Skip to main content

You must log in to continue reading. Log in or subscribe today.

1943: Mathilda Schneekloth continues Diamond Story

(Continued feature with Mathilda Schneekloth, Diamond Club member)
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.
This article appeared in the April 29, 1943, edition of The Rock County Star Herald.
By Betty Mann
Mrs. Schneekloth says that she never had a great deal of time or opportunity for entertainment and recreation as a young girl. Living 4 1/2 miles from the nearest town, Durant, going to town except for something absolutely necessary was rare indeed. Most of the “good times” were provided by parties held at the various farm homes. “We girls didn’t have to worry so much in those days that our dresses weren’t as up to date as those worn by our friends. Most of us had two “best” dresses a year, one for summer and one for winter.”
         When Mrs. Schneekloth was a young girl, her parents moved from Scott county to Cedar county, and it was Tipton in that county, where she and her husband were married on March 4, 1891. From Tipton they moved to West Liberty where they lived several years before moving to Rock county.
         It was at West Library that Mrs. Schneekloth had one of the worst scares of her life. She and the children were home alone, because the day dawned stormy and the children had not gone to school. Later, the sky became blacker and blacker, and finally a high wind arose. Although the fury of the storm missed their farm, it did hit the school. There, the teacher tried desperately to hold the door of the building shut, but was unable to do so. She drove a horse and buggy to school, and at the storm’s height, the buggy was picked up, blown away and wrecked. The storm frightened the horse, and it broke loose and ran away. A neighbor’s beautiful fruit orchard was ruined, and on one place, a house was moved off the foundation. Fortunately, however, no one was hurt, but there were plenty of people frightened, Mrs. Schneekloth states.
         Mr. and Mrs. Schneekloth became the parents of six children, all of whom are living. They include Mrs. Marcus Nath, Luverne; Theodore Schneekloth of near Adrian; Mrs. Ole Olson, Beaver Creek; Mrs. Walter Hand, Worthington; Mrs. Elmer Hemme, Hardwick; and William Schneekloth, Jr., Mason City, Ia. They also have 24 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
         Gardening and raising plants is one of Mrs. Schneekloth’s favorite hobbies. She’s been planting “victory garden” for years, and this year, has her garden all planted. She has good luck raising geraniums and other plants indoors, but she says she likes outdoor gardening better.
         Both she and Mr. Schneekloth are in good health. They enjoyed their 52nd wedding anniversary last month.
         At the present time Mrs. Schneekloth has only one sister, Mrs. Ida Merchant of Spencer, Ia.
         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

1943: Diamond Club spotlight turns to resident Mathilda Schneekloth

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.
This article appeared in the April 29, 1943, edition of The Rock County Star Herald.
          A resident of Rock county since 1909, and a resident of Luverne since she and her husband retired from farming a number of years ago, Mrs. William Schneekloth, Luverne, says she likes this community better than any community in which she has lived.
         She was born in Scott county, Ia. Oct. 12, 1886, the daughter of Henry and Sophie Miller. The fifth of a family of eight, she was given the name Mathilda. She spent all of her girlhood living at home, and because she had four brothers and a sister older than herself, she states she was relieved of much of the hard work that most youngsters of that era had to do. Even then, however, she was called on to do work out of doors as well as indoors. When she became old enough to do the heavier tasks about the farm, she and her sister were required to do the milking. Between them, they milked as high as 16 head at one time, taking it as a matter of course, much the same as the modern girl makes her regular trip to the beauty shop.
         The Miller family lived about two miles away from school, and Mrs. Schneekloth states that most of the time, she and her brothers and sisters walked every morning and evening. “In those days, it didn’t seem to be so particular if one went to school or not,” Mrs. Schneekloth states. “When we weren’t busy and needed at home to help with the work, we’d go to school, but work always came first. No one ever permitted his education to interfere with his homework.”
         Home economics during the time Mrs. Schneekloth was a girl was taught either in the farm home kitchen or in the dining room or living room where the sewing table was kept. Keeping a family of eight children in clothes, to say nothing of herself and her husband was no small task for her mother, and Mrs. Schneekloth helped her with much of the work as soon as she was old enough to do so. “We not only made clothes for the girls and for the smaller children, she states, but for the men folks too. Buying everything ready made was unheard of at that time,” Mrs. Schneekloth states.
         Even after ready made dresses came into their own, she continued to make her own clothing. “When we celebrated our silver wedding anniversary 27 years ago, I still hadn’t had a store dress,” she declares.
         Cooking and baking too were learned not for the sake of convenience, but because of necessity. A large family, especially where grownups and young folks alike spend a good deal of the time in the out of doors, requires good, substantial food and plenty of it. Being one of the older girls, she learned at an early age to bake and prepare meals.
         When Mrs. Schneekloth was about 13, she had to quit school and come home to “learn how to make good bread for the rest of the family.” Her mother was seriously ill, and being the oldest girl left at home, the burden of the housework fell on her shoulders. Mrs. Schneekloth’s mother died some time later, and from that time until she was married, she was family cook, baker and housekeeper.
         The hardest work she has ever done, she relates, is helping the men during the haying season. Often times she helped to level the hay and push it back into the corners of the hay mow after it had been hauled in. On a hot day, pitching hay inside where there was little ventilation proved to be as difficult a job as any she has ever tackled, she states.
(More of Mres. Schneekloth's story in next week's Star Herald.)

1943: Story continues for David Payne, Pioneer Club member and Luverne president

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.
This article is continued from last week about David E. Payne, one of Luverne’s pioneer presidents. The article appeared in the April 15, 1943, edition of The Rock County Star Herald.
While in North Dakota, he (David Payne) helped break the prairie with oxen. He would leave them on the field and would haul water to them with a team. Many a time, he said, he would arrive there in the morning to see antelope drinking out of the watering tank.
In 1890, he landed in Adrian. He had friends from Wisconsin living in that community, so he decided he’d pay them a visit. He liked the country and obtained work, so he stayed. About 1903, he began farming for himself in Magnolia township on section 11. Later he farmed in sections 12, one and two, in Magnolia township and moved to the north half of section 36 in Vienna township, where he lived for five years. He farmed also in Springwater township one year on what was known as the Crawford place, but at that time, there were no roads, and being so far from town, he moved back to the Luverne community.
He sold out shortly after the last war, and he put his profits in a “good safe place like a bank.” That, he states, was one of the most foolish things he ever did in his life, because he lost it well soon after.
He continued to farm around Luverne until five years ago when he was going to help a neighbor cut some wood. He took his rifle with him, and it accidentally discharged, the shot going through his right hand. Since then, he has been unable to use his hand but little.
He moved to Luverne, and built himself a small home on a lot on W. Lincoln street and still lives there. He raises a garden but otherwise does not do a great deal of work “because of doctor’s orders.”
“I claim work never hurt me, but the doctor says it maybe hasn’t before but it might now, so I suppose I’d better listen to him,” Payne says.
Mr. Payne was never married, and says it’s a good thing that he never was. “I’m lucky I didn’t have a big wife and small family,” he states.
After working at many different jobs for 67 years, Mr. Payne should be a pretty fair authority on what hard work is. He believes that the hardest work he ever did was threshing from stacks in the days of dawn-til-dusk threshing with big rigs. On a number of occasions, he together with three other men pitched 16 stacks averaging seven loads of bundles each into a threshing machine in one day. That is an average of 28 loads each and any thresher will agree that pitching 28 loads of bundles is no snap.
Mr. Payne follows with considerable interest the war news of the day. He has a personal interest in it in that a nephew, his namesake, went down with the “Reuben James” at the time it was sunk. Although he never served in the United States army, it wasn’t because he didn’t want to, he states. He tried to enlist at the time of the Spanish-American war, “but they told me I didn’t weigh enough for my height.”
Of a family of eight children, Mr. Payne is one of three still living. He has one brother, John, who lives in Vancouver, Wash., and a sister, Mrs. Ellen Baird, who lives at Neenah-Menasha, Wis.
He attributes his long life to hard work and to regular habits. “I have always gone to bed on time and have gotten up on time,” he declares, “and I always eat regularly.”
         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

1943: David E. Payne is one of Luverne pioneer presidents

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.
This article appeared in the April 15, 1943, edition of The Rock County Star Herald.   
Helping to move the buildings of an entire village using only oxen as motivating power, earning his own living at the age of eight, and helping to thresh 16 seven load stacks of grain in a day are but a few of the many experiences of David E. Payne, one of Luverne’s pioneer presidents.
Mr. Payne was born near Oshkosh, Wis., 30 miles from Lake Michigan, May 2, 1865, just 15 days after Abraham Lincoln died, and was left motherless at the age of four. His father was remarried to a widow, who had two sons just enough older than Mr. Payne to be able to “beat the stuffings” out of him whenever they felt the urge.
When he was about eight years old, he states, he decided he’d taken it long enough, so he brought the matter to his father’s attention. “I didn’t get as much satisfaction from father,” Mr. Payne said. “He didn’t seem to be much concerned with my troubles so I decided it was best for me to go someplace else.
“The next morning I got out of bed early, tucked two school books under my arm and with just a few clothes, I started out from home. I didn’t have the slightest idea where I was going, but I knew I’d be taken in somewhere, so I wasn’t really much worried.”
As souvenir of that morning, Mr. Payne still has in his possession one of the books, a primer, that he carried with him when he left home.
He went to a neighbor’s place, and he agreed to hire him at $5 per month for nine months. That he had the old-fashioned respect for a parent despite any differences that might have existed between them, is evidenced by the fact that he told his employer to “go see Dad and let him tell you if you are to pay me or him.”
This his employer did, and the father said, “If the kid wants to work, pay him. All I ask is that he grows up to be a man among men and that he pays his just debts like a white man.”
“That’s something I never forgot,” Mr. Payne states, “and I’ve tried to live up to that the best I could all my life.”
His employer was evidently satisfied with his work, for at the end of the year, instead of paying him $5 per month as he had agreed to do, he paid him $6. He worked there for five years, getting a couple of dollars raise per month each year. During the slack season he attended school.
“No football or basketball playing for me after school,” he declares. “I was introduced to the buck saw both before and after school for recreation.”
Mr. Payne remembers well the Wisconsin logging days, but he recalls one thing in particular—how low the living costs were for lumber jacks when they were not working. In those days, according to Mr. Payne, every saloon had a bar along one side, and a lunch counter on the other. All a man had to do to get a lunch was buy a glass of beer and help himself to what there was to eat on the lunch counter. He knew men, that lived on three glasses of beer a day and the free lunches that went with them.
At the age of 16 he went to visit his sister who lived on a farm near Fargo. Then he obtained work with a Minneapolis construction firm, but when they wanted him to go to Duluth in the dead of winter to help build a dock he quit his job.
One of the most interesting experiences he ever had was helping to move the village of Cogswell, N.D. to its present site from its former location a mile away. Buildings of all sizes and shapes, even some elevators as “big as any in town here,” were moved during a three month period. Twenty-eight yoke of oxen were used to drag the heavy structures. When the moving was finished, the town looked just as it had previously. The streets were identical, and the buildings were located exactly as they had been on the original site. Reason for moving the town, Payne said, was so that it could be on an important cross road.
This article will continue in next week’s edition of the Rock County 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

1943: Diamond Club features Tom Knudtson

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.
This article appeared in the April 15, 1943 edition of The Rock County Star Herald.
         Skiing, now a popular winter sport in Minnesota, served a practical purpose as well as being a form of recreation for Tom Knudtson, Luverne, when he was a boy.
Living on a farm at Bjolland, near Christiansand, in Norway, Mr. Knudtson would strap on his skis and speed down a mountainside to school about a mile away. The place where he was born was about five miles from the sea and in the timber country. Although the surroundings were beautiful, Mr. Knudtson felt that an opportunity for a successful future could be found only in America, so he left home at the age of 22.
Mr. Knudtson was one of seven children and was born March 22, 1865. He was christened Torkel, but after coming to this country he has used the name Tom.
He had hardly reached school age before he was put to work, helping with the wood cutting, cattle herding and other tasks. The first money he ever earned that he could call his own was a small amount which he received from a neighbor for helping to plant potatoes. Later, he received the income that was produced by two of the cows in the herd which he watched while they grazed on the mountainside.
A sister who lived in Sioux City induced him to make his decision to leave the land of his birth. With another young man, he set out for the United States, and one day in the spring of 1887, they stepped off the train at the Rock Island depot here. Mr. Knudtson distinctly remembers that they had no one here to meet them and that they made two trips from the depot to the business district, carrying their trunks.
Mr. Knudtson had $10 in his pocket—more than his companion had. “You’ll get along right with that much more,” his companion stated, and Mrs. Knudtson agrees that the prediction came true.
The first year he was in Rock county, he worked at several different jobs. He recalls how Ole Iveland at one time took him in an oxcart to the brick yard to get a job. He didn’t get one, and in walking back to Luverne, he took the wrong railroad track. When he realized the fact, he was almost to Kanaranzi, so had to walk back.
He worked first for Jens Haugetum, on a farm about two miles south of Luverne. It was there he milked his first cow. In Norway it was always the custom that the women folk did the milking, and for that reason, he had no training along that line endeavor.
Later, he obtained a job on the Ole Hanson farm near Ashcreek. When asked what wages he wanted, he said $25 a month.
“To my surprise,” Mr. Knudtson said, “I got it.” As a matter of fact, I was so ashamed when I asked for that much, that I looked down on the ground instead of at Mr. Hanson.
“I worked there until fall, then got a job helping build the railroad into Steen. That winter, the winter of the big blizzard, I lived with Mr. and Mrs. Knute Aanenson in their dugout. I saved $100 during the summer so I felt pretty good about my first year in this country.”
Mr. Knudtson then obtained a job working for T. P. Grout in Beaver Creek township. Up until that time, whenever he wanted to go to town, he would have to walk. Mr. Grout, however, permitted him to use one of his horses to ride, and that pleased him as much as it would a farm hand today if his employer would give him his gasoline coupon book and tell him to use the new car whenever he wanted it.
“Even though I had a horse to ride, I didn’t go very much,” Mr. Knudtson states. “In those early days, about the only time a young fellow would ever go to town would be on the Fourth of July.”
After working for Mr. Grout, he went to work for LaDues, near Luverne, who had many cattle. For six years, he did the milking on the La Due farm, then he bought a quarter section in Vienna township. Five years later, he lost his property in the Depression, and after that came to Luverne where he worked at several jobs before going back to farming, this time in Clinton township. After 10 years, he bought a farm there and lived there until 1935 when he retired and moved to Luverne.
Mr. Knudtson was married to Anna Hollekim in Luverne on Nov. 15, 1900. They became the parents of five children, three of whom are living. Thy are Mrs. Alvin Olson, Luverne; Mrs. Ragnvald Nelson, Clinton township and Mrs. Olivia Moldenhauer, Chicago. They have five grandchildren.
Mr. Knudtson is a member of the Lutheran Free church and helped organize the Zion Lutheran congregation in Luverne.
Thinking back over the years which have come and gone since his friend told him, “You’ll get along here all right,” Mr. Knudtson declared, “God has been good to me all these years, and I’m thankful for it.”
One year, he went back to Norway, but was glad to return to the United States. “I think this is the best country in the world,” he said, “and when I went back to Norway, I realized it all the more. I never had any desire to return to Norway to live, even if it was my motherland.”
One of a family of seven children, Mr. Knudtson has two sisters, Mrs. Esther Chesley of Denver and Mrs. Anna Haugen, who lives in Canada. Before the outbreak of the war, he had a brother still living in Norway.
         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

1943: Mina Carlisle of Battle Plain Township featured Diamond Club member

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.
This article appeared in the April 1, 1943, edition of The Rock County Star Herald.
         The term “cost of production” is an expression which brings back memories to Mrs. Mina Carlisle of Battle Plain township, who lives there on a farm with her son, Elmer Pierson. To have received most of production one of those hard years in the ’20s would have seen money in the pockets of the farmers who battled drought and depression at the same time with all the odds against them.
They would have felt they were literally rolling in wealth if they could have had the “cost plus 10 percent,” the economic profit scale of this era, but let Mrs. Carlisle tell you in her own words what was the plight of her father, a farmer in Iowa. She says:
“One year, our wheat crop yielded three bushels per acre. We had sowed one and one-half bushels of seed per acre and had paid $2 a bushel for the seed. Father was sick that year, so we had to hire help at $3 a day, and had to hire some of the grain cut at $1.25 an acre. When we sold the wheat, we received 45 cents a bushel for it, so you can see how much profit we got out of our crop. All we got was the straw, and there wasn’t much of that. Those really were hard times.”
Mrs. Carlisle was born Dec. 25, 1862, in Holmes county, Ohio, the daughter of Martin and Delila VanSwearingen. She moved with her family to Iowa when she was a young girl, and lived in that state until 1921 when she came to Rock county to make her home.
If St. Patrick had driven the snakes out of Ireland he must have chased them into Iowa, because Mrs. Carlisle states there were plenty of them in her community when she was a girl. She recalls that on one occasion, she killed one that measured five feet in length and five inches in diameter. First she tried using a hoe, but when she apparently wasn’t having any success, she used an ax.
She distinctly remembers the blizzard of 1881. The storm lasted three days and three nights, and when it was over, the drifts were even with the eaves of the house. When they wanted to go any place, they had to detour in all directions because of the snow’s great depth. That winter was one of the longest and hardest Mrs. Carlisle ever experienced. As she recalls it now, there were but few days when it was not either snowing or blowing or both. Spring came very late, and all the snow did not thaw away until late in April. They began sowing their wheat on April 27, she recalls, and that was the year they had the small crop.
She recalls she earned her first dollars as a girl doing housework. Her salary was $1.50 per week.
March 29, 1885, she was married at Carroll, Ia., to Albert B. Pierson. They lived on a farm and became the parents of two children, Elmer J. Pierson of near Edgerton and John who died in infancy. Mr. Pierson lost his life in a hunting accident when her son Elmer was 10 years old.
On Dec. 30, 1907, she married C. H. Carlisle, at Manning, Ia., and after her marriage, she lived in Manning where Mr. Carlisle was on the police force. After his death in 1921, she came to Minnesota to live with her son Elmer on the farm near Edgerton. The years she spent in Manning, Mrs. Carlisle states, are the only years of her life that were not spent on a farm.
Mrs. Carlisle has four grandchildren, Louis J. Pierson, Albert B. Pierson, Mrs. Vione Stamman and Bernice Pierson, and three great-grandchildren Gary C. Stamman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Stamman, and Gail, Janice and Wesley Louis, children of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Pierson.
Mrs. Carlisle’s favorite hobby is piecing quilts and quilting, although she also knits and braids many rag rugs, not only for herself but for her grandchildren and others.
Although she has been hard of hearing since she was nine years old, she has not been handicapped because she has learned to read lip movements. “For this ability I am very thankful,” she says, “as it has enabled me to carry on a good conversation with anyone.”
Of eight children in her father’s family, she and six others are still living. Her brothers and sisters include: Sam VanSwearingen, Happy, Tex.; Elmer Van Swearingen, Spirit Lake, Ia.; Mrs. Lillie Grundmeier, Hines; Mrs. Dicea Wilson, Marshalltown, Ia. and Mrs. Viantha Scheiber, Lake Benton.
Mrs. Carlisle has had good health all her life, and to this and to the fact that she has worked hard, she attributes her long life.
She is a member of the Presbyterian 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

1943: Edward Byrne remembers traveling to Iowa at age 17

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.
This article appeared in the March 25, 1943, edition of The Rock County Star Herald.
         When Edward Byrne, Luverne, came west from Iowa to settle, South Dakota was still a part of Dakota Territory. A lot of people, who had heard of the rich prairie land open to homesteaders in the territory, moved out of Iowa in immigrant trains at that time, and joining the throng was Mr. Byrne and his brother. He was then only 17 years old.
         Mr. Byrne was born March 18, 1865, in a log house in Alamakee county, in the northeast corner of Iowa. His parents, Lawrence and Bridget Hart Byrne, were natives of Ireland who came first to Quebec, Canada, and then to Iowa to live.
         They settled not far from the Mississippi river, and at that time, the land in that area was covered with timber. Unusually fine trees were cleared by the settlers so they could begin raising crops, Mr. Byrne states. Now comparatively rare, the walnut tree, butter nut trees, three kinds of oak and basswood trees would be cut down just to get them out of the road.
         Mr. Byrne was a boy of 10 when he began earning his own money. He received 25 cents a day for planting corn by hand. The fields were marked out in squares, and wherever lines crossed, the person or persons doing the planting had to drop two or three kernels of corn. After some practice, Mr. Byrne reports, it was no trick at all to pick out the exact number of seeds out of the bag and drop them exactly where they were supposed to be. Men, and often times the women folks, would follow after the person doing the planting and would cover up the seed with hoes.
         In 1881, Mr. Byrne’s older brother Frank went to Dakota Territory, and the following year, Mr. Byrne and his brother Will moved there, going to the vicinity of Marion.
         In 1884, they decided to go to Faulk county where there was a lot of prairie sod to be broken for settlers who had homesteaded there. Mr. Byrne, using four head of oxen on an 18 inch sulky plow, and his brother, using three horses on a 16 inch sulky plow, together broke five acres a day. They received $4 per acre for the work—a good salary, Mr. Byrne says, but every dollar was well earned.
         So new was Faulk county, when they went there, Mr. Byrne said, that section lines in some places hadn’t even been surveyed. He was present to see the surveyors running the first section lines in Arcade township, Faulk county.
         Although he was not out in the storm, he remembers the blizzard of 1888 well. His brother had driven to Faulkton with a team and sled and was about two or three miles out of town on his way home when the storm struck. He decided to turn around and go back, but his team would not face the wind. He managed to keep his bearings by driving parallel to the railroad grade. He drove 10 miles through the blinding snow and finally arrived in the town of Miranda where he remained until the weather conditions improved.
         But Mr. Byrne never entered politics himself, with the exception of the time he served as treasurer of Hillsdale township in Faulk county. His brother Frank, however, served as governor of South Dakota for two terms, 1913 to 1917.
         Mr. Byrne was married at Waukon, Ia. Sept. 30, 1908. He and his wife farmed in South Dakota until 1919, and then moved to Luverne which has since been their home. They decided to move here after they had visited in Luverne several times and had grown to like the town. After coming here, Mr. Byrne operated a dray and bus line for two years, and retired after he suffered a leg injury.
         Mr. and Mrs. Byrne have two children, Mrs. Nick Forrette of Adrian, and Sgt. Robert Byrne, who is attending a radio school in Montreal, Canada. They have two grandchildren.
         Of a family of 10, Mr. Byrne, and two other brothers, Joe Byrne of Clairmont, Fla., and Tom Byrne of Clairmont, Fla., and Tom Byrne of Seattle, Wash. are still living.
         He is a member of St. Catherine’s church of Luverne.
         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

1943: Diamond Club features Ben Slieter

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.
This article appeared in the March 18, 1943 edition of The Rock County Star Herald.
One of Clinton township’s well-known retired farmers is Bernard Slieter, Steen. Known more familiarly to his close friends and neighbors as “Ben,” he now lives in Steen where he moved upon retirement from actual farming operations in 1931.
The village of Steen was but 10 years old when Mr. Slieter came to Rock county, and many changes have taken place in that community since that time.
Mr. Slieter was a native of Germany. He was born in that country Jan. 25, 1865, and it was there that he grew to manhood. On July 6, 1889, he married Ida Dohlman, and two years later, they set out together to make their home in the United States. They arrived in Applington, Ia. May 10, 1891, and Mr. Slieter immediately went to work on a farm as a farm hand. Wages were not high—only $1 for a 12 or 14 hour day, but compared to what farm hands were being paid in Germany, he thought he was getting excellent wages and was well satisfied.
After working on farms for three years, he had saved a little money and he used it to set himself up in farming in Grundy county, Ia. It was in 1898 that he decided to come to Rock county with his family. He farmed several places in the Steen vicinity, and in 1908, he bought a farm east of Steen which was the Slieter home for 21 years.
Although Steen was a comparatively new place on the map of Rock county when the Slieters moved here, it was already quite a business town. It had enjoyed a period of growth during the few years before and two general stores had been built; there was a pool hall, a harness shop, blacksmith shop, livery and feed barn, elevator, lumber yard and hardware store in addition to the railroad station and postoffice. Two years after Mr. Slieter’s arrival, Steen was visited by a fire that destroyed two elevators containing some 20,000 bushels of grain.
In 1908 Mr. Slieter bought a farm east of Steen and resided there 21 years. In May, 1929, he and his family were attending church when their farm home burned to the ground. Not a thing was saved. Although some of the furnishings could be replaced, the loss that was perhaps felt most were the main keepsakes, pictures and mementos that had been collected and saved during the years which had passed. A new house was built to replace the one that was destroyed, and while it was under construction, the family lived in a small bunk house.
In 1931 he retired and moved to the village of Steen and has lived alone in his home there since the death of his wife on Aug. 21, 1939. He is still very active and is able to do his own work. He enjoys spending a day or two, now and then, with his children who live on farms, and in the spring helps put in different gardens.
Of nine children born to Mr. and Mrs. Slieter, eight are still living. They are John Slieter, Pipestone; Mrs. Mareka Loger, North Redwood Falls; George Slieter, Lester, Ia.; Mrs. Nick Stravenger, Luverne; Mrs. Arnold Schneekloth, Hills; Bernard Slieter Jr., Steen; Mrs. LaVerne Davis, Boise, Ida., and Emil Slieter, Hills. One daughter, Grace (Mrs. Gerrit Smith), died in 1937. Other direct descendants of Mr. Slieter are 39 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
As far as he knows, all his brothers and sisters with the exception of one are still living. There were seven children in the family, and one of the boys was killed during World War I. Two sisters and one brother are still living in Germany. A brother, John, resides at Watertown, S.D. and a sister, Mrs. Albert  Bussman, lives at Applington, Ia.
Mr. Slieter is a member of the Evangelical church at Steen.
He attributes his long life to the grace of God and hard work.
         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

1943: Covered wagons are real mode of transportation for club member Marie Schaefer

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.
This article appeared in the February 18, 1943 edition of The Rock County Star Herald.
To the average reader of this article, a covered wagon is a kind of wagon described in stories about the Old Wild West. To Mrs. Marie Schaefer, Luverne, however, a covered wagon is something real, for she has not only seen them, but has traveled in them. As a matter of fact, she came to Rock county in one. The trip here across the prairie from Miller, S.D., was slow and tedious, but it had its adventure, too. And it had its reward, for to Mrs. Schaefer, Rock county has since been “home.”
Mrs. Schaefer was born in Mecklenberg, Germany, Jan. 5, 1865, the daughter of Jochim and Marie Schultz Meier. She spent the first 17 years of her life in the land of her birth, and ever since she was 10, she has been busy doing something. She attended school in Germany until she was 14 years old. At the age of 10, she attended knitting school; at the age of 12 she learned to spin flax and at 14, she was weaving linen. She still has a piece of linen cloth which she wove while still a girl in Germany.
At the age of 15, she obtained employment as a maid on a farm, there earning the first money she could call her own. Her wages were $18 for the whole year, an average of $1.50 per month. Inasmuch as housekeeping for others did not prove to be too profitable, Mrs. Schaefer quit her job, and the next year she learned dressmaking.
When she was 17, she was given the opportunity to come to America. So she packed her personal belongings and began the voyage across the Atlantic to her new home. She arrived at New Hall, Ia., in 1882, and there she obtained employment on a farm at a salary of $1 a week. To a young lady who had earned only little more than that in a month while in Germany, a dollar a week was a big salary.
She found a big difference between life in Germany and life in the United States, and the longer she lived in this country the better she liked it.
Two years after her arrival here, on Sept. 18, 1884, she married William Schaefer at Vinton, in Benton county, Ia. After two years, they moved to a farm near Miller, S.D., where they lived for four years before coming to Rock county.
They were still living near Miller in 1888 when the famous blizzard struck. Caught in the storm’s fury with but little fuel in the house, Mrs. Schaefer recalls that the family may have suffered some ill effects had it not been for the fact that they had some corn in a shed next to the house. They shelled all the corn from the cobs by hand and burned the cobs. They lasted until the storm abated and until they obtained other fuel.
In 1890 Mr. and Mrs. Schaefer decided to move to Rock county so they packed their belongings and family into a covered wagon and made the trip to Rock county. They lived on a farm in Magnolia township for 10 years, and then moved to a farm in Mound township where they lived for seven years before retiring and moving to Luverne. In 1911 she spent about three months visiting in various parts of Germany. In 1918 she spent the winter in California.
Mr. and Mrs. Schaefer were the parents of three children, all of whom are living. They are A.W. Schaefer of Mound township; Mrs. George Kiebach of Luverne and Miss Ida Schaefer of Luverne. Mrs. Schaefer also has 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Schaefer has been active in the work of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Luverne, of which she is a member. She has been a member of the Ladies Aid for years and served for 14 years as treasurer of that organization.
She is still very active, and the practical education she received when she was a girl of 10 is still being used by her to good advantage for she now spends most of her spare time knitting. During the past 10 years, she has knit many dresses, sweaters, fancy gloves and mittens and has made a considerable amount of fine lace. In all, she states, she has made at least 100 pairs of gloves and mittens.
She attributes her long life to hard work and living a quiet life.
Of a family of eight, she is one of four still living. A sister, Mrs. Anna Wilprecht, lives at Lidgerwood, N.D.; a brother, August Meier, lives at Fulda  and another brother, Gust Meier, lives at Waterloo, Ia.
Mrs. Schaefer died about 12 years ago.
(Editor’s note: Since its inception almost two years ago, the “Diamond Club” has been one of the most popular features of this newspaper. The Star-Herald is interested in obtaining more members and urges all who are 75 years of age or over to join. There is no charge or obligation. All that is necessary to fill out a simple application blank which may be obtained either by calling at the office or by writing for it. Star-Herald correspondents also have application blanks which they would be glad to give you. If you are a reader and know of someone whose biography you would like to see in print, tell us about it. This is a column published primarily for the interest of all our readers throughout Rock and adjoining counties and to pay tribute in a small manner to the pioneer settlers whose trials and hardships have made possible the many every day conveniences that now are ours.
         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

1943: Everett recalls first imported Holstein, homesteading in Montana, growing long beard

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.
This article is continued from last week about William Everett.
Lived on Milk
Five Days
From there he went back to LeMars where he worked for Dr. Foster, the man who, according to Everett, imported the first Holstein cow. The animal cost $5000 and died within six weeks after she arrived in LeMars. He was working for Dr. Foster in 1888 when the blizzard of that year struck. He was in the barn, three blocks from the house when the storm descended, and was forced to remain there for five days and nights until it subsided. He kept warm by lying down between two cows when they lay down. He lived on milk, and the milk that he and the calves did not drink, he fed back to the cows to help quench their thirst.
He left LeMars and went back to Sioux City where he trained as a cook in the old Washington House, owned by Henry Carrigan. He had to give it up after three years, and then he and a half brother began farming five miles northeast of Beresford. From there he went to Onawa, Ia., and worked on a ranch for Judge Adson Oliver. After five years, he bought a farm of his own, and just when he had it paid for and a crop in, he “lost it in the river.”
In 1907 he worked on a freight boat, the “Expansion” that traveled from Washburn to Ft. Berthold on the Missouri river in North Dakota. It was owned by I. P. Baker, and captained by John Marsh. Mr. Everett did all the baking and cooking for 25 to 60 people. Although he had his hands full, he earned a salary of $225 a month. Each round trip would require three weeks.
Cooking, however, was not his only trade. He also was a horseshoer (he has the second shoe he ever turned as a souvenir) and later learned the barber’s trade.
Homestead in Montana
Hearing of land that could be homesteaded in Montana, Mr. Everett went west and filed a claim about 45 miles north of Billings. He had a fine ranch, and good stock, but he became ill, and was forced to spend all his savings and even sell his property to pay for doctor and hospital bills. For a while, he worked in a silver mine in Idaho, but a mine accident delayed operations for 90 days so he and a companion “just drifted out.”
Speaking of doctors and hospitals, Mr. Everett claims he has been treated in 36 different hospitals at different times for a number of different ailments. He has survived nine operations, although surgeons gave him up as “a goner” time and again. He went to Rochester in 1916, and there the famed“Doctor Will” Mayo told him that he didn’t “have a chance.” Mr. Everett said he wanted to go through with it, and Dr. Mayo, after looking at him a while, declared, “If you don’t become scared, well—”
“I don’t fear anything,” Mr. Everett replied, and a few minutes later, he was taken to the operating table.
Nearly Killed in Well
That, however, was not the only time he came close to death. One time in Montana he was lining a well with rock. He had a helper who was “lazy” and instead of carrying rocks, to the well, he rolled them, despite Mr. Everett’s protests. One rolled down into the well, hitting Everett on the shoulder, and crushing it. The helper, thinking that the rock had surely killed the man, left the scene, and was never seen after that, although the man for whom he was working owed him $2,000, Mr. Everett declared.
It was after his trip to Rochester that Mr. Everett landed in Luverne and this has since been his home. At the present time, he has his own little apartment, does his own cooking and his own housework.
When he was called on and asked for an interview, he was busily engaged mending a pair of overalls, and was wearing his everyday clothes. Although he was informed that he would not have to dress up to have a photograph taken, he insisted that he put on his Sunday best.
Wore Long Beard
This winter he has let his beard and mustache grow, but he says that they’re nothing like they were back in his younger days. Then, he wore long hair, General Custer style, and his beard was so long that he would have to tuck it under his belt on a windy day.
Mr. Everett married in Alcester, S.D. and has three children, Abner Reed Everett, Sioux Falls; Mrs. Nora Huisman of near Canistota, S.D. and Mrs. Nellie West of Rapid City, S. D. He also has nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He is not certain if he has more than a brother and a sister living now or not. One brother, Paul Caster Everett, however, lives someplace in Iowa and a sister, Mrs. Ada Adams, lives in Spokane, Wash.
Despite the fact that he has suffered much illness during his life, and had a stroke about two years ago, Mr. Everett is still active and still able to do a little work. When asked to what he attributed his long life, he made this simple reply:
“I guess the Lord just ain’t been ready for me yet.”
         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