Kansas Homestead Suffered Through 1890s Drought

Family makes due with seeds and corn during the 1890s drought in Scott County Kansas.

| Good Old Days

The hardships brought about by the 1890s drought figured often in tales told by my parents who settled on a Scott County, Kansas homestead.

One spring they planted a large garden which didn't even sprout. Times were so hard that they dug up the bean seeds and cooked them for food.

If they had a corn crop, Mother made hominy, soaking the corn in a washtub with lye water to take the husks off. On one occasion, my brother, a little toddler, tumbled into the tub. It didn't hurt him – or the corn.

I remember helping my grandmother gather cow chips in the pasture for cook-stove fuel.

My mother rolled newspapers to make thin, tight "sticks" about 10 inches long, each with a pointed end. These made the matches go further. She would strike a match to light a kerosene lamp and use a paper roll to carry the flame to the stove or to another lamp.

Mrs. H. H. Hare
Anthony, Kansas

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