Grandma on the Fence

I like this photo of my grandparents, Ruth and Amos Claycomb.   I think of my grandmother as a stout homebody, not really into outdoor things.  But of course, as a farmer’s wife, she would have been strong and capable.  And here she is at age 65, on a fence.  Makes me smile.  Good for you, Grandma!

Ruth and Amos Claycomb, Stanley Basin, Idaho, 1951.

Ruth and Amos Claycomb, Stanley Basin, Idaho, 1951.

Amos Claycomb’s February 1911 Diary

February 1911 was an important month in the lives of my grandparents.  Amos had traveled from where he was living in Texas to his hometown, Sycamore, Illinois.  Ruth Bressler came to visit and meet the family.  And then Amos traveled to her hometown, Wayne, Nebraska, to meet her family.  

Wednesday, February 1, 1911
Went over to DeKalb after dinner and had the other side of my nose fixed.

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Thursday, February 2, 1911
Went over to DeKalb this a.m. but came home right away.  Went over again after supper and staid all night at a hotel.

Friday, February 3, 1911
Met Ruth this morning when she arrived about six o’clock.  Came right over home and staid here most of the day.  Louise, Dutch, Ruth and I went up to a dance at Pierce’s Hall about 9:30 and came home at 11:30.

Saturday, February 4, 1911
Staid home most of the day but saw the vaudeville at DeKalb tonight with Ruth, Louise and Dutch.

Sunday, February 5, 1911
Whole family went up to Eleanor’s for dinner.  Blizzard started this p.m. which stopped the cars and we had to come home in a hack.

Monday, February 6, 1911
Louise, Ruth, Dutch and I went into Chicago this a.m. and came out at 11:15 p.m.  Saw the New York Hippodrome this p.m. at the Auditorium and David Warfield in “The Return of Peter Grimm” tonight at the Blackstone.

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Tuesday, February 7, 1911
Went over to DeKalb this a.m.  Staid in house all day but went up to Dan Wild’s after supper for Ruth and Louise who had been there for a card party.

Wednesday, February 8, 1911
Ruth went up to Eleanor’s to a bridge party this p.m. and I went up town.  Staid home tonight.

Thursday, February 9, 1911
Took Ruth’s trunk up to the depot this a.m.  Took her over to DeKalb on the 7:30 car tonight and she took the 7:45 train west.  Dutch left tonight for Boise.

Friday, February 10, 1911
Went up town this p.m. but staid home tonight.

Saturday, February 11, 1911
Up town this p.m.  Home tonight.

Sunday, February 12, 1911
Went over to DeKalb this a.m. to see doctor for the last time.  Called at Uncle Fred’s, Gates’ and Dan Wild’s after dinner and ate lunch at Eleanor’s.

Monday, February 13, 1911
Up town both this morning and afternoon.  Left DeKalb at 7:45 tonight for Wayne.

Tuesday, February 14, 1911
Reached Sioux City at 8:15 a.m.   Staid there until 4:35 p.m. when I left for Wayne getting there about seven.  Met by Ruth at the train and went up to the Bressler’s.

Bressler home, Wayne, Nebraska, about 1916.

Bressler home, Wayne, Nebraska, about 1916.

Wednesday, February 15, 1911
In Wayne all day.

Thursday, February 16, 1911
In Wayne all day.  Fire tonight.

Friday, February 17, 1911
Left for Lincoln this a.m. with Ruth and stopped a couple of hours in Omaha.  Reached Lincoln about 3:30.  Took Ruth out to the Tri Delt house and came back to the Lincoln Hotel.  Took Ruth to the Tri Delt annual at the Lincoln tonight.

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Saturday, February 18, 1911
Took Ruth to the Lincoln for lunch and to see “Polly of the Circus” this p.m. at the Oliver theater.  Talked with her a few minutes after their banquet and started for Texas at 1 a.m. on the Burlington.

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Sunday, February 19, 1911
Reached Kansas City this a.m. and left there late at about 10:40.  Snow blowing a blizzard all day.   Ate dinner at Topeka and supper at Wellington.

Monday, February 20, 1911
Reached Amarillo about 11 a.m. and staid there until 7:30 tonight.  Got off at Bush and staid there all night with Harkers.

Tuesday, February 21, 1911
Koot drove me home from Bush this forenoon and staid for dinner.  Drove the mares to Wildorado after dinner for my baggage.  Snowing all day.

Wednesday, February 22, 1911
Norman went to Amarillo on train today to get a tooth fixed.  Am feeding fodder to the horses and calves now as the ground is covered with snow.

Thursday, February 23, 1911
Rode pony up town this a.m. after the mail.  Worked around the place this afternoon.

Friday, February 24, 1911
Took train into Amarillo from Bushland this noon and came back tonight.  Staid at Harker’s all night.

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Saturday, February 25, 1911
Harker came out home to dinner with me.  After dinner we drove to Wildorado and then back to Bushland.

Sunday, February 26, 1911
Staid at Harker’s last night.  Traded him a fat sow of mine and $5 for two calves.

Monday, February 27, 1911
Drizzled all day.

Tuesday, February 28, 1911
Norther with snow started last night and has been on all day.  Am keeping part of the horses in the barn and am feeding the rest of the stock in the pasture.

Cast of Characters:
“Dutch” – I think this is Amos’ brother George.  He lived in Boise.  His children had nicknames, although I can’t remember his son Ralph’s, but his son Edward was called ‘Pete’ and his son George was called ‘Goob’ – lovely.
Dan Wild:  Eleanor Townsend’s nephew, son of Sarah Pierce and George Wild.
Louise and Eleanor: Amos’ sisters.
Uncle Fred:  Fred Townsend, brother of Amos’ mother, Anna Sarah.
Harkers:  Ruth Bressler’s sister Maud and her husband, O.A. Harker, who lived near Amos in Texas.


Amos Claycomb’s October 1910 Diary

Important names in this month’s entries:  Victor = Amos’ Victor Talking Machine, a record player that he took when he went visiting.  Ruth Bressler = his future wife who he met last month; she was visiting Harkers.  Harker = Mrs. Harker is Ruth’s sister, Maud.  Amos seems to spend a lot of time this month at their house.  Art Gochenour = Amos’ sister Eleanor’s husband as of the 27th.  

Saturday, October 1, 1910
Homer cut kaffir all day and I shocked this p.m.  Took Victor up to Bushland tonight and played cribbage with Harker.

Sunday, October 2, 1910
Took Victor up to Northcutt’s this p.m.

Monday, October 3, 1910
Went to Amarillo with Harker family this noon and took in Forepaugh’s and Sell’s circus with them.  Came back tonight.

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Tuesday, October 4, 1910
Finished cutting kaffir today and started on the sorghum.

Wednesday, October 5, 1910
Cut sorghum all day.

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Thursday, October 6, 1910
Homer cut sorghum today while I went to Amarillo on the train after some header repairs.

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Friday, October 7, 1910
Quit cutting sorghum and started on the maize with the row binder as the header-binder could not handle it.

Saturday, October 8, 1910
Homer cut maize all day while I was shocking it.  Drove pony over to Harker’s tonight.

1910 horse in front of shop

Sunday, October 9, 1910
Drove over to Allred’s this a.m. with Homer.  Bought a bay filly this p.m. from a fellow from Ariz. who was driving across country.  Filly had been cut in wire and could not travel.

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Monday, October 10, 1910
Russell drove to Amarillo today and I staid home all day.

Tuesday, October 11, 1910
Cut feed today.  Rented Paine’s row binder today and shall run two machines.

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Wednesday, October 12, 1910
Both Homer and I cut maize today.

Thursday, October 13, 1910
Cut maize all day.

Friday, October 14, 1910
Cut maize all day.

Saturday, October 15, 1910
Cut maize all day.  Drove over to Harker’s tonight.

Sunday, October 16, 1910
Staid around the house all day.  Arthur Norman and his wife move some of their stuff over today and he will start working tomorrow.

Monday, October 17, 1910
Russell and Norman cut feed today while I went to Amarillo on the train.

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Tuesday, October 18, 1910
Norman and I cut feed all day.

Wednesday, October 19, 1910
Norther blowing so hard today that we did not work.

Thursday, October 20, 1910
Snowed most of last night and until noon today but melted fast. Did not work.  Drove over to Harker’s after supper.

Friday, October 21, 1910
Russell and Norman cut maize this p.m.

Saturday, October 22, 1910
Ditto all day.  Drove over to Harker’s after supper and played cards.

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Sunday, October 23, 1910
Ate dinner at Harker’s and staid there most of the p.m.

Monday, October 24, 1910
Finished cutting maize this a.m. and hauled a load to the barn after dinner.

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Tuesday, October 25, 1910
Arthur and I hauled feed and stacked it in the stack yard today.

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Wednesday, October 26, 1910

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Thursday, October 27, 1910
Norther blowing hard all day.  Arthur and I hauled up a couple of loads of maize this a.m. but worked around the barn this p.m.  Bought a wagon and misc. of Rogers this p.m.   Eleanor married to Art Gochenour today according to mail advices.

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Friday, October 28, 1910
Hauled up a couple of loads of maize today and picked up some maize heads.

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Saturday, October 29, 1910
Hauled maize this a.m. and went over after a wagon I bought of Rogers after supper.  Drove pony over to Harker’s and played cards after supper.

Sunday, October 30, 1910
Drove out the springs in the breaks today and had dinner with the Harker family and Armstrong.

Monday, October 31, 1910
Drove into Amarillo this forenoon with Ruth Bressler and came back this afternoon.  Ate supper at the Harker’s.

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Amos Claycomb’s September 1910 Diary

This was a huge month for my grandfather, although he may not have realized it at the time.  He met his future wife.  And he received the Victor Talking Machine, a portable record player that enhanced his growing social life.

Thursday, September 1, 1910
Papered dining room and hall today and then drove Rev. Edwards back to town.

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Friday, September 2, 1910
Made a couple of small lots in the hog pen this a.m. and cut some maize for the hogs this p.m.

Saturday, September 3, 1910
Nothing doing.  Drove pony over to Bush tonight and attended a dance given by the Harkers.  Present were the Misses Russell and Miss Williams from Am- and Miss Bressler from Neb.  Gentlemen as usual.

ruth  aug 1910 or 11

Miss Bressler is Ruth, daughter of John and Julia Fair Bressler,
of Wayne, Nebraska. She is visiting her sister, Maud Bressler, who
is married to O.(Obert or “Bert”) A. Harker, of Bushland, Texas.

Sunday, September 4, 1910
Spent the day in Bush in social festivities.

Monday, September 5, 1910
Drove to Bush with Homer who was after some lumber and from there I drove to Amarillo with Bush and Harker who joined the Elks tonight.

Tuesday, September 6, 1910
Spent day in Am- and came home on night train.

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Wednesday, September 7, 1910
Finished stack yard today and cut some maize for the hogs.

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Thursday, September 8, 1910
Started to cut kaffir corn with the row binder this a.m. but it was so short and weedy that we had to quit.

Friday, September 9, 1910
Drove pony to Wil- after mail this a.m.  Sold wheat at a rate of .95 for #2 wheat altho mine will bring only .91 because of smut and short weight.  Am to deliver Monday.  Hauled the kaffir corn we cut yesterday up to the barn today.

Saturday, September 10, 1910
Rode horseback 12 miles south to the canyon today to an auction with Russell.  Drove over to Harker’s tonight and played cards.

Sunday, September 11, 1910
Drove to Wildorado this p.m. and played tennis with Carrol, Arabel and Lucile.

Monday, September 12, 1910
Hauled wheat to town today with Russell – two loads each.

Tuesday, September 13, 1910
Finished hauling wheat today.

Wednesday, September 14, 1910
Started to cut maize today with the row binder.  Does well enough when the maize is tall enough.

Thursday, September 15, 1910
Homer cut maize all day.  I shocked for a while this p.m.  My Victor Talking Machine came today.  Drove over to Bush tonight.

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Friday, September 16, 1910
Homer helped Rogers stack millet this a.m.  Drove team to Bush this p.m. and got a binder attachment for the header.

Saturday, September 17, 1910
Went to Amarillo today with Harker and family and came back tonight.

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Sunday, September 18, 1910
Staid around the house all day.  Drove over to Bushland tonight after some binder material.

Monday, September 19, 1910
Ten little pigs arrived this morning.  Homer cut maize all day.

Tuesday, September 20, 1910
Worked on header binder all day.

Wednesday, September 21, 1910
Shocked some maize this forenoon.   Homer cut maize this p.m. while I helped an expert put the binder attachment on my header.

Thursday, September 22, 1910
Went to town on train today to get some repairs for binder.

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Friday, September 23, 1910
Shocked and then hauled some maize this a.m.  Started the 12-foot binder this p.m. but had trouble most of the time.

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Saturday, September 24, 1910
Cut kaffir all day, but had trouble most of the time.  Drove over to Harker’s tonight and played cards.

Sunday, September 25, 1910
Took Talking Machine up to Goodman’s this p.m. and played for them.

Monday, September 26, 1910
Hard norther blowing this a.m. and we didn’t start to cut kaffir until after dinner.  One of my sows brought three pigs this a.m.

Tuesday, September 27, 1910|
Cut kaffir corn all day.

Wednesday, September 28, 1910
Homer cut kaffir this a.m. and went to Norman’s wedding this p.m.  I shocked for a while this forenoon and caught up this p.m.  Cloudy tonight and sprinkling a little.

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Thursday, September 29, 1910
Homer cut kaffir corn all day.  Went to Amarillo on the train at noon and came back tonight.

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Friday, September 30, 1910
Worked on kaffir all day.  Called at Goodman’s tonight with the talking machine.

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Grandma’s Bells

bell collection

Just a few of Grandma’s bells.


Ruth Bressler Claycomb collected bells.  She bought a bell when she travelled and her family brought bells to her from their travels.

Although she spent her married life as a farmer’s wife, she had been educated more than most women of her time.  She was born in Wayne, Nebraska where her father was a founder of the community.  He had come from Pennsylvania and Ruth and her sisters, Kate and Maude, were sent to the Birmingham School for Girls there for further education.  The school was previously called The Mountain Seminary and College Preparatory School for Girls and is now called The Grier School.  This was not a finishing school, this was a serious academic institution.  Cousin Nell discovered that Ruth and Kate attended from 1903 to 1906.  Ruth was often on the Honor Roll, was treasurer of the YWCA Club, VP of the New Era Literary Club, and  basketball captain.  Her grandson, Tom, has her diploma.

In 1912 Ruth married Amos Claycomb and they lived in Illinois where their first child, John, was born.  In 1916 after Frank was born they moved to Wayne.  George was the first child born there.  Barbara and Richard followed.  As adults the children moved away.  Frank and Barbara moved to California.  John, George, and Richard travelled in the military in WWII.  George returned to help on the family farm.  John moved to Wisconsin and Richard moved to the east coast.  Their travels and Grandma’s visits to them resulted in more bells added to the collection.

Amos died in 1958.  With George, Ruth lived on the farm until her death in 1972.

Her bells are now being shared by her descendants.  They continue to travel.



Ruth Bressler Claycomb

ruth 04 nov 1889

Ruth Bressler 4 November 1889

Ruth Bressler was born into a prominent family in her small town.  Her father John Bressler was a founder of Wayne, Wayne county, Nebraska.  Her mother, Julia Fair Bressler, was a civic leader.  She was born on August 13, 1886 in Wayne.  She had an older sister, Maude.  A brother had died as an infant before Ruth was born.  And three siblings came after her, Kate, John Jr., and Dorothy.

Kate and Ruth Bressler

Kate and Ruth Bressler

Kate, Ruth, John Bressler about 1894

Kate, Ruth, John Bressler about 1894

Although northeast Nebraska had only recently been settled, Ruth and her sisters were well educated.  Maude, Ruth, and Kate attended the Birmingham School for Girls in Pennsylvania – near the home of their Bressler grandparents.  This was not a finishing school, this was a serious academic institution.  Ruth attended from 1903 to 1906.  She went on to attend the University of Nebraska, but I haven’t found anything that  indicated that she graduated.

Canvas cover for the leather trunk that carried her things to Marengo from Wayne. 1912

Canvas cover for the leather trunk that carried her things to Marengo from Wayne. 1912

Ruth married Amos Townsend Claycomb on 15 June 1912 in Wayne, Nebraska.  Their first home together was in Marengo, McHenry county, Illinois.  It was  there that their first son, John, was born.  Their second son, Frank, was born in Sycamore, DeKalb county, Illinois, where Amos’ father lived.

In 1916 they moved to Ruth’s hometown, Wayne, Nebraska, to a farm that her father bought and put in the children’s names.  It was here that George (1916), Barbara (1918), and Richard (1922) were born.  Ruth lived here the rest of her life.

Ruth B. Claycomb with John, Frank, and George. 1918

Ruth B. Claycomb with John, Frank, and George. 1918

Ruth B. Claycomb with son, Richard.  1923

Ruth B. Claycomb with son, Richard. 1923

1929 Presby church style show ruth julia a

She was busy in the community as well as keeping the farm household in order.  We visited from California every few years and she often came out to stay with us the other years.  I remember thinking she was always very well dressed (this from a tomboy granddaughter).  She wore lace-up shoes with cuban heels.  And she always visited the foot doctor when she came to visit.

ruth collage 2 w text TILShe did a lot of needlework, mostly needlepoint, that I remember.

ruth needlework 1962

Ruth with needlepoint, 1962.

She was a good cook, put up fine preserves and made great ice creams and sherbets.

She collected bells.

She loved to travel which is good because her children lived on the east coast, west coast and Wisconsin.

ruth collage 1 w text TIL

Wayne Herald

Wayne Herald

After Amos’ death in 1958, Ruth and her son George continued to farm.  At age 86, she died 29 October 1972, following a stroke.

Ruth Bressler Claycomb. 1968

Ruth Bressler Claycomb. 1968

Amos Townsend Claycomb

Amos Townsend Claycomb is my paternal grandfather.  My Monday posts have been taken up for the last year (on with transcriptions of his diaries, starting in 1900 when he was 13.  The diaries will continue on this blog for another year or two!  Today I want to share a little more about him

He was born January 29, 1886 in Monmouth, Warren county, Illinois to Anna Sarah Townsend and Frank Erwin Claycomb.  He was the second child and first son for them.

atc june 1886

Amos Townsend Claycomb June 1886 age 6 months

His mother died in 1892 shortly after the birth of her 5th child, Edward Denman Claycomb.  Amos was six years old.  The children were raised by their father with the help of nearby relatives and housekeepers.

Eleanor, Louise, and Amos Claycomb, about 1888.

Eleanor, Louise, and Amos Claycomb, about 1888.

Amos graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana in 1909.

Amos Claycomb 1909

Amos Claycomb 1909

His father purchased land for him in Wildorado, Texas near Amarillo.  He moved there on his own to farm it in 1909.

Header, Wildorado, Texas, 1910

He met Ruth Bressler in Texas when she was visiting her sister, Maude Bressler Harker.

The house he built on the Wildorado land about 1910.

The house he built on the Wildorado land about 1910.

In Texas he had a Victrola record player which he took to friends’ homes when he visited – he was a very popular guest.  He loved to listen to Enrico Caruso.

Ruth Bressler, about 1910-11

Ruth Bressler, about 1910-11

He married Ruth Bressler June 15, 1912 in Wayne, Nebraska, her hometown.  They lived in Marengo, Illinois where their first son, John, was born in 1913.  Their second son, Frank (my father), was born in Sycamore, Illinois, probably at Amos’ father’s home.

Working on the Wayne, Nebraska farm with the team of Flory and Nellie, 1930

Working on the Wayne, Nebraska farm with the team of Flory and Nellie, 1930

The family moved to Ruth’s hometown, Wayne, Nebraska in 1916 to a farm that her father, John Tannehill Bressler, had bought for the children.  Amos did not own this land.  George, Barbara, and Richard were born in Wayne.

The family in Wayne 1948.L-R: Amos Claycomb; Frank (son) with Tom (grandson) in front; Harriet Duncan Claycomb with Donna (granddaughter) in front; Ruth Bressler Claycomb (wife); seated:  Barbara Claycomb Davis (daughter), Roy Davis, George Claycomb (son), Richard Claycomb (son), Jeanie  (granddaughter), John (son).

The family in Wayne 1948.
L-R: Amos Claycomb; Frank (son) with Tom (grandson) in front; Harriet Duncan Claycomb with Donna (granddaughter) in front; Ruth Bressler Claycomb (wife); seated: Barbara Claycomb Davis (daughter), Roy Davis, George Claycomb (son), Richard Claycomb (son), Jeanie (granddaughter), John (son).

He visited us in southern California several times.  He liked to fish off the Oceanside Pier and loved to go to movies.

Visiting friends in Oceanside, California, 1951

Visiting friends in Oceanside, California, 1951

He died December 29, 1958 in Wayne, Nebraska.  He was 72 years old.