S: Willie & Evadna Meisenheimer ~ A RETROSPECTIVE ON THE LIFE OF ONE KANSAS FARM FAMILY
FC: A Retrospective On The Life Of One Kansas Farm Family | Willie | & | Covering the span of three generations through family stories, rarely-seen photos, and other archives. | Evadna | MEISENHEIMER | Meisenheimer
1: A.Wilbur Meisenheimer (February 13, 1919 - November 26, 2013) | 1 | ___________________________ | (above): Wilbur & Evadna Meisenheimer at home, 1971 | "I joined the family in 2010, when I married one of Wilbur’s granddaughters, so I’m a new addition. Though I have not known Wilbur as long as many of you – as his friends, family and neighbors have – I’ve known him long enough. Long enough to know he was a good and loving man. I’ve known him long enough to recognize his booming laugh that could fill a room with joy. Like many of you here today, I’ve known his handshakes and his hugs, as well as the family he raised. These are a few of their reflections on Wilbur’s life and all he leaves behind. Wilbur was a man who loved his family. His friends and family will remember him as a considerate and compassionate man. His children and grandchildren can all bear witness to the many things he taught them to do – whether it was around the house, on the road, or in the field. But there was a common thread I noticed throughout their stories – Wilbur taught his children and grandchildren to learn in the deep end. He wanted them to push themselves – to figure it out, whether it was driving a truck for the first time, or operating the combine during harvest – and with that, enjoy that realization that they really could do it, whatever the task at hand was. And in the end, they could all walk away knowing he loved them and was proud – whatever the outcome. Wilbur was also a man who cared about his community. He was active in Lions Club, and served as a board member for Ark Valley Electrical Co-op and the School Board, as well as various church committees. Wilbur not only farmed, but enjoyed farming. He was a man who loved what he did with his life, and worked hard at it. But Wilbur also knew how to have a good time. He enjoyed puzzles and crosswords, and was always up for a game of pool or to play pitch. Wilbur was blessed with many opportunities to travel and see the world, but his favorite place was always home, and his favorite people were always those he called “family”.....As we continue celebrating the life of Wilbur, and the legacy he leaves, let us do so with joy in our hearts. When we grieve, we are grieving for ourselves and for our loss...The loss of a friend, a father, a husband, a mean pitch partner, and a giant of a man. But our loss is his gain, for we as his friends & family can have the same peace about Wilbur’s future as he had, if we understand his faith in Christ." | (C) 2014 | _____________ | When I started this book in the summer of 2012, I had no idea of where it would take me. I wanted to preserve Grandpa and Grandma's story, not only through pictures, but also through the people in them. I learned many things about my family that I never knew before, much to the thanks of Dad, Uncle Jim, Jeanie, and especially Grandpa. But through the process, I learned a great deal about Grandpa. I was always quizzing him about his youth, and his life with Grandma. He would oblige in answering my questions, but I noticed that he did not like to dwell in the past; rather to press forward with life. When he did tell old stories though, he told them heartily with that boisterous laugh of his. As my Step-Grandma, Mildred, put it-- "he was a man of a few words, but when he had something to say, he said it!" It's funny, a week before his death, he called me on my 30th birthday....not once but twice. His eyesight had really deteriorated in the course of a year, so when he tried to setup a reminder on his phone to call me the day before, he accidentally patched a call through. Our conversation was brief due to his hearing loss, but the underlying message was that he cared. He told me he would call again the next day with Mildred, and he did. As sick as he must of felt during his last week, he took the time to call. That is one thing, I will aways treasure about him, that he took the time, or should I say, countless times in the lives of his three kids and five grandkids, to be a part of our world despite his limitations. He truly was a giant of a man! His great humor and positive outlook on life are a part of him that I will always carry with me. And then there is Grandma....though I was only 8 years old when she died, she made an huge impact on my childhood. I think I can speak for all of her grandkids (or at least for the ones who are old enough to truly remember her) in that we always went away from their house knowing that we were loved. Whether it was through words of affirmation, or her lavishing us with gifts, Grandma Evadna made it known that we were very special to her. Due to these lasting impressions of both Grandpa and Grandma Meisenheimer, I felt led to compile this family photo album of sorts. Therefore, here is their story as told by those who knew them best. | In Memoriam | --Brian Meisenheimer (grandson) | --Excerpt from Wilbur's Eulogy, written & read by Jesse McCallister (grandson-in-law)
2: Dynasty | The Swiss Mennonites of Pretty Prairie | One | Part | SmallTown | 2
3: One | Chapter | Kernele | JK
4: Mary (Maria) Graber Birth: 13 MAY 1864 in S Russia Death: 17-APR-1941 in Hutchinson, KS Burial: 1st Menn Cem, Pretty Prairie, KS Occupation: Homemaker Religion: MENNONITE Father: Johann B Graber b: 7-FEB-1840 in Horodish, Gouv, Valhynien, Russia Mother: Maria Goering b: 5-DEC-1841 in Wohlynia, Spouse: Jacob K "Kernele" Graber Married: 11-OCT-1883 in Marion, SD | Jacob K "Kernele" Graber Birth: 26-SEP-1860 in Edwardsdorf, Russia Death: 8-JUN-1942 in Pretty Prairie, KS Burial: 1st Menn Cem, Pretty Prairie, KS Religion: MENNONITE Occupation: Farmer Father: Peter O Graber b: 12-MAR-1830 in Michelsdorf, West Galicia, Russia Mother: Freni Goering b: 10-JAN-1838 in Edwardsdorf, Russia Spouse: Mary (Maria) Graber Married: 11-OCT-1883 in Marion, SD | ~~Photo on previous page: Jacob K., Mary, & Frances (1890)~~ | 4
5: (below): Peter O. Graber and his sons from his first wife, Freni Goering. Pictured here from left to right-- Jacob K., Peter O., John P. O. (in back), and Joe C. | (above): Peter O. Graber and his family during their time in South Dakota. Joe C. stands in the background on the wagon. In the foreground from left to right-- Jacob K., Peter O., little John P. O., Elizabeth, Susanna (Peter's second wife) holding baby Andrew P., and Peter. | . Pretty Prairie | On the warm summer day of July 27th, 1874, a steam ship pulled into New York Harbor with its decks lined with immigrants. Having spent nearly a month crossing the rough waters of the Atlantic, they now enter the Free World with hope in their hearts and dreams for a better life. Aboard the S. S. City of Richmond that day was the Peter O. Graber family among many other Mennonites, seeking refuge from the tyranny of Russia. Persecution was a prevalent reality for those in the Mennonite denomination. From as early as the mid-1500s this sect of the Anabaptist movement (originating in Switzerland) came under scrutiny when it broke from the Catholic Church and those in the Protestant Reformation that believed in infant baptism. Receiving their name from Menno Simons, a former Catholic Priest who became a champion of the Anabaptists. The Mennonites were also known for their pacifistic values; instead of fighting their opposition, they fled Switzerland moving along the Rhine River. For about 100 years they lived in French, German, and Austrian territories before settling in the Polish Russian province of Volhynia (by invitation of Empress Catherine the Great in 1797). She assured them of immunity from serving in the military and that they had the liberty to practice their own religion. The small village of Michelsdorf was soon established while the Amish later started the village of Edwardsdorf. The Amish had broken off from the Swiss-Mennonites in the late 1690s over a difference in opinion in regards to appearance and foot-washing. By the time Peter O. Graber was born in 1830 the two sects had become blended together as the Swiss-Volhynians in the Edwardsdorf area. The Grabers started out Amish, but became more Mennonite as time went on.* It was 1870 reforms of Czar Alexander II that brought the Mennonites over to America. His plan was to enforce the people to serve in the military, learn the Russian language, and worship under Orthodox Christianity. When it became clear to the different Mennonite delegates, sent to plead their case in St. Petersburg, plans were made to seek out land in the United States. By the Spring of 1874, the first of four groups of Swiss Mennonites made the trek over. Peter Graber and his family were among the third group to cross that June/July. It was the fourth group that settled in the plains of Kansas while the other three immigrated to South Dakota (within the counties of Hutchinson and Turner).* Peter and his first wife, Freni, had seven children together before she died in the late spring of 1875, not long after coming to the area around Freeman & Marion, South Dakota. Her cousin Susanna took up the position of helping Peter raise the family. Within a month, they were married (there was a 20 years difference between the two). Eight more children came from their union.* | Jacob K. "Kernele" Graber was the second child born to Peter O and Freni Graber in 1860. ("Kernele was a nickname given to him.) Growing up in Russia, he and his older brother, Joe C. worked in a brick factory near their home in Waldheim. Just merely children --Joe was 11 years old while Jacob (J K) was 8. Their parents were too poor to send them to school, so they worked to support the family instead. It was when JK was 14, that he and his family immigrated to America. The going rate for passports at that time was at $50 a family while the shipping fare was around $80 per person (half price for those under age 15).** | **Unruh, Helen Graber. "The Journey of Mary and Jacob K. Graber." Bethel College, 1979. | ____________________ * Hartzler, Betty J., The Peter O. Graber Genealogy. Morgantown: Masthof., 2001. Print. | Once in South Dakota, Jacob held a variety of jobs in various places including helping construct the Chicago-Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad (stretching from Milwaukee to Washington State). Much of his earnings he returned home to South Dakota in order to aide his struggling family.** The pioneer life was rough on the Grabers. The winters were brutal in the Dakota territory, especially the winter of 1876. On top of that, they had two bouts with grasshopper infestation, demolishing the crops that they had worked so hard to plant. It took about three years from the time they first arrived, before they had their first successful wheat crop.* The Mennonites are known for bringing the Turkey Red Wheat variety to North America. Maria "Mary" Graber, daughter of Johann (John) B. & Maria Graber, was about 10 years old when her family arrived in New York on the S. S. City of Chester in August of 1874. They too settled out in Marion, South Dakota area, doing their best to farm the untamed land. By 1883, Mary and Jacob had fallen in love, and on October 11th of that year, they were married.** Directly afterwards, they made plans to move down south to Pretty Prairie, Kansas. Hearing that the winters would be less rough down there, the newlyweds bought horses, a wagon , and a plow and set out by boxcar. Arriving in Hutchinson, they hitched up their wagon and traveled further south to a plot of land (80 acres that they had bought from the Santa Fe Railroad for $2.50 an acre). It was located about 7 miles east and 2 and a half south of Pretty Prairie.* Though Kansas' climate had a more milder temperament, the young couple struggled to make a go of the farmland during their first 3 years. At one point, their land was re-possessed, causing JK to seek out a loan company in Hutchinson to lend them enough money to purchase a quarter of land, about 5 miles east of Pretty Prairie. Even though they had their fair share of drought, blizzards, and grasshoppers, what hindered them the most was isolation. Fortunately, JK's older brother, Joe C., decided to join them in 1884. He bought the section north of Jacob & Mary's original 80 acres, then later moved to the section north of his brother's quarter. By February of 1891, Peter O. brought the rest of the family (those still living at home) down to live in the Pretty Prairie area. He would live the remainder of his life on a farm 6 and a half miles east of town.* With time, the Graber family grew accustomed to the land --expanding their family to encompass the population of Pretty Prairie. Some did prominent things like JK's younger brother, John P. O. Graber, who served a term in the State House of Representatives and helped establish the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson.*
6: Establishing the First Mennonite Church | The Mennonite Hymnal | of Pretty Prairie | As more and more Mennonite families from South Dakota began to migrate south around the Pretty Prairie Kansas area, plans to establish a church were underway. Finding its roots in the farmhouse of an Andreas Schwartz, the First Mennonite Church was officially organized on October 10th, 1884. With its initial congregation of 88 members (30 families) the church selected a minister from within the community by a casting of lots. Its first minister, John J. Flickinger, in a 1934 interview, recalls that he was selected out of 21 men --all voted into candidacy in an election held on October 10th. From there they had a prayer meeting, calling upon the Lord for direction in their decision via a drawing of lots. Flickinger was the only one out of the 21 candidates not to draw a blank lot, and 8 months later he was ordained.* | Church's First Minister (1884-1919) Rev. John J. Flickinger & his wife Marie | J K & Mary Graber were among those 30 charter families, who helped establish the Mennonite Church of Pretty Prairie. In fact, Mary's father, John B. Graber, later housed some of the church meetings before a store building from Cheney, Kansas was bought and moved to a plot of land east of town in 1885.* The building was acquired at the price of $80 while the five acres of land was obtained through land agents at $50. It then was gutted and revamped to suit the function of a house of worship.** | As the years progressed, the congregation grew, allowing them to sell the storehouse and build a larger wood-framed building with the potential seating capacity up to 400. Six years later, in 1897, a tornado completely destroyed the church.*** Then in 1905, the building that followed mysteriously burned down (largely suspected as arson). A year later a much larger church was erected; with the dimensions of 36x56, it served the Mennonite Community for two decades before a more sufficient brick building was built in 1927.** | ____________________ * Stucky, Jonas A. Epochs of History of First Mennonite Church of Pretty Prairie 1884 to 1954 (Pretty Prairie Kansas,,1955) Print. **Waltner, Arthur et. al., eds. The History of The First Mennonite Church Pretty Prairie, Kansas. North Newton: Mennonite Press., 1983. Print. ***Graber, Arthur J. "The Swiss Mennonites-- Pretty Prairie." Mennonite Life. April 1950: 34. | Dedicated on February 5th, 1928, the new brick church held with tradition, featuring two entrances as did its predecessor. This attribute would carry on with the custom of having the men seated on one side of the sanctuary and the women on the other (A tradition that was eventually phased out with later generations). The building project's total expenditure was at $33,000.00 when it was all said and done. Four years later, on June 8th 1932, the church was officially chartered under the name The First Mennonite Church At Pretty Prairie, Kansas; J K Graber and five other men signed it into being.** | During the early years of the church, the worship services were conducted without musical instruments or hymnals. Musical instruments were seen as worldly and unfit for the house of God. Therefore it was the song leader who kept the congregation in tune and aware of what words were to be sung next. It was not until 1909 that a choir was formed; along with it came a reed organ (paid for by the choir members themselves). It was originally intended to be used only for rehearsal, but later the church made it permissible for it to accompany the worship services as well.** | As the years past and the church grew, one of the biggest transitions the Mennonites had to face was letting go of the German language. It was a gradual switch from German to English, but a necessary one. During the 1930s, English was adapted into different programs throughout the church. Up until then, everything was closely done in German. Whenever a minister stepped down, the drawing card for selecting the next one was based upon whether he could preach in both languages (Rev. P.P. Tschetter [1937-1948] was probably the last minister to meet those requirements). In 1933, the church sought out to incorporate an English speaking service once a month; then later twice a month. By the early 1940s, the business meetings of the church were conducted in English, and an English version of the church's constitution was made. The worship services did not completely change over until 1948 when the church hired a minster (Rev. Howard G. Nyce, D.D. [1948-1958]) who could not speak fluent German.** | One of the more interesting customs in the Mennonite faith, was the way a marriage ceremony was conducted. Once the traditional vows were said, the minister would usually get up and give a lengthy sermon.* That was not the case for one of J K Graber's grand-daughters, Evadna Kaufman and her husband, Wilbur Meisenheimer. Upon saying "I do", the pianist (classmate, Elaine Foster, who's father was the Methodist preacher in town) completely unaware of the custom, started to play the Exit March, thus prematurely ending the ceremony. | The church went under further construction in 1966 when classrooms and a foyer were added to the front of the building. This undertaking with an additional face-lift to the sanctuary cost the church about $140,000.00. It was seen as a large sum, but necessary for the church's growth.** In 2009, the First Mennonite Church celebrated 125 years of ministry. | Rev. Howard G. Nyce, D. D. & his deacon board, 1950.* | 1st Church Building (1885-1889) | 4th Church Building (1905-1927) | Building the 5th church in 1927 | 5th Church building (1928-1966)
7: (below): The former ministers gather for the 50th Anniversary of the church in 1934.* As of 2012, there have been at least 18 different ministers who have served the church in its 125 plus years of ministry. | The fifth and final church building. Photo taken in the years prior to its remodeling in 1966. | (photo left): February 6th 1927-- The congregation gathers for one last worship service in the old church building before being razed. They then temporarily met in the old Pretty Prairie High School gym until the new brick building was finished the following year.* | ____________________ * Stucky, Jonas A. Epochs of History of First Mennonite Church of Pretty Prairie 1884 to 1954 (Pretty Prairie Kansas,,1955) Print. | (below): The sanctuary as it looked from 1928 until 1966 (when it was remodeled). | (above): The church's men's quartets during the 1930s, featuring J K Graber's oldest grandson, Lawrence Kaufman (2nd from the left).* Also pictured here: Bud Krehbiel, Fred Krehbiel & Leo Voran. | C
8: 1. John Graber b: 14-SEP-1884 in Pretty Prairie, KS d: 14-SEP-1884 2. Peter Graber b: 22-JUL-1885 in Pretty Prairie, KS d: 22-JUL-1885 3. Frances Graber b: 7-APR-1886 in Pretty Prairie, KS 4. Edward Graber b: 28-FEB-1888 in Pretty Prairie, KS d: 28-FEB-1888 5. Elizabeth Graber b: 3-MAR-1889 in Pretty Prairie, KS d: 3-MAR-1889 6. Henry Graber b: AUG-1890 in Pretty Prairie, KS d: AUG-1890 7. Jonas W Graber b: 4-OCT-1891 in Pretty Prairie, KS 8. Albert Graber b: 22-JUN-1893 in Pretty Prairie, KS d: 22-JUN-1893 9. Emma Graber b: 26-DEC-1894 in Pretty Prairie, KS 10. Joseph M Graber b: 6-MAY-1896 in Pretty Prairie, KS 11. Arthur Graber b: 2-APR-1899 in Pretty Prairie, KS 12. Hulda Graber b: 27-NOV-1900 in Pretty Prairie, KS 13. Lena Graber b: 26-OCT-1902 in Pretty Prairie, KS 14. Edna Graber b: 11-JUL-1904 in Pretty Prairie, KS 15. Walter W "Sprig" Graber b: 22-JAN-1907 in Pretty Prairie, KS | A Who's Who in The Graber Family... | (above): Mary's Relatives-- John B. Graber & Family, circa 1890. Joe C., Mary, & J K are in the back row, standing the first three from the left (Joe C.'s wife, Anna, is sitting in front of Mary). Four year old, Frances stands in front of J K while John B. Graber (Mary & Anna's father) stands in the back row, 3rd from the right. His wife, Maria, is sitting directly in front of him. | (right): J K Graber's four oldest children. (l to r): Frances, Joseph, Emma, & Jonas. | In the span of 23 years, Jacob K and Mary had fifteen children together, nine of which survived. It was quite a large family by the standards of the 21st Century, but back in the latter 19th and early 20th Centuries such was not uncommon. In fact both J K and Mary came from sizable families as well. Mary came from a family of ten while J K came from a family of fifteen (7 brothers & sisters and 8 half-brothers & sisters). One other interesting fact about the two Graber families was that J K's older brother, Joe C. married Mary's older sister, Anna. | Mary's first child to come to term was Frances, in 1886. It would be five more years and four more miscarriages before she gave birth to a healthy son, Jonas. The couple suffered the loss of one more, before the last seven children (Emma, Joseph M., Arthur, Hulda, Lena, Edna, & Walter W. "Sprig") were born. There was such a gap between the oldest child and the youngest, that it was almost as if J K and Mary were raising two sets of families. Frances was practically a grown woman when her littlest brother, Sprig, was born (nine months prior to her wedding day). | J K wanted what was best for his children, especially when it came to education. Being that he missed out on that privilege in his own childhood, he wanted to make sure his family received a fair chance. All the nine children, except Frances (who initially stayed behind and helped her mother look after the younger kids) acquired a college education. Later on in life, Sprig recalled that despite whatever short comings his father might have had growing up in regards to schooling, he still was able to speak four different languages (German, Russian, Polish, & English) remarkably.* | ____________________ * Hartzler, Betty J., The Peter O. Graber Genealogy. Morgantown: Masthof., 2001. Print. | In 1917, Jacob and Mary moved the family from the farm (four miles east of Pretty Prairie) to a section of land he had purchased on the western edge of town. On this new homestead, Pretty Prairie's Main Street perpendicularly came up to their front porch. Here J K & Mary would spend the remainder of their lives. As their children grew up into adults --getting married and having families of their own-- a few of them set up residence around the homestead. By the end of 1917, Frances and her husband, J. J. Kaufman, had moved into a farm down the street (Main St.) while later on, Lena and husband, Ed Krehbiel, made their home next door to J K, towards the south. In 1933, Jacob sold the old farm (4 miles east of town) to his son, Joe M., who then set up his own dairy business on the premises. | (left): 1918 plat map of Pretty Prairie showing J K Graber's farm just outside the western edge of the city limits. | 8 | (right): Original bulletin for the reunion of the John B. Graber Family in 1944.
9: Competition was another element that individualized the families. For an uneducated frontiersman who came to Central Kansas as a dirt poor farmer, J K Graber made good in the broad scheme of things. He became a shrewd businessman, a "land king" as it were, amassing many acres of crude farmland during the prime years of his life. Some have even surmised that he may have done better than many of his brothers, including Joe C. (not saying that Joe C. & Anna did not live comfortably, especially in later years when they moved to a more modern house in town*). Being that Pretty Prairie is like most small town communities, the generations that have extended from its chartering families tend to know those who came from privilege and those who did not. No one has actually proclaimed that there was ever a full fledged rift between the Joe C. and J K families; only that there maybe a slight hint of underlying envy. | Hupser Vs Kernele | Joseph C. Graber settled in the Pretty Prairie area not long after his brother J K did in 1884. Though he too had his fair share of trials during his early endeavors of farming, Joe was noted to be the only one in the community to own the first threshing separator. He and his wife, Anna, had eleven children together. Of Peter O. Graber's children. Joe C. was quite a character according to those who remember him best. He obtained the nickname "Hupser" as an adult for his eccentric behavior of jumping up and down during church whenever he agreed or disagreed about something. His "outspoken" character was his trademark; he made it very clear to others on whatever stance he took.* W. W. "Sprig" Graber, used to tell the story of how his Uncle Joe C. had a brush with history when attending a William Jennings Bryan presidential campaign in 1915. As Sprig said it best, "Uncle Joe rose to national fame and recognition when he jumped on the rear platform of a passenger train from which William Jennings Bryan had just completed a presidential campaign speech and planted a lusty kiss on...the 'Silver Tongued Orator'".** His motives --mere admiration as suggested by Fort Wayne, Indiana's Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, in its September 8th, 1915 issue. | ____________________ * Hartzler, Betty J., The Peter O. Graber Genealogy. Morgantown: Masthof., 2001. Print. **Unruh, Helen Graber. "The Journey of Mary and Jacob K. Graber." Bethel Bethel College, 1979. | Nicknames were not uncommon in those early years. As Joe C. made his mark as "Hupser" and Jacob K. was labeled as "Kernele", many individuals in the Pretty Prairie took on alternate names to tell themselves apart (see page 13 for more on nicknames). Each of the Grabers had their own unique traits that brought variety to the community. For instance, though most of the Graber families aligned themselves with the ideals of the Democratic Party (as did the majority of the working class in America), J K's clan was considered to be more liberally based (depending on who you asked in the community). | ______________________ | J K Graber (center) and his brother-in-laws. (The date and their names are not given.) | Original copy of the April 1950 issue of Mennonite Life featuring an article by J K's son Arthur J. Graber. The old family homestead (located 4 miles east of town) is shown here on the front cover. J K sold it to his son, Joe M. in 1933. | Joe C. & Anna during their last years together. Anna died in 1930, and Joe remarried three years later. He passed away in 1941. | (newspaper clippings above & on right): Copy of the William Jennings Bryan article from the September 8th, 1915 edition of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
10: (Back Row): Jonas & Frances (Front Row): Jacob K. (holding Hulda), Arthur, Emma, Joe, & Mary (holding Lena). | Jacob K. | Jonas | Frances | Mary (holding Lena) | Hulda | Emma | Arthur | Joe | The Family portraits taken around 1903 | (*Lena was born around 1902) | 10 | R A B E R | *
11: *Photo probably taken around late-1909 / early-1910 being that Lawrence Kaufman was born in May 1909. | Lawrence Kaufman* | Frances (Mrs. J J Kaufman) | Jonas | Hulda | Mary | Edna | Emma | Arthur | Lena | J K | Joe | Walter "Sprig" | (above): The Graber brothers (l to r)-- Walter W. "Sprig", Joe M., Arthur J., & Jonas W. | (above): The younger Graber sisters (l to r)-- Hulda, Edna, & Lena. | 11
12: pretty prairie main st. (looking east) | Grandfather and Grandmother lived just down the street. So I visited often by myself, even though I was a preschooler. One day Grandfather put me in his four-door car, and we drove out to a distant pasture to check the herd of cattle. Grandfather noticed a young calf that wasn't doing well. He wanted to take the calf home to give it extra care. Somehow we got the calf in the backseat of the car. Grandfather handed me a partially rusted-out "Pork and Beans" can and told me that if the calf "went to the toilet," I should catch it in the can. It turned out to be an impossible job. The calf moved around. The movement of the car made the calf's movements difficult to follow. The calf had the "scours." To add to the problem, it was a male calf and there was only one can. When we got home, Grandfather was surprised by the mess in the backseat...[and] said I didn't do a very good job. Grandmother came out, saw the mess, and told Grandfather he never had been very neat. She told him some other things that I didn't understand. Grandmother took me to the stock tank and washed me up. She gave me a bunch of over-ripe bananas and sent me home. Even on days not this exciting, I always got lunch. --Edward W. Kaufman (Frances' youngest son)* | * Hartzler, Betty J., The Peter O. Graber Genealogy. Morgantown: Masthof., 2001. Print. | j. k. graber farm (west end of Main St. Pretty Prairie) | ~ circa 1918 | ~ circa early 1900s
13: The Jacob K. & Mary Graber Family ~ 1923 (back row): Edna, Frances, Walter W. "Sprig", Jonas, Arthur, Lena, & Hulda. (front row): Emma, Mary, Jacob K., & Joe. | “REMEMBERING FROM WHERE WE CAME” by Mryon Voran ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Someone once said- "If you don't care where you came from, then you also don't care where you are going." I am sure no one here is guilty of not caring where they are going as you chose to come here. Arnold Wedel spoke to me one day saying "Since you are a Kernele would you set out a few pictures and say something about your Grandpa Jacob K. (Kernele) Graber"? I had always known that there were so many Graber families that the use of a nickname was almost like an early day computer in pointing out who we were talking about. There were at one time five Walter Grabers in the Pretty Prairie community. Walter J.(Foxy), Walter H. (Buthker), Walter E. (Huphser), Walter J. J. (Mautzy Hanske) and Walter W.(Sprig Kernele) Graber. This complicated use of nick-names was finally somewhat solved by the girls in a family. My mother Hulda Graber & two of her sisters named three of us male cousins Myron, Marlowe, & Milo. Poor immigrant Grandpa (Kernele) Graber often called all three of us (Maarrvin). Grandpa passed away in 1942. After his death, I always wished that I could speak with him about life in Russia. Some of the questions I would like to ask would be about his working in a brick factory as an eight year old, the trip over the ocean, the trip to the Dakotas, working for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway laying tracks near Marion S. Dakota, and the trip to Kansas in a boxcar as a newly married couple to a very lonely and difficult life. Grandpa, as I remember him, walked with a cane as a result of falling off a windmill. He also had a car-train collision. Grandma Mary (Batcha Graber) also deserves much credit enduring 15 pregnancies resulting in 9 living children. I marvel at what this couple achieved and accomplished. Eight of their nine children finished high school, several of the daughters went to college became teachers. One son was in the Federal Housing Administration in Washington under F.D.R. One son received a Masters Degree & taught at Bethel. Many of the grandchildren worked in the medical field as doctors, dentists, nurses, veterinary college teachers, public school teachers, pharmacists. I don't know what kind of (Kernele) (Seed) Grandpa planted, but it seemed to bear much fruit. Sources- April, 1950 Mennonite Life-"The Swiss Mennonites--Pretty Prairie" by Arthur J. Graber April, 1950 Mennonite Life- "A Tree At Whitewater" by J. W. Fretz 1940 Mem. Biography-"Settlers Who Pioneered in Two States" by W, W. Graber 2001 The Peter O. Graber Genealogy - by Betty J. Hartzler | This article can be seen in its original form at www.swissmennonite.org | 10 | 13 | Pretty Prairie, KS
14: Anniversary | TH | J K & Mary's Place, Pretty Prairie -1933 | 14 | TH | Anniversary | 1923
15: Wilbur Meisenheimer, a grandson -in-law, once told a story of his road trip with J K & Mary in the late 1930s /early 1940s. Willie and their granddaughter, Evadna Kaufman were only in a dating relationship when the four of them took J K's Plymouth car down muddy roads to a wedding in Moundridge KS. They almost got stuck because the ruts in the road were so deep. In another memory, J K once went out to visit Willie & Evadna (who married in 1941, a month after Mary's passing) on their farm near Partridge KS. Wilbur was rebuilding a chicken house that day. J K simply looked it over and said: "That's not going to be good enough." | J K, who acquired a lot of land in his life time, divvied up his estate amongst his children before he died. Each received a quarter of land as inheritance with the exception of Frances who got eighty acres west of Pretty Prairie. | J K & Mary with their great-grandson, Marlin Kaufman (Lawrence's son) in 1940. Mary passed away a year later. | (right): Funeral bulletin for Mary Graber in April of 1941. | When, J K passed away on June 8th 1942 at age 82, his obituary (below) cites him as one of the last founding members of the First Mennonite Church in Pretty Prairie. | Remembering J. K. & Mary
16: (left) Frances and her aunt, Carrie (Graber) Stucky. Photo labeled as "Mrs. Joe P. A. Stucky, Mrs. J. J. Kaufman" | Frances (Graber) Kaufman Birth: 7-APR-1886 in Pretty Prairie, KS Death: 29-JAN-1962 in Pretty Prairie, KS Burial: 1st Menn Cem, Pretty Prairie, KS Religion: Pretty Prairie, KS 1ST MENNONITE Occupation: Homemaker Spouse: Joseph J. Kaufman Married: 15-OCT-1907 in Pretty Prairie, KS | Lawrence Kaufman b: 18-MAY-1909 in Freeman, SD Evadna Kaufman b: 27-MAY-1918 in Pretty Prairie, KS Ralph Kaufman b: 27-NOV-1919 in Pretty Prairie, KS d: 23-MAR-1923 (after swallowing a nickel at age 4) Herbert Kaufman b: 4-SEPT-1927 in Pretty Prairie, KS Edward W Kaufman b: 12-JUNE-1931 in Pretty Prairie, KS | (above): France & Joseph J. Kaufman's wedding day, Oct. 15th 1907. France met the young South Dakotan farmer not long after the sudden death of his brother, Edward, to whom she was originally engaged. (for more details see page 27) | 16 | (below): Frances, on the right, with a friend or relative. (original print not labeled)
17: Jonas W Graber Birth: 4-OCT-1891 in Pretty Prairie, KS 1 Death: 29-JUL-1954 in Hutchinson, KS Residence: Topeka, KS Religion: Pretty Prairie, KS 1ST MENNONITE Occupation: Government (Kansas St. Legislator) Spouse: Elizabeth Philomena Graber Married: 26-APR-1915 in Freeman, SD | Children: Harold L Graber b: 26-APR-1916 in Pretty Prairie, KS Richard R Graber b: 25-AUG-1924 in Kingman, KS | 17 | Jonas W. Graber, just five years younger than Frances, was the oldest of J K's sons. He was the first in the family to attain a college education. Like his sister before him, Jonas married a Freeman, South Dakota native (Elizabeth Philomena Graber). Their oldest son, Harold, was ironically born exactly a year to the day of their wedding. Before devoting the majority of his life to politics, Jonas opened up a hardware store in the Kingman / Pretty Prairie area. | In the late 1920s, Jonas ran for the 72nd District seat in the Kansas House of Representatives as a Democrat. He won and held the position for three terms from 1927 through 1931. He also served as the Director of the Federal Housing Administration for a little over 20 years, and was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to work in the Bureau of Internal Revenue as an assistant to the commissioner (reported in a newspaper clipping from Moberly, Missouri in 1940, shown below).
18: (left): Clippings from the January 9th, 1936 issue of the Lawrence Daily Journal-World covering Jonas' talk at a dinner in the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence, Kansas. As mentioned in the article, Jonas not only held the position of FHA director, but was the state director for the National Emergency Council at the time. Towards the end of his speech, the article mentions him promoting the importance of Kansas' involvement with Social Security. The Social Security Act had just been passed in 1935 as part of FDR's New Deal programs, making it a novel issue at the time of his lecture in the winter of 1936. According to the article, he states, "The Social Security program means more to Kansas than anything else at the present time. Kansas should do something about it."* | W | GRABER | JONAS | _______________ *"Graber talks on the Constitution." Lawrence Daily Journal-World 9 January 1936: Print. | 18
19: (left): An excerpt from Off The Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman featuring Jonas' name registered on President Truman's White House Appointment Sheet for the day of May 17th, 1945 at 10:45AM.* Truman had just been sworn into office as the 33rd President (with the passing of FDR on April 12th 1945) a little over a month prior to his meeting with Graber. | ___________ *Ferrell, Robert H., ed. Off the Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1980. Print. **"Topekan Heads Kansas FHA." The Emporia Gazette. Aug. 1951: Print. | (left & below): A copy of Jonas Graber's obituary featured in The Hutchinson News-Herald upon his passing on July 29th, 1954 at age 63. | By the time Jonas Graber stepped down as the Kansas Director of the Federal Housing Administration in 1951**, his political ventures had plateaued, or so it seemed. Wilbur Meisenheimer (a nephew-in-law) recalls that in his latter years, Jonas spent much of his time in Pretty Prairie, crashing on the couch of his brother-in-law and older sister --J. J. & Frances Kaufman. Willie sort of got the impression that he had become disenchanted with how life was panning out for him. Though Jonas had a prestigious resume and the opportunity to rub shoulders with the great leaders of Topeka and Washington D. C. (an achievement surpassing his father & most of his siblings), politics did not quite take him as far as he would have liked. To add to his dismay, his wife, Elizabeth left him (though they never fully divorced --she spent the remainder of her days in Fullerton, California***). Jonas died on July 29th, 1954 in Hutchinson, and was buried in the cemetery at the First Mennonite Church of Pretty Prairie. Elizabeth was placed next to him 20 years later. | *** Hartzler, Betty J., The Peter O. Graber Genealogy. Morgantown: Masthof., 2001. Print. | President Harry S. Truman | Elizabeth & Jonas Graber, 1933 | 19 | continued above
20: Joseph M. Graber | Arthur J. Graber | Emma (Graber) Stucky | (1896-1957) | (1894-1945) | (1899-1951) | Arthur, the third son of J K & Mary Graber, is credited in the family to having received a Masters Degree from Northwestern University (in Evanston, Illinois). He married Marie Miller from Partridge, Kansas on September 5th, 1926. Together they had four daughters --Elaine (1927), Thelma (1929), Vivian (1931), & Alice (1934). For nearly 10 years, Arthur served as a professor at Bethel College in Newton, Kansas. Later, he and his family moved to the Wichita area where he worked as a bank appraiser and then a farmer. In 1950, a year before his death, Arthur wrote an article for Mennonite Life in which he chronicles the pioneers of the Mennonite faith in the Pretty Prairie area, as well as his family's involvement in establishing the Mennonite Church. He was only 52 when he passed away. | Joe M., born just ten years after his older sister, Frances, was known as a local entrepreneur in the dairy industry. He and his wife Elsie (originally of Marion, South Dakota) were married on June 10th, 1923. They had five children --Erna (1924), Hazel (1927), Vern (1928), Robert (1930), & Catherine (1932). Raising his family on the Graber home place east of Pretty Prairie (sold to him by his father in 1933), Joe made a business for himself, calling it "Graber Dairy". By the early '50s, he began to expand his business --making a retail dairy operation (according to his obituary). He was in the process of building a dairy plant in Hutchinson, upon his tragic death in 1957, when a boiler exploded in his face. Joe was 61 years old. (see article above) | Joe M. & Elsie Graber | Dr. Bernhard J. & Emma Stucky | Arthur J. & Marie Graber | Emma, was born into the J K Graber household three years after her brother, Jonas. With husband, Dr. Bernhard J. Stucky DDS, she bore two children --a son, Milo M. (1920) & and a daughter, Elizabeth "Faire" (1925). Emma was the first to pass on within the Graber clan (just three years after her father J K) at the age of 51. | Bernhard, known as "Doc Stucky" by members of the family, was the envy of Emma's brothers when oil was discover on his land in Kingman County. "It was a lucky find," his nephew-in-law, Wilbur Meisenheimer later recalled. Willie then went on to tell the story of a Graber reunion picnic (circa 1954) at Camp Mennoscah (a Mennonite campsite along the Ninnescah River, near Murdock, Kansas) During the picnic, Doc Stucky invited him to come along on a drive to look at his land (which was not far from the camp). While driving around on the land, Doc went up to one of his oil rigs and filled up an empty pop bottle that he had found. They then took it back to the picnic where Doc presents it to his brother-in- laws, saying "smell this!"
21: Hulda (Graber) Voran | Edna (Graber) Waltner | Lena (Graber) Krehbiel | (1900-1993) | (1902-1973) | (1904-1985) | Hulda was the third daughter born to J K and Mary Graber. Upon completing her schooling, she initially became a teacher in the Pretty Prairie Schools. In a double wedding ceremony with her sister, Lena, Hulda married Paul Voran on July 31st, 1927 (as noted in The Hutchinson News clipping from August 1st, 1927 on the right). Paul and Hulda had three children --Myron (1929), Norma Jean (1932), & Florine (1934). Before spending most of his life as the Post-Master at Pretty Prairie's Post Office, Paul worked as the assistant cashier in The First National Bank in town (operated by his brother-in-law, J. J. Kaufman). Hulda became a homemaker when the children were born. After Paul died in 1968, Hulda lived for another 25 years. | Lena, just two years younger than Hulda, had to wait before she could marry her beau, Ed Krehbiel. The oldest daughter marries first --was the custom the Graber family abided by. So when Hulda finally met her match (Paul Voran), a double ceremony was held for the two girls on the farm of J K Graber on the west edge of town. Raising three children --Marlowe (1929), Janver (1936), & Jolene (1939)-- Lena and Ed lived in Kingman before moving to the house directly south of J K's farm. Ed and brother-in-law, Art Waltner, helped with Jonas Graber's hardware business in Kingman for a time. After Ed's death in 1972, Lena spent the last year of her life in El Cajon, California. | Edna, the youngest daughter of the Graber clan, married Arthur "Art" C. Waltner on November 3rd, 1929 at the Mennonite Church in Pretty Prairie. They established their family in Hutchinson, raising one daughter, Marjorie (1933) who they adopted in her early years. Art became an insurance agent, later working in real estate while Edna was a homemaker. The Waltners are remembered as being the most kindest and loving individuals one would ever meet. Art had a very caring spirit while Edna was known to be witty despite a speech impediment. She had a devout love for God and a great zeal for life. Family members that knew her best, recall that Edna made this evident to each and everyone she came in contact with. She was very much a people person, especially in her latter years when her health was not always up to par. Art lived on for sixteen more years after Edna's passing. Bethel College in Newton, Kansas created a scholarship fund in their honor. | 21
22: WALTER W. “SPRIG” GRABER: A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS The following article appeared in the July 11, 2003 edition of The Ninnescah Valley News and was reprinted (as it appears here) by its editor, Tim Stucky, in his anthology "Pretty Prairie The Peerless Princess." No one left more fingerprints on Pretty Prairie than Sprig Graber. The schools, the rodeo, the Sunset Home, the senior center, the township, even the countryside were influenced by Graber. He helped bring lights to the football field, a state championship trophy to the high school’s trophy case, professional stock to local rodeo chutes, Vietnamese families to local homes and golf to a milo field. And after he made his hometown better, he went off and had a positive impact on the State of Kansas, the United States and the world. With the passing of Walter W. “Sprig” Graber at age 96 on July 3, 2003, Pretty Prairie lost its favorite son. Born in rural Pretty Prairie in 1907, Graber’s distinctive nickname was an abbreviation of his country grade school—Springvale. After graduating from Bethel College and teaching in the Pawnee Rock and Macksville schools, he returned to his hometown, married a Nickerson girl, Jean Arbuckle, and began teaching, coaching and farming. In 1936 his Bulldog basketball team compiled a 30-3 record and won the school’s first state championship. “Some ‘jinxes’ were discovered during the different tournaments our Bulldogs were engaged in, and during the state meet all of them were completely eliminated,” reported the Pretty Prairie Times in March of that year. “At the district tournament at Turon, Coach Graber donned a new set of clothes; he had shaved and put on a clean shirt. (Because his team finished second) this ‘duding’ was denied him at the state meet, much to the disgust of is new wife. And at these games another ’jinx’ was removed by demanding that this new wife of the coach sit alongside Vernon Krehbiel during each contest—and that was also recognized as an asset in the wins the team turned in. At any rate, the combination of an old suit of clothes, no shave and a soiled shirt, and the loaning of his wife was instrumental in breaking the ‘jinx’. The boys came through handsomely. Now reposing amount their souvenirs is a beautiful plaque, given by the State of Kansas, to the team that showed their prowess over all contenders.” Graber attended a football game at Pratt’s newly-lighted field and decided Pretty Prairie needed a similar improvement. Using high school players to help dig holes and haul poles, Graber supervised the installation of lights around the local gridiron. In September of 1936, Sprig Graber, Harry Graber, Merle Graber and Harry Kautzer turned those lights on at the first Pretty Prairie Night Rodeo. Folks came by the truckload to sit beneath the stars and watch cowboys compete against rough stock from local pastures. But those were difficult days and in 1939 the quartet decided they couldn’t afford to lose more money on the rodeo. “The rodeo skipped a year in 1939 and then when it started again the Booster Club was actively involved,” Graber recalled. “I managed it for the next three or four years and we contracted with Beutler Brothers to provide the stock. Before that, anybody who had a Brahma bull or a bucking horse would bring it in. It was tough going in those years, but I thought the rodeo had potential, especially when the Kingman Cattlemen’s Picnic went broke. There was a void there I thought we could fill. There were little rodeos all over the country, but I thought there was place here for a real slam bang rodeo.” Graber lived to see 65 "slam bang" Rodeos in Pretty Prairie. In 1949 Graber gathered with a small group of wheat farmers in Byrd Hardy’s Greensburg barn to form the Kansas Wheat Growers’ Association. He later helped organize the Kansas Wheat Commission and served as that organization’s first president. The following year his innovative farming practices were featured in the Kansas Farmer magazine. “Something new under the sun combines an electric blower and a silo-shaped metal haymaker to put up chopped alfalfa the same day it is cut,” the magazine reported. “W.W. Graber insists his limited experience with the new method bears all the marks of success. “It beats sun curing all to pieces,” is his comment, “because there is no risk involving the weather. The silo that stands above the trees and buildings at the west end of Pretty Prairie’s Main Street is one of two in the state that makes it possible to cut and store hay in one day’s operation. Cattle are conveniently fed.” From the end of Main Street, Graber was soon flying east, to Africa, under the auspices of the Garvey Corporation. Kansas historian Jim Hoy would write of Graber,”Over several months in the mid-1960s he flew at tree-top level over thousands and thousands of square miles of Africa, searching for a suitable location for wheat production, part of an ambitious project sponsored by the Garvey Corporation of Wichita. He selected Morocco, set up headquarters in Casablanca, flew equipment in, hired and trained local help and within three years had 15,000 acres planted to dry land wheat that produced 40 bushels an acre. Graber’s political career began with his election to the Roscoe Township Board in 1939. He was then elected to the Pretty Prairie School Board and the Kansas State Board of Education. His community spirit led to two terms as District Representative in the Kansas House. During those eight years he sponsored revisions to the probate court system which continue in place today. He encouraged enrollment of rural students in the state’s medical schools and fought for changes in state funding for the benefit of small school districts. When he left the House in 1976 he was proud to have been part of dramatic alterations in the state’s political landscape. “When I went up there,” he said, “things were controlled by a few in each house. Some chairmen were in their dotage, but they had seniority. That’s changed. More minority groups have made their way to the House and Senate. Last year there were eight women and six blacks, where there were neither before. The first year I was in Topeka, two-thirds of the Senate and 42 representatives were lawyers. Now there are more fields of representation.” After leaving the State House, he worked with the United States Food for Peace program, assisting Catholic relief workers in the Andes Mountains of Peru. He developed a food program for Union Carbide plant workers in Colombia, supplementing their diet with bulgur wheat while serving as Executive Secretary of American Bulgur Processors. He was named “Man of the Year” by the Kansas Wheat Growers in 1978. In 1979, Graber was invited by Governor John Carlin to join a trade mission to China. He found the Chinese people “resourceful and disciplined” and left the World’s most populous nation optimistic that Kansas grain would find its way to Chinese ports. Although impressed with the people, he was uneasy about the Chinese diet, noting it was the only place he had seen dog meat listed on hotel menus. “And you are apt to find anything in your soup,” he said, “from webbed duck feet to the rear end of a chicken. It’s a great place to lose weight.” The return trip included a stop in Hong Kong where Graber visited a camp of Vietnamese refugees. “It was the most pitiful thing I’ve ever seen.” he said. “I couldn’t sleep the night after we left them.” Convinced American churches should extend a helping hand to the “boat people”, he organized a local effort to adopt Vietnamese families. Although at age 85, golf was not on his personal agenda, he firmly backed development of The Links on the west edge of Pretty Prairie. In a letter to the editor in April of 1992 he noted the town’s successes, including installation of floodlights which “was the beginning of Kansas’ Largest Night Rodeo,” of volunteer efforts to construct the doctor’s clinic and the skating rink, of initial construction of Prairie Sunset Home, then additions of cottages.” “Now in the year 1992, with many success stories to call upon, the community is pushing for a golf course.” Graber wrote. “The survival of any community depends in large measure on how its people approach the future. We have two choices: we can either grow, or we can fade away. Many small communities have failed to survive because their people did nothing.” Graber could never be accused of doing nothing. Fond of referring to Pretty Prairie as “the center of the universe,” he spent a lifetime making his universe better. From one end of Main Street to the other, Sprig Graber’s fingerprints will forever be apparent. | ____________________________________________________________________________ Stucky, Tim. Pretty Prairie --The Peerless Princess. Newton: Mennonite Press, 2006. Print. | Walter W. 'Sprig' (1907-2003) | Jean (holding Mary) & Sprig, 1942 | Sprig: Politician & Farmer
23: (left): Coach Graber & his State Champs. Sprig as Pretty Prairie High School's basketball coach led his team all the way to state in the 1935-1936 season --first time in the school's history. Pictured here are the team members from that championship. Back Row (l-r): Coach W.W. Graber, Glen Belt, Emil Schrag, Everett Buhler, Everett Potter, Morrison Foster, & Principal A. R. Yordy. Front Row (l-r): Chester Unruh, Cal Jones, Bruce Voran, Victor Unruh, Roy Roberston. | Sprig was always working on some kind of building project for the town --ways of making it better (like turning the clinic into the senior center). This ambition allegedly used to irk his brother-in-law, J. J. Kaufman. "You can always tell when Sprig is thinking of something, he sticks his tongue in his check," Kaufman would say in disdain. Never the less, Sprig's vision to improve farming and the community around him, made him a small town hero --a personality Pretty Prairie grew to love. | During those early years as a teacher and coach PPHS, Jean Arbuckle of Nickerson, Kansas entered the picture. They married in December of 1935. In 1938 a daughter, Geraldine "Gerry", was born, followed by Mary in 1941. Sometime following the death of J K in 1942, Sprig and Jean moved their family onto his father's farm at the end of Main Street. In 1946, a third daughter, Helen, was born. | The formation Pretty Prairie's Largest Night Rodeo & Kansas' Wheat Commission are two of the early highlights in Sprig's lengthy career. On the right is a handbill from 1937, advertising the second year of the Rodeo. (below, center): The May 23rd, 1957 newspaper clipping from The Garden City Telegram, covering Sprig's appointment to the newly formed Wheat Commission as its administrator. | (above): Clipping on the Wheat Commission from the May 6th 1957 issue of The Hutchinson News (just days before Sprig was appointed to administrator). (below): College days at Bethel College in Newton. Sprig is third from the left on the front row. (below, right): Sprig as a senior at Bethel College in 1929. | (above right): In this September 22nd, 1960 clipping from The Hutchinson News, Sprig awards a Mrs. Herbert Buller for her prized bread at the Kansas State Fair. (right): Newspaper clipping dated September 11, 1959 from The Great Bend Tribune covering the Wheat Commission's assistance with Miss Kansas of 1960 promoting Kansas wheat at the Miss America Pageant.
24: I'm not a politician, I'm a statesman... --W. W. "Sprig" Graber | (left): The Hutchinson News article from July 1st, 1963 covering Sprig's resignation from being the Administrator of the Wheat Commission. Next up on his lengthy resume --a position at Bulgur Associates, headquartered in Washington D. C. | In the late 1960s Sprig ran for a seat in the 104th District in the Kansas House of Representatives. He served two terms between 1969 and 1976 in two different districts, one for the 104th District, and the second for the 81st District. "I'm not a politician, I'm a statesman," Sprig would say of himself during his eight years in office. (right): An article in The Hutchinson News dated December 16th, 1973, covering a meeting between Rep. Graber and other local legislative officials in a discussion around county politics. | (left): Rep. Graber's sense of style makes the news in this clipping from The Hutchinson News on January 12th, 1971. | (above): Sprig lecturing the students of Pretty Prairie Grade School about the town's project to adopt Vietnamese families in 1979. | (left): Sprig & Jean in the First Mennonite Church Directory, 1973. | (right): Sprig and Jean in the First Mennonite Church Directory, 1996. Surviving Sprig, Jean turned 100 in 2012.
25: Two | Chapter | The Self-Made Banker | JJ | 25 | J. | J. | Kaufman
26: Joseph J Kaufman Father: Jacob J Kaufman b: 7-FEB-1857 in Russia Mother: Freni Gering b: 2-DEC-1866 in Russia Birth: 13-SEP-1883 in Freeman, SD Death: 30-OCT-1976 in Pretty Prairie, KS Burial: 1st Menn Cem, Pretty Prairie, KS Religion: Pretty Prairie, KS 1ST MENNONITE Occupation: Banker/Stockman Spouse: Frances Graber b: 7-APR-1886 in Pretty Prairie, KS Married: 15-OCT-1907 in Pretty Prairie, KS | (left): Here is Joseph as a young man (back row on the right) with three other gentlemen (possibly relatives of some kind) around the early 1900s. There is no identification for the man standing to his left, but the two label on the front row are as follows: Jonathan Kaufman (left) & Joe Preheim (right). | (right): Joseph's parents --Jacob J. and Frances "Freni" Kaufman | The story of Joseph J. Kaufman begins in the small Mennonite town of Freeman South Dakota; located in the southeast corner of the state. Born to Jacob J. & Frances Kaufman in 1883, Joseph was the second oldest of nine children. The line up of the Kaufman family are as follows: Anna b: 25-Jan-1882 in Freeman, SD Joseph J. b:13-Sept-1883 in Freeman, SD Edward b: 11-June-1885 in Freeman, SD Mary b: 25-Mar-1888 in Hutchinson ,SD Peter J. J. b: 23-Jan-1890 in Freeman, SD Helena "Lena" b: 23-Mar-1892 in Turner Co, SD Katie b: 30-Jan-1894 in Turner Co, SD Paul J. b: 7-May-1897 in Marion, SD Milton b: 23-June-1901 in Freeman, SD | Freeman . | Tirelessly Jacob and Freni worked to making a life for their nine children as farmers in the South Dakotan plains. For Joseph and his siblings, growing up in the Upper-Midwest was far from easy. The winters were cold and the farm work was labor intensive on the untamed prairie. One local newspaper, near the end of Joseph's life, states that farming shaped him into the banker that he would become, giving him "better understanding of the needs and ambitions of his customers and friends." * | Coming into adulthood, young Joseph set out to further advance himself with a higher education. After completing his general studies through rural schooling in the area, Joseph attended a local college. According to family members, in order to pay his way through business college at Dakota University, he would work nights scooping coal for the railroad. | * "Two Local Banks Consolidate." The Pretty Prairie TImes 4 June 1953: 1. | _________________________ | As the Mennonites made their pilgrimage to America from Russia in the late 1800s, Joseph's parent's families were among those seeking a better life. Both families arrived in the States sometime around 1875 or not long after. Joseph's father, Jacob was in his latter teens/early twenties when his family came over to South Dakota. Just a child when she entered the free world, Frances "Freni" Gering (Joseph's mother) was not quite 14 years old when she married Jacob in 1880. | Joseph was greatly influenced by his Mennonite heritage. In his youth, it has been said that he was laid-back and quite musically inclined --being able to keep a beat by tapping his foot while playing along with his mandolin. But that all changed when he got "saved"; Joseph quickly gave up that kind of lifestyle, seeing it as too worldly. In exchange he took life by a more serious note.
27: (right): Joseph's sisters: Helena "Lena", Mary, Katie, & Anna | (left): Joseph and his brothers: Paul, Milton, Pete, & Joe (seated). | The courtship of Joseph Kaufman and Frances Graber of Pretty Prairie Kansas began with an interesting twist. Before they became man and wife, they were almost brother and sister-in-law. Joseph's brother, Edward, originally had his sights set on young Frances with plans of marrying her. Just two years younger than Joseph, Edward's life was tragically cut short by an asthma attack suddenly during a stay in Chicago in March of 1906. Joseph may not have been well acquainted with Frances at the time because later accounts report that he first met her during a trip to see one of his sisters in Pretty Prairie.* More than likely it was his older sister Anna, who had married a man from Halstead, Kansas by the name of Benjamin Gering, six years earlier. The Gerings settled around the Pretty Prairie area where they raised each one of their children.** The other three Kaufman sisters (as well as the surviving brothers) married and had families around the Freeman, South Dakota area. Joseph and Frances were married on October 15th, 1907 in Pretty Prairie, just a little over a year after Edward's passing. They then move up to Freeman, South Dakota where they lived for the next decade. Just a couple of years into their marriage, Frances gave birth to a son, Lawrence, on May 18th, 1909. Farming was rough for the Kaufmans in the wintry Dakotas as it had been for the Jacob K. Graber family, decades prior. On top of that, the women of South Dakota worked brutally hard. Concerned for the welfare of his daughter and son-in-law, J K encouraged the young family to move back down to Pretty Prairie. Upon arrival, they settled into a small farm on the corner of Main Street and Adams, just a short ways up the street from the Grabers. It was J K who got Joseph a job as a cashier at The State Bank in town. | _________________________ | * "Two Local Banks Consolidate." The Pretty Prairie TImes 4 June 1953: 1. ** Rootsweb Search Family Trees (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2012),
28: Raising a Family ~Main Street, Pretty Prairie | (above): The J. J. Kaufman House from 1917 to 1947. | JJ | K | (above): The J. J. Kaufman House from 1947-1972. (Shown here are Joseph & Frances in the early 1950s with granddaughters: Karen Meisenheimer (Evadna's daughter) [left], Carolyn Kaufman (Lawrence's daughter)[center], & possibly a niece [right].) | (above): The J . J. Kaufman Family, 1923. (from left to right: Lawrence, Joseph, Evadna, Frances, & Ralph) | (right): The J. J. Kaufman Family, circa 1942 (Back row from left to right): Edward "Eddie", Lawrence, Opal [Lawrence's wife], Wilbur Meisenheimer [Evadna's husband], Evadna, & Herbert "Herb". (Front row from left to right): Joseph, Marlin [Lawrence & Opal's son], & Frances. Lawrence served under his father for a number of years at the First National Bank as the cashier. | 28
29: Joseph & Frances with their grandson, Jim Meisenheimer (circa 1944). Jim remembers as a kid the occasions when his parents would take him to visit his grandfather's bank. Joe would hold up a bag filled with pennies and tell Jim that if he could carry it out of the vault, he could keep it. | Joseph & Frances, around 1942 | The Kaufman Family, circa late 1940s / early 1950s (from left to right): Lawrence, Evadna, Frances, Joseph, Eddie, & Herb. | Joseph Kaufman, the stockman with "Bobby the Bull" (taken around the early 1950s) | Grandma & Grandpa Kaufman (October 1953): Frances holds Evadna's son, John while Joseph holds Herb's son, Jeff.
30: Once upon a Time... | three | v | Joseph Kaufman returned to Pretty Prairie with his wife Frances and their eight year old son Lawrence sometime in 1917. He had left South Dakota as a struggling farmer, and entered Kansas very much the same. Through the help of his father-in-law, J K Graber, he landed a job as the assistant cashier at The State Bank in town. This largely helped supplement his income as he farmed on the side. The State Bank was one of two banks in the small metropolis of Pretty Prairie (the other one being the Farmers State Bank). It was located on the the south side of main street, next door to what is now known as the Civic Theatre. Founded in September of 1897, The State Bank was intially run by two of the Collingwood children: J. A. Collingwood and Ellen (Ella) "Mrs. S. G." Demoret, whose mother, Mary Collingwood, founded the town in 1872. Both siblings had taken turns as bank president, first by John "J. A." and then later by Demoret* (who, as seen on the 1918 bank statement to the left, was acting president during Joseph's early tenure). Married to the postmaster in town, it is recorded that she was the first cashier of the bank when it was originally chartered.** Within a short three year span, Joseph Kaufman had learned the ins and outs of the banking system.*** He had also become disillusioned with the way the Collingwoods were running The State Bank. So Joseph tenured his resignation with his sights set on a brand-new venture. Through the backing of a lawyer from Kingman, Kansas (by the name of S. S. Alexander), he decided to charter his own bank in 1919. Setting up shop directly across Main Street from The State Bank, Joseph established The First National Bank --an enterprise that would span nearly thirty-five years. | * Ploughe, Sheridan, History of Reno County, Kansas: Its People, Industries, & Institutions, Vol 2. Indianapolis: Bowen & Co., 1917. Print. ** A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol 1. Chicago: Lewis, 1902. Print. *** "Two Local Banks Consolidate." The Pretty Prairie TImes 4 June 1953: 1. | Joe Kaufman (on the far left) during his days as the Assistant Cashier at the State Bank of Pretty Prairie. To his right is bookkeeper, Mrs. Ella Stevens, and in the background is the bank's cashier, D. A. (Dan) Voran. | The south side of Main Street Pretty Prairie as it look in the early 1900s. (The State Bank is the brick building in the center) | when Pretty Prairie had two banks... | _____________________
31: Anybody who knew Joseph Kaufman could tell you that he loved to give advice, especially if it was in regards to how he thought you should spend your money. After all, he successfully ran his own bank for a little over three decades. It can be said that by the time of his retirement as president in May of 1953, there was much clout behind the name J. J. Kaufman and the First National Bank he designed. While a bank's success is largely based on its capital and surplus, the stories behind the numbers can also be used to define its net worth. The First National Bank of Pretty Prairie earned its respect during an era where the average man was down on his luck. About ten years into the bank's establishment, the stock market crashed ushering in the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Kaufman family in South Dakota were hit hard during the Nation's economic turmoil, and turned to Joseph down in Pretty Prairie for means of support. He made out loans for different members of his family, and as the story goes, was held with the highest esteem as the "family redeemer" from then on. There are also several accounts of various individuals within the the Pretty Prairie Community who came to Joseph and Frances' house at night, asking him to hold their money for them --being that they had made a senseless financial decision (generally having written a bad check of some kind). Of course, Joseph rendered his services (something they naturally would not find at The State Bank). On one occasion, after doing this kind of back-door business with one of his "foolish" customers, Frances asked, "who was that old bum?" Joseph wittingly joked, "Oh that was Fred Collingwood." Of course she knew he was pulling her leg being that Alfred J. "Fred" Collingwood (son of John A. Collingwood, founder of The State Bank) owned and controlled all of the Collingwood Grain elevators within the surrounding area. Anybody who knew Joseph Kaufman personally would find this part of the story amusing, based on the fact that he rarely made jokes --everything about the man was of a serious nature (see page 38 for more information). And yet, much of the respect that he held during his 34 years of service to the community was probably achieved through this business-like conduct. | _____________________________ | (above): Pretty Prairie Times newspaper clipping from June 4th, 1953 covering covering Joseph Kaufman's retirement and the merger of The First National Bank with The State Bank. (below): Surviving stationary from The First National Bank and the printing blocks used for various press releases (including the one seen above).
32: Joseph & Frances at home with the grandkids, 1956. (back row, l to r): Karen Meisenheimer, Joseph, Frances, & Marlin Kaufman. (front row, l to r): Dan Kaufman, Carolyn Kaufman, Joe Kaufman, & Jim Meisenheimer. | (Life after Frances): After Frances' passing in 1962, Joe would live on another 14 years. Shown here, Joe stands in front of his house in Pretty Prairie, 1971. | (below): Newspaper clipping chronicling Joe & Frances' 50th wedding Anniversary in 1957. | (above): The J. J. Kaufman Family in 1957. Gathering for their Golden Anniversary from left to right: Lawrence, Joe, Evadna, Frances, Eddie, & Herb. | (right): Joe & Frances celebrating 50 years together. | (right): Joe in the Mennonite Church Directory, 1972.
33: Evadna | The Banker's Daughter | Three | Chapter | 33 | Evadna (back row, on the right) at age 15, with older brother, Lawrence (back row, on the left). | Graber Family Gathering, 1933
34: The Only Daughter... | (above) Baby Evadna, 1918. (right): Newspaper clipping from The Freeman Courier in Freeman, South Dakota in June of 1918. (below): Evadna as a young girl in the 1920s. | EVADNA Kaufman | On May 27th, 1918, a daughter was born to Frances and Joseph J. Kaufman. Just nine years younger than her brother Lawrence, she was given the unique name of Evadna --a combination of "Eva" & "Edna", as she would later point out. Because her first name was two names in one, it is assumed that she was not given a middle name for that reason. Allegedly, there was a lady in the Pretty Prairie community with the same name, who was the inspiration for the naming of the Kaufman's little girl. When Evadna was an adult, her young nephews, who did not yet have the vocabulary to correctly pronounce her name, would call her "Aunt Banana." | (right): The Kaufman Children, circa 1922. (l to r)-- Lawrence, Evadna, & Ralph. | 1918
35: Pretty Prairie | 1918 | Evadna grew up moderately privileged compared to most children in the rural community that were her age. She was born into a prominent and prosperous family with her father, Joseph J. Kaufman, starting up his own bank the year after she was born. He established The First National Bank at a time when the Country's economy was booming. This enhanced Kaufman with the the opportunity to provide a comfortable life for his family in the small town of Pretty Prairie. Most of the modern conveniences Evadna grew up with --like electricity, indoor plumbing, and the indoor toilet-- were still considered luxury items for the average American living in the rural Midwest during the post-WWI years through the Great Depression era. It was largely due to the fact that her family lived within the city limits, that their house was equipped with these basic accessories --things children of the 21st century readily take for granted. | Sweeping J K & Mary's back steps circa 1920 | The Kaufman house in Pretty Prairie was located on the corner of what became Adams Street and Main Street (just a block or so east of Evadna's grandparents, J K & Mary Graber, on the west edge of town). "I have always felt so fortunate to have grown up living one block from [my] grandparents...Lawrence and I were the first grandchildren, and of course being the first, we were a bit made over," Evadna recalled in later years. This doting attention from JK and Mary created the frequent habit in young Evadna to run away to their house every chance she got. Such outings on the Graber farm ensured fun-filled adventure for the banker's young daughter. Evadna writes, “I loved helping Grandma gather eggs and turkey eggs, looking in the big barn for hidden nests. Sometimes [I became] a little frightened when the white turkey would spread his fan. [I also] gathered corn cobs and helped sweep the back porch. Butchering day was always an important time for the family. Grandpa would raise the hogs and each of the families would buy one for butchering. Everybody, young and old, would gather...it was a good day, with children playing, adults working, and everyone enjoying the good meal.” Evadna's upbringing was much like that of her parents and grandparents --one laced with Swiss Mennonite customs dating back to her ancestors' time in Russia. As did so many others in the Mennonite community, the first language she learned to proficiently speak was German ("Sprechen Sie Deutsch"). In fact, she attended a German school for a few years before she started her elementary education in Pretty Prairie's English-speaking school. During those formative years, she became close friends with a girl her own age, Francine Chamberlain, who lived across the street. It was Francine who helped Evadna learn English while, in return, Evadna taught Francine to speak German. Being a town-girl and all, Evadna made many friends --relationships (like the one she had with Francine) she held on to for a lifetime. | In 1919, Evadna's mother, Frances, gave birth to a second son, Ralph (or "Ralphy" in which Evadna lovingly called him). As the two of them grew with age, they became very close --playmates as it were. A bond she lacked with her older brother, Lawrence, or any of her later brothers due to their vast age differences (See page 39 for more on this age difference). | The house in which Evadna grew up located on the corner of Adams St. and Main St. --Pretty Prairie | 35
36: Evadna had a very strong relationship with the Graber side of the family being that most of them lived in and around the Pretty Prairie area. There was a 21 year gap between the oldest of the Graber children (Evadna's mother, Frances) and the youngest (Sprig). Of her mother's four sisters, it was Hulda, Lena, and Edna who made the biggest impact on Evadna's life. "When aunts, Hulda and Lena, were married, a large tent was set up in the backyard [of J K & Mary's farm] for the marriage ceremony and reception. Afterwards the newlyweds went into the house to unwrap gifts in the upstairs bedrooms, and what fun it was for me to help them," Evadna later recalled. Interestingly, each one of her aunts became less like aunts, as it were, but more like the sisters she never had (even though they were fourteen to eighteen years older than her). If they were not spending time together, the women were on the phone with one another quite regularly. Evadna especially loved Edna, writing in later years that "Aunt Edna was so much fun...She gave each [of the nieces & nephews] a nickname. Mine was "Vaddie" and Lawrence's was "Lolie". She had a great sense of humor and loved to sing. After we were married, she kept in touch by inviting us over for meals and calling us when there was health problems." Sprig's wife, Jean, was also noted in playing a sisterly role throughout Evadna's life. Sprig and Jean married when Evadna was just a teenager. Of her early memories of Sprig, she states, "Lawrence and Uncle Sprig, who was two years older [than Lawrence] had fun playing together and doing little jobs for Grandpa [Graber]. Sprig loved to tease us in our growing up years." Ironically, as a young adult, Sprig would later became one of Evadna's high school instructors and also her class sponsor. | Evadna writes, "Ralph, along with cousins, Harold and Milo, were great companions. They loved playing on the big tractor at Grandpa's, and also playing with the black and white puppies." Pictured here [l to r]: Evadna, Ralph, & cousin (either Harold Graber or Milo Stucky) --in J K & Mary Graber's backyard, circa 1922. | Evadna in front of her parents' house (circa late-1920s). | Original photo labeled: "Cousins of Evadna". Evadna is the third girl from the left.
37: Probably one of the saddest and hardest chapters of Evadna's life was the day she lost her little brother Ralphy on March 23rd, 1923. As the story goes, 4 year old Evadna, and her 3 year old brother were playing an innocent game of hide-n-seek with a nickel. Well Ralph, as little as he was, did not know any better and stuck the nickel in his mouth and swallowed it. His fatal mistake would forever leave a huge hole in young Evadna's heart --a senseless tragedy she could not shake for the rest of her life. | Losing Ralphy... | (2 photos above): Ralph playing with one of J K & Mary's puppies sometime around 1922. (left): Cousins (l to r): Ralph, Harold Graber, & Milo Stucky playing with their grandparent's puppies (1922). (right): A snapshot Frances Kaufman saved of her son's small freshly dug grave in the First Mennonite Church cemetery. (directly below): Memorial Record from Ralph's funeral. | 37 | Harold Graber with his young cousin, Ralph Kaufman on their Grandpa J K Graber's tractor (1922).
38: Those who remember Joseph Kaufman best, recall that he was not one for shenanigans --he truly ran a taunt ship in regards to raising a family. As mentioned in the last chapter, Joe became a changed man upon becoming "saved." He took the conservative approach to life seriously-- never smiling for pictures, rarely one to crack a joke, and (like most Mennonites of his generation) saw musical instruments as a tool of the devil. As a banker, Joseph's philosophy was "stay out of debt and do not sin." Of course, the rule did not apply to him (especially at one point in life when he made a land purchase), but to everyone else it stuck. Joseph placed high expectations on his children to act and dress the way he would approve. In Evadna's case, he would make her wear a pair of long underwear to school (which had become out of style by her teenage years in the 1930s). Some how, she found a way around it by taking them off after she left the house for school, and then putting them back on again before she returned home. In her defense, this hardly matched the ornery charades her little brothers --Herb and Eddie (especially Herb)-- used to pull off. They would sneak out their bedroom windows at night after their father had gone to bed, just so they could could go carouse the town with their buddies. | In regards to his eldest son, Joseph was not quite satisfied about the girl (Opal Albright) Lawrence decided to marry. There was something about Opal's personality that rubbed Joe the wrong way. She was very nice, but a bit withdrawn. Whenever family came over to visit, and if she happened to be in the front yard, she would go and hide behind a tree or a bush (usually ones that were ridiculously smaller or slenderer than her). Back in the early years of their courtship, Lawrence found himself competing for Opal's affection with his Uncle Sprig (who was just two years older than him). Well, Lawrence obviously won out, but that did not stop his father from thinking otherwise. Different family members recall Joseph murmuring that "Sprig should have got her." Interestingly, that very opinion even carried on to the end of his life. Herb's son, Jeff amusingly remembers his grandfather wagging his finger towards Lawrence & Opal's house next door and saying, "That Lawrence is no good...he goes home at night and takes off his pants and gives them to his wife. Then she puts them on." There were expectations for the grandchildren as well. Evadna's daughter, Karen remembers that he was very particular about his grass. He would become nervous when the grandkids came over to play on it, in fear that it would get matted down. "Grandpa would wave us back into the house if he thought the grass was getting a bit trampled ," Karen remarks. "It was my job to cut his lawn," Jeff laughs. "He'd sit out there in his lawn chair to make sure that I went real slow and cut every blade. But as soon as I got out of his sights, I would go as fast as I could, just to make up for lost time! Of course, once I got back into his line of vision, I'd return to a slow pace." One other memory the grandkids vividly share is the fact that visits to their Grandpa Kaufman's house always began with the greeting of rubbing his face and saying: "Nice Nice, Shane Shane, Hogney Hogney, Geeter-Chuck." Though its meaning has been lost with time, it is assumed that "Geeter-Chuck" may translate into "grandfather". | Living Under Joseph's Roof | Joseph Kaufman (far left) & brother-in-law, Ed Krehbiel (third from the left), pictured here in a rare photo-op. The story behind this snapshot is one that escapes history, but the photo by itself is worth noting being that the two men allegedly had little to do with one another. | 38 | 38 | Evadna | Lawrence | Eddie & Herb | Frances | Joseph
39: Tale of | Growing up, Evadna found herself in a paradox with her role as the only girl in the Kaufman family. It was like living with in two different sets of families --being that there was a nine year difference in between Lawrence and herself, and nearly a ten year lapse before Joseph and Frances had the last two boys. Evadna once noted that she was Lawrence's little sister while feeling at times like a mother to her younger brothers --Herbert "Herb" (born September 4th, 1927) and Edward "Eddie" (born June 12th, 1931). (For more on Herb & Eddie, see pages 132-135.) | Families... | My Sister, . | My Advocate... . | Not long after Evadna married Wilbur Meisenheimer in 1941, Lawrence would spend many a waking morning pleading with her over breakfast to talk to their father into letting him have a position in his bank. Lawrence and Opal were trying their hand at farming at that time in the Castleton area (on the same farm that Herb later raised his family), and were miserable at it. After a period of Evadna being the go-between for father and son, Joseph finally relented, making Lawrence the assistant casher. Lawrence then left the farm and moved his family to Pretty Prairie --eventually building a house next to Joseph and Frances. He remained at the First National Bank until his father's retirement in 1953, and then rendered his services to The State Bank where he later served on its board of directors. (For more on Lawrence's life see pg 131.) | (above): Lawrence (in the center, with his back turned towards the camera) directs the construction of his house in Pretty Prairie --located next door to the home of his parents. (left): The little boy in this photograph is young Herbert "Herb", standing in front of Joseph & France's original house. (below): The youngest of the J. J. Kaufman children --Edward "Eddie"-- pictured here as an infant on Kaufman's old front porch. | two | HERB | EDDIE
40: 40 | ~ J. K. Graber Family Reunion, 1942 ~
41: Two | Part | " ...We Meisenheimers"
42: One | Home of the Birds | The | ...from Meisenheim to Litchfield to Kingman | Chapter
43: The makings of a family... | Meisenheimer | While stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War, Wilbur & Evadna Meisenheimer's son, Jim, made a trip to the village of Meisenheim. The following is an excerpt from a letter (dated February 1970) that he sent home to his parents, giving an account of his visit. | "Today I visited our town-- Meisenheim, Germany. It is quite hilly and a river runs through its heart. It is a farming community. The people are very friendly. Upon arriving in Meisenheim, I took several pictures and window shopped. Later I walked to a hilltop to take an overall picture of the community. The name of the town originates from a church, approximately 500 years old. The Meisen bird landed on the church steeple and built its nest. Thus the town was named 'Meisenheim' --meaning THE HOME OF THE BIRDS. Meisenheim is the home of a famous German Admiral. It is also known for the brewing and bottling of BONNET beer for over 100 years. As I was strolling through the streets I came upon a road construction site. I stopped to ask the construction watchman if there was a museum here. He immediately left his job, went to get a key, and took me to two small dusty rooms over a shop. Here were many stacks of old newspapers, magazines, and books telling about Germany. The rooms also contained numerous flags, posters, models, and many collectors items-- among them a 500 year old Bible. Of course none of these items were available to me, however, the friendly watchman did let me take a brochure about the 500 year old church. I was looking about the small museum when my guide said-- "We Meisenheimers" and pointed to the picture of the German Admiral hanging on the wall. I told him my name is Meisenheimer. He couldn't believe it." | ********* | (above, left): The church in Meisenheim, Germany where the Meisen bird built its nest deriving the name Meisenheim --"Home of the Birds". (below, left): Postcard from 1970 giving an areal view of Meisenheim, Germany. (below,right): Pfeiffer College in Misenheimer, North Carolina. The small village of Misenheimer, originally known as Misenheimer Springs in the 1800s, was once a tourist resort named after the Misenheimer family who had immigrated from Meisenheim, Germany. | Jim Meisenheimer
44: The Wilson L. Meisenheimer Story | Wilson L. Meisenheimer was born on January 23rd, 1814 in Cabarrus, North Carolina to Jacob John & Sarah (Peck) Meisenheimer. His great-Grandfather Johann Jacob Meisenheimer (born in the town of Waldalgesheim and lived around the area of Meisenheim Am Glan, Germany) came to the American colony of Pennsylvania in September of 1743 on the ship, Lydia. Upon arriving, the English had a hard time pronouncing Meisenheimer so they dropped the E making it look like how it was pronounced --Misenheimer. Later generations (especially those who moved westward in the 1800s) changed it back to its originally spelling. Johann with his wife, Anna Margaretha Reiterin (whom he married in November of 1746), initially raised their family in Pennsylvania up until the Summer of 1775 when the British Army began the first of its military actions against the American Colonists. From there they moved to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (later renamed as Cabarrus County).* Johann's son Peter (grandfather to Wilson) is reported to have later served in the Revolutionary War.** | Wilson's father, Jacob John, along with his grandfather, Peter, moved the family to Union, Illinois about four years after Wilson's birth. Jacob and Sarah would eventually have four boys in all, with Wilson being the oldest. A month after Sarah passed away in 1825, Jacob married a Mary Newman. Together they had four children of their own. Wilson moved with his brother, John, to Southern Illinois where he married Nancy Jane Wilson in January of 1836. The couple had seven sons and one daughter, but only two of the children (both boys) made it to term. The oldest, John, lived only four months while the second son, Daniel, lived until he was 40 years old. He was quite sickly for most of his life due to the fact that his mother had the German Measles when she bore him. Nancy Jane died of consumption in 1849, just eight years after giving birth to Daniel. Her own mother then stepped in to care for the sickly boy. | Wilson L. Meisenheimer 1814-1881 | After marrying his second wife, Martha Ann Allen, in March of 1851, Wilson moved to Litchfield, Illinois where he purchased land for $1.25 an acre. There they became sheep farmers, and with each year they would take the wool from the herd and sell it to a St. Louis market. From this profit, Wilson & Martha bought the necessary household things they needed for the year. Any left over money was spent on luxuries --watches, broaches, sterling silver, china, and the parlor set of walnut furniture. With time their family grew to encompass seven children --Elbert M. (1853), Mary (1854), Alonzo (1856), Elizabeth (1858), Jane (1858), Wilson (1859), & Sarah (1862). | Wilson, being of the Baptist faith, bought a plot of ground and gave it to Litchfield's Baptist Church. He was also a Republican, and had his hired-hand, Mort, go to service for him during the Civil War as a cavalry man. Wilson furnished Mort with his choice of horses; "Old Sook" ended up being the one selected. At the end of the war, Mort rode Old Sook home. Young Elbert (about 12 years old) would daily scan the droves of men who walked and rode home. Finally one day he came in shouting, "Mort is coming, he is riding Old Sook!" The boy went out and checked the horse all over to see if any bullets were to be felt. | * Everyone's Connected: Information about Johann Jacob Meisenheimer (Online: The Family Tree Maker, 2002),
45: ....Then there was | The Lincoln | Daniel Polhemus Brokaw | (back row): Gertrude Griswald, Anna Meisenheimer, & Carrie Stiefel. (front row): Ellen Batler, Cornelia Gorline. | Connection | the Brokaws | There is a story that has been passed down over the years amongst the Meisenheimer clan about Anna (the matriarch of the family) sitting on the lap of President Abraham Lincoln. Born in Litchfield (just 45 miles south of Springfield) on February 8th, 1860, young Anna was an infant during the period of Lincoln's campaign for the presidency. Being that the details behind the story have been lost with time, there really is not much to go off of as far as the date of this special encounter. What can be said of the event is that there seems to be a connection between Lincoln and Anna's father (Daniel P. Brokaw), even if just a small one, or so says the Reverend C. E. Cline of Portland, Oregon. In his letter to the editor of Litchfield's newspaper in 1907, Cline (noted as a friend of the family), reports in retrospect to have had fond memories of Daniel Brokaw when he was a boy growing up in Montgomery County, Illinois during the 1850s. He then goes on to describe Brokaw as being "an ardent friend of Abraham Lincoln".* Whether the "friend" of Lincoln description in the letter meant "ardent political supporter" or if they were indeed acquaintances is not known. | Daniel Polhemus Brokaw was the fourth child and first son born to Abraham I. & Cornelia (Polhemus) Brokaw on January 6th, 1818, near Bound Brook, New Jersey. Daniel's great-great-great grandfather, Bourgon Broucard (born in 1645), was a French Huguenot who fled from France to Germany, and then to Holland due to religious persecution.* The Huguenots were a Calvinist branch of the Protestant Reformed Church of France. The Broucard family were among the thousands of "reformed" Protestants forced to move for their refusal to convert to Catholicism during the latter part of the Protestant Reformation. Bourgon brought his family over to America around 1676, first setting in Brooklyn, New York. After later residing in three or four different locations on Long Island, he (along with his son-in-law) bought 2,000 acres of land in Somerset County, New Jersey in 1702. A few members of Bourgon's growing family decided to stay back in Long Island while the rest moved with him to this new acreage across the Hudson River.* | 1818-1884 | After several generations of the Broucards (later changing the spelling to Brokaw or Brogaw due to fact that the American Dutch Colonists were having trouble "handling" it) living the Somerset County, New Jersey area, Daniel and his wife, Caroline Turner (married on April 25th, 1841), decided to move west to the Illinois Territory shortly after the birth of his first child, Abraham, in 1842. They traveled by wagon to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania then down the Ohio River by boat the rest of the way. The first place Daniel and Caroline settled was around Jerseyville, Illinois. It is here that they resided for about 8 years, expanding their family with four additional children-- John T. (1843), Daniel (1844), Cornelia (1846), & Isaac (1849). In 1850, Daniel set his sights on 120 acres of land (originally given to a Mexican War soldier) in Montgomery County (in South Litchfield Township), buying it for $120.00. Here he established his farm, developing it into one of the best in the community. Over the next ten years, Caroline would give birth to six more children-- Ellen (1850), Henry (1852), David (1854), Gertrude (1857), Anna E. (1860), & Carrie R. (1862). Three of the Brokaw boys fought in the Civil War for the Union Army --one being Abraham, who took a bullet to the neck and survived. He never had it removed.* Caroline's family (the Turner family) were native of Hull, England. By age 21 (around the time she married Daniel), she was residing in New Jersey; the details of her immigration to America are sketchy. Her brother, David Turner, was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant as Collector of Customs for the District of Alexandria, Virginia in 1869. Daniel & Caroline, very devout in their Christian faith, were among charter members of the Presbyterian Church of Litchfield. Quite skilled in cabinet making, Daniel built their home in South Litchfield. As a hobby, he studied homeopathic medicine, anatomy, botany & mineralogy --spending countless hours working with his own personal microscope. Daniel was responsible for placing an extensive library in a nearby school --becoming known as the "Brokaw School". He passed away on March 13th, 1884.* | Daniel P. Brokaw | Anna | ~The Brokaw Sisters~ | * Stiefel, Ira B., and Helen Jones Stiefel. Genealogy, Stiefel and Jones Familes. Wilkinsburg: Stiefel, 1959. Print.
46: September 3, 1879 | Elbert & Anna
47: Elbert ~ Kingman County Commissioner 1915 | Pictured on left -- County Commissioner Elbert Meisenheimer. To Elbert's right -- Perle Bixler | 47
48: (above): Back row-- l to r-- Frank, Charlie, Dwight, Amy, Mattie, Elmer, & Paul Front row-- l to r-- Elbert (holding Ray), Artie, Anna, & Ross. | 48
49: Meisenheimer Brothers circa early 1910s~ (back row)-- Paul & Frank (middle row)-- Elmer, Charlie, & Dwight (front row)-- Ray & Ross | THE MEISENHEIMER HOMEPLACE --Hoosier Township, Kingman County (circa 1905) (Anna on porch, on the right, is holding Ray) | 49
50: Martha Estella "Mattie" Sallee | Orrie Elmer Meisenheimer | Amy Edna Stephens | October 6, 1880- January 31,1923 | January 27, 1883-July 27, 1953 | January 28, 1885-October 25, 1979 | Martha (known to most as Mattie) was the oldest of Elbert & Anna's children. On January 31st, 1903, she married her husband of twenty years, George Sallee. Together they had a series of children in a nineteen years span--Laura (1903), John Elbert (1904), Marvin (1906), Cecil Gordon (1908), Cleo Leon (1910), Raymond (1912), Maybelle (1914), Bernice (1918), Arvilla (1920) & Martha Ann (1922). The Sallee family lived in New Mexico for a while before moving to the Alamosa, Colorado area. Mattie's sudden death in 1923 devastated the family, leaving George to send some of the younger children to the care of different members of the family. Arvilla went to live with George's brother, William, while Bernice was raised by Mattie's brother, Frank. Maybelle and Martha Ann (who was an infant at the time) went to live with Elbert and Anna. It is not clear whether Maybelle stayed in the care of her grandparents for as long of a time frame as Martha Ann. Records do show that after the passing of Anna in 1929, Maybelle moved in with her Sallee grandmother while Martha Ann was raised by her Aunt Artie. | Orrie, who went by his middle name, Elmer, was born about two years and three months after his older sister Mattie. He married Nellie May Grove on April 7th, 1905 in Kingman, Kansas. They had a total of six children-- Velma (1907), LaVaughn "Bud" (1910), Claude (1916), Orval Elmer "Hap" (1918), Virgil (1920), & Willis Dean (1931). Elmer and May moved to Beaver County, Oklahoma sometime between the births of Velma and Bud. Later in life they settled in Woodburn, Oregon. Following Elmer's death in 1953 at age 70, May lived another fourteen more years before passing in 1967. A majority of their children chose to make Oregon home with the exception of Velma (who remained in Oklahoma) & Claude (who settled in Liberal, Kansas). | Amy was the second daughter and third child born to Elbert and Anna. She married her husband, Emery Stephens on July 26th, 1905 in Kingman. The Stephens had a total of twelve children --Glenn (1905), Vernon (1907), Anna Vera (1910), Edna (1912), Ruth (1916), Robert (1919), Caroline (1921), Wilma Pearl (1923), Wilbur Earl (1923), Bettee (1925), Dorothy (1928), & William (1930). During Amy & Emery's early years of marriage, they lived in Lakin, Kansas before settling in Carbon County, Montana, around 1920. About ten years later, the family had made their way to Yakima County, Washington which became their ultimate home. Amy's trips to visit family in Kingman did not happen very often though she remained very close to her younger sister, Artie. Despite the long distance, some her children managed to keep in touch with various Meisenheimer cousins over the years. In 1979,, Amy passed away in Toppenish, Washington --she was 94 years old. | Mattie's daughters-- Martha Ann & Maybelle, 1999 | George & Mattie Sallee, 1903 | Elmer & May Meisenheimer | Elmer's children-- LaVaughn "Bud" & Velma Meisenheimer | Amy's children-- Wilbur & Wilma Stephens | Sisters-- Amy (Meisenheimer) Stephens & Artie Meisenheimer | 50
51: Charles Henry "Charlie" Meisenheimer | Frank Wilson Meisenheimer | Paul Brokaw Meisenheimer | May 1, 1887-June 1, 1962 | July 28, 1889-March 4, 1965 | August 16, 1891-November 14, 1989 | Paul was the sixth child born to Elbert and Anna. On July 12th, 1916, he married Audra Cheatum. During their marriage of roughly twenty years, they had three sons together --James Dwain (Feb.1917), Arthur Wilbur (Feb.1919), & Clyde Kester (Dec.1925). There is a story that has been told of Paul as a child, stumbling upon a Klu Klux Klan rally while wandering through the rural parts of the Kingman area. Whether it is true or not is hard to tell being that Paul was full of tall-tales and jokes. By far, his most memorable tale was his different renditions of how he lost his thumb. Various grandkids recall him saying, "some fellow set a house down on my thumb." Others remember him mentioning that he lost it in a corn shucking accident. In later years, he teased his great- grandkids that his thumb dissolved one day while using it to stir his coffee. Of the three, the house story lies more closely to the truth. Paul and Audra raised their boys in the Kingman area before moving to a farm near Partridge, Kansas. About eight years after the couple separated in 1935, Paul began farming in western Kansas (around the Marienthal and Leoti area). He remarried on September 24th, 1944 to Naomi Garrison, a school teacher from Hutchinson. Paul retired from farming in the early '60s, and lived out the remainder of his life in Hutchinson. (See pages 72-87, & 108). | Charlie Meisenheimer | Nellie (Rea) Meisenheimer (right) & her mother Alice Amelia Rea | Charlie's son --Lester | Frank Meisenheimer, Bernice Sallee, & Celestye (Baker) Meisenheimer | Frank & Celestye Meisenheimer with niece, Bernice Sallee (center) | Audra (Cheatum) & Paul Meisenheimer with sons-- Wilbur & Dwain. | Paul Meisenheimer as a boy. | Paul Meisenheimer & (2nd wife) Naomi (Garrison) Meisenheimer | Charlie, the fourth child of Elbert and Anna, was the first to be born in Kingman, Kansas. It is recorded that the family moved from Litchfield, Illinois sometime earlier that year. Charlie was married on September 7th, 1911 to Nellie Edna Rea. Together they had ten children-- Edna Fern (1912), Donald Charles (1914), Lester Paul (1916), Vernon Gail (1917), Lois Marie (1920), Wilma Nell (1921), Edwin Doyle (1924), Roy Dean (1926), Elizabeth Charlene "Betty" (1928), & Delores Sue "Suzie" (1933). Charlie and Nellie would raise their family in and out of Kansas and Oklahoma for a period. Their fourth son, Vernon ended up being drafted into the Army in World War II. He was tragically killed in France during the Normandy Invasion on June 30th, 1944. Charlie and Nellie were married for a little over fifty years upon his death in Great Bend, Kansas in 1962. Nellie survived him by another twelve years, passing away in 1974 at age 86. | Frank was born just two years after his older brother, Charlie. At the age of 23, he married Celestye Baker on September 20th, 1912. They were unable to have children of their own, but when his oldest sister (Mattie Sallee) died in January of 1923, they agreed to raise her daughter, Bernice. Just a young girl of 4 years and 6 months at the time, Bernice Sallee would remain with her Uncle Frank and Aunt Celestye until she was 20 when she married her husband, Edward Terrill, in 1938. Celestyle died in 1959; Frank would live on another six years.
52: Dwight Moody Meisenheimer | Anna Agnes Meisenheimer | Artie Bell Meisenheimer | Ross Elbert Meisenheimer | Daniel Ray Meisenheimer | September 16, 1893- February 26, 1968 | July 31, 1898-August 21, 1902 | March 19, 1896-December 25, 1968 | December 29, 1900-October 11, 1974 | July 6, 1905-March 7, 1986 | Dwight, the seventh child in the family, was 22 years old when he married Marie McAttee on February 17, 1916. They had a total of five children together --Francis Elbert (1917), Lloyd Eugene (1920), Otis Lee (1922), Anna Louise (1924), & Dwight "Leroy" (1931). Sadly, little Otis died ten months after he was born on September 20th, 1923. After Francis returned home from WWII, he bought out an insurance agency in 1945, renaming it Kingman Insurance. Leroy became his partner in 1961. Anna became a housewife, later moving to Florida while Lloyd became a resident of Alva, Oklahoma. Francis' son, Frank, became the district judge for 30th District Court of Kansas in March of 2012. | Little Anna, Elbert & Anna's ninth child and third daughter, died just weeks after her 4th birthday. Unfortunately, there is not much written about Anna amongst family documents, nor is there any known photographs capturing the essence of her short fragile life. | Artie, who entered the family as child number eight, was the only member of the Meisenheimer clan never to get married. She is remembered for helping her mother raise Maybelle and Martha Ann Sallee after the death of her older sister, Mattie, in 1923. Artie became the predominant caregiver of Martha Ann after Elbert & Anna's passing in 1928 and 1929. With there being only two girls (not counting Anna Agnes) amongst a family of seven boys, Artie and her older sister, Amy, would become very close throughout much of their lives (even with Amy living as far as Washington State). Artie died in Chase, Kansas in 1968 at age 72. She was buried in Hoosier Cemetery in Kingman amongst her parents and many of her siblings. | Ross was born as the tenth child in Elbert and Anna's growing family. He was only 19 when he married New York native, Mildred "Millie" Henning on July 9th, 1920. Her family was living in Kingman at the time. The two of them did not have any children. Ross ran his father's tailor shop with his brother, Ray before he and Millie moved to Buffalo, New York in the early 1930s. Ross lived in Durate, California in his latter years. | Daniel, known by all as Ray, was the baby of the Meisenheimer family. On February 7th, 1932, he married his wife, Ida Long. Together they had two children-- Daniel Ray Jr. (1937) & Linda Kay (1943). Ray and Ida raised their family in Wichita where he worked for Beechcraft (the aircraft manufacturing company) for a good number of years. After a little over 54 years of marriage, Ray passed away in 1986. Ida would out live him by ten years. | Dwight & Marie's 50th Wedding Anniversary, 1966. (l to r) Evelyn & Francis with son's (Mike & Frank) in front, Marie & Dwight, Anna Louise, Carol & Leroy, and Dorothy & Lloyd. | Artie Meisenheimer | Ross & Millie Meisenheimer | Daniel Ray Jr. | Ida & Ray Meisenheimer, 1965 | Daniel "Ray" Meisenheimer
53: Paul, Audra & boys-- Wilbur & Dwain Circa late 1920s | A mix of cousins-- Meisenheimers, Sallees, & Beesons* Circa 1925 | *INSIDER'S NOTES: Some of the cousins shown above are grandchildren of Elbert's sister, Elizabeth "Lizzie". She married Joseph N. Beeson III on March 31st, 1880. Together they had five children-- Roy, Carl, Fayola, Harry, & Annalola. | Meisenheimer cousins at Uncle Frank's old farm. (Circa late-1920s). | Dwight's family (on a visit to Paul & Audra's farm near Partridge, KS.) (l to r): Francis, Lloyd, Marie, Dwight & Anna. Circa late-1920s /early-1930s | (l to r): Ross & Millie M., Martha Ann Sallee (in front of Millie), Lola Beeson, Artie M., Carl Beeson, Maybelle Sallee (in front of Carl), & Ray M. (Circa, 1925). | 53
54: Wilson L. Meisenheimer Family 1925 (l to r): Martha "Mattie" & Wilson Meisenheimer (sister-in-law & brother to Elbert), Elizabeth "Lizzie" Beeson (sister to Elbert), Elbert & Anna. | Elbert M. Meisenheimer Family 1925 (l to r): Ray, Artie, Ross, Dwight, Paul, Elbert, Frank, & Anna.
55: The young Meisenheimer cousins gather after their grandmother's (Anna B. Meisenheimer) funeral on October 22nd, 1929. | The Meisenheimer brothers gather after the funeral of their mother, Anna (October 22, 1929). (l to r): Elmer, Frank, Dwight, Paul, Charlie, Ross & Ray. | "I think about something Grandpa [Wilbur Meisenheimer] told us at his brother's [Dwain's] funeral. When Jesse asked him how he was doing, he told us a story about a death in the family when he was younger and how all the cousins got together. He said they had the best time together talking, telling stories, and just enjoying each other's company. Ever since, he had enjoyed funerals because of how they brought everyone together. " --Erica (Meisenheimer) McCallister *(Note): In the picture of children featured below, Wilbur & Dwain Meisenheimer are both standing in the back row amongst their Meisenheimer Cousins after Anna B. Meisenheimer's funeral. Dwain is fourth from the left, and Willie is on the very right. | 55
56: The Meisenheimers-- Circa, 1940s (back row, l to r): Ray, Frank, Paul, & Dwight. (front row, l to r): Elmer, Artie, & Charlie | Meisenheimer Reunion-- Circa 1949 or 1950 (l to r): Charlie, Paul, Amy, Frank, Artie, Ray, & Dwight | Meisenheimer Cousins Reunion-- Circa 1949 or 1950 | The Meisenheimer Siblings Over The Years.... | 56
57: Meisenheimer Reunion-- about 1952 or 1953 (back row, l to r): Francis (Dwight's son), Evadna (Wilbur's wife) , Evelyn (Francis' wife), Celestye, Marie, Ida, May, & Artie (middle row, l to r): Elmer, Paul, Ray, Frank, Wilbur (Paul's son), & Dwight (front row, l to r): Karen (Wilbur's daughter), Linda & Dan (children of Ray), Jim (Wilbur's son), & Charlie | Amy & Artie~ 1965 | Dwight, Ray & Paul September 1966 | (l to r): Artie, Ray, Ida, Dwight, Marie, Naomi & Paul ~1966
58: Chapter | Two | Audra | One Family's History --Restored | & the Cheatums
59: James Henry Cheatum | Susan Catherine Bixler Cheatum | (1847-1924) | (1862-1913) | James H. Cheatum, born on November 18th, 1847 in Adams County, Illinois, was the third son of Rice and Pernita (Hinkle) Cheatum. He initially had four other siblings-- William Harrison (1841), Francis Marion(1845), Pernita (?), & Martha E. (1857). His father, Rice, remarried in March of 1877 thus adding two half brothers and two half sisters to the family. At the age of 30, James married the love of his life, Susan Bixler, in the little town of La Belle, Missouri. Their wedding ceremony was performed by a Reverend Gilby Collins on September 6th, 1877. The fifteen year old Susan (often called "Susie"), was the daughter of Robert and Mary (Morris) Bixler. A native of La Belle, Susan was born on March 11th, 1862. | Devoted to Baptist faith, James was known as a staunch Republican though he would vote on the local level from time to time for the man who he thought would do the most efficient work. At one point, he became a member of the fraternal organization, the I. O. O. F. ( Independent Order of Odd Fellows). According to his obituary, those who knew him best recalled that "if you were his friend, he was a true friend and if he didn't care for one they soon found it out, for there was no two sides of his makeup." As time passed, Susan's health began to deteriorate. In 1912, James and Susan moved out to Montrose, Colorado hoping it would benefit her condition. Despite the best of intentions, things turned for the worst, and on July 7th, 1913 she died at the age of 51. | James and Susan's first child, Francis Henry Cheatum, was born on November 7th, 1878 in Lewistown, Missouri. He unfortunately did survive much past his first birthday, passing away on December 4th, 1879. Ten months later, Susie gave birth to another son, Arthur Robert on October 13th, 1880. He would be their only child for a good sixteen years before Maude Marie was born on April 11th, 1896. She died in infancy three months later on July 7th of that year. The Cheatum's fourth child, Ora Frances, was born on September 28th, 1897 in La Belle. Two years later, James packed up the family and moved to the Kingman, Kansas area, carrying on as a farmer. A few more years passed, and Susan gave birth to Audra Lenora on August 30th, 1901. | During his own final years, James developed Bright's disease. For a short time, he lived with Audra and her family in Kingman County, near Arlington, Kansas. In September of 1923, James traveled up to Scotts Bluff, Nebraska to spend the winter with Arthur's family. As the winter passed and the spring turned into summer, his health turned for the worst; he died on June 29th, 1924 from complications of a throat tumor. James was surrounded by all three of his children at his bedside at a Methodist hospital in Scotts Bluff. He was buried along side his wife in Hoosier Cemetery, outside Kingman, Kansas.
60: Francis Henry Cheatum 1878-1879 | Maude Marie Cheatum April 1896-July 1896 | James H. Cheatum Family, circa 1890s James, Arthur & Susan | James H. Cheatum & William Hemphill (Hemphill was the father to James' daughter-in-law, Haddah) | James H. & Arthur --Scott's Bluff, Nebraska (Arthur's wife, Haddah looks on in the background) | The Cheatums in front of the "Little Gem" Restaurant --Kingman, KS (back row, l to r): Audra, Ora, Haddah, Arthur, & Susan. (front row): Arthur's daughters --Leonora & Thelma . | Pernita (Hinkle) & Rice Cheatum Parents of James H. Cheatum | 60
61: Rusk, [Oklahoma] Sept the 29  Dear wife Susie and Son Arthur, I am still on foot and feeling fine. I am in hopes you are both well. I will tell you how I got to Pierces. I left North Enid with a brother odd fellow liverman. He said he would take us out for four dollars. When we got to South Enid, he found a mail carrier in eight miles of Pierces and found out we could save three dollars by going with him. So we changed and started with him and he had a big load of stuff and his horses poor. We never got to his place till dark and then we found out we were twelve miles from Pierces then. So we staid all night. That was Thursday night in the black Jack settlement and Friday morn the same man hitched up at daylight and started with us for Pierces. We got there by eight o clock and Perneta got us a good breakfast. Pierces folks are well. I went over to c Carts. Jose is sick but able to get around. I will see Jose today. They have a fine country here and good crops . If you were here, I could not get you to go back there. The land lays all around here just that forty of Sie. Wrights forty where his barn is claims is all taken up can buy a good claim for $2.00 dollars, with a fine spring on it. Some are selling for more. I will soon see more of it. I am going a hunting Monday. Tell Arthur I killed five Prairie dogs...Ever time I shot, one of them keeled over in his hole. I guess I got him. I will be with you both soon if we live. Be of good cheer while I am here. I want to look good. I am looking for a letter from you. I wrote you from Enid. I guess you have got that letter. I will write often. You do the same . Pierces folks are fat as pigs. This letter will be started in an hour. --James Cheatum to Susie Cheatum and Arthur Cheatum | I seat my self ______________a few lines to let you know that I am well. I hope these few lines will find you well of that cold that you had when I was there. Susie we had such a nice time to our dance. If you could of only bin there I would of enjoyed my self much better. You do not know how sadly disappointed I was in you not going. Your folks did not want you to go and it was right for you to not insist on going. Sue you do not no how much I would of give to had you there. I would of give a good deal. Susie what about_________________of febuary which is a long while off but better then than never. Sue I want you to stick to your promise and be ready to go with me to it. If you have given out the notion of going be shore and let me no. Susie you must excuse my writing and bad mistakes. I must close for this time. Answer this and let me no whether you could read it or not. When this you see Remember me Remember one that loved you well More than heart or tongue can tell. --James Cheatum to Miss Susie Bixler | "The following [is the text] of [a] fragile and frayed letter from James Cheatum to Susie Bixler. Portions of the letter did not survive and I do not know when [it was] written, but I presume it was during their courtship. Since they lived on joining property near LaBelle, Missouri, [it] may have been hand delivered, there [are] no envelopes. The handwriting is in beautiful calligraphy style. I copied the text without editing [it]." --N. Jean Meisenheimer Reeves (Great Granddaughter of James and Susan Bixler Cheatum) | Below Jeanie Reeves provides another letter written by James H. Cheatum, but this time his Susie has become Mrs. James Cheatum and together they have a son, Arthur. Here James is away on business in Rusk, Oklahoma and is writing home to share his experiences. Jeanie believes it was likely written in 1894 being that Susie's corresponding letter to James was postmarked to that date. Though the grammer and spelling errors are left unedited, small portions of the letter have been removed to make it more understandable for the context of this book. | James H. Cheatum Family-- (back row, l to r): Arthur & Haddah (front row, l to r): Audra, James, Leonora, Thelma, Susan, & Ora. | 61
62: Arthur Robert Cheatum | October 13, 1880-August 10, 1943 | Hadassah Mae (Hemphill) Cheatum | December 12, 1884-June 22, 1973 | Born in Lewistown, Missouri, Arthur was the only living child of James and Susan Cheatum for 17 years before his sister, Ora, was born. As a young adult, he moved with his family to Kingman, Kansas where he met the love of his life --Hadassah "Haddah" Hemphill. They were married on November 8th, 1901 in Pretty Prairie, Kansas. Together, Arthur and Haddah had two daughters -- Virvie "Leonora" (March 10th, 1904) & Thelma Fay (May 18th, 1907). He initially farmed with his father before landing a job at a restaurant in Utah around 1908. Two years later, Arthur moved the family out Montrose, Colorado where he worked in the retail seed and produce business. After a brief stint at a flour mill in Greeley, Arthur became the manager for a number of G. C. Reuler ready-to-wear clothing stores in Nebraska during the early 1920s. It was during an era in America where ready-to-wear apparel had become a rising trend. The company expanded its branches to Alliance, McCook, North Platte, and Grand Island in 1926. By 1939, he was manager of Grand Island's store. | Hadassah, better known by family and friends as "Haddah", was the daughter of William Boston Hemphill and Margarette Henerette (Rhomestock). After graduating high school around Pretty Prairie, Kansas, she attended the American College of Dressmaking in Kansas City, Missouri, followed by grad work for Kopp's Brothers in New York City. Haddah remained a working woman even after marrying Arthur R. Cheatum in 1901, and bearing two daughters in the years that followed. Her dressmaking career in Kingman, Kansas carried over to a job with the Strass & Silverburg Store in Montrose, Colorado. This led to management at Humphries Department Store and later at G. C. Reuler's in Greeley, CO and Scottsbluff, NE. By 1926, she attained the position of VP & treasurer at Reuler's in Scottsbluff and later became VP at the store in Grand Island. (See pg 64) She also owned & operated Cheatums' House of Style clothing shop in Scottsbluff for many years. A few years after Arthur died in 1943, Haddah married a Cullin N. Wright. | Arthur & Haddah sharing endearing glances during their latter years together. | Haddah & Arthur as a young couple in Kingman, Kansas.
63: Arthur, little Leonora, & Haddah --circa 1905 | Arthur Cheatum as a young man | (l to r): Arthur, Haddah, Thelma, & Leonora | Haddah & Arthur (on the right) pictured with a couple of boarders at their home in Montrose, CO. | Haddah & Arthur taking a stroll with Leonora, Thelma, & some friends of the family in Montrose, CO. | Haddah & Arthur (1933)
64: 64 | As the Vice President of G. C. Reuler, Inc. in Grand Island, Nebraska, Haddah Cheatum is remembered for having a very unique workspace --an elevator. From her one of a kind office in the ready-to-wear clothing store, she was able to dictate, read mail, write all store ads, handle business while riding up and down in the elevator to answer calls from various floors. As shown on the right, Ripley's Believe It or Not paid a visit to Haddah's quaint, but unique office and promoted it via this undated ad. Wilbur Meisenheimer recalls a visit he and his brother, Dwain, made with their mother (Audra) to see their Uncle Arthur & Aunt Haddah in Grand Island when they were young boys. In all fascination, Dwain and Willie rode the elevator up and down several times until Uncle Arthur reprimanded them and made them get off. | Arthur & Haddah | (above): | Haddah & Arthur, circa late-1920s | (l to r): Leonora, Haddah, & Thelma | Christmas, 1933
65: Ora Frances Cheatum | September 28, 1897-November 19, 1976 | (right): Lynn & Ora Baker in1941. | Viola Lenora Baker | Burl Dayton Baker | Born in La Belle, Missouri in the fall of 1897, little Ora Frances brought joy and laughter back into the Cheatum household. Her older sister, Maude Marie, had died as an infant just fourteen months prior. By in large, one could note that Ora was practically the start of a second family for James and Susan since Arthur was in his latter teens at the time of her birth. Around the turn of the century, the family up and moved from Missouri to a farm near Kingman, Kansas. Not long after that, Ora gained a little sister, Audra. The two girls developed a very close relationship that lasted throughout their life time. Family members would often referred to them as "Mutt & Jeff" being that Ora was short and plump while Audra was tall and skinny. On May 27th, 1915, Ora married Leon "Lynn" Kenneth Baker in Hutchinson, Kansas. According to Ora's nephew, Wilbur Meisenheimer, Leon generally went by "Lynn" although Arthur's wife, Haddah, was one of the few people to get away with calling him by his given name. Four years into their marriage, Ora gave birth to a son, Burl Dayton, on July 17th, 1919; two years later a second child came along, a daughter --Viola "Lenora" (born on May 29th, 1921). Burl graduated from Arlington High School in Arlington, Kansas in 1937. He later served overseas in Europe during WWII from which he received an American Leaf Service Ribbon and a Good Conduct Medal. After the war, Burl returned home and furthered his education at Kansas State University, earning a BS degree in architectural engineering in May of 1950. He went to work for the State of Kansas in the architectural department and then later as an inspector in Housing and Urban Development. In February of 1953, Burl married Arlene E. (Williams) Woodman of Topeka. Through this union, he became the step-father of her children (Gary, Sharon, & Becky Woodman), but together they had one daughter of their own (Pamela). Burl passed away on May 10th, 2003 in Topeka, Kansas. | Sisters: Audra Meisenheimer (left) & Ora Baker (right) on the Meisenheimer Farm (aka Sickler Farm) near Partridge, KS. (circa, late-1920s/early-1930s). | Viola, who went by, Lenora, started a family in June of 1939 when she married Howard Moore. Two years later they had a son, Jay Leon (March 10th, 1941). But the marriage did not take, and Lenora was left to fend for herself, causing little Jay Leon to be raised his grandparents (Lynn & Ora) for much of his childhood. Lenora eventually ended up getting re-married in 1948 to an Albert Ingle. Lynn Baker passed away on May 13th, 1964 while Ora lived another 12 years. After high school, Jay Leon went on to pursue a degree in pharmacy; he later became Osco-Drug's pharmacist in Hutchinson, KS for a good number of years. His mother, Lenora, died in April of 2008 (nearly a month before turning 87).
66: (above): The Bakers and the Meisenheimers, (circa late-1920s) (l to r) Lenora B., Burl B, Wilbur M., & Dwain M. | (bottom left): A visit from Uncle Arthur (circa early-1930s). Pictured here on Paul and Audra Meisenheimer's farm near Partridge, Kansas. (l to r): Lenora Baker, Arthur Cheatum, Dwain Meisenheimer, Burl Baker, & Wilbur Meisenheimer. | (right): Burl Baker and his aunt, Audra Perry, during his college years at Kansas State University. | (below): Ora (right) and her sister, Audra (left), on the Baker's farm around the late -1920s / early -1930s. | (below): Lynn Baker (right) with his brother-in-law, Paul Meisenheimer (left), on the Baker's farm around the late -1920s / early -1930s. | 66
67: Audra Lenora Cheatum | Baby Audra, about 1901 or 1902. | The Cheatum Sisters: Audra Perry & Ora Baker, October 7th, 1943 | August 30, 1901-January 15, 1988 | Audra Lenora, the youngest of James and Susan Cheatum's three surviving children, was their first and only child to be born in Kingman, Kansas. She was about a month shy of her 15th birthday when she married 24 year old Paul Meisenheimer on July 12th, 1916. The first of their three sons, James "Dwain". was born on February 27th of the following year. The next son, Arthur "Wilbur", came along two years later on February 13th, 1919. Paul and Audra initially raised their small family on a farm near Hwy 14 (present-day Hwy 11) in Kingman County, before moving to a homestead not far from Partridge in Reno County in 1925. Known by the family as the Sickler place (Sickler being the last name of the family that owned the land), the farm would serve as the Meisenheimer home-place for three generations. | On December 27th, 1925, Paul and Audra's third son, Clyde Kester, was born. Sadly, young Clyde never made it to his 2nd birthday, succumbing to consumption (possibly Bronchitis) on August 29th, 1927 (the day before Audra's birthday, of all days). One can only imagine the harsh impact this loss had on the family, especially Audra. As the other two boys grew into their teenage years, her life took a drastic turn. Sometime around 1935, Audra and Paul divorced. She moved away, first to Oklahoma and then California. Audra married Sam "Bud" Perry in Fresno, California sometime in 1937. | As Dwain and Wilbur married and had families of their own, Audra would return every so often to see the grandkids. By the early 1960s, Sam and Audra decided to move closer, settling in Rogers, Arkansas. They made a go of owning a small motel for nearly ten years, before retiring in Kingman, Kansas in 1971. Following Sam's death in 1974, Audra would spend the last thirteen years of her life trying to rekindle a relationship with the family. In the midst of this quest, it is reported that she found a different kind of Grace --inner Peace through a relationship with God. Audra passed away in January of 1988. | 67
68: Audra in front of Paul's 1928 Chevy on the Sickler farm. | Ora & Audra Cheatum | Two young aunts and a niece: (l to r): Ora, baby Leonora (Arthur's daughter), & Audra. | Siblings & their spouses: Meisenheimers, Cheatums, & Bakers (l to r): Paul M., Audra M., Arthur C., Haddah C., Lynn B., & Ora B. | Students from the old Hoosier School (near Kingman, KS). Audra is in the middle row, third girl starting from the far right. (Look closely and one can faintly see where Audra has faintly drawn an arrow and scribbled the word "me" above herself). | The Cheatum Siblings (l to r): Audra, Arthur, & Ora (circa, late-1920s / early-1930s). | The Bakers & The Meisenheimers --August 1924 (back row, l to r): Lynn B., Ora B., Audra M., & Paul M. (front row, l to r): Lenora B., Burl B., Wilbur M., & Dwain M.
69: (right): Members of the Cheatum family about 1923. (l to r): Audra, Wilbur M., Dwain M., Haddah Cheatum's brother-- Frank Hemphill (presumably), James H. Cheatum, & Haddah's mother-- Margarette Hemphill (presumably). James Cheatum lived with Audra and Paul on their farm (often referred to as the McPheeter Place) near Hwy 14 (now Hwy 11) for a short time, not long before his death in 1924. Dwain Meisenheimer's daughter, Jeanie, recalls, "Grandma [Audra] always smiled when she talked about her dad, and so did my dad. I think that my dad may have gotten some of his old timey expressions from James when he [James] lived with Paul and Audra." | (above): A rare photograph of Audra & Paul Meisenheimer together on their farm (referenced by the family as the Sickler farm) near Partridge, Kansas (circa 1920s). There are only a handful of images (all featured in this book) that capture their two-decade marriage, but none of them capture their relationship like this one does. | (above): Paul & Audra's three sons. On the left is Dwain (holding baby Clyde) & Wilbur is on the right. | (left): Audra and her boys on the Sickler Farm, circa early 1930s. Willie is on her right, and Dwain is on her left. The car behind them belong to farm hand, Sam Perry. | 69
70: REGARDING | Bud | Samuel Ennis Justice "Bud" Perry | 1905~ 1974 | Samuel E. Justice Perry (known to many as "Bud") was born on June 23rd, 1905 in Fayetteville, Arkansas to John Thomas and Julia Ann (McAtee) Perry. Its recorded that he had four sisters --Lora, Iva (who lived in Fresno, California), Edith (who lived in Rogers, Arkansas), and Dorothy (who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma). Sam spent much of his childhood in Oklahoma. As a teenager he was placed in "The State Training School for White Boys" located near Pauls Valley, in Garvin County, Oklahoma. Sam was a bit of a migrant worker early in life during those first few years of the Great Depression --hiring himself out to various farms to take him on as a hired hand. Along the way he found work on Paul Meisenheimer's Partridge farm. Around 1935, Paul and Audra's marriage ended, and Sam found work in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Eventually, Sam and Audra made their way to Fresno, California where they married in 1937. Though Audra returned to Kansas to visit her boys once in a while, it would be nearly twenty five years before the Perrys made the Midwest their home again. Sometime around the early 1960s, they became the owners of the "Rogers Motel" in Rogers, Arkansas. Over the next ten years, Sam and Audra served numerable guests --countless check-ins and check-outs, turning down bed after bed-- all in giving their weary travelers a nights lodging. In 1971, the Perrys turned in their keys to the motel and moved back to Kansas, settling in Kingman. They became members of the Baptist Church in town. Sam died on April 22nd, 1974 in the Kingman Community hospital. He was 68 years old. | Sam (early 1930s) | Sam on Beaver Lake, Arkansas, 1968.
71: Sam and Audra, retirees in Kingman, 1971. | Audra & Ora Rogers, Arkansas --1968 | (above): Meisenheimer / Cheatum Family gathering-- July 22nd, 1956. (Back row, l to r): Ora B., Audra P., Lynn B., Jay Leon Moore, Wilbur M., Evadna M., Jim M. (grandson), Marguerite M. & Dwain M. (Front row, l to r): Jeanie M. (granddaughter), Carole Ann M. (granddaughter), Karen M. (granddaughter), Elizabeth Roberts (daughter of Marguerite's cousin, Glenna Goering Roberts), & John M. (grandson). | Final Years: Prairie Sunset Home, Pretty Prairie (circa 1987). (Back, l to r): Wilbur & Evadna, Dwain & Marguerite. (Front, l to r): Audra & Brian M. (great-grandson) | 71
72: The Boys of | The adventures of | Three | Chapter | The Meisenheimer boys on a cattle drive, heading north on the Partridge Road towards Partridge, Kansas. From there the herd was shipped by rail to Kansas City. | Riverton | Thick as thieves-- Willie & Dwain at home on Sickler Farm (circa, 1934) | Dwain & Willie
73: (above): Paul and Audra Meisenheimer share a moment of affection as he opens the car door for her on their Partridge farm (a.k.a. Sickler farm) ~Circa, late-1920s. | (above): Cousins --Wilbur Meisenheimer, Burl Baker, & Dwain Meisenheimer, (Circa, early 1920s). | Paul & Audra's Family | (above): The Sickler house (located along the Partridge Road, north of Pretty Prairie) played host to Paul & Audra starting in 1925. It became the home of Wilbur & Evadna in later years. | 73 | MEISENHEIMER
74: James Dwain | February 27th, 1917 ~ December 24th, 2010 | Dwain in 1931 as an 8th Grade graduate. | Paul and Audra Meisenheimer's eldest son, James Dwain, was born during the winter of 1917 in rural Kingman County, Kansas. Even at an early age, he preferred going by his middle name, though he was named after his maternal grandfather (James H. Cheatum). Much to Dwain's annoyance, his little brother (Wilbur) initially had trouble pronouncing his name. To get his attention, young Willie would call after him -- "Nain!" Just two years apart, the boys would become very close, and often find themselves in all sorts of mischief together. When the family moved to a farm near Partridge, Kansas, Dwain had no idea at the time that he would be living within miles of the future love of his life, Marguerite Goering. "Whenever Dad drove my by their farm, I would ask him, "Who lives there?" He would respond by saying, "the Meisenheimers". I would just laugh and laugh, thinking it was such a funny last name. I had no idea that it someday would be mine," Marguerite amusingly recalls. The couple first met in June of 1935 at a birthday party for Marguerite's first cousin, Cecil Goering. She was very close with Cecil and his younger sister Glenna, and it just so happened that he was really good friends with the Meisenheimer brothers. Dwain, eighteen at the time, had just graduated from Pretty Prairie High. Marguerite, who would turn fifteen that August, was about to start her junior year at Arlington High School. A bit smitten with the attractive brunette, he decided to ask her out on a date later that fall. The story of their first date, as told by their daughter, Jeanie goes as follows.... "The plan was to attend a movie in Kingman and double with Glenna and Harold Lambert, Dwain's friend. Wilbur and Cecil hitched a ride with them to and from Kingman, but did not attend the movie. They were dropped off in Pretty Prairie after returning from Kingman, because they needed to check on their girlfriends and make sure they weren't with some other guys. (Evadna Kaufman was Wilbur's girlfriend.) Harold had a '33 or '34 Chevy, one of the snazziest cars among the Pretty Prairie young men, so it was decided that he would drive. The car, however, would temporarily drown out every time it was driven through a puddle of standing water in the road. Fortunately, it rained the day of the date, so Harold took a circuitous route, known for the amount of standing water on the roads, to take the girls home. He drove through every puddle he could find. Every time the car drowned out, Harold and Glenna would “neck.” Unfortunately, Harold's amorous efforts resulted in running out of gas. It was late and the couples assumed that nearby residents would already be retired for the night, so Dwain volunteered to walk the two and a half miles home to get some gasoline. Wilbur was home and fast asleep when Dwain arrived back, so he had to awaken him. Then Wilbur returned Dwain and the can of gasoline to Harold's car. All in all, the time expended from the walk on muddy roads (resulting in the ruination of Dwain's white buck shoes) put the return of the girls home from the date at about 4:00 a. m." | Meisenheimer | Dwain and Marguerite were married on August 27, 1940. During their first few years of marriage, most of their income came from selling cream and eggs from their cows and chickens. Then in the spring of 1943 (shortly after the birth of their oldest child, Robert "Bob"), Paul Meisenheimer decided to buy a farm out in western Kansas (five miles north and two and a half miles east of Marienthal in Wichita County). Seeing it as a potential opportunity, Dwain agreed to follow his father. He packed up his small family, and headed west where they lived together with Paul on the farm for about a year. It became their own when Paul found a wife and settled on another farm near by. Marienthal would serve as Dwain and Marguerite's home for the next 37 years. (See pages 108 & 129-130 for more on Paul & Dwain's life in Western Kansas).
75: Arthur Wilbur | February 13th, 1919 ~ November 26th, 2013 | Meisenheimer | Nearly two years after the birth of Dwain, Audra gave birth to another son, Arthur Wilbur. Not very keen of his given first name, Arthur too chose to go by middle name (much like his older brother). Professionally he was addressed as Wilbur, but to those who knew him best, he was simply Willie. During the first few years of his life, Willie's family lived on a farm north of Kingman, Kansas. He was around the age of six, when his father, Paul, moved the family to a small farm (the Sickler farm) near the town of Partridge in Reno County. Here, young Willie grew not only in height but in knowledge as well. Maturing way ahead of kids his own age, Audra thought it proper to send him to school a year early. According to various family accounts, this made Dwain a little jealous; he did not want to be "out done" by his younger brother. Though the two boys were very close, they constantly fought with each other --with Wilbur being the competitive one. He wanted to participate in everything his older brother was doing, including driving the family car to school. Throughout his life, Dwain commonly loved to recall the different ways Willie enjoyed "showing him up". (See pages 81 & 86 for stories on their sibling rivalry). Quite the optimist, Wilbur is remembered for his sense of wit. He generally could find the humor in things. Much of what kept him going for nearly 94 years was the fact that he made the most of life regardless of its circumstances. If he liked you, you knew it. Then again, there were not many people Willie did not like. Due to those admirable character traits, he was well thought of in the community. | Baby Willie & 2 year old Dwain.
76: Clyde Kester | Remembering | CLYDE | December 27th, 1925 ~ | August 29th, 1927 | Meisenheimer | One of the saddest aspects of Dwain and Wilbur's childhood was the death of their little brother, Clyde Kester. Just only 18 months old, young Clyde fell ill to what Willie believed to be Bronchitis. Such lung diseases were labeled as "consumption" back those years, and unfortunately, due to the lack of proper medicine, they were not able to treat Clyde's condition effectively. | Wilbur & Dwain | As mentioned in the previous chapter, Clyde died the day before Audra's 26th birthday. By all accounts, it was undoubtedly a deep loss she that could not shake. In a scrapbook that she later created, filled with various snapshots of her brief life with Paul and the boys, lies Clyde's baby pictures (shown here, on the right side of this page). Both are carefully adorn with his name, scribbled her handwriting. The photograph in the top right-hand corner, best displays evidence of that. | _________ | _____________ | (left): Paul, Audra & their three boys (with Audra holding baby Clyde) at a family gathering in Kingman, Kansas (circa, 1926).
77: RIVERTON SCHOOL | Remembering | (above): Riverton Basketball Team (l to r): Wilbur M., Tom Davis, Dwain M. (kneeling with ball), Ralph Freeman, & Dale Coffey. | (below): Circa, 1930. (l to r): Dale Coffey, Dwain M., Roy Freeman, Pat Halloran, Ralph Freeman, Wilbur M., & Ellis Wells. | The Riverton School building in its hay-day. It was originally located on the south side of Fountain Green Road, about a good mile west of the farm Wilbur & Evadna would establish in 1957. Decades after this photo was taken, the building was moved to Hutchinson where it was converted into a house. | 77
78: "This Way to Education"-- the students of Riverton and their teacher, behind the wheel of Dwain & Wilbur's Model T. | (left & below): Growing up together in this one room school house, most of these boys & girls would be friends for life. The Meisenheimer boys are in the back row in both pictures (Willie is third from the left & Dwain stands next to him on the right). The Riverton School students remained in touch with other and had reunions into 2000's. The usual childhood diseases - Chicken Pox, Mumps, and Measles never went through the school, so (according to Dwain's daughter, Jeanie) Dwain contracted these illness when his own children got them, much to his wife's dismay. "My dad could never have been called the "model patient", " Jeanie amusingly recalls. | The Meisenheimer boys are on the front row: Dwain is third from the right while Wilbur is next to him, second from the right. | A few of Dwain and Willie's closest life-long buddies were the Freeman brothers -- Ralph & Roy (Ralph is partially hidden, but is standing in the back row on the far right in both photos), and Dale Coffey (who is standing third from the right on the front row in both photos). Dale and his brother (also named Roy) grew up on a farm about a half of a mile to a mile northeast of the Meisenheimer's (which in later decades became the home of the Roy E. Clayton family, and the site of Pat Koehler's Christmas Tree Farm). As the boys grew to be teenagers, Willie and Dale would team up and take their girlfriends on double dates.
79: (above): As early as 5th and 6th grade, Wilbur & Dwain drove the family car (this Model T pictured here) to school. The boys are obviously not pictured in this photo, but that is their teacher behind the wheel as well as some of the female students. Wilbur recalls that his father had to help them most days start the old car. If it did not start after cranking it several times, Paul would say, "...start walking!" | (right): Another snapshot of the students all dressed in their Sunday best. Wilbur is five students over from the left in the very back row; Dwain stands next to him on the right. Ralph Freeman stands in the back row next to the teacher while it appears that Dale Coffey is in the middle row, five students from the left (diagonally below Dwain to the right). | (left): Recess, 1930. Willie Meisenheimer is in front on the very left. It appears to be Dale Coffey holding him by the legs. Dwain Meisenheimer is also in the front row, three boys over from Wilbur. Ralph Freeman is the third boy from the left in the back row. "In those days, all the boys wore overalls", recalls Marguerite, Dwain's wife. She continues by saying "Dwain loved to tell the story of the time some new boys came to Riverton. These boys wore jeans instead of overalls, so Dwain and Willie would chase after them and pull down their pants at recess." Their punishment --to stay inside the schoolhouse and either recite or write The Pledge of Allegiance. | (below): The students seem to have grown up a bit. This photo possibly may have been taken near the end of Wilbur's time at Riverton. Willie is in the very back row, third from the right. Dwain is not pictured; he presumably may have been attending Pretty Prairie High School at the time this snapshot was taken. | ____________________________________
80: The Students of Riverton School --1930 | 80 | Dwain is in center of the back row, fifth kid from the left while Wilbur is the last kid in the back row on the far right (standing next to the teacher). Their buddies, Ralph Freeman & Dale Coffey, stand in the front row (Dale is the boy on the very right, standing in front of Willie, and Ralph is two boys over to the left).
81: An Easter Story | In December of 1993, the 7th and 8th graders of Pretty Prairie Middle School conducted a series of interviews with the residents of the Prairie Sunset Home's retirement community in Pretty Prairie. Willie, as one of their participants, tells them the story of the Easter when some of his father's (Paul's) brothers and their families came out to Sickler Farm for a family get-together. Well, Dwain and the older cousins (around his age) decided to go for a swim in the Ninnescah River which was up the road a ways north of the farm. With no swimming trunks to change into, they took off all of their clothes and hung them along the fence row near the river. In all orneriness, Wilbur and the younger cousins cleverly planned a sneak attack and stole the clothes. They took them back to the farm and placed them on a pole, making the older boys run back home naked to retrieve them. When pressed for further details on the "swimming" episode in later years by different family members, Willie admitted that his memory had blurred on who actually did what to one another. He then added with a chuckle, "...but we were always pulling pranks on one another!" | (above, right): Paul Meisenheimer & his brothers, (standing from l to r)-- Dwight, Ray, & Paul. | (2 photos- 1 directly below & 1 on right): Dwain & Willie with their animals on the Sickler Farm. | Paul Meisenheimer & his horses on the Sickler Farm. | Willie & Dwain pose in front of an old header used for harvesting.
82: Willie on Sickler Farm, 1934. | Dwain on the farm with the family car. | Dwain in front of the old barn, 1934. | Willie & cat in front of the old Sickler barn.
83: of | (l to r): Willie, Dwain & cousin Burl Baker getting ready to play a little golf on the Sickler farm. (circa 1934). | Meisenheimer / Beeson Cousins. (l to r): Willie M., ???????? Beeson, Dwain M., & Warren Beeson. | (right): Willie & Dwain on a family visit to Dam Falls, Colorado. | 83 | As the Meisenheimer boys grew, so did the Country's taste in recreation. The radio was just taking off as The Depression began to take its devastating toll on the Nation. With the radio came FDR's platform for the New Deal via his fireside chats. During that time, Dwain and Wilbur found entertainment in radio programs of the day, namely-- Jack Benny, Fiber McGee & Molly, and Jack Armstrong: The All-American Boy.
84: Paul Meisenheimer's Allis Chalmer Tractor & Plow. | Paul 's Allis Chalmer Tractor from the front. | Willie & Dwain plowing with a team of work-horses ~circa, late -1920s. | Paul's Crew on the Sickler Farm. (l to r): Paul, farm-hand, Willie, Dwain, farm-hand, & Sam "Bud" Perry. | Harvest-time: Paul 's hired -hands hard at work.
85: No. 9 International Combine --owned by Bud Perry | (left): Another snapshot of the Allis Chalmer tractor & plow. | (below): Paul & one of his farm-hands loading an old wheat truck. | Harvest | Format | of | the | Thirties | Early
86: "...and Willie was driving!" | Memories of the Dirty -Thirties... | In most of Dwain's stories from his childhood, he tended to end them with the catch phrase-- "...and Willie was driving!" And it is true, back in their Riverton School years, ten year old Wilbur usually was the one driving the family Model T to school, much to Dwain's dismay. The more Dwain grew in knowledge and life experiences, Willie was not far behind. Being "old enough" by his parent's standards, Dwain felt that he should be the one driving. Naturally that did not stop his little brother from "showing him up". (Just to note...there was no legal age limit back in the late-'20s & early '30s for operating an automobile in rural Kansas.) One of Dwain's favorite "Willie" stories comes around the time when both boys were in high school at Pretty Prairie. As the story goes, the boys had decided to drive to town in separate cars one particular day. On their way home, Wilbur was driving just ahead of his brother when Dwain ran out of gas. Well, Willie did not seem to notice this and continued his trek back to the farm, heading straight to bed. The next morning Paul asked Wilbur, "Where's Dwain?" Oops! When they finally went back and found Dwain, he was by all means madder than mad, exclaiming that it was all Willie's fault! | Wilbur recalls that the dust bowl did not seem to hit the Pretty Prairie area as bad as it did in other places across the Midwest. But there was one vivid occasion in which he will never forget where the dust was so bad that he and Dwain had trouble driving home. The two boys had been to a picture show in Kingman that night, and were not far from the Sickler Farm when the storm hit. "Dwain drove while I watched the ditches," Willie recollected. He did it as a safeguard to keep his brother on the road. They finally made it to the driveway, parking the car in the shed (which was positioned next to the road, not far from the old barn). By this time, visibility was very poor, making it difficult to see the house, only about 100 yards away. Wilbur happened to look up and notice that the telephone wire (which ran from the barn to the house) was all lit-up with a static-electric charge. "It looked like it was on fire," he noted. By using the glowing phone line as their guide, the boys safely made it to the house. | Burl Baker posing with his Model A Ford in front of the Sickler farmhouse. | Dwain, Burl, & Wilbur | Cousins along the Sickler farmhouse. (l to r): Burl Baker, Dwain M., Lenora Baker, & Wilbur M.
87: "I always liked the pictures of my dad and Uncle Willie in front of the car with their cousin (Burl) and friend (Cecil). Cecil Goering was my mother's double cousin and one of my dad's best friends. They look, as my dad would have said, "like four young bucks ready to go out on the town."" --Dwain's daughter, Jeanie Reeves | Burl Baker was out to visit Meisenheimer cousins quite often --too frequent in fact for his uncle Paul. Willie remembers that his father sometimes had to tell Burl to "go home!" As noted earlier, Cecil Goering (the fourth guy featured within the photos on right & down below), was a cousin to Dwain's wife. Marguerite, and was a classmate of Willie. "Cecil was a “lot of fun and a bit wild. He was a REA lineman and he was electrocuted while he was working on a line," Dwain's daughter, Jeanie recalls. She continues by saying, "His wife, Ida, was giving Evadna a permanent at Wilbur & Evadna's house when she was notified of his death. It was tragic. He had two young sons at the time. I always associated laughter with "Cecil" stories. I think he was a try anything kind of guy." | Willie, Dwain, & Burl with the Meisenheimer Family car on the Sickler farm. | Dwain, Burl, Cecil Goering, & Wilbur. | A Motley Crew~ (standing, l to r): Dwain & Cecil. (sitting/squatting, l to r): Willie & Burl. | Dwain & Burl as enlistees in the National Guard. | 87 | *Cecil was a double cousin because his father (Earnest) was a brother to Marguerite's father (Gerhardt) while his mother (Bertha) was a sister to Marguerite's mother (Ella). | *
88: Meisenheimer | Three | Part | The | Story | a 50 Year Journey | Recollections of
89: One | Chapter | The Budding of A Lifetime Romance | High School Sweethearts | EK+WM
91: Eighth Grade Graduates from all over Reno County, Kansas gather for a group picture on the steps of the Convention Hall Building (now known as Memorial Hall) in Hutchinson. Photo dated -May 25th, 1932. Can you spot either Wilbur or Evadna?
92: Eighth Grade Graduates -1932 | Wilbur | Evadna | 92
93: (left): Evadna & Willie stand amongst their Pretty Prairie High School classmates for an all-school photo, circa 1934 -1935. Willie recalls that he really did not start dating Evadna until their sophomore year. In an reflective poem, written by members of the graduating PPHS Class of 1936, the young couple were mentioned as follows: | "It was in high school that a new contact was made that would have the biggest impact on her life. A country boy by the name of "Willie" started school. High school sweethearts they became." | Wilbur Meisenheimer + Evadna Kaufman | --Excerpt from the eulogy read at Evadna's funeral on March 31st, 1992. | "A bright modest chap is our Willie Has spent many nights that were chilly At Kaufman's abode, in a Chevy they rode On drives that were long, rough and hilly."
94: (left): PPHS 1934 Football Team (co-champs of Reno County) (front row l to r): Coach S.R. Widener, Roy Robertson, Lee Kraus, Harold Henderson, Cecil Goering, Bruce Voran, George Seyb, & Roy T. Baker. (second row): Morrison Forester, Fred C. Graber, Chester Unruh, Vic Unruh, Dwain Meisenheimer, Harold O'Leary, & Albert Goering. (back row): Everett Butler, Don Widener, Charles Grey, Don Henderson, Wilbur Meisenheimer, Glen Boes, Vernon Kraus, Bud Graber, & Milton Huxman. | The men of Pretty Prairie High School. (circa, 1934-1935) | DWAIN | WILBUR
95: Wilbur 1936 | Evadna 1936 | The women of Pretty Prairie High School. (circa, 1934-1935). | EVADNA
96: Class of 1 9 3 6
97: ______ | Evadna | @ | (above & left): Evadna as a sophomore at Bethel College in Newton, Kansas. (circa 1937-1938) | Evadna in the "Doxie" Pep Club. | Bethel College | A closer look (from the photo on the right) at Evadna amongst her fellow Bethel College classmates in her 1937-38 yearbook. | Bethel College student body: 1937-1938. | 97 | 97
98: Property of: | Wilbur Meisenheimer | Partridge, KS | California | Wilbur set out for California with childhood friend, Dale Coffey, and found work at an airplane plant for six months (from the Fall of 1939 to the Spring of 1940). "One guy had the rivet gun and I was on the other end," Wilbur later recalled. In later years, Evadna admitted that she just knew he had a girlfriend out there, and would never return home to her. But when asked why he moved back to Kansas, Willie remarked, "That's where my girl lived." | (4 photos above): All suited up~ Willie as a young bachelor during the late-1930s. | (above): Willie in California with his buddies in front of a Model B Ford. They are parked on the street in front of the house of a Dewey Hyden. (The house is not in the picture, but is behind the photographer.) Hyden was from Ft. Scott, Kansas and traveled out to California with Willie and Dale Coffey to be closer to his wife, who lived in Oregon. She later moved down to be with Dewey. In the photograph, Wilbur stands second from the left, followed by Dewey Hyden, & then Dale Coffey on the far right. The guy on the far left owned the the Model B, but Willie could not recall his name.
99: Overcoming | In the spring of 1937, Evadna's life forever changed when she and some of her girlfriends from Bethel College took a weekend road trip to a friend's house in Western Kansas (around Jetmore, KS). On their way to a movie, the six girls came upon a stalled truck. They swerved to avoid hitting it, but the car's back end smashed into the truck with full force. Evadna, who was riding in the back seat, was amongst the three critically injured in the accident. She suffered the loss of her right eye, while her friends ended up with a mix of extensive internal injuries and broken bones. Doctors would fit the 18 year old with a glass eye to bring normalcy back to her life. From then on, Evadna would keep a handkerchief close at hand since it had the tendency to weep. Pictured above is a copy of the original newspaper clipping from the May 3rd, 1937 issue of The Hutchinson News, covering the accident. According to the article, Evadna's uncle, Dr. B J. Stucky, traveled with her mother (Frances Kaufman) to the hospital since her father (Joseph J. Kaufman) was recovering from appendicitis. What Evadna lost in sight, she made up in hearing. It was often joked amongst family members that she had "ears like a hawk". "Evadna could hear a whisper in the next room with the door shut," her son-in-law Stuart Youngquist amusingly recalls. In later years, as Willie began to lose his hearing (after years of working around loud machinery), she would note that he had become her eyes while she had become his ears. | Trials | [Evadna's Private Battle with Eyesight.]
101: EmporiaTeacher'sCollege | Treasures from | (left corner, previous page): Newspaper clipping from The Hutchinson News-Herald, covering the wedding of Willie & Evadna's high school classmate, Vi Barton. Wilbur is the second guy from the left, in the back row while Evadna stands on the very right, in the back row. (clipping dated: Aug. 28th, 1938). (top right corner, previous page): A couple of pins awarded to Evadna during her years at Emporia State. (bottom left corner, previous page): An invite from a friend (Ruth Hatfield), and the program card along with it, to attend Theta Sigma Upsilon's Rush Week at Emporia State. (featured throughout this page): Handwritten notes from various friends in Evadna's ESU yearbook.
102: A Year at | SAVAGE | Following graduation from Emporia Teacher's College in May of 1940, Evadna taught a year at a one-room school house (just northeast of Pretty Prairie, not far from what is now the northwestern tip of Cheney Reservoir), called "Savage". On the right is a copy of Evadna's teaching contract. Notice it was a "life certificate" to teach, unlike today where teachers have to constantly renew their contracts. It was also common practice back in those years for teachers to remain single during the length of time they taught school. Being that Evadna had plans to marry Wilbur the following spring, she made commitments for only a year at Savage. Knowing this, the students loved to tease her with the song "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt", adding their own spin to it, as follows... John Jacob Meisenheimer Schmidt, His name is my name, too. Whenever we go out, The people always shout, "There goes John Jacob Meisenheimer Schmidt!" In her latter years, Evadna loved to recite to her grandchildren some of the songs she used to sing with her students. She seemed to be quite fond of that year she had at Savage School. Following Evadna's passing in 1992, different members of the community who were alumni of Savage would approach John (Willie & Evadna's son) to share the fact that they were one of her pupils. | 102 | 1940- 1941
103: Wilbur & Evadna | Two | Chapter | Mr. & Mrs. | Meisenheimer
104: A visit to see Evadna at Bethel College, 1938. | (right): A rare glimpse at Willie & Evadna's Marriage announcement via The Hutchinson News Herald May 25, 1941 | May 22, | Lasting Mementos... | Clipping enlarged on right | 1941
105: P. P. | Tschetter | Rev. | The wedding ceremony was officiated by the Reverend P. P. Tschetter at the First Mennonite Church of Pretty Prairie. (See page 6 for the story behind the ceremony.) | Upon marrying into the Kaufman family, Willie had to go through catechism in order to become a member of the Mennonite Church.
106: Willie & Evadna and Marguerite & Dwain at Lynn & Ora Baker's farm --Summer 1941. (Willie & Evadna married only a few days.) | Evadna & Wilbur --Colorado, 1941 | In the early 1940s, electricity was strung out through Reno County. With the help of neighbors, Willie got the Sickler house (shown on right) all wired, but the electric poles only came within a mile of the Partridge farm due to the War effort. | Evadna & Willie Sickler Farm, 1941 | Audra Perry & Sons with their spouses --1941 (l to r): Willie, Evadna, Audra, Marguerite, & Dwain.
107: Wilbur loved to tell about the piece of advice he received on the day of his wedding in 1941. His Uncle Dwight's mother-in-law told him that "on the morning after your wedding, hand your pants over to your wife. If she refuses to put them on, you wear them!" Those who knew Willie and Evadna best, remember them being completely opposite in personalities. Wilbur, the optimist in the relationship, was very confident and quite independent while Evadna was completely dependent upon him. Their oldest son, Jim, remembers his mother as being a sickly woman (suffering from Type II Diabetes) most of her adult life. "Not only did she lean heavily on Pop, she was always on the phone with Grandma Kaufman, looking for advice," Jim recalls. | (left): The Meisenheimers and Bakers gather together at Lynn & Ora's place --Summer 1941. (Pictured here from l to r): Ora B., Lynn B., Wilbur, Evadna, Marguerite, Dwain, Lenora, Howard Moore (Lenora's husband) & Grandma Baker (presumably Lynn's mother, Alice Potter Baker) in the front row holding Lenora's son, Jay Leon Moore (born March 10th, 1941). Dwain and Marguerite were married a year earlier, on August 27th, 1940. Willie was unable to attend. He had been suffering from yellow jaundice and strep throat. | Newlyweds, Willie & Evadna pose on a tractor pulling an old -style combine around the time of wheat harvest, 1941. | Willie & Evadna's farm | Pasture / Landing-strip | (above): Google Maps giving a bird's eye view of the old Meisenheimer farm (aka Sickler Farm) along Partridge Road. Just northeast of the homestead, one can still see the outline of the landing strip used by WWII pilots. | (right): Willie & Evadna, circa, 1942. | Rural life truly was quite the adjustment for Evadna. She quickly had to learn the ins and outs of being a farmer's wife without the modern conveniences of the city-life she was accustomed to. Jim adds by saying, "Its a wonder how the two of them got together with Mom coming from a privileged childhood, being the only daughter of a banker while Pop's was something out of The Grapes of Wrath." | During WWII, pilots used the pasture land behind the farm as a place for practicing take-off and landing procedures. Supposedly they sometimes would fly, in all orneriness, a little too close to the farmhouse to see if they could spook Evadna. If you closely survey the land from Google Maps (as shown on the top of the page), one can still see remnants of the landing-strip today. | The couple's first farm was the old Sickler place with Willie's father (Paul) playing house-mate. During that year (or so) that he lived with them, Paul taught Evadna everything he knew in regards to cooking. Around 1946, electricity was finally strung out to the farm, allowing Willie to make adjustments to the house for her convenience. By the time the family moved from the Sickler place in the late '50s, the front porch was converted into a bathroom so she would not have to make long treks out the out-house at night. Despite these early adjustments, Evadna successfully mastered the ways of being a homemaker, and would spend the rest of her life bringing it out to perfection. | PARTRIDGE ROAD | PLEASANT VALLEY ROAD
108: Paul Naomi | Life in Western Kansas | As his boys began to establish families of their own the early 1940s, it became apparent to Paul Meisenheimer that there was not enough farmland in the Partridge area to go around between himself and each of his sons. So he decided to buy land out in Wichita County (near Marienthal, Kansas) thinking that he could capitalize on what had been ravaged by the Great Depression. Paul also had hopes that Dwain & Willie might join him. Dwain jumped at the chance and moved his family to a farm located just north and east of Marienthal. Wilbur, on the other hand, remained on the Sickler place to raise his family. Nothing could have convinced Evadna of moving away from her parents. Though he did not join his father and brother, Willie still managed to get obtain a portion of land out west. This largely occurred when Audra (seeking a divorce settlement) showed up at Paul's farm, demanding something for their time together. Paul, unwilling to oblige, quickly put three-quarters of the land into Dwain & Willie's name. Willie recalled that his father had no idea that his actions were illegal until about 20 years later after he had moved his residency to Hutchinson. It was then that Paul had a lawyer look into the matter, and made it legit for both of his boys. | During WWII, Paul worked for a short period of time at Boeing Aircraft in Wichita. Unable to farm out west with Dwain during the winter months, he moved back in with Willie and Evadna briefly to take on this short-lived venture. Around this time, one of Paul's cousins introduced him to a teacher from Hutchinson named Naomi Garrison. The two were married on September 24th, 1944. Naomi bonded with the family quite well. Those who knew her best, easily testify that she was a special lady. "Grandma Naomi was the example of the kind of Grandma I try to be. I absolutely loved being with her," Dwain's daughter, Jeanie, recalls. The ever-ornery Paul was quite the contrast. Jeanie continues by saying, "Grandpa enjoyed teasing us, protruding his false teeth for us, and giving us "nugies" with his absent thumb stump. Then he would tell us about the time when he was plowing a field, a tornado came along and took his hat off his head and the next day it came back and put his hat back on his head! The older we got, the more we doubted the accuracy of those stories." | Wilbur's tractor and drill on his land in western Kansas. Over the years it became an all too familiar trip for Willie-- load the tractor and an implement on the back of the truck and trailer and head out west. The land was long, flat, and barren (no trees); one could go for miles without seeing a soul. Willie's oldest son, Jim, recalls that his father would bring him along to work the field while he went off to conduct other business. "If that tractor over-heated, you were stranded," Jim vividly remembers. Once when the truck ran out of fuel during the long trek home, Willie had to siphoned out gas from the tractor in order to complete the trip. Jim was very bothered by that experience; from then on, he never wanted to drop below a quarter of a tank again. | Naomi Jane Garrison (circa, 1920s) | Paul & Naomi Meisenheimer, 1961 | One of Willie's fields out in western Kansas, 1961 | Paul & Naomi's old farm near Marienthal, KS. The couple lived here for a few years before moving to a house in Leoti. | & | Life out in Western Kansas was pretty meager. Early in their marriage, Paul and Naomi spent time living in a small sod house on a farm near Marienthal (pictured below). Some time later, Paul bought land out near Weskan, Kansas. Whenever the couple traveled up there to farm, they would live out of a shed. This went on until they came upon a dead body --a doctor who used the shed to commit suicide. Naomi refused to spend another night in there again. Later, when Willie used the shed for his own farming, one of his hired-hands (Leeland "Phiz" Albrecht) decided to play on the suicide story by hanging up a dummy inside. Unaware of Phiz's gag, Wilbur was supposedly quite startled when he walked in on it swinging from the rafters.
109: Jim | Karen | John | & | R A I S I N G | Three | Chapter | 109
110: Jim | James Dale "Jim" Meisenheimer | ~July 10th, 1943~ | (left & below): Clippings from Jim's baby book. | Baby Jim, 1943
111: (above right): Original prescription from Steward's Drug Store in Pretty Prairie. (left): Evadna's notes on the backside of the prescription. | Wilbur & Jim, 1944 | Evadna & Jim, 1943 | Jimmy (circa, 1945)
112: Evadna pushing Jim on a wooden tricycle, Sickler Farm, 1944. | Evadna & Jim posing on top of the old storm cellar (referred to by family members as "The Cave") in front of the Sickler house with Mack the dog on the right. | Little Jimmy on the Sickler Farm (circa, 1945). | Wilbur holding Jim & Dwain hold his son, Robert (Bob), 1943. | Another snapshot of Jim on the Sickler Farm (circa, 1945). | 112
113: Jimmy & His Uncles | One of Jim's earliest impressions of his uncles (Herb & Eddie Kaufman) was of them getting into a major squabble in the barn. Observing this off to the side, little Jimmy went running into the house screaming, "They're fighting! They're fighting!" His Grandmother (Frances) then had to quickly run outside to break up the brawl between her adolescent sons. "Those two boys were of night and day difference...close as brothers, but very different in personalities," Jim recalls. Herb had a reckless and rebellious streak in him while Ed, a true student, took to the books. He eventually attended KU Medical School. | (see pages 132-135) | Ed Kaufman holding his nephew, Jim Meisenheimer on the Sickler Farm (circa, 1945). | (above): Jim, age 6 (1949) (left): Jim & cousin Bob Meisenheimer (circa, 1946). | (right): Jim (on the horse) with the neighbor kids, (circa, late 1940s). (below left): A clipping from Jim's baby book. Evadna took note of several "cute" sayings that young Jim gave his parents & Kaufman grandparents.
114: Karen | Karen Frances Meisenheimer | ~September 1st, 1946~ | Audra Perry & her grandkids on Dwain's farm near Marienthal, Kansas, 1946. (l to r); Jim, Audra holding Karen (on left) and Dwain's daughter Carole Ann (on right), & Dwain's son, Bob. | Audra Perry & Family ~Marienthal, Kansas (1946). (l to r): Willie, Evadna (holding Karen), Audra with Jim, Marguerite with Bob, & Dwain (holding Carole Ann). | Karen (circa, 1947)
115: Karen & Jim (circa, 1947). | Karen | 1947
116: John | John Paul Meisenheimer | ~October 16th, 1953~ | First Cousins (circa, 1956): John M. (right) with Herb & Dona Kaufman's son, Jeff (left) at Joseph & Frances Kaufman's home in Pretty Prairie. John & Jeff were born just a day apart. According to Jeff's daughter, Kristen, there was a competition between Evadna & Dona on who would be the first to deliver. When Evadna (who had been lamenting for weeks about how miserable she felt) delivered first, one of Dona's sisters exclaimed "She always gets her way!" | John playing in the old bathtub at the Sickler house (circa, 1954). | A paper silhouette cut-out of John from the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson (circa, early-1960s).
117: John in the living room of the Sickler house, (about 1955). | John at 14 months, playing with his toy top at Paul & Naomi's house in Leoti (Christmas, 1954). | Karen, trying to put a hat on a uncooperative John in the living room of the Sickler house, (about 1955). | Willie holding John (against the Chevy truck in forefront). Standing behind the truck (l to r): Lloyd Roberts (husband to Marguerite's cousin, Glenna Goering), Leon Baker, & Dwain M. Photo taken in front of the butler shed on the Sickler farm, July 22, 1956.
118: As if it were | Yesterday... | SLIDES & SNAPSHOTS OF YESTERYEAR | --The Paul Meisenheimer Family (Summer, 1962) (l to r): Willie, Evadna, John, Paul, Dwain, Marguerite, Carole Ann, Jeanie, Karen, Jim, & Bob. | 1950-1979 | Chapter | Four
119: Slides | Willie & Dwain with their families in Kingman, 1950. (l to r): Jim, Evadna, Karen, Wilbur, Dwain (holding Carole Ann), Bob, &Marguerite (holding Jeanie) | All dressed up for Winter. (l to r): Willie, Evadna, Karen & Jim, 1950. (Notice Jim's toy cap-gun around his waist). | The Meisenheimer Women, Kids & Paul on Sickler Farm, 1950. (l to r): Marguerite, Karen, Naomi (holding Jeanie), Evadna, Jim, Carole Ann, Bob, & Paul (leaning against the car). | Carole Ann helping Jeanie walk on the back porch of the Sickler House, 1950. | Naomi, Karen, Evadna & Paul on the Sickler Farm, 1949. | Paul Meisenheimer (on the very right) & his family in front of the Sickler House, 1950.
120: Slides | Karen on her tricycle in front of the Sickler House (Circa, 1949). | Paul Meisenheimer trying to lasso his granddaughter, Karen, Sickler Farm 1949. | Karen flinches as Paul entraps her with his lasso, 1949. | Men & Kids on Sickler Farm, 1950 (r to l): Dwain, Paul (holding Jeanie), Bob, Karen, Carole Ann, Jim, & Willie, & Mack the dog. | Marguerite & Evadna read a letter while Carole Ann, Karen, Bob & Jim gather around. Jeanie walks toward the camera, and Dwain & Willie look on. (Sickler Farm, 1950). | Jeanie & the Meisenheimer Men (Dwain, Paul, & Wilbur) ~Sickler Farm, 1950. | 120
121: Blizzard of 1952 | Remembering the | Just a few days before the Thanksgiving of 1952, the residents of rural Reno County were over taken by an unexpected snow storm. Unaware of what was to come, Wilbur and Evadna put Jim and Karen on the bus for school, on the morning of the storm. Ralph Freeman, who lived just a few miles west of the Meisenheimers, cleared the road just ahead of the bus with his road maintainer. The further they went, the worse it got. By the time the bus reached the Partridge-Pretty Prairie Road intersection (about three miles west of Pretty Prairie), the bus driver (Merle "Smick" Graber) decided to turn around and start dropping the kids back off at their homes. By the time they reached the Meisenheimer residence, the rapidly deteriorating weather condition had made it impossible for Graber to continue his route. So all those who remained on the bus made camp in Wilbur and Evadna's tiny farm house. Wilbur recalled that they had several of the children sleep in one bed while the adults took the floor. Karen, who was in her first year of school, vaguely remembers sleeping in the bathtub (or so she thinks). The next morning, before returning everyone safely home, Evadna and Edith Freeman (Ralph's wife), cooked breakfast. They scrounged up whatever they could find (mostly eggs). The whole experience made quite an impact on a good number of the children who were stranded on Meisenheimer farm that day. Even after 60 years, there was a few that would still seek out Wilbur to reminisce about the blizzard of 1952. | As Willie's boys grew, so did his expectations of them. He got them involved in the farming operation at quite a young age. Dwain's wife, Marguerite, remembers the day Wilbur put Jim on the tractor to help move equipment --he was just a boy. Evadna became upset when she found out that Jim driving tractor. She then got in the car and went to meet up with the caravan of machinery on the road. Jim, in all orneriness, just turned around and smiled as she drove up. Jim recalls the day his father gave him the responsibility of driving home from Western Kansas by himself in the truck. "I was fourteen years old with a restricted license," Jim states. "And Mom wasn't too pleased with Pop for allowing me to doing that." John, on the other hand, had a rougher experience getting involved with the farm. As a child, he struggled with Asthma, much so that Evadna had to keep him indoors more often than not --much to his dismay. The attacks got so bad that Willie often had to sit up with little John at night in the recliner. But things improved with time. When John entered college, much of his illness had been outgrown. | Willie, Evadna (in car), Mack the dog, Karen & Paul. (Sickler Farm, 1949). | Kids on Sickler Farm 1950. (l to r): Carole Ann, Bob (holding Jeanie), Jim, & Karen. | Woman & Kids on Sickler Farm, 1950. (l to r): Jim, Carole Ann, Marguerite (holding Jeanie), Bob, Evadna & Karen (with doll). | Jim 1951 | Karen early -1950s
122: Jim & Mack the dog on top of the old storm cellar (aka "The Cave"), May 1953. Jim found the dog to be very protective of him. Whenever Willie tried to spank Jim for some misdeed, Mack would get in the way. | (A look through Audra's camera): Willie & Evadna with Karen & Jim on the Sickler farm, May 1953. | A visit from Grandma: Audra Perry with Karen & Jim swinging on the Sickler farm. Evadna, in the background, looks on. (May 1953) | Audra Perry with Karen & Jim in the backyard of the Sickler farm, May 1953. | Visiting Dwain's in Marienthal, KS. (back row): Dwain & Wilbur. (middle row): Jim & Bob. (front row): Karen, Jeanie, & Carole Ann. (June 14th, 1953) | 122
123: One of John's early childhood memories was the day his mother tried to cross the Partridge Road bridge which had been overtaken by the flooding Ninnescah River after a recent storm. Making a day trip to Hutchinson with John and Karen in the family's 1957 station wagon, Evadna thought she could safely make it through the rising waters. As they forged across, the river started flooding the car. Neighbor, Bob Collins and sons (Zack and Sig), who happened to witness this event, quickly rushed to the aid of Evadna and the kids. Dumbfounded by her brazen attempt, Bob's first reaction was to yell, "What the hell were you thinking?" | Each summer, Willie would usually hire on some young guy (about high school or college aged) to help out with the farming. Within a span of 40 years, there was close to 20 or more different hired-hands that shuffled through the Meisenheimer farm. "We learned a lot from those guys...somethings good, somethings bad," Jim recalls. One hired hand (John Friesen) took Jim snipe hunting. Jim then pranked him by turning the hot water off while he was showering. Another guy (Larry Dodge) taught Jim how to cuss. "Some days we'd be out in the field and start throwing dirt clawds at one another," Jim added. One of the more memorable incidents involving the summer help came when high school student, Darrell Dougan Jr., wrecked the grain truck. Fiddling with the radio, Dougan ran the loaded truck off of the road and into the ditch, spilling the wheat. Probably the most dependable farm-hand was Leeland "Phiz" Albrecht. Wilbur trusted him so much that he would send him out to farm in Western Kansas, unsupervised. Jim fondly remembers that Phiz was like an adopted son to his father. | ______________________________ | Karen & Jim with Mack the dog posing in front of the Sickler house. (early 1950s) | Karen & Jim. Sickler house, (mid-1950s). | Jim (circa 1952) | Karen (circa 1954) | Karen along the east side of the Sickler house, May 1953. | Karen & Jim. mowing the lawn. | (May 1953) | In Willie & Evadna's house, politics was a normal part of dinner time conversation. Very strong in their Democratic leanings, they heavily read the newspaper throughout the week to keep in tune with what was going on around the Country. Television really did not get introduced into the family until John was born in October, 1953. Wilbur's excuse was that he needed something to do while watching baby John. Jim recalls that his dad just wanted to watch the Orange Bowl game.
124: Jim & Karen holding their new toys. Christmas of 1954 at the Sickler House. | Karen & Jim gather around the Christmas tree. Sickler House, 1954. | Wilbur holds up his gift. Christmas at Paul & Naomi's home in Leoti, 1954. | Evadna opens her gift. Christmas, 1954 in Leoti. | Dwain, Paul & Wilbur. Leoti, Kansas ~Christmas, 1954. | Paul & Naomi at home. Marguerite (far left) looks on. (Christmas, 1954) | Jim opens his Christmas presents at Paul & Naomi's, 1954.
125: Karen eagerly opens one of her Christmas presents at Paul & Naomi's, 1954. | Jay Leon, Jim Friesen (a neighbor kid), & Jim M. proudly display their rifles on Sickler Farm. (July 1956). | Camping trip at Scott City State Park. (Aug. 1956). (l to r): Marguerite, Jeanie, Carole Ann, Evadna, Jim, John, Wilbur, Karen, & Bob. | Jeanie, Carole Ann, & Karen in front of the Sickler House. (July 1956). | Jim & Bob fishing at the Scott City State Park. (Aug. 1956). | Family at Leon & Ora's. (Aug. 1956). (l to r): Sam Perry, Jim, Leon, Ora, Jay Leon, Karen, Evadna, Wilbur, & John. | Wilbur and his camera at Leon & Ora's. (August 1956).
126: By 1956, Wilbur and Evadna's family had out-grown the Sickler farmhouse on Partridge Road. There were only two bedrooms in the house, so Jim and Karen had to share a room. A curtain was placed as a divider between their beds. Three year old John, on the other hand, slept in a baby crib in Willie and Evadna's bedroom. In addition cramped quarters, the farmhouse itself was showing signs of age. Resting on a foundation of red sandstone and shale, the old house's floors creaked, and its walls did little to keep out the draft. Jim recalls that his father once had to crawl underneath the house to chase out a nesting skunk. The smell was so pungent, it came up through the floor boards. Through some finagling, Joseph J. Kaufman, bought an old run-down farm off of Fountain Green Road (about 5 short miles east of the Partridge farm) for $151 an acre, and put the deed in Willie's and Evadna's name. "That is what we got out of the [Kaufman] Estate," Willie later recalled. The couple then decided to build a house, but they had no money to do so. Therefore, Wilbur went ahead and borrowed $20,000 from the bank. To further finance the house, Lawrence Kaufman connected Wilbur with a guy in the insurance business. Through his help Willie and Evadna were able to mortgage the quarter acre farm. In regards to his brother-in-law's generous assistance, Wilbur states "Yeah, Lawrence did us a lot of favors, but we did him some too." (Favors like the one noted on page 39). He goes on by saying, "The checks were made out in Evadna's name, so the rumor around town was that Joseph Kaufman built the house." Just an insinuation that Evadna grew up with a "silver spoon" in her mouth. | Standing outside the Sickler House (r to l): Ora Baker, Evadna, John, unknown woman (possibly Audra), Marguerite, & Jeanie (presumably). (Photo dated: July 22, 1956). | About this time Evadna found plans for an ideal farmhouse in a House Beautiful magazine. Soon blueprints were drawn up, and the existing farm house on the site was razed. As early as the Spring of '57, work began on the red & yellow ranch house with the help of Evadna's cousin, Myron Voran. Once a foundation was laid, Wilbur temporarily moved the family into the newly formed basement. With the Fall came the completion of the ground floor, allowing the family to fully unpack and settle in. Impressed with Willie & Evadna's house, two different families from the neighboring communities of Cunningham & Langdon built identical houses based off of the same blue prints. When one of the families neglected to return the prints, Evadna made Willie go seek them out and retrieve it. | (bottom, left): A painting of Willie and Evadna's farm, done by Pretty Prairie Druggist, Florence Steward. (below): The Deed for Willie and Evadna's farm on Fountain Green Road, dated between December 14, 1954 & January 17, 1955. | 126
127: "Keeping want and trouble out . . . Bless the roof and chimneys tall, Let Thy peace lie overall . . . "* | "Bless this house, O Lord we pray,. . .Make it safe by night and day . . . Bless these walls so firm and stout, " | Southwest side of the new house, along Fountain Green Road (July, 1958). | Northeast side of the new house. John & presumably Karen are on the swings on the right-hand side of this snapshot (July, 1958). | * Lyrics to the music box that hung above Willie & Evadna's front door.
128: Growing up, Jim and Bob were very close. Whenever the two boys got together, they were as thick as thieves. In one escapade during their early teenage years, they decided to take Willie's truck on a drive into the pasture next to the Sickler Farm. Jim (who was at the wheel) took the keys out of the ignition, as they stopped to get out and walk around. Some how the keys were lost, and the boys had to walk back to the farm. Naturally, Wilbur was furious, as any father would be. And yet, he resourcefully found a way to get the truck running again. "What amazed me about Uncle Willie was the fact that he figured out how to hot wire that truck!" Dwain's daughter, Jeanie exclaims. | When John was a toddler, Wilbur and Evadna decided to take a family vacation to Colorado. Since he was still too young to travel, they decided leave him with Dwain and Marguerite in Marienthal. Under the care of his Uncle and Aunt, John learned to take his first steps. When the time came for Willie and Evadna to take him back home, young John did not want to leave. | Memories Between Cousins | Karen remembers that she and her cousins (Carole Ann & Jeanie) would coax John into tasting the mud pies that they had concocted, telling him that they were "chocolate". "And he would eat it!", she chuckled. | ________________________ | ________________________ | Jim, Bob (scratching the family dog), & John on Dwain & Marguerite's farm near Marienthal. (July, 1958). | Wilbur, Evadna, Dwain & Marguerite. (July, 1958). | Carole Ann, Jeanie, & Karen on Dwain & Marguerite's farm near Marienthal. (July, 1958). | Jim (circa 1957-'58) | Karen (circa, late-1950s) | John (circa, 1959-'60)
129: Marguerite | & Family | Dwain, | Dwain, Marguerite & Family ~ Late 1960s | Carole Ann & Robert "Bob" (Circa, 1947) | Norma Jean "Jeanie" (Circa, 1950) | Dwain (PPHS Senior, 1935) | Marguerite Eileen Goering (Age 16) | Raising a family out in the wide open plains of Marienthal, Kansas, was not easy. "It was hard to getting used to," Marguerite recalls. "One could get lost very easily. Our closest neighbor were several miles away." Jeanie writes, "One could see for miles and miles, but with few and far between buildings, topographical landmarks, and wooded vegetation. Navigation after leaving the paved highway could be as confusing as a thick forest. In the early days after the move west, Mother feared getting lost when coming home alone from Scott City. To assist her, Daddy placed a marker at the five mile turnoff road north of 96 Highway." Such isolation also meant living under pretty primitive conditions. For instance, electric polls were not strung out across western Kansas until the early-1950s. Thus the only way Dwain could power the house was through a generator. Carole recalls her father going outside and shutting the generator down each night before the family headed for bed. No electricity meant no modern conveniences, like television (at least not until the late-1950s anyway). Indoor plumbing was installed in 1949, just before Jeanie was born. Telephone lines finally came to the farm area around 1958. Before that, all long distance correspondence was done by mail. Jeanie states, "Milk and eggs were provided from the farm animals and the pantry was always well stocked because the farm was so far from a grocery store." Living "without" did not mean life was dull to say the least. In the near forty years that Dwain and Marguerite lived in Marienthal, they had their share of adventures. One story the family loved to share was of the goat that they owned for a short period of time. "I would go out and hang clothes on the line, and it would come up from behind and butt me," Marguerite laughs. During a visit from Willie and Evadna, the goat got the idea to explore the top of Willie's car. But when it tried out the shocks on the neighbor's brand new car, Dwain decided it was time to sell the pesky animal. | Dwain and Marguerite Meisenheimer had three children. Their oldest child and only son, Robert "Bob" Douglas, was born on March 13th, 1943. Next came Carole Ann on February 24th, 1946. As a young child, she contracted Polio, which made walking a lifelong battle for her. Since they lived in Marienthal, secluded from any adequate source of medical facilities, the family would make trips to Willie and Evadna's in order for Carole to be treated by doctors in Hutchinson. The baby of the family was Norma Jean "Jeanie". She was born on July 3rd, 1949. | 129
130: Robert "Bob" (1961) | Norma Jean "Jeanie" (Early 1960s) | Carole Ann (1961) | Carole Ann, Jeanie, Marguerite, & Dwain (At Willie & Evadna's, about 1969).
131: Lawrence, | Opal | & Family | After the folding of The First National Bank, Lawrence J. Kaufman, the eldest child of Joseph J. & Frances Kaufman, spent the better part of his life as a teller and a loan officer in The State Bank of Pretty Prairie. | Carolyn (circa, early-1950s) | Lawrence, Opal, & Marlin -1943 | Lawrence is also noted for his part in the men's quartet at the First Mennonite Church, | Opal Albright. Together they had two children: Marlin Duane (born: | January 14, 1940) & Carolyn Jane (born: April 12, 1944). Lawrence and Opal raised their small family next door to his parents, along the north side of Main Street in Pretty Prairie. Later in life, Marlin moved to Colorado while Carolyn raised a family in Chase, Kansas. Lawrence died on January 11th, 1995 at the age of 85. Opal turned 100 years old in April of 2014. | as a young adult (see page 7). On November 28, 1935, he married | Marlin & Carolyn (center) surrounded by cousins, Jim & Dan (on left) and Joe & Karen (on right). | Christmas at Herb's 1961. (l to r): Eddie, Lawrence, Herb, & Joe (Herb's son). | Carolyn (circa, mid-1950s) | Sister in laws: Opal (left) & Elaine (Eddie's wife), 1961. | J.J. & Frances Kaufman and grandkids, (circa, 1956). Back row (l to r): Karen M. (holding John M.), Joseph J., Marlin (standing), & Frances. Front row (l to r): Dan K., Joe K., & Carolyn. | Jim Meisenheimer & Marlin (1961). | Cousins, 1961 (l to r): Carolyn, Jana (Herb's daughter), & Karen Meisenheimer. | 131
132: & Family | Dona | Herb, | Herbert Kaufman, the fourth child of Joseph J. & Frances, is remembered as having an ornery and rebellious streak in him. Those who knew him best could describe him as a man who loved his horses and a good beer. "No beer in heaven, got to drink it all here," was one of his notorious lines. Family members often marvel over the fact that he barely cheated death as a young man when a horse kicked him and ruptured his spleen. "It was like he had nine lives," his son, Jeff recalls. Herb supposedly had a long history of being accident prone, beginning with a family car wreck as a child. | Although a dairy farmer by trade, Herb was involved in the rodeo circuit, being an active member of the Pretty Prairie Saddle Club. When Hollywood filmed Wait Til the Sun Shines Nellie in Castleton, Kansas in the early 1950s, Herb volunteered to be an extra, riding his horse in the background of a few scenes. He married Dona (Sivils) Kaufman on July 30th, 1948. Together they had three sons and a girl: Daniel Linn (Jan. 15, 1949), Joseph Allen (Aug. 13, 1950), Jeffrey Wayne (Oct. 17, 1953), & Jana Gale | (Sept. 10, 1959). Herb and Dona raised their family northwest of Castleton on the farm that his older brother, Lawrence once owned. | Daniel "Dan" Linn (circa, 1961) | Joseph "Joe" Allen (circa, 1961) | Christmas Card to Joseph & Frances (circa, 1961). | Jeffrey "Jeff" Wayne (circa-1961) | Jana Gale (early-1960s) | Dona & Herb (circa, 1948) | Dan, Jana, Dona, Herb, Joe, & Jeff (late-1960s) | Dona (holding Jana) with Evadna Meisenheimer, 1961.
133: Herb and an expecting Dona (1948). | Dona, Dan, & Herb (1950). | Dan holds his baby brother, Joe, with the assistance of Dona (1951). | Jeff, Dan, Jana, & Joe on the family farm (circa, early-1960s). | Dona, Herb, & their boys (circa, mid-1950s). | The Kaufman's at home: Joe, Herb (holding baby Jana), Dan & Jeff (in front) (1959). | The Herb Kaufman Family (1988). | Herb rides his horse up Main Street, Pretty Prairie for the Pretty Prairie Saddle Club (circa, early-1980s). | 133
134: & Family | Elaine | Ed, | Elaine & Eddie (circa, 1953) | Ed looks out at the ruins of the old Roman Forum during his time in the Army. (circa, June 1954) | Elaine feeding pigeons at St. Marco's Plaza in Venice, Italy. (circa, June 1954) | Ed holding his oldest son, Pete, 1955. | Larry & Eddie, 1958 | 134
135: Edward Wayne Kaufman, the youngest of Joseph J. Kaufman's children, spent much of his adult life as a salesman in the pharmaceutical industry. He attended the University of Kansas with the dream of getting into the the medical field as a doctor, but he could not stand the sight of blood and had to drop out. As an agent in the pharmaceutical world, Eddie regularly met with doctors, pushing the latest prescription drugs available. Prior to | this Eddie worked as a salesman for Sinclair Petroleum during the late 1950s into the early 1960s. While at KU, Ed met Elaine Mitchell of Rochester, New York. They were married on May 3rd, 1953. Shortly into their marriage, the couple found themselves stationed Germany as part of his | service in the Army. There they were able to see the sights of Europe. Ed and Elaine raised two boys and two girls: Peter "Pete" John (Sept. 27, 1955), Lawrence "Larry" Robert (Dec. 31, 1956), Katherine "Kathy" (May 8, 1958), & Elizabeth (Dec. 4, 1959). Living in Toledo, Ohio and Austin, Minnesota, the family eventually settled in Derby, Kansas. Here, Elaine went to Wichita State and became a first Grade school teacher. Elizabeth, who was diagnosed with cancer as a teenager, had a deep love for horses. So in her honor, Kathy took on becoming the Kansas Rodeo Queen at various horse shows. Elizabeth lost her battle on March 31st, 1977. She was only 17. | Peter "Pete" John | Elaine feeds Kathy while Larry, Ed, & Pete smile at the camera, 1958. | Ed & Elaine trying to get Baby Kathy to smile, 1958. | (l to r): Kathy, Pete, Elizabeth, & Larry (circa, 1961). | Christmas 1959 (l to r): Larry, Pete (holding Elizabeth), & Kathy. | Pete, Kathy & Larry (Christmas 1958) | Pete, Kathy, & Larry in the snow (circa, 1959)
136: A Look-see Through | Home-Movie Camera | 'S | Wilbur & John. | Jim in front of the Sickler house. | Marlin Kaufman (Sickler Farm). | Evadna (Sickler Farm). | Evadna hides from the camera as Opal Kaufman laughs (Sickler Farm). | Karen poses while Willie & John play in the Butler shed (Sickler Farm). | John on the tricycle with Jeff Kaufman (Sickler Farm). | Karen & her cousin, Marlin Kaufman tease his sister, Carolyn (who is ducking from the lens of the camera) (Sickler Farm). | Carolyn Kaufman finally manages to show her bashful face (Sickler Farm). | Karen teaches John how to ride his tricycle (Sickler Farm). | Karen & John look up for the camera (Sicker Farm). | Opal Kaufman hangs out laundry on Evadna's clothes-line (Sickler Farm).
137: Karen & her doll. John is in the background (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Lawrence, Marlin & Ed (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | John with Jeff Kaufman (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Joseph J. Kaufman uncharacteristically breaks into a smile (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Frances Kaufman, remembered for her wonderful cooking, poses in her apron (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Pete Kaufman waves to the camera (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Willie & his unmistakable grin with Karen behind him (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Jeff Kaufman & John walk towards the camera (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Joe Kaufman (Herb's son) posing for the camera (Herb & Dona's Farm). | Dan Kaufman looking a bit ornery (Herb & Dona's Farm). | Kathy Kaufman with Karen (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Wilbur embraces Evadna as she squirms from the lens of the camera (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie).
138: Kathy Kaufman with her brothers, Pete & Larry, dressed as little Dutch boys (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Pete & Larry clown around while Kathy looks on (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Kaufman cousins (Joseph & Frances' -Pretty Prairie). | Larry Kaufman throws a pitch in a game of baseball (Willie & Evadna's Farm). | Jim is up at bat (Willie & Evadna's Farm). | Dona Kaufman (holding Jana) with her sister-in-law, Evadna (Willie & Evadna's Farm). | Kathy Kaufman waves as her sister, Elizabeth, and mother, Elaine look on (Willie & Evadna's Farm). | Elaine Kaufman and her two daughters smile for the camera (Willie & Evadna's Farm). | Jana Kaufman lays an unrehearsed kiss on her cousin, Elizabeth (Willie & Evadna's Farm). | A Christmas meal at Herb & Dona's (1961). | Marlin Kaufman & his father, Lawrence (Herb & Dona's, 1961). | Ed, Elizabeth, & Elaine Kaufman with Wilbur on right (Herb & Dona's, 1961).
139: COLORADO | 1959 | Slides | *Wilbur: “In about 1959, we had a trip to Colorado..saw all the big rocks..And there is John, Jim, and Karen all saddle up for a trail ride.” *Evadna: “Was this on the Flying K Ranch?” [Wilbur didn’t hear her and flips to the next slide] | trip | to | *Wilbur: “Mama, pointing out a rock or a little animal of some kind.” | *Wilbur: “And there’s Jim’s fancy socks.” | *Featuring snippets of home video narrations by Wilbur & Evadna in March of 1989. | John, Wilbur, & Karen | John & Karen smile for Wilbur's camera while Jim looks on. | The family out for a boat ride. | Karen posing with John and his toy camera. | 139
140: Slides | Jim, John & Karen on the front porch, 1960. | The whole family on the front porch (south side of the house), 1960. | Snapshot from the camera of farmhand, Phiz Albrecht, who is looking after the farm while the family is out in Colorado, 1959. | Another shot of family on the porch, this time joined by Wilbur's father, Paul (on the right). John is holding toys of some kind. | Jim is trying to get out of his Corvair while Willie is sweeping the front porch. | 140
141: Washington DC | March 1961 | _______________________________________ | Slides | Evadna standing outside the North Portico of the White House. | Willie naps a photo of the northeast side of the White House. It's residents: President John F. Kennedy & his wife Jacqueline, inaugurated just weeks prior to Wilbur & Evadna's visit. | Loading the buses--the Kansas Farmer's Union tour group. (l to r): Clodell Clayton, Edith Freeman, Ralph Freeman, Roy E. Clayton, Gus Borders, & Evadna (facing away from the camera). | Getting ready to hit the road (l to r): Clodell Clayton, Edith Freeman, Evadna, & Ralph Freeman. Point of departure: the Clayton Farm. Willie and Evadna made a trip to Washington D.C. with some of their surrounding neighbors as part of the Kansas Farmer's Union. | Outside the Department of Labor, (l to r): LaDuska "Duckie" Borders, Edith Freeman, & Evadna. | Looking down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the U.S. Capitol. | Tomb of the Unknown Soldier --Arlington National Cemetery. | The Lincoln Memorial.
142: Slides | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | *[Next slide] Wilbur: “There they are...still horsing around there.” | *Wilbur: “Loading the tractor to go to western Kansas. There is Larry, Pete, and John. They thought that they’d get to ride along. But they didn’t get to go all the way. | *Wilbur: “Ed is about indecent. They have been fishing over at the beaver pond...He, Pete, & Larry.” [Photo taken on east side of the house]. | (The Oklahoma Union Farmer --March 1961) | Wilbur catches John & Jim in the family room watching TV. Judging by his own expression, John assumes that he must have been struggling with his asthma that day. | Eddie (holding Elizabeth) & Elaine in front of Willie &Evadna's house. | Elizabeth Kaufman stands close to her mother (Elaine), who is washing dishes in Evadna's Kitchen. | Wilbur & Evadna's house as it looked in the Winter of 1961 with the family station wagon out in front. | When neighbor, Fred Hobson, had his farm sale, Edith Freeman, Clodell Clayton, & Evadna took it upon themselves to serve Redi-Wheat Donuts to the hungry crowd. Evadna's uncle (Kansas Wheat Commissioner) Sprig Graber, was an advocate for Redi-Wheat. The sign behind the women reads "Extra, Extra, Extra...Eat All About Them." | Karen -Early '60s | Jeff Kaufman kneels by Evadna's flowers on the south side of the house.
143: Slides | *Wilbur: “Karen and John are playing south of the house this day. The shrubbery is quite small.” But in all actuality, John recalls that whenever Dad needed to use up film, he would have them go outside and pose. | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | Jim -Senior 1961 | Jim poses in his cap & gown, in the front room, ready to graduate from PPHS, May 1961. | Another shot of Jim, all dressed up for his High School graduation, standing next to his car on the south side of the house. | Jim, all loaded up for college. He is beginning a year at K-State. | College Bound: Evadna gives Jim one final goodbye before he begins his trek up to Manhattan, Kansas. | Herb's son, Joe Kaufman, riding around the Meisenheimer Farm on his bicycle. | J | Joseph Kaufman at home with his brother, Pete, from South Dakota. | After a trip to Colorado, the family finds themselves locked out of the house. Jim helps John crawl through the window to the basement. | Just north of the house, John (right) is monkeying around with the neighbor kids (by the last name of Kraus) from across the road. After the Kraus family moved away, Melvin and Joyce Herrell became the permanent neighbors to the Meisenheimers in the late 1960s.
144: Slides | *Wilbur: "This is how the front room looked in those days...with the candles and the geese flying. That is before we had the big picture .” *Evadna: “What do you mean geese flying?” *Wilbur: “Over there on the wall.” | Front Room -Northwest Corner (1961) | Front Room -Southwest Corner (1961) | Front Room -Northeast Corner (1961) | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | Frances (Graber) Kaufman 1886-1962 | John & Karen watching TV with their Grandma, Frances Kaufman. While recovering from a stroke, Frances stayed with the family out at the farm for a brief period during the summer of 1961. | Though poorly developed, here is one of the few slides of Frances during her stay at Willie & Evadna's farm during the summer of 1961. | Frances & Joseph J. Kaufman, in probably the last known photo of the two of them together. As Frances' health declined in the early 1960s, Joseph moved a hospital bed (shown here) into their house in order to better accommodate her needs. She passed away on January 29, 1962. John recalls that the family held a solemn wake in the Kaufman house, in her honor. "Her casket was in their front room and everyone was dressed in black," John vividly remembers. | 144
145: Slides | Another shot of the Meisenheimer / Baker Cousins with Audra Perry photo bombing on the right. Photo taken on the west side of Willie & Evadna's house. | Meisenheimer / Baker Cousins: (l to r): Jim M., Jay Leon Moore, Jeanie M., Carole Ann M., Pamela Baker (Burl Baker's daughter), Karen M., Bob M., John M., & Gary Woodman (Burl's step-son). | Evadna & Arlene Baker (Burl's wife) walk along the house. Gary Woodman, Burl & Marguerite have their backs to the camera on right. | Standing in front of Willie & Evadna's house (l to r): Burl Baker, Ora Baker, Audra Perry, Dwain M., Jay Moore (with his back to camera), & Carole Ann M. in the hands of her mother, Marguerite M. | Dwain's family with John & Jim on the south side of the house. (l to r): Carole Ann, Marguerite (with her back to the camera), Dwain (also facing away from the camera), Bob, John, & Jim. | The Meisenheimers & Bakers. (back row, l to r): Wilbur, Dwain, Marguerite, Arlene B., Burl B., & Audra Perry. (front row, l to r): Evadna, Ora B., & Lynn B.
146: Slides | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | *Wilbur: “The kids [John & Jeanie] are wrestling with Dwain. Don’t know who won.” | *Wilbur: “This might be the only picture of Dwain’s mustache. Somebody had to point it out.” | Karen, Carole Ann, & Marguerite, watch with great amusement, the wrestling match between John & Dwain. (Marienthal, Kansas). | A fight to the finish: John vs. Dwain. (Marienthal, Kansas). | Karen (left) stands with Carole Ann, Jeanie, Marguerite, & Dwain outside their house near Marienthal, Kansas (Easter, 1961). | Bob, John, & Jim on the back of Willie and Evadna's station wagon. (Dwain & Marguerite's farm, Marienthal, KS). | Marguerite, Naomi, Evadna, & Karen. (Dwain & Marguerite's farm, Marienthal, KS). | Paul, Wilbur, & Dwain. (Dwain & Marguerite's farm, Marienthal, KS).
147: Slides | *Wilbur: “There’s Ed & Elaine’s kids, always smiling. John at the left, Larry, Kathy, & Pete.” | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | John dressed up for Halloween in the front room, 1961. | Eight year old John poses by his birthday cake in the front room. (October, 1961). | *Wilbur: "There’s Jim feeding his sheep. Nice looking sheep! ’55 Chevy pickup... Jim was really quite a sheep man at one time! There’s a little lamb there...they’re always hungry.” | *Wilbur: “There the old barn, the old windmill, before we tore them down. You notice that gas barrel [left under the tree] is still in the same place it was then.” | Christmas Day at Herb & Dona's. John recalls that his mother usually got stuck with the Kaufman holiday meals, making her quite sick from the stress of it all. But Dona played the part of "Hostess" in '61. | Jim (far left) & Bob (2 guys over) entertain some of Bob's friends with Ping Pong in Willie & Evadna's basement. | Jim (right) teams up for a friendly game of Ping Pong with a friend of Bob's in Willie & Evadna's basement.
148: Slides | Christmas | Wilbur snaps a photo of Evadna as she puts out the holiday decorations in the front room. | John goofs off for the camera while Dwain reads the instructions to his Christmas gift and Marguerite looks on. (Paul & Naomi's House --Hutchinson, KS.) | John hands a gift to his Grandpa Paul. (Paul & Naomi's house--Hutchinson, KS) | Evadna & Naomi wait patiently to open their gifts. (Paul & Naomi's --Hutchinson). | Meisenheimer Christmas in Hutchinson (1961). Paul & Naomi moved from Leoti to Hutchinson in 1960. (l to r): Carole Ann, Karen, Dwain, John, & Marguerite. | Jim, "enthused" with having his photo taken, opens his gift. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | Naomi looks surprised by the flash of the camera as she opens her gift. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | 148
149: Slides | Christmas | Jeanie looking pleased with her Christmas gift. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | Bob & Jim caught in the moment of watching the gift unwrapping action off camera. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | Evadna displays her gift from Paul & Naomi. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | Dwain & Marguerite. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | Karen all smiles as she opens her gift. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | Christmas unwrapping aftermath. The family compares their gifts. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | Paul can not wait. Wilbur catches him in the act of opening his gift before his turn. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | Wilbur catches a break from the camera to open his gifts. (Paul & Naomi's--Hutchinson.) | 149
150: Slides | South side of the house. (Winter 1962) | Karen at the front door. (Winter 1962) | Karen south of the house. (Winter 1962) | Joseph J. Kaufman (far right) with his siblings from Freeman, South Dakota. (Winter 1962) | Jana Kaufman & her dolls pose on Willie & Evadna's front porch. (Winter 1962) | A snapshot of one of Wilbur's wheat fields. (Winter 1962) | A visit to the Freeman farm where Ralph greets Willie on his front porch. (Winter 1962) | Wilbur had new grain bins built in 1962 in order to better store his wheat. | Another snapshot of Joseph Kaufman & his siblings as they get ready to leave Willie & Evadna's. (Winter 1962) | A visit from Dwain's family (Summer 1962). (l to r): Naomi, Evadna, John, Paul, Dwain, Marguerite, Carole Ann, Jeanie, Karen, Jim, & Bob.
151: Slides | The J. K.Graber Family | Holiday | *Wilbur: “Christmas picture, Sprig & Jean are talking to Milo Stucky. And over on the right, Lawrence [is] talking to Harold Graber. Milo and Harold are Evadna’s cousins.” (Milo followed the footsteps of his father, Bernhard J. "Doc" Stucky, and became a dentist. Harold, the son of politician, Jonas W. Graber, was a doctor.) | Hulda Voran's son, Myron (left) with Herb Kaufman, & Jana Kaufman. (Christmas, 1962) | Herb Kaufman's kids: Dan, Jana, & Joe. (Thanksgiving, 1962) | The son of the First Mennonite Church's pastor (Ben Rahn) brings amusement to Jim, Karen, & Helen Graber (Sprig's daughter). | The Jacob K. Graber Family Thanksgiving Potluck, 1962. To accommodate the large Graber clan, a campsite just west of Hutchinson was used by the family for these holiday gatherings in the early 1960s. | Kaufman Cousins: Jeff, Kathy, Larry, Pete, & John Meisenheimer. (Christmas, 1962) | Dona Kaufman (in the blue dress) introduces her boys (Joe, Dan, & Jeff) to Harold Graber's wife, Alice & Hulda Voran's daughter, Florine Eitzen. (Christmas, 1962) | Art Waltner (husband of Edna) & Ed Krehbiel (husband of Lena) with Rev. Ben Rahn of The First Mennonite Church (on left). | Elsie Graber (widow of Joe M. Graber), Edna Waltner, Mrs. Ben Rahn, Evadna, & Jean Graber. | Thanksgiviving food line with Karen, Herb Kaufman, & Helen Graber. | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | 151
152: Slides | Christmas | Evadna in the front room. (Christmas 1962) | Jim, Karen, & John displaying their new toys in front room. (Christmas 1962) | Ed & Elaine's siamese cat in Willie & Evadna's front room, playing with a Christmas ornament. (Winter 1962) | Evadna hosts Christmas-1962 Around the table (l to r): Paul, Jeanie, Karen, Carole Ann, Evadna, Marguerite, Bob, Dwain, & Jim. | John (Early 1960s) | John takes over the camera and snaps another picture of Christmas Dinner, 1962. | Karen's Junior Year at PPHS. (1962-1963) | 152
153: Slides | Audra & Sam Perry moved from California to Rogers, Arkansas in the early-60s. There they decided to become owners of a small motel, the Rogers Motel --shown here in 1963. | Another shot of the Rogers Motel grounds, 1963. | Karen, in the front room, all dressed up for her senior prom. | Audra & Sam on a visit to the Monte Ne Amphitheater, Arkansas, 1963. | Jim moves to Winfield, KS to attend school at Southwestern College (Fall 1963). Jim stated in later years, "I really owe a lot to Mom. After I flunked out of K-State, she had to pull a number of strings in order to get me into Southwestern." | Karen, Evadna, John, & Jim --Winfield, Kansas. | Jim became friends at Southwestern with a student from Africa. Jim brought him home to Pretty Prairie one weekend. | John & Jim with Jim's friend from Africa. College opened up opportunities for Jim. While attending Southwestern, Jim and a group of friends traveled down to Mississippi to help African Americans get registered to vote. This was during the mid-1960s when there was much racial violence in the South. Jim recalls that tensions were high that week they were there, but it was an historical experience he never forgot.
154: Slides | A visit from PPHS classmates-- Elaine & Francine (1963). (l to r): Jack & Elaine (Foster) Jones, Carl & Francine (Chamberlain) Irvin, Evadna & Wilbur. | Evadna hosts a dinner party in honor of Clodell Clayton's 56th birthday (1963). (seated l to r): Ralph Freeman, Edith Freeman, Everett Potter, Clodell Clayton, Evadna, Roy E. Clayton Jr. "Bubby", Alta Potter, & Roy E. Clayton Sr. "There was a lot more recreational get-togethers between neighbors in those years. That all changed by the 1970s as the families grew up, and the children began having families of their own," John recalls. | Clodell Clayton shows off her parasol in Willie & Evadna's front room, 1963. | Francine, Evadna, & Elaine (1963). As mentioned earlier, Francine grew up across the street from Evadna when they were young girls in Pretty Prairie while Elaine served as pianist for Willie & Evadna's wedding. Francine died from multiple sclerosis two years after this photo was taken at the age of 46. | John & Karen pose on the front porch as Willie tries to use up film (1963). | Neighbors (about a mile east of the Meisenheimers): Everett & Alta Potter. | Jim (center) with Jack & Elaine Jones' sons. | 154
155: Slides | Jim & John on the front porch with the family dalmatian (1964). | High School Graduation (May 1964) Karen is dressed in her cap and gown in the front room. | Wilbur catches Evadna off guard as she walks from the family room into the front room (1964). | Karen (right) and her Hutchinson Community College roommate, Janie Albright, wave to the camera as Karen gets ready to move up to the Hutch-Juco dorms (August 1964). | John trying to keep the family dalmatian still for another picture. | Jim playing with family dalmatian in front of the house. | Karen --Senior 1964
156: *Wilbur: “Looks like a fun day. We took Grandpa [Joseph] Kaufman out to see Cheney Lake. Looks like Evadna is enjoying it, and maybe he is.” [John stands with his back to the camera.] | Pictured here --the tin barn, just newly built in 1965. *Evadna: [softly muttering] “Looks good without that cussed bin there.” *Wilbur: “Say that again.” *Evadna: [louder] “I said, that picture looks good without that cussed bin!” Story behind the story: When Willie moved the small grain bin (third one from the left) directly in front of the barn during the 1970s, Evadna was agitated calling it an "eye sore". | Easter Sunday 1965 *Wilbur: “I like this picture very much! John, Karen in her bonnet, and Evadna in the middle.” | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | Slides | Jim at Southwestern (Circa, 1965). | John, Wilbur & the family dog in 1965. | Sallee Cousins / Meisenheimer Cousins & Brothers of Paul (1965). Wilbur is in the back row on far left & Paul is also back row but on the far left. | Ed Kaufman (holding daughter, Elizabeth) with his mother-in-law, Alleen Mitchell, at Willie & Evadna's kitchen table. | Naomi & Paul getting ready to leave Willie & Evadna's (Winter 1965). | John stands in his "Pretty Prairie" sweatshirt by the front porch (1965). | Karen, John, & Willie stand south of the house (Easter 1965).
157: Slides | Slides | Wilbur, John & Karen on a family trip to Colorado (1965) | John, Karen, & Evadna outside the cabin where they stayed the night before (1965). | John & Karen at the top of Pikes Peak (1965). | Jana Kaufman & John in the backyard behind the growing evergreen trees (1965). | John & Jana on the old swings (1965). | Jana Kaufman in Willie & Evadna's backyard (1965). | Marguerite & Dwain (1966) | Bob, Evadna & Jim (1966). | Karen in a bridesmaid dress on the south side of the house (1966). | Elizabeth, Kathy, Jana & Pete. Thanksgiving at Willie & Evadna's (1966). | Jim in the basement, sick with the stomach flu (1966).
158: *Wilbur: “And there is our kids, John, Karen, and Jim. Looks like they’re all happy.” | *Wilbur: “This is a picture we don’t have many like. There’s Grandpa [Joseph J.] Kaufman showing some interest and seems to be delighted in what he is hearing from Henry Unruh of South Dakota and the other fellow must be Ed Tschetter. Henry and Ed were always arguing.” | *Wilbur: “There is Grandpa [Joseph J.] Kaufman. He didn’t like to have his picture taken without posing for it, but he didn’t know I took it. And there he is reading a paper of some kind. Pretty good picture of him.” | *Wilbur: “I believe we were in Winfield that day. Notice how narrow the ties were then.” | *Wilbur: We were in Winfield. That was when Jim graduated from college. And there he is with his gown and not his cap.” | *[next side] Wilbur: “I guess he found his cap, and there he is with that..cap and gown.” | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | Slides | [NOTE: Ed & Henry were relatives of Joseph J. Kaufman.] | Karen & her friends on the south side of the house. She is getting ready to go back to college. The guy is with back to the camera is Vernon Krehbiel. Evadna is on the far right. | Wilbur & Evadna's car on the south side of the house. Willie set up a basketball goal on top of the garage for John. | Karen in her bedroom, packing for another semester at college (1966). | John --Circa 1966 | Paul & Naomi Meisenheimer in Winfield, Kansas (1966).
159: Slides | Evadna, Karen, & John on the back porch (1967). | Karen smiles at one of John's antics, back porch (1967). | Evadna & Karen on the back porch. Karen finds amusement with something said or done off camera. | John in the back yard dress up in his cap and gown for his 8th grade promotion ceremony (1967). | Karen's Volkswagon Beetle in front of the house (1967). | Karen dressed as a bridesmaid once again in the front room (1967). | Karen, in the front room by the piano (1967). Judging by the cap on her head, she was already studying to become a nurse through Wesley School of Nursing in Wichita. | Karen & Jim in the family room with a little puppy (Circa, 1967). | 159
160: Slides | Karen and her boyfriend Stuart "Stu" Youngquist on the east side of the house (Circa, 1968). Karen first brought Stu out to meet the family in July during the Pretty Prairie's Largest Night Rodeo. The couple met at a McDonalds Drive-in in Wichita during the time Karen was attending classes at the Wesley School of Nursing. "And she picked me up!", Stu later joked. | Snapshots | While driving in Wichita to visit Karen, Willie & Evadna were passed by a couple on a motorcycle. Evadna turned to Wilbur and | & | Stu snaps a candid photo of the family on the couch in the front room (1968). | Jim takes a snooze in the family room (Summer 1968) | John goofs off and Karen laughs as they put a puzzle together in the family room (1968). | Wilbur, John, Jim & the dog on the back porch, Summer of 1968. | Stu, John, Jim & the dog on the back porch, Summer of 1968. | John Jim & Karen visiting the Herrell farm (1968). Teresa & Greg Herrell are the children in the foreground. | The top of this picture is a bit cut off, but here is next door neighbor, Melvin Herrell, & his colt (1968). | frantically exclaimed, "That looks like Karen!" Sure enough, Stu was taking Karen for a ride on his bike.
161: Slides | John lounging in the front room (1968). | Stu & Jim are traipsing through the backyard (Summer of 1968). Stu, who born and raised in Salina, Kansas, served in the Army during the early '60s. Though he managed to get out before the war in Vietnam intensified, he had the opportunity to march in President Lyndon Johnson's Inauguration, in 1965. | Wilbur takes a photo of his mother, Audra Perry (partly shown on very right), who's presumably taking a snapshot of Dwain & Willlie's family in the backyard (1968). | Audra with Marguerite & Dwain on the east side of the house (1968). | The house in the snow during the Winter of 1968. | Looking back at the farm from the bed of the family wheat truck, as it heads down the road (1968). | 161
162: & | Slides | Snapshots | Evadna, John, Karen, & Wilbur on Karen's graduation day (1969). | Karen as a nursing school graduate, June 1969. | Evadna sits and waits in the lobby of the Karen's dorm in Wichita (1969). | The family takes a walk towards Herrells' (1968). | A photo of Wilbur's John Deere tractor in the back by the grain bins (1968). | Willie, Evadna, & John make a trip to Rogers, Arkansas in 1968. Pictured here is Sam & Audra Perry at home with Audra's sister, Ora Baker. | John & Karen stand outside Karen's school of nursing dormitory in Wichita (1969). | Karen --Circa 1969
163: Slides | Snapshots | & | While attending Emporia State University Teachers College, Jim was drafted into the Vietnam War. He managed to escape the fighting in Southeast Asia due to a foot infection. He was reassigned to serve in Germany instead (See pg. 43). Jim is shown here at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (1969). | Evadna on the beach during a trip to Florida (1969). During the 1970s into the 1980s, Wilbur & Evadna made a number of trips to various states and countries (most notably --Australia). | Wilbur on vacation in Florida (1969). | Evadna has Willie take a picture of her by some flowers in Florida (1969). | Evadna & John at the front of the house with Dwain, Marguerite, Audra, & Sam Perry (1969). | Willie by the Christmas tree in the front room, Christmas 1969. | Evadna waits to open her Christmas gift (December, 1969). | Karen in the front room, Christmas 1969. | Jim, on leave from the Army, makes it home for the holidays (1969). | John in the front room, Christmas 1969. | Paul & Naomi at home in Hutchinson (1969). Naomi had been suffering with Parkinson's Disease for quite some time. She died on February 12, 1972.
164: By 1970, Stu had taken a job with Liberty Mutual Insurance in Houston, Texas; Karen made the decision to move with him. As the snow falls, the family prepares to make a trip to move Karen's belongings down to Houston, Texas (Winter 1970). | On the road to Houston: Wilbur stands beside the truck after a pit-stop (Winter, 1970). | Karen, Evadna, John, & Wilbur standing outside Karen's apartment in Houston. | John & Karen inside Karen's Apartment (Winter, 1970). | John displays Stu's book on the Model T (Karen's Apartment, 1970). Stu loved fixing up old cars. Not only did he own a Model T, he also had an old T-Bird. | Stu & Karen take the family on a short drive down to Galveston, Texas. John, Evadna, Karen, & Stu check out the sights along the Port of Galveston. | The family decides to take a break from sight-seeing, and get some snacks at a local convenience store in Galveston. | John & Jim, on south side of the house with the family dog (Christmas 1970). | Slides
165: ALL SUITED UP & SOMEWHERE TO GO: Evadna's philosophy was that one should not travel anywhere without first dressing their best. Slightly annoyed for being a bit over-dressed, John waits to board a plane at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport to see Karen and Stu in Houston, Texas (1970). | Slides | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | John at home in the family room with his guitar (1970). | Pete Kaufman proudly displaying his motorcycle on the south side of the house (1970). | A visit from Ed, Elaine & family. (Christmas 1970). | Jeanie & her fiance, Dick Reeves, driving Stu's Model T around the farm (1970). | Joseph Kaufman at home with his grandkids, Jana & Jeff. With a wad full of cash in hand, Joseph has just handed out his Christmas gift to the family. (Christmas, 1970). | Wilbur with Herb & Jana Kaufman at a family gathering at Joseph Kaufman's home in Pretty Prairie (Christmas, 1970). | John, Karen, & Evadna examine their own Christmas money while Dona Kaufman looks on (Christmas at Joseph Kaufman's, 1970). | *Wilbur: “Model T on a Sunday afternoon. Looks like Dwain, in the back, is showing whoever he is in front how to drive it.” (The driver happens to be Dwain's soon to be son-in-law, Dick Reeves) | 165
166: Slides | Snapshots | & | Karen & Evadna in the front room. (Christmas, 1970) | Dwain, Dick Reeves, Jim, & John play a game of "Pitch" while Carole Ann, & Marguerite prepare snacks. (Christmas of 1970). | Wilbur unwraps his gift in the front room (Christmas, 1970). | Karen & John put a puzzle together (1970). | Evadna, Marguerite, Jeanie, & Carole Ann (Christmas, 1970). | Marguerite, Paul, & Carole Ann. (Christmas of 1970). | Evadna & Wilbur at home on the couch in the front room (1970). | In the front room with Jim, Karen, & John (Circa, 1970). | Bob in U.S. Army. He eventually makes Major.
167: Slides | Snapshots | & | Addition to the family: John, Evadna, & Wilbur posing with the newly weds. John played the role of usher. | Stu stands outside Karen's apartment with his father, Sid Youngquist (center), & John (February 1971). | Stu's mother, Dorothy Youngquist (left) works out the final wedding preparations with Evadna (February 1971). | Karen & Stu cutting the cake at their wedding reception. | Mr. & Mrs Stuart Youngquist. Married ~ February 21, 1971 Houston Mennonite Church Houston, Texas. | Just hitched: Stu smiles at his beaming bride. | Karen feeds cake to her husband. | Willie proudly escort his daughter down the isle. | Stu & Karen looking a little bit giddy in the days prior to their wedding (February 1971). | Stu & Karen at Karen's apartment in Houston. Upon getting married, the couple had plans of moving to Corpus Christi. | 167
168: Furthering his education, Jim graduates from Emporia State University (1971). Through much of the 1970s, Jim found himself as a professional student, traveling to various States through the Country to attend college (namely in Nebraska, Maine & Wyoming). He even went abroad, making the trip to Pakistan to take classes in the summer of 1974. | As a graduate from Pretty Prairie High, John proudly stands on the south side of the house in his cap & gown next to his Grandpa Paul (May 1971). | Car Wash: Stu & Karen with Stu's Model T on the northeast side of the house (1971). | Willie catches John, dressed in his best, as he heads for prom in his first car --a 1969 Chevelle Malibu (Spring, 1971). | Silhouettes: Stu, John, & Jim in the shadows of Stu & Karen's apartment in Corpus Christi, Texas (1971). | Stu, Jim, Karen, & John on the couch in Stu & Karen's Corpus Christi apartment (1971). | Jay Leon Moore with his wife, Jeannie, and their son, Sean. Kingman, Kansas (1971). | Jim & John took a trip to New York City around 1971. While driving through the Big Apple, John received a traffic ticket for running a red light. The boys decided to skip town instead of paying the fine. John vowed never to return. | A shot of Evadna on the farm, as she makes her way through the snow to the car (Winter, 1971). | In 1971, Sam & Audra Perry gave up the motel business and decided to move back to Kansas, setting in Kingman. Shown here (in front on the left) at Ora's place with Wilbur, Dwain, Marguerite, & Evadna. Sam passed away on April 22, 1974. | Dwain & Marguerite, Kingman, Kansas (1971). | Slides | Snapshots | & | John --PPHS Senior 1971
169: Evadna, John, & Wilbur, 1972. Family photo for the First Mennonite Church Directory. | Paul, Willie, & Dwain in Wesley Towers' lobby, 1972. With Naomi's passing in February of 1972, Paul decided to take up residency in the Wesley Towers retirement community in Hutchinson. This would be his home for the next 17 years. | Jeanie, Bob, & Carole Ann visiting their Grandpa Paul in his room at Wesley Towers, 1972. | Paul (far right) with his brother Ray, & Ray's wife, Ida (1972). Ray & Ida were celebrating their 40th Wedding Anniversary. | John & Wilbur with Karen in the front room by the piano (1972). | Sing along with Karen & Stu in the front room (1972). | Evadna & John dining with Paul in Hutchinson (Christmas, 1972). | Slides | & | Snapshots | 169
170: Joseph J. Kaufman candidly holding the first of his great-grandchildren, Kerrie (Joe's daughter), 1972. | Joseph Kaufman with great-granddaughter, Kerrie, & granddaughter, Jana (1972). Various grandchildren recall that Joseph had developed dementia by the early 1970s, causing him to shed his staunch persona (as shown here holding Kerrie's doll). J. J. Kaufman passed away on October 28, 1976 at the Prairie Sunset Home in Pretty Prairie. | Dan Kaufman proudly displaying his motorcycle on Herb & Dona's farm (1972). | A smoke with Herb: Stu trying to solve the world's problems with Karen's uncle, Herb Kaufman. (Herb & Dona's front porch, 1972). | Jeff Kaufman, John, Dan Kaufman, & Stu. (Herb & Dona Kaufman's farm, 1972). | Herb Kaufman (right) shows off his new tractor to his brother-in-law, Wilbur (1972). | Jim (right) with Stu's brother, Max (Breckenridge, CO, 1972). | Jim, John, & Stu sight seeing in Colorado (1972). | Jeff Kaufman & his car. (Herb & Dona's farm, 1972) | Meisenheimer-Youngquist Retreat, Breckenridge, CO, 1972. (l to r): Sid Y., Dorothy Y., Karen Y., Evadna, Stu Y., Jim, & John. | John naps as Karen looks on. (Breckenridge, CO, 1972). | Dorothy Youngquist and Evadna preparing dinner in the Breckenridge cabin (1972). | Slides
171: Pretty Prairie --Centennial | First Mennonite Church --Centennial | Snapshots | Slides | Slides | Dinner with Bob, Dick Reeves, & Jeanie (Christmas 1972). | Marguerite (Christmas, 1972). | Carole Ann makes herself a sandwich in Evadna's kitchen (1972). | Willie drives a Model T in the PP Centennial Parade (1972). | Evadna stands on the east end of Main Street following the PP Centennial Parade (1972). | Quite the crowd turned out for the parade to celebrate Pretty Prairie's Centennial (1972). | Wilbur sits on top of an old steel plow that was featured as part of the Mennonite Centennial celebration (1974). | Photo's a bit over exposed, but here is Evadna and Dwain's family walking through the Mennonite Centennial exhibits, 1974. (l to r): Evadna, one of Marguerite's brothers, Dwain, Jeanie, & Marguerite. | Evadna's uncle, Sprig Graber (center), amongst other farmers, demonstrate the old ways of harvesting wheat (Mennonite Church Centennial, 1974).
172: October 8th | Youngquist | Andrea | Karen changes Sara's diaper (1974). | *Wilbur: “Evadna and her only granddaughter at that time. *Evadna: “Only grandchild.” *Wilbur: “Granddaughter!” | By October 1974, the Youngquists had up-rooted themselves from Corpus Christi and settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In this photo Karen & Wilbur stand outside Stu & Karen's first home in Tulsa (1974). | Proud Parents: Stu & Karen pose outside their house in Tulsa while Baby Sara naps inside (1974). As his family grew, Stu made the switch from the insurance business to working in the Otis Elevator Company. | John at K-State in the mid-1970s. | Evadna & John walk the campus of Kansas State University (1974). | John & Evadna leaving the KSU football game. (1974). | (2 photos above & below): Wilbur snaps a picture of the K-State Marching Band at half-time (1974). | Sara at 6 months ~ 1974 | Slides | Snapshots | & | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | 172
173: Sara's Birthday, Tulsa 1975 *Wilbur: “I guess Sara is growing up...” *Evadna: “Sara, our Little Miss Special. Our first grandchild!” *Wilbur: “And that’s her!” | *Wilbur: “Looks like [Sara] has been over to visit Chuck’s family [neighbors to Stu & Karen in Tulsa].” | Willie raises Sara up on his shoulders in the kitchen (Fall, 1975). | Sara & Evadna in the front room (Fall, 1975). | Karen & Sara by the front porch (Mother's Day, 1975). | Karen takes Sara for a swim in their backyard in Tulsa (1975). | Sara plays her harmonica while Karen & Stu look on. Wilbur & Evadna's family room (1975). | Dick & Jeanie Reeves at Willie & Evadna's (1975). Dick worked as a fireman in Wichita. Jeanie graduated college with a nursing degree. | Someone has to work. John does chores around the farm (1975). | Bob Meisenheimer at Willie & Evadna's (1975). | Meisenheimer Cousins with Carole Ann's son, Scott Hartman at Willie & Evadna's (1975). (back row, l to r): Bob & John. (front row, l to r): Jim, Jeanie (holding Scott), Dick, Carole Ann, & Steve Hartman. | Sara Andrea | Circa, 1975 | Sara learning to walk (1975). | Slides | Snapshots | & | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989)
174: & | Evadna, Sara, and her toy puppet in the front room (Christmas, 1976). | Celebrating Christmas in Kansas: Stu, Karen, & Sara in the front room (1976). | Paul celebrating his 86th Birthday his brother Ray at his side (Willie & Evadna's, 1977). | Jim at home on the farm, 1977. | Wilbur and his camera (1977). | Sara & her Grandma Evadna on the back porch (1977). | Stu & Sara on Willie & Evadna's farm (1977). | Stu captures a candid family portrait off the east porch (1977). | Karen at home on the farm, 1977. | Sara wandering about the farm, 1977. | The Sid & Dorthy Youngquist family (1977), l to r: Sharon, Sid, Max, Dorothy, Stu (holding Sara). | Audra's birthday (1976) (l to r): John, Audra, Wilbur, & Evadna. | Slides | Snapshots | Sara ~ Circa, 1976
175: "Willie, please don't!!": Evadna making a fuss as Wilbur tries to take her picture. | Bob, his wife, Lee, & their son, Paul (Willie & Evadna's, late-1970s). While in the Army, Bob traveled the world, including tours in Germany and Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star and served in the 7th Special Forces, Airborne. | Sara & her Grandpa Wilbur (Christmas, 1978). Sara writes: "One of my favorite memories with Grandpa was when he took me to see the movie, The Empire Strikes Back. I was in first grade at the time, and of course dreamed of being Princess Leia. I'm not quite sure how far into the movie we were when I realized Grandpa was laid back snoring! Really?! Who sleeps through Han Solo being frozen in a block of carbonite? We laughed about that for nearly 30-years. (Well, we still laugh about that) And Grandpa laughed with us." | Maintaining Smiles: Ed, Kathy, Elaine, Pete, & Larry Kaufman (Christmas at Willie & Evadna's, 1978). On March 31, 1977, Ed & Elaine suffered the loss of their youngest daughter, Elizabeth to cancer. She was only 17 years old. | A leisurely morning with John & Karen in the family room (1978). | Sara trying out her Mickey Mouse drum in the dining room (Christmas, 1978). | Evadna entertains guests from over seas as part of the the Mennonite World Conference (1978). | Jim in front of his house in Omaha, Nebraska (1978). Jim worked as a social studies teacher in Omaha during the late 1970s. In 1980, he left teaching and traveled to Morocco with hopes of joining the Peace Corps. During the training process, Jim had trouble learning the French language, and decided to withdraw. | Evadna & Stu handing out presents in the front room (Chrismas, 1978). | John examines one of his new toys in the front room while a delighted Wilbur looks on (Christmas 1978). | Karen, Evadna, & Sara in the doorway of the utility room (1978). | Sara (on right) entertains her Great-Grandma Audra Perry in the family room (1978). | Slides | Snapshots | &
176: Elizabeth | Ann | Youngquist | September 6th | Elizabeth ~ Circa, 1980 | Dwain, Marguerite, & Family ~ Circa. 1979 | Snapshots | Sara (Circa, 1979). | Sara entertaining the farm cats on east porch of the house (Summer, 1979). | Willie & his father, Paul (Stu & Karen's 1979). | Wilbur (late 1970s). | Evadna & Jim in the front room (Christmas, 1979). | Carole Ann & Marguerite watch Jeanie's son, Kelley try out his new toys with Jim in the front room (Christmas, 1979). | Sara and a few of her friends play in roller skates while Karen & Wilbur stand by as little Lizzie learns to maneuver in her baby walker (Tulsa, 1980) | Kelley Reeves (center) entertaining Jeanie, Paul, John, & Wilbur in the front room (Christmas, 1979). | Sara & Liz (February, 1980). | Audra Perry & her great-granddaughter, Liz (November, 1979). | Lizzie & her bottle (Willie & Evadna's, 1980).
177: The Final | 1980-1992 | Years | Chapter | Five | Chapter | Five
178: [Family 1980] | [Wilbur & Evadna 1980] | [Jim 1980] | [Karen & Stu 1980] | [John & Lisa 1982] | The Wilbur Meisenheimer Family (1980)~ (back row, l to r): John, Evadna, & Stuart (front row, l to r): Jim, Wilbur, Elizabeth, Sara, & Karen.
179: Slides | Snapshots | & | Sara in 1st Grade (1980). | Wilie disks the field with his Steiger tractor (1980). | Wilie on the steps of the Steiger tractor (1980). | Trade-off: Evadna hands little Lizzie over to Paul as Karen & Wilbur look on (1980). | Family photo on the south side of the house (1980). (l to r): Paul, John, Wilbur, Sara, Karen, Jim, Evadna (holding Liz), & Stu. The photo was taken not long after Jim returned from his time in Morocco. | Liz and Sara on the couch in the family room (Holidays, 1980). | A view of the barn and the "cussed" grain bin (1980). (See story on page 156) | Dwain's Family with Paul (circa, 1980). (l to r): Jeanie, Bob (holding his son, Paul & daughter, Amy), Kelley Reeves, Paul, Scott Hartman, Lee, & Carole Ann. | John set up residence as a bachelor in the late-1970s by moving a trailer house onto the Sickler Farm (Shown here with both John & Jim's cars parked out front in 1980). Before he could settle in, Willie and John had to first level the old dilapidated Sickler house. "With a tractor and chain, it came right down," John recalls. | 179
180: & | "So you're the little lady keeping company with my son," Willie exclaims upon meeting Lisa for the first time. While trimming trees in Willie & Evadna's backyard during the fall of 1980, a limb fell on John's right arm, severely crushing his right hand. At the hospital, he was set-up on a blind date with one of the nurses, a Lisa Schmidt of Haven, Kansas. Something casual to fill the time during his road to recovery became something more...and well, the rest is history. | John with his fiancee, Lisa Schmidt in Willie & Evadna's dining room (1981). | Willie & Evadna in the family room (1981). | Friendly Greetings: Bob Meisenheimer holds his young daughter, Amy up to little Lizzie at a family reunion(1980). | The family gathers in the backyard for Willie & Evadna's 40th Wedding Anniversary (May, 1981). | See-saw with the Grandpas: Sid Youngquist (left) & Wilbur (right) spend an afternoon with Sara & Liz (1981) | A view of the house (looking northeast) during the early-1980s. Wilbur worked hard to keep the perfect lawn he could be proud of. His secret... thorough irrigating and Juicy Fruit gum. (Juicy Fruit was his weapon of choice against moles). | Upon retiring from farming in 1980, Dwain & Marguerite made the move to Hutchinson, Kansas to be closer to family. | Nap-time with Grandpa (1980): Willie takes a snooze during an attempt to rock Lizzie to sleep. | Sara & Stu celebrate Lizzie's 2nd birthday (1981). | Breakfast with Grandma: Liz, Sara, & Evadna (Summer, 1980). Sara writes, "[Lizzie] & I would come spend a week during the summer at the farm. I would usually play “Bank” with Grandma while Grandpa was out working in the fields." " | Paul & his great-granddaughter, Liz in the family room (Christmas, 1980). "He used to tease me that my thumb would fall off (like his did) if I kept sucking it," Elizabeth amusingly recalls. | Jim & John pose together in the family room (1981). During the early 1980s, Jim began his 30 year career with the Farm Services Agency (FSA), a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). | Snapshots
181: January 9th | John & Lisa | Slides Snapshots | Groomsman, Jeff Kaufman escorts his Aunt Evadna down the aisle for her son's wedding. | Dona & Herb Kaufman following the ceremony. | Friends and family throw rice at John & Lisa as they leave for their honeymoon. The well-wishers pictured here include: Ed Kaufman, David Zerger, Sharon Krehbiel (soon to be Zerger), & Herb Kaufman. | Paul Meisenheimer waits in all orneriness for his grandson's wedding ceremony to start. | This photo was cropped off by the photographer by accident, but here is Wilbur & Dwain with their mother, Audra Perry at John & Lisa's wedding. | Inside Joke: Jim teases his little brother prior to the wedding. | Lisa's cousin, Rod Luehrs helps an annoyed John cleans off his tee-peed car. | A professional print of John & Lisa on their wedding day. | Mr. & Mrs. John Meisenheimer | John & Lisa's wedding ceremony was held at Westside Baptist Church in Hutchinson, KS. | John & Lisa with Karen, Sara & Elizabeth on the day of their wedding. Sara was Lisa's flower girl. | Wilbur & Evadna with Lisa's parent's, Erich & Viola Schmidt at the wedding reception. | John & Lisa's photo shoot with Willie & Evadna. | Willie congratulates his son with a handshake. | &
182: (2 photos-- 1 below, & 1 on the right): "Is that her?" --Paul asked Wilbur, in reference to seeing Audra for the first time in several years. "That's the only conversation I remember Grandpa having," John recalls. After both Sam and Naomi died, Dwain and Willie started arranging for both of their parents to be together at family holiday gatherings in the late-'70s. "They really didn't have much of a choice...", Karen adds. Despite their long estranged relationship, Paul and Audra would handle each other in a civil manner on these occasions. | Christmas | Slides | Lizzie ~ 1982 | Sara ~ 1982 | *With narrations by Wilbur & Evadna (March of 1989) | Snapshots | & | *Wilbur: “Liz is learning to swing in the backyard on the old swing-setback by the evergreen trees. She’s learning fast!” | Carole Ann & her son Scott Hartman celebrating Christmas at Wilbur & Evadna's (1982) | Bob, Lee & their two children, Paul & Amy, pose for Wilbur in the front room (Christmas, 1982). | Evadna, Paul, Jim & Lizzie (Christmas, 1982) | Audra Perry celebrating the holidays with her son & their families (Christmas, 1982) | Dwain with his grandson, Scott Hartman. Paul & Jim are in the background (Christmas at Willie & Evadna's, 1982). | Stu, Carole, & Sara in the front room (Christmas, 1982). | Jim & Liz unwrap their gifts (Christmas, 1982). | Evadna socializing with members of the family in the front room (Christmas, 1982) | Sara (partially shown) with the gingerbread house & Lizzie pose for Wilbur in front of the Christmas tree. Jim gave Willie & Evadna the sandstone "Meisenheimer" sign (shown here on the floor) that year as a gift (1982). | 182
183: The Sickler Farm became the home of John & Lisa in 1982. Upon getting married, the couple set up a double-wide trailer house (shown here), replacing the small one John originally had moved in a few years prior. It would serve them well for the next six years. | Meisenheimer Family gathering at Dwain & Marguerite's home in Hutchinson (1983). Evadna makes her goodbyes while Paul looks on. | Kelley Reeves (left) & Evadna (in back) watch Dick Reeves teach Marguerite how to play golf. (Dwain & Marguerite's house in Hutchinson, 1983). | Jeanie Reeves nursing her son, Brian. ( Dwain & Marguerite's house in Hutchinson, 1983). | Dwain at home in his backyard (1983). | Paul holds his little great-grandson, Brian Reeves, with "Grandma" Marguerite on standby (1983). | Dwain driving his Model A (1983). | John, Evadna, & Lisa (holding Lizzie) relaxing on the patio on the east side of the house (1983). | The newly erected "Meisenheimer" sign (Jim's gift to his parents) as it looked in 1983. | Lizzie assists Stu in giving the Model T a wash out on Willie & Evadna's farm (1983). | Christmas in Tulsa (1983). | Sara & Liz playing on Willie's Steiger tractor (1983). | Sara & Elizabeth ~ 1983 | Snapshots
184: Arthur | Meisenheimer | November 19th | Bringing Brian home: Evadna serves as the welcoming committee (November, 1983) | A visit to Grandpa & Grandma Meisenheimer's: Evadna holds an attentive Brian while John, a proud Papa, looks on (Christmas, 1983). | First grandson: Evadna & Wilbur with baby Brian at John & Lisa's (November, 1983). | Fresh from the hospital: Evadna escorts Lisa and her newborn baby (Brian) from the car to John & Lisa's double -wide trailer home (November, 1983). | Time to say goodnight: Lisa, John & Brian make plans to head for home as Jim looks on. (Willie & Evadna's dining room --February, 1984). | Audra Perry, holding her great-grandson, Brian (1983). | Four Generations: Wilbur, Paul (holding his great-grandson, Brian) & John (Willie & Evadna's family room, 1984). | Lisa & Brian sitting in the family room (Summer, 1984). | Brian, bring amusement to his cousins, Liz & Sara, at Willie & Evadna's dining room table (1984). | Lizzie squeals in excitement as she discovers what is hidden beneath the wrapping paper of her birthday gift (1984). | Elizabeth celebrates her 5th birthday at McDonalds with her close friends & sister, Sara (September, 1984). | Five year old Lizzie (McDonalds, 1984). | Snapshots | 184
185: Evadna sharing photos with Lizzie & Sara, 1984. As complicated as it was to correctly spell Youngquist, Evadna took it upon herself to teach the girls how to spell, Meisenheimer. Using the theme song from The Mickey Mouse Club she forever seared it into their memory: "MEI...SEN...HEI....MER!" | Audra Perry makes a visit to the farm. Wilbur & John are getting ready to drill wheat. (Fall, 1984). | A day in the life of a farmer: Willie is filling the drill with wheat. (Fall, 1984). | Hard at work: John fills the drill with fertilizer (Fall, 1984). Though he outgrew his childhood bouts with asthma, John initially never planned on becoming a farmer. He attended college to become an engineer, but found farming a far more enjoyable option. | Father & son working side by side to get the wheat in the ground before nightfall (1984). In their partnership, their CB radio code names were "Big M" & "Little M." Wilbur officially retired as head of the business in 1984, allowing John to make the major decisions, and a living for his growing family. Willie never fully left the scene....in fact, he would assist John up until the mid-2000s. | Wilbur poses outside his International combine. While John sows the wheat, Willie cuts the milo crop (Fall, 1984). "Pop was good with his hands, he could fix almost anything," Jim recalls. | The GMC grain truck along side the tractor & drill, parked outside the old Sickler barn on John & Lisa's farm (1984). | Christmas in the front room at Willie & Evadna's. Jim talks with family members while his nephew & nieces unwrap their gifts on the floor (1984). | Karen & Lisa play a game of LIFEwith Sara & Liz in the front room (Christmas, 1984). | Karen, Lisa, John, & Brian (on the floor) in the front room at Willie & Evadna's (Christmas, 1984). | John, Lisa, & Brian ~ 1984 | Elizabeth ~ 1984 | Snapshots
186: Brian builds a snowman with the assistance of his mother on John & Lisa's farm (1985). | Snapshots | Snapshots | Stu (right) looks a bit concerned as Paul gives him some kind of a demonstration (Christmas, 1984). | John & Brian watch Karen and her girls play a game of "Life" (Christmas, 1984). | Sara, Lizzie, & Karen, in the middle of playing "Life". Audra Perry (in background) looks on (Christmas, 1984). | Wilbur opens his gift as Lizzie enjoys some time with her Grandma, Evadna (Christmas, 1984). | Paul poses with Dwain & Marguerite's entire family. Carole's son, Scott Hartman, is not pictured ( Kingman, 1985). | Paul with Wilbur & Evadna's family in Kingman, Kansas (1985). | Karen & Lisa lounging in the front room. Young Brian sits on the floor (Christmas, 1984). | The family gathers for a Meisenheimer Reunion in Kingman (Summer, 1985). | Sara proudly shows off her softball uniform (Tulsa, 1985). | Jim with his camera in the front room (1985). | Brian & Lizzie playing in Evadna's kitchen (1985). | Sara --Circa 1984 | Brian --Circa 1985
187: "Little mouse, little mouse...": Evadna babysitting Brian (circa, 1985). Despite her worsening health, Evadna passionately loved her grandchildren. She truly adored them. Whether smothering them with gifts, or rocking them to sleep with songs from her days as a school teacher, she let them know that they were special. | Snapshots | The Wilbur & Evadna Meisenheimer Family (1985). | Stu reads as Brian plays on John's old toy card table in the family room (1985). | Lisa & Brian pose for Wilbur as Evadna & John look on (1985). | Table Talk: Evadna, Stu, Karen, John, & Wilbur at the kitchen table (1985). | Grandmotherly affection: Sara sits with Evadna in the family room (1985). | "Do the pig": Lizzie's favorite game with young Brian was to make him create pig noises with his throat (1985). | Elizabeth unwraps her gift in the front room (Christmas, 1985). | Stu Youngquist, Carole Ann with her husband Dave Utermark, Dick Reeves, & Bob Meisenheimer in lawn chairs at Dwain & Marguerite's house in Hutchinson (1986). | Sister-in-laws: Marguerite & Evadna at a Meisenheimer Reunion in Kingman (1986). | Jim, Evadna, John, Wilbur, & Karen --Circa 1985 | The Youngquists --Circa 1985
188: 50th class reunion | Willie | Evadna's | & | Evadna & Wilbur (in back) with fellow PPHS classmates and their spouses in Laguna Beach, California (1986). | (l to r): Evadna, Verne Unruh, Verona "Vee" Voran, & Elsie (Spalding) Jones (Laguna Beach, 1986). | Evadna talks with life-long friend Viola "Vi" (Barton) Waltner Kukla, & Madonna (Roberts) Carithers (Laguna Beach, 1986). | Ferne Unruh talks with Evadna while Willie laughs at some conversation off camera. (Laguna Beach, 1986).
189: Seated for dinner: Guy & Madonna Carithers and Wilbur & Evadna (Laguna, Beach, 1986). | PPHS Class of 1936 in 1986 (l to r): Harold O'Leary, Madonna (Roberts) Carithers, Elsie (Spalding) Jones, Wilbur, Evadna (Kaufman), Vi (Barton) Kukla, Bruce Voran, Roy Robertson, & Chester "Check" Unruh. | Girl Talk: Evadna reclining with Vi Kukla & Madonna Carithers (Laguna Beach, 1986). | One final toast: The 1936 Class of Pretty Prairie High School take a moment share a drink during a champagne breakfast on their last morning together (Laguna Beach, 1986). | A "mini" class reunion in Pretty Prairie for those who could not make to Califorina (1986). (Standing, l to r): Rosalia O'Leary, Verona "Vee" Voran, Harold O'Leary, & Evadna. (Seated, l to r): Roy Robertson, Mickey Robertson, & Chester "Check" Unruh. | Chester Unruh (standing) looks on as Mickey Robertson (bottom left) talks with two other women about the California trip. Evadna's uncle, W. W. "Sprig" Graber, is seated on the far right. In 1986, Sprig would have been one of the last surviving PPHS teachers from 1936. | 189
190: C | Ann | Meisenheimer | September 29th | John & Lisa's Family --Circa 1986 | (2 photos, above & below): Wilbur & Evadna babysit Brian while John & Lisa take a night out (Winter, 1986). "It was usually a night "well spent." I could aways count on ice cream or cookies, and a glass of Tang. Then I would pull out all the toys from the toy cupboard while they watched Dallas and Falcons Crest on TV. If I was lucky, they let me watch Johnny Carson," Brian later writes. | Time to go home: John & Lisa come to pick up Brian after an evening with his grandparents (Winter, 1986). | Karen with her parents at their 45th Wedding Anniversary celebration in Lindsberg, KS. (May 25, 1986). | Lisa, John, & Brian at home with baby Erica (October, 1986). | Lisa, getting ready to hand Erica over to Karen (Willie & Evadna's , 1986). | Lisa tries to rock Erica to sleep (John & Lisa's, 1986). | John & his newborn daughter (Hutchinson Hospital, 1986). | Lizzie takes a turn at rocking Erica (1986). | Evadna, Wilbur, Marguerite, Dwain, & Audra (seated) pose together during a party for Audra's 85th birthday in the family room (August, 1986). | Wilbur & Sara (on right) take a picture with John, Lisa, & baby Erica in the family room (1986). | Feeding & burping: Lisa works to keep little Erica from spitting up (Willie & Evadna's, 1986). | Snapshots
191: Elizabeth --Circa 1986 | Sara --Circa 1986 | Evadna in the front room with Erica & Brian (Christmas, 1986). | Wilbur & his third granddaughter, Erica (Christmas, 1986). | Elizabeth with her Grandma Evadna (1986). | Larry Kaufman (left) with his cousins, Joe & Jeff Kaufman (Kaufman Reunion, 1986). | Ed Kaufman with his wife Elaine (Kaufman Reunion, 1986). | The J.J. & Frances Kaufman Family (November, 1986). | Kaufman siblings: Lawrence, Herb, Evadna, & Ed (November, 1986). | Brian at home with his toy tee-pee (November, 1986). | Lisa shows off her Christmas gift (Willie & Evadna's, 1986). | 191
192: Audra Perry with her great- grandkids, Erica & Brian (1986). Audra passed away in January of 1988. She was 86 years old. | Brian & Erica --Circa 1987 | The Herb Kaufman Family (November, 1986) | The Ed Kaufman Family (minus Pete) (November, 1986). | The Lawrence Kaufman Family (November, 1986) | Lizzie, Connie (Sara's childhood best-friend), Sara, Erica, & Brian in the family room at Willie & Evadna's (1987). | Brian & Erica playing with John's childhood toys in the family room (1987). | Jim in the family room (1987). Jim was residing in Osborne, KS at the time. | Evadna celebrates her 69th birthday at home with John's family. Erica reaches for silverware behind her (1987). | Brian turns 4 (1987). The bear cake was his birthday cake of choice for a good number of years up until he turned 7. | Stu & Karen in the family room (1987). | Erica waits patiently for a bath (John & Lisa's, 1987). | Snapshots
193: Meisenheimer | Paul | July 5th | Paul B. Meisenheimer passed away in November of 1989. He was 98 years old. | The Youngquists --Circa 1988 | Aaron --Circa 1990 | Dave & Carole Utermark with Scott Hartman --Circa 1988 | Brian --Circa 1989 | Brian, Lisa, & Erica at home in the double-wide house (Summer, 1988). | Willie makes the front page of The Hutchinson News (April 6, 1989). | Brian & Erica in the front room (Christmas, 1988). | As diabetes eroded Evadna's mobility, Wilbur decided it would be best if they moved to an independent living cottage next to the Prairie Sunset Home in Pretty Prairie. Beginning in July of 1988, the Meisenheimer farm became John's place of residence. | Erica turns 3 (September, 1989). | Aaron on the floor of the family room (1989). | Aaron (Christmas, 1989). | Little mother: Erica and her baby brother (July, 1989). | Brian, Erica & Aaron at home in the family room (1990). | Aaron turns 1 (July, 1990). | Snapshots
194: Probably the only known photo of Willie & Evadna together with all three of John's kids (John & Lisa's, 1989). | (right): Newspaper clipping from the May 21st, 1991 issue of the Ninnescah Valley News, announcing Wilbur & Evadna's 50th Wedding Anniversary. | "We are like two love birds!" --Evadna, in reflection on their 50 years of marriage | Jim finds amusement in watching his nieces and nephews open their Christmas gifts. (John & Lisa's, 1991). | Five year old Erica poses by her "kitty" birthday cake while Evadna looks on. (September, 1991). | After Brian & Erica's performance at the First Mennonite Church's Christmas Eve service, John brings the family over to Willie & Evadna's cottage in Pretty Prairie to celebrate (1990). | Lizzie shows Lisa her jewelry while her mother, Karen, unwraps her own gift from John's family. (Christmas at John & Lisa's, 1991). | Brian watches as his grandfather blows out his birthday candles. Willie was turning 73 (February, 1992). | John, goofing around with his kids at the kitchen table (1991). | Erica, Brian, & Aaron playing Dominoes at Willie & Evadna's cottage in Pretty Prairie (1990). | John & Lisa's Family --Circa 1990
195: Beyond the Sunset | May 27th 1918 ~ March 28th, 1992 | Evadna | Remembering | In a letter, dated June 5th, 1991, Evadna writes to John's family: "I wish there was a better word than "thanks" to express our appreciation for all the nice things you did for us at making our anniversary such a great day for Grandpa and I...God has proven again that He will take care of us if we will just trust and obey and ask for His will to be done." Diabetes wore Evadna down the last decade of her life. As the disease weakened her body, she became prone to a number of strokes and serious falls. During the Christmas of 1987, and then again in 1991 Evadna fell and broke her hip bone. Both injuries hampered her mobility, especially the latter. Diabetes, of course, did not help with the healing process any. In the months surrounding their 50th anniversary celebration, Evadna's health rapidly eroded. Following several strokes, Willie moved her into Prairie Sunset Home, but unfortunately things did not improve. After a number of stays in the Hutchinson Hospital's ICU, the family had her transfered to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. Knowing that her time was coming to a close, Evadna confided to Lisa that one of her biggest regrets was that she would never really get to see any of her grandkids grow up, especially little Aaron (who was 2 years old at the time). She also expressed concern for her family's salvation. John and Lisa recall that in those final months, her beckoning plea was for each one of her brothers, children, and grandchildren to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. On the morning of March 28th, 1992, Evadna passed away due to complications from diabetes. She was 73 years old. | (above): The index card of Willie's handwritten notes for Evadna's funeral arrangements. (below, center): The original copy of the "Miss Me" poem read at her funeral.
196: Sara writes, "When I was old enough to drive, [Grandpa] took his turn teaching me. You see, Grandpa thought everybody needed to know how to drive a stick-shift, and he was determined to teach his granddaughter, too. Unfortunately, he had to finally concede that maybe everybody doesn't need to learn." | Wilbur & Karen pose with Sara as she celebrates her high school graduation (May, 1992). | Sara's Senior Year ~1991-1992 | John & Lisa's Family --November 1992 | Celebrating Sara: Stu, Jim, Karen, Sara, Lizzie (holding Junior the dog), John, Aaron, & Willie pose in Stu & Karen's living room in Tulsa (May, 1992). | Brian, Erica, & Aaron, celebrating Aaron's 3rd birthday. Lisa made a "train" cake for him that year (July, 1992). | Wilbur surrounded by John's kids at his cottage in Pretty Prairie (1992). | Erica & Aaron build a snowman on the south side of the house (1992). A story that is often talked about amongst the family is the fact that Erica did most of Aaron's talking during his formative years. Early on, she proved to be quite the loyal and protective older sister. | Snapshots | 196
197: After Evadna | 1993-2013 | Life | Chapter | Six
198: ...A Second Start | Willie & Millie | July 10th, 1993
199: Mildred | Remembering | Mildred (Albright) Schrag Meisenheimer was born on August 18th, 1921 to Jonas J. and Ida Albright near Pretty Prairie Kansas. For a number of years, the Albright family lived on a farm west of town. Mildred was the oldest out of all her sisters, followed by Erma (1925) & Verdene (1932). Ida also gave birth to two other daughters, Letha (1928) and Orpha (1933), but both died in infancy. Mildred began her freshman year Pretty Prairie High School as Wilbur and Evadna were beginning their senior year. During this time, she met Emil Schrag, who eventually became her steady boyfriend. "He was dating another girl at the time, but they had a fight, so he then started pursuing me," Mildred later recalled. Two years after she graduated high school, the two were married on January 31, 1941. | A Bethel College graduate, Emil had taught at a variety of country schools around the Pretty Prairie area before marrying Mildred. During the couple's early years, Emil tried his hand at farming, but much to their dismay, it proved to be a trial with one failure after another. In 1945, Emil and Mildred moved from their home in Castleton, Kansas to Pretty Prairie where he setup a cabinet shop. Mildred found work at the Pretty Prairie Times. Two years later, Emil resumed his life long niche when he was offered a position as a school teacher for Pretty Prairie. In the fall of 1950, Mildred started work as the Pretty Prairie High School secretary. "In those years, my paycheck was very meager...after groceries, there really wasn't much left," she explained. Never the less, with each passing year, she grew into the position. By 1965, Mildred had become the secretary for the school superintendent at the central office. In remembering her various bosses, she often recalled how she loved to serving under Principal George Highfill during the late 1950s /early 1960s. "He was strictly business. The students were made to dress formally, and boys were sent home for not wearing a belt," Mildred added. During her central office years, there was one superintendent who never played by the rules. She had more trouble tracking him down than anything else, being that he was always off somewhere drinking coffee and play cards. In her latter years, while Mildred was a resident of Prairie Sunset Home, a number of former students from the '50s and '60s would drop in on her from time to time to pay their respects, and reminisce about the good old days at PPHS. "Come again, would ya?!", as she would say to family and friends. | Emil served in the Pretty Prairie School District as both teacher and coach for a little over three decades. But by the early 1980s, he began developing some serious health issues. His doctors encouraged him to retire, and so he reluctantly did. "He loved teaching, and would have continued if he could," Mildred later recalled. She, herself, retired in 1984 so she could better take care of him. On May 21, 1986, Emil passed away at the age of 67. Shortly thereafter, Mildred found herself with a major health problem of her own --a heart attack that nearly took her life. With this in mind, she made plans to move into the newly built independent living cottages on the east edge of town, in the summer of 1988. Wilbur and Evadna became Mildred's next door neighbors, sharing an adjoining two door garage with her. During the months following Evadna's passing, Wilbur and Mildred became better acquainted, spending time talking in between taking out trash to the garage. One of their inquisitive neighbors across the cul-de-sac noticed this, and loved to make mention of these "secret dates". Soon it became official around the community that they were seeing each other. After marrying Willie, Mildred mentioned that she did not want any of Karen or John's kids calling her "Grandma", thinking that she could never fill Evadna's shoes. But in truth, over the next 20 years, she would be more of a grandmother than she ever could imagine! | Take a memo: Mildred at work as secretary under Pretty Prairie USD 311 Superintendent Dannie Clodfelter in 1968. | The Jonas J. Albright Family. (l to r): Jonas, Verdene, Ida, Erma, & Mildred. | The Albrights (circa, 1922). ~ Ida, Mildred, & Jonas | Mr. & Mrs. Emil Schrag (Circa, 1972). | Our | (1921-2014) | 199
200: (4 photos): The wedding ceremony and reception of Wilbur & Mildred on July 10, 1993. The ceremony was held at the First Mennonite Church while the Wagon Wheel Cafe in Pretty Prairie hosted the reception. | Wilbur captures a rare photo of Mildred eating ice cream (Willie & Mildred's Honeymoon, 1993). The joke amongst the family was that Mildred by nature would prefer seconds on Lisa's potato casserole over a bowl of ice cream. | Mildred snaps a shot of Wilbur at Yellowstone (1993). The newlyweds, as part of their honeymoon took a trip up to Wyoming and through Black Hills of South Dakota (1993). | Wilbur's picture of Mildred at Mt. Rushmore (Wilbur & Mildred's Honeymoon, 1993). | The happy couple on their honeymoon (1993). | "Would you believe this nasty machine ate all my nickels?" --Mildred's original caption for this photo (Willie & Mildred's Honeymoon, 1993).
201: The Youngquists --Circa 1994 | Erica helps Aaron unwrap his birthday gifts in the front room (July, 1993). | Karen & Jim celebrating Christmas at John & Lisa's (1993). | Stu talks to Mildred as she cleans dishes in Willie's kitchen (1993). In the weeks after returning from their honeymoon, Wilbur moved into Mildred's cottage next door. | Lisa in her kitchen (Christmas, 1993). | Brian on the front porch with Curly the dog (Summer, 1993). | The Riverton School Reunion (1993). (l to r): Dale Coffey, Dwain, Opal Veazey, Wilbur, Ruby O'Mara, Ralph Freeman, Cleo Chiles, & Roy Coffey. | Lizzie in the front room (Christmas, 1993). | Aaron watching TV at Wilbur & Mildred's cottage (1994). | Lisa, John, & Karen with Sara, Erica, Aaron, Brian, & Liz out in front of Wilbur & Mildred's cottage in Pretty Prairie (Labor Day, 1994). | Mildred visiting Sara at her Oklahoma State University dorm room (1994). | Lisa & Mildred (1993). After a family gathering at John's place, Lisa invited Willie & Mildred to stay for dinner. "No, I think we'll go home and eat," she replied. As the couple were getting in their car to leave, Lisa went outside to feed the family's farm cats. "You want to eat something!", Lisa yelled out to the cats. Mildred, not quite in the car, yells back: "No, I said we will go home and eat!"
202: Dick, Jeanie, Kelly, & Brian Reeves --Circa early 1990s | Erica --Circa 1993-1994 | Brian --Circa 1994-1995 | Aaron entertains Liz with his toys while Erica reclines with her doll on the couch (Wilbur & Mildred's Cottage, 1994). | Mildred at work in her kitchen, getting ready to make a streusel cake (1994). | Aaron shows Mildred one of his puzzles (Thanksgiving at John & Lisa's, 1994). Though Mildred refrained the title of "grandma", she learned the ropes quite quickly. Early on, Aaron looked to her as "grandma" since he never fully had the opportunity to know Evadna. By the time of her passing in October of 2014, all five of her step-grandchildren found her to be an irreplaceable part of their upbringing. | Wilbur & Mildred, on a visit to Tulsa to see Stu & Karen (1994). | Jim , Karen, Lizzie, & Stu outside Willie & Mildred's cottage (Summer, 1994). | Lisa sits in the front room, awaiting her turn to unwrap a gift (Christmas, 1994). | Jim amusingly watches his nieces and nephews unwrap their presents (Christmas at Stu & Karen's, 1995). | John, Mildred, Karen, & Wilbur at a family gathering at Dick & Jeanie Reeve's home in Wichita (Christmas, 1994). | Wilbur & Mildred chat with Dwain & Marguerite at Dick & Jeanie's (Christmas, 1994). | Mildred, Karen, Brian Reeves, Brian M., Lizzie, Aaron, & Erica (seated) (Christmas at Dick & Jeanie's, 1994). | Ed, Elaine, & Kathy Kaufman at their home in Derby, KS (1994). Elaine was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease during the 1980s and had to give up school teaching. Sadly, the stress of it all took quite the toll on Ed. He passed away on August 7th, 2001. Elaine followed three years later.
203: Erica smiles for Wilbur as she practices at her keyboard in the front room (November, 1996). Erica writes, "Grandpa was proud of his grandchildren and always took an interest in whatever it was we were doing or anything we were interested in." | Wilbur directs the family how to pose while Stu clowns around (Sara's OSU graduation, 1996). "Respectfully, I never called him Willie," Stu fondly recalls. "He was always Wilbur to me." | Wilbur & John's kids at a Meisenheimer Reunion in Kingman, KS (1996). | Aaron playing on the east side of the house. Curly the dog watches in the background (1995). | The Youngquists on a visit to Willie & Mildred's (1995). | John's family pose by the sign on the south side of the house (1995). | Brian shows his mother his new puzzle globe (Christmas at Stu & Karen's, 1995). | Celebrating Erica's birthday (John & Lisa's, 1995). | Sara graduates from OSU (May, 1996). (l to r): Karen, Dorothy Youngquist (in wheelchair), Liz, Mildred, Stu, Brian, Aaron (by the car) & Stu's sister Sharon. | Mildred, Willie, Stu, & Karen celebrating Thanksgiving at John & Lisa's (1996). | Aaron, Erica, & Brian at home (Thanksgiving, 1996). | Lisa in her kitchen, preparing the Thanksgiving left-overs for those who are still hungry (1996).
204: Elizabeth's Senior Year ~ 1997-1998 | Celebrating Mildred's Birthday: Stu, Karen, Liz, Lisa, Aaron, Erica, John, Brian & Mildred (August, 1997). | Sara, home for the holidays (Christmas, 1996). | Aaron & Erica on their bikes on the east side of the house (Summer, 1997). | John in the front room (Christmas, 1997). | Dwain & Marguerite and Wilbur & Mildred celebrate their cousin, Lenora (Baker) Woods' [in center] 75th birthday (1996). | Mildred, in discovering Erica's love for cats, gives her a ceramic one for Christmas (1997). | Jim tries out his father's new cam-corder (Christmas in Tulsa, 1997) | Karen with John's family outside Willie & Mildred's cottage (December, 1998). | Jim left Osborne, KS in 1994 to work as part of AmeriCorps in Salina, KS. Then in the late-1990s the USDA moved him to St. Paul, MN. As shown here, Jim stands outside his St. Paul apartment with Willie, Mildred, & John's family (Summer, 1998). | Mildred & Wilbur next to the General Jackson showboat in Nashville, TN (1998). Within their 20 years of marriage, the couple traveled to 48 of the 50 states. Mildred would later admit that their trip to Hawaii was her favorite. | Brian with Magoo the cat in the front room (Christmas, 1998). Erica always wanted a house cat, but she had to first convince her father to let her have one. In teaching it how to use the toilet, her dreams came true. Magoo would stick with the family over the next 16 years.
205: All Work & Some Play: John & his kids goofing off in one of his sunflower fields (Summer, 1999). Brian served as John's farm hand from his Jr. High years up until the time he graduated college. After that, Aaron was old enough to take on the task. | Wilbur & Mildred --Christmas 2001 | "Oh Jim!": Jim marries Minnesota native Carol Gage (1999). | Sara and Lizzie (Tulsa, 1999). After college, Sara became apart of the Ford Motor Company. Working her way up the latter within, Sara would follow the company to Plano, TX, Dearborn, MI, Greenville, SC, & Tampa, FL. | Willie & Mildred travel to Europe in May of 1999. Shown here, the couple cruises on the Rhine River. | Lisa, John, & Sara on the banks of Lake Superior. Erica gathers shells in the background. The Wilbur Meisenheimer family took a camping trip up to northern Minnesota in the Summer of 2000. | Mildred with Carol & Jim (Roseville, MN, 1999). | Brian, Liz, Mildred, Stu, & Sara playing a game of Pitch (Meisenheimer Family MN camping trip, 2000) | Wilbur & his family pose outside their Lake Superior cabin (Summer, 2000). | John, Karen, & Wilbur (Willie & Mildred's cottage, 1999). | John, Lisa, Brian, Erica, & Aaron (Willie & Mildred's cottage, 1999). | Jim gets tickled over the gift Aaron gave him for Christmas. Mildred looks on (December, 2000). | 205
206: Dick Reeves, Bob M., & Dave Utermark (Christmas, 2004). After retiring from the Army in 1986, Bob worked for the U.S. Postal Service for many years until the progression of Parkinson's Disease forced his retirement. Bob passed away on July 17, 2012. | Brian, decked out in his high school cap & gown, poses in the front room (May 2002). Brian writes, "I was quite young when Grandpa first put me behind the wheel of a pickup. He drove me out to the middle of the pasture and said, "Have at it!" He then would sit beside me and coach me all the way. Next came the wheat truck which was a bit more challenging since it was stick-shift. When I turned 18, I gave Uncle Jim and him a shock when I announced that I had registered as a Republican. "You know Reagan did nothing for the farmer," Grandpa would often tease me. Years later, when I told him that I had the opportunity to see the Kansas Governor (a Republican), he just chuckled and said, "Nice looking guy isn't he....well don't let him fool you!"" | Brian's Senior Year ~ 2001-2002 | Erica's Senior Year ~ 2004-2005 | Jim, Wilbur, Karen, & John (Christmas in Tulsa, 2001) | The Wilbur Meisenheimer Family (Christmas, 2001). | In 2003, Stu & Karen bought land outside Claremore, Oklahoma and decided to build a house. Pictured here, Karen shows Mildred & Wilbur the work in progress. | Sara shows Karen, Brian, & Mildred pictures of her dog, Leo (Thanksgiving, 2005). | Wilbur & Brian (leaning against the car) watch Erica & John play Hillbilly Golf on the front lawn (Thanksgiving, 2005). | Sara & Leo the dog (2004). | Valedictorian of her class, Erica receives her high school diploma from her father (May, 2005). John was the President of the Pretty Prairie School Board for a number of years. | Dona & Herb Kaufman in front of their home near Castleton, KS (2002). Dona passed away two years later on October 5th, 2005.
207: Herb Kaufman, the last of Evadna's brothers, with his granddaughters in 2009. [l to r]: Kristen Kaufman, Kylie Berry, Herb, Katie Berry, & Kayla Kaufman. Herb passed away on September 23rd, 2010. | Dwain & Marguerite's family were invited by Willie's family to celebrate Wilbur's 90th birthday at the old Pretty Prairie Lumber Yard in February, 2009. | Aaron's Senior Year ~ 2007-2008 | Erica with Jesse McCallister (2008) | Aaron delivers his speech at his high school graduation (May, 2008) | John & Lisa pose with Brian on his graduation day at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri (May, 2006). Erica began attending SBU in 2005, and Aaron followed in 2008. | Erica & John on the front lawn with Lisa's young 2nd cousin, Shawn Luehrs (May, 2008). | Stu during a visit to John & Lisa's (Thanksgiving, 2008). | Mildred & Jim at John & Lisa's (Christmas, 2007). | Christmas in the family room: John, Karen, & Jim sit and listen various family discussions at the the table (Christmas, 2007). | Erica's boyfriend, Jesse McCallister smiles at the camera during Wilbur's birthday party in the front room (February, 2009). Seated on the couch are Dave Utermark, Dwain, & Willie. | Jeanie Reeves, Brian & Dave Utermark at Willie's birthday party (February, 2009). | Dwain watches as his little brother gets ready to blow out his candles (February, 2009). The evening was filled with stories about the two brothers' mischievous escapades as boys. With each tale came Dwain's notorious tagline: "...and Willie was driving!". | Carole Utermark, Karen, Stu, Jeanie Reeves, Marguerite, Mildred, & Lizzie in the front room (Wilbur's 90th, 2009).
208: Sara & Liz with their grandfather in his cottage (February 2009). Sara writes, "As an adult, I realize my Grandpa was the wisest man I know (sorry dad!)!! To this day, his wisdom amazes me. He could talk current events, politics, sports – he even kept up with my OSU Cowboys, which I’m sure wasn’t by his choice. Oh, and I can’t forget his faithful viewing of Dallas (he knew who shot JR). " | Wilbur & Lisa's father (Erich Schmidt) give their congrats to Jesse after the wedding ceremony (May, 2010). | Mildred (on left) looks on as Karen & Jim talk with their cousin, Jeanie Reeves (Willie's 90th, 2009). | Time to cut the cake (Willie's 90th at the Lumberyard, 2009). | Lisa & Marguerite (February, 2009). | Carole Utermark (February, 2009). | Another shot from Willie's birthday party in front room, featuring Karen, Stu, Jeanie Reeves, Marguerite, Mildred, & Liz (2009). | John gives away Erica on her wedding day at Union Hall Baptist Church in El Dorado Springs, MO (May, 2010). | Mr. & Mrs. Jesse McCallister crossing Main Street in El Dorado Springs, MO (May, 2010). To the left is Carl's Gun Shop, owned by Jesse's grandfather & parents. | Lisa helps Erica get dressed up for her wedding ceremony (May, 2010). | Lizzie, Carol Gage, & Karen sit in the lobby of Carl's Gun Shop (Erica & Jesse's Wedding Day, 2010). | John, Lisa, Erica, Brian, & Aaron (Erica & Jesse's Wedding Day, 2010). | Dwain gives the newlyweds a piece of advice during their wedding reception in Hutchinson, KS (June, 2010). Dwain passed way six months later on December 24th, 2010. | Jesse + Erica (May 23rd, 2010)
209: One final party: Willie celebrates John's 60th Birthday with Jim & Karen (October, 2013). It would be the last time the family would gather before his passing one month later. | Willie gives Karen a tour of Mildred's & his new assisted living quarters at the Prairie Sunset Home. Stu looks on (December, 2012). | Willie at the Meisenheimer farm with Lizzie & Sara. (Dec. 2012). | Mildred, Erica, Jesse, & Willie at John & Lisa's (Dec. 2012). Erica writes, "When I think of Grandpa, I will always picture him with a smile on his face and his eyes twinkling like someone familiar with mischief. His optimism and good humor were apparent in all situations...His quick wit was complemented by his love for learning and keeping up-to-date on current events and even trying to understand new technology." | Sara, Wilbur, Karen, Mildred, & Liz looking about the new assisted living wing of the Prairie Sunset Home (Dec. 2012). | John, Wilbur, & Aaron (August, 2011). Erica writes, "I remember that the summer I worked at the Co-op, he would often walk all the way from his cottage to my work in the mornings to visit me and check the wheat price (Keep in mind, he was 89!). He’d have a cup of coffee with the other old guys before leaving and I could always overhear him telling them all about me." | Willie & Mildred celebrate Christmas with John's family & Erich & Viola Schmidt (back, right) (2012). | In early 2013, Erica & Jesse briefly became missionaries to Athens, Greece. Aaron made a trip out to see them in February of that year. The couple took him to see the historic sites including the Olympic Stadium (as shown here). | Willie sits as the head of the table as he and his family partake in pizza & ice cream. Even when he was at his sickest during those last few months, he never missed out on ice cream. Ice cream for every meal was the Meisenheimer way. | Erica, Brian, & Jesse pose with Aaron after his SBU Graduation (May, 2012). | John & Lisa's Family ~ Fall 2010 | 209