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by: George Van Nortwick

It was on April 5, 1872 that I first made the acquaintance of Grandma Knox. Her beauty was not facial particularly but in her character, love, kindness, and generosity. I fell in love with her at first sight and that continued throught the years.

Grandma lived with Grandpa of course, on the north side of the Little Blue River and we lived 4 miles south on the south side of Spring Creek. When I became old enough to be free from my mother’s side I often went home with Grandma as we visted back and forth quite often on Sundays.

Uncle Will was eight years older than I but we had lots of fun together and of course there never was any Uncle Will like ours. He was a counterpart of Grandma, always ready with a joke, a story, or a silly trick that would keep us kids laughing. So, naturally, when writing about Grandma, I can’t leave Uncle Will out.

Grandma always called Uncle Will, Willie. Grandma had an upstairs in her house and Uncle Will and I always slept there. The first stir in the morning would wake me up, but not Uncle Will. About the first thing I would hear was the rattle of the stove lids, then after the fuel was in would be the closing of the lids. Then, it would be quiet for a few minutes, then I would hear the coffee grinder grinding coffee. Grandpa had a grinder that screwed fast to the wall and though it was a regular family sized grinder you could hear it all over the house. Then it would be quiet again for a few minutes. Then I would hear the stair door open and Grandma would call "Willie". Willie would grunt and and Grandma would call "Time to get up." After a few minutes she would repeat this again we would roll out. Uncle Will and I would go out and feed the horses and go back for breakfast. Grandpa would push back from the table and reach for the Bible and hymnal. Then, those present quietly taking seats around the room. First Grandpa would select a hymn such as "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name" or "Lord Mindly Night". He was not a beautiful singer with his coarse voice but he could by clearing his throat do quite well at carrying a tune. Sometimes he would make a second try, but ho never failed. After the singing of the hymn he would read a portion of scripture and then all would kneel down at their chairs and it would be a fervent prayer. Then Grandma would offer prayer. I can still remember, after 75 years, how Grandma started her prayer. It was something very much like this. "Our heavenly father we thank you for your watchful care over us through another night and allowing us to see the light of another day. We thank thee for our children and our neighbors children and for all whom it our duty to pray for."

Then, after worship, we would each take some milk pails and proceed to the cow yard where we would milk the cows in the open yard. Each one having their particular cows to milk. Grandma did not sit down on a stool to milk. She would take a pail and walk up to a cow and the cow would just naturally move her right foot back and Grandma would brush the cow’s udder off with her hand and set the pail under the cow’s bag and squat down and start milking. Grandma did not have to help milk. She did it because she wanted to help. That is the way she was about everything.

I remember being at Grandma’s on Sunday. We would got the milking done and take the cow’s to pasture and get a team ready, usually a mule and a horse that drove together very well. Then we would change our clothes and get in the wagon and drive 4 miles to Hebron in time for Sunday School and Church. Then home again. Then, milk early enough to drive back to Church in the evening.

Those were early days in the history of Nebraska and all the settlers were homesteaders. Most of the pioneers settled along the streams. The Valley of the Little Blue River was quite wide at this point where Grandpa lived. It was not long till a school district was formed and a school house built. This one was built just across the road from Grandpa’s house and called Hackney School District. Grandma started a Sunday School and it was not long till they had preaching there as well. It was a central gathering place for a lot of the country for a good many years and .......

[from the files of David Gray, 1107 E. Main St. Emmett, Idaho, husband of Doris Fern Parrish, daughter of Ella Francis (Knox) Parrish, grand daughter of Douglas Clayton Knox, great grand daughter of James Knox and Agnes Douglas]

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