Voices from the Valley
Judy Magnuson Lilly
From the Salina Journal column “Smoky Valley Roots” comes the book Voices from the Valley, a collection of pioneer stories about stout individualists who pushed beyond boundaries and blazed trails across virgin prairie.
People like Tom Thorn, Sarah Bower and Larry Lapsley looked beyond the curve in the river and over the next rise. Migrating families like the Humbargars, DePriests and Muirs left the places of their birth to take on the harsh Great Plains environment. Some were lured West by dreams of adventure. Others hoped to escape religious or racial persecution or poor economic conditions. Once here, they adapted in their own way, according to their skills, values and perceptions.
Those who “stuck” were glad they did, according to James Muir, Salina Kansas, town founder, and the stories of pioneers to the Smoky Valley reveal a tradition of perseverance and independence that holds true today.