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Book review: 'Odds and Ends' shares fun, enlightening pioneer stories

By Micah Klug

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Nov. 23 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

"ODDS AND ENDS: A Compilation of Fantastic Yet True Pioneer Tales," compiled by Shirley Bahlmann, Cedar Fort, $18.99, 335 pages

“Odds and Ends” offers real accounts of people during a difficult time in history.

Author Shirley Bahlmann compiled summaries of stories from pioneers' descendants, many which have been passed down orally, and recontructs them into short narratives. She shares the summaries at the end of each narrative.

Accounts range from the early settlers coming across the plains in difficult terrain and marking the path in unknown territories. The main focus is primarily with the relationship between the early pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Far West, Utah, and the Native Americans.

In one of the more than 45 stories, Indians came by a pioneer family's home looking for bread. When the woman leaned over to check the bread, one Indian tried lift her skirt and she knocked him out with her frying pan. She was known as "Iron Lady" among the local Indians.

Another shares how Adelia Sidwell found a bobcat in her henhouse and how she strangled it with her apron strings.

Some of the stories contain some violence, including Native American raids on the settlers, descriptions of wounds and injuries, kidnappings and the Black Hawk War. Although the violence is discussed throughout the book, the violence is not graphic in nature.

Bahlmann lives in rural Utah with her husband and six children. The stories recounted are primarily set in Utah ranging in dates starting with the handcart companies through the turn of the century.

Micah Klug graduated with a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She currently resides in Rexburg, Idaho.

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