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Sod and Stubble: The Unabridged and Annotated Edition / Edition 1

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Overview


"A few years ago, as I listened one night to my mother telling incidents of her life pioneering in the semi-arid region of Western Kansas, it occurred to me that the picture of that early time was worth drawing and preserving for the future, and that, if this were ever to be done, it must be done soon, before all of the old settlers were gone. This book is the result-an effort to picture that life truly and realistically. It is the story of an energetic and capable girl, the child of German immigrant parents, who at the age of seventeen married a young German farmer, and moved to a homestead on the wind-swept plains of Kansas, where she reared eleven of her twelve children, and remembering regretfully her own half-day in school, sent nine of them through college. It is a story of grim and tenacious devotion in the face of hardships and disappointments, devotion that never flagged until the long, hard task of near a lifetime was done."—John Ise (from the preface)

Deeply moved by his mother's memories of a waning era and rapidly disappearing lifestyle, John Ise painstakingly recorded the adventures and adversities of his family and boyhood neighbors—the early homesteaders of Osborne County, Kansas. First published in 1936, his "nonfiction novel" Sod and Stubble has since become a widely read and much loved classic. In the original, Ise changed some identities and time sequences but accurately retained the uplifting and disheartening realities of prairie life. Von Rothenberger brings us a new annotated and expanded edition that greatly enhances Ise's timeless tale. He includes the entire first edition-replete with Ise's charm, wit, and veracity, restores four of Ise's original chapters that have never been published, and adds photographs of many of the key characters. In his notes, Rothenberger reveals the true identity of Ise's family and neighbors, provides background on their lives, and places events within a wider historical and geographical context.

Ushering us through a dynamic period of pioneering history, from the 1870s to the turn of the century, Sod and Stubble abounds with the events and issues—fires and droughts, parties and picnics, insect infestations and bumper crops, prosperity and poverty, divisiveness and generosity, births and deaths—that shaped the lives and destinies of Henry and Rosa Ise, their family, and their community.

One hundred and twenty-five years after Osborne County was organized and Henry Ise homesteaded his claim, a corner of nineteenth-century Kansas social history remains safeguarded thanks to the tenacity of John Ise and the insight of Von Rotheberger, who enlivens Ise's story with revealing detail.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700607747
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Series: Kansas and the Region Series
  • Edition description: The unabridged and annotated ed.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 446
  • Product dimensions: 7.96 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 1.52 (d)

Read an Excerpt

A few years ago, as I listened one night to my mother telling incidents of her life pioneering in the semi-arid region of Western Kansas, it occurred to me that the picture of that early time was worth drawing and preserving for the future, and that, if this were ever to be done, it must be done soon, before all of the old settlers were gone. This book is the result—an effort to picture that life truly and realistically. It is the story of an energetic and capable girl, the child of German immigrant parents, who at the age of seventeen married a young German farmer, and moved to a homestead on the wind-swept plains of Kansas, where she reared eleven of her twelve children, and remembering regretfully her own half-day in school, sent nine of them through college. It is a story of grim and tenacious devotion in the face of hardships and disappointments, devotion that never flagged until the long, hard task of near a lifetime was done. —John Ise (from the preface)

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations

Foreword, by Thomas D. Isern

Editor's Preface

Acknowledgments

Part One: Breaking Sod—A Story of Pioneer Life in Kansas

Preface

1. A Simple Wedding

2. The Hopeful Journey

3. A New Homestead

4. The Neighbors

5. The First Months in the Log Cabin

6. The Mad Wolf

7. Horse Thieves

8. The Bright-Eyed Baby

9. Grasshoppers

11. Grasshopper Relief

12. The Great Menace Again

13. The Prairie Smiles Once More

14. The New House, and a Trip Back Home

15. Dangers of Pioneering

16. Henry Signs a Note

17. The Coming of the Railroad

18. A Prairie Fire

19. The Road Fight

20. The Retreat of the Defeating Legion

21. Unkind Seasons

22. Good Years and the New House

23. Trouble for the Little Children

24. A Happy Day, and an Anxious Night

25. A Sick Baby

26. More Hard Years and Hard Problems

27. Henry Buys a Windmill, and Sells Some Cattle

28. More Drouth and Anxiety . . . and Hope

29. Good Crops and the New Barn

30. Trouble in School and Church

31. A Dust Storm

32. The Darkness Before Dawn

33. Better Times

34. The End of a Brave Fight

35. Rosie and the Children Manage

36. The Sale, and the End of Pioneering

37. Afterword: Sale Auction Book (1909)

Part Two: Sod and Stubble—The Ise Family Before and After

38. The Haag Family and the Early Years in Kansas

39. Henry Ise and the Eisenmanger Family

40. The Writing of Sod and Stubble

41. After Sod and Stubble: Of Rosa and the Children

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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