Roots run deep for Pioneer Farm Families

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

In this era of rapid change and constant moving about, it's refreshing to hear about families who put down roots ... and stay committed to the same area for generations. For that reason, the Pioneer Farm Family Awards are an honored tradition in Nebraska.

If you know families who have received awards -- in recognition of 100 years of land ownership -- you know how much they treasure them. The Farm Family Award links today's generation with the pioneer past, because, to maintain ownership for 100 years, land must past through three, four or more generations, taking this area back to the 1870s, 1880s, 1890s and 1900s.

The latest additions to this area's 100-year Pioneer Farm Family are spread throughout Southwest Nebraska. The 1904-to-2004 honorees include:

DUNDY COUNTY -- Tecker Ranch Inc., Parks, and Edwin and Betty Schwartz, North Platte.

FRONTIER COUNTY -- Edwin and Marilyn Kester, Cambridge; Raymond and Beverly Johnson, North Platte; and Carla Hill and Karen Erickson, Valley Mills, Texas.

FURNAS COUNTY -- Kenneth Schoen, Oxford; Mike and Jodi Taylor, Stamford; and Cecil and Helen Taylor, Kearney.

GOSPER COUNTY -- Marvin Briegl and Esther Frese, Arapahoe; Delmar Ebmeier, Bertrand; and William Bowen, Lincoln.

HITCHCOCK COUNTY -- Jerry and Rose Ann Owens, McCook.

RED WILLOW COUNTY -- Patsy Lee Redfern and James Alan Redfern, McCook.

The list of century-long owners shows consistency, commitment and connection to family values. We welcome this year's award-winners to the very special group of people who are carrying on their family's pioneer heritage.

Ignorant Acts of Vandalism

While on the subject of history, we agree completely with the Omaha World-Herald, which declared in this morning's editorial column: "Vandalism is reprehensible any time, anywhere. But it hurts all of us at once when it strikes historic sites."

The World-Herald was expressing outrage because of the glass-breaking spree in North Platte Saturday at the 1886 mansion of legendary Western showman William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. Among the destroyed items: an 1866 lead-crystal, dining room chandelier and several pieces of china, made for the ranch during Cody's lifetime.

In the words of the World-Herald: "Saturday's vandalism, on the eve of North Platte's annual Nebraskaland Days extravaganza, is a slap in the face to all Nebraskans." Well said. While the Scout's Rest Ranch may not be able to put all the pieces back together, Nebraskans want the state and the staff to know they have our full support to restore this priceless place in America's history.

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