I found this Kansas Troubles quilt block here from Barbara Brackman. The pattern directions are for an 8" block, and I enlarged it to 12" finished. It's the eleventh block of my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt.
While my maternal grandmother was still in high school, she interviewed her father, James Lynch, at the urging of her older brother Will, who was living in China at the time. (Read his letter to her here.) Later, she wrote a biography of her father from the notes she'd taken during the interview. Following is the eleventh part of this biography:
"There was only one house between his place and Emporia. It was the Phillips rock house. It was a stage rest stop and inn between Emporia and Burlingame, a distance of thirty miles.
"There were many Indians near his land, but they gave no trouble. They camped in the timber south of his house and came begging. He would dig a hole in the ground to hide his meat and other foods they wanted, so they couldn't find it. In 1868, the government rounded up the Indians in that timber and sent them to a reservations in Oklahoma. Some wandered back and stayed around.
"1874 was a terrible year for farming. In August, the grasshoppers came like a cloud and ate everything until the ground was bare. Many tales are told of these times and of how devastating these grasshoppers were.
"1876 was another bad year. A flood that year wiped out all of the shocked wheat in just a matter of six or seven hours. Two feet of water covered the whole farm. There was a similar flood in July of 1908. The water was in the cellar, so that Mother's geese swam in and out of the windows. Men were waist deep in water on the road between the houses."
- by Hazel Lynch Skonberg, James Lynch's daughter