Robyn and I decided to re-visit the towns our grandparents lived in back in the 60’s. Although I had been back to those areas, Robyn had not been to most of the areas we wanted to visit. So we met up in Wichita, KS, and took off on a fun road trip.
We made a quick stop in Altamont, where our mother graduated from high school, and our paternal grandmother had attended as well.
Our next stop was Columbus, where we saw two of the homes our maternal grandparents lived in.
Across the street is the swimming pool where I cut my chin open (and had to have stitches) as a child. This is the old entryway.
We used to walk along this wall, which I recalled much higher than it actually is.
Behind Robyn you can see the fairgrounds. I remember seeing someone in an iron lung at the county fair here back in the 50’s. Isn’t that an odd thing to remember?
We also remembered playing in this playhouse, complete with running water and electricity. It belonged to the daughter of the local doctor (the one that stitched up my chin), and we were jealous that our playhouse (in Raytown, MO) was not as “real” as this one. Now it looks really tiny.
We stopped by the church where our parents were married in 1949, and stood at the very altar where they made their vows.
We stopped to pay respects to our grandparents–Ferne & KC Harris. They passed away much too early while I was just a child.
We also stopped to visit a dear, old friend, living in assisted living now. How dearly we love Judy, whose friendship with the family goes back well before we were born.
Then we headed down the road to Mound Valley, where our paternal great-grandparents lived.
This is one of the greatest mysteries in our family tree — who were Letitia Wilson’s parents? Her last name was “Glendenning,” but we have found no trace of her family. I keep digging away at it, but without the name of her father it’s been nearly impossible to trace.
We also stopped in Beagle, Kansas, to see the graves of other ancestors on our mother’s side. Thomas Rice (our great-great grandfather) was found (in the census records) in the gold fields of California in 1860, but returned to Kansas, marrying Catherine Dedrick in 1861, only to die young–aged 39 in 1872. Here is the interesting but sad story about his death: He was a very particular dresser. He needed to go to a meeting in the wintertime, and his underclothes weren’t quite dry. He wore them anyway and rode his horse several miles to attend the meeting. Then he rode home again, but caught pneumonia in the following days and died. Here are the graves of Catherine’s family.
Finally, we stopped in Lane, Kansas, to pay respects to Philip H. Koontz and his wife (and cousin) Catherine Koontz. Both of them lost Confederate brothers in the Civil War and came to Kansas, no doubt, to get away from the pain they’d endured following the war.