Where in the USA is the CoCo Locomoto? travel blog

Picture of the Correction about the rows of corn left in the...

Welcome to Hetland, SD

What's left of the little town of Hetland

Oldham, SD

Main street of Oldham

The beautiful green countryside full of trees and grass that looks like...

I want to start off with a correction we learned about from our friends John and Marilu, who are also traveling. In my blog about the "Endless Prairie" we thought the several rows of corn that had been left in the fields after harvest were to catch the snow for winter moisture but we were wrong. John and Marilu talked to a farmer along the way and learned that the rows are left in the field for the Insurance Adjusters to evaluate the crop and what the drought had done to them. As you can imagine with so much of the country being in a drought, the adjusters are extra busy but the farmers can't wait for them to do their harvesting so they leave little patches in the fields for the adjusters when they can get to them.

With a list of people and places I was excited to learn more about, spending the morning at the Kingsbury County Courthouse burst my bubble in a hurry. I knew when my mom's family came to America in 1892 they came to the "Dakota Territory" and several children were born in the Oldham-Hetland area. Sadly, finding out that South Dakota didn't keep birth or death records before 1904-05, I realized that several things on my list were going to remain blank at least for now. I knew my family had rented a farm so there were no homestead records for them. I also knew I had 3 great aunts and uncles who were born and had died here as children, in the late 1890's early 1900's. Hoping to find their headstones or markers at one of the many little cemeteries around the area, my hopes were soon dashed. In the 40's the WPA platted, cataloged and recorded the names of all the graves that were marked and no Osse's appeared on the lists. But as a history buff these things only disappoint you for a short time as it is mostly the "thrill of the hunt" that seems to count with most of us. On my list were also two great-great aunts that had come to this area when they came to America so that was next on my list...and I did find a homestead for one of the families. Happily I had copies made of all the documents and will go over them with a fine-tooth comb when I have time...maybe a gold mine after all. While I struck out with my great-grandparents it was still fun to drive out to the tiny towns where they first came over 100 years ago and imagine what it might have been like after seeing and hearing the Ingalls story. One of the fun facts we learned while in the area was that when the government opened up the area for homesteading and the homesteaders were given the 160 acres to "prove up on," 10 acres of that 160 had to be planted with trees. The area totally being void of trees back in those days and being just prairie grasses,it has certainly made the area much more beautiful. Having lived in the west all our lives, the wind for the most part blew from the west-northwest and here the trees all lean to the northwest as the never-ending wind blows from the southeast. Leaving the "Little Town on the Prairie" was a little sad knowing that my family too had walked, lived, worked and played here. Heading east then south on I-29 along the eastern South Dakota-Iowa border, we were delighted to see the terrain change to rolling hills and lots of trees and oh, so green! The crops look much better in this area and the corn is 6-8 feet tall...most of which still hasn't been harvested. The soybeans are much healthier and are just starting to turn a golden brown. They won't be harvested for about another month. It was a beautiful drive to Souix City, Iowa where we plan to spend a few days seeing the things the area has to offer and once again will have a water view, of the Missouri River this time.

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