Going to go in a personal direction on my blog here again today. Recently a cousin (second cousin actually, but who’s counting?) shared this photo on our family group FaceBook page:
The adults in the photo would be my great-grandparents, the boy in overalls, second from the right on the running board would be my Grandpa, Oscar. The photo was taken on the original homestead in western Nebraska. A homestead that is still in the family!
150 Years of Ag: Bauer farm a Land Patent farm
Many area families can trace their roots back through the early years of Nebraska. Larry Bauer of Alliance, is one such man, his family has owned the same 311 acres for more than 100 years.
If this link works, you can listen to a podcast about it.
I know many native Nebraskans can trace their roots back to homesteaders. If you are interested in that sort of thing, take a trip west of Beatrice sometime; Homestead National Monument has all kinds of homestead records you can search to find your roots–something well-worth doing in commemoration of Nebraska’s 150th anniversary!
Uncle Orville’s family is still on the original homestead land. My Grandpa got a piece of ground just a couple miles to the north. Grandma and Grandpa Bauer have been gone for a number of years and their old place is now abandoned. I sure miss them when I have visited the old place the last couple of times; can almost see Grandpa standing in the door waiting for us.
Back to the old black and white photo, the littlest boy, the one on the far right was Bill. My Dad, Jerry, was named after him, Jerry Bill. Uncle Bill was killed in WWII. From what I have been able to learn, he was a machine-gunner and died in action in the hedgerow country around St. Lo in the days after D-day. His letters home before he was killed often asked how the horses were. Horses and horsemanship run in the Bauer blood, but that DNA skipped me–I would rather be on foot.
There is one family member missing from the black and white photo; it was taken before a daughter was added, my Great Aunt Emily. My daughter is named after two of those great aunts, Emily Eileen.
There is not much fishing water near the old home places in the Nebraska panhandle. Grandpa had a sandhill lake on his place, but it was too alkaline (i.e. too “salty”) to support fish. However, that lake was loaded with larval salamanders. In that relatively arid place I have often wondered how the fishing gene was so strong in the Bauer DNA?
That photo is my Dad with Uncle Orville and Grandpa and a mess of fish. I do not know for sure where the picture was taken, but I believe it was at Lake McConaughy back in its early days. I know this, I have fond memories of Bauer family camping and fishing trips at Lake McConaughy where the extended families would all camp, fish, feast, and play together. Rod holders holding rods & reels with lines in the water would stretch for dozens of yards down the beach in both directions.
Anyway, I am told there is going to be a little ceremony at the Box Butte County fair to honor the original homestead still being in the family all these years later. Wish I could be there, but I am afraid we will not be able to make it. I used to display my early school art work at that county fair–no the art work was not in black and white. I ain’t that old!