Thursday, June 13, 2019

Isaac Werner Visits Cullison, Part 3

Wagon displayed in Stafford County (KS) Museum
Having been successful marketing his potatoes further south of his community, Isaac Werner planned his last trip before winter.  The cold weather required special preparations for his trip, which began October 24, 1887.  "By 9 a.m. I got done choring & off with my load of potatoes for Stringfield's [the local blacksmith].  Got mares shod in front & off for Cullison.  There by 2 p.m. & cold raw NE air & cloudy, about bordering on snow.  Disagreeable cold to be out unless extra warm dressed to sit on wagon."

Eager to resume his trip in daylight, before temperatures dropped with the setting sun, " 3 left Cullison & by dusk turned in at J.P. Chinn's ranch 7 miles N. of Sun City.  Chilling night air sure, covered my potatoes some extra."

Isaac "found Chinns a clever family."  In the 1890 Federal Census, it appears that John P. and Joanna Chinn had both been born in Kentucky.  They had four sons--Isaac L. (born about 1853), Garrett C. (born about 1855), John T. (born about 1857), and Eddie D. (born about 1863), all of whom were born in Iowa, indicating that the couple had not come directly from the land of their births to Kansas.  By the 1900 Federal Census, J.P. Chinn is a widower living by himself in Pratt, Kansas.

Bachelor Isaac, living alone as he did, enjoyed the opportunity to visit with people he found interesting, and after his night's rest, the following morning had "cleared off and moderating into pleasant day," so he lingered for "a lengthy morning talk with Mr. & Mrs. Chinn," delaying his start until "by 10 I got started & by noon down to Sun City, good roads and agreeable weather."  Although Isaac had taken the precaution of covering his potatoes "some extra" the night before, a "few got frost bitten on top layer under 3 thicknesses of wagon cover." 

Slicker Ad from St. John County Capital newspaper
Isaac was disappointed when, unlike the market for his previous marketing trips to Sun City, "potato market somewhat dull--money so scarce.  Finally I sold 5 bushels at Hotel and 16 1/2 to dry goods store (Dougles), all at a dollar a bushel."  He did a "a little trading & by 4 ready to start back, & after dusk & moonlight by 8 to Spring Vale.  Staied [sic] there over night in feed stable.  Thirty-five cents to hay and stable."  As part of my research for the manuscript, my husband and I traced Isaac's route for this trip, but our search for Spring Vale found no remaining trace.  

The next morning dawned "fair & pleasant," and Isaac went to Wellsford to get "some needed harness trimmings & collar."  Unfortunately, Isaac had forgotten his new slicker and had to backtrack to Spring Vale to retrieve it.  That done, Isaac headed to Cullison to feed his team.  After giving his team a short rest, he headed to Pratt, making that day's journey about 40 miles.

Next week's blog will conclude Isaac's potato marketing trip as he does some shopping in Pratt and pauses for a visit with a neighbor before returning home.

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