| September/October 1968

Montezuma, Kansas 67807

'I never expect a man to do as much work as I do myself. All I ask is that he do the very best he can.' This was one of Grandpa Rennie's favorite expressions. He was a hard taskmaster, but never an unreasonable one. A Scotch immigrant when he was but four, he had the complexity that many scots people have. He was always stern, perhaps a bit forbidding. And yet he was often moved to great generosity by illness, proverty or misfortune. He seldom displayed affection, and in money matters was conservative, and yet he had moments when his charity bloomed.

He lived in Nashville, Illinois when young. After a few years of marriage, his young wife died leaving him with two young children. At that time he operated an overland freight, in which he would use none but the finest horses available. His business was known as the 'Flying Freight'. His second marriage to Nancy Hall was only a few years old when he became restless, and yearned to join some of their relatives in Southeast Kansas. Some of their folks had already established homes, built churches by 1881. They wrote glowing accounts of the productivity of the land, the many opportunties to the people who lived in the area.

Even though Grandpa loved horses, he also loved the land, and had a great passion for machinery. Inventions were making great strides, and Grandpa was always willing to take advantage of the new things that came into being.

Once in Kansas, after a long, hard trip overland by wagon, he sheltered his growing family in a small shed. It was some time before that large, two story T-shaped house was completed. Shortly afterward, with his wisdom of putting things in their right order, he built on a small section of his land, a Baptist church. More often than not, the minister who served it, spent most of his time with the Rennies in the large old fashioned house.

Grandpa was always filled with the romance of threshing grain and had used his fine horses on a turn table that ran a large, cumbersome wooden separator. But steam power was a new thrill, and so in the mid nineties, he purchased a Gaar-Scott engine with a Peerless separator. His sons, then young men, were as eager to use the new equipment as he, and took turns staying home to attend to the chores of running the home place, and going with their dad as he threshed for the people of the neighborhood. The men working on the machine were at that time fed by the family that had grain to thresh. Cook shacks didn't come until some time later. The Community was always known for the fine tables that were set and hungry men took advantage of the good food offered.


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