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Nininger Moment #8 The Brenham Meteorite

Back in the middle to late 1800’s as cowboys rode their horses across the prairie in what is now Kiowa County, they came across from time to time heavy black rocks scattered across the buffalo grass. There were no other such stones found else where so the black stones were a bit out of place. The stones were often used for weight lifting and shot-put demonstrations. At the end of the nineteenth century Frank Kimberly brought his wife Eliza Jane to homestead the area. One of the first things she noticed was the black rusty rocks that were about in the area. She informed her husband that the rocks were not ordinary but rather meteorites and began to keep a pile of them near the house they had made. She was often laughed at and kidded as the pile grew larger. The rocks were considered somewhat useful for a number of chores that the locals had in the area as no other rocks were around.

As a child in Iowa she and her class were taken to a railroad station to view a great meteorite in transport to an eastern museum. The experience was one she had not forgotten and how the meteorite had looked to her when she was quite young. As Frank plowed the prairie ground he would often plough up new specimens and Eliza would drag them back to the pile, although this was beginning to become an irritation to him as the pile grew. Eliza wrote a number of letters to various places in hopes of finding someone that might be interested in her meteorites. Finally after five years a Dr. F.W. Cragen at Washburn College in Kansas agreed to look at the collection. When he arrived he was amazed and delighted at the pile of specimens and paid her several hundred dollars for the better half of the specimens. This sell was enough to buy a neighboring property where more of the specimens were found. As word got out, other scientists followed Dr. Cragen’s lead and came to buy specimens and a brisk market was generated for a number of years. Frank had quickly changed his tune after the first sell his wife had made, and went out prospecting on a more regular basis. Over a ton and a half had been sold just past the turn of the century by the Kimberly’s Their place was known as the Kansas Meteorite Farm

Nininger had met the Kimberly’s in 1923 and bought many specimens from them as no interest had been made in regards to the remaining specimens for some twenty years. This increased Nininger’s young collection at the time and help him finance other searches during that time. More than three and a half tons total had been recovered from the Brenham fall and no doubt more picked up and not recorded. In 1929 while visiting the Kimberly’s on their farm Nininger discovered that some of the masses were in a buffalo wallow which peaked his interest of a possible meteorite crater. Nininger was shown a shallow depression that was forty feet wide. The rim around the edge peak his interest even more. Nininger later went back and excavation the crater called Haviland using teams of horses and road scrapers. Each time the crater was cut and scraped detailed information was noted of features and places meteorites were found as well as weights and condition of specimens which were mostly falling apart by their stay on Earth in a wet environment. The crater formed an elongated bowl of such. Nininger went on to write several papers on meteorite craters even though at the time they were not well established. One such paper at the American Association For The Advancement Of Science in 1933 was titled Meteor Craters vs Steam blowouts.

Source: Find A Falling Star By H.H. Nininger

The Nininger Moments are articles or books written originally by Harvey Nininger and put into a consolidated form by Al Mitterling. Some of the items written in the moments might be old out dated material and the reader is advised to keep this in mind.

–AL Mitterling

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