"The House Where Gene Lives"
Story by Philip G. Parsons, June
It was Sunday, June 9, 1968, and all the Quint tribe were
invited to the big picnic out on the farm where Gene and JoAnn
and their four children live. Everybody planned to go and the
picnic baskets were filled with so many different kinds of
sandwiches, with strawberry pies, pickles, potato chips, fried
chicken, ham and everything that goes to make a wonderful family
Uncle Phil and Aunt Hazel were visiting from Colorado and
to ride with Bessie Morris, Florence and Jennie. Phil had asked
about Millbrook township and this would be his opportunity to see
it. We started early and rode a mile and a half south from Hill
City, turned west through 'Lovers Lane' and zigzagged on section
lines to the southwest. A point of interest was the Millbrook
schoolhouse, and near it a pile of native stone that is all that
is left of the Millbrook hotel. Next the bare, stone skeleton of
the Nettleton house stood to the south of our road, and a bit
further the early home of Harold Gilliland was pointed out on the
north side of the road.
Soon we turned south off of the road and down a sloping
lane to a big stone house among some trees, which was our
destination. We were greeted with greetings and laughter and
soon found that we were the first to arrive. JoAnn suggested a
tour of their home, the old Staggers place, and we were all so
pleased to look at it.
Photo of Gene & JoAnn, 1949 The house is of solid stone construction,
the walls are very thick and JoAnn told us you never feel any
wind no matter how strong, when 'in the safest place in the
country.' We became absorbed in the fine old building and the
tasteful way in which Gene and JoAnn have furnished it, and sure
enough one does not pay much attention to conditions outside, as
we later discovered it had started to rain hard and a very strong
wind whipped the raindrops into mist.
Such a large house required many square feet of carpeting
JoAnn had glued and sewed together many samples of fine carpet so
as to make very unusual patch work patterns, and had produced
fine carpets in a hit or miss pattern for many of the rooms all
about the house. The rooms are large with eleven foot ceilings.
On the second floor we saw a stairway which Gene said led to a
regular attic, then another platform higher up making it 17 feet
to the top of the great attic above the full two-story house.
The children were anxious to demonstrate how you slide down the
long, straight rail, and Gene remarked that many a Stagger's had
polished that rail.
Because of the rain which fell in torrents for a short
Elmer and Veva called and said they would wait and perhaps come
later, and the rain had started ahead of Delmar and Irma and
their family so they could not come. Charles Chipman also called
and was unable to make it account of the rain. After a short
wait, we decided the road was far too slick for anyone else to
make it, so we began a splendid picnic feast in JoAnn's kitchen,
which of course extended to all of the lower floors. Those
present were: Mrs. Florence Morris, Mrs. Jennie Dunwoody, Mrs.
Bessie Morris, Mrs. Leora Brenton, Mrs. Charles Chipman and
children, Mark and Paula, one of the Bethel girls with Paula,
Ralph and Mary Quint, son, Ronnie, Phil and Hazel Parsons, and
Gene and JoAnn Quint and their children, Charlotte, Carl, Vera,
and Earl. The lightning took out the power line, so we got
candles and a coal oil lantern. The candlelight added to the fun
and everyone filled their plates to overflowing as we filed by
cafeteria style and partly guessed what we were helping ourselves
to in partial darkness. Gene and JoAnn are grand as host and
hostess and we hall had a wonderful time.
Since it had rained hard, the dirt road was very slick
Gene reassured us that his four-wheel drive school bus would go
anyplace in any weather. We decided it would be best to get home
early, so Ronnie was pressed into service as driver for Mrs.
Bessie Morris, and Ralph took over for Avis. Gene broke trail
and two cars followed. Our car lost some momentum at about the
middle of the big hill, and waited until Gene backed down to us
and hooked on. With only a tiny pull on the main hill, we made
it fine over all the hills and dales to the main highway, where
Bessie took over. Avis then took over in her car and Ralph and
Ronnie returned with Gene to get their pick-up and Mary. We
wouldn't have missed this trip in the mud for anything! We all
talked about old times when roads were mostly mud and when it
rained - long before the days of black top and super highways.
Personally, it called to mind a day when we were returning home
to Colby, after a visit with the folks in Hill City. At that
time the road ran along the banks south of the river and it had
rained, and our Dodge turned crosswise of the road and proceeded
to slide sidewise down a very long hill. Ray was the baby then
and riding in the back seat. Hazel reached over and grabbed him,
and we all hung on for dear life. Finally, the car suddenly
swung into the ruts still right side up, and the excitement was
The Quint family picnics are always major events, and we
sure this one will rank with the rest as one of the high points
of our recent visit to Graham County, Kansas.
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