The early settlers worked hard, but they took time out for a certain amount of fun. There was quite a lot of visiting back and forth. Hospitality was not limited by lack of houseroom or scarcity of food. When people visited they went to stay all day and sometimes overnight. No one minded sleeping several in a bed or on the floor. With the young men horse racing was a favorite pastime. Any chance meeting was a temptation to such a contest, but sometimes the races were planned. Some of the boys owned good horses, but good or not they were entered freely in the impromptu races. In the winter time skating was popular.
There was organized recreation, too. Neighborhood picnics and dances were prevalent from the beginning. Spots along the creeks were chosen for the picnics - any place where there was shade would do. Sunday schools, lodges, family groups, entertained themselves in this way; houses were small but there was plenty of room outdoors. At first dances were held in the larger homes but after the schoolhouses were built it was common to use them for this purpose. More ambitious programs were developed in the form of countywide Fourth of July picnics and Decoration Day observances. Mrs. Margaret Raser recalls such a Fourth of July celebration that was held at Hodgeman Center, east of the present site of Jetmore in 1879. It was a well-organized affair. Committees in charge were chosen from every corner of the county. A basket dinner and various contests were among the activities of the day; probably there was a ball game, though Mrs. Raser is not sure about that. The program committee provided music, and the highlight of the day was an address by Willard Davis, Attorney General of Kansas. A few years after the turn of the century county fairs were held for a time at what is now the site of the Walter Craghead home, and Log Rolling picnics under the auspices of the Modern Woodman Lodge were popular for several years.
These took place at what was known as the Peterson Grove, east of Hanston. Other favorite picnic sites were at Pogue's grove on the Sawlog, the Point of Rocks in Sawlog Township, Horsethief Canyon, now owned by Mrs. Florence Andrews, and no doubt many other places over the county. Ford and Hodgeman Counties for several years joined in a well-organized Old Settlers picnic for which elaborate plans were made. This picnic was held at Pogue's grove. Entertainment consisted of contests of all sorts - horse racing, baseball games, potato and sack races and the like. Mrs. Raser recalls a women's horseback drill on some of these occasions. Riding sidesaddle, and in voluminous skirts, the young ladies put their well-trained horses through their paces to the delight of the spectators. Judges awarded prizes to the best performers. There were always communal dinners set out on long tables under the trees. And on the more formal occasions there was always a great deal of oratory and much exhortation to love of country and respect for the flag.
Decoration Day was a very special day. As the years passed the cemeteries began to fill with the graves of veterans. The G. A. R. arranged programs for the day, beginning with a parade to the cemetery in the morning. At Jetmore the long line of buggies, curries, spring wagons, farm wagons and carts crawled slowly up the hill behind the flag-draped vehicle in which the veterans rode. Arrived at the cemetery the entire crowd followed the veterans from grave to grave as the name of the deceased was announced and wild flowers laid on his grave. After the courthouse was built the courtroom was used for afternoon programs consisting of music, flag drills, recitations - and always the inevitable oratory. People from all over the county brought their lunches with them and stayed for all the exercises of the day.
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