The Attic is a set of articles, written by members of our community, sharing a wide range of historical records, stories and events relating to the Museum.

Shelter Stories

posted by James Nennemann

By: Daisy Malcom


Barns were a part of the growing-up experience I had on our farm north of Thurman in the 1950’s and 60’s. We had three of them used for various activities. The hay barn was the farthest from our house, used exclusively for storage of rectangular hay bales. It had a tin roof with a long overhang sloping down over wooden walls which weren’t completely enclosed. Snakes dwelled there which kept me away from it most of the time.

The rock barn sat in the north pasture and was built into the hillside on the east side. A large open window on the second floor was used when an elevator carried hay upward from a wagon below. There was a wide center area downstairs with a storage room on the west and a feeding/milking area on the east. Bins were located there so the cows could eat as they were milked. Kickers, like handcuffs, locked around a cranky bossy’s back legs so she couldn’t hit the milker on his short, three-legged stool as he pulled and prodded her milk bag to give up the precious liquid.

That barn wasn’t just a place of work, however. In the hay loft on the second floor, there was a basketball hoop, and we had fun there, always mindful of the open square in the floor where stored hay could be dropped down to feed the livestock. Outside, my daredevil brother David would practice his “jump, tuck and roll” maneuvers by jumping off the roof onto the abutting hill.

The third barn was all wood and painted white, built at the side of Bluff Road. There was a lower level on the south—the home for our pigs—with an exit to their outside enclosure and mud bath. At the west end of the barn was another lower level with a slanted chute. I remember watching cattle being prodded in single file up that chute into a truck which would carry the doomed animals to a sale for eventual slaughter.

One of my most vivid memories of that main floor is seeing a slaughtered hog hanging by its back legs, left there to drain its blood before being butchered. To the north of this center area were storage rooms. I remember Mom going in to get some corn and coming back out quickly because of too many mice. Her solution was to get our best mouser, named Fats Domino by my brother. Fats would dutifully go into the room, shake and kill the pests, and dump the bodies like a conqueror at Mom’s feet as she stood outside the barn.

When I was driving age, I’d park my ’57 Chevy in there. I thought I was really lucky those days even though I had to walk down 13 stone steps from the house to the road and another 50 yards to the barn’s main door. These days I find myself complaining occasionally at having to walk 10 yards from my front door to my garage.

Today I find it sad that there are few barns being built and so many old ones being torn down or in disrepair because barn activities were a big part of farm life for me.

The Old Apron, The New Apron

posted Apr 30, 2017, 6:10 PM by James Nennemann

By Sherry Perkins

One of the first articles of clothing I was allowed to iron when first learning how, was an apron.  I practiced my skills on many of Mom’s aprons.  She put on a clean apron every morning and if company drove in, she might quickly put on another clean one. The aprons were tucked into a kitchen drawer along with the dish towels and tablecloths.  That made for six to eight aprons, which were sprinkled down with water and placed into the ironing basket every Monday.  I am sure the apron was chosen so that if by chance I didn’t do a great job of ironing out wrinkles or heaven forbid I scorched a spot---it wasn’t the end of the world.  I (at the age of eight or nine) could easily iron the long ties and simple lines of an apron even though the irons of the day were pretty heavy for a child.

My great--great-great grandmother’s (late 1800’s) apron was of muslin, ankle length and had a pocket where she carried her pipe!  I’ve often wondered if she burnt a hole in her pocket? The plain apron kept her dress dry when she did laundry on a scrub board and carried wet dripping clothes to hang on her fence.  Her apron gathered garden produce, carried baby chicks and eggs, wiped kid’s noses and shooed away flies and mosquitos. Just as aprons did in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50's. 

Then along came the slacks and blue jeans that were acceptable for women to wear and the aprons were put away.  Why have more to iron?  Ladies left the life of ‘Housewife” for that of”career” woman. The apron was tucked away at the bottom of drawers, cedar chests and in dusty attics.  Many were cut into quilt pieces to be used in making warm blankets.  Today there is the resurgence of the apron.  They bring hefty prices at antique stores to be hung on from hooks in fashionable, country kitchens.  Even if only for decoration.  One can find crocheted aprons, lacy aprons, and pure 100% cotton, feed sack aprons which are prized.

Sewing machines are once more edging colorful cloth with bias tape and rick rack. Today I don’t need to iron the apron.   Permanent press fabrics have pretty much eliminated the iron.  Apron patterns are a top seller in the fabric department of our favorite stores.  Today’s apron wearer is just as apt to be a male as men have taken their place in the kitchens of America.  They cook for their families or fire up the bar-be-que for hamburgers and hot dogs. Different generation---- but same useful garment.

The history and stories that are tied to aprons of yesteryear are memories for sharing—some nostalgic —some funny –some unbelievable but memories we all share.  These stories will be shared by daughters, grand-daughters, aunts, cousin and friends if you attend the “If Aprons could Talk Tea Party” at the Gathering Place in Sidney, Iowa; Saturday May 13.  Sponsored by the Fremont County Historical Society, the day begins at 11 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. with a luncheon, silent auction, and apron stories.  Tickets are $15 a person, proceeds go to the Historical Society.  Come and enjoy conversation and stories and wear your favorite apron, if you want.

Early Transportation

posted Apr 13, 2017, 7:55 AM by James Nennemann

By Lona Lewis

When Fremont County was being settled, trains were a huge influence in where settlements began.  Riverton was just one of the towns that flourished because they were successful in getting the train to go through their community.  Most towns in the County at the turn of the 20th century had a depot.  Randolph, today, has an original depot building that is a fine museum. Visitors can observe the ticket window and waiting room for passengers.

Speaking only for myself, the significance of ticket taking never sunk in until I began to hear stories about using the train. There was a reason why communities each had a depot.  Traveling around the County was not jumping into the car and getting on Highway 2.  Emily Lewis Bengtson tells stories of she and her sister, Mary Ann, going into Riverton, getting on the train and going to Hamburg to visit for a weekend. They were teenagers in the 1930’s and this gave them freedom. They could leave in the morning on Saturday and return on Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes their folks would get on the train Sunday morning and come down to eat Sunday dinner. Then all four would return home that evening. The cost 5 cents each.

In the 1930’s Salesmen would take the train from Hastings and arrive in Sidney.  A taxi picked them up and took them to the Hotel.  The next morning after making their rounds, then would board the train to go back north. They probably took the same train back because Sidney had a turntable since it was the end of the line.

All corners of Fremont County and everything in between could be reached by trains.  Passenger trains ran into the 1950’s.  The depot in Sidney closed in 1966. The only difference being by the time they ceased running the cost was 10 cents.
Trains were vital to the farmers.  There are stories in every community of trains taking garden produce north to Omaha and South to St Joseph.    Livestock also left the County via train to feed the big cities.

When the trains came back south they brought goods for the stores. One of the more interesting stories was the delivery of a car to McPaul.  The car belonged to C.B. McPaul who lived in Thurman. In 1901 he bought a new car which the train brought to McPaul. He could not get it into forward gear so he backed the car the three miles to Thurman.

Today those of us living in Fremont County still see trains. The difference being they are many cars -mostly box cars or coal cars.  Perhaps the strangest sight is the day trains carry airplane fuselages through the County.  Gone are the passenger trains and the taxis.  
Buses were also very prolific during the early days in Fremont county. They came up from Kanas City and St. Joseph. And would take passengers up to Omaha. A rider could go up from Fremont County in the morning, spend the day shopping and return in the evening. The buses also ran to Shenandoah and Nebraska City. This was before the days that airplanes took over as a main source of transportation.

Ladies Hats

posted Apr 13, 2017, 7:53 AM by James Nennemann

By: Sherry Perkins

 
The invention of hair spray and the practice of 'teasing' hair brought on big pouffy hair styles in the late 1960s, thus bringing on the demise of ladies hats. While a few young teens may wear a ball cap today, most women never wear a hat anywhere anymore.

Once upon a time, all ladies from two to eighty years of age would have a new spring hat at Easter time, along with gloves and handbag that matched.  One was expected to wear a hat to town, to church, and to funerals. Hats defined who we were by color, style and shape.

The simple sunbonnet helped settle our country and was a hat easily sewn by all women  It was utilitarian mainly as it protected the fair skin of our pioneers on their westward trek. Pioneer women may have had two in their meager wardrobe--one for everyday and one for 'good'.

As towns became settled and businesses opened, eventually, a milliner would set up her shop in the town. Here one could commission that 'one of a kind' bonnet. The milliner had all sorts of silks, velvets and furs from which to choose. Lace, feathers, ribbons and flowers could set one hat apart from others. You knew you wouldn't see yourself coming down the wooden sidewalk.  However, the usefulness of the milliner disappeared when department and clothing stores began stocking hats for men and women, although some had their own milliners for special customers for a number of years.

Ladies hats have gone through several fads through the years. Early Victorian days showed hats with large rims, flowery feathers, and baubles. When the horseless carriage appeared so did hats bedecked with wide ribbons that tied under the chin so the hats couldn't blow away at such 'high speeds'.

The 1940's spotlighted what came to be known as 'picture' hats. Many were made of natural straw or stiff felt and featured extra wide rims that framed the face. They were great for picnics and looked especially fine with shorter dresses and seamed nylon hose. Then came the era of Jackie Kennedy and her 'pillbox' hat. Do any of you remember having a pillbox hat?

Hats were eventually fazed out of wardrobes because they didn't work with the bouffant hairdos of the 60's and 70's. They were either packed away in attic trunks or thrown out with the trash. Little girls  used them to play dress-up occasionally, but no longer could one spend an enjoyable time at Spurgeon or J. C. Penney trying on hats in front of huge mirrors.

Today, hats of yore can be found at antique malls costing three or four times their original price. There are, of course, some great hat collections around and one can find many an old gem in museums.

Can’t Be an Expert in Your Own Backyard

posted Apr 13, 2017, 7:52 AM by James Nennemann

By:  The Attic Editors

All of us know the cliché, “you are not an expert unless you are fifty miles from home.”  What is it that makes us think things close to home are not special?  We, the Attic Editors, see this constantly with the history of Fremont County.  All of us living today 2016, drive the byways of the County and think of the County as being an area of large farms, growing millions of bushels of corn and soybeans, with small towns struggling to exist. If asked, we would probably tell you that the Loess Hills have always been tree covered.  We might brag about Iowa’s Championship Rodeo held in Sidney for the last 90 plus years but otherwise we would not think about the County having anything special.   We might wonder at the asparagus we see growing wild in the Hamburg area or the fruit trees that are found in the hills in what appears to be remnants of orchards. 

In 1916, residents would have driven the byways and they would have been aware of the many small farms everywhere and thought about the thriving towns in the County where they could go and get everything they needed. They would have known that through the railroad system we were supplying Omaha, Council Bluffs, Saint Joseph and Kansas City with fruits and vegetables. The trains also carried countless heads of cattle and pigs to market from the County. Many of the residents would have worked at mills and other industries throughout the County.

In 1816, the Loess Hills would have been grass covered hills rising out of the river bottom.  Lewis and Clark, a decade earlier, had described the County in their journals. French Canadian trappers would be coming with their Lakota Wives to this area to raise their children. Folks in the Civil Bend area were establishing homesteads. The settlement of the County had begun.

All of this gets us back to the reason for this Attic.  Each part of this County has a diverse and interesting story or stories that all of us should know to help us ground ourselves and better understand our heritage. What better place than a County Museum such as the Fremont County History Center and Iowa’s Championship Rodeo Museum in Sidney  to learn about our history?  Or do we fall victim to thinking it can’t be special, it isn’t fifty miles from home? 

Well here is what folks think that visit us from other places.  We have been called the Reader’s Digest Museum because of so much great information in a small Museum.  Others have side we are a gem because we are so interesting and so professionally done. Just last week two men from the news print profession stopped by the Museum to gather information for stories to use in their papers. One was particularly looking for fossils. He stopped by the mammoth tusks and suddenly exclaimed “that is a squid fossil.  What a find. It is a real treasure and it tells us this area was covered with the sea.” He was also impressed with the Indian artifacts and the professional way they were displayed.  He said “I came to look at only them but now I want to see the rest of the Museum, it is so interesting and informative.”

So next time you think nothing special has ever occurred here, stop by the Museum; take the time to enjoy this beautiful and informative museum then leave proud of being a Fremont County resident.

Fremont County Time Capsule

posted Apr 13, 2017, 7:52 AM by James Nennemann

By: Harry Wilkins

The Fremont County Financial Report of 1923 is an encyclopedia of government finances, programs, and officeholders, a treasure trove of information about life in rural Iowa during what became known as the Roaring Twenties.

Written by the county auditor, the 51-page booklet includes many figures familiar to modern eyes, among them personnel expenses. The three county supervisors were paid $5.00 per day for services while other fulltime elected officials received an annual income. Sheriff Millard Abshire earned a salary of $1,800 (about $25,000 in today’s dollars) while the highest paid professional was County Engineer Fred Cain, at $3,000 per year. A wide range of costs were included in the report, many broken down by township and often attached to figures from prior years to gauge the spending trend. One important line item was care for the poor. The County Home located south of Sidney held 26 indigent residents, referred to as “inmates” but free to leave at will, at a cost of $16,695. There was also a 244 acre County Farm where unemployed men worked for $22 per month. The farm was fully functional, maintaining livestock and producing 1,000 bushels of corn and 70 tons of hay; revenues produced were returned to the county. The taxpayers also supported the mentally disabled at $9,875, up from $6,890 in 1919, and the Soldiers and Sailors Relief program for $818, down $428 from 1919.

Financing public education was a large expense, then as today. Fremont County maintained 31 school districts which included 12 rural independent schools in Benton Township, and seven consolidated schools in Bartlett, Farragut, Randolph, Riverton, Sidney, Tabor and Thurman. There were 64 one-room schools, down ten from the previous year, and the payroll for 181 grade and high school teachers. Total disbursements were over $240,000.

The 1923 budget provided funding for modern conveniences not known in earlier times. The Sidney Court House accepted money for necessities like electricity, adding machines, telephones, sewage disposal and even $60.48 for typewriter repairs. But the biggest fiscal shift underway was courtesy of the Detroit auto industry. The auditor documented ownership of 7,300 horses in the county along with 3,600 registered automobiles, 350 trucks and eight motorcycles. The numbers were trending sharply up for motor vehicles which meant roads and bridges would need improvement. Funding for the 445 miles of gravel roads in the county was followed closely by paving projects on primary roads: 100 miles of hardtop were in use by the end of the year. Other infrastructure projects were also being financed. The County Bridge Fund expended $76,628 on construction, repair and maintenance in 1923, an increase of almost $23,000 from 1919.

Signs of a bygone era are evident in the report: bounties were paid for wolves ($376) and gophers ($330) and for animals killed by dogs and wolves. But signaling that the pioneer days were long gone and civilization had arrived, there was a single entry for the collection of dog licensing fees: $22.00.

Rural Schools – Part One

posted Nov 16, 2016, 12:04 PM by James Nennemann

by Esther H. Hardy

           With the passing of the rural school, the fanciful names with which the pioneers christened these humble halls of learning will be forgotten, and a beautiful bit of the county history gone forever. There are still more than three-score of these schools in Fremont County, scattered about in thinly settled districts, or those distant from improved roads. The names they bear lead to much conjecture as to why they were so called. Some schools seem to have been named for families in the vicinity, such as Treat, Ricketts, Pomeroy,  Rice, John Payne, Harry Sowles, and McIntyre. Others bear the names of their location: Fisher Center, Monroe Center, each in the central part of the townships of those names; Locust Grove School in Locust Grove Twp., High Creek, Honey Creek, Nishna Valley in the beautiful Nishnabotna Valley; Possum Valley, near Possum Creek; Dutch Hollow, located in a neighborhood so named; and Mount Washington, on high land overlooking the Missouri River bottom, in Washington Township.

Then there are the poetic names: Prairie Glen, Shady Dell, Ripple Valley, White Hily, Lone Willow, Mt. Hope, Morning Star, West Star, and Rising Sun.

Perhaps College Hill, Seminary Ridge, Harvard, and Alma Mater were named by early teachers in honor of higher schools of learning. Others are descriptive of the location of the school:  Riverside, Summit, Sunnyside, Sunny Slope, Maple Grove, Walnut Grove, Grandview, Pleasant Grove, Brightside, Prospect Hill, Fairview, Hadley Farm, Highland and Prairie.

There are two schools called "Centennial", both in the eastern part of the county, which was settled in the late seventies, and the schools were probably named shortly after the Centennial year, 1876.

Two schools in the south part of the county are called "Liberty", though one is known as North Liberty. These, with Eagle School and Columbia nearby, might indicate patriotic sentiment on the part of the pioneers.

Militia Hollow School, named from its location in a deep depression south of the Waubonsie State Park, near Hamburg, would suggest that recruits drilled there before the Civil War. But, though no definite information seems to be forthcoming, the locality was probably so named from parties of vigilantes who patrolled this part of the country in the early days of the Kansas-Nebraska struggle, when bands of ruffians from Missouri made frequent raids across the State line into southern Fremont County.

To Be Continued…..

This article was written by Esther Hainsworth Hardy, date unknown. 

Esther was born in Omaha April 5, 1885, and was raised in the city. Her family moved to Tabor when Esther was a teenager and she attended Tabor Academy (prep school for Tabor College) and was employed by the Tabor and Northern Railroad as an office clerk. Esther married Charles Hardy and raised a family in Tabor, passing in 1948. Esther had a lifelong love of history and was active in both the Iowa and Nebraska historical societies. In 1937 she was hired by Fremont County in a statewide project to catalog official records for preservation and study. She was so successful in the effort she received requests from nearby counties to help in their research. The Tabor Historical Society maintains her research notes from the project.

Murder Most Foul in Fremont County

posted Sep 14, 2016, 11:06 AM by James Nennemann

By: Harry Wilkins

The comprehensive 1881 History of Fremont County provides a fascinating overview of criminal activities during the early decades of settlement. The chronicle acknowledged that "crime of every species and of every degree known to the calendar" had occurred but said that geography might have been at least partially responsible. The county's  position near several states or territories allowed fleeing felons the opportunity to evade capture by crossing into Missouri, Kansas or Nebraska.

The first recorded death in Fremont County was the murder of 35-year-old Richard Flanagan, a resident of Franklin Township.  He was shot through the head returning home from a neighbor's house on February 10, 1842. Initially it was believed Indians had ambushed the bachelor and Irish immigrant, but after investigation it became clear he was murdered for $30.00 by Charles Lewis, a known "horse thief and criminal," who "was forced to leave the country."

When it came to meeting out justice to lawbreakers, some early residents weren't  adverse to taking the law into their own hands. On January 14, 1869 William Jackson and James Orton, described  as "rough characters," forced their way into the home of W.M. Holloway, near Plum Hollow (now Thurman), during a dance party. The inebriated pair demanded they be allowed to join the festivities, but Holloway attempted to eject the men. During the ensuing brawl his throat was slashed and he later died. Jackson and Orton were arrested and landed in Sidney's jail, charged with assault and intent to murder. The next day about 200 men, believed to be from Scott County, descended on the jail and demanded the prisoners. When Sheriff William Martin refused, they broke in and retrieved the men from their cell. Both were hanged in a timber stand west of town.

In 1879, a murder described as "horrible and revolting in the extreme," rocked the county. John Long was an elderly farmer living with his wife Elizabeth in Fisher Township. Long was found dead on February 16th, apparently killed in his barn by a horse.  The inquest ruled Long was the victim of accidental death, but members of the community and the Long's adult children didn't believe a word of it. Another inquest was granted and a more thorough investigation conducted. As it turned out, 67-year-old Elizabeth Long had conspired with their hired man, Finis Allen, to murder her husband so they could get married, collect her late husband's property  and leave the country together. During their trial in Sidney, Elizabeth testified she had "assented to and even assisted in the perpetration of the foul deed." John Allen was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Oddly, Elizabeth's case was discharged, leaving her children "overcome with shame and mortification at the discovery of the extraordinary depravity of their unnatural parent." 

To the lament of the writers of the 1881 history, homicide prosecutions hadn't been handled properly up to that time, a situation that has most certainly changed for the better.

The Story of the Roma

posted Sep 1, 2016, 7:58 AM by James Nennemann

By Evelyn Birkby

Recently a new book came to my kindle entitled “The Airship Roma Disaster on Hampton Road” written by Nancy E. Sheppard. It immediately caught my attention because the story of the Roma talks about one of our citizens from Fremont County, Major John G. Thornell. The name Thornell was very well known in southwest Iowa. The Thornell families were lawyers and judges in Fremont County. John Thornell was only 17 when he was appointed as a candidate for a West Point cadetship. He there became a major in the United States Air Force. 

In 1920, the United States Air Service bought a semi-rigid dirigible from Italy, named the “ROMA.” It was 410 feet long, 92 feet tall, and capable of carrying 100 passengers and cargo at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. The semi-rigid airship was a cross between a zeppelin and a blimp. The “Roma” was so large it had to be broken down and boxed up to be transported here by ship. It was brought to the United States under Major Thornell’s command. Once it arrived in the United States it was taken on many trial flights. In February 1922, Major Thornell, the original commanding officer of the Roma, was busy preparing for his new assignment to Washington D.C. but, he chose to fly one more time. Major Thornell and a crew of some 45 men took the Roma up for his last flight. During the flight, the nose structure collapsed, jamming the controls, sending it toward the ground. It settled on some electrical wires which instantly ignited its flammable hydrogen gas in a tremendous explosion. Eleven men survived by jumping to the ground, three of them unharmed and the thirty four crew members died, among the dead was Major Thornell. His body was shipped back to Sidney, Iowa where it rests today in the Sidney cemetery. The funeral was held at Sidney Presbyterian Church. It was the largest funeral ever held in Sidney. Even all businesses closed for the day of the full military funeral. His simple tombstone reads “Major John G. Thornell Commander of the Roma.” 

After an extensive inquiry it was determined that it was the use of hydrogen gas that caused the greatest damage. Other less volatile gases were available at that time but they were more expensive. So Congress declined to fund the more expensive gas. In 1937, when the air ship Hindenburg exploded it proved the death nail of the lighter than air dirigibles. But whenever I see the Good Year Blimp flying over the sports field I’m reminded of the Roma and the gallant crew who flew it, including Sidney’s own Major Thornell. 

Copies of the book “The Airship Roma Disaster on Hampton Road” can be found in the Fremont County Historical Museum Research Library and at the Sidney Public Library. Copies are available to the public. 

Five Years in Sidney Schools

posted Aug 19, 2016, 8:46 AM by James Nennemann

By Elmer Hills

Sidney is a town one mile from the exact center of Fremont County, Iowa. In the days of my youth it had a population of 1000. According to the standard of that time, Sidney had a good four year high school. It was also the school my mother had attended.

Prior to the summer of 1899, my parents, Lewis and Hannah McClusky-Hills, decided to move to Sidney from their rural home near Percival.  Dad’s parents, David and Esther Hills, lived in Sidney and desired more visits with us. My parents also wanted their children to have a better education then available in a Country School. An acre lot was purchased and a new house was started in the summer of 1899. 

Dad made many trips to Sidney to help with the house building. At the same time he kept the farm work going so the rest of us had more chores to do. When September arrived, our house was not yet finished, so my sister Myrtle and I went to live with our dad’s parents in Sidney, for about six weeks.

On the first day of school we went to the Superintendent’s office for his decision on what grade we would be placed in. We brought some books we had used to give him some idea of what we could do. At that time, I was just under 12 and Myrtle was18 months older. We were assigned to Eighth Grade. 

The transition from country school was difficult but Myrtle and I soon adjusted. She was particularly fortunate because there was an organ at school and Myrtle was quite good at it. The kids were enthusiastic about the singing because there were no radios, televisions, or picture shows yet. 
The school work moved along easily for me. I participated in some of the school games, but did not join the football squad until the following year. 

My mother started a boarding house. She had no hired help, so the rest of the family had to help. There were no supermarkets then so we relied a great deal on our large garden and the fruit from the farm. There was also no local dairy so we had cows to milk. Dad was still very busy with the work on the farm, the farm animals, harvesting the crops, and preparing the farm for a renter. There was also an apple orchard of 22 acres which required a lot of attention.

There was sixty acres of farm land near our lot which Dad rented, where we planted corn Being the only boy on our street of workable age, I was in much demand to milk cows, mow lawns, and other odd jobs. I usually made enough to buy my clothes while in high school.

The next four years were in high school. There were two courses; college preparatory which required four years of Latin, and non-preparatory which included German, bookkeeping, and geography. I took both courses. I was not a book warm but I did have enough interest in each subject to get good grades. At the end of the high school, I was second in my grade. I had participated in declamatory contests, debating, and was a regular member of a the high school football and baseball teams. 

Our athletic contests were with neighboring towns, 10-15 miles away. Transportation was a big problem,  for the railroad did not run to the other country towns from Sidney. We had a team and carriage which I could use. I charged two to four other boys for rides and this paid my way. The going wage then for a boy (or man) was 10 cents an hour. I worked many a day pitching hay or plowing for $1 per day and was the church janitor.

Those were years of growing and learning. I appreciate my teachers, family, and everyone that helped me along the way. 

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