Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Thurs., April 6, 1933 - Light covering of snow on the ground this morning, all gone by first recess. Reviewed so much today my head is just about dizzy. I hope Laurence does well tomorrow. Read and listened to radio this evening.
Fri., April 7, 1933 - Seemed funny with Laurence gone. Mom was here at 4:00. We stopped in at Misfeldts. I asked Marjorie about having our school picnics together. We didn't make any definite plans, but I guess we'll take them to Norfolk. We went out to Ola's, had supper there. The baby is a month old. He's grown a lot since I saw him last.
Sat., April 8, 1933 - Washed my clothes, ironed them and cleaned up the house. I went down town this evening to the library. Met Alma and we had quite a talk. She accompanied me on my wanderings! Mom was working a jig-saw when I got home. I helped her finish it, of course.
Normal sorts of stuff for Grandma, so I'll veer off to 2016.
Yesterday was Memorial Day and I was lucky enough to get to ride to Winside with Bill and Tom and Bev. First we attended Dorothy Jo's 90th birthday open house at the church. From what I heard there were over 100 people there. I tried to keep an eye out in case there were not enough chairs and someone needed mine to be able to sit for a while.
After that was over, we all headed to the cemetery, one of my favorite places as mentioned previously in this blog. I had not walked around there with that particular bunch of folks before and therefore the conversations about this or that stone were different from different perspectives.
Lastly we stopped at the veterans' memorial by the courthouse in Wayne. Bill wanted to see his name there. Nice that the county is small enough that all veterans can be listed on the memorial, not only those lost in combat or otherwise passed on. So, we stayed a bit and found other family members' and acquaintances' names. The shadows were getting a bit long and my photography skills are not what they could be, but the photos above are (obviously) from the memorial. Hats off to the committee that put the memorial together.
Then we had a most pleasant ride back.
Quite the nice day.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Mon., April 3, 1933 - Felt pretty tired. I got my blouses from Mother today. The sleeves are surely puffed pretty. Evie, Mote, and I worked on a puzzle in the S.S. paper a while this evening and then went to bed.
Tues., April 4, 1933 - I'm still tired and sleepy. The weather is acting funny, so cloudy and threatening most of the time. We went to League at Dorothy Jochens tonite. Willard told me he liked my hat because it had a brim, but the other new hats without one, he didn't like at all! Ha! Ha!
Wed., April 5, 1933 - Review! Review! And more review! I'm more tired than ever today. Got the answer to my letter from Miss Mettlen about agriculture. The ladies and Mike went to church tonite. The rest of us stayed home and went to bed.
Fun picture I found here, with both hats and finger-waved hair. That's all I have today. But we are one post closer to Grandpa's entry into this tale, so that's something at least.
Monday, May 23, 2016
Fri., March 31, 1933 - This doesn't seem like Friday. I guess it's because we're going to have school tomorrow. I fixed my new jacket, slip, and dress after school. I guess I'm ready for Sunday now.
Sat., April 1, 1933 - Raining hard this morning. George, Delmar and Harry didn't come to school. I had to stretch the classes so they would last until 2:30. Dismissed school then. I went to Norfolk tonite with Walkers this evening. I got a new tan hat for 69 cents. Also bought some new earrings.
Sun., April 2, 1933 - Clear most all day. To S.S. and church this a.m. Home for a quick dinner. We left for West Point at 12:30. Dorothy went along with us. We were the 1st of Hoskins to get to the church. In church from 2:30 to 5:15. Then supper, games. Drove around a little. Another session from 7:15 to 9:00. Left W.P. at 9:30, home at 11:00. Enjoyed the day immensely.
I am not sure of two things here -- why school had to meet on Saturday (too many missed days for weather?) and what the day-long church event was. In both cases, however, Grandma was game for the day.
Today, here in 2016, is Dorothy Jo's 90th birthday. What a milestone! Her birthday celebration will be up in Winside this next Monday, Memorial Day. The family figured people would be up for the alumni banquet and could more easily attend. The photo is of her as a wee babe with, I am assuming, her mother Aunt Clara. Fabulous cheeks.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Tues., March 28, 1933 - The roads are getting quite dry after all the rain and snow. Things worked smooth as a clock spring in school. I wish every day would be as nice. We went to a party at Nurnberg's this evening, that is, all except Evie, she had company from Norfolk. Had quite a good time, got home about 1:15.
Wed., March 29, 1933 - School just the opposite of yesterday. I was tired and plus that, there was a real March wind from the south. The pupils enjoyed the letters from each of Marjorie's folks that I got in the mail yesterday. I washed out some hose and went to bed early this evening.
Thurs., March 30, 1933 - I got a letter from Mom and Mildred Andersen today. Mildred is getting her school for the fifth year, but will receive only $75 instead of $100 as she has been having. I washed and finger waved my hair this evening.
I don't know that I'd be too keen on a 25% decrease in salary.
I remember two clocks from Grandma's house. I watched the one on the shelf in the dining room being carefully wound with its little key on many occasions. I want to say it was originally Grussfather's, but I am not positive about that. It, and the shelf it sat on, is currently stored safely in one of my closets, waiting for Mitch to take it some day when he's got a house or other permanent-type place of his own. It was so nice that it was passed to him.
The other clock in Grandma's house was the cuckoo clock in the living room. Between my fascination with the weights that had to be carefully pulled to wind the clock, and the little kids' reaction when they would hear it go off, and it tending to "cuckoo cuckoo" right after someone said something silly -- who knew a clock could be so entertaining? I believe the first cuckoo clock Grandma and Grandpa had came from Bill when he was in Germany in the Air Force. But, as usual, I might be mistaken about that.
(I don't have good wedding pictures yet, but will post when I do.)
Friday, May 13, 2016
Sat., March 25, 1933 - Mother helped me with my washing this morning. We left for Norfolk about 11:00. I got a new dress, jacket, and slippers. We got wallpaper for the bedrooms upstairs over home. Also had to buy a new set of chains. Home about 6:30. Mom and I worked one of the 2 new jig-saws we got today.
Sun., March 26, 1933 - Up at 6:30. Left for Hoskins at 8:00. I went to S.S. and church with the folks. We got stuck coming up Behmer's hill on our way home and then had to walk the rest of the way. Our slippers were muddy. This p.m. Mote and I wandered around. We threw mud in the water by the bridge, and such foolish things.
Mon., March 27, 1933 - Warm like spring. I read Crusaders this evening. We listened to the radio. Mote put the new puzzle I brought together. It took her 2-1/2 hours. Of course I stayed up with her to see the finished product.
I think I remember hearing that Grandma Anna was a darned good wallpaperer and that she helped quite a few other people with their papering needs. I might be wrong on that, but that's what I'm remembering. If I am right, perhaps Tom got his mad papering skills from her.
I don't know what paper Grandma and Grandma picked out back in 1933 but I've included a pattern from the era for my photo.
I must break away from 1933 and say happy wedding day to Nancy and Wayne. I've opted to not post a photo of them today, as I would rather wait for up-to-date wedded bliss photos from the big event later this evening. I delight in wishing them the absolute best of all the future holds. I know Grandma and Grandpa would be tickled pink.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Wed., March 22, 1933 - Ronald back in school. I walked over to Behmers and got my order. Evie has her embroidered quilt on the frame. I read a few minutes this evening. Mike, Evie, and I did some "limbering up" exercises just before we retired. A lot of fun.
Thurs., March 23, 1933 - Warm and thawing. Mrs. F. Jochens, Hazel, Mrs. Frank Maas, and Mrs. Bill Maas were here today quilting on Evie's embroidered quilt. Hazel went home before supper. After supper the rest of the families, Martin Schemmer, Bob Nurnbergs came over. "When it rains it pours" with company at this house.
Fri., March 24, 1933 - Snowed all day. The snow was wet. It melted on the porch and cement at school. By constant sweeping I managed to get all the mud off. I walked east to the highway and met Mom about 5:30. Went to Rebekah meeting tonite. I was on the lunch committee with Carrie Hansen and Minnie Andersen. Howard Iversen took me home.
As you can see, I've added the day of the week to my entry. I will endeavor to remember to continue doing so in the future. It's helpful sometimes to picture what's going on.
Grandpa is still Howard Iversen here, but not for too much longer.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
March 19, 1933 - Strong wind from northeast and snowing hard at 7:00 this morning. After much debating I decided to go back on the bus or train. The bus didn't get through so went on the evening train to Hoskins. Went up to Bernice May's. Called up the Walkers and the boys came after me. They didn't have any trouble getting there. Snowed all day.
March 20, 1933 - Had to clean up the rest of the party mess this morning. Sun shining all day. Snow on all window sills at school. Ronald was absent. Mildred and I played two games of "Over the Top". I lost both of them.
March 21, 1933 - Ronald has a sore hip. Kenneth came after his lessons this a.m. Thawed quite a bit. I read, corrected examination papers and made out report cards this evening. I forgot my keys Sunday. Mom sent them to me today.
An evening train to Hoskins -- I still can't get used to the idea of riding trains between Hoskins and Winside and Wayne. I wonder how many trips there were each day.
A bit more of Winside history, today from 1908:
January 30, the newly organized Fire Company asked the business men to donate something that could be sold, in order to buy new equipment.
February 18, $195 was cleared from the supper and auction.
July 30, the Rehmus barn in the east part of town was destroyed by fire yesterday.
August 27, W. H. McClusky passed away, formerly a merchant here in 1888.
October 1, Wm. Schrumpf our agent left to take up his new duties at Laurel. C. W. Anderson is the new agent.
October 24, The Winside Bryan Club has been formed with Walter Gaebler, president; E. W. Cullen, vice president; Clyde T. Ecker, secretary; Tom Lound, treasurer.
October 13 [should be November?], W. J. Bryan had an enormous crowd out to hear him speak from the rear of his special train.
October 22 [should be November?], Sam H. Rew topped the market with his Shorthorn yearlings at $7.25. Gaebler Bros. purchased a Buick for their livery business.
December 15, Mrs. Hanna Bayes, age 73, passed away.
There is too much to tell about William Jennings Bryan, so I'll let that go. The photo, however, is from his 1908 election campaign. Too bad he wasn't speaking from a train.
I thought $195 seemed like a lot of money to pull in for a fundraiser in 1908 so I went in search of an inflation calculator. The closest year I could find was 1913; $195 in 1913 adjusted for inflation would be $4,690 in 2016. Good going, you 1908 Winsiders!
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
March 16, 1933 - Finished making place cards, etc. Have the room decorated also. I guess we'll have enough snow for our ice cream tomorrow. Mr. Behmer brought some clamps up today to fasten the flag to the flag rope.
March 17, 1933 - Cold and cloudy. Sprinkled a little at noon. Louise N. came up this morning. She stayed for the party. We had to play inside. Our ice cream didn't get so hard. The other folks had to hurry home because it looked so rainy. Mom and I slid down to Walkers in the mud. The boys put on the chains. We got home fine. Had to push a little just by the house.
March 18, 1933 - Cold, damp, cloudy day. I went down to Annie Boyd's and had a permanent. Went to the library. Started snowing a little this evening. Read my books until quite late.
Sounds like the ice cream was passable, if not quite up to Grandma's standards. I imagine a fun time was had by all, regardless.
I thought to use a flag photograph (obviously) and even remembered to grab a photo of the flag that was in use in 1930. How orderly those rows look.
I wish I could fly a flag at our house, but with the crazy winds we get, any flag I have tried has been in tatters in no time. (In fact, my porch-mounted flag pole started the day pointing towards the west when we left one day, and was laying on the patio table, pointing straight east when we got home; bent nearly in to two pieces.) I can try to remember to bring one in when it is forecast to be windy, but it would still take a beating. I remember how there was a run on flags in the stores after 9/11/01. And also that a lady sent a letter to the editor saying that was a real shame -- that people should have already had flags. I happened to have one myself prior to 9/11. I usually put it out for special occasions. After I got home from work that day, I put it out and it stayed out until it didn't look nice any longer.
Monday, May 9, 2016
March 13, 1933 - I'm worrying whether or not we will have enough snow left by Friday to freeze our ice cream. We're going to have quarterly examinations tomorrow and the remainder Wednesday.
March 14, 1933 - Still warm and the snow is melting. We went roller-skating in Norfolk this evening. They Norfolk League asked us to go roller-skating with them. Of course we had to pay our own way. That was rather a surprise to most of us as we hadn't expected that.
March 15, 1933 - I made a resolution not to talk about snow today. But it was hard to keep from it. I was tired after last night's strenuous exercise so went to bed early. The boys fixed the sand table today. Got a card from Mom. Ray leaves today for Dalton with Art.
I peeked ahead to learn about how the ice cream came out, but I'm not talking.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
March 10, 1933 - I got part of my order from Montgomery's today. Ray came after me. We stopped out to Ola's. They have a little boy, born March 7. They named him Harold Dean. I went to lodge tonite and am on the next lunch committee. Cold tonite.
March 11, 1933 - Cleaned my clothes today. Got a library book for school this evening and also two others to read. Mom cut out my new dress that I got from Montgomery's. Ray cracked black walnuts for our ice cream this Friday.
March 12, 1933 - We went up to Uncle Hans' to dinner, a farewell for Emelia and Art. A lot of the snow thawed today. Mom and I had to walk up three hills going from Uncle Hans' to Walkers. Ray has decided to go home with Emelia and Art. They leave this week sometime.
I know I am heavy on the Winside history lately, but I couldn't resist sharing 1907. A little funny, this one:
January 10, George Gabler is moving to town in the Ed. Lucas house.
February 14, Since the performance of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the bravest of our women will not go down the cellar or cave after potatoes after dark.
February 21, B. Ramsey and Sons sold out to Gaebler Bros. their livery stable.
February 25, Wm. Kallstrom started to work in town as a carpenter.
March 7, George Lewis returned home from Independence, Iowa with a bride. His bride was former Miss Frances Hovey.
March 14, C. E. Benshoof bought out the I. D. Brugger implement buisness.
March 29, Bump Needham had to postpone his wedding day on account of sickness.
April 1, G. A. Mittelstadt and family moved to Winside, taking over the lumber yard formerly run by A. C. Goltz. Tom Prince bought the Peavy Elevator for $4,500, possession being given on May 1. T. A. Strong will continue to manage the elevator.
June 24, At the annual school meeting the board added the 11th grade, incorporated as a high school and will in the future be composed of six members instead of three.
August 15, A. H. Carter sold his store to R. H. Morrow.
September 5, two traveling men from Hartington hired an auto livery to bring them to Winside. The trip was made in two hours and ten minutes.
November 29, the new water works engine was tried out today.
I am not sure of the routes available in 1907, but now the shortest mileage between Hartington and Winside is 35 miles.
The actors in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde must have been something to behold!
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
March 7, 1933 - The telephone lines are out of order. We can't get central. Went to League at Charlie Jochens this evening. We took Dorothy Jochens home. Hektographed some Dutch windmills just before we went to League.
March 8, 1933 - The quarterly examination questions finally came. But we won't have exams until next week. The folks except Mr. Walker and myself went to church this evening.
March 9, 1933 - Finally we received an answer to our invitation. The kids had begun to worry about the answer. They were afraid they couldn't come.
Grandma surely hasn't given me much to work with, so I'll fall back on the Winside history theme. Unfortunately, our next year is 1906 and it appears not much news-worthy happened then either. Regardless, here it is:
January 5, School was dismissed on account of the bad storm. All of the pupils reached home safely.
February 15, Farran and Merriam's store building burned. The loss of the firm was estimated at $7,500; Carter, $1,000; Frank Tracy, $1,600.
April 12, Dr. B. M. McIntyre has taken Dr. Isaacs place.
April 20, Baseball season gets under way, H. E. Siman, manager, L. W. Needham, captain.
June 21, Highlander Band played on the streets and in the new band stand. They certainly made a fine appearance in their new white uniforms.
September 6, Wm. Heyer died, blacksmith here since 1886.
September 20, A heavy rain washed out the tracks yesterday causing the mail and passengers to transfer from one trail to the other. The train from the west backed down from Norfolk.
October 11, Mrs. Minnie Clark has moved in the central office and will have charge of the exchange.
November 22, Blind Boone played to a full house.
Having never heard of Blind Boone, I had to look him up. It's a long read, but I think it is interesting. And it's neat that early 1900's Winside was open to a black entertainer, and that they filled the house. The following and the photo above are from the State Historical Society of Missouri:
Born during the Civil War, John William “Blind” Boone overcame poverty, disability, and racism to become a nationally known composer and musician. Blind almost from birth, the musical prodigy created music using his knowledge of classical music, Negro spirituals, and the syncopated or “ragged” rhythms he heard in his everyday life. His music has influenced many later generations.
On May 17, 1864, as the Civil War entered its final year, John William Boone was born in Miami, Saline County, Missouri. His mother, Rachel Boone, worked as a cook in the federal military camp of the Seventh Militia. She later told her son, whom she called Willy, that his father was a bugler in the army. Born into slavery, Rachel had either escaped or was freed by federal soldiers.
Rachel moved to Warrensburg with her infant son to work as a servant for various families. Around the age of six months, the baby developed cerebral meningitis or “brain fever.” The illness was often fatal, and the only treatment known at the time led to blindness. Doctors today would treat the illness with antibiotics.
As Willy grew, the townspeople noticed his talent for music. They encouraged him with gifts of simple instruments, such as a tin whistle, a French harp (or harmonica), and a triangle. Willy started a band with his friends. They played for parades and special gatherings to earn money.
When Willy was about eight years old, his mother married Harrison Hendricks. Rachel and Willy moved into a one-room cabin with her new husband and his five children.
With his disability Willy needed a special school. Several Warrensburg residents helped Rachel send her son to the Missouri School for the Blind in St. Louis. Former Missouri senator Francis Cockrell persuaded Johnson County officials to pay for the train ride to St. Louis and tuition at the school. A group of ladies helped sew the clothing Willy would need. In the fall of 1872, nine-year-old Willy traveled alone 225 miles to St. Louis.
Boone quickly learned to love the school. The program taught students skills to help them gain their independence and also emphasized music. The teachers tried to get Boone to study Braille and to learn the broom trade so he could support himself, but he was not interested in reading or making brooms. He would often steal away from his studies to listen to the advanced students as they practiced piano.
Enoch Donnelly, an older white student, appreciated the young boy’s curiosity and often invited Boone to hear him play. After he heard Boone mimicking one of his classical music pieces on the piano, Donnelly gave up a portion of his own practice time to teach the eager student. Boone could remember and play everything he heard, even if he had only heard it once.
Soon the young prodigy was entertaining gatherings at the home of the school superintendent. At home in Warrensburg during school breaks, Boone played piano for church services and social gatherings to earn money to help his family.
Once, upon his return from a school break, he found a new superintendent who did not believe black students should have the same privileges as whites. He would not allow black students to play piano. Unable to bear the new rules, Boone started skipping class to go to the “Tenderloin District” near the school. In the district, a poor and densely populated area, he listened to and played music with the African American musicians who worked in the saloons. The principal eventually dismissed Boone from the school because of his absences. Ashamed to return to Warrensburg and face his mother, the young boy tried to make a living with his music in St. Louis. Eventually, broke and hungry, Boone returned home through the kindness of A. J. Kerry, a white railroad conductor. Kerry befriended the homeless boy and arranged for Boone to travel home on the train.
Back in Warrensburg, Boone earned money playing piano for the Foster School, a white school, and again formed a band of street musicians. After hearing Boone play his harmonica, a local gambler named Mark Cromwell convinced the young boy he could supply him with concert engagements. Lured away from his mother by Cromwell’s tales and flattery, the young boy soon realized he would see none of the promised money.
Boone played his harmonica on the streets of many Missouri towns just as he had done in Warrensburg, but now Cromwell kept the money. At one point, the gambler lost Boone in a card game. The winner kept the boy in a locked room until Cromwell managed to “steal” him back three days later. Boone’s stepfather searched for the boy and finally brought him home. Throughout his life, some people tried to take advantage of the good–natured Boone.
Boone met John Lange Jr. in December 1879. A contractor by trade, Lange owned an entertainment hall in Columbia and hired Boone to play the Christmas program there. He recognized Boone’s talent and also the young boy’s vulnerability. Lange wrote to Rachel Boone Hendricks to ask if he could take over the musician’s career. He promised to handle Boone’s training and care. The boy’s mother would receive part of his earnings every month until Boone turned twenty-one. When he turned twenty-one, Boone would become a partner in the Blind Boone Company. Lange kept his word. Boone played one of his first concerts as part of the Boone Company in January 1880. The ticket sales totaled a disappointing $7.00.
Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins came to play a concert in Columbia in March 1880. Like Boone, Tom could play any music he heard. As part of the program, his manager challenged anyone in the audience to repeat Tom’s tunes. Tom would play back any tune others played for him. Unlike many others before him, Boone was able to repeat Tom’s music note-for-note.
The first few years Boone traveled with Lange, he was billed under the name “Blind John.” In addition to the fifteen-year-old Boone, a ten-year-old soprano named Stella May accompanied them. Lange often had to bring a good piano along in a wagon or by train because the churches and halls in the small towns where they played did not own one.
Just before Boone was scheduled to play in Marshfield, Missouri, a tornado hit the small town on April 18, 1880. The twister killed almost 100 people and injured twice as many. Few buildings other than the courthouse remained standing. Lange read Boone the newspaper articles reporting the tragedy. The musician was inspired to compose “The Marshfield Tornado,” which included effects that sounded like the tornado. After some discussion, Lange and Boone decided to continue on to the scheduled performance in Marshfield. Many survivors of the tragedy came to hear Boone play. His first piece was the new cyclone composition. Much to the performer’s dismay, the true-to-life sounds of his music caused some to panic and flee the building, thinking another tornado was coming. Despite their own financial hardships, Boone and Lange donated the proceeds from the concert to help rebuild the town. “Marshfield Tornado” became a regular part of Boone’s program, but he always played it last in case it frightened his audience away.
Without the advantage of modern radio or television, word of Boone’s talent spread slowly. As the Boone Company struggled in its early years, Lange sometimes feared he would have to get a job digging coal to keep the company going. When funds ran low, Lange sent the other musicians home, and the two partners traveled the country alone. They were often broke and suffered many difficulties, such as hotel and music store fires and train wrecks. At one point, a business partner ran off with the company piano.
Although many of his friends believed he was foolish to give up his business to promote a little-known black musician, Lange never regretted it. “I have lost all I had more than once, trying to make Boone a success, but I am proud today that I have stuck with it.”
Blind Boone played piano by ear. Since he could not read music, he learned new songs by listening closely to other musicians. Around 1883 he took lessons from Mary R. Sampson in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sampson helped Boone acquire better piano technique and taught him new classical music pieces. After his work with Sampson, Boone’s career began to take off. It was around this time that the group began billing themselves as the Blind Boone Touring Company. Lange wanted everyone to understand that Boone was a person of talent and achievement, not just a figure of curiosity and sympathy like Blind Tom. He developed the motto “Merit, Not Sympathy, Wins,” which was often printed on the concert program.
Boone played classical music to please one section of his audience and to demonstrate his skill. Then he would play popular music, folk tunes, and Negro spirituals to please another. He called this approach “putting the cookies on the lower shelf” so everyone could enjoy them. Like Blind Tom, Boone challenged his audience to play music for him to imitate.
Through a carefully constructed program of music, Blind Boone exposed his audiences, both black and white, to the power of music. He developed a uniquely American sound by combining his classical training with his understanding of popular music. Boone was the first performer to unite these musical forms on the concert stage. Many believe his adoption of the “ragged” or syncopated rhythms of the African American community and the heavy bass line of his informal musical compositions inspired the development of ragtime music.
With Boone’s new approach to his program, success came quickly. Black and white audiences alike came to hear Boone play and enjoyed his music. Prejudices still remained, however. In 1896 the United States Supreme Court upheld segregation laws as long as facilities and opportunities for both races were viewed as equal. In the concert halls, churches, courthouses, and tents where the Boone Company played, the white audiences and black audiences usually sat apart or attended separate programs. Often the black audience was restricted to the worst seats. Some white hotels refused to give the company members lodging, and there were often no black-owned hotels in towns. Many times black families offered the company their hospitality and put them up in their homes.
Blind Boone became one of the first black artists recorded by the QRS piano roll company in 1912. He played eleven selections while a machine punched the notes on the roll. Boone’s ability to play many notes rapidly made it difficult to record him accurately. His best-known composition, “The Marshfield Tornado,” was never recorded or written down because it was too complex.
In 1889 Boone married Eugenia Lange, John Lange’s youngest sister. She traveled with the company for many years as treasurer and often read to her husband. Boone was especially interested in the geography of the country. With his excellent memory, he recalled all the railroad routes he had taken when young and the many places he had traveled.
The young couple purchased a home at 10 North Fourth Street in Columbia. With Boone’s growing financial success, he was able to buy several pianos. Boone could play almost any instrument, but the piano remained his favorite. Often in the summer, when he was not on tour, he spent six hours a day practicing new music. Boone believed the only way to achieve greatness was through study and practice.
Once Boone met someone—child or adult—he always recognized the voice and remembered the name, even many years later. He also talked about his ability to “see” colors, often identifying the color of fabric or the hair on a child’s head through touch. Boone could describe the appearance of a person after hearing the sound of his voice. He called his ability “seeing with my mind.”
Like his partner John Lange, Boone was generous to those around him. He supported churches and other organizations through donations and loans. He provided loans to Christian College (now Columbia College) and the First Christian Church of Columbia. In gratitude, the church accepted Boone as their first black member.
Once in Kansas, the members of the Boone Company were denied rooms at the only local hotel. An elderly relative offered them the use of her home. When Boone learned she had approximately $360 remaining on her mortgage, a large amount in those days, he paid off her loan. Lange often said, “Boone is charitable and I have been authorized by him whenever I see a deserving person in need of assistance to assist such person in his name.”
Despite many hardships, Boone never appeared down or sorry for himself. Toward the end of his life, he said, “Blindness has not affected my disposition. It has never made me at outs with the world. Many times I regard it as a blessing, for had I not been blind, I would not have given the inspiration to the world that I have. I have shown that no matter how a person is afflicted, there is something that he can do worthwhile.”
After seeing his protégé achieve success, John Lange died in 1916 at the age of seventy-six. Boone hired several managers in succession to take Lange’s place, but never found a replacement for his longtime friend. He continued to tour and practice with the same rigorous schedule. In January 1926 Boone played two live performances at the KFRU radio station in Columbia, Missouri. The Columbia Tribune reported that the programs were the most popular ever heard on the station.
John William “Blind” Boone retired in June 1927 after completing forty-seven touring seasons. His health had gradually declined, and he planned a trip to a health spring in Arkansas. Shortly before he left in October of that year, he stopped in Warrensburg to visit his stepbrother, Samuel Hendricks. While there Boone suffered a heart attack and died at the age of sixty-three.
After his death, Boone’s estate contained only $132.65 and his house in Columbia. The nationally known and beloved musical genius was buried without a marker in the black section of the Columbia cemetery.
With the growing popularity of jazz, Boone’s music was soon forgotten. While ragtime musicians kept Boone’s rag compositions and history alive within their sphere, as time passed, few remembered the name that was once a household word. Since the mid-1950s, however, momentum to reestablish Boone’s place in music history has grown. A park in Warrensburg now bears his name. In 1961 the Blind Boone Memorial Foundation formed in Columbia and gave a concert of Boone’s music at the University of Missouri. The Columbia-Boone County Sesquicentennial Commission erected a tombstone on Boone’s grave in 1971, forty-four years after his death. Boone’s home in Columbia is on the National Register of Historic Places and is being restored through the efforts of the John William “Blind” Boone Heritage Foundation. His Chickering piano can be seen at the Boone County Historical Society in Columbia. An annual ragtime festival in Columbia bears Boone’s name.