Sunday, July 12, 2009

thinking about a hundred years ago

The 2009 July 4 Burtz family reunion celebrated 100 years since Charles & Julia Hanson Burtz moved from Fremont, Nebraska, to their homestead in northern Tripp County, South Dakota. The railroad ended at Dallas which is where the land drawing was held. It was a four day trip by ox and wagon from Dallas to the site of the homestead.

They raised their own chickens, milked their own cows, butchered their own pigs, and grew wheat for flour. They also raised seven children. The nearest supplies were two days away. It was a trip made only once or twice a year by Charles.

Julia's wedding dress is in the Gibson girl style. It would have been constructed on a corseted shaped dress form similar to this one, pictured in its collapsed down attitude. The framework on the bottom opens to support the long skirt shape. Ladies hadn't even thought of trousers although they would have come in handy most every day.

Several years later, they built a small house, but there was no electricity, no telephone, no radio. Chores like separating milk were done outside in the sunshine utilizing a pressed back kitchen chair.

The White River flooded every spring and forced them to camp on higher ground until the waters receded. Finally in 1920 Julia said she wasn't going back to the river bottom and Charles moved the household up the hill to the flat prairie. She was a very patient woman. Can we even imagine their daily life?

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