We’ve been busy around here for the last week! We’ve taken on all sorts of adventures on the road and at home– from researching our house, to cutting front teeth (yes, STILL) and taking a road trip up to Kansas to visit the Little House on the Prairie Museum in Independence, Kansas.
Earlier in the week, Robbie and I were taking a walk down town and stopped by the abstract and title office where we closed on our house last year. I went in and asked the nice lady there if I could see the abstract on our house— which lists all the owners of our house and other pertinent information on the land and house through the years.
I went back into the little office and she brought me a hefty tome— the front of it filled with fragile yellowed paper that started with the Dawes Act, and then the first sale of the city lot– to a woman from the Muskogee Creek Nation– for $20! How amazing it was to see these old documents from when this area was still Indian Territory, and see the names of all the families who have called this place home.
It’s looking to be quite an interesting project, and I have been falling through rabbit holes of information, aided by my awesome friend Patricia who is a real live genealogist. When I lose threads, she can pick them back up, and a pretty amazing story is starting to be woven.
In other adventures, on Friday Audrey had the day off from school so we decided to pack a picnic and load up and drive across the state line up to Kansas to visit “THE” little house on the prairie! It was such an odd day— foggy and gray, not at all the bright hot day I’d thought we’d have. We got up to Kansas and I’d dressed for 90 degree weather; it was barely 70. But it was still a nice day— very quiet and subdued.
As we got there, of course, three other cars pulled up on our heels, but we headed for the little white farm house museum and got some treats for Audrey and her pen pal, rambled over to pet the donkeys in the farm yard and then we went through the replica cabin on the site, as well as an old school and post office that have been moved there.
The story of the Kansas location is very interesting— for many years no one knew exactly where the Ingalls family had lived in Indian Territory. It was thought— even by Laura herself— that they’d been in what is now Oklahoma.
But some savvy researchers were able to find the Ingalls family (with a newborn Carrie making an appearance!) just outside of Independence, Kansas on land that was was farmed by a family who had built a cute little white farm house…with a very old hand dug well out back!
The family’s farm house is now the museum shop, and the whole place has such a calm and mellow atmosphere, it is my favorite Little House Site that I’ve visited so far. Mostly because it is so laid back— you can touch, look, sit down and enjoy yourself.
The kids and I spread out a blanket behind the replica cabin and ate our lunch, then Audrey ran off across the yard to go back to the donkeys (how could she resist?) And Robbie and I just sat back on the blanket, listening to the soft sound of insects singing in the grass, the wind blowing through the trees, and enjoying the stillness of it all.
I’m so glad that the site– although just off of highway 75— is still so rural. It is still Laura’s land. Though the elements of danger they dealt with have gone— aside from a coyote or two I’m sure still howl down in the creek bed after dark.
Then, we loaded back up, and headed back south. Ironically, the town where my great grandparents met and married is maybe just five miles south of the Ingalls’ old homestead. But those old time settlers often didn’t stay somewhere long, there were always greener pastures over the horizon, weren’t there?
However, for us, I think we’re here to stay. Looking at this huge book of papers on our house, its amazing to follow the pages through time— through depressions, through wars, through booms, through generations— and find ourselves at the end of it, the newest page. Here’s to many years and decades for us here, within its walls. I hope we can make all those former owners proud with our care taking of the place. I know that it’s definitely inspired me to preserve and restore. And it’s going to take many, many years to do it.
Well, I will sign off for tonight. Hope you are well and happy!!~ And happy first day of Fall tomorrow! It is also my birthday!~ Auspicious, isn’t it?
Til next time,