Yesteryear Books: Mr. Wycherly’s Wards

Mr. Wycherly's Wards (Classic Reprint)Mr. Wycherly’s Wards by Lizzie Allen Harker
1912, Fiction
Settings:  Rural Scotland, Oxford home life
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(I read the Project Gutenberg edition of this book.)

This was a charming book, chiefly due to many caring characters and the author’s light-handed attitude of pragmatic understanding. A pleasant read, that yet, in the daily conundrums and choices of its characters, subtly challenges the reader to think over what might be right things to concern our life’s attention.

The story launches with Mr. Wycherly’s relocation from rural Scotland to Oxford with his two adopted boys. They find themselves underequipped to deal with housekeeping necessities in this new place, but approach the difficulties with fortitude and good humor. Eventually a kind wife of an old friend comes to their rescue. The orphaned niece of a new housekeeper also makes her way into Mr. Wycherley’s heart–much to the chagrin of the good-hearted housekeeper who feels that her niece should behave according to her station as a household servant.

While the young Jane-Anne has a heart devoted to God and Mr. Wycherly and wishes, in the main, to serve them both, she has an active mind and temperament that distracts her from finding fulfillment in housekeeping necessities. The driving concern of the story becomes Mr. Wycherly’s conundrum of how direct his new ward in her path of life.

Throughout the book are subtle struggles of well-intentioned characters with the appropriate appreciation of poetry, the possible eternal state of Lord Byron (Could he be in heaven?), what to do with well-meaning but rather narrow Sunday School teachers, and questions of duty versus art, social customs of class and station.

This book is the sequel to Miss Esperance and Mr. Wycherly, but I felt I missed nothing from reading this one first. In fact, I believe I enjoyed it more getting to know and love Mr. Wycherly along with Jane-Anne, not being encumbered by perspectives from his past history. Now I am going back to read the first, and enjoying it all the more.

This book also appears to have a sequel, Allegra, which is available from Google Books and Internet Archive.

View all my reviews

Posted in Books, British, Fiction | 3 Comments

Free Historical Newspaper Archives

The availability of searchable historic newspapers has exploded in the last several years–and has opened up our knowledge of the personal stories of our ancestors and their families in profound ways.   Some of the things we have learned about our ancestors:

  • Residency and business in a town not previously known.
  • Obituary information, including details of life history and then-current locations of children and married daughter’s names.
  • A wedding announcement helped us find where grandparents were married.
  • Identification of the girls’ college attended by a great-grandmother.
  • Notes on illnesses, work and business ventures, and community involvement.
  • Notes on church participation.
  • Trips taken.
  • Visits made by family members recorded in the small town papers.
  • A poem by a great grandmother.

We provide here a  list of some of our favorite free newspaper searches (with a few added in that we hope will be useful for additional geographic needs).

Continue reading

Posted in Family History, genealogy, History Researchers, Resources, and Methods | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Historical Baseball Books (free as eBooks)

Baseball books (non-fiction) from around 100 years ago, available as free eBooks (collected for my nephew)Continue reading

Posted in Books, Miscellaneous, Narratives and Histories | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2013 Yesteryear Museum Antique Steam Engine & Tractor Show, Salina, Kansas, October 12

Link here for the official flyer and website for the 2013 Yesteryear Museum Antique Steam Engine & Tractor Show, Salina, Kansas.

This year’s show features Ford and Caterpillar.

We have been informed that the tractor pull will be at 1 p.m. Other events are “fluid” throughout the day: Continue reading

Posted in Historical Equipment and Technologies, Midwest History, Rural Community, The Family Farm, Yesteryear Museum | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Kansas October

Out-of-Door World in Autumn

“The Out-of-Door World in Autumn”[1]

The cheeriness and charm
Of forest and of farm
Are merging into colors sad and sober;
The hectic frondage drapes
The nut trees and the grapes
September yields to opulent October.

The cottonwoods that fringe
The streamlets take the tinge;
Through opal haze the sumac bush is burning;
The lazy zephyrs lisp
Through corn fields dry and crisp,
Their fond regrets for days no more returning.
Continue reading

Posted in Home Life, Landscape and Wildlife, Midwest Literature, The Family Farm | 1 Comment

2012 Yesteryear Museum Antique Steam Engine & Tractor Show, Salina, Kansas, October 13 & 14

General Events run Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14, 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, children under 12 free.

Saturday features tractor-powered agricultural demonstrations and the Tractor Parade, this year featuring “oddball tractor” makes such as Gibson, OMC and White. Sunday features the traditional tractor pull and children’s pedal pull event.

Also on the grounds will be working horses and mules, a petting zoo, country schoolhouse and church events, country crafts, good country meals, and many other events.

PrairieYesteryear is pleased to offer a detailed show schedule here. General information on the show can be found at the Central Kansas Flywheels Yesteryear Museum Facebook Page. Continue reading

Posted in Historical Equipment and Technologies, Midwest History, Rural Community, The Family Farm, Yesteryear Museum | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The IcyBall – Crosley Radio Corporation’s Refrigerator for Non-Electrified Rural America

IcyBall Advertising Graphic, Popular Mechanics, August 1930

IcyBall Advertising Graphic, Popular Mechanics,
August 1930, p.27[1]

“For Farms!  For homes where ice supply is uncertain!  For camps!  For roadside stores!. . . For anyone who wants the pleasure, safety, convenience of a constant ice supply for 2 cents a day.”

 — Advertisement, Farm Mechanics, September 1928[2]


Ice - 2-cents a Day - Crosley IcyBall Advertisement, Depicts Heating Arrangement

Crosley IcyBall Advertisement Depicting the Lifting and Heating of the IcyBall Unit (Farm Mechanics, 1928,[2] Public Domain Image Courtesy of Crosley Automobile Club IcyBall Ads Page). (Click for an enlarged view.)

In the early 1900’s, methods of keeping food cool in the hot summers of the U. S. Midwest were limited.  Ice boxes were popular in cities in towns where ice delivery was available, and sometimes ice could be picked up or delivered to rural homes if they weren’t too distant from an affordable source.

In 1927, the same year the General Electric Monitor-Top Refrigerator was making home refrigeration more popular in electrified cities and towns, the Crosley Radio Corporation introduced a non-electric home refrigeration option powered by the heat of a stove burner:  The Crosley IcyBall.

Continue reading

Posted in Historical Equipment and Technologies, Home Life, The Family Farm, Yesteryear Museum | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment