Going to Kansas
HOMESTEADING IN KANSAS
By Phyllis Bauer Delmont
"All you really need to take along to Kansas is a lookin' glass and a rocking chair. then you can sit and rock and watch yourself starve to death Kansas by Roscoe Fleming)
Ten years earlier and fifteen miles southeast Willa Cather's setting for †O Pioneers!,my great grandparents homesteaded in Kansas .Enoch and Piety (Haworth) Scott left Indiana in 1869 with six children, stopping in Iowa with friends for a time and adding two more children to the family before moving on.
They arrived in Kansas in 1871.There first home was a dugout gouged out in the side of a hill. In 1872 a grasshopper invasion leveled anything green.
Piety wrote letters back home to her parents full of homesickness, describing the hard life on the prairie. They are presented as written and with Quaker dating.
Third month the 19th 1875
I don't know of any body that is able to help there selves the friends (Quakers) has been sending some help to friends here and they divide with us as they do with others but there has not bin enough. If we had not belonged to friends and a got help thet way I don't know what would of become of us.
10th month 16th 1879
Well we have had rather bad luck this fall we lost to hogs the too was worth 25 dollars.
Third month 14th 1880
mother I dremp last knight of going in the old garden to gather green apples. O I would like to see thee and the rest of the folks. we have some corn not near enough to do us. we had good early potatoes but late ones did no good the hot weather and the bugs spoilt them we had over 7 hundred cabbages set out and tended them good but worms and dry weather did not let them do much good. i don't know what will become of so many as there is that has nothing to go on.
In a small Quaker cemetery, that is still well cared for, Enoch and Piety buried five of six children born on the prairie. These deaths were never mentioned in the letters. After they moved to the near by town of Burr Oak in 1882 two more children were born and lived.