Counting mine, four generations of Sellecks have been Kansans. The prophet Isaiah’s great affirmations to Judah’s returning exiles have long resounded on the Great Plains. As a child, one of the brightest moments for me, in an otherwise austere small Quaker church existence, was when the Haviland Bible College choir visited us. They always marched in to a rousing rendition of “How Firm a Foundation”. It still moves me to think of it more than 50 years later.
My great-great grandfather’s generation were among the first settlers of Emporia, Kansas. In 1912, one of those early settlers, M. (Kirkendall) Picket, reflected on the move to Emporia in 1862, 50 years earlier. They sold all their property in Van Buren County, Iowa and reduced the holdings of their fifteen member family to the “bare necessities” that would fit into three wagons – about three pickup truck loads by today’s standards. After sad farewells, they headed out. “We carried a tent, which served for sleeping room for women and children, while the men slept in the wagons. Sometimes when it stormed we were able to get to a house, and the women would get to stay inside, but of course, the houses were far between.”
Passing through Missouri, the farmers “were none too friendly to us, as they were anxious for Kansas to be settled by proslavery people, and didn’t like to see northern people coming in. They told us we would starve to death out here. Some of our part would reply that we expected to live on faith, and then we would all join in singing…”
Instead of starving, they found manna of deer, antelope, and “all the gooseberries we could use.”
“Brown bread and the gospel is rich fare.” (Luther)
You can grow fat on that.