The Lone Tree that gave this Farm its name was supposedly a landmark for travelers and possibly a boundary marker between Native American territories. Located about a quarter mile north of the state line between Minnesota and Iowa, it probably was a useful way for people to locate themselves back before global positioning systems (GPS) were even dreamed of. And, it’s provided inspiration for a variety of art over six generations.
Hattie Shurr homesteaded the Farm and did a large number of paintings, including this one of the Lone Tree. The tree died and fell down in the early 1930s and she passed away in 1928, so this oil painting was part of her work in the first couple decades of the twentieth century. The perspective is looking south from a position on the north side of the Creek. The old photograph on the right was taken from that same location and may have provided the image that she worked from.
Both of these paintings were based on photographs. The oil painting on the left was done by Agatha Shurr who was Hattie’s granddaughter. Aggie lived in North Dakota, but she did visit the Farm and took a photo of two of Hattie’s great-great grandchildren playing in the Creek very near where the Lone Tree once stood. The watercolor on the right was done by our friend in St. Cloud, MN, who was a refugee from Viet Nam in the 1970s. He worked from a black and white photograph looking off to the west of the Lone Tree’s location.
I did this pen and ink drawing for my parents in 1971 and I’m Hattie’s great-grandson. The photograph on the right is of the only remaining cottonwood tree on the Farm. It’s located in about the same place as where the person stood taking the old photo that Hattie used for her oil painting. The view is to the west; the Lone Tree stood just to the left this living tree. We like to think that this is the offspring of the original Lone Tree. Margaret took this photograph as well as all of the others in this post.
Our two granddaughters did these pictures before they were ten years old. They are Hattie’s great-great-great granddaughters and have continued the family tradition of making images of the Lone Tree. Both of the girls worked from some of the pictures shown earlier in this post, using colored pencils and charcoal. And, both of these images obviously show the tree after it has died because there are no leaves. But, both of these two girls are still very much alive and so is Hattie’s heritage of doing art along Kanaranzi Creek.
Here’s a word of explanation about people’s names. This blog never uses the names of folks who are still alive because of the risks associated with digital “exposure”. In contrast, the names of people who have passed away are used so that there’s a potential for recovery in genealogical searches.