Some are calling this one of the worst winters in Kansas.
Those individuals obviously haven’t lived in Kansas as long I have.
“Can’t wait ‘til summer,” some say now forgetting that it can get to be 110 degrees for days on end when they “can’t wait ‘til winter.”
Online-media group Thrillist which covers travel compiled a list of all 50 states to find out which have the worst winters.
Kansas ranked in the middle at 27th.
Hawaii was ranked 50th. Surprisingly, Colorado was ranked 47th just ahead of Florida.
Minnesota was ranked No. 1 followed by Michigan and Alaska.
In researching our “150 years of history” sections of the Reflector-Chronicle, it was brought to my attention by my wife Kathy that my mother had a written history of the Dehoff family.
My grandfather, Aaron Dayhoff, was a descendent.
Like many people have found out in researching their ancestries, immigrants often changed their surnames to become more assimilated into their new homeland.
(I promise there will be a connection to weather in this lengthy history lesson!)
Such was not the case with the Dayhoff family.
Their family history begins with Philip Dehoff, who migrated to Pennsylvania in 1702.
His grandson George, born in 1734, was a private in Captain Greoge Hoover’s Company during the American Revolutionary War.
I think there are about five “greats” for me to get back to that grandfather.
Samuel Dayhoff, born in 1799, for unknown reasons changed the spelling of the surname from Dehoff to Dayhoff.
His son John moved to Dickinson County in 1828, settling in the Detroit area.
John had seven sons. Harry was my great-grandfather. John’s daughter Catherine married Ira Eisenhower, President Dwight Eisenhower’s uncle.
Yet another name change was Eisenhauer to Eisenhower. According to the Presidential Library webpage, Ike’s great-grandfather Frederick Eisenhower, born in 1794, changed the spelling of the surname.
Among my mother’s possessions was a “Biographical Sketch of Irvin and Fannie Dayhoff.” Irvin was a brother to my grandfather Aaron. Aaron was born in 1888. According to the document, The Smoky Hill River ran through their farm located 3-1/2 miles southwest of Abilene.
“They would cut large blocks of ice from the river when it froze in winter and store it in sawdust underground where it kept frozen for them to use during the summer.”
I am not sure that the Smoky Hill River, much less my 1-acre farm pond, has frozen thick enough to walk on this winter much less cut into blocks.
According to this document I am lucky to be here reporting on this bit of history.
“One day we children nearly lost our lives while returning from school in the covered wagon.”
Recall that the farm was 3-1/2 miles away.
“Mary was the eldest and she was driving and the rest were packed in behind the wagon. She was driving one of our faithful old mares and we had three (railroad) tracks to cross.
“The snow was blowing and it was impossible to see very far but old Nell saw and heard the train coming and just as she was ready to cross, she suddenly swerved to the right and the train flew by.
“Father was worried that day and he started to walk about a mile across the field to meet us. He saw the train coming and our wagon moving up the hill. You can imagine his joy to see old Nell had saved our lives.”
Following a hailstorm that destroyed almost everything, the family moved to a farm 10-miles north of Abilene and about a mile and a half from the Bethel Church.
When the weatherman says a storm is headed to Moonlight, that is the location of the family farm. Many of my relatives are buried in the Bethel Cemetery.
According to Irvin, Harry became ill and died at the age of 44.
“Mother continued on the farm naming her second son Aaron as manager.”
My mother, Nelda, was born on that farm and lived there until Aaron died, also young, at 54. Then the family moved to Abilene.
One of the family stories recalls that when uncle Ivan Dayhoff was in the Army, a duty list was posted on the wall. One of Ivan’s military buddies questioned why Ivan got the “day off.”
So, yes, this winter has been cold. However, we don’t have to travel in wagons through blizzards or cut ice from the river in preparation for summer. We just turn up the heat and stay in when we can.