Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Family Roots Vacation!

This may look like an ordinary pile of junk to you, but it's a very significant piece of history - at least to the Thomases! It's the remains of a cabin that was built by Randy's great-grandfather, John C. Thomas, back in 1884. It eventually crumbled and fell because of its age, but it's always been left there. We grabbed a couple of pieces of the wood while we were there and brought it back with us. Sure wish those pieces of wood could talk. We've heard stories about how the indians burned down the first cabin John C. Thomas built in 1870. John C. Thomas rebuilt the cabin you see above, and then he built the main farmhouse. I'm kicking myself because I didn't take a picture of it. It had a U-Haul truck parked in front of it because the renters were moving out. There were toys and stuff strewn all about and Randy didn't want to remember it like that, so I didn't take a picture. I'm furious at myself now for that. In 1916, John C. Thomas gave the main farmhouse to his son, Walter (Randy's grandfather), and they built another house on the same land for John C. Thomas - it's the old one in the pictures below with high grass all around it. Randy's father, Robert, lived in the main farmhouse as a child and moved away in 1941, when he moved to Wichita to work for Beech Aircraft and then joined the Air Force in 1943.
I'm a Texas girl and we've always felt like there's nowhere on earth that is as hot as Texas - we're proud of it! Well, let me tell you, I have never been as hot as I was in Independence, Kansas while we were there! They were experiencing a heat wave and at times the heat index was unbearable - as evidenced above!
This is the old house that was built in 1916 by John C. Thomas after he gave the main farmhouse to his son Walter and family. This house is right next to the main farmhouse. I sure wish we could have gone in there, but we were told it probably wasn't safe, and the grass around it was very high.
Here's the old garage and shed that grandma and grandpa would park their Model T in. I wanted to ask for one of those window frames that you see propped up against it. They obviously came from the barn. In the barn pictures, you can see that whole windows are missing. These had to be the windows from that. I just couldn't get up the nerve to ask for one! Kicking myself about that, too!
Inside the barn, we found this - whatever it is. It opens up and there are shelves inside. Ed Bruington told us that it's been on the property since he purchased it back in 1966, so it belonged to the Thomases. Randy suspects that it could have been built by his father, who was known for his carpentry skills, but we can't verify that. The carpentry on this piece is phenomenal. Even though the pieces of wood are all crooked, they all fit together perfectly and snugly. Mr. Bruington offered to let us take it with us, but with a car full of kids, luggage, a dog, and my stamping supplies, there was NO WAY we could get that thing back to Texas. We really want it and are thinking about contacting the new owner and asking if he would keep it for us until we figure out a way to get it back here.
This is a picture of the second floor of the barn. My children had fun up there. Those big chutes are where you would drop the hay bales down to the animals below. This barn is filled with so many good memories for my husband. He and his brothers and cousins loved this barn.
Another look at the old house built in 1916. Looks kind of scary, doesn't it, but it's so rich with history, I wanted to stay there forever. This trip was one of my favorite trips EVER. It really changed me - I came back different. I don't know how to describe what exactly changed, but something did - probably a renewed and stronger interest and dedication to my family and my family history.

1 comment:

Pam said...

Very interesting. Love the pictures. What a great experience for your family.