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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Family History Weekend

I realize it has been well over a week since I posted about our weekend spent in Hastings, NE and Gothenburg, NE.

We left just after lunch on the Friday and got to Hastings around 3pm. We went straight to the Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History. It was a pretty good museum to visit once. I don't ever see us going back there anytime soon. The wildlife diorama hall was pretty awesome. It is kind of kitschy and I liked that. The kids didn't really care all that much for it. We went downstairs to dig for fossils. Eva really likes getting into the sand. Caleb likes putting things on his head. So, that area was a win/win.

The kids were starting to get a little restless once we got to the Kool-Aid part of the museum. Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings. Oh yeah, I love Nebraska! We went through there as quickly as we could. As soon as that was over a planetarium show was starting. We thought the kids might think that was cool. We were wrong. We left as soon as we could. It was time to hit the hotel.

We won a free night at the Quality Inn. When I called to make the reservation, the manager told me we'd be their VIP guests that night. After we came back from dinner there was a cute gift basket waiting for us in our room full of popcorn, granola bars, cookies, chocolate, and bubbles. It was great! As you can see, Eva couldn't wait to pop some popcorn.

We ate dinner in their Garden Cafe. It was okay. There was a lot of variety but the food was average. Actually, I had a steak and it was probably the worst restaurant steak I'd ever eaten. but, that's what I get for ordering a steak at a Garden Cafe. I should have gone with a sandwich or salad. The pie was really good, though! Caleb and Eva ate all their food so it deserves a thumbs up from me despite the crummy steak.

After dinner the kids couldn't wait to go swimming. Here they are as a blur running down the hall to the pool.

After we swam for a while, we coaxed them out for a couple of games of ping pong. They were actually really good to watch while Carl and I played two games. They would take turns going after stray balls. Carl won (as usual) but I think he was surprised about how close I was. He hasn't forgotten that I was the Queen of Ping.

Caleb was actually really good. He's left handed so I had to be extra careful when I served to him. He has a really good backhand.

Eva needs to work on her form a little bit. In all fairness, it was her first time playing. She'll get the hang of it soon enough. ;)

After all that playing we got the kids back to the room (kicking and screaming, of course) and calmed down (after an hour of more kicking and screaming). They finally fell asleep and Carl and I watched the Olympics.

The next day we got up early. I went and bought some muffins at the Garden Cafe (yum) and the kids and Carl went to swim in the whirpool and play some more ping pong. I sat and watched them and then went to pack up the room. After some more kicking and screaming to get them out of the hotel, we drove a couple of hours to Gothenburg, NE.

My great, great grandfather, Charles Marion Jacox, had a farm in Gothenburg and I wanted to find it. I had a few clues that I had gathered on a trip to the Nebraska State Historical Society so I went hoping to find someone that would know where the farm was. I went to the Historical Museum while the kids played across the street at the park and looked at the Pony Express Station (pictured below).
I asked one of the ladies in there if she knew anything about the Jacox family. She didn't but another lady did. She just happened to be in there visiting. How great is that? Anyway, she told me where the farm was and then after I shared the information that I had, they gave me a few phone numbers. One of them is to the son of the person that bought the farm from my great-great grandpa Jacox. He still lived on the farm! I gave him a call and he invited me out to see the place.

The farm is about 7 miles southwest of town. It was a beautiful drive and I was amazed to see hills in the distance.

What a great place to live and have a farm! I spoke with Mr. M about my family. His dad bought the farm just a few years before he was born (in 1924) and he had lived there all his life. His son now farms the acreage. He also told me that what I was probably really looking for was exactly two miles east of his farm. That was where Mearl Jacox had his farm (Charles' youngest son) and that looked like the farm I had in my picture. It makes sense that his son would take over the biggest part of his farm. The ladies at the historical museum also gave me a phone number of Mearl's son in law. I may call him on my next trip. We just didn't have time on this day.
We drove out to check out Mearl's place. The house is gone now but we were pretty sure we were in the right place. It fit the description well enough. Mr. M was full of great information about the area. He also gave me directions to the Peckham cemetary where my relatives are buried. We didn't quite make it there. As you can imagine, kicking and screaming continued as we were driving around and I didn't think the kids would be able to make another stop. I'll have to come back again some other time. I have all of the information off of the tombstones so it isn't vitally important for me to see the cemetary...just curious.

All in all, it was a fun trip to cap off our summer. There are so many great things to see around here we'll have to start taking these quick trips more often.


  1. That is SO cool! What a great family history experience! I hope you get to go back to the cemetary soon. Even if you don't need the info, I'm sure it would be a touching visit.

  2. Did you see all the old Kool-aid commercials at the Kool-aid museum? That was our favorite part! Oooh Yeah!

  3. I love little trips to see fascinating things that aren't major attractions. Thanks for such a great travelogue.

  4. Hi! I noticed your blog on Charles Marion Jacox. I, too, am a great, great granddaughter of Charles Marion Jacox. His son, Charles Eugene had a son named Charles Elwood and he had a son named Gordon Lee Jacox who is my father. Which child do you come through? That was so fascinating to see the Jacox farm! Thanks so much for your post. My name is Joanne Jacox Hoehne my email is Thanks again!