Sunday Stories: The Fattig Family: Settled Near Ringgold

Part Two

By Josie M. Fattig

Some men and boys of the area were engaged in their weekly Saturday afternoon baseball game. One of the men, Robert Christianson, came over and talked to us, giving us information and answers to our inquiries.
Present Day Ringgold, Nebraska
We had been given permission by Charles Chapman, an acquaintance in Franklin County, to stop at a place he owned a few miles east of Ringgold until we could get settled. So we drove on over there and camped for a time.

The Bill and Tom Jones families lived a little beyond there. The next day after our arrival the Bill Jones family came by on their way to Sunday School. Having learned of our being there, they brought us some ripe tomatoes from their garden. What a treat that was. How wonderful those tomatoes tasted – the only garden produce we had had all summer.

Father soon got in touch with Manford Harrison, who had control of what was known as the Dolph place, a mile or so east of Ringgold. On this place was a vacant sod house. The house consisted of three rooms, all in a row; but the walls of the first one were in such bad condition that the room was not liveable. Mr. Harrison kindly allowed us to move into this house for the winter. The damaged room served as an entrance to the house; and there also, we kept our chickens.

The middle room was our kitchen and living room. And the other was bedroom for the seven of us – a bed crowded into each of the three corners of the room. By this time Harvey was pursuing his own interests, after having helped us get moved. In the fourth corner of the roomw as piled the extra furniture.

Mother did the best she could to provide us younger ones with some Christmas that winter. Apparently considering Lottie and me as having graduated form the doll stage, she gave us each a book, from the “Little Prudy” series. Mine was “Little Prudy’s Sister Susie” and Lottie’s was “Little Prudy’s Cousin Grace” since Lottie’s middle name happened to be Grace.
The Little Prudy's book series
For Alma, who would be three the next month, she had made and dressed a large rag doll. Alma named the doll Susie for the character by that name in my book. She immediately fell in love with Susie and carried her around everywhere.

By the next spring we had learned that the Brooks place, a couple of miles east and a little south of Ringgold, was for rent. This was the original homestead of G.M. Brooks, and consisted of a half section. Father rented the place for a year, and we made the move to it in a March snowstorm.

At the end of the year, Father made a deal, through John Main acting as intermediary, to purchase the place. The Brookses had left previously, moving to Washington State.

Prior to this, Father had bought the lease on a half section of school land whose northwest corner joined the southeast corner of the Brooks place, making the farm now consist of a full section.

At last our parents had found a location where they could get their roots down. By dint of hard work, good management, and frugal living, and with the aid of Dewey and Glenn, who were still at home, things took a turn for the better. Payments on the farm were completed ahead of schedule, a Model T Ford was purchased – one of the first in the neighborhood – a new frame house replaced the sod house, and a new barn was built. Thus they had a quite comfortable home and living in their declining years.


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