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home : news : history May 24, 2016

6/19/2013 9:12:00 PM
I Remember
I Remember
By Charles Wall

Previous owners of the Wall Farm southwest of Perkins, were William E. and Sarah S. McKinley. They had the farm for 10 years between 1903 and 1913. The size of the farm at that time was 126 acres.

I will write what I know about the McKinley's from what people have told me and from looking through the abstract of the farm. If any readers have information about them, I would like to learn more. Mr. McKinley was known by the local people as Bill or Billy.

He had a namesake William McKinley who was U. S. President 1897-1901. President McKinley's wife Ida was an invalid. By coincidence Bill McKinley's wife Sarah was also in poor health. Because Sarah was often confined to bed, Bill set out two pine trees in view of her bedroom window.

One of these trees survived and is still there, over 100 years old. On a legal document in the abstract, I saw that Sarah S. McKinley had signed with a 'x' mark, thus indicating that she did not write. Her signing was witnessed by two persons.

Later document indicated that she learned to write her name. There were others back then who also signed with a 'x' mark. A 1917 document said that by that time Sarah was a resident of Lincoln County.

I did not find her name of Bill's name in Mahlon Erickson's register of names in Payne County cemeteries. Apparently the McKinley's were not buried in Payne County.

A Nettie McKinley was listed as one of the graduates of Perkins High School in 1928, but I don't know if there is a connection between Nettie and Bill and Sarah.

Bill was well known in the Perkins area. I feel sure that Frank Eaton knew him because Frank ran the steam engine for the threshing crew in that neighborhood.

The 1911 listing of members of the local Odd Fellows Lodge showed Bill was one of the members.

One of the discouragements Bill experienced on that farm, which adjoins the river, was one summer he had his wheat bundles stacked in the field waiting for the thrasher and crew. His neighbor to the west, Mr. Shlegel, also had his wheat bundles stacked not very far from the river bank.

Same rains farther west caused the river to run bank full. The river eroded into the bank. It not only took several acres of good land, but took both stacks of wheat bundles.

From the other side of the river I have viewed the bank on those two farms and saw how deep and fertile the soil looks, so I can understand the grief of Bill and Mr. Shlegel.

Bill had a young elm tree in his back yard that had just enough shade for the 16 men of a threshing crew to stand under while waiting for noon-time dinner.

Bill enjoyed that tree. It lived until the 1970's when it died of Dutch Elm disease. Bill sold his livestock and machinery at aucauction November 25, 1912. The sale bill was in The Perkins Journal microfilms.

He had a good operation. There were 13 work horses, 7 milk cows (mostly Jersey), a Jersey bull eligible to register, and 4 heifer calves.

There were 12 hogs, 100 Plymouth Rock chickens, Kafir corn bundles, and 5 tons of hay. There were household goods and lots of good farm machinery. A free lunch was provided at noon.

Tom Logan was auctioneer. David Sasser was clerk. Other document indicated that banker David Sasser helped Bill from time to time with consultation, legal papers, and financial arrangements.

My grandparents made arrangements to buy the farm from subsequent owners in late 1919, and moved there December 28, 1919.

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