Almina Nickel was a farm girl from Ohio as she was born in Williams County in 1872. She lived with her parents, Jim and Mary Emily, along with her sister and three brothers. Just an ordinary girl with ordinary dreams, just a young school girl…until an adventure beckoned her family.
Her grandfather John had made a proposition with her father. It was now 1880, and John’s wife had passed away. He was getting antsy and filled with a desire to move on. Would Jim and his family be willing to join up as a team and take a wagon train to Kansas? The Homestead Act was offering 160 acres free to any applicant if the land could be settled within five years. Why to eight year old Almina that sounded astonishing…where was Kansas? A life on a wagon train seemed like a magical tour to Almina, but the family had been warned that the trip would be long and unrelenting. If they could make it to Kansas, grandfather John was willing to finance the move and the land.
They made it to Osborne County, Kansas, in that year. Before them, spread grassy plains. A few buffalo still remained…powerful giants grazing as they witnessed the young girl studying them. Vast farmland welcomed them. A one roomed schoolhouse awaited Almina along with children to meet as friends.
The years passed, and Almina was 19. She married a local farmer whose family had settled in Osborne County several years before hers. Her husband was Washington “Wash” Storer, and they became the parents of eight children. Her third and fourth babies were twins (a boy and a girl), and they were born in a cave on the farm! Their two story farmhouse had yet to be built.
Through the years, Almina loved to bake, crochet, and quilt. There was always a tin of sugar cookies waiting for visitors in the pantry. She belonged to a monthly quilting club, Riverside Busy Bee Club, where she and her lady friends gathered together for lunch, chitchat, and sewing. She learned to drive the family Model T. She was a wife and mother known for her hospitality to neighbors. She especially enjoyed having young people visit. In her final years, the widowed Almina lived in California with her daughter.
Almina Nickel Storer was my great grandmother. Her baby boy twin born in a cave was my grandfather Andrew Earl Storer. And so, A is for Almina.