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Friends and Fancies #102

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Bob M

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2005
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northern Nebraska Sandhills
by Bob Moreland
Merriman’s Security First banker, Loretta Fish, and I have had quite a project going this week. Last week I bought Rapid City’s Walmart store out of 8 and one half by 11 inch picture frames and had Sybil get what the Chadron store had. They totaled 47. Two had broken glass so haven’t been able to use them until I get some help from Jefco. 45 pictures are now labeled and put in frames and Loretta has most of them hung. I felt guilt ridden taking all those pictures in but did volunteer to help put them up. Loretta thought she could handle it. It looked to me like a monumental task. I figured a person would probably have to stretch a string across the wall and measure where to hang each picture. I took 22 in that day and had 16 more ready for the next day. I was very surprised that Loretta already had the first 22 hanging in perfect symmetrical order. I asked about her method. She said she didn’t have a method, that she just put them up “by guess and by gosh”. Surveyor’s instruments would prove her accuracy!
Loretta doesn’t think small. Now she has uncovered some impressive pictures of the Merriman bank’s history. They are large professionally taken pictures of bank presidents through the years starting with Captain E. M. Fuller who came from England. He had a sail boat which he took passengers on pleasure trips across the English Channel to other European countries. In 1896 he and his wife decided to sell their sail boat and come to America. They heard about homestead land and free range being available and located on Bear Creek, just north of Merriman, known by most local people as the Bates place, since owned by the Sandoz family and now by John Fairhead. Captain Fuller wasn’t an experienced rancher and didn’t feel it necessary to put up hay and lost many of his longhorn cattle the first winter. He decided upon the need of a bank in Merriman and built one of cut sandstone on the west side of Main Street. He patterned his cattle brand after the anchor on his sail boat which also gave him a name for his new bank.
The bank prospered. In 1909 the Fullers decided to move to California and sold the bank to the Metzger brothers and George Shadbolt. It was that ownership that built the present larger bank building on the east side of Main Street. Chris and Leroy Abbott bought the bank in the mid l940s. The name eventually changed from the Anchor Bank to the Abbott Bank. Abbotts sold to Community First in 1995 and Security First purchased it from them in 2001. Bank president pictures hanging in the gallery are Captain Fuller, Al Metzger, Chris Abbott, Leroy Abbott and Paul Hefti.
There is room for still more pictures. Anyone, in the area, having pictures they’d like to display in this permanent gallery can send them to me. I will have them enlarged to fit the frames and label them according to your instruction. My address is Box 8, Merriman, NE 69218. $5.00 per picture will cover expenses.
The Willow Tree Festival XXII is now history. It is traditionally held in the beautiful Gordon City Park. I attended Saturday and saw the performances of the Newcastle Hand Bell Choir; Prairie Strings, a family group from Broken Bow; The Triple F Trio from Rushville; Lacie Rose, Wyoming gal doing original poetry and songs; The Denver A Cappella Project and Mixed Voice Ensemble; Abbey Someone, Hard Hitting Americans from the Heartland, and The Wild Clover Band of Irish Music.
A wide assortment of crafts were on display and for sale from a wide area. Many hours of talented craftsmanship were represented. Several local organization had food booths. Those Presbyterian Philly Sandwiches are hard to beat. I got hooked on them several “Willow Trees” ago so haven’t had room for food from other organizations. Its all got to be good to compete!
Just watched the Lawrence Welk Show on Public Television.
Jim Lambley, if you’d substitute that kind of music, in place of the “Golden Oldies”, I’d leave my radio on KSDZ all night!

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