Well I will try and tell what has taken place in my road of life through the road I have traveled in the last years if possible. I was born near Formosa, Kansas in May 4, 1884 and lived with my parents till I was about four years old. Then my father and mother separated (caused unknown).
My Father meant my mother and brother Frank in St Joseph, Missouri at the railroad station. Dad took me to his mother in Island Pond, Vermont to live with his mother and step father, Calvin Drown (see husband) of Sarah Frances Ranger (maiden name). He stayed about two weeks and then returned to the west (don't know where).
Until I returned later in 1896 while I was living with my grandparents, I enjoyed it and learned many things. Which I will never forget. So I will try and tell the best I can just what happen in the few years there in the Green Mountains of Vermont. In the winter it was to cold to go to school, but spring and fall was fine.
In winter the home was heated by wood fed in a large heating stove. The wood was cut in the fall and sawed up by a cross saw, run by a tread conveyer which in turned a wheel in turn with a belt run the cross cut saw in which to cut the logs in right length. Then would be split in smaller sticks to fit the stove door in the heating stove and also the cook stove. After the wood had been finished it was piled in the wood shed a large back room on the northeast side of the house. So no one had to go out side and get the fuel of wood for heating and the cool stove. They filled the shed to the top in order to last the long winter. Which lasted from about middle of November to about the middle of February or sometimes longer, depends on the weather period. As some are mild while other are very stormy and colder than others. And then it was to feed the cook stove in the summer. As there was not coal in that part of the state, for out side use only some times in the city or there of. But there were plenty of timber to be brought in and made into fire wood or whatever is needed to be used for other purposes that would be needed. Such lumber in which there were many lumber sawmills over the country, in which they were busy all through the summer.
Three kinds of trees were grown on the mountain sides and on the bottom land as well. Such as Maple, Ash and walnut, Pine spruce and many other kinds of timber. There were all kinds of timber all over the state. All it needed was hard work, and those days was all hard work to make a living. Those day s it was very cold as low as forty below and snow of sometimes to four feet steep on the level and froze to sometimes as much as four inches on the level. And water as much three feet thick water on the lakes were all covered with ice and snow.
The snow frozen hard we would take a sled up land then slide down the side of the small mountain somewhere a mile long to sleight down to the lower land and wind up on the flats. I remember when step grandfather made me a sled made from barrel staves two staves nailed together about a foot apart, I would lay down on it and slide down the hill. Sometimes I would miss the track that I was supposed to slide and wind up in a ditch or brush pile or in a fence which was covered with snowed under the snow. Although I was never hurt in any way. When the snow began to melt then the real work began. It was Maple Syrup time. Grandpa would gather up all the buckets and wood spigot (spout). In which he made in the shop in the winter time (shop back of the house eastside) then he would go to the Maple tress and bore a hole in the trees and insert the spout into the hole in the Maple tree. Then hang a small wooden bucket on the spout and wait till the bucket was about half full of sap. Then he would have a shoulder yoke (two sticks about three feet long) with a shoulder strap nailed to the sticks which fitted over his shoulder. Then he would hang two buckets on the yoke, one on each end. And start to gather the sap from the Maple tress till he had them about two thirds full than he would carry then to the vat and empty them in the vat. Which was about four feet long and two feet wide and a foot high, he would fill it to about two thirds full then he would start a fire under the vat and heat to a light boil until it was made into a light syrup or made heavier. Then when it was all finished they would have a party and all the family and friends would gather and have a happy time eating lunches with good old Maple syrup along with the lunches. Then he would bottle it and take it to town and sell it. (How much I don't know). The fine syrup to be used in eating good old pancakes far different than now days. It was pure than at of that season on the Maple trees product for the living, and now something different . The grass down on the meadow has began to get green and grow to be, to cut. And by the middle of May, grandpa would get the sickle and sharpen them up. And get a little help, whenever he could, would hire a hand and go and begin to cut the hay, let it dry and then take a hand rake it in a small windrow.
Then he would go to the barn and get the Oxen team then hook to a hayrack and mosey down to the hay field to where he could load the had by hand on the hay rack. As the old Oxen waited for him to go to the barn where it was unloaded in the hay now in the large barn, southwest of the wonderful house, a home for all of us who was living in it. In the fall all the work of hauling is done by Oxen. They only had one horse and it was used to go to town or other places to visit friends in which they had many. All over the County of Essex County. As they lived only about five miles west of Island Pond, Essex County. The farm was on south side of the road. Hills and the Maple trees on the sought of the farm. On the north was the creek (don't know name) running through the valley. There were fish, trout, bass and many other kinds. Many people would come and fish most of the fall and summer. I recall what a great time we had many times. And on the meadow was thousands of raspberries, strawberries, cherries, wild grapes. It was a wonderful pleasant summer time for all. All was happy to live in a place where it was a peaceable place to enjoy life. It was far what it is today. There were no phones, nothing of what there is today.
As I was saying of the cold winter, grandpa and grandmother would hitch up the old horse to the sleigh and go to town to have a meeting of the old civil war veterans in a large hall. The men would have a meeting and then it was over the ladies would have lunch. Such as coffee, cakes, pies and other home made delicious food. I recall one time we all went to a meeting in the late fall and there were plenty of snow on the ground, the roads were little traveled in that time of year.
About midnight the meeting was over, grandpa got the horse, which was hitch to the sleigh and brought it to the hall so we could climb in the sleigh and cover up with woolen blanket. On the way home, something happen, or went wrong. The horse jumped some how and we all landed in the snow. The blanked and other things we had in the sleigh. Well grandpa finally had things under control and then we got back in the sleigh and then happily on the way home. The sleigh was small, but it was nice to ride in.
Sometimes I wonder how all of today would like in those days to have the same of life as it was in 1890 or there after it was a great life in those days, all well and happy in wonderful health and spirit, joy of living. As of today, unbelievable the great change in like in the city or on the farm. No worries of danger of all kinds as there are today. The life in those days calls for, in good spirit with love for each other through out the country.
I remember one time when grandpa was loading hay with the Oxen. I don't know what happened, but the first thing I saw the Oxen team going down to the creek to the water for a drink. I guess with a load of hay loaded on the hay rack, grandpa had quite a time getting them out and back on the road to the farm yard barn, about a half mile away in time, he made it. Of course I was too small to help him to get the oxen team back. I guess I was about eight then, down near the river was a small pond and we used to go down and catch fish of all kinds. Cranberries and many other kinds of great quantity along the banks and all along the swamps. Sure was a sight to see. They would have a barrel of them and would take them to market. I don't know what they were worth.
After a while I went to school, about two miles what was called Burk School. Near a saw mill south of Williber Lake. South and west, I don't know just how far, about three miles south of the school along the road. I don't know just how far and where. But I do know that Uncles Samuel Winslow lived. I do know he lived on the east side of the road that lead to Wilbur Lake because I remember we stopped to see him as we went to the lake. And in fact is we went several times to the lake.
In summer time the old solider of the Grand Army of the Civil War would meet once a year. And have a picnic on the shore of the Wilbur Lake. And spend and camp and enjoy the sight of the lake they would spend two or three nights at the lake. Have picnics and enjoy the sight of the lake and tell stories of the days they were in service, tell about the times they were in battles and many more stories about many things of the past time. I remember one old solider telling about when he was in a battle down south somewhere that he though that they all were about all killed, but some how good luck came to them from help of other unit that came in time to save the whole company. I don't recall where it was but somewhere not too far from home. I have heard grandpa tell of the Battle of Bull Run. He was wounded slightly in the hand and mouth.
I remember how they would set once a month at the Auditorium and I remember how they would meet and have lunch, and which the ladies would get together and last till about midnight. Then go and get in the old buggy and the old mare would trot back home to the farm, down by the side. Oh yes, while I was thinking of it, I will tell about winter times. The snow would get so thick on the roads that the county had to clean what the best they could. In the mid winter they had a larger roller, about eight feet high, pulled by horses over the roads and smash down the snow so hard that one could drive a team over it. They did not use snow plows then I don't know why, not invented than I guess. Anyhow we could go to town as often as the weather would permit and that was not very often in the winter. The six horses could pull the heavy roller. After the roller had finished rolling the road it was a mess of ice. For it would freeze in a short time after the roller had passed over the road. I don't know how they ever made it possible to drive on the road at that time, but they did somehow. I would stand on the front porch and watch them go by. About every other day, all depends on the weather of course. Very interesting to watch the work they did, as spring came thins changed quite a great many ways in all home living in and out of doors.
The Larks would sing and sing a song no one would understand, but they sought sunshine and happiness for all.
The water to the house and barn came from a spring at the top of the hill south of the home. And to get the water had to be piped down hill to the house, winter and summer and how when they had to have a new water line, grandpa would go and cut down a number of straight trees and haul them with Oxen down to a level place and a expert would mount them on a bench or rack about three feet off the ground. Then he had a long auger of one inch bit on the end of this long rod. Then he would start to drill a hole through the log which was approx. ten feet long. I don't know how but he would drill all the way through it and come out on the other end, perfect in center. Then he would taper one end and drill a taper so they would insert in to a coupling connection. Grandpa would require about one hundred log to make a water line down to the house. It took a long time to make the log water line, its seems impossible now days, but it is the truth at that time of the year 1899. So one can see how this country has advanced in the last fifty years. What will the next fifty years mean to those people.
I don't know how long those water (pump log they called them), would last, one thing I do know grandpa had a new line while I was there and I do know they had water all year groung, good old spring water. The spring was about a half mile up on the Maple Forest. I have been there many times, enjoying the clear and clean that comes from the spring. My grand folks had sheep, not many, about fifteen in all. Sometime less. I don't remember for sure.
In the spring he would sheer them and then grandmother would wash and the wool would be as white as snow. Then they would take it to the yard mill and have it made into yarn, very small. I have saw her work for a long time, many times spinning. She would take the yarn and put it on a spinning wheel. A spinning wheel was a home made one machine. To begin with it, it had a large wheel about four feet across. And then a small wheel about two inches across with a needle Axel sticking out a foot long. She would fasten the end of the carded wool and then turn big wheel around and around with her left hand hold the yarn in her right hand. As the shaft turns it will twist and twist the yarn until the card, wool is twisted to a fine yarn, and then things are netted. I have saw grandmother set and knit many hours in the oil lamp, put not very often. She would knit and knit, the needle seem to fly in and out of the yarn she was working on. We all had our under mitten, hat's sox and many things that was worn by all. Very little was bought new from the store. As of today, it was, it was wonderful the way people lived in those days.
No telephone. No mail delivered. Grandpa had to go to town for all his mail, especially for his pension of fifteen dollars a month. That was a great help in those days. Grandpa generally went on weekends and I often went along with him to town. While grandmother stayed home and done her house work. I never saw anyone do any drinking those days, with all the gathering and parties I never saw any one get drunk or in anyway they all had respect for their families, although they were old. But had young one of their family. All together then of today. They would have a glass of wine or there of drunkenness was a disgrace. All seemed to social to one and another, like a large family. All in one.
Their barn on the farm was a large one. I don't know how large the barn was. But is had large, a long eve on the north side. I guess about a foot wide I often watch the swallow nesting under the eves. Early in the spring they would fly in and nest for the summer. And when fall time comes, they would all gather around the barn and seems like they were holding a conference to fine out when and where they should emigrate to somewhere south.
They were a wonderful bird, very smart and knowing. One time I caught one and put a marker on his right let. A red band. A good one that would not come off vary easy. And you know I surely believe I saw the same swallow the next spring. I told grandpa about it, he laughed and said I must of been dreaming. Maybe I was.
Any how they would gather in large flocks and fly around an around singing a song of their own. How little do we realize the great knowledge of those wild creature, who come and go at will. The golden eagle is a very distance bird of the Green Mountains of Vermont. The eagle would hover over the land of unknown to many. Could hear his call far in the heavens. Grandpa used to tell many stories about wild life in Vermont.
I was getting older and begin to understand life better. One time in the late fall grandpa Phineas S Winslow (grand mother first husband), called to see me. I do remember vagues of seeing him he did not stay long why I don't know but only a short time was late in the afternoon he came in a sleigh with one horse and alone. Grand mother never mentioned a word about his visit. And I never saw him again until I came west in 1896. There I meet him, then he lived in Dixon, Illinois. Later I will tell more about him.
As I went to school in the Bark School, there were about twenty five youngster, girls and boys about equal number. A great time for me going back and forth from school. I learned very fast so I was told. I recall the home of M.S. Bark who lived about half way to school. She would come and say pretty things about a boy who was a western born. I thought it was very funny to have her come and greet me.
I know one time I was on my way home from school it started to snow. I was rather confused in walking home to grandmother home. When she came to the road and asked me if I needed any help. Anyhow, I made it to home all right. It was the last time I went to school that fall. But I never forgot her kindness to me.
That fall grandpa done some thrashing of wheat and oats all was done in the barn. They had a small separator run by a team of horses. The power was furnished by those horses and how. They had a tread machine it worked by putting the horses in the tread machine. It had a rolling wooden belt to have the horses walk on it to turn the driver wheel. The tread belt had a down slope to make the horses walk on the roller conveyer. They would walk and walk and still would not go anywhere, only run the conveyer around and around. To turn the drive wheel in turn it had a wide belt that run to the grain thrasher or separator. The grain would spill out on the floor and a man would sweep it up in a basket and then pour it into the grain bin. And that is the way they gathered and trashed the grain in the harvest time. And now, What?
I could tell many more but I guess this is about all for now. Hope to see you in the near future if all goes well as expected under the clear skies the shining clouds to show the way of all of us who tries to help others as they should help other also. The old saying is to honor the dead by helping the Living. A V F W question.
But one day as we were out in the field and when we came home for dinner, there was news from my father. He had sent for me to return to the in Nebraska. I don't remember how I felt then, but grandmother got all my belongings ready to leave.
Their lovely home. It was in the evening that grandpa drove to Island Pond to meet the west bound train. We arrived in town just before sundown. I don't know how we waited before the train arrived but it was long after dark I know. Well when it arrived grandmother took me on the train and stood beside me as I set in the seat. She took me in her arms and kissed me for the last time with tears in her eyes and I cried to. In a few moment she faded away to return home. The train pulled out.
I suppose I slept till morning and the conductor took me to lunch and after that he guarded me from that time on till I arrived in Chicago, Illinois. I arrived some time in the afternoon. I had not been there. Father arrived and kissed me, then we left on a train for Dixon, Illinois about a hundred miles west of Chicago. I don't recall of meeting my stepmother Ann C and their first girl, Bessie who was six month old. But it was late in the season, I did not remember. I suppose I went to sleep early and tried from the long trip. I was on the trip from Island Pond to Chicago, two days and one and a half night.
While I was there I finally got acquainted better and later I ran around places downtown now and then to see dad where was working as a labor in digging a cellar for some kind of a house. I would watch the trains as they went by. The railroad was close to the home of grandfather home on the south side. They lived on the north side of town.
We stayed with father, father for about three weeks and as dad was working to have a little money to be handy. I don't know how they went Dixon from Beatrice by train. I suppose, but I am not sure. Well, finely had light wagon covered with canvas. And a fine pair of horses medium size and nice and fat. Then one morning we all bid all of grandfather by. It was the last time I ever saw my stepmother, she passed away.
We all crawled into the covered wagon, dad with the lines and started on the way to the west to Beatrice, Nebraska. It took about three weeks to drive that distance. Dad drove according the strength of the team and stopped when over it was handy to camp. He often got to some corn field and help himself to some corn. It was fine weather all the western trip. We arrived in Beatrice in the afternoon in August.
About the later part, just before school opened. They lived on 12th and Cott. I went to school for the winter. In the spring when school was over. Dad had a pool hall on 4th and court St in the spring 1896/7. He sold it to his pardner Harry Burk. And then went to a farm 5 miles north of Beatrice, north on 19th St road, 5 miles north. A Norcross owner, a banker in Beatrice, he started farming and I helped him whatever I could. I was rather young and small in body, but I would have a team and go out in the open field and plow the corn to help it to grow. I recall one time I went out with dad to plow or cultivate the corn and I had a small cultivator and as I was going all right and then all of a sudden the cultivator went down on it side, flat wheels sticking up in the air, it hit my leg and hurt it some. I did not know what to do, so dad helped me to straighten it in shape. But I did not do much more after that.
We had milk cows, hogs, a few sheep, three I believe. And several horses and a few mules, all work horses and mules used to plow, haul hay, wood to be sawed up to use in the kitchen stove and heating stove in the winter. Dad had a saw to saw the heavy timber. The farm was on a creek (Indian Creek).
No water is in the summer, mostly dry in most of the except when there was a rainy spell, spring and fall of the year. In school time I went three miles to school, sometimes I would ride a pony and tie up the reins and he would go home and dad would take care of him when he arrived home, he always went home in a short time. He knew more that one would think a horse would know. At school end of the day I would walk home and enjoy a home again. The school house name was Mount Olive Number II.
Dad and his family lived on the farm for eleven years. And eight children were born (error, five boys and two girls). The oldest child, a girl born in Beatrice before they moved on the farm. In the mean time I got restless and went out to see the world. Traveled all most over all the western of United States. Worked on construction as to building rail roads in western Nebraska dn central Wyoming. Also in Idaho I would be gone sometimes for a year and then come home and help what ever I could. But the boys were getting grown up so Dad did not need me very much. One time I got on a bicycle and rode to a town Elkhorn and worked for a brick yard factory. They only hired about five men.
I went to Sheridan, Wyoming and worked for several winter and in the summer I would on a ranch till fall, then I would go and again work for the C B Q R R (railroad) at the round house. Then it had twelve rooms. All steam rail road engine and they were big, some with eight wheel driver. I tried to fire one on the train run but I failed in examination on my eyes and speech, in which I could not help was born that shape (no pallet in roof of mouth so I could not talk plan, some could not understand what I said). But I made out in other work. Such as Hoistler and other work to be done around the round house. Went prospecting for gold and copper made out fairly. But I did not like the way I had to live.
So I got another near Gurnsey, Wyoming helping to build a railroad tunnel in a canyon west of Gurnsey. I was later put on as night watch, guarding stock and the machinery or whatever there was. Parker and Graham of Omaha, Nebraska and Kilpatrick Purdy of Beatrice were the contractor, it lasted a little over a year. In the mean time, one day Harry Young brought the wives of Purdy and (Leonard Purdy) others to visit their husbands who were part owner and foremen and other high men in the out-fit. All well know through the location. To put it short the friends of mine came out to the equipment where I was on duty as a night watchman. I did not want to go and leave the job I was responsible, but anyway they talked me to go to town, prox a mile east from camp. Anyhow I went to town with them and spent a while in beer saloon, one took hardly any hard drink ever. In the mean time a person was beaten bad and robed of what he had. Well anyhow me and another one was arrested the next morning, accused of the crime. Well it was proven that me and Harry Skinner were not even at the seine, whatever well we all came clean, but I lost my job and went back home with some feeling in regret of what happened. But it was all over now.
At those times if anyone wanted to work on any construction as to railroad other work, one could go to an employment agency and ship to where there was work on any railroad for one dollar. For a shipment on any passenger train most of the work was mostly in the western part of the country. Many times I have gone to places to work, but did not stay very long. One time I shipped out from Omaha to work on extra work gang. I arrived near Sheridan, Wyoming late in the evening. I had supper and slept in the car fright cars made into sleeping quarters. Well in the morning about 10 a.m. a long fright came rolling along going west. It was going slow. So the men stood still the train had passed the place where the men were working. I was also waiting with the rest of them. But about half way I dropped my tool and grab an empty are and on I went west again.
Well, anyhow I finally came back to Beatrice and settled down living with my grandfather and his daughter. Carrie Whipple ( Westgate Glenover sub). She had a daughter, Viola C. I worked for the U.P R. R. round house in about 1914. I quit the railroad and finely wound up by working on a farm, n e of Beatrice. I belonged to the National Guard and was called out for the Omaha, Neb Tornado, 1912. Nebraska National Guard, co C 134, 34 Di.
I went back and worked whenever I would fell like I wanted, I was a little disgusted by the way things were going. Not like they use to a great change in the last few years. Not like it use to be. Well the world war came to light and of course, we the National Guard was called to serve their country. In which we answered the call to march on the way to peace. We were called to reenlist at the Chuttati Park, south side along the south side of the Blue River. There we all went through final examination. In a few days were on our way to Camp Cody, New Mexico.
In June 26, 1917 was the day for the Beatrice Boys to say so long folks, we are going to be back not too long. Captain Charles Brewster, Lieut. Harry Austai and Jaco Emmery. When we arrived in Camp Cody was all in training. And finally it got well advanced so it was less tiresome. And getting a little late in the fall. So while the slack was on I got a pass and went to my mother, brother Frank, Edith (Frank wife), also Ned Blurock half brother, all lived in Los Angeles except mother, then lived near Shasta Mountain, in northern of California. Enjoyed all the time. I meet Franks children, all of the whole family well, well in ten days were drawing near so I had to return.
I returned and received good greetings to be so obedient of our Company. Then soon we went to Gettysburg, Penn. Did not stay there very long while I was stationed. I meant Margaretta C Shenberger of York, Penn. Her parents had passed away, not here sister and brother lived were there.
Margaretta C Shenberger and I were married in Harrisburg, Penn, December 31, 1918, 2 p.m., Christian Minister, Gean and Park Patterson of Enola, Penn. Before I was discharged from the Army. She stayed with her sister Geneva until I was discharged from the service, then we set up house keeping in New Brunswick, New Jersey and I went to work at the Raritan Heating plant. ( I was discharged Mar 8, 1919). I worked in the Raritan army heating plant for the Hospital and Barrack. I quit there and to live in Freehold, New Jersey.
We moved to Metuchen, New Jersey, a small town about four miles east of Raritan Plant. Still working there when a first child was born in Metuchen, New Jersey. Girl, Clarann, Aug 31, 1920. 4 p.m. I got a job as plant engineer for a factory at Freehold, a small town south of New Brunswick, New Jersey. I lived on the west side of town, a quite lively town. I worked three years, and in the mean time two girls were born, Edith Margaretta, March 16, 1922 and Leah Rose, August 23, 1926. Then I got tired of bing inside so I decided to get an outside job. So I got a job with a construction Co, the Clutter Construction Co, Lakewood, New Jersey. Operating Cranes, gas, half yard shovel and all kinds machine operation. The job was finished so then I was well acquainted with many other construction company so I did not have to worry about getting a job when I wanted one. So Parker and Graham of Lakewood, New Jersey wanted a all round man. They were going to build a bridge across the Raritan River near New Brunswick. It was 1200 feet long, 5 feet high, all concrete build. So in 1925, I went to work and stayed with them till it was finished and they had another job to do so I went there. Up near Neward, New Jersey and finished it in 1929.
So I wanted to come back to Nebraska and soon after we loaded up my old model T ford and set out for my old home. We had the three girls, all we could pack in the back of the car. And a little puddle dog who was lost on the way somewhere near Kansas City, Mo West some distance. We had a swell trip all the way. No cold, only one near Springfield, Mo. It took us about ten days to travel the 1200 miles. We landed in Beatrice about an hour before sundown. We stopped on 6th and Court and held up some traffic when a policeman came and said buddy move on. I laughed and said were does my sister live, he look at me and well I be dam, if it isn't my old pal, so happy to see me. Then he told me how to get to my sister.
I drove up to her home and then it was getting dark. Margaretta went in the house and above all they were having a party and what a surprise to them, they came running out and grab the three girls and then we had our first night indoor sleep. It was not long before all of the rest of my sister and brother were there to greet us.
On the second day some brother said for me to go the barn sale of all kinds of things, so we went down and dad was there, busy as usual. He did not see me until one the boys said, dad, don't you know this gentleman. Dad look around and what a surprise for him. He not saw me for 12 years when I left with the army in World War 1, 1917. Well, then after the sale was over he said that we must go down on the farm and stay with them. We stared down it was only six miles south of Beatrice and then what another surprise.
My stepmother grabbed the girls and hug and kissed them all. And we all had supper. There was a large gathering that night to be sure, greeting to us. Well then I had some money from the Veteran bonus and I had that as long as it lasted. I got me a job in helping a Gas pipe line from Kansas southwest to Fairbury and went all the way to Walthill and through Winnebago, east of town, between the town and the Missouri River and then on to Souix City, Iowa. That as the end of the Gas Pipe Line. When we started, it was a 18 in line, and then down to 8 or 10 in. I started in the spring and in the mean time I made a trailer house to live in because we were moving most other day, according how fast the ditch went. Sometimes it went 15 miles and then maybe 4 or 5 miles a day. I finished in late in the fall of 1930. But had no money so I had the American Legion help out, sometime I was on the P W A, Managed to get by somehow.
We rented a small house in Blue Springs for $4.00 a month and then I had a hard time to make ends meet. It was one of these fathom drought and everything to put the whole country in distress. I was about to the end of helping my family in 1932, I told my wife I was going to fine something. I told her I was going west and see what I could fine in work. So one afternoon, I went down to the railroad and waited for a freight to come along. About 3 p.m. one came and I waited till it started to pull out and then I mounted an empty box car and traveled west to Colorado. I had been there before so I knew where I was acquainted some. Then I catch a train to Fort Morgen to Denver and down to Pueblo. And I could not fine any work. So I returned home and found about the same. That fall another friend and I had a small car, (don't remember the make) we thought that we might fine some work in northwest of Nebraska, so one day we got in and started northwest to Valentine, Nebraska. No there so we went west from a person who said we could fine work on the ranches, putting up hay and cutting. So we all three went to Waldon We found work for about three weeks.
The snow had began to come down on the mountain tops. So the rancher told if I wanted to go home I better start out before the snow got to far down on the mountain. The other boys had quit some time ago. Well I made enough money to send home to help Margaretta to get some clothes and other things she needed. So I started back by the way of Laramie, Wyoming and made the trip back so by the fall of 1933, I had done what was possible. In a week I went to Ogallie and got a job of sucking corn for a farmer at two cents a bushel. And when I was finished, that night I went to town expecting to stay in a hotel, I had supper and was resting.
And reading the paper, When I happened to look out and saw a fright train stopped and the fireman was cleaning out the fire box to have a clean fire the rest of the way. I got up and put on my heavy sheep skin coat and mossed down and look for a empty freight car. And luck I found one and when the freight train started, I was comfortable inside. When it got to North Platt, they stopped to change crews. While I was waiting for them to be ready, a brakeman came by and stopped and look at me and said, well buddy, how come all fine I hope have you had nay supper. I sure had I said so he went on about his work and then again it started agin to roll east for Lincoln. I guess it was about 4 a.m., anyhow I got off and started to walk south to the road that would take me to Beatrice where my brother in law lived, Marian Nickols, Bessie Husband. Anyhow I walked for about 15 miles when I got tired and stopped. In a farm house and asked if they would let me have a lunch, I said I would pay for it, but the lady brought out some coffee and some good lunch. I offered to pay her, she said no, my unknown friend. I rested for about an hour and then I stared to walk. But I had not gone far when a young man with a car picked me up and drove to Pickrell, about 15 miles north of Beatrice. I got out and walked about another mile or two when another one picked me and I went all the way to my sister home. Then when we rested he took me to my own home in Wymore, 20 miles south.
I finally arrived back, my only home, all tired and sore from walking. But she fed me a good home meal. Well I settled again hoping for the best. A hard winder, but the legion and WPA. I worked wherever I got about $40.00 a month. Through the year then on Sept 23, 1934, a son was born. Its quite a story of our son birth. That day, my brother and I went rabbit hunting. One of my sister was with Margaret and the three girls on a visit, we came home about 4 p.m., then they all left for their homes. About 10 p.m. Margaret said for me to get the doctor. But the Doctor was out on another case so I sent Clara to a friend for help, she came over and helped whatever she could (Mrs Morris). About midnight, the Doctor came. This was on September 23, 1934.
Well I worked on PWA and got along well under the circumstances. Till spring then I got some extra work local and on July 1935, I was recommend a job for the U. S. Engineer at a stone quarry near Tacoma, Nebraska. Using the stones to build barricade along the Missouri River to prevent water flooding over land, some were dikes, some dams. What ever was necessary along the big river Banks. First I lived on a river boat for a while, later I rented a small house and lived there until the government moved their outfit to south Platsmouth.
There I had a trailer in which I batch for sometime. In the mean time I hunted for a place to live finally, we found a small house, near a school house, so Clara could go to school. It cost $5.00 a month. Lived there until winter came and then of course, they had to close for the winter. In spring they would open up again. Well we managed to get along fairly well during the winter. Because we were off work, sometimes about two months and then return back. Sometimes we would go to another location to operate, depends where the River needed the dikes, all the way from south of Omaha to the Kansas Line. The last two years there was so much changing places I got tired of changing places. I bought a place at 400 south Center at Beatrice and then would drive home to work once a week.
And in the mean time I still had the home made trailer in which I would stay while working. The reason we lived in Beatrice was so the children could go to school and not be changed around so often because no one can learn anything by changing places so often. Got along fine. Margaret look after all the children and house hold or whatever was needed to care for a home.
One afternoon we all went to visit my sister, Mayble Bishop who lived north west of Beatrice. And what did we hear, the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. It came over the radio. At that time, no T V in any home.
It wasn't long before the U.S. Engineers closed down all of their work on the Missouri River. They somehow sent me to Hastings Ammunition Depot. I never did learn who recommended me to such a place where responsibility was placed on one person. As it was on me. That was in the summer of July 1947. I went to the U. S. Navy Ammunition Depot. I was in charge of the maintenance of all the steam Boilers. There were thirty four all told of course at that time not all ere installed because the Navy Depot was a new plant. And of course it took time as well installing all the machinery that was needed. So I took the job.
Then I came to Hastings, I stayed with my brother who lived on South Denver St. I sold my home in Beatrice and sent for my family. I had rented a apartment at Spencer Perk 427, N Lana A. I worked there was a but that it took all the working from the housing park built by the government. There were many who lived in the park from all over the country as far as Mich, Washington and many other places to many to put on this record. While we were living there, the girls all married. Clara and Rudder were married in California and a boy was born there. Later Margaret went to California to visit Clara and returned home after a two weeks visit. A little later their son Johnnie was taken sick and they brought him back to Hastings. They arrived late one evening. Margaret took over and set up all night with Johnnie and in the morning he was great deal better. They stayed for a week and then Howard Rudder and Clara went to Lincoln, Nebraska and worked in a filling station. Leah Rose was married to Simoneau, her husband went to Germany and was killed in battle. Edith married and moved to Beatrice. Glenn was going to school in Spencer P Park.
All was going fine, one evening I came home, Margaret had supper ready in a few minutes. Then she said Oh, I don't feel good, I think I will go and lay down for a while. Glenn and I finished supper and I wondered just how she felt so I sent in to see her. And there she lay in peace in her last days. I was shocked beyond anything I could do to help her. We called the doctor (Dr Mace) he pronounced her dead, so on the 10 day of October, 1948, buried in Ever Green Cemetery in Beatrice, Nebraska. Then our home was gone forever.
I was lost but I tried to do my best for Glenn who was a young boy. He went to live with his sister, Matilda Edith Miller. I furnished all the expenses to keep him in school. Well he did good as far as I could fine out. And ad to me I bought a small home in town, 300 S Baltimore Ave. Lewis and Mary were living on Dodton and I stayed with them until I could make a home. Edith lived in Beatrice, Leah Rose married Dale Seachord from Fairbury, Nebraska. They lived with me for a long time and then they went to Washington. Dale took schooling from military service to be a carpenter.
So I was alone again, but I still worked in the Navy Depot. I would get most of my meals, generally I would go to restaurant for supper. Noon Lunch was out in the cafeteria on the Navy Depot. A meal run around 25 to 40 cents a meal. I would go to dances meetings and social gathering well known all around this county. I went several times to see my mother in California. Riverside for some time. There is a whole more to tell, but I don't think will interest anyone, so far is only a part of my life on earth.
Don't forget those who fought to free this country in the early 1777. So that all of their children and grand children could enjoy freedom and liberty for all. God our Great Commander of all. In him we trust and pray for the liberty of all. Kindness to one and another will be forgotten. Be with us to lead forward to the path of righteousness, faith and honest people of now and forever.
John P. Winslow
See Winslow Family History for additional information.
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