From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Duff Valley

Southern Rock County, Nebraska


Here are a few photos of the Duff Valley in Rock County, Nebraska. This is the neighborhood where I grew up. I took these pictures during the several quick visits I've made there in the last decade or so.


About 26 miles south of Bassett, Nebraska, a gravel road runs west from the highway, over the Adams Hill, through the Duff area and on through the Sandhills to Long Pine. When I visited Duff in 2000, this sign (above photo) marked the turn-off from Highway 183. Some of the names on the sign are familiar to me as new generations of old neighbor families, and some names are new to me.



This photo of the Duff School, my grade school alma mater, was taken during our visit in 2000. The people in the photo are Aaron Rowse, my daughter Keely, my son Isaac, and me. I was surprised that the school building was so small! I remembered it as a larger structure. The Duff School was located 3 miles west and 1 mile south of Highway 183.



We drove through the Duff area again in early June of 2002. I was surprised to see all the Canada geese on this meadow, along the Duff road about 3-1/2 miles west of Highway 183.



The Duff Cemetery had just been cleaned for Memorial Day, and it really looked nice. I hadn't remembered it as such a pretty little country cemetery. However, it was a bit of a shock to see tombstones for people whom I used to know. The Duff Cemetery is located about 3-1/2 miles west of Highway 183, or about 1/2 mile east of Duff (point A) as shown on this Google map.


I was surprised to see that many of the cottonwood trees in Duff Valley (and throughout Rock County) are dying. They live about 100 years, so it's been about that long since many of them were planted by early settlers.

This is the gate of the ranch where I grew up. The ranch buildings (photo below) are a little over a mile from this gate, by the road. The buildings have deteriorated, especially the big barn. The ranch has had several owners since we lived there, and times have been hard. I don't know if anyone is living there now or not.



The Duff Church, which I wrote about recently, was 4 miles west from Highway 183. To reach our place (above), we turned south at the Duff Church, and followed the county road and then the ranch road for about another 2 miles.



These photos were taken a few miles west/northwest of Duff. These wetlands are probably some of the headwaters of the Skull Creek that runs through the Duff Valley. Actually, these scenes are closer to the former post office of Spragg (opened 1888, closed 1912) than to the former post office of Duff (opened 1886, closed 1901, and open again 1903-1953).

Related:
Some Memories of Duff, Nebraska
Posts on this blog that mention Duff, Nebraska

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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