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Centennial History Book

Every community has cherishedREMINISCENCES


by Vincent Whitney
Taken from The Farnam Echo 1936

While I do not remember the first time the folks came toFrontier County, I remember when we came in the spring of1889 and settled on the tree claim where Arch Jorgensen nowlives.

As there were no buildings there then, we lived in aone-room shack on the eighty, cornering on the northeast untilmy father and brother, John could get the sod house built onthe tree claim, when we moved there.

To obtain a tree claim at that time, Uncle Sam required tenacres of trees to be set out in rows, four feet apart each way,then of course they had to be cultivated and taken care of. If Iremember right, my father replanted them three differenttimes before he succeeded in getting them to grow.

One of the big tasks was the hauling of water for our use inbarrels. I believe he hauled most of it from the Owen placewhere Mr. Stebbins then lived, which was about two milesaway.

I believe that it was in the second summer that they putdown the well, which was done by Henry Holderman. It wasbored with about an eight-inch auger turned by levers. Iremember my father and John going round and round turningthe auger. Of course, every so often, the auger would have tobe pulled out and dumped which was a slow job, when they gotdown to 350 feet.

While this method might seem primitive today, it beatdigging by hand and hauling the dirt out in buckets, as many ofthe first wells were made.

At that time the country was mostly prairie. My fatherbroke some of the first sod on the section north of us (where EdBrock now lives). This was railroad land then, and could havebeen bought for five dollars an acre, or even less.

Much has been said about the menace of the prairie fires inthe early days. Some of the fires would sweep from the Platteto the Republican river before burning themselves out.As a boy, I was very fond of hunting. I used to tramp thehills and canyons for a half a day at a time. The nimrods oftoday would think they were in a hunter's paradise if theycould see the vast flocks of geese, ducks and brants, extendingas far as the eye could see. The brants were especiallynumerous, and when feeding in the fields, would look at a distance,like great drifts of snow.

Of course our first guns were the muzzle loaders, musketsand zulas, which were effective at both ends. I remember oneof my boy chums crawled up a pocket onto a bunch of geesewith one of them. He got several geese at one shot, but lostsome teeth from the kick of the gun. He still lives here, so Illnot mention his name.

There were also a good many prairie chickens and quail hereat one time, but shooting for the market did much to depletethem.

My first schooling here was at the sod school house on theplace where Mr. Wharton now lives. It was situated a shortdistance southeast of the one in District No. 3.

Our next school house, of sod, was situated on the southeastcorner of the H. Phillips farm, now Mrs. Prestons.

I will refrain from mentioning any of our early schoolmams" names as that might furnish too much data on theirages.

Many of our parents went through some very hard and discouragingtimes in the early 1890's. Of course, we as children,did not realize them at the time.

I remember the epidemic of scarlet fever in the Fitch familyin the early 1890s. My father and mother helped them nightsand would change their clothes and hang them on the clothesline before coming into the house.

Scarlet fever and other contagious diseases were far moreserious then than now.

As we look back and think of those early days, it is hard torealize the changes that have taken place in Farnam andcommunity in the last half century.

Published: 3/27/2023 -
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