Dale and I are much indebted to Sister Marie Gerard, a granddaughter of Joseph and Ottilia, for sharing her memories about her parents and grandparents. We took notes from our discussions with her and it has been so fun to find records that verify what she told us.
One of her stories was about Joseph and Ottilia Burkey and their kids living in a sod house out near Julesburg. I ordered the homestead records for Joseph Burkey and they just arrived yesterday. And sure enough, he reported on the form some exact details about their place. In response to the question “When was your house built on the land and when did you establish actual residence therein?”, he wrote:
I built my house in the months of May and June, established actual residence there on May 23rd 1887. My improvements are Sod House one room 12 x 14 ft one room 6 x 14 ft one room 6 x 8 ft
At the time he filled out the form (August 1892), he had four children ages nine and under, the youngest being one year old. I can’t even imagine raising babies in a sod house!
Dales great-grandmother, Annie Burkey Rademacher (See? Now I can link right to the tree!) would have lived at the sod house for at least five years as a child. I will have more to write about the Burkey Homestead papers in a future post.