Friday, January 29, 2016
Happy 155th Birthday, Kansas!
The trees I often use as silhouettes in my sunrise photos likely weren't there. Many of them were probably planted as part of the timber claims by Kansas settlers. But as men and women left their humble houses on a vast Kansas prairie and ventured out to feed or milk cattle on a brisk January morning, did they watch the clouds illuminated as the sun made its way toward the horizon? Did they appreciate the beauty of a new day, a day that would become an important part of their heritage?
On my Dad's side, Kentuckian James T. Moore (my dad's great-grandfather) came to Kansas in the late 1860s, spending a brief time as a helper to a buffalo hunter. He was impressed with the potential of Kansas for cattle grazing and went home to tell his wife, Chalista, that "the grass stood as high as the stirrups on a horse."
In 1876, he and Chalista brought their family to Kansas in a covered wagon drawn by oxen. They arrived in December of 1876 in Sodtown, Kansas, later known as Stafford. (And isn't it ironic that his great-great-granddaughter ended up later calling Stafford home!)
A hotel proprietor there mentioned to J.T. that he might do well to homestead in Pratt County. And so he did, 15 years after Kansas became a state.