She grew up at the Harn Homestead. Then she came back to share the stories

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- For most visitors the Harn Family Homestead is something from history.

For Liz Wise, that history is her own.

"I lived in what was called the 'little house'," she says. "It was idyllic. We'd ride our bikes all around through the oil field. We never worried about anything or anybody. It was great."

William Fremont Harn was the man who moved here from Ohio and received this farm for his efforts at sorting through competing land claims after the Run of '89.

He moved a small house to the property then built a bigger one for his wife Alice.

Harn and another man sold off pieces of their property to make way for what would become the state capital.

"There were five of us," says Wise of the time she lived at the Harn. "My father, mother, my sister Lu, and my grandmother."

Liz and her family moved to the homestead in the 1950's to help take care of her Aunt 'Flozie', Florence Wilson, William Harn's niece.

"Florence Wilson lived in the big, yellow house," explains Liz. "In my lifetime she lived there by herself."

Liz and her sister grew up in the little house, played in the woods, rode bikes to the capital, and absorbed the family history whether she wanted to or not.

Another visitor remarks, "You hear the echoes right?"

"I do," she replies. "That's a good way of putting it. It's comforting for me to be able to come back here."

When her Aunt 'Flozie' gave the homestead to Oklahoma City the last of the Harns moved off the place.

Generations of school kids took field trips to the homestead.

Thousands of couples were married here.

What the staff lacked were the personal stories Liz and her generation still had to share.

Homestead director Melessa Gregg says, "anytime we can we can kind of color that in and get a better story, we like that."

Not long ago Liz took her grand-daughter on a tour of the Harn Homestead.

She re-connected with the current staff.

Their conversations immediately opened new facets of the family story filled with the kinds of personal anecdotes often lost among the actual relics.

The surviving members of William Harn have promises to share more stories and pictures with the current Homestead staff.

For more information about the Harn Homestead go to

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