Pioneer Potluck: About Dad, John M. McClure and his Dad, David Thomas McClure, part 2

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, February 16, 2016 7:25pm
  • LifeFood

Born North East of Westfall, Kansas

February 15, 1914

Reminiscent from Cousin Jim Nelson, Salina, Kansas.

Cousin Jim Nelson has spent his entire life devoted to spreading the Gospel. He especially supports ministers in Cuba and Peru and prints and send stacks of printed magazines in Spanish and writes articles on the Internet in English that are a blessing to all of us who have received Christ as Savior. He also is full of McClure-Nelson history. He is 91 now. He and his wife Janet live in Salina, Kansas. He also sees that his sister Doris, age 98, is taken care of in a assisted living home near him. Here is his story about my Dad’s father, David Thomas McClure. Jim wrote:

“Your father, John and all his siblings attended the Freedom School a mile north of Westfall. It was located just south and west 3/4 of a mile from their house. Of course, no school buses then, but with deep snow Uncle Dave (MY Note: My Dads father, David Thomas McClure) would let them take the horse and buggy through the pasture, and to a gate that opened to the road.

Our school was in the village of Westfall just a mile south west of the McClure farm. The train track ran very close to the Westfall School building.. By looking out of the north windows we could hear the steam powered train huffing up the grade, and we could watch it approach our village.

As students, our great delight was when Mr. Boston drove his cattle 8 miles to the stock yard at the train tracks in Westfall. The teacher would not let us out since the cattle crossed over the school ground but most of us could see out the windows.

There were large holding pens there on the siding of the rail road and a windmill for water, since the cattle owner wanted his cattle full of water before they went to the sales barn to be sold by the pound. The stock yard had walking planks around the pens so that they could chase the stock into the cattle cars. A great place for us kids to play on week-ends.

Your dad and his three brothers worked on their farm and Uncle Dave (My Note: My grandpa McClure) “supervised.” After all the boys left home, the parents were getting up in age, they sold the farm and moved into Westfall, two miles south west, buying the Richards house on Main Street There were three houses there.

Aunt Hattie (Ann’s grandmother) was losing her sight (due to diabetes) and could not see to read. During World War II, 3 sons went off to war and they would write to their mother. ( Ann’s Dad had established a home and farm in Colorado and was qualified as a F4 because his farm contributed to the war effort by providing necessary crops – something my patriotic Dad would say over and over again -”If I could I would go join my brothers”.)

Aunt Hattie’s mother, Grandma Laura Twibell, lived just a few houses from them and she would go to the post office, located in a persons home, pickup the mail and go to Aunt Hattie and read the letters to her. Her sons all returned from the war effort.

Uncle Dave fell and broke his leg a block from the house and the neighbors carried him to the house. The doctor came from Lincoln, 15 miles away, put sand bags on the leg to hold it together. It never healed. He was never out of bed from that day on.

Alma, the youngest daughter, had 5 kids of her own, but drove 8 miles each day on dirt roads to tend to her parents, Dave and Hattie. Since it was a long drive for Ann’s Aunt Alma Web, Hattie bought a house in Beverly to be close to Alma. I do not remember how long they were there but Aunt Hattie developed pneumonia. I took my mother, Vena to see her. She was in a bad way. I asked Doctor Davidson if he could do anything and he said there was nothing to be done for pneumonia. We sat there until she died. Uncle Dave cried out “Mami, OH Mami!” I will always remember that night.

Alma could no longer take care of her father with 5 little ones and a husband, so she put her father in St. John’s Hospital in Salina where he died in 1948. There were no nursing homes in those days!

Thank You Jim Nelson!

My Notes: The time frame of this story is 1914 ‘s and 1948. . David Thomas McClure, born in 1867 in Pennsylvania moved to Kansas to 1883. He died 1948. I remember this day very well, as Dad traveled to Kansas from Colorado. But first he had to make sure all the cattle and farming was taken care of. My brother John Jr., age 10 and the neighbors took over. I milked the cow as I usually did.


The Grannie Annie series is written by a 47 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski.Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.


Grannie Annie can be reached at anninalaska@gci. net

The “Grannie Annie” Cook Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”; and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.” They are available at M & M Market in Nikiski.

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