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Manuscripts - ND Oral History Collection - 10157 - Sargent County

Sargent County

Region 2
1 Mr. Bill Sebens (no photo), Bismarck
2 Mrs. Huldah O’Neil, Cogswell
3 Mr. and Mrs. Merle Dietz, Cogswell
4 Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hanson, Cogswell
5 Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hemminger, Sr., Straubville
6 Mrs. There Peterson (no photo), Brampton
7 Mr. John Baird, Brampton
8 Mr. Elmer Glarum (no photo), Brampton
9 Mrs. Mary Jennigns (no photo), Havana
10 Mr. and Mrs. F.I. Carpenter (no photo), Havana
11 Mr. Oscar Peterson, Havana
12 Mr. and Mrs. Ole Breum, Rutland
13 Mrs. Cora Weber, Cayuga
14 Mrs. Blanche Nelson, Milnor
15 Mr. Oscar Wehlander, DeLamere
16 Mr. Bernard Johnson, DeLamere
17 Mr. John Edison, Milnor
18 Mr. Everett Stevens, Gwinner
19 Mr. Ole A. Olson, Fargo
20 Mr. and Mrs. Art Spande, Rutland

Portions of the following interviews apply to Sargent County:
Louie Schultz, #22, Cass County
Dewey Forsberg, #37, Cass County

Tape #1 Bill Sebens
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history
060 – Father’s experience as a Chicago carpenter; Chicago fire
110 – Experiences in Indiana; Father’s experiences with fertilizing
117 – Elementary education
266 – Arizona for health; Bookkeeper in Phoenix
336 – Experience with Texas irrigation
400 – Beginning in North Dakota in 1918
430 – Alfalfa and sweet clover
475 – Showing North Dakota seed in Chicago in 1922
518 – Depression; GNDA employment
595 – Beginning as photographer
722 – Work with Valley City Winter Show
760 – Influence and work on starting Garrison Dam
815 – Opinion of Usher Burdick
896 – Opinions on North Dakota irrigation
935 – Photographing for GNDA and Soil Conservation Agency
002 – SIDE TWO
002 – Working to encourage new farming practices
128 – Comments on Matt Dahl
141 – Family background on wife’s side
170 – Comments on his family, sons, and daughters
262 – Wind chargers and Delco plants
292 – Coal development and gasification
383 – Comments on North Dakota
439 – End of Tape

Tape #2 Huldah O’Neill
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Family settles in North Dakota; Hard times in 1900’s; Father’s homestead near Rutland; Husband’s family history
162 – Schooling in North Dakota
174 – Marriage; Farming
187 – Farming during thirties
205 – Move into Cogswell; Works on cook car and sews
420 – WPA projects in area; Building roads
440 – Anecdote about neighbors staying with cows during storm
500 – Flu epidemic called “black flu”
648 – Early Cogswell
712 – People leave Cogswell during thirties

Tape #3 Mr. and Mrs. Merle Dietz
TAPE A
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Family comes to North Dakota; Family homestead
122 – Early Lisbon; Mill
195 – Railroad
219 – Prairie fires
248 – Father’s rural mail route
324 – Average size farm in 1910
349 – Early Cogswell developers
451 – REA comes to Cogswell area
508 – Early telephone
578 – Nonpartisan League in area; Political interest and conflict
631 – Comments on Bill Langer
TAPE B
000 – Introduction
006 – Comments on Bill Langer
033 – Comments on Bill Guy, Milton Young
049 – Nationalities in area from 1900-1915
073 – Fellowship of people in early 1900’s
108 – Early political figures in the area
137 – Comparison between National Farmers Organization and Nonpartisan League
186 – Independent Voters Association
204 – Chores on farm as boy; Delivering gas and kerosene
336 – How Dietz’s father lost farm
415 – Moral of people around Cogswell during thirties; Neighborliness of people
470 – Forties; Reviving spirit in people
520 – Sentiment in area before World War I
540 – Thirties
590 – End of tape

Tape #4 Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hanson
000 – Introduction
016 – Family history; Mrs. Hanson’s family from Christine, North Dakota
089 – Typhoid fever incident
100 – Family history continued
141 – Early Forman; Wooden streets; No plumbing or electricity
153 – Christine and Forman compared
170 – Family history; Mr. Hanson’s family came from Minnesota; Starts farming in North Dakota
450 – Hanson’s children
531 – Tornado of 1921
570 – Family history; Hanson’s children
735 – SIDE TWO
735 – Family history
770 – Hanson works for WPA; Giving out commodities; Mrs. Hanson’s comments on depression
900 – Mattress factory in Forman
930 – Social life
989 – Job dispensing commodities; How system worked
049 – Morale of people during depression
210 – How beef was canned
249 – Making yeast and bread
270 – Canning pork
300 – Buying and storing flour
378 – Doctors in Cogswell; Years when Cogswell was biggest

Tape #5 Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hemminger
TAPE A
000 – Introduction
005 – Family history; Family emigrates from Minnesota
065 – How roads were started in township
100 – Working hours
169 – Tractors and Model T’s come out
189 – First steam engines
220 – Family history
250 – Buying land during depression
285 – Comments on Bill Langer and how he helped farmers
408 – Family history; How father’s land was foreclosed
470 – Working for WPA; Comments on depression
726 – SIDE TWO
726 – Social life during depression
804 – Get engaged
828 – Dances in dance hall
912 – House dances; Farming during depression; Places that Hemminger lived
058 – Butchering and curing hogs
082 – Gardening and canning during depression
150 – Family life during thirties; Neighborliness of people
270 – Average size of farms
316 – People leave Sargent County; Collective farms
TAPE B
000 – Introduction
020 – The depression; Snowstorm of 1904
115 – Family history; Other nationalities in area
150 – Bathhouses
203 – Threshing
383 – Working in cook car
626 – Towns in area in early 1900’s; Boxcars

Tape #6 Mrs. Thera Peterson
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history
039 – Parents come to Brampton, North Dakota and Newark, South Dakota area
071 – Family in Wahpeton; School in Wahpeton and Newark
100 – Father’s theology and religious beliefs
163 – Father works in bank; Bank closes; Thera becomes telephone operator
184 – Thera working in the elevator; WWI; More telephone recollections
223 – Working in her grandmother’s hotel in Newark; Development and decline of Newark
260 – Artesian well runs mill and creamery; Artesian well shut down
280 – Nationalities around Newark, Brampton, North Dakota
297 – Flu epidemic; Thera marries; Background of husband’s family; Farming with her husband
395 – Hard times and farming methods in 20’s and 30’s; Hired men and threshing operations; Milking and selling butter
514 – Raising turkeys; Proper method of sticking turkeys
608 – Book talk; 1930’s; Trees in the area
724 – Discussion about Thera’s salt and pepper shaker collection
770 – Gardening; Wells and water
860 – Electricity; Cushman generator for thirty-two volt; REA; Dances
937 – End of tape

Tape #7 John Baird
TAPE A
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Area history combined
040 – Immigrant cars and homesteading
078 – Grandfather’s memories of Civil War
109 – Father’s history
130 – Grandfather’s well-drilling experiences; Explanation of well drilling apparatus
157 – Area small towns influenced by incoming railroad; Naming of towns, counties, and townships
180 – Developing family history; Baird’s schooling; Baird shorthand mathematics
230 – Mother’s history and meeting with father; Homesteading near Shields in Sioux County
266 – Baird goes back to find birthplace in late 60’s or early 70’s
340 – Baird family in Cogswell area from 1901; Threshing rig; Ownership; Machinery; Threshing experiences; Steam rig; Plowing
662 – Charles Baird moves schoolhouse against wishes of school board with Reeves engine; Also moves house
742 – Coal for steam rigs versus straw for fueling steamers and further stories of early farming
895 – Nationalities and how they influenced threshing order
TAPE B
039 – Recollection of early hired man and his car
110 – Baird’s first new car; Threshing at Edmore, North Dakota
192 – Working for Murphy’s Transfer in Minneapolis
232 – Bumming on the railroad
270 – Cogswell area farmers; Running light plant at dance hall; Cogswell area towns; Murder and robbery story
468 – Murder and suicide of Cogswell area women
500 – Social life; Recreational life; Hired man; Boats from Straubville on James River to Tallahassee, Florida
588 – Transient laborers around Cogswell; IWW at Cogswell area
900 – Politics around Cogswell and Brampton
007 – Baird’s later railroading life in California
040 – Sargent County in the early thirties; WPA; Seed loans
090 – Current conditions and problems around Cogswell
256 – Electrical history of Cogswell area; Telephone recollections; Making cylinder recordings of early musicians and singers
404 – End of tape

Tape #8 Elmer Glarum (Brampton)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Father homesteads south of Brampton; Elmer born
163 – Building railroad
185 – Crops in 1905-1910; Broadcasting seeds
385 – John Baird talks about Silber Minnows in well
598 – Dynamite incident
764 – SIDE TWO
764 – Elmer’s schooling; Teachers; Early farm machinery
850 – Early Brampton and Newark
935 – Closing of bank in Brampton
014 – Elmer’s marriage; Raising family in thirties; Canning meat
108 – Gardening and preserving vegetables
152 – Making cottage cheese; Making bread
228 – Neighborliness of people in 1920’s and 30’s; Family life
300 – Courtship
354 – Baseball
469 – End of tape

Tape #9 Mrs. Mary Jennings (Havana)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Mary born at Havana, North Dakota
057 – Early developers in Sargent County
100 – Chores on the farm
161 – Growth of Havana
262 – Working in hotel
388 – Recreation in early 1900’s; Dancing; Early Havana
436 – A young lady in Havana; Chaperoned by mother
499 – Courtship; Neighborliness of people in early 1900’s
600 – Memories of her husband
656 – Girls basketball
700 – The thirties; Flu epidemic
762 – Nationalities around Havana
866 – WPA projects; Cleaning around town; Ditches

Tape #10 Mr. and Mrs. F. I. Carpenter (Havana)
000 – Introduction
001 – Family history; Depression of 1890’s; Move to Havana from Newark; Discussion of pictures; Artesian lake
261 – Moving of Newark buildings with thirty-two horses; Her education
275 – Early businesses in Havana; Flour mill burning; Operation of creamery between farmer and creamery
325 – Her family’s education
352 – His family history; Early Brooklyn
425 – Early railroads in area; His lower education; Thriving marketing towns in area
523 – Cogswell as marketing area; Means of marketing eggs and butter
628 – Discussion of farming and machinery; Higher education; Depression times in Aberdeen
696 – Population movement from area
768 – Area congeniality; Social life at Havana area; Church socials
845 – Religions; Baseball drifters; Traveling theaters
927 – Bands; Social life
021 – Traveling educational entertainment; Fourth of July celebration
105 – End of interview

Tape #11 Oscar Peterson (Havana)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Father emigrates from Denmark; Works on dairy farm in Minneapolis and railroad near Havana; Wages
043 – Father homesteads near Havana; Buys more land
074 – Family history
097 – Oscar’s schooling
109 – Average size farm
125 – Nationalities in the area
160 – Working on road to pay poll tax
189 – Average size of families
208 – Hobos
222 – Threshing work; Buying threshing machine cooperatively
328 – Blind pig in Havana
348 – Indians working on WPA
360 – Nonpartisan League in teens
401 – Comments on Bill Langer
438 – Grasshoppers; Prices during depression
467 – Franklin Roosevelt
483 – Farm programs; Extension Services
526 – Social life
569 – Two doctors in Steele
588 – Wife’s family history
631 – First gas and storm tractors
722 – Improving roads in area
734 – Baseball teams
879 – Story about Indian
975 – Early telephone
016 – Standby plants; Wind chargers in area; REA
063 – Liniments for man or beast

Tape #12 Mr. and Mrs. Ole Breum (Rutland)
000 – Introduction
025 – Family history; Farm size; Marketing centers; His lower education; School system in general
115 – Compulsory education; Interest in politics
185 – Townley in Sargent County; Townley, Langer, and Lemke
260 – Townley and the NPL; Politics; Opinion of NPL
312 – Legislator and precinct committeeman
386 – 1930 Depression and foreclosure on land
454 – Crops years from 1926-1933; Depression of 1930’s; People working on WPA; Discussion of weather conditions during the Depression
589 – Bailing of bad crops for hay during Depression; Discussion of baling machinery and process of baling during depression on share
666 – Cutting thistles and using them for feed; Dust storms
712 – Farm programs and conservation efforts most successful; Success of Extension Offices; New seed varieties; County agents; Attitude of farmers toward new farming practices
775 – Effectiveness of Roosevelt’s farm programs; CCC and FERA and their accomplishments
828 – Roosevelt’s “white houses”; Social life; Family closeness
964 – Discussion of bad winters and credit
062 – Lignite fuel during Depression
120 – SIDE TWO
120 – Introduction of electricity to Sargent County; Delco plants; Standby plants; Wind chargers; Carbines; Gas lamps; Gas lanterns; Kerosene lamps; Wood stoves; Lignite coal; Corncob stoves
203 – Introduction of telephone to Sargent County
281 – Progressive families in area; Abandonment of church by Swedes; Organization of cemetery
315 – Religions; Homestead area; Population movement
410 – Farming improvements following Depression; Price of land; Federal Land Bank and FHA
529 – The Graduated Land Tax; Farming methods and “The Dirty Dozen”; Type of machinery
668 – Hobos; IWW; Combines
782 – End of interview
Comment:  This is an informative interview concerning the Depression of the 1930’s and its reformatory programs.

Tape #13 Mrs. Cora Weber (Cayuga)
000 – Introduction
017 – Family history; Family moves to Cayuga in 1904; Early neighbors
153 – Education
169 – Early Cayuga and Geneseo
220 – Family history; Cora’s parents, children, and grandchildren
425 – Health of family
526 – Cora’s husband; Early years of marriage
600 – Husband’s political involvement; Story about gerrymandering
604 – Comments on size of farms today
750 – Crops during depression; Paying taxes during depression
884 – Republican background of Webbers; Anecdote about Nonpartisan League; Family switches political allegiance to support FDR during thirties
940 – SIDE TWO
940 – Additional comments on depression
972 – Cora relates comments from nephew who lives in Washington, D.C. on political situation today (Watergate) 

Tape #14 Mrs. Blanche Nelson (Milnor)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Parents come from Franklin, Minnesota; Parents die; Blanche lives with Jene Peterson family
040 – Jens Peterson homestead; Runs blacksmith shop in Milnor
060 – Family history
076 – Churches in early Milnor
087 – Early stores in Milnor; Hans Johnson
115 – Owners of hardware store
127 – Blanche’s schooling; School burns down
160 – Early teachers
177 – Works in store
190 – Petersons travel to Norway and bring back three girls
206 – Comments on working in store
219 – Early doctors in Milnor
239 – Nationalities in the area
293 – Trading butter and eggs for groceries; Butter packed in five pound jars or wooden tubs
332 – Store hours
354 – Small towns in area
380 – Milnor and Forman compete for County Seat
398 – Meeting train at night
415 – Anecdote about sister
440 – Section crew in Milnor
460 – Social life
504 – Social events
554 – Dray line
590 – Silent movies
636 – Lyceum shows
658 – Bill Nordstrom’s Café
674 – Church ice cream socials
692 – Young people’s society
736 – Blanche meets her husband
940 – Killing calves during depression
970 – Gardening; Canning vegetables and meet that helped get through the depression
035 – Butchering
040 – Egg and cream checks
075 – Evening entertainment on the farm
135 – Storm
171 – Chores for children
183 – Coming of electricity
192 – Propane gas for lights; House wired; Generating plant
229 – Early developers of Milnor
267 – Neighborliness of people compared to now
305 – Flu epidemic; Blanche’s husband gets sick; Blanche takes care of horses
370 – Impressions of Bill Langer
405 – People politically involved
440 – The twenties
466 – WPA and CCC
486 – Farming with horses
518 – Heating with coal and wood
547 – First paper subscriptions of Dakota Farmer and Fargo Forum
837 – Blind pigs and saloons in Milnor

Tape #15 Oscar Wehlander (DeLamere)
000 – Introduction
024 – Family history; Family came to North Dakota from Minneapolis; Mother’s history
152 – Mother works in hotel; Father and mother meet; Father does carpentry work
249 – Schoolhouse
260 – Oscar’s schooling
290 – Family history
305 – Teachers; Local people
342 – DeLamere in 1910; Early stores; Early blacksmiths; Livery barn; Flour mill powered by steam; Hardware store; Grocery store; Oscar meets wife; Drugstore; Early general store
481 – DeLamere Mistletoe; Last printer
533 – Bank
584 – Farmers coming into town to shop
607 – Nationalities in area
664 – Artesian well dug
699 – Electricity; Delco plants
718 – Lighting
742 – Telephones
810 – “Little Oak” gas tractor manufactured in Willmar, Minnesota
947 – SIDE TWO
947 – Oscar married; Oscar’s family lives in Fargo; Oscar works in Fargo
975 – Crops in twenties
991 – Graveling township roads by hand; Comments about depression; Dust storms
063 – Nonpartisan League in southeastern part of state
093 – People involved in politics more than now
109 – Neighborliness of people; Effect of cars on community; Family closures
187 – School closing; Baseball team
309 – Railroad
340 – Hobos
379 – Oscar’s cars
497 – Women’s Christian Temperance Union versus blind pigs
573 – Entertainment
680 – Saturday night concerts in DeLamere
720 – Milking
817 – End of tape

Tape #16 Bernard “Benny” Johnson (DeLamere)
(Also Ransom and Richland Counties)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Grandparents come to North Dakota; Sheyenne River; Moved to Richland County; Built log house; Grandfathers come from Norway; Mother’s folks; Father’s folks; Father born in Norway; Father comes to United States; Benny born
207 – Parent’s family history; Farther homesteads; Benny homesteads in Ransom County
263 – Fire in area
330 – McLeod; Additional family history; Children in family
412 – Flu epidemic strikes family
508 – Benny’s schooling
578 – Farming in early 1900’s; Sulky plow
615 – Father buys quarter section
642 – Benny’s first wife; Marries in 1918; Goes into service
715 – Benny homesteads 40 acres
947 – SIDE TWO
947 – Birth of children whit help of midwives
001 – Benny’s homestead in 1919-1927; Wife dies in childbirth
071 – Benny works on WPA during depression
214 – Benny works in St. Paul; Meets second wife at church
311 – Early farming; Wet years about 1916 and wet weather surrounding McLeod; Dry years in 1933-1934
435 – Neighborliness of people in early 1900’s
514 – Early mills on Sheyenne River between Lisbon and McLeod and DeLamere
576 – Story about pet crow
676 – McLeon in 1910
708 – Churches in early 1900’s; General comments on religion
891 – End of tape

Tape #17 John Edison (Milnor)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Education
066 – Farms in Sweden; Red River Valley; Farming methods
172 – Wages; Automotive training education
325 – Model T; Minneapolis; Coming to North Dakota; Vulcanizing business
422 – Military service; Meets wife; Nationalities; Comes back to Milnor
537 – Marriage; Vulcanizing and car dealership
523 – Business conditions 1930’s; Closing of banks; Attitude of populace during 1930’s; Credit conditions during 1930’s
748 – 1930 Depression years
851 – SIDE TWO
851 – Car dealership; Buying on credit; Business stability during 1920’s; Wyndmere’s car dealership
898 – Car dealership at Milnor from 1920 until present time; Trucks
941 – Early trucks; Working in garage; Family life
996 – Congeniality comparison of 1920’s and present time; Public’s reaction to movies; Baseball
022 – SIDE TWO
022 – Sig Melroe (father of ND industry); Melroe’s combine pickup; Edward Melroe
133 – Nationalities; Church’s social life; Military service
297 – Attitude toward war; Sinking of Lusitania; Mauritania
319 – NPL and Bill Langer; Populace political involvement
366 – CCC, WPA, and Roosevelt; Progressive families and business; Population
421 – Hobos; Dust storms; Farmers Elevators; Fires
532 – Speculation of land after 1930’s; Progressive years; Effectiveness of agricultural programs
684 – Grasshoppers; Artesian wells

Tape #18 Everett Stevens (Gwinner)
000 – Introduction
025 – Flour mills; Family history
145 – Homestead area; Marriage; Nationalities
276 – Marketing centers
354 – Blizzard of 1888; Slough wells; Original family house
448 – Raising of farm livestock; Squaw corn; Soil condition
540 – Past and present educational practices; His education
607 – Condition of crops during 1900’s; Hail and rust damage to crops in early 1900’s participation in PCA
696 – Size of farm in 1905-06; Population movement during 1920’s and 1930’s; Deserted farms
808 – Business district; Employment at Melroe Factory
954 – Edward Melroe and his inventions
123 – SIDE TWO
123 – Edward Melroe and his inventions; Success of business; His death
331 – Last years of threshing and beginning of combining; Two row corn picker; Grain elevator
414 – Reactions to farm programs; Farm Bureau; Farmers Union; Stem and grain diseases; Fertilizing; Summer fallowing
474 – Effect of county agents, Agricultural College, and Experiment Stations
505 – War surplus; Support and market prices; NPL; Politics; Road building; Farm Bureau
625 – NFO; Boxcar shortages; Grain prices; Republican Party; Federal programs during Richard Nixon’s administration; Subsidies
754 – NPL-Republican Controversy; Social activities in 1910-1935; Baseball; Church social activities
859 – Dances; Blind Pigs; Bootlegging; Public behavior; Problems in schools
019 – School board; PTA; Present discipline problems in high school; Consolidation of schools
155 – Past and present congeniality of people; Attitude of city young people
249 – End of interview

Tape #19 Ole Oleson (Fargo) (Eastern Counties)
000 – Introduction
021 – Comes to ND; Family history; Details of trip to America
101 – Opinion of first sight of ND; Moves to Minnesota; Poem reading
175 – Education; Indian scares; Move from Redfield; Siblings
223 – Midwives; Works on farms; Works in town; Goes to Wyndmere; Wyndmere Department Store; Wyndmere; Works in Bergs Department Store; Reason for coming to Wyndmere; Works at bank; Business College
303 – Nationalities; His various work; Gets typhoid fever; Works in Fergus Falls; Writes poetry; Manger of store in Milnor; Meets wife
372 – Files claim in Montana; Wife dies; Depression year’s grain prices; Cattle prices
424 – Experiences appraising land and farmers keeping land; Farmland deals with insurance company
497 – Crop Payment Plan; Federal Land Bank; Insurance land agent area; Depression severity in ND; Russian thistle cattle feeding
587 – Lack of water for cattle; ’34 Bismarck moisture; Depression areas in ’34 and ’36; Red River floods
628 – 30’s population discouragement; PV Elevator grain during Depression; Grasshoppers
701 – More about grasshoppers; Dust storms; Driving in dust storms; Richland County cattle feeding during Depression
783 – Soil Conservation Agency; Helpfulness of government farm programs; His home in the 20’s
839 – NPL; William Langer; A. C. Townley; NPL farm popularity
932 – SIDE TWO
932 – IWW; Comments on state and people; Life philosophy
000 – Poem readings; Bonanza farms
104 – Religion; Poem readings
257 – A Christmas story he wrote
358 – End of interview
Comment:  Ole Olson’s Insurance Land Agent experiences are informative.  The reading of his poems taken from various times and topics in the state are beneficial as well as entertaining.

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