Sometimes at Burt County Museum a “little nugget” finds its way to the surface at just the right time to tell its story.
Back in 2016 Shirley DeVasure and Judy DeVasure Husk were clearing out the home of their parents, Warren and Hazel DeVasure of Tekamah. Shirley lives in Omaha and Judy lives in Cincinnati, so the girls stayed in the house during many visits while sifting through a lifetime of memories and “stuff.” It was no small task, as Hazel and Warren were “keepers.” The girls found toys Hazel had played with as a child, toys Warren had made, and many toys that Judy and Shirley had relished . . . among dishes, receipts, papers, square-dance photos, a tape measure Warren used while measuring buildings for the Burt County Assessor, as well as items from the days they farmed and raised thousands of chickens.
The girls gave the museum a receipt that was folded and yellowed. Charles DeVasure (Warren’s father) had written on the back: “This is what the Red Cross gave us for the flood.” It was a Schafer & Peck receipt dated 5-16-1952 to Charles which listed linoleum (?), rockers, table and chairs, metal bed, mattress, bed spring, Roll-a-Bed, metal cabinet and a used dresser. The DeVasures lived in Section 15 in North Arizona Township.
With recent flooding, I remembered cataloging the 1952 receipt and dug it out of the office file. I emailed a copy of it to Shirley with questions and she returned an email with what she remembered:
“The receipt that you sent was for the things that the Red Cross gave our grandparents, Charles and Eva DeVasure, after the 1952 flood. They lived about a quarter of a mile west of us. The water was up to the eaves of their house and they lost most everything.
We had more notice than they did this year. The hogs were moved to the Bromm farm in the hills. We put the couch on the long chest freezer and it even got water up on it. The walls had to be removed and replaced on the bottom five feet and the floors had to be replaced. It was quite a smell and we found lots of items under the floors, like silverware and dead animals (especially snakes). Judy and I attended school in the Methodist Church basement during the flood.
Luckily, our other grandparents, Elizabeth and Charles Gray, lived in Tekamah. The six of us (Charles, Eva, Warren, Hazel, Judy and Shirley) stayed with them. We had to have typhoid shots before we could go back home. We do not wish that MESS on anyone.”
As I returned the receipt to the museum’s folder marked “Floods,” I thought to myself: “I had better grab the strapping tape and reinforce the bottom of this folder . . . it’s about to burst!”
Memorials: Van and Bonnie Newell gave in memory of Eldon “Codge” Bucy, Ellen Crannell and Donna Hladky. John and Patty Wilson gave in memory of Garry Petersen and Ellen Crannell. Joan Schuler gave in memory of Robert Gill. Rhoda H. Holstine of Fremont gave in memory of JoAnn Nelson. Delilah M. Nelson of El Paso, Texas, gave in memory of Doris Stork Nelson. Leslie Fausset of Solana Beach, Calif., gave in memory of Leo and Amy Fausset and Gerald Fausset. Chuck and Nora Goll gave in memory of Joe Chapman of Blair, Vivian Thomas, Leona Grass, JoAnn Nelson, Corky Bottger and Jim Vornbrock.
Museum Hours: 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, or by appointment, 402-374-150.