Living in a Sod House in Kansas
Living in a Sod House in Kansas. In 1869, when the Trussells first lived in Kansas, they occupied a sod house much like the one shown above in the famous photograph taken by Solomon Butcher in Nebraska in the 1890's. This family is shown in front of their "soddy" with all their worldly belongings. One of Ray's favorite stories about living in a soddy on the great plains had to do with his Brother Calvin, who left the establishment in great haste one afternoon upon hearing that buffalo had been spotted nearby. His rapid exit apparently signaled a miraculous cure from a foot injury that had prevented him from participating in the family chores for most of that day and the day previous. The irony did not escape his younger siblings who had shouldered his duties in the meantime. Buffalo (American Bison) were fairly common on the Great Plains in 1869, but nearly disappeared during the time the Trussells lived in the area. First they were killed to reduce the risk to the railroad (strampedes had been known to derail trains). Later they were killed for their hides and left to rot in the sun. During the peak of this activity, nearly 3,000,000 buffalo were killed during a five year period.