Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sac County, Iowa

Recently, I attended a genealogical conference in Arizona. The society hosting the event had several tables of old books for sale. It is always fun to peruse old books. One never knows what might turn up. One certainly would not expect to stumble upon a doorstop sized 1914 history of Sac County, Iowa. Iowa has 99 different counties, but I am only interested in about three. Greene County, Calhoun  County, and you guessed it...Sac County.

My interest in Sac County is because this is where my great- grandparents settled around 1883 about a year after they were married. This is my dad's dad's side of the family and the one I thought I was going to write about this winter.  I have only skimmed a few of the pages of this tome.  I actually don't expect to find anything on the Wright name even though they were reasonably prominent people of the area. I learned through a recent experience with writing a county history that the residents themselves have to write, submit, and pay to be included. This was the process in the early 1900's as well.

My great grandparents, Charles and Jennie, had five children. My grandfather, Albert, was number four. My grandfather's siblings were just names to me. It took several years of genealogy work to sort them out. I knew a few stories . I knew my dad hung out a lot with his cousin, Charlie. Charlie was named for their grandfather, Charles. Cousin Charlie and his sisters were raised by their grandparents because their mother had died. I knew my dad had a cousin named Russell, who died in WWII. I knew dad had another cousin who was an only child and whose mother's name was Hattie. I thought Hattie was a cool name. I have a couple of memories of my great grandparents. And then there is my favorite story.

My mother told me that dad's grandparents were financially well off. When  mom and dad were first married in late 1941,  they went to visit dad's grandparents. Mom accompanied Grandma Jennie downtown to do some shopping. They went in and out of many different stores purchasing assorted items. She bought new sheets for one thing but I don't remember what else. Grandma Jennie carried  a large shopping bag into each store out of which she would take out a $20 bill. She would pay for purchased item or items and then, she would throw the change in her bag. At the next store, she would take out another $20 bill, pay for the item or items and then throw the change loose into the bag. This went on store after store. When mom told me this story as I was growing up she would marvel at how much that would be in today's economy. Today was not 2016 but sometime in the 60's. And now I say, I wonder how much those twenties would be worth today.

Oh, the wonders of the internet. I found a site to help me answer the question about which I just pondered.  The answer: $20.00 in 1941 had the same buying power as $335.50 in 2016. Wow!

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