Dorry Shaw was born Llewellyn Dorrington Shaw on September 20, 1904. He was the second child born to William (Will) and Beata Austad Shaw of Enderlin. Will’s parents had emigrated from Scotland and went first to Ontario. Beata’s parents had emigrated from Norway to Iowa where they married, and then to Enderlin where they homesteaded. Will became a railroad conductor on the Soo Line which often took him out of town.
Dorry had an older brother Russell, and a younger brother, Curtis who appears in the diary. He also had a sister Helen who was just 3 when Dorry kept this diary for a school assignment. The household also included a servant, Ida Helberg.
Dorry kept this diary as part of an English class assignment, so it coincides with the last part of the school year. Nevertheless, he wrote a detailed account of one month of his daily life, revealing to us how a 14-year-old boy spent his time in 1919. The excitement of the recently concluded Great War (World War I) was still infecting the boys of Enderlin. Dorry tried to assert his independence by setting up a tent in the backyard to live in through the cold and wet spring. He pushed the onset of summer by swimming though the pond water was still cold. He earned money from various activities with a goal of buying a bicycle in mind. The street fights Dorry and others participated in served to settle differences among the boys of Enderlin.
As an adult, Dorry served in the U.S. Army for thirty years. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and spent the rest of his life in Florida, though he often returned to Enderlin to hunt. He died in Florida in 1974.
This diary was originally published in North Dakota History (42.3:18-26). This version has been modified slightly. Most of Dorry’s spelling is retained except where the meaning might not be clear. Those words are enclosed in brackets. Other editorial references are enclosed in brackets.
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