J.B. McLaury, of Blackwell, went to Arkansas City to get seed to plant a crop of
wheat. The next few years were difficult ones for McLaury. In the fall of 1894, he
planted 75 acres in borrowed seed. The next spring a neighbor cut his wheat with a
header. The total yield was 55 bushels, less than a bushel an acre. He took the wheat and $20.00 sent to him by his oldest son and another young man considered to be part of the family, both of whom were working in Kansas, and bought enough seed for another crop. He borrowed $65.00 from a local bank to pay off his note to the Arkansas City mill. In return, the bank took a lien on his crop. McLaury harvested 250 bushels in the summer of 1896, but after paying his note at the bank and his taxes, he had nothing to show for his trouble and he still owed the "thresher man" $4.00. To pay that debt he hauled a load of coal for the threshing engine from Wellington, Kansas.
McLaury, was near the breaking point when a twist of fate provided him with seed
wheat for the fall of 1896. A neighbor died. The settler recalled: "I went up to
his place and dressed and shaved him and went to town and got a coffin for him and
to the cemetery and secured a lot and helped to bury him and did all I could as a
neighbor to help his family in their hour of grief." Such charity did not go
unrewarded. After the burial, the widow approached McLaury before he left the
cemetery and insisted that he take as much seed wheat from her granary as he needed.
With 50 bushels of the widow's wheat, in addition to more seed purchased with money
sent home from Kansas, he planted 100 acres and in 1897 threshed 2,750 bushels, which
he sold for 86 cents a bushel. "I paid my debts, bought the family much needed
apparel, bought lumber and built two rooms to my house and many other things,
including five head of cows, twenty calves....From that time on I always raised
"Rural Oklahoma" by Donald E. Green, pp.58-58
Also: "Indian Pioneer History"
Vol. 12 pp. 201-203 Forman, rd.