The following story is taken from the Gladys Simmons Shaw diary with art work by Linda Shaw Chavis.
“Laura Altona Mote Connell was always afraid of the dark. She did not know why; she just was.
“The moon was out and the stars were brightly shining. The little cabin in the woods was bright with lamplight. The light came streaming out of the windows and out of the cracks in the wall.
“Laura felt that eyes were looking at her. She could not shake the feeling. She straightened her shoulders and put her mouth into a straight determined line. She walked over to the lamp and turned it off, as to say, "Who's afraid of the dark?"
“That night and every other night there after she slept in the dark. She never knew if the eyes were really there or not.
“France Connell was gone most of the time, so Laura was alone with her children and her imagination.
“The log cabin was one room with a rock fireplace at one end and a door at the other end. France had cut down the trees to make room for the cabin. Then he had built the little cabin out of trees he had cut down and built the fireplace out of rocks he found on the property.
“Some of those log cabins were not very comfortable. The older people talked about waking up in the winter to find snow on top of their quilts. Homes for the poor were not snug and warm. Imagine getting up in the freezing air and starting a fire.
“During those freezing times, fires were banked in the fireplace. The ashes were banked around wood or coal to keep the fire alive. In the morning, the fire could be stirred back to life, then fed wood or coal to start a blaze. Usually you would find a lidded iron pot or two hanging in the fireplace. Venison was cooked for many hours to make it tender.
“In the summer, the windows were wide open. There were no screens to keep the bugs and critters out. Any bug, spider or small critter that wanted to could come in through cracks in the walls and the open windows. Actually, bigger critters could come in through the window.
“Laura and France had seven children. When the youngest was five-years-old, France was shot in the back and died. Laura found herself a poor widow with seven children to feed and clothe.”