Friday, July 31

Postcard Friendship Friday: Got Milk?

Philip Sowerby, founder of Sowerby's Dairy,
on the way to buy oats for those horses.

At precisely 11:00 every Monday morning, my great-grandfather Philip Sowerby would enter the feed store in the 300 block of Commercial in Emporia KS to buy a week's worth of oats for the horses pulling the milk delivery wagon above. Legend has it that Emporians could (and did) set their watches by his arrival.

The photo was taken at approximately 10:55, Citizen's National Bank being two and a half blocks north of the feed store. The extra-bright spot below the "B" in "Bank" is the sun mirrored in the bank's window; also note the shortness of shadows indicating it's late morning but not yet noon. From the total absence of cars, I'm guessing the date at around 1900-1905.

My grandfather Arthur, Philip's eldest son, was brought up to take over the dairy. In fact, he met my grandmother while delivering milk to a family for whom she worked briefly.

Philip died in 1924, and by 1931 Sowerby's Dairy was using a different type of horsepower to deliver milk as well as advertise. In case you can't make out the phone number, it's "1183 Blue".

My grandfather in 1931.
Gotta love that crank-type wind screen on hot days!

The milking barn and cow pastures were located behind 1630 Merchant, known by the family as "the home place" and "Sowerby Hill" by Emporians in general.

My Aunt Dorothy in 1931, age 8.

1621 Merchant was where Grandpa, Grandma and all six of their children (plus a son-in-law) lived until Grandpa officially inherited 1630 Merchant on his mother's death in 1932.

Edna's husband, Vic, was the son-in-law. Edna never left home. From the time they married in 1929, Vic and Edna always lived with Grandma. Two of their children were born at 1621 Merchant; three more (including twin girls) arrived after the move to 1630.

Vic and Edna eventually bought the house, as well as the land that had been the dairy, which bordered Kansas State Teachers College. Around 1959, KSTC made Vic an offer for the land he couldn't refuse. The house was sold to an individual who moved it to the other end of town. KSTC built tennis courts where the house had been. Quite fitting in light of the Sowerbys' English roots.

After KSTC became a university (ESU), it built its new Physical Education building on the pastures where Sowerby dairy cows once grazed. When I was at ESU, I'd get the giggles watching "cows" of the two-legged variety enter and leave the building, but picturing them "grazing" on salad in its cafeteria would send me into full-blown guffaws...and still does!

Grandpa's brother Isaac ("Ike") built a home directly north of the Home Place. About the same time KSTC bought the Home Place from Vic, it bought Ike's house to use as its Home Economics lab.

An old one-room school brought in from the country and placed at the north end of Sowerby Hill became a favorite destination for grade school field trips, a fact two of my children would like to forget. But that's a story for another day.

Happy PFF!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Postcard Friendship Friday is the
brainchild of the delightful Marie Reed!

15 comments:

pinkpackrat said...

I love the pictures and the way you capture small town life at the turn of the century. You weave a nice tale, Jama. Happy whatever kind of Friday it is yerownself:-)

Cal said...

I love this time travelling with you. And your observations re the sun and shadows etc.
Have a good weekend.

JamaGenie said...

My pleasure, ppr. I hear you can weave entertaining tales of "modern" small town life!

Cal, happy to have you along on these time travels. As for the sun and shadows, I've been devouring the Joan Hickson Miss Marples this week, and methinks MM's attenton to odd details may've come out here!

Nora Johnson said...

Lovely time travel! And Happy PFF!

xxLOL LOLA:)

viridian said...

Loved your post. It was a real trip back intime. And thank you for the blog doctor info about comment forms. I have changed mine - hopefully I will get some comments now!
viridian

Tammy said...

What a rich history you have!☺

Sheila said...

A wonderful story - it all came alive for me, your family history.

Terry said...

Howdy
Happy PFF to you.
What a fabulous post today .
I had so much fun reading your post ,fantastic story ,so alive I felt like I was there.
Thank you so much JamaGenie :)
Have a wonderful weekend.
Big Hugs
Happy Trails

Debby said...

What an awesome post. The pics and the story is fabulous. Thnaks so much for sharing.
Debby

Robin said...

Lovely pictures and post....
Thanks for sharing a bit of your history today.

Have a beautiful weekend

Duchess of Tea said...

Jama darling, this is such a nice story and the photos add so much to it. I will check out the talent of Czar Nicholas, thanks darling.
Have a nice weekend

Duchess xx

Marie Reed said...

Goodness! What a rich and creamy family history you have! I can't get enough of your blog my dear! I've been a pretty crappy blogger lately! I miss may zippy connection and being able to pop over on a daily basis!

JamaGenie said...

Nora & Lola, Happy PFF to you too!! xxx

viridian, you Comments box works now. Yay! Lovely blog you have there!

Tammy and Sheila, everyone has a rich family history. I just happen to have scads of old photos and letters that chronicle mine.

Terry, thank YOU! I'll be over to see you in a bit!

Oh Marie, don't apologize! You need time with your family in the U.S. in spite of the slow connection!

Lemondrop Marie said...

Love this post! Fabulous photos and history. Such a cute haircut on your aunt.

JamaGenie said...

I think the haircut was done at a popular salon called "Maison Kitchen Shears". :-)