Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ancestry visit. Part Two, Mom's Dad's Side.

After leaving Lincoln we headed south to big ol' Cook, Nebraska. Population 300 and dropping daily. It was sad, it's a dying little town. So unlike Stromsburg, Cook is like a ghost town. It was Memorial Day so all three businesses were closed except the grocery/cafe. The guys were hanging out at the hardware store, though, so we got a lot of info from them. And Mom's cousin, Richard had given Mom a lady's name and number and we went to her house but she couldn't remember much at 94. She could tell us though where Uncle Ralph and Aunt Jennie's (my grandfather's sister) house was.
Here's a photo of Mom and Ray Arnold in front of her Uncle Ralph's drug store when Mom was 4 and RA was 5.
And today in the same spot. Ray Arnold had taken his wife to the doctor in Lincoln that day but the owner of the hardware store stood in for him the day we were there.
This is the bank now but was where Uncle Ralph's drug store was. The only decent building in town and it's the BANK. I thought that was interesting. I guess the farmers in the nearby area must still be making some money 'cause didn't look like anyone in town had an extra buck to chuck in the bank.
Below is the house that was Uncle Ralph and Aunt Jennie's. It's due to be torn down soon, it's in pretty bad shape.
It took us about an hour to find the farm only about 5 miles outside of town. We got some misinformation from hardware guy and Cousin Richard didn't have the exact directions on him from the cell phone calls we were making to him every few minutes in South Carolina. Mom had never seen Fargo so she didn't quite get why I would not make any further than two turns so I would know where the main road was. Not that there are any scary folks there, they are all nice and decent, I could just picture us getting lost and not being found until spring thaw. The turn of luck was when I caught the tiniest glimpse of what looked like the tops of tombstones. Richard had said there was a cemetery across from the family farm. So we went to the cemetery and found...well I'll get to that in a minute. But we did find the farm, just as described, the house was gone but the original barns are still there. Another amazing feeling, being where my grandfather had been born, raised, and where he rode his horse back and forth to school from.
We found the family plot and this was the oldest headstone we could read easily.
We have what's written on this one below but it is, as you can tell, very old and beautiful.
I took the photo of the barn and sign below as we were leaving town. I thought it was funny especially considering that the poor town is barely there and dying more each day. It reads, "Best Small Town In America". Yikes.
Here are the "souvenirs" I collected from the family farm. It's still a working farm with lots of cows but there were a few things laying around OUTSIDE the fence that didn't look like they would be used any time soon and had been there for a while.
I popped the tractor seat onto a stool we already had.
This wreath of barbed wire needs to be put up somewhere special but it hasn't told me where yet. If I ever get that storm door installed I'd like to put the barbed wire on the door. We'll see, I'm just glad to have it.
So the drive home was really long because we only had driving to look forward to and I missed Paul and Matt so badly that it seemed to take forever. Wow, what an adventure it was!

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