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A worthy contingent of the ‘Pennsylvania Hoys’ in due course made their way to the farmland of north central Indiana. The fertile soil might have put them in mind of Pennsylvania, though it spread north, south, east, and west as far as the eye could see rather than just to the edge of well-weathered mountains with odd names like ‘Mohantonga’.

The winters were in parts savage and benign similarly to those that had bedeviled life back in the Appalachian hills. Yet the names of the neighbors, some of them at any rate, were different. They were English names, like ‘Laturner’. Lydia Hay’s parents still clung to the older spelling of the family name. Born in Wells County, Indiana, Lydia had no memory of Pennsylvania hills. They were as alien to her experience as the Old Country village of Rohrbach, Pfalz, was to her parents, now a generation or two removed from Europe.

Lydia grew up to marry Jesse Franklin Laturner fifteen years after the old men had returned from Gettysburg and other oddly named killing fields. Jesse came into Lydia’s purview as the the son of the splendidly non-Germanic Henry and Nancy Wilcoxson Laturner. Five of their eight children were women.

Of these, three had multiple husbands. The sported names like Sechler, Vagus, McBride, Brand, Holcomb, and Crickmore.

They weren’t in Kansas anymore, these Laturner brides. Empires met, and kissed, in rural Indiana.

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