Thursday, November 29, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 6

After the morning tide of annihilation had in its westward course, driven the buffalo to the extreme
western portion of the state, there still remained, even in the parts most thickly settled at this time,
thousands of acres of good grazing lands.



As the homesteader rarely kept more than a team or two and only a few acres, this land was,
for the most part unused.

The Texas cattle ranch men, hearing of this fine grazing land, began to send in great droves
of their native cattle to this section. Gaunt, slim-looking animals they were, with great, big
heads and enormous long horns!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Things That Make the Housewife Thankful, 1930s

This is an actual list from the early 1900s of some of the inventions that readers of Today’s Magazine, a magazine dedicated to housewives, made them the most thankful.

Baby's own bathtub-- a miniature bathtub that was much more manageable for frequent bathing and saved mothers from having to haul water to the full-sized household bathtub.
Dustpan with a long handle--to avoid frequent bending and to reduce back strain from daily (or more!) sweeping.

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 5

From the earliest knowledge that the whites had of the state of affairs west of the Missouri River we learn that the "Sahara of America," as Kansas was then sometimes called, was inhabited by buffalo and Indians. Long before Missouri was settled to its western border, white men, traders and trappers, camped along the eastern shore of the river and traded for furs which the Indians would bring across the river by canoe loads. Among the furs traded by the Indians would sometimes be buffalo robes, tanned as only an Indian could tan them at that time.

The Indians looked upon the buffalo as belonging to themselves and when the white settlers began to kill and slay they objected. They told the whites that the buffalo was their "cattle" and wanted them to be let alone.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 4

After a short time there were so many claims taken around Beloit that the homesteaders began to think they must make some provision for the education of their children, so the men in the various districts began to agitate the schoolhouse question. Before many years went by every few miles of the settlers' territory boasted some kind of a schoolhouse; sometimes it was a dugout; sometimes sod or stone; rarely was it a frame building. In most cases a lot of the work was donated and at first the wages of the more or less (often less), competent school teacher would be paid by the patrons of the school.

As times were hard and money very scarce we could only have in those days, three or four months school in the year but somehow we managed to pick up some knowledge in books and oh, we learned so many things by experience!

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 3

In the late fall of 1873, my father, my two brothers and some neighbors went about sixty miles west of where we lived, where buffalo were plenty and killed enough buffalo to make as much beef as could be hauled home in three wagons. I tell you, there was feasting when they got home! Many of us had not tasted meat for several months.

This meat was salted down in barrels and boxes, after the bone had been taken out, and the weather turning cold soon after, it was all frozen together in one solid mass. The cold spell continued till late in February and the only way we could get a buffalo roast or steak was to chop it out with an ax!

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 2

In 1873, we had what the old-timers call a “grasshopper” year. One day there came in sight, away to the southwest, a queer greyish-looking cloud. As it came nearer and got between us and the sun, it looked more curious still, and my mother made the remark to a neighbor who happened to be at our house, that
this was the queerest looking rain-cloud she had ever seen. The neighbor looked up and exclaimed: “Why, that isn’t a rain cloud, that’s grasshoppers!” And grasshoppers they were, as we found out to our sorrow, for what little vegetation and crops were left after the excessive dry weather were completely “gobbled up” in the day and night our winged visitors remained with us!

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 1

In the spring of 1871, my parents with their family consisting of my two brothers, a nephew, and
myself, moved from our former home in Iowa and settled in Kansas on a homestead two and one-half
miles south of the Solomon River, at the point where the beautiful city of Beloit now stands. My mother
was said to be the first white woman ever seen in that locality.

When the homestead was first taken there was not another dwelling place in sight, but during the first summer so many had settled on our side of the river that by fall we could stand in our door yard and count something like a hundred dugouts and shacks that in those days comprised the homesteader’s dwelling place.

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