Welcome to the Brainerd Guestbook page. Here, site visitors get to help tell the story of Brainerd and communities like it by sharing their memories and thoughts on an ongoing basis. To post to the Brainerd Guestbook and add your comments to this page, click here.
Otherwise, feel free to browse the content of the guestbook, scrolling down to read what other visitors have posted. You can even send e-mail to those who have posted comments to the Guestbook by clicking on a visitor's name, or you can visit their personal Web site (if they have provided a URL in their posting) to learn more about them.
Brainerd Guestbook Postings Begin Here
Chuck Waterfall Crabill, firstname.lastname@example.org, Vista, CA, United States
My Great great Grandfather moved to Whitewater, Kansas after the Civil War . The Waterfalls now reside in Green Valley Cemetery and visit there every time I go to Kansas. As kids we used to ride our horses to Brainard. In third grade I sold a Roster to one of Charley Waterfalls friends who lived alone in the little town. It was too mean for me so the guy gave me $2.00 for it. It was a real watch chicken and I know he told me that it attacked someone visiting him and tore the mans trousers. I relate to the stories in the guest book and have tried to reach friends but their emails no longer work.
Marsha (Smith) Baird, email@example.com, Potwin, KS, United States
I grew up in Potwin, Ks and graduated from Frederic Remington High School in 1967. My grandparents ran the Brainerd Grocery Store before I was born. (Possibly 1945-1949) Jim and Maude Long were their names. Grandma's brother, Walter Brenner and his wife, Augusta (Gussie) Brenner lived a block or so away from the store. I don't recall much but I remember mom, Luella (Long) Smith, talking about going to the store to help grandma. Her younger sister, Bonnie Long, would also help.
Joel Lopez, firstname.lastname@example.org, Lawrence, KS, United States
Hello Kevin, My name is Joel Lopez and I grew up in Peabody KS and attended the Countryside Christian School (K-4th) back in the mid 80's before attending Berean Academy starting in 1988. Countryside was merged with Berean in the late 80s/early 90s if I am not mistaken and is no longer used for schooling. I have looked online several times for pictures of that old school house and cannot find anything. After looking at google earth, I now see that it is a business, called Arc Technology LLC (13076 NW 120th St, Whitewater, KS 67154). Countryside school was located at the address above, just east of the Regier Orchard (I went to School with Mario Regier and spent a fair amount of time in the orchard) or about 3 miles north of Brainerd on Meadowlark Road and 3/4 mile east on 120th . I am writing to see if anyone had any pictures of the inside of Countryside school. I have a son now and would like to show him the school that I attended when I was a kid. If anyone has pictures of the school, inside or out, I would love to see them! Thanks!!
Dorothy Lane, email@example.com, Wichita, KS, United States
What an unexpected "blast from the past." After recently attending a Whitewater HS Alumni class reunion, I decided to do a little research to see what was out there pertaining to the old WHS and stumbled across this website. I attended the Whitewater Public Schools from 1946-1958 and have a faint memory of being in a little general store there in Brainerd as a small child --- I do remember some of the merchandise displayed in barrels, just like the "old west" pictures, and the bare wood floor and dim interior. I also remember playing over in Brainerd at my cousin Ruby Hayes' house one hot summer day; my uncle Horace Hayes rented a house over there at one time, but I wouldn't know which one. Several of my dad's (Archie Hayes) family are interred in the Brainerd Cemetery and I recall going out there on several Memorial Days to place flowers and absorb the serenity of this quiet and peaceful place. I've noted some familiar names in the emails directed to this site, so "hello" to those who may remember me as Dorothy Hayes, class of '58. Fascinating to be finding out so much of our local history after all these years! Thanks to everyone who's done the research and made so much available. Please continue the great work.
Beverly Dowers, firstname.lastname@example.org, Rose Hill, KS, United States
I thoroughly enjoyed the Brainerd site. My mother lived in Brainerd in the 20's. Her name was Helen Marie Thomas, Daughter of George Thomas. I don't know all the dates but as general information, my mother's house burned down when she was a girl. She was born in 1923, one of nine children. Somewhere in my memory I think that George's father Wesley Jackson Thomas moved to Brainerd when George was a small boy and opened---or ran---a hotel or place of lodging there. My grandmother was Nettie Murl Puckett, daughter of John Murry Puckett and Ina Maude Stephenson. After the house burned down, they had to move to Potwin. Some of the nine children had not been born yet. The Brainerd Cemetary is full of my relatives, the Beards, the Thomases, the Pucketts, etc. I know that the McLeons and the Snorfs were married into the Thomas family and I do have a Thomas family book with that information in it.
My mother passed away a few years ago and I am hoping to put together some information on her life. Since the house burned down when she was young, we have very few pictures of her family, none of her as a young child. I would love to have copies of family and buildings if anyone would be willing to share them. I am hoping that other families have pictures they took of her family.
I have also noted the reference you gave to Furley, Kansas. My father was born in 1922 in Furley. His name was Harry Meyer, son of George Meyer and Cora Patterson. I would love to hear stories about Furley. George was born in Concordia, Missouri, and came to Kansas along with his brother Fred.
I would appreciate any information or help you can give me. I would be willing to share any information I have regarding the family.
Bruce Entz, email@example.com, Wichita, KS, United States
I grew up in the Brainerd area and have relatives who attended school there. In looking through my collection, I came across the following and thought it might interest you...
Brainerd is Best -- In the little city of Brainerd stands our school, Brainerd school. Children come from all directions to our school, Brainerd school. And with smiling faces these always ready to work and please. For no place to us seems better, Brainerd School, Brainerd School. We have lessons hard and plenty, Brainerd School, Brainerd School. One big test and then another, Brainerd School, Brainerd School. Til at last it almost seems we must work to see our dreams. But tis all for our school, Brainerd School, Brainerd School (Source: Helen Entz composition book).
Our Brainerd School -- There are many schools in many lands. There are schools both [old?] and new. But there is no school however grand like our own dear Brainerd school…. CHORUS: Then hurrah for the school, our Brainerd School. Boys, girls, and teachers too. There is no school in any land like our own dear Brainerd School (Source: Helen Entz composition book).
Jonathan Cheney, firstname.lastname@example.org, Arlington, TX, United States
My name is Jonathan Chaney. I was searching around the web trying to find something about my past. Where my family came from etc... I came across this site and starting reading and noticed some of the folks who had left comments lived in Whitewater,Ks, the same time my family did. I was hoping maybe someone knew of them and could maybe share something with me. My father is Gary Ray Chaney, my grandparents are Lewis Henry Chaney and Olive Elizabeth Chaney. Uncles Sonny Chaney and Riley Chaney. All reside in Green Valley cemetary, but Riley Chaney. Thank you.
Donna Osburn, email@example.com, Wichita, KS, United States
My husband was Charles Osburn, and since I use his name in my comments, I should tell you who he was (he is deceased). I live in Wichita, KS. A good friend, Delores Rutschman Hiebert, told me about your site. I think it is GREAT!
My folks, Harold and Mary Frerking, lived three miles east of Elbing when I was born. Then in 1943 we moved to a farm one mile south of Annelly. Annelly is another little town that went under when the railroad went through Whitewater. In 1948, Charles and I were married. We bought a little house in Whitewater in 1949, at 309 S. Main, just south of the Missouri Pacific tracks.
When we bought our house, we noticed on the Abstract that G.P. Nieman had homesteaded that entire tract of land. The Rock Island tracks were two blocks west of our house. We noticed the woodwork was different in the two bedrooms than in the rest of the house. We asked Rollan Eberhard's father if he knew anything about our house, and he said the two bedrooms came from a house being torn down in Brainerd. He and some of the older gentlemen in Whitewater told us this story.
G.P. Nieman was a brother-in-law to Mr. Brainerd and was also Mr. Brainerd's lawyer. When the Rock Island Railroad was looking for land to bring the rail line through, Mr. Brainerd gave G.P. his bid to give to the Railroad. Well, G.P. decided he could make his bid lower and still make money. Because his bid was lower, the Railroad decided they could put a curve in the tracks and come through Whitewater and still be cheaper to build.
Our second home in Whitewater was at 224 S. Elm and was Harry Mellor's home. Do you know if he was any relation to the Mellors in Brainerd?
Thanks again for this interesting site.
Brainerd Guestbook Postings Begin Here:
Laverne Rutschman, firstname.lastname@example.org, North Newton, KS, United States
The story and comments relating to Brainerd bring back pleasant memories. I was brought up some six miles north of Brainerd and remember shopping at the Brainerd store in the 20s. At that time there were still houses on the west side of the main street. One had an exceptionally high entrance door due, I was told, to the unusual stature of the occupants. Many years later during North American assignments as Mennonite mission workers in Latin America, we spent many weeks in the missionary home (the site of the former store). For that we are grateful. I would like to call the attention of the Guestbook readers to the availability of the book, ELBING, NEXT STOP, online. It was published by Arnold Regier in 1994 but has been out of print since that time. Our son Robert who is in family practice in New Mexico spent many hours copying this book to page four of his web site, www.rutschman.net. I find it very interesting and has much in common with Brainerd.
Richard Nacamuli, email@example.com, Califon, NJ, United States
Thank you for a truly wonderful site. I will visit it many times again.
Bruce Entz, Books@networksplus.net, Wichita, KS, United States
I appreciate all of the good information on this Brainerd site. On a related matter, I understand that there was a place called Detroit (a post office? or town?) approximately 2-3? miles southeast of Whitewater, or approximately 4 miles southwest of Brainerd. Can anyone tell me more about its history and exact location, or direct me to someone who could? My father farmed land in that general area and shared much local historical information with me. However, I don't recall him ever mentioning it, or ever hearing about it, myself, until recently. It appears on at least one map and is at least vaguely known of in the local community. Thanks!
Cindy (Budde) Lowe McAnulty, firstname.lastname@example.org, Newton, KS, United States
I have not found the website yet, but ran across the guest book, and just had to write!
My grandparents were Ernest and Justina Mosiman, who lived next door to the Corneliuses. Burt and Goldie lived on the other side in a little trailer house. There was a big wheat field across the street, us kids used to go play baseball in the field, or, hide and hunt easter eggs. I remember sitting on my grandparents front porch on the ole porch swing, and grandma would yodel across the village to Gussie, it was great fun to listen to the two back and forth. They had geese and chickens, and a horse. The old gander chased us kids, oh what fun! I remember going to the old school house and playing on the merry go round, the what at that time seemed like a HUGE slippery slide, or going in circles with the maypole. Thank you for the memories, I hope I hear from someone else who might remember us. When our family converged on grandma and grandpa's homegrounds for Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving there were over 35 of us, and that was just first cousins and our parents! Oh those were the days. Thanks for the memories, those days are all gone now. Sigh...
I went to Potwin grade school until 1964, moving to Newton at that time. I went back to Potwin several years ago for the annual water mellon feed, but, no one remembered me. what a sad day that was. I had such good memories of growing up in Potwin. My parents are both gone now but their names were Edna & Elmer Budde.
I remember the missionary house, since many of my mothers first cousins were missionaries, and would stay in the area when they came home for furlough. My grandpa would take me to the old elevator and we would get a grape soda pop. Oh the memories just keep coming.....all good....He worked as the night watchman for several years at Remington Highschool, and also for a farmer by Whitewater, Roland Klassen I believe was his name...
becky jones, email@example.com, bountiful, UT, United States
just wanted to update anyone who knows me, and to see what in new in the guest book. it's so fun to see and read about people i know the name but not personally. hi uncle donald and aunt lois, aunt sara.
Jana, firstname.lastname@example.org, Brainerd, MN, United States
I didn't know that there was a "Brainerd" any where else it's kind of cool. So, hello to Brainerd KS from Brainerd MN
Karl Thierstein, email@example.com, Lampe, MS, United States
My cousin, Russell Langley told me about the Brainerd, KS website. You talk about memories. I used to spend every summer in Whitewater with my grand parents, Arnold & Ida Zuercher. Also spent time visiting my grandfather Christian Thierstein, in Brainerd. His house was one or two blocks north of the elevator. He had a pedal operated organ in his living room. He let me play it as long as he was there watching. I remember Grandpa Thierstein and I walked a couple of blocks to the east to visit a family he had sponsored to come to the U.S. from Switzerland. There was a mother two daughters and a son. Can't for the life of me remember their names. Their house was next door to the red brick school house. We kids played with the tether ball in front of the school. I haven't been back there since the Thierstein reunion in 1983. Don't remember if Grandpa Chris's house was still there then or not. My father, Dr. Samuel Thierstein and I drove over to his boyhood home, which was the house his brother C.B. and his family lived in east of town one or two miles. There were people living there that we didn't know. I remember spending a number of Christmas' there. Aunt Ella put on a wonderful table. So much good food. There were always treats for the kids. I was amazed at the additional historical facts in this article that I was totally unaware of. You should contact some of the people who grew up there. People you probably know. You could fill a library with the information they have. Great job on the article and the website.
Russell Langley, firstname.lastname@example.org, Lincoln, NE, United States
I check the Newton Kansan almost daily. I noted something about Brainerd. I started checking out and found, WOW! I know that town. Their lived my Uncle Chris, Clyde Gurley, John Brucks and Oscar Hershey and his wife where my mother, Ida Langley done alot of her grocery shopping. Sarah and Don Brainerd. Don's mom when I was in Whitewater High School, played the piano for me while I sang a solo.. Clyde Gurley's son Jack, as I recall worked in the oil fields in South America. While he was in the Navy, I purchased a 1929 model A Ford from Clyde. My dad, Arbie, was a mechanic and he really fixed that model A up for me to drive to high school. It is up on blocks someplace in Wichita even as we print. Memories, you bet. If Cher reads this what happened to Marc? Also Bill Roth. Anyway I'm still working in Omaha, living in Lincoln. I travel from South Dakota to Texas and Colorado to Ohio. Yes, I could quit, but since I feel 40 and look 39 why quit? LOL Excuse all the mistakes, but if I proof read I probably would delete. Russ Langley
Robert L. Cornelius, email@example.com, Wichita, KS, United States
Kevin, I was wanting to tell you as you are looking at the gallery pictures, the house between the original school house and the church is the old Johnson house that you also have a picture of. The Johnson house has been demolished now and all of the buildings are gone now. Soon there will be a new house there. I am glad you got to take your pictures when you did. Thanks, Bob
Brandy, firstname.lastname@example.org, Clyde, OH, United States
I love your website! The reason you did the site in the first place is the sweetest thing! I'm from Clyde, Ohio, not to far away from Toledo. I guess the world gets a little smaller everyday doesn't it! Well good luck and keep up the good work!
Kathy Zuker, email@example.com, Minneapolis, KS, United States
I have a wealth of memories to share about Brainerd, Kansas. My mother, Sara Brainerd Burwell, grew up in Brainerd, along with her brother Donald, and sisters Kathyrn and Lois. My grandparents were Wayne and Gertrude Brainerd. Going to visit Grandma and Grandpa Brainerd for the weekend was an adventure for my brothers, Wayne and John, and myself. We lived in town and going to the country for the weekend was very exciting. Grandma's house was so big and she had so many places around the house to explore. I remember watching John F. Kennedy's funeral at Grandma's house. I wasn't quite six years old, but I remember being a bit scared while watching it. Also, Grandma had an old wringer washer she used. Boy, I was glad she didn't have me help her use it. Grandma Brainerd made the best cherry pies in the world. She even let us have some for breakfast. Isn't this what grandparents are suppose to do. There was a huge room where grandma kept her big upright piano. I spend many hours in this room. I have that piano now in my home. She also had two black vases on a mantel in that same room; I also have those vases. My Aunt Katy and Uncle Shorty lived not even an eighth of a mile east of my grandparents. When we would visit, we could either walk down the road to see them or there was a path through a pasture between the two houses. Grandpa Brainerd taught me how to drive on the backroads of Brainerd. He had this blue van; he sure was a brave man. He let me drive in the pasture south of house where Aunt Katie used to live. By this time, Grandma and Grandpa lived there. I remember there was a road to the east of the two houses. I would call it Lover's Lane; not because lovers were there, but for the trees which grew up and over the road, like a canopy. I have a plethora of wonderful memories of visiting Brainerd, my grandparents, and many other relatives. A family, who now lives in Minneapolis, once lived in Whitewater. In fact, John Resnik grew up in Whitewater. Also, Scott Carter, who was once principal of Remington High School, was principal of Minneapolis High School for a while when two of my boys were in high school. He now is the superintendent of the Herington School District. I have enjoyed reading several of the memories of others about Brainerd. This is an awesome place to come to visit and reminise.
Sara Brainerd Burwell, firstname.lastname@example.org, Abilene, KS, United States
How very wonderful to read all the history of Brainerd, KS. I grew up near Brainerd along with my brother, Don Brainerd, and sisters, Kathryn Brainerd Jones and Lois Brainerd. I have lots of great memories of growing up on the farm that belonged to Uncle Frank Brainerd and then moving to the farm where my father was raised 1/2 mile East of the town of Brainerd. I have lots of relatives buried in the Brainerd Cemetery, just across the road North of Remington High School. I moved away in September, 1956 and have lived in Minneapolis, Ks. since 1960 and just moved to Abilene, Ks in June, 2002. My husband Bill and I do visit the Brainerd Cemetery several times each year. My parents, Wayne & Gertrude Brainerd, Aunt Sadie Brainerd, my grandparents, William P. and Edith Brainerd, my sister, Lois Ann Brainerd, my nephew, Leroy Jones, Jr., plus many many more relatives are buried there. I attended the first 6 years of grade school at Stone Chapel and then attended 7th grade through High School in Whitewater graduating in 1956. One of my favorite early grade school teachers was Virginia Scott, and was glad to hear history about her, although I was saddened to hear that she and John died in a plane crash. Another favorite teacher was Pauline Spedding, and I wonder where she is now. Thanks for all the interesting comments from people interested in Brainerd, Ks. Brought back lots of memories.
Chad Brown, email@example.com, Wichita (originally Mankato), KS, United States
I enjoyed the website (well done, I must say), but was saddened to see that almost all of the historical buildings were no longer there when I visited today (05/11/03). All that seems to remain of the elevator is the foundation and a small pile of boards and rusty nails (I was hoping to see something similar to the 1999 photo.) I did see the old school-turned-residence, but unlike most small towns in Kansas, I saw no churches (Emmaus Mennonite Church was a few miles north, as I found out). I did find the missionary home interesting, though, as this is somewhat of an oddity. I wish I'd visited the town years before, when the town was bustling (of course, I wasn't alive yet, as I was born in 1975.) I am from a small town in Kansas and enjoy Kansas' rich past. However, I find it sad to see the cities grow and the small towns continue to dwindle. My home county (Jewell) had about 20,000 around 1900, but is down to about 3800, and the numbers continue to drop rapidly as the aging population leaves us. I talked to a few of the current Brainerd residents (very nice people) and it appears that if Brainerd didn't happen to be relatively close to Wichita, the population would be even lower, as those I talked to, as well as one of their neighbors, work in Wichita. They did mention an 80-something neighbor whose husband died recently who owned the only old home (similar to the picture of the old house that burned down mentioned in the gallery) that was still standing. The foundation is unfortunately falling apart, and will likely be the next Brainerd casualty. If not for the website, I would never have known that there was anything other than farmland (other than the Brainerd Feed Store) on the west side of Broadway. And, if not for Remington High School grabbing my attention, I would not have pulled into Brainerd. I saw it on the web years ago when I was searching for info on Brainerd, MN, after seeing "Fargo". I had planned at some point to visit this Kansas version of Brainerd, but simply happened to stumble upon it today as I was country cruisin' on the backroads northeast of Wichita. What luck! Well, thanks again for the website. Good luck in future endeavors.
Nils Hansen, firstname.lastname@example.org, Berlin, IN, Germany
HI, I've found you by surfing. Great website. I will come back, till then, best wishes, bye
Montie Deer, email@example.com, Tulsa, OK, United States
Great website---I graduated from Whitewater High in 1958 much water under the bridge since then but it was good to see the names of old friends like Roger Poppe--feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert C. Watts III, email@example.com, Alexandria, VA, United States
Came across the Brainerd, Kansas website as the result of a graduate class at George Mason University. In spite of being a "UGOB" (an urban good ole boy), I share your love of the open spaces and geograpical anomolies that can be found in Kansas. I have relatives in McPherson and friends in Salina and Brookville to the north. When I can find a week of time, I will slip-out to Kansas, which no one "back here" really understands. Thanks for bringing Kansas to me through your website. You have captured what I so much like about it! RCW
Ann Dowty, firstname.lastname@example.org, Amarillo, TX, United States
I attended school my first year in the little town of Brainerd, Kansas. I remembered it all these years and was quiet surprised to see it really existed. I shall be looking forward to going thru there this summer and reliving those happy memories I have of it.
Robert l. Cornelius, email@example.com, Wichita , KS, United States
Kevin, I just wanted to bring you upto date on the Cornelius family that was raised in or around the Brainerd community. My brother Jake that took you around the Brainerd area to get some of your pictures and history of the area passed away April 29, 02 at the age of 84. Then June 20, 02 the eldest brother, George passed away at Athol Ma. at the age of 89. We were the only family raised in the Brainerd community with all 9 of still living until Jake passed away. I have enjoyed this Web Site very much and am proud that my family is a part of it. We had a rough time growing up during the depression years, but money couldn't by my memories. Thanks again. Bob
Carolyn Rutschman, firstname.lastname@example.org, Wichita, KS, United States
I grew up in the small town of Whitewater but did go to school with kids from the Brainerd area. I did not know that there was that much history coming out of Brainerd. It was very interesting to read all about the city of Brainerd. I remember going with grandma and visiting with friends and relatives living in that area. Reading about Brainerd is like going home as I do not get home to Whitewater that much anymore to keep up with things going on in that community or Whitewater and Brainerd.
Sue Ellen Ash, email@example.com, Wilmington , OH, United States
Hello Kevin, Enjoyed the photos you put online to share. Just so others in the Whitewater and Brainerd area will know more about the baby in photos. The baby Ivyl Marie Leach is the only child of Nellie and Bert Leach she died at about 3 months of age. These photos are the only known photos of her taken just before the funeral. Mother said it was one of the saddest funerals she ever attended. Ivyl died of something they could operate on today and save her, a blockage in the stomach and intestines. Nellie was my Great Aunt. I have the baby book and funeral cards and all about the baby now in my files. I never understood the sadness Aunt Nell had to endure at our family gatherings with all the little babies around. When I read the baby book( which I didnt see until 1995) I had to cry. They and little baby are buried at Green Valley Cemetery near Furley.
Liz ansd Molly, lmiller@Llindenhall.com, Lititz, PA, United States
GGGGGGGGREEEEAAAAATTTT pics!!!! Makes me want to live there!!!
Dave Kyle, firstname.lastname@example.org, Terre Haute, IN, United States
I have no real connection with the town but it reminds me of the one I grew up in. Very nice web site. The net needs more like this one.
Jonathan Jones Age: 16 , Jayunc21@aol.com, Whitewater, KS, United States
I'm currently enjoying the wonderful town of brainard for I am a student at Remington Highschool. The Bronco football team has just won district 8. They went to the playoffs and unfortunatly the lost first round to Garden PLaine. We also have just made the gym 10 times better by making new benches. I am apart of the basketball team, and we are hoping to repeat last years win at 2A state. Well, I was just letting you all in on our school a little bit more. I am loving this web page, I have printed a lot of stuff of and I am going to show my friends and tell them to visit this web site so they can all enjoy what I have! Thanks
Doug Friesen, email@example.com, Elkhart, IN, United States
I found out about your site from my aunt, Agnes Harder. Once I started reading your wonderfully written information, I couldn't stop. After having driven past Brainerd numerous times during childhood visits with only curious glances, I'll be sure to turn off the road and drive through next time I visit. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.
Don Brainerd, DBrai72827@aol.com, Lincoln, NE, United States
I was born Sept. 10, 1933, Sisters Sara Lou, May 29, 1938, Kathryn, Oct. 2, 1939, and Lois, March 26, 1942.
Uncle Frank Brainerd and Aunt Nola had built the house where we lived, and had lived there when it was new. It had all oak woodwork, floors, and was probably pretty expensive when it was built, they were pretty well off. There was originally an electrical system than ran off of batteries in the basement, and a wind charger on a windmill tower that kept the batteries charged. It also had a pump so the house had running water, but by the time we moved there, these things didn't work anymore, and so the upstairs bathroom with stool and bathtub could not be used. We had as outdoor toilet about 50 or 60 feet north of the house, and there was always a Sears or Wards catalog for reading, and clean up.
There was a big furnace in the basement to heat the whole house, they used to deliver coal and dump into the basement, but after a few years that didn't work any more either, and Dad never did have any of these things fixed. We had a "warm morning" stove in the living room, and Mom had a kerosene stove in the kitchen, and that heated the house. Needless to say, our bedrooms upstairs were cold as ice. I remember many times when snow would come in cracks around my bedroom windows, and be there for several days.
I learned to drive our tractor, a Farmall F-20 with steel wheels, as soon as i was big enough to push in the clutch, and shift gears. We had to manually crank it to start it. I always liked to drive the tractor, and cultivated, plowed, planted, etc.
I had gotten my drivers license when i was 14, and drove Dad's car, an old Model A Ford. Sometimes, I remember several summers when it didn't rain much and our well went dry, every other day i had to drive to the school house and fill a 5 gallon milk can and bring home so we had water to drink, cook, and wash with. Otherwise, our well was outside the back door about 15 feet. We also had a sink in the kitchen with a pitcher-pump, sometimes it had to be primed, and sometimes it didn't work at all.
Every spring we would go to the "hatchery" in Whitewater, and get boxes of baby chicks, several hundred, and raise chicken in a "brooder/chicken house" after they were big enough we started having chicken for dinner every day. We always had a cow or two to be milked, so these took care of our milk and eggs. I always had to milk, and the girls gathered eggs. I think it was Sara Lou who found a snake in with an egg nest at Grandpa's once. We had a cream separator on the back porch, and I would pour the milk into a large metal bowl on top, then would have to crank the separator, and the milk would run through, with cream coming out one spout, and skim milk another. Then we had to crank a butter churn to make butter from the cream. Most of the skim milk we fed to pigs when we had them. We always kept a pitcher of whole milk to drink, and for cereal. I always drank warm milk as soon as we brought it to the house, and would not drink cold milk until after i was going to high school.
Mom would also take eggs to town and sell, or barter for other food at the grocery store. There was a grocery store in brainerd then, Oscar Hershey and his wife ran it. I remember he would take a large piece of meat out of the display cooler, and cut off steak, or just a hunk and then run it through the grinder to make hamburger, then wrap it in white paper and tie with a string. He always had tobacco juice running from the corners of his mouth and I think he sometimes spit into the sawdust on the floor around the butcher block table he cut the meat on.
There was also a blacksmith shop behind the grocery store, and when some of the farm machinery broke, or needed repair Dad would take things there to be welded. After that closed, we had to go to Whitewater to Herman Bruin's blacksmith shop, mainly to have plow shears built up with a super hard steel so they would last longer.
Grandpa, William Porter Brainerd, was born on the family homestead 1/2 mile north, and 1/2 mile east of the town of Brainerd. The town was named for his father, who donated land for the town to be built. The Brainerd Cemetery is about 1/4 mile west of the old house. There were 3 boys in that family, Grandpa was the oldest, then Uncle Howard, and Uncle Frank. Their father was pretty well off, i think, and owned quite a bit of land, when these boys came of age, my grandfather inherited the original homestead, about 1/2 section of land, and the other brothers were given other land, several miles south and east, i don't know exactly where, except that they both had land that oil wells were discovered on, and they both were very wealthy later on, Uncle Frank especially, as he bought land in Oklahoma, and got oil wells there also, and was a millionaire when he died.
Grandpa married Edith McCraner in the 1890s, Aunt Sadie was born in 1899, Uncle Neil in 1901, and Dad in 1904. They all graduated from collage. Uncle Neil had a degree in electrical engineering, but farmed all his life. Aunt Sadie and Dad got degrees that enabled them to be school teachers. Grandmother taught school also for a number of years. Aunt Sadie taught in El Dorado until 1948, then she and Aunt Gladys Claypool moved to Ontario, California, where they both taught until retirement.
Mother's parents were William Austin, and Kate Leach-Austin. She was born and raised in Newark, Ohio. She was visiting her cousins, the Mellor family who live in Brainerd when she and Dad met.
Grandpa Austin worked for the B. & O. Railroad, he was a "tower operator," in the switch yards. When I was probably 4 or 5, i remember walking to work with him once, maybe a mile east of where they lived, we climbed stairs to the second floor of his tower room, there were a lot of levers in a row in the back of the room, and he would move them, and that would operate a switch out on the tracks, and the engines would move rail cars here and there to make up the trains. He spent most of his time at a desk operating the telegraph key, sending (and receiving) orders on what kind of cars were needed for each train.
Grandma Austin died from a stroke, I think in 1941, after that Grandpa Austin used to come and visit us every summer for several weeks. I think I had to sleep in the girls' room then, as he slept in my bedroom. He passed away in 1950. Around that time, Dad bought a new tractor, a farmall, Model H, and a combine. When mom received Grandpa's life insurance money, $3,000, Dad took it and bought a brand new 2-ton GMC truck, to haul grain, etc. About this time he started raising feeder cattle also. For about 4 years, each spring he would buy around 100 calves, we would turn them out into the milo and cane fields and they would eat the stubble, then in May or June he would have them hauled to pasture up by Cassiday. In the fall they would be brought back, and we would the feed cattle every day till march, when he would send them to the Kansas City stockyards. I think it was 1953 when the livestock prices went way down, and we lost about $100 per head, and had about 110 head. That ended our venture as big cattlemen, i joined the Air Force, and dad got a job at Boeing to make a living, and to pay his debts at the bank.
I went to Stone Chapel, a country school for the first eight grades, must have started 1st grade in 1939. The school house was 1/2 mile south, and 1/2 mile east of our house, and i think that we always had to walk to school. Some parents drove their kids to school in the worst of weather, but i never remember mom or dad driving us. When i graduated 8th grade, i think there were perhaps 16 or 17 kids in school that year, i doubt if there were ever many more than that in the school. I don't remember for sure, but i think that Kenneth Schmidt was the only other boy in my class (my age).
There was a small coal shed, and a small barn. I think, when i was in the 1st and 2nd grade, one of the older boys in school then rode his horse to school, and put it in the barn during the day. There was always a pile of corn cobs in the barn too. These, and the coal were to heat the school house, there was a "warm morning" iron stove in the middle of the school room, who ever the first boy to arrive in the morning had to get the fire going, if the teacher didn't get it first. Kids closest to the stove were hot all day, and those on the north side of the room were cold all day. If we had any thing for lunch to be heated, we could put the cans on top of the stove about 11 o'clock, and they would be hot by 12. Some times the teacher would let us put orange peels on top of the stove, and that would smell good. There were also the outside toilets, the girls was by the west fence of the school yard, and the boys' was by the east fence.
I don't remember much about Christmases when we were growing up, only two things come to mind, when i was probably 7 or 8, Grandpa and Grandma got me a Lionel electric train that i loved and played with a lot. It had to stay at their house because we didn't have electricity at our house yet. One other incident: we were at Uncle Howard's, and Byron and Wilber (their sons) went outside, then came running back into the house and got a shotgun, went back out, fired several shots, then came back in and said they thought that had shot a goose, but it was Santa Claus and his reindeers they shot by mistake, and they were sorry, but Santa wouldn't be coming this year after all. Needless to say, they got in trouble as they make my sisters and me cry with their prank.
We farmed 240 acres. I think our wheat allotment only let us grow about 40 acres of wheat, so the rest we planted in milo, kafir corn, and cane. The cane had to be cut and tied in bundles about 18 inches in diameter, and of course it was about 6 feet tall, we had a special machine, (what else would you call it, but a binder). After cutting and binding, I had to gather together and make "shocks" with these. After they stood for some time, the grain cured out, and with a modification to our old combine, we cut the heads off and the grain heads went through the combine which threshed out the seed. This left the rest of the bundles in piles in the field. One of my favorite jobs then was burning these piles. In late fall, when these bundles were very dry, we would make "burning rags" by wrapping strips of old gunny sacks, and tying them with bailing wire, leaving about 3 or 4 feet of wire to carry the "torch" with. I would carry an old coffee can about 1/2 full of kerosene for fuel, and walk through the field, lighting the piles. After these had burned, then we could go ahead with disking, or plowing the field in preparation for next springs planting. We also grew flax for a few years, as the price for flax seed was pretty high. I think this was during the "war years."
During the war years, there was a German prisoner of war camp in El Dorado, and in the fall, after the tall cane had been cut with the "binder" which tied the stalks of cane into bundles about 15 inches in diameter, dad would go to the camp and get 4 prisoners to come and work in the cane field shocking up the cane bundles into shocks of 12 to 15 bundles. When he first started getting them, an army guard armed with a rifle always came along, but i think that the last year we used them, they didn't have to have a guard any more. I remember that at dinner time, Mom always had a big meal for everyone, (probably fried chicken) and one of the prisoners could always speak English, and Dad would talk and question them throughout the whole meal. I sure wish i could remember what all they talked about, i'm sure it was very interesting.
Cher (Roth) Bosch, firstname.lastname@example.org, Knoxville, TN, United States
I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit to your site. I am the granddaughter of Clyde & Helen Gurley and great-granddaughter of the Mellors. My brother Marc & I were raided by the Gurleys in Brainerd. I lived there most of the years from 1949 through 1966. I still have a picture of Marc & I as toddlers, posing with Neil Brainerd's Swiss shepherd on the gravel road in front of the Gurley's house.
My grandparents said the present house had been moved onto its current site at the old blacksmith's place. It is actually two houses joined together, with a third lean-to portion (a coal shed, later converted into the kitchen). We sometimes found old horseshoes lying around, and Grandpa put one around the double branched apricot tree by the pasture gate. The tree grew around it and almost completely hid it from view.
I remember going into Hershey's store and seeing the old "Little House on the Prairie-style" bins and glass jars of penny candy. And Mr. Hershey gave me a memory -- a few pieces of candy. It must have been '52 or '53 because I was young enough to have few other memories of that period.
Marc and I attended the two-room school for several years. When we were in second and third grades, there were 15 students and 1 teacher. The next year, Claypool school was closed- and we exploded to 25 students and 2 teachers!
Until at least the mid-fifties, the train still carried passengers; and sometimes took Grandma and I to Newton in the caboose, sitting on its bare pew-style benches. Grandpa was running the elevator then.
Everyone says Great-grandpa Mellor was a wonderful craftsman, and built the Brainerd house in which they lived. And, according to all accounts, everyone loved Great-grandma Mellor. In those days, my father Bill Roth and the other Whitewater high school kids would all come to the city (Brainerd) for entertainment and sodas at the drugstore.
At one PTA meeting when I was a kid, some of the school board members recited the history of Brainerd. The way I remember it, they told how the RR asked the city council for $50 to run the line through Brainerd, threatening to route it elsewhere if they refused. The council thought it was a bluff, and refused to pay. The RR wasn't and ran the line west through Whitewater instead. And, the rest, as they say, is history.
Thanks for the resurrected memories and the wonderful tour. Brainerd was my haven and my life-line as a child- and will always remain the home of my heart.
Tamara (Harder) Hogoboom, email@example.com, El Dorado, KS, United States
You've done a wonderful job preserving the history of Brainerd. I loved seeing the photographs of my great-great grandfather's house (John Harder). I knew a little of the history of the area, but you've greatly expanded my education and interest. Job well done!!
James and Jean Weirich, firstname.lastname@example.org, Angelica, NY, United States
This was really nice and we hope to be a part of Kansas again soon. More towns across should follow your lead, because history is where the present came from.
Daisyduck69696, email@example.com, Somewhere, KS, United States
i really liked your site. i will be starting high school.i will be going to remington high school.and my friends on this list are jenny hurt and muzzle0069.and jason berger
Jim Mccoy, firstname.lastname@example.org, Livingston, TX, United States
I would like to have the e-mail address of Johnny Murphy and some more of my class mates from 1958. I would enjoy hearing from classmates from that era. Jim Mccoy
Virginia, email@example.com, Minneapolis, MN, United States
Wonderful site! I really enjoyed my visit.
Roger Poppe, LolandRog@msn.com, Tucson , AZ, United States
Ed Miller tipped me off to this site, and it has been fun reading the comments in the guestbook from many people I knew and went to high school with. I lived in Whitewater in the 50s and have been in some of the homes of people in Brainerd. Thanks to your site, I now know how to contact an old classmate of mine, Lois Brainerd. For what it is worth to you and your guestbook respondents, I did a great deal of research over the past 5 years on my family ancestry, and spent one whole summer in the Library of Congress. To my delight, I found that back in the 1880s and up to about 1920 there were companies that put out maps of the city layouts of towns in the entire midwest, from North Dakota down through Oklahoma. Further, they had plat maps that showed the location of every single homestead owner by 1/4 section or larger in all of the rural areas. I found tons of information including the original homesteads of several of my family branches in South Dakota. Similar maps exist for the entire region around Brainerd/Whitewater/Elbing. I found homesteads of several of the Elbing Epps (Jolene Epp married my brother Bill). If anyone gets to Washington DC, this is an incredible collection worth checking out. Perhaps local libraries have copies of some of them?
Sherry Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org, Wichita, KS, United States
Dear Mr. Roe, The house pictured in Stella's Cousins belonged to C.B.and Ella Thierstein. The house is still located between Frainerd and Potwin in the countryside north of Highway 196. This is a great website!!! Thanks, Sherry
Daniel McCoy, email@example.com, El Dorado, KS, United States
Kevin, This is a wonderful tribute to the memory of Brainerd. I have two distinct interests in this site. First, I work for the Butler County Courthouse as a Computer Programmer/Technician and would like to link to this site from the soon to come history section of the County Web Page. Second, John Harder, Sr. was my great, great grandfather. I am also trying to find history on my family. Again, a job very well done! Dan
Jerri Brainerd Corgiat, firstname.lastname@example.org, Overland Park, KS, United States
My step-father, Byron Brainerd, a retired attorney in Wichita, KS, has no computer, so I sent him printed copies of the site and he returned the following information: E.B Brainerd (my grandfather) enlisted in the Union Army from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. He was elected Second Lieutenant of F company, which became a part of the 141st Pennsylvania Volunteers. July 1, 1864, Gov. Curtin commissioned him as a First Lieutenant. I have that commission. He later served as Adjutant of the 141st until discharged. The story goes that he was offered a captaincy or a position as adjutant. A captain was a company officer and had to furnish his own horse. An adjutant was a regimental officer and was furnished two horses. He chose the two horses. His name is on the Pennsylvania momnument at Gettysburg. I have a diary (and subsequent diaries) purchased December 29, 1868 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (I can remember his army great coat shot by moths. My mother saved the brass buttons but they have disappeared.) He came to Fort Scott, Kansas where he taught school. I have his test papers, taken prior to his teaching, and some of his text books. Later he came to Butler County, Kansas and took over an abandoned homestead and completed it through the Land Office in Augusta. His gravesite is north of the present Remington High School, as are the graves of his two sone, his parents and his grandparents. The Levi Mello referred to on the site, supervised the building of my father's house. He also sold me my first dog (for a penny). I can remember we took him home in a horse-drawn buggy. Also, my father once told me he had raised hogs in buildings that were later moved to Whitewater for human habitation.
Hildegard Friesen Kallweit, email@example.com, Red Feather Lakes, CO, United States
Reading your information about Brainerd brought back many happy memories of my childhood. We were the German family (grandmother, mother, and four children between the ages of 7 and 12) who arrived in Brainerd in 1950 and stayed for ten years. Christ Thierstein invited us to come to Kansas while we were Prussian refugees in Denmark. Brainerd was paradise to us after three and a half years in refugee camps and cramped accommodations in a farmhouse in West Germany for a short time. While Brainerd was our home, the streets had no names and so I do not really know how to describe where we lived. The Roy Carter family lived across the street to the north. The Reimers lived to the south and the Gurleys lived to the west. The house and barn of our childhood have both burned to the ground in recent years and the two tall cedars that grew in front of the house are also gone. Christ Thierstein owned the store when we came to Brainerd and I can remember going there for a loaf of Sunbeam bread and Post Toasties. When the store closed soon after our arrival, some of the furnishings were stored in Uncle Christ's garage. We spent many happy hours playing store and working the old cash register. Brainerd was a great place to grow up. We had the run of the town during the day and at night. Our door was rarely locked and we were never afraid to roam the streets by ourselves. Our house had no indoor plumbing but it did not matter too much after the living conditions of Denmark. Baths were taken on Saturday nights at Uncle Christ's. The school had seven pupils in 1950 and the four of us made a grand total of eleven. The first two summers we cleaned the school from top to bottom to earn some money. The school population grew to 36 over the next two years due an influx of farm workers and other folks moving into town. Mrs. B. G. Harder was forced out of retirement to teach the lower grades. The number was again down to ten or twelve at the time my brother Otto and I graduated from the Brainerd school in 1956. The school stayed open for only a few more years. We left Brainerd and childhood in 1960 when our mother became cook and housemother at Bethel College in N. Newton, KS. Those years in Brainerd were among the best years of my life.
Michelle Brantingham, firstname.lastname@example.org, Angwin , CA, United States
Wow What a great website! I have been doing research on my family tree and i wanted some information about my grandmother. She was born Marvel May Hunter in 1901. The closest town being Elbing. This is just about 14 miles or so from Brainerd. So I can get a taste of Kansas and a little information on the area where she was born. This is very exciting for me becouse my grandmother died before i was born.
John S. Catt, email@example.com, Wellington, KS, United States
Found your site very interesting. My father's parents and grand-parents lived 3 miles south of Brainerd where they had a custom harvesting business. When my grand-father, William Mason Catt, Sr. died in 1927, my grand-mother, father and his three brothers moved to Haverhill which is located south of ElDorado. I fondly remember making the trek from Augusta, where I grew up, to Brainerd every year with my dad on Memorial day to visit the graves of his parents and grand-parents. Again, thanks for the great work.
Paul Pennington, firstname.lastname@example.org, Augusta, GA, United States
I can attest to how invisible Brainerd had become by the 1950's. I lived in El Dorado from 1952 to 1962, and had never heard of it. I've often passed an abandoned farmhouse or small town by the road and wondered what stories they could tell. You've done an excellent job telling the story of this one. For those who complain there is no in-depth content on the Internet, let them come to Brainerd!
Brad Jones, email@example.com, Bountiful, UT, United States
What a great surprise! I was refered to your site by my sister(Becky Jones) and my Uncle Donald Brainerd. My parents are Leroy and Kathryn Jones. My mother(Kathryn) is the daughter of Wayne and Gertrude Brainerd. As refernenced in the guest book, my mother (Kathryn) is the sister of Lois, Donald and Sara Brainerd. My sister, Becky and I were born in Wichata, but spent most of our adolesent years in a small home approximatly 2-3 miles east by north east of the community of Brainerd. We lived within sight of our grandparents home directly to the west of our house. My grand father, Wayne Brainerd, was a math school teacher and a pround farmer in the area. I have many wonderful memeories growing up in America's heartland fishing in area ponds and the Whitewater River which curled aound my grandfathers property to the east of our house and turned to the southwest. I can remember in the fall of the years, riding on my fathers shoulders, with my grandfather close by, hunting pheasent when my young legs gave out walking the fence rows. The Brainerd Cemetary, slightly north east of Remington High School is full of Brainerd history. I visited the cemetary not long ago, my great grand parents, grand parents, and a brother are resting there. Although it has been thirty five years since we moved away from Brainerd, I still am a Kanasa'n; after all, isn't it all about where you were born....and those who influenced your young years?
Eileen Doran, JK-Doran@Bigfoot.com, Oak Harbor, WA, United States
I grew up on a farm a few miles south of Brainerd. My grandparents (Ben and Frieda Entz) moved to Brainerd when my dad took over the family farm. I have very fond memories of playing in the lilac bushes at the back of their property on the corner of Broadway and Horner. I've always enjoyed hearing my parents, uncles and aunts reminescing of stories of the store at Brainerd and hearing the tales of the train rides when my Dad and Grandpa Entz would ship cattle. My husband is in the Marines and we move often and go back to the farm as much as we can. I'm glad you've created this sight so that when my children are a little bit older, they can "tour" of Brainerd and understand some of my childhood! Thanks for the great job and the effort to reclaim some of the history of a "spot" on the map!
Lois Brainerd, firstname.lastname@example.org, Whitewater, KS, United States
Kevin, What a wonderful job you have done! My great grandfather was E.B. Branierd. Grandparents were Bill and Edith Brainerd. Parents were Wayne and Gertrude Brainerd. My mother was a first cousin to Stella Weigand, which is your grandmother, Kevin. You have brought back a lot of good memories, as my brother Donald has stated. I do remember the grocery store being in Brainerd but don't remember much about it. In the picture of the car in front of the school house , my father, Wayne Brainerd, Aunt Sadie Brainerd and Uncle Neil Brainerd are all in that picture. The pictures of the Mellor family are my mothers family, so this has been very interesting for me to go through and read. Again a very nice job. Well done Kevin..... Thanks for the memories. Lois
Becky Jones, email@example.com, Waterloo, IA, United States
my great-great grandfather was E.B.Brainerd. first my mother, kathryn jones (brainerd) called me and asked me to look up this site that she read about in a magazine, then when i get on line i find out my uncle, don brainerd, emailed the site to me. i'm excited to finally find out more about one of the places that i was partially raised. thanks for all the history.
Barbara Casteel, firstname.lastname@example.org, Newton, KS, United States
I certainly hope you received an "A" for your efforts! This is a great site, and had an unforseen effect on me. My adoptive great-grandfather was the blacksmith in Brainerd for many years, and his son was born in a house that still stands. I have pictures of the first house right south of the present high school taken probably before the turn of the last century. I have started actively searching for information on August Jacob Schmidt, something that I had not considered until I read your terrific thesis. Since all the folks that I could ask for information have passed on, your research has provided me with the push to dig into the past! The job you have done is terrific. Do they have an Oscar for research on little towns that have almost disappeared?
RoseA Vestal, email@example.com, Melrose-Iowa's Little Ireland, IA, United States
Love your site & INVITE YOU to log on to Melrose-Iowa's Little Irelands web site. www.melroseiowa.com We too are a small town located in southern Iowa..and are creating a World Wide Web site as HOME BASE FOR ALL SMALL TOWNS--we think all of your visitors will enjoy our site..we presently have on a brief tour of our Irish town & our Variety Show fundraiser (what a HOOT)..it will soon show our town's restoration of Mainstreet, rennovation of our Community Center, creation of parks from eyesore lots..and MORE. VISIT OUR SITE & you will recieve THE LUCK OF THE IRISH. We really hope you sign our Guest Book & leave us a Comment (a bit of BLARNEY)..We LOVE small town America...visit us at www.melroseiowa.com
Don Brainerd, Dbrai72827@aol.com, Lincoln, NE, United States
What a wonderful suprise to find this site this morning. Thank you for all the work on the research, when I first saw this, thought maybe I could add, but you've done a beautiful job. E.B Brainerd was my great-grandfather, his grandson, Wayne Brainerd married my mother, Gertrude Austin of Newark, Ohio, meeting her while she and family were visiting the Mellors. Fondly recall Sunday afternoon visits to the Mellor home, as well Uncle Bert and Aunt Nell down by Furley. And on som Sunday afternoons, many neghbors and family would visit Grandpas (Will and Edith Brainerd) house, a half mile east of the Brainerd cemetery where a lot of politics, weather, farm practices and prices,etc. made for a lot of lively debating. My sisters and I grew up on a farm 1 mile east, and 1 mile south of Brainerd, Attended Stone Chaple school, then Whitewater High school. Recall summer afternoons playing with Don Harder, B.G. and Alicias son, and B.W.s Grandson. During this time, I think Oscar Hershey and his wife operated the Brainerd store, I remember he chewed tobacco, and sometimes would spit into the sawdust on the floor around the butcher-block behind the counter. There was a Blacksmith shop imediately east of the grocery store, can't recall who the blacksmith was, but he sure had strong arms! Mr. Bradshaw was the station agent and he and his family lived in the west end of the Depot. There were 4 boys, so as they grew up it got too crowded, and they moved into the Mellor house and lived until the RR shut down the depot, then they moved to Newton, I think. Clyde Gurley ran the elevator at that time. I can remember the Cornelius boys, they were a little older than me. I left for the service in 1953, came back briefly in '57 then moved to Lincoln, Ne. in '58, and have been here since. Thank You for bringing up some great memories!
Eric V. Schueler, firstname.lastname@example.org, Grayland, WA, United States
I am a native Wichitan who really enjoyed your web site. I lived in KS for 30 years before heading to the great NW, but still own property in Wichita and my parents live there, so I look forward to my return visits. Not only did I enjoy the content of your site, but I also liked the design aspects itself. We have been trying to find a web designer in this area to do some work for us, but their site designs seem always to be overly conjested or just plain simplistic. Your site is not overly simplistic or unneccesarily cluttered and I appreciate it very much. I wish more site on the web resembled yours. Thank you for the time spent thinking about the home state and your fine work on this site.
Kimberly Claassen, email@example.com, Portland, OR, United States
The first 1 1/2 years of my life were near the Brainerd Feed Store in what was known as the "Swiss missionary home." We were back there again after three years in Brazil. The second stay, I suppose, is the one I'm thinking of. I remember watching the horse behind the house, hiding from cars as I sat behind trees in the side yard--feeling ever so clever--and sliding off the...what was it? a water tank?...in the side yard. My brothers and I loved to explore--always exploring. Nothing like old buildings for that! Happy memories.
Elberta Clinton, firstname.lastname@example.org, West Chester, PA, United States
I was attracted to this web site by an article in Capper's, a news magazine published in Topeka, Kansas. The paper does record the web address as www.rootinaround.com-/brainerd. The dash may discourage some exploration. Although I now reside in Pennsylvania, I am a Midwest native. My parents were both born and raised, and died in the Missouri/Kansas area (Diamond, Missouri -- Galena, Kansas. Your web site is well done, very nostalgic.
Edith E. Graber, email@example.com, St. Louis, MO, United States
I've just spent a fascinating hour at your Brainerd web site! What fun! And a great reminder of past history. I grew up about five miles NE of Brainerd and am a cousin to Agnes Wiebe Harder. Here is a story told by my father, Ernest G. Claassen, who died in 1996 at age 101 years. I have no idea whether the story is true or not but hearers appreciate its irony. A woman brought a slab of butter to the Brainerd store to sell and also to buy butter. She told the storekeeper, "I don't want to use this butter because I found a dead mouse in the cream I churned. What people don't know won't hurt them!" The storekeeper took the butter to the back of the store, rehaped it and brought it out for the woman to buy. After the woman had gone, he remarked to a bystander "She's right. What people don't know won't hurt them."
Linda Dennis, firstname.lastname@example.org, Augusta (Butler Co.), KS, United States
I have visited this former town . All I could think about was----If this town could only talk. Thanks for this web page. You have did a great job. The town of Brainerd is no longer a mystery. I live about 35 miles south east of Brainerd.
Kendall McNeal, email@example.com, Towanda, KS, United States
Kevin, I just want to congratulate you on a very well designed web site. I edit one myself for our small town and can appreciate the work involved in not only research but in design and construction of the web site. Again good job. Kendall McNeal
Melissa Milton, firstname.lastname@example.org, Kalamazoo, MI, United States
Kevin, I discovered you site while wading through the virtual "stack" of emails from the National Council of Public History list-serv. It sounded strangely familiar to hear about the fast-disappearing wide spots in the road, since we in Michigan are also witness every day to the ravages of urban sprawl and rural abandonment. Your site is an inspiration. My colleagues and I are currently attempting, in a similar project, to gain press for the historic (and nearly abandoned) East Hall on Western Michigan University's East Campus. The manner in which you approached the topic, and the format of the presentation is exceptional. This form of publication is perhaps exactly what we need. Thanks for the example you have set. Bravo, for a job well done! Melissa S. Milton Public History Undergraduate Lee Honors College of Western Michigan University
jeff farias, email@example.com, phoenix, AZ, United States
cool site. i love this kinda stuff!
Dan Robinson, firstname.lastname@example.org, Furley, KS, United States
Me and my wife host exchange students they go to Remington High school. We are always ask about Brainerd, because the students ride the school bus by there every day. Some people have told us a little about it but I am a history buff and wanted to know more. I want to thank you for doing this Web Site. I found out about it when it was listed in the Gazette Bulletin. I will let more people know about it some of the people who use to live there don't know about it. We need to get the word around. We lived out here about 4 years I wish we had move out here 20 years ago. the people are Great. If you would be interested in hosting a Exchange student contact me at my E-mail address. Thanks again Dan down on the farm in Kansas
R.G. Alden, email@example.com, Vashon Island Washington, No State/Province, United States
I was born and reared in Manhattan..1922 to 1957, when I moved to the State of Wash. Grad of K State. I have driven Past Brainerd years ago..pretty country to this old homesick Kansan. Have been browsing several web sites regarding Kansas and have enjoyed all of them. Thanks for your good work.
James (Tim) Berger, firstname.lastname@example.org, Whitewater, KS, United States
I enjoyed the web site very much. I know it took many hours to put it together. My daughter graduated from Remington in 1998 and my son is currently a sophmore there. I had no idea there was such a rich history to that little town.
William H Roland, email@example.com, Bison, KS, United States
The 'visit' to Brainerd has been very enjoyable. It is a very fine web site. There are a lot of very interesting things and places to see in Kansas. It is sad that so many people just 'fly' through or over.
Deanna Thiessen, Thiessendandd@cs.com, Brainerd, KS, United States
Thank you for a job well done!
DeWayne Fuller, firstname.lastname@example.org, Whitewater, KS, United States
I think that you had a good idea building this site about brainerd. So that the town will not be forgotten. I like to look up history on towns i lived in or by. I love history. I use to live in Kremlin Oklahoma. I got on the internet and foud history on the town. We moved hear at the benning of this school year. I was born in Kansas, and i want to learn all i can about Kansas. I liked you web site. Sincerly DeWayne
Clinton Schmidt, email@example.com or C.Schmidt2@compuserve.com, Brainerd, KS, United States
Being a long life resident of Brainerd I was very interested in your comments about the History of Brainerd. My folks purchased the Old Mellor Home you mentioned on Neiman Street. We now own a home on what was Horner street. Jacob Cornelius is my wife's uncle. However, George Washington Cornelius was Jake's grandfather not Great-grandfather. We also lived in the old Reimer home on the north side of Horner street for a period of time. Keep up the good work. C.Schmidt2@compuserve.com
Joana Roe, firstname.lastname@example.org, Sterling, VA, United States
Uncle Kevin- It was really neat learning about Gigi (Stella Weigand, my great grandma) when she was little. Today is her 90th birthday, so Happy Birthday Gigi!
matthew ruf, email@example.com, corpus christi, TX, United States
My great great great grandfather is E. B. Brainerd. My grandfather is Byron Brainerd. I have a lot of relatives buried in that cemetery. I love the fact that this web page exists so I can visit my family history whenever I want.
Manelia Stephenson, firstname.lastname@example.org, Hugoton, KS, United States
I grew up in an area community, Walton, KS. My parents lived a short time in the Brainerd area before I was born. My eldest brother has some memories of living in the area. I am forwarding this website to him. I know he will find it very interesting. Nice job on sharing the information.
Frank S. Quiring, email@example.com, N. Newton, KS, KS, United States
Saw this in Wichita Eagle Had an extremely hard time finding this page. My aunt, Mrs. Mary Graves, and her son, Waldo, ran the general store in early to mid 30's Anyone remember them? Had son, Richard, my age, but we were age 6-10 at the time. Not certain I can reach this page again. Can someone outline a direct way. Thanks. My wife, Evelyn Wiebe Quiring, is from that community. Her mother sold the Remington sch. dist. their land
Elizabeth Scott, firstname.lastname@example.org, Hempstead, NY, United States
My family, probably just my mom Virginia Lee Huffman Scott, My dad, John Clark Scott, and me (age 1-2), lived in Whitewater, Kans. where my dad was, I believe, the high school principal in the early 50's. We left when my dad went back to school to pursue a medical degree from K.U. Medical School, graduating in 1959. After much time on the East Coast, my family returned to Great Bend, Ks. in 1967, and my father was a urologist affiliated with the Great Bend Medical Center until he and my mom died in a plane crash at the Wichita, Ks. airport in 1975. Kansas is very dear to me, and I was very glad to have the opportunity to see your web site about Brainerd. As we often used to drive to see relatives in Hutchison and the surrounds, as well as relatives in Pittsburg, I am sure I have passed thru or by the town.
Wild Bill Durkin, email@example.com, Nashville, TN, United States
I've always been real fond of Kansas myself. Mr. Rowe did a fine job of puttting you out ther into cyber space. Bravo ! Best Of Everything Wild Bill
Robert L. Cornelius, firstname.lastname@example.org, Wichita, KS, United States
Kevin, Thanks for putting so much effort in Brainerdto come up with a job so well done. I am a brother to Jake Cornelius I was raised in Brainerd from 1931until 1951 upon which time I enter the miitary sevice during the Korean conflict. After from service I was employed by The City of Newton Fire Dept. Upon retiring from the fire department I bought the Cornelius family property where I where I spent my childhood days and attending the Brainerd school.I built a new house there and resided there until this past year.There were nne of us in my family and we are all still living. The oldest being 86 and the youngest68. There was 3 girlsand 6 boys. All 6 boys served in the Military services duriing World war11 and or the Korean conflict. I am sorry that I did not get to meet you at the time you were in Brainerd. Mr. Gerhardt Harder and I have disscussed having a reunion of all of the people that attended the Brainerd School. If any body is interested they mat contact me at my web sight address.Hopefully you could attend.Thanks again for a job well done. Bob Cornelius
Rochelle M. Rocheford, email@example.com, Potwin, KS, United States
What a wonderful compilation! I have lived in the Potwin area my entire life and graduated from Remington High School in 1989. You have done a beautiful and tasteful job of conveying the people and sites of Brainerd. I am proud to be a school teacher in the Remington Unified School District 206 and will make this site a part of our history lessons. But closer to my heart is the fact that my family has a rich history in this area as well. My father's family on the maternal side are the Cornelius'. In fact Jake is my great-uncle. What a valuable site this will be to show my two sons when they can understand. I am taking great pleasure in sharing it with the rest of my extended family now. I'm afraid that not everyone who passed by would be as observant, caring, and tasteful in their remarks of this small rural area and its humbleness. Thank you so much for your incredible dedication to detail and tact.
Carol Altay, firstname.lastname@example.org, Grapevine , TX, United States
I'v known brainerd since I can remember.I was born in Newton and moved to Brainerd when I was in High school.Never even thought that brainerd would've existed more than the 3 roads that it has today. I was very intrigued with the history of brainerd.I never knew in my wildest dreams that it had such a history.Really amazing that most of my relatives the Cornelius'live their for so many years which I knew that. My father is Robert.Thank you for a very good story on our homesight.
Jenny Hurt, _flirt211, Whitewater, KS, United States
This is a very interesting web site. I recently saw it in the Newton Kansan. I thought it would be a neat site to visit. There's some very interesting information about Brainerd. I wish someone would make a web site for Whitewater because I moved six and a half years ago. I live two and a quarter miles west of Whitewater. My house was built in the early 1900's. This site is good for children to get information for school reports and get pictures from back then.
Jenny Hurt, email@example.com, Whitewater, KS, United States
This was a good school project that turned out to be a great turnout! People that have reports about their home town they can go here and get some info. about it and print the pictures off. They should have somebody make different web sites about all the other towns and cities. They're a great resource. I moved here about six and a half years ago and I would like to see what Whitewater was like long ago. It would be very interesting to see what it looked like.
MuZZLe, MuZZLe0069@aol.com, Near Whitewater, KS, United States
Brainerd is a tiny little spec of dust but nice page. I go to Remington Highschool and Drive by it everyday.I'm really just signing this because I wanted my name in the book as looking at this site has become a class assignment.Well It's time for me to go play games so eat cod fish and never sniff a cat thats been in a tub of modified food starch.
trevor thiessen, RanCo6@aol.com, Whitewater, KS, United States
I live 2 miles away from Brainerd.
Mary Ann Brainerd White, firstname.lastname@example.org, Newton, KS, United States
I have fond memories of going to Edith and W.P. Brainerd's (my grandparent's) home, which was a mile north and a mile east of Brainerd. My family (Neil and Eva Brainerd) and the Wayne Brainerd family, would go to their home every Sunday for dinner and spend the day visiting and playing. I graduated from Whitewater High School in 1956. My sister is Carolyn Hill and we have enjoyed reading about Brainerd, Kansas on this web site.
Carolyn Brainerd Hill, Dchill60, Benton, KS, United States
The History of Brainerd is very interesting to me. My Great Grandfather was Elisha B. Brainerd. My Grandfather was William P. Brainerd and my Father was Neil Brainerd. My Mother Eva Motter Brainerd is 96 yrs old and is still living in her own home in Whitewater. She remembers a lot about the town of Brainerd as she also grew up in the Whitewater- Brainerd community. The house she lives in was moved from Brainerd to Whitewater many years ago. Kevin, your Web site is great!
Melissa Walton, email@example.com, Valley Center, KS, United States
What a great website! My Grandmother was born in Brainerd in 1917 and I have been trying to find out as much information that I can about where she lived. This is so much more than I ever could have expected to find! And now that I live closer, I am going to have to visit very soon!
Floyd Steiner, firstname.lastname@example.org, Wichita, KS, United States
Kevin - My parents, Carl F. Steiner and Martha C. Steiner lived on a farm about 1 1/2 miles South of Brainerd when I was born in 1934. They, like so many others, lost the farm during the Depression and we moved to El Dorado when I was one year old. My three older sisters attended school in Brainerd in the early 1930's. My Mother was a Penner and I have relatives buried in both the Swiss Mennonite Church cemetery and the Emmaus Church cemetery. I still have relatives in the rural Potwin area ( Ron Biggs ) and I still hunt quail in that area frequently. Good country, good people!
Ted Hendricks, email@example.com, Scranton, KS, United States
As a person who grew up in that area it was fun and interesting to find this on Brainard. I lived in Potwin just to the East of Brainard and attended Remington High School. My Parents still live in Potwin and have many fond memories of the area . Good Job.
Kay Swift, firstname.lastname@example.org, Satanta, KS, United States
I enjoyed your interest in Brainerd and the facts. My husband's Grandparents once lived in Brainerd many years ago. Their name was Everett. There was also an Aunt and Uncle who lived in Brainerd. There name was Shorty and Agnes Everett. He died years age but Agnes lived there untill the last few years. Their son and wife then lived on their place but only the last year or so the place burned down. Their was also another Aunt and Uncle,Clyde and Helen Gurley, they are both dead now but they lived their many years. It is very interesting to us and I hope many more. Thanks Kay Swift
Jason Berger, email@example.com, Whitewater, KS, United States
Rick Eberhard, firstname.lastname@example.org, Kechi, KS, United States
Kevin: Your www site on the history of Brainerd is very good and something you and many others in the area can be proud of. As a RHS 1970 graduate and one who grew up in Whitewater, I have traveled thru Brainerd many times. As you indicated it is a small Kansas community with lots of history and good memories for many different people who have traveled there over the years. My father Rollan K. Eberhard, 80 yrs. old still lives in Whitewater and he has shared many stories about the good times and good people he has become to known in Brainered during his lifetime. Keep up the good work by promoting Brainerd and Kansas as our state has alot to share which alot of people have never heard. Rick Eberhard, Kechi KS
Edward L. Ayers, email@example.com, Charlottesville, VA, United States
This is an elegant site that uses the web in the way it should be used: to widen and deepen our sense of the world. Thanks.
Ed Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org, Berryton, KS, United States
Kevin, This is a great site, interesting and informative, the type of site that makes the internet and sitting in front of a computer a wonderful experience. I grew up around and in Furley, and graduated from Whitewater High School in 1957. My parents and sister still live in the Furley community and my sister's two daughters graduated from Remington High School in the 1980's. My wife, Jan, and I love to travel the back roads of Kansas. Frequently when we are going from our home near Topeka to Furley, we leave highway US50 at Potwin and come south to K196 at Brainerd. Jake Cornelius is my mother's cousin and I have memories of being at his parent's house in Brainerd for family gatherings when I was young. I remember Jake being there in his Navy uniform on at least one visit. Until visiting this web site I never knew Brainerd was the town you describe. I don't remember anything west of Broad- way, except in the area of the railroad tracks. I once had a high school date with a German girl who lived in Brainerd, and wonder if the house I took her home to might have been the Mellor home. Keep up the great work, Ed
Harold A. Balter, email@example.com, Cheshire, OR, United States
My Great Grandfather James O. Robinson was an early settler to Brainerd area, he was born May 18,1829 Belfast , Ireland and died December 17,1886. He is buried at Emmaus Church cemetery he was married to Harriet F. Raymond who was born Nov.12,1837 Copenhagen, Denmark and died October 19,1918 she is buried at the same church cemetery. Another Great Grandfather Stephan Boelter born May 27,1823 in Posen, Prussia died January 10,1905 and is buried at Milton cemetery beside his wife Fanny Boelter. My Grandfather is also buried at Milton cemetery , Edward Stephan Balter bornMay 26,1852 in Posen, Prussia and died March 3,1919.
Roger Hartwick, firstname.lastname@example.org, Lawrence, KS, United States
I grew up in Whitewater and graduated from Remington High School in 1988. It's great to see the old high school on the web. I had a close friend who lived in Brainerd for a few years, and although I drove by it for years, I never knew the history behind the town. This is a great site to catch some of the feel of small town Kansas.
Jay Spaulding, email@example.com, Elizabeth, NJ, United States
Congratulations on a very worthwhile project, and all my encouragement for for future efforts. (I grew up in Newton during the 1950s and 1960s, but I do not remember ever being in Brainerd.)
Sue Ellen Ash, firstname.lastname@example.org, Wilmington, OH, United States
Kevin, your website is a great place for others to learn a little about the early lives of the people willing to take a chance on the plains of Kansas. Kansas has lots to offer the visitor if one gets off the freeways and interstates to see it. Growing up near Brainerd it is fun to read about it on a webiste. Our Frederick Remington Historical Society meets in the high school just north of Brainerd. The members include families of Brainerd, Plum Grove, Elbing, Whitewater, Annelly, Furley and Potwin as well as the many country folks in the area. For more information and history of the area, the Whitewater City Library has a nice collection of history and newspapers of our community.
Kendal Kelly, email@example.com, Brooklyn, NY, United States
I'm so impressed at the amount of information here. and all the pictures! I have never even been to Kansas and now I think I might just have to visit :-) Kevin, you did a beautiful job!