Monday, September 30, 2013

A Movie Camera from the days of hand's-on, roll your own tech.

Early movie cameras, and still cameras, came with a range of manual settings forcing photographers to know what they were doing. What a concept!

The Buffalo Skull story in Sutton's beginnings.

High on the wall in the front porch of the Sutton Museum hangs an old buffalo skull. Why? And is it really a buffalo skull?

We have Max & Regina Leininger to thank directly for our buffalo skull though our real thanks go to Nellie Sheridan for this Sutton artifact and a whole lot more.

The details of the story of the buffalo skull as gleaned from the several, and sometimes conflicting accounts of the early days of Sutton:

Occidental Hotel Sign

The sign for the Occidental Hotel came into the possession of the Ralph Vauck family who generously donated it to the museum for all to either remember or wonder "what the heck is that."

The Occidental Hotel was a fixture on Sutton's south side for many years.

Sutton Dundee Castle No. 11

Artifacts from the basement - whatever could this be?

Theater group volunteers unearthed a number of distinctive badges that date from a long-forgotten portion of Sutton's history. A bit of research has fleshed out the story which will appear in an upcoming issue of Sutton Life Magazine.

Meanwhile, has anyone ever heard of someone finding bagpipes and a kilt in their basement?

Badge from the days of Sutton's Royal Highlanders

Souvenir Savings Bank from City State Bank

The Sutton Museum is the fortunate beneficiary of the generosity of residents who find interesting items in the basement or attic. Sometimes items come from out of town.

The Anna Bemis Palmer Museum in York had this item in its inventory before curators decided it would make more sense in Sutton.

City State Bank coin bank
Businesses have given gifts to their customers for a long time. These items commonly show up among the stuff in a house especially when heirs are clearing out Mom and Dad's house.

Ironically, businesses apparently almost never keep a collection of their old gifts - it's a hoot to take one of these back to the business and show it off. Most employees are too young to remember but occasionally someone will recall having seen the item before - such was the story at Cornerstone.

Homesteading in Clay County, Nebraska

We have posted a study on the process of acquiring a homestead using four of Clay County's early settlers as case studies.

The study was done by Kenneth Nelson, a 1963 graduate of Clay Center and educated at Nebraska Wesleyan and Oklahoma State University. More properly identified as Dr. Nelson, Ken had a career with the Department of Agriculture. He is retired and lives in Manassas, Virginia.

Formatting from the original document is not entirely compatible with Blogspot - work continues.

The Management

Friday, September 6, 2013

1930-1931 Clay County Rural School Map

Below is the map of rural schools in Clay County, Nebraska during the 1930-1931 school year. The red dots identify the location of each school with the district number in black. Red lines outline each school district, typically from seven to nine square miles. Essentially every farmstead was within two miles of a school.

Note that there were no district numbers for five schools surrounding Harvard. The posting following this one identifies 1913 teachers listing five rural schools in District #11, the Harvard schools. Those five were called "N.W." "N.E." "S.E." "S.W." and "S.C." that is, Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and South-central Harvard schools and can be found represented by red dots in those directions from the town of Harvard.

Note also that several schools were destined to be swallowed up by the Hastings Naval Ammunition Depot - see the second map below for that story.

1930-1931 Rural School Map from the Clay County, Nebraska Educational Directory,
Fannie R. Haylett, County Superintendent.

The 1953-1954 Clay County rural school map reflects the configuration of county schools immediately prior to the major consolidation efforts in 1954 and subsequent years. 

Several school districts disappeared into the U. S. Naval Ammunition Depot during World War II. The 1946-1947 map showed that Districts # 33, 34 and 60 held on briefly before dwindling from the loss of portions of their districts and kids.

It also appears that only the Northwest Harvard rural school survived of the five Harvard rural schools with the others losing land, and pupils to the Naval Depot and to Harvard Air Base.

1953-1954 Rural School Map from the Clay County, Nebraska Educational Directory,
Mary W. Rippeteau, County Superintendent.

Rural school districts were not only the educational centers for farm kids but were the social centers for small rural neighborhoods of up to a dozen farm families. School districts gave isolated farm families a group to identify with forming close relationships that spilled over to shared farm equipment and labor, women's clubs, card parties, etc. How often did schoolmates in rural schools become spouses?

Clay County Teachers - 1913-1914 School Year

The Harvard Courier newspaper of September 13, 1913 listed these rural teachers for Clay County.

Education was a young lady's business; it looks like there were no more than five or six men in this list.