in Misc. Diary Entry

February 26, 1934: Cow-chip heat

1934, February 26, Monday

Was real cold in night, 24 below after sun-rise, bright, and ground is covered with snow. My throat hurt all night and yet to-day and felt miserable all over, only played solitaire, read magazines, played pitch in forenoon with Maggie against Fritz and Ben. While Maggie got dinner Will and I played them and in p.m. Maggie and I played rummy and again after supper with Fritz and Will. Maggie got meals and all the necessary work. Fritz gave the stock hay from east end of big stack and alfalfa. Ben, Fritz and Will cut wood after dinner. Ben took a Red-Cross quilt home for he got so cold in bed last night, had to get up at 4 a.m. and build a fire. He burns cow-chips so not much heat at that. Noble Moore Jr went by to the store and back home again. The temperature never got more than 12 above but sun shone bright, was hard on one’s eyes.

  1. Ben Clausen has been hanging around quite a bit this winter. His farm is just across the Keyapaha River from the H-T Ranch.

    This winter is on the cusp of the “dirty-thirties” in this area. Ben’s property was extremely sandy. During the 30’s a substantial portion of his property blew into sand dunes. My family acquired this property later. When I was a young child in the 1950’s we occasionally would look for arrowheads on the sand dunes on this property. We referred to it as go-back land, a reference to farm land which had been allowed to return to native pasture. Much of this land never did properly return to the original native species.

    Sometime in the early 1960’s, my father and uncle put this property under a Soil Conservation Service Great Plains contract. That contract called for planting native grasses on most of it and a significant grove of evergreen trees, on the steepest part of it. I have a Conservation Service photo of my father with some of these young trees.

    The native grasses were eventually successful on part of this field. Another part was again tilled and planted to alfalfa.

    In 2014, that grove of evergreen trees (mostly ponderosa pine and western red cedar) is there and healthy. Now owned by my cousins, they stand as one of the tributes to those who love this land and are a haven for deer and prairie chicken.

  2. Ben Clausen lived on the place Robert describes. His house was a granary. Ben was illiterate and neglected to pay his taxes on the property. He lost this land and purchased the land east of it. One of the Elshires had lived on this property. Bill and Inez Abbott purchased this property and lived on it. Abbots may have bought this place from Ben’s estate.

    • Thanks, Harley. I think you are correct regarding Abbots’ transaction with Ben Clausen. I hadn’t heard about the tax delinquency.

      While I’d like to discuss with my father, his memory is quite poor.

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