Annie <I>Kramer</I> Abbott


Annie Kramer Abbott

Death 7 Aug 1942 (aged 75)
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, USA
Burial Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, USA
Memorial ID 153716191 View Source
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Annie Abbots parents were Karl Kramer b. Feb. 1832, Germany and Mary Kramer b. Sep 1839 Germany. She had four children that lived past infancy. They are:
Thomas Abbot b. Jul 1899
Benard P Abbott b. 1901
Daniel M. Abbott b. 1903
Paul Wilfred Abbot

The Lincoln Sunday Star
Lincoln, Nebraska
Sunday, Sept. 13, 1925
Page 17

Belmont Woman Wins Long Fight for Home
and Independence by Successful Truck Gardening

Her hands are browned with the suns of sixty years. The nails are broken and bent. They are muscular hands for a woman, with strong fingers and thick palms.
In those hand is written the life of Annie Abbott.
Those hand have washed baby faces and dried baby tears, and they have plastered and floored a house for them. They have dressed her babies for their last sleep, and they have guided the plow in the fields. They have taken small stitches in little dresses and fashioned little overalls in the late night, and they have milked cows and cut corn and dug potatoes.
They are not idle, today, for hands that have done hard, hurting, unwomanly work with a womanly motive, for more than half a century, can not learn pretty ways of lying loose in one’s lap.
Those hands, after working for more than forty years for others, have earned her independence and moderate fortune in the last dozen years.
Uneducated in book learning, Annie Abbott’s hands have accomplished tasks that colleges can not teach, that degrees can not offer.
For the last twenty years, she has lived a pioneer life in a settled country. In a rich country, broken to the plow and to homes, she has made her way as did the pioneer woman, without a pioneer man’s help.
In a country of power farming, she has known only hoes and knives and spades and her strong brown hands.
The story of Annie Abbott isn’t the story of a woman afraid. It isn’t the story of men who whine and complain that they have no luck, of soap box orators who proclaim that the poor man is being trod beneath the wheel of the aristocrat, of men who let the storms of nature and the storms of man dumbfound them, who are too timid to put their shoulder to the wheel, and, when they do, shrink from it., as it sinks into the mire and mud of ill fortune.
Rather it is the story of a woman who dared. Of a woman who gave her youth and love of pleasure and comfort and beauty, her chance of protection, to conquer. Of a woman who has fought her own battles, who gave twenty-four hours of her day that her children might have an inheritance “some day,” that in her age she might have a home.
It is the story of a woman who has worked for others for fifty-four of her sixty years. Of a German immigrant girl, long since turned woman, who has fought as men do not have to fight to maintain her home and her family. Of a woman who has borne her children, without doctors, without nurses. Of a woman who has guided four horses day after day through the fields, and received abuse and curses for her pay. Of a woman driven from her home by the brutality of a man.
Back in German, it was the ambition of each householder to have his bit of land. Annie Abbott has been in this country since a tiny child, but that land-owning inheritance is hers, and until she had some piece of ground that was hers, some roof of her own, she could not know happiness. Man ruining hours, bitter, back breaking work has brought its reward, mor than its reward, for Annie Abbott is moderately wealthy, has fair health and strength, and an unflagging ambition.
Her little home at 721 Adams street in Belmont is hers, as are few homes, for her own strength went into it. Her cultivated acres are hers, for she has made then. Her hogs and chickens and horses, her cow and the hollyhocks by the fence are hers, for her life has been converted into the coin of the realm to buy them and keep them.
For several years before coming to her present home, Mrs. Abbott lived on rented acreages near Belmont, she and the four children. She was molding her life alone, and that was the beginning of the long upward climb to provide a home for herself and her four boys, one of whom has since died.
When she went to the second place to live, she had a little more than $200, which enabled her to have a few hogs and chickens and to dress and feed the children. It was an excellent place for the children, away from town and with fresh air. She raised garden produce, with the help of the older boys.
Sometimes when the day seemed very dreary, and life unfair and unjust, it is well to remember Annie Abbott. She has had a lifetime of work, for washing other peoples floors and cleaning other peoples silvers began when she was only seven, but he has never railed against her fate, she has always believed that “God knows best,” and that “As long as I am honest and don’t cheat any one,” inhuman labor, arduous hours are all for the best.
During the years she lived on the rented places, a day’s schedule was only limited by the twenty-four hours. Rising at dawn, she prepared breakfast and dressed the children for school. In the winter carrying her little baby in her arms, she walked into Lincoln day to work at fraternity houses.
Night meant no release from work, no comfortable ease in a big chair, no warm dinner upon arrival. Weary as she was, carrying the heavy baby, she walked home again to Belmont, prepared such dinner as there was, and if it were summer, she and the boys planted and hoed and dug in the garden until dark.
After the children were in bed her evening work-began. Evening after evening the wash tubs came out, or the ironing board, and Mrs. Abbott washed far into the night while the little obys slept. Sometimes she did $8 worth of washing in the evening, which the children carried back the next day or evening.
The money that was not needed for barest necessities went into more pigs and chickens and seeds. But disaster came. The well ran dry, and no other could be dug. The hogs sickened and died, and the tiny little fund of money diminished rapidly. As a final bitterness, she was forced to leave, because the owner wished to live in the house.
Four children–$30 in money–no home–eleven years ago.
Three grown sons now–a home–thirty-four lots owned–three and one-half acres being paid for–today.
And Annie Abbott has done it. Out of the ground she has rested it, out of hogs and chickens and pumpkins and potatoes and corn, she has wrung property valued at more than $9,000, exclusive of the house.
At firs, $5 when it could be eked out of washing and cleaning and a few potatoes. Then $10, as the first lot began to pay, then a little more – and now $150, $190 or so, when a wagon load of hogs, driven in by Annie Abbott, has gone to market.
With the aid of her oldest boy, then about fourteen, Mrs. Abbott dug a cave forty feet long and twenty feet wide on the first little lot on which she later paid the precious $30. They piled limbs and boards and most anything obtainable over it for a roof, and she and the four children, lived there through a spring and summer and fall and into the winter. There was an iron bed for the four boys and a one hole stove for cooking and heating–and that was the furniture.
“My little boys had to stand up while they ate. We didn’t have anything to sit on, and no table.” It was a start, that cave.
Washing, cleaning, selling what she could, the next spring Mrs. Abbott had a man lay the foundation for her present home and put up the timbers. After walking into town and back, working all day, she came home at night and lathed the house and carried all the mortar used in it, and laid the floors, and set the windows, and put in the woodwork, hours and months of backbreaking work compressed into a few sentences.
The family moved in as soon as the lath was on, and the first often hung on the walls.
Today, the house has four small rooms down stairs, with a kitchen built on, which her oldest son helped Mrs. Abbott to build, and three upstairs. She has papered the walls and painted a design on the dining room floor to resemble linoleum. Vines run over the front of the house and hollyhocks bloom by the fence.
But the house and the vines and the flowers don’t tell the late that they hide.
Long before they were there, Mrs. Abbott had acquired 100 head of hogs, and 60 of them were ready to go to market. They sickened and that summer she lost 90 of the 100. That was in those first very hard years, when it was hard to find clothing for four boys and food for their ever hungry mouths.
Mrs. Abbott paid for $30 for the first lot on January 2, 1914, and, having purchased it on tax sale, acquired the title last year. The adjoining lot was purchased for the same price, as it was nearly all creek bank and bed. Undeterred, Mrs. Abbott hauled trash and refuse to fill it up, and has a top covering of dirt, so that she now has a side yard, where once was only wasteland.
Mrs. Abbott is now fattening twenty-three hogs for market, and as soon as they are sold and part of the money applied on the ground, she will buy some more to fatten with the young ones she has. She has raised 400 chickens this summer, and has sold them to the more select boarding houses.
Last year Annie Abbott raised 900 bushel of potatoes and she cut them, planted them all herself, and dug them in the fall, with her son to carry them into the house for her, after she had plowed the ground. This year, she is only going to dig two lots of potatoes, because the frost worked hardship on her and took all the early crops she had planted.
This year, after the early crops were frost bitten, she put in second planting, and she has six and on-half acres of corn. She figures that she will have sufficient corn for the chickens, the two horses, the pigs, and with a remainder to sell. Her rising hour in the summer is 3 o’clock, and she is shucking, bundling, and stacking all the corn from those acres.
Running in and out of the corn and over considerable ground of their own are pumpkins and water melons and cantaloupes, some going to market now and some in the future. Mrs. Abbott also raises pie plants, grapes, plums, cherries, tomatoes and the small garden truck for sale. For years and years she has loaded her spring wagon and gone from door to door, offering her produce. Since the days are a little easier for her, she has not gone from house to house, but has served just regular customers.
Working her four horses in the old days, with the babies asleep under the nearby trees, selling her garden truck from door to door–she is another Selina DeJong, with a far different background.
While she has plowed and weeded and hoed more than six acres of corn, she has prepared three meals each day. Her son, who is a plasterer and lives at home, comes for his meals, and he likes to eat, Mrs. Abbott says.
Annie Abbott goes into the wholesale houses and hauls home the feed she has to buy for her stock. She cuts grass for the pig. She fixes the fences and puts up the sheds necessary.
She has found time to make endless “crazy” quilts for the beds, and she has made the backs from washed sacks she has gotten from the wholesale houses. She has made caps and overall and socks for the little boys. She has made all the clothes she has had. The most of this work has been done late at night, as a little change from the routine of feeding pigs and cows, and hoeing corn and potatoes, of weeding melon patches and propping up tomatoes.
And Annie Abbott is happy, She has earned her money honestly. And she has not stopped planning and working. At sixty-one she is as hard a worker as she was at forty. She plans to move the pens to her new acreage, to make a lawn about the house, to fix it up as she has not had time and to make a home for my boy.



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