Thursday, August 25, 2016

My friends and family from our school house in Minnesota - 1936 - School District 64 near Geneva Minnesota

District 64 in Minnesota - One room schoolhouse
District 64

My nephew Dale Wilker sent me a picture of school house 65 which was located 3 miles west of Geneva Minnesota.  The article that went with it was written in 1936 when my brother Don and I attended school there.

I am going to write about the school which I first attended in Sept of 1933  and the students that were in the school at that time.  First grade Deloris Cress .Milton Paulson and Woodrow Jensen.  Third grade Eleanor Christen, Margret Peterson and Alan Mangskow.  Fourth grade Elaine Hanson, Fifth grade  Russell Paulson, Russell Ditlevson. Sixth grade  Maurice Paulson, Donald Cress and Marvin Christenson. Seventh grade Lucille Christenson and Eighth grade Lawrence Cress, Vernon Paulson and Thelma Jensen.

This was a typical  country school that taught all eight grades during the great depression.  Our school teacher was Agnes Vaughn and I suppose she finished high school and then went to what was called Normal school for about a year and then got her teaching certificate to teach in the rural school.  All the counties had a Supt of the county schools and suppose they supplied the schools with a few books and such.  We brought to school a tablet and a pencil and if we were lucky we had a box of  crayons.

Here is how they taught us and it was most interesting.  Most of the children had been pretty much sheltered on the farms and I do not remember playing with any little girls until I started school.  So that was an exciting  and new experience for me.   The teacher started off the morning working with the first graders on their reading and then if the weather was fine outside we went until first recess which was about ten o'clock and lasted for 15 mins.  Then back in to the school room and a few more mins of instruction for the wee ones and then outside again to play until noon hour.  We had an hour off at noon and all the kids played outdoors.  In good weather the older kids played work up soft ball and we did "Run Sheep Run" and "Anti- I - Over" and other games.  In winter we made a circle in the snow and cut it into pieces and played "Fox and Goose".  The Fox tried to catch the goose and the center of the circle was the safe spot.  Lots of fun.  Also in winter we brought our skies and sleds to school and went down the hill that was in back of the school. 

When the weather was bad we had a basement and we went down there to play and sometimes we played games in the school room during lunch .  As first graders we did not leave the room every day after working on our reading.  We sat and listened to the other classes recite and we worked on our Palmer penmanship.  That is we did ups and downs and circles and  worked on our cursive writing.  There was a lot to be learned just listening to the other students and was an interesting place for a wee one.

Most of us had about 3 changes of clothing and lots of it was hand me downs and  dresses made from flour sacks and we wore long underwear in the winter time.  We changed our underwear on Saturday night when we took a bath in a round tub.  We wore long stocking and a damn garter belt. 
What a contraption that was and  I was always using safety pins to keep it all together.  The worst thing was going outside to the two holer in that cold weather.  My folks were able to get me a pair of boots and I was so proud of them.  We wore 4 buckle rubber boots to school in the winter when we had to walk through snow.  Our house was half a mile from school and we walked it even when it was 10 to 20 below.  

My brother Don was in sixth grade when I started school and I would turn around and look back at him and he would make a goofy face and I would laugh and get in trouble.  Think Lawrence looked after me well and the other kids did not bother me.   I learned to read in about 6 weeks and the first story was about Mother rabbit went into the woods hop hop hop.  Then Father rabbit and baby rabbit did the same thing.  Math was easy for me and when I was in first grade I could do the 3rd grade math and I was angry that they were not teaching me that.

In March of 1934 new children came to the school.  Two different families.  The Vogt family came and the Mother had died.  Mae and Vera Vogt were in 8th and 7th grade and they were doing the house work for the family.  Arnie and Eugene were a bit younger, I think in 4th and 5th grade.  Then Delores Jensen came and she was in first grade.  The rent farmer moved in March so they could start getting the ground ready for spring planting.   They share cropped with the land owners and times were really tough.

Our school started at 9 am and we finished at 4 pm.  The children started milking cows when they were about 8 or 9 years old and the boys would be doing field work and driving the horses by the time they were 11 and some younger.  There was lots of stuff to learn on the farm.  My brother Richard was born when I was 8 and I looked after him in the day time in the summer so that my Mother could get the never ending work done.  I some times played by myself when he took a nap.

We had a well in this school so the kids did not have to walk to a neighbors to get water.  One time a hive of bees got into the basement of the school and my Dad came to school with a straw hat on his head and a old curtain over his body and he had some kind of smoke device.  He robbed the honey and every child went home with a lard bucket  full of honey.  Lard came in a nice metal bucket and that was used as a lunch pail.  We did not have money to buy a lunch pail.

  The picture I have was taken in 1936 and there was a different bunch of children in school then.  That was the year we lost the farm and had to move to a rent farm 2 miles south of Hope Minn.  1936 was a bad winter and don had to break the snow ahead of me when we walked to school.  My sister Daisy had pnemonia and I and my brother Dick was sent to my married sister Dorothy while my Mother nursed Daisy.  This was before the day of antibotics and the Doctor came out every day and cupped Daisy on the back.  He had to use a horse and sleigh and he could fall asleep and the horse would take him home to Ellendale.

We moved in March of that year and the neighbors came with their horses and wagons and moved us to the new farm.  They had to dig out a road for ¼ mile as it was snow packed.  We were able to get through with our Model T Ford and my mother carried the mantle in her hand that went with the Alladin lamp.  We did not have electricity or running water on the rent farm and did not have it on the farm that we owned at one time.  Life was tough in those days but we lived through it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Wiscasset Quilt - From Dee at The Farm, Railroad, Sewing Machines and Beyond

The Wiscasset Quilt

I was visiting with my long time friend Myrtle Bentley in Owatonna Minn in the early 1980’s and she had a book on quilts called  Patchwork Quilts by the editors of Consumer  Guide.  I looked at the book and saw some quilts that I thought I would be interested in making.

    There were two beautiful applique quilts that had been made in Wiscasset Maine in the early 1930’s and they were listed as being made by an expert and probably made by Marion Mckissick.  They said it would almost be impossible to get the right color cottons to make the quilts but I decided that I was going to make one.

    I like to do hand applique so the pattern was in the book and I searched among my stash of materials and found material that I thought would work.  The center had a 8 pointed star that was appliqu├ęd and I made a test block using that technique.  I did not like that so I drafted an 8 pointed star and the pieces that went around it and that worked much better.

    I started the quilt in 1985 and there  were 12 big blocks and so I started to work on them.  I took a couple to Peru when I went down there in the 80’s and then I worked on and off for 3 or 4 more years.  It probably took me 40 hours to make one block.  I finished the blocks sometime in the 90’s and just let them sit for a while.

    Dale was ill and I took care of him and put my intricate stuff on hold.  One day about 2002 I decided to put the quilt together and start hand quilting it.  I quilted it in a hoop and it took me a couple of years of on and off quilting.  

I took it to the county fair in Blackwell about 2007 and I won a blue ribbon on the quilt.  It is now in my daughter’s possession and the quilt goes to my grand daughter Grace.  It was a fun quilt to make  but I do not think I will try another one that intricate.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Dresden Plate Quilt

 The Dresden Plate Quilt

    About a month and half ago I started looking through some of my old boxes that were filled with old quilt blocks.  I came upon two sets of blocks that were made in the 1940’s and I had 13 blocks of one kind.

    I decided to make a quilt out of these blocks as they were huge and I used an 18 inch piece of material for the blocks.  I could not figure out why they had not been made into a quilt until I started checking closer.

    Well the blocks would not lay flat and the seam allowances in the blocks were several different sizes.  So here I go.  I corrected the seam allowances and they I had to applique the blocks to the back ground.  I decided to use a  blue color for the center and that worked out fine.

    I then tried several different machine stitches for the applique, so all the blocks are not appliqued with the same stitch.  I went back to my old reliable blanket stitch and  that turned out fine.  My friend Jack had given me some blue print material and I used that along with a bright yellow to do the sashing.  I had the 9 patch between the sashing pieces and that turned out all right.

    I found when putting the sashing together that it is better to  tie baste the joins and then they do not slip on you.  I used the same process when putting the long pieces of sashing together along with pinning ever couple of inches.  I had to do a little easing in a couple of places but that is better than not having things match.  It took me the better part of a month to finish it and it is now at the quilt shop being machine quilted.  Was fun to do and it is a bright and happy quilt and so glad to get to use the material from the depression era.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Granddaughter Grace's questions about farm life in the 1930's.

    My grand daughter Grace wanted to know about what life was like on the farm when I was a small child. "Did we have electricity?" Yes we had it on the farm located 3 miles west of Geneva Minnesota but during the Great depression it was cut off because we could not pay the bill.  So we went back to the old fashioned way of lighting.  

Kerosene Lamp
We had kerosene lamps with a glass top.  We had to fill the lamps with kerosene about once a week and my job when I was about 8 years old was to wash the glass tops and to fill the lamps with kerosene every week.  The glass tops got soot on them and were washed and dried carefully every week.  We also had an Aladdin lamp with a mantle and I didn’t touch that one as the mantle was delicate so my mother took care of that one.
Cabbage on the farm
    Then she wanted to know if we grew pumpkins.  Yes we grew pumpkins and every other kind of vegetable.  We had radishes and lettuce and peas and beans and corn and cabbage and lots of onions and potatoes and tomatoes.  We had a rhubarb patch and it grew very well in Minnesota.  My Mother made rhubarb sauce and rhubarb pie.  We also had raspberries and strawberries.  We also had aspargrass and that was the first green veggie that we ate in the spring.  We also went out and picked a wash tub full of dandelions in the early spring. We cooked the dandelions and ate them.  They were good to eat.  One year my father planted hubbard squash in with the corn and in the fall he picked a wagon load of squash..We ate a lot of squash that winter.  We also had apple trees on the farm and mother canned and made pies with them and applesauce.

    Grace wanted to know about the farm animals.  We had cows and also horses that did the farm work.  That is the horses pulled the plows, disks wagons, manure spreader, wagons  and other farm implements.  We had 4 horses and we milked about 20 cows.  We also raised pigs and sold them to Hormel packing Co located in Austin Minnesota.  We always had an assortment of barn cats and they would stand down in the barn and catch milk when were milking the cows.  

Chickens that Cindy would watch over
We had a farm dog named Cindy when I was a child and they were good watch dogs.  We also raised chickens and we would buy 2 or 3 hundred every spring and raise them in a brooder house.  You had to take the baby chicks and teach them to drink water and then they would go to the small feeders and start eating.  We raised roosters to eat and my Mother would cut off their heads and my job was to pick the feathers off.  Mother would gut them and cut them up and place in salt water for a couple of hours and then would fry them..I never tasted white meat until I was 17 years old as my brother Lawrence said he couldn’t eat dark meat..Hmm

    My father would go in the fall and shoot pheasants.  He would get all of us kids and we would walk down the corn rows and scare the pheasant up and then he would shoot them.  They were real good eating.

Out House
  You asked about the outhouse..Yes we had one and it was a two holer.  We used a chamber pot inside in the winter and it was cold upstairs in those old farm houses.  We heated the house with the cook stove and then had a coal heater in the dining room to heat that.  We dressed in the cold upstairs and we always wore long underwear in the winter time.  We took our baths in a wash tub on Saturday night and that was it until the next week.  We had school clothes and everyday clothes and you took your school clothes off when you got home from school and changed into your everyday clothing.

    This is just a little bit about farm life.  I will write another story about going to school.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What I remember about my brother in law - Iver Larson and driving a team of horses!

 Iver Larson
    I will try and write down what I remember about my brother in law Iver Larson..He was married to my oldest sister Dorothy Cress on Dec 28 1935.

    Iver’s family came to the United states from Norway in the early 1900’s and settle near Sherwood and Mohall North Dakota.  I think he was under 5 years old at that time.  There must have been a settlement of people from Norway in that area as I knew some people from Ponca City that lived there.  I supposed Norway was crowded and the families though life in the United States would be better.

    North Dakota was an iffy farming country and they did raise wheat in that area.  Iver told me that his father strapped him to  some farm machine with a team of horses when he was 5 or 6 years old and he had to guide the horses and do the farm work.  The other story he told was that they went to school and had only lard to put on their sandwiches.  Life was tough in the Dakotas and I remember one of his sisters telling that they ran out of wood or coal one winter and had to burn their furniture to keep warm.

    Besides Iver there was a big family, His brothers were Melvin, Conrad, Lyle and Ednar…His sisters were Minnie Cora Margaret  and one other sister and I can not remember her name.  Iver was the oldest in the family.
    Another branch of the family settled near Hollandale and that was the Chris and Annie Jensen family.  They kept in close contact and when work ran out in North Dakota some of the brothers came to Hollandale and found work as hired hands on the farms around Hollandale and Geneva and Clarks Grove.

    I do not know how Iver and Dorothy met as I was only 8 years old when they were married.  I think the first place they lived was on the Doc Erytle farm about 5 miles from my folks near Geneva.  In the winter of 1936 my sister Daisy has pneumonia and my little brother Richard and I went to Iver and Dorothy’s so that my Mother could take care of Daisy.  I remember that house as being very cold and I stayed out of school for about 6 weeks.

   At that time people hired couples to farm their places and I suppose they got paid for it.  There was a herd of cattle there and the farm machinery.  The year I was 10  I went over and stayed with Dorothy and Iver and helped take care of Warren as they had a crew building a silo and Dorothy had to cook for a whole bunch of men.  I remember that I had to drive the team of horses on the hay wagon as Iver pitched the hay as it came off the hay loader.  Mabey that’s why I am not to fond of horses.  Scared me to death.

    Then Iver’s sister Minnie her husband and two boys came from Dakota with just the clothes on their back and an old car.  I then went home and Minnie and family stayed the rest of the summer and I don’t know if they went back to Dakota or found a job or what.  The boys were about my age and scared the whey out of me with their stories of ghosts and bad stuff.  

    Iver begin to acquire some farm machinery and the next place they lived was on Highway 30 just east of the Junction with 65 about 5 miles east of Ellendale.  They rented that farm and they had cattle and pigs and chickens and some farm land.  I went to stay with them my freshman year of High school as my Mother though I wasn’t ready to go to Owatonna High school as it was a larger school.  Warren was about 4 years old at that time.

    Iver’s brothers Conrad and Lyle and Ednar and sister Margret came from Dakota to visit while I was there.  They probably went on down to see Aunt Annie and Uncle Chris..this would have been in 1940.

    The next farm they lived on was over west of Beaver Lake and it had a small lake on it.  I went down and helped Dorothy during  harvest that year as she was expecting Mary.  We had to cook for a crew of men and Mary showed up about 2 weeks after harvest was over.  My Mother went down to help and I was at home  and was milking and doing the cooking for the family and I also canned tomatoes.  I was just 15 and I knew how to do lots of stuff.

    The next place I remember was the old Johnson place close to Hope Minn and they were farming there when Dale and I were married in 1948.  They them moved back to the farm west of Beaver Lake and that was where Iver died.  That was in 1952 I believe.  Warren was 17 and Mary was about 11 and Roger was 5.  Dorothy then sold the farm equipment and went to work for Mrs Wilker as a housekeeper.  Warren joined the navy and later went to college.

    Dorothy left the Wilker place and went to work for Henry Nelson as a housekeeper and later married Hank in 1959.

    Iver never had good health and I think he had either diabetes and he had heart trouble.  Most of his family died with diabetes except his youngest brother Ednar who lived a long life.

    Iver and Dorothy had 3 children..Warren, Mary and Roger.  Warren had three children Brad ,Eric and Sarah..Mary had three children Daryn, Kevin and Leslie and Roger had two children Mark and Matthew.

    Iver was almost 6 feet tall and had coal black hair, some of the others were blond headed.  He was a hard worker and liked to go to farm auctions and was always bringing home things Dorothy could use.  It was hard hard times when they started farming and they both were hard worker with not much time for foolishness..that’s about what I remember..

Great aunt  Dodie…

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tall Grass Prairie near Bartlesville, Oklahoma and my telegraph operator promotion.

Recently I made a trip to the tall grass prairie which starts about 40 miles from Ponca City Okla. A friend and I ate at the senior center in Kaw city Okla and then we drove east to Shidler Okla and north to just south of Foraker Okla.  We went in the back way as usually you go through Pawhuska Okla to get to the reserve.  This reserve was started in about 1989 when the Barnard Ranch was sold for the reserve.  It was made so that the native grasses of the southern part of the flint Hills would be preserved.  Buffalo were also brought in to the reserve about this time.

     This year the rain has been plentiful and the grass is green all over Osage County.  The reserve starts about 7 miles east of Highway 18 just south of Foraker..In other words you go 7 miles before the reserve starts. There were numerous cattle in the pastures and also a lot of horses.  I think the ranchers are taking care of those horses for the government.  We saw a herd of buffalo going into the headquarters but they were not close to the road.

    We went to the headquarters and two docents were there and they did not have any other people looking that day.  We started talking and the man was related to the people that sold the ranch to the tall grass preserve in 1989. He said that they also had all or part of the Kings Ranch close to Corpus Christi Texas .  Then I started to tell him about how the cattle used to be shipped from many places in Texas to Osage county to be fattened for market.

     The first job I worked after being promoted to telegraph operator was the third trick operators job at Ralston Okla.  The trains came into Ralston from Texas via South Shawnee Okla which was a watering stop for the cattle as they had to be unloaded and watered every 36 hours.  The docent said the ranch in Osage county had a siding where they unloaded the cattle. The railroad had a branch line coming off the Santa Fe old second dist which connected with the main line that went into Tulsa.  This branch also went through Pawhuska and Bowring.  The railroad kept the stock trains off the main line which went from Arkansas City to Ft worth.  They cut off on the second dist from Pauls Valley Okla and then hit the main line again at Newkirk Okla.

   A little more about the stock rush.  In 1946 I was second trick operator at south Shawnee Okla during the stock rush and were we ever busy.  The Fort Worth realay office would send me consists of the trains and where the cattle were going and if they needed to be watered.  The section foreman would be called out and they would unload the cattle to be watered and then load them up again in the same stock car.  After the cattle were taken care of we would call the train crews get the orders ready and send them on the way through Cushing and up the second dist to Ralston or Arkansas City.  We had cattle on the  trains going into the flint hills in Kansas and some of the towns were Burden, Cassoday, Matfield Green, Cottonwood Falls and other stops in Kansas.

    Everything had to be organized so that there would be a crew ready to take these cattle to their destination, so it had to be coordinated by telegraph or message phone.

     Enough about that.  We toured the Ranch headquarters which had been nicely restored and then came on back and visited some more with the docents.

     We then left to go back home and the buffalo were close to the road and there were several calves.  they were close to a pond and some were in the pond.  I have lived in this part of the country for almost 70 years and it is more beautiful this august 2014 than at any time that I can remember.

     Osage County is at the southern end of the flint Hills and I understand that there is no other place like it on earth.  The Flint Hills cover a large amount of ground in south central Kansas and I would encourage you to take a good look at them if you are ever in this part of the United States.

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Mother's Family by Deloris Pickens

My Mother’s Family
    I am going to try and tell you what I know and can remember about my Mother’s family and there may be some errors.  I heard from Larry Secrest who is the son of my cousin Verna Madison Secrest that my Mother’s father’s name was John Madison and in checking my other records that is right.  My Mother told me that her Father was born in Schlewig Holestin and in looking at the map it appears that it is in Germany now.  I am wondering if at one time it was in Denmark.  My Mother told me that her Fathers name in the Old country was Mads Goldfelt and she thought that he might have been of the Jewish faith and that he changed his name to John Madison when he came to America in about 1865 and settled in the Linn county area and the town was Marion Iowa.  She also said he had a brother that went to Australia at about the same time.  My Grandmother was named Anna Thompson and she came from Copenhagen.  I think they were married when they came to America.

    My Grandmother Madison also had a sister that came to America and her married name was Englebert and she lived in Hot Springs South Dakota.   I have a picture of my grand mother and her sister taken in 1896 in the post office of the wind cave 1 mile from the entrance  and 100 feet from the surface.. My Mother and Grandmother went to Hot Springs sometime between 1905 and 1910.  I will list the cousins that I have pictures of and they are  Dorothy Maude Englebert  May 8 1913 a name on another photo Mary Englebert and another cousin named Emma  Englebert.  I also know she had a cousin Carl Englebert.  I was in Hot Springs in about 1967 and I looked up Carl’s address in the phone book and sent it to my Mother.  I do not know if she heard from him.  My Mother said her Aunt could speak 7 languages and that her Mother could speak 5 languages.

    I have a picture of three small children and it does not list the town in which they were born.  The picture says they are my Mother’s second cousins and their names are Bertha Marie Smith, Theodore Alston Smith and Emma Louise Smith.  She never talked about them and I have no idea where they were born and the picture is over 100 years old.

    My Grand father John Madison had a wooden leg and the story we were told was that he was cutting wood and the axe slipped and he was cut very much.  I was told that he started a fire and cut off his own leg.  My cousins son says that that story was wrong and that as a young man he fought in Russia and was hurt in that war.  He came back home and was trained as a barrel maker in Germany.  I believe that he lived in the part of Germany that belonged to Denmark at one time.  I remember my Mother saying that her Father hated the German’s.  Who Knows?

    I have the obituary of my grandmother Anna Thompson Madison.  I received it from Warren Stephenson in a bunch of clippings that came from the James Hagerman estate.  My Mother stayed with my Father’s Uncle Jim when she taught school at Dist no 9 near Toddville Iowa.  Here goes.. Mrs Anna Madison.”wife of John Madison of Kenwood Park, died in local hospital at 7:45 o’clock this morning.  She had undergone an operation for gall stones.  Mrs Madison had been a resident of this community for forty years and was 59 years of age.  Besides her husband she is survived by five children: George Madison of Spokane Wash, Carl Madison of Reardon Wash; Ernest Madison of Fox Lake Minn ;Mrs P M Peterson of Bever Minn;Mrs L G Cress of Toddville.  The funeral will probably be held Sunday in the Turner chapel.  No date on clipping but would have been after 1912 as that was when my parents were married.

    Now I will talk about my Mother’s brothers.  My Mother’s oldest brother was named George Madison and he married and had one son George and he was born in about 1900 and lived in Cedar Rapids.  My Mother went to see him after they had moved to Willow River Minnesota in the 1950’s.  I called George’s widow in Cedar Rapids sometime in the 1980’s and talked to her.  George had already died and I sent her some pictures that I had as she didn’t know anything about the family.  She said she was a Price from around Lafayette Iowa and she was probably related to my Father’s cousins Maude and Daisy Price.  They were the daughters of Mary Mounce who was my Father’s aunt.  Mary was the daughter of Lydia Neighbor and John Cress.

    George Madison my Mother’s brother divorced his first wife and moved to Spokane Washington.  He had I think 3 children from his second marriage  a daughter Victoria and a son Thomas and another son.  I knew my cousin Tommy as he came to Minnesota and stayed with my folks when we lived 5 miles from Owatonna.  He stayed on the farm a while and then he went to work as a bell hop for the Hotel Owatonna.  This was about 1942 and when I was in High School I would go by the Hotel and say Hello to Tommy.  He enlisted in the Army or Marines and he fought in the Battle of Guadacanal.  I wrote to him
during the War and he did keep in contact with my Mother.  He was married twice and had one child with his first wife.  His second wife was Hispanic and she wrote to my Mother faithfully for many years.  We completely lost contact with Tommy  I have a picture of Tommy in uniform.  He had red hair..

    Now we will go to my Uncle Carl.  I have a picture of Carl by himself  and it was taken in 1900.  He was grown up at that time.  Carl married  Martha Grauerholtz and they had two children.  I have a picture of Velma Madison  when she was about 4 years old and I also have a picture of Carlton Madison  taken Dec 1909 before he could walk.  They were divorced and I think  Martha married  someone by the name of Hayes.  She died  with typhoid fever Oct 28 1910 just short of her 25th birthday.  The children  were either adopted or sent to different homes and were reunited  55 years later.  I have the clippings where they met again at the Cedar Rapids airport..Velma was married to J L Proctor of Compton Calif and never had children.  Carlton ended up living in Goodell Iowa   The date I have on the picture and the writing in the Marion Sentinel do not agree.  It says Carl was 5 and  Velma was 7 when their Mother died.  Carl  had some children but I do not know anything about them.  This get together was in 1965..Carl left Iowa and went to Washington and remarried.  I have a wedding picture taken in Spokane Washington but no date on it.  Carl and his wife and daughter by his second marriage came to Duluth Minn sometime in the mid 1950’s.  I was not able to attend this reunion but I remember my Dad saying that Carl asked my folks not to say anything about his first marriage.. Apparently my Mother kept in contact with them over the years.

    Now I will go to my Uncle Ernest and I knew him.   I have a picture of him and George and Carl when they were young boys.  I also have a picture of him when he was probably about 20 years old with two other young men.  I have a beautiful picture of Aunt Laurine in a white dress when she was mabey 18 or 19 years old.  She was an exceptionally beautiful young woman.  Aunt Laurine played the piano well and did some music composing. I am going to write down some post cards that I found that were written to my Mother.  Uncle Ernest was depot agent at Dike Iowa and here is the card to Miss Irene Madison c/o J Hagerman Toddville Iowa.Dear Sis,  we all intend to come down Wed and stay until Sun. so come home if you can if not you might let us know when you can come. Ma and Dad are feeling O K even Mrs Pouster. Your sis Laurine.. Sept 2 1911...  On Jul 21 1911 from Dike Iowa..Dear sis,  sorry Ma is no better, think I will come Monday if nothing happens to prevent me. Yours Laurine.  Post card no town no date.  Miss Irene Madison. Dear Sister .  Many thanks for the pretty table linens you sent me. Yes you made a very good  guess as I like a dainty pattern and this certainly is so.  I have two others but yours is the finest piece. I can’t get anything so fine a weave at Dike. I haven’t time to write you this time but will do so later.  Best regards from your sis and brother.   Now two cards from Ernest to John Madison Kenwood Park Linn Co Iowa.  To Pa Old man Nelson died yesterday. Funeral Saturday. That is the old man where you and  G Hinningsen were visiting one afternoon. Ernest That was from Dike Mar 2 1911..Here’s another from Spooner Wis  Sept 11 1913.  To Mrs Irene Cress.  Sister Irene Am on my way for the north. Reached here this evening will stay overnight.  It’s so cold here a person ought to wear winter clothes. E J M 9/11/13..Uncle Ernest had the most beautiful hand writing and I wonder if he could draw and paint.

    Now for some more information about Uncle Ernest.  He later was the depot agent at Fox Lake Minn for many years.  He had 3 children George, Ernest and Verna.  George went to Dental college and became a dentist.  He married a girl from around Fairmont and they moved to Spokane Washing and he set up a practice.   Ernest was going to Medical School and he married Betty and Uncle Ernest didn’t help him any more.  He had taught both boys to telegraph and so Ernest went to work for the Milwaukee Railroad and he was agent over at Boxby Minn when I was about10 years old.  He later went to Dubuque Iowa and was a train dispatcher .  I wrote to Ernie and Betty a couple of times after I was about 25 years old and Betty wrote back and Ernie did also.  Verna was the same age as Lawrence and she married an airplane pilot and the only contact I had was when my Mother died and I called her and told her about that.

    Somewhere else in my stories I told about Uncle Ernest sending boxes of clothing to us during the depression and Mother would make them over.  He and my Mother were quite close and I remember going to Fox Lake and getting sick from eating grapes  and I could mess around in the depot without getting into trouble.  Aunt Laurine died when the children were young and Uncle Ernest did not remarry.  I have some more stories about Uncle Ernest and you can contact me and I will tell them to you.

    Now I will tell you about my Mothers sister Tillie.  Tillie married Pete Peterson and they lived in the Iron range around Duluth Minn.  Tillie was 7 years older than my Mother  Pete worked for the railroad as an Engineer and they lived on an acreage for a while.  One day Tillie was there by herself and a bear showed up and Tillie got the shot gun and killed the bear.  Tillie and Pete had 5 children.    I have a baby picture of Helen the oldest and it says born Dec 1905.  Helen married Johhny Dunaway and they lived in Miami Florida and never had children.  They owned an apartment house and did quite well.  Carl lived in Duluth and I saw him just one time at Willow River in the 1960’s..Marie married Ed Engbloom and they had 4 children.  Leetta, Gerald, Dale and Duane..Leetta was about my age and Gerald was probably a year younger than my brother Richard.  They used to come down to Willow River and visit my folks quite often..Florence was married and divorced and think married again.  She never had any children.  Bill was the same age as my sister Dorothy and he came to Ellendale when I was about 5 years old and I don’t remember seeing him again.  I think he married and had a family.  Aunt Tillie died from cancer in 1926 and Marie also died with cancer as did Florence..I have a post card dated Sept 1914 addressed to my Mother Mrs L G Cress Albert Lea Minn RFD #2.  Hello sis. Just a line to let you now we are all well except baby. I may take him to the Dr. He has summer complaint.  I have been busy canning and sewing for Helen I got her off to school. We got our pictures.  I will write soon Tony went to war. We are having hard frosts. Pete is working on the road.  Hope this finds you all well.  Did you get views Tillie.  Then I have another post card from Duluth Minn Jan 14 1926 to Mrs L G Cress Ellendale Minn R#2  Dear Aunt Irene.  Mother’s improving rapidly and can eat most everything. Dr Peterson is doing her a great deal of good.  Love to all Helen  We have lost contact with this family also.

    I have two postcards from Spokane Wash  they are dated Feb 7 1910 and read  Dear sister,  I have been waiting to hear from you as in your last letter you did not give your address and if this is reo answer right away.  Myrtle Madison also from Spokane Apr 14 1911 to Miss Irene Madison Kenwood Park Iowa Box 224.  I am batching now Dick is seeding I am making ready for garden. Easter is coming don’t forget. Mrs M Madison.  I can’t figure out who Dick Madison is.

    Now a little about our family.  Here is the marriage announcement of my Mother and Father.  Madison-Cress.  Miss Irene Madison of Kenwood Park and Mr Lafayette Cress of Toddville were married yesterday September 25 at the home of the bride’s parents Mr and Mrs John Madison in Kenwood.  The Rev G R Lair said the service at eleven o’clock and the wedding march was played by Miss Myrtle Olson of Cedar Rapids. The room in which the ceremony was performed was decorated with asparagus ferns, white chrysanthemuns and goldenrod. the dining room was in yellow and white. The bride is an accomplished young lady, a graduate of the Marion high school of 1907. For four years she has been teaching school in rural districts. Her wedding gown was a handsome robe of white embroidered chiffon and her bouquet was bride roses. The groom is a prominent farmer whose home is near Toddville. A wedding dinner was served at noon and later in the day Mr and Mrs Cress left for their home.

    My folks farmed in the Toddville area for about 4 years and then moved to a farm about 5 miles north of Albert Lea Minnesota.  They stayed there for a few years and then moved to a farm about 3 miles west of Geneva Minn.  Dorothy my oldest sister was born in Iowa and the rest ofus were born in Minnesota.  I think Daisy was born in Albert Lea and then Lawrence, Donald myself and Richard were born west of Geneva.  My folks lost the farm west of  Geneva in 1936 and we then moved to the Johnson place 2 miles
south of Hope Minn.  It was  later called the Dr McIntyre farm.  We stayed there about4years and then in 1940 moved to a 360 acre farm 5 miles south of Owatonna Minn.  The folks stayed there until I was a senior in High School which would have been 1944.  They then moved to a farm close to Meridan and were there 2 or 3 years.  Later they moved to a farm about 1 mile north of Hope  They sold out in about 1949 and moved to a farm near Willow River Minn.  After Richard was killed in an auto accident in 1957 they moved to a house in Sandstone Minn and stayed there until 1973 when my Mother died.

    Dorothy was born in 1913 and died in 2011.  She married Iver Larson in 1935 and had 3 children Warren Mary and Rodger.  Iver died in about 1952 and she married Henry Nelson in 1959.  Henry died in the mid 90’s.  Daisy was born in 1918 and died in about 2003.  She married Donald Wilker in 1942 and they had 3 children Dale, Dean and Dennis.  Lawrence was born in 1921 and never married.  Donald was born 20 months later and was killed in world War 2.  Deloris was born in 1927 and has two children Hugh born in 1949 and Gail born in 1959.  Richard was born in 1935 and died in 1957 in an auto accident.  I have the record of my nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews and their address if any one is interested.  In other parts of the blog there is a lot more history of my family. Contact me at