Pages of Life — Remembering Uncle Eds sawmill and Sharing

Submitted photo
Uncle Ed Akers taking a sawmill break.
Submitted photo Uncle Ed Akers taking a sawmill break.

My husband David and I are old enough to see so many changes in everything. Watching our son Randy and Christine building the new 54 Country, I am shocked and aware. Every move they make is costing more than I can even believe. Randy paid about as much for a few loads of creek gravel, just for a base, than we spent building our first, 2-bedroom home!

I believe we borrowed 1,800 for our first home. Our friend Maurice Stack owned the lumberyard in town, and he co-signed for us at the bank, because we were very young.

We bought our supplies from him, like roofing, windows, etc... for our home. Things that our family couldn't make for us at their sawmill. It seems what people could have built for 40,000 back then, will be hard to build for 200,000 now. We really must be getting old!

I guess I am thinking too much and comparing the cost to 'The old days' when we all built our own homes, with our own lumber. And we could get gravel from our own creek, and you could count on my Uncle Roy to wire the house for you at no charge.

Friends and family just showed up to work when someone was building. No one ever expected to be paid. Everyone helped everyone in those days.

I remember My Mom, Aunt Ruby, Aunt Abbie, Aunt Edna, Aunt Opal, and other neighbors, getting together and helping each other 1 day a week, doing whatever needed done. There were lots of laughing along with the work...

It didn't matter if it was washing windows, ironing, doing canning, or whatever you needed help with on your day, it was done. And of course, you could call on them any other time as well.

Speaking of the sawmills, a lot of our family had their own sawmills back then. There was Uncle Roy Butcher, Uncle Ed Akers, Uncle Chick Warden, and in later years my brother Gary and Mary Warden owned and operated their custom-made lumber sawmill. Whatever size, or kind, of lumber you needed; they provided by order. They have retired now.

I am thinking this morning particularly about Uncle Ed Akers. He may be the first one I remember. Uncle Ed moved here from Licking, Mo. in 1954 before he became my uncle.

He was from a family that moved their sawmill business wherever there was a place it was needed. His dad, mom, and brothers moved with the work. Somehow, he learned where there were places, he could cut timber and make lumber in the New Bloomfield area. He moved here to this area cut for Raymond Salmons and others in the area.

Thats where he met my Aunt Abbie in 1955 who was raised there on a farm in New Bloomfield. They were married in 1956. She had 3 sons, Diamond, Roy Lee, and Roger. Also, a daughter Linda Sue. Uncle Ed already had a son Charles.

Uncle Ed was happy to have a large family and raised her children as his own. Afterward together they had 2 more children, Clifford, and Sally.

After he finished in the New Bloomfield area, he moved his sawmill down to the Steedman area.

Uncle Ed and Aunt Abbie built a home and lived in the Reform/Steedman area for 42 years. He then had his sawmill there by their home.

There were always good times at their home. Everyone was always welcome and of course, house dances on Saturday nights. Our sons have many good memories made there. When David and I got married we had our wedding supper and house dance at their home.

During 1978 after he had moved his sawmill to the Floyd Masek farm, they had a horrible fire and explosion at their sawmill. Several people in the family had burns, with younger brother John having the worst...John passed away being badly burned. Everyone was in such grief because John was the kind of person everyone loved. He was my husband David's best friend. They hunted, fished, and played music together. John and his wife Dixie have both passed on. They have 2 Children, Joe Akers and family, and Pam Perrigo and her husband Dan. Johns son Joe Akers, now does special custom sawing.

Uncle Ed grieved so, and in a couple months after losing his younger brother, Uncle Ed had a devastating stroke. He finally could walk again, after a few months in the hospital, but never could use his left arm again. Before the fire and his stroke, he had played his harmonica with different musicians. Now after his stroke he could play some with the help of my husband David, a friend Harley Crum and others.

Uncle Ed was a coon hunter and he loved telling stories. A lot of them we heard over and over, but everyone enjoyed hearing them. He sure loved his Mule he called Old Fox, who always seemed to get in his stories.

I wish I had done a story on him earlier because Uncle Ed was a much-loved caring person who died in 1992.

Uncle Ed, Aunt Abbie, their two children Sally and Clifford, and my cousin Roy Lee, are all gone now...As well as my other Uncles and Aunts I mentioned. They left us, and many others they took into their home to help in times of need, with good memories. Times are sure changing, and those of us my age miss those 'good old days'.

  photo  Dorothy Kliendienst