a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Thursday, January 26, 2012

At The Farm...HIstory and Secrets

a small farm, one hundred fifty acres , more or less...not big enough to be called a ranch.  Not fancy enough to be a resort, but it's beautiful and it's home.  I guess, it would be called a hobby farm, since you rarely make money on a farm.  You can eek a living out of the ground.  The land will care for you if you care for it.

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!

25 comments:

Rudee said...

Oh, my. What a fascinating tale, Gail, full of love, dastardly deeds, suspense and a couple of cheats and most of all, resilience. There is not a single family without issues, but how your father did not blow a gasket is beyond me.

Thanks for the story.

Nora said...

I would not have been surprised if your father had beat up your grandfather and made him never forget that lesson. What a terribly sad story that made. You told it very well, though, and I enjoyed reading it. It was a tale of hardship indeed. XOX

Country Gal said...

Oh WOW ! awesome history. I wish we could afford more land. I was raised on a hobby farm want one of my own its my dream now to go back to my roots as a hobby farmer but land here is really costly ! Awesome post Gail thanks , I love family history ! Your Poor parents though what a struggle but look at the lovely farm your on . Have a great day !

Journaling Woman said...

Very interesting history. Very interesting. I don't see it as sad but a part of family dynamics and human nature. And how wonderful that your parents claimed a portion to be your homestead.Very smart. They were strong people and so are you!

Great story.

islandwonder said...

Wow! That is an interesting story. Your dad sure worked hard. Glad some land was spared.

Buttons said...

Oh my gosh Gail what a gripping story. It makes me very sad but it is your history and will always be your history nothing can take that story away from your family. Good or bad.
I think things were very different back then your Father was a very hard worker and an amazing man for sure.
I would love to see your little patch of memories someday.
I can tell you take after your Father. :) Thank you for sharing this. I loved it. HUG B

Lynne said...

I have often said . . . writing is like a sketch . . . painting, which pulls us in, giving us images, pictures, thoughts . . . leaving us with emotion, feelings, passions, truths . . .

You have a gift with word which drew me in visualizing land and tree, fields and fruits, family and pride, greed and sorrow, forgiveness and redemption . . .

Beautiful Gail . . .
Thank you

Nezzy said...

I have to say that your dad was a good man. I would of blown a cork or six!!!

What an interesting read this was about your family history, I truly enjoyed.

No matter the size sweetie, the independent all seem to struggle to make ends meet. Most supplement income to feed the family and the critters. A true economic businessman would think we'd done went and lost our marbles for doin' what we do.

They just don't understand the love of the land!

God bless and have an exceptional day my sweet farm friend!!! :o)

LindaG said...

You still have a great place. Could put a couple dozen of my farm on it.
It is sad, yes. The property we are retiring to was almost lost in a similar manner, so I do understand how you feel.

Thank you for sharing the story with us, Gail. Hope you all have a wonderful day!

ellen abbott said...

wow. how wonderful to have all that history and generations working the same land.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Your Mom was a smart lady..you have quite a history with the land..thanks for sharing:)

Marti said...

What an interesting history! That
so many older people are taken advantage of is a shame. No doubt "Grandpa" had the beginnings of Alzheimers way back. It is an insidious disease affecting reasoning and judgement of many. This often is a first clue. But now you have your place, and I think it is a blessing to own land, even though it requires a lot of hard work.

Dreaming said...

What an interesting story - and oh, it made me so mad that someone would take advantage of your Grandfather that way. And how wonderful of your dad to be so forgiving when his dad didn't hold on to the money he had worked so hard to earn.
I fantasize about living in places that have such a rich history!

TexWisGirl said...

150 acres is still wonderful - a lot more than my 'ranch'! the loss of land is sad, though.

i hope this can stay in your family for years to come...

the canned quilter said...

An acre or five hundred it is wonderful that the land has nurtured and cared for 5 generations of your family as you have it! A Blessing indeed. I find it touching that you and your sisters all still work the land as adults also together. That is an oddity in a time when many families don't even speak.

EmptyNester said...

Ah, the family stories. Hubs' family has some tales quite similar. I haven't delved into all of my family's history but am going to begin soon with the help of my uncle. I can't wait to uncover the skeletons...I think.

Sue said...

Such an interesting and poignant story! It's sad that your family was cheated out of land by an unscrupulous person who took advantage of your grandfather, but it is definitely providential that your mother had gotten that separate deed!

What a wonderful history you have had with this land.

=)

Farm Girl said...

Do you know what I wish I had that I gleaned from your story? I wish I had the long-suffering that your Dad showed his parents. He must have been an incredible man of compassion.
I am glad you didn't loose it all. Land has a was of dividing families as I know it has done in my own. I love that you live where you grew up and as I do, my question is do you meet the ghost of your younger self when you walk your place?
I run into mine sometimes and I see how fast the years have went by.
I love your history.
Thanks,

DesertHen said...

Your father was a patient and forgiving soul! A lesson we can all take away from reading this! So glad you shared this history with us!

Janice said...

That was very interesting...and yes sad too. Your Father must have been an awesome man....I would have lost it for sure.....

The Golden Eagle said...

Interesting history of the farm!

Thanks for sharing the story.

carolina nana said...

Wow that is a great post. I can relate to parts of it,especially the selling part. Sadly my dad sold 500 acres of mountain land where he was raised for just 50 cents an acre !!!
Guess he wanted to get outta here real bad. I need to get back into looking up the history on my dad and his family.
Blessings
Marilyn

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I love the history! Neat stuff. Sad, about the Alzheimers situation - it happens to many and there's just no way around it really.

Pat said...

This was such an interesting read! I like the idea that you are living in your parent's house.

labbie1 said...

Very interesting! You really know the farm's history!

We had a similar thing almost happen in hubby's family. His dad, with senior dementia taking over, decided to sell his land for $1,000 because that was more than he paid for it back in 1930. He had the deed out and was ready to sell when my MIL called me in a panic.

I hotfooted it down there (just 1 mile from us at the time) and had a stern talk with the neighbor who was well aware that my FIL was not able to make money decisions and was trying, IMHO, to take advantage of my addled FIL. Basically he was told that if he tried it again, things would not go well between us.

I also took the deed with me and put it in a safe deposit box to which he had no access. Thank goodness!

Unfortunately, a similar thing actually happened to my grandmother. This is a sad but often repeated tale of people taking advantage of others...

Makes me hope Karma really is a female dog to those that practice these duplicities...

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