An early autobiography
May 7, 2020
A clipping from “The Randall Enterprise,” Sept. 15, 1923
When I was a young man of 25, I came with a party of friends overland in three wagons from Iowa to Kansas. We arrived and camped near a creek east of Jewell on April 5, 1871. After looking over the land, I chose a homestead in the Star neighborhood. After my payment of $14.50 for homestead rights, I had $16 in money left.
That spring, I broke two acres of sod which I planted to corn. It produced about 20 bushel per acre. I also built a dugout. Wages were 75 cents a day.
I spent my first winter working near Kirwin, which was a newly built town at that time. We were well supplied with wild meat that winter. Wild turkeys were numerous and often came near the cabins. We also had buffalo, venison, beaver and opossum meat. In the summer of 1872, I was one of the first subscribers of the Gazette and I have been a subscriber ever since that time.
Beloit at that time had a grocery, a sawmill, with burr attachments to grind corn. The Hersey Hotel stood east of the mill. Beloit grew rapidly. Soon there was Hart’s bank and later Walker Bros. started a bank. Settlers were coming from many places to this new state. By the end of 1872, all the claims were taken. We had to haul all our supplies from Waterville by wagon freight. It took about six days round trip. We marketed hogs at Waterville for 2.5 to 3 cents a pound.
In 1874, I moved my family from the Star neighborhood to near Scottsville. All old settlers will remember 1874 as the grasshopper year. Since that time, I’ve had my home near or in Scottsville.
On March 5, 1923, my family gave a surprise dinner for my 75th birthday.
There were 26 relatives there including my four sons, one daughter and seven grandchildren. I have traveled to many states and stayed last winter in California, but I have never found a place I liked as much as Kansas. For 50 years, I endured the hardships of the dry years and enjoyed the pleasures and profits of the good years as they come to us. There is no place like home.