excerpt CHAPTER 4 – BILLY and BOBBY

“…Our dad, Carl Lewis Howard, attended Kansas State University (KSU) in Manhattan, Kansas. His brother Frank and Dad each pursued a degree in Agriculture Engineering. To do this, he taught rural school every other year to earn money for his college expenses the next year. Both Uncle Frank and Dad were in ROTC. Dad was a first lieutenant (Brandon Howard, our grandson, has his sword). Uncle Frank and Dad graduated from KSU in 1920 as the first students to be granted a degree in “Agricultural Engineering.” Our father’s specialties were soil conservation, poultry, and livestock. Dad decided he would take a position as “County Farm Agent.” He served in Kansas counties (towns) of Ellis (Hays), Meade (Meade), Pawnee (Larned), and Lyon (Emporia.) Uncle Frank returned to the farm north of Oakley, Kansas where he stayed until his death on March 3, 1986.
Our father met his future wife, Letha Muriel Burnett, at a church conference in Hays, Kansas. During their courtship, he rode horseback at least once a month from Oakley, to Mead, Kansas, a distance of seventy-five miles each way. Our father and mother married on June 20, 1920, either in Meade or Hays (the location of their marriage cannot be confirmed in current records).
Our mother, Letha Muriel Burnett, was born in Worth, Missouri. Her father was believed to be a half Cherokee Indian and supposedly one of the last chieftains of a tribe of Cherokees, which moved back and forth between northwest Oklahoma and Mead, Kansas. I could not find proof of his full name nor status as a Cherokee chieftain.
Letha’s father and his first wife had three daughters, Letha, Agnes, and Ethel. After his first wife died, he married again. They had eight children, either together, or possibly including some that his second wife may have had by a previous marriage. No records seem to exist which clarify the question. What we do know is that mother and her two sisters felt the stepmother was mean, demanding, cruel, and expected the three of them to do all of the housework, prepare meals, and to take care of the eight younger children. When Mother was a senior in high school, she took her two sisters and moved into an apartment. Mother made certain that all three finished high school. After Mother and Father married, both Agnes and Ethel lived with us two years in Larned, and moved to Emporia (with us) in 1926….”

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