Historical Photo Collection Centennial History Book Farnam Cemetery Farnam Echo Farnam Area Homestead Records Links

Centennial History Book

Every community has cherishedREMINISCENCES


The Farnam Echo, 1936

The Barnhart family arrived in Plum Creek March 5, 1885,and stopped at the Johnson Hotel until a home could be securedfor us. Father filed on the homestead and built (dug) a dugout14 ft. by 18 ft. and moved us out. In crossing the Platte River ajoint of stove pipe fell from a load and went down the river,when we arrived at the claim our loss was noticed. No hopes ofgetting another joint for two or three months, so the stove wasset on a large packing box and mother stood on another one tocook our meals. This put the stove dangerously near the roof,but the box made a handy pantry.

Mother ran a sort of bakery, baking bread for Hendersonand Kerr, the George Laucomer family, Norman McDonaldand John Bradford.

My business was to pick up the fuel from the prairie and takeout the ashes, a steady job. Our dugout that winter was agathering place for the young people as we had a dandylighting system, two No. 1 kerosene lamps. (We lit them bothwhen we had company) and a deck of "Authors". Chester Kerr,George and Charlie Laucomer, my sister and I were about allthe young people at that time in the "Pennsylvania Colony". A.Garven, Norman McDonald, A. B. Barnhart, GeorgeLaucomer, Friend Henderson and Kerr, coming from about thesame place in Pennsylvania.

The worst thing about this time were the prairie fires and Iwas in constant dread of them. One caught from our shortstove pipe and run clear to the Platte river, then we were safein one direction. There were seven deer and a herd of antelopethat winter in the "brakes" north of us and we ate antelopeonce in a great while.

Then came the joyful certainty that the railroad was comingour way. The town lots were staked out, and my sister and Irode up to see our "promised city". We childishly picked outour future building sites. Mine was where the A. B. Thrasherhome now is. My brother, Harvey, worked "skinned mules" onthe railroad, boarding at the "Murphy camp". My sister and Igot a lot of "kick" out of driving up for him on Saturday night.

Then came the great day when the first train pulled intoFarnam and the joy of getting our mail whenever we went forit. E. B. Dunham had built a drug store. Keystone moved toFarnam. School houses dotted the prairie. Sod houses werebuilt on the divides and the dugouts were abandoned.

We were an old settled community. About this time we tookto referring "to them good old days". I think our worsthardships were the lack of fuel and schools. Summer fuel waseasily procured from the prairie, but we drove to the Longbottomranch on the Muddy Creek for wood, for winter. The dugoutsand adobies were warm and did not need much heat. InApril 1886 mother and I were completely snowed under in thedugout. Father had gone to Plum Creek, and as our dooropened out to save space inside, we couldnt get it opened. Westayed that way until Friend Henderson thought about us, andcame and dug us out. Father didnt get home for over a week.But after all the hardship and other grief, pioneering wasrather fun.

When we came here they had free range. The ranchmen justbranded their cattle and horses and let them run where theypleased. On July 6, 1885 they voted herd law, which was a sadday for the ranchmen, so they soon began to move out andfarmers came in their places. There were no churches orSunday school and had been no school in that part of thecountry. The fall of 1885, they built a sod school house with abrush roof and made long benches to sit on. We had to use ourlaps for desks. In 1886 a preacher came and preached for us andthey started Sunday School and everybody went, father,mother and all the children. The only other places we had to gowas to the Christmas program; the Fourth of July and in thefail to a gathering to eat watermelons. Everything we plantedgrew until the year of 1890 when we had our first drouth wehad ever seen.

Published: 3/27/2023 -
Hosted and Published by Weldon Hoppe