Chadron is spooky. Everywhere I go I hear footsteps, the jingle of spurs, the cackle of dry throated laughs, from long dead forgotten ancestors. Suddenly place names and old photographs in Grandma’s album, that were just wisps of imagination before, have come real.
My blood is from here. I feel it. Those that donated to my DNA, lived, passed through, got married and had babies here. Drank whisky down at one of those bars on Main Street. The “Favorite” or “Hotel Chadron.” Danced up a storm, had a little fun too, I bet.
I’ve come looking, kicking over dirt clods, trying to find my past and I like what I’ve found. A quiet, “Lake Wobegon” area of Nebraska that is still alive and kicking. Once the “real” Wild West. I could live here.
Howdy, I’m Bruce Grant Taylor, son of Charles G Taylor who was born in a sod house perhaps out near the Mari Sandoz place. Sandhills ranchers. Poor at best. Rich. His folks were Charles S. Taylor and Violet I. Borders. Charles S. was a gu slinger wanted in Wyoming, or, at least, that’s the colorful tail my dad spun. He rode his horse up to her house and said “I got $50, wanna get married?” Grandma got on. Homesteaded 640 acres in 1915.
They were married in the house pictured, 5 July 1911, her birthday. It would have been fun to have found it, but I failed. Does anyone remember this house? Maybe even lived in it?
Charles S. Taylor was the son of John William Taylor and Sarah Jane Green. John died and was buried somewhere, maybe here or Crawford City, and probably never to be found again, although I’d like too very much! From the picture of his sons, Charles and Harlow standing over their father’s grave, it looks not a bad place to lay at rest... and not to be found. Hand dug, no marker. Dust to dust by now.
Sarah went on to marry Rufus Argabright and they had Dora Mae who married Joseph Rimmer.
Joseph’s sister Ester married her half brother-in-law, Harlow Taylor. The offspring called themselves “double” cousins. Is that anything like “kissing” cousins I wonder.
Charles S. Taylor had sibling of Harlow, Alice, Dora (1/2) and Scott. Scott married Viola Claire Zuver. Was J. W. Zuver her father? Any relation to your own Don Zuver?
A day wandering around your cemetery was like old home week. Family galore I never knew. Names you would know, Green, Homan, Zuver, Argabright, Rimmer. And a visit to the Dawes County Historical Museum south of town let me hold marriage and birth certificates that my relatives wrote their cursive autographs lifetimes ago. Is this real or a dream?
I’m 71 and never been out here before. I want to see where my dad was born. But all that knew this history died before I thought to be interested. Why do we do that, get interested so late in life? Happens so often.
The superior county courthouse employees found it and more. They’re magic. Pulled a hat trick. Nothing but a name to go on. Found grandpa’s 640 acres. Has “Taylor lake” on it. He named it. Homestead patent in 1915. Just a few miles North of Ellsworth and Wade Morgan’s store (the old 1898 Spade store). Grandparents must have put boot leather to that squeaky old floor often.
Another jewel. Found that Scott also patented 640 acres further North. The cows wandered off and Ted Turner‘s Buffalo graze there now. This Nebraska land was a myth before. Now I feel connected, part of it too, and it feels good.
You people have treated me well. Thank you so much.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!