all plant and animal life for many miles around it as it hit the earth. It was too large an idea for us to comprehend at the time, even though it was right there in front of us. We responded as all people do to huge spaces and incomprehensible events; we shouted, we gazed, we threw stones in and watched them disappear. The cowboys took out their six-shooters and shot at objects way down in the giant hole. The sight, the experience made an indelible impression on the minds of the young visitors from Michigan and their mother. We slowly started back, still mystified by what we had seen.


Very soon it was time to eat, and we had all developed huge appetites. The boys on their galloping horses had lassoed and made into bundles enough greasewood to cook for twice our number, and they proceeded to prepare our meal. They fried wonderful-smelling bacon, cooked sourdough biscuits in a Dutch oven, boiled Arbuckle coffee; there was plenty of everything. They had spread a Navajo blanket on the ground. We sat on it in a circle to devour this delicious food, and when we were finished they picked up the blanket by the corners, metal plates and all, to be scrubbed with sand and water later. Mother remarked that she really liked that kind of housekeeping! Was she getting used to the "Wild West?"


Riding lazily back afterwards, we sang old songs all together. It began getting dark in the canyons around us, and we could hear the wail of coyotes.


There was a period of anxiety that year, when the section foreman observed that there were signal fires burning at night, many miles away. After he talked to Mr. Volz, they concluded that the Apache Indians were "on the warpath", as they said, hoping not to frighten us. They directed Father to take a barrel of water and supplies into the patio of the Trading Post and keep the family there until things calmed down. We thought it was a game. For several days we stayed there, never venturing near a window, playing card games with Mother to pass the time. The men, their rifles ready, played rummy and whist to keep awake, and telegraphed the evening train to keep going, so that it did not even slow down to pick up the mail. Finally Father received word that military troops had subdued the Apaches and driven them out of the area. The exciting game was over, we never realized the danger we might have been in, and we resumed our daily routines.


Our Western adventure came to an end when Mother decided that there was no hope of Father getting a job with the Atlantic & Pacific RR in Flagstaff or Albuquerque or any town large enough to have "decent" schools for her girls to continue their education. There were no schools near Canyon Diablo; the only children nearby were the Navajo children, who were not compelled to attend school. The few of those children who did get an education attended the boarding schools which were being established by Christian churches or by the government. It was only 25 years before, that the 12 Navajo chiefs signed a treaty with the U.S. Government, establishing the Navajo Reservation. Memories of the "Long Walk", when Kit Carson rounded up the Navajo and forced them to walk to Fort Sumner, New Mexico in 1863 were still fresh in the minds of living Navajo.


And so Mother packed up our belongings and took us back to her parents' home in       Constantine, Michigan. Ironically, Father did later work for the Santa Fe RR in Flagstaff, and was the Stationmaster at the elegant Santa Fe Station in Albuquerque in 1900. Agnes and I each paid him a visit between 1901 and 1905 in Cripple Creek, Colorado.




On March 1, 1905, while he was employed by a dairy at the foot of "Nipple Mountain" in Victor, Colorado and seeking a fortune mining gold, Frederick Lester Thompson spent a weekend in Canon City, Colorado where he, according to the Canon City Times, came down with pneumonia. "From the effects of the fever which accompanies the disease, he seemed irrational, and it is thought he wandered off and was either sitting or lying upon the track when struck by the (No. 16, Rio Grande RR) engine." He was 51. His wife, Alice Edwards Thompson, lived to hold 4 of her grandchildren, and died in Michigan in 1918 at the age of 58.


As for their daughters, they carried with them for the rest of their lives the vivid memories of those months spent in Arizona Territory in 1893, and held onto a desire to return to the Southwest. Frances, the oldest daughter, became a nurse. In 1919, while nursing patients afflicted with influenza, she contracted the disease and died at age 40 in Michigan in 1920. Agnes, the middle daughter, graduated from Olivet College in Michigan, married and had two sons, settling in Indiana. She and her family took several trips to the West and visited the site of the Canyon Diablo Trading Post, the ruins of which are still identifiable. Sarah, the 8-year-old Thompson girl with the halo of blonde hair, was a vocal music student at Olivet College for four years, married and had three children. In 1934  she corresponded with the family who were living near the site of the Canyon Diablo Station. They sent her snapshots of the trading post ruins. She never got to see that place again, except from the platform of the Santa Fe Chief in 1935.  She did, however, plant the seed of interest in the heart and mind of her daughter.  Ann, who lived in Tucson for 32 years, has visited the site of the Canyon Diablo Station three times, and has transcribed this, her mother's account of her Arizona Adventure, 1893.