Friday, April 20, 2018

You can Support the Sutton Downtown Restoration Project


Join your friends and neighbors; help save our unique downtown business district.


Sutton south side business district. Can you date the photo?

The Sutton Community Foundation is administering a fund for the Sutton Downtown Restoration Project. A brief description appears on the "PROJECTS" page. And most importantly, the "HOW TO DONATE" page offers the opportunity to become a part of this worthwhile effort to preserve Sutton's unique downtown.



The north side, again, can you date the photo? The photos were taken the same day.

Thanks in advance from the Downtown Restoration Committee for your consideration.




Monday, March 5, 2018

NYTmes Magazine 1937 Sod House Photo

Among material dropped off from the Sheridan family was a yellowed copy of the New York Times Book Review section from  September 19, 1937 reviewing The Sod-House Frontier by Everett Dick.


The photo was credited to the Nebraska State Historical Society in the New York Times Book Review section in 1937.


Professor Dick was on the faculty of Union College in Lincoln. His surname raises some interest as there were a couple of "Dick" families among the Germans from Russia in Sutton.


The photo deserves some study. First, the team and wagon on the roof/prairie are conspicuously posed. The two animals constituted an appreciable portion of the fellow's net worth.


Second, the annex, lean-to, summer kitchen or whatever to the right of the house is something I'd not seen before. It looks to be a really useful and valuable addition to a soddy. Especially the boy's swing hanging from the primary beam. Gotta love it.


The house is technically a dugout with soddy-like exposed construction


These photos tip us off as to what the family deemed to be important to them. The team is foremost. Mom and Dad are seated in chairs brought out for the photo shoot and their is a spare to the left just in case you missed it. The women, Mom and two daughters, perhaps near, or young teens are dressed up well. Dad's work clothes are elsewhere. 


The house is technically a dugout with soddy-like exposed construction.


The front of the house faces somewhere between east and near south, depending on the time of day. We all should have sufficient imagination to get some feel for what the family's life must have been like.


The article doesn't give a clue as to the location of the dugout.




Monday, February 26, 2018

1918 Car List from Willard Batteries

The Fairfield Auxiliary newspaper was running an ad in February, 1918 for W. A. Lewis & Co. who must have been the owners of the Willard Service Station. They advertised the Willard batteries listing the auto manufacturers who used Willard batteries naming well over 100 car manufacturers.


So, here is that list...



That's fun. There were more than that - list anymore car manufacturers that you know, ideally American made in 1918 but knock yourselves out...


Adding "modern" models - related trivia would be the sponsors of the Ed Sullivan Show - Plymouth, Dodge, Desoto, Chrysler and the Exclusive Imperial all by Chrysler Corporation


G. M. matched those five with Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac. 


And then remember Ford Motors had Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Continental - may have been a Lincoln thing, and they did that Edsel experiment with the grill that was shackled by a bad nickname.


Packard, Hudson, and lots others. The Maxwell didn't make that list - it was a contemporary at least.  This has gotten out of hand........



March 1943 - 50 Clay County Men Inducted

March 1943 saw the army build-up call for 50 men from Clay County. In an article at the same time, an Army official was quoted as saying the country would have to reverse the policy of not drafting fathers if a 10,000,000-man army was to be a reality. 



Do you have anything to add about any of these men...if so, please post a comment below...

Sunday, February 25, 2018

1993 Spring Ranch, Tom Jones and Elizabeth Taylor

This is kind of a fun thing we ran across while writing the CCN column. Spring Ranch was getting ready to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Oregon Trail. Their fundraising scheme was to contact singer Tom Jones and actress Elizabeth Taylor to get publicity photos to auction off.

Do you know why they did this...  answer below



Left to Right Joni Jones, Hastings Convention and Visitors Bureau; Robert Siemsen; Robert Matticks; Kelly Kahman, field representative for Nebraska Department of Economic Development; Becky Matticks; Marion Fike, Jr.; Sonnie Fike and Rick Matticks.

The major historical story about the Spring Ranche area is the 1885 lynching of two of their local citizens, one named Elizabeth Taylor and her brother Tom Jones.





Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Invention of the IRS Form 1099

Lincoln had implemented a federal income tax in 1861 to pay for the Civil War and an income tax was collected during the 1890's.


The 16th Amendment was passed in 1913 to clear constitutional issues with such a tax and the first 1040's came soon after.


The features of the income tax that we know today were quickly part of the system. This early 1918 article warns people receiving money from others that their payers would be telling the federal government about that money. The IRS Form 1099 was the culprit.



World War I Sacrifices in Clay County

County newspapers played a big role in preparing citizens for the sacrifices needed to fight World War I and to sustain support for the war. Neutrality had been a strong political force keeping the U. S. out of the European war. Wilson ran for re-election largely on the slogan, "He Kept Us out of War!"





The Federal Food Administration imposed price controls on many products to prevent businesses from ripping off consumers as the war made many commodities and other products scarce and subject to sharp inflation.




Nebraska Senator Gilbert Hitchcock made this pitch for buying was stamps to his niece in Omaha:





"A Nickel a Day wins the War" might be the point of this pitch.





The U. S. time in WWI was relatively short so the sacrifices of Americans paled before the experiences of Europeans.





Winning WWI with Chickens

This Harvard business aimed to win the war with chickens.



The major incubator business in Clay County was the Old Trusty Company in Clay Center where M. M. Johnson employed more than 200 people sending incubators and other poultry products across the country.


Emil Ochsner manufactured a smaller number of incubators in Sutton and we've found evidence that the wife of Sutton tavern owner Tim Hartnett made a few of them.


And we found a newspaper item that the B & H Incubator Company in Fairfield had shipped a 120-egg incubator to Greece. B & H were fellows named Bayles and Hayes.


Here we have the ad of Higgins Hardware in Harvard though there is no indication that this product was also manufactured in Clay County.

Why Towns Grow

This article appeared in The Clay County News on January 14, 1993, an except from the Freeman (South Dakota) Courier from about one year earlier.



Sunday, January 28, 2018

The King Newspapers in Clay County 1946-1968.

This article appeared in The Clay County News on January 25, 1968 marking the anniversary of the King Newspapers in the county.


H. C. King and his son Roy King published The Edgar Sun, The Clay County Sun, The Harvard Courier and The Fairfield Auxiliary at various times before consolidating all of the county newspapers into The Clay County News.


This article also relates the King family's version of an episode with a competing paper, the Clay County Leader.


And, not to be picky, but my math would suggest to me that the Clay County News was completing its 22nd year at this point and entering its 23rd rather than the statement in the headline.





Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Sutton Register newspaper vanishes - 1942

Multiple newspapers in a town was common in the early days. Sutton lost that distinction 75 years ago this week when Ronald Furse of The Sutton News purchased The Sutton Register from the Brown family.



Last Mail Train in Clay County - 1967


The Burlington railroad played a big part in the siting and the development of Sutton. Mail service and passenger service were crucial to the folks in Sutton. Until 1967.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Letter from Harvard Man Gassed in WWI

We included this item in our column for the December 13th issue of The Clay County News with the note that we'd have the complete article here:

from the column's 1917 section:

"John T. Johnson of Harvard, son of Robert and Sara Johnson wrote his parents from a hospital in Birmingham, England after he, “…got my ration of gas Oct. 31 and the night of Nov. 2nd”. He was slightly affected in the left lung and had a peculiar sensation in his chest but said, “it’s all nicely under control.” He had been in the army for several years at various postings. His company was in Australia in 1915 when the entire crew enlisted in the British Army. They were in the Australian Imperial Forces serving in Egypt, the Dardanelles and in France where he encountered the poisonous gas. (That’s a brief summary of the letter – check the Sutton Museum blog for it all.)"

And the full article from The Harvard Courier newspaper of December 14, 1917:




Friday, December 8, 2017

Lyric Theater went dark, 50 years ago

From The Clay County News, December 14, 1967:



1942 9-State Blackout Test

Nighttime bombers posed a huge threat to Britain and their answer to protect cities was to institute "blackouts" to hide the cities from bomber crews.


Who knew how deep into the interior of the U. S. the threat might reach? The blackout proclamation appeared in The Sutton News, December 10, 1942.



The Test results appeared in The Sutton News a week later on December 17, 1942:


From our Clay County News column of December 13, 2017:


Wartime blackout procedures were based on British practices begun on September 1, 1939 immediately before the outbreak of WWII. These conditions continued until September 1944 when Britain relaxed to a “Dim-out” set of rules. Full lighting was restored in Britain in April 1945 and on April 30th, Big Ben was lit after 5 years and 123 days of darkness.

War impacts the culture. Britain’s blackout inspired a popular song first recorded by Vaughn Monroe. Though a good rendition, I prefer Vera Lynn’s version, both available on youtube.com of course. Incredible lyrics matched to a great song. Young folks unfamiliar with the song and the melody do need to fix that. The opening stanza:

When the lights go on again all over the world
And the boys are home again all over the world
And rain or snow is all that may fall from the skies above
A kiss won't mean "Goodbye" but "Hello to love"

My preferred rendition:

Vera Lynn, "When the Lights go on Again (All Over the World)

Vaughn Monroe was first to record the song:

Vaughn Monroe, "When the Lights go on Again (All Over the World)

And then there is Vera Lynn's concert in 1990 at age 73. She was born March 17, 1917 and is now 100 years old: