This material is from pages 45-47 of the book
Weatherwise, 1894 started in a promising manner for the farmers. It
was reported that two inches of snow fell, which drifted in some places
almost two feet deep. By March, the wheat was making its' appearance, the
snow had disappeared, the ground was in fine condition and Mr. G. C. Goddard
was able to work in his orchard again. But as so often happens, it became
dry and windy and by April most of the fall wheat was a failure. T. H. Smith
and other farmers were breaking sod in April but thought it was getting very
dry. John Moyer and Jim Kline had their breaking plows stolen from where
they were working. "Samantha" the news correspondent said, "It seems like
somebody is getting pretty low down and such work had best be stopped in
Some of the farmers still had hopes for their rye crop and were
plowing their corn when there was a freeze the latter part of April. It frosted
again the first part of June and by this time, it was believed the small
grain crop would also be a failure. The wind continued to blow and at
harvest time, there was very little to do. It was so dry the farmers were
advised that though it was time to kill their weeds, if left alone, they would
die of their own accord. In August, Mr. Goddard reported the winds had blown
off quite a number of his apples. Farmers were beginning to think of looking
for other locations and in September, J. C. and Joe Hite, with their
families started to the Oklahoma Strip with five teams. Lightning struck
A. J. Mowry's pasture in September and burned 60 acres before the neighbors
gathered to put it out. J. H. Best, who had been visiting in Republic
County, stated people here were as well off as any place he had visited.
Farmers were optimistic however and again were busy planting wheat and
rye in October. They were going to Phillips County and to Trego County to buy
loads of wheat for feed. In November stock was still doing well on buffalo
grass although it was very dry. Mr. James Baird was preparing to go to
Colorado to work in the mines. Mr. D. C. Stotts, ex-sheriff, had been putting
up hay in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood and said he would stay with it
another year. After building a new frame house on his claim, Mr. Swisher
and family moved to Salina for the winter. Mr. Fitzgerald went east in
December to solicit aid for the needy here but had little success as he found
they were as needy other places as here.
However other events were happening in the community despite the adverse
weather conditions with poor economic results.
Nelson Von Riper and Ida May Sturtevant of Allodium township were married
in March. Mr. Irwin of Washington County moved on J. M. Donahoo's farm. A
Sabbath School was organized in the Unity school in April. Joe Davisson of
Missouri spent a few days in this area making proof on his tree claim. Andy
Sullivan had 250 acres of small grain and 46 acres of rye which was making an
excellent showing so was making plans to sell his railroad outfit in Illinois
and settle down to farming exclusively.
The report of the Pleasant Valley school house in May showed 32 pupils
enrolled with an average attendance of 29.9. Those pupils on the roll of
honor were Minnie Baird, Peter Baird, Lottie Toll, Grace Nicholson, Ola Emmons,
Myrtle Emmons, and Ernie Emmons, Mary Wills, Teacher.
There were deaths this year also. Minnie, eight your old daughter of
James Baird, died May 29 and was buried in the Anderson Cemetery.
James P. Braynard, who had come to Graham County before 1880, died
June 11. He had been born in Middleburg, Vermont July 17, 1830 and served as
a Volunteer in the Civil War. While in the service he contracted a disease
in his lower limb which was pronounced incurable by the best physicians except
by amputation which was performed in Hill City June 11, 1894 and from which
he died the same day. The remains were buried June 12 in the family burying
ground in the northwest part of Graham County. (This is now South Star
The Fitzgerald family lost a baby in August.
Circea Purcell Dawson, wife of John S. Dawson, died in September. She
had been one of Graham County's most beloved teachers and was a thorough master
of the profession. She left her husband and a baby daughter, two weeks of age,
parents and other relatives in Oregon. She, too, was buried in the Anderson
Among the teachers from Allodium township enrolled in Normal were Bertha
Antrobus, Agnes Cooney, Mary Van Brunt, P. A. Moyers.
Prices for farm commodities were not very high. L. S. Donahoo sold
chickens in Lenora for $1.20 per dozen; A. B. Carver was fattening hogs on
wheat which he purchased for 50 cents per bushel. A. C. Brandt and T. H. Smith
purchased potatoes for 65 cents per bushel at Jennings and cabbage at 1 cent
Among the births in the community were a boy for W. G. Andersons, a nine
pound son for Mr. and Mrs. T. It. Smith and a baby girl for Mr. and Mrs. E. E.
Mr. G. C. Goddard had planned to go to Iowa but instead was selling
books with good success.
Township officers elected November 6, 1894 were: Trustee, W. A. Mc
Cready; Clerk, C. Baer; Treasurer, H. Hansen; Justices of the Peace, Amos C.
Brandt and James Donahoo; Constable, J. E. Noone and R. Anderson. H.
Braynard and E. P. Edgington tied for Road Overseer, District No. 1 and the
election was decided by lot in favor of Braynard. Road Overseer, District #2
M. Noone; Road Overseer District #3, J. H. Best and Road Overseer District #4
Mr. E. E. Brandt had homesteaded on the SW¼ of 5-7-25. For several
years he had worked in, and later managed, a store in Lucerne. In September
after the land on which the store was located was sold, Mr.. Brandt prepared
to move his store to his homestead, Mr. Joseph Siefke had built a new store
building in New Almelo 20 x 49 feet and operated a grocery store until
forced to discontinue because of ill health. This building was sold to Mr.
Brandt and moved to his homestead where his new store was started. There
was a partial basement under this building and the E. E. Brandts also lived
here. Amos C. Brandt was appointed Postmaster October 5, 1894 and because
a name was needed for the post office, the name "Gradan" was chosen using the first
three letters of Graham and the last three letters of Sheridan. Amos Brandt
was also apparently in charge of the store as evidenced by this news item in
the Hill City Reveille of January 31, 1895. "Where is Gradan? some may ask.
I will tell you. It is located on Section 5, town 7, south of range 25, in
Graham County. There is a store there, Proprietor, A. C.Brandt. In that
store is a post office, which has daily mails from the Rock Island R. R." The
store began operation the last week of October, 1894. Mr. L. S. Donahoo
carried the mail from Gradan to Lucerne.
Mr. E. E. Brandt was purchasing rabbit scalps and in December brought
449 rabbit scalps to the county clerk's office for bounty.
Amos Brandt continued as postmaster until December 20, 1896 when Ezra
Brandt was appointed as postmaster.
E. E. Brandt's daughter, Joy, has written that eggs purchased from the
farmers were taken to Morland by the hired man, who made the trip by horses
and wagon, and picked up supplies for the return trip. The eggs then went
by train from Morland to Denver. They probably were not very fresh and in
fact, Joy has stated if any of the eggs hatched while at the store, they were
permitted to keep the chicks.
Thus started the community center of Gradan.
Gradan - a memory
By Ruth Gross McCalister
Used with the author's permission
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