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Chuck Hinman, IJMA. Kinney, Nebraska lore

This is for January 15. A few things have appeared in other stories. I had this but didn't realize it until I started checking this version that was sent to me by Alsie Mae Stapleton, a friend of Chuck's, who is sending me all the stories she has. It's exciting to meet her, someone who is so willing to share what are obviously loved stories she has kept. - Robert Stone.
To see the next earlier Chuck Hinman column on CM, click to The Kinney Farm, Part I

By Chuck Hinman

Kinney, Nebraska, today is a wide-spot in the road - to paraphrase an old saying.

But not so, always. It was much more than that. Can you imagine? Many young folks drive within a mile of it several times each day and haven't a clue of its colorful past.

It was a railroad hamlet you might say. I have no idea how many trains passed through there, day and night, but more than you might think. Much more, in fact.

When I was a kid in the '20's and '30's, Kinney was a switch on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. By that I mean, there were 3 different ways the CB&Q conducted business there.

There was a small depot and it was possible to catch a passenger train from there to either Wymore, Nebraska, thriving division point on the CB&Q or the other direction to St. Joseph, Missouri. There was no one there to run the depot. There was a semaphore system in place and if you wanted to catch the train, you did so by operating the semaphore. Then after you stopped the train and got on, the necessary paper work was handled by the conductor. I must admit I never knew of anyone using that service.

Then there were holding pens for livestock adjoining the tracks. Local livestock could be shipped to the St. Joseph stockyards which were prominent at the time. I have no doubt that in earlier years this feature was operational. Nearby was a grain elevator operated by Channing Lewis (more about him later in this article). And farmers in the area could and did sell their grain there and the grain was transported from the Kinney elevator to the St. Joseph market. Of course these businesses required side tracks and collection cars so at one time, it was a substantial operation.

Then proceeding south across the tracks you came into "downtown" Kinney. Of course, I am jesting but not as much as you might think. I have seen and vouch for this. On the east side of the road, there were two large rock buildings. They sat high off the ground and there were steps up into both buildings.

One of the buildings housed a general store in which among other things, I remember my mom (Mrs. Arley Hinman) purchasing thread. Bus Norris confirms my understanding it was stocked with a wide variety of food and general supplies. The store was operated by Bus and Irene's cousin, Granville and Pearl Norris.

Next door and to the west (these buildings opened into each other) Granville and Pearl held Saturday night dances there, kerosene lanterns lighting the dance floor. Granville played the fiddle and called square dances. Can you imagine -- country music emanating from Kinney, Nebraska, and women being swirled around by their 2-stepping partners?

Just a short distance east of the store buildings, as you are going up the hill out of Kinney to Barneston was a small house where the Norris's lived.

Then across the street, west of the store buildings, was a large two-story white house. It was a very nice house and it was where Channing and Ethel Lewis and daughter Kathleen lived during the time I am writing about. They are both deceased but their daughter Kathleen still lives in the Lincoln area and would be a real authority as to facts. Channing operated the Kinney grain elevator across the tracks north of their house. It was a thriving business at the time. Although the Kinney passenger depot and the Kinney stock yards were not a vibrant business at the time, I suspect that Channing was involved in their operation.

Our family was good friends of the Lewis's and related -- don't ask me how. I am not good at those things. One Sunday afternoon we were visiting the Lewis's and my sister Joy Ann Hinman (now English) fell out an upstairs bedroom window. She was just a little tyke, perhaps 5 years old. Ethel Lewis and my mom, Merle (Mouser) Hinman, rushed her to the family doctor, Dr. Warner in Blue Springs where fortunately it was discovered she had only bit her tongue.

Probably the most exciting thing that ever happened in Kinney, Nebraska, was when some bank robbers were captured in the former Channing Lewis house by Wymore and Beatrice police officers. But that's a different story which has already been documented years ago in local papers. One of the things I clearly remember the night they were captured, we had about as bad local flooding as I can remember, complicating the capture. That incident adds much color to the Kinney lore and is talked about to this day by old timers.

I have just one more thing to write about to complete my report on Kinney, U.S.A. I am 83 years old, losing my vision, can't hear, walk with a cane, live in a retirement home and some might say, am "out of it!"

But, imagine my surprise a few months ago when from my apartment in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 300 miles from Kinney, Nebraska, I stuck "Kinney, Nebraska, Cemetery" in the Google Search engine of my computer and here is what I got. It showed me a picture of what's left of the cemetery a little over a mile north of Kinney, Nebraska, up what we locals know as "Devil's Gulch" road, past an old spring on the west side of the road. I have seen it many times in my childhood but had no idea whether it existed or was destroyed over the years. It hadn't been used in years.

The search showed the names of the 10 or so people buried there years ago and added if I had any more questions, to contact the Wymore Cemetery Association. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. It is truly a small world. Kinney, Nebraska, is not dead, it's on the Internet for the world to know!

Now, as I said in the beginning of this article "I never wanted to stop writing until I wrote what I know about Kinney, Nebraska, and Kinney Farm Lore" -- THIS IS IT!

I hope you have enjoyed looking back as much as I have sharing memories from "among my souvenirs." Thanks to my old friends Bus Norris and Irene Bruensbach.

Chuck Hinman sent this in an email dated Friday, May 13, 2005.

This story was posted on 2012-01-15 03:46:34
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