Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sidna's Story

Based on a story reported in Pioneers in Jackson County West Virginia: History of Mill Creek and Sandy Valley and Its Early Settlements, by John A. House, 1906.

Back when West Virginia was still a part of Virginia, a man named William Davis built a cabin by the creek now known as Big Run, in eastern Jackson County. The area was very wild and full of game, and Davis thought it would make a good place to set up camp. He built a rough shelter, and soon his two grown sons moved in with him.

One of the sons had a wife named Sidna and two little children. Sidna and her children came to live at the camp too. Life must have been hard for Sidna, with three men and two children to care for in that wild place. She would have had to get her water from a spring or the creek, and probably cooked over an open fire. Shelters in those days were often three-sided lean-tos with animal skins hung over the front for protection from the weather. It could not have been easy for her to cook, care for children, try to keep the place clean, and care for everyone’s clothing.

Sidna became ill, and one evening at supper she fell from her chair, dead. The men buried her nearby in an unmarked grave. A few days later, as William Davis was walking down a path in the woods, Sidna appeared beside the path, and seemed to be trying to speak to him. Davis was so frightened he ran away as fast as he could. Not long after that, she appeared on the path in front of him again, and once again he ran, frightened almost to death.

When she appeared the third time, Davis called up all the courage he had and asked her, “Why do you not rest?”

Sidna replied, “I am worried about my children. I do not think you can take care of them. I want you to find a home for them, where they will be cared for and given an education.”

Davis promised he would do as she asked, and Sidna reached out her hand, as if to shake on the bargain. Davis quickly pulled his hand away from her, but not before her cold fingers touched his wrist, leaving two yellow marks.

William Davis kept his word and found a good home for the children. He moved away from Big Run, but those who knew him said that the yellow marks remained on his wrist until his death many years later.

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