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Newspaper Archive of
Jewell County Record
Mankato, Kansas
November 26, 2009     Jewell County Record
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November 26, 2009
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ag, eft ',2. Office located at 111 E. Main, Mankato, Kansas 66956 .Established 1890, Volume 120, Issue No. 48 Early 'soddies' sprang from necessity covered with boards. Over the ceiling boards, chunks of sod were placed for insulation. "The house looked rather peculiar in the summer-time because grass and weeds would grow out of the sod on the roof. On three of the four sides, dirt was piled almost to the roof line for insulation "We did have a small window or two. on the front of the house, for warm weather ventilation. The windows were almost ground level. On the inside, it had basically two large rooms. One room was a combination kitchen, din- ing and bedroom. The kitchen was in front, dining room in the middle and the folks' bed was in the back. The other large room was Luella's room. with a large storage area behind it. George and I slept in the loft. "The floor was wooden and the walls were plastered. Since it was well insulated with dirt. sod and thick logs, it was quite warm in the winter time and cool in the summer. We did have problems when we had prolonged pe- riods of rain. and we had quite a few leaks, but adding more sod on the roof usually fixed the situation. "We did not have indoor plumbing, electricity, radio, television, tele- phones, central heating or many other of the conveniences we take for granted today. Rumors about self propelled horseless carriages being made back east. and in Europe, circulated when I was a small boy, but most people dis- missed them as being impractical gad- gets, which would soon fade from the scene. "Later. we built a nice frame house: on the farm and the log and sod house was used for storage until it was torn down.'" Memories of the soddies and dug- outs once common in Jewell County are fading fast. Most of the structures have dissolved into the earth from which they were made leaving little trace of their past existence. Even find- ing a photograph of them is rare and appreciated. By Gloria Garman-Schlaefli With today' s comfortable and well equipped homes throughout Jewell County, it is hard to believe our pio- neer ancestors built and lived in humble "earthly" homes made of the native sod. In an article that appeared in the Jewell County Republican 80 years ago, the editor described the sod houses. The houses were often called "soddies." There was no timber on the prairie land when the first settlers arrived m Jewell County and the surrounding area. The people were arriving in "'swarms." following the Civil War. It was a new country, new life. and money was scarce for the first settlers. Most of the trade was done mostly by barter- ing. Yet. the pioneer family needed a home to provide protection The prmrie pioneer had no money to purchase timber to make their houses, so the pioneer built with what was available. He did this by using the prairie sod First a site had to be se- lected for the house, and then he used his team of oxen or horses to pull a "'breaking" plow. instead of the "solid plowshare." Setting the plow to adepth of about three inches, he plowed a long straight furrow as near to the "soddy" site as he could get. The sod was im- pregnated with fibrous roots of the prairie grasses and prairie plants, so that it held together well. Strips of sod. a foot wide and three feet long, were Business owners will display wares at Mankato show A Christmas open house will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2. at the Mankato Community Center. Vendors taking part in the open house are Belinda Jeffery, Pampered Chef: Amanda Anderson with baked goods: Cindy Rhoads. Tastefully Simple: Rock Hills Booster Club's Grizzly Store: Dixie Abram. Silpada Jewelry; Mary Little. Avon. baked goods, and Precious Moments item s; cookbooks from the Jewell County Relay For Life committee: Thelma Shelton. Tupperware; Kim Duvall and her hand pai nted item s; Jessica S hulda, LiaSophiaJewelry; MehlinaMcEntire. handmade bath products: Pare Dunstan and Lori Bonjour, independent beauty consultants. Rock Hills Rockettes Dance Team will offer Christmas gift wrapping. f Number of residents without electnclty reduced to 225 stories seeing creatures runnmg along, or hanging from the rafters. The floors were often dirt. Some- times wooden floors were made using the native trees. The average sod house had not more than two rooms. Some larger ones had four to five rooms. Hand dug wells provided water that was carried into the house. Soddies were also constructed to serve as school houses and churches. The soddies and dug outs were warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Such a soddy was built in 1875 by James Simpson of the Northbranch community. A story about this soddy was written by Orville Eckl or and pro- vided by Dorothy Amack Mattison. This particular soddy became known as Ecklor Soddy. "In 1893. dad purchased an 80 acre farm from John and Lydia Smith. It was one mile north and three miles west of Northbranch. It was on the south side of the road. I was born in a sod and log house on this farm. three years after my folks acquired it. "The house was rather crude look- ing on the outside. It was constructed on the four sides with large logs, prob- ably from cottonwood tree, from along the banks of the Republican River. which was about 10 miles north The logs were about 40 to 50 feet in length. It was approximately half above ground level, and half below. The logs were chinked with sod and the rafters were brought to the site. After the dimensions of the house were decided, the ground was smoothed offso that a space is left for the walls. 'which were two feet or more in thick- ness. The growing grass was left on the sod and this formed the "chinks" be- tween the layers. The walls were built up to a height of seven or eight feet. with openings left for the windows and doors, which were recessed into walls for a distance of a foot or more. Many of the first soddies didn't have windows as glass was often not available or wasn't affordable. Some- times oiled paper or muslin was used to cover the windows. After the walls were completed a ridgepole was secured, from native trees to provide support. Over this. brush was thrown and then a layer of prairie hay or straw was applied. Then the layers of sod were placed, with the layers being leveled off and chinked up so that not a drop of water entered. and the structure drained perfectly. Doors and windows frames were made from native lumber or from wooden boxes that the pioneers had brought with them. Sometimes a ".white wash" made by the pioneers was placed on the walls. To make the sod house more homey looking, the sod roofs were sometimes planted with native flowers, but some- times the roofs became homes to ro- dents or snakes. Some pioneers told This sod house was built in 1875 or 1876 by James Simpson, Northbranch. but became the Ecklor sod hob se. Photo belongs to Dorothy Amack Mattison. Red Cloud Pictured in front of the sod house are Luella Eckl or Amack, Dorothy's mother, and Elzora Simpson Hendrickson, a cousin of the Ecklor's from Guide Rock.  ..: N The Henderson dugout was located just south of the farm where Jerry Harris now lives west of Northbranch. The dug out was once located on top of the first hill, just a little east of the Harris driveway. Pictured are (from left) May Henderson sitting with Dollie on her lap, then Rhoda with Jessie on her lap and Clint. Between Clint's knees is Mattie. next is Lottie and Ellen. The plqoto of Clinl and Rhoda Henderson with their family was taken in early spring of 1890. May and Lily were Clint's children by first marriage. Ellen, Mattie, Dollie and Jess. were Rhonda's children. They resided in this dug out through 1891 and the Henderson's son, Titus, was born. He was the only Henderson child born in this dug out. Mattie was born in another dug out across the creek to the east. Dollie and Jess was born in a frame house to the east side of this dug out. Jacob Armagast first home 13 miles north and 2 1/4 wt nf Mnktr I=,-.,--,ho ,4 .... h. r",,. c, .......... By Monday Rolling Hills Electric Cooperauve had reduced the number of power outages to 225. down from 400 on Thursday. The cooperative had 600 meters without power at the peak of the storm last Monday. The cooperatwe faced major, wide- spread damage to its system, particu- larly in the Munden. Narka, Haddam. Mahaska. Clifton. Palmer and Morrowville areas. "We have put a lot of poles in the ground and we are moving through a lot of mud." D0ug Jackson. Rolling Hills manager, said Friday morning. "It is a slow process. Washington County and northeast Republic County are the two hardest hit areas." Line crews for the cooperative have been working day and night to resto/'e power. "'We are hoping to have power re- stored to all of our members by Mon- day night." Jackson said. Other Kansas electric cooperatives unaffected by the storm dispatched line crews to assist those cooperauves that had lost power, including crews from the Rolli ng Hills Eleqtric Cooperanve headquarters in Mankato. This assis- tance is provided as part of the state- wide mutual aid program coordinated by Kansas Electric Cooperatives. Inc. Line crews from Lane-Scott, Prai- rie Land.. Victory and DS&O electric cooperauves assisted Rolling Hills Electric linemen with restoration ef- forts. Rolling Hills Electric Cooperative serves I 0,000 meters in 16 North Cen- tral Kansas counties. Mankato Weather Daily High and Low Temperatures Nov. 15 .................................. 53 30 Nov. 16 ................................... 43 32 Nov. 17 ................................... 43 29 Nov. 18 ................................... 53 18 Nov. 19 ................................... 53 18 Nov. 20 ................................... 56 18 Nov. 21 ................................... 57 22 USPS, NO. 274-940 Price 50 Thursday, November 26, 2009 Thanksgiving traditions often include fall decorations that reflect the bounty of the area's fall harvest. A shock of corr and antique wagon filled with pumpkins, brightly colored leaves and a crock full of fall flowers graces the front yard of the Harold and Susan Topliff home in Jewetl. The Topliff's Victorian house is bordered by a unique iron fence seen in the background. Horse enthusmsts" helping with annual Christmas" open house Jewell County horse owners are again taking part i'n the Mitchell County Hospital Health Systems Annual Christmas Open House. The Beloit even.t wi I1 raise funds for the hospital's entry in the Mitchell County Relay For Life. Children will be offered rides on miniature pomes, provided by Daryl and Becky Cockrofl Jewell. The po- rues were present at the last open house. Another pony is being supplied by Kirby and Paula Kisslinger. Don and Shirley Simmelink, Jewell. are known for their horse drawn car- riages and surrey which they have en- tered them in many local parades. Don's horse. Duke, will be pulling the surrey. Duke is 12-years-old. Don broke and trained the horse. Riding and driving horses is a long time hobby of Don's. Norman Greene, Jewell. will offer City of Mankato Utility Report Connects: Joe Sanchez. 807 N. High. Disconnects: Harlow Vader. 807 N. High; Taylar Ord. 716 N. West. Hospital staff offers aid to 4-1egged victims of accident The Jewell County Hospital staff offered more than emergency care to the victims of a three vehic]e accident that occurred last Monday on High- way 36. east of Mankato. Staff" mem- bers also cared for two pets owned by the accident victims. A father and son. and Charles Thorpe, Beloit, where seriously injured m the accident. Accom pawing them in their vehicle were two dogs, Otto and Little Miss. After the two men were treated at the Jewel I County Hos- pital and sent on for further care, their dogs remained at the hospital until Bobi Fogo, the hospital's lab manager, took them to her home. Abby Elkins. the hospital's long term care activity director, provided the dogs with bandanas that had been made by the hospital's long term care residents. A son and brother of the Thorpes, Duane Thorpe Jr., later came to Man- kato to pick up the dogs. He thanked the staff for their kindness and treat- ment provided, and re ported his father rides with the surrey and spring wagon at the museum. There will also be live he built. Greene has built many horse drawn buggies and wagons and has entertainment. Refreshments will be restored a horse-drawn sled that has served, and Santa will make an appear- been in his family for many years, ante to have photos taken with chil- Green's son. Steve Greene. also of dren. in the hospital lobby. Jewel]. will be manning one of the Sunday, Dec. 6. from I to a p.m.. horse drawn vehicles. The Cockrofls. Simmelinks and Greenes are cancer survivors or have friends and family members affected by Cancer and thus are welling to help with Relay For Life Events. The Christmas Open House is scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday. Because of construction underway at the hospital, the rides will be available the Mitchell County Relay For Life will sponsor a Spirit of the Season Home Tour featuring six Beloit homes. along with a bake sale ar the Porter House Hotel. Homes included on lhe tour are those of George and Bobbi Link. Brian and Kristi Arasmith. Stephanie and Brad Barreu. Scou and Mary Jane Chapman. Helen Grotz. and Richard and Maxine Carrlco. Tarantula bite, shopping at home lead off 'Memories' 120 Years Ago Potter of Beloit is at work in Jewell with his 12-horse corn sheller. Randall has but two empty dwell- ings. "Trade at home. Let's keep our dol- lars in Jewell.County" admonished the Jewell County Republican. A Cawker City hotel worker was bitten by a tarantuia which was hidden in a bunch of bananas A Smith County girl won a wacr of $50 by husking 60 bushels of con in five hours. 80 Years Ago A severe blizzard hit most of Jewell County. A strong wind and snow all Continued to page 7 Bobi Fogo (left), Jewell County Hospital lab manager, and Duane Thorpe Jr., hold Otto and Little Miss. Tin e dogs were in a serious three vehicle accident on US Highway 36 Monday. Nov. 16. in whinh Thnrnc,'e fl-, .... ,4  .............