Archive for March, 2011

Little Esther

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Cultivating Hope by Linda K. Hubalek, 2nd book in the Planting Dreams series.I’ve seen very few photos of my great-great grandparents and their children while the family was young, but then due to the times and expense, photos just weren’t taken.

Yesterday I showed you a photo of their house with a little explanation of why that picture was taken. I’m guessing the photos of the children in their caskets were the only ones ever taken of those two.  

There are also photos of their other children in the old album book too, so the Johnson’s took advantage of having the photographer out and took pictures of everyone. Charlotta had already lost two other children in 1870, and I’m sure she wished she had a photo for their memories too.

Here’s a photo of little Esther I featured in Cultivating Hope. She would have been five years old then. Look at the little dress and boots. All dressed up—for the photographer and the funeral…

Charlotta's Home

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Ancestors of Linda K. Hubalek, author of the Planting Dreams series.Sunday I toured the house that Charlotta’s sister’s family built so I thought I’d show you Charlotta and Samuel’s house on their farm.

Cultivating Hope, the second book, in the Planting Dreams series portrays Swedish immigrant Charlotta Johnson as she and her husband build a farmstead on the Kansas Prairie.

This family faced countless challenges as they homesteaded on America’s Great Plains during the 1800s. Years of hard work develop the land and improve the quality of life for her family—but not without a price.

Personally, looking for photos and then finding clues in them is always the best part of research book series. The photo of Samuel and Charlotta’s family shows a new house, winter time, and missing two children of the family. Hmmm…

My grandparents had a very old album that had photos of two children in caskets.  Researching the cemetery stones and church records, the children, Theodore and Almeda, died January 18 and 19, 1884—twelve days after Charlotta gave birth to son Joseph.

So, I’m guessing the photographer was out to take pictures of the deceased children, and then also took the photo of the family in the front of the house. The baby is not in Charlotta’s arms, so he must have been left inside since it was cold.

Have I drawn you into the story yet? If you’re curious, buy the ebook series now…

Mathilda's Family Photo

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Yesterday I mentioned that my great-great grandparents Samuel and Charlotta Johnson would have visited the Jaderborg house since her sister lived there.

The Johnsons left Sweden with two young children in 1868 and first settled in Illinois. Mathilda and a friend traveled to America the next spring and met up with Charlotta.

Mathilda stayed and worked in Chicago while my ancestors moved on with a group of Swedes to Kansas to claim land under the Homestead Act.

Eventually Mathilda moved to Kansas and married Lars Jaderborg. I thought you’d enjoy seeing a photo of their family.

I’ll keep blogging bits of the stories and pictures from the Planting Dreams series, so if you want to follow along, please just sign up at www.LindaHubalek.com/feed/rss.

Visiting Mathilda’s House

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Yesterday was a cold snowy day. I spent most of it in the recliner, reading a book, drinking hot chocolate and just enjoying a relaxing day of peace and quiet.

I did go out for an open house of a famous (by our town’s standards) home that is up for sale.  This Victorian home with neoclassic influence was built in the early 1900s and is in excellent shape. I loved all the old woodwork, leaded glass windows and rooms.

I was also curious to see the house, because it was built for the family of Mathilda Jaderborg, the sister of my great-great grandmother Charlotta Johnson, who was featured in my Planting Dreams series. My family would have been in that house as they were building it and afterwards when they lived there.

Both Matilda and Charlotta came from Sweden and had very humble beginnings.

Pioneer book by Linda K. Hubalek, 2nd book in the Planting Dreams series.Here’s Matilda story, an excerpt from my book, Cultivating Hope.

“Bachelors often hire women to come out to their farms to do the washing and cook up a supply of meals. Mathilda occasionally went to Lars’ homestead to work for him. One day while she was at the washtub scrubbing his clothes, he came up to her and said the preacher had arrived. Would she marry him today? If not, he had another girl in mind. Lars is twenty-one years older than Mathilda, but she decided he was as good as man as any, so she took off her apron and married him on the spot. Lars has done well for his family. They lived in the log cabin for two years, then build a nine-room stone house.”

Many years later they retired from their farm, moved to Lindsborg and built this house so their children could attend Bethany College. Unfortunately neither lived in the house for very long. Lars died five years later, at age 87, after he broke a hip.  Three years after that Mathilda fell down the back curved staircase of the house that led to the kitchen, and died from internal injuries. Their son and his family lived in the house next, so it stayed in the family for several decades before changing owners.

While I walked through the house, I could sense my ancestors sitting and talking in the parlor—on another Sunday afternoon—visiting this same house…

Planting Dreams

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I’m a very vivid dreamer. And the colors, smells, feelings are so real that I can feel like I’m still in the scene hours after I wake up.

How the brain pulls up old memories and mixes it with current information is beyond my comprehension. The other morning I was back in a certain pasture ready to open the gate for the buffalo herd that was galloping over the terrain.

Worst dreams are family and friends in dire need of help in a current crisis. (I don’t watch 10 o’clock news for that very reason.) And I can still remember dreams from decades ago.

I’m also very good at daydreaming—especially when I should be doing something else—but that’s usually when I come up with my most creative ideas.

Planting Dreams book by Linda K. HubalekMy Planting Dreams book series is about Samuel and Charlotta Johnson, my Swedish ancestors that dreamed of a better life for their family. Being young then they traveling to America, I’m sure they didn’t realize what they were getting into.

But I’m sure their parents had both cons, and pros for their children’s dreams of America. They would have remembered dreams and wishes of their past, both lived and unfulfilled. And that’s just the way life is, both in the past and for us now.

I’ll see what I “dream up” today, both day and night— but I bet after thinking about family stories from the past— I’ll be seeing them tonight in my dreams.

Another Clue

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Pieratt family that author Linda Hubalek is researching for her Kansas Quilter Book seriesHere’s another photo I’m guessing was taken in the Oklahoma Territory when my great aunt Mildred was born in 1904. Pictured with baby Mildred, sitting on her grandfather James Monroe Pieratt’s knee,  and — here again I’m guessing— his adult children, Marion, Ira (my great grandfather), Jimmy, and Martha.

Their mother Maggie, (Margaret Jane Kennedy Pieratt- featured in my Stitch of Courage book) and three other children had all died prior to 1883. James Monroe remarried his widowed sister-in-law, Harriet (wife of brother Belvard) and had two more children, Daisy and Kate, which were present in the last photo I showed you, but not in this photo.

Stitch of Courage, Book 3 in the Trail of Thread book series by Linda K. Hubalek.I’m guessing this photo was taken on same house and porch, but this time there is another clue of a house number 328 showing on the top of the porch. I wonder if this house is still there in Chickasha, OK?

Researching is my favorite part of writing. I never know when a clue might change the course and facts of a book— and my family history.

Groupon for Books

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Book series by Linda K. Hubalek

Would you like a good deal?  The first books from three of my series are being featured in a Wichita Groupon right now until March 23, 2011. You get autographed copies of Butter in the Well, Trail of Thread and Planting Dreams, the first book in each of my three pioneer women series.

Individually the books would cost $11.95 (for a total of $35.85, specially priced as a group for $32.95) but your groupon will buy the three books for $14.00 plus the cost of Kansas tax and shipping.

You can read more about it on the Groupon site, or just click on the link on my website to get the details.

And if you’d just prefer to read these endearing pioneer stories as an ebook instead, you can read them on a Kindle or Nook.

It will be interesting to see what happens the next few days with the Groupon. Wish me luck!

Where you were

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It’s been a week since I turned on the TV last Friday morning and saw the horrible world disaster literally unfolding- live- at the moment in Japan and across the Pacific. The conditions the Japanese population face now and in the future, will affect them for generations.

For me it will be one of those events “you’ll remember where you were at the time”. One of the most recent ones was on Sept. 11, 2001 when I was at the Kansas State Fair getting my book booth ready for a daily of fairgoers. The day was spent watching a little color TV in a nearby booth and worrying about family members in Washington DC that worked in the Pentagon.

I recall November 22, 1963 as the first time I comprehended that the world and her people could spread news and worry about a disaster together. Our fourth grade class room was interrupted by the loud and frantic ringing of the church bell across the street from the school. Teachers rushed to the hall to find out that President Kennedy had been killed. We watched the funeral on a black and white TV.

Events like these are some of the things I look for when researching for a book. How long did news about a world disaster take to reach the pioneers in central Kansas? How did they feel, and in many cases, how did they help? News then would have been carried from neighbor to neighbor, from a week- or month old- copy of a newspaper that was being passed around.

It’s only been a week, but for people in Japan (and their loved ones elsewhere in the world worrying) our feelings of grief and wanting to help is the same now as it was decades and centuries ago. At least now the news is instant and we can help quicker…

Kennedy's Irish Trip

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Thimble of Soil, Book 2 in the Trail of Thread book series.St. Patrick’s Day makes me think of my relatives that left their country for America in the mid-1700s.

Our Kennedy ancestors, who originally hailed from Scotland, before moving on to Ireland, has been traced to first settling in Pennsylvania. Then another move found the next generation in Ohio. Illinois was just the next short stop before the family was enticed by the opening of the new Territory of Kansas.  They seemed to always look for expansion of land due to their expanding family.

Pioneer woman featured in Thimble of Soil book by Linda HubalekI featured Margaret Ralston Kennedy in my Thimble of Soil book. She came with eight of her thirteen children – as a widow – to settle them all together on new territory. The oldest sons did a scouting trip the year in 1854 before that final move.

According to records I found in the Watkins Museum in Lawrence, KS, most of the family, 23 in number, made the trip by a wagons. They stopped in Kansas City to meet up with family that made the trip by boat with a year’s worth of supplies and farm equipment.

Quite an undertaking for any family, but many an Irish immigrant dreamed of a better life for their family and America provided it for many.

So to my relatives that crossed the sea, I thank you for your adventurous spirit, and I celebrate your special day today.

Word of Mouth

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Butter in the Well book by Linda K. Hubalek

Butter in the Well

I spent most of yesterday on ebook marketing- posting my book information on some of the hundreds (of thousands) of discussions and websites that I could find on the internet. It’s something that has to be done for people to learn about them, and the best way is to start the wave of “word of mouth” advertising- via the internet.

Marketing is so different now compared to when Butter in the Well, my first book, came out in 1992. Then it was all mailed press releases to reviewers, phone calls to newspapers, and personal appearances at stores and book fairs.

Now I can reach thousands of computer screens with a minimum amount of work, but it has to compete with so much content that’s also being flung into cyberspace. Which is better, marketing now or in the past?

It doesn’t matter… It’s still one person saying (or emailing or tweeting) to another, “Hey, this was a good book and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. You’ll enjoy it too.”

So please enjoy a good book, be it mine or other author’s, and pass on your recommendation. We authors put lots of hours into research, thought and writing in a book- and the main thing we want out of our time is for someone to read and enjoy (or learn) the words we put down on paper.

Have you read a good book recently? Please spread the word about it!

Linda’s Books & Series

Hilda Hogties a Horseman

Autographed. Book 3, Brides with Grit series.
$11.95 (tax incl.)
by lindahubalek

Cate Corrals a Cattleman

Autographed. Book 6, Brides with Grit series.
$11.95 (tax incl.)
by lindahubalek

Thimble of Soil

Autographed. Book 2 in the Trail of Thread Series
$11.95 (tax incl.)
by lindahubalek

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