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TAG : Sod House

Family Farm Passed Down for Generations

My father-in-law, George Holzwarth Jr., was born in Rohrbach, Russia, November 8, 1885. His parents were George and Philpine Holzwarth. There were nine children in the family. His parents decided to leave for America because their son, John, would have had to go into the army; the 100 years of ...

Departed Poland Russia for Land of Opportunity

Jacob H. Boehs was born in the village Antanofka, Poland Russia, in 1858. At the age of 14 he lost his father. His mother remarried one year later. That same year, on December 4, 1874, he left his homeland with his parents, brothers and sisters. They embarked with 710 other passengers on the SS ...

Kansas Homestead Suffered Through 1890s Drought

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 ...

Sod House Served Family Well Until Prairie Sends Them Packing

My folks were married in 1884 and went directly to Miller, South Dakota, where they took up land and built a one-room soddy. My sister and I were born with just a midwife to bring us into the world. Our sod house had a floor, but many didn't.We were 24 miles from town, and Father had to stay ...

Sod Room, Not Sod House, Keeps Cool in Summer, Warm in Winter

When we came to our homestead in Barton County, Kansas, 76 years ago, there was a little one-room block house on our place with a roof of brush and hay. Father had to get a neighbor to make the long trip to town to get some lumber for a roof.While our home wasn’t a sod house, Father built on ...

Stove Using Prairie Grass Heated Sod House

My first memories are of our little sod house in the sand hills of Nebraska. Two beds were set end to end along the north wall, and the four-lid stove occupied the southwest corner. Apple crates were tiered to make shelves. The black oak drop-leaf table had its place between the stove and ...

Sod House Home for Family and for Fleas

Long, thick buffalo grass was the floor in my grandparents' sod house when they settled in Nebraska. This grass was the stomping and chewing ground for millions of fleas.The sod house had a plain board roof covered with sod and clay, and two board doors with latch strings that were always out ...

Family Traveled by Covered Wagon to Oklahoma Territory

Father went from Missouri to file on a place near Clinton, Oklahoma, in the spring of 1892. Mother took my two brothers, my little sister and me to Arkansas to live with her sister while Father prepared a place for us to live. He broke ground and put in some crops.Mother and we older children ...

Kansas Homestead Family Survived Snow Storms

We unloaded on a piece of ground where nothing but tall grass was growing when we arrived at our Wallace County, Kansas homestead. My father, mother and oldest brother put up a tent which was to be a temporary home for the seven of us.Lacking any other fuel, Father gathered cow chips for ...

Sod House Sheltered Men and Mules

My father, his brother and two neighbors left Missouri to take government claims near what is now Ness City, Kansas. They staked out adjoining claims and all worked together to get one sod house built before winter caught them.They had just completed the house when a big blizzard swooped down. ...

Sod House Was Way of Life for Hoxie, Kansas Settlers

My two older brothers came first, in 1899, with my uncle to his homestead in Sheridan County, Kansas, and in January of 1900 my father followed. He loaded a railroad car with livestock and machinery and left his home in Adair County, Iowa. When he had built a nice sod house on his homestead, a ...

Minnesotan Creates Sod House

The photographs accompanying this story (and illustrating our article about the pioneers' sod houses on the American prairie) show the work of Stan McCone, of Sanborn, Minn., who built his first sod home in 1987, laboring from July until late October.McCone used techniques learned from books ...