Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Friday, January 23, 2015

Horsepower or Powered by Horse.......

Tractors were few in the early 1800's in central United States.  Horses were the beasts to pull most all of the farm machinery. As this country was settled most farmers had only one horse. They would have to prepare the soil by plowing and raking but then would sow their seed by hand. Later horses of all sizes would become working teams and the larger the horse the better to use in the field. The photo is shown in the Granger, Iowa Centennial Book.  The town of Granger is just south of where I live so these are scenes of everyday farming in my county, Dallas County, Iowa.

You had to feed your powered buggy as the automobile was not readily available to purchase.  The doctor would make his calls by horse and buggy no matter what the weather would be.  As you can see this buggy did have a overhead to pull up to protect the driver from the falling elements.

One would have to wear warm clothes as they traveled in the winter.  I believe this was a doctor making a house call in the Granger area.

Having a horse drawn carriage, or wagon, meant tying it up to the rail next to the business you are visiting.  As you can see the streets are dirt streets and the telephone and/or electricity is in the town. The source book in which I found these photos was created in 1984 and they were celebrating their 100 years in existence as a town.  Some of these structures are still standing today as you look down the street. No many of them but some.

Horsepower was essential to bring in the harvest.  I do see there is some sort of a lift, gasoline powered, that will elevate the bundles of hay to the haymow. You can see the man standing at the top of the lift waiting for bundles to be sent to him in which he would take a pitchfork and heave it into the mow.

In southern Iowa where I grew up and went to school there was a man who used his horses to plow gardens.  This photo is in Murray, Iowa and George Both is driving his team through town to go plow another garden.  The date of this photo has to be 1956 or a little later judging by the look of the cars in the photo.  I remember seeing him drive through town and thought nothing of it.

I would help take care of my father in laws horse not 8 years ago. I am not a great horsemen but I did have to feed and water the horse on the farm twice a day.  It was important to check on them so they don't get out and wander onto the highway.  My wife's father had three horses and four mules for a while in my early years in the family.  The mules kept escaping and he had to eventually sell them or learn to shut his gates better.

Sepia Saturday is a great place to visit many people on both sides of the globe who are sharing photos and thoughts about the pictures.  Visit the others in this group by clicking here on  SEPIA SATURDAY to be taken to the listings of all the others.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Testify that I am Old.......

The box camera was hard to use.  If the photographer could see any image they would push down on the side button and take the shot.  The sliding of the button down would actually cause the box camera to lean. The photos I share today will not be edited to sit right with the world.

 To date my age I have been to this school house many times as a young boy.   I did not attend there as I was too young.  My three brothers did attend there.   I like seeing the American flag flying and also the bell tower with the school bell.  A wood burning stove would be the heating system and the shed out back held the wood and buckets for carrying water.  The outhouses didn't require a water system.  My brothers quit going to this school in 1954.  My parents were renting land to the back and left of this house way over the hill.  When they moved to the newly purchased farm in 1953 the brothers finished school here.  I am betting the school was shut down just a few years later.  I know of schools near our area that were in a different township that shut the country school in 1956.

I remember attending a Christmas party at the school when young and seeing bubble lights on the tree.  They did have electricity in the building.  I would wait,sitting on a running board of a car for the brothers to get out of school. Why I have the memory of sitting on the running board and running down into the ditch and then back again I really don't know.

To add to the slanted photo collection is this photo.  It is a school that was built in Murray, Iowa.  The town of Murray is directly north on the same road that the country school sat.  I don't know the number of miles but it is in the very next township north of the Doyle township that you saw above. The school had a short life as it burned down in 1925.  The school they built to replace this is the one my brothers and I attended.

This older barbershop scene is in Murray, Iowa. I use to walk past here in the 50's and 60's and see at least one barber in here still giving haircuts. I am thinking this photo was taken in the 40's.   I remember seeing these empty chairs for years as when the business closed it sat as a barbershop for quite a few years.

The barbershop sat in the left corner of this building.  The photo here is of main street Murray and at the time the photo was taken the building was a car dealership selling Model T Fords.  My Uncle Carl eventiually bought this building and it became the barbershop, in the first section, an apartment for my Uncle and Aunt in the second section, with the door as the entry.  The third section was the barbershop that I had my haricuts,  The last section was a cafe for quite a few years then became a laundry mat.

When my Uncle died in the 80's the building was sold and used as a car repair business in the back.  The owners let the roof's go, didn't repair them, and the roof collapsed  causing the whole building to be removed.  One can still see the different floors of all the rooms today as they didn't remove the foundation of the building.

I inherited a 1956 atlas from my parents of the Clarke County area.  The maps of each of the nine townships are marked with landowner's names identified, hand written, on the map.  The country schools in our area including the Doyle # 9 country school were still on the map at that time.

The atlas was made when I was six years old. I am going to glean a lot of history from it as I dig deeper in the different parts of the county and townships.  The country schools are all marked on the maps with a dark square box with a symbol of at flag sticking out of it.  That will be another whole blog to write as I see how they were the institutions that educated most of rural Iowans at the time.

There are others who are posting blogs today on SEPIA SATURDAY.
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Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Common Beard.......

I tried to find a single relative that has an unshaven face.  I guess central United States has a tight rule that you have to shave your face.  In the past thirty years that has changed as beards have come into style.  I have a friend at school who grew a beard and it did improve his appearance. The hippie era while I was in college did bring on more hair on the face and now the hunters of the world must all have beards. The unshaven look is really in for now.

The guy above had his photo taken in his fine Mason's finery.  The late 1800's was a time when Free Masonry clubs become strong and there was Eastern Star for the women.  The sense of belonging was very strong in the city social structure.  I have seen a photo of citizens of this town standing on main street and they filled up most of the first block of town.  A lot of buildings in the old Iowa towns have Masonry symbols on the top of the building, second floor, where they had their meetings. The town I live in had two different meeting halls.  One is still in existence and the other was lost when they tore down the opera house.

The photo above came from one of these albums. My dad had rescued them from this house below, in Osceola, Iowa as he was about to tear down the house.  At that time, in the 70's, a man or a group of men would take down a house with hammers, pry bars and sledge hammers.  No machinery was involved.

The house's history is lost as they had to create an abstract for the property for my dad before he could buy it.  It had been donated to a church and the house sat empty and boarded shut for over 30 years or more. One photo in the two set albums had the name of Webster on the back of it.  There is a street named Webster in Osceola and also the first owners of the funeral home for a long time stood about a block and a half away from this house.

I don't have a name for the bearded man but I did find different photos of him through out the album.

In this posed setting you can see that I have his photo under the scattering of the two top photos.  There is an older gentlemen with his white beard. These two older people may be grandparents to him and then maybe not.  They are all from Osceola or the books came into the house from relatives who lived in Osceola, Iowa.

I am assuming that this is a different time and setting for the man and his wife to have their photo taken. I like the classical decoration in the backdrop.  The woman must have taken a long time to button down her top article of clothing. The collar of the man's coat is cut the same way as the one at top.  All the added pieces to his coat does sort of cover up the view of the coat.

The last photo shares the name of the business that took the photo. As you can see I could have some fun researching some of the tid bits of information from the Osceola area.

Again I want to point out that none of my relatives wore beards two generations back on my family tree.  I couldn't find a photo.  There was a centennial celebration of Murray, Iowa,  back in 1968 when all the men grew beards.  It was a short period of time and I don't have proof in photos.  All this being said I want to thank you for stopping in at my blog.  Sepia Saturday members have  posted many interesting things on their blogs so check them out by clicking HERE.  They are friends of mine from all over the world.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

On the Ground Photos Become United.....

I have posted a couple of photos at different times before in the last three years of my dad with his brothers and sisters.  As time passes I now have answers as to where the photos were taken and even the year that they were taken.

I had posted this photo at a separate time from when I had posted the top photo.  Still not seeing any connection other than my mom was in this photo. The theme on Sepia Saturday is people out on the ground and as you can see they are doing so.  I like seeing how no grass was mowed back then as a horse drawn mower is about all that was invented for cutting hay and not for mowing down grass in the park.

The two photos had been laid to rest in the archives, my blog, so to speak as I really didn't have anyone at the time to ask about the photos.  My first cousin Joan owns this above photo and she is the little girl on the left. She recently posted the above photo on our family facebook site and all the dull bulbs became bright lights. I then knew the two that I had  did belong together, same place and time of a family reunion in Mallory Park in Murray, Iowa.  If I had my two photos laying side by side I could have compared the clothing they are wearing. My grandmother wears the same dress and an obvious dark dress on Aunt Amye is the same one too.  Of course in all three photos they are all wearing the same outfits.

The bottom photo is a picture of my grandfather Charles Thomas Burgus and grandmother Grace Elizabeth Turner Burgus.  At that time the seven children were all the grandchildren that they had. I dated the photos to 1941 because of the youngest child in the photo which is of my cousin Jerry Ramsey.

My newly wed parents are in the second photo and were married December 1940.  They were at the summer picnic with no children.  In the fall after this photo was taken my oldest brother was born in October, 1941.  My mom was glad to tell everyone that her son was born 10 months after they were married. After cousin Jerry was born, there were 10 more grandchildren added to this family. I ended up being the last of these grandchildren to be born in 1950.

Family trees can be so extensive but I am restarting and refreshing the immediate lines right now.  I am getting connections from second and third cousins that are asking questions.  I have started to write it all down so that as I become a source.  I do need to know what I am talking about and give out correct info.

Thanks for stopping in today at my Sepia Saturday post.  Check out all the others who post in this group from all around the world.  Just click here and pick a site to find it for more historic stuff.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

High on a Slide..........Woodward, Iowa

It isn't the most dangerous thing that people could do in Woodward, Iowa in 1920 but for a young child it might be a little scary to be at the top of a slide.  Thinking of the things that people would do to cause them injury at that time would be falling off of horses, drowning in a pond and catching a bad infection.  This photo is a cropped part of a very long photo of the entire student body, plus teachers, in 1920.

A photographer in town had a special camera that took wide shots.  From my living in the town I am aware that he took wide shots of many things for ten years or more.  I have seen a long photo of all the lodge members in town outside on the street in which I framed for the owners.  It was a lot of people being captured with their winter hats and coats trying to keep warm standing in front of an old opera house.  I have see a photo taken on my property of across the street with 12 or more model Ts Fords lined along the street. The camera was a special one in which a mechanism allowed the picture to be stretched out rather than look like a curve. This photo was of all the school plus teachers in 1920 and I do have in my possession of one  taken in 1916.  The building in the photo was built in 1909. I taught in that old building for 4 years starting in 1976.

When I look at photos like this from the past I find that a simple glance is not sufficient. The individuals in the photo all have a behavior to share or a state of being in the social classs of the country.  I see girls in fancy dresses and shiny shoes and I see girls in dresses made from flour sacks and no shoes.  Boys are either of the high end of the economic chain or boys are farmers in bib overalls.

I have taken parts of the group to help see the real faces of the children that live on the prairie. Personalities can be depicted clearly with some of the faces and others just blend in with the crown. My mom wore those stockings as a girl and she hated them.  They were required if you wore a dress and wool was a part of the material used to make them.  They went over the knee and they didn't stay up for very long.

The older boy with a tie glances out to his future while others who are younger seem to be tolerating the standing still for the camera.  I don't know how far away a photographer would have to stand with his large camera but he couldn't be that close to communicate to this large group.

The two girls have nice white dresses in this photo with the boys are wearing some form of dress up suits. The bows in the hair of girls are hard to see but the one has a very large bow and I think she has a corsage decorating her dress. I just noticed the boy on the right is not wearing shoes and the pants are short to the knee.  The smaller boy in front is probably wearing his brothers hand me down pants as they are rolled up to shorten them and they seem a little over sized.  It is hard to know what is going on in their lives in this time period, but this is the Depression of 1920 time frame.

Some of the pictures tell their own stories.  The plaid sleeves to a dress with a collar that reminds me of a nautical theme. Her shoes are in good shape and she hasn't heard that she should turn and look at the camera.

Do you think that these two are twins? The one is looking at the camera, squinting while the other is looking away for the time being.

These guys are probably farm boys who live near town.  They would have to walk to school from the edge of town. They look alike to me as if they are brothers.

I really have too many observations to share to do in one blog.  I don't know for sure if they are the oldest boys in school. One man on the right could be a teacher and others could be high school seniors. One is wearing glasses.

 Teenage boys are always the same no matter what year that it is. Someone is sharing a funny and ducking or had to sneeze.  The man behind them looks a lot older than the three in front.

This is a section of the left end of the photo.  The younger classes were placed there together even though older students and maybe teachers are in the back.  The back board for basketball stand up with a lean in the background.  The game of basketball was played with very different rules than it is played today.   There were center holding sections in the middle and groups at each end that stay put.  It is hard to explain but it reminded me of our original six on six girls basketball that was played when I was in high school.

I will finish with this right side of the photo on this posting. I wonder if you can pick out the little girl that is wearing dark glasses.  I think she is partially blind as no one else wore sun glasses at that time. We have a girl who moved her head to the right and older girls in the back who might be high school seniors.

The whole photo has potential for a history buff in this town to really analysis the groups of people socially and really discover who they are.  I have a resource of the senior composites of the 1920 school year so I could pull out faces from the large group.  I didn't attend school here and it isn't my home town but I have lived here long enough to have a bond to its history. I was around when they tore the building down in 1993.  The history held in one shot is fascinating to me and I will be posting more about this shot of history.  

Check out other blogs from around the world who posted today on Sepia Saturday. Click here and go to see what others have posted on the theme of living in dangerous times.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Family Shot in HIstory..........

My creativity today is focused on analyzing a family picture from 1942.  When I first looked at the photo I really didn't appreciate what I had here in the way of family history.  It is a diverse representation of four generations but with only one or two people on the many branches.

When I was younger and away from home, my mom had my two older brothers go through the photos in all the boxes.  They were told to take what they wanted and of course they would take the ones of the era of their growing up.  My years were 10 years later so many of the photos of the two older brothers would not be of anything that I would remember. Slowly but surely, my oldest brother, scans and emails to me images of the past.  I wasn't born until 12 years later but they do spark my curiosity.

I am first impressed with the clarity and good contrast of this photo. It is a photo taken in Murray, Iowa where my Grandmother moved after loosing her husband in 1937 and where my mom and oldest brother lived while my dad was in the service.  For shooting a photo with a box camera they normally will be slanted.  The second thing that amazes me is that this is truly four generations of people.  The generation steps aren't by one individual family but by the generations that you see here. If you were to visualize this photo, the tree would actually have one or more people represent on many different branches that sprout back to Grandpa Wheeler. Being a visual, I would really like to draw it out but I will spare you. 

The picture marked Grandfather Wheeler is really my Great Grandfather Wheeler.  He is the dad of my grandmother on my mom's side.

Elva Wheeler, we called him Elvie, is the son of the Grandfather in the picture and Elva is my Grandmother's brother. There were five boys and one girl in the family.  That means he is a Great Uncle. 

Kenneth sitting in the back is my Grandmother's son, my mom's brother.  He is my Uncle Kenneth and I bet Uncle Marvin is the one laying in the grass next to him. There were two boys and a girl in that family.

The Ronnie, little boy, is my oldest brother.  He is sitting there with his Great Grandfather, Great Uncle and his Uncle, maybe two uncles, in the background. 

Shirley and Freda are second cousins to Ronnie and of course myself.  Their father, not in the picture was another brother to Elva and my Grandmother.  They would be first cousins to Kenneth in the background. 

The achievement here is that I discovered a visual curiosity of a family tree.  The other thing I enjoy is how good the photo is with all it's clarity and the historic cars and houses.  The house still stands today, the one on the left, but it was turned into a one story.  My parents met and married because of this house and the history of renters my dad's sister in the upstairs of the house.  I think the garage and house next door are also still standing.  Trees have been added but it still is all there.

Check out the Sepia Saturday postings on the Sepia Saturday spot from bloggers all around the world.  Just click and travel to all many different locations in history. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Big Snow.......

It is a weekday in 1957, March 26th and the day before it had started to snow.  Down on the farm in southern Iowa we had good snow storms but this one was a heavy snow with strong winds.  School was cancelled and it was my birthday.  The farm buildings were lined up in a row with an opening for the tractors to drive through between the barn and the grain shed.  When the wind would blow in a certain direction, I am guessing out of the east, the buildings would collect lots of snow and created big drifts.

I had turned seven and it was exciting to look out of the house and see such tall drifts.  It was cold in the morning but I put on two pairs of jeans and my winter boots to go wading in the snow.  I really liked my red coat and the artificial fur was to help keep the person warm that lined the hood.  The strap, that is supposed to help keep you warm as it snapped across you chin would get wet as the breath put out moisture. I had unsnapped it as it was wet and you didn't want to taste it.  I doubt the drawstring to the hood was tied and the sun is shining.

We never took pictures of the snow or people in the snow but my mom ventured out to snap my photo. Later my brother three years older than me, came out and we together made caves and tunnels. I really don't know of any other photo taken of our family in the snow.  The photo brings back so many memories of winter and the two buildings behind me.

In March we would venture into the barn to look for new born kittens and visit dad while he milked the cow. Young twin calves were brought to the barn to help them survive another storm sheltered in the barn  During rainstorms we would run barefoot in the puddles and mud. Both buildings are gone now as the new owners let the barn roof cave in and the building to the left had to be moved as their tractors were too large to go between the buildings.  They moved the building behind the barn where the strong winds rolled it down the hill one windy day leaving it in a heap.  I have many memories of my older brothers and me sledding down our backyard hill and the use of one pair of wooded skis that had a single leather strap to hold your feet to the cheap wooden piece. The hill was steep as it is southern Iowa and the exhaustion one would have trudging up and down the steep incline made everyone very tired. We would never have thought to take a camera out there to capture those memories.

Others are sharing family photos with snow. Click here to visit all the others on the Sepia Saturday site.