EARLY WELL DIGGERS WERE POPULAR
By Ella M. Doan
I came to Nebraska in 1871 from Logan county, Illinois. We arrived in Lincoln on a passenger train on October 10th of that year. At that time Lincoln was the end of the railroad and a poor town it was then. Only a few shacks on the broad prairie with wild grass all around. It made me very home-sick for my birthplace. We had to wait in Lincoln for my brother to arrive on the freight train with the horses.
My father had taken a homestead three miles north of Waco but we lived through the winter on the homestead of my father's cousin in Seward county while my father and brother were building a small frame house. My father had loaned his cousin money to build the sod house in which we lived that winter.
We moved into our new home the first week in March. Our nearest neighbors lived four miles from us but soon more homesteaders came in and built dugouts and soddies until there were enough of us in the community to have a school. I liked school very much and had been disappointed because there hadn't been any school. Our first school was in a room in Elder Evans' soddie. We only had school for three months but we were very thankful to him for letting us use a room in his soddie.
We had a neighbor three and a half miles from our place who could dig wells. He was very much in demand because all the homesteaders had to have wells. When he dug our well he asked me if I could stay with his wife and three small children while he was digging wells through the country. I was only nine years old but I told my father I would not be afraid to come home in the night to tell him if anyone got sick.
I stayed with them all that summer and liked it very much. They had a cow, a dog, a dozen chickens and a pig which I cared for.
All these years I have lived in York county and I am pleased with the county.
Waco, February 1, 1937.