to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(History continued from last week)
Each week that goes by another event opens or closes an era in our history. Each baby being born and every person who moves into their final resting place. These people are all members of personal families and have taken up their role as Mom-Dad-Brother-Sister-sweetheart or friend. Believe me when I’ve often said that every one of them have been an important part of our history and we have special memories of these people coming and going. We, as members of the family, sure lost one of our most important and well-liked members in the passing of our friend and brother Gerald Uhlorn. Likewise as a friend we will also miss and certainly remember George Geis. These two men of this area have left us with memories of them as friends as well as “Dads” of good-sized families. I personally remember both of them as classic representatives of both the Uhlorn and Geis families. Our hearts go out to both the families and believe me, many of us share your loss and we also, with honor and respect, will share the many memories these two men leave behind. Rest in peace bothers and friends!
These men, like so many before them had final services with full churches attesting to the value of their many friendships.
In the farming business this is the time we all kinda hold our breath and keep one eye on the weather. Haying has reached the midway pint and the bales are well on their way to the hayshed or barn. This has been a great year for hay, even with a few glitches, and now we turn our attention, as usual, to the grain and cereal crops. Each farmer knows that in these few weeks before harvest it’s all on the table – bumper or bust! But all through our history this is the way it has always been. The older farmers, having been part of this cycle for many years are not quite as anxious as the younger men who have a bigger stake in getting things paid for and building their cushion. Their success, like that of their grandpas and dads, will be judged over the long haul and those of us who have worked with them marvel at their skills at getting it all done in a timely fashion year after year. Our hats are off to all the families who chose to live here and make their living in the traditional way!
Most people of this area were trained and raised to stand on their own two feet. Since 1862 the state and federal governments gradually took over helping people who really needed it and the many programs cover the needy as well as people who are just along for the free ride. But really this could get into some the “helluva messes” we now have in our country as well as the rest of the world and I really don’t want to drop into the belly of the beast. What I want to do is go back over how this all started and the well intended people who saw their “helping hand” get out of control. This all started with societies, clubs or groups of people set up to help and do things of a civic nature that most lone individuals could not do by themselves. Many of these clubs started very small and grew into big outfits that were hard to handle and their very being was controlled by the “home office” instead of the “local” people. Just think of how many of our groups are now closed up. We still have some like the Lions, who have been most active and done great things across this area. While we are at it, the K of C’s have also done big jobs in support of the church and many of the activities in the schools. The St. Anthony’s Society in Greencreek is very active in keeping the community together and also with the hall and school work. The Holy Names Society in Ferdinand also put in many hours in and around that town. In addition there were many women’s clubs in all the area who made sure all the necessary church and school programs got taken care of. In Keuterville these groups of people did great things, reaching into 4-H, yearly fundraisers, and many other local programs. Look in you diaries and family records. All the funerals and weddings held as community projects. How much of life would be missing without these volunteers and thousands of helping hands ?! Think of all the holes left in our history without neighbors and friendships!
Yes, we certainly have much to remember and many people to thank for making this what it is. Just think of all the times you can recall when, in times of happiness, or in times of sadness, help appeared out of nowhere. How many times have you heard the story of “Footprints in the Sand?” God has not always been there to carry us, but He sure as heck sent someone to help in our time of need. In every family there are stories of the “good Samaritan.” And as always the question “How can I possibly repay you?” is answered with “don’t worry about paying me – just help someone else!” And so this goes on forever. All the memories of the clubs and people who put the time in helping others goes on across these past 150 years and now spills over into the next time table. Many thanks to all of you for taking your part in this history. And for being who and what you are!
State Senators, State Representative, County Commissioner, City Councilman, School Board Members, Church Council Member, Member of business councils, members of various farm boards, Cemetery board members, members of various farm councils in wheat, peas, barley, corn, beans and potatoes, all the members of various clubs and organizations and various support structures – all the people it takes to support and run a family and maintain the pride of people who make up our area!
Many great projects which made all our lives better were done by our caring neighbors and friends with only a simple “thank you” as their reward.
I remember many times when this area depended on men and women volunteers to step forward and show young people the “Whats and Hows” when it came to sports of all kinds, when a 4-H club needed a leader, or when the Boy Scouts became inactive until a name from the past came forward. All the things you and your family did centered around our connection in the community. This has been a great experience to have been raised in this area and the people themselves made it happen. Everyone wanted something better for the young folks and most everyone had a hand in making it happen!
In this area we not only had our organizations who worked on the job to improve civic pride but we had many local people who helped out with fundraisers, transportation and worked their whole lives on new and better community centers and ballfields. Some of these people had special reasons but mostly, they were just people who cared. I remember several times in grade school and even high school, when a pickup would pull up to the playground and some local men would unload much needed playground equipment. Our heroes!
Not too many years ago, the Lions Club, with the help of the road districts, did great things for the ball parks in the area. Just think and recall the good things we have had and now enjoy created by people who led us around many government programs!
Shown above are the grave markers for George Geis and Gerald Uhlorn, two men we lost last week who made their mark on our local history.
About all that’s left of Westlake are the signs put up marking the townsite and school site and some old buildings that are showing their age. All photos above by Don Hoene.
The Romain homestead near Keuterville in 1910-1920.
The Romain Homestead with Dominic and Mathilda Romain and children Vincent and Helen.
A more recent photo of the Romain Homestead near Keuterville. This photo and the two above were provided to Nancy Uptmor along with those that ran 2 weeks ago