I don’t pretend to know a lot of the details of my dad’s young life. I do know that the times weren’t always easy, and since my grandfather, who worked for the railroad, wasn’t around much, the kids helped out around the place. My grandmother was a very strong woman, and she was very capable of running the farm. That may have been how many of the women were back then, but as strong women go, she was right up there at the top, or so I’m told. She trained her children to be hard workers, and responsible people, and they all were. My Uncle Bill and my dad told me about blowing tree stumps out of the fields with dynamite so the land could be worked. I’m sure they didn’t mind that job too much, since dynamite was something the also played around with…like blowing gate posts deeper into the ground, only to have to fix it before their mom got back from town. My guess is that she was about the only thing they were afraid of.

My Aunt Laura was ten years older than my Uncle Bill, who was the second child, so she helped with caring for the little ones so her mom could do the other things she needed to do. I’m quite sure that running a farm would have been very difficult without the help of my Aunt Laura, not to mention lonely in those early years, when the younger children weren’t much company. There were fun times too, of course, such as fishing, which the boys thoroughly enjoyed, but there was always work to be done, and the fun times were squeezed into the middle.

Everyone helped out…the girls as well as the boys. From running a horse drawn plow to a tractor, stacking hay and caring for the animals, it was a team effort. The kids had great respect for their mother and would do anything for her. It was a time that was much different from our own. There weren’t as many conveniences, so the land had to be worked in the old ways…using horses. I don’t think my Aunt Ruth minded that too much because many of the pictures I saw her in included horses. They did have a tractor, although I don’t think it was in the early years, but when they did, it was obvious that my Uncle Bill enjoyed using it very much. The boys always liked machinery…throughout their entire lives.

Life on a farm in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s was difficult at its best, and downright ugly at it worst, and it took strong men and women to make things work, but that really is what our country is all about…strong people doing their best to do what is right and good. It is our heritage, and it’s not a bad one. Strong people are what built this country and I believe there are still a lot of us around to continue to make this country great.

4 Responses to A Strong Woman

  • Wow! I loved the story, and discovered a photo (upper left) of my grandmother and great grandmother I had never seen before — she was a beautiful girl, even in those hard times.

    For periods of time, she lived with their father (my great grandfather) while her Mom and brothers tended the farm – I think during the time he worked in Superior. I don’t know that I ever knew the full story behind that… It seemed to me that he worked a lot of jobs over the years; do you know what he might have been doing at the Railroad?

    I had to laugh — I too noticed a horse in about every photo of my great aunt Ruth.

    My Grandmother told me stories of visiting her Mom’s family (her grandparents) in Fargo (or maybe Lisbon). They spoke German at home, and even in her elderly years, my Grandmother remembers a lot of the German phrases they used in their home. Her aunts (Mother’s sisters) who were actually close in age to my Grandmother ended up moving here to Boulder County. When my Grandmother was here for a visit in the 70’s we looked them up and had a nice visit. My brother later corresponded with Elsa (Schumacher), but other than that, I’m afraid we didn’t have any contact with that side of the family. My Grandmother loved her grandparents in North Dakota, though, and always spoke very highly of them.

    Anyway thanks for the terrific blog post!

    • Thanks Tim, and feel free to save a copy of any of the pictures you want to. I remember a story about the German being spoken too. I’ll have to work on the details of the one I heard and write it up. It’s pretty funny. I think you will enjoy it. 🙂

  • Caryn that is a great story and Yes if there was a horse around she was no doubt there. She loved to garden. When I was a kid and we were living out there in dempsy acres, her garden was the better part of 3/4 of an acre. We all had to work in tha garden. When there was time she would let us take the horse out to ride and she would give us each a quart jar of Cream and while we were riding we would turn that cream into butter. She said that was the easiest way to do it but I can tell you it wasn’t that easy on our arms. that was a lot of shaking.But the best part was no additives and no preservatives, and Boy was it good Butter. We hae a lot of fun and did a lot of hard work then came butchering time for the 100 chickens she got and raised every year, the all the meat we got during hunting season and everything we did she had done when they were kids. It was hard work but well worth it.

    • Yes, I can tell your mom loved horses. She was also a great horsewoman from what I have seen in pictures, but I had no idea about the butter and all. I would like to write that one up too if you don’t mind. 🙂

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