Saturday, May 31, 2008

Space Shuttle Discovery

I am down here in Florida for the spring fire season. The fires here have all died down and we have had some slack time. Being only 250 miles from the Kennedy Space Center we took the opportunity to drive up from Homestead, Florida and see the Space Shuttle Discovery off. Five hundred miles round trip and worth every one. Even with gas at $4.00 per gallon.

The shots are a bit long and are taken with a small camera but you'll get the idea. What an impressive sight to see! I may never see this again but I am glad to have been there and am glad to share it with everyone.

--Roger Douglass

Friday, May 30, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008


A good number of people turned out for the Haigler Memorial Day Service in spite of the wind and cool temperature Monday morning at 10:00.

Kenny Potthoff was the master of Ceremonies. Gordon Orth played pleasing background music on the guitar. A Wreath was placed on the tomb of the unknown soldier followed by the pledge of allegiance. Prayer was offered by Mildred Stute. The Address was given by Terry Douglass. Althea (Brunswig) Lebow sang Faith of Our Fathers accompanied by Betty Orth on the guitar. The firing squad consisting of the Legionaires and sons of the Legionaires gave the gun salute.

After the service at the cemetery, refreshments were served at the American Legion Building.

A Note - Alumni Open House

The reunion committee worked hard to prepare the Legion Hall for the Haigler alumni to meet and visit at the open house on Saturday.

Some of the people seen were Albert Zuege, Alan Zuege, Mildred Stute, Almeda Norris, Deloris Zuege, Louise Thomsen, Barbara Neville, Russ & Char Hoover, Dallas Adams, Don and Joanne Webster, LeNeta Carlock, Myrna Mulligan, Karen Harford, CD Samler, Rex & Beverly Tracy, Pat Fortkamp, Gwen (Scrivner), Jeanne Wall, Laura Pearl Wall, Duane Wall.

The picture is Leah Brewer, Almeda Norris, Russ & Char Hoover.

Hope you will add a comment to tell about who you saw and visited with at the reunion.

If you have pictures to add to the blog, send them to

Ahhh!!! Vacation … Renewal of my Soul

I hadn’t had a vacation for a year and a half. During that time period, my son was going through a divorce and all that goes along with that sad and stressful, continuous family upheaval event; I had emergency gallbladder surgery; our secretary’s job was cut from our division causing a heavier work load for all of us. Economic, Emotional, Life Events piled up on me until I was stressed to the point of exhaustion.

When I get to that state of “burnout”, there is nothing better than spending time with my family. They rejuvenate me; encourage me; give my soul a ‘rest’. That is why I returned to my “homebase” last week in Leah’s little “home on the prairie” in St. Francis.

I spent time with my oldest sister, Leah and her husband Dwight. They gave my heart and soul the needed rest I was unaware that I needed. We sat on their patio and counted the birds that lived in their neighborhood and watched their little garden grow. We drove out to 3-Corners and Devil's Gap and around "the neighborhood" where we grew up. As the week progressed, the lines in my face relaxed and I could actually see the stress flee from my inner soul.

What do people do who don’t have a ‘sister” who gives them just what they need; a listening ear; an understanding; a “renewal”??? I have decided that people who don’t have a safe haven must be those who end up in the psychiatrist’s office or the “looney bin”.

I am so thankful for my family, who give me peace and love and understanding whenever I have needed it through the years. THEY, and my belief in God, are why I am reasonably “sane” and have a peace in my soul today and am ready to return to work tomorrow.

Thank you to all my family, but especially my mother and my sister, Leah, for being the best mother and sister a “girl” could ever have.

-- Sherri Gregory

A Mini-Reunion

The Gregory Girls and Fisher Boys got together on Saturday afternoon for the first time in several years. The cousins have always been close because their mothers Alice Gregory and Floy Fisher-Ruggles are sisters and best friends. In fact the kids consider each other to be like brothers and sisters and are also best friends.

The afternoon began with a lunch at Floy & Ray's house and visiting. After Leah, Leone and Sherri stopped by the Legion Hall to check in to see who was there, they all loaded up in cars and drove out to Steve & Tammy Workman's farm where the Gregory's lived while growing up. Some of the group drove by the various places where Alice, Floy and their Crabtree ancestors lived and went to school.

Dick Gregory and Sharna (Fisher) Richardson were the only two missing, but Dick and Sharon, his wife, phoned later in the afternoon to be included in the gathering.

Family members who attended the mini-reunion were Alice Gregory, Ray & Floy Ruggles, Dwight & Leah (Gregory) Brewer, Kenny & Leone (Gregory) Carlson, Sherri Gregory, Eunice (Gregory) Richard and friend David Hernandez, Melvin Fisher, Garry Fisher, Shelley (Beeson) Parker and Abbey Rose, David & Kelly (Beeson) Barger, Kevin Richard Beeson, Lauren (Crabtree) Rohn.

Other visitors at the Ruggles home included Almeda (Bier) Norris from Loveland, CO, Delores (Bier) Zuege of Haigler, Louise (Zuege) Thomsen, of Watts, OK, Pat (Smith) Fortkamp and Dallas Adams.

If you had a family gathering, too, we would love to hear about it. Write to either Floy or Sherri at or

Ancestor Search

May 25, 2008

Today Mamma and I stopped at the Woodruff, Kansas cemetery, located a few miles northeast of Long Island, Kansas where we know the Gregory family lived at one time and where I believed our great-grandparents, Gabriel Richard and Anna Belle (Thrasher) Gregory are buried. It is the third time I have stopped there to look for their graves. Three or four years ago, I stopped in Phillipsburg, Kansas and found Lucille Gregory, the wife of Earl Gregory, son of Richard Belle Gregory, who our daddy called “Uncle Richey”. She informed me that they were plain to see and on the west side of the little cemetery.

Mamma and I looked again today, but they were not to be found. Before leaving the cemetery, I stopped and talked to a lady who happened to have purchased a “Phillips County Cemetery List” at an auction and she looked at the Woodruff Cemetery list and they were not listed. She was kind enough to search through the book until we found their names listed in the “Goode Cemetery” which is located 5 miles south and 3 miles west of the Woodruff cemetery.

Even though there were huge black clouds to the south and east of us, Mamma and I bravely took off on some country roads that seemed to be pretty well traveled, even though there had been some recent hard rain ruts cut out of the low spots. After a couple of attempts, we came upon a small, very well kept cemetery at the top of a hill overlooking a beautiful tree lined creek. The cemetery gate was open, so we entered and walked to the west row of graves and there they were!!! After several years of trying to find them, they were exactly where they were supposed to be. Someone had placed flowers in picturebox containers made from tin trays with a glass covers. It was hard to tell how long these containers had been at the graves, but each of the Gregory family stones had one propped against it as if someone had just placed them there recently. The graves we found were Gabriel, Anna Belle (Thrasher), and three of their children; Richard Belle “Richey”, Cora A., and Matilda “Tilly”:

G. R. Gregory born Jan. 7, 1860 DIED Aug. 29, 1909
Anna B. Gregory born Feb. 7, 1860 DIED Sept. 15, 1907
Richard B. Gregory June 29, 1889 Aug. 8, 1917
Matilda B. “Tilly” Gregory Jan. 22, 1894 – May 22, 1917 “Daughter of Gabriel & Anna”
Cora A. Gregory Born Jun 25, 1892 DIED Nov. 21, 1892

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jim Haigler's Book "Around the Water Tank"

Autographed copies of Jim Haigler's book will be available for sale at the Haigler open house Saturday and also at the pot luck on Sunday.
--Linda j

Here is a description of the book:

In Around the Water Tank, author Jim Haigler molds his words to create visual images of various aspects of life in the nineteen forties and fifties. He paints these pictures in the context of twenty-four humorous and touching stories of a young boy growing up in a mill village at a time when the country was adjusting to post war prosperity and the emerging threat of the cold war. This quaint semi-autobiographical collection will stir the memories of the writer's generation and is certain to charm and entertain while capturing the imagination of all ages. "One main purpose in writing this book was to try and capture the essence of an era that is rapidly vanishing from our collective memory. My intent was to document and pass on the spirit of the times through a series of stories. Each is based on actual events and is as accurate as memory allows. A few have been enhanced to include some things that almost happened, and other things that we talked about doing but were chicken." The obvious target audience is comprised of those who remember the times and will have their memory nudged toward pleasant recollections of their own. It can also encourage a younger market, particularly pre-teen boys, to read more by presenting adventures on the playground, bikes, skates, fishing and snake hunting in humorous short reads that will capture their imagination and hold their attention.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Haigler Alumni Reunion

Dundy Co-Stratton Alumni Association Banquet
Dundy County-Stratton High School – Benkelman
May 24, 2008 6:00 p.m. MDT

DCS Foundation hosting Hospitality Room at Dundy County-Stratton High School - 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Honor Classes 1958, 1983 and all classes ending in 8

MAX: Brunch at Max Community Center – 10:00 a.m.
PARKS: Morning Coffee & Noon Potluck – Trinity Baptist Church, Benkelman
BENKELMAN: Noon Luncheon – Lutheran Church Museum Open 1-4 p.m.
HAIGLER: Open House Community Building 1-5 p.m.; Sunday Noon Potluck Comm. Bldg.

TICKETS: Banquet $12.00 – Supplements $1.00

For Reservations contact:
Mrs. Dorothy Jessee
71892 Hwy 61
Benkelman, NE 69021
308 - 423-2020

Dance – Benkelman
American Legion/VFW Hall
From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Beginning in 2009 postcards will be sent to honor classes and 50+ year classes only. Alumni information can be sent to

--keep at top until event.

Will you be There?

Will you be at the Alumni Reunion this weekend?

Write a comment if you plan to come.

-- editor

Saturday, May 17, 2008


What better way is there to spend your vacation than with family. I just spent the last couple of days in the car. Drove to Walsenburg, Colorado to meet with my sister, Leone, who brought our mother from Tucson. I met them there to bring Mamma back with me to spend a week in the Haigler/St. Francis/Benkelman area with Ray & Floy Ruggles and Dwight & Leah Brewer and other relatives and friends. Leone and her husband, Kenny, have a cabin near Westcliff, Colorado where they will spend the summer.

The family will be getting together to visit and spend time together on Memorial Weekend. All of the Gregory "sisters" and the Fisher "kids" will be together with their mothers Alice Gregory and Floy Fisher-Ruggles.

If anyone would like to visit with Alice Gregory while she is in the area, she is staying with Floy Ruggles in Haigler until Monday, May 26.

After a few days spent in the area, Mamma and I will go to Lincoln where she will spend the summer. We plan to finish "the book" and try to get it published this fall.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Higgins Family

I was very pleased that cousin Mark was able to identify the Higgins Family in the picture posted as "Ernest Goodell - Teacher in Dundy County.". I knew three of them - as adults. They were Merle, Milton, and Eva.

Some of the blog readers may remember Milton working for many years as manager of a shoe store on the west side of the main street in Wray. He was known to us usually as "Wacker", as Mark pointed out.

You may also remember Eva as working for many years at a general store in Benkelman. I think she worked at Irelands, and if there was a J.C. Penney before that - she would have worked there. The store was on the west side of Chief Street.

Digging through my picture collection, I have come upon a picture I took in Roswell, NM on 1 FEB 1953 of Merle and Inez Higgins. From left to right are:

Carl Hoffman, Lyda Herring, Dorothy Herring, Haskins, McKay, Inez Herring Higgins (Merle's wife), Hugh McKay, Merle Higgins, and Ruth Herring Hoffman.

Lyda Herring was the mother of the various Herring girls mentioned in the blog. While she lived in Cheyenne County, Kansas, and then for many years in Benkelman, she lived with Hugh and Dorothy McKay in Haigler during her last years and may also be remembered by some of the readers.

Once again, a picture from a distant location brings together those with former Haigler connections.

Kent Hoffman
San Antonio, TX

My Memories of Haigler

By Viola (Schmutte) Pearson

Haigler, Nebraska, 1986

Not long ago I heard someone on T.V. say that once you leave home at an age when it is time to be out on your own, that it is never quite the same when you go back home, that you can’t really go home again. Well, in a way, I wouldn’t know for I have always been home. With the exception of a few short terms, Haigler has always been home to me.

I was born in the little white house on the corner and my brother Voland was also born there.


For twenty-five years, Voland, my brother Bill and I grew up on Main Street when Mom and Dad had the Café.

How deep in the soul run memories of one’s Home Town. Memories of good times and bad times, some joyful and some sad. Friendships made at that time of our lives last forever.

Then we moved up on the hill into our nice new home and a new little baby brother—Teddy.

Lord, we thank you for the memories that are all stored away in the past, to grow up in a town where each day and each change is a part of our lives.

I can’t go home again because I am home.

But Jesus tells us we can find a new Message of a new tomorrow and a new Home Town. He can lead us to a new life—in a New Home Town.

-- Haigler Centennial Book, 1986

Happy Mother's Day

The Story of Mother's Day

The earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During the 1600's, England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday." Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter), "Mothering Sunday" honored the mothers of England.

During this time many of the England's poor worked as servants for the wealthy. As most jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called the mothering cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the "Mother Church" -- the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm. Over time the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday celebration. People began honoring their mothers as well as the church.

In the United States Mother's Day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic) as a day dedicated to peace. Ms. Howe would hold organized Mother's Day meetings in Boston, MA, every year.

In 1907 Anna Jarvis, from Philadelphia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Ms. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia, to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the 2nd Sunday of May. By the next year, Mother's Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia.

Ms. Jarvis and her supporters began to write to ministers, businessman, and politicians in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. It was successful as by 1911 Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.

While many countries of the world celebrate their own Mother's Day at different times throughout the year, there are some countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium which also celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.

Click here to read what Wikapedia says about Mother's Day

Another Look at an Old Picture

The comment below is added to the post about District 67 North named "Ernest Goodell - Teacher in Dundy County."

Click on picture to see a larger view

My goodness! Thanks for the heads-up, cousin Kent.

This is Mark Higgins, the only surviving grandchild of Merle Higgins. My father, Val, was the only child born to any of the 5 Higgins children: Paul, Curt, Merle, Milton, and Eva. None of the other brothers ever married, and Eva married later in life to "Doc" Lorenzen, the dentist in Benkelman, but they had no children. Parents of the 5 were Milton A. and Mettie C. Higgins. Everyone called the elder Milton "M.A.", and the younger Milton got the nickname "Wacker" or "Whacker" early in life. When he was grown, it was shortened to just "Wack".

I about 99% certain that those are, indeed, all 5 of the Higgins children in that picture. Even at that young age, there was a strong familial resemblance for all five kids that Dad, and then I, inherited.

The boy to the right of the man in the suit (teacher?) is almost certainly my great-uncle, Paul Higgins. Note the crutch under his left arm. Paul lost his left leg, when very young, to "TB of the bone" as it was called then. It wasn't actually tuberculosis, but I don't know what the correct medical term is. He was fitted with a prosthetic leg, but not until after he had grown up.
To the right of Paul is Merle, then Curt (or possibly Curt then Merle), and the boy nearly in the middle (long-sleeve white shirt) is, I think, Milton.

I'm also quite sure that the third child from the far left is Eva. Again, the facial characteristics lead me to believe that. She looks startlingly like my late sister Jill did at that age.

If I had a larger and higher-resolution picture, I could tell for certain.

The date for the picture, "about 1905" would be close. Paul was born in 1895, and would be ten in that picture if the date is right, with Curt at 9, Merle at 8, and Milton at 6. Eva would be only 4 years old, though (born 1901), and I wonder at what age children started school back then. I'm now wondering if that picture is actually from 1906 or possibly from 1907, though?

(NOTE: Merle married Inez Herring, whose sister Ruth is my cousin Kent's mother. We're 1st cousins once removed, actually, since Kent and my Dad are 1st cousins.)

As I said I'm 99% sure of this, but hope someone can provide even more confirmation.

What a pleasant stroll down Memory Lane this has been.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Memories of Haigler

by Ted Schmutte

(Printed in the 1986 Haigler Centenniel Book, page 171)

My sister, Viola asked me to write this, so I will try my best.

The geography was special. There were irrigated farms west; sandhills, sagebrush and cattle north; dry land farms east; and the immense Kansas weat fields south. Through the valley were the Arikaree and Republican Rivers with many trees and a lot of underbrush, along with the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad and the U.S. Highway 34.

In this setting, my earliest memories were of an attractive, comfortable, well furnished home with oil lamps and a loving family. There was also a restaurant with a coal burning stove and gas mantle lamps that hung from the ceiling which had to be pumped up occasionally. Hamburgers with hot mustard were the specialty, along with home-made pie baked by my mother. The customers I first learned to know were Carl Corbett and Frenchmeier.

As I grew I learned there was more to Haigler. Next door on one side was Dan Hamill’s Butcher Shop. On the other side was Armstrong’s Grocery Store. Back in the alley was an ice house where my dad stored chunks of ice from the river for summer use. Also in the alley were posts with a hitching cable where the farmers who still came to town with wagons or horse back could tie their horses.

Then I learned that along the street were Premer’s Hardware, Milford Andres’ Barber Shop, Ventis’ Variety Store, Logan’s Drug Store, Schilt’s Grocery Store, Co-op lumber building, a newspaper printing office, Munson’s hotel, Gall’s restaurant, a creamery, a shoe shop and the Haigler Hotel. Across the highway was Spin Wile’s filling station. Around the corner and down the highway was Goldenrod Garage.

One block east on the north corner was the light plant with an open concrete cooling tank full of warm water. I later learned it was a great place to swim in the winter if Mr. Wood didn’t catch you.

At the center of the intersection of main street and the highway was the city fountain. Across the railroad tracks were the Co-op elevators and the stock yards.

During the hobo days, a long freight train stopped at Haigler and the railroad bulls kicked off all the hobos. They walked up the street en masse. It was real scary! They could have taken over the town had they desired. The town marshal arranged for a full course hot meal for all of them served in the basement of a building on the east side of the street and then asked them to leave town which they did via walking down the highway.

The advent of the talkies—this had to be before the depression. My Mom and Dad took us down a graveled highway in a 1928 Plymouth all the way to McCook to see Al Jolson sing Sonny Boy. I cannot remember the name of the picture. It was a thrill.

I remember the Methodist Church. It was also where we Lutherans attended church in the afternoon. We had Bible School there sometimes and sometimes in the old hotel across from the Goldenrod Garage. A lot of the teaching I remember and distinctly remember getting rocked along the side of the head by Reverend Meyer for pulling a girl’s hair. It got kind of boring sometimes.

A new Roman Catholic church was opened on the south side of the highway toward the east end of town. My friend and classmate, Marty Neville went to church there. Marty and I played hooky and hitch-hiked to Benkelman one day. Then he and I and Mervin DeGarmo played hooky and hitch-hiked to Denver when we were seniors. As a result, Marty, Mervin and I were Bosley’d from sneak day—meaning we didn’t get to go on sneak day with the girls. Glen Bosley was the Superintendent.

Building the new light plant was an event. Ward Wonder became the operator. Building the new high school gymnasium was exciting for us. We were thrilled at the thought of playing basketball indoors. Carl Meyers worked on the project. I was watching them work until quitting time when Carl picked up his lunch bucket and said “another day, another dollar”. It was the first time I had heard that expression which was for real at that time.

There were lots of pastimes. Swimming and ice skating at the river, fishing at the slough with Wade Hoover, playing marbles and horseshoes, playing tennis on dirt courts we helped Wayne McVey build, playing hide and seek under the street lights with all the kids in town, having rubber gun fights in a vacant house, or at the two well drilling rigs on Roach’s lot, coasting and sleigh riding down Sackett’s hill. With Spud Roach’s underslung tricycle and steel wheeled trailer, we got to 30 MPH coming down the sidewalk. We had fun when we rode and bodily injury when we wrecked.

The sound I remember—the seam engines and their trains coming and going, the putt-putt of the old light plant engines blowing smoke rings out the smoke stack, the clunk-clunk of the gas pump handles when they refilled the glass reservoirs at the top, and Redden’s donkeys braying up on the hill.

Some athletes I remember, not necessarily the best, but they were good: Herman Rose, Howard Greenfield, Stanley Clegg, Royal Woods Jr., Richard Wall, Laverne Christensen, Earl Fox, Stanley Zuege, Rodney Hoover, Marshall Long, LaVoine Bowker, Charles Roach, Willie and Tommy Wall, Dale Bush, Si Allen and Bill Schmutte.

Some pretty girls I remember besides my sister – Elen Gibberson, Marguerite Kelly, Beulah Karns and Dorothy Bush.

Some boys I missed a lot – Ellsworth Long, Mervin DeGarmo, Leonard Medlock and Marshall Long.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Ashton Flats

About Ashton Flats mentioned in Kim's note about the Straubs: I remember Rich telling about Ashton's Ranch. (It was operating big when he was a kid in Haigler) Isn't that where Lawrence Beeson worked for years and years and then had that heart attack and the boys (Norman and Marvin or Butch) did the feeding. Then the Beesons moved into Haigler. Some blog reader will surely know something about Tom Ashton and the ranch.

Also, there were lots of apple orchards west of Haigler. We (Crabtrees) would go out there to pick apples and get them for a low price.

Reference to Aston's is made in a note written by Jimmy M. Morris found in Leona McAllister's book, "History of Dundy County." This whole book can be found online at the Dundy County GenWeb site. Click here

--Thanks to Kent Hoffman for the link.

A Sighting in Roswell

Looking through our photo albums I came across a "sighting" in Roswell, New Mexico. While most sightings there seem to be aliens, this was not! It occurred Christmas Day 1952, and all members of the group had a Haigler (rather than Martian) connection.

Hugh and Dorothy McKay spent most Christmases and frequently New Years with us in Roswell during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. In turn, I spent summers in Haigler. And here, left to right, is a list of the cast of characters:

Ruth Herring Hoffman:

My mother, and one of the Herring girls of Benkelman and Cheyenne County Kansas. Ruth obtained her teaching certificate and was teaching in a rural school just west of Haigler when she met my father. She was staying with Richard and Blanche (another of the Herring girls) Rowett in "the little house" I mentioned in a former posting on the blog.

Hugh J. McKay:

Hugh was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada. He moved to Haigler at an early age and became owner of the McKay Chevrolet Company and Phillips-66 Service Station.

Kent Hoffman:

That’s me – need I say more - other than by that time I was in my sophomore year at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. I was still making my summer trips to Haigler

Dorothy Herring Haskins McKay:

My aunt and Ruth’s sister. Dorothy had originally been married to Harold F. (Sod) Haskins of Benkelman. Some of you will remember that he was County Clerk for Dundy County in the late 1930’s, and Dorothy was his assistant. Harold died in 1948.

Carl S. Hoffman:

Carl, my father, was born and raised in Ana, Illinois and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree at Carthage College, Carthage, Illinois. He obtained his Masters in Education at The University of Wyoming, Laramie. He was teaching in the Haigler High School when he met my mother. They were married and made their first home in Haigler.

And, that’s it. Not an alien in the group!

Kent Hoffman

San Antonio, TX

Good News about Calvin

They reduced the voltage on one lead, checked out the lead that is on recall and said all is fine, sent me home and told me I will live until I die. We just got home from Lincoln. (5:02 pm)

We're sure glad everything turned out good, Calvin, Hope to see you at the reunion.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Note from the Guestbook

Fun Site!
I recognize a few of the names on this blog from some of the stories my mother, Margaret Oster (class of 1960), would tell me about growing up in Haigler. If anyone has a memory of Mom and would like to share it with me, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks very much,

Jen Zies

Weather MOD Pictures

I fly with the Western Kansas Weather Modification Program, (Weather Mod), more commonly known as "cloud seeding" We inject silver iodide into the cloud bases of thunderstorms to suppress hail and enhance rainfall. This is done by flying below the bases of the thunderstorm, and burning the silver iodide using acetone as a burn agent. There has to be updrafts (in-flow) into the storm to lift the chemical into the cloud. Optimum in-flow is 500 to 1000 feet per minute. Altitude can be maintained up to about 2400 feet per minute. Depending on the severity of the inflow we fly anywhere from 100 feet to 1000 feet below the bases.

These are some pictures I took out of the airplane during these operations. I hope you enjoy them.

--Doug Douglass (Lorenzo)

Richard & Blanche Herring Rowett

As we take a moment to remember past residents of the Haigler area, I wish to expand a little on Blanche Herring Rowett (my aunt). Blanche lived about five miles west of Haigler an about a mile north of U.S. 34.

She and her husband, Richard Rowett, settled on that farm early in the 20th. Century, and while he died sometime in the late 1920’s, she remained on the farm until her death. She was born in 1886, and she died in 1964. She is buried in the Benkelman Cemetery.

Blanche and Richard originally lived in a small frame house no more than a quarter-of-a-mile south of the home that we best remember Blanche living in. The "little house" was still standing, though not in good health, when I would visit her, but it no doubt is no longer hanging on.

What may not be well known to those who knew Blanche is that Richard was the son of a well-known Civil War General – also named Richard. There is a web site with information regarding him at:

I have located and attached two photographs. One is Blanche. It was taken in April 1953. The other photo is the home she had built and lived in until her death. It was taken in June 1940.

Kent Hoffman

San Antonio, TX

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May Birthdays

May 1 - Violet Relph
May 7 - LeNeta Carlock
May 20 - Karen Harford
May 23 - Paul Freehling, Jr.
May 29 - Dick Gregory

Monday, May 05, 2008

Cal Needs a Tune-Up

Let's keep Cal Freehling in our thoughts and prayers for next few days as he returns to Bryan East Hospital in Lincoln Thursday for a tune-up on his pacemaker. Let's hope the repair goes well and he is back home quickly.

-- Editor

Response to Kent Hoffman's Note

I vagely remember a young man staying with Hugh and Dorthy McKay. When you are young and invincible, you do not take a very good personal inventory of other people in the neighborhood. I think Kent was for sure a little older than me.

It sure as heck jogs the memory as I had totally forgotten about those days. I used to go to Hugh's garage, gas station, and new auto sales shop and drewl over the new chevrolets. Other employees were Elliot West and Bill Walker the mechanic who I remember fairly well. Dorthey also had an office in the car sales area.
Wally McKay also had a car dealer ship across the street from his Dad. He sold Plymouths and I think Chryslers also????

I am glad former area people are locating the blog. It is great that it is re-connecting some of past generations back to the tri-state areas.

Things that we forget that make for interesting reading. Thank You


Yes Dallas, Wally McKay sold Chryslers and Plymouths across the street from his Dad's Chevrolet agency. Wally finally closed shop in Haigler and opened a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in North Platte.

I well remember Emmons Adams, the Standard Oil dealer and the delivery truck with the Standard Oil sign on it that was usually parked there at his house.

One time I took Elaine (Adams) to a movie in Wray. We went in Dorothy McKay's brand new Chrysler New Yorker. After the movie was out we walked back to the car, and it would not start. We got it pushed out of the parking space and coasted down main street to a service station. Finally the person on duty that night got it started, and we made it back to Haigler.

Talk about embarrassment and how not to impress a girl on a date - helping push a new Chrysler!

Kent Hoffman
San Antonio, TX USA

The Straubs

I looked up under the Haigler cemetary indexed on The Haigler Blog and found six Straubs buried in the Haigler cemetary.

When I came to Seattle Wa. in 1961 during the worlds fair, I had heard that Paul Straub was working close to the fair grounds complex, I thought I would look him up, but then heard he was deceased, so I never pursued any further. That is my last known recollection of Paul Straub.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Summer Events List

If you know of a Summer 2008 event or an interesting place to visit in Dundy County Nebraska, Cheyenne County Kansas or Yuma County Colorado, submit it by email to the Editor and it will be placed on the new "Tri-State Summer Events" and "Places to Visit" lists on the sidebar.

I am trying to list as many local places of interest I can think of and would appreciate your help. It can be an event, a favorite restaurant, a museum, a county fair, a local Marker, etc. Please submit a link to a website along with the name of the event or place.

If there is a website, this could be great "free advertising" for local area "things to do".

I thought it would be a nice "touristy" thing to do for those visiting our area this summer.

The 1951 Kaiser "Blew Me Away"

I noticed the articles on the blog about two individuals that drove Kaisers. I remember Dick Stasser, but when I knew him we were both too young to be driving cars. I also have a Kaiser story with a Haigler connection.

In 1955, after graduation from The University of New Mexico, I spent the summer in Haigler with my aunt, Dorothy McKay. On 15 JUN 1955 we drove to Denver for the day, and as we passed through Fort Morgan on US 34 I spied a 1951 Kaiser Deluxe 4-door sedan on the used car lot of Meng Motor Sales.

I was in the market for a car, as I was entering the Army in September and needed "wheels" for the adventure. I had admired Kaiser designs, and each summer I was in Haigler I would visit Vic Stasser's showroom to look at the latest model. The 1951 just "blew me away".

On the way back from Denver I bought the Kaiser and took it with me that September to Fort Knox. I went to Germany in 1956, and the Kaiser returned to Haigler where Dorothy kept it and drove it around town for a number of years. It was Caribbean Coral with a tan top. The tan top was courtesy of the original owner, as the 51 Deluxe did not come as a 2-tone.

In 1986 I took it out of Dorothy's garage and had Stanley Smith in Imperial do a restoration - returning it to all original Caribbean Coral. It went with me to St. Louis, then to Oklahoma City, and finally to San Antonio.

On 15 June 2005 I sold the car to a Kaiser collector in Waco, Texas exactly 50 years to the day that I bought it. It did, however, spend the majority of it's life in Haigler, and I suspect many who remember Dorothy will remember her driving it around town for a number of years.

The attached picture was taken while it was in St. Louis - a year after it's restoration.
San Antonio, TX USA

Friday, May 02, 2008

Notes about the Straub Family

It is always fun to hear from someone who runs across The Haigler Blog when they are searching for family ancestors. Kim from Saskatchewan, Canada is such a person. She contacted me and we have been writing back and forth for a few days. I thought I'd post the notes we've written because some of you will remember the Straubs and some of you might even BE the Straubs!!

My name is Kim from Taber, Alberta, Canada. My gramma came to Saskatchewan with her mother from Haigler, Nebraska. I’m doing family history and I’m having a block. My great gramma was married to a Straub, he passed away we think in Haigler. I don't have her maiden name. My gramma was Rosalie Straub. I’m just new at this family tree thing. I have some ages and deceased dates. I will get back to you with this. Great site by the way. I hope to visit some day to my families’ roots. My family has been there in the late 60's to visit some Rose's and Biers families. Thanks for your time. Keep up the great web site. I hope to one day put some great family history on the site.

Hi Kim,

Great to hear from you!

I will forward your email to other people who may remember your grandmother.

I believe that Rosalie Straub may have been a neighbor of ours in Cheyenne County Kansas which is just south of Dundy County Nebraska. We called her Rosie Straub and her children went to school at East 10 school district where we also went. She lived less than a mile south of the school and raised her children alone as far as I remember. Names that come to mind are Paul and Luella.

Was it your mother or father who was one of her children? My mother is 93 years old and remembers a lot of people from that area and had some of the Straub children in her classroom when she was a teacher. I will ask her.

In the mean time, you might want to focus your search in Cheyenne County Kansas, since they actually lived south of Haigler, Nebraska about 6-10 miles.

Also, if you have not already joined, you might want to consider it. Their resources have been very helpful in my own family research and are worth the cost.

Talk to you soon. Sherri

Thanks Sherri for your fast response. And all your info and links. I will keep in touch. It was my mother. my gramma was young when she came with her mother to Saskatchewan. I think my great gramma is Augustine. Her husband’s sister is Rose or Rosalie. I think? I'm just getting it all straight. Thanks again. Kim

Hi again Kim,

I thought I remembered that the Straub family was among the German Russian families that arrived in Cheyenne County in the late 1800s, and I did find them on a list compiled by Paul Reeb who researched the immigrant families that settled in Northwest Kansas. Here is a link to that list.

“The Clearing House” is a very good resource for your research, also.

Good luck. You are embarking on a very addictive project!!


Thanks again. I found out my great gramma is Alvina Straub and her husband was August Straub. He died around 1905. My dad visited an old homestead where there were two wooden crosses. My gramma was alive at the time. She thought one was her dad's. My gramma was Rosalie Straub. She was born I think in 1905 and past on in 1985? Approximate. I’m waiting to here back from my aunt, my mom's sister who is going to be 81 on May 8. I’m trying to give her a little history for her birthday. Thank you so much its great your mom is so spry for her age. My mom also told me when she was still alive that my gramma was left handed and in those days, they tied your hand behind your back to make you write right. kinda neat little tid bit.

Thanks for taking the time. Hear from you soon.

Hi Kim,

I got the following letter from my mom today. She is 93 and remembers alot about people around Haigler.



This just has to be our Rosie Straub. (the great gramma was "married to a Straub") So --The gramma would be one of Rosie Straub's daughters.

I have a hard time to realize that those little dolls are gramdmas now. I wonder which one.

I remember that Hannah Beeler Zuege and Lottie Beeler Workman were nieces of Jake Straub. Their parents lived in Oklahoma.

Rosie Straub had brother, Harvey Hofer living south of Benkelman, Nebr. He and Alice have 4 boys. Rosie's sister, Amy Hofer Andres, of Haigler, Nebr.

Yes, the Straubs lived about four miles into Kansas. On a Haigler, Nebraska mail route. Like us.

Rosie's family:

The names as I remember are Oscar, Elsie, Ida, Paul, Lucille (?), Bernice, Irene, Harry, Louella. They lived in a small basement house. Rosie kept it clean and neat as could be-- besides all the work she had to do helping with the farm work during her husband Jacob's last years and after his death. That was before I knew them except to know who they were and where they lived. I remember seeing Jake Straub in town.

Rosie sold us what we call the "west pasture". We farmed her land on the quarter by the school house. She was a wonderful woman.

When I taught E-10 school was 1942 after Oscar, Elsie and Ida were through 8th grade. I had Paul, Lucille, Bernice, and Irene in school.

Some details: Oscar worked for us on our farm for one winter and then for Marvin Mills Ranch for several years. Then he worked for the County maintaining roads from then on until he retired. Oscar, Ida, Paul and one other (I think Lucille but am not sure) married Tuckers. Irene married one of the Garners. Elsie married Curtis Miller first, then John Cook. One of Elsie and Curtis's daughters married a Wright (brother of Nadine Workman).

I will write another letter about the Biers and Roses. (Remember that our Irene married Herman Rose) And the Lampes--Louise Bier's family. All related.

Love, Mom (Alice Gregory)

Hello Sherri,

My aunt got back to me. Alvina Phillipine Brady married Samuel August Straub around 1900. My great gramma had 5 girls with Samuel or August. I'm not sure which name he went by.

Here is what i found in the 1910 census . My great gramma, Alvina, and her girls were listed:

Mary-died at infancy, Lydia age 9 -died of the flu before 1914, Amelia (Emily) age 7, Rosa (Rosalie Augustine) age 5.(my grandma), Lizzie age 2 was a half sister with the last name of Foster.

My great granpa died around 1904. My aunt jogged my memory with the story that he had bad teeth (gout) in his gums so he put blue stone on them? - Some home remedy that killed him. That's the info I remember my gramma and mom telling me. My great grandmother re-married a man by the 1st name Foster and had Lizzie. Their marriage was annulled.

My aunt remembers her gramma, Alvina talking about living in Nebraska where they all worked at an orchard? That might have even been another state she's not real sure.

My great gramma Alvina, then came to Saskathewan, Canada in around 1914 and married Phillip Meyer. My gramma and grampa (son of Phillip Meyer) got married, but not sure of the date. I will have to go to my records.

My gramma, Rosalie, went to grade three in the USA. There's a little tid-bit about the Straub's.

Thanks for your mom's info again. They could be cousin's to my gramma, I'm not sure about brother's and sisters of my great grandparent's. That's another page in history!

It's kind of ironic that there is a place near Haigler called Ashton Flats, I read a bit about a ranch in the area. My son's name is Ashton. That is who I'm doing the family history for.

Thanks again for your time, have a great day.

(edited for privacy and clarity)

What a Difference A Day Makes

Blooming Trees

April 30, 2008

St. Francis, Kansas
April 30, 2008

May 2, 2008

St. Francis, Kansas
May 2, 2008

-- Leah Brewer

May 2, 2008 - Haigler Weather

May 2, 2008

I was disappointed to see the weather report for Haigler today!! I thought by the first of May we would be having 60 and 70 degree weather during the day, but NOOOOOOO,..... it is cold and a threat of SNOW is in the air!!

Teacher and Superintendent - Carl S. Hoffman - 1927

I have paid another visit to The Haigler Blog, and I spied items from the 1927 HaiglerSenior Class. I was quite pleased to see them, as my father, Carl S. Hoffman, was on two documents as well as his written name on one. He was a teacher in the school, and he may well have been Superintendent by that year. I left comments on those sections relating to the fact that while serving there, he met my mother Ruth Herring. They were married while he was teaching there. He retained a lot of documents relating to his early life, but I have never seen those on the Blog. I do have a picture from those days at the High School, and I have attached it. You are most welcome to post it if you wish.

San Antonio, TX USA
Carl S. Hoffman

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