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Centennial History Book

Every community has cherishedREMINISCENCES


by Mrs. Louie Kelly [Amanda Messersmith)

In the year 1884, my father, T. J. Messersmith and myoldest brother, Marion, took up land in Frontier County,Nebraska, near the Russell post office (now discontinued). InFebruary, 1885 we moved from Gage County to thishomestead. Talk about hard times, we surely did see them. Itwould be useless to try to mention them all. My brothers,Marion and Tommy drove through with the team and broughta few necessary things, such as stoves and bedding. The rest ofthe family which consisted of father, mother and eight children,came by train to Cambridge. My two oldest sisters beingmarried, did not come with us. We were met at the train by theboys, and it took us all day long and into the night to get out toour new home. The snow was deep and the road was like cattletrails. They ran all around over the prairie and ridges. Wetraveled for miles and got no place. The boys had put thestoves up, so we spread the bedding down on the dirt floor andwent to bed. However, we did not continue to live that waymany weeks; as soon as the weather would permit, they wentto Cambridge and got lumber and put floors in the house andmade some bedsteads.

Imagine twelve of us living in two little sod rooms, butbefore spring opened up we made the acquaintance of severalneighbors, namely, Mr. Scott and family, Mr. Binger and wife,Mr. Kyle and family, and Mr. Harry Jones and wife, whomanaged the Russell post office. Immediately I went to workfor the Jones and stayed there five months where I met andmade many friends as they came from far and near to get theirmail. Tommy and I continued to work away for almost twoyears; Tommy receiving $20 per month and I received $10 permonth of which we turned most all of it to the folks at home tolive on.

In the winter of 1886, I taught school in Mr. Hinmans oneroom sod house before there was a district organized in thecounty. There were twelve of school age in a six mile square,and the parents just privately hired me to teach them. Ofttimes the snow was so deep that for days there wouldnt bemore than two or three there.

With all the ups and downs we had lots of pleasures, for thewhole country was like one big family. We had a nice unionSunday school and people would come for ten miles around. Wehad parties of different types and dances. Sometimes evendances on the dirt floor.

I am happy to say our family is not scattered as badly assome families that I have known. Tommy and myself are theonly two who live out of the state of Nebraska. Tommy andfamily for several years have lived at Malmo, Minnesota, andOklahomas lovely sun has shone upon me for thirty-five years.Mr. Kelly passed away eleven years ago last May. My oldestsister, Orpha, or Mrs. D. A. Armstrong had lived atWarrensburg. Missouri, for several years prior to her death inthe year 1914. My next sister, Emma, or Mrs. S. G. Foster, isliving near Orafino, Nebraska. Katie (Mrs. Ed Heart) is livingat Lincoln, Nebraska. Mary, or Mrs. Charles Bray, is atMitchell, Nebraska. George is at Curtis, Nebraska. Lucy orMrs. Will Atkisson, and Andy Messersmith are both at NorthPlatte, Nebraska and as everyone knows, Harry and Lonnieare there at Farnam. Father, Mother, Marion, Orpha and ourbaby sister, Tenia, or Mrs. Clyde Thompson have all beencalled to their heavenly home where their toils and sorrowshave ceased.

I often wonder how mother endured all she had to, for inFebruary, 1887, the stork brought our baby brother, Andy,which made frontier life that much harder for mother, with itslack of money.

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