Diary Entry 1: Francesca Stockwell, April 4, 2018
Dear Diary, I have always been curious to know more about where my family came because it helps develop an identity and appreciate them. Since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by American history and always wondered how my
ancestors survived times like the Great Depression. I am currently taking an advanced writing course that has pushed me to conduct research on my family and what their daily life might have consisted of. I have used resources like ancestry.com through the University’s website to find valuable information about my Great Grandfather, Emmett William Rossiter. Emmett was a family man, father of eight children, husband to June and a faithful Catholic. I am curious about his daily life, being the father of so many children and his relationship with each child but especially with his daughter June.
Diary Entry 2: Emmett Rossiter, May 12, 1935
Dear Diary, Today marks year five of the Great Depression. I am currently living in Hartington, Nebraska, with my loving wife June who made me breakfast this morning before I headed off to work at the Stars Bank of Winnebago. I am a bank product manager and work for Christopher J. Abbott, one of the richest men in Nebraska right now. He’s a wealthy owner and rancher raising cattle to keep the money flowing. When Christopher came into the office last week to check on his accounts, he told us about life on the ranch and how he stays afloat during a time where money is tight. Christopher said, “As long as I have cows to birth calves, hay to feed, and access to water, my herd continues to grow.” Even though the prices of cattle have now dropped to $17.50 a head, more have been produced this year than ever before(“Beef Goes Modern”). I am eternally grateful to work for this steady bank company and still make enough money to provide for my family.
Diary Entry 3: June Rossiter May 13, 1935
Dear Diary, today is a special day. I am competing to become the Aksarben princess. I can finally participate now that I am sixteen years old. The purpose of the Aksarben foundation is to influence change in heartland communities for the betterment of education, agriculture, and growth in the economy (“Aksarben Foundation”). I hope my Daddy, Emmett, can make it because I am doing this partially for him. He has been my family’s rock since I was born and I want to make him proud. If I win the title of Aksarben Princess, I will hold the title of Princess for the entire year and bring recognition and honor to my family due to their hard work in this community. I will also win a scholarship, which I would save for my education because I want to go to college.
Diary Entry 4: June Welch (Wife) May 14, 1935
Dear Diary, I feel fortunate enough to stay at home and take care of my children while Emmett is at work. I get letters from family and friends telling me about how money is tight and they are struggling to put food on the table for their family. Before I married Emmett, I was struggling to rub two pennies together and find my place in such a small town. As soon as we met I knew him was the one for me. I struggled with many hardships in my life including my faith in God. I felt abandoned by Him and didn’t know what authentic love was until Emmett and I started dating. He brought me into the Catholic Church where I felt the love of Christ for the first time in my entire life. I converted to the faith and now attend mass weekly with my children and teach them how to pray the rosary. Emmett taught me that life is going to be full of hardships but with Christ in your life, you can experience true joy amongst the struggle and be satisfied by His love and spirit. We attend Saint Michael’s parish weekly for Sunday mass and community gatherings to get to know the community more and their needs so we can help in any way we can.
Diary Entry 5: Francesca Stockwell, April 5, 2018
Dear Diary, I am thankful for the life I have today. If it wasn’t for my ancestors who worked hard and invested their time and faith into their children, like my grandmother June Rossiter Stockwell, I don’t know where I’d or if I’d be here today. Even though I don’t have any real memories with my grandmother, I feel close to her in a spiritual sense. For instance, when I traveled to Mexico City to serve the poor, I felt her presence strongly than to guide me and teach me how to be a humble servant of Christ. Anytime I felt overwhelmed or was struggling greatly in my life, I would find a picture of her holding me at my baptism or just think of her. June has been a vessel of true peace in my life and can’t thank my great-grandparents, June and Emmett, enough for raising such an outstanding woman.
Diary Entry 6: Emmett Rossiter, May 14, 1935
Dear Diary, Last night I got to witness my beautiful daughter June receive the Aksarben princess award. It was an honor to witness and be recognized for the work our family has done in our community of Hartington, Nebraska. During this time of year in the sand hills, the many cattle are sold off to ranchers, which means our paychecks receive a minor raise from Christopher. With that extra money, I usually like to give back and not keep it for myself. At the ball tonight, our family was recognized for our public service to the poor people living in our community. During this time many people, especially farmers in our community don’t have an income because they don’t have the money to afford plants and fertilizer. To help them out I buy a small amount of what they need or just give their family a meal for the day. They are always appreciative and don’t let humility stop them from receiving.
Diary Entry 7: June Rossiter May 14, 1935
Dear Diary, I WON the Aksarben Princess! My brothers, sisters, Momma and Daddy were all there to support me. It was one of the best days of my life! As a princess in this organization, I represent my family who is being honored for their contribution to the region. I especially want to thank my Daddy because he always taught me how important it is to give back to the community and offer your service to others. I am want to thank my Momma, June Welch for making my sparkly navy blue dress with a silk ribbon around the waist. I hope I can inspire my sister to keep the family tradition going and be apart of the Aksarben Ball. Next year, I am going to run for Aksarben Queen.
Diary Entry 8: Francesca Stockwell, April 6, 2018
Dear Diary, Through researching Emmett’s life and speaking with my family members, I have learned incredible details about my great-grandfather and his service to others less fortunate than him during the Great Depression. Emmett wasn’t wealthy by any means but was able to stand on his own two feet. He was a family man not only to his wife and children but also to the people in his community. He lived to serve and served well. He died in 1951 at the age of 62 and is buried at Saint Michael’s cemetery where the rest of his family including my grandmother June grave. He left a great legacy through his children and community of Hartington, Nebraska. Rest in Peace Emmitt and June Rossiter.
“Beef Goes Modern: Great Depression.” Nebraska Studies.org. Nebraska Studies.org.
http://www.nebraskastudies.org/ April 2, 2018
“Find a Grave: Memorials.” Findagrave.com.https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/120166704/emmett-william-rossiter April 3, 2018.
“Aksarben Foundation: Community Initiatives” aksarben.org. AKSARBEN Foundation. https://www.aksarben.org April 3, 2018