Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Another Way to Explore Our Past

A couple of days ago I was talking with friends about growing up in Cedar Vale and some of my adventures as a young lad.  The conversation go me curious and I brought up Google Earth on my computer.

While I was looking around Cedar Vale and our old farm & ranch on Otter Creek, northwest of C.V., I noticed a very odd label on the map.  "Hogback Hill" was clearly marked and it was located in "Otter, KS".  This is the hill that I referred to as 'Hogback Ridge' in my article about my dad in April of 2008.

Well, to my knowledge there is not now, nor has there ever been, an 'Otter, KS'.  But there it is on Google Earth, in a high-definition picture thanks to a USDA Farm Service Agency satellite photo dated 10/28/2011.  "Otter, KS" is apparently an empty piece of pasture land in what was once the Mills Ranch, about 1.1 miles southwest of the house that I grew up in until I was 7 years old.  Having been over all of that land many, many times I think I would have noticed a community, or the remnants of one!

But all of that is not really what I can to tell you about!  Using Google Earth, or Google Maps in "Satellite" view, you can explore almost any area around Cedar Vale, or even where you live now, without ever leaving your chair.  I have looked at many of the changes in buildings and roads around C.V.   I have relived more that a few adventures just by looking at the pictures of places that I used to go.  And I have looked closely at both of the houses that I grew up in and the buildings around them.  I have retraced my travels throughout the area and it has brought back many good memories...and a few regrets, but that as they say is life.

In many cases you can even see the vaults or headstones of family ancestors, and see the foundations where old houses and buildings once stood.  It is amazing what you can see of the changes that have been made in the past 40 or 50 or 60 years or more!  All from the comfort and safety of your own home.

Have you found anything interesting while exploring old maps or new ones?  I'm curious....

Jess White Family

(via e-mail from Don Cox)   
Sherry Barnett asked me about some history of this family of Cedar Valians.  I did remember their grandson, Sonny, who they raised and who was in school here-a bit older than I.  Since then Sherry has learned more: (this info is for a granddaughter of Jess) Her mother was Geneva Ruth Noel (White) who graduated CVHS, two sisters were named Ladeen and Louise.  Sherry also learned that Jess and his wife, Sadie, lived on Main St. between Lee Ave. and Donelson Ave.

Today I learned a bit more about Jess, in later life he was somewhat of a handyman and he had modified a Model T Ford and mounted a table type Buzz saw on it.  The old Ford would serve to go to the work site and the Jess would Jack it up, remove a rear wheel and belt the Buzz saw to the drive axle of the Ford.  The old Ford then powered the saw until the job was finished.  The the process was reversed and Jess would motor home or to the next job.

I also learned the the house is no longer there.  Once there were two houses on the block just north of the Zimmerman miniature village.  But they are both gone now--there may be a mobile home there.

If someone has memories of this family--someone is interested.