SHSND Home > Archives > Archives Holdings > Manuscripts > Oral Histories > 10157
To schedule an appointment, please contact us at 701.328.2091 or

OCLC WorldCat Logo

SHSND Photobook - Digitized images from State Archives

Digital Horizons

2019-2021 Blue Book Cover

Federal Depository Library Program

Chronicling America

Manuscripts - ND Oral History Collection - 10157 - McKenzie County

McKenzie County

Region 10
1 John Link, Alexander
2 Mrs. Martin (Emma) Stenehjem, Bismarck
3 Margaret M. Lanphear, Grassy Butte
4 Mr. and Mrs. Harold Rase, Grassy Butte
5 Helen Jost, Watford City
6 Lettie Uhlman Kellogg, Watford City
7 C. J. Goddard, Watford City
8 Emil and Anna O. Degerness, Watford City
9 Dan Woods, Watford City
10 Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Olson, Watford City
11 Anna Drovdal, Watford City
12 Ben Johnston, Watford City
13 L. J. “Buck” Grantier, Watford City
14 Thomas F. Lawlar, Watford City
15 Gilbert Skavanger & Judith Stenehjem, Watford City
16 Charles W. Dodge, Watford City
17 Solveig J. Stendseth, Arnegard
18 Peter Nowstrup, Alexander
19 Theresa Ellingson, Alexander
20 Ralph M. Christensen, Alexander
21 Elizabeth Novak, Charbonneau
22 Margaret A. Johnson, Cartwright
23 Mrs. Kirsten Harms, Keene
24 Brooks Keogh, Keene
25 A. O. and Wilhelmina Thompson, Charlson
26 Bryan Bjornstad, Arnegard
27 Alvin Nelson, Grassy Butte
28 Lillie Hagen, Watford City
29 Bessie Madson, Watford City
30 Frank & Helen Lassey, Cartwright
31 Mrs. Dorothea Neuman, Watford City
32 Don Jeffries, Manning
33 Mrs. John A. Bratten (Written History – No Interview), Arnegard
34 Dr. E. B. (Eugene B.) Uhlman, Williston
35 Sara Ingle, Keene

Tape #1 John Link (Alexander)
000 – Introduction
020 – Coming to North Dakota in 1906 from Massachusetts, where he was a weaver; Immigration from Bohemia to the United States in 1897; Why he left New Bedford, Massachusetts, for North Dakota
170 – Finding a homestead near Alexander; Working for a farmer prior to getting his own farm; His home in Bohemia; Helping relatives left in Bohemia during World War I
251 – Getting started on the homestead; Breaking sod and building the tarpaper shack; Paying off the loan he took to get started on the homestead
414 – Early settlers in the Alexander area; Nationalities; His first crop; Two acres of wheat; Relations between ranchers and homesteaders
458 – His first impressions of western North Dakota; His wife’s opinion of the area; Getting wood to burn from the Yellowstone River; Digging his own coal
572 – Working for a sheep rancher; Expanding his acreage; Homesteaders that left the area shortly after filing
760 – His children; The MD in Alexander and midwives
790 – Early Alexander businesses
928 – First crops on new breaking; Good and poor crop years
963 – The rural school; His service on the school and township boards; Loss of township money when the bank failed; Paying schoolteachers with warrants
017 – Neighborliness and cooperation of people; Credit struggles on the farm
043 – His support for the NPL but suspicion of A. C. Townley’s honesty; Townley’s efforts to sell stock in his oil well; The NPL’s popularity; Langer’s moratorium and the Farmers Holiday Association
169 – His support for the League program; The state mill and bank; Reasons for the NPL;s decline in popularity; The Consumer Store in Alexander; Charges of socialism leveled at the League; His opinion of socialism
233 – Farmers Holiday Association activities; Farm organizations; Joining the Farmers Union; Charles Talbot
323 – Changes in cooperation of people
345 – Social life and entertainment; Dances; Local musicians; The flu epidemic of 1918
409 – Improving roads in the area; WPA projects; Farming during the 30’s; Feeding thistles to cattle
584 – Comments on his son, Arthur Link, and the home farm; His first tractor
665 – Threshing with horsepower; Anecdote about getting a water tank wagon stuck in a creek and eating frozen watermelon
796 – Changes in people and living conditions
836 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Link offers first-hand accounts of immigrating and homesteading.  The interview is generally informative throughout.

Tape #2 Mrs. Martin (Emma) Stenehjem (Bismarck)
000 – Introduction
020 – Her parents’ homestead near Arnegard; Area ranchers and their relations with homesteaders
062 – Getting started on the homestead; Difficulty finding good water; Starting the rural school; Problems with ranchers; Haskell’s sheep ranch; Trips to Williston 42 miles away for supplies; Crossing the Missouri on the ferry
228 – Their log Lutheran church near Arnegard
270 – Attending rural school; Her first teacher
340 – Family history; Her parents’ immigration from Norway to Grand Forks, where his father worked as a contractor
434 – Getting started on the homestead; Crossing the Missouri by ferry; Proving up on the homestead
572 – The county seat fight in McKenzie County
666 – Getting horses and livestock to start farming on the homestead; Prairie fires; The benefits of getting the railroad into Arnegard
840 – Social life; Their homestead house; Digging their own coal
942 – SIDE TWO – Making friends with area ranchers
951 – Hauling grain to Williston before the railroad got to the town of Arnegard; Skiing to get the mail; Social life
010 – Threshing; Her husband’s background and their marriage; Church services in Norwegian, later changed to English; Comments on religious tolerance
136 – Her father’s political switch from the IVA to the NPL; A. C. Townley’s personality
229 – Her friendship with Langer; Serving as his campaign manager
284 – Her husband’s work for the Bank of North Dakota in the 30’s; Farm loans; Making a living on their farm near Arnegard
394 – Organization of the Farm Bureau; Usher Burdick
483 – Comments on old age; The importance of family and friends
591 – End of interview
Comment:  Life on the McKenzie County homestead and portions detailing religious and social life are the most informative sections of this interview.

Tape #3 Margaret M. Lanphear (Grassy Butte)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history (Larry Sprunk is reading a written family history aloud)
116 – Childhood recollections of early Dickinson; Cattle shipping yards; Family history – her mother’s background
180 – Remarks about the influx of homesteaders to the area; Relationship between ranchers and homesteaders
260 – Early farming methods; Haying; Prairie fires; Raising cattle and horses; Breeds of horses they raised
407 – Early cattle ranchers and cowboys; Shipping cattle and driving them to the rail yard
558 – Family history; How her mother coped with raising nine children, including triplets; Her father’s restaurant
632 – Neighborliness of people; Social life; Family life
720 – SIDE TWO – Early medical care; Midwives; Common diseases; Typhoid fever; Flu epidemic of 1918
798 – Her education; Attending rural school
841 – Her marriage and her husband’s background
893 – Making a living during the 30’s; Getting feed for cattle; Poisoning grasshoppers; WPA projects; Feeding thistles to livestock
988 – Morale during the 30’s; Exodus of people to the West Coast; Sale of land to the government during the 30’s
088 – Comments on coal development
139 – Her affection for North Dakota despite the hard times she has seen
172 – Improvements of area roads; Early automobiles; Her love for horses
235 – Selling cream and butter in Grassy Butte; Quality of water in the area
399 – Rattlesnakes in the area
441 – End of interview
Comment:  Her family history is covered in detail.  The remainder of the interview is a fairly typical account of homesteading and early farm life.  There is some background noise on this tape.

Tape #4 Mr. and Mrs. Harold Rase (Grassy Butte)(Stark County)
000 – Introduction
020 – Teaching they have done
043 – His family history; First impressions of western North Dakota
126 – His teaching experience out of high school; Working in a bank for a short time; Burning lignite in the school stove
238 – Her family history; Her father’s work as a contractor in Dickinson; First impressions of the area; Buildings his father constructed in Dickinson
299 – How they met and marries; Her homestead near Grassy Butte; Teaching in Grassy Butte
370 – The bank in early Grassy Butte; Sources of money; Giving loans on land and how often that land was lost to the bank
502 – Nationalities in the area; Relations between ranchers and homesteaders
585 – Early ranchers in the area
689 – The influx of homesteaders; Railroad sections; Homes homesteaders built; Why new immigrants were farmers rather than ranchers
795 – Problems homesteaders had to overcome – Poor water, prairie fires; Fighting fires
930 – SIDE TWO
957 – Problems finding good water
979 – Area midwives
997 – The character of early settlers; The flu epidemic of 1918 and her experiences helping stricken families 
052 – Failure of the Grassy Butte bank
091 – Social life of early schoolteachers; Spelling and ciphering bees; Dancing; Baseball games
235 – Small towns and inland stores that are now gone
299 – Depression in western North Dakota beginning in the 20’s; Bank failures; Teaching during the 30’s and the appearance and morale of students; Self-sufficiency on farms
403 – Government purchase of land in the area during the 30’s; Resentment of that program
487 – Thoughts on coal and oil development
521 – A. C. Townley’s personality; Popularity of the NPL; Farmers Holiday Association activity in the county
645 – Exodus of population in the 20’s and 30’s; Government purchase of livestock; FDR’s popularity
756 – Their affection for western North Dakota and the Badlands
864 – End of interview
Comment:  This is a very enjoyable and informative interview throughout. The Rases are thoughtful and articulate people.

Tape #5 Helen Jost (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Moving to the area from South Dakota by wagon
105 – Early settlers near their homestead by Grassy Butte; Home life in the homestead shack; Food they ate; Moving to another farm; Digging their own coal and learning to burn lignite; Making whitewash to coat their walls
292 – Her mother’s skill as a midwife
331 – Poor relations between ranchers and homesteaders
351 – Problems finding good water; Skill that Germans from Russia had at building sod houses and farming in general; Difficulty of keeping bugs out of homestead shacks
452 – Social life and recreation; Picking and canning various wild berries; Worries about rattlesnakes; Prevalence of coyotes and wolves; Eating wild game
588 – Preserving meat and vegetables
607 – Cooperation of farmers during threshing
688 – Making cheese and cottage cheese
708 – SIDE TWO
719 – Sewing clothes; Ordering from catalogs; Buying supplies for the winter; Storing flour; Story about a pig that fell in a well
768 – Church services in early Grassy Butte; A travelling pastor; Schoolteachers from out of state; Attending a rural school; Young Citizens League
023 – The flu epidemic of 1918; Early medical care; Changes in the attitude toward handicapped people over the years; The family life; Making clothes from flour sacks
187 – Her love of the Badlands; Thoughts on coal development and irrigation
297 – Teaching school during the 30’s and how the depression affected children
418 – End of interview
Comment:  The portion covering the rural school is outstanding

Tape #6 Lettie Uhlman Kellogg (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Her father’s job as manager of the Morning Star Cattle Company; How she kept the ranch going by herself; Her father’s death in a train wreck in 1911
094 – Her marriage in 1915; Raising registered horses; Her son and grandchildren
156 – Early area cowboys; The Morning Star Cattle Company; The mail route from Dickinson north
216 – Her brothers and sisters; Work she did on the ranch; Her father’s death; Working with horses
343 – Her mother’s dislike for ranching; Their log house; Her father’s horsemanship; Accidents with horses
513 – Her age; Her parents’ ranch; Selling part of the Arnegard ranch to her daughter; Her marriage and children
669 – Open range and cattle roundups
709 – SIDE TWO – Attending school in Shafer; Early settlers in Shafer; Early settlers in the Shafer area
776 – Operation of the ranch; Discussion of her old photographs; Good horses she has had; The Hans Christianson Ranch
931 – Land she lost to the Garrison Reservoir
978 – Comments on coal development
998 – Ranching during the 30’s
033 – Shipping cattle out of Williston; Swimming cattle across the Missouri
062 – Feeding cattle during the 30’s; Stacking Russian thistles
084 – Raising horses and the beginning of selective breeding in their cattle herd
201 – Things she considers important in life
263 – Sources of fuel – wood and lignite; Problems finding good water
334 – Her brother’s death; Her Hupmobile car
402 – Social life; Barn dances
419 – End of interview
Comment:  Mrs. Kellogg tells a rather remarkable personal story of running a ranch by herself.  Many times in this interview recollections of the early ranching days are jumbled with comments on the present or unrelated subjects.

Tape #7 Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Goddard (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Early cowboys and rodeo riders; Changes in the way a rodeo is run; Some remarks about the oral history project
082 – Early area ranchers
138 – Family history; Early cowboys and their character; Why his father came to the area from Wisconsin; His mother’s background; Visits with Indians and trading gifts
406 – Family history combined with description of settlement of the area and early ranches; Attending rural school and the value of those schools to social life
628 – Running an English built locomotive from Williston to Glasgow, Montana
672 – Cowboy life he knew compared to popular representations; His love for the open range; General changes in the way of life
859 – Trips to Williston to see the circus; Early automobile travel; Ferry across the Missouri; Swimming cattle across; Changes in peoples’ character
938 – SIDE TWO – Old cowboys he knew; Pranks and entertainment; Cattle camps on the Berthold Reservation and anecdotes about the camp life
037 – General remarks about early ranch life; Relations between Whites and Indians
175 – Handling cattle in the early days; Trail drives
221 – Wintering cattle; Running cattle on the reservation; The Hans Christianson Ranch
310 – Controversy and bitterness over the creation of Garrison Reservoir; The value of native grass
470 – Good rodeo riders he remembers; Scott Gore; Jay Grantier
625 – Formation of the 50 Years In The Saddle Club
675 – His dislike for coal development; Comments on rising land values and estate taxes
794 – Social life and entertainment; Neighborliness of people
877 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Goddard speaks very readily and moves from one topic to another with ease.  It is difficult to break this interview into subject areas since Mr. Goddard’s narrative flows rather freely.  This is an enjoyable interview, but is should be listened to in its entirety to catch the thrust of his remarks.

Tape #8 Emil M. and Anna O. Degerness (Watford City)
Tape A
000 – Introduction
020 – His family history; First impressions of western North Dakota; Breaking sod with a steam rig
109 – Small towns and inland stores in the Watford City area; The ferry across the Missouri
130 – Firing the engine on the steam plowing rig; Towns and stores where he traded; Uses made of flour sacks and the mill in Watford City
220 – Early Shafer and the county seat fight
270 – Their marriage in 1914
285 – Her family history and their homestead; Her parents’ homesickness, at first, for Minnesota
311 – Nationalities in the area; Relations between ranchers and homesteaders
390 – Homesickness for Minnesota; Financing rural schools
472 – The log house he built with help of neighbors; Making mud plaster
719 – SIDE TWO – Homestead Act modifications in the early 1900’s; Getting approved to file on 320 acres
759 – Working for area farmers during the 30’s; Getting seed loans; Poor crops
854 – Popularity of the NPL; A. C. Townley’s speeches; The NPL-IVA split between businessmen and farmers
951 – Organization of the Farmers Union and co-op elevators; The beginning of the Farm bureau; Farmers Holiday Association activity, or lack of
018 – The large number of banks in the county in the early 1900’s; The subsequent failure of most of them
112 – Twenty years as a county commissioner; His reasons for opposing Garrison diversion and Garrison Dam
238 – Comments on coal developments; Organic gardening
320 – Thoughts on farm organizations and the independence of farmers
343 – Recollections of Bill Langer and his fantastic memory for names
440 – End of Tape A
000 – Introduction
020 – Hunting and eating wild game; Tobacco garden creek; The problems of finding good water
157 – Early MD’s in the area; Midwives
290 – Relations between ranchers and homesteaders; Some general conversation
307 – The 1918 flu epidemic
367 – General remarks on professional people and the value of education; Travelling they have done; The first airplane they saw
520 – Townley’s oil well near Tioga and the investment he had in it; Comments on bicentennial projects
625 – Gardening and preserving food
716 – SIDE TWO – Hunting and fishing along the Missouri
820 – His service as county commissioner and his activity in the NPL; His father’s support for the Socialist Party; Some general conversation
120 – FDR and the New Deal; Comments on federal government programs
206 – WPA projects in the area; Distribution of surplus commodities
433 – End of interview
Comment:  Outstanding portions of the interview cover family history and life on a homestead.

Tape #9 Dan Woods (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; His parents’ reasons for mobbing to North Dakota from Texas in 1912 and their ranch in the Badlands
051 – Early ranchers in the area southwest of Watford City; Scott Gore; John Lakey; Raising cattle and horses; Wild horses in the Badlands
094 – Government purchase of grazing land in the 30’s; Use of the community pasture; Raising and feeding cattle during the 30’s
149 – Log houses along the Little Missouri in the early 1900’s; Plastering the logs
198 – Handling cattle; The methods used to get people to sell land to the government; Use of the community pasture; Castrating and branding; Wintering cattle
280 – Wildlife in the area; Wintering cattle on the range
354 – Homesteaders selling out soon after filing; Relations between ranchers and homesteaders; Shipping cattle and the driving of them to the stockyards; Trail drives to the town of Killdeer
520 – Texas cowboys who settled in the Badlands; Common diseases in cattle; Good rodeo riders
621 – Qualities a rancher needs to have; Present problems of the ranching and growth of large ranching
713 – SIDE TWO – Social life and entertainment
729 – First widespread use of tractors in the early 40’s; A few comments about the gloomy future of ranching
768 – His opinion of strip mining
786 – Support for Langer among ranchers; Comments on present politics; Lack of interest in the Farmers Union among the ranchers; Comments on the present United States’ economy
852 – Getting electricity and telephone on the ranch
872 – First use of selective breeding in cattle herds
898 – Early cowboys; His uncle’s drive up from Texas; Out of state people who are buying land in the area
065 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Woods was more inclined to discuss present day problems than early history, but portions on family history, the log houses, and handling cattle are main and informative topics.

Tape #10 Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Olson (Watford City)
Tape A
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; His grandparents’ emigration from Iowa to the Taylor, North Dakota area in 1886; His grandfather’s immigration from Norway and his Civil War service
127 – His mother’s background and her parents’ farm near Taylor; His parents’ marriage and farm and move to a ranch in the county of McKenzie in 1890
240 – Grazing cattle on open range and on the Berthold Reservation
261 – Oakdale post office and store; Nationalities in the Taylor area; Large number of homesteaders who sold out and left
480 – Early ranchers in the area; Anecdotes about some of the old timers
715 – SIDE TWO – Early ranchers; Selling horses to the army; People he knew who worked with Teddy Roosevelt; The Shafer Family; An amateur veterinarian; Anecdotes about Angus Kennedy and Jay Grantier
974 – Round ups; Shipping cattle; Hired help; Wages for the cowboys
018 – Government purchase of land in the area in the 30’s; The grazing rights on the community pasture
036 – Relations between ranchers and homesteaders; A general description of his parents’ ranch home; The influx of the homesteaders; Anecdote about a hired man
208 – Social life and entertainment; Preserving food; The food supplies they purchased in the early 1900’s
430 – End of Tape A
000 – Introduction
020 – Anecdote about going to Taylor for supplies
067 – Floods on the Little Missouri
122 – His parents’ log house with scoria roof; Different kinds of materials used to construct early homes
208 – His first schooling at home; Rural schools; Her teaching experience; Their marriage
233 – Childhood chores on the ranch; Round up time; Riding along on cattle trains to Chicago; Longhorn cattle
350 – Swimming cattle across the Missouri; Losing cattle in the quicksand; Pulling out a stuck truck with saddle horses
600 – Buying oats to feed work horses
682 – Midwives
716 – SIDE TWO – The flu epidemic of 1918
738 – Wildlife – wolves and coyotes; Hunting wolves; Bobcats and lynx; Bounties on magpies and the damage they do to cattle
862 – Ranching during the 30’s
921 – End of interview
Comment:  This is an enjoyable and informative interview throughout.

Tape #11 Anna C. Drovdal (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Reasons for coming to Watford City in 1911 from Minnesota; Her first impressions of the area; Family history
060 – Early Arnegard and its businesses; Nationalities in the area; Norwegian Lutheran church services; The log church and school; Her homestead near Arnegard
125 – Her husband’s background; her children; Her marriage and their home in Arnegard
176 – Early businessmen in Arnegard; Sod and lumber homestead shacks; Towns in the area
238 – The county seat fight between Shafer and Alexander; Coming of the railroad to Arnegard and hauling supplies from the city of Williston prior to the railroad; The ferry across the Missouri; The White House, a halfway stop between the cities of Williston and Arnegard
325 – Her homestead shack and barn; Early settlers in the area near Arnegard; Farming with oxen and mules; Her brother’s farm; Prevalence of coyotes
420 – Camping near the Missouri in the early 1900’s; An anecdote about a rattlesnake scare
447 – Early ranchers in the area and their dislike of the homesteader’s influx
475 – Early MD’s in Arnegard; The county seat fight between the towns of Alexander and Watford City; The Drovdal brothers generating plant in Arnegard and the sale of it to MDU
590 – Norwegian festivities; Social life in Arnegard; Other women homesteaders; Dances
698 – The Drovdal lumberyard and power plant in Arnegard
720 – SIDE TWO – Operation of the power plant; The first telephone system in Arnegard
770 – Her marriage and their farm; The coal mine on her land; Coal mines in the area; Getting the railroad into Arnegard and the celebration that occasioned
808 – The flu epidemic of 1918; When her children were born; The child they raised because his mother died
828 – Making a living during the 30’s; The neighborliness of the people; Giving people credit in their store; Exodus of people during the 30’s; Morale
899 – The National Youth Administration school in Arnegard which she directed; Subjects taught; CCC work in the area
972 – FDR’s popularity in the 30’s; Support for the NPL among farmers; Her husband’s work for the IVA; Arguments over the NPL; Merger of the NPL and Democrats
074 – Organization of the Farmers Union; Baseball games between area towns and even between families
136 – Controversy over giving women the vote
156 – Teaching cooking in the NYA school; Sewing classes
205 – Gardening and preserving food; Getting dairy products; Keeping a milk cow in Arnegard
251 – Purchase of area land by the federal government; Support for the Garrison Dam and Reservoir; Grasshopper and army worm plagues during the 30’s;
358 – Arnegard banks and the failure of one
399 –Blind Pigs in Arnegard
439 – End of interview
Comment:  A generally informative interview, the portions dealing with her homestead and the NYA school in Arnegard stand out.

Tape #12 Ben Johnston (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; His parents’ first ranch south of Taylor; Early ranchers in the Watford City area
113 – Relations between ranchers and homesteaders; Buying the supplies in Williston; The ferry across the Missouri
139 – Family history; Attending rural school
157 – Old ranchers and cowboys he knew; Story of a hanging at Medora
242 – Breaking enough prairie to meet homestead requirements; Building sod and log houses
287 – Social life; Dances and musicians; Nationalities in the area
323 – Running cattle on the Berthold Reservation
368 – Midwives
384 – Relations between Indians and whites; Early roads and the trails; Inland post offices in northern McKenzie County
476 – Common breeds of cattle raised; Horse ranchers
538 – Working cattle; Roundups; Government purchase of area land during the 30’s; Grazing rights on that land
640 – Feeding cattle during the 30’s; Exodus of people from the area
691 – His father’s farm and ranch
712 – SIDE TWO – Alex LaSota; Rodeo riders
800 – Getting electricity and telephone on the ranch; Delco plants and wind chargers
820 – WPA work in the area; Old ranchers and cowboys he knew
917 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Johnston’s comments tend to be brief and general in nature.

Tape #13 L. J. “Buck” Grantier (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – His father’s background and move from Iowa to western North Dakota in 1890; The Long X cattle outfit; His mother’s family background
083 – Longhorn cattle that the Long X operation ran; Old ranchers and cowboys he knew
138 – Shipping points for cattle; Running cattle on the Berthold Reservation
195 – Selling land for the Garrison Reservoir; Government purchase of submarginal land; Horse ranchers and breeds that were raised; Attending rural school; Family history
377 – Childhood chores on the ranch; His brothers; His father’s purchase of land abandoned by homesteaders; Comments about grain fed versus grass fed beef
450 – Breeds of cattle raised
467 – Ranching during the 30’s; Finding feed for cattle
590 – Getting supplies for the winter; Getting mail; The Oakdale post office and store; Milk cows on the ranch; Castrating, dehorning, and vaccinating cattle
834 – The log cabin he grew up in; Midwives
898 – Social life; Early rodeos and riders
951 – SIDE TWO – Scott Gore and other bronc riders; Uhlman’s race horses
047 – Nationalities in the area; Cattle shipping points; The yards at Sanish
086 – Effect of the Garrison Reservoir on grazing and hay land for cattle; Rustling problems
123 – Roundups; Cooks and chuck wagons; Neighborliness of people; Fun loving cowboys; Chandler’s ferry across the Little Missouri; Selling horses to the army
254 – Usher Burdick’s personality; Popularity of the NPL in the county of McKenzie; Anecdote about Langer; His father’s support for the IVA; Comments on farm organizations
428 – The present day ranching economy
481 – Use of local coal for fuel; Finding good water on ranches and farms
540 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Grantier tends to give brief and general answers to questions.

Tape #14 Thomas F. Lawlar (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; His wife’s background; His parents’ move from Iowa to Missouri to a homestead near Watford City
092 – Open range; Changes in the age at which steers are sold; Wintering mature steers on the range
180 – His stepmother and her homestead; Ranches where he worked; Running cattle on the Berthold Reservation; Early Shafer
238 – Mrs. Lawlar’s family history; Early ranchers who moved to the area from central North Dakota to keep ahead of the homesteaders; Longhorn cattle; Hans Christianson; Charlie Shafer; Governor George Shafer; Cartwright ranch; Other ranchers
476 – Businesses in early Shafer; The ferry across the Missouri; Hauling supplies from Williston; Ferrying cattle across the river to the stockyard at Sanish
660 – Cowboys and bronc riders he remembers; Appearance of early cowboys
719 – SIDE TWO – Conversation about his old photographs of old ranchers and cowboys; Making hay on the Missouri River bottoms; Good bronc riders; Relations between the Whites and Indians
862 – Nationalities that settled and homesteaded
901 – His schooling and ramblings as a youth; The Shafer family; Qualities it takes to be a bronc rider based on his own experience
083 – Ranching during the 30’s and running cattle on the reservation, summer and winter; Feeding cattle hay and thistles
170 – Grazing rights on submarginal government owned land; His dislike for the Garrison Reservoir because it covered the grazing and hay land that he leased
233 – Ranchers’ dislike for homesteaders; Renting grazing land from the government
440 – End of interview
Comment:  The interview contains some valuable portions on bronc riding and raising cattle

Tape #15 Gilbert Skavanger and Judith Stenehjem (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – His experience as a driver for a doctor in Watford City; Trips out to farms on cold winter nights by horse and by sleigh
117 – Her father’s background, move to North Dakota, and medical practice in Watford City in 1915
190 – Driving early automobiles for the doctor; The flu epidemic in 1918; Help he gave the doctor with patients; The administering anesthetics; Setting broken bones
310 – She reads an account her father wrote about early medical practice and the flu epidemic; Treating that flu
362 – Her parents’ first opinion of the area and the benefit of the climate on her brother’s asthma
394 – Her father’s cooperation with midwives; Charges for office calls; How he got started driving for the doctor and how he learned to speak English; Anecdotes about some patients
487 – The doctor’s ability to speak Norwegian and Swedish; His personality and prestige
516 – Her father’s efforts to get bridges built to give the county access to the outside; His service in the legislature and friendship with Langer
562 – Anecdote about driving the doctor to a farm; Dealing with a broken down car; Sleeping in a chicken coop; Finding directions by the stars when he drove at night; Accounts of the more exciting trips they made
801 – Her father’s practice in general and help the family gave him; Common diseases and illnesses; Quarantining people
939 – Anecdotes about driving the doctor with horse and buggy or sleigh; Fees the doctor charged and work he did for nothing
060 – Growing potatoes for sale in the 20’s; Anecdotes about the doctor’s eating habits and trips to farms in winter; The doctor’s medical skill and inventiveness
172 – Buying his farm; Farmland the doctor accumulated; Trading an automobile for the 160 acres
215 – Improvement of area roads in the 20’s; Anecdotes about driving for the doctor
271 – Improvements of area roads in the 30’s; Her father’s practice during the 30’s and the lack of money – giving credit for the work he did; Anecdotes about relatives and neighbors
347 – Common fractures, broken bones, and ailments
382 – Bootlegging and makers of home brew; A man who dies deinking wood alcohol; Operating on appendicitis
459 – Her brother’s training in medicine under her father; Comments about home brew and unsanitary conditions on some farms
545 – Bank failures in the area and her father’s foresight of the economic troubles
580 – Why he came to Watford City; Working in a livery stable and getting the job as the doctor’s driver; Story about a runway team
787 – Relations with Indians and doing medical work for the Indian families
882 – End of interview
Comment:  This is an excellent interview regarding early medical practice.  Mr. Skavanger provided numerous anecdotes about making house calls and driving the doctor under all sorts of weather conditions.

Tape #16 Charles W. Dodge (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – He reads a prepared statement that covers very briefly a little of everything regarding early area history
044 – Family history; His parents’ various homes in western North Dakota and the ranches his father worked for; The family ranch northeast of Watford City
170 – Early ranchers in the area; Problems with rustlers
378 – His brothers and sisters; Midwives; The MD in Shafer
415 – Old cowboys and ranchers he knew
485 – Attending rural school; Opposition to schools among the old ranchers; The influx of homesteaders; Attending school in his grandfather’s sod house
542 – Outstanding bronc riders; Training a cutting horse; Roundups; Relations with Indians
718 – SIDE TWO – Qualities a bronc rider needs; Rodeo events
834 – Henderson’s horse ranch; Hans Christianson’s ranch; The grazing of cattle on open range
887 – Getting started on his own farm; Sale of submarginal land to the government; Hard times on ranches during the 30’s
960 – The aborted plans for a railroad along the Little Missouri
982 – Shipping points for cattle – Sanish and Killdeer; Danger of crossing the Missouri River on the ice; Running cattle on the reservation
127 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Dodge presents an account of the area through the eyes of a farmer and the small rancher.

Tape #17 Mrs. Solveig J. Stendseth (Arnegard)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Her parents’ immigration from Norway to the eastern part of North Dakota; Her husband’s family background; Her parents’ homestead near Arnegard and their homesickness for Norway; Comments about a recent trip to Norway
153 – Her parents’ homestead shack; The loss of the homestead; Furnishings in the homestead shack; Family history
280 – Her mother’s work as a midwife
313 – Early settlers in the area
356 – Social life; The Fourth of July picnic; Riding a horse drawn bus to school
436 – Shopping in Rawson; Various farms where her folks lived; Her mother’s work as switchboard operator in Rawson where her father was postmaster; Hard times she experienced
578 – Hard times during the 30’s; Living on WPA checks; The county grasshopper control program; Exodus of people from the area
675 – Rawson’s baseball team; Farmers’ annual picnic in Rawson; Cooking and washing her mother did to help make money for the family
750 – Neighborliness of people; Hard work people did; Mother’s midwifery
929 – SIDE TWO – Popularity of the NPL in the area; Story of a near disaster when their car tipped into an irrigation ditch; Favors Langer did for them
008 – Norwegian customs they kept alive
057 – Early washing machines; The Delco plant
081 – Effect of the depression upon peoples’ attitudes; Mother’s thriftiness
138 – Lack of roads; Poor communication on the farm
163 – Norwegian holidays; July Fourth celebrations
208 – Baseball games between area towns; Childhood entertainment
264 – Supplies they bought in town; Self-sufficiency on the homestead; Lack of books and supplies in the rural school she attended
307 – Pause
334 – Getting electricity and telephone on the farm; Businesses in Rawson and their owners; Exchanging eggs and cream for groceries; The Rawson post office
437 – WPA road work in the area; CCC work; Surplus commodities available; Morale during the depression
558 – Bootlegging in the area
584 – End of interview
Comment: Those who are looking for an example of hard times on a homestead will find it in this interview.  Rawson businesses are included.

Tape #18 Peter Nowstrup (Alexander)
000 – Introduction
020 – His migration to western North Dakota from South Dakota; Immigration from Denmark; Family history; First impressions of North Dakota; Homesteading near Alexander in 1906
100 – Buildings he constructed on his homestead; Anecdote about getting run over by a buggy
184 – Buying supplies in Alexander; First flax crop on his homestead
228 – Nationalities in the area
258 – Threshing outfits; Breaking sod with a steam rig
321 – Early ranchers in the area; Farming with oxen
457 – Prairie fires; Digging his own coal
596 – His marriage and four children; The midwife who delivered the children
654 – Early farm machinery; Good crop in 1907
719 – SIDE TWO – Prevalence of bachelor homesteaders
761 – His support for the NPL; His background in cooperative movements in Denmark; Problems the League had; The League leaders; Langer’s moratorium
942 – Organization of the Farmers Union; Charles Talbott; Farmers elevators and the establishment of GTA; Bill Thatcher; The dishonest elevator operators
063 – The Farmers Holiday Association; Bidding in items at the foreclosure sales
091 – Farm prices during the 20’s; The decline of wheat prices; Economic disaster on the farm during the 30’s; Grasshopper plague in 1939
200 – Gradual exodus of homesteaders from the area beginning in the year of 1910; Morale in the 30’s; Feeding thistles to cattle; His opinion of New Deal programs and FDR
317 – Construction of railroad through Alexander
390 – The Link family
439 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Nowstrup has an excellent memory for dates and names.  The interview is one that is informative throughout.

Tape #19 Theresa Ellingson (Alexander)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Her father John Link, and her parents; move to North Dakota in 1906; Their homestead near Alexander in 1907
043 – Nationalities in the area and early settlers; Little irritations between neighbors; Social life; Dances
137 – Relations between ranchers and homesteaders; Problems with ranchers allowing horses and cattle to ruin crops; Ranchers who sold poor or wild horses to unsuspecting homesteaders; Anecdote about a childhood experience
246 – Moving from Cartwright to the Alexander homestead in 1907; The shack they lived in
283 – Her mother’s background; General conversation
330 – Old timers and early settlers she knew; A woman homesteader; Homesteaders who gave up and left or took a mortgage and also left; Anecdote about her father’s purchase of a horse from a rancher
432 – The poor crop in 1911; Her parents’ thoughts about returning to Massachusetts; Coyotes howling; Feeling of isolation on the farm; Getting electricity
528 – The flour mill in Alexander; Storing flour over the winter; Preserving vegetables and dairy products; Clabbered milk; Gardening; Smoking meat
720 – SIDE TWO – Things done to minimize household expenses on the homestead; Getting good water
811 – Women’s work on the farm; Threshing
874 – Her brother Arthur Link and his childhood; Her father’s support for the NPL; Townley’s oil well developments; The Farmers Holiday Association
945 – Organization of the Farmers Union; Charges of radicalism leveled at the Farmers Union
972 – Attending rural school; Learning to speak English; various nationalities in the area; Schoolteachers she had; High school in Alexander; Education of her sisters and brothers
129 – Rivalry between area towns
157 – The lynching in McKenzie County in the 30’s
223 – Hard times on farms during the 30’s; Morale; Exodus of the people; Feeding thistles to livestock; Comments about the Farmers Holiday Association
390 – Expansion of her father’s farm
440 – End of interview
Comment:  The interview contains little specific historical information beyond family history

Tape #20 Ralph M. Christensen (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; His mother’s background and her move to the county of McKenzie to a homestead near Watford City in 1909; His father’s immigration from Denmark to Minnesota, then to Grand Forks where he was a carpenter, then to Watford City
084 – Nationalities in the area; His parents’ homestead; Relations between ranchers and homesteaders
156 – The county seat fight
172 – Family history; How his parents wound up in Watford City; Coming of the railroad in 1914 and the decline of Shafer, North Dakota
261 – Boom times in Watford City and its early businessmen; An early MD in Watford City; Peter Moe, an airplane pilot and mechanic in Watford in 1920; Watford’s trade area; Early school and churches
385 – Stockyards in Watford compared to Killdeer
395 – His father’s political allegiance; Support for the NPL; His start in politics; Recollections of Bill Langer and the favors he did for people when he was a Senator
643 – George Shafer; The Shafer family
760 – Party loyalties in North Dakota; Emotionalism in North Dakota politics; Enmity between town people and farmers during the NPL-IVA controversy
933 – SIDE TWO – Langer’s character and personality; Usher Burdick
981 – Farmers Holiday Association; Activity in McKenzie County; A confrontation he had with a Holiday member; Langer’s moratorium on foreclosures
067 – Organization of the Farmers Union; Opposition to Farmers Union among businessmen
109 – Liberal credit policies that early businesses had
133 – Exodus of people during the 30’s; Morale; Camaraderie of the neighbors; New Deal programs and their effect on local people; Hard times in the implement business during the 30’s
230 – Recollections of James Foley
254 – His sister; The flu epidemic of 1918; A typhoid epidemic; The quarantine house; “pest” house
302 – The theater in Watford City; Social life and entertainment; The “good old days”; Home talents plays; Baseball games among area small towns; Popularity of early movies; Silent films and pit orchestras; Shopping on Saturday nights; The band concerts; Chautauqua shows; Carnivals; Evangelism crusades and speakers; County fairs and rodeos
762 – M.B. Johnson, first county agent
796 – The first electric plant in Watford City
868 – End of interview
Comment:  This is an excellent interview throughout.  Mr. Christensen’s reminiscences date back to about 1918.  Entertainment and social life.

Tape #21 Elizabeth Novak (Charbonneau)
000 – Introduction
020 – Attending rural school and going to school in Alexander
102 – Digging their own coal; Tricks of learning to burn lignite
201 – Her skill at sewing and seamstress work
218 – Her husband’s background
306 – Raising chickens and selling eggs; Preserving meat by canning; Baking bread; Everlasting yeast
670 – Her marriage; making a living during the 30’s on the farm
717 – SIDE TWO
750 – Home life and entertainment; Children’s chores on the farm; Keeping house
840 – Her parents’ involvement in the Equity Association and the Farmers Union; Radical charges leveled at the Farmers Union
935 – Businesses in early Charbonneau; The big fire in Alexander
055 – Her brother Art Link and his first political involvement through the Farmers Union
095 – Work her mother did on the farm; Milking cows; Cooking on the old cook stove; The hand crank washing machine; The gasoline irons; Carbide lamps
435 – End of interview
Comment:  The interview deals mainly with home life and general work on the farm when she was a child.

Tape #22 Margaret A. Johnson (Cartwright)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Her parents’ immigration from England to Canada to Portal, North Dakota, where they homesteaded; Her parents’ ranch near Trenton where they moved from the town of Portal in 1896
175 – Businesses in early Williston; Problems with coyotes in their sheep herd; Other ranchers; Crossing the Missouri by boat
267 – George Cartwright; Problems with coyotes
318 – Their log houses; Squatters and homesteaders
408 – Cutting wood along the river; Family life; Work her mother did; Self-sufficiency on the ranch; Picking wild berries
515 – Her father’s experience in bad snowstorms; Furnishings in their log cabin; Children’s chores; Family life
720 – The influx of homesteaders around 1905; Attending rural school; Her father’s attitude toward homesteaders; Family life; Christmas celebration
932 – SIDE TWO – Getting established on the ranch; Dances in the home; Getting a steam engine across the Missouri
046 – Her husband and their marriage; The log cabin her husband built; Making a living on their farm; Their children; The midwife she had
202 – Their homestead; Self-sufficiency on the farm; Making the soap; The Nameless post office and an account of how her husband came to McKenzie County and got started farming
512 – Bob Straud, an early rancher and local character; Coal mines
585 – The flu epidemic of 1918; The irrigation project in the town of Fairview, Montana
650 – Importance of the railroad
704 – Making a living on the farm during the 30’s; Exodus of the people; Log buildings on their homestead
862 – End of interview
Comment:  Mrs. Johnson has a good memory and an engaging manner of speaking.  The interview is generally informative throughout.

Tape #23 Mrs. Kirsten Harms (Keene)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Immigration from Norway to Devils Lake area in 1906; Their move to Keene area in 1908; Life on the homestead; Early farming methods, steam plowing rigs
121 – Early homesteaders in the area; Early ranchers
158 – Home and family life; Her father’s work for farmers in the eastern section of North Dakota during the summer; Shopping in Charlson; Army worm invasions; Her mother’s work as the cook for threshing crew
250 – The trip over from Norway; Preserving food; Grinding their own wheat for flour; First crops on the homestead; The Norwegian Lutheran church
346 – Happiness of people, formerly and presently; Social lie; Dances at the country hall
405 – Local coal mines, one of which was on their land; Their log house; Childhood entertainment on the homestead
541 – Coyotes howling at night; Making cheese; Family history
688 – Midwives in the area; Early medical care and MD’s
715 – SIDE TWO
721 – Description of the original town of Keene; The flu epidemic of 1918; Cooperation of neighbors; Making sausage and the dumplings; Smoking and salting meat
830 – Some family history; Relations between nationalities; Her husband and their marriage in 1919; Their children
903 – Dust storms and hard times on the farm during the 30’s; The early automobiles
983 – Relations between Whites and Indians
004 – Husband’s activity in the organization of the Farmers Union; The Farmers Holiday Association in McKenzie County; Account of a local “character” and schoolteacher; Other schoolteachers she had
132 – First airplanes she recalls; Crash of a Canadian airplane near their home; Taking care of 16 men who came to repair the plane
258 – Family life on the homestead; Making soap and cranking the washing machine
433 – End of interview
Comment:  Mrs. Harms responses to questions tend to be general in nature.  She has a very pleasant manner of speaking and good recollections of home life on the homestead.

Tape #24 Brooks Keogh (Keene)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father’s background and move to North Dakota in 1881; His mother’s background; Their start in ranching in 1899; The early ranchers in area; Family history and how ranch land was accumulated by the family; Log houses
124 – Early cowboys and ranchers; Running cattle on the Berthold Reservation; Scott Gore; Castrating horses; Vaccinating for diseases in cattle
196 – Bad winters; Influx of homesteaders; Individualism and the patriotism of early ranchers
261 – Relations with Indian people; Indian and White cowboys
302 – Comments on the modern media image of early ranch life; Social life; Barn dances
366 – Shipping cattle out of Dickinson, later out of Plaza; The ferrying of cattle across the Missouri to Sanish
403 – Leasing grazing land on the reservation; Texas cowboys who would up in western North Dakota; Texas cattle outfits in North Dakota; Turkey Track Bill; Ben Bird
610 – Ranchers’ love for horses; Breeding mares with stallions supplied by the army
712 – Government purchase of area submarginal land; Mr. Charlie Shafer; Grazing rights on the government land
935 – SIDE TWO
959 – Usher Burdick; Popularity of the NPL in area
020 – Old timers who knew the Marquis De Mores
080 – Putting up hay in the early 1900’s; W.R. Olson, machinery dealer; Sanish rodeo
129 – Loss of land to Garrison Reservoir
201 – Usher Burdick’s personality; Recollections of Bill Langer and his opinion of Langer
331 – Farmers Holiday Association activities in McKenzie County; Father’s membership in the IVA and ROC
378 – Neighborliness; Family life
492 – Confidence in government; Comments on coal development and on the declining number of farmers; Economics of the cattle business today
747 – Grading beef and the growth of new breeds of cattle
855 – Rodeos
871 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Keogh is not as old as most of the other people interviewed in the county, but he is knowledgeable about local history and his family was one of the first in the area.  This is a generally informative interview throughout.

Tape #25 A. O. and Wilhelmina Thompson (Charlson)
000 – Introduction
020 – His family history and their move from Iowa to a western North Dakota homestead; Squatting on land; First impressions of North Dakota; Settlement of Iowans in the area
121 – Homestead buildings; Homestead rights; Rural schools
201 – Sources of fuel; Local coal mining
220 – Businesses in early Charlson; Working in the bank
334 – Early Keene and its post office; Early settlers from Iowa; Working as a rural mail carrier from 1929-1957
428 – Their marriage; Her family history and the move from the state of Wisconsin to McKenzie County; Father’s (Wilhelmina) death in 1905; Her mother’s efforts to maintain the family after 1905; Nationalities
606 – Homesteaders who sold out as soon as possible; Problems with cattle destroying crops; Cramer Cattle Company; The number of oxen farmers
741 – Ranchers in the area; The Banks post office; Small towns and post offices that are now gone
791 – The first church in the area, Norwegian Lutheran
806 – Horse ranchers; Good crop years; Their farm; His World War I service
872 – Carrying rural mail in the winter; Catalog orders
916 – Self-sufficiency on the homestead; Threshing; Hauling the grain to Tioga and Sanish; Selling cattle; Feeding the thistles to cattle; Morale during 30’s; WPA projects
115 – Local objections to the Garrison Reservoir; Erosion during 30’s; Grasshoppers
185 – Popularity of NPL among farmers; Farmers Holiday Association; The last lynching in North Dakota
323 – Neighborliness; Help that people gave her mother after her father died; Family life and social life
453 – End of interview
Comment:  Although the Thompsons tend to respond rather briefly to questions, they do have a good Knowledge and memory of the local history.

Tape #26 Bryan Bjornstad (Arnegard)
000 – Introduction
020 – Coming to McKenzie County from Grand Forks in 1906; His parents’ homestead and immigration from Norway; Why his father changed his name; Mother’s love for the homestead
192 – Army service during World War I as a mechanic
272 – Opinions about entry into World War I in the Arnegard area
340 – Working as a rural mail carrier 1922-1966
376 – Early ranchers and their relations with homesteaders
421 – Farmers support for the NPL; Langer’s popularity; Stenehjem family and their involvement in the NPL; Their baseball team; His opposition to the NPL; Political activity restrictions for civil service employees; How he got the mail carrier job through politics
712 – SIDE TWO – Farmers Holiday Association in McKenzie County; IVA
741 – Potato growers in area and the Stenehjem potato warehouse; Growing certified seed potatoes
820 – Changes in carrying mail over 40 years
963 – Improvement of area roads
987 – Neighborliness; Doing favors for people on the route
067 – Early churches in area; Early pastors; Services held in Norwegian language
245 – Hard times during the 30’s; Changes in prices of goods; Exodus of people during the 30’s; Loss of businesses in the Arnegard area; Fires in Arnegard
434 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Bjornstad provides some excellent information about the early years of rural mail delivery.  Family history is also well detailed.

Tape #27 Alvin Nelson (Grassy Butte)
000 – Introduction
020 – Getting started as a rodeo rider; Starting as a professional rider in 1953; Casey Tibbs; Money made by rodeoing
124 – What it takes to be a good bronc rider; Being able to anticipate what a bronc will do
166 – Riding from 1953-68; The number of rodeos he attended; Why he decided to quit; Accidents he had on broncs
258 – Suppliers of bucking horses for rodeos; The big rodeos that offer the biggest prize money
334 – Good riders he knew; North Dakota cowboys; Winning national bronc riding championship in 1957
460 – Medical insurance for riders; Other rodeo events; Alvin’s preference for saddle bronc riding
571 – His best years as a rider; His biggest winning, $4200 at Madison Square Garden
722 – SIDE TWO – Anecdotes about riders he knows
782 – Requirements needed for an RCA rodeo; NDRA rodeos; Rodeo stock; Indoor rodeos
000 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Nelson is a man of few words, but his comments about rodeos are those of an insider who knows the business.

Tape #28 Lillie Hagen (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Coming to Shafer in 1913 to work in the office of the County Superintendent of Schools; First impressions of North Dakota; Her sister’s homestead; Early county officials; Building the community hall in Shafer; Social life
104 – Small towns and post offices in area; The county seat fights
157 – Her marriage; Working in various county offices and in the city of Washington, D.C. during World War I; Working for Mr. George Shafer; Rural schools
266 – Early businesses in Shafer; Bank failures; The stage from Williston and ordering supplies from the driver; The ferry across the Missouri; Women homesteaders
375 – The local orchestra; Social life and dances; Nationalities and their churches; The MD at Shafer; midwives; Husband’s background
540 – Her husband’s death in 1933; Making a living during the depression; Moving the courthouse to Watford City
660 – The lynching of a murderer in the 30’s in McKenzie County
709 – SIDE TWO
769 – The rapid growth of Watford City
791 – The flu epidemic of 1918 in Washington, D.C.; Her husband’s death in an auto accident
820 – County politics during the NPL-IVA years; Comments about how women voted in the 20’s; Alcohol consumption then and now; Smoking
908 – Early automobiles
955 – Her view of present society; Principles of her life; The happiness of people
998 – Getting telephone service
026 – Ordering food from catalogs
056 – A trip through Yellowstone Park in 1918
194 – What outsiders thought of North Dakota in the 10’s; Electrical plant in Watford City; Washing clothes by hand and early washing machines; Ironing clothes; Curling irons
366 – A big party in Shafer
420 – End of interview
Comment:  Mrs. Hagen has an excellent memory; This is an informative and enjoyable interview throughout.

Tape #29 Bessie Madson (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Why she came to North Dakota in 1911; Teaching a rural school; Rhodes ranch; Teaching experiences; The cowboys on the ranch
226 – Isolation of the Rhodes school; Her teaching principles; The school building
323 – Her husband and their marriage; His family and their ranch
416 – Marriage and their homestead; Birdhead ranch
625 – Canning food; Smoking meat
713 – SIDE TWO
761 – Their log house
807 – A bad range fire during the 30’s; Hired men; Ranchers in area; Grasshoppers during the 30’s; Feeding numerous visitors in their home
993 – Early MD’s; Farming they did on the ranch; The chuck wagon cooks; Everlasting yeast; Smoking meat
210 – Raising the feeding cattle during the 30’s; Forced sale of their land for the Garrison Reservoir
311 – Hauling a man with a broken leg to an MD in Dickinson
378 – End of interview
Comment:  Mrs. Madson provides some good detailed information about teaching rural school and preserving and cooking food.

Tape #30 Frank and Helen Lassey (Cartwright)
000 – Introduction
020 – His family history and move to North Dakota from Illinois; His parents’ immigration from Belgium; The homestead near Cartwright
132 – Getting started on the homestead; Crossing the Missouri River ice with a big tractor
160 – Building a house out of cottonwood lumber; Travelling to North Dakota in an immigrant car
219 – Good and poor crop years 1908-12
248 – Finding water on homestead; Nationalities; Neighborliness; Early settlers; Ed Cartwright; Nameless, North Dakota; Relations between ranchers and homesteaders
406 – Crossing rivers on ice and by ferry; Her family history; Her father’s road construction business; Irrigation in the area in the early 1900’s
527 – Ferry across the Yellowstone River; Early Buford and the town of Mondak, North Dakota
617 – Self-sufficiency on the farm; Preserving food; Purchasing supplies for winter
715 – SIDE TWO
736 – Good and poor crop years 1912-1930’s; Preserving the meat and making buttermilk
859 – Irrigation during the 30’s; WPA projects; Getting hay to feed livestock; Morale
973 – Businesses in early Cartwright
005 – Popularity of the NPL in area; Townley and Langer; Toll bridge across the Missouri and Langer’s removal of the toll; The IVA; Merger of NPL and Democrats; Changes in peoples’ attitude toward politics
203 – His mother’s homesickness for Belgium
224 – Farmers Holiday Association and his activity in it; Growth of the Farmers Union GTA
428 – End of interview
Comment:  The better portion of this interview deals with homestead life and farming.

Tape #31 Ms. Dorothea Neuman (Watford City)
000 – Introduction
020 – Coming to North Dakota in 1907 and homesteading; Marriage in 1908; Life on the ranch; Prairie fires
139 – First impressions of North Dakota; Living on her  homestead; Early settlers in the Shafer area; General remarks; Their move to a different ranch; Early pastors
318 – Charlie Shafer; other old timers; Her husband and their children; Husband’s death in the 30’s
499 – Uhlman and Kellogg families; Liking for ranch life; The cooking for cowboys; Preserving food
590 – Her mother’s missionary work on Ellis Island
621 – Neighborliness; Social life
692 – Early businessmen in Shafer; Blind pig
740 – Moving from their ranch into Watford City; Growing potatoes for sale; Children; Her health
893 – Home remedies for illness and colds
933 – End of interview

Tape #32 Don Jeffries (Manning)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; His grandfather’s association with various cattle outfits; Early ranchers and cowboys; Bill Chandler; Ben Chandler; Ben Bird; Scott Gore and others
215 – Family history; Parents’ ranch near Grassy Butte; The open range; Prairie fires; Wintering cattle in the Badlands
317 – Ranching during 30’s; Government destruction of cattle; The morale during 30’s; Cooperation and neighborliness of the people
475 – Loss of bottomland due to Garrison Reservoir; Comments on coal development
528 – WPA operations; Surplus commodities; Selling cattle to the government; Soil erosion
680 – Thoughts on life in North Dakota; Recollections of William Langer; Opinion toward FDR and the New Deal in the area
764 – Growth of large scale farming and his opinion of it
846 – How Medora has changed since the 40’s; Running the Roughrider Hotel in the 40’s
934 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Jeffries is not as old as most people interviewed, but he is knowledgeable about his family history and early ranching practices.

Tape #34 Dr. Eugene B. Uhlman (Williston)(Williams County)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Father’s Lone Star Cattle Company and the Birdhead ranch and death in 1911 in a train wreck; Father’s horse breeding operation – importing horses from Europe; The owners of the Birdhead ranch
146 – Early ranchers; Father’s horse dealing and business activities; Their log house
252 – Early cowboys and ranchers; Charlie Shafer; Texas outfits
400 – Father’s ranching operation; Breeding horses; Relations between ranchers and homesteaders
517 – Social life; Attending rural school; Family history
600 –Cattle and horse rustling; Racing horses; Comments about his old photos
758 – Early rodeos; Horse races on July Fourth; Turkey Track Bill; Scott Gore’s bronc riding ability
946 – SIDE TWO – Account of a rustler and outlaw who was shot by a posse that included his father; The McPeet gang
108 – Scott Gore; Drinking among cowboys
149 – Running the ranch after his father’s death; Leasing the grazing land on the Berthold Reservation; Shipping cattle out of Killdeer; Giving up his share of the ranch in 1931
252 – Conditions in Williston in the 30’s; The city soup kitchen; His opinion of FDR and the New Deal; WPA work; Government slaughter of livestock
338 – Prostitution and bootlegging in Williston
365 – Father’s friendship with Usher Burdick; Anecdotes about Usher
497 – Local opposition to Garrison Reservoir
591 – Popularity of the NPL in the area
646 – Comments on life in North Dakota and energy sources
703 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Uhlman has a good memory and is a salty story teller.  There are some rather remarkable accounts of early cowboys, ranchers, and outlaws in this interview, which is liberally sprinkled with profanity.

Tape #35 Sara Ingle (Keene)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Beginning teaching in North Dakota
142 – Relations between ranchers and homesteaders; Family history; First impressions of North Dakota
250 – Teaching rural school and starting lignite fires
282 – Small towns and post offices now gone
420 – Local coal sources and problems finding good water; The proving up of homesteads to sell out; Hauling grain to White Earth
495 – Early ranchers and cowboys
576 – Husband’s background; Henderson ranch
675 – Their oak log house; Children; Area midwives; Early homesteaders
780 – Shafer family; Nationalities; The county seat fights
937 – Teaching school
945 – SIDE TWO – Anecdotes about early settlers; Social life; A local evangelist and his effect on the community; Churches in the area; Travelling pastors
105 – General comments about the NPL; Dances: Quilting parties
203 – The flu epidemic of 1918; Local opinion about World War I; Scrimping to make a living on the farm
289 – Beginnings of the Farmers Union in the area; Hard times in the 30’s
348 – Thoughts on life in North Dakota; WPA work; Surplus commodities; Home remedies for illness; Ordering from the catalog
485 – Getting electricity on the farm; Delco plants; An early radio powered by a wind charger
560 – Owners of threshing machines; Cooperation of neighbors; Anecdotes about early settlers; July Fourth celebrations; Amount of land they farmed
791 – End of interview
Comment:  Some of the best portions cover her first impressions of North Dakota, teaching school, and farm life in the early 1900’s

612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Get Directions

State Museum and Store: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
We are closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
State Archives: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F, except state holidays; 2nd Sat. of each month, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Appointments are recommended. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at 701.328.2091 or
State Historical Society offices: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F, except state holidays.

Contact Us:
phone: 701.328.2666

Social Media:
See all social media accounts