My grandmother, Katherine Petty Mapel was born 9 August 1869 in Daviess County, Indiana. Her mother, Isabella Overton died when she was but a year or so old. Her father, Eli James Petty had returned to Indiana after the Civil War and married her mother there. After Isabella died, James moved to Kansas with Katherine, his brother Will and Will's wife Carrie, who took care of Katherine until James remarried, Lucinda Mapel on 4 June 1874.
Katherine grew up to marry her step-mother Lucinda's young brother, George Washington Mapel on 3 June 1888. On the 16th of September, 1893, G.W., his brother Joshua, and their and Lucinda's father, Ephraim, started the race for land on which they could homestead, by running in the Cherokee Strip opening in Indian Territory. G.W. claimed some land in Kay County, Oklahoma Territory. Although he didn't receive title to it until 17 April, 1903, signed by Teddy Roosevelt. My father was born the next year, before Oklahoma became a state. Katherine helped George raise 9 children and turn the prarie into a home for all of them.
I remember their farm as being a wonderful place for children to explore. The house which G.W. built had a large country kitchen and pantry, with wood burning stove, woodbox, a front room, a parlor (with sliding wooden doors between), an office, and a large screened-in back porch. Upstairs there were 4 bedrooms and an attic. The front port went all the way across the front and halfway down the east side, where the doors to the kitchen and front room opened out. Down the steps from these double doors leading inside were a double sidewalk going to the lane that came into the farm from the country road. There they had a double gate giving access to the lane. All around the front of the house was a large iron fence, giving us children an extremely large yard to play in with our toy trucks and tractors.
At the back of the house was a cistern for our water, a large woodpile, a 3 or 4 car garage big enough to put baby chicks in to keep warm and still pull in the vehicles. They had numerous hen houses, fruit trees, an outhouse, a large barn, a grainery, and a tool house. I remember how nice it was in the summer to be in the tool house, and see all the tools that were there. Grandpa had a grinding wheel that you could turn by sitting on the seat and pedaling. All us kids liked to do this, as at that time none of us had a bicycle, and the dirt floor kept in cool in there. We knew better than to climb in the oats, etc. in the grainery, but he did let us swim in the big cement horse trough by the barn. It was sometimes slippery with algae. And then we would go to the garden behind the grainery and help ourselves to strawberries, hiding behind the grapevines so Grandpa wouldn't see us!
I never had the pleasure of knowing my grandmother, as she died 17 June, 1940, after being sick for about 3 years and in failing health. She and G.W. had celebrated their golden wedding anniversary several years before. The family took many family pictures that day, some of all the children, the grandchildren, and one of the parents laughing and looking like they were having a great day.
These are some of my treasured possessions and memories. Although I didn't know my grandmother, I feel close to her and will always feel as if I came to know her through my research.
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