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Narrator: Minnie Ogden, 75, of Hamilton, Missouri

The Ogden Property

Trees and Dances

Robert Ogden, father of the narrator, lived in Ontario County, N.Y. He decided to make a western trip in 1871 to prospect. He went to Illinois and Michigan where he had relatives and then to Hamilton, Mo., where his relatives Dr. Robt. Brown and Mrs. Geo. Barlow lived. He was delighted as he watched Brown plough all day long and not hit a stone (plenty of stones in N.Y.) and here was plenty of grass for cattle on the open prairie. He straightway hunted up a town house for sale. He bought the property of R.B. Houston, banker, for $3,000.00. There were six lots and a two story house. This stayed Ogden property till Dec. 1910 when Miss Ogden sold it. The Parr and Whitman homes now stand on the land. This half block was originally part of the A.G. Davis holdings. She says that he once had a great pile of rocks there intending to build a store; and in 1867 when the agitation arose to move the courthouse from Kingston to Hamilton a foundation for the courthouse was actually built there. She recalls that when her father built an addition to his home, he used the rocks of the so-called courthouse foundation.

Mr. Ogden supported his family mostly by the interest on his money. He had about $10,000.00 and this he loaned at 10 percent. Also, they always had room in the big house for boarders, teachers preferred. Some of their boarders were Judge Holliday, Ella Griffith, a high school teacher, and Miss Anna Smith, a grade teacher. A story shows how few trees were here then and also it shows how slow the trains were. Miss Smith always went home to Kidder for the week-end. From the upper window, she could see the train leaving Breckenridge. When it left Nettleton, she would start for the depot, some seven blocks away and get there in time to buy a ticket.

When the Odgens came, trees were very rare. The Menafee family who lived across the road (Dr. Eads' home) had several soft maples in their yard. Minnie and her sister Cora were amazed at the maple pips (they did not have soft maples in New York). They collected some and planted them in a box. Later, their father set them out and from that origin all the trees on those six lots started.

There were plenty of dances then. Among the good dancers were George Hastings ( a grocer on Broadway in the 70's) who often led girls out on the floor; John Minger and wife who in German style waltzed straight ahead without reversing. Mollie Davis Brosius, Clara Reddie, Mollie Harrah, Maude Goodman (Hosmer), Reila Aikens were all good dancers. Dances were held in the new brick school before the seats were fastened in, later in Rohrbough's Hall and Kelso's Hall. The waltz and the square dance were favorites. Organ and fiddles made the music. The walls were lined with spectators.

Interviewed March 1934.

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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998