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Centennial History Book

Every community has cherishedREMINISCENCES

REMINISCENCES OF VIRGIE CROSSGROVE

Although Daddy (David Spangler) came to Nebraska in the1870’s with his older brothers, he had learned the "trade" as hecalled it in Pennsylvania. He was contractor "by trade" as hetold me. He learned the business from the "foundation of abuilding to the chimney" of a house. So he painted, he couldhang 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 yearsbefore they were married. Daddy went back to Pennsylvaniain 1883. Daddy and Mother were married January 17th, 1884and came to Fremont.

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

Mr. and Mrs. Merle Crossgrove

My folks lived north of Fremont in early days. Virgie, Ivaand Neva were born in Nickerson, nine miles north ofFremont. Then they moved to Fremont. From there they cameto Farnam when Daddy bdught that place of one hundred sixtyacres north of Mr. Estes. Donelsons, Murrays, Todds, theReynolds, Dawsons and the Crossgroves, all lived there beforewe came on March 1, of 1909.1 taught in 1910 as a substitute ona permit in North School. I took the teacher’s exams and wentto Mt. Hope as a teacher in September of 1911. So I visited theHicks, 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 cameto see me at Mount Hope.

From Fremont I was daddy’s right hand man - helped buildour house that was moved to Gothenburg later. They nevermoved to Farnam until 1915; then daddy built that house thatEd Davidson moved to Gothenburg when he went to work inthe bank over there. Evelyn (his wife) wasn’t going unlessthey’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 toGothenburg. Mrs. Fitch took me to our "old home" one day.The lady that lived there said that they changed what was mybedroom into a bathroom. The Gothenburg carpenter said thathe’d never worked on a house like that. He said that mansurely knew his business. Daddy was so particular. I measuredeach lath with a finger between to get space right so it wouldhold the plaster good. I learned to shingle; I laid them fordaddy to nail. The scaffold was sixteen feet from the ground,on the high side, too high for Iva; she’d get dizzy. We shingledthe 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 wouldshed water better.

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

Later Daddy got two little ponies and a spring wagon -? notop, either, but those ponies could go. One day though theynearly dumped Iva and me. Bessie got scared (at her shadow Iguess) anyway, away they leaped and away we went, but thehorses nearly went without us. There isn’t much to hang on toin a spring wagon.

To go to Gothenburg with Dickey and the spring wagon tooka big day. We’d start early in the morning, and when we gothome it would be dark or nearly so. We would go toGothenburg through the canyons and Wiggin’s pastures,opening and closing gates on our way. When we got down onthe valley, if a car was coming, I’d have to get out and holdDickey by the bridle, and talk to him else he’d go up on his hindlegs. He broke one shaft for the girls once doing this, theywouldn’t get out and talk to him. After that we got out and he’dstand like an old cow. One day when we were on the road, wesaw a car coming and recognized it as Mr. Dalton’s. He alwaystold us that we were more afraid than our horse. So I said toAda, "There comes Mr. Dalton. We’ll let him see what Dickeydoes." But Ada spoiled my plans she said, "Get out! We will notlet him break another shaft for us to show Mr. Dalton." So Ihad to get out and hold Dickey and yes Mr. Dalton said, "It’syou that’s afraid of a car." But I loved Old Dickey. After thefolks moved to Farnam in 1915 Merle got the ponies and springwagon from them. One day I went in a hurry with them. It tookme only a little over thirty minutes for those twelve miles thatI went with them, up and down hills -- did we go.

We’d pick wild black raspberries in the canyons and takethem 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 atwo and a half pound or 30 cents for a three pound chicken. Isold two hundred thirty seven one summer to people inFarnam. That was in the late twenties and early thirties.

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

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

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

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

Merle bought the Merriman Ranch in 1916. It consisted ofseven hundred acres. We went there when I was teaching atMount Hope.

We got our combine and tractor from Harold Palmer in 1939(I think). Merle and Dorothy cut our wheat and many acres forthe neighbors, who didn’t have a combine. They’d cut all nightif there was no dew. One time they cut until four o’clock onemorning. They told me to go to bed but how could I go to sleepwhen my loved ones were out in the field with those bigmachines, (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 inStockville lie found some old papers. One was an August 24,1893 edition of the Frontier County Republican, a weeklypaper published in Stockville. The other was a June 22, 1893Frontier County Faber, a weekly paper also published inStockville. Both papers had a subscription price of one dollarper year. Neither paper carried much local news. They didpublish county business. The Republican had a local columntitled, "Quick Quodlibeticals", written by Unknown Angelwhich carried some local news. There were numerousadvertisers 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 Moorefieldwere listed in the professional directory. Three attorneysat-law all in Stockville were listed. Numerous businesses ofStockville included The Regular Department Store, TheBargain Store (a confectionary), Citizens State Bank with apaid up capitol of $4,000, C. H. Crank Real Estate, ThomasReeves New Barber Shop, Frank Stott Tonsorial Artist, CityMeat Market, Grousand Ward Coffins and Burial cases, W. G.Bartlett, Abstractor and Conveyancer, Van Pelt and Thomaswho dealt in Steel Wind Mills, Pumps and Towers, Burial casesand undertakers supplies.

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


Published: 3/27/2023 - http://www.historicfarnam.us
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