On Sunday, David Allen Lambert tweeted the question, “Did your family own a radio in 1930?” as part of the #ancestorchallenge2018. Even though I have obtained the 1930 census records for most people in my tree, I have to admit that I have not paid attention to that little detail.

When I checked the 1930 census for my grandparents, Leon and Winnie Crawford, I discovered that they did NOT own a radio. Myrtle Gaskill, Winnie’s sister, was listed just above Leon Crawford in the census and she also did NOT own a radio.


I then checked (re-checked) the census records for my grandparents, E. O. and Pauline Briles and for my great-grandparents, Judson and Josie Crawford, Edward G. and Artie Briles and Charles and Nettie Mentzer. None of the census records indicated ownership of a radio.

Since my knowledge of ‘radio history’ is very weak, I turned to the Internet for some background information. According to the Wikipedia article about radios, “commercial radio broadcasting began in the 1920s.”

I then wondered whether the communities where my ancestors lived had a radio station. Thanks to the website, U.S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1930 by John Bowker, I discovered that Dodge City did have a radio station, KGNO. According to KGNO’s web site, they did not begin broadcasting until June of 1930. Since the Dodge City census record for Leon Crawford is dated 19 April 1930, the census data was collected prior to the existence of a local radio station in Dodge City. I did not find any radio station listed for Emporia, Kansas or any communities in Woodson or Coffey Counties, Kansas in 1930.

Even if they had had access, could they afford to purchase a radio? The web page, 1930’s appliances including prices, provides some pricing information. Towards the top of the page it lists a “Philco Auto Radio” for $24.95. At the bottom of the page is a “Philco Radio” which cost $188.00. Based on that pricing and the lack of a local radio station, I can understand why my relatives did not own a radio in 1930 — they couldn’t afford one.

Farmers in My Tree

As part of #AncestorChallenge2018 on Twitter, David Allen Lambert recently asked “Who was your last farming generation in your family?” Since I nor my parents grew up on a farm, I had to think about this question.

I did grow up with two family stories related to farming. My grandfather, Leon Crawford, always talked about how he helped ‘Uncle Jimmy’ farm his land. The story involved him running the tractor on land just south of the Arkansas River in Dodge City. At the time, I didn’t think to question granddad about ‘Uncle Jimmy’, but wished I had. ‘Unlce Jimmy’ was likely James H. Crawford. James H. Crawford was the brother to my 2nd great grandfather. Thus, he was my grandfather’s great uncle. James H. Crawford did own land on the south side of the river in Dodge City.

The second story involved my grandfather Briles. Family lore says he rented farm ground where the Emporia Country Club is located. Although I don’t have any documentation to support this story, I do have a picture of my grandfather, Edward Osmond Briles on his tractor.Briles-Edward-b1891-1955-Tractor

In terms of my great grandparents, two (both on my mom’s side) are identified as farmers on the 1900 census. Edward Grant Briles is listed on the 1900, 1910 and 1920 censuses as a farmer. However, the 1930 census indicates he was a carpenter at the age of 59 with the 1940 census again stating that Edward was a farmer. Charles Oliver Mentzer is also listed on multiple censuses as a farmer in Woodson County, Kansas.

On my dad’s side, one family story says that my dad’s grandfather, Judson Foster Crawford, participated as a cook’s helper on a cattle drive. Since Judson was born in 1866 in Indiana and didn’t arrive in the Dodge City area until around 1884, it is highly unlikely that he helped with any of the cattle drives from Texas to Kansas. Like his son, Leon Crawford, Judson likely helped his uncle, James H Crawford, farm his land. As an adult, Judson Crawford worked for the railroad.

My dad’s other grandfather, Hiram M. Currey, did try his hand at farming. In 1908, he moved from Leavenworth County to Rooks County, Kansas. In Rooks County, Hiram rented land and took up farming. Hiram’s farming adventure as short-lived as he returned to Eastern Kansas by 1913. currey-hiram-b1866-1908-the_leavenworth_times_fri__jul_17__1908_.jpg

“Delaware,” local news, The Leavenworth Times (Leavenworth, Kansas), 17 July 1908; digital image, ( : viewed online September 2016).

Although I am two or more generations away from farming, many of my ancestors back to 1850 claimed the occupation of farming on the various census records.