There’s a point where you just have to acknowledge that your family history sounds a lot like a wild west dime novel and there’s nothing you can do about it. Suffice to say, I would not be remotely surprised to learn that my family history was responsible for a minimum of five common tropes of wild west stories.
Four generations ago, around the turn of the 1800s to the 1900s, my Great-Grandfather was in a serious mining accident that cost him a good portion of his right hand. Now, back in the day no self respecting mining town had a hospital, because who needs those? What they did have was a hotel and a young nurse who volunteered to care for Great-Grandpa. Except back then it was oh so improper for a young lady to be alone in a room with a ruff and gruff miner. So they got married. After two days.
But now Great-Grandpa can’t work the mines with only 1.5 hands, so what are they to do? Well, buy a small, affordable plot of land in another area of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and start a little farm, of course. Which they do. Except, turns out, they got scammed. So when they show up to their new plot of land it is not actually theirs, leaving them in the lurch with no money to their names. But they power through, make some friends to stay with, and eventually manage to secure themselves a little plot of land that is actually theirs.
All is well and they get to work on having 14 kids. Yes. 14. 13 of the children survived to adulthood, but the youngest died of tuberculosis at four years old. Within a year of her death Great-Grandpa had passed away as well, leaving Great-Grandma with a 13 strong brood, a farm, and two world wars on the horizon. Many of the kids went off to those wars, though some got certified 4F and couldn’t go because of it. All survived the actual war, but one died shortly after due to a disease contracted while overseas.
Throughout this time all 13 kids were busy getting married and having kids of their own, as well as doing things like installing the first phones and electricity in the area, exploring abandoned Native American cabins, and logging trees about as wide as they were tall. Then the state of Colorado came a knocking. They wanted to build a reservoir, they said. It would flood the family property they said. They’d provide an equivalent new family property they said. Great-Grandma said nope, and the state went away. Then the state came by again, they really wanted to build this reservoir they said, they’d even offer more land than the family already owned. Great-Grandma said nope again. This happened several more times, until the state was getting rather desperate and probably annoyed. Eventually they offered Great-Grandma a ridiculous amount of land that was literally only about 100 yards from the plot they’d had before. The family proceeded to pick up the house, and move it to the new plot of land where they continued about their business but on a much larger scale.
Great-Grandma continued to be a badass for the rest of her life, living to a ripe old age and raising all her kids to be equally badass. My Grandfather, the youngest living child of the family, proceeded to have ten kids of his own, the second-youngest of which was my father. My father’s generation grew up in the mountains as well, and even though some of them ended up in the city they always came back whenever they could.