The Global celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is March 17. It is a day of remembrance of St. Patrick, one of Ireland’s patron saints, who ministered Christianity in Ireland in the fifth century and has become a global celebration for any one with Irish decent.
Saint Patrick is the most well-known of all of Ireland’s patron saints, but guess what!?, he wasn’t Irish. He was actually born in Great Britain,and was kidnapped from his home by pirates at the age of 16. He was forced into slavery in Ireland, where he looked after animals. At the age of 22, Saint Patrick was able to escape and return to his home in Great Britain. He decided to become a cleric and then eventually a bishop.
While still in Great Britain, Saint Patrick claimed to have had a vision of the people of Ireland calling out to him in one unified voice, “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.” At this time, the Irish people were polytheistic pagans, meaning they worshiped more than one different Gods and deities. Inspired by his vision, Saint Patrick returned to Ireland with the goal to bring Christianity to the people.
One of the most popular legends involving Saint Patrick involves him driving all of the snakes out of Ireland. However, Ireland is surrounded by icy waters which would make it impossible for snakes to migrate to the Emerald Isle in the first place. It’s far more likely that the snakes in the legend refer to the paganism that Saint Patrick set out to change. The Christian faith often used snakes or serpents as symbols for evil.
St. Patrick’s Day first started to honor Saint Patrick on the anniversary of his death. The Christian people held a great feast for which Lenten food and alcohol restrictions were temporarily removed, which is why drinking has become synonymous with the holiday. Today, that tradition remains, as some Catholic people choose to cast aside Lent restrictions just for St. Patrick’s Day.
Throughout the years St. Patrick’s Day became less about the man and more about general Irish traditions, culture and history. In the 1840s, the tradition reached America when thousands upon thousands of Irish people who had emigrated to America to escape the potato famine of the time held a massive St. Patrick’s Day parade. Since then, the American people have embraced the holiday, continuing to add their own ever-evolving traditions.
GET YOUR GREEN ON
If you attend any St. Patrick’s Day celebration, you can expect to see the majority of revelers decked out in their finest green outfits. While some may think the green is simply a reference to Ireland’s famous rolling green hills, the color actually stems from another iconic St. Patrick’s Day symbol—the shamrock. According to legend, Saint Patrick used three-leaf clovers as a teaching tool to illustrate Christianity’s Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Celebrators would wear shamrocks on their clothing in honor of Saint Patrick, and eventually that tradition evolved into wearing green as well.
DON’T FORGET TO KISS THE BLARNEY STONE!
What is the Blarney stone?
The Blarney Stone is a block of Carboniferous limestone. Carboniferous being a geologic period and system that spans 600 million years from the end of the Devonian Period 358 million years ago to the beginning of the Permian Period. This limestone is built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney, about 8 kilometres from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of eloquence or as we might say today the gift of gab. The definition of eloquence means that the speaker is able to express themselves clearly and powerfully and though it generally describes oral speech it can also be used to describe powerful writing. Basically, it means being able to use words well, with smooth clear, powerful and interesting speaking, The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446.
For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate.
Traditionally, one was to be held upside down by their ankles and lowered head first over the battlements to kiss the Blarney stone in order to receive the “blessing”. Today, due to caution and safety there is an iron railing to assist the visitors. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The prize is a real one as once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence.
What are battlements you ask? Battlements is the wall or the “fort” as we call it that surrounds the castle. They were built chest or head high with with rectangular cut outs at intervals so stones or arrows could be launched in the need of defense. Basically it was a wall to hide behind for protection in case of an attack.
Some say the Blarney stone was Jacob’s Pillow, brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. Here it became the Lia Fail or ‘Fatal Stone’, used as an oracular throne of Irish kings – a kind of Harry Potter-like ‘sorting hat’ for kings. It was also said to be the deathbed pillow of St Columba on the island of Iona. Legend says it was then removed to mainland Scotland, where it served as the prophetic power of royal succession, the Stone of Destiny.
When Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, sent five thousand men to support Robert the Bruce in his defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314, a portion of the historic Stone was given by the Scots in gratitude – and it was returned to Ireland.
Others say it may be a stone brought back to Ireland from the Crusades – the ‘Stone of Ezel’ behind which David hid on Jonathan’s advice when he fled from his enemy, Saul. A few claim it was the stone that gushed water when struck by Moses.
Whatever the truth of its origin, we believe a witch saved from drowning revealed its power to the MacCarthys.
WATCH OUT FOR LEPRECHAUNS
According to folklore, you get pinched on St. Patrick’s day for not wearing green because green makes you invisible to leprechauns, and leprechauns like to pinch people (because they can!) The tradition is tied to folklore that says wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns, which like to pinch anyone they can see. Some people also think sporting the color will bring good luck, and others wear it to honor their Irish ancestry.
According to Irish legends, people lucky enough to find a leprechaun and capture him (or, in some stories, steal his magical ring, coin or amulet) can barter his freedom for his treasure. Leprechauns are usually said to be able to grant the person three wishes. But dealing with leprechauns can be a tricky proposition.
St. Patrick’s Day is an opportunity to spend time having some fun with the people in your life you care about most and make some memories that you won’t forget.
Once Gottfried Nutsch made his way to Washington county and got settled nicely his family begin to follow him over. The next Nutsch sibling to come to Kansas was his sister Johanna and her husband Frank Sohofsky. Johanna’s family must have kept to themselves a bit more than the others and I have had to do quite a bit of searching in order to find the little information that I have found on her, but none the less…this is a link to our tree. Johanna and Frank Sohofsky make their way from Prussia to Kansas, and reunited with her brother Gottfried June 1884 .
Prussia History Lesson
To properly direct any genealogical information, you must know more about the country and specific location your ancestors came from. Prussia includes much of a large mass of the territory on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. Between 1668 and 1817 the country that is now called Germany was more than 300 independent states, city states, bishoprics, duchies, and more, some are very small regions with the exceptions in size, places like Bavaria.
There was no central government. Residents “belonged” to their little countries, which in some cases had two or more areas separated by other “countries”. They received orders to populate an area and were sent to start new towns, usually along a border, to ward off invasions. Much like the colonies when they were first started here in the United States.
To support the governments of such small properties, the merchants had to pay taxes in every little independent country they went through, whether by land or river, while traveling across the land to deliver goods, making goods almost impossible to afford.
Religion of an area was often designated by the royal leader of the time, and changed as leaders did. Churches were the primary keepers of family and individual information starting in the 1500’s. Most people worked in agriculture, for larger land owners as tenants. The lucky ones had small private farms that would barely sustain a family , and at the age of 10 years, children began to work alongside their parents to supplement family income.
Napoleon’s invasion ca. 1805 resulted in a reduction of the number of independent Germanic “nations” to 36. This remained the status until Prussia “united” those states and today’s Germany was formed in 1871.
Prussia, also “Preussen” and “Borussia” in old records, also claimed parts of Poland, Romania, Ruthvenia, and other formerly independent countries. Today, there is no Prussia on maps. Prussia is a name that has been applied to almost 60% of the German Empire at one time or another. Prussia includes much of a large mass of the territory on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea from approximately 1850 to World War I.
From 1701, the Kingdom was ruled by the Hohenzollerns and Berlin was the capitol. There were more than three dozen duchy’s under Germanic control, including the following: Brandenburg Electoral Hesse Hesse-Nassau Mecklenburg Poland–portions of Pomerania Posen Rhineland–portions of Saxony Schleswig-Holstein Silesia Thuringia Westphalia and the Duchies of Burg, Cleve, Crossen, Engern, Geldern, Juelich, Magdeburg, Stettin and Wenden and Cassubia and others that were smaller in size.
Smaller than a Duchy are the church district, which often encompassed several villages. It is helpful to become familiar with German terms like state church, serf and elector, perhaps more. A German dictionary and/or the German language list in the LDS Guide to German Research are important tools. Church district is Kirchenkreis. Stadt, means town, as in BrombergStadt, the city, in the County of Bromberg and the administrative district of Bromberg, similar to the Posen, Posen, Posen. The kirchenkreis (commonly mis-named “Kreis-Stadt”) was the most important because that is how records were kept in the early 1800s. 1817 was the year that Friedrich Wilhelm III combined the Lutheran and Reformed denominations into Evangelisch.
It helps when doing German research to have an understanding of Prussian history, and what was happening during the critical emigration years of 1850-75, and that Prussia only officially controlled western Germany after 1871 as the First Reich. Those emigrating before 1850 had mostly two motivations: economic disaster as the Irish Potato famine spread, and religious freedom issues, the Prussian Union church vs the several centuries-old state supported “Old Lutherans” (Evangelische), and the conservative factions squeezed by the mandated mergers of the current kaiser.
Brandenburg was ruled by the Hohenzollern family in the Teutonic knights since after the crusades, although they also held smaller ancestral territories in West Germany. At the invitation of Polish knights they helped to subdue “native peoples” of Latvian type called Prussi, and were given control over that land. They built castles and colonized the land. Unrest led to expulsion of the Teutons, but a treaty in 1460 left them with what is called East Prussia, thus Brandenburg-Prussia was born. It evolved into a Duchy under Albert of Hohenzollern who also disbanded the knights who became the land holders in both areas.
Albert of Hohenzollern also declared Brandenburg-Prussia to be Lutheran, since the head of state designated a state church. That didn’t please the Catholics. John Sigismund, a Hohenzollern and good administrator came to power in 1618, and his grandson Frederick William, elector of Brandenburg, secured ducal Prussia’s independence of Poland in 1660. By this time there was a system of seven “electors”, a higher title than duke but short of “king” who were responsible for naming the “Holy Roman Emperor” to whom all were to be militarily supportive. Frederick-I enticed the Pope to agree to his being called King in Prussia in 1701, and he shortly changed that to King “of” Prussia. That was another “milestone” of the rise of Prussia as a military power. Creation of the Prussian Union church from the previous Reformed (which the kaiser was) and the “Old Lutherans” (which his wife was) became a religious freedom and doctrinal issue that resulted in emigration of many “Old Lutherans” in the 1830-40s. Prussia’s state church had been “Old Lutheran” since the reformation, but the heads of state had turned Reformed. This mandated consolidation into the Prussian Union that forced emigration was a major factor in creation of the two most conservative Lutheran groups in America, the Missouri synod and Wisconsin synods. All because he wanted to go to communion with his “Old Lutheran” wife in her church and the “Old Lutherans” refused it.
They didn’t practice altar and pulpit fellowship with the Reformed or anyone else, including the kaiser if he didn’t qualify. It didn’t help that the Kaiser enforced the merger by force of police, something his successor backed away from, but it was too late then. The timing coincided with the opening of America where the kaiser didn’t tell you how to worship and you could buy as much land as you could afford, a huge step forward from being able to even buy a little land at all. So the “Old Lutherans” gave him a salute and many left.
Wisconsin immigrants prior to 1860 numbered many “Old Lutherans” among them, and they were responsible for organizing the eastern Marquette County axis of Lutheran churches besides filling in from Milwaukee northward. Prussia was also exceedingly militaristic, from their Crusader roots, from about 1250 AD onward.
It took about 600 years to achieve control of the German states–Denmark in 1864 to secure two NW provinces, Austria in 1866, France in 1870, all of those to demonstrate to the other states that Prussia was ‘the best leader’. The frequent wars that were part of Prussia’s rise to prominence over the previous 200 years, andthe taxes that were enforced, were another major cause of emigration. Germans had formerly sought “Lebensraum” (living space) by Germans moving into Poland and Russia for more room, but the system of war and taxes to pay for the military unceasing and ever increasing. By 1850 emigration was beginning to replace the colonization of the former years.
Our ancestors chose to leave everything familiar and to come to America for a variety of reasons, the most common being a combination of over-crowding, high taxes, nearly continual war, some crop failures and the potato famine spreading through Europe, religious matters, and to allow their children to avoid the new compulsory military service. We are told that the most compelling reason for our Nutsch family to leave was to get away from the military and to find a more stable way of life.
Johanna the oldest child of Johann Nutsch
Some of the information provided here comes from the book “Reedy, Schuessler, Nutsch, and Koch of Washington, Kansas” by Phyllis Reedy James 1993 and I have added what I have found along the way.
Johanna Nutsch, oldest child of Johann I and Marie (Mueller) Nutsch, was born 1840 in Ohlau, Schlesien, Prussia and married in Prussia, to Frank Sohofsky who was born 7 Oct 1833 in Prussia. Johanna died 1920 in KS and was buried in St. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Washington Co., Ks. Frank died 27 Oct 1893 just south of the Nebraska line in Ks and was buried in St. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Washington Co., Kansas.
Johanna and Frank spent the first years of their married life in Germany and all their children were born there. The family, Johanna, Frank, August, Paul and Bertha, came to America on the ship Lessing sailed by Captian Voss. They departed Hamburg, Germany 22 June 1884 and arrived in New York, 7 July 1884. Their twin boys were 19 and their daughter Bertha was 16. After their arrival in New York they ventured on to Washington Co., Kansas probably by train. It is believed they lived with Johann’as brother Gottfried, until they could find a place of their own.
The farm where Johanna and Frank made their home was in Lowe Township, Washington Co., Kansas which was then located on what is now HWY 15 just south of Fairbury, Nebraska. Their house was constructed of limestone, which was a major construction material for most of the settlers and quarried locally. Frank died a shortly after arriving in America. Johanna and her two sons were left to continue farming their homestead . . Some records show Frank died 27 Oct 1883. St. Peter and Paul Cemetery records show his death as 2 Oct 1898.
Life was not easy for Johanna she struggled the many hardships of the time. She farmed the next few years with a team of oxen with the help of her two sons and daughter. She had no automobile, as some families did, and she would haul all her supplies by wagon, however this was the norm at that time so my guess is she barely thought much about it. It was no simple chore since the family lived several miles from the nearest town. Some relatives remember the family raising 800 lb. hogs. I don’t recall Grandpa speaking much of Johanna so it could be that they did not spend as much time with the family as the others but we do know that she was a member of the St. Peter and Paul church as were all the other Nutsches so they probably gathered there to socialize. Realizing that her husband died shortly after arriving in America, you know that life had to be extremely hard for her and I’m sure there were times that she felt overwhelmed. However, her children were adults so she very possibly had their help to keep things going on the farm.
Paul and August Sohofsky
Fourteen years after Frank died, a tragedy struck when Johanna’s son, August, was mowing, and his horses became frightened. During the runaway, August was thrown into the mower and both legs were severely damaged. Though the doctors did everything that was possible at the time, his one leg had to be amputated and August died a short time later, July 20, 1907.
Paul and August twins born 1 Sep. 1864 in Germany never married. I found census records that states that Paul was living with his sister Bertha in Lincoln County at the time of his death August 4, 1941.
In 1908 he transferred land to Frank Koch (a brother to our great grandmother Creszencia and our great uncle.)
Bertha “Beillia” Sahofsky
Bertha was born in Prussia 19 August 1876 and came to America with her parents. The 1910 census shows her as widowed and living with her brother in law and his family, August May, and the occupation listed is “servant”. She secondly married Andrew J Hahn and they had one daughter, Anastasia (Anna) Hahn. The 1930 census shows her living Nowell, Lincoln, Nebraska, with Anna and is widowed and occupation listed as “farmerette” . The 1940 Census also shows her as widowed and living with Anna Hahn , and Sahofsky Hahn. Sahofsky is listed as her brother. This could possibly be Paul. To this point I have been unable to find any other information on her. She is listed on Find a grave as having died 25 December 1959 and is buried in North Platte, Lincoln County, Nebraska.
Anastasia Anna Hahn
Anastasia the only daughter of Andrew and Bertha Hahn was born 9 Oct 1915 in Hershey, Lincoln, Nebraska and died 30 June 1990, North Platte, Lincoln,Nebraska.
She married Carl Thompson and they had three daughters , Loretta, Kathleen, and Anita. Kathleen and Anita are said to have died young. I’m still searching for more information on them and have found little on Loretta. Loretta was born 1945 in Nebraska.
If you have any information on this family that you would be willing to share I’d love to hear from you.
I love driving the country sides searching for Ghost Towns. It’s difficult to imagine that an empty field of corn once housed and entire community but I like the challenge. This last week I spent the day in Washington County Kansas with a friend. She had to the key and permission to the Brantford school house where she thought we might find some history. We stopped and talked to 98 year old Dean Seifert who lived next door and he gave me as much history on the town as he could remember and pointed us to a few other places where there were communities long gone.
Grandma Alta and her family grew up in the Brantford area and her father, mother, and brothers are all buried in the cemetery there, so I was curious as to what the Brantford community was like while she was growing up. Mr. Seifert didn’t know or remember the McCollums but he recalled older folks speaking of them and he wasn’t sure but believe they may have lived north of town in a rock house. He too had grown up east of Brantford in a big rock house, which is now in the Clifton address, and I was allowed to take a tour of it.
THE TOWN OF BRANTFORD
Brantford was homesteaded mostly in the years from 1869 to 1871. The pioneers took timber claims under the Government Act. Some that took homesteads got discouraged and gave up their claim and went back to their former homes. Those that stayed endured many hardships, such as grasshopperas that ate their crops, wind and dust storms, drought and prairie fires.
Part of the State was covered with very tall blue stem grass. It was said that when this dry grass caught fire it spread rapidly under a high wind. (wind in Kansas?) At one time the fire jumped the Republican River, which is 11 miles south of the Brantford Township. Although it was difficult many stayed and reared their families here. Some lived in dugouts, and some in log houses, and some in one room frame houses. The blue stem sod was broken up with breaking plows drawn by horses and oxen. After this soil was broken up it proved to be very fertile soil and would grow a diversity of crops. Cattle and hogs also have taken their place around the community.
The township has five very well kept cemeteries. For many years it housed five country churches. The pioneers didn’t forget their God. Worship service was conducted in private homes and in school houses until they were able to build churches.
In the earlier days there was a family on almost every quarter section, sometimes on 80 acres, but today one can drive several miles and not see a farmstead. Many have moved away and death has taken it’s toll. The farms have gotten much larger. This has been a setback to many of the churches and schools. There are no longer country schools as children are today bused to the larger communities.
Dean Seifert remembered when Brantford was a busy little community. He talked about the two grocery stores and the creamery north of town. On Friday and Saturday nights he said the main street would be lined with horses and buggies with people bringing their eggs and cream to the store to “trade” The people would bring their instruments and would put together a band and they would have dances in the store. He told of the children playing in the school yard and the service station on the corner which now has fallen to a pile of brick.
It’s not known how Brantford got it’s name but it came into being around 1869. The first Post Office was run by Henry Brown who received a large sum of 16 dollars a month, which was considered a fortune at that time. Mr. Brown sold a few drug and groceries in his place of business. One of his daughters became the wife of John Campbell.
Before the rail road came to the area, mail was brought to Washington and then by pony express to Enosdale, Throop, Strawberry, Brantford and Clyde. Washington and Clyde are the only of these communities still incorporated. The others are now merely a memorial marker along side of the road with a cemetery nearby.
The mail was brought once a week. People would walk to get the mail. Later the mail was brought out from Clyde several times a week. Some time later there was an RFD from Clyde, Kansas by vehicles drawn by horses. When the auto came into use around the 1900’s things sped up a bit.
Later there was a man by the name of Mr. Lydell who ran the store for a time.
Bill Jurey remembered that the first store building was a large frame one and was known as the Bradley Store. The Bradley Store was built quite high off the ground with a front porch. The merchandise was hauled from Clyde and Agenda, the nearest railroads then, by team and wagon. This high porch was where the wagons were backed in and unloaded. Steve Bradley, SR. operated the store. It was a general store that stocked dry goods, shoes, groceries, etc. They had large rolls of cheese about 12 to 14 inches in diameter which were cut much like we cut round cakes today. There was a large tobacco knife with a long handle used to cut the plugs of tobacco. Also there were old fashioned butter kegs and all the other things that went with an early day store.
The William Campbell family from Clifton moved to a farm one fourth mile west of town in 1884. At that time Steve Bradley, Sr., who had migrated from England, ran the General Store. Later he moved to Agenda and built a store there. His brother, Charles took over the Brantford Store and continued to operate it for a number of years. He too later moved to Agenda.
Mr. Lacey and his family continued to operate the store. Then he sold it to Mr. Robinson. This building later had a shoe shop and harness shop operated by Art Leiszler, F. Ocar Peters and Bill Erickson sold implements and repairs. Gust Hammar then started a grocery store again. Later M.E. Hammar, Glen Anderson, and Ernie Lahodny each owned the store in succession.
Another General Store Comes to Brantford
Around 1900, Mr. Albert Anderson and his brother, Henry built a large store building a block west of the former store. Some of the operators were Albert Anderson , Steve Bradley JR. , John Smith, Henry Trybom, Victor Hendrickson, JA Peterson and Glen Anderson. Albert Anderson and his borther also sold implements while in the store. Both stores did a good business for a number of years. There were many more people living in and around the community at that time.
Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Lahodny purchased the Calderhead Store building in the 1930’s and moved it to Brantford. This was a nice large building with a living quarters in it and besides the store they had a locker plant. They enjoyed a good business for several years. This was the only store in town at this time as the two old stores were torn down.
Telephones come to Brantford
Mr. Tom Dolan was the first to bring telephones to the town around 1900. He was a brother in law of Wm Campbell and lived in Clifton where he had a telephone exchange.
The Brantford Telephone Company, as it was known, had a number of farmaer owned lines with a Central Office located in Brantford. Some of the operators throught the years were AJ Anderson, Mrs. Oliva Day, George Hyland, John Shea, Mrs. Bertha Huncovsky, Mrs. Vira Hanshaw, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Anderson, Mr and Mrs. Arnold Andrewson, and Mary Lahodny. This Exchange was sold to the Cuba Exchange in 1960.
The creamery was built a short distance north of the road intersection, now only a pile of rubble marks it’s spot. Mr. Armstong of Clyde and Mr. Skinner were the operators. Cream and milk was picked up by a team and wagon or spring wagon. The cream was churned into butter and shipped out. Later they ceased to churn butter and the plant was used to separate milk and cream. The only coolers the farmers had in those days was the stock tank into which they put the cream cans to cool.
Some people had dug wells that were 3 1/2 to 4 feet across. They would tie a small rope to the can and lower it into the well several feet where it would stay really cool. Sometime the rope would unwind or break and the can would fall down into the well. The the water wouldn’t be good to drink for some time. They used this method for cooling butter also.
Bank Idea Failed
In the early 1900’s there was talk of starting a bank in town but this never came to pass. For many years thousands of bushels of grain was hauled through this little town to Agenda by team and wagon. Agenda was the nearest railroad. People were hoping that the Rock Island would build a spur to Brantford. The United Brethern Parsonage was located in Brantford for a number of years. The Brantford Cemetery is one half mile south west where many of the old pioneers are laid to rest. This is where you will find our great grandfather Francis Marion McCollum and his two wives, and several of his children. His father Enos McCollum is also buried here.
Black Smith Shop
There was a black smith shop in Brantford. During it’s existence it was operated by Nels Holmberg, Dick Osborn, Art Weckworth, and Mr. Nailer.
To the east one-fourth mile across Dry Creek at the top of the hill on the south side of the road on the McKenzies farm stood a large grist mill. This was a round structure built of native stone. I was about 20 ft in diameter and about 35 to 40 ft hight. On the top was a wind propeller something like an old Dutch Windmill. It had a large wheel probably 24 ft across and this would be turned to the wind to power the mill. In early days people would bring grain of all kinds to have it ground into meal and flour. The structure was taken down in later years. It is too bad it was destroyed as it would have been a real land mark and monument to the past.
Clarence Erickson built a large time garage on the south side of the road. He did a large repair business and employed extra help . His health deteriorated and he hand his family moved to California. Some of the later operators were Wendel Clack, Kenneth Shultz, Nyle Sarff, and Ed Chapla. Now only a pile of tile brick remains with a hint that a garage may have stood.
There was a time that Richard Hammar ran a shoe and harness shop. Albert Miller had a grist mill powered by a large gas engine. He made corn meal and breakfast foods. In the early days there was Dr. Burk that lived in Brantford. There were three gas pumps in town and at least 10 families. Today there is but one house which is were Dean Seifert now lives.
The LAST BUSINESS
Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Lahodny closed the last place of business in the dying little town in 1962. Ernie took a job with the State Highway at Belleville, and they sold the contents of the store thru an auction sale that lasted several days. The day that one could shop for almost anything in Brantford had ended.
The names of some of the older people who made their homes in the area in the earlier days are as follows: The Bradleys, John McCullough, Aldrich, Simpson, Templton, Olson, John Anderson, Carl Anderson, Perkins, Brown, Otto Nelson, Nels Holmberg, Oscar Ahlstead, Greenwood, Dr. Burk, John Carmichaels, Archie Grahm, Chas. Johnson, Alfred Erickson, Gut Magnus, Dave Lindahl, Emil Anderson, Little Anderson, McKenzies, AV Erickson, Albert Miller, A Youngbloom, Bob Peterson, AJ Anderson, Henry Anderson, Oscar Phil, Press, Tom Roe, Wm. Campbell, Carl Noren, Joh Larson, F. Oscar Peterson, Godfred Fredrickson, Alfred Swanson, John ampbell, Justine Holberg, Bill Meyer, Mr Fagerber, Mrs. Erickson, Gust Hammar, Richard Hammer, Frank Seifert, to just name a few.
Eric Erickson and his family came from Sweden and settled in Junction City where he worked as a stone mason before he came by covered wagon to homestead a farm just east of the Lutheran Cemetery. Here he and his family lived in a dug out while his home was being built of limestone rock on a 160 acre farm. The remains of this dugout may set be seen just east of the east fence of the cemetery. His children born in Sweden were Andrew, and John. William was born in the dugout. Later three daughters, Mattilda, Josephine and Emma were born.
After the rock house was built, church services were held there until the lutheran church was built. It was an exciting life, especiall when the long horn cattle came in droves from Texas and ran around the dugout. Rattlesnakes were a bothersome problem of the time.
THE SEIFERT SCHOOL
The Seifert school district was formed in 1875 with the first director being Andrew Seifert, first clerk being Frank Seifert, and the first treasurer was Gustaf Nelson. A bond of $150 was posted in February 1875 with an addition one of 300 in August of the same year.
In 1878 the tax levy for school purposes was 2 mills.
The land description of the Seifert district was starting at the NW corner of section 4 township 4 south range 1 east, then east to the NE corner of section 3, then east to the center of section 2 then south to the center of the south line of section 11 then west to the SW corner of section 9 then north to the place of beginning all in township 4 south range 1 east. In 1963 there were 5 children in the area, compared with 44 enrolled in the school in 1898.
It’s my assumption that this is the school most likely that Grandma Alta attended as the McCollum name was among the children enrolled there between 1920 and 1930. We know the McCollums left Missouri in the fall 1912 when Grandma was just a baby.
According to records the first school house was built in 1875 of native stone with a sod roof, stove, blackboard, books, etc., were purchased and installed and the first teacher was Ellen Hutchinson, who was hired and started the school with 17 pupils enrolled.
In 1884, the stone school house was raised and a one room wooden structure was erected. The school house was partitioned into 2 rooms and in 1918 that was the extent of modernization.
In the 1890’s and early 1900’s names of pupils included Hammers, Nelsons, Naults, Seiferts, Westlings, Johnsons, Sheas, Bohms, Ericksons, Hendersons, Rasmusons, Urbans, Andersons, Burts, Carlsons, Corbetts, and Nixons. Students of all ages came to school to learn to read and write, some to learn English. School was a hit or miss affair in those days, being held as long as money held out to pay a teacher and as long as a student could be spared from the farm long enough to attend. Students could go as long as desired and as long as they could learn something new. Nine years of schooling wasn’t unusual as it was not possible for many to go to high school so they went to the little grade school to get all the education possible. School wasn’t as necessary then as it is today so many didn’t go very many years of very regularly.
Subjects in the early days were referred to as the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic) but studies were very thorough. In the first grade writing was done on slates. Reading, writing, and language and spelling for instance, were so interwoven as to be included in one lesson. General lessons included ethics, talks on the human body, animals, etc, and object and color lessons.
Second grade work included reading long and short vowels, spelling phonetically and by letter and pronunciation and to write each word in sentences until various meanings are learned. Number work included drill in rapid combinations of all digits adding single and double columns, subtraction and learning the complete multiplications tables. Reading and writing numbers to s places and learning Roman numbers to C. General lessons continued much as first grade. Ethics was taught by continuing to find occasion to lead children onto higher and purer thoughts, to eradicate selfishness and to cultivate generosity. (Something we could use more of today!) Teachers were to relate anecdotes, citing noble deeds of great men. Physical training was emphasized by hold 2 minute calisthenics in the fresh air.
All this was in the first 2 years. We talk about busy teachers today, perhaps a good look at our past school teachers would be in order now to further the progressive education.
Geography was taught by acquainting the pupils with familiar places, the school yard, neighborhood, township, county, and state, leading to study of the globe and the earth as a whole-form, size, land and water forms and motion of the earth causing day and night.
Before passing into another grade, a pupil had to pass a satisfactory examination.
The “old country school” had a system almost identical to the brainstorm of the modern educators of ungraded advancement according to ability. For instance a child may be classified in the 5th year but doing 7th year arithmetic. In other words a child progressed according to ability and was alled to progress at his won rate with special emphasis on weaker subjects. The only thing required for advancement as rapidly as each subject was mastered was the stated exam. This information of subject studied and progam of advancement was obtained from an 1898 teachers classification register.
One of the most outstanding memories of one of the pupils was the great sense of wonder at the sound of a recorded human voice. The first these people had an opportunity to do so was provided when the teacher, E.W. Burt brought a gramaphone to school in 1897.
Names of students in the years from 1910 to 1920 included, Seifert, Johnson, Peterson, Erickson, Hammer, Gieber, Nutter, Burt, Brichat, Shea, West, Anderson, Phelps and Hart. In the years from 1920 to 1930 were Peterson, Johnson, West, Grahm, Noren, Steel, Hammar, Hendrickson, McCollum, Merritt and Miller. From 1936 to 1941 families were Sorell, Seifert, Nelson, Trybom, West and Anderson.
The Seifert school house closed it’s doors for the last time at the end of 1940-41 school year. The last teacher was Russell Hammer and the 7 students continued their grade school education at the Graham school located 3 miles south and 1/2 west of the Seifert school. Nothing remains of the old school building except a small pile of stones and cement as the building was sold and moved away. It’s history only remains as a time in which our ancestors lived, and memories that have been told and handed down.
History of the teachers that served.
1876-1877 Ellen Hutchinson (salary $17) , 1878 W.S. Hutchinson ($28), 1879 Ivaloo Winder ($23), 1880 C.W. Flaiz ($28), 1881 Hattie Perkins ($28), 1882 Lucie Seven ($28), 1883 -1884 Frank Skipton ($40) 1885 William O. Linton ($35) 1886 W.E. Jenkins ($25) . This year school started in Dec. and lasted 2 mo. and 2 days. 1887-1888 W.E. Jenkins, 1889 Elwood Lower ($35). there is no record for 1890. 1891-1892 Bell McConnell ($25) , 1893 Alice Howley ($28), 1896 Olive Paul ($22),1897 E.W.Burt ($25), 1898 Abbie Dingman ($30) 44 students aged 4 to 21. , 1899 Marion A. Hyland $(26), 1900 Seth Sandy ($30 ), 1901-1902 Effie Driskell ($30), 1903 Laura Campbell, 1904 Laura Campbell ($30), 1904 Viola Burk ($35), 1905 Ethel Burk ($35), 1906 Mollie Meyer (35), 1907 Esther Nelson ($37.50), 1908 Norma Williams ($37.50), 1909 Ester Nelson ($40), 1910 K. Mae Nutter ($45), 1912, Grayce Stewart ($50), 1913- 1915 G. Anna Brooks ($45-$50), 1916 Jessie R Sprague (42.50), 1917 there was no school, 1918 Gertrude Danielson ($60) with only 5 students. 1919 Melina Gieber ($55) with 10 students.
The Brantford School
The country schools were a common thing in the 1800’s located throughout the countrysides. The children would walk sometimes up to three miles to get to school. Sometime in the 1870″s the first school in the Brantfort area was built. Will Howley, an old time resident of Brantford, first started school in 1880 and there were 70 children in the classes. The school was so full that they had to sit 3 to a desk in a double desk. One teacher would teach all the classes and when it was the turn for a certain class they would sit on benches in the front of the class room. Some of the classes were so large it would take 3 rows of benches in front of the school room. In 1880 the Brantford school was enlarged to accommodate the growing number of students.
There were no telephones and the country was wide open. The teachers were strict and many of them had a whip up in the corner above the blackboard. Children were taught respect and the whip was used if the teacher felt the need to keep order.
Will recalled that they had a teacher by the name of J. A. Baird who changed spelling words on them one time. The students would line up on each side of the room according to their height and they would take turns spelling just one word which was usually the word where they stood. They got by for awhile just learning the one word, but one day Mr. Baird got the wrong paper and everybody missed his word. That was the beginning of having to learn all the words. The best speller at that time was Jim Hyland of the boys and Alice Howley of the girls.
Jim Lowers from Clyde, Kansas was the arithmetic teacher during that time, and a writing teacher would come in once a week to teach them writing.
Not unlike today, kids were kids. When they had a meeting in the school house, a board member would stand in the back of the room to keep the order. One night one of the boys put a chunk of coal on a ruler and aimed it at the board member’s nose, and made a direct hit. It caused such a riot the meeting had to be closed.
Christmas Eve in the school house hosted a program. One year the tree, decorated with candles, caught fire and there were a few people pretty badly burned trying to put it out. Once a year they would have a box supper and some would sell for a large sum of money.
In 1885 the boys had a ball team. They played different teams from towns around and they were one of the best. On Saturday afternoons they would race horses north of the school house. The winner would get two or three dollars. People would come for miles away to race their horses.
The school was used by the community for more than just school during the week. It was also used as a church and funerals were also held there as were town meetings. In 1890, Rev Baker from Haddam came down and held revival meeting for several days.
There was no well on the school grounds and water was carried from the the Campbell place a quarter mile west of the school. The teacher would send the boys out to get the water which was a welcomed chore among them as it gave them a ftime out of class.
The students brought their own lunches to school. It mostly consisted of cornbread and molasses. Some of the molasses was so thick that it would drip from the bread to the fingers as it was eaten. In the thirty’s when times were so hard it wasn’t uncommon for kids to bring lard sandwiches to school for lunch.
In 1888 there was a terrible snow storm with a combination of bitter cold weather. The pupils left the school house to go to the drug store east of the school. The storm was so terrible they held hands to get to the store. Will’s father came to get him and his brothers and sisters. They lived one mile north of the school. It was so bad he decided to leave the children at the store and headed back to the farm alone. Before he left he bought a whip to keep his horse going north against the strong wind. Several times his horse would turn around, but he pressed on and finally made it home. His fingers were frozen around the whip so he could not get them loose and when he got into the house he couldn’t talk due to the cold wind in his lungs. Wills’s mother was quite alarmed about the children because he could not talk and tell her where they were.
Many cattle and horses were lost during the storm. Most of the quail froze to death and for several years there were very few quail in the area.
In the early 1900’s a Salvation Army group camped on the school ground and set up a large tent and had a series of meetings. Many people from far and near came to the services. There was music, made with tambourines and a small portable organ. Some of the people brought their own instruments and played special numbers. The seats in the tent were made of board planks and were without backs.
Sunday School was conducted in the school house on Sunday afternoons. Some of the nearby ministers would speak. Rev. Walter Nelson and Rev. White and a friend held special meeting in the school for several weeks. A large number of people would attend.
The present school house was built in 1900 to replace the former one. It was a nice large building with a full basement. Later a storm cellar was constructed in the basement and a propane furnace was installed. A new well was dug and at the present time it has running water and inside rest rooms.
When the new school house was opened in 1911 the Board Members were A.J. Anderson, Otto Nelson and C.A. Olson. Ester Nelson, was the first teacher in the new building. She had 52 students in 1911 and 58 in 1912. Her salary was 60.00 a month.
Listed are the teachers through the years as follows:
A.A. Harris 1889-1890, J.A. Baird 1891, Eire Anderson 1892, P.G. Sione 1893-1894, Fammy Hakes 1895, Emma Cunningham 1896, Luseua Beffe 1897, Effie Howard 1898, Mary Patterson 1899, H.L. Allen 1900, Stella Johnson 1901, Alice Howley 1902, Eva McCracken 1903, Ara Damon 1904-1905, Laren Misner 1906, Cora Simpson 1907, Josephine Olson 1908, Hilda Nelson 1909, Berth Campbell 1910, Ester Nelson 1911-1912, Ara McCracken 1913, Verlin Bonar 1914, Ada Haukenberry 1916-1917, Ester Nelson 1918, Netta Sterba 1919, Della McCracken, 1920-1922, John N. Holmberg 1923, Florence E. Henderson 1924-1925, Melvin M. Smart 1926-1928, Hazel Pickard 1929-1930, Raymond A. Olson 1931-1932, Merle Pickard 1933-1934, Laurene Anderson 1935-1936, El Vera Peterson 1927-1938, Irene Johnson 1939-1941, Mrs. Mabel Schulz 1943, Muriel Flear and Mable Schulz 1943, Opal Jurey 1944-1946, Mable Schulz 1947-1948, Anna Belle Back 1949, Flossie Olson 1950-1952, Mable Schulz 1953-1954, Dick Payeur 1955-1956, Vernus Lange 1957-1958, Mrs. V. Lange and Mrs. M Kunc 1959, Mary Kunc 1960.
No records were kept before 1889.
Beginning in 1945 the Grahm School closed and sent it’s students to Brantford. In 1951 part of the Weaver district consolidated with Brantford. In 1952 a school bus was purchased and in 1950 Marcotte district consolidated with Brantford. In 1961 the Brantford District was closed and consolidated with Cuba, Clifton, Clyde, Agenda and Haddam, with Clifton receiving the larger part of the district.
The Brantford Township bought the school house, and it is now used as a polling place and a community center. The Brantford Lucky 4-H and H.D.U. also use the building to hold meetings.
Nancy Wilkinson and Harvey Lundquist were the last two students to graduate from Brantford. The last board members were Roloand Lundquist, Nyle Sarff and James Kalivoda. The job of closing the school was not an easy one, but with fewer and fewer students every year there was no choice. The building now stands in good condition, as a landmark of the past.
Brantford’s Zion Lutheran Church
A short distance south east of the old Brantford Store in Washington County, Brantford township, stand a beautiful stucco covered stone church, with a tall steeple pointing heavenward. In 2018 it was sold for a dollar to a private party.
The early settlers who helped to build this “Place of Worship” have long ago answered the final summons, but the surrounding farms are tilled by their children’s children, who are carrying on the work as they believe their ancestors would have wished them to do.
This community was settled by these immigrants who came from Sweden in 1868. Many others followed and joined this group in the next few years. They took homestead claims and established homes, dugouts, and sod houses, or small structures made from stone. Life was lonely and strenuous, for it took many hours to build necessary shelter and with only crude tools and little or no money.
Their spiritual needs, as well as their physical needs, must be planned, so a meeting was called on May 12, 1874, for the purpose of organizing a Swedish Lutheran Church. This first meeting was most likely held in one of the homes.
Rev. Chillen of the Swedesburg Lutheran Church was elected chairman of this meeting and was asked to preach one Sunday a month. Each family was to pay 5 dollars a year towards his salary. The following signed their names indicating their desire for an organized congregation: Johannes Peterson, Niles P. Carlson, Charles Linn, Carl Anderson, AE Dahl, Erick Erickson, John Westling, Andrew Nelson, Gust Nelson, Adolf Carlson, SN Almquist, PN Almquist, Charley Nelson, and AM Larson.
In February 8 1875, a committee was appointed to select a location for a church and cemetery. A two acre plot was donated for a cemetery within a short distance of the church site by Eric Erickson, grandfather of the late Walter A Erickson.
The church building was to be made of native stone, dimensions to be 30 ft by 45 ft, and AM Larson was to supervise the building. The work was free labor, done by the members of the congregation.
Quarrying and hauling rock from the limestone hills in the north was a tremendous job and the actual building did not get under way that year. The furnishing in the beginning were very primitive. A small table was used as an Altar and Pulpit with pews made of 12 inch boards laid on bricks.
Singing was done without accompaniment until 1895 when a reed organ was purchased. In 1892, chairs were purchased. A pulpit, altar table, and railing was built by Rev. J. Holcomb and ready for the Christmas Matins Service.
In 1893 a belfry and steeple were built. In 1898 the church was stuccoed, and in 1899 new pews were purchased. In 1906 the present bell was hung in the belfry. In 1909 the parsonage and other buildings were added and Rev. August A Norden and family moved in that following summer.
In 1911 a new altar was built and a furnace added. A piano was given by the Luther League, and in 1916 a new organ was purchased.
The 50th Anniversary was celebrated November 9, 1924. Rev. CO Nordell was pastor. A new furnace was installed and in 1946 the front of the church interior was also improved by adding three Gothic arches.
The Parish Hall was added in 1948. JA Peterson was the builder and Gus Noren was the general supervisor. In 1949 a new tile floor was laid and other improvements were made. Natural gas was piped to the church and Parish Hall. A “Multiples” which holds confirmation pictures was added at this time.
As memorials, the altar rail and kneeler were added by LG Noren in memory of his son, Walter, who lost his life in WWII. An altar by Luther Leaguers, cross and candle sticks were given by S. Anderson and family in memory of Mrs. Anderson. An individual communion set for Holy Communion was given by P. August Peterson and family in memory of Mr. Peterson.
The electric organ was installed in 1958 and purchased through “In Memorium Gifts” for Albert Carlson and Anna West.
Other memorials: Offering plates and Altar vases given in memory of Selma Peterson by her family; a “guest register stand” in memory of the AV Erickson family and guest book in memory of Walter A. Erickson: a Baptismal fount given by Mr. Fred Peterson, Miss Beda Peterson and Mr and Mrs. Norman Birkman, and a Bulletin Board by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Peterson.
The 90th Anniversary of the Zion Lutheran Church was celebrated September 13, 1964 with the Rev. Carl Schneider as guest speaker.
I will conclude this post for now as it seems to have gotten a bit long. I hope you enjoyed going back into history with me and if you have anything that you might add to what I have shared thus far please let me know so I can add it. It’s my hope to give a little more insight to some of our other lost communities in Washington county in post to come as this was the HOME of our Nutsch/McCollum families.
No copyright infringement intended. Most of my sources here came from the little pamplet I found at a garage sale years ago LEST WE FORGET Memories of Brantford Township 1868 to 1966.
Gottfried or Henry as he called himself was the first of our Nutsch immigrant family to leave Germany in search of a better life. People knew him as “Old Henry” not to be confused with his son, Henry Hannah, who was known as “Young Henry” and “Rooks Co. Hank”. When you realize the history of his native country and those that his family endured during the first years in this new world you must conclude that life in Germany had to have been pretty horrific if this was considered better.
Gottfried was born 5 Sep 1844 and raised in Ohlau, Schlesien, Prussia. Prussia has become a byword for Germany. It was first developed on the southeastern Baltic shore distinct from the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire hence many of our German ancestors were Roman Catholic. Prussia’s association with central Europe comes from the Hohenzollern dynasty, which came to rule both it and most of north Germany and helped forged areas into a major European power.
Culture in Germany at the time was rigid. As previously discussed, the young men were all required to have a trade and Gottfried was a Furrier. My Grandfather Henry Nutsch told that they were always at war over something and they were always building an army. At a young age boys were made into soldiers with no other choice. The soldiers were treated very badly and with unreasonable requirements. According to oral history passed down through the generations, one day Gottfried saw a group of soldiers ordered to walk out into the water (supposedly to teach them to swim). These soldiers were ordered to continue walking into deep water. Those that could not swim and attempted to return to shallow water were shot or shot at. As Grandpa told it that once they had a good army, like a well oiled machine…they would have to go out and test it. Gottfried, knowing that he was of draft age, and due to be drafted at anytime, made the decision to leave Germany and start a new life in America.
In the middle half of the nineteenth century, more than one-half of the population of IRELAND emigrated to the United States. So did an equal number of GERMANS. Most of them came because of civil unrest, severe unemployment or almost inconceivable hardships at home. From 1820 to 1870, over seven and a half million immigrants came to the United States — more than the entire population of the country in 1810. Nearly all of them came from northern and western Europe — about a third from Ireland and almost a third from Germany.
IN the decade from 1845 to 1855, more than a million Germans fled to the United States to escape economic hardship. They also sought to escape the political unrest caused by riots, rebellion and eventually a revolution in 1848. The Germans had little choice as only the United States and few others allowed German immigration. Unlike the Irish, the Germans generally had enough money to journey to the Midwest in search of farmland and work. The largest settlements of Germans were in New York City, Baltimore, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Milwaukee. German immigrants became known a reputation for being hardworking, thrifty, and law-abiding people. The Germans made numerous contributions to American culture, including inventions, traditions, sports and food. The flooding of German immigrants to America was the result of long-term social, religious, and economic changes occurring throughout the German states and news of the conditions in the US seemed much more favorable. .
With the vast numbers of German and Irish coming to America, hostility to them erupted. Partly because of religion with most being of the Roman Catholic faith, and parltly because of the political opposition. Most immigrants living in cities became Democrats because the party focused on the needs of commoners. Americans in low-paying jobs were threatened and sometimes replaced by groups willing to work for almost nothing in order to survive. Signs that read NINA — “NO IRISH NEED APPLY” — sprang up throughout the country.
The Know Nothing Party’s platform included the repeal of all naturalization laws and a prohibition on immigrants from holding public office.
Ethnic and ANTI-CATHOLIC RIOTING occurred in many northern cites, the largest occurring in Philadelphia in 1844 during a period of economic depression. Protestants, Catholics and local militia fought in the streets. Sixteen were killed, dozens were injured and over 40 buildings were demolished. “NATIVIST” political parties sprang up. The most influential of these parties, the KNOW NOTHINGS, was anti-Catholic and wanted to extend the amount of time it took immigrants to become citizens and voters. They also wanted to prevent foreign-born people from ever holding public office.
Though we have always referred to ourselves as coming from German ancestry. We are actually Prussian as Germany didn’t actually exist before 1871 but this area later became Poland, so it’s probably better for us to claim Euopean as our derivative. According to the information published by Phyllis Reedy in the Reedy, Schuessler, Nutsch and Kochs of Washington Co. , Kansas. Gottfried arrived in New York on April 13, 1866, aboard the Athena, under Captain Shilling. The Breman records were destroyed by fire, so no departing German manifest have been found from the Bremen port. Oral history, in reference to this part of Gottfried’s life, has two versions. One is that he was a stowaway and the other is that he worked his passage way to America. Most likely both are true. Either way he was listed on the arriving list in New York as: Gottfried Nutsch, age 21, male, occupation: Tailor (furrier), Destination: USA. Gottfried arrived in his new country penniless, could not speak English, and knew no one in this strange land. The first year he spent in New York he almost starved. The next year he went to Wisconsin and worked in the lumber business, and barely survived the winter. This does not coincide with the information I have found as you will see below.
In the mid 1800’s there were “Immigrant trains” organized for the western movement. The government gave the immigrants land grants to homestead, for the purpose of populating and building the nation. This opportunity was offered to other immigrants as the railroads expanded further west. It is believed that Gottfried came west on one of those trains. He received a land grant from the Concordia Land Office on May 20, 1862.(note the above date of his arrival) The description of this grant is as follows: north west quarter of section eighteen in township three south of range one west in the district of lands subject to sale at Concordia Kansas, containing one hundred and fifty acres and eleven hundredths of an acre. Gotfried Nutsch Land grant
Gottfried’s first homestead was 150 acres in Republic Co., Kansas near Cuba. He had a neighbor close by on another 160 acre homestead, Louis Stulle, who had married Barbara Rychtarik on April 11, 1873 in Republic Co., Kansas. According to their marriage license, Louis was age 29 and Barbara was 17. This marriage was short lived as soon after their marriage there was a prairie fire and Louis died as a result of fighting that fire. Barbara stayed on their 160 acre homestead and on November 30, 1873, Barbara and Gottfried were married. Their marriage license reads: GH Nutsch, of Republic Co., age 26 years, and Barbara Stulle of Republic Co., age 18, were married November 30, 1873. There is conflicting information regarding Barbara’s date of birth. Inscribed on Barbara and Gottfried’s tombstone is Gottfried H Nutsch Sept. 5 1844 – January 14,1928. And Barbara Rychtarik January 1 1847 – August 20, 1944.
In the Washington Co. records listing the people that came into the county each year, G. H. Nutsch is shown to have arrived in Washington County in 1873. He is also listed in another book of records as first arriving in Washington Co., in 1879. Regardless of the exact date, the family did move from Republic Co., to Washington Co. Their new home was in Lowe Township, near Morrowville. They built a two room dug out on the land and started their life as Kansas farmers.
There has been some mention through family ties that Gottfried was a boot legger during the prohibition. One of my favorite stories that has been passed down was that Gottfried, as you can see from his pictures, always wore a long beard. During one of his episodes of over indulgence he ticked Barbara off royally with some shinanigan. After he went to sleep or passed out whichever the case may be, she cut one side of his beard off really short. When he awoke and saw what she had done he simply said ” if she likes it that way that’s the way I will wear it” .
In 1877 Gottfried applied for naturalization papers. This was important in order to be able to help the rest of his family come to America. The first to arrive on May 26, 1880 was his sister and her family, Robert and Marie (Nutsch) Seidel, with one daughter that was eleven months old. In succeeding years, all of Gottfried’s siblings with the exception of his sister Rose, arrived in America. At least three, possibly more, came to his and Barbara’s two room dug out home.
Gottfried and Barbara became large land owners in Kansas. It has been said they owned over 4,000 acres. This also included the land in Rooks Co., Kansas, however that is oral history. The records show Barbara’s name on most of the land in Washington Co.,
Although Gottfried was a furrier by trade in Germany, he became a cattleman and farmer in America. In later years Gottfried and Barbara built a larger house and a barn. They were also among the families that built the St. Peter and Paul Catholic church in 1886-1887.
Gottfried and Barbara’s Children
Joseph Nutsch who married Marry Elizabeth Coufal
Katherine “Katie” Nutsch married John Keperta
Marylee “Marlinka’ who died as an infant.
Henry Hannah Nutsch “young Henry” or ” Rooks Co. Henry” married Eleanor Rea
Benjamin Franklin Nutsch married Christina Killover and Bessie King.
Adolph Edward never married and died in an automoblile accident.
Mary Barbara Nutsch married Frank Henry Weir
Arena “Annie” Lillian Nutsch married Frank Matthew Burke
Maude Agnes Nutsch married Frank Joseph Zach
Wilhelmina “Minnie” Nutsch married to William M. Burnham
I personally photographed all the graves at the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery near Morrowville, Ks. for find a grave and for my own personal records and I found only two graves in the cemetery that were NOT related to our Nutschs. In saying that I might add that I was not able to find a relationship. One in particular was a Mueller…which I suspect could be a cousin to our family but I have not found the link as of yet.
I hope you enjoyed the read. If so leave me a comment below or share a story if you have one.
The NUTSCH name is fairly rare in the United States. According to Google there are only 533 people in the United States with that surname. I find that a bit hard to believe but Google knows everything! When doing a google search for the name very little comes up. “OUR” Nutschs in the United States mostly started out in Washington, County, Kansas. Let’s take a leap to the other side and talk about our Nutsch family a bit.
Johann and Marie (Mueller which is sometimes changed to Miller) lived in Ohlau, Schlesien, Prssia, near the rest of the Nutsch Clan on the Oder River. This area today lies within the boundaries of Poland. Does that make us Polish? Most will say no…we are German.
The research and documentation of cousin Phyllis Reedy James gives us some insight on our Nutsch family back to Germany.
“Before 1740 Schlesien belonged to Austria, after 1740 this area belonged to Prussia. Prussia was very militant and there were many wars, most of them religious. The men were forced to serve in the military, and the soldiers were treated very badly. Beatings, confinement and unreasonable requirements were the norm. Generation after generation of these conditions caused many young men to leave their homeland in search for better conditions. Some were fortunate enough to be able to bring their families with them, while others fled for safety and sent for their families later. These people were willing to endure the hardships and difficulties of a strange land, with a strange language, rather than remain in their homeland under those conditions. Some immigrants made their choices to leave based on personal survival, while other’s choices were based on protecting their sons from the military draft and the hope of providing a better opportunity for their sons and daughters.
These were difficult decisions to make, leaving everything behind and starting over in a a new land with little or nothing. The passenger list of our ancestors show that they all came”Steerage” in the mid to late 1800’s, “Steerage”meant: literally the lowest decks of a vessel above the actual bilges. The following description was taken from a report to a congressional committee by the demoralizing… hunger, lack of privacy, and generally uncomfortable and unsanitary conditions…Sleeping quarters are compartments accommodating as many as 300 or more persons each…The berths are in two tiers and consist of iron frame work containing a mattress, more often a life preserver as a substitute and a blanket”.
This berth, “6 feet long and 2 feet wide”, had to accommodate the traveler and all his or her luggage, as well as provide sleeping facilities for a voyage of some seven to seventeen days. (Our ancestors were fourteen days aboard their vessels.) No place was provided for eating utensils, which most passengers had to provide for themselves. Wash basins were too few and the rooms too small to accommodate the number of basins. The only water available for general use was cold salt water, with perhaps only one warm-water faucet. “The food was usually spoiled by being wretchedly prepared, and all too often the food was old leavings (leftover) from the first and second galleys.” The conditions endured by passengers had improved very little since 1820.
In April 1866, at the age of 21, Gottfried Henry Nutsch was the first of Johann and Maria’s children to leave Germany. During the next fourteen years he survived many hardships, married and built a small dug out home for his family on his homestead in Kansas. Gottfried applied for U.S. Citizenship in 1877. This was necessary in order to help his brothers and sisters come to America.
May of 1880, Gottfried’s sister Mariea, and her husband Robert Seidel I, arrived at Gottfried’s home with their 11 moth old daughter, Emma. Gottfried and his wife Barbara had three children under six years old, and the eight of them were living in this dug out home. The winters in Kansas were cold, the dug out was damp, and out on the prairie, medical facilities were non existent. Mariea and Robert’s daughter, age 1, died of pneumonia in November (found in their bible records.) Gottfried and Barbara’s one year old daughter also died that winter. (Her exact date of death is un known.)
December of that winter (1880), Gottfried’s brother John Frank II and his wife Pauline arrived, bringing four children, ages 9 and under , with them. Gottfried’s brother Paul, Age 15, also came with John and Pauline. They all lived with Gottfried and Barbara that winter. There was also a man by the name of Joseph Hellman that came on the same ship with John II and Pauline. Oral history, tells us that he could possibly have been a cousin to John Nutsch. Joseph Hellman remained in New York, married and later moved to Washington County, Kansas.
There were 14 or 15 people living in that two room dug out. These four Nutsch children were united for Christmas that year for the first time. No records have been found confirming John Nutsch’s II middle name was Frank, but his grandchildren believe this to be correct. In the spring of 1881 the Seidels and the John Frank Nutsch II family moved to another farm.
Gottfried’s sister Anna and her husband Michael Karl arrived at their home in April of 1881. It is not known how long Anna and Michael stayed with Gottfried and Barbara before they moved to their own home.
February 1882, their brother Frank and his wife Bertha arrived with a one year old daughter. Frank and Bertha went to the home of John and Pauline.
It wasn’t until June of 1884 that Johanna and her husband Franz Sohofsky and their three children arrived in Kansas.
Seven of Johann and Maria’s eight children made it to America. Their daughter Rose, married to a military officer, Johann Weinert, remained in Germany. Five of these seven came over on the ship Lessing. Anna and Michael came on the Wieland and Gottfried came on the Athena. All seven settled in Washington County, Kansas.
Some of them eventually learned to speak English and some never did. Their first homes were one or two room dug outs. . These first dug out homes were constructed by digging back into a hill, always facing east, with bracing’s made of timber to support the walls. The roof was covered with sod, and the dirt pushed back up to the side walls. The two rooms, consisted of one area in the front for eating and dining and a separate area, further back into the hill, used as the bedroom.
Prairie fires were common during those times, and several stories have been told, of placing the oxen on top of the dug out’s sod roof (no grass) to protect them from the fire. This area was sparsely settled, and it was a long distance to town for supplies and to attend church. Some went to Fairbury (about 15 or 20 miles) and others went to Hanover or Lanham, (Kansas/Nebraska) Lanham is a town that is located on the state line, with Main street on the state line. The Catholic church is on the Nebraska side. Those born on the south side of Main street were recorded in Kansas records. The summer of 1885 some property was donated for the purpose of building a church and cemetery. In 1886 and 1887 a group of families built a church on that property. The name given this church was St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. All seven of these Nutsch brothers and sisters are buried in the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery. Since this was centrally located, the church and cemetery have withstood the test of time and are still being used today.”
I hope you enjoyed this introduction to our Nutsch Family! Stay tuned …there is more to come.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
As genealogist we tend to collect gobs of pictures and other paper documentation and organization is something that takes time, planning and skill. We’ve all had those ah ha moments when we wish we had done it differently. I have taken the suggestions of other genealogist and things they have learned from their mistakes and put them together to help you get organized, whether you are just starting, or if you have been at it for awhile, there are some super suggestions here that might help you in in organizing digital photos. Getting organized is something that is paramount as a genealogist.
GET started now, because a pile of papers that are not organized may just go in the trash after we die. Get it organized and give it to a library or other repository as well as any family that are interested!
WHERE DO YOU START
First and foremost…get all your pictures in one place. I recently watched a youtube video that gave some good suggestions as to how to do this. You have your originals, plus you have all those on your computer that could be scattered all over the place.
I started with my online photos first so I will talk about online methods in this post and we will talk about what to do with all those boxes and boxes full in another post.
There are all kinds of different ideas and methods out there and the BEST one is the one that WORKS best for you. If you have a good method already and you understand it and feel comfortable with it there is no need to change. If you are just starting out and you are overwhelmed and frustrated with your system, you might want to try some of these ideas. I recently had to get a new computer and found myself very frustrated with learning Windows 10. I couldn’t find any of my pictures. I was so frustrated and spent way too much time trying to locate pictures that I knew I had. The new computer wouldn’t accept some of my files, and I couldn’t use my old software. This caused me to look for a better way.
WHAT I DID
FOR FILES ALREADY ON THE COMPUTER
What I finally ended up doing is to get all my pictures in one place. Though I had organized most of my family pictures into files by name they were still a bit mixed up. All the family pictures go into a folder named FAMILY. I have main folders with the SURNAME, for instance in my case, PIERCE, NUTSCH, BLUM, MCCOLLUM….Sort of like you are building a tree. Then I made a file folder for each individual and couple within the main folder. PIERCE…Starting with my DAD, CECIL…then his children CHARLINE, JEFF, SUSAN, then their children… etc… I then made a folder for my grandfather, VENUS PIERCE, and a folder for each of his children and so on. JOHN, CLIFF, CAROL, CECIL would go into his fathers folder. Cecil’s children, would go into CECIL’s folder and so on. Then I sorted all the pictures into their individual files.
Step one was to get all the family photo’s into the FAMILY folder.
Step two was to move the photo’s into the appropriate SURNAME folder.
I would then go back and divide them into their INDIVIDUAL family folder and so on.
So ALL of CECIL’s pictures, his children, his grandchildren, and great grandchildren would go into CECIL’s folder to start with. I would then go to Cecil’s file and move all of CHARLINE”s children, grandchildren, etc, into her folder. Then I would go back and move the children’s pictures into their individual folder…VENUS, SOAN. Then I would move the grandchildren into their individual folder. (ARE YOU WITH ME?) Basically you are using your pedigree for guidance. If there were pictures with more than one person in it I would include a “Cecil’s Family” or CECIL and PEGGY family so as long as you know what family they belong in you will be able to find them
Group them by 4 ancestral lines: your maternal & paternal grandparents (I guess 8 if you have hubby’s too) Then group within that by the direct ancestor. You could make a real or digital scrapbook page with a story or caption, or a PowerPoint slideshow if you wanted to do something off line.
The only real problem I have had with this system is that you have to click through a lot of folders to get to the one you want, but you could split them up so that wasn’t a problem if you wanted.
One member suggest that you put the names of people who are in the photos in the filename. Also, be consistent about maiden names even after they are married to avoid duplication.
Use a consistent method of naming files in all your directories and devices in order to access them easily.
Except for hyphens and underscores avoid punctuation such as commas as these can mess up some file manager programs and the files will go bad.
A good practice is to name them with the SURNAME of the primary person in the photo, followed by others in the photo. This helps make sorting easier.
Put the surnames in ALL CAPS to make for easier browsing.
Underscore the separate pieces of info that are different subjects.
example: PIERCE John and wife JOHNSON Alice_wedding photo_date
OH THE DUPLICATES
We often end up with duplicates. Some say delete duplicates, some say don’t. I rename the photo with a number behind it. Often times you will find it helpful to add a duplicate to another folder so it is easier to access. For instance a family photo that has a group of people in it can be added to each individual’s file folder. If I have group photo’s I mostly just leave them in the most appropriate family folder. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, NAME your photo so that anyone can recognize it!! Someday you will be gone and you want people to know who that photo is of.
PAPER OR DIGITAL
Lots of people say that they don’t want to save paper anymore. I have thoughts on that, naturally, but I do both. I have extensive paper files, but, everything I have is duplicated in my digital files. I have seen many a computer thrown in the trash by relatives of a genealogist because they didn’t know how to get into it or because they didn’t really know that it was loaded with years of research. I want my research in lots of different places so that my appointed people must trip over it as well as seek it out on my computer which, hopefully, has a an updated format. Each of us has to decide for themselves how they want to maintain their research but I suggest that you keep it in many, different places and formats and also designate who can get to it after you die and give them the passwords.
One of my biggest fears is that my kids, who aren’t really interested in the history, will throw out my 50 years of research as “junk” because they don’t want it. My niece, promised me that she wouldn’t let them! I asked her if she wanted it and she said no…but I won’t let them throw it out! I have left instructions with my kids that if no one wants it to donate the BLUM family history to the Plankinton, SD Historical Society. The NUTSCH family is to go to the Washington Co., Kansas society. I have yet to conclude as to what to do with the PIERCE and McCOLLUM family as they were EVERYWHERE. However, the Pierce family beginnings were mostly from Smyth CO, Virginia and the McCollums from Randolph, NC. so they could possibly go there. The point I’m getting out is to have a plan so someone doesn’t load up your years of hard work and take it to the river which is what happened to a lot of my grandmother’s things.
THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN
Having scanned thousands of family photos, I can offer a few things that I wish I’d known before I started!
1. If there is writing on the back, make a copy (not a scan) of that, then scan it along with the photo, as close to the photo as possible so you can crop it as part of the photo, then you won’t have to try to figure out which back goes with which photo, if they get separated as many of mine did when my photo program decided to shuffle them like a deck of cards!
2. If your scanner allows you to name them, do that as you scan.
3. If you’re going to remove photos from an album to scan or to move them into archival albums, either scan or take a photo of each page, then you can put them back in the same order, someone put them in that order for a reason!
4. Last, an easy way to share them with family is to start a Facebook page just for family and invite everyone who’s part of that family, then ask them to invite other family members that you may not know. By doing that, I’ve gotten many unidentified photos identified, have gotten a lot of great family stories about the people in the picture, and met cousins I didn’t know before!
Remember, your files and scrapbooks, or boxes of photos will not be just for you. Someday, someone will have to go through them. If your filenames don’t make sense or don’t clearly tell who is in them, future family members might just delete them, or throw them out thinking they are the usual junk photos that people nowadays accumulate on their devices. With NAMES in the filename people are more prone to notice and save the files.
So let’s get organized starting with what you have on your computer now. In my next post I will give you some tips on scanning and organizing those pictures in the old family albums and boxes. If you enjoyed this post or have some ideas that you would like to share, please leave me a comment below and let us hear from you.
Louisville, Nebraska was founded by Captain J T A Hoover in 1857. Our Blum Family settled in and around the Louisville area so I think it only fitting that I give a little insight on the area. Lawrence Duerr shared his recollections of early Louisville and much of what I share here is from his memories. He was 80 years old when he wrote down his memories and shared them with family.
A Bit of the Family Tree
Lawrence Duerr was the grandson of Christian Duerr and Mary Ann Huber. His grandmother Mary Ann was the daughter of Jacob Huber , and the sister of George John Huber the husband of Great Aunt Minnie Moessinger, our great grandmother Louise’s sister. George and Mary Ann Huber were children of Jacob and Mary M Huber.
Christian Duerr was born May 7, 1841 in Wittenburg, Germany and came to America October 12, 1864. From there he went to Dayton, Ohio where his brother Gottleib lived. Mary Ann was born Feb 2, 1846 in Greenville, Ohio and she married Christian in 1866. They migrated to Nebraska in 1869 arriving at Plattsmouth April 9, 1869. They settled a mile south of where the town of Louisville is situated. It was in the vicinity of where our Blum family eventually settled. As a mater of fact, Aunt Minnie was the one that told Grandpa Andrew about the land he eventually bought and settled on. Next door lived Mary Ann’s uncle Captain J T A Hoover. Captain Hoover moved from Ohio to Nebraska around 1857 with an account of $325.
Jacob Huber and Captain Hoover were brothers, Jacob keeping the German spelling and Captain Hoover taking on the English spelling. Jacob and Captian Hoover owned the land where Louisville now sits. Captain Hoover played an instrumental role in bringing the B &O Railroad to the area and they gave the railroad 1/3 of the town lots to lay out a town and establish a station there. Captain Hoover built the first house in the city of Louisville, Nebraska.
Jacob Huber’s family consisted of two sons, George and Phillip, and four daughters, Mary Ann, Kate, Caroline, and Christina.
Christian and Mary Ann had four children, George born in Ohio, Philip, Lucy, and Anna, the latter three born in Louisville, Nebraska.
Philip married Anna Bell Leddy of South Bend. they had three children, John, Stella, and Charles.
Anna Duerr married John Leddy also of South Bend and they had one daughter, Della. They later divorced.
Lucy married Martin Zaar of South Bend and they had one adopted daughter, Florence. Florence was the first wife of our Great Uncle Martin Blum (grandmother Marie’s brother).
George Duerr married Rosanna Hartman of Chapman, Nebraska and they had two children, Lawrence and Ruth.
Lawrence Duerr first married Elsie Stulken of Selby, South Dakota. Elsie Frances Stulken (2nd cousin 1x removed) was born Feb 2, 1911 in Gleichen, Alberta, Canada to Henry and Anna Marie Huber (1st cousin 2x removed) . Anna Marie was the daughter of our Great Aunt Minnie Moesinger and husband George Huber. ( Are you confused yet? ) After Elsie’s death Lawrence married Elda Thieman (1st cousin 1x removed.) Elda was the daughter of Ida Blum (sister to Grandmother Marie) and Herman Thieman.
Lawrence and Elsie had three children (third cousins), Marie Anne, Marlene, and Gail.
MEMORIES of LAWRENCE DUERR
BIRTH15 OCT 1910•Louisville, Cass, Nebraska, United States
DEATH16 JUL 1997•Riverview Cemetery, Cass Co, Louisville, NE
written in 1991
“My early recollections of Louisville are pretty fair, but not guaranteed one hundred percent. On the East side of Main Street, the Drake Hotel, the Currier Newspaper print shop, Wm Keecklow’s Blacksmith Shop, next- a small building (probably a cream station). Ben Hoover’s Jewelry and Watch Repair. Another building housed a shoe repair shop, a restaurant, Wm. Dier’s General Store and Blake’s Drugstore. Across the street going North was Kraft’s Store, a Saloon, Pankonin’s Implement Store, Edgar Pankonin’s Repair Shop, another building that housed a sort of variety store, Frank Buckman’s Bakery and Bob McCarty’s home.
The West side of Main Street going South isn’t as clear. One building called the Ontario House, must have been a boarding house. It stood where the Laundromat stands today. There were 2 more building that I don’t know what was in them. The the old Joyland Theater, then a row of small frame building. Next a building that housed the Post Office after 1914, next was Ossenkop’s General Store and then the Bank of Commerce. Across the street North was a hardware store ran by a man named Dorsey. He also was Postmaster in 1913 and maybe 1914. Next was Stander and Stander Hardware and Furniture Store. Frank Nichol’s General Store, Frank Johnson’s Restaurant, Bob McCarty’s Saloon, Ed Twiss’ Meat Market, and the telephone office, and Metz Saloon. I have no recollection of the next 2 building, Dr. Worthman’s office was on the corner. Across the street south was the Star Livery Barn.
Stander and Stander sold gasoline. It first was kept in a barrel in the back yard. It was carried out and poured in your car from a can and funnel. Later they installed the first gas pump in town. A bowser ratchet pump that put out a gallon at a stroke. Gas pumped increased fast in town. At one time there were 8 pumps in town. There were 7 left in 1950, now I guess one can’t even get a tire repaired in town.
The folks would go to town about once a week to get the mail and some groceries, such as flour , sugar, coffee, etc. At those times a farm was almost self sufficient. They produced their own meat, canned vegetable, fruit, milk and butter.
Louisville at that time had 3 general merchandise stores that sold groceries and dry goods and clothing. There was a meat market also, that sold meat and meat products. In those times, many people in town kept a mild cow. Some boys had the chore of taking the cows to pasture every morning and bringing them in again at night. More affluent fold kept a driving horse and buggy. Sometimes father and mother would go to Omaha to shop. We would drive the horse and buggy to the livery barn where they would take care of the horse, and take us to the train depot. When the train came back in late afternoon, the livery rig would be there to pick us up. When we got up town, the horse was hitched up and ready to go- all for about a dollar and sometimes less. A livery right could also be rented by the hour or day.
Life was simpler in those times. Everyone wasn’t running madly hither and yon. Oh yes, there were busy times, like harvest time, when getting the harvest done, like getting wheat and other small grain in the shock and then threshing time were a a few hectic days; but people helped one another, if it took a day or so longer at one place, the crew finished it up- no one thought of overtime or extra pay!
The farm ladies of the neighborhood all tried to out do one another feeding the crew. The usual crew was 15 or 20 men. As soon as I was big enough to spit over my bib, it seems I had my little chores to do, such as feeding and watering chickens and bring in corn cobs and wood for Mom’s cook stove. Didn’t seem to hurt me. At that time we were to start to school at seven years, but we had whooping cough that summer and the school board decided I was to stay home as I might give it to the other kids. Father bought me some books. Although I was already able to read and write, on stormy days my father would come in the house and he and mom would talk and I listened. He got a slate and pencil and taught me arithmetic and writing so by the time I was five years old, I could read and write. The first year I went to school, I took 3 grades and I took the 5th and 6th grades in one year- so I didn’t spend a lot of time in school- 8 grades in 5 years. In those days a high school education wasn’t considered necessary to farm, but who in the hell said I wanted to farm! That’s all water over the dam now. I fooled them all- I think that I got myself a fair education.
I have lived in a time of great change. I remember when an automobile was considered to be a well, to do man’s toy. There were few roads fit to drive them on and the fabric tires of that time were not too good. A thousand miles was considered good. After WWI they started to improve the roads and the cord tire appeared. Also anti freeze was unknown before 1927. the first gravel was put on the roads in this area in 1924. I can remember the special election to vote on Bonds to gravel the road out each way from Louisville, to the precinct line. A hue and cry went up it wouldn’t work and wasn’t worth the price. The bond issue carried and it wasn’t so bad after all, and more roads were graded and graveled. By 1932 or 1933 most main roads were graveled. Before 1914 not everyone had a telephone. It took years to get lines extended. The first electric lights appeared in Louisville in 1915. Before that, kerosene lamps were the source of light, except for a few gasoline lighting systems and a few carbide gas plants- really they were acetylene gas lights. By 1920, gasoline engine powered generators were beginning to appear. The generators kept a bank of large batteries charged, usually 32 volts. They furnished electricity for lights and motors to run washers and pump water. We even had a 32 volt iron. We would charge batteries at least once a week. I acquired a plant about 1937 and used it until the High Line came about, thanks to R.E.A.
Radio came into general use in the 1920’s. Some of the first ones were crystal sets. We listened with ear phones and had one that worked real well. They cost nothing to operate. By 1926 I had a 5 tube super- hetrodyne set with a loud speaker. Television became the thing in the 1950’s. The early sets were quite cantankerous. Horse and mule power powered agriculture until the late thirties when the row crop tractors attained a degree of efficiency. For cultivating row crops, up until the 1920’s- steam traction engines were used mostly for powering threshers, corn sheller, etc. They were too ungainly for most field work. The first gas and oil burning tractors were awkward but they were improved rapidly, lighter and faster. I had a 1924 McCormick Deering 15-30 and a three bottom plow. I plowed several thousand acres with it as there weren’t any around. With a team and one row cultivator, one could cultivate 5 or 6 acres of corn a day. With the farm all row crop and 2 row cultivator, one could cultivate 20 or more acres a day.
When I got to be 21 years old, I got elected to the Dist. 86 School Board and served continuous for 21 years.Then in 1946 I was elected Justice of the Peace for 1 term. That’s where the nickname “Judge” came from. My father told of the grasshopper plague of the 1880’s when they came it was like a cloud. When they left, they had eaten everything that was green and how everything had to be hauled from Plattsmouth before the railroad was built. When they got the first reaper, then they could raise more than 5 acres of grain. Before that, it was cut with a cradle. I don’t remember how long it took to cut an acre of grain with a cradle, but I bet it took more than one day. After the reaper came the binder that tied the grain into bundles with twine. The first ones gave a lot of trouble. My father made an improvement on the Knotter that hasn’t been changed today. Knotters are still used on hay balers. International Harvester paid him $25 for the idea. The corn was picked by hand and a good husker could pick 100 bushels a day and some could pick more. But I couldn’t do it. Seventy five bushels was my limit. As the corn picker was developed, a tractor mounted picker could pick 600 bushels an hour. However, they grind up the corn cobs.
Back to myself again…by and large, I had an enjoyable childhood. Even dangerous sometimes…for instance when when I was 6 1/2 years old I poured kerosene on a bed of live coals and blew up the stove and got fried GOOD! I out grew 995 of the scars but I still have a few. My father had a box of about a dozen new door locks. I got into them and took them apart…of course..I couldn’t put them back together again. Father told mother “that kid is like a grasshopper-into everything!”
I was always a curious brat, very few things escaped my attention. Like all boys, I wanted a gun, but no dice. Finally when I was old enough, father said ‘there’s the shot gun, go hunting”. I shot once, it kicked like a mule, I went back home and never took it again!
When I was 3 years old, my father bought a Model T Ford car. It was some treat to ride in an automobile. That one, like most cars of it’s time, had acetylene gas head lamps. Two carriage style lamps mounted on the cowl burned kerosene as did the tail lamp. When winter came, autos of that era were usually jacked up, partly because to drive in the cold weather boiling water was poured into the radiator to help in starting. On arrival of where ever you were going, the water was drained until you were ready to go home. Anti Freeze didn’t come on the market until the late twenties and that was alcohol based that evaporated badly. Some tried glycerin in the radiators before but it would seep out and also turn the consistency of spaghetti. Father kept that car until 1922-an old gentleman, Noah Stafford always wanted to buy it. He finally must have mad an offer that Pop couldn’t turn down, as the man’s son-in-law came home from town with us and took the car back. By that time we had a telephone and father called the Ford dealer at Weeping Water and told him to bring a new car over. Needless to say, he was there in less than an hour. It was possibly one of the easiest sales ever made. That was a good car and an uptown job-electric lights, electric starter, demountable rims and a spare tire.
In 1913 Father also traded his Edison Cylinder Record Phonograph on a new new Victrola. I still have it and it plays as good as ever. Seventy seven years is a long time for something like that to la
We had an eight acre orchard. Mostly summer apples. Once in a while father would ship a carload, but usually there wasn’t too much a market for summer apples. Wind falls that fell in deep grass were given away and picked off the tree, 10 cents per bushel. We had a large cider mill. People would come and make cider by the jug full. One neighbor would come every summer with the whole family and make 2 barrels of cider for vinegar. As I got older, I wondered at the amount of vinegar they used. I imagine some of it ended up as Hard Cider with a kick like a mule.
When I got big enough to run a walking plow, Pop didn’t hire a man for fall plowing. I thought, O Boy, I’m a man now! Running a walking plow isn’t hard work. Just walking and having a hold on the handles. We had 60 acres or so to plow every fall. With 2, 16 inch plows! In later years I figured how far one walks to plow 1 acres with a 16 inc plow-about 7 1/2 miles! To give the horses a rest, we would stop and put up prairie hay, fill the hay mow in the barn and make a couple of big stacks outside. Then came wheat seeding time and then corn picking. I never had to pick much corn. Everyone tried to get through by Thanksgiving. Also when I went to school, all of the big boys and some girls got at least 2 weeks off to pick corn. Wouldn’t that cause a consternation now!!
At Thanksgiving time a program of music, song and mabe a stage play ws put on at the school house. In those days the school house was more or less the center of social activity for the neighborhood. Sometimes we had a box supper at the school house. Ladies and girls would fix up a pretty box with lunch for two and they were auctioned off. Some of the fellow would pay a good price to get to eat with his girl. Then there were house parties once in a while, or maybe a dance. I played for dances but never learned to dance. Life was simpler then and entertainment was a lot cheaper too.
The late teens and early twenties was and era of good times. Sporty roadsters with rumble seats, girls bobbed their hair, put on lots of make up and work short skirts – it was called the Flapper Era. The general conduct was called scandalous by the more prim members of society – but everyone seemed to survive and most turned out as pretty good people.
On September 23, 1923, a flood hit Louisville and drowned 13 people. One was never found. Water was counter deep in the stores, damage was extensive. Surprisingly, a few people seemed to know about it. I have a set of pictures of the flood.
October 1929 herald the start of the Great Depression. Panic on Wall Street, bank failures, millions were out of work, farm prices dropped and in 1930 and 31, the depression deepened. Some turned their pockets inside out and called them Hoover flags. To make matters worse, the drought of the 1930’s set in- with dust storms-sometimes we lit lamps at noon. The sky was dark with dust. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was elected President. he instituted some reforms – WPA, to make work. The pay wasn’t much but it helped people to retain some dignity. Prices remained low on what crops escaped the drought. The Kellogg Co. was offering 13 cents a bushel for corn. Hogs sold for as little as 2 cents per pound. I sold 400 pound hogs for eight dollars each. Twenty five dollars would buy a good milk cow, if you had twenty five dollars. After 1936 it started raining again and conditions got better. Corn got to 45 cents then WWII came along and there were plenty of things to fret about-food and gasoline rationing along with tire rationing! They imposed a 35 MPH speed limit. It was enforced. If you were caught speeding you could lose your 3 gallon per week, gas or your tires, or both! The war put thousands back to work making planes and munitions. Of course, after the war, there was great demand for goods of all kinds.
By 1947, i was repairing things for others anyway, so went at it full time and stayed at it for 40 years. I worked for Pankonin’s Implement Co. for five years and worked nights and weekends at home. I still do some, but prefer wood work.
Just for old times sake, I have a Grocery ad of June 10, 1939.
Sugar 10# cloth bag………..49 cents
Four 49# bag………………..98 cents
peaches 2 1/2# can..two for 25 cents
corn flakes ..2 large boxes ..19 cents
pork chops ……………………10 cents per #
Candy bars…………………3 for 10 cents
About that time we would take a case of eggs to town–12 cents a dozen. Another thing I forgot to mention was early refrigerators and the winter ice harvest. Jim Hoover had an ice house that supposedly held 100 tons. He would peddle ice in town all summer. father made an ice house and put up ice. It usually lasted most of the summer. An ice box as they were called, didn’t keep it too cold; about 40 degrees at best. Folks that had a dug well would hang cream and butter down in the well. Then there were ice-less coolers for sale. A hole was dug 8 to 10 feet deep and this metal tube was set in it. Containers were lowered into it with a rope on a crank. We had a large refrigerator that held 100 pounds of ice and had a water cooler built in.
To beat the summer heat, some folks built summer kitchens to cook in and then carried the food into the house.
Those were the good old days that are talked about! Some were not so good but people survived. The only thing that can be said for them is that life was a lot simpler and probably people were just as happy then as they are now. Would I live them over? Sure thing, only I would want a few changes; although I can’t think of what they would be. I have enjoyed life immensely. While I am at it, I might as well mention that I did go to music school. That is the only thing that I have the papers to prove that I learned!”
Special thank you to Lawrence for keeping us informed on what “history” really was. I hope you enjoyed todays read and if so, please leave me a comment at the bottom of the page. If you have memories you would like to share…I’d love to hear it.
Ah it’s been a difficult winter hasn’t it? Here in Kansas we had tons of snow and then rain. Nebraska is flooding. People are complaining.
When things get difficult I often reflect on how things were for our ancestors. We are so spoiled if we stop to think how things were for them. They had no air conditioning or central air to keep them comfortable, no heated cars to jump into only a horse to cuddle up to to keep warm. They struggled every day to survive. Here are some interesting facts from England in the 1500’s and how it use to be. Next time you start to feel frustrated with your situation…stop and reflex on what your ancestors coped with.
Marriage in June
Most people got married in June because they too their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hid the body odor.
Want a bath?
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water. All of the other sons and men in the house were next. Finally the women and then the children. Last was all of the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
Raining Cat’s and Dogs
Houses had thatched roofs, thick with straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm with the weather was cold, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals such as mice, and bugs, lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. From this we get the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs!”
A Canopy Bed
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. The was a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could make a mess on your nice clean bed. People would make beds with big posts and hang a sheet over the top to give a bit of protection from the falling debris. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was made of dirt. Only the very wealthy had something other than a dirt floor and therefore those with dirt floors were “dirt poor” . The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they would spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on they could continue to add more straw or thresh as it was called, until it would start slipping outside when the door was pushed open. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance and so the term “threshold” was born.
How many of you remember the rhyme “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot, nine days old”?
In the old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that would hang over the fire. Every day they would light the fire and add things to the pot. They mostly ate vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it and it had been there for quite awhile, hence the rhyme.
Chewing the Fat
Occasionally they were able to obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors would come, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man “could bring home the bacon” They would cut off a little to share with guest and would all sit around and “chew the fat”.
Tomatoes were Poisonous
People with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high acid content would cause some of the lead to leach onto the food and cause lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were consider poisonous.
Most people did not have pewter plates but rather trenchers, which was a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers were made from stale bread that was so old and hard they could be used for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed and would and mold got into the wood and old bread. After eating of wormy, moldy trenchers one would get what they called “trench mouth”.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers would get the burnt bottom of the loaf, and the family got the middle. Guest would get the top or the “upper crust” .
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little trip back in time. Next time you want to complain stop and think how it “could be” or how it “was”. It’s amazing so many survived to leave a heritage. If you’ve enjoyed this or know of where an old time saying originated…please share with us in the comments!
We talked a bit about Mary Coffin Starbuck in our previous post but we only touched the surface of the the woman and her life. She was an example to all who came in contact with her and I hope in this post to give a little more insight into who this woman was what what her life was like. Great Mary, as she was called was instrumental in the developing of the Nantucket colony and the building of the Quaker religion on the Island and was considered a top influential leader among the Quakers and the islanders.
WAS IT ALL BASED ON RELIGIOUS BELEIFS?
When we think of the first settlers of the colonies most likely the first thing that comes to mind is the Pilgrims, the next would perhaps be the Puritans, and then of course the Quakers. In the early years of what later became the United States, Christian religious groups played an influential role in each of the British colonies, and most attempted to enforce strict religious observance through local town rules and colony governments. Laws mandated that everyone attend a house of worship and pay taxes that funded the salaries of ministers. In order to become a “freeman” you had to belong to a church. Eight of the thirteen British colonies had “established,” churches, and in those colonies anyone who sought to practice a different version of Christianity or a non-Christian faith were often times persecuted. Differing Christian groups often believed that their own practices and faiths provided unique values that needed protection against those who disagreed, driving a need for rule and regulation.
In Europe, Catholic and Protestant nations often persecuted or forbade each other’s religions, and British colonists frequently maintained restrictions against Catholics. In Great Britain, the Protestant Anglican church had split into bitter divisions among traditional Anglicans and the reforming Puritans, contributing to an English civil war in the 1600s. In the British colonies, differences among Puritan and Anglican remained. In the name of religion we have seen much division, prejudice, and war throughout history.
Between 1680 and 1760 Anglicanism and Congregationalism, an offshoot of the English Puritan movement, established themselves as the main organized denominations in the majority of the colonies. As the seventeenth and eighteenth century passed on, however, the Protestant wing of Christianity constantly gave birth to new movements, such as the Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, Unitarians and many more, sometimes referred to as “Dissenters.” In communities where one existing faith was dominant, new congregations were often seen as unfaithful troublemakers who were upsetting the social order. People were driven from one settlement to another because of their religious beliefs. Take a look at the Mormons and Quakers for instance here in this country. All of this began years before in other countries as well.
Most New Englanders went to a Congregationalist meetinghouse for church services. The meetinghouse, which served many agendas, was a small wood building usually located in the center of town. Services last most of the day and parishioners sat for hours on long wooden benches. These meeting houses became bigger and much less crude as the population grew after the 1660s. Steeples grew, bells were introduced, and some churches grew big enough to host as many as one thousand worshipers.
Colonial-Era Meeting House, Sandown, New Hampshire
In contrast to other colonies, there was a meetinghouse in every New England town.
In 1750 the population of Boston numbered about 15000 and had eighteen churches.
In the previous century church attendance varied and they were often times held in the homes of the colonist. After the 1680s, with many more churches and clerical bodies emerging more organization and attendance was enforced in New England. In even sharper contrast to the other colonies, in New England most newborns were baptized by the church, and church attendance rose in some areas to 70 percent of the adult population. By the eighteenth century, the vast majority of all colonists were churchgoers.
The New England colonists were mostly Puritans, who led strict religious lives. The clergy was highly educated and devoted to the study and teaching of both Scripture and the natural sciences. The Puritan leadership, especially in Massachusetts and Connecticut, included their version of Protestantism into their political structure. Government in these colonies contained elements of theocracy, asserting that leaders and officials derived that authority from divine guidance and that civil authority should be used to enforce strict religious conformity. Their laws assumed that citizens who strayed away from religious customs were a threat to civil order and should be punished, and many were, for their nonconformity.
New England churches operated quite differently from the older Anglican system in England. Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut didn’t have church courts to levy fines on religious offenders, leaving that function to the civil magistrates. Congregational churches most generally did not own property. The local meeting house was owned by the town and was used to hold town meeting and religious services. Ministers were called upon to advise the civil magistrates but played no official role in town or colony governments.
In those colonies, the civil government dealt harshly with religious dissenters, exiling the likes of Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams for their outspoken criticism of Puritanism, and whipping Baptists or cropping the ears of Quakers for their efforts to convert others to their opinion. Official persecution reached its peak between 1659 and 1661, when Massachusetts Bay’s Puritan magistrates hung four Quaker missionaries.
The actual experience of New England nonconformist varied widely, and punishment of religious opinion was varied. England intervened in 1682 and ended the corporal punishment of dissenters in New England. The Toleration Act was passed by the English Parliament in 1689 and gave Quakers and several other denominations the right to build churches and to conduct public worship in the colonies. While dissenters continued to endure discrimination and financial penalties well into the eighteenth century, those who did not challenge the authority of the Puritans directly were left alone and were not legally punished for their “heretical” beliefs.
As mentioned in previous post, it was due to religious beliefs and persecution that so many of our ancestors came to America, and also the cause for them to relocate time and time again.
ALONG CAME MARY
MY EIGHTH GREAT GRANDMOTHER
Mary was born 20 Feb, 1644 in Haverhill, Massachusetts shortly after her father Tristram Coffin’s arrival to the American colonies and his settlement there. She was their seventh child. Tristram being such an influential character in the development of the colony and a founding father of Nantucket, causes me to question what role he played in the development of his children’s character. So often it is the mother that instills the most influence in the upbringing of the children and from reading the history of the Coffins it is common knowledge that he could not have been home much having done so much traveling. It could be that Tristram and Dionis are both to credit for the upbringing of such influential individuals.
I’m sure watching the struggle of her parents while growing up played a big role in the woman that she became. Raised as a Puritan, Mary, no doubt early on, was raised with strict Puritan beliefs. The Puritans came from England to get away from the church there. Though they considered themselves part of the Church of England, they felt that it was adopting too many Catholic ideals and that it needed to be Purified.
Mary was fifteen when she moved to Nantucket with her father. Two years later she married Nathaniel Starbuck son of Edward and Catherine Reynolds Starbuck. She and Nathaniel were the first white couple to be married on the newly developing island. Nathaniel was a prosperous farmer, local official, and partner with her father in purchasing the area from the Indians. Their first child Mary, born in 1663 was the first white child born on the island of Nantucket. They built their home about 1677 which eventually became known as the Parliament House. The original site was near Hummock Pond. The house is now a private residence at 10 Pine Street, corner of School Street in Nantucket.
Nathaniel later went into the whaling business and Mary, seeing the need for commerce opened a merchant store. She, unlike her husband was very literate, her handwriting was exquisite, and her mathematical skills exceeded most. She kept detailed accounts on the business and was involved in the lives of nearly every person on the Island, from Wampanoag Indians to housewives to visiting dignitaries. Throughout the years Mary became popularly known as “mother of the settlement” but is most proclaimed for having brought Quakerism to Nantucket and into the lives of the inhabitants there. It is said that she was an easy and eloquent speaker with a silvery tongue. Her kind and gentle manner and influence gained her great respect from the neighbors and they looked to her for guidance and advice in every area… ‘ a ‘Deborah’ among them for her wisdom and great ability, she soon came to be called “The Great Woman”. Above all that she and her family were among the wealthiest on the Island.
MARY COFFIN STARBUCK’S “ACCOUNT BOOK with the Indians” is a sheepskin-covered ledger tracking the credits and debits of the two hundred Indians who patronized her store. She began keeping the account book in 1683 and the book was completed after her death in 1717 by her son, Nathaniel Starbuck, Jr., in 1766.
An example of one account in the book is for Tom Poney [Pone, Pony] who in 1734 and 1735 bought from the general store such items as blankets, corn-meal, meat, thread, tobacco, a great coat,
women’s shoes, candles, molasses, and seed corn among other things. For the same years he was credited for “fish caught at Siasconset,” a “share of a whale got with John Russel,” “share of a whale got with Shubael Folger at Cansco,” fish caught at Shawkemo, and a “share of a whale caught with Jethro Folger.” He was also credited for his labor, “washing sheep” and “plowing two acres.” In 1737 he was even given credit for labor per-I formed by his sister: “carding wool.”
A study of the account book, held in the NHA Research Center, introduces readers to Indian names, their businesses, and the economy of the island. According to Elizabeth Little, “it is a treasure trove of data about Indian life on Nantucket covering the years 1683, when the cod-fishing industry of Nantucket got under way, to 1764, when most of the Indians died of a tragic illness.” It is an invaluable research tool and a lasting document meticulously kept by a great woman of Nantucket.
The population of Nantucket in 1700 was approximately 300 whites and 800 Indians. Short of specie and needing loyal suppliers, traders would advance up to ten pounds of cloth, fish hooks, shoes, shot, kettles, and more in exchange for feathers and fish. The use of the credit system depended on the courts allowing the Indians to be sued for debt. Mary’s book shows accounts for as many as 200 Indians, who were primarily engaged in cod fishing and fowling but were also performing routine manual labor, and later whaling. In return for their efforts, they received necessary tools, cloth, and supplies.
Mary and Nathaniel raised ten children of whom five daughters and three sons lived to maturity. From this family all of the Starbucks of America are descended.
Introduction to Quakerism
Though being of Puritan faith Mary began practicing what was referred to as “radical spiritualism”.
Hearing of a strong woman with tendencies leaning towards the Quaker faith, English Quakers came to the island in hopes they could convert her to Quakerism. They believed her strength of character and influence among the islanders would help to spread the Quaker faith if only she could be converted. One Friend who especially influenced her was Thomas Story who held meetings in her home which became know as the Parliament House due to the fact that much of the public business was conducted there.
Unlike the Puritan faith the Quakers encouraged equality for all…men, woman, slaves, and Indians, therefore allowing women to minister. Mary would preside over meetings in her home to win many converts to the Quaker faith. John Richardson an early Quaker preacher said of her, “The Islanders established her a Judge among them, for a little of moment was done without her advice.” She held religious meetings in her home, being herself a Quaker preacher of power and eloquence. “Parliament House hosted the famous John Richardson meeting of 1702 and served for the first decade of active Quakerism on the island as the site of regular Meetings for Worship (1704-1711) and the business meetings that resulted in the formation of Nantucket Monthly Meeting in 1708. Women’s Monthly Meeting also met there from 1708 to 1716.”
Originally published in the Historic Nantucket, Vol 46, No. 4 (Fall 1997) p. 17 Mary Coffin Starbuck’s “Account Book with the Indians” By Helen Stehling
“June 28, 1702. (QN, p13) A visiting minister has come to Nantucket. Mary Coffin Starbuck has issued an open invitation to a meeting for worship that he will hold in her home, known as Parliament House. The preacher is a Quaker, and the few Quakers already living on the island are pleased that one of their number should be attracting so much attention. For some, it is true, the attraction is not as much the preacher as the chance to view the shining woodwork and comfortable appurtenances of Parliament House and the lifestyle of the affluent and influential Starbucks. A storekeeper, Mary is the island’s chief creditor, and few commodities leave or arrive on the island without passing through her hands.
Already people have filled the house, and the benches placed outside the doors have few spaces left. By the time the meeting begins, all the casement windows of Parliament House will have been removed, and virtually all the English settlers on the island will be pressed close to hear. Few forms of entertainment on Nantucket can compare to a visiting minister, and today’s meeting promises to be exceptional. Mary Starbuck is clearly leaning toward Quakerism; perhaps today will bring an open declaration.
Those who have met the minister-John Richardson is his name-report that he is a Yorkshire man, and his manner of speaking is exotic and even a bit unpleasant to most islanders’ West Country ears. The oldest Starbuck son, Nathaniel Jr., has offered hospitality to Richardson; the whole family has been more than a little taken with other Quakers who have come to the island. Father Nathaniel’s own sister has married into a Quaker family and been recognized as a minster herself.
Almost everyone has been to a meeting conducted by one of these Quakers before, and they know that the meeting will begin with a period of silence. When finally it comes, it takes a few moments for the quiet to ripple outward through the windows to the crowd in the yard. After some minutes, people stop shifting where they stand or sit, and a kind of deep tranquility sets in. Even the children are at ease.
The first to speak is James Bates, a Quaker from Virginia. Then at last a low voice is heard, hard and nasal-the Yorkshire preacher. He is not exactly praying, and certainly not preaching in the style of the Baptists and Congregationalists who have come to Nantucket before. There is a kind of rhythm to his speech, and a strange intonation. He is chanting.
As the listeners’ ears become accustomed to Richardson’s strange accent and manner of speaking, they realize that he is talking about Jesus. New Englanders are more comfortable with the temperamental deity of the Old Testament, but they know the parables of Jesus and the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection.
Richardson is talking about Jesus the man-a simple, good man whose words and teachings are not meant to be just cautionary tales against misbehavior. This Jesus is not an impossibly righteous divinity but rather a man whose words of common sense cut through anger, hatred, greed, and envy. The preacher is suggesting in a simple, eloquent fashion that the world could be a much better place-a paradise-if everyone followed these words, if everyone accepted the living spiritual rebirth proclaimed by Jesus. Skeptics raise their eyebrows; they have heard this before. But the Yorkshire Quaker puts the case well. One can almost imagine . . .
Those close to the front can see that Richardson has now turned his attention full on Mary Starbuck, who has begun to weep openly. Inspired by the palpable response of his listeners, Richardson becomes more eloquent, the vision he lays out more beautiful still.
Many are sobbing by now. More than an hour has passed, and for some time now most of the white population of Nantucket has been caught up in the words of the Quaker. Seeing their leaders succumbing to honest emotion, they surrender, too. When Richardson suddenly stops speaking, they hunger for more. His own emotional state, he will later write, is ‘beyond his measure.’
Mary Starbuck’s meeting has been a success, in more ways than anyone could have expected. The Quaker Richardson has shown the islanders a new path. It is not fire and brimstone that will fuse them into a spiritual community, but a simple testimony of peace, honesty, and love. As Mary stands at the meeting’s end, she holds out her hand. ‘This,’ she tells the gathered multitude, ‘is the overwhelming truth.'”
She is said to have been baptized by Peter Folger, in Waiptequage Pond; and about 1704 she became convinced of the truth as taught by the Friends, and Mary converted to Quakerism at the age of 56, and became one of their most influential ministers. Her family after that generally became Friends, and her son Nathaniel, and daughter Priscilla Coleman, and grandsons Elihu and Nathaniel Coleman, were at a later period Quaker ministers.”
Englishman John Richardson wrote of a meeting at which Mary “Spoke trembling… Then she arose, and I observed that she and as many as could well be seen, were wet with Tears from their Faces to the fore-skirts of their Garments and the floor was as though there was a Shower of Rain upon it”. Richardson wrote also that [She was a] “most extraordinary woman, participating in the practical duties and responsibilities of public gatherings and town meetings, on which occasion her words were always listened to with marked respect.”
Mary’s oldest son, Nathaniel Starbuck, Jr. (1668-1753), was very involved with his mother in preaching Quakerism. The Quakers on Nantucket were strong politically and financially, and many were involved in the whaling industry. (Nathaniel married his first cousin, Dinah Coffin.)
By the time Quakerism was fully established on the island and the island had been able to establish its own yearly meeting, Mary became one of the most celebrated Friends and Quaker leaders on the island. The Nantucket Meeting was formed in 1708, with Mary serving as an elder and her son Nathaniel Jr. as clerk. Mary became the first recognized minister among the islanders. Although the first Meeting house on Nantucket was built in 1711, Mary did not live to see the official Nantucket Monthly Meeting be established.
Mary Coffin Starbuck died on Nantucket Island November 13, 1717, at the age of seventy-two. Her body was laid to rest in the Friends’ burial ground next to the new meeting house built on land donated by her son and the Nantucket proprietors.
THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
The Quaker (Friends) Meeting House on Fair Street was erected circa 1838 by builder James Weeks and originally served as a Friends school for the Wilburite sect. John Boadle, a Quaker schoolmaster from London, was the teacher, and the school was called “John Boadle’s School.” In 1864, with the decline in the number of Friends on Nantucket, the school was converted into a meeting house and the large South Meeting House next door was sold and removed. The existing meeting house was purchased from the Friends in 1894 by the Nantucket Historical Association and served as its first museum.
Quakerism in America Quakerism had its roots in England in the 1650s, when George Fox gathered together a group of “friends” who felt that the spirit of God, or the “Inner Light,” was within each person and that the worship of God did not require an intermediary (minister or priest). The Society of Friends, as it became known, was vehemently persecuted in England and many Friends died in prison. The first missionaries of the Society of Friends from England arrived in America in 1656, but only in the colony of Rhode Island were they cordially received.
Quakerism in Massachusetts was a radical departure from mainstream Puritan thought. In addition to their doctrinal differences, the seventeenth-century Friends, unlike the quiet, inward-looking Friends of the eighteenth century, were activists. Refusing to recognize rank, take oaths, or pay any kind of church taxes, they opposed the established church. Massachusetts took the strongest measures to suppress Quakerism, including hanging, and even those who communicated with Quakers were subject to fines. It was not until 1661, when Charles II was restored to the throne and ordered that Quaker trials be transferred to England, that pressure lessened in the Bay Colony. By the 1660s, Quakerism was spreading throughout New England, and Rhode Island elected a member of the society as governor. Even Massachusetts was fairly accepting of the Quakers by the beginning of the eighteenth century.
There does not seem to have been any organized religious group in the Nantucket English community during the seventeenth century. Obed Macy, in his History of Nantucket (1835; reprints 1880 and 1972), remarks that “During the first fifty years after the settlement, the people were mostly Baptists; there were some Presbyterians, a few of the Society of Friends.”
Quakerism in early Nantucket The Society of Friends was the first group to formally organize on the island. This firm commitment was a direct outgrowth of the missionary visits of Friends from off-island, including Thomas Chalkley, a Quaker missionary-merchant from Philadelphia, and John Richardson, a well-known English Friend. Between 1704 and 1708, a number of other Friends visited Nantucket from Rhode Island, Long Island, Philadelphia, and England.
In the forty-year period after 1708, the Meeting outgrew a series of meeting houses and expansions. By the late 1750s, the Friends meeting house at the corner of Pleasant and Main Streets served 1,500 persons. In 1762, with the Quaker community having grown to almost 2,400 persons, the much larger Great Meeting House was built at the crossroads of Main Street and Madaket Road.
The Quakers on Nantucket were strong politically and financially; many were involved in the lucrative whaling industry. They were in the majority for most of the eighteenth century, and their devotion to simplicity and strict adherence to traditional ways influenced Nantucket’s architecture, home furnishings, clothing, and social behavior.
Factionalism in Nantucket Quakerism The Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 were disastrous for the Society of Friends. Their doctrine of pacifism led them to read out of meeting dozens who had supported and/or participated in the “American Cause.” After 1820, Quakerism on Nantucket started to decline rapidly, with a great decrease in the number of Quakers by the 1840s. Members were read out of meeting for marrying non-Quakers and for nonattendance. Around 1830, the Hicksite division had a devastating effect on American Quakerism. The Nantucket Meeting broke into factions, with older, more orthodox, Quakers unable to accept the changing times. Three different sects—the Hicksites, the Gurneyites, and the Wilburites—held separate meetings on the island, thus shattering Quaker unity. By the late 1860s there were only a few Quakers on the island, and by 1900, it is said, there were none.
Quakers Today Since 1939, members of the Religious Society of Friends have used the Quaker Meeting House on Fair Street for worship according to the Quaker manner on Sunday mornings during the summer. Since 2000, a small group has been meeting there year round. Although under the oversight of the Friends of the New England Yearly Meeting, the group is without formal organization. Today, the Religious Society of Friends is one of the recognized Christian denominations with about 120,000 members in the United States and perhaps about 200,000 in all other parts of the world. Present-day Friends believe that the old Quaker principles and manner of worship are applicable in modern life.
For further information on current activities of the Nantucket Friends: May to October: 508.257.6101 Off-season: 508.228.1730 Or write to:
Nantucket Friends Meeting PMB 2 2 Greglen Avenue Nantucket MA 02554 The Quaker Meeting House has been the property of the Nantucket Historical Association since 1894.
Mary Coffin Starbuck is mentioned in Quaker Nantucket by Robert J. Leach and Peter Gow on pages 11, 12, 13, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 30, 36, 40, 43, 51, 58, 86, 147, 148, 149, 153, 158, 190 and 196.
Page 11, “Another leading citizen was Nantucket’s first storekeeper, Tristram Coffin’s daughter Mary. The energetic Mary quickly became an important figure in the young settlement, arranging credit and commerce among the growing white population and the Indians. Mary’s husband was Nathaniel Starbuck, whose sister, Sarah Starbuck Austin, was a Quaker minister living on the New Hampshire coast. Nathaniel’s investments in whaling, along with Mary’s profits from the store, became the foundation of one of Nantucket’s early fortunes.”
Page 12, “The next year John Gardner’s own niece Sarah married Joseph Paddock, nephew of Ichabod, in the Yarmouth Meetinghouse. It is doubtful whether her old Puritan uncle attended the ceremony, but he probably offered no objections. In 1698 Mary Coffin Starbuck’s youngest daughter, Hephzibah, stood up in the Apponegansett Meetinghouse (near where New Bedford would later be founded) to marry Thomas Hathaway. Hephzibah, like Puella Hussey Gorham, was soon acknowledged, by virtue of her eloquence in meeting, as a minister. There was no way to prevent this ministering young woman from going to visit her mother, the powerful shopkeeper, and her father, a founder of Nantucket’s whaling industry. Seeing the inevitable at hand and perhaps tired of controversy, John Gardner retired from the magistracy that same year.”
Continuing on page 12, “For nearly forty years Mary Starbuck and others had resisted the establishment of any kind of paid ministry on Nantucket. Denominationally diverse, the English settlement continued to look off island for religious sustenance. Now it was time for visiting Friends, many of whom had important family connections on the island, to try their hands at cultivating Nantucket’s spiritual garden.”
Page 13, “June 28, 1702. A visiting minister has come to Nantucket. Mary Coffin Starbuck has issued an open invitation to a meeting for worship that he will hold in her home, known as Parliament House. The preacher is a Quaker, and the few Quakers already living on the island are pleased that one of their number should be attracting so much attention. For some, it is true, the attraction is not as much the preacher as the chance to view the shining woodwork and comfortable appurtenances of Parliament House and the lifestyle of the affluent and influential Starbucks. A storekeeper, Mary is the island’s chief creditor, and few commodities leave or arrive on the island without passing through her hands.” “Mary Starbuck is clearly leaning toward Quakerism; perhaps today will bring an open declaration.”
Page 16, “Those close to the front can see that Richardson has now turned his attention full on Mary Starbuck, who has begun to weep openly. Inspired by the palpable response of his listeners, Richardson becomes more eloquent, the vision he lays out more beautiful still.”
Continuing on page 16, “Mary Starbuck’s meeting has been a success, in more ways than anyone could have expected. The Quaker Richardson has shown the islanders a new path. It is not fire and brimstone that will fuse them into a spiritual community, but a simple testimony of peace, honesty, and love. As Mary stands at teh meeting’s end, she hold out her hand. ‘This,’ she tells the gathered multitude, ‘is the overwhelming truth’.”
The chapter entitled, “Great Mary’s Children,” on page 21 states, “The first Quaker visitor to Nantucket with explicitly missionary ambitions was Thomas Turner, who arrived in 1698. A former traveling companion of Fox, Turner was accompanied by Hugh Copperthwaite, a Long Island Quaker, and, most probably, by Haphzibah Starbuck Hathaway, daughter
of Nathaniel and Mary Coffin Starbuck. Captain Peleg Slocomb, son-in-law of Christopher Holder, sailed the party to the island. Little specific information survives concerning this visit, but it is reasonable to surmise that Turner and company held an appointed meeting, perhaps at Parliament House, the home of Nathaniel and Mary Coffin Starbuck.”
Page 22, “The arrival on Nantucket of some of Newport’s leading Friends was tantamount to an offer: We in the narragansett region will undertake to defend your interests, in particular your religious freedom. We ask in return that you consider the Quaker way, and that commercial ties between our communities be strengthened. That the island’s storekeeper, Mary Coffin Starbuck, and one of its principal whaling entrepreneurs, her husband, Nathaniel, seemed favorably disposed to Quakerism suggested strongly that a positive response might be anticipated.”
Continuing on page 22, “Another facet of Quaker culture became apparent in 1698 when Joanna Slocomb Mott arrived on Nantucket t o preach. To the two hundred or so who turned out to hear her, the novelty of a female minister, traveling without her husband, must have been considerable, although it was well known that women Friends were welcomed into the ministry. After all, two daughters of the island, Puella Hussey Gorham and Hephzibah Starbuck Hathaway, had already been acknowledged as ministers on the mainland.”
Page 26, “For two years after Richardson’s 1702 visit, appointed meetings were held sporadically at Parliament House by ministers who came to Nantucket. The visitors commonly stayed for several weeks or more, preaching at public appointed meetings as well as passing among Quaker or Quaker-inclined homes and sharing private meetings of the host families. As the Quaker spirit on Nantucket was catalyzed, Mary Coffin Starbuck’s own convincement continued to deepen. From a passive role as benign protective spirit and host to Quaker visitors, she became more and more active in worship. At last she herself became a minister, and surviving reports describe her preaching as powerful and compelling. History has come to know Mary Starbuck as the ‘Great Woman’ or ‘Great Mary,’ and much of Nantucket’s later glory can be attributed to her leadership in bringing to the island a creed that promised community and stability as well as (for a time, at least) unity of purpose.”
ORIGINAL SOURCE MATERIAL to support the RELATIONSHIP between MARY COFFIN and her son JETHRO STARBUCK
1) Nantucket Vital Records to 1850, 5 vols. Boston, 1925-28, Births, page 507, Starbuck, Nathaniel, h. Mary (d. Tristram Coffin 1st and Dionis), s. Edward and Catharine Reynolds, , 1636 [? In Dover, N. H.], P.R. 38.].
2) NVR to 1850, Births, page 302, Coffin, Mary, w. Nathaniel Starbuck (s. Edward and Catharine), d. Tristram and Dionis (Stevens), 20th, 2 mo. 1645 (see Haverhill Vital Records), P.R. 38.
3) NVR to 1850, Births, page 501, Starbuck, Jethro, s. Nathaniell, Dec. 14, 1671. [h. Dorcas (d. William Gayer and Dorcas), s. Nathaniel and Mary (Coffin), 14th, 12 mo., P.R. 38].
4) NVR to 1850, Deaths, page 544, Starbuck, Jethro, h. Dorcas, 12th. 8 mo. 1770, C.R. 4. [h. dorcas (d. William Gayer and Dorcas), s. Nathaniel and Mary (Coffin), a. 98 y. 8 m., P.R. 38. A. 98 y. 8 m. 6 d., P.R. 63].
5) The History of Nantucket, County, Island, and Town including Genealogies of First Settlers by Alexander Starbuck, Charles F. Tuttle Company, publishers, Rutland, Vermont.
6) The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 162 vols., 1847-2009., page 181, 1853, A Record of Births, Deaths, and Marriages on Nantucket, Beginning in 1662, Communicated by Wm. C. Folger, of Nantucket, Corresponding Member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, “Jethro ye son of Nathaniel Starbuck was born ye 14th of Dec. 1671.”
7) NVR to 1850, Marriages, page 396, Starbuck, Jethro and Dorcas Gayer, 6th, 10 mo. 1694. Intention not recorded. [Jethro, s. Nathaniel and Mary (Coffin), and Dorcas Gayer Jr., d. William and Dorcas (Starbuck) (first w.), P.R. 38].
XX) Roland L. Warren, Mary Coffin Starbuck & the Early History of Nantucket (P.O. Box 803,Andover, NY 14806: Pingry Press, 1987). Hereinafter cited as Mary Coffin Starbuck & the Early History of Nantucket.
28. Jordan, John W., Colonial Families of Philadelphia, (Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago 1911), 566-7.
29. No Author, American Genealogical Record, The Robinson, (Genealogical Record Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1897), Vol. 2, p. 198.
30. Frank A. Gardner, MD, Thomas Gardner Planter and Some of His Descendants, (1731, Essex Institute, Salem, MA).
31. Jordan, John W., Colonial Families of Philadelphia, (Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago 1911), 566-7.
32. No Author, American Genealogical Record, The Robinson, (Genealogical Record Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1897), Vol. 2, p. 198.
33. Frank A. Gardner, MD, Thomas Gardner Planter and Some of His Descendants, (1731, Essex Institute, Salem, MA).
34. No Author, American Genealogical Record, The Robinson, (Genealogical Record Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1897), Vol. 2, p. 198.
35. Frank A. Gardner, MD, Thomas Gardner Planter and Some of His Descendants, (1731, Essex Institute, Salem, MA).
36. Macy: Silvanus J. Macy Genealogy of the Macy family from 1635-1868, Albany, Joel Munsell, 79.
37. No Author, American Genealogical Record, The Robinson, (Genealogical Record Publishing Company, San Francisco, 1897), Vol. 2, p. 198.
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Clifford W. Pierce was born in April, the 24, 1921 at home in Liberty. NE , the second son to Venus and Marie Pierce. He grew up during the depression when things were scarce, and times were hard and work was the way of living. As a young 12 year old boy Cliff entered a pony race in the little rural farm community of Reynolds, Nebraska, and won. There was a couple, the Presnells, there from California that had seen the race, and felt that young boy showed promise as a jockey. His parents agreed to let him go with them, the depression was hard on everyone, and they took care of him as if he were their own and a race horse trainer was born . So this young farmer boy left the country life and headed to the unknown for California. Was he excited? Was he nervous? Was he scared? If he was, he didn’t let it show and he went right to work. The following is a poem written for him by the woman that cared for him and she sent it to his mother.
On your Own Clifford Pierce
by Marie Presnell
You are on your own dear little man
and you know right from wrong:
Quite some time back your tones began
To change from high to strong.
Be guided well while on your own,
Increase the wisdom you have shown.
An honest man receives “the breaks”
That cheaters cry about:
And in temptations Neer forsakes
His mother’s faith devout.
Be guided well while on your own,
Increase discretion you have known.
Dear little lad, in deed and word,
Remember well and long–
“Tis easy to go with the herd”
It urges you to “come along”.
Be guided well while on your own,
If you would profit when you’re grown.
“Protect your honor and your name,”
You mother’s mother said.
She wished for you no blot of shame,
And for good morals plead;
Be guided well while on your own,
That heritage do not disown.
Grandmother Louise Blum’s exact words:
“Whatever you do, preserve and protect your name and honor.”
This woman started a scrap book for Clifford to keep track of all of his achievements for his mother, Marie Blum. At the time of Clifford’s death the books were handed down to his brother Cecil
and then to me, and one can see from looking at this scrap books that Clifford had many accomplishments to be proud of from the time he was just a boy. They are caulked full of newspaper clippings and photos of horses that Cliff owned and trained for others and his winnings as a jockey, and then a trainer. His life as a profession horseman has been well documented through pictures and newspaper clippings, and he was known by horsemen all over the US.
Some might think from a public viewpoint that horse racing consist of the excitement of betting, and warm beer in wax paper cups, and are unaware of the long hours,and hard work They train these big animals, work them and care for them, and hope to achieve a measure of success in the final run for the wire. , are the hopes and dreams of a horseman. This is exactly what Cliff learned right from the start, and it wasn’t long before his face was in the papers and his popularity among the horseman begin to grow. By the time he was 20 years old he had won many races and big purses in races in California and Mexico and had mad attainments way beyond his years.
A POEM by Marie Presnall
written of Cliff
A clean sweet lad in simple faith
decided he would ride
Would taste a jockeys gay renown
From play he turned aside
He left his parents and the farm
He travel oer five states
Observing all with watchful eyes
Avoiding argument and hates
In California he resides
In patience he prevails
He rides those silky mounts each day
In joy each task he hails
His doubtful weakness is his trust
May he not place it wrong
May wisdom take him ‘neath her wing
and make his morals strong.
THE COUNTRY CALLS
Clifford was called to the second World War as was his brother John. Clifford W Pierce, Technician Third Grade Medical Detachment, 409 Infantry and served as a medical technician, and was honorably discharged from the military service in February 1946. It has been said that he witnessed the worst part of the war and that the demons followed him throughout his life. His wife would tell that the only way to wake him up was to stand at the door and throw a shoe at him, as if you would touch him he would come up swinging.
After the war, Cliff returned to the home of his parents, in Belvedere, Nebraska. His father owned a big building there and Clifford turned it into a restaurant and bar, and he also ran the feed store. This property was left to him by his father after he died. Clifford sold the store but before it was paid for, a year later, a tornado went through the town and flattened it.
Cliff took up horse training and was well known and thought of by many horse breeders. I remember as a child going to Omaha, and Uncle Cliff taking us to the barns and letting us ride around the barns on the horses, and showing us how they were cared for and prepped for the races. He took a lot of pride in his nieces and nephews, and took every opportunity to show them off.
Clifford married a beautiful young lady by the name of Barbra Dowe when she became pregnant. She lost the baby and they never had any other, and after many years, I believe it was 26, of struggling to keep their marriage together, they were divorced.
My brother, Jeff, had to good fortune of spending a summer with Clifford and Barb. Uncle Cliff bought his a shoe shine box and encouraged him to make some extra money shining shoes at the race track. I remember crying as they took off together. I wanted to go so badly but because I was a girl couldn’t go. Jeff brought back many good memories of the time he spent with his Uncle, that lasted his whole lifetime.
After Grandma Pierce’s funeral, my sister and I rode with Uncle Cliff from the church in Omaha to the cemetery in Fairbury, NE. He occupied us on this trip by telling us stories about my father when he was young. He had a special way of keeping your attention when he told a story. He would often pause between sentences and you would have to wait patiently for him to begin again. We were never sure if he was finished or not.
Marie and Barbara Cliff’s mother and wife
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A HORSEMAN
In 1968 a young man by the name of Dennis Gottchall spent the day with Cliff to gain an understanding as to just what was involved in the training and caring for the horses. Cliff was his subject and he wrote: Cliff Pierce, a Reynolds, Nebraska farmer. He is a Veteran horseman having spent three years as a jockey and 27 years as a trainer. All horsemen dream of having a “big” horse, one that is capable of running against the best and winning. These horses are few and far between. In 1962 Cliff had one outstanding horse named Jerry Get up. He was destined to be a great horse, starting eight times that year, winning six and placing second twice. In 1963 he won $64,000. We was below par after that and Cliff was to know the heartbreak of having the horse die in his stall in Chicago. The cause of the death was an incurable liver ailment. ”
HOW JERRY GET UP GOT HIS NAME
Anyone who knew Cliff, knew about Jerry Get Up. I believe he was among the most favorite of all the horses Cliff owned and trained. He was his most successful horse and was owned by AW Dow, Cliff’s father in law. In 1964 Jerrry Get up started seven races, winning five and placing second twice. The horse also ran in Ak-Sar-Ben’s Princess Stakes and Ambassadors winning $27,329 for the year.
Jerry’s mother’s name was Janey Jump UP!
When the new foal was born they contemplated over a name for him. At the time, Cliff had a jockey named Jerry that seemed to have trouble getting up in the morning. Every morning Cliff would come to the barn and go to Jerry’s room and yell “Jerry! Get UP!”
Hence the name for the new foal.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Credit for the pictures below goes to Dennis Gottchall as well as most of the information shared here.
Cliff took care of about 20 thoroughbreds of various ages most of the time. He had two exercise boys and five stable hands to help get the job done.
There was much work that needed to be done by 10 o’clock when the track is closed in preparation for the races which would be held in the afternoon. This work required a lot of organization. Cliff instilled pride and confidence in his help with is soft outspokenness and quiet manner. Everyone began at daybreak.
The horses are fed at about 5:30 in the morning. Each horse must be galloped or walked each morning. I remember walking in the barns with the help as a child when I would get to go with Cliff. At 6 o’clock the horses were taken to the track to be galloped or to an open area to be walked.
When a horse was taken to the track someone cleans his stall and puts in fresh bedding and hay. When the horse returned he would get a bath. That is a picture that still stands in my memory.was that of the horses getting washed off. They were absolutely breath taking beauties. After their baths they were cooled down by walking.
Different trainers use different procedures for exercising their horses. Some walked them two horses at once using a saddle pony.
In 1968 Cliff had a horse by the name of Foreign Comet. He had been injured before in a race and Cliff gave the horse his personal attention. He took him to the track and worked him there. From the pictures below you will see his concern as he watches for any sign of a recurring injury. The responsibility was great when you have a horse that was valued at over 75,000 dollars.
THE MORNING OF THE RACE
FOREIGN COMET was entered in the $15,000 Nebraska Bred Three year old race at a mile and 70 yards. The day was bright and sunny and no trouble was anticipated. Things happen quickly and there is no time for mistakes. The horses paced nervously in their stalls. You could tell that he sensed he was going to run.
The call comes over the loudspeaker to bring the horses to the paddock within five minutes.. The tension and anxiety begins to build as the moment of the race draws near.
When the horses reach the paddock they are taken to stalls for saddling according to the numbers assigned them on the racing program. Number one had been assigned to Foreign Comet. A paddock judge checks identification on each horse. Horses are identified by numbers tattooed inside the upper lip.
A man from the State Racing Commission supervises the saddling so that each horse carries the weight assigned to him. Lead weight in the saddle is used if the jockey”s weight varies from the assigned weight.
LJ Dureusseau was contracted to ride Foreign Comet in this race. Before leaving the paddock, the trainer gives the jockey instruction on how he would like to have the horse ridden. Once they leave the starting gate, racing strategy sometimes changes abruptly so it pays to have a good, smart jockey aboard. This was something that Cliff knew first hand.
The horses are lead onto the track about fifteen minutes before the start of the race. This gives the public a chance to view the horses in the post parade, the jockeys then have a chance to warm up the horses and get the feel of their mounts.
For this race the starting gate was in position in front of the grandstand. Foreign Comet had the number one post position which meant he would start on the inside.
One by one the horses are put into the starting gate. When they are all quiet the official starter releases them with an electric switch.
Foreign Comet tried to break out on top, but the jockey settled him into second place. He maintained that position unchallenged until they reached the home stretch. Then Dureusseau called on the big horse to go all out. Foreign Comet answered with a burst of speed and won “going away”, leaving his closest competitor four lengths behind.
The horse is then led into the winners circle where pictures are taken of the horse along with the owner, trainer, and jockey by the track photographer. This picture is a symbol of the hard work and the ultimate achievement of all those involved in the effort. A silver plate was awarded to Foreign Comet’s owner, Bart Ford. His horse had just proven himself to be the best three year old Nebraska Bred. It is the big payoff for many long hours of hard work.
The prize money is divided with a percentage going to each of the first four places. In this case, Foreign Comet’s share of the purse was $12, 457. 60 .
The tension worry and stress are all gone now as Cliff leaves the winners circle chatting with his jockey.
The end of the race does not mark the end of the day for a horseman. There is still much to be done. The track is cleared immediately so it can be conditioned for the next race. All horses are returned to their respective barns for “cooling out”.
The winner of every race at Ak-Sar-Ben must be taken to the test barn which is managed by the Nebraska State Racing commission. Each winning horse is given a saliva test and a urine test to verify that drugs have not been give to the horse.
Now the horse has to be washed, and given an alcohol bath, and cooled out in the test barn area. His appearance after his big run shows the training and effort put forth by this particular horse with his big heart that is so clearly visible. He stands proud of his accomplishment with a winner’s blood pulsing through his veins. He is given only a small drink of water as he would make himself sick if he drank too much.
He is then blanketed and taken to his stall to rest. You can see the weariness of finishing the race where he put forth all he had.
This is just one day in the life of Clifford Pierce, horse trainer. He did it day after day almost every day of his life, and traveled all over the United States participating in races. I have a file cabinet full of pictures from the winning circle to prove that he was a man who knew his trade.
HIS LOVE OF FAMILY SHOWED
I have many wonderful stories of Uncle Cliff but one of my favorites speaks of his love for his family though I don’t think he really got to spend much time with them throughout the years. After a big winning race in which my mother and father witnessed, they got together and celebrated. Cliff gave my mom $900 dollars. One hundred dollars per child and said “It’s amazing that you have all those kids and not an idiot in the bunch!”
While at war he thought of his little sister at home and sent her the then popular Shirley Temple doll for Christmas. This is just a few of the ways that he showed his generosity and love for his family. He saw to it that his mother in her old age was well cared for and did without nothing.
He was visiting our house once when my sister was about three or four and she brought him every stuffed animal and doll she had. He held onto them with care while she would go to retrieve another one until his lap was full
IT TOOK IT’S TOLL
Like most of the Pierce’s, Cliff liked his drink, and as he got older and developed aches and pains he took to self medicating himself with horse drugs. I was told that he was hooked on them, and that at one time he even had his mother taking them. All that hard living took it’s toll on Uncle Cliff and his health started to suffer. He had heart problems and had a couple of small strokes.
While training a horse at the age of 64 he died of a stroke coupled with a heart attack at Osceola, Nebraska in August of 1985. Though he made a lot of money throughout his life, he died broke, and left his nephew as executor of the estate. Denny Pierce said that it was a night mare.
Though he left a family that loved him dearly, and many friends among the community in which he lived, I think that Uncle Cliff was a lonely man.
He is buried in Fairbury, Nebraska, with his father and mother, and brother Venus John.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. I enjoyed writing it. If so, do leave me a comment in the box below and let me know. If you knew Cliff Pierce or heard of him and have a story to tell. I would LOVE to hear it!