When Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon reached Ohio in 1800 with seven children, two oxen, and a bulging wagon, they were greeted by a bone-rattling thunderstorm.
The younger children wailed. The older children spoke of returning to Connecticut.
The oxen pretended to four-legged boulders and would budge neither forward nor backward, for all of Mr. Sheldon'g thwacking. Lightning toppled so many oaks and elms across the wagon track that even a dozen agreeable oxen would have done them no good, in any case.
They camped. More precisely, they spent the night squatting in mud beneath the wagon, trying to keep dry. Every few minutes, Mrs. Sheldon would count the children, touching each head in turn, to make sure none of the seven had vanished in the deluge.
Huddled together like a basketfull of kittens, the children slept in the hollow of a sycamore tree. Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon carried the lantern in circles around the sycamore, gazing at this forest that would become their farm. Aurora meant dawn, they knew that. And their family ws the dawn of dawn, the first glimmering in this new place.
The next settlers did not arrive for three years.