BROKE 200 ACRES WITH OX TEAM
By Charles G. Dahlgren
My father, John S. Dahlgren, came to York county in the spring of 1872 and took a timber claim on the northwest section of Morton township. Later he homesteaded it on account of not being able to fullfil the contract of planting forty acres of trees. Father lived on the same land until his death in 1908.
I was a lad when I came with my parents. I can remember the great snow storm of 1873. One of our neighbor boys, George Gray, lost his life. Later I went to the same school with his brothers and sisters. I only got about three months school a year. We had no examinations in those days. When I had to quit school we had just got to where fractions began in the arithmetic so I did not have much of an education.
A few years later father bought forty acres of railroad land. So now he had 200 acres. Father had raised a couple of oxen and broke them for me to drive with rope lines. He started me to break prairie and just how long it took me to break the 200 acres I don't know but I eventually got it done. If the oxen got dry between meals they went home for a drink. All I had to do was follow along. When they got to the well I had to draw water from a dug well eighty feet deep, and how they would drink!
One time father went to get some hay he had cut with a scythe and I went along to help load it. For some reason the horses didn't stop when they were told and went on home in a hurry. My hat blew off and because that was all I was interested in I didn't try to stop the runaways.
Another time father and I went to the Platte for wood. It was in the fall of the year and was rather chilly. For some reason I had taken my boots off as I went barefoot from early spring until frost in the fall because I only got one pair of boots a year. We were driving in water two or three feet deep when one of my boots fell off the wagon. Say, didn't I howl to see my boot go down the river forever lost.
Even if times were hard and we didn't have much and no where to go and we only got our mail once or twice a month as I think back some sixty years ago many pleasant memories come to my mind. Also many sad days that I will not mention. I remember many of the old pioneers, the Bittingers, Sam, Dave, Fred, Frank and the father, all gone. Also Simpsons, Parkers, Graves, Wheelers and Youngs.
By the way, many a trip I've made to Arborville with a pound or two of butter or two or three dozen eggs to get a few groceries. We lived four and a half miles from Arborville. Wm. H. Fairchild had a grocery store there for a number of years.