|Birth: ||May 24, 1913|
|Death: ||Apr. 8, 1995|
DOWN MEMORY LANE by Nancy Hartman Smith
As age creeps up and time begins to slip by so fast, we tend to sit back and reflect on the growing-up period in our lives and the changes that have been made; some of it brings fond memories, some brings tears to our eyes and some brings recollections to our minds that we thought were forgotten while all the time we are learning what life is all about. We are given a sense of belonging, of being loved and cared for, or as someone has aptly put it, we have "Roots. " I have heard that the mind is like a computer - everything you see or hear is recorded and can be brought back to your mind at some time. sometimes we can remember incidents that happened many years ago , but we can't seem to remember what happened just yesterday.
The first incident that comes to my mind happened when I was about four years of age. I remember standing on a big bridge over the Verdigris River and calling out for "mamma". I could hear voices drifting down the river bend to me, calling out "giddap" or "whoa" to a team of horses. Listening quietly, I knew it was the voices of my Mom and Dad as they worked in a cornfield close to the river but at some distance from me. Voices seemed to drift for a long way as everything was so quiet. I had been left in the care of my sister, Maggie, twelve years my senior, who was doing the housework unnoticed; and upon discovering me gone, Maggie searched the house with no results - she became frantic and ran out in the front of the blacksmith shop (we lived in the house part behind) - searching for me. As she looked down the street, she saw a friend, George Demler, coming back to town with me in his arms. He explained, he had seen me go by his place; and knowing I was too small to be alone, followed me the half mile west of town, careful not to scare me. He persuaded me to let him bring me home. Needless to say, this was a relief to Maggie, knowing what could have happened and the consequences awaiting her, had I been lost.
We lived in the small town of Hilltop, Kansas, where everyone knew each other, their habits, and was interested in helping each other . Our town was nestled below the winding hills from which it had received its name. Ours was a large family, five daughters and two sons, one son had died of diphtheria in Oklahoma as a child of eight years, whose name was Charles William. Laura, the oldest daughter was married and living in Indiana; Amanda, the second daughter was working at a hotel in Gridley, Kansas, the town we had moved from on coming here. Jacob was working for a farmer named T. Winzeler just out of town. Emma, Maggie, John and I were still at home. My father was the town's blacksmith, a jeweler, and also a farmer on the side. Years before, my father had been kicked by a horse he was "shoeing", and his back was injured, so my Mom was always at his side when he worked in the fields helping him, as also were the children who were old enough to work. Our town boasted a General Merchandise store selling hardware, household items, materials and foods (later a post office was added to the back part of the store); a railroad station where passenger trains stopped; and a stockyard where cattle were loaded onto the stock cars; a lumberyard; a meat market which didn't last long; a town hall with a cafe on the ground floor and where Sunday School and religious services were held on the second floor; public scales ; and an Ice house. Later, a garage was built - also a large hotel . Family homes nestled on both sides of the one main street; and of course, many famers dotted the country side close to town.
Our blacksmith shop was quite a gathering place, as I recall. In the evenings, the men around town and those who came in to town for supplies would sit around spinning yarns, discussing politics and government as this was about the time of the First World War. My sister, Emma, got married; and soon her husband, John Strauch, and my brother Jake, were called into service - overseas. Neither was injured , but a terrible flu epidemic took many of the young men at the camp where John was located.
Some families that lived in that area were: the Gueseys, Joe and Henry Beuchats, Henry and Joe Fechters, Albert Koenigs, Joe Doans , T. Winzeler, Abe Sauder and Chris Sauders, Frank Planks, the Johnsons, the Abbeys, the Bocks, the Fankhuasers, and the Ernest Bennetts.
Since my brother, John, was seven years older than me, I either had to find my own entertainment or seek friends my own age. My special friends were Ruby Koenig; the Abbey children, Opal and Eldey; the Doan children, George and Arlone; and the Johnson children. Members of my family always made sure I had many dolls, doll furniture, dishes, etc. My sister, Emma, gave me a red rocking chair, when I was a year old (in 1980 when I first wrote this article, I still had the chair, which had the rockers broken and removed and had been painted many different colors over the years). I played with things from my Dad's blacksmith shop, like wheels with an axel holding them together. I would ride all around the yard on them. I became a regular pack-rat, saving mementoes, pictures, things other people threw away. I even have things my brother sent me while he was in the World War.
The young people of the town and surrounding farms also, would gather after work hours and on holidays and make their own entertainment, playing ball, games like: "go sheep go", "hide and seek", and others. We younger children weren't allowed to interfere; but one evening, one of the seekers asked if I knew where his opponents had hidden, and I told them - was I ever given the "what for". Eldey Abbey and I used to play horse - one would pretend to drive the other holding a piece of rope. One evening I ran into a barbed wire that had been strung up around the barnyard that day and cut a deep gash in my left cheek, almost the shape of a half-moon. I carry that scar to this day. Brother John also cut a gash in his right cheek one day when a group of children were playing the game of blackman.
My brothers and sisters loved to tease me. John and Maggie especially enjoyed standing in the doorway pretending a conversation with others; and when I attempted to see to whom they were talking, they would keep me back from the door. Or, they would be getting ready to go someplace, and I would ask to go along. They would reply, " You can go", all the time shaking their head and saying "No" over and over until in disgust, I would run to my parents. My brother, Jake , loved to tickle me or put me across his lap and pretend to spank me , not realizing he hit me much harder than he thought. I usually ended up crying.
My Sister, Maggie, had been born with a sight problem - tubular vision - seeing only that which was directly in front of her; an d I remember John would deliberately set a chair or some object in front of her that was low enough she couldn't see it and watch her stumble over it. Maggie played the organ beautifully, at least I thought so. She learned to crochet, and she watched over me a lot when my parents were out working.
When John was about ten or eleven years old, an incident happened in our lives that will always stand out in my memory. Jake had an old Buick car. He had been working for T. Winzeler and decided to buy a Ford touring, so he traded his Buick to our Dad. He had come home during the weekend from work, and usually spent the time teasing his sisters. Dad was working on the Buick and had John hold a lantern close so he could see better; some gas dripped onto the lantern , causing an explosion, throwing fire onto John's pant leg. John began screaming - Jake looked up and saw the flash of fire, ran out the back door of the house, grabbed an old rug hanging on the clothes line as he went by, and took out after John, who was trying to run from the fire, and hit him, knocking him down to the ground. He rolled him into the rug to put out the fire, savings John's life, even though his leg was badly burned. It was a terrible burn, taking months to heal - so much pain. It left his leg stiff with John walking on crutches. The scar covered his leg, leaving only the imprint of his supporters on it. A friend, Olive Beuchat, worked in the grocery store, which belonged to the Guesey family. She was fond of John and coaxed him to come in and sit on the counter when she wasn't busy ; and she would rub his leg and move it a bit - then, she would give him a piece of fruit or candy; she did this day after day, moving his leg a little more, finally enabling him to throw away the crutches. We will always be grateful for friends like Olive; she was so good to me also, coaching me to sing, tempting me with a piece of fruit or candy also.
Our farm town was a stopping-off place for hobos riding freight trains; section hands, who worked awhile, then moved on; Mexican workers seeking jobs; bachelors, as well as families, who moved there , then moving on to a better job. Many of them stopped to talk at the blacksmith shop; and my Dad was always helping someone out with a meal, or trying to find them a place to spend a night or so. Earl, who later became my brother-in-law by marrying my sister, Amanda, came into our lives when he came into town riding on a freight train with some of his pals. There were three bachelors that come to mind, who lived in Hilltop for some time. John Tuball, who lived with his dogs, had property up on the hillside and was the butt of many jokes by the young people of the countryside; Henry Jaguar, who ran the post office for a time, tried to be a lady's man - but Mom and Dad didn't trust him around children; Hans Albertson, originally from Denmark and later sold his place, carrying the money in his pocket - he was to go back home, but was never heard of again - some people wondered if someone had robbed him and then done away with his body. He had given me a pup, which I named Bismarck and called "Bis" for short; and the dog and I were constant companions. Bis got too close to a train backing up on the tracks; and it ran over his tail, cutting it off. Sometimes, he would follow Dad to the fields; and one day, Dad was using a machine called a disk with a long wooden arm and a small disk on the end, which would mark the next row - this arm fell hitting Bis on the head, causing him to develop times when he would have "fits". Dad was afraid the dog might hurt me when he was in this condition, so had my brother-in-law, John Strauch, put him to death. Oh!, how I cried and cried for my companion. It took some time for me to recover the loss. Henry Jaguar was always coming by the blacksmith shop. He also came into the house, teasing my sisters; and sometimes picking me up on his lap. One day Dad saw me on his lap and told me to get down. Not really understanding why, I didn't do it; and he picked up a small buggy whip, and I received the only spanking that I can remember getting from my Dad. Our parents were very strict with their family. Each was expected to do his or her part around the house. I suppose they had their pets, at least John always accused me of being my Dad's pet. I was told Emma was favored too, but she told me about one time she had disobeyed Dad while out working ; and he threatened her with a big club - the first thing he picked up. She told him if he struck her - she would leave home.
My father tried to be a good provider and had his hand in many things to be able to support his family. Besides being a farmer, blacksmith, jeweler, and fisherman, he was also a beekeeper. We always had plenty of honey besides that which he sold from his many hives of bees. When he took the honey from the hives, he would wrap mosquito netting around his body, put on gloves, smoke his pipe, and blow smoke around himself. I don't recall him ever being stung. There were many trees in our area, and they lined the river banks of the Verdigris. Many times the swarms of bees would light in the hollow of a tree or on the limbs;, and my Dad would call us all together to beat on pans, making a lot of noise, even throwing dirt in the air to get the bees to settle down when he saw them flying around. Later, when they had quieted down, he would gather them in a hive and add to his collection.
My dad also liked to fish, but usually was too busy to sit on a bank with a pole. He would take John or someone along, and they would set out trout lines from a boat, or set traps to catch them , running them, as they called it each day, bringing in many times a tubful of fish - sharing them with the people of the town.
I seem to be rambling as I write, but many incidents seem to bring more things to mind, and I must record them or lose them. Our parents loved us and watched over us as best they could, even while working. When I was a baby, I was told I had two child diseases at one time; and Mom and Dad were afraid they might lose me when I was around two years old. I was very ill, and Dad insisted having a photograph taken of me. No doubt, they were thinking about the son, Charles, who had died at the age of seven and a half of the dreaded disease, diphtheria. At that time, the only photograph they had of him was taken after he died. They also had a family picture taken of the rest of them at that time. We had a large flag that my Dad would have stretched over the street in Hilltop on holidays and special occasions. His desire was to have the flag wrapped around him in his coffin when he died. This was done, as I recall, as I was only eight when he died. I can't remember his reason for it. I have a picture of Emma with this flag.
The street of our town crossed the railroad track, then wound its way up a big hill, and then flattened out for a short distance to our school at the top of the hill. It was quite tiring for us smaller children to climb this hill; but coming home was different, and many times we would come home for lunch. My sister, Laura, and her daughter, Lula, came to visit us from Indiana; and Lula went to school with us while there. One particular day, as we came home for lunch, John ran on ahead of us; and by the time we got to the bottom of the hill, a train was across the tracks blocking our way. Lula didn't want to walk to the end of the train, so she crawled beneath it, just as it was preparing to start up. Needless to say, I tattled on here when I got home; and she received a spanking; and then Laura went into the bedroom to cry, knowing what could have happened to her.
George Doan, a mischievous kid who lived next door to us, had quite a memory. His mother would read him the lessons at home, and he would say them by memory at school. He was always tormenting someone or getting in bad with the teacher, Miss Rose Neuensuander. One day I saw her so angry with him, she put him across the desk and spanked him with a yard stick, breaking it in three pieces; and he went back to his seat laughing. Miss Rose, as we called her, was also my teacher, as she taught all eight grades; and since the school had so few students with perhaps one or two in some classes, she could give each student much attention and personal help. I passed two classes that first year. Christmas was always such a special time for me, and the children were practicing for weeks ahead on the program of skits, dialogues, recitations, and making decorations for the tree and our room - also small gifts for each other and their parents. We decorated the tree with strings of popcorn and cranberries and colored chains of papers, also, small candles in a snap-type holder to be lit on that special night. Usually, the night of the program, there would be snow on the ground; and one could feel the wonder of the night as the people came to see the children perform. Some would walk, some driving teams of horses, and all stamping the snow and calling out to each other. I don't remember any musical instrument being played, but I can still hear the songs that everyone participated in, especially the deep male voices in the background.
We called George Doan the neighborhood mischief maker; he was two years older than me, so I was on the receiving end of many of his pranks and some very painful ones. He was always talking back to his parents, and I'm afraid they let him get by with it. He was arguing with his dad one time, and his Dad said to his wife, Anna, "Make George call me decent"; and I heard George snickering to himself as he walked away saying "Hi, Decent". One day, as Mrs. Doan built the fire in her wood stove to start the evening meal, she kept hearing the painful sounds of a cat meowing. She began to search and discovered George had put his cat in the oven after he tired playing with it. The poor little thing was just hopping around and around as the oven began heating up. George stuttered a lot; and when asked his name, he would say, "My name is G-g-geo-george Sh-sh-shred-shedrick McTild a May Doan". His name was George Fredrick Doan, and he added the rest of the name because he liked a girl named Tillie and another one named May.
The Beuchat family lived just a couple houses down the street from us. They had an open well at their place that had a sort of a frame built over it with a pulley and rope to draw the water. They usually kept a tub sitting there on the well curb for the animals to drink from. There was also two barns behind our neighbors, the Abbeys and Beuchats, and Dad kept his horses in them. When he came in from the fields and unhitched the horses, he always took them to drink before putting them in the barn; and if I were close enough around, he would lift me onto a horse to ride, as he led them to the well. One evening, I was riding and holding onto the reins. As the horses were so thirsty, they began to drink right away, and off I went, still holding on tight to the reins. Dad grabbed a hold of my dress, and I tumbled into the tub of water. I would probably have fallen into the open well had he not been there.
Living in town and running a blacksmith shop, my Dad always had to rent ground to plant his crops on. Besides all this, my Dad owned a Bull tractor and threshing machine to thresh the wheat and oat crops for the farmers around that part of the country. He rented the Alice Evan's place just a few miles distant between Hilltop and Virgil. The folks always planted vegetables, corn, feed for the animals, an sugar cane, which was used to make molasses. There were several kinds of apple trees on this place too. They would put the apples through the cider mill, grinding the juice for cider and using the pulp to make apple butter, and put some apples in a barrel that Dad had buried, to keep for the winter. When the cane was ready to be harvested, the leaves were stripped off while it was still standing in the field. The stalks were then cut and hauled to a mill he had made, where it was ground using a horse to turn the mill by pulling an arm that made gears go around and around. The juice would drain off and was later cooked to make molasses. Sometime, John would feed the mill. The day I remember most, he was at work with old blind Fred, our horse, hitched to the arm. Somehow, one of the gloves John was wearing got caught in the gears and before Dad could get the horse stopped and backed up, the gears pulled John's hand into them. John's hand was injured very bad; and while John was screaming, Dad hooked the other horses to the buggy and with John on Mom's lap, they went flying down the road to Virgil to find a doctor. My poor brother, John, had been hurt many times in his life - when he was small, one of his sisters spilled hot gravy on him; he was also burned with gasoline in a fire in Wiley, Colorado, as my folks moved to Kansas; he also had his small finger cut almost off when he was real small. Well, he survived all this, and on with my story about molasses - the cane juice was cooked slowly for hours with one stirring it constantly with a wooden paddle and skimming off the green scum that formed on the top. When this was cooked off, and it thickened to the right consistency, the fire was allowed to go out, the liquid to cook, and it was later poured into juts. Much of this was sold to help our family make a living.
Times were very hard for our family, even with each working to do their part, especially if it was a dry year - not only for our own crops, but for the farmers in the community who would bring work into the blacksmith shop, but was unable to pay for it. Also, by this time Amanda and Earl had married and moved to Oklahoma; Maggie and Axel had married; as did Emma and John Strauch. As I mentioned earlier in my memories, America was in World War I. Jake had been in Germany in the Army; John, Emma's husband was in Camp Funston, preparing for overseas duties in boot camp during the flu epidemic, but came through it okay, not having to go overseas when the war ended. I saw my first airplane flying through the clouds at this time, which was a real thrill for one so young.
Lewis Edwin Hartman (1868 - 1921)
Wilhelmina Katherina Lutter Hartman (1869 - 1939)
Daniel Sidney Smith (1912 - 1992)
Laura Ellen Hartman Rhodes (1892 - 1978)*
Amanda Louisa Hartman Smith (1894 - 1971)*
Jacob Adam Hartman (1896 - 1976)*
Emma Minnie Hartman Smith (1899 - 1970)*
Maggie May Hartman Nygren (1901 - 1992)*
Charles William Hartman (1903 - 1911)*
John Edwin Hartman (1906 - 1973)*
Nancy Anna Hartman Smith (1913 - 1995)
Note: Middle/maiden names, birth/death dates and parental links provided courtesy of member Kurt. Birth/death locations and a biographical story provided courtesy of member Steve Krou. We have no other personal information about this person.
Created by: 2 Spiritwalkers
Record added: Jan 07, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 63850623