Centennial History Book
Every community has cherished REMINISCENCES
MRS. LIGGITT TELLS OF EARLY DAYS ON RANCH
When Mrs. Heath requested me to contribute something regarding the earlier days of Farnam and vicinity, I thought, "What will 1 write about?" But on thinking of the many changes that have taken place in the past fifty years I still ask myself just what will 1 write. I was born at North Platte, and in 1885 my family moved to a ranch on East Deer Creek, now known as the Ben Litchenburg ranch. I was only nine years of age and had never lived on a ranch. My uncle had owned this ranch and operated it as a sheep ranch, but hard winters, disease, wolves, lack of water, etc., soon played havoc with this enterprise, especially lack of water, as it was a major undertaking to get wells in those days.
In a few years they closed out the sheep business and my folks came in possession of the ranch and improvements and started in the cattle business. This had its ups and downs as water was still the major question. We lived there fourteen years, and the changes that took place during that period was almost like a fairy tale. The Burlington & Missouri Railroad was built soon after we moved to the ranch. There was a great deal of activity in the way of people moving to new homes and looking for new ones.
I remember one day in early summer my folks had to go to Farnam to get supplies and building material and as I was the oldest at home, I was left to care for the younger children. The folks had hardly got out of sight when I saw a man coming from the south. My first thought was I must not let him know we are alone, so when he asked if there were any men about, I told him they had just gone over that hill. He then asked if they would be gone long, I answered him and said, "Oh! no. He then told me he was stuck in the mud with a load and wanted help, so he went back to his wagon and returned about 4:30 and seeing no folks, so back he went and just after sundown came again with his mules and wanted to stay all night. We had hardly gotten his mules taken care of when we heard a commotion to the north and in a few minutes a wagon train of ten or twelve wagons came in sight, wanting to put up for the night, so about ten o’clock the folks returned and found me with the help of three or four men getting supper. They were very nice as almost everybody was. Our neighbors were grand and especially so when in trouble or sickness.
We had no school when we first moved out, but it was not long until the people started to work for a school. It was in the spring and in order to get money for the next year they must have at least three months of school that year and no schoolhouse, so a neighbor, Jerry Brittenham, said he had a place we could have. It was part cave and part sod. They hired Mrs. Mary Saxon at $10 per month. It was nice and cool on a hot day and everything went well until the mud puppies and bull snakes got possession during the school term, so in the face of all of this, they built a small sod schoolhouse with no floors or desks, but everyone worked hard and Mrs. Johnson, who taught for seven years took a keen interest in the school work.
After two more years, we had a nice frame school and new school furniture and we all felt that the world was ours. When I think of the starting of the schools and look at the Farnam High School as it is today, I think the people and especially those of the earlier days have a right to feel proud of the progress. I remember in the very early days of Mr. Thompson (Wesley Thompson’s father) coming to our house and telling of quite a building boom in Farnam and the one place that impressed me most was the hotel with a brick front that a man by the name of Woods was going to build. Space will not permit telling of the vast developments of Farnam and vicinity since I was a little girl on the old Robson Ranch on East Deer Creek.