and before they’re all gone…

IMG_0327How many times have looked backwards and thought, “Man, I wish I had….”?

Like the two great-grandmothers I had until age 20.  I wish had recorded their memories of…oh I don’t know, maybe THEIR grandmas.  Which would have taken me back another 2 generations of firsthand knowledge.

Or…

I wish I had gone to that family reunion because that was the last time Uncle Bill was there.

Or…

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I wish I had taken more photos of barns.

Huh?  I know.  I’ve been taking barn pics for a long time.  Never even thought that was unusual. Until a friend admitted that she, also, loves old barns.

But, I, naturally (when you consider where I live and the lifestyle we inhabit), am surrounded by old barns. Some of which “I wish I had” taken pics of and appreciated more.

This is probably my favorite.  I had heard about it for years. At reunions, tales would be shared about the barn, first and most importantly because of the painted words on it.  Do you see them?

Huge clue as to the character of the man who painted them.  He was Big Boss’s great-grandfather…the Preacher, the Teacher, the Newspaper Writer, father of 12.  How I long to have to known him!

He came to the Kansas Plains about 1880 from the well-established old state of Pennsylvania as a child. His father had settled in Western Kansas, built a house, barn and well house and staked his claim on several quarters of land.

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Great-Grandpa CH (we’ll call him) grew sturdy and tough helping his father farm and ranch.  Then the Lord called him to teach school, so he did. And then He called him to preach. In the meantime, he wrote weekly articles for the closest newspaper 20 miles to the east.

But back to the barn…he built it on the homeplace that is about 11 miles from our home.  He called it “Sleepy Hollow” and that was where the barn resided for some 40-50 years.  After his death and subsequent sale of the homeplace, the barn was moved about 1 mile east to another farm.  The exact date is not known.

We also don’t know… for sure…when the barn was built. US Census records show the family living at Sleepy Hollow in 1900.  And records show the same residence for the clan in 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940. Which would place the barn in the Over 100 Hundred Years Old category?!  No solid proof though.

How do we know it’s the same barn?  Photos from its heyday (no pun intended!) reveal the exact same barn architecture and design.

And, of course, the letters above the door, “PUT CHRIST FIRST”.

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An Ah Ha Moment!

PS Bonus shot…do you see him???

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7 Responses to and before they’re all gone…

  1. Mom says:

    This sounds so ridiculous, but I wanted to ask one of my Greats what it was like “when the century turned.” I thought (she died when I was a pre-teen) there must have been some hugely different thing that happened. In fact, she would have been about my age as the “century” changed from 18’s to 19’s. But she was pretty cranky, so I just kept my mouth shut and learned how to be a Canasta shark from her instead!

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    • The Queen says:

      Not ridiculous at all! To think…we could’ve had first-hand stories from our greats about their first “horseless carriage” or their first electric light …I learned quilting from mine. Never played Canasta. Maybe I should learn?

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  2. I love barns too. I hate to see the life that I grew up with (farm life) quickly disappearing. All that beautiful farm land turned into sub-division…farm land growing houses…just doesn’t seem right!
    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.
    Debra

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    • The Queen says:

      No subdivisions around here but the small farmsteads from year ago are going fast. No one wants to farm anymore. Wow. Wonder if it could have anything to do with government regulations gone wild?!!

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  3. Barb Humphreys says:

    Yes, I see the deer……..Enjoy your blog………Trying to remember where the Ruff homeplace was and where this barn is residing…….Is the barn on any of the Ruff land now?…….Who owns the Ruff homeplace now? ………Is the barn still standing? Barb

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    • The Queen says:

      Hey Barb! This barn sits south of Burdett on what used to be the Smith place, just off the Garfield Road and is now farmed by another Burdett Pawnee County farmer. The CH Ruff place is gone but the Charles Chester (Ronnie’s great-great grandfather) home still stands just west of Ralph and Donna’s house along with the limestone barn he built in 1878!

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  4. Kitty says:

    I love an old barn. We’ve got one on the compound but it is being sorely neglected. I fear it’s going to collapse – such a waste. Thanks for sharing this one. If it could only speak.

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