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Looking to Hit the Oregon Trail By Barbara Sisney Daniel

There isn’t anything more intriguing than an auction. My husband loves them. In fact, we have both been mesmerized by the best of auctioneers sing-songing their pitch of voice from one item to another. It truly is an art. Lee has become skilled with singing their auction wares. He has the rhythm and sense of humor to keep one’s interest and to hold a crowd. The thrill of going to see the show was more appealing to him, as well as looking for buried treasures.

The following copy of an old sale bill from 1840 printed in “Capper’s Weekly” as it appeared close to 120 years ago. It reads: 

“Having sold my farm am leaving for Oregon Territory by team, will offer on March 1, 1840, all six teams, except two teams, Ben and Buck, Tom and Jerry. I’ve milk cows, gray mare, and colt. One pair of oxen yoke, one iron plow with wood mold board. 550 10-foot fence rails, 60-gallon soap kettle, 86 sugar trough made of white ash lumber, 10-gallon maple syrup, spinning wheel, 20 pounds mutton tallow, large made by Jerry Wilson, 300 hoop poles, 100 split hoops, one hundred empty barrels, 32 gallons Johnson-Miller whiskey seven years old, 20 gallons apple cider, copper still, oak tan leather, dozen reel hooks, two handle hooks, 3 scythes and cradles, dozen wooden pitch forks, 32-caliber rifle made by Ben Miller, 50 gallons soft soap, ham, bacon, and lard, 550 gallons sorghum molasses, six head of fox hounds, all self-mouth except one. At the same time I will sell six negro slaves, two men 35 and 50 years old, two boys, two mulatto women, 40 years old. Will sell all to the highest bidder. As I will not separate them. Term of sale: Cash in hand or note to draw 4 percent interest, with Bob Connel as security. Plenty to eat and drink.”

I have saved this bill of sale from the Clinton, MO Democrat and my friends Kay Miles’ editorial. She was a great editor. Her family has owned the paper for many years. I miss her and her dear friendship. 

Have a great 4th of July and find a great auction to celebrate. You never know what you might find you just can’t live without.