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Marie Searcy Austin Letter

This article is taken from the March 2008 Tales & Trails
The following is a letter received recently from Marie Searcy Austin of Chesapeake, Virginia.
We have Marie’s permission to print it.

Dear Friends of Denton Historical Society and Rokeby Alumni.

            I enjoy reading the news about surrounding areas, especially “Rokeby”.  The article Mark Steinhausen wrote re: Rock Island Railroad and the Grain elevator, hit close to home. 

            My father, Orlo Searcy spent all of his working years on the Rock Island.  He was a laborer until the last few years, and then transferred to Kansas where he was supervisor until his retirement.

            We moved from Martell to Rokeby when I was in the third grade. 

            The railroad tracks ran north and south.  On the east side was a depot.  On the west was a lane that led to the section foreman house and farther east was the tool shed and one room house and boxcar, used for our residence.  The one room house was later moved behind the boxcar and doors cut to give up more room.

            Mr. Lee and family lived there in the section family residence.  There were three boys and three girls (girls were Dewitt’s).  When Mr. Lee retired the house was occupied by the Miller family.

            Families that lived on the hill above the tracks were the White’s.  He owned and ran the blacksmith ship.  He shod horses and repaired farm equipment.  Family was his wife and grandson who later moved elsewhere.  The Robinsons moved into that residence.

            Across from the blacksmith shop was where the Munns lived, had a grocery store and post office. He had the grain elevator as well.  They had a few chickens and pigs for their own use.  Then a family house sat on the hill in back close to the road, a fence separated the gym and school playground.  

            The Petersons lived in back of the church or across the road from the gym.

            My mother Vinnetta Searcy later became custodian at the depot.  She would call Lincoln whenever Mr. Munn needed extra cars for shipping grain.  She also called to stop the passenger train when someone wanted to go to Lincoln for the weekend.

            All High School activities, choral, band concerts, school plays, basketball and volleyball games etc were held in the gym.  Voting and any church dinners were held there. About twice a month on Saturday evening, square dances were held.  Piano, violin, and accordion music was played.

            Great time had by all.

            I have enclosed some pictures to be placed in Rokeby album.

            Hope to see you next year.

                                                            Blessing to all

                                                            Sincerely

                                                            Marie Searcy Austin

                                                            Class of ‘41


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