Centennial History Book
Every community has cherished REMINISCENCES
AN OLD TIMER
Written by Elmer Peckham of Haig, Nebraska
From The Farnam Echo, Thursday, July 3O, 1936
I hear that you are planning a 50th anniversary at Farnam. Fifty years is quite a step! I was then but a boy. I am now a gray headed old man, and most of the people I knew in the vicinity of Farnam have gone to the "Great Beyond". , We came to the east edge of Lincoln County on the Platte with my parents when I was 13 years old.
That summer the range cattle roamed the valley and ate up the grass. My father went over south on North Plum Creek and put up hay to winter the cattle. My older brother, Herman dug a dugout at the head of a little pocket on land afterwards owned by my cousin, Rosa (McDermott) Burrows, mother of Lillie McNickle. My brother and I stayed over there, eight miles south of my folks most of the winter and fed the cattle and cut the ice in the water holes to water them.
The summers of 1881-82-83, as I remember it now, I stayed alone over there a part of each summer when the grass was good and water in the "water holes", and range herded my father’s cattle and slept at the dugout and went home once a week for grub. While I was only a boy I saw nothing to be afraid of except a skunk or a rattlesnake. There were a few antelope along the creek and deer in the canyons. It was wet one year and the blue joint grew as high as my saddle pony’s back, along the water courses.
In the summer of 1883,1 went over to Farnam, but there was no Farnam there then. I went northeast to the flat, where Mr. Tufts and Harry Taylor lived and to the Keystone post office and store. I bought ten cents worth of candy, went north to Mr. Willis’ place. (The first homestead on North Plum Creek if I remember right). Then back up the creek to the herd and hole in the ground I called home.
The next spring my uncle, Michael McDermott and cousins, Thomas, Stephen and Rosa came to North Plum Creek and homesteaded in 1885. I again herded the cattle, also a few owned by Steve McDermott and stayed with the boys and their sister, Rosa.
Nothing happened that summer worthy of note except I let the herd cross my Uncle Mike’s potato patch and he told me that if I was his boy he would give me a flogging. "You might as well step on an Irishman’s heart as his spud patch."
The country was all settled now and that was my last summer herding on the creek.
When I grew to manhood I got a homestead, which had been relinquished, near my uncle, Michael McDermotts. I went to Farnam once in a while to a dance, (some would say twice in a while). I finally got married (like most young men should). I proved upon the homestead, later selling it to my cousins, the McDermott brothers and moved to the valley and later to Scottsbluff County, Nebraska.
I haven’t been in Farnam for years, nor do I know many of its people any more. As I remember the eighties, they were mostly good years and no one suffered for grub, although most of them lived in sod houses. My uncle lived and died in the "Old sod shanty on the claim". His boys, Steve and Tom and their sister, Polly, spent the remainder of their lives in this "Old sod shanty" and it is still standing.
One of the "Old Timers" that time hasn’t erased.