Ad Astra Per Aspera
By Kim L. Fritzemeier
KFRM Central Kansas Reporter
Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line
You probably wouldn't think about having a birthday party in a cemetery. But as Kansas celebrated 151 years of statehood yesterday, I thought about those pioneers who settled this land I now call home. On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union and became the 34th star on the American flag.
Were they adventurers? Were they dreamers? Were they looking to improve life for themselves and their families? Under the Homestead Act, any person older than 21 could choose 160 acres of land on which to farm or ranch. If the homesteader could live and farm on the land for a period of five years, they could own it.
Clearing the land of the tall, tough prairie grass was back breaking work. They had to figure out what crops would grow, often a process of trial and error. Droughts, thunderstorms, bitter winters, prairie fires and grasshopper invasions stood in the way of fulfilling their hopes for a different way of life.
The dreams they planted on the Kansas prairie took root like the trees they planted to block their homesteads from the unrelenting wind.
And they worked hard. They planted churches and schools along with the winter wheat.
They raised their families. They lived and they died on the Kansas prairie.
And as we celebrate 151 years of statehood, I am thankful for my ancestors and those of my husband who had a vision and worked hard to provide a future for their children and their children's children and beyond.
Kansas is celebrating its birthday. But we got the gift.
Respond to this Entry