That first spring and summer was spent building sod homes and planting their crops. Their corn and wheat harvest was taken to the nearest gristmill in Atwood, Kansas--some 50 miles from home. They rode 40 miles north to the nearest trading post in Hagler, Nebraska, to buy staples they could not produce themselves.
As the years went by, the families expanded their farms, fenced in pasture land and built bigger and better homes. By 1893 the "Rathbun Settlement" numbered 15 families, including several of the children who had married, and another brother, Uzell Alexander, joined them several years after the first group had arrived. The 15 couples had a total of 65 children, 38 of whom were enrolled in local schools. The Rathbun cousins made up the majority of students in each of the three schools they attended.
This settlement of brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, grandchildren--owned a total of 3,520 acres. They built windmills, bought mowing machines and binders, and jointly owned two steam-operated machines to harvest wheat and strip and husk corn.
Information taken from "The Rathbun Family Historian" newsletter.
Contributed by Alice Allen ([email protected])
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