NAME: Minor
COUNTY: Rawlins
CLIMATE: Snow in winter, hot in summer
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime - call ahead to B&B
COMMENTS: This spacious 2-bedroom sod house, with 24 inch thick walls, is nestled in the historic Beaver Creek valley of Rawlins County , Kansas. Located 17 miles north of the Brewster (#35) exit of Interstate 70, the farmstead is surrounded by native pastures, farm animals, abundant wildlife, clean air, unsurpassed sunsets, and beautiful starry nights.
REMAINS: Sod house (was a post office), dugout site is marked
The Minor Sod House was constructed in the fall of 1907 or spring of 1908 on the SW1/4 of 20-5-36 in Rawlins Co., Ks. This land was originally the timber claim, #2384, of Samuel Dunlap; and a patent was received by his heirs on Sept 7, 1901. According to Isaphene (Dunlap) Lesher, her grandfather Samuel, with his parents Lewis and Letty, wife Icyphene, and two infant daughters arrived in Rawlins County in August of 1887. They lived in a sod house on the site, but not the one that is on the location now. Samuel and his father both died in 1892. In 1895, according to the census, the widowed Icyphene continued to live on the land with her mother-in-law, three children, and her new husband John C. Welch, a school teacher. In 1900, Icyphene Welch sold the land to C. P. Dewey before she had proved up and received the patent on the land. C. P. Dewey was a Chicago banker, owner of the Oak Ranch, and the father of Chauncey Dewey of the “Dewey-Berry Feud” fame. From 1903 to 1906, there were several ownership transfers recorded by Dewey, his wife, and several business associates of Dewey. In October of 1906, John Forrest bought the quarter-section of land. Forrest sold the land to Sidney Graves on March 1, 1907. Sidney Graves sold the property with a “one-year-old house” to Tom Minor in January, 1909.n January of 1909, Tom and Mary Minor bought the land with the sod house. In March of that same year with the six youngest of their 12 children, they moved from a farm in Fullerton, Nebraska to Rawlins County. Tom had farmed and owned a butcher shop and grocery store at Fullerton. He was fifty three years old and wanted to raise cattle, horses, and alfalfa. Since land was cheaper in Rawlins County, Kansas than it was in Nance County, Nebraska, he decided to move to Kansas. The sod house, although refined over older sod constructions, was not Mary's picture of a dream home. There were no trees around the house. It had only 4 rooms, and the inside walls were "rough plastered". When Mary saw the sod house, she wanted to return to Nebraska where she had a nice two story frame house. She had also left half her children and friends of 11 years. But the family went to work and made the house into a comfortable home. The coarse plaster was removed and replaced with smooth plaster. A wood frame addition was attached to the east side to accommodate a kitchen pantry and another bedroom. For heat, they added a "Round Oak" stove in the parlor; and they had a large "Home Comfort" stove to use for cooking, baking, and heating in the kitchen. In 1910, Tom opened a Post Office in the soddy; and Minor, Kansas was on the map. Tom and Mary lived comfortably in the sod house until Tom's death in 1944. Mary continued to live in the soddy until she moved to Goodland, Kansas in 1949. Tom and Mary's youngest daughter and son-in-law, Dorothy and Jess Yankey, lived in the soddy from 1949 until the early 1950's when they moved into a frame house just south of the soddy. The soddy had various uses after they moved into their new home, including being used as a chicken house. In 1955, the land and soddy were sold to Buell and Ruth Briney. Buell is a grandson of Tom and Mary Minor. From 1955 until December of 2001, the house has been occasionally used by visiting family, clubs, churches, students, scouts, and hunters. In December of 2001, after extensive repairs and remodeling, it was opened to the public as the Minor Family Sod House Bed and Breakfast by Fred and Lesa Juenemann. Lesa is a great-granddaughter of Tom and Mary Minor. In January of 2005, the Minor Sod House was listed in the National Register of Historical Places. Written by the daughter of B&B owners, and great-great granddaughter of Tom & Mary Minor. Submitted by: Chelsey Juenemann

The Minor Sod House is on the National Register of Historic Places
Courtesy Chelsey Juenemann

The Minor family who settled Minor, KS
Courtesy Chelsey Juenemann

The Minor Sod House as it looks in 2008
Courtesy Chelsey Juenemann

Antique machinery on the site
Courtesy Chelsey Juenemann