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Manuscripts - ND Oral History Collection - 10157 - Walsh County

Walsh County

Region 14
1 Canon Ted Smith, Fargo
2 Herman Shanilec, Minto
3 G. K. Ness, Fordville
4 Charles Adamson, Grafton
5 Hugo Kutz, Grafton
6 Nellie B. Hanson, Grafton
7 W. J. “Bill” Johnston, Grafton
8 Joe Thompson, Grafton
9 Nora Gryde, Hoople
10 Carl Paulson, Hoople
11 Ted Torgerson, Park River
12 Dr. M. C. and Winnifred D. Flaten, Edinburg
13 Joe Matejcek, Lankin
14 Lucy Zeman, Lankin
15 Walter Halberg, Adams
16 Henry O. and Selma Lundene, Adams
17 Jacob P. Westby, Fairdale
18 Joseph L. Bina, Conway
19 Rilie R. Morgan, Grafton
20 John S. Donnelly and Mrs. P.J. Donnelly, Grafton
21 Arthur F. and Lydia O. Jackson, Grafton
22 W. F. Willer, Grafton-Fordville
23 Anna McIntyre, Park River
24 Mrs. Stella Skjerven, Park River
25 Oscar Sunderland, Adams
26 Bernard Hultstrand (Side 1 of Tape 1 in Cavalier County), Fairdale
27 W. T. Depuy, Grafton
28 Frank D. Lizakowski, Minto
29 B. J. Narloch, Minto
30 Mr. and Mrs. Louis Wisniewski, Minto

Portions of the following interview pertain to Walsh County:
Cecilie Nelson, #15, Mountrail County
Hugh McGillivrary, #37, Ward County

Tape #1 Canon Ted Smith (Fargo)
000 – Introduction
020 – Explains why his title is Canon instead of Reverend or Father; Came from Canada in 1941 to Grafton then to Bismarck for 23 years; Bad health forced him to take a position of less responsibility at Fargo; Former pastors at Bismarck; Moving the Episcopalian church to Fort Hancock; Restoration of the church; Baptizing various businessmen
174 – Ran Scout Troop; Took the western North Dakota troop to Valley Forge
186 – Story of the first steam locomotive in the area
242 – Alexander Henry, Jr.; Trading Post; It had the highest flag pole between Fort Snelling and the west coast; Duplication of the trading post for a historic site; The life of Alexander Henry; Introducing liquor to the Indians; Varieties of wild animals and fish; Restoration of the post with a fur trade exhibition demonstrating how they were packaged and rolled
544 – Old Fort William being restored by the Canadian government depicts life in 1800’s; Birch bark canoes; Chippewa canoe factory; Red River ox carts
693 – Vast amount of furs moving from ND and Canada from the west to Montreal to the big fur companies and then across to England
SIDE TWO
719 – The value of furs in 1800’s compared to our today’s prices; Henry married an Indian woman and had a negro servant; Henry’s diary; Literature drop at the post; Restoration of a Canadian boat; Canadian history
900 – Tourist attractions
936 – Restoration of St. Boniface Cathedral in Winnipeg
967 – Red River Accent; Henry’s relations with the Indians; The Snakes Indians; Sioux Indians were enemies of most Indians
023 – End of interview
Comment:  A very informative interview pertaining to his service at the Episcopal Church at Grafton, Bismarck, and Fargo also his research he did on the Alexander Henry, Jr. Trading Post east of Grafton.

Tape #2 Herman Shanilec (Minto)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came from Czechoslovakia in 1886 with his parents; Wife’s family history; Family settled in Walsh County near Conway; Nationalities that settled near them; Types of homes built; The railroad
230 – Area midwives; Problems with wolves; Wood for fuel from the river; Celebrations yearly as custom of their homeland
300 – Getting established; Description of oxen; Nationalities were clannish
425 – Buffalo bones; Father walked to Grand Forks for flour (40 miles); Flour mills of the area; Good water in their wells; Artesian wells in later years
465 – Threshing machines; Seeding in early years; Social life consisted of their annual celebrations, horse races, dances, and cards
520 – Country churches; Farms averaged 3 quarters; Large farm and their machinery; Size of father’s diversified farm; Self-sufficient farm families; Chores for the children
680 – Mother made butter, sold eggs, rendered lard, and made soup
SIDE TWO
780 – School districts; No school in winters; Teachers; Dances for older people; School programs; Ice cream freezers; Baseball
830 – Crops; Use of fertilizer; Crop rotation; Drought of 1910; NPL
910 – Peddlers; A Syrian peddler that ate with them when he came; Gypsies in covered wagons that stole from people; Their trading deals
967 – IWWs; Thresh crews; Stacking the grain for threshing; Quality of grain
040 – He had flu and double pneumonia during the epidemic; He lost a brother; Funerals every day; Symptoms of flu; There were doctors but no medicine
088 – His farm; Bank closings
140 – Stock market crash in 1929 then the dry 30’s; Wheat varieties and pries; Raising corn, alfalfa, and sweet clover
200 – WPA road and bridge work; Put cars on blocks in the winter and used the horses
286 – Farmer’s Union; Future for farmers; Pries of land
364 – Proud of being from ND; People from other states don’t know what’s raised here
440 – End of interview
Comment:  An informative interview regarding agriculture.

Tape #3 G. K. Ness (Fordville)
000 – Introduction
020 – The whole town burned in early years; He came to ND in 1912 from SD where he went from Norway; Poor conditions in Norway forcing people to come to America; Uncle’s farm in SD; Gather was shoe maker working for low wages; Homesteaded in 1902 in SD; Realizing his need for school and going to school after he was grown
134 – Drifted as far as Canada at 27 years of age then returned to school; Taught school then got into the newspaper business; Started his own print shop in various towns and had problems; Bought papers at Fordville and Petersburg in 1921 and 1922 driving back and forth for a while; Rented Petersburg and finally sold; Slump years
535 – Extending credit over the tough years; Patrons owing for 5 and 6 years
710 – Moisture conditions in various years; Businesses kept going during the 30’s; Banks consolidated and moved to Grafton
855 – Contents of his paper
SIDE TWO
949 – His editorials; ND Press Association; Diminishing papers in the state
082 – Politicians courting support in newspapers; Liberal Conservative
183 – Politics; Business and raising a family in the 30’s; Credit extended
285 – Credit now compared to the tough years
350 – Area reporters; Regular features he carried in his paper over the years; Other features of his paper; The daily papers began in the 40’s
540 – Increase in crime rate over the years; Publishing petty crimes
615 – Feelings about ND; Community changes over the years; Fordville’s baseball teams; Increase in interest in basketball
670 – End of interview
Comment:  An interview of a newspaper publisher

Tape #4 Charles Adamson (Grafton)
000 – Introduction
020 – He came to ND from Denmark when he was 20 years old; Release from military service to obtain visa to come to America; Influence in leaving homeland
190 – Worked on a farm and paid off his debts; The ship he came over on; Landed in Montreal, Canada, the Detroit, Michigan
270 – Stumbling on relatives and made his home with them when he first came; He couldn’t speak English; Nationalities in the area
356 – His start in the construction business in Denmark
420 – His start in the construction business here after he got out of the army
507 – His return trip to Denmark; Sizes of homes in early years; Designs and building plans; Plumbing and wiring; Grafton’s steam power plant
SIDE TWO
724 – Moving Grafton’s power plant; Insulation in the homes in 1915 was poor then balsam wool came in; Pipeless furnaces with one flu in the middle of the house at first then wall ducts on main floor with ceiling registers for upstairs; Price of coal
858 – House plans; Quality of lumber and building materials then and now; Misunderstandings with the boss; Going into business for themselves; Architectural course; Problems with hired men
109 – Married in 1919; Wife’s history; Making a living in the 30’s
209 – First National Bank went broke
300 – WPA work in town; Borrowing money from the bank
399 – Proud of ND; He came here by choice
438 – End of interview
Comment:  An interview of a man in the construction business.

Tape #5 Hugo Kutz (Grafton)
000 – Introduction
020 – He came to ND from Canada as an individual looking for a place to locate; Offer to be set up in business in 1914; Built a new building for his business; Drafted in 1918 and had to leave his business with a total stranger who made a mess of it; Pulling strings to get discharged from the army; Clearing the post
266 – Married in 1919; Getting the whiskey to pay off man that helped get his discharge
367 – Made payments on his business and bought a home; Paying off the mortgage
387 – Born in Germany and attended school not quite 2 years; Used slates in school; The steamer he came over on; His schooling; His job in Canada; His first view of the prairies
890 – Homestead in Canada; Wife’s family history
SIDE TWO
960 – More of wife’s history; Nationalities of the area
090 – Mennonites and their religious beliefs
160 – Conservatism; Credit during the depression; Accounts relievable that he had to drop; Oil burner and fuel oil business
303 – Baseball; Boxing matches; Curling rink; Opera House; Woodman Hall; Armory; Chautauqua; Home shows and dances; Commercial Club and golf
387 – French Catholic Parochial school turned out some good students and citizens; Parent’s control of children
540 – Early businesses and their operators; De Soto Creamery; Grafton Bottling Works
593 – Thirteen deaths from food poisoning in 1931; The Hein family all died
759 – Flu epidemic; His bookkeeper was drafted and died in army camp of flu; Unfairness of the draft board
824 – Large scale farming will be a curse in the end; Competition between small operator and the large scale operator
902 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview of a businessman.  He tells some history of the Grafton area.

Tape #6 Nellie B. Hanson (Grafton)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came to ND in 1882 to homestead; He built a sod house and Mother came later; All Norwegians in the area
120 – Born in 1884 in a family of 5 children; Midwives; Early Grafton; Nationalities of the town; The same school superintendent for many years
180 – The State School
190 – Father’s furniture store; Brother was the undertaker for many years; The Chicago Store; The Opera House and programs they had
260 – The school and subjects offered
298 – After graduation from the University she taught school then went west and took homestead in 1905; Her diary; They built their one room shacks and taught school; Her transportation to school was a cart and horse; Dad Krueger; East of Williston; Their nearest post office was Nesson
399 – Nationalities around her homestead; Their one room shacks; Proving their land; Dances at Nesson
477 – Taught at LaMoure, Larimore, and Minot; Went back to University to get her degree; County Superintendent’s office for 15 years; Field representative; Discipline in early years; Visited 2 or 3 schools a day; Standards sent out from the state; Change in quality of education
710 – IN charge of an abstract office; Conditions in Grafton during the 30’s; WPA; Surplus commodities
800 – Chautauqua; Langer; Politics today
900 – Family that died of food poisoning from home canning
947 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview of a woman homesteader, teacher, field representative for County Superintendent of Schools and in charge of an abstract office.

Tape #7 W. J. “Bill” Johnston (Grafton)
000 – Introduction
020 – Parents came from eastern Canada in 1879 because farming was such a hardship there because of so many trees to be cleared off the land and the clear prairie here attracted them; Neighbors; Nationalities settling in the area
159 – Doctors at Minto and Forest River; Born in 1895
208 – Father summer fallowed in early years and never had a complete failure; Women had real hardship because of no conveniences; Diversified farming
260 – Mail carrier caught in blizzard; Three day blizzard at Voss that froze a carload of horses; Story of black bear in the pasture; Other wild animals; Abundance of prairie chickens, other wild fowl, and lots of fish in the river
319 – Flour mills at Forrest River, Minto, Park River, and Grafton; Lived a mile from Voss and attended school there and high school at Minto; People valued education
380 – Horse traders and broncos shipped in from Montana; Demand for horses; Father ran elevator in Voss; Business places and managers in Voss
429 – Blind pigs; Brewery in Grand Forks; Relationship with Canada
456 – His start in the banking business; He did bookkeeping and janitor work at first; Combined with Fordville bank and moved to Grafton; Langer; Politics
540 – Banked in Montana a while then to Fordville until 1937 then Grafton; Foresight of the economy of the country; Ratio in percentages to loan money; No money to loan during the rough years; Mixed feelings on large scale farming; Fear of land being owned by corporations
680 – Federal programs that helped the farmers; Roosevelt’s decisions; His fireside chats
734 – Comparison of radio and television in family life; Quality of the programs
795 – Lodges were better attended years ago then now; The programs they used to have; Entertainment and chores of children in early years and now
930 – Courting in early years
SECOND TAPE
000 – Introduction
020 – Baseball; The teams they played; Picnics; Fair at Minto; Observances of various nationalities holidays
084 – The State School
110 – People’s contentment in early years; Tendency now to always want more
130 – The banking business; Homesteader’s need for good banker, cow, and good blacksmith; Financial counseling
202 – Grasshoppers, drought, dust storms, and low prices; Cream checks were what brought most of the farmers through; Had to be self-reliant; People’s attitudes during the 30’s; Threshing rigs, cook cars, and excitement
305 – Gypsies and their sly deals, colorful dress; Peddlers with wares on their backs; Hobo’s begging for food
345 – Religious beliefs; Religious tolerances
370 – Fordville’s gas powered plant for electricity; Party line telephones; He had the flu so bad and all that saved him was a mustard plaster; Many of the strongest men died
429 – Opinion of ND; It’s a great place to bring up a family
448 – End of interview
Comment:  An informative interview of a banker.

Tape #8 Joe Thompson (Grafton)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came in 1878 with 3 feet of snow on the level; Built log house at bachelor’s grove; Second one to homestead in the first township open for homesteading; Mother’s people came from Norway; Father built log house first; Artesian well and good water; Father burned wood for fuel; Parents married in 1880; Midwife; Father farmed as much as 8 quarters and never owned a tractor in his life; Father never had a total crop failure
190 – Nationalities of homesteaders in their area; Polanders fought with everyone; Three Lutheran Churches, one only for Swedes
230 – School; Names of the neighbors; Father raised horses and mules; Mandt, Sweden, and Nash
337 – The railroad brought advantages for the people
375 – College; Worked for oldest brother then started farming on his own in 1918 and also married that year; Crops raised at that time; Seed potatoes was their big crop; Planting, digging, and picking potatoes
477 – NPL organized by a few men but many joined later; A. C. Townley and Sinclair
540 – Wife’s family history
575 – Percheron stud horses had preference over the Clydesdales because of the hair around a Clydesdale’s hoofs in rainy weather causing problems; Stud fees; His race horses and the man that drove for him; Raced Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; When his best horse died he gave up racing; Harness and cart racing
7110 – No complete crop failure; End of tape
SECOND TAPE
000 – Introduction
020 – Sold grain at Grafton and Nash; Sold his potatoes at Nash
062 – Dance hall at Mandt and Vesta; New Year’s dance at their home; Best musician was a blind man; Bought liquor from the railroad men; Blind pigs
105 – Baseball games; Horse racing; Shipped 8 horses at a time in a box car then rode in passenger car; Contentment in early years compared to now
145 – Catholic people were ruled by priests
207 – Individually owned thresh machine; Cook car; Hard work and excitement of threshing; Sixteen bottom plows with 16 inch blades; Hiring lumber jacks for threshing
273 – Red light districts weren’t too popular in Grafton area
287 – County agent was a big help to the farmers and still is
310 – Driving the doctor during the flu night and day
360 – Wind chargers; Picture talk; Relationship between Catholics and protestants
406 – Lynn Frasier, his good friend; Socialists
450 – Boy Scouts; His children
487 – His opinion of large scale farming; Always has been proud of ND; We grow the best grade wheat and potatoes; We don’t have hard winters like we used to have; Talk about his horses
702 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview of agriculture and race horses.

Tape #9 Nora Gryde (Hoople)
000 – Introduction
020 – Nationalities and their preference in schooling; Ages of students attending school; Learning the language; Discipline problems; Buying school books
202 – Classes held in country schools while others listened in
253 – Evenings at home spent reading, knitting, and relaxing; Problems confronting parents that didn’t exist in early years
303 – Penmanship; Music; Art; Libraries; Box socials and programs to raise money to buy school equipment; Traditional Christmas programs; Double desks
400 – Country dances, then period of time of opposition and dances were held in the homes; Luther League; Social center at Mandt; Whist parties; Christmas was always a special occasion; Mother bought doll heads and made the bodies herself; Traditional Christmas eve events; The Christmas trees; Hazard of waxed candles
559 – Heat in the schools and churches with their jacket stoves; Lignite coal was the curse of the country school teacher; Methods of teaching reading
621 – Start of using English in the Norwegian Lutheran Church
677 – Old settler’s picnic
SIDE TWO
711 – Baseball; Women’s suffrage; Professions for women; Teachers, examples in a community
850 – TV Programs for children
874 – Opinion of ND; Large scale farming
946 – Discussion on what is important in life; Religion, churches, and cults
013 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview of a retired teacher.

Tape #10
Carl Paulson (Hoople)
000 – Introduction
020 – Mother came in 1879 with her parents and married later and took up homestead; They came from Norway; Father came by foot from Minnesota; He originated from Sweden; He built a log house; Neighbors; Nationalities; Deaths in the family; Names of midwives
181 – No good well so used cistern; River stopped prairie fires; Wildlife; Buffalo bones; Prairie chickens; Fish in the river
260 – Red River ox carts; Father started farming with oxen; Story of the oxen in a water hole; Store and post office at Sweden near them
327 – Father owned thresh machine that required 10 horses; Cook cars; Broadcasters; Disc drill; Hauled grain east of Grafton to be loaded on a boat; Paid for wheat in gold pieces
573 – Children’s chores
657 – Fourteen deaths in a blizzard; Story of being lost in a blizzard
SIDE TWO
712 – Grandfather’s outcome after being caught in a blizzard; Father worked on threshing crew, railroad, and cutting logs for log cabins, etc., while mother stayed home and took care of everything
763 – School burned because of teacher’s carelessness; Attended short courses at Fargo Agricultural College
780 – NPL; Brother worked Frasier’s farm for nearly 20 years while he was in politics; A. C. Townley
840 – His start in farming; IWWs weren’t too popular; Working on thresh crews; Meals in cook cars; Firing coal in the steamers; Horse farming
935 – Traveling with a tent for church service
961 – Gypsies; Peddlers that traveled with horses and wagons; Old women peddlers that carried their wares on their backs; Home remedies
010 – Opinion of Bill Langer; Bonanza farms farther south
033 – Reasons for liking ND; Their worst year was 1900; The 30’s weren’t too bad; Bootleggers
089 – Getting rid of the last team of horses; Care of the horses; Stallions; Their best team; Selling horses to the Army
170 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview regarding agriculture.

Tape #11 Ted Torgerson (Park River)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father bought land his aunt and uncle had homesteaded; Father was proud of being an American citizen and Ted was one of the first to be confirmed in English; Mother’s family history; Prairie fires; Small wood houses and sod barns
160 – Cutting wood along the river; Portable saws and feed mills; Neighbors; Entire neighborhood was Scandinavian, other nationalities in other parts of the county
349 – Early ministers and their languages; Separation of rules of Norway and Sweden; Strong nationalistic feelings; Breakthrough of the American language
452 – Flour mills in most towns
495 – Thresh machines; Professional threshers; Steam rigs; Running the machines
630 – Everyone milked cows in early years; Specialized farming now; Selling butter and cream; Recycling butter
700 – Trend to larger farms; History of the area; A former governor
934 – Midwives in the 1890’s; Neighbors helping each other; Excitement of threshing; Cooks in the cook cars; Three meals, 2 lunches a day; Working long days; Moving the machines at night; Lining up at night with lanterns
102 – NPL; Promoting the league; Old fashioned orators; A. C. Townley’s speeches; Langer’s moratorium; Reasons why the state mill wasn’t practical
331 – Attraction of the NPL to farmers; Elevators misused the farmers; Langer’s speech using the Bible for references
463 – Beginnings of the A.T.T. School in Park River; Attending school; His dislike for horses; One of the professors that developed a good variety of potatoes and flax
627 – Family gatherings; Church; Circuses; Chautauquas; Dancing
738 – Worked as a carpenter; His opinion of ND; You live longer here than any other place in the world; Coal development
850 – Hot weather that ruined the grain; Hail
900 – End of interview
Comment:  An informative interview of history in the area.

Tape #12 Dr. M. C. and Winnifred D. Flaten (Edinburg)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; His father was admitted to practice medicine before ND became a state
149 – Her family history
256 – Plague of grasshoppers in Minnesota that kept the land black for 3 years straight
310 – Sister married a cowboy; Hard life for women; Hardship; Midwives
448 – Family liked the country and stayed in the area; Prairie fires
508 – Water on the homesteads in the Grafton area was poor because of the salty artesian wells; Mother died of typhoid fever; Shallow water in Edinburg
586 – Wildlife; Grouse in their area; Prairie chickens eating from straw stacks
642 – Story of a hut built in the side of a hill
680 – She was postmistress for 26 years; The Rockefeller story
800 – Character of the area; Scarlet Fever and Diphtheria epidemic at Grafton; Cause for deaths of babies
880 – Preservation of meat; Botulism poisoning at Grafton
SIDE TWO
951 – The teams his dad used for his calls; Snow storms; Mother made calls with her doctor husband
020 – Cows, chickens, and horses in town; The cars were of no use in the winter time; The Negros that drove for his dad
036 – The big fire in 1900 that burned a large part of the town
067 – Home remedies; The town built up right away after the fire; Unloading grain at the elevators
132 – Nationalities; Story of a lady pioneer from Scotch and German decent that had been left in a cemetery as a baby
200 – Book of Langer; Insistence of when Langer was of help to her in getting a good road to the dam for fishing; His memory
285 – His father was head of the State Board of Health; Governor Frasier
313 – He began practice in 1923 and worked 53 years as a dentist
380 – People’s concern for dental care; Credit; Paying for dental work with wood and farm produce; Community Club
548 – Writing a book for the 75th Anniversary of Edinburg of the history of the people and town; Booster Club
600 – The depression; Poor crops and farm prices; Money for a poor lady
701 – Changes in people’s attitudes for each other
773 – Large scale farming; Deserted farms
816 – Opinion of ND; Wide open spaces; Crop conditions; Peace Gardens and recreational facilities
896 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview of a retired dentist and postmistress.  They tell some interesting history of the Grafton and Edinburg areas where they spent their lives.

Tape #13 Joe Matejcek (Lankin)
000 – Introduction
020 – Grandparents came over before the Civil War and settled in Minnesota; Father bought 2 quarters near Lankin in 1887; Nationalities of the people in the area; Location of grandparent’s homesteads
108 – Religious beliefs of the people; Social organizations; The area priests
143 – Midwives; Born and reared in the area; Remembers when Lankin began
179 – Cut wood for fuel also cow chips; Used oxen short while then went to horses; Threshing rigs
218 – Father was an early member of NPL; Bill Lemke and Langer; Frasier’s help for a retired postal worker
268 – Forty years as County Commissioner; Delinquent taxes in 1930 and 1931 was not cause for them to lose their land as long as they made an effort to pay; Grasshopper levy; More government help in the western part of the state
389 – People’s opinion of Langer; He was 20 years ahead in his thinking
426 – Farm parties with music, dancing, and lunch made up the social life of the people; Traditional celebrations of the people
510 – Extending credit in the 30’s; The average grocery merchant was the welfare department; The farmers paid in the fall; Lost between five and six thousand dollars in the depression; Bank closed and paid the people 50%
580 – Change in people now compared to early years; Roosevelt’s programs
632 – His years of service on ND Welfare Board; His work as County Commissioner
709 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview of a man that was a County Commissioner for forty years and operated a grocery store since 1920.

Tape #14 Lucy Zeman (Lankin)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father and uncle came in 1881 from Iowa; Grandparents came earlier and settled in the area; Sad story of death of young son; Settled near Pisek
095 – Hail storm that wiped out their entire crop; Moved to Lankin area; Tar paper shanties
142 – Reading of an article of their lives and history of the area
216 – Life for the women; Discouraged neighbors; Plenty of wood for burning for fuel; Making a Ferris wheel
290 – Vesleyville and Conway; Nationalities and areas where they settles
332 – Grandmother delivered babies; Selling butter packed in jars, if it was melted the stores wouldn’t buy it
369 – Father walked to Larimore (30 miles) for repairs and supplies; Content with their hardships; Hauled grain to Minto
420 – Children slept on the floor in feather beds; Good well water and the well was near the house; Mother worked in the fields and went barefoot while she plowed
435 – Early Christmases brought excitement of waiting for Santa Claus; They didn’t receive or expect much and were so happy for what they got
475 – Required work for the children; Evening entertainment
525 – Moving into the new house; Story of small brother drinking fly poison
580 – Changes the cars brought; Good old days were happy days in spite of the hardship
638 – Beggars with their hard luck stories; Gypsies; Wildlife in abundance
682 – Foods relished by their nationality
END OF TAPE – Continue to next tape
000 – Introduction
020 – Organizing the church; Support for the church; Masses were in Latin so priests went to all areas; She was church organist for many years
047 – Remembers when railroad went through; Business places in Lankin
110 – Mingling of the different nationalities; Importance of keeping your own religion
136 – Attended country school 2 ½ miles away; Sometimes as many as 40 attended; The teachers; Playing games at recess; Burned wood and the school was cold every morning; Eating frozen sandwiches
238 – Father didn’t join the NPL because he was a democrat; Importance of voting; None of her family finished the eighth grade
285 – One of the best cooks and gardeners was her mother; Father owned a mill for grinding feed where the neighbors brought their grain; Father ran a small general store
325 – Bridge for crossing the river to go to school; Root cellar; Churning cream into butter; Material for 7 cents a yard; Mother sewed clothes and spun yarn and knitted mittens and socks; Spinning the wool; Black stockings; Canning vegetables and meat; Berries; Black walnut trees; Shortage of meat in the summertime
465 – Death of brother and six months later father died; Move to town
503 – Large scale farming; Disadvantages of large machines; Love for ND; Her advice to the younger generation
612 – Farm telephones in early 1900’s; Mother’s disapproval of the phone at first; Rubbering on the telephone; Owned their own electric plant
706 – One day 5 neighbors died of the flu; Their family didn’t get it; Story of woman that delivered medicine and mail
797 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview telling of history of her area.

Tape #15 Walter Halberg (Adams)
000 – Introduction
020 – Mother’s ship sunk on the way over and all that was saved was she and a folder containing her diary
037 – He reads from mother’s diary in Norwegian
186 – End of Norwegian reading
192 – Mother had received nurse’s training in Norway and came here alone at 17 years of age
230 – Other nationalities in the area
263 – Father lost 3 quarters of land over a team of horses; His mother was a midwife, she delivered between 900 and 1000 babies; Her pay in early years was whatever they could afford to give her
394 – The family lived on 120 acres; Threshing rigs and their owners
420 – Starting farming in 1934; Crop failures; Dust storms; Grasshoppers; Killed prairie chickens when they ate the poisoned grasshoppers
474 – Visiting neighbors
505 – Adams was incorporated in 1905; It had promises of being a large town; They had a fire that destroyed much of it
525 – Good well water on the farm; Lived beside the Park River at first so burned wood then when they moved on the prairie they burned buffalo chips and twisted flax straw
569 – Binders; Farming with oxen; Sod houses; Log houses near the timber
653 – Attended country school and town school; Traveled and worked in various places; He traveled on railroad boxcars
699 – He had a bad case of the flu in 1918; A close call in a gun accident
778 – His opinion of large scale farming; His preference of ND over California
925 – WPA help in depression years
941 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview with a reading in the Norwegian language in the first part.

Tape #16 Henry O. and Selma Lundene (Adams)
000 – Introduction
020 – Grandparents came from Norway with their large family in 1865 and went to Wisconsin; The children immigrated to ND to homestead in 1882; Nationalities; More family history; Pioneer life was hard on women
148 – First homes built were log; Prairie fires; Abundance of wildlife
210 – Cheese and butter making
257 – NPL; Mother was politician; Membership fee of NPL was $16
400 – Thresh machines; Meat supply for the cook cars; IWWs; Grinding wheat for the farmers with a burr mill at a feed mill after the farmers washed and picked over their wheat
542 – Flu epidemic was bad in their area; His mother was a midwife and also took care of the flu patients; Description of his mother
599 – Families had to be self-sufficient; Devout church goers; School entertainment and house parties; Norwegian papers
729 – Traveling salesmen such as Raleigh; Watkins and fly by night men; Many beggars; Peddlers, both men and women; Gypsies had a bad reputation; Women dressed in colorful dress and told fortunes
810 – Blind pigs; Edmore had a bad reputation
848 – Sliding and skiing in the wintertime; Baseball teams
906 – Depression
SIDE TWO
932 – Heartbreaking experience of losing their farms; ;Depression of prices then of weather conditions
003 – Langer’s help to the people; Langer’s money; Discussion of Langer’s life
085 – Usher Burdick; Lemke
109 – His interest and part in politics; County secretary of the league for many years; Chairman of the Republican Party; Progressiveness of North Dakota
210 – Crop failures all through the 30’s also a rust period
246 – Opposition to large scale farming; High inheritance taxes; Graduated land tax
300 – Coal development; Preservation of state for further generations; More on politics
360 – Proud of being from ND; North Dakota’s contribution in feeding the nation
387 – Cooperative movements – elevators; Farmer’s Union; Charlie Talbott
454 – Organizing the Farmer’s Union; Farmer’s telephone line
480 – Various boards he served on; Contemporary politics; Importance of voting; Deactivating missiles
589 – Wife’s family history; Her father was in partnership with the Hardware Store and later the elevator business
765 – Story of train collision, fire, and death
814 – Member of first high school graduation class
842 – Royal Neighbor Lodge and Woodman Lodge; Chautauqua
867 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview with a large portion on politics.  Henry is a politician and gives first-hand information on some important issues.

Tape #17 Jacob P. Westby (Fairdale)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came in 1889 and worked to get money to bring the family from Norway; He homesteaded land that joined the town site; First home was sod; Midwives; Nationalities of the neighbors
157 – Well water tasted good but was very hard; Wood for fuel; Homemade furniture in the sod house; Prairie fires were feared by all; Names of some area ranchers
297 – Building up the farmstead
361 – Distance they had to haul grain in early years; The men who owned the threshing rigs; How they tallied the bushels
473 – Beginnings of Fairdale; Early business places; Stockyards for shipping cattle; Hotel fire; Train service; Section crew
SIDE TWO
711 – Area post offices
756 – Country school in the summertime; Consolidated school is empty store building
776 – Wife’s family history; Aunt was midwife; Schooling ; Five school buses pulled by horses in early years
925 – Doctor in Fairdale; Home remedies; Flu epidemic hit everyone; The whole town was sick
027 – Large scale farming makes many changes in the country side and is hard on small towns; Living conditions in early years compared to now
147 – Dirty thirties; Poor crops and poor prices
255 – Teeth causing poison in his body; Father lost his farm in hard times; Lost money in the bank; Work on WPA
418 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview regarding agriculture.

Tape #18 Joseph L. Bina (Conway)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came from Czechoslovakia with parents at 10 years of age in 1870; They settled in Iowa and lived there for a time and later moved to Dakota Territory in 1881; Reading of family history narrative
279 – Location of Bohemian settlements in Walsh County
335 – Parents suffered hardships in Iowa so headed for free land in Dakota Territory; Marriage within their own nationality
470 – Bohemian celebrations; Conversation of some of his newspaper clippings
513 – Area midwives; Home remedies
540 – Ray Heising
676 – Opposition to the NPL at first
SIDE TWO
721 – Father was interested in public affairs; NPL began in Devils Lake area; The newspaper gave so much opposition the people lost interest so moved to the Conway area; A. C. Townley and his work for the league; House Bill 44
858 – His family of 13 children to rear through the rough years; His years of work for public service; Crop Insurance Adjuster; County Commissioner
919 – Bill Langer; Flood Control Board of Walsh County; Charter from state water commission; Opinion of Langer; Opposition to Foreign Aid
055 – Aim of the league was to get economic justice by means of the ballot box; They wanted to control everything by their vote; Farmers should be entitled to a profit as much as anybody else; Farmers have to take what they are offered and pay what is asked
076 – Tendency towards larger farms is a mistake; Raising children and living on three quarters today
138 – The rough thirties; Federal Land Bank helped farmers redeem their farms; Barnyard loans
217 – Conway in early years, the business places and owners; Blind pigs; The teachers from the school; Barn dances; Rebuilding Conway in 1902; Upstairs Ballroom
385 – Pioneers had the real spirit; The neighbor would share his last bucket of flour if needed
430 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview of a man active in public affairs as well as manager of his farm.

Tape #19 Rilie R. Morgan (Grafton)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Coming to North Dakota in 1914 to edit the Starkweather newspaper; Early businesses; Becoming the business manager of the Walsh County Record
128 – First impressions of ND; Nationalities in the area and their characteristics
195 – First involvement and interest in politics; Beginnings of NPL and his opposition to it; Lemke’s attack on his paper
278 – A. C. Townley’s organizing ability; Bill Langer’s opportunism; J.W. Brinton’s League newspapers; The disappearance of small town newspapers; NPL-IVA split between farm and town; Hatred the NPL stirred against businessmen
480 – Reasons for the decline of the NPL in the 20’s
508 – Politics in Walsh County in the 20’s; His activity in the IVA; Getting accepted in IVA circles; Men in Walsh County who controlled the IVA; His campaigns for the North Dakota Senate and election in 1938; Economic conditions as a factor in politics
691 – Organization of the ROC; Langer’s opportunism; Selection of Aandahl to run for Governor
943 – SIDE TWO
970 – Weakness of the Democratic Party prior to 1956
989 – Young’s beginnings in the ROV; Reason for Young’s success
070 – His 16 years in the North Dakota Senate and service as the chairman of Senate Appropriations Committee; Service on the State Welfare Board
142 – Recollections of C.N. Brunsdale, John Moses, Math Dahl, Bill Guy, Don Short; Changes in the style of politicians
244 – Thoughts on coal development and Garrison Diversion; The political origin of the diversion project
307 – Comments on the declining number of farmers in North Dakota
345 – The North Dakota newspaper association; Changes in the newspaper business and in his newspaper
472 – Running the newspaper during the 30’s; Giving credit to the advertisers
528 – Social life; Activity of fraternal organizations and church; Neighborliness and happiness of people
602 – Changes in personality that come with old age; Satisfaction with his life in North Dakota
711 – Baseball teams in Grafton and Starkweather; Chautauqua
770 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Morgan was one of the originators of the Republican Organizing Committee; His memory is excellent, but his responses to questions tend to be brief.

Tape #20 John S. Donnelly and Mrs. P. J. Donnelly (Grafton)
000 – Introduction
020 – Larry Sprunk reads a narrative of the family history; Main crop of sugar beets on the farm; Father was instrumental in getting the Farm Bureau started
195 – Electricity in 1939; His part in arranging for REA; Farm Bureau was against government intervention where Farmers Union took their problems to Washington
327 – Picture talk
374 – Politicians that helped with Farm Bureau work; Early membership fee was $5; North Dakota Mutual Insurance Company
437 – Stories about Grandfather Donnelly; Her family history
590 – Blue Key honored to P. J. Donnelly given by NDSU Advisory Council; Other awards
706 – Nationalities that settled in the area
SIDE TWO
728 – Hardships of the early settlers; Built log house of oak logs; Large frame home built later; Farm hit by tornado in 1947 destroying a large barn and other buildings
825 – Building a bridge across the river, all his own expenses; New Sweden an early trade center
890 – Story of Baptist minister that walked to church services
918 – Her father was a grain buyer for 20 years
933 – Started planting sugar beets in 1923; Early methods of seeding, cultivating, lifting and hauling to East Grand Forks; Methods of topping the beets and handling them for processing; Modern machinery; Increase in acreage of beets; Potatoes a September crop and beets are last of September and October crop
090 – Dances in Woodman Hall; Suppers at the dances; Families visited neighbors; Children’s games; Baseball; Chautauqua; Opera House; Lodges
211 – Small towns that folded up because of black top roads and better transportation; Their Delco plant and its limitations
284 – Early telephones; The train that went to Cashel
364 – Flooding in the area
403 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview of a mother and son regarding agriculture and husband’s part in organizing the Farm Bureau. Also his part in rural electrification.

Tape #21
Arthur F. & Lydia O. Jackson (Grafton)
000 – Introduction
020 – An autobiography by Arthur Jackson read by Larry Sprunk
100 – Family came over from Sweden; Other nationalities in the area
170 – Schools built; Intermingling of the nationalities
230 – Walking as means of transportation; Ox cart trails
292 – Story of Indian piling up buffalo bones; Park River
400 – Cooper and McKenzie were two early settlers of the area; Early settlers were concerned about grass for their cattle, shelter, timber, and water
438 – Acton was their town for supplies; it was on the Red River trail
556 – Midwife; Story of getting a midwife and deep snow; Modernization and the changes it brings to our everyday life
691 – Men that used oxen; Horsepower threshing; Borrowing money; Mill and city used wood for power
822 – Country school; Children came to school and couldn’t speak English; Younger children were exceptionally timid
930 – Social life consisted of just getting together
SIDE TWO
945 – Cities had advantages over country people because they lived closer together; Baseball; They lived with the idea, “live and let live”; Today it has changed to “I want it all and I’m going to get it”
984 – Pace of life; Walking behind the plow and walking 33 miles a day; Taking care of horses; His love for horses; Horses liked him; Breaking horses
100 – Greater part of the farmers went for the NPL but it got to be too radical
127 – Her family history; Father died of TB; Met her husband at a Sons of Norway Dance where they allowed a Swede to call the dances; Learning to call the dances
244 – Her education at Grafton and Grand Forks; Taught school until married; Her interest in poetry; She has had poetry published in magazines, papers, and various periodicals for over 30 years
324 – She reads her autobiography; She received many awards for her poetry
400 – Larry Sprunk reads some of her poetry; She has received recognition for much of her work
626 – Empty farms; Large scale farming; Renting land for cash rent
804 – Opinion of ND
888 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview regarding agriculture.  Lydia has written poetry for over 30 years.  She has received awards for much of her work.

Tape #22 W. J. Willer (Grafton)
000 – Introduction
020 – Born in Minnesota; Went to school through the 9th grade; Picked furs in Canada; Drove in dog race from Winnipeg to St. Paul (500 miles); Married widow at Fordville who had land and added more to it
166 – Playing hockey; Baseball; Indoor hockey rink at Pembina; Playing for Winnipeg in 1909
220 – Amateur boxing, middle weight class
244 – Farming; Present high land prices
290 – Working with the baseball teams at Fordville; Baseball in the summertime and hockey and boxing in the winter
350 – Trouble with the tape; The tape was faulty and seems to skip but finally locked tight.

Tape #23 Mrs. Anna McIntyre (Park River)
000 – Introduction
020 – Parents emigrated in 1902 from Norway; Father received $2,000 as an inheritance and invested in land; Mother raised a large garden and sold vegetables because father was so sick with asthma
151 – Husband’s family came from Minnesota; His grandfather served in the Civil War and after the war in 1880 he walked to ND near Park River and found land that wasn’t taken so homesteaded; Started in a log house with a dirt floor; Grandfather taught school; Started post office and built a new barn where they held church services until a church was built; He and two others started an insurance company; He was Clerk of Court
227 – First husband died of a lung problem during the depression; She had 5 year old daughter to support; Midwives
309 – Norwegians celebrated the 17th of May; Country school near Edinburg
384 – Mother raised a large garden and sewed for other people; Sewing with flour sacks; Her mother’s large garden; Starting plants indoors; The sale of her garden produce
542 – Granddaughter reads a narrative written by Anna concerning early Christmas celebrations
SIDE TWO
710 – More of the Christmas narrative
753 – Her father was her teacher to read and write the Norwegian language; Church services were conducted in Norwegian; Subscriptions to Norwegian papers
812 – Easter was an important holy day; Sunday was the day for church, then to a neighbor for dinner and an afternoon of fellowship; Barn dances; Her father played the violin; He had an 8 string violin inlaid in pearls
870 – Her mother made cheese and primost; She tells how to make both
900 – Threshing machines in the area; Excitement of the good food put out by the cook cars
935 – The flu epidemic; Community feelings for each other; Mother’s home remedies; Some were afraid they’d catch contagious diseases through the telephones; Excitement the radios caused
001 – Ironing with early types of irons; Washing clothes with machines that had to be hand operated; Making butter and pressing designs in it
052 – Discouragement in the 30’s
099 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview with an interesting narrative about early Christmases.

Tape #24
Mrs. Stella Skjerven (Park River)
000 – Introduction
020 – Parents were both born in Norway; They worked out for a while then homesteaded near Garrison; Rented farms and worked out and later bought farm near Edmore; He was active with organizing the NPL; Getting excused from school to hear A. C. Townley speak; Names of some of their neighbors; Father ran for House of Representatives in 1924
205 – Langer’s help in getting social security for father; Boards her father served on; Reasons why farmers were attracted to the NPL
297 – Married in 1925; Her husband’s family history; Farmer’s Union program for young people; Good features of the Farmer’s Union; Early organizing meetings in the homes and school houses
412 – Trouble with the recorder; Conversation can be faintly heard but not understood
457 – Second part of interview
476 – High School extracurricular activities; Girls basketball team that played other towns; Working for her board while attending high school; Teaching school, salaries, janitor work; Starting the fires with coal; Students larger than her; Make up work for students who had to miss school to work on the farm
737 – Nationalities and their affiliation with the league; Her father was active in organizing the Farmers Union; Other men active in its beginnings; Social activities connected with the Union
SIDE TWO
937 – 4-H Program; 7th District of Farmers Union had its Annual Convention at Park River; The chick project, each youngster was given chicks to raise and sell in the fall; Leader of a local club; Youth projects and goals set
020 – Farmers bought elevator and it paid for itself; In 1947 the oil company began and has been very successful
063 – Junior leader of the 4-H Club; Taking the group to the Farmers Union Camp; Conversation of pictures of the club activities
239 – Trouble with the recorder; Conversation can be heard but not understood
282 – Coming in loud and clear; Education and youth work today compared to the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s
300 – Graduated land tax; Discussion of Farmers Union’s part in helping farmers with their problems
464 – Reorganized their group so women and children had their part in the Locals
550 – Hard times during the 30’s; Gardening in low spots during the dry years
608 – People aren’t satisfied with necessities in life anymore, they want luxuries
753 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview on agriculture.  Stella and her husband were active in the Farmers Union.

Tape #25 Oscar Sunderland (Adams)
000 – Introduction
020 – Parents immigrated from Norway in 1880 and homesteaded near Adams; Nationalities of the neighbors; Other stores and post offices in the area
224 – Excitement of neighbors helping build their home; Prairie fire breaks
284 – Midwives; His mother nurses sick people in the area
375 – Scandinavians picked wooded areas to homestead; Good water in the area at about 18 feet level
485 – Sod houses in the area and how they were made; Home remedies used for the sick; Survival of the fittest
620 – Cattle buyers that walked from place to place buying cattle
644 – Prairie fires
660 – Mill levies to operate schools; Teachers salary was $20 a month; Teachers paid $8 a month for board, room, and washing
SIDE TWO
718 – Teachers doing the janitor work at their schools; School years with 54 pupils; Small students sat 3 to a desk; Eighth grade graduates were 21 years old
753 – Oscar reads a narrative he wrote about pioneer life; Other uses for the school houses
787 – Burial in early years; Wife’s father was a furniture maker and made caskets; He was also the undertaker; Digging graves in the winter; Ways of determining death; Mother took flowers from her geraniums for funerals
854 – NPL was strong in the area; Langer was well thought of; Comparison of soil to Red River Valley soil; Use of fertilizer; Comparing natural fertilizer to chemical fertilizer
950 – Farming on large scale compared to early years with diversified farming
998 – The church was a big part of the social life; Debating teams; Young people skied, skated, rode horseback and bikes; Horse shoe pitching; Swimming and berry picking; House parties of game playing; Lots of visiting amongst neighbors; Baseball teams; Country dances; Politics; Reading the Norwegian papers
092 – Thresh machines; Cook cars; Processing grain shocks for threshing; Changes the combines brought; IWWs; The steam whistles on the rigs and what they meant; Greasing the machines
432 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview regarding agriculture and a portion on burials.
 

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