As you know, I’ve been collecting stories for the Old Mission project.  My inspiration for the project came from a set of old diaries we discovered with detailed stories about life at Old Mission and Traverse City at the turn of the last century.  I won’t normally share these personal narratives on the blog, as I have yet to receive permission from the family, but I think this one story is okay to share (and since Erick is in the family, I have pseudo-permission).  

From the diary of Ms. Marjorie Rose Ghering Geary, daughter of Tompkins Ghering and Mary Swaney Ghering of Old Mission:

We had a wonderful horse named “Barney.”  He was black and of medium size.  Mother and I drove him to town on a mid-Winter day with a light sleigh.  The days were short, as even now, and it was getting dark when we started home.  The snow was so deep that Barney leaped and broke the whippletree out of the sleigh.  

He was worried about Mom and me and blew his nose at each of us trying to sympathize and converse.  Then he resolutely started home and went to a window and whinnied until Dad noticed him.  Dad knew what must have happened, so he harnessed a team and hitched them to a big flat sleigh and came after us.  We would have frozen!  No traffic!

Dad kept Barney and his mate long after he had a tractor.

And so, there it is, the story of one sweet, loyal horse named Barney who so long ago saved a family from freezing to death on what is now US-31 (Division).