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1943: Lars Larson happy about immigrating

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on Aug. 26, 1943.
Claims made by friends that the United States was the ideal spot on the globe to live tempted Lars Larson, Hardwick, to leave his home at Aal Hallingdal, Norway, and come to this country. That their claims were not exaggerated in Mr. Larson’s mind was evidenced by the fact that he borrowed money to send for the remainder of the family the following year.
Mr. Larson was born January 12, 1863, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Knute Larson. His parents were farmers, living about 18 miles from the capital city of Oslo. Although he was only what is now a short driving distance from the capital, he never saw it until he embarked for the United States in 1882.
He attended school in Norway and stated that classes were held in the various homes of the community until later when a school building was built. The schoolmaster would room and board at his home where the classes were being conducted, and when the classes would be moved, he would move, too. Although children learned to read and write and do arithmetic, religion was one of the main subjects.
After he was confirmed, he began working away from home on farms. A day’s work was begun before sunrise and ended after sunset. Sometimes, when they went into the forests to get their wood for their winter fuel supply, they would start from home at about 2 a.m.
His arrival in this country was delayed by ice off the banks of Newfoundland. When the ship neared the shore, huge ice floes surrounded it, and for 11 days, it made little or no progress. What little headway was gained by the ship during the day was lost at night as the ice floated out to sea. Seals were thick in the vicinity he recalls, many of them sunning themselves on the ice close to the ship. The vessel finally docked at Quebec, and from there, he went by train to Claremont, Iowa, where he had friends.
He worked there seven years, and then at the late Rasmus Halvorson farm for about two years He bought some land in Battle Plain township, paying $12 per acre for 80 acres. Later he added another 80 acres for which he paid $30 per acre.
On June 24, 1897, he was married at the Blue Mound church to Barbara Julia Roen, and they farmed in Battle Plain township until 1914 when they moved to Luverne. After five years in town, they moved back to the farm, lived there one year, and then sold it and moved to Hardwick which has since been their home.
Many changes have taken place in farming methods, as well as in modes of living, says Mr. Larson. In the early days he would come to Luverne to do business because there was no such thing at that time as a village of Hardwick or Kenneth. Coming a distance of 10 or 12 miles with a team and wagon was not an everyday occurrence, Larson states, and when one did come to town, he did his business in a hurry and began the trip home.
He has walked behind various types of walking cultivators, plows, etc., and has helped bind grain on an old-fashioned harvester where two men had to tie the grain as fast as it was cut with a sickle.
During all his years of farming, he never had what could be termed a complete crop failure. Although there were some years when crops were small, there was always something that was raised for feed, even the year when there was a heavy frost late in June.
Mrs. Larson, who was born Nov. 28, 1869, in Mitchell county, Iowa, is credited by Mr. Larson as being the real pioneer of the family. She came to Rock county with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arne Roen by ox team and covered wagon in 1871. Their covered wagon was their home until her father broke sod and built a sod house that summer on his homestead, just east of the Blue Mound church. Later they “went modern” and lived in a stone cellar.
They twisted slough hay for fuel and often saw prairie fires sweep over the ground, cutting huge black swaths as the flames roared forward with the wind. She also remembers the year of the grasshopper plague how the swarms covered the sun, and ate everything in sight.
(Larson's story continues next week.)

1943: Cora Mitchell shares life story with Diamond Club

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on Aug. 19, 1943.
“When the Kiebach family moved from Iowa to Rock county,” declared Mrs. William Mitchell, Luverne, I thought they were going to clear out of the world. Then as fate would have it, I moved here too, and found that it was a civilized place after all.”
Distances, she explained, were much greater then than they are now, and when someone went as far away from Benton county, Iowa, to Rock County, Minnesota, it seemed as if they were going into an altogether different world.
Mrs. Mitchell was born Cora Maude Brode, the daughter of David D. and Mary Brode, in Homer township, Benton county, on June 1 1867. The Kiebach family, the Strassburg family, and several other families who now live in Rock county were neighbors of the Brodes before they came to Minnesota to live. The Brode family, however, did not leave Iowa, and it was not until after Mrs. Mitchell was married that her husband just by chance was assigned the position of depot agent here. Thus it was that after a period of 25 years, she and the people she knew during her childhood, were brought together again in a new and different community.
Mrs. Mitchell was born on a farm and attended country school. She and a twin sister finished school at the same time, and when her sister decided to continue her studies and become a school teacher, Mrs. Mitchell went to Van Horn, Iowa, to learn the dressmaker’s trade.
Living on the farm as she did, she learned to so many of the common farm tasks. She states that she helped milk cows until she was 22 years old, and she believes that she can still bind grain the old fashioned way. Although it was not necessary for her to bind grain when she was a girl, she often did it because the other girls in the community did, and she wanted to be able to do the same as they did.
When she was a girl attending country schools, she often saw Indians from the Tama reservation when they would go to attend their regular “pow-wows” at Shellsburg. “Lots of times,” Mrs. Mitchell states, “the Indians with their horses and equipment would be strung out over a distance of a mile. The old chieftain would be riding the lead pony, and he always had a gun lying across his saddle. Following behind, some on foot, and some on ponies, were the squaws, braves and the papooses. Although they were civilized, Mrs. Mitchell states she’d always try to get as far away from them as she could. They knew she was frightened, and would joke about it amongst themselves. “People said they were on their way to have their annual dog feast,” Mrs. Mitchell states. “After being gone for some time, they’d all come back the same way as they went.”
There were considerable movements of immigrants at that time, too, she states, and she recalls seeing covered wagons going by their home on their way to Nebraska where there was still free land for those who wanted to homestead.
She was about 17 or 18 when she went to Van Horn to learn dress making. Her mother was an excellent seamstress, and from her she acquired the desire to learn how to sew. She sewed by the day for a long time, earning 50 cents a day. Although that sounds very meager in this day and age, Mrs. Mitchell explained that in those days, 50 cents went a long ways. Living costs were very low; eggs for instance, being only six cents per dozen. Corn was only 20 cents a bushel, and many of the people burned it as fuel as they had more corn than wood, and more heat could be obtained out of a dollar’s worth of coal.
After working by the day some time she went to Dysart, Iowa, where she worked in a dress-making shop for 75 cents a day. This job didn’t appeal to her, so she finally quit and married William Mitchell, then a telegraph operator, who boarded at the same place as she did.
They were married Dec. 23, 1891, in the house in which Mrs. Mitchell was born, and after that, they moved from one point to another in Iowa, wherever Mr. Mitchell was assigned by the railroad company. Their first home in Minnesota was at Ellsworth in 1906, when Mr. Mitchell was assigned as yardmaster there. Ellsworth was then a booming railroad town.
The Mitchell children were small then, and during the years she lived there, Mrs. Mitchell states that she worked the hardest she has ever worked. Baking and sewing for several children never gave her time to get into mischief, she states.
From Ellsworth, they moved to Watertown, and in 1918, they came to Luverne, which has since been their home.
Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell had seven children, six of whom are living now. They are Lawrence, of Minneapolis; Gertrude, of of Napa, Calif.; Harold, of Luverne, Dorothy (Mrs. Sam Bly) of Valley Springs; James, who is serving somewhere in the China-Burma-India war theater and Delmar, who lives in Luverne.
Mrs. Mitchell also has 10 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. One grandson, Edwin, makes his home with the Mitchells.
Of a family of five, Mrs. Mitchell, and one brother, Daniel Brode, of Myrtle Point, Ore. are the only ones living.
During the time she has lived in Luverne, Mrs. Mitchell has been an active member of the Methodist church, and at present is a member of the Fireside Circle, a women’s organization of the church. She is also a member of the Eastern Star.
Her hobby is doing fancy work of all kinds. At one time, she raised canary birds as a hobby, but has discontinued that during latter years.
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to mannmade@iw.net.

1943: Wahlert settles in Luverne Township in 1895

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on Aug. 5, 1943.
(continuation of the interview with Jacob Wahlert of Luverne)
Two of his brothers left home before he did, and came to this country, and they were so impressed by the United States that they sent him money to come here, too.
“Father was a working man,” Mr. Walhert explained, “and once a working man there, you were always a working man. You never had a chance to get ahead. I didn’t like the idea of working all my life for practically nothing, so I decided I could do no worse here, so I took a chance and came to America.”
In making the trip to this country, Mr. Walhert managed to get a stateroom in the middle of the ship. While the ends of the ship went up and down over the waves, the center of the vessel remained quite stationary and for that reason, he didn’t become seasick. After about 12 days on the ocean, they steamed into New York harbor. “Boy it was surely good to see land,” he said. “If you are accustomed to being on land, and then don’t see it for a while, it really looks good to you.”
A person had to do a lot of work for what he got in that pioneer era, according to Mr. Wahlert, even though America was then and is now, the land of promise. The working day on the farm began at 4 a.m. with the morning chores, and ended about 10 p.m. with the evening chores.
“People have changed a lot in the last 40 years, however,” Mr. Wahlert states, “and there’s an awful big difference in the way they live. Working half the night was a lot of foolishness. Get out early in the morning and then quit when supper time comes — that’s the way I think one gets along the best. When I first came to this country, though, everybody seemed to be working from daylight until dark.”
Mr. Wahlert settled first in 1884, in Iowa county, Iowa. The first grain binders had just come out then, and although clumsy, were a big improvement over the “self-rake.” Bundles were tied with wire, not with twine, and at threshing time, someone had to stand with a pair of nippers to cut the wire bands before the grain went into the threshing machine. About 12 head of horses were hitched to a horsepower which provided the motivating power for the rig. If any job was ever hard on horses, that was, Mr. Wahlert said. After they became obsolete, the steam rigs were used. Like anyone who has had anything to do with a steam threshing rig, Mr. Wahlert still likes the sight of black smoke puffing skyward, the sound of the whistle and the smell of steam and hot oil.
Mr. Wahlert came to Rock county in 1895, working first on a farm as a month laborer. That fall, he obtained a job with a threshing crew at $1.25 a day and helped the county until the latter part of October.
He began farming for himself in 1896 on a place in Luverne township, southeast of the county farm. On Nov. 20 of that year, he was married to Dora Bendt, in Luverne, by the late Judge Webber.
After they were married, they moved to the northeast quarter of section eight. Luverne township, about two miles west of Luverne, and lived there 12 years before buying the southeast quarter of section 35, range 46, in Springwater township, which was the Wahlert home until they sold out and moved to Luverne a year ago last March.
Although busy with his own affairs, Mr. Wahlert found time to serve as road boss in Luverne township during 1904, 1905 and 1906. While living in Springwater township, he served about 18 years on the school board of district 46 and held that position at the time he moved to Luverne.
Of a family of four boys and one girl, Mr. Wahlert is the only one living.
He has 25 grandchildren.
 
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to mannmade@iw.net.

1943: Wahlert claims he holds two county records

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on Aug. 5, 1943.
Jacob Wahlert, Luverne, holds two county records and both records are worthy of note. First he is the father of 16 children, all of whom are now adults and living in various parts of the United States. Secondly, he claims the record of having more sons in the service of their country than any other father in this country. At the present time, five Wahlert boys are in uniform, and it is expected that two others will be called to the colors in the future.
Rearing a large family as Mr. Wahlert and his wife did was a job in itself; but it was a pleasant task, not a drudgery, Mr. Wahlert states. One of the secrets of their success, however, was the fact that they lived on a farm all the time the children were all at home. “There was plenty of work for them to do,” Mr. Wahlert said, “and plenty of space for them to play in so we always got along just fine.”
Mollie, the oldest, is now Mrs. George Blomnell, who lives in Minneapolis. George lives on a farm in Mound township. Rose is Mrs. Alfred Staeffler of Battle Plain township. William F. Wahlert lives in Dayton, Ohio, and Elizabeth lives with her parents at home. Cpl. Alfred Wahlert is stationed with the army at Warrenton, Pa. Harry and Raymond live in Cincinnati. Jacob, Jr. is serving with the U.S. Navy in California; Mamie, now Mrs. Dick Schmuck, lives in Luverne township; Mildred, Mrs. Dick Brewer, lives at Adrian; Sgt. John Walhert is serving with the army in North Africa; Ralph lives in Minneapolis; Pvt. Harvey Walhert is with the army at Boca Baton, Fla.; Pfc. Arlo Wahlert is stationed at Carolina Beach, North Carolina, and Dorothy, Mrs. William Lutt Jr., resides in Springwater township, Rock county.
Mr. Wahlert has been a resident of Rock county for nearly a half a century, and until moving to Luverne a year ago last spring, he had been a farmer all his life.
He was born in Germany April, 17, 1868, the son of John and Mollie Haack Wahlert. He lived with his parents until he was 16 years of age, attending school, and working out away from home as soon as he was able. In Germany, Mr. Walhert said, there were “no ifs or ands about it”, everybody between the ages of 7 and 14 attended school during the winter months. During the summer vacations, usually about four months in duration, he helped on farms, usually receiving about $10 for his summer’s work. However, even during the summer months, he had to go to school two forenoons a week.
Two of his brothers left home before he did, and came to this country, and they were so impressed by the United States that they sent him money to come here, too.
“Father was a working man,” Mr. Walhert explained, “and once a working man there, you were always a working man. You never had a chance to get ahead. I didn’t like the idea of working all my life for practically nothing, so I decided I could do no worse here, so I took a chance and came to America.”
In making the trip to this country, Mr. Walhert managed to get a stateroom in the middle of the ship. While the ends of the ship went up and down over the waves, the center of the vessel remained quite stationary and for that reason, he didn’t become seasick. After about 12 days on the ocean, they steamed into New York harbor. “Boy it was surely good to see land,” he said. “If you are accustomed to being on land, and then don’t see it for a while, it really looks good to you.”
A person had to do a lot of work for what he got in that pioneer era, according to Mr. Wahlert, even though America was then and is now, the land of promise. The working day on the farm began at 4 a.m. with the morning chores, and ended about 10 p.m. with the evening chores.
“People have changed a lot in the last 40 years, however,” Mr. Wahlert states, “and there’s an awful big difference in the way they live. Working half the night was a lot of foolishness. Get out early in the morning and then quit when supper time comes — that’s the way I think one gets along the best. When I first came to this country, though, everybody seemed to be working from daylight until dark.”
Mr. Wahlert settled first in 1884, in Iowa county, Iowa. The first grain binders had just come out then, and although clumsy, were a big improvement over the “self-rake.” Bundles were tied with wire, not with twine, and at threshing time, someone had to stand with a pair of nippers to cut the wire bands before the grain went into the threshing machine. About 12 head of horses were hitched to a horsepower which provided the motivating power for the rig. If any job was ever hard on horses, that was, Mr. Wahlert said. After they became obsolete, the steam rigs were used. Like anyone who has had anything to do with a steam threshing rig, Mr. Wahlert still likes the sight of black smoke puffing skyward, the sound of the whistle and the smell of steam and hot oil.
Mr. Wahlert came to Rock county in 1895, working first on a farm as a month laborer. That fall, he obtained a job with a threshing crew at $1.25 a day and helped the county until the latter part of October.
He began farming for himself in 1896 on a place in Luverne township, southeast of the county farm. On Nov. 20 of that year, he was married to Dora Bendt, in Luverne, by the late Judge Webber.
After they were married, they moved to the northeast quarter of section eight. Luverne township, about two miles west of Luverne, and lived there 12 years before buying the southeast quarter of section 35, range 46, in Springwater township, which was the Wahlert home until they sold out and moved to Luverne a year ago last March.
Although busy with his own affairs, Mr. Wahlert found time to serve as road boss in Luverne township during 1904, 1905 and 1906. While living in Springwater township, he served about 18 years on the school board of district 46 and held that position at the time he moved to Luverne.
Of a family of four boys and one girl, Mr. Wahlert is the only one living.
He has 25 grandchildren.
 
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to mannmade@iw.net.

1943: Diamond Club story continues for Lemke

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on July 29, 1943.
This article is continued from last week.
That fall, Mr. (Theodore) Lemke was helping his father plow. The place they were working was a considerable distance from home so they would take along enough provisions to last two or three days. They slept between some grain stacks which provided shelter for them. On October 15 that year, a rain began to fall, and the elder Mr. Lemke told his son that they had better not stay out any longer, but had better go home. They had no more than arrived home, than a blizzard struck and they were snowed in the rest of the winter. The blizzard lasted two or three days, and after the storm subsided, they went out to look for their stock. They found their oxen and hogs in an open straw shed which had been blown nearly full of snow. After much hard work and shoveling, they were able to get the animals out.
His father homesteaded on section 22, Denver township, and there they erected a frame shanty which they gave a protective covering of sod. The house was warm in winter, even though they burned nothing but twisted flax for fuel.
They enjoyed good crops those years, Mr. Lemke said. Wheat and flax produced high yields. At that time, there was no railroad into Hardwick, and all grain was hauled to Luverne. He recalls that he has hauled wheat into town when as many as 30 or 40 wagon loads were ahead of him, waiting to be emptied at the elevator.
Only perseverance and good fortune saved the Lemke cattle herd from being lost during the blizzard of 1888. The animals were about 60 or 70 rods from the barn, when Mr. Lemke, who was afoot, and his brother, who was on horseback, tried to drive them toward the barn. The stock came within about 15 or 20 rods of the buildings, and then refused to go further. Although the two boys tried to prod them along, they would not move until finally Mr. Lemke decided to walk ahead of them and call them. His idea was a success, for they followed him until they were safe inside their shelter. By that time the storm had reached such severity that they virtually had to feel their way to the house.
The first years here, they were troubled with prairie fires. Several times, the fire came within a short distance of the buildings, and the only thing that saved them was the fact that a fire break had been plowed around them. At night, one could see flames leaping all along the horizon, Mr. Lemke said.
Two years before he was married, Mr. Lemke bought a farm on section 24, Denver township. His father had first bought the land from a man by the name of Dennis Murphy. All he paid for it was 50 cents. Mr. Lemke explained that the land was mortgaged, and his father in addition to giving Mr. Murphy’s wife a half dollar, paid the mortgage on the land and obtained it that way. Mr. Lemke bought it from his father for $1,200.
On June, 26, 1893, he married Anna Helden, at Hardwick, and they made their home on their farm until 1926 when they moved to town.
“During all those years, Mr. Lemke said, “I never had a vacation. I don’t believe I was ever away from home at chore time one night when I was farming.”
Since coming to Luverne, however, Mr. Lemke has “taken life easy.” He and Mrs. Lemke traveled in the western states, making a leisurely trip by car several years ago.
They have four children, Herbert, who lives on the farm near Hardwick; Mrs. Peter (Amgard) Lynch, Luverne; Mrs. Carl (Elsie) Hoepner, and Mrs. Otto (Ruth) Lynch, both of whom live at Santa Ana, Calif. They also have nine grandchildren.
Mr. Lemke is now believed to be the oldest man holding membership in St. John’s Lutheran church here. His father helped found the German Lutheran congregation at Hardwick which church was served by the pastor of the local congregation. Mr. Lemke remembers when traveling missionaries conducted services in the Hoffelman home here, the first German Lutheran services ever conducted in this area.
Going on 79 years, Mr. Lemke states that he has enjoyed good health all his life, with the exception of several weeks last winter when he was quite seriously ill. He attributes his long life and good health to the “grace of God,” stating that “it was just God’s will that I managed to pull through alive. I was sick last Christmas.”
Of eight children in the Lemke family, Mr. Lemke is one of five still living. His brothers and sisters include Ferdinand Lemke, Los Angeles; Mrs. Will Brennan, Watertown, and Mrs. Gust Manke, Princeton, Minn.
Mr. Lemke states that he never had time to become involved in politics. The only public office he ever served was that of being member of the school board. He has held a number of offices in the church, however.
 
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to mannmade@iw.net.

1943: Lemke family immigrates from Germany to Rock County

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on July 29, 1943.
A lone, dim light, shining in the inky darkness, served as a beacon to direct an ox-drawn wagon and its four weary occupants toward shelter.
As glad to hear his father say that “this was a good a place to stop as any” was a 15-year-old boy Theodore Lamke. He, his father, a brother and sister, had ridden all the previous night and part of the day in a freight car from LaCrosse, Wis., to Edgerton. There they had unloaded their belongings, set up the wagon, yoked the oxen and started their trip from Edgerton to the Julius Zellmer farm, southwest of Luverne.
The wagon creaked slowly along until dark, and then the elder Mr. Lemke began to look for a place to spend the night. Finally he saw a small light in a settler’s home, a short distance north of lower Mound lake. The owner, whose name was Lynch, was glad to keep them for the night, so all got out of the wagon, had a bite to eat and went to bed. That was Mr. Lemke’s first night in Minnesota.
Mr. Lemke, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Lemke, and his brothers and sisters came to the United States in 1875. Mr. Lemke was born in Germany, Sept. 8, 1864, and was going on 11 when they set out for this country.
He remembers the trip on the ocean well, mainly because of the excitement that he experienced. One night, the ship crashed into a huge ice floe. The mishap frightened the passengers to the point where some of the women were almost hysterical. The following morning, they looked out over the water and could see huge icebergs in the distance. Had they hit them, considerable damage would have been done to the ship, and it was possible that it would even have sunk.
It was a glorious sight, Mr. Lemke said, when New York harbor came into sight. Coming from a rural community, they were glad to set foot on Mother Earth once more. They came by train to LaCrosse, Wis., and lived near that city for five years. There Mr. Lemke attended school when he didn’t have to work.
One of the jobs he had while living in Wisconsin was helping his father clear timber from the land. Oftentimes, he helped his father cut corn wood and trimmed newly fallen trees.
Repeated requests by Julius Zellmer, a relative of the Lemke’s that they should come to Rock county and get some of the free land caused them to decide to come west. It was a busy time getting ready for the trip, Mr. Lemke recalls. They were busy all one day, moving their four oxen and what other property they had from Salem, 20 miles away, to LaCrosse. Their car was one of 16 “immigrant” cars in the train that brought them to Edgerton.
The first year the family was in Rock county, they lived at the south edge of the Mounds. Their neighbors helped them by letting them have a couple of hogs to raise, and they managed to get along until fall. Mr. Lemke states that he and his brother cultivated corn with one ox, and did other hard work that year.
They helped with the harvesting at the Zellmer farm, where they were using one of the Marsh harvesters, the binder that used wire to tie the bundles. Mr. Zellmer had horses, and they were having difficulty to pull the machine. Mr. Lemke offered the use of his four oxen, and they pulled it with comparative ease, but there was one drawback. They had to be led around the field as they could not be guided in any other way.
This will be continued in next week’s edition of the Star Herald.
 
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to mannmade@iw.net.

1943: Schuldt couple continues life story of moving from Germany to Hardick

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on July 22, 1943.
This article is continued from last week’s feature about Mr. and Mrs. William Schuldt of Hardwick.
One of the most popular events of the year for the young people was the annual dancing festival which was held in February. This consisted of two nights of dancing and one day of celebration. Dancing would begin at 6 p.m. the first day and continue until 3 a.m. the following day. The couples would go home to bed, get up early the next day and have a “grand old time” both forenoon and afternoon. At 6 o’clock in the evening, dancing would begin again and continue until 8 a.m. the following day. Then it was back to work for everyone.
The musicians seemingly played their instruments for the love of playing, because they earned but little for their services, Mr. Schuldt declared.
Mr. and Mrs. Schuldt pointed out several differences in the mode of living between Germany and the United States. When they lived there, most of the homes and barns were part of the same building. The people lived at the end, while the other end was set aside for the livestock and for hay and feed. Most of the farmers lived in villages and worked land adjoining the town. An 80-acre farm was a big farm, and most of the farmers operated smaller tracts.
Dairying provided much of the family income, and the German farmers did everything they knew how to do to get the best production from their cows. Many milked their cows three times daily when they were fresh, Mr. Schuldt stated, and to do this it was necessary to take a couple of pails and walk to the pasture and milk them there during the noon hour. The cows were in the yard both morning and evening, so they were milked there at the usual milking time.
Mr. and Mrs. Schuldt lived in Germany until 1906, when Carl Ahrendt, who had settled in Rock county, urged them to come here to live. The first 10 years, they farmed the Hoeck place northwest of Hardwick. Those years, Mrs. Schuldt operated the binder every year while her husband shocked the grain. They then moved southeast of Hardwick where they farmed the Piepgras half section for four years.
“By that time,” Mrs. Schuldt said, “we figured we’d worked hard enough and long enough to earn a rest so we moved to Hardwick and have lived here ever since.”
They still haven’t quit working, however, for they maintain a large garden in the summer time. Mrs. Schuldt pieces quilts and makes rag rugs for a hobby, and to date, she says, she has made about 50 quilts and over 100 rugs, most of which have been crocheted.
Mr. and Mrs. Schuldt have two children living. They are Paul Schuldt, who lives near Pipestone and Mrs. Elsie Schlapkohl of Winifred, S.D. One son, William, Jr., was killed in an auto accident in 1916. They have seven grand- children and one great-grandchild.
Mrs. Schuldt has no brothers or sisters, but Mr. Schuldt has two of each. His brothers, Carl and August, still live in Germany. One sister, Mrs. Freda Claussen, lives at Hardwick, and the other sister, Mrs. Anna Ahrendt, lives at Erie, N. Dak.
Mr. and Mrs. Schuldt are members of the Hardwick Lutheran Church.
 
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to mannmade@iw.net.

1943: Schuldts find life not all about one's wages

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on July 22, 1943.
Whenever you feel you’re working too many hours a day, at too small a salary, think of Mr. and Mrs. William Schuldt, of Hardwick. When they were first married, they had usually worked 40 hours before the week was one third gone, and their only recompense was a bare living.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Schuldt were born in Germany. He was born August 20, 1868, at Mecklenburg, Schwerigen and Mrs. Schuldt on Sept. 24, 1867, at Ludwigschloss. After they were old enough to leave home, both obtained employment at the same farm. Mrs. Schuldt not only did the housework, but also worked out of doors.
Being employed by someone meant working from daylight until dark at a very small salary. Mrs. Schuldt recalls that she has oftentimes loaded three or four loads of hay, not with a fork, but with her bare hands, during the course of a day. She has also bound grain after it had been cut with a scythe, and has hoed potatoes until she was so tired she could hardly move.
After they were married on March 17, 1893, they rented a small acreage, and Mr. Schuldt obtained a job in a dynamite factory at 75 cents a day. One week, he would work during the daytime and the following week he would work at night. He walked to and from the factory, the one-way trip requiring one and one-half hours of fast walking. Those were long days for the young couple, but both survived it well. When he worked nights, Mr. Schuldt recalls he would have to be at work at 6 p.m. That meant that he had to leave home shortly after 4 p.m. to make it on time. He would work until 6 a.m., the following day, then would walk home, arriving there at about 8 a.m. From 8 a.m. until noon, he would take care of his farm work. On many occasions, he related, he would haul in a few grain shocks from the field, and would thresh them with a flail on the floor of his barn until about 12 o’clock, then he would like down to sleep for four hours and then would get up and go back to work at the factory.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Schuldt found it necessary to learn how to work early in life. Mr. Schuldt’s father was a common laborer with only a small income, and the children had to shift for themselves as soon as they were able to do so. Mr. Schuldt herded cattle at the age of eight, and he recalls that often he would arrive at the farmer’s place before he was even out of bed. He’d be out with the cattle all day, and would return home late in the evening. For this work, he would get his clothing and his board. When he became older, and could do more work, he received $14 as his salary for the entire year.
He attended school from the age of 6 to 14, and after that period, was assigned to man-sized jobs at boy-size salaries. However, his pay was better than it had been, for he remembers he received about $53 a year, but out of this he had to buy his own clothing.
Mrs. Schuldt, who before her marriage was Dorothea Wiese, was left without parents at the age of 15. Her father died when she was only seven, and her mother was working in the fields. She’d return from school at noon and would bring lunch to her mother in the field. Returning home, Mrs. Schuldt would take care of the chores, which consisted of feeding the pigs and other hard work, then she, too, would go to the field and help her mother during the afternoon.
She was 15 years old when her mother died and after that was left to shift for herself. It was then that she obtained work at the farm where she met her husband, and there she received an annual salary of $32.
When Mrs. Schuldt was employed at the factory, Mrs. Schuldt spent her time rearing her children, and doing the farm work on their little farm. “Many were times that I put my babies in the wheelbarrow and took them out to the field while I would spade and hoe the ground,” she said. “While I was working, they’d be playing around on the ground.”
“Oh, yes, we found some time to have a little fun once in a while,” Mr. Schuldt said. Sometimes we would go to the music concerts in town. After the orchestra had finished its part of the program and the singers had sung their last song, a little orchestra would be formed by some of the musicians, and there’d be dancing the remainder of the evening.”
 
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to mannmade@iw.net.

1943: Reynolds continues life story with Diamond Club

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on July 15, 1943.
This article is continued from last week’s edition of the Star Herald about Mrs. S.D. Reynolds of Hardwick.
 
Hauled Supplies
Mrs. Reynolds also had the experience as serving as a “freighter” for her father. In order to keep the store in supplies, her brother and herself operated a transportation system on a shuttle system. Her brother would bring a load from Sioux Falls to Pumpkin Center, and she would meet him there with an empty wagon. They’d spend the night there, and the following morning, Mrs. Reynolds would start for Salem with the full load, while her brother would return to Sioux Falls with the empty wagon. Both used oxen to pull the wagons.
Not only did Mrs. Reynolds do that type of work but she helped with the farming. Her father obtained a team of mules, but even then, the mules would be used to draw one plow or drag, and she or her brother would follow behind with another plow pulled by oxen.
For entertainment, the young people went to dances. On many occasions, she recalls, she and two brothers would get on one horse and go to a dance some place.
Married in 1881
On November 24, 1881, she married S. D. Reynolds at Salem. Mr. Reynolds was one of the railroad workers, and she met him at her father’s boarding house. They moved to Sibley, Mr. Reynolds’ home, and there their first furniture consisted of a bed, a large store box for a table, and two chunks of wood for chairs. Mr. Reynolds was a mason, and would be gone for a week at a time. To be a bride in a strange community was far from being pleasant, Mrs. Reynolds states.
Four years later, they moved back to Salem where Mr. Reynolds operated a dray line. After another four years, he began farming near Salem. Stock raising was done on a share basis. They milked 15 cows, and their share was one third of the calves born. Crops were poor and they “dried out” two years in succession.
Being a housewife and mother on those days was no snap, according to Mrs. Reynolds. She would sit up nights and knit stockings for the children to wear to school. All her washing and sewing was done by hand because she had neither a washing machine or sewing machine. The family lived in a two room house, one room upstairs and one down. When she wanted to go to town, she’d take down her clothesline and use it for reins ono her horse, and when she came back, she’d tie it up again and use it for a clothesline.
Prices Low
Prices were exceedingly low for what they would sell. She recalls they sold a two-year-old heifer for $8.00 and received $2.50 for a 300-pound hog. Eggs were sold for five cents per dozen. “By the time I bought a few groceries and tobacco for my husband, I’d usually be owing the storekeeper,” Mrs. Reynolds states.
Hearing an opportunity to get work on the new railroad they were building northwest out of Worthington, Minn., Mr. Reynolds went there and obtained employment while Mrs. Reynolds stayed at home with the children.
When the road was completed as far as Hardwick, Mr. Reynolds sent for his family, and they moved to Hardwick to live. There he obtained employment as a section hand in 1900. At that time, Henry La Due was the section foreman. After living there one year, they moved to Kenneth, where Mr. Reynolds was section foreman. Later, he was transferred to Harris, Iowa, for one year, and he then returned to Kenneth where they lived for 11 years.
For seven years, Mrs. Reynolds performed the mid-wife duties for that community. In addition to that, she kept boarders, and for one whole summer fed the crew that was building the trestle over the Rock river.
Delivered Many Children
How many babies she helped bring into the world, Mrs. Reynolds doesn’t know, but there were a lot of them, she says. Many times, she had the child delivered, washed and sleeping in a basket by the time the doctor arrived. She assisted one mother who gave birth to seven children without a physician’s ever entering the home.
She was also called in whenever there was a serious illness. On one occasion, Joe Smith, age eight, the son of the depot agent at Kenneth, became gravely ill, and it developed that he had appendicitis. It was not learned until later that the appendix had been ruptured, but even then, the attending physician felt he could save the boy’s life by surgery.
The child was taken to the Luverne hospital in a surrey, drawn by a team of horses, and he made the whole trip lying across the lap of his mother Mrs. Reynolds who were sitting in the back seat. One of the surgeons was Dr. C. O. Wright, of Luverne, and he and the other surgeon, Dr. Spaulding, urged Mrs. Reynolds to watch the operation. Although she did not want to, she finally did consent.
Although the boy’s case was serious, he lived, and was released from the hospital after about three weeks.
To Church on Hand Car
The church she and her husband attended while living at Kenneth was a Catholic church in the country between Kenneth and Lismore. They usually went to church on the railroad handcar. The trip to the church was not bad, because the track was down hill, but pumping the car home up an incline was a different story, Mrs. Reynolds relates.
In 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds moved to Hardwick. There Mr. Reynolds lived until his death in 1932, and Mrs. Reynolds still lives there, making her home in her own little cottage at the west edge of the village.
Speaking of her children, Mrs. Reynolds states jovially, “If we never raised anything else while we were at Salem, we certainly did get a good crop of children. All except one of the eight was born there.   
            Has 20
Grandchildren
Seven of the eight are living at the present time. They include: E.M. Reynolds, Sioux Falls; Anton Reynolds, Luverne; Peter Reynolds, Nielsville, Wis., Mrs. Eli (Lena) Milbrath, Okabena, Minn.; Mrs. Martin (Emma) Oldre, Pipestone; Mrs. Roy (Clara) Henderson, Pipestone; and Ben M. Reynolds, Luverne. A daughter, Bertha, died at the age of one and one half years. In addition to her children, direct descendants of Mrs. Reynolds include 20 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Of a family of 10, Mrs. Reynolds is one of five brothers and sisters still living. Her sisters are Mrs. J. V. Jessen, and Mrs. Mamie Beck, both of Pomona, Calif.; and the brothers are Adam Glaser, Riverside, Calif.; and Martin Glaser, Herrick, S.D.
Mrs. Reynolds attributes her long life to being cheerful, and states that a preacher who once boarded with them was responsible partly for her cheerful outlook on life. “He had a little placard on which on which was imprinted the words, ‘KEEP SMILING’, Mrs. Reynolds states, “and somehow when things aren’t going quite right, I think of that. It really helps.”
 
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to mannmade@iw.net.

1943: Reynolds featured member from Diamond Club

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on July 15, 1943.
If more people today had the same philosophy on life that Mrs. S.D. Reynolds, of Hardwick, has, there would be less complaining about the lack of gasoline for joy riding, and about meat, sugar, coffee, canned goods and fuel shortages.
This 78-year-old mother of eight children knows that it is possible to get along without a lot of things, because she has done it. Yet she is hale and hearty enough to maintain her own home, and has in her memory a priceless history of pioneer days in southeastern South Dakota as well as in Rock county.
Born Regina Glaser in Clayton county, Ohio, July 28, 1864, she moved at the age of two with her parents to Greeley, Ia., then to Strawberry Point, McGregor and finally to Walnut, before going to South Dakota where her life was filled with colorful incidents of pioneering.
Herded Pigs
The trip from Walnut, Iowa, to McCook county, South Dakota, was made by ox-team and covered wagon via Sioux Falls. Her father, Martin Glaser, took a preemption claim not far from Wall Lake. The lake abounded with fish, and oftentimes she and her brother caught a sack full of fish while they were herding cattle and pigs in that area.
“We’d fish all day,” Mrs. Reynolds recalls, “and when it came time to go home, we’d tie the gunny sack we kept them in to a white steer’s tail, and he’d carry them home for us.”
The fact that they were a long ways from church (the nearest Catholic church was then at Sioux Falls, about 15 miles away) did not keep them from observing Sunday in the house of worship.
Up at 4 a.m. on Sunday
“Mother would get up early,” Mrs. Reynolds reminisced, “and would pack a lunch and get us children ready. About 4 a.m. we’d leave by ox-team for Sioux Falls. The trip was long and tedious, but finally we would get to the Sioux river and we’d know we were almost there. We’d ford the river with the oxen, then we’d unyoke  them and let them graze while we walked about a mile up the hill to church. After we’d attended services, and we children had completed our catechism class, we’d be ready to start for home again.”
After living near Wall Lake for five years, the Glasers moved to Salem, S.D., where Mr. Glaser built the first residence ever erected in that town. It was a combination store and home, but because of the family’s hospitality, it soon developed into a boarding house. In addition to operating his store, Mr. Glaser served as a “squatter”, the pioneer day version of a real estate agent.
Because there was no well there, and no well diggers could be obtained, Mrs. Reynolds and her brother would haul water from the West Vermillion river in barrels drawn by oxen. They only had three barrels, she relates, so they had to make the trip often.
Business Ventures
The water hauling, however, became a profitable sideline for a while, until her father learned of her business tactics, and then the business “went up in smoke.” About that time, the railroad was being built through Salem, and the workers very often preferred water to beer. “For a while there, I was selling those railroaders water at a nickel a glass and was making a pretty good thing of it. I figured if they could pay a nickel a glass for beer across the street, that was easier to get than water, I should have something for my efforts. Father was of a different opinion, however, for when he heard about it, the water was given free of charge to anyone who wanted it. The following year, a well was dug, and that ended our water problems, but I want to tell you, when you haul water by barrel a distance of a mile, it’s mighty precious stuff, especially where you have to use it for drinking, cooking and washing.
Muslin Newspaper
The first winter there was one of the most difficult experienced in South Dakota. Not only was it cold, but the snow was so deep that travel was impossible. Several men on the railroad crew were snowed in all winter, and the printer of the newspaper there was unable to get paper to use on his press.
“His name was Jonas Rutman,” Mrs. Reynolds recalls, “and father helped him out of his predicament by allowing him to move his press into our store building. There, father let him have a couple of bolts of unbleached muslin, and he cut that up and printed the news on that.”
Had it not been for wild game, they would have been without meat long before the winter was over. Mrs. Reynolds states that they had dug a pit for the turn table for the railroad there, and wild antelope looking for food would wander near the village and into the pit where they were easily captured. Antelope meat that winter was one of their main courses. They had no sugar, but had plenty of hard candy, so the boarders used it in their coffee for sweetening. They had no milk, cream or butter.
Farm families of the community had greater difficulties. Mrs. Reynolds states that many of them were forced to grind wheat in old-fashioned coffee grinders and use it to make whole wheat pancakes, their only food for several days. Farm families who had no fuel to burn in some instances burned their furniture to keep warm while a blizzard was raging.
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.