Harvest Tales - Ford County
Both of my grandparents homesteaded. My father's dad came here in 1885. He had five young children. My dad was the oldest. Then my mother's parents came when she was four. They came in 1886, and both homesteaded southwest of Dodge, about 15 to 20 miles down southwest of here. . . . My dad's folks came from Missouri, and my mother's folks came from Iowa. . . .
When they first came out here a lot of them became discouraged. You see, they had farmed an entirely different type of farming than you did in these wide open, treeless prairies. They had much more rain back there. . . . When they came out here and tried to raise corn and things like they did back there, it just didn't work. And many of them became discouraged. They just couldn't make it, these hot dry winds burned their corn. And it wasn't until . . . the Mennonites from the Ukraine brought this hard red turkey wheat. It was a winter wheat. And that worked so much better than the corn, because you see, they planted it in the fall, and it had a start, an early spring start. And it could be harvested before the hot, dry weather started in. And corn, of course, you plant it in the spring and it's just maturing at the time that it begins to get hot, and it burns it up quite a bit. . . .
You know, one time I went to school back in Eastern Kansas, and it's so pretty back there, all trees and everything. And I said to my dad, "Why don't you move back there". . . . And he said, "Sis, I can have five crop failures and in ten years I can be way ahead of the fellow that's had a good crop back there every year."
Lola Crum also submitted Harvest Photos.