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1927 - 1974
Growing up in Keota
My mother grew up in Keota in her early years. Her Aunt, Ruby Fortune, was one of the teachers there in the town. This was back when children were taught to draw in one way, not how ever they wanted, or when the class room teacher's helpers were the older children, which helped the schools get more students saying they, too, were going to become a teacher as well. This was back when the kids did what they were told or the punishment was a number of swats with a razor strop.
My mother's family was one of the many homesteaders there in the town of Keota. All that was left back in 1974, when Mom and Dad took my brother back, were the Stanley folks and very few neighbors. The town was still there somewhat. From photos, it looks as if there are a lot of torn down buildings now. We were invited in to the old store front where the Stanley family had been acquiring a lot of history on the town as well as artifacts. He, as well, had came up with some of the advertisements on the sale that the Bigelow family was having so they could move on up to Washington were it was greener and wetter to their taste and where my mother finished her childhood. Her family was one of the many ranches out there on that now barren land. This Bigelow family was a very strict family from what I had been told and what I had seen of my upbringing around them. They have some other past history, as well, with Putney Bigelow, friend of King James being of a certain many lineages behind their own coming of family.
The Floyd Ervin Bigelow that was homesteading in Keota was the son of Samuel Elijah Bigelow (born of NY) who was the son of William Franklin Hennery Bigelow (of NY). My mother is missing a lot of her photos that she had or I would have some to share with you of the family back then. she spent time out riding the Indian motorcycle when riding bikes was riding bikes, not showing off the colors or the shine. This was back when one would have to crank the car to get it going or instead rode to hos' in to town, which Mother did a lot of when she was young. Mom was born into the family back in September 7, 1927, the only girl for her mother and father with two boys and one that died of TB before mom came around. There was the other family, as well, that would be of Mom's Uncle Charlie Bigelow. He ended up marrying Aunt Ruby, the school teacher (she lived to be 89).
The Fortune family - My mother's grandfather, K.K. Fortune, was another homesteader in Keota, the K.K. standing for Kilburn Kelly. He was from Bloomfield, Ohio. He was of strong stock of Dutch blood. Now I do have some photos of this man and his wife on their porch, but I do not know if it is of Keota or if it is of the Washington town they moved to before he passed.
In the Keota town cemetery, which was not but a turn and out a couple blocks from the main entrance of Keota, lies buried some family members. In 1974, when I was there, Mr. Stanley had taken down some information on the members of our family that were buried there. We went in to Greeley where we picked up one of mother's great aunts (another old school teacher now long gone) and great uncle for the drive on out to see this old town where mom was born and raised. They all were standing around looking over some of the old pictures of the town folks in that old post office store and, as well, writing down the names of what could be remembered as to who in the family was buried there.
Submitted by Nora Mae Smith
This page is for perpetual written accounts of historical events that have occurred in the city. Anyone who feels they have pertinent information may submit it. This includes all people in or out of Keota and could involve any interested adults or children with events or items that are of interest. Items may be submitted for publication on this page where they will remain as part of a historical archive for the city. Items of interest may include noteworthy events, special events of historical importance, information about area growth that pertains to the history of the city, and other pertinent notes. We hope to establish a large data base of information about the history of each city. Historical Societies are encouraged to open their own page on Key to the City for more extensive historical information.
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