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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grain Elevators at Hopkinsville Milling

Landmark in Hopkinsville, KY


Most people who've ever visited Hopkinsville, KY, remember these big grain elevators that stand at the head of Fort Campbell Boulevard. Or, you could say that they stand at the end of Walnut Street. Either way, they're a landmark that everyone uses when giving directions in this part of town.

This photo was taken from the parking area at Lorenzo Johnson's Body Shop. The bridge in the foreground crosses the train tracks on Walnut Street.

I visited Lorenzo's shop a few times in recent weeks because Isaac's car was there. We had a bit of bad luck with it. Shortly after we purchased the car, we took it to Frank, our mechanic, to check it over. While the car was at Frank's garage, someone backed into it in the parking lot! Fortunately, Frank was headed for lunch at that very moment, witnessed the accident, and stopped the driver as he was about to drive off.

Sometimes, unexpected little complications seem to fill my life. But this complication did include an unexpected opportunity to photograph the grain elevators from a less-familiar angle.

No Stone Unused

Recycled tile flooring



Part of an old foundation, seen in Hopkinsville, KY

Shady Back Yard

Pleasantly overgrown



I peeked over a fence and saw this Hopkinsville (KY) back yard on a hot afternoon a few weeks ago. It was such a pleasant space that I wanted to remember it, so I took a picture. I suppose it's a little overgrown by some people's standards, but it has an abundance of shade and -- in my opinion-- an informal, natural, inviting charm.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Larry of Arabia

Vintage photo from Arabia, Nebraska


In the 1950s and 1960s when I was growing up, Arabia, Nebraska, was just a set of corrals next to the railroad tracks. The headquarters of the Arabia Ranch (owned at that time by Johnny Drayton) was a mile or two across the meadow from the old cattle pens along the railroad. The only settlement around Arabia was the cluster of  little houses and bunkhouses where the Arabia Ranch employees lived.

Whenever I traveled through eastern Cherry County in the back seat of our family car, I watched for Arabia. Most of the scenery along Highway 20 was sandy, hilly pastures with occasional cows and windmills. In comparison, Arabia and the Arabia Ranch were rather interesting.

"Larry of Arabia", 1937.
Photo courtesy of Larry Wilson.
Used with permission.
After reading a post I wrote about my memories of Arabia, Larry Wilson sent me the photo at right, and gave me permission to share it on my blog. This photograph was made in 1937 at Arabia, Nebraska, and Larry Wilson was the young fellow posing as "Larry of Arabia". (I love how Larry of Arabia had one straggling sock. What a great photo!)

The Wilson family's automobile, a 1935 Pontiac, appears in the background. They were driving to Valentine, because Larry's father Lawrence was interviewing there as a school administrator. He was offered the job but did not accept it, and so the Wilsons did not move to Valentine.

I see that Highway 20 was paved in 1937. My father had childhood memories of a sandy road to Valentine that went through pastures. Travelers had to open and close some barbed-wire gates along the way. That was probably in the late 1920s, around the time that Highway 20 was commissioned as an official route.

I'm amused to see in the photo that a small tumbleweed has blown in and lodged itself against the population sign -- or maybe it is growing there. Some things don't change much.

Related posts:
Memories of Arabia, Nebraska
More about Arabia, Nebraska

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August Sunset

Corn, sky, and Johnsongrass.



Do you see the stalk of Johnsongrass in this photo, growing nearly as tall as the cornstalks? Grassy weed, weedy grass -- either would be a good description for Johnsongrass. The Commonwealth of Kentucky and at least 17 other states call it a noxious weed!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

David Blaney vs. the Reads and Maxwells

Sad end of a little family


I came across an interesting abstract of an old will, and became curious about the circumstances behind it. The will was written by David Blaney in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, about 210 years ago. He named his wife, son, and mother as legatees (beneficiaries) but placed a curious restriction upon his wife (see the clause I have italicized below):

BLANEY, David: Leg. wife Helen; son Cadwallader; to my mother my estate in Isle of Wight called "Sprinfield;" my wife must not acknowledge or keep up the least connection with any of the family by the name of Maxwell or Read, Mr. Benjamin Payne, his wife and children excepted; to William Pennock, Jr.; copies of my will to be sent my brother Asa Blaney in New England, in the care of William Lee, Esq.; Col. Godwin's son and Mr. Benjamin Payne to assist in selling my estate; refers to property in the hands of Dr. Foushee of Richmond, bond of General Lee's and the deed for "Chesterville," of which Col. William Moore and his son are agents; to James Payne, son of Benjamin. Exs., William Pennock, Esq. and brother Asa Blaney. D. ----------
R. February 4, 1799
Wit: Benjamin Payne, Brewer Godwin, Alexander Wilson.
Security: John R. Read and James Maxwell.

Quoted from Wills and Administration of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Books 1-3, by Blanche Adams Chapman. Copyright 1938. Page 312 (as viewed on Google Books.) Emphasis added.
I suppose that David Blaney had some kind of feud or hard feelings with the Reads and Maxwells. I wonder if he would have been angry that John R. Read and James Maxwell posted the security bonds for the executors of the estate.

I'm nosy, so I tried to locate more  information about the Blaneys. I didn't find much. The abstract infers that David Blaney passed away sometime before the recording date of February 4, 1799. A Find-a-grave photo of a headstone indicates that Helen Blaney died on May 16, 1799. Apparently Helen was pregnant at the time that her husband died. An infant daughter named Helen Maria Read Blaney, six weeks old, died on June 25, 1799. Little Cadwallader Blaney died on August 24, 1799.

The little girl's name makes me wonder if Helen Blaney's maiden name was Read. Maybe the Reads were her family on her dad's side and the Maxwells were her family on her mom's side. Maybe David Blaney was angry at his in-laws for some reason -- all of them, except for the Benjamin Payne family.

Images from Wikipedia
Whatever the case, Blaney's attempt to control his wife from the grave seems petty -- to me, in my day and age. It was also pointless, but of course, he didn't foresee that his wife would outlive him by only a few months.

And why am I looking at Isle of Wight will abstracts?  I've traced one line of my mother's family back to Thomas Taberer (1616-1692), who was my 8th great grandfather. He immigrated to Virginia around 1650 from England and lived in Isle of Wight County. His will included the children of his wife's widowed sister (or cousin?), along with his own daughters and grandchildren.

Isle of Wight article at Wikipedia
Thomas Taberer in the 1919 Encyclopedia of Virginia
Will of Thomas Taberer (scroll down to "VI Supplementary Records")

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rules for Healthy Living

Handwritten list of health rules


The following list was written in pencil by a child, inside the cover of a 1925 health book that I bought this week:

Brush your teeth twice a day.
Clean your nails twice a day.
Drink milk twice a day.
Drink 6 glasses of water a day.
Brush and comb your hair twice a day.
Take a bath twice a week.
Don't drink tea or coffee.
Do not eat candy more than once a week.

One can only guess the story behind the list of rules. I think a teacher may have written them on the chalkboard and told the students to copy them. For some reason, this boy copied the list inside his book.

I'm referring to the writer as a boy because he wrote the name "Loyd Wallace" throughout the book. Nearly every page in this book has pencil marks of some sort.

Harshman Family History

Book by Charles William Harshman


I recently found a book about the Harshman, Hershman, and Hersman family on a thrift store bookshelf. It seemed unlikely that anyone of that name would ever find the book where it was, so I decided to try to place the book with an appropriate owner via the internet.

So, if your family lines include the Harshmans, Hershmans, or Hersmans, and you'd like to own this book, please contact me. You can have the book for $6. I paid $1 for it, and I'm asking for $5 to wrap it and ship it to you.

Here are the details:

Title: The Harshman Family, Also Spelled Hershman and Hersman: A History and Genealogy,
Author: Charles William Harshman
Publisher: Spanish American Institute Press, Los Angeles, 1932
Binding: Hardback, 352 pages
Condition: Some handwritten notes inside and a few dings on the cover. Binding threads are still intact and all pages present, but the glue on the spine is cracking a little. The book still has potential for many years of gentle use.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Wet and Dry

Flood and drought in the heartland


Mississippi River
near Cairo, Illinois
Bridge over the Ohio
at Cairo, Illinois
The last week of July, I drove to southwestern Missouri to get together with my brother and sister at my sister's house. It was great to see them, and I also enjoyed the road trip.

I crossed the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois. It was obvious that the fields along the approaches to the bridge were planted very late due to the spring floods. On the Missouri side of the Mississippi River, I saw more evidence of flooded fields and late crops. Farms in the area were flooded last spring when the Corps of Engineers broke a levee on the Mississippi to ease the flooding in Cairo.

Most of the fields had young, broad-leafed plants growing in them. First, I thought that the little plants were probably soybeans. Then I wondered if they might be cotton, because southeast Missouri grows quite a bit of cotton. There are short-season cottons that will mature before frost, even when planted late. Whatever the crop, I'm glad some farmers in the river bottoms may get a harvest this year, despite all.
.
Hay trucks on Highway 60
NOAA image
As I drove west on Highway 60, I followed two trucks loaded with big hay bales for miles. They were probably going somewhere in the drought-stricken plains farther west, where people don't have enough grass to feed their livestock. If only their pastures could have some of the water that flooded the fields along the Mississippi this spring!

It was very dry north of Springfield, Missouri, where Charlotte (my sister) lives. My brother Dwight, who has a ranch southwest of Wichita, Kansas, says it is terribly dry there, too. He usually rents a couple of pastures to another fellow every summer, but when last winter and spring were so dry, he decided to sacrifice the extra income and keep all his summer pasture for his own cattle. He hasn't had to buy any hay yet.

Near Charlotte's house on the night that I arrived, a farmer was mowing the dried-up, stunted, mostly-dead corn plants in his field. A couple days later, he baled the stalks for cattle feed. The drought-stressed cornstalks may be high in nitrates, so the farmer will need to have the cornstalks tested so he doesn't accidentally poison his cattle. The cows won't think that cornstalk "hay" is very good, but they'll eat it if they're hungry enough. 


This longhorn cow still has grass in her pasture near Charlotte's house. It has become hay on the stem, but that's much better than no grass at all!

Droughts and floods are problems for all of us, not just for farmers. These disruptions impact grocery store prices, affecting everyone who buys food. Please, pray for rain for those farmers and ranchers who need it -- and sunshine for those who don't need rain!
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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)

Thanks for reading.