SHSND Home > Archives > Archives Holdings > Manuscripts > Oral Histories > 10157

OCLC WorldCat Logo

Digital Horizons

Federal Depository Library Program

Manuscripts - ND Oral History Collection - 10157 - Eddy County

Eddy County

Region 13
1 Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gunning, New Rockford
2 Johann Rossing, New Rockford
3 Lynn W. Schwoebel, New Rockford
4 Ed Johnson, New Rockford
5 William J. Seiler, New Rockford
6 Horton Starke, New Rockford
7 Mr. and Mrs. James Sullivan, New Rockford
8 John C. and Clifford Seckinger, New Rockford
9 Howard C. Klumph, New Rockford
10 H. C. “Hugh” O’Conner, New Rockford
11 Annie Hilbert, New Rockford
12 R. E. Seustrand & Ida M. Hendrickson, Sheyenne
13 Carl and Ellen Rue, Sheyenne
14 Mr. E. R. Manning, Fargo
15 Mr. Alvin Kennedy, Sheyenne
16 Charles & Collie Stedman, Sheyenne
17 Mrs. Mamie Larson, New Rockford

A portion of the following interview applies to Eddy County:
Lucille V. Paulson #9 Burleigh County

Tape #1 Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gunning (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Her parents landed around Grand Forks first and later went to Sheyenne area to homestead; He is from Wisconsin; Born in 1891 and came to area in 1916 working for the railroad; Served army time from 1918 to 1920; Married in 1920; She was born in a sod shack; Mostly Scandinavians homesteaded in the area; Sold eggs and butter for groceries; Nearest town at the time was Jamestown; They went with oxen; Farmed with oxen and then horses; Early stores and post offices in the area; Indians brought beaded merchandise to sell
104 – Indian relationship with the whites; Going to the neighbors with an ox hitched to the stone boat; Neighborhood were all related; The Minnie H steamboat
142 – Burned wood from the river for heat; Prairie fires; Wild animals and prairie chickens; Her aunt was a midwife; Church in homes; Episcopal minister came from Jamestown; Always had plenty to eat; Raised gardens and butchered and cured meat; Father built stone smoke house; Cellar under the house; Didn’t work such long days so they could rest the oxen; Sat outside and visited in the evenings; Went to the school to hear the talking machines
260 – Comparison of ND and Wisconsin; Grandfather killed in SD by the Indians in the 60’s; He was there during the Civil War; His work on the railroad; Worked on railroad 25 years
310 – She went to school in the country and 1 year high school in Sheyenne; Worked in store then did practical nursing; She went with Dr. Meadows whenever he needed her; Many people died in the area; Many died in the Army; He had it but recovered; they turned black when they died of the flu
419 – Dances in the community hall; Activities in schools and churches; Barn dances in the new barns; Lawrence Welk played in the area
445 – Flour mill in New Rockford; Brought wheat in exchange for flour that had been aged; Made own yeast; Made soap from rancid lard; First washing machine was an improvement over the wash board; Well by the porch and very good water
542 – Home remedies; Mustard plasters; Senya tea and salts were the only medicine at that time; Tea leaves taken from certain trees
587 – Moved to various areas while he worked on the railroad; Lived in New Rockford during the 30’s and worked on the WPA; They always had plenty to eat; NPL
SIDE TWO
710 – Politics; Feels the outfits in operation today have come to the end of their usefulness; Ku Klux Klan met at Sheyenne
756 – Projects the WPA had; She had charge of the sewing class; New Deal programs; Her father lost lots of money when the banks closed; Remembers the conflict of moving the capitol from Bismarck to New Rockford
800 – Large scale farming; Coal development would make more work and a better place to live if they developed the area afterwards; County fairs; Baseball; Football and basketball
875 – People were more sociable years ago; Story of loss of cattle by lightning; They love ND; Drawbacks in every state; Cold weather is invigorating
907 – She was telephone operator in Sheyenne for a while; Electricity in 1916 in town; They generated their own power
924 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview telling of his work on the railroad.  She worked at various jobs such as telephone operator, practical nurse, in charge of the sewing for WPA, and telephone operator.

Tape #2 Johann Rossing (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family came in 1900 to ND from Minnesota; They immigrated from Norway; Father was Lutheran minister; He farmed in area since 1917; Nationalities and other church denominations; Father bought quarter of land near Bergen so he farmed and preached; Changes in church services to a ritual type service; Preached until his health failed in the 30’s; Funerals; burying the dead
240 – He tells about the picture of his family; He worked on various farms until he started doing carpenter work and moved to New Rockford in 1926
341 – Father signed for NPL and regretted it later
395 – He built schoolhouses, barns, and houses; Carpentered until he started work in the post office in 1942; Lost house because he couldn’t make the payments in the 30’s; House plans differ now because they built them mostly two story; No insulation used in early years
496 – Friendliness of people in early years; They didn’t pay attention to social life other than church services; Baseball
530 – 56 years of membership in the American Legion
560 – Steam threshing; Worked on threshing rigs; Size of farms
641 – End of interview
Comment:  His father was a Lutheran minister that immigrated from Norway.  Johann isn’t much of a talker and doesn’t tell much of his early life.

Tape #3 Lynn W. Schwoebel (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – His family came in 1883 from Wisconsin to homestead; The boys and the girls filed; His father raised horses and sent a carload of them to this area to sell; Father’s land flooded so he couldn’t seed it
116 – Father was county auditor, county commissioner and city commissioner; They moved to town when he was six so he attended school in town
162 – New Rockford tried to get the state capital moved from Bismarck; Politics was more vicious in early years than now; Story of Langer; Townley came to bank window with a $500 bill; They didn’t care about the NPL; Merchandising farm products then turning around and getting an equal value from the manufacturers for the machinery they had to have; State bank, mill, and elevator
321 – Took the bar exams in 1919 and went into banking because law practices were impossible to begin; Bad years for 10 years; Discussion of the banking business; His wife also worked in the bank; Sixty farm sales in 60 days in the 30’s; Barnyard loans; Many of the people went west
498 – Farm Holiday Association; His father’s homestead is still in the family – 100 years
576 – End of interview
580 –Introduction of continuation of interview
590 – Early businesses and their owners
725 – Dance clubs; Blind pigs; Bootlegging
844 – End of interview
Comment:  Lynn is a retire banker.  He lived in New Rockford since he was 6 years old.  This is a combination of 2 interviews because he wasn’t well when the first one was made.  The second attempt wasn’t too successful in obtaining information either.

Tape #4 Ed Johnson (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Parents came from Sweden to Minnesota and then to homestead in 1885; They began their homestead on their honeymoon.  Worked with oxen and didn’t’ farm too well at first; Norwegians, Swedes, and Danish people settled in the area.  Midwives and a doctor from New Rockford assisted births.  Norwegian Lutheran Church had Norwegian sermons
170 – Farmers threshed together; Father mortgaged mother’s sewing machine; Neighbor bought everything back for him; Prairie fires
200 – School 2 ½ miles away; Neighbors; Older folks played whist; Young people played baseball; Put cows out on picket ropes and hobbled horses; Bought coal from railroad and wood from Minnesota; Cow chips and flax straw burners worked good; Everyone raised gardens; Story of young married couple that tried living without working like the rest
300 – Dug 12 holes (by hand) before they got water and then limited amount; Norwegians bought thresh machine together; Methods of farming; Gophers came off the prairies and dug into grain bins to eat; Discouragements
389 – Barlow, their closest town; Early thresh machines; Business in Barlow; They had 4 sheep so mother carded wool and knitted socks and mittens; Mother sewed on her sewing machine
500 – Their one room house; They kept adding to it’ Part of it still stands
540 – Built school 1 ½ miles from them; Teacher walked so far and such poor salary
596 – Story of man lost in snowstorm; Company thresh machines; Bundle haulers; Married in 1930; worked with brother until 1935
675 – People that had lots of money lost it in the banks when they went broke; NPL organized by Townley; Their family attended meetings but weren’t too strong; Problems between Carrington and New Rockford
755 – Picnic after seeding each year on ranch north of New Rockford; Drought years; Bought land
836 – People went to Washington and California in the 30’s; Flour mill where they exchanged wheat for flour; People couldn’t have sales when they left because no one had money to buy; Farm Holiday Association got quite radical; Boys started where father left off and ended up where he started
926 – Plenty of hay for cattle and horses and enough to sell
SIDE TWO
945 – Waste of buffalo; Abundance of wild life; Heard prairie chickens also coyotes; Ate rabbits in early years; Butchered ox and made dried beef and spoons from the horns; Sold buffalo bones; Tells how they dried meat; Stored meat in oats bin
019 – Married when he was 44; Used candles for light made from butchered oxen; They dipped string into tallow; Lamp used also; Gas lights; Light plants; Wind chargers; Telephone
134 – First car in community was a steam car owned by a veterinarian; First car ride; Their first car in 1915 was a Ford; Older people shied away from driving; First radio bought by him and his brother; They could pick up stations from far away; They needed 4 head phones
181 – Oxen were hard to work with; When they got thirsty they headed for water without stopping; Used binders in their area; Plowing was so hard cause the prairie was so root bound; Steam plowing rig went broke
245 – Raised Indian corn in early years; Picture talk; 100’ sod barn
290 – First Christmas tree he saw had candles on it; Dad made tree from 2x4’s and they used it for years
326 – Six hard years in the 30’s; Dirt and thistles blew into fences; Let land go back to taxes; Large scale farming; Possibility of living on 2 to 3 quarters; Butchering in early years
435 – Barnyard loads; 12% interest rate and bonus paid on money borrowed; Surplus commodities in the 30’s; Kids ran barefoot all the time; No way to water gardens and had to depend on rain
528 – Bootleggers; Blind pigs; Neighbors in town were bootleggers; Home brew was so strong some people got sick and died
600 – Sometimes nearly the whole family died of the flu in 1918; Doctor worked night and day; Three doctors names in New Rockford
640 – Remembers when New Rockford fought for the capitol after it burned down at Bismarck; Farmers Union organized; Government programs for the farmers
739 – Resources in ND; Wild prairie flowers; Indians came around and begged for food; Gypsies traded horses and told fortunes; Peddlers sold mouth organs, buttons, and small goods
870 – End of interview
Comment:  A very interesting interview of a farm couple.  Ed has a good memory of early years and tells of the hardships and the good times.  He tells of the first radios requiring head phones to listen.

Tape #5 William J. Seiler (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came from Austria, Hungary in 1889; Mother was born in Germany and came to the US in 1900; School consisted of 6 weeks in the fall and 6 weeks in the spring; All travel done with horses; Kids played baseball in the pastures and did farm chores; Attraction of free land drew them to the area; Cost of $65 to come from Hungary to Eureka, SD – it took one year to pay it off; Farmed in Wells county until he retired
090 – Second World War mechanized farms because of shortage of men; Father worked in Red River Valley area
160 – Mother came to area in March; She’d come from beautiful country and wasn’t content at first until they had their own place; Large scale farming now is a determent to farming
218 – Never mortgaged home place; Four boys worked out to help finance; He bought land during a good time and was able to pay everything off; Parents were both orphans; Grandparents died in plague in 1870’s within a year; Father stayed with neighbors and relatives until old enough to work out; Father homesteaded 9 ½ miles west near Munster; They traded at New Rockford; Mostly German, Bohemians, and Hungarians in their area; Old settlers spoke their native tongues; He couldn’t speak English until he started school so taught it to his parent; ;They subscribed to English papers to help learn the language
393 – Norwegians stuck to their customs more than other nationalities; Women’s role was hard because of outdoor work mixed with their regular household duties; People had to entertain themselves in early years; They didn’t have money but never ran out of food; Remembers others in worse shape than them; Did all their own gardening, butchering, and repair work
533 – Feelings towards neighbors was more sympathetic than now; Now we have all commercial entertainment; Card playing and visiting; Dances with just a violin or accordion player; People were not proud like now; Everyone was in the same boat; So much pleasure in visiting
SIDE TWO
716 – Story of man that was fined for talking against the government program; German born boy was first to die in war in Wells County; Dockage at elevators; Political leaders that helped the farmers; Unfair treatment of farmers that borrowed money; State mill and bank; NPL was a good movement; Government abused programs; Farm Holiday Association; IVA; Farmers Union; Unified farm organization; Impossible to organize farmers
011 – Discussion of a ND terminal elevator that could trade on the international market
035 – Living conditions during the 30’s; Many people gave up because of discouragement; Moved to the west coast for work; Government farm programs was a boost to the farmers and kept them on the farm; In helping other countries we lost ground ourselves
136 – Land companies operating the area; Opinion of life in ND; Resource development; Instances of crooked dealings with the farmers; Alcohol from Canada
374 – Neighbor lady as midwife; Plowed with sulky plow at 9 years of age
424 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview of a Hungarian-German descendant.  He tells of his life spent on a farm in Wells County.  Hard work and good management paid off.

Tape #6 Horton Starke (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Starke family came to Cooperstown area in 1883; Farmed with 2 oxen and a bull and a wooden wheel plow; Father was carpenter and printer; Mother died and left large family so they went to a children’s home in Fargo; Adopted in 1902 by Starke family; Years of poor crops and the good years; Last good crop was in 1928 until the 40’s; Farming practices today are better and grain varieties are better
105 – Reason for buying tread power thresh machine in 1908; Life on the farm after being adopted; Country school; Walking to school in deep snow; Herded cattle in nice weather and went to school when the weather was bad
300 – Member of NPL; Farmers got short end in selling grain because of no weight slips in elevators; NPL grocery store didn’t go over because of the wholesalers; Town people wouldn’t patronize the farm store
402 – Farm Holiday Association got out of hand; Use of combine in 1933; Poor grain prices; Deposited $350 in checking account and the bank closed that day so lost it all; Land selling for $100 an acre in the early 20’s until the crash in 1929; Custom combining
600 – Membership of the NPL ran around 90% of the farmers; Not too many joined the Farm Holiday Association; Farmers Union started in Sheyenne because they couldn’t get a building in New Rockford
SIDE TWO
736 – Lost 16 small businesses in 18 months in New Rockford; His part in the beginning of the credit union; Rural electrification in March of 1939 – 12 to 15 years earlier than most area
834 – Dense population of farms in 1902; Each farmer could handle only ½ section; Small farmers had to quit or get larger; Diversified farming on a smaller scale
909 – Prediction of the future land prices; Irrigation for farmers would help the smaller farmers produce more so he could operate; Possibility of farmers organizing
977 – Community social life in the winter was dances every week in any kind of weather; Starke didn’t mingle with the neighbors
027 – Work on the railroad in the winter; Rented the farm
080 – Wreck of fruit cars on the railroad; Job of taking care of the heaters in fruit cars; Gas escape from the charcoal heaters; Pay for railroad work was 22 cents an hour; Handling ice to keep the fruit cars cold
185 – No comparison now to the social life of early years; Now they bid against each other for land; Drawbacks of government payments
323 – Full scale resource development; A price to pay for improvements; You can’t stop progress; Proud of living in ND; It was rough here in the 30’s but worse in other states
421 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Starke’s interview is very interesting.  He was adopted early in life and worked hard.  He realized the need for farm organizations and had a big part in the NPL, Credit Union, and Farmers Union organization

Tape #7 Mr. and Mrs. James Sullivan (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Changing the capitol from Bismarck to New Rockford due to its run down condition; It would be more centrally located at New Rockford; The Supreme Court studied the matter and decided it was illegal to put the proposition on the ballet or let the Legislature decide on the problem; The matter was dropped as a lost cause; She also reads a reading about the early New Rockford fire-fighting equipment; The churches in order that they were organized; Bank robbery; The history of the railroad; Fort Totten; The Peace Garden; The rest areas of the highway to decrease accidents; Tree planting to battle against erosion; Recreation and beautification
236 – Her uncle and aunt came to ND in 1889; She lived with them because her mother died; He was a carpenter, in charge of the roundhouse and later owned a furniture store
294 – His family lived in Lidgerwood; His father homesteaded in western part of the state and dried out 4 years in a row so rented a farm by Carrington later buying by New Rockford in 1929
377 – Pretty rough country by Scranton; Story of drunk cowboys that shot lights out of a store; Remembers a summer that all they had to eat was onions, bread, and milk; Trouble between cowboys and ranchers
485 – Father rented on shares from a large land company
495 – She taught school 27 years; The railroad made New Rockford prosper and it has gone downhill since it isn’t in operation as before
585 – Social life in New Rockford; No question about how sociable people were in early years compared to now; Parties and dances in the homes; Fight in hall north of New Rockford
698 – County Superintendent’s project in the county of history of old settlers; Incident of a shootout and a man killed
762 – IWWs and the trouble they called; A sheriff’s sale stopped by Farm Holiday Association; Stories of landlords moving tenants out
828 – Bad years started in ’29 and they kept getting worse; Organizing of the NPL
875 – The country was close to a revolution during the depression; Some people were starving so the government gave out surplus commodities; Government programs that helped the farmers; Barnyard loans
926 – Opinion of Langer; Best senator we ever had in ND
001 – Bad dust storms in the 30’s; At one time only 2 farms belonged to the farmers – the rest had lost them; WPA work; Story of horse that was afraid of rabbit hunters and jumped the fence and broke his leg
083 – Ole Olson; Comparison of politics in early years and now; Large scale farmers are bad for the country and everything else
145 – Coal development; Outside promoters and financers; Elevators shorted farmers because they didn’t have weight slips
192 – Early stores in New Rockford; Stores that burned; Talk of 13 elevators that burned in town
249 – NPL turned the farmers against the town people; Story of a sheriff that was shot and killed; Hoboes that travelled on the trains and caused trouble
334 – Farmers Union was referred to as communists
408 – Wrong picture painted of ND
429 – End of interview
Comment:  Mrs. and Mr. Sullivan give a vast amount of historical information on this interview.  She reads several articles in the beginning of affairs of the town, various organizations, the railroad and Fort Totten. He tells some stories of the western part of the state where he spent part of his childhood. They later have a good discussion of the farm organizations.

Tape #8 John C. and Clifford Seckinger (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came in 1886 to homestead from New York; Many people came from New York at that time; Original homestead was northwest of McHenry; Post offices and country stores in the area; Sgt. Morris, a Civil War veteran
188 – Going to the doctor in New Rockford to get wheat out of his ear
235 – Indian came through area to camp; Threatened by the Indians
269 – Trouble with quick sand in the well; Digging a well and having the water come in a gush
290 – Burned coal and wood; No trees along James River; Louisiana Purchase
320 – Midwives; Aunt assisted at births
360 – When they got together they always were figuring where the railroad should go; Nearly every home had a violin and someone played it; All they needed was a violin for a dance   
388 – Hauling the grain to New Rockford; Man caught in prairie fire; Every farm had a fire break; Prairie grass for hay; Used oxen for power; Broadcasted seed first then grain drills with shoes; Threshed with horse power steamers; Four horses for a drill; Heat, flies, and mosquitoes were hard on horses; Horses had to work so hard
531 – Raised most everything they ate so only bought clothes, etc.; Storing vegetables for winter; Packed eggs in oats for winter; Packed and salted pork in crocks and made sauerkraut
618 – NPL organized in 1915
SIDE TWO
719 – Trying to get state capitol away from Bismarck
736 – Their first car; Mechanism of the car; Poor tires
768 – Flu of 1918; They were all sick in bed except their dad; Country doctors; Doctor prescribed a quart of whiskey when he had pneumonia; Yields of early years; Raising flax
940 – Many gave it up during the 30’s; Their half section always stayed in the family; Times were hard but they worked hard and were content; They milked lots of cows; Buying hay; Making hay from Russian thistles; Problems with feeding thistles
015 – Farm Holiday Association; Langer’s moratorium saved a lot of farmers; Couldn’t buy a job; People were hard up; Grasshoppers ate on the fence posts and fork handles; They ate and killed sow thistles
115 – The school they attended; Short school terms; School in New Rockford; Bought textbooks at first
225 – Large scale farming; Monopolies
314 – Coal development and rebuilding land
351 – Rural electrification in 1949; Telephones in 1905
420 – WPA; road work
425 – End of interview
Comment:  Two brothers discuss life in the early days; Items of historical value are the Civil War veterans they tell about in the first part of the tape.  

Tape #9 Howard C. Klumph (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family came from Illinois in 1906; Bought 2 quarters and an 80; He was born in 1892; Irish, Germans, Norwegians, and Swiss settled in the area; Early churches of the day; School; Potholes in the area
085 – Steam plowing not successful; Discussion of steam engines; Seeding flax; Mustard, leafy spurge and wild oats
133 – Father came in immigrant car and shipped horses and machinery; His mother didn’t like the area at first
158 – Good crop in 1906 and so much snow; They still live in original home built in 1897; Neighbors
208 – Her dad came in 1894 alone and went back to Switzerland to get his wife and returned 2 years later; They were well satisfied with the area; Life in Switzerland; Worked out for wages then rented land and bought later
313 – Large scale farming; Living on 3 quarters to a section of land today; Community life; Car brought change
362 – Social life consisted mostly of dances; He and brother played violin and guitar for the dances; Learning to play the fiddle; Pay was $2.50 for playing from 9:00 to 1:00 am
430 – Baseball in the summer; Women looked after the children while the men played ball; Good ball teams
464 – NPL organized and went over big; Consumer store in New Rockford; Equity elevators started in 1910; Other leaguers of the area; Political rallies; Farmer’s Union meetings; Recall election; First World War
648 – Country doctors and their schedules; Flu epidemic
SIDE TWO
675 – 1700 died in the army camp in 3 weeks; Some died overnight; They had such nose bleeds; Doctors in New Rockford
745 – Responsibilities since they were the oldest in the family; Lots of work to be done; Setting hens for chickens; Shoveling grain; Cost of threshing
800 – Raising spelt and corn; Raised large garden; Storing vegetables in the basement; Flour mill in New Rockford; Farmers took in wheat to exchange for flour; Mill burned
891 – Two winters in high school in town; Years of drought, rust, and the good years; Married in 1920; Discharged in 1919; Hot and dry in ’29 and start of the depression
949 – Diversified farming; Milked 20 cows and sold bottled milk to stores; Later milked and sold cream; Cream checks brought the farmers through the 30’s; No feed in ’34 and ’36 and even fed straw; Fed horses straw and wild oats to put crop in; ’35 was a good crop and plenty of rain but wheat rusted out; Couldn’t make a dime in hard years no matter what you did; They had problems paying taxes and interest; Had to let some land go back, then rented it later and was able to buy it back
069 – Farm Holiday Association; Leader for the county; He sympathized with it; Possibility of a revolution because people were getting desperate; Roosevelt’s New Deal programs; Opinion of Langer; State bank, mill, and elevator; Possibility of state terminal elevator; Farmers Union; Unified farm organization is about impossible; Independent voters
244 – ND is a good place to farm and rear family; Concern of resource development in western part of state
310 – Fight for the state capitol to be moved to New Rockford; The men that pushed the issue; NPL Leader; Magazines and publications of early years
395 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview discussing the problems of farmers.  They still live in the original house built on the homestead in 1897.

Tape #10 H. C. “Hugh” O’Conner (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family came to ND in 1891; Father had come to Winnipeg first and walked to New Rockford; He came from Ireland; His grandfather had 12 acres and raised 12 children in Ireland; Parents married in 1886 and took up homestead, preemption, and tree claim; Prairie fire burned neighbors shack; Lumber from Jamestown to build a house took 2 weeks to get with team of oxen
104 – Peoples store that extended no credit
126 – Train to load up women and children during an Indian uprising; His mother always gave Indians food so they liked her
170 – When any of the settlers needed help the whole area helped; Fighting fires all night long; Buffalo bones; Story of an electric storm
208 – His father and 3 others combined resources to farm; Parents like the area – they stayed on the same place all the rest of their lives; Early years were hard on the women because they worked outside as well as inside; Pioneers had it so hard – everything seemed to be against them; Breaking oxen; Worked in the fields at 10 years of age; When they were hot and thirsty they’d go for water with no stopping; Walked behind everything at first; Seeding, hay making, and harvest lasted from spring until late fall
326 – Shallow well with all the water they wanted; Being near the river helped with the water situation; Story of hungry wolves; Another story of being surrounded by timber wolves when they took a colt from a mare he was working with; Cattlemen lost calves; Bachelors with hounds that couldn’t catch the wolves
445 – James River was clean and ½ mile wide in early years – not like it is now; Sailing 6 miles to New Rockford on sleds
465 – Most settlers in the area were bachelors; Hospitality of early days; Neighbors; Story of wagon box coming loose in the river; Fishing in the river, mostly bullheads; Nearly drowned so learned to swim
554 – Father delivered the babies; Diphtheria took a sister; People were religious and drove 60 to 70 miles in a wagon to go to church
588 – Inland post offices; Rustlers near Hawks Nest that stole horses; Uncle’s stolen horse; Story of horses that came to their place from Mouse River near Minot
676 – Father bought first team of mules when he was 15; Problems with the mules; Farming with horses, broncos
728 – Seeded with 12 foot wide drill; Wire binders; Twine binders; Walking behind seeding and breaking equipment and blistering the bottoms of their feet
815 – Mother was a gardener; Planting potatoes; Root cellar for vegetables and milk; Cottage cheese
890 – Credit in town lasted until fall when they harvested and paid off
920 – People; man who owned half of Eddy County and lost everything before he died
SIDE TWO
946 – Went to school and liked to study; School at Richardton with Russian kids that couldn’t speak English
001 – Marriage and father-in-law problems; Moving to father-in-law’s place
122 – Raised 9 children through the rough years; Cream checks; Building roads on WPA
174 – He belonged to NPL since it first started; Farm Holiday Association; Ole Olson; Usher Burdick; Large scale farming – he feels when you have enough to handle quit so the other fellow has a chance
312 – Coal development could cause the farmers some real problems; Wouldn’t give a quarter of land for the whole west coast
349 – No comparison in people now and in early years; If someone had tough luck they’d group together and get him going again; People were satisfied with what they had
397 – Family life; Changes in our way of life; Taxes are too high; Hired six IWWs at one time with no problems; He had men return to work for him at threshing time year after year; Custom work covered his thresh bill; Charged by the hour; Traveled with a cook car with 2 hired women; Fed 20 men
648 – Bootleggers in town; Bought first car in 1919 from the banker for $600; It lasted until 1928; The tires were no good; Probably have to fix them 2 or 3 times on the way to town
735 – End of interview
736 – General conversation
Comment:  An exceptionally interesting interview all the way through.  He explains how they trained oxen and tells several stories about the troubles with the large timber wolves.  Also the hardships of farming with mules.

Tape #11 Annie Hilbert (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family came from Austria, Hungary; Father was army man and welcomed the chance to immigrate to America; Homesteaded near Manfred; He built 2 room shack and lived there 8 to 9 years until he bought a farm on outskirts of Manfred; Father had lots of cattle besides his farmland; He farmed with horses; Midwives helped in delivering babies and home remedies for the sick; Neighbors; Norwegian Lutheran Church in town
174 – Raised all their food; Credit at the grocery store; Coffee and sugar was about all the food they bout, the rest they raised; They stored root crops in the cellar; Walked to school in Manfred; Business places in town
230 – Women walked to neighbors for coffee parties; Men sat and visited on Sundays; Most of the neighbors had families; Many couldn’t speak English
270 – Attended 4 years normal school at Valley City; Marries; One room house dances; Evenings were spent knitting, repairing, or whatever had to be done; They made use of everything – nothing got wasted; Everyone helped each other in emergencies; Hoboes riding the trains and begging for food
424 – Valley City Normal was mostly women; It was considered one of the top schools; Credit for recreation hour of basketball or whatever
450 – Husband came from Minnesota with parents; They bought a farm here; They’d come from Luxembourg; Moved to town to take care of Mother-in-law; Bremen
552 – NPL; Politics; People were so busy making a living they didn’t pay much attention to the government
596 – Husband tried all new farming practices and machinery; Flu epidemic; Moved to town to care for mother-in-law
679 – Never went hungry in the 30’s; Always had enough hay; Some neighbors cut thistles
SIDE TWO
708 – Discouragement; Everyone worked hard to keep going until better times; Trains that went past every day; Friends with engineers
746 – Grasshoppers weren’t too bad in their area; No WPA near them; Surplus commodities and help was abused; Owned their own thresh machine and did custom work at first; Cook car; Never milked cows; One of the first farmers to go into mechanized farm machinery
829 – Some years of poor crops; Rural telephone in 1915; Sewed all the clothes for her and the girls and household articles
882 – Sold homestead in Montana; ND is a good place to live and if people work they can easily make a living
900 – End of interview
Comment:  Annie attended Valley City Teacher’s College but did not teach.  She got married to a farmer who was one of the first in the area to get mechanized farm machinery.

Tape #12 R. E. Seustrand and Ida M. Hendrickson (Sheyenne)
000 – Introduction
020 – Reads father’s diary; Father came by train to Carrington and walked to New Rockford in 1884; Built sod house 9x10 on homestead; Lumber for house cost $7.26, digging cellar $1.50; Paid uncle for sodding house $3.00, door $.65; Families that came with father to look for land; Church services at neighbor homes
204 – Their mother homesteaded and never froze or starved; Organized Norwegian Lutheran Church in 1885; Organized Granfield Lutheran Church in 1896
253 – Man that froze to death; Prairie fires were feared by all and everyone fought them; History of the family
334 – Parents started farming with oxen; Water a problem in their area; Three hail storms in one year
360 – Politics; Equity Exchange; NPL; IVA; Rural telephone with a central; Organizing Farmers elevator, creamery, and bank; NPL organized state band and state mill and elevator
453 – Father elected president of board when township organized; Farm Holiday Association; Problems of farmers; Thistles for hay; Hardly any crop; Dust storms that covered everything like snow; Large families at first; 49 in one room school; Funerals held in school house until church was built
638 – Names of midwives; Father donated land for park
SIDE TWO
703 – Neighbors threshed together; Threshing rigs; Fish peddler
770 – People got together Sundays and played ball and games; Band; Horseback riding and horse shoes; Ladies Aide and Willing Workers
810 – Pictures; Closing of banks; First car in the neighborhood; Airplane; Cars couldn’t be used in winters
906 – Indians sold wild fruit; Chautauqua; President Taft; Chautauqua programs; Circuses
962 – Farmers Union; One united farm organization; Large scale farming hurts a community
996 – Sheyenne doctors; Midwives; Flu epidemic
019 – Delco light plant for lights and water pump; Wind chargers; Laddin lamps; Flour mill at Sheyenne
060 – Doctor book used when someone got sick; Mustard plasters; Turpentine and lard on cloth to put on their chest for colds
071 – People with self-sufficient and made or produced what they needed; Ice from creamery for ice cream; Riding on the train; Fires in New Rockford and Sheyenne
159 – Roosevelt’s programs for farmers; Farm shelterbelts
190 – End of interview
Comment:  An interview of a group of people at the Hendrickson farm home.  They discuss farm life in early years, home remedies, and social life.

Tape #13 Carl and Ellen Rue (Sheyenne)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came in 1883 from Minnesota with and uncle; Norwegians and Swedes homesteaded in the area; Water on the homestead was good and plenty of it; Born in 1895; Built large house in 1902; Dad farmed with horses; She came alone from Norway when she was 18 years old in 1915; Her father had homesteaded earlier and drank water from a slough and died of typhoid fever; She came to Ole Olson’s – Governor at the time; Comparison of ND and Norway; She couldn’t speak English when she came but everyone spoke Norwegian so she didn’t have any problems
209 – Ole Olson’s family came to Wisconsin first from Norway; He was married in 1913 at 40 years of age – his wife was 20; Lived 8 miles from the Rues; Raised 10 children; Many people came to his home to talk about the League; Sheyenne was IVA
355 – Many died of the 1918 flu; He filed homestead in McLean County near Parshall in 1918; Paid $9.00 an acre for it; A good crop was between 15 and 18 bushels an acre; Rust years; Dad hired neighbor to thresh for him
480 – End of interview
Comment:  A short interview of a farm couple.  She stayed at Ole Olson’s for five years and knows the family well.

Tape #14 E. R. Manning (Fargo)
000 – Introduction
020 – Parents came in 1888 to Minnewaukan; Mother came from Norway in 1876; ; Father was a newspaper man; After father’s death Mother carried on the paper; He went to World War I for 2 years and finished high school when he was discharged; Taught school; Married; Made teaching a career
210 – Pictures
250 – How small towns supported a newspaper
324 – Early business places and their owners in Sheyenne
370 – Vicious politics; NPL developed into a movement where townspeople and farmers fought each other; People became fanatics; Families involved in politics; IVA supporters; Two factions of republican party
475 – Majority of population in Sheyenne area was Norwegian; Selling aluminum cookware
560 – Pictures
654 – Picnics at Woodlake; Chautauqua at Devils Lake with amphitheater with seating for 4000 people; Famous people as speakers; Yacht club
SIDE TWO
720 – Rode the train to Chautauqua at Devils Lake; Model T with poor tires
740 – Entertainment in the homes
759 – Changes in education since he began teaching; Changes in attitudes of students
830 –Experience in the Navy; Grandfather couldn’t take cold weather of ND so went to Seattle and started a shop fitting business
866 – Teaching at Dunn Center and Donnybrook during the depression; Problems in schools were minor compared to now
910 – Advanced education; Teaching the Navy; Rural schools
969 – End of interview
Comment:  An interview of a former educator.  He is from Sheyenne and tells some important history of the area also a good discussion of early politics.

Tape #15 Alvin Kennedy (Sheyenne)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family came in 1904 from Fergus Falls, Minnesota to homestead; He was a newspaper salesman; Lived in a 12 x14 shack; Prairie grass 3 to 4 feet high and when the fires came flames shot high in the air; Plowed fire break by the house and then another farther around; Steam plowing rig; Some built grass huts for their cattle; Winter when snow was so high you could step over telephone wires
115 – When on threshing crew his best pals were Indians; Family parties and dances, cards, and visiting; Mother did all her own dressmaking; Put milk in gallon pail and ties string to it and let it down in the well; Cured meat
153 – Moved dead soldiers from Fort Totten cemetery in 1910; They passed their home; Still live in original home from homestead; Married in 1919; Names of some of their neighbors; School 2 months in the summer; Harnessing gophers
220 – Cats and gophers eating out of the same dish; Garden froze on the 4th of July in 1914 or 1915
289 – Dances; Accordion and mouth organ;  Mild delivered to the door for 7 cents a quart; Wheat 60 cents a bushel; Shoes $3 to $4 a pair; overalls 90 cents to $1; Yorkshire hog that weighed 800 pounds
330 – Planted 50,000 trees around the homestead; Bought coal for burning; Story of Irish lady that borrowed coal; Women homesteaders; Some of the teachers names; Wells; They had a good spring only 10 feet deep; First crop would be wheat or flax; Prairie fires every year; Story of neighbor lady that caught fire; Story of gas thieves
515 – Early churches; Rivalry between the Swedish and Norwegian Lutheran churches; First Lutheran minister; Minister and deputy sheriff
587 – Rural mail carrier for 46 years; Started with horses; Model T; Model A with caterpillar tracks then used tractor tires; Examinations for mail carriers; 32 mile routes; Began at $155 a month and furnished transportation themselves; Airmail
SIDE TWO
718 – Changing horses at a farm; Out of all the years he only missed 10 trips; Problems encountered on the route; Grocery lists from the farmers; Weighed little kids with his scale; Christmas gifts of meat, eggs, and other farm produce
809 – Conditions in the 30’s; Dirt drifted on the road; Dust blew so hard he couldn’t see 10 feet ahead; Mail came in on the train; Farms thinned out over the years
900 – Improvement in the roads over the years; Burning kerosene in Model T
962 – Father died in the flu epidemic
000 – Received gold medal in school for highest average in the class; Blacksmiths
045 – Telephones in 1915 or 1916 with switchboard in town
097 – Doesn’t plan to ever leave ND; Coyotes; Marksmanship with a revolver
160 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview of a retired rural mail carrier.  He tells some interesting history of the area.

Tape #16 Charles and Collie Steadman (Sheyenne)
000 - Introduction
020 – Father came to New Rockford in 1883; Mother came in 1885 and taught school; Soldiers stationed at Fort Totten at that time; Parents attended military balls; Family history; Neighbors
150 – Homesteading in reservation began in 1904 and a large group moved in; Scandinavians; Early stores and their owners
229 – Her family came in 1908; Father managed Powers Lumberyard for 6 years then sold insurance; Early business places; Banks foreclosing
371 – Druggist’s father was a doctor at Fort Totten when the soldiers were there; He also had a harness shop, owns a cow, and sold milk; First doctor arrived in 1897 and the ones that followed; Places where the doctors had their offices; Dentists; Blacksmiths; Doctors and their drivers
555 – Minnie H steamboat; Chautauqua; Train that ran from Chautauqua grounds at Devils Lake
635 – Discussion of the lake at Devils Lake; One of the best fishing areas in the state now; Other livery barns; Father ran a liver barn; making hay for the livery barn
760 – Blind pigs; Homes sold home brew; Constable; Jail
830 – Town character that had served time for horse stealing; Had a black beard and wore overshoes year round
920 – Sheyenne was booming in 1918; cars were coming and they had auto livery
SIDE TWO
953 – Crop insurance – auto livery for hail adjusters; Problems with the cars; One year old car cost $1200
026 – Sheyenne had 4 pool halls in 1914, first one in 1897; Pool sharks; Billiard tables; Bowling alley in 1900; Dances, movies and lodges and their doings; School programs; Traveling shows; Card parties; Kids had ponies and horses to ride; Sleigh riding; Baseball
218 – Baseball practice on main street; Ballpark; Hired Indians to play ball; Discussion of their ball team; Basketball; Skating on the river; Trapping; Clamp on skates; Swimming pool was down at the river; 4th of July celebrations; Horseraces; Churches and social functions; Church Bazaars
357 – Union Church when all churches united for services; Rivalry
458 – Flu epidemic; Doctor Meadows went day and night; Story of when he had the flu; Couple with 3 children died; Undertaker had seven bodies at one time, then he contracted it and died; he worked for aunt whose husband had been undertaker; Stories of some corpses that he picked up; Aspirins and bed rest seemed to be the only treatment for the flu; Most patients died of pneumonia that set in
588 – He taught rural school, then consolidated school; Worked for cattle buyer; Selling groceries on the road; Worked in Post Office until he retired
674 – People left in the 40’s to go west to work in the defense plants
701 – Kept neutral as far as politics were concerned; Dismissed school for political speakers; Five elevators at one time; Equity Elevator owned by local farmers; Coop store extended too much credit and went broke; Famers Union Oil
849 – Changes in people over the years
893 – End of interview
Comment:  Charles certainly has a vivid memory of the years the various business places of Sheyenne that opened and sold out.  This interview is a good source for any history of the town of Sheyenne.
 
Tape #17 Mrs. Mamie Larson (New Rockford)
000 – Introduction
020 – She came to Sheyenne in 1888 from Jamestown; Parents came to Hillsboro from Norway; The ministers of the Swedish Lutheran Church and Norwegian Lutheran; Churches kept separated because of their languages
120 – Attended school near Norwegian church which was only 2 or 3 months in the summertime; They had to finish grade school at Sheyenne; Then 3 month at Valley City prepared them to teach school; School children couldn’t speak English and the teachers couldn’t speak Norwegian or Swedish; Earliest settlers
206 – Worked for board and room; Abscess on lungs; Married in 1905; The first doctors; Mother died of typhoid fever from drinking the river water; A woman doctor in Jamestown at that time
294 – Doctors made house calls for childbirth; Midwives in the area
322 – Husband was last to file in their area and bought rights; Built barn first and lived in small house; Hard coal burners for heat that had ovens for baking
373 – Fought prairie fires; Burned their hay stacks; Weeks and weeks in the wintertime where they couldn’t get to town; Ground their own graham flour
430 – Large gardens; Incubators for chickens; Canned vegetables and meat; Swedish brown beans cooked with cinnamon stick; Lutefisk; Bought dry and had to be soaked in water and ashes; Midsummer holiday on the 24th of June
520 – Ladies Aide at church for women; Barn dances
540 – Reared 8 children; Son died of heart attack at young age; Lived 10 miles west of Sheyenne on a farm; Early Sheyenne
686 – Indians traded in Sheyenne; Reservation opened for homesteading; Good relations between Indians and white people
SIDE TWO
718 – Indians sold cordwood in town; Traveling peddlers sold jewelry and knick knacks and some clothing; Ordering from Sears Roebuck catalog
753 – Husband hired threshing done; Cook cars; Summer kitchen
778 – Husband joined the NPL; Women’s organization in connection with the League; Farmers Union Elevators; Ole Olson; All the farmers united and favored the League; Shortage at elevators when they sold grain
884 – Nearly lost their farm in the 30’s; Better prices during the war and they redeemed the farm; No crops for years
944 – WPA built roads, etc.; Dust storm so bad while they were in church they all went in the basement for safety
996 – People are so dissatisfied now from having too much
038 – Preference of ND; Going places with bobsleds in early years and heating flat irons to keep warm; Experience with horse and buggy when the horse saw a car
078 – End of interview
Comment:  Mamie was 92 at the time of the interview and has a very good memory of her early life and tells about it in an interesting way.  She was president of the women’s organization connected to the NPL.

Address:
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Get Directions

Hours:
State Museum and Store: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
We are closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
We will also be closed on Christmas Eve this year.
State Archives: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F, except state holidays; 2nd Sat. of each month, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
State Historical Society offices: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F, except state holidays.

Contact Us:
phone: 701.328.2666
email: histsoc@nd.gov