29 August 2016

Mystery Solved: Farm Located

I have finally been able to locate the farm in Sheridan County, Nebraska that my dad grew up on. Here is how I managed to find it.

I had two pieces of information from my mother to go on:
  1. Logan C. Musser owned it--my grandfather just leased it 
  2. It was northwest of Rushville, within walking distance 
Yesterday I learned that World War 2 "Old Man's Draft" registration cards from April, 1942 had two sides. The indexed images of the front side that are available on ancestry.com, I knew about. I did not know that if you click through to the next image, you can see the back side of the card, which contains height, weight, eye color, hair color and a few more pieces of information. You can read more about that draft here and here. I immediately went online to check out the second image for my male relatives in that age range. From my grandfather, Joseph Andrew Huigens' card, I learned that he had hazel eyes like mine.

But what really caught my eye, and what I had failed to notice before, was that he listed his address on the front of the card as "section 22-32-44." That was exciting because it gave me what I hoped were the section, township and range in which the farm was located.

It took me a while to track down a set of online historic plat maps for Nebraska Sheridan County, but I finally located a set from 1914 in an ancestry.com database: Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918. Townships in some western Nebraska counties were not named but use a number instead. I was able to find the image for Township 32 N in Range 44 W.

Section 22 is listed as being owned by M. P. Musser and not Logan C. Musser, but I guessed they were related and ownership had changed between 1914 and 1926. It was also just north of Rushville and very much within walking distance of the town.

Further research in the book Recollections of Sheridan County Nebraska (Sheridan County Historical Society (Neb.). 1976. [Place of publication not identified]: Printed by Iron Man Industries.) turned up the fact that banker M. P. Musser died in 1914, the year of the plat map and his son was Logan C. Musser. So Logan had indeed inherited the land after his father died and owned it when my grandfather arrived in 1926.

Here is what Section 22 looks like on Google Maps today.

I still need to discover why my father moved the family west in 1926 and when they left the farm and moved into Rushville. I'm also intrigued by the fairgrounds shown in section 22 in 1914. My dad never mentioned any fairgrounds and the Sheridan County Fair takes place in Gordon. I'm guessing they moved the fair long before my grandfather came and leased the land. I'll need to contact the Sheridan County Historical Society about that.

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