First Few Years Were Treacherous on Western Kansas Homestead

Rattlesnakes and food shortages only two of the obstacles on western Kansas homestead.


| Good Old Days


We came to western Kansas in 1908. That was some time after the Native American troubles had been resolved; however, we suffered many of the privations our earlier relatives had experienced on a Kansas homestead.

My husband filed on a quarter section of school land, and later we bought a relinquishment on another quarter section from a neighbor who went back East.

After filing on the land, Maurice built a little shack there, 16 by 16 feet. We arrived at the shack after dark, and immediately my husband set out to fetch our personal belongings and horses from the old home. All that first night there seemed to be something around the shack, and when daylight came I saw cattle everywhere on the wide prairie surrounding us. I stayed in that shack, with two babies, for a month before my husband returned.

Nearly all the other settlers were young with small families. They were friendly and welcomed strangers. We made our own amusement, mostly with literary and church gatherings. Everyone traveled in wagons to these events, wrapped in plenty of covers so one did not get cold.

In the winter of 1911-12 we could not get to town for supplies for nearly three months. The storm came in December and the snow stayed on the ground until April. Many cattle were lost.

People shared what they had. One of our neighbors had a good supply of flour, and when we ran out, my husband went to his house to borrow some. The man loaded several sacks on the wagon, saying perhaps someone up our way might be in need of flour. That flour was appreciated by others as well as ourselves.





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