A Great Bend Youth :The Diaries of O.V. Dodge, 1876-1878 by Anna Morddel
In 1876 Orion V. Dodge was seventeen. Just starting out in life in the brand new town of Great Bend, Kansas, he bought a diary to celebrate and record the year of the nation's first centennial. His diaries tell of his struggles to find work, to establish himself in the adult world, as well as of his social life. He grows from a lonely and unsure boy working in a railway hotel to a confident young man taking business trips to Kansas City. His entries are pithy, his comments laconic. These diaries are a simple chronicle of life in Great Bend in its first years. For genealogical purposes, their value is in the mention of over 175 names. For research purposes, one finds a significant amount on the activities of an early farmers' supply store, and on small town social life, visiting lecturers and theatrical troupes. Literary the diaries are not, but they are a window on a prairie town at its beginnings and on the character of an endearing young adult in that town.