I had an occasion to dig through some old clippings the other day my mother had kept. It’s now been twenty years since she went home to Heaven and forty years since my dad’s passing. I made notes of some of the clippings. My family worked so hard at so many different things. I think I’ll share my notes with you.
Some Family History
Charles Edmiston and Henry Freeman operated a filling station in Walker, Missouri beginning in 1937. Both were drafted into the Army during WWII. After the war, they both worked for a period of time at the Edmiston Department stores in south-east Kansas and south-west Missouri; Henry in Fort Scott and Charles in Chanute, Kansas until they opened an Oldsmobile dealership in Fort Scott, KS on March 1, 1950. They closed the Freeman-Edmiston dealership October 1, 1956.
They bought the Colonial Motel property of 126 acres in 1952 from the Thogmartin family north of Fort Scott. They tore down the large barn on the place which provided the lumber to construct the first ten units of the motel. They opened approximately in May of 1952. Sometime in that next year or two, highway 54, a major east-west highway was completed. That put the Colonial Motel at the intersection of 69 and 54 highways.
In about 1958 they built a restaurant called the White Grill.
In about 1960 they bought an asphalt company. Henry worked that business while Charles watched the motel in the daytime. They took turns serving at the motel desk each week.
In 1970 they built the connecting units to join the previous two buildings bringing the total units of the motel to twenty-five.
The home was originally known as Hart’s Nursery built sometime after the Civil War. It was located a mile north of the original fort built in 1842. The area was known as Anatomy Hill because the homes on the place were occupied by the Harts, Shinn, and Leg families.
The original floor in the front bedroom downstairs was Bird’s-eye Maple.
The Thogmartin family lived in the house the longest. The home underwent extensive renovations while that family lived there. They raised horses and had an exercise ring for the horses in the southern part of the front yard.
By the time we moved there, the thirteen-room house had been made into two apartments. The Freeman’s lived upstairs; the Edmiston’s lived down. The Freeman’s and Edmiston’s owned and operated the motel until April 1, 1983, a total of thirty-one years. This concluded the forty-six year partnership of the two families. Charles and his wife, Camille, moved into Fort Scott. Henry and Harriet moved to Kansas city. Both Charles Edmiston and Henry Freeman died within two weeks of one another in May/June of 1983.
My book Hard Times in the Heartland cover my dad’s life from 1933 to 1945. It’s available at Amazon.com here.