Thursday, April 5, 2012

House (County Jail) Identified from 1940 Census

John Joseph "Joe" Becker, Great Bend, Barton, Kansas
Last month my genealogist cousin Kate Keller graciously shared the  photo above on Facebook of our great grandfather John Joseph "Joe" Becker. We knew it was taken in my home town of Great Bend, Barton, Kansas and judging from a car we noticed in the background, my husband estimated it was taken in the very late 1930s or 1940. My father is still alive and, at age 90, has a very acute mind and memory, so I asked him if he remembered where Joe Becker might have lived in 1940. It was in 1943 that my dad married my mother Ruby Flanders, Joe Becker's granddaughter, in the same town of Great Bend, Kansas. Dad said he didn't remember my mother ever talking about her grandpa so he wasn't able to identify the house.
When the 1940 Census became available on Monday, April 2, my same dear cousin was able to search for and find Great Grandpa Joe Becker in that census. She emailed me a copy of the census page and said "I found him!". As I reviewed the page, I noticed that Joe was living with his son Lew, daughter-in-law Ellen and grandson Larry. Their residence was 1400 Kansas and Lew's occupation was Sheriff. I remembered that "house" as it also housed the County Jail in the 1940s and 1950s. I was fortunate to have visited my Granduncle Lew Becker while he was serving as the Barton County Sheriff. But I had not remembered it well enough to identify it as the house in the photo above.

Last night I found this old photo of the Barton County Jail as I searched on Google Images. It had been available on ebay.
Barton County Jail, Great Bend, Barton, Kansas 1907
It's quite apparent that it's the same house in the photo at the top of this post. 

Here's another photo shared with me by Kate Keller of Great Grandpa Joe Becker on the porch of the same residence.
Joe Becker on the porch of the jail/house at 1400 Kansas Avenue, Great Bend, Barton, Kansas
It's wonderful that we're finally allowed access to the 1940 census so we can answer some of these "puzzles" we've encountered over the years of doing the family history research. And I'm very blessed to have a cousin like Kathryn "Kate" Keller who has researched our family for so many more years than I have, who has ownership of a LOT of old family photos, and who is so gracious and willing to share these family treasures!! Thank you, Kate!  

1 comment:

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

That's a great story Becky. Terrific sleuthing on your part!