Posts Tagged ‘kansas history’

Welcome Summer

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Butter in the Well book series, Planting Dreams book series

Festival in Little Sweden USA- Lindsborg, KansasIt’s felt like summer for over a month with our high temperatures and Kansas winds sweeping across the Plains, but now it’s officially here. Thunderstorms are part of the season and they have already been a mainstay this month too. Luckily we’ve had rain, but no damage in our area.

Our little community of Lindsborg, Kansas (known as Little Sweden USA) celebrated the start of summer this last weekend with our 40th annual Midsummer’s Day Festival. The Smoky Valley region of Kansas was settled by Swedish immigrants in 1869 and the heritage of the original homesteaders is still honored in our area today.

Saturday’s celebration included the raising of the maypole, dancing, food, and heritage exhibit booths. We had a heck of a storm with hail, wind, and rain the night before, but Saturday was perfect weather for the festival.

I often wondered while researching and writing both the Butter in the Well and Planting Dreams series what the Swedish immigrants thought of their first full-blown thunderstorm while out in the middle of the Kansas prairie. It’s quite a sight as the clouds mushroom in the big sky and then grows black as it barrels toward you. That’s when a dugout would have been a good place to be….

Välkommen Till Kansas sommar!

When Family History Inspires You to Write Fiction

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in about Trail of Thread book series, Blog

In 1990 my husband had a two-year engineering project that required us to move to the San Francisco area. I sold my wholesale horticulture business because it wasn’t something I could maintain from out of state.

Searching for what I wanted to do while in California, I decided to look into my ancestors past as a project to work on. I researched and found my family’s history, not only the important dates of their lives, but also their stories.

What I realized is that all my ancestors traveled from other places to settle in Kansas when the territory opened up in 1854, or shortly after the Civil War when land was available to homestead. They were from European countries, leaving family, community and the life they knew behind to start a new and hopefully better life In America.

The history that my family just happened into, because of the state and nation’s situation, inspired me to write the Trail of Thread series. To give them a personal feel, I wrote the stories in the form of letters sent back home to loved ones.

For example my ancestors Deborah and John Pieratt (with six children along), featured in the first book of the Trail of Thread series left Kentucky in 1854 when the Territory of Kansas was formed. They were part of the thousands of families that packed wagons and headed west for the promise of a new life. My mother, uncle and I actually drove their trip—by car in a few days—to see what they would have seen in person.

Thimble of Soil, the second book in the series, features a great aunt Margaret Ralston Kennedy. She was a widow who moved with eight of her thirteen children from Ohio to the Territory Kansas in 1855. I found out by research that she helped with the Underground Railroad in both Ohio and Kansas!

Orphaned Maggie Kennedy, my ancestor portrayed in Stitch of Courage, the last book in the series, followed her brothers to Kansas as the states fought out the history of the Civil War. She found love with Deborah Pieratt’s son and gave birth to the great grandfather I knew.

Not only did this information give me a look into my ancestors’ life and times, it inspired me to write books to give readers a “slice of life” of my ancestors, and all people that lived through this time period.

I hope you’ll read the Trail of Thread series to get an insight into your family’s history too.

Planning a Move in 1854

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in about Trail of Thread book series, Blog

Pretend your husband—or father—decided to leave the home you’ve always known and you’ll be traveling through several states to a new territory he heard about. It’s the nineteenth century and you may not even a paper map to guide your family to this new free land—but he is determined to start a new farm in some wild land behold civilization.

My ancestors, John and Deborah Pieratt—with six young children along—left Kentucky in 1854 to move to the new Territory of Kansas. Their journey was the basis of my book Trail of Thread, which was written in the form of letters that Deborah wrote and mailed back to family in Kentucky. Deborah describes what she saw, and what their family experienced on their three-month journey.

The family had to carefully plan first so they would be prepared for the journey, and for the wilderness land they would eventually homestead on.

Pretend you want to prepare for this journey as a class or family project.

What—and how—do you pack in the four by ten foot wagon for a family of eight? (And what do you need for your trip to begin with?!) How much weight can the wagon hold and the oxen (or horses or mules) pull?

How long will the trip take? What will be your route? What roads (or rough trails) will you use and what towns will you be traveling through?

How will you cross rivers with your wagon? Is there any rough terrain along the way that may make the trip hard and dangerous?

How much food should you pack? How do you keep it from spoiling?

When you’re done researching the trip preparation and route, look for stories from old newspaper clippings of what was going on in the Territory of Kansas during 1854-1865. The Pieratts settled in an area and time frame known as the Bleeding Kansas conflicts due to the tension mounting about the slavery issue that exploded into the Civil War. (You can read more about these conflicts and how it affected the family by reading the rest of the Trail of Thread series, Thimble of Soil and Stitch of Courage.)

I brought the Pieratt’s story to life in the pages of Trail of Thread. Now can you plan your own trip in 1854?

Visiting Mathilda’s House

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

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…

Kennedy's Irish Trip

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

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.

Family Research Online

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

I actually started my Kansas Quilter book series back in 2002, but finally shelved it in 2005 when agri-tourism took over our Bison Farm.  I didn’t have the dedicated blocks of time to work on it anymore.

Now that we’ve retired from our farm business, I’m going back over research notes and already written chapters to pick up the series again.

And I’m also looking for information that wasn’t available before online. Like census records. Instead of going to a physical place to actually see the written pages, I can put in the name, state, choose the year of the census I want —and voila— the actual page pops up on the screen in its original handwritten form. It so cool to see who was in the family at the time, and it even lists anyone that is working for them too.

Pieratt family- 1900 Kansas census

Of course some information is easy to find, and other questions I have will never be answered. I guess that’s where the fiction part of my writing fills in the gaps.

I’m also working on the list of family members that will be my main characters, their conflicts, plot, etc. Kizzie will be the “heroine” of sorts, telling the early history of her part of the Kansas prairie along with her family’s dreams. And quilts and quilting will be primary theme for this Kansas pioneer.

I’m sure every quilt Kizzie made had a story behind it…and I want to share it with you, my readers.