To the editor:
This is with reference to the recent article in Go! about the Wakarusa Valley museum. It will be a source of information especially to anyone with connection to the area before it was submerged by Clinton Lake.
I found, however, that generalizations are seldom accurate. Martha Parker says, regarding lost family history, that, “These people were farmers. They weren’t interested in preserving their heritage.” In my own life, I’m not aware that farmers don’t care about family history. I am from a long line of family farmers and I have tangible and written artifacts from ancestors who wanted to preserve a record of their lives and times.
My maternal grandmother wrote details of her own life and also an account of life on the frontier here in Kansas and the progress of our state and of Washington County as it was in the 1870s and later. I also have my great-grandfather’s school slate with his initials carved on the frame. Later he migrated to Kansas from eastern Missouri and became a successful farmer. The house he built still stands, about 130 years later, and occasionally, we cousins make our own sentimental journey back to stand in the yard and try to imagine life in an earlier time.
I know I’m fortunate to be part of a family who valued their history. If anything, maybe farmers have had more of a sense of being part of something larger than their own lives. Living close to the soil may create in them that awareness. I think it has for me.