Mrs. John ( Lizzie) Linenberger, daughter of Anton Kinderknecht and
Catherine (Mies) Kinderknecht. This
is her story, as she can remember her life.
My Mother was married first to Phillip Koerner and had two girls 3 &
4 years old. Their names were Mary
and Amelia, when she married Anton Kinderknecht in the town of Catherine, Kansas
(Ellis County). Mary was 14 years
old when she died of diphtheria. To
the union of Anton and Catherine Kinderknecht were born, Alex, Lizzie,
Celestine, Anton, Catherine, Felix, Phillip, and Regina.
My sister Catherine died when she was just one year old, on her birthday.
She was just one year younger than myself.
My brother Phillip died when he was thirteen years old.
I remember living on a farm 8 miles from Catherine where we all went in a
lumber wagon on Sundays to attend the Catholic Church.
At that time it was customary to get there early for 8 o'clock mass then
to 10 o'clock and then 2:30p.m. vespers, all of which were attended the same
day. In the winter we left in the morning when it was still dark,
with straw on the bottom of the wagon box, then quilts on that, then the covers.
Also, sometimes we put hot stones and sad irons were heated to take and
keep us warm. Many times we took
our naps right in the wagon. We
would come onto town and stay in Dad's vacant house when there were church
services during the week. We would
take food and supplies in and that way eliminated going back out to the farm,
only to turn around and make the long trip back into town.
I remember my step-sister, Amelia, getting married in Catherine to my
Dad's brother, his name was Peter Kinderknecht.
My Dad and my Uncle Pete came from Russia 12 years apart.
My Dad was the first to come.
When I was eight years old the folks moved from Ellis County, 18 miles
north of Hays to Buffalo Park, Kansas (Gove County).
I and brother Alex went out to Park with neighbors that had come to do
their harvesting. There were three wagons with seed wheat and food on them, and
three header barches, some horses loose or being led, and some cows.
I believe my folks had five cows, 8 horses, pigs and some chickens and a
dog, also the family. All but Mother and the three children, Sallie, Tony, and
Felix, came on the train to Park from Victoria, Kansas.
We had a large farm in Gove County.
One full section of land, which was in pasture one quarter where the
house and buildings were on, and one half section was in cultivation.
Dad helped break up the 320 acres of sod with a walking plow and horses. The first crop on the newly broken sod was corn.
It took them three years to break it all up.
Which gave them free crop except it was a lot of work.
This land was known as the Flenthorp and Carter Ranch, and the people
would come in and rent part of the ranch and then they could break up the sod
and have the first crop off of it. On
this ranch there were a lot of free range cattle up to the time Dad broke the
sod. There were two very large open sheds about 100 feet long, and
about 40 feet wide. Even after we'd
lived there a lot of cattle would come to take shelter in the sheds for
protection from the storms. After
Dad had picked his first crop of corn, he put it in those big sheds.
At corn picking time we had three or four men from Ellis County at our
farm home and also some neighbors each with a wagon. They came as early in the morning as they could and stayed in
the fields until the wagons got full. Then
they would come to the unloading place,
where I was stationed to give each one food before they went back into the
fields. Some stayed too long and
couldn't finish a row to the end before it got dark and they had to then make a
mark so they would know where to start the next morning.
We raised a lot of corn off of that field that first year, then when we
finished the corn crop, we planted it with top sod.
We alternated from wheat to corn for years after.
I remember that the railroad went through the land not far from the house
and just by the big pasture. I know
of about five prairie fires set by the sparks of the train.
All of the large fires went north because south had cultivated land and a
road to stop the blaze. Twice the
fires started right close to the home building but we had a good fire guard
plowed beside the railroad fire guard. Sometimes
the fires burned five or six miles before it could be stopped.
I can't recall that there were many homes in the path of the fire, but
there were Barthalmn's, McElroy's, Easten's, Elenthorp's 800 acre grass range,
north of us, and my sister's quarter of her home, and ours where the fire
started. All of the train men
stopped to help or backed up to Quinter to get help.
My part in it was to hook up teams to the wagon and follow the men with
drinking water and sacks, and shovels, and what not to help with the blaze.
My orders were not to come to close to the fire, but be there to bring
the men back, and the men were so tired they had to be taken to the wagon to eat
and just wait it out. I remember
that one time all the section workers from three towns, Park, Grainfield, and
Quinter getting together at the crossing just south of the house, also two
freight trains stopping to help put out the fire. One of then had sent my brother Alex and John Linenberger and
other boys on ponies to ride back and forth to take messages or bring help one
way or another.
One of the large sheds with some of the landlords corn burned in one of
those fires, and the other one was torn down and other buildings made up like
chicken houses, grain bins and such. After
most of the land was plowed up and crops were planted on it the fires became
less and less frequent.
My brother Phillip was born on what was known as the Schwart's place,
which we bought, and which was a quarter of a mile south of Park.
My uncle Peter and my Dad had their brother Matt and family brought over
from the old country (Russia). They
wanted my Grandma Kinderknecht to come but she got sick and couldn't, and she
died then within that year. The
others came just before Christmas and made their home with us for a year.
In 1907, my Dad and family bought and moved to this home south of Park,
known then as Buffalo Park. His
land extended to the depot, one half mile and forty acres south.
My brother Anton Jr. still lives on it and did until 1960.
In June of 1907 our house on this farm burned down, caused by a
lightening bolt. We all just barely
escaped with our lives. It struck at night so we all had our night clothes on, and
being a very warm summer night, very little of that was on. Since we didn't have too many clothes on we didn't go to the
neighbors, but went out into the pasture and got some horses, and hooked them to
the wagon, and all but Dad went two and one half miles east to my Uncle Matt's.
When we got to town, 2 men who were on a Dead Wake went out to the house
and managed to get our wardrobe out. It
had our Sunday clothes in it and even though some were partially burned and
torn, we were very lucky to even get it out.
After the house burned we lived in our barn, which was easily fixed up to
live in, because it had five grain bins with a hallway between the manger and
bins. One partition was taken out
so it made up one large room. That
left 2 bedrooms and one bin.
A hay loft made a good sleeping space for the boys.
My sister Celestine (Sallie)
was away by my sister Amelia's. My
uncle Joe's boy, cousin Tony Kinderknecht, stayed with us at that time.
We had to cook in our blacksmith shop, which had been made into a
kitchen. Dad had to leave the
fireplace and the bellows in one corner of the room, so when the men had to come
in and use the blacksmith as a shop, we women had to go out.
Then when it was mealtime the men had to get out so we could use it as a
It wasn't long before the folks started building a new house.
It was a large frame house with two large rooms and two bedrooms, pantry
and closets downstairs. The
upstairs had four large bedrooms with closets in each room.
I remember I helped haul the lumber from Quinter, seven miles away.
There were no lumber yards in Park, so it was kinda fun but dangerous as
we piled the lumber as high as possible on wagons that had the boxes removed,
only the reach to hold the wagon together and we put shingles on top of every
load, because it would have taken too many trips to haul by themselves.
My Mother had gotten in poor health after the fire so I missed a lot of
When our house was only under a roof, that is not finished inside, the
baby of the family, my sister, Regina was born.
That was on August 31,1910. It
took us all of 1911 to finish the rest of the house, but then bad years struck.
We had drought, dust storms, and so many insects for a few years.
Then Dad let the man go that had been farming his land in Ellis County,
and Dad, himself, went back and farmed it.
The farm was about 90 miles away, so Dad and one of my young brothers and
myself started out one morning with each one driving one wagon and machinery,
one driving a header barch, and the other a top buggy.
We all changed off driving. We
had 7 horses, 3 horses for a single plow and 4 for a bottom plow.
The men did the filed plowing or disking and later drilling wheat.
I took turns working in the field and
it took almost a day to go to town for food or repairs or whatever.
Also, Dad had to go back to Park sometimes on business, then I took over
in the field until he got back.
I borrowed a setting hen and bought 24 eggs from a neighbor and hatched
and raised 18 chickens to be used for fryers, which we used before we
moved back to Park after threshing late in the fall.
I made about 4 trips back to Park, and we left about 5 o'clock on the
morning and drove until about 10 o'clock. Then
we took a rest and ate and let the horses graze along the road, where there was
a lot of grass. When the horses got
fed and got restless one of us always had to watch them.
when we'd get rested up we'd start off again.
We'd generally go about straight north of Ellis until night.
We'd all, mostly three of us, would try and stay awake by singing and
telling stories or even taking walks until as late as possible, then Dad watched
the horses, they usually laid down and rested after so long a time.
When the horses got up in the morning, Dad grained them, harnessed them,
and woke us kids and we were on our way. We
mostly ate a cold breakfast, and ate whenever we got hungry.
Going east to Ellis County it usually got hot, then going west towards
home, it was usually cold, especially after the first of October, then Dad
borrowed seed to sow. Then after
the harvest he would take the same amount to market for that person.
We farmed one-half section in Ellis County with about 40 acres in
pasture. Sometimes Dad came back to
do the threshing and help the neighbors, as they always helped one another out.
It usually took 6 or 7 men for harvest.
I cooked for them. It took
one to drive the team on the header box, one to load the wheat in the header
box, one on the wheat stack, and one to drive the four horses on the header
machine. It took usually two men to
unload the wheat at the stack while the box and header went to fill another
load. I helped do all these jobs
but drive the header, which was not for women, except in the poor years or for a
very short time. If only one box
was used the loader did the pitching or unloading, the header driver stacked and
the box driver helped as good as he could, but that didn't go half as fast as
the other, as there was too much waiting. The
last year I went along to Ellis County for the summer I was married to John
Linenberger and then both my husband and I worked for Dad.
I, as cook and John, my husband, as a harvest hand.
Then John worked on the threshing crew, which lasted until fairly late in
the fall. After the harvest both of
us went back on the train to Park. At
Park we rented a four room house. It
was the former Linenberger house in town, but they had sold it when they went to
John went to work for his old boss, Andrew Goetz at the Park section of
seven and one half miles. Two and a
half miles west and five miles east. John
walked the track many times, and he was known very well by the Union Pacific
Road master. When John's boss had
to go the the hospital in Denver, John got to act as foreman, until Andy Goetz
was able to go out with the men again. John
knew the works as well as the boss but didn't have the education, but with my
help he did the work for 3 months only to save the Boss's pay, since they were
very good friends, and since Andy would have lost his pay due to illness.
Our oldest child, a girl, Frances Helen was born on February 17, 1915,
while we were living in the Linenberger house with Doctor Dan Stover attending.
She was born in my folk's house as there was a very bad snow storm and
all the Section men were called out of town to the Collyer Curve, two towns East
of Park. The men had to stand by to
clear the tracks before every train passed, doing all the work by hand and
shovels. They were gone three days
and two nights. Frances was born
the next night after John got back.
In the spring of 1915 we moved to a farm 2 1/2 miles East of Park.
We started with 160 acres, 2 horses of our own, and rented one from my
Dad for the plowing, one cow, 2 hogs and 17 hens.
We raised 25 chicks by setting hens, as nearly everybody did. We had a good harvest the first year with mostly all being
volunteer wheat, expenses were small and we had good and bad days.
During harvest there were always a lot of strangers around to help, and
on Sunday and rainy days they hung around in town and got into trouble.
My Dad, Anton Kinderknecht, was a man of order in the family and the
community, and when the men who came to help with the harvest got restless he
and John and many others helped to find things to entertain them to keep them
out of trouble. My Day having the
men have foot races, with about twenty or more at a time racing.
The winners of each side raced again the winners of the other side, until
it got down to one top winner. My
Dad, himself, furnished a horse to race with a man.
It would be a short distance race with the man getting a head start, My
Dad, himself, was a winner more than once.
They also got games together like horse shoe games, with five at a time
playing. Also had pulling hand
holds, pulling rope or tug-or-war, roping men and even boxing.
John liked the boxing, even throwing balls. Beside baseball, John was in it a long time, and each game
was worked out like a tournament, with the winners playing the winners until
they had a champion in each game. Dad
Kinderknecht got a lot of men to go to church just to keep them busy and out of
trouble. John and I stayed at the
entertaining place a lot of times. It
was located between the Legleiter Store ( general store and handled everything
from needles to wagons) and the Catholic Church. When it was time for afternoon vespers or devotions mostly
all Catholic's went to Church. The
Vespers only lasted one to one and a half hours.
Our top buggy sometimes had all it could possibly hold to and from the
ball games and other games, even to the mumble peg games.
The second year on the farm we were hailed out, but the little corn we
had out was small then and it came off in good shape, and made a fair crop.
Since the wheat was nearly ready to harvest when it hailed. There was a very good wheat pasture everywhere.
We had tow sections East, one South, one-half West and one-half north,
and our own there was only fence around the grass pasture.
We had little cash and not much work on the farm, so John went to work
for his friend and boss, Andy Goetz. He
was a very good friend to both the Kinderknecht and Linenberger families.
Our first landlord was Joe Noah of Ness City, Kansas, our second was my
Dad, Anton Kinderknecht Sr. of the Ellis County land, our third was Anton Pifer
of Victoria, Kansas, the Collyer land, the Fourth landlord was, Art Otkin of
Ellis, Kansas on south of Grinnell, Kansas.
Then we bought one section southeast of Oakley, Kansas.
We had the Otkin place in wheat and also ours, nearly 700 acres in wheat.
We didn't get more than seed from one patch.
That was the last land we rented in western Kansas.
On October 5, 1916, about a year and a half after Frances, our first
child, our second baby was born. We
named him Andrew Victor. I didn't
seem to get over this birth and other old troubles, so when Victor was 2 1/2
months old we went to see the Linenberger grandparents at Marianthal, Kansas,
west of Scott City, Kansas. We got
held up at Scott City because of a storm. But,
it was just for overnight, and so we just stayed in the train depot.
Soon after we got home Victor got pneumonia, and we nearly lost him, but
the doctor, a Mrs. Wright, who attended me when he was born took good care of
him and pulled him through. This
lady doctor stayed at Park for about a year for a rest and then left the next
summer. Then when Victor was about
5 1/2 months old, I had to doctor with a doctor in Grinnell, about 16 miles,
going by horse and buggy, to have an operation at the Hays, Kansas hospital.
It was the closest and a small hospital. Doctors Blake, Hass and Doctor Jameson took care of me in the
St. Anthony Hospital, Hays, Kansas.
At those times most mothers nursed their babies so Victor had to go along
on a train but when the Dr. got me ready for the operation he had to wait until
my Mother and Father could come by train in the morning to get the baby.
My operation was a bad one as there were three things wrong.
There was female trouble, and the appendix was grown around the small
intestines and the minor ailments. We
had to wean Victor, and have Grandma take care of him.
Since he was 5 1/2 months old it was hard to put him on a bottle so had
to give up and just feed him other ways. While
I was in the hospital, Frances Helen got very sick with very bad lung trouble.
I was called home quickly I think it was on May 10, 1917, anyway it was
five days sooner than the Dr. had planned to let me go home.
But I had to promise to get in some hired help.
I came home on a Saturday and Monday was when they prepared to operate on
Frances. Our living room had to be
the operating room, since her lungs were so full of puss and since she was so
weak she couldn't be moved. She
couldn't even make a sound she was so weak.
Everything was prepared for Dr. Rinehard and his wife, since his wife was
a nurse. They had come from the
East about a month before.
The operation was set for Wednesday at 10:30 A.M.
Not having a decent set-up, and since I wasn't able or allowed to help or
even be in the room, her grandpa Kinderknecht was willing to hold her on his
lap. Using a firm pad under her on his lap to act as a table.
Frances' Uncle Pete Kinderknecht, my Dad's brother who was married to my
half sister, Amelia, held her legs, and Amelia stood by with hot blankets.
Grandma held her head and watched her eyes, while Daddy or John held her
hand. The Dr. and the nurse worked wonderfully
together. He lanced the right side
between two ribs, and as soon as the opening was made the puss that filled her
lungs shot out up about four feet and bowed about six feet and down hitting the
side of the south wall and about six feet away. Then she appeared dead to all
but the Dr. She was so blue
and yet white all over. They called
me in then, and they wrapped Frances in hot blankets even covered her head and
then they stuck her in the old wood range oven.
Sister Amelia held her there. Pretty
soon, which seemed to be an eternity to me, she wiggled a little.
The Dr. said, "I knew it", then they took her out of the oven
and uncovered her head and said she'd be alright now.
The stuff that had come from her side had soaked the covers, so Mr. and
Mrs. Lowvenstine, our neighbors, and Uncle Pete went one mile to get some more
blankets, as we had used all of our blankets including the baby blankets.
Frances, was punctured on her side where the incision was made and it
seemed like it was from that hole that she breathed.
As soon as she had enough life in her the Dr. took a rubber tube about
like a big straw, cut it off cross-wise and about 2 inches long.
Then put a large safety pin through the top and shoved the tube in the
incision. The pin held it from
slipping in. He had made four tubes
like that, three of which were boiled then left in a jar for the next usage.
The Dr. dressed her incision about 11:30 A.M., laid her in her cradle and
covered her, all but her head, which she could never stand.
Shortly after that, the Dr. and his wife went back to Quinter, about 7
miles, and said he will be back in about 3 hours to check, but to let her move
around as much as she liked but not let her cry too much.
She woke up and was tired but at least had her voice back, and then she
went back to sleep, and slept for 3 hours.
by that time Grandma and Aunt Amelia and the others had a good meal and
then about 4:00 or 4:30 P.M., the Dr. came and Frances wanted to eat, so the Dr.
had John set her in the high chair and let her eat only she couldn't lift her
right arm very good, but she tried and ate some soup with the left hand, but the
Dr. coaxed her to use her right one, because he said the more she exercised it,
also her chest, the more it pumped out the puss in her lungs. Then for that day and night every four hours the Dr. was
there to change that tube in her side and watched for clots. After 10 days, he then went home and didn't come back for 2
weeks. but he came three times a
day and once a night to look and treat her, for about 10 or 12 days.
Frances, being very active, got along real well, only got very crooked on
her spine. Her breathing was
normal, and she ran and played with that tube in her right side until the puss
had all drained out. Then he let
just one tube grow out from the inside as it healed, it pushed it out, but the
Dr. had us work with her for about three years to build up with exercises.
In every spring and fall, at the change of the weather, she got sick. No Dr. could get to the trouble, so we, living at Ellis
County, North of Victoria then and doctored with Dr. Anderson, also a Dr. at
Hays and a specialist from Kansas City that came to Hays Hospital, they all just
said maybe moving farther west would help. we did move to Collyer, not as far as the Dr. wanted, but that
was the only farm we could find and Frances had stayed at her grandparents at
Park the summer before, and it seemed to help a lot. We moved in 1924, but then she got sick again and got a puss
pocket in her side in back under the short ribs. I had another baby in 1925, and the other two, I had all I
could do, but it pained Frances so much the Dr. did not open it, only had me put
hot pollise on it all the time until it broke open in two places about an inch
apart, and in a week this all drained, and for about two weeks it looked and
smelled just like when she had been operated.
It just ate up all the cloth it came in contact with, and made the
diapers, which I used around her to hold the gauze in place, so rotten that I
couldn't use them any more. After
the abscess broke it left her awfully weak, but also relieved her a lot.
She did have to have a cloth bandage on it, and when she was confirmed
they had to wear white dresses so had a time keeping the puss from soiling the
dress. She was about 12 years old
at the time of her confirmation, and she was left with a curvature of the spine.
Dr. Rinehard told us if some of that puss had drained down in the lower
diaphragm, she would need another operation, in a few years, but the Dr. at Hays
and Victoria didn't think so. But
it did show up, but it just ruptured and drained in two places in the small of
Andrew Victor started to work, he was about 13 years old, on a farm.
When he was about 16, he worked for Joe Carter and family feeding stock
and doing all else that winter. He
was real nurse and companion to the old man Carter, Joe's Dad.
Victor was or had to be special nurse at night or any other time when the
old man (who was on his death bed) wanted something, even a chew of tobacco or
drink or what not, they had to call Victor out of the field or barnyard or out
of bed. He received $2.50 a week..
He stayed until after the old man passed away, the old man always said Victor is
to get good pay out of this, but didn't. victor
was operated when he was 18 years old at St. Anthony's Hospital at Hays for a
hernia and appendix. He had either
pneumonia about 2 weeks after he came home but then he had contracted colon
trouble or something. The Dr. said
it was from working hard and eating irregular meals in the fields, and from siphoning
gas from barrels to tractor. So
after that until now he still has trouble with his stomach.
Victor was married to Katie Brungardt in 1935 in the Oakley Catholic
Church. He went to Nebraska to
work, then later to Washington County, Kansas, where he farmed until he couldn't
take the hot sun, due to his migraine headaches.
He has his wife, Katie, his boy Francis, married to Vera DelVichio.
They have 2 boys, Steve and Mark (grandchildren).
His boy Linus, one daughter Theresa and another boy Cletus.
Victor worked at the Davison Grain Elevator, the locker then went to work
at the IGA grocery store cutting meat, where he is still employed.
Till 1962, May 1st.
As I have said before in the years 1930 in March we moved south of
Grinnell, then we had a good crop, but had to sell our wheat for from 18 cents a
bushel to 30 cents a bushel. We
scooped it in bins for better pay, but had to scoop it back out for the same
price. A lot of work for nothing.
Since we had a lot of wheat on hand we put out about 600 to 800 acres
that fall, having bought a farm, which consisted of one section of land about 8
miles south of where we lived with no improvements, about 4 miles west, and 2
south of Orion and 20 miles southeast of Oakley, the closest Catholic Church.
We didn't get to see a stem of wheat come up on our land, but raised
enough on the farmer's rented land
to sow 200 acres of wheat but didn't get anything.
Also every spring we put out half the wheat ground in corn, but didn't
get anything and had a lot of expenses for working the ground, the seed, and
working the ground to hold the dust down.
Dad worked on the W.P.A. on
roads or ponds. He made one on a
farm about 20 feet deep, 180 feet wide and it could bank a long ways of water,
but in 2 years of dust it was filled level, and never was filled, that I can
remember. So after about 5 years of
that in the 30's, we gave up the land, let it go back.
We sold all of our cows, three of our best milk cows for the price of
twenty five dollars a piece. We
sold them to one neighbor, and the others we sold all in a lot for $180.00, only
17, in that lot, but then we had to kill one cow and one calf, because they were
too weak to ship. The man wanted to
back out on that deal, because he thought it was too much to pay, but we didn't
Then in the spring of 1936, April 7th, we moved to Washington County,
Kansas. Francis had married Joe
Brungardt in 1935, and had moved up to Washington, Kansas, and so for that
reason we moved to Washington County, Kansas too.
We lived by a town called Enosdale, and lived there, but we had to drive
so very far to church, up to Morrowville, Kansas, only 2 or 3 years.
The name of the farm was known as the Collins place, as Bertha Collins
owned it. Our youngest , the
thirteenth, was born in February before we came to Washington, and it was on
this farm that she had pneumonia. The
first crop that we had on the Collins Farm was completely destroyed by
grasshoppers, but we were so much happier at this farm, mainly because we had
just come from Western Kansas, where we had known about the drought, where there
were the worst dust storms ever. The
animals lungs completely filled up with dust to the point that the government
had to come out and kill the bloated cattle.
Anyway after the terrible dust storms the government took the place over
for a rifle range. The place I'm speaking of is the home 20 miles southeast of
Oakley. On this place that Dad and
I had bought we built our four room house with a basement. It was a frame house, and we built it with the help of my
Dad, Anton Kinderknecht of Park. He
was quite sick all the while we were building the house.
It was in the winter when we built the house and in February of 1931 my
Dad died of a heart attack. We
moved into the house in the middle of March.
It was in 1935 about that,
that the government moved us out for the rifle range for war maneuvers.
Other things that occurred in Western Kansas, that we wanted to look back
on, only to make us thankful for what we'd found in Washington County, were the
times like when we lost 7 calves in a bad snow storm, one of which was standing
straight up in a snow drift frozen to death.
We saved only two calves out of the nine, one was saved because it found
shelter on the south porch of our neighbor, and they kept petting it to keep it
on the porch and out of the snow until we could rescue it.
The other calf was found safe on the south side of our barn. Our neighbor lost 70 grown cattle, that he had taken in on
pasture. He found them all dead
along or by each fence post as if to show that they were trying to get refuge
from just a small post. The
neighbors name was Ernie Waltz.
We sold all of our belongings such as livestock but four cows and a calf
and four horses and our pony. Also
2 hogs and four chickens, a dog and 2 cats.
We made quite a sight on the road from Grove County to Washington County
with our livestock, our household things, and the 13 kids, and after we got
settled down on the Collins Place even though we did have our troubles there
too, they didn't seem nearly as bad as the ones we'd left behind in Western
We lived on the Collins Farm until one day during a storm a friend of
Victor and Katie's stopped in to tell us about a real nice farm north of
Morrowville, Kansas that would be vacant pretty soon.
The farm was about doubly as big as the one we were on, and it was only a
few miles to the church that we had been having to drive so far to.
Dad decided to move off the Collins Farm and moved up to that farm, which
was known as the Nutsch's Place. The
Nutsch's place was a real challenge to John as it had nice land, good pasture,
and nice farm buildings. It was at
this place that we had such a nice big garden and of course we had our married
children living near us. Francis
lived up by the Morrowville Church, Victor lived just a mile south of the Nutsch
Place, Isabelle and Ben also lived by the Catholic Church and our second boy,
Albinus lived right across the road from the farm.
We had our share of sickness too, which a person always has with so many
children. But the worst I remember
is when our third oldest daughter Irene. She
had an infected tooth pulled, and even though the Dr. thought some medicine he'd
given Daddy to fight the infection would take care of it, the infection kept
getting worse. We hesitated in
taking her to the Dr. right away because there was a bad snow storm in full
force and all the roads blocked. However
her whole throat and face became so very swollen that her throat was bigger than
her head. One of our neighbors
walked about 3 miles through the big drifts to the man that ran the maintainer,
and had him come to the farm to open the roads so Daddy could take Irene to the
hospital in Fairbury, Nebraska. When
we got her there the Dr. pronounced the infection, Ludwig-ana-jiena.
He made three incisions in her throat, and inserted tubes in it to drain
the puss out. She was a terribly
sick girl, and it took her many months and weeks to get over the operation, and
the whole ordeal.
In 1942 the man
that owned the farm was killed, and went into estate so we had to move off as
the man that inherited the farm wanted to move on it.
Dad and I looked all over in Washington County to find us a farm, and
finally found the farm south of Washington.
It was only 2 1/2 miles from town and wasn't quite as large as the
Nutsch's place, which was alright since Omer, and our fourth oldest boy, Elmer
were entering the Army, and that meant we only had Daniel Jacob (Jack) and
Phillip John who were still in grade school, to help John on the farm.
It was during our stay on this farm known as the Olsen Farm, that Edna
Mae, our fourth oldest girl and Haddie Lillian, the fifth oldest went into
Washington and began going to High School.
Edna worked at the Washington Hotel and Haddie at the Brown's Rexall drug
store to get money to go through school. The
girl helped us the first summer get over the scarlet fever.
I got it first, and then the four youngest got it.
When we were all over it we had to air all of the household things, and
had to bake all of the books and paper things in the oven.
It was an awful mess to clean up after.
The younger ones, Philip, Jack, Agnes and Betty or Elizabeth, went to
country school, until in 1946 when the country school was consolidated and then
they went into town school. This
farm we lived was very interesting as the Mormon Trail went along the river that
ran through the west pasture. Along
the river bank at one point, was a horse-head
that had been carved there, and had many initials carved.
The house itself had a door to the outside in every room on the
downstairs floor. There also was an
artesian well on the place that had the clearest and coldest water, and which
ran constantly. We lived on this
farm for 10 years, up until Jack and Phil had left for the service and Agnes had
graduated from High School, with Valedictorian honors, and the only one home was
Betty. She later left to work for
Agnes who had gotten married and ran a cafeteria where Betty worked while going
We had our farm sale in the latter part of August in 1953.
We had gotten a house on a farm near Greenleaf, and had it moved in town. Up north of Washington by our oldest son Victor and family.
John worked in the Foster Lumber Yard, and on farms in harvest time, then
in October of 1955 he worked in the sugar factory at Garden City, Kansas, where
his brothers, Joe and Bill Linenberger worked.
John had worked in the sugar factories previously at Rocky Ford,
Colorado, before we were married.
In 1954 we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, which was on April
28th, but we had to postpone the celebration because John got sick with a
perforated ulcer, and was operated on just two days before the 28th.
We did have our celebration then on May 10, 1954.
We had a mass at the St. Augustine Catholic Church in Washington where we
renewed our marriage vows, with the original attendants taking their place
beside us at the altar. A reception
was held and an open house at the city hall from 2 to 5 p.m.
All of the 13 children were there but Philip, our youngest boy.
He was in the army in Korea.
The year of 1956 was a bad year for me, since it was in February of that
year that my youngest daughter's husband, Cordis Huddle was killed in an
accident at Wichita , Kansas. He
was killed while working at his job in liquid fertilizer plant, and was overcome
by a gas known as Benzinehexachloride. We
went to Wichita to bring back Betty and her 3 1/2 month old son Chris.
That was on February 13, 1956.
In the spring of 1956 John worked on the city street gang until he got
sick. It was in the first part of
June. He came home sick, but got
over it soon, we thought. Then
about 2 weeks after that he had to be brought home, sick again, and then Dr.
LeMaster sent him to the clinic at Concordia, known as the Gelvin Clinic.
The tests taken at the clinic were on the 27th, 28th and 29th of June.
Agnes and I went over on a Friday to get the results of the tests.
Dr. F.P. Thornton attended John, so he took us into his office and showed
us the x-rays he'd taken. He told
us John had cancer in the left kidney and had already spread over the whole left
side of his chest. The only advice
was to keep him as normal as possible and give him vitamins for strength, and
pain pills to relieve his pain. Neither
Agnes or I could tell Dad so Dr. Huntly got the records from Concordia, and the
three oldest boys, Victor, Albinus and Omer and I went with John down to the
Dr.'s office where the Dr. told him. The
day that he told him was on July 4, 1956. John
took the news well, and said that he suspected he had it, and was very glad that
the Dr. told him, rather than not tell him at all.
We brought him home and right away I began taking care of him.
The hardest was that he wanted only me to take care of him and since I
knew it would be the last time, I tried to do all I could.
And it worked out okay as long as he had enough strength to sort of help
himself. The children came
regularly to help out whatever I needed. But
the night of July 19, I became so depressed and Omer, Victor, and Al came, and I
think more came, but I don't remember too well. We did have a reunion between the 4th of July and the 19th,
where John could still go and see all of his children together.
Anyway I was going to have one of the boys stay with me on the 19th, but
about 9 o'clock that night he got so sick we had to call the Dr..
We all had to plead with him to go to the hospital, where he could have
better care, and we would bring him home as soon as he felt better.
He knew he wouldn't return home but agreed to go.
We put him in the hospital on a Thursday night, and all of the children,
and grandchildren were called together to be with him at all times.
The priest had also been visiting him often and during those past weeks
but he kept saying he knew it would be awhile before the good Lord will take him
as he could tell by a special odor of that disease over a sick person. Anyway it was a continuous trip just going back and forth
from the house to the hospital. John's
brother, Andrew, Joe and Bill and his brother, Gus and Pete were unable to come,
but anyway the 3 came the Friday of the 20th, and even then John had been able
to recognize many of the people who came to see him, he did know his brothers
and even said "Hi, Joseph and Andy".
He didn't recognize anyone but me from then on.
We were told by the Dr. that he was sinking away fast.
The Dr. gave me something to make me sleep, and I did, but have always
gotten mad at myself for doing it, but I guess our bodies give up even if our
minds don't. Anyway all of the
children and I and Fr. Gallagher were in his room from about 9 o'clock p.m. on
Saturday after we admitted him. Fr.
told some of us that he was sure this would be the night as the odor was
becoming very apparent. At about 12
midnight a man in the next room to John's died of cancer, and his body was being
taken away just as all of us and Father were saying the rosary as John took his
last breath. That was at 1:30 a.m.
on July 22, 1956.
We all left the hospital, and since it was on a Sunday we agreed to all
go to church and then go over to the funeral home to John.
After seeing what cancer can do to a human body I could hardly believe
anything aside from sleep had caused his death.
He looked as young and healthy as he did when he was in the prime of his
He was buried in the Washington City Cemetery on the 25th day of July,
1956 with his brothers Joe and Bill singing the Requiem High Mass.
He is buried just across the drive, south of the grave where
Cordis Huddle, our Son-in Law was buried just 4 months earlier.
When John died a part of me died too.
I kept on as we all do, with my memories of our good and bad and our soft
and hard times to guide me and to fall back on in my lonely hours.