Thursday, January 26, 2012
At The Farm...HIstory and Secrets
This beautiful spring valley, (three live year round springs) surrounded by tree covered hills and grassland was first home to the Native Americans, I would guess Osage by the relics we find. The place is covered with natural berry bushes and fruit and nut trees and the wonderful Osage Orange or Bodark that makes the best wood for bows, say the bow makers.
March 1885 this was part of an original land grant to John Walker by President (1853-1857) Franklin Pierce (information from the land grant). People called him "Tin Cup Walker" because, way before his time, he believed germs could be passed by drinking after someone. So Tin Cup always carried his cup on his belt and never drank out of any one's dipper when he needed a drink of water. His daughter, Eve is buried here, and we still care for her grave. From there, it changed hands many times through the trading of horses, the inability of some to pay the taxes, and just selling one to the other.
Although Dad was born not far from here, this land did not enter the family til the thirties (again, according to the title search, which doesn't ring true in places) In between times, and after Dad's birth, the family left Arkansas for Kansas, left the Dust Bowl there, for Missouri and returned here to survive the Great Depression.
There are three old home places on the farm, shown only in spring by the blooming of daffodils and burning bushes. The old barn is almost just a memory, a few timbers remain. The old house that still stands close by the house Mom and Dad built was two houses put together with a lean-to kitchen added. Dad said they pulled the two houses here with a team of horses on a log sled. Four children and Grandma and Grandpa lived here...two rooms and a lean-to with a toilet in the cedar glade.
Dad had a brother and two sisters and another brother born much later. They had hogs, goats, cattle, chickens and ducks...plus huge gardens and hay crops to feed every thing and every one.
After Dad left home, he worked hard to send money home to buy more land. The holdings increased and by the fifties before I was born, Dad had helped purchase more land and left Grandpa in charge while my family worked away...in the wheat harvests in Kansas, running a sheep ranch in Iowa, and many other things to accumulate land. If you have land, you can live.
Mother has always had a "knowing", as some people call it. Just before I was born, she insisted, since she and Dad had paid for most of the land, to have a separate deed to this place. I saw it in the abstract. Dad gave Grandpa almost four hundred acres and Mom and Dad took one hundred and ninety acres.
It's a sad story, really. Dad sent all his money home during the entirety of World War II and when he returned, the money was gone. Later Dad would work and buy cattle to put on the farm. Grandpa would sell them the next week. Dad would work away and Grandpa would sell the timber...on all the land. Dad always loved his parents and never harbored any bitterness over this...he was a better person than me.
Mother knew a storm was coming. Grandma died. Grandpa, who was in the beginnings of Alzheimer's, had another logger come in. The lady logger showed up with a roll of cash and offered Grandpa $5 a acre in the fifties!!! Grandpa, not being right, thought that was a whole lot more than they paid for it. He took it and Mom and Dad found out when they returned that most of the land they had worked for such a long time was gone. Our over five hundred acres was reduced to less than 150 over night...Thank God and Mom, she had that deed changed!!!
This land is now part ranch and part new development. It is sad, that because of Grandpa's illness, Dad's hard earned land was lost.
We lived here in the house that Grandpa put together for a while. We had to walk to the main highway to school...almost two miles. Mom and Dad bought eight acres by the highway and that is actually where I grew up but even there, we had a big garden, a fruit orchard, a grape vineyard, a stocked pond and a milk cow/calves with hogs to butcher and, of course, cats, dogs, and chickens.
Dad made his living through road construction. We lived a way a lot until I started school, then we moved home. Dad still worked away but I attended school here all my life, with the exception of one year in Missouri.
Mom and Dad built the house we live in now. We all had a part in the construction. We all have hammered nails, laid rocks, and painted walls. They built it as they could pay for it. They moved back to the farm after I married...and now they are gone and we are here.
Marcy has a retirement home here, we live in the old farm house, and Bev lives in town but is here working 'most every day.
Now, that's a lot of talking!!! You asked for the history of the farm, Canned Quilter, and I give you a sad family tale.
Currently, we run a few cattle,(no horses now) chickens, dogs and cats...not counting all the wild encounters we have with the wild life. The items we grow feed many families and we supplement our food with wild game.
With Andrew, it will make the fifth generation that has lived here.
I know I haven't answered all the questions, but keep 'em coming, I'll always have an answer!