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Centennial History Book

Every community has cherished REMINISCENCES


Although Daddy (David Spangler) came to Nebraska in the 1870’s with his older brothers, he had learned the "trade" as he called it in Pennsylvania. He was contractor "by trade" as he told me. He learned the business from the "foundation of a building to the chimney" of a house. So he painted, he could hang wallpaper, varnish - anything - he’d learned, brick work - as a boy as they lived near Mother’s folks and Grandpa was a "brick layer" and farmer. Mother taught school for nine years before they were married. Daddy went back to Pennsylvania in 1883. Daddy and Mother were married January 17th, 1884 and came to Fremont.

When Mother was going to college at York, Pennsylvania, her family lived close enough Grandma Wentz that they took some eggs, butter, baked goods and meat for her to the Farmers Market in York to sell for her. They used one horse hitched to a top buggy. Mother would go early in the morn and fix her booth, sell all of her produce before noon. Then she’d go back home. The folks in York were her customers and they would come every week to buy from Grandma.

Mr. and Mrs. Merle Crossgrove

My folks lived north of Fremont in early days. Virgie, Iva and Neva were born in Nickerson, nine miles north of Fremont. Then they moved to Fremont. From there they came to Farnam when Daddy bdught that place of one hundred sixty acres north of Mr. Estes. Donelsons, Murrays, Todds, the Reynolds, Dawsons and the Crossgroves, all lived there before we came on March 1, of 1909.1 taught in 1910 as a substitute on a permit in North School. I took the teacher’s exams and went to Mt. Hope as a teacher in September of 1911. So I visited the Hicks, Palmers, Drydens, Bjorlings, Thomallas, Hobbs, Kestlers, Rowlands, too. (I boarded with the Sam Hathaways), all of the children were my pupils including the Adkissons. Edna and Stella drove old Jim in a two-wheeled cart and came to see me at Mount Hope.

From Fremont I was daddy’s right hand man - helped build our house that was moved to Gothenburg later. They never moved to Farnam until 1915; then daddy built that house that Ed Davidson moved to Gothenburg when he went to work in the bank over there. Evelyn (his wife) wasn’t going unless they’d take the house.

He built another house. Mildred and Earl Edson lived in it. It was moved near Will Fitch’s house after they moved to Gothenburg. Mrs. Fitch took me to our "old home" one day. The lady that lived there said that they changed what was my bedroom into a bathroom. The Gothenburg carpenter said that he’d never worked on a house like that. He said that man surely knew his business. Daddy was so particular. I measured each lath with a finger between to get space right so it would hold the plaster good. I learned to shingle; I laid them for daddy to nail. The scaffold was sixteen feet from the ground, on the high side, too high for Iva; she’d get dizzy. We shingled the roof. I was Daddy’s hay stacker, too. I got a heat stroke one day; it was so hot on the stack and it was so hard to please that man, so we had to "get a nice top" on each stack because it would shed water better.

I drove an old farm team hitched to a wagon seven miles to take a lumber list to the lumber company in Farnam. One two by four wasn’t too straight, anyway Daddy said, "Oh, it’s as crooked as a dog’s hind leg - take it back - I won’t put such a board in my house; he knows better than to send such a two by four to me." Back the next day we go the fourteen miles there and back, another hot trip in a lumber wagon for a nice straight two by four.

Later Daddy got two little ponies and a spring wagon -? no top, either, but those ponies could go. One day though they nearly dumped Iva and me. Bessie got scared (at her shadow I guess) anyway, away they leaped and away we went, but the horses nearly went without us. There isn’t much to hang on to in a spring wagon.

To go to Gothenburg with Dickey and the spring wagon took a big day. We’d start early in the morning, and when we got home it would be dark or nearly so. We would go to Gothenburg through the canyons and Wiggin’s pastures, opening and closing gates on our way. When we got down on the valley, if a car was coming, I’d have to get out and hold Dickey by the bridle, and talk to him else he’d go up on his hind legs. He broke one shaft for the girls once doing this, they wouldn’t get out and talk to him. After that we got out and he’d stand like an old cow. One day when we were on the road, we saw a car coming and recognized it as Mr. Dalton’s. He always told us that we were more afraid than our horse. So I said to Ada, "There comes Mr. Dalton. We’ll let him see what Dickey does." But Ada spoiled my plans she said, "Get out! We will not let him break another shaft for us to show Mr. Dalton." So I had to get out and hold Dickey and yes Mr. Dalton said, "It’s you that’s afraid of a car." But I loved Old Dickey. After the folks moved to Farnam in 1915 Merle got the ponies and spring wagon from them. One day I went in a hurry with them. It took me only a little over thirty minutes for those twelve miles that I went with them, up and down hills -- did we go.

We’d pick wild black raspberries in the canyons and take them to Farnam and sell them for ten cents a quart to Mrs. Buss, Mrs. Sam Parker and others. Later I’d sell chickens - eighteen or twenty a week all nicely dressed for 25 cents for a two and a half pound or 30 cents for a three pound chicken. I sold two hundred thirty seven one summer to people in Farnam. That was in the late twenties and early thirties.

I remember a big prairie fire that burned so much of our pasture and hay land. I called Parkers Store and some men came out to help put the fire out. We had a threshing crew at our house at the time that helped put the fire out.

Burr Parker and his father put down our well in 1909. A rope broke. I’ll never forget that. It threw Burr and his helper. Burr’s helper (I can’t remember his name) came up a cussing and he’d stumble and fall - half stunned. Daddy was digging the cistern. I ran for Daddy. He came up out of the cistern and went to help them. They weren’t hurt too badly, anyway, they worked again after dinner.

Johnny Frank’s wife gave me some real China doll heads to make dolls for the Johnson girls, Dorothy and Dora. The girls played "Doctor and Nurse" with them one day. They got a pair of shears and cut their two dolls, that I’d made, all to pieces to "operate". I often wonder what happened to the China doll heads. They were "German" and would be worth quite a bit of money today.

I can remember three big prairie fires that I went to, to help put out.

Merle bought the Merriman Ranch in 1916. It consisted of seven hundred acres. We went there when I was teaching at Mount Hope.

We got our combine and tractor from Harold Palmer in 1939 (I think). Merle and Dorothy cut our wheat and many acres for the neighbors, who didn’t have a combine. They’d cut all night if there was no dew. One time they cut until four o’clock one morning. They told me to go to bed but how could I go to sleep when my loved ones were out in the field with those big machines, (those days they seemed big machines to me.) We moved to Gothenburg in 1963. Merle left us in 1971.

Then I came to Kearney.

When Marcus Gaudreault was tearing down an old house in Stockville lie found some old papers. One was an August 24, 1893 edition of the Frontier County Republican, a weekly paper published in Stockville. The other was a June 22, 1893 Frontier County Faber, a weekly paper also published in Stockville. Both papers had a subscription price of one dollar per year. Neither paper carried much local news. They did publish county business. The Republican had a local column titled, "Quick Quodlibeticals", written by Unknown Angel which carried some local news. There were numerous advertisers from Stockville and surrounding towns. Dr. Krecorian, a Farnam physician and surgeon as well as Dr. Franklin LaRue of Stockville and Dr. J. S. Winston of Moorefield were listed in the professional directory. Three attorneysat- law all in Stockville were listed. Numerous businesses of Stockville included The Regular Department Store, The Bargain Store (a confectionary), Citizens State Bank with a paid up capitol of $4,000, C. H. Crank Real Estate, Thomas Reeves New Barber Shop, Frank Stott Tonsorial Artist, City Meat Market, Grousand Ward Coffins and Burial cases, W. G. Bartlett, Abstractor and Conveyancer, Van Pelt and Thomas who dealt in Steel Wind Mills, Pumps and Towers, Burial cases and undertakers supplies.

Stockville is the county seat of Frontier County. At one time it had a population of over 400. Some of the old buildings still stand as evidence that one time Stockville was a thriving community. The vice president of the company that published the Frontier County Republican, J. C. Gammil, was a great uncle of Mildred (Mrs. Maurice) Widick.

Published: 6/20/2018 -
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