I remember my grandparents on my mother's side of the house, and I just remember my grandfather on the other side of the house.
They were all born in New York State. My mother's people all came down from Connecticut, Virginia, and Rhode Island. They were born in New York State. Dad's father and mother were both born in New York State. I don't know what his grandfather did for a living. He was born in Holland. My grandfather on my father's side of the house was born in Holland. He was 17 years old when he came over here, with two older brothers, and was over here just a year and enlisted in the revolutionary war. I think the war was pretty well over with when he enlisted, and then after that war was over with, he came back to New York and then went over in Pennsylvania and married, then went back to New York. There were seven boys in that family. My father was the youngest of the seven. All boys in that family.
I was born in 1866 on the 22nd day of July, and on the 10th day of May, 1876, we landed out here at Larnard, Kansas. Father was a mason and a contractor. That's what took him west. He came out west to get 160 acres of land out there and improve it so as to make a value on a railroad company's land by the side of it. But the principal thing was to come west to get mason work, building and contracting. We all came on an excursion train. My father came out a year ahead of that, and my mother, grandmother, and six or seven of his kids. Ed was born out in Kansas. There were eight of us. Kate was born the winter before we came out. She was born in 1876.
My mother's folks came from Massachusetts to New York - The Benjamins and Cronks, and my mother's name was Nizley before she married Dad. Dad was married in New York. But Grandfather Countryman and Grandmother separated when Dad was just a small baby, and Grandmother and Grandfather Nizley raised him. Grandmother Countryman married a fellow by the name of Von Bleat and she had a boy named Charley Von Bleet.
Uncle Will was the oldest in his family and Dad next. Then Jane, Sam, John, George, Kate, and Ed.
There were 7 boys in Dad's Grandfather's family, and then when Grandmother remarried, she had another boy.
His mother's father died in 18-
Grandmother died in 1877, just out at Larnard a year and then about a year after that, Grandfather died in New York State. Grandfather Countryman died in New York State; but Grandmother Nizley came out here with us. She died and is buried in Larnard cemetery. She had a hard stroke.
They settled on that homestead. His father never preached. He was a licensed preacher, but he never did follow that as a profession. He just farmed. He just mostly worked at the mason trade until he retired, and then he went out on the farm; rented the land and stayed in the house and kept chickens and a few pigs. He never farmed to amount to anything. Grandmother Countryman died in 1911. Grandfather Countryman died in 1918. Both Grandfather and Grandmother are buried at Kinsley, Kansas.
I just worked on those ranches out there. I went to work on Bartlett and Badger ranch herding cattle. I was about 12 years old. Dad's dad laid first stone they ever laid in mortar. Shacks, just had loose rock or posts driven in the ground. The depot was a box car set off on rails beside the track. There were plenty of soldiers up at Ft. Larnard at that time. The indians were not fighting after we went there. They made one break. They went in west of us, and I think the soldiers up at Ft. Hayes headed them off, but we never had any fighting in there where we were.
I worked on Bartlett and Badger ranch when a pair of steers, unbroken and running in the herd, was worth 25 or 30 dollars apiece, and if broken so you could drive them, they were worth 100 to 125 dollars for a pair. They were closing out cattle and steers and for that reason they were breaking prairie and breaking steers. I used to drive 40 head all strung out, two abreast, breaking prairie. I worked there until 1887, and then I went down to Great Bend and got in blacksmith business. That's where I learned the blacksmith trade. Horses began coming into the country. I just thought I wanted to shoe horses and I went in with a professional horse-shoer and worked with him one summer, and then I went into a _________? shop. Now when you get next to that so you understand how it was done, it wasn't so much. It was always a day herder and a night herder. They ran about 600 head of cattle on that ranch and there were two or three cowboys on the ranch. Getting these cattle out in the morning, three or four to get them out. Just go in the corral, pull to snubbing post and put a yoke on him. In two teams. Each team pulled a 20-inch two-bottom gangplow ???? I had a shetland pony and I rode her to drive these cattle. I had a pair on the tongue and a pair on the front and in the middle fairly well broken those just hitched up, and in making rounds if an ox got astradle I him and he would jump back over. Four rounds. We had miles to work, clear across a section, and four rounds was a half days work and when we went four rounds turned loose to graze on the prairie and then hitched up again. I rode that pony, and when I cane to a corner I would jwnp off and grab the head team and turn them and if an ox got astraddle or out of line, he got the whip until he jumped back
I had been working here and there. I was in the feed barn business in Great Bend for a year and a half, and was in everything. I was in Rooks County a year and a half and at Stockton and worked in blacksmith shop part of time.
It was out in the jungles, called Midway - just a section house, in the middle of a 17,000 acre cattle ranch. The Pacific Railway leaves Wichita and at that time connected with the main line of the Missouri-Pacific that went through Geneseo, and they wanted to extend it to Kanapolis and went right through those hills and in order to do that they had and the ranchman specified what it was to be in the way of a depot and they put that depot there and called it Midway, just half way between Genoseo and Kanapolis and stationed a section boss there, and it went both way, down to Gaaeseo and up to Kanapolis.
Mrs. G. W. Countryman, born January 22, 1846; died June 14, 1911 65 yrs., 5 mos. 14 days.
I went in about where Dover is now. I drove from Stockton, Rooks County, Kansas, to the opening of old Oklahoma. I think I staked the very claim Dover is on. I ran in the race 1889. I was about 22 years old.
Grandfather born in Holland. He was cross between English and Holland dutch.
There was a little dispute about who that place belonged to, so I sold out to him and went back to Great Bend, Kansas, and stayed until about 1891 until I came down here.
I drove all the way through from Stockton, Rooks County, Kansas, and I just kept piecing along that way and did not stop and cook anything until got to Anorita, nice grass and lots of water. Camped there overnight and nearly all day, then I cooked some beans, started to; put in a gallon syrup bucket and put over the camp fire. Put coffee in half gallon bucket and put the lid on it. The bean bucket got hot and the lid blew off and beans went all over the ground and there was coffee in them. When I came back through there in the fall, I stopped and picked green beans.
Source: In about 1940, Fannie Lee (Countryman) Emanuel interviewed her father, Fred G. Countryman, at Fairview in Major County, Oklahoma, in order to learn about his ancestors and family history. Mrs. Emanuel recorded her father's narrative in Gregg Shorthand and later transcribed her shorthand into a typescript. That original typescript survives and on 28 Mar 2017 is in the possession of William R. Emanuel, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. William Emanuel transcribed this version of the narrative from the original typescript.