Smile for the Camera ~ They Worked Hard for the Family

Smile for the CameraThey Worked Hard for the FamilyJames Henry Corel with HorsesOver Memorial Day weekend I had the opportunity to talk with my grandparents about our family history and I was able to go through some old photos, scrapbooks, and other items that had been saved over the years.

I was awestruck when I saw this first photo of my great great grandpa, James Henry Corel (son of James Pickens Corel) driving his horses – I just think this is a GREAT shot! James Henry, like many of my ancestors, farmed the Kansas soil to provide for his family.

In having the opportunity to talk with my grandma, I learned some interesting things. Some things I learned, I probably shouldn’t share, but I will, and I will just hope that no one gets mad or offended!

James Henry Corel on his Plow

I should probably start with my estimation of the age of these photos. They were glued (ugh) into a scrapbook on pages that also had photos of my great grandma, Kathryn Corel, as a very young girl. Kathryn was born in 1908, so I am going to guess that these photos were likely taken around 1910.

Grandma told me that the land that she now lives on used to be covered with potato crops. Today the fields alternate between corn and soy beans. I never would have imagined potatoes being the crop of choice, after all, we are the Wheat State!

During World War II there was a prisoner of war barracks just down the road from the family farm. I still can’t wrap my head around Nazi prisoners being sent to Kansas! Great Grandpa James Henry had a German that came to work on the farm while he was staying at the prisoner of war barracks. Grandma recalls that the German would eat with them, just like he was one of the family. Grandma would ride her horse carrying water for the men out in the fields as a young girl.

James Henry Corel wasn’t always nice to his work horses. One day one of the horses fought back and knocked him down to the ground and stomped on his ear! Grandma said that he was lucky that he didn’t die that day and that he just lost that ear.

James Henry Corel with 7 Great Grandchildren

I included this last photo of James Henry with his great grandchildren to show that all that our ancestors did, it was always for the family. Plus, I had teased one cousin about a photo I found and today is her birthday, so I thought it would be a great way to end this post. This photo was taken about 1953 and has James Henry Corel holding Debbie McCoy and surrounded by Laurie Head, Connie and Sonny Laughlin, Dale and David Corel, and Wayne Hurrelbrink. Personally, I think that the look on James Henry’s face is simply PRICELESS!!