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 - Ramsey County

Ramsey County

Region 13
1 Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Powell, Devils Lake
2 M. E. and Kathryn Walsh, Devils Lake
3 Mrs. Nellie Gessner, Devils Lake
4 Mr. Robert Collinson, Devils Lake
5 H. G. “Bert” Otis, Devils Lake
6 Tilpher E. Thompson, Devils Lake
7 Earl Mann, Devils Lake
8 Milton and Sybil Kelly, Devils Lake
9 Harold Serumgard, Devils Lake
10 Lillian Wineman, Devils Lake
11 Mrs. Marie Frank, Devils Lake
12 Fred Bergevin, Webster
13 W. A. and Anna M. Murray, Devils Lake
14 Mrs. Louise Skjeveland, Edmore
15 Mrs. Thelma A. Sampson, Edmore
16 Mr. and Mrs. Nels Ness, Norman Ness, and Phil Sobak, Edmore
17 Ed Olson, Edmore
18 Gustav Ivesdal, Edmore
19 Mr. and Mrs. George Settingsgard, Edmore
20 Walter Tiistola, Brocket
21 Helena Thompson, Devils Lake and Brocket
22 Fred Hiitala, Brocket
23 Mrs. Lillian Haig (no cassette), Ft. Totten
24 Mrs. Ida Clapp, Devils Lake
25 Marie Palmer Tharalson, Devils Lake

Tape #1 Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Powell (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – His family history; His father’s move from Dayton, Ohio, to Creel City, Dakota Territory in 1882 and his real estate and insurance business
101 – His mother’s family and their homestead near Crary
148 – Early businessmen in Devils Lake; The “red light” district in early Devils Lake
191 – Development of the Chautauqua grounds – the facilities and entertainment available at Chautauqua Park; Swimming in a heated pool near the lake; The sailing club and boat house; Commercial fishing on the lake; The railroad line from Devils Lake to Chautauqua Park; Balloon rides
445 – The Morris creamery at Crary
467 – Relations between whites and Indians in the early 1900’s; Captain Herman and the Minnie H Steamboat on the lake; The boat dock in the southern edge of the city; The extent of the lake in 1900 and the subsequent decline in the water level
549 – The Chautauqua railroad line; Discussion about his old photographs that apply to Chautauqua
821 – Operation and schedule of the Minnie H; The yacht and boating club
950 – General remarks on their recent life
990 – The Ward brothers murder over a disputed land claim; General remarks on their home
035 – Physical description of the Minnie H; Herman’s personality
121 – The opera house in Devils Lake; Vaudeville shows; Dancing clubs and dancing school; Development of the Carnegie Library; Childhood recreation; Changes in community activities
258 – Dr. Ruger; Early automobiles; Electrical and telephone service; The town herd of milk cows
360 – National Guard camps in the summer; Condition of city streets prior to paving
402 – Early hotels and restaurants; Crary’s decline as Devils Lake grew
504 – Burning dried manure in stoves; The “red light” district in Devils Lake
538 – His mother’s club activity
590 – His father’s politics
610 – Hard times in the area during the 30’s; Bank failures; Difficulty of getting good drinking water in the city prior to the new system
721 – Changes in peoples’ attitudes, the work ethic, and child rearing practices
866 – End of interview
Comment:  The interview contains very informative portions on the Chautauqua, recreation on the lake, and the Minnie H steamboat.

Tape #2 Mr. and Mrs. M.E. Walsh (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Her father came to Bismarck in 1873, mother born in Bismarck; Grandparents came from Ireland; Grandfather in army here and grandmother an army nurse; Five of grandparents children died of smallpox epidemic leaving 4 left; Father farmed then policeman and then bailiff in court; Father took care of horse Comanche
066 – Remembers street car in Bismarck; No sidewalks for longtime; Crawled snow banks to go to school; No lights in house at first; Lots of Irish and Scandinavians and Germans; Each group stuck together; Ed Hughs
125 – His dad settled east of New Rockford in 1800’s and later moved near Harvey where he grew up; Grandparents came from Ireland to Quebec when he was 10 years old; He and brothers immigrated to ND; Mostly German-Russian area near Harvey; Parents burned lignite; Hard coal stoves
221 – Movies on Saturday from 5 cents; Birthday parties; Remembers gypsies; Moccasins from Indians; Dance halls; Father knew the prominent men of Bismarck
276 – Pickle barrels; Delivering groceries, Ice man; Pump for a while then city water; Kept milk cow and peddled milk; Had to take care of the cow
324 – Restaurants; Grand Pacific Hotel built by Tatley; Basketball and tennis in high school
360 – Sunday was always a special day
824 – Parents weren’t involved in politics
880 – End of interview
Comment:  Kathryn’s memories of Bismarck in the early days are good.  Mike grew up on a farm near Harvey then worked as Manager of a creamery in Mandan then transferred to Glendive, Montana in ’32 and transferred to Devils Lake in 1942.

Tape #3 Mrs. Nellie Gressner (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Came to ND in 1883 from Rochester, Minnesota; Father tired of grubbing trees and came to prairies; Settled 14 miles from Devils Lake which was a small place at that time; built sod house; Mother and children arrived a year later; Mother cried everyday cause there was nothing here; Mother’s sister and family came so that helped; Father worked with oxen and walking plow
098 – Devils Lake was hotel, depot, and couple stores; Hauled grain in sacks; Three years before kids went to town; Churches Ferry existed then; Neighbors; Indians on war path first year they lived there; Kept horses harnessed in case they wanted their scalps; After Sitting Bull was shot the Indians settled down; Trail passed their house; Got water at the well and stood in door way and looked in the house
196 – Visiting was about all there was to do; Only one man had team of horses so they all went to town with him and bought groceries; Danced in small houses and had fun
221 – No school right away but built one a mile from their place; Lunches froze in pails in school so only had school in spring and fall; No church or services until 2 years later a minister came from Jamestown and preached in school house; Mother had books so had church for the children; First winter in 2 room home for family of six; Father made furniture, beds with straw ticks
290 – Husband’s folks bought thresh machine; Pay for thresh crew was $1.00 a day; Thresher was steam engine pulled by horses; Farmers worked together; Prairie fires – plowed fireguards with mules; Some people lost homes and everything; Father dug one well of good water; many people got water from them; Sloughs full of water in the spring; No fences so tied them to rope and stake so had to be moved
411 – Burned buffalo chips; Kids took gunny sacks and sharp sticks to gather dry chips; Mother refused to bake bread with it; Bought wood from the Indians; Lived in sod house 5 years then father moved to another area; Preservation of food; Meat was stored in box on top of house; Mother sewed clothes and raised garden and big patch of potatoes; No rain until 4th of July one spring; Cellars
537 – When someone went to town they passed the word through the kids so others could go along; Druggist at Churches Ferry and later a doctor came; Midwives; Mother went sometimes to help with babies; Small town of Penn near their place; Gessner store, blacksmith shop, and small hotel; Grand Harbor, another settlement; Devils Lake used to be larger than now; Chautauqua
728 – Fourth of July ride on Minnie H steamboat for small fee; Married in 1894; Lived over the store in Penn; Two brothers each had farms beside the store business; Farmer’s railroad; Indians rode on passenger cars; Flu epidemic – drowned of fluid in lungs
864 – Modern Woodman Lodge at Penn
919 – Reared 10 children, 1 died of scarlet fever; Babies all born at home; Doctor from Penn made house calls
959 – People visited and stayed overnight as only means of entertainment; Prefers living in ND to Minnesota
984 – End of interview
Comment:  Although Nellie is 98 years old at the time of the interview she had a vivid memory and talks very plain and expresses herself well.  She and her husband lived in town and operated a store besides owning a farm.

Tape #4 Robert Collinson (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came in 1888 with Great Northern Railroad; Left area and returned in 1904; Married in England; Father was active in labor union there; Secretary of Conservative Party; Many trains on line in early days; Farmer’s line; Discussion of trains, schedules and Joe Kelly
139 – Started with First National Bank in 1910; It’s the oldest bank in the area; Other early banks in the area; 27 banks in Ramsey County; Discussion of banking business; Money lost in small town banks
284 – Motion pictures shows; Baseball Leagues; Chautauqua; Various speakers and the crowds
353 – Father active in politics; NPL; IVA; Politics
473 – Band of North Dakota
514 – Flour mill at Devils Lake; 57 mills in the state; Early businesses and operators
559 – Blind pigs; Drug stores sold whiskey for colds at 50 cent per half pint; Bootleggers; Law men took cases of liquor from the bootleggers, sold it, and kept the money; Prohibition was disgraceful in many ways
650 – Picked on grand jury for Langer’s trial but didn’t serve because of his position
704 – Captain of the Minnie H Steamboat
723 – Discussion of the Minnie H
742 – Opera house opened in 1910; Owner of electricity generating plant; Judge Colin’s trial; Other prominent men in the town; Great Northern Hotel was excellent and popular eating place; Telephone Co. operator; No lights or telephone when his folks first moved to town
850 – Owner of the Inner Ocean Newspaper and Free Press
863 – Made first hospital out of the school back in the 90’s; Clubs and organizations in the town in early days; Conditions in the 30’s was like everywhere else; No crops and no prices; At one time county had taken title to 153 quarters of land for nonpayment of taxes; Banks were forced to foreclose because they couldn’t pay interest; Their bank had 1600 acres at one time; Maximum loaned was $2000 a quarter; Soon as things picked up they got $20 to $30 an acre; Double liability on bank stock
955 – Used hotel for flu patients and they died so fast; Some of the doctors
980 – Indians ignore virtues of white man; Livery stables
041 – Long winters is only drawback of ND
062 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Collinson’s interview is interesting.  He had 57 years of banking experience.  He tells history of the Devils Lake area.

Tape #5 H. G. “Bert” Otis (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father came in 1883 to Bartlett first and when railroad extended they moved to Devils Lake area; Sale of buffalo bones      
133 – Webster, Sweet Water; Mother married when she came in 1883; People were millers by trade; Born in 1895
185 – Farmer’s railroad; Large farms of 1200 to 1500 acres; Story of 13 binders coming from a farmyard in 1916; At least 25 shockers; First tractors cost from $3000 to $5000 that pulled 10 to 12 lay plows
300 – Prairie fire that nearly wiped out the town; Narrow tired wagon rim found many years after prairie fire
370 – People burned wood because of all the timber in the area; In ’88 the crop froze out ’89 and ’90 were drought years and ’91 was one of the best crops ever raised; Saw mill for building Minnie H Steamboat; Father Piloted Minnie H; Discussion of Minnie H; Story of man killed by paddle of it; Chautauqua; William Jennings Bryan drew a crowd of between 12,000 and 15,000 people; The flying machine; Community affairs; Old settler’s picnic; Ball team from Webster; Business places and operators of Webster; High school built; Rural telephone line; Episcopal Church; Presbyterian Church
620 – Town of Garske; Farmer’s Railroad; Engineers; Farmers Grain & Shipping Co. and Farmer’s Grain Co.
744 – Nationalities of neighbors; Fred the Blacksmith; Country school 1 ½ miles away; Teachers were local women; First teacher had 5th grade education; Lived on home place; Raised flax after 1900’s and made good with it because it had a good price; Years of crops that were good and years they weren’t
950 – After 1940 farms started to thin out; People began buying rubber tired tractors so could farm more land; Sizes of farms around Webster; Father bought threshing machine in ’95 that required 12 horses to operate; Steam engines that burned straw; Explains the flues of the straw burners
059 – Roads went around slough until land developed then got graders and made them across; Story of road built across slough by using flax straw in the fall; Fresno road machine
111 – Married in 1917; Conditions of the 30’s; By milking cows, raising gardens, and butchering their own meat they managed the hard years; Government bought cattle; Sold cattle for less than 1 cent a pound; Sold 2 year heifer and 5 or 6 calves for a total of $16.00; Story of freight when shipping turkeys; Story of $104 for 56 pigs, shortage of feed reason for selling; Stayed clear of the NPL; Western part of the state wasn’t’ self-supporting; Farmer’s Union
255 – Changes of people; Young people since war don’t want to assume responsibilities; Better relations with the Indians in earlier years than now; People used to buy hay and cordwood from them; IWW’s philosophy was the more they destroy the better off they’d be; Story of a IWW and farm kid
384 – Made a living and raised a family in ND and thinks it’s as good a place as any to live
440 – End of interview
Comments:  The interview contains informative portions on the flues of the steam threshers and the Minnie H steamboat

Tape #6  Tilpher E. Thompson (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Mother born in 1847 in Wisconsin; Mother’s mother came from Norway taking 14 weeks and most of them died; Gather born in Norway and immigrated to Iowa; Family came to ND in 1878; The railroad wasn’t built across the river yet at Grand Forks; They homesteaded near where Grafton is now; Brother born in 1879 and was first white child born in Grafton township; Father died 1898 and in 1899 mother sold farm and homesteaded west of Edmore; Built sod house and sod barn which was 24 x 50; Neighbors were all Norwegians
204 – Started school in Grafton; Brother went to war in Philippines, Mexico, and France (three wars); School at Edmore; Norwegian Lutheran Church at Grafton and Edmore; Names of early pastors
274 – Story of pastor committing suicide; Lived in Canada 5 years 55 miles from nearest town; With horses it took 2 ½ days
325 – In 1916returned to US and started work in the Ford Agency and worked 10 years; Each car he sold he had to teach them to drive; Model “T” sold for $400; Other businesses and owners at Edmore
523 – Other post offices in the area; House dances; Blind violin player
600 – Blind pigs
720 – Tells of trip he took in 1915
749 – Sold Ford Business in Edmore and moved to California and bought into rock crushing business; Depression began; Story of uncle Erick Ramstad who gave 40 acres for the town of Minot; Bought additional 100 acres and sold it in lots
850 – Returned to Devils Lake in sheriff’s office and also was city assessor; Took census
895 – Politics in Canada; Delegate to Dominion house
914 – Flu epidemic in 1918; Story of driving to different areas in Canada where many were dying and when the returned to the states it was the same thing; Hauling the sick and dead in ford truck
994 – Changes in farming methods; Decline of Edmore; Masonic Lodge, member since 1909
076 – Preference of ND and end of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview of a man 91 years of age.  He homesteaded here and in Canada.  He tells of the history of the Edmore area and the town of Minot.

Tape #7 Mr. Earl Mann (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; His father’s reasons for coming to Devils Lake in 1884; The development of Mann’s store; Destruction of the first store by fire; Expansion of the store into the clothing business
253 – Changes in buying wholesale merchandise; Traveling men with sample cases
332 – Early businessmen in Devils Lake; Mann’s competitors; The Farmers Cooperative general store
404 – Giving credit and the problems it causes
471 – Livery stables in Devils Lake
518 – Factions in early city government; Blind pigs
655 – Social life; Dances; Dancing school
714 – Road shows; Making one’s own entertainment
756 – The Chautauqua and its wide appeal; Speakers at Chautauqua; William Jennings Bryan; The baseball park; Swimming in the lake; Mann’s store at the Chautauqua grounds
860 – Ed LaRue’s influence in running the Chautauqua
903 – Circuses in early Devils Lake
932 – Improvement of city streets; Dirt streets
970 – The  first electrical service in Devils Lake
025 – Delivering merchandise three times per day; Reasons they went out of the grocery business
068 – Early telephone service; Law enforcement in early Devils Lake
110 – Relations between businessmen and Indians – changes in those relations; Exchanging firewood for merchandise; Learning to speak enough Sioux language to trade with the Indian people
318 – Changes in peoples’ attitudes and the work ethic; Changes in wages
430 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Mann is articulate and has an excellent memory.  Portions concerning Mann’s store and early merchandising methods are detailed and valuable.

Tape #7 Mr. Earl Mann (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; His father’s reasons for coming to Devils Lake in 1884; The developments of Mann’s store; Destruction of the first store by fire; Expansion of the store into the clothing business
253 – Changes in buying wholesale merchandise; Traveling men with sample cases
332 – Early businessmen in Devils Lake; Mann’s competitors; The Farmers Cooperative general store
404 – Giving credit and the problems it caused
471 – Livery stables in Devils Lake
518 – Factions in early city government; Blind pigs
655 – Social life; Dances; Dancing school
 714 – Road shows; Making one’s own entertainment
756 – The Chautauqua and its wide appeal; Speakers at Chautauqua; William Jennings Bryan; The baseball park; Swimming in the lake; Mann’s store at the Chautauqua grounds
860 – Ed LaRue’s influence in running the Chautauqua
903 – Circuses in early Devils Lake
932 – Improvement of city streets; Dirt streets
970 – The first electrical service in Devils Lake
025 – Delivering merchandise three times per day; Reasons they went out of the grocery business
068 – Early telephone service; Law enforcement in early Devils Lake
110 – Relations between businessmen and Indians – changes in those relations; Exchanging firewood for merchandise; Learning to speak enough Sioux language to trade with the Indian people
318 – Changes in people’s attitudes and the work ethic; Changes in wages
430 – End of interview   
Comment:  Mr. Mann is articulate and has an excellent memory.  Portions concerning Mann’s store and early merchandising methods are detailed and valuable.

Tape #8 Milton & Sybil Kelly (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – His family came from Iceland in 1881 through Canada; They believed in education there so all were educated; Married and settled at Milton, ND; Father was in photography and music; Moved to Edmore in 1902, where father had photograph gallery that didn’t pay out so worked on railroad and was injured and died so mother raised six children on dressmaker wages; Family liked to read; Grandmother Kelly started one of the first schools in Walsh Co.
645 – Her family; Grandparents and 3 sons came in 1882 and took up land; They each took tree claim, preemption and homestead; Father elected County Treasurer and Senator and moved to town; Uncles that died in the Civil War; Family on mother’s side; Prominent people
795 – Transportation to school in early years; More family talk
821 – Devils Lake closest town; Remembers when Webster was named; Land on Sweet Water Lake
845 – Hunting; Abundance of wild game; Wagonloads of geese, etc.; Selling buffalo bones; Area of lake was 585 miles around, the third largest salt water lake in the world
925 – Rode horses and sleds; Prairies full of wild flowers; Dances at Edmore; Card games; School kept kids busy with socials and plays; Churches so far so didn’t go until moved to town
988 – Walkins and Raleigh traveling salesmen; Circs grounds; Story of elephant that died; People came for many miles to see the Circus; Chautauqua; People kept cottages so they could attend as the season lasted 2 weeks; Regular circuit from New York with good entertainment and good speakers
101 – Minnie H steamboat; Captain Herman, bluff but not rough; Indians three day celebrations at the Chautauqua; Relations between whites and Indians; Benefits of the Indians; Men are lazy, women do the work; Blizzard in 1902 where 90 head of her father’s purebred shorthorn cattle smothered; Indians wanted the carcasses
225 – Prairie fire in hay meadow; Story of woman homesteader that burned small area of grass and it got away from her
271 – Names of early settlers in the area; Large farms
315 – Smoke houses; Canning vegetables; Lady stayed at their home and did the sewing; Grandmother was midwife
389 – Midwife at Edmore; Mother was midwife; Home cure for cold was brandy, sulphur and molasses and mustard plasters; The recipe for mustard plaster and how to use it
421 – Met in Edmore, attended Fresno, California a year, attended the University at Grand Forks; Married 2 days before he left for military service; She majored in chemistry; He worked in printing business; She was first to get the alumni award at the University; He also received one; Curfew at the girl’s dorm was 7:00 on week nights, 9:30 on weekends; Fraternities and Sororities
535 – Engineering Co. in France during the war; Worked for father in the mill until husband returned from service; Then husband also went to work for him when he returned; Dakota Best and Blue Ribbon were names of the flour milled; Farmers bought ½ ton to a ton of flour at a time; They exchanged wheat for flour; Taxes to run the school
607 – Masonic Temple and Eastern Star had dances; Odd Fellows from Ft. Totten, oldest in the state; Women organized various clubs
641 – The Farmer’s Mill began in 1905 by selling shares; The first manager; NPL was a swear word; State Mill was serious competition
683 – Ton of flour, barrel of apples, and ton of sugar was the provisions for the winter; Precautions used in the mill to prevent pests
712 – Dad involved in politics and was in the state senate; Judge Collin’s trial in 1911; WCTY; Ku Klux Klan and the damage it did in Grand Forks
795 – Men that opposed the NPL; Blind pigs; Story of gamblers; Prohibition; Story of lady hitchhiker that rode in truckload of liquor
863 – Times were hard in the 30’s; The farmer’s milk cows is what saved the community; The cream checks was source of income, and made exchange or business for the business people; Transient workers; Closing of the banks; IWW; The WPA projects; School building built by WPA; School board sold bonds; Both were in legislature in House and Senate
023 – Opinion of Langer; Outstanding political leaders in the state
104 – Love the state as much or more than any other time; Welfare
190 – Government helps for people suffering hardship
242 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting couple whose ancestors came from Iceland.  They both attended the University and stress the importance of education.  They were business people and managed the mill then both served terms in the legislature.

Tape #9 Harold Serumgard (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Came to NY in 1869, southern Minnesota where his father graduated at Mankato in 1879; Taught country school until 1881 then went into SD, up the west side of the Red River; Taught school in 1882 then settled near Cooperstown the next year; In 1884 he came to Devils Lake and was active in politics; County Treasurer and real estate; His uncle went blind in college but continued and graduated to become a very famous blind attorney; President McKinley appointed his father receiver of the land office; Father in implement business, not a piece of machinery cost $100 except binder which cost $120; Thresh machines were over $4000; Story of family buying thresh machine for cash; Farmers Grain Co.; Family all settled in the area; Family background
225 – Everybody was young in the area at first
240 – Farmers Grain and Shipping Co.; Father managed in 1912 and he went to work in 1924; Loosing the business; Discussion of the elevator business
400 – Great Northern Railway capacity cars; Amount of business they did; Names of people instrumental in starting the railroad and grain company
466 – Story of enlargement of railroad in Devils Lake; Home Investment Co. that build houses for railroad workers and stockholders; Devils Lake and Chautauqua Electric Line; Railroad steel
632 – Father’s opinion of NPL; Lemke’s speech on Supreme Court needs and what it was all about; Story of lady judge in an election
722 – Vote counting in small precincts; Story of man that sold stock in a company and never owned a share
750 – Land Finance Co.; Langer’s family owned $50,000 and traded to Lemke; Lemke’s possession of Langer’s stock; Langer’s case went to ND Supreme Court
860 – Judge Collin trial; Story of mother’s encounter with him on a train; KDLR Broadcasting Company; Advertising business; Starting equipment; Public address system used in various areas; Sold interest in radio business before the 30’s
144 – Politics; Attended Jamestown Convention; Served on Central and Executive Committees; Some of the better political leaders in the state; John Burch
341 – Blind pigs; Marked up tombstone
395 – Changes in people over the years
437 – End of interview
Comment:  An interview of a man that knows the grain business well.  He was involved in various investment companies in Devils Lake.  He is well versed in politics and can give details of various circumstances of some of the problems confronted by the early politicians.

Tape #10  Lillian Wineman (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Mother came on 4th of July train in 1882; Father born in Chicago and came here in 1883 to homestead; She was born in 1888 in Dakota Territory; Father ran the store in Devils Lake
145 – Captain Herman; Minnie Herman; The steamboat
245 – Furnishings of her home, all antiques; Wineman’s Opera House was upstairs in her father’s store
335 – Season ticket to Chautauqua was $4.00; Relations with the Indians
445 – Cows in town to furnish milk for the town people; Milk sold for 5 cents a quart; The Electric Co.
626 – She had the first car in Devils Lake which was a one cylinder Cadillac
708 – End of interview

Tape #11 Mrs. Marie Frank (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Picture talk
047 – Family history; Father came from Norway in 1873; They landed in Nova Scotia after 3 weeks at sea; Lived in Iowa and came to ND for free land; Homesteaded near Hillsboro; Diphtheria struck and 2 girls died; Bought land near Devils Lake
330 – Father bought granary for school; Story of moving the school house
409 – Breaking sod; High prairie grass; Always prepared for fires; First teacher at the school; School terms from April to October; 12 to 15 students
530 – Son that went to Alaska to sift gold; Son that filed a claim near Bottineau; Father fathered 18 children; Mother, a trained midwife; Mouth to mouth resuscitation for baby
001 – Farm 3 ½ miles south of Devils Lake; Future husband; Move to Bottineau
067 – Married in 1906; Rust, grasshoppers, hail and one hardship after another; Decided to start a dairy and bought Holsteins; Sold milk in 10 gallon cans; Diabetes strikes; Doctoring at Rochester and attending school to learn to care for a diabetic; Smallpox epidemic; Mumps
256 – Combines; Death of husband; Reared boys from town
366 – Mother’s care of the sick and midwife; Story of delivering baby; No charge; Shortage of food because of drought
515 – Death of mother and father
585 – First town she ever saw was Crary
670 – Chautauqua; Methodist Church started it
721 – 100 year cycle of lakes going dry; Early businesses in Crary; Old dishes
795 – End of interview
Comments:  An interesting interview of homesteading days also the treatment and care of diabetics in early years.

Tape #12 Fred Bergerin (Webster)
000 – Introduction
020 – Came to ND in 1910; Born in Wisconsin; After harvest season he said he’d never come back but next year and every year after he was here
067 – Reeves and Case steam engines were substantial; Servicing boilers; Plowing with mules; Mules will never over eat or over drink like a horse will
211 – He knew the whole Lemke family; Ben owned 120 quarters and rented it out; Names of each of them and descriptions of them; No interest in politics
260 – Need for capital to produce; Bill Lemke worked for best interest of the people
290 – Worked in various plant shops as machinist; Opened his own shop in 1929
326 – People living in the iron range; Changed steam pumps to electric pumps
375 – Threshing on the Lemke land; Custom threshing depended on weather conditions for profit; Charged by the bushel 8 cents for barley and oats, 10 cents for wheat and 20 cents for flax
407 – Liked steam engines and horses; Drove teams of 4 to 8 horses
423 – Bill Lemke’s home in Fargo and appearance; Lemke father died and family lived in tar paper shack; Good manager and landlord; Rented 50-50 and furnished seed
465 – Steam plowing; Area around Cando had light soil; Picture talk about steam plowing; Plowed for 37 cents an acre; Burned soft coal
550 – Explains the engine of the steamer; Burned 1 ton of coal per day
628 – Early town of Webster and the business places; Other small towns
668 – Large farms nearby
742 – His repair business; Blacksmith shops in other areas; Farmers got welders and learned to weld through training programs; Blacksmithing is a thing of the past
775 – Trouble with IWWs; Crew for harvesting; Other problems with IWWs; Story of butcher that was missing a butchered pig
910 – 1929 was a good year but 10 tough years followed; The building and equipment needed to equip his shop; Had an auction and sold his equipment; 350 to 400 wagon wheels in a summer to repair; Fixed sleighs in winter; Combine repair
001 – Learning acetylene welding sponsored by the school; Taught others to weld; Short follow up courses; Types of welders
032 – Used forge until he quit; Liked coal heated forge best; Sharpening plow shares for the farmers, 7000 in a summer
053 – Tricks to sharpening plow shares; Formula used for hardening the shards; Story of chief engineer from John Deere plow works
113 – Credit during the 30’s; Honest well-meaning people that paid when they were able to; Establishing his own credit rating; A man’s word meant as much as a contract
165 – Changes in people over the years
189 – Shod horses yet in the 30’s; Men from Minnesota were horsemen; Breeds of horses; Taking produce in exchange for his work
270 – Opinion of mining in ND
300 – Changes he would make in various pieces of farm machinery; Invitation to go to the plants where machinery was manufactured; Early combines that were practical
394 – Tricks to welding cast iron is bronze welding; Ball bearings were an improvement for machines
451 – Basket socials, school and church programs; Dances; Powwows; The school
513 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview of a former Blacksmith.  He tells of the various pieces of equipment he had in his ship and describes the work he did.  He knew the entire Lemke family well and gives a good description of them.

Tape #13 W. A. and Anna M. Murray (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Father worked in coal mine in Indiana; Didn’t want sons working in mines so came here to farm; Coal mine; People that worked in the mine, where they lived and ate; Uncles that ran business places and the mine; Cooking for the miners; Trip back to Indiana
212 – Drinking miners; Nationalities; Rented farm near Devils Lake; Minnie H only operated about 10 years because water level went down in the lake
280 – Early Devils Lake and the Chautauqua; Comparison of farmland with land in Indiana; Buying in the 30’s
360 – Took the family along to the dances and stayed all nights; Pot luck meals
380 – School at Grand Harbor; Store owner
415 – Good old days; Poor well water and not enough of it; Preservation of food
470 – Walking to school to teach; Doing the janitorial work; Teacher stayed overnight as a guest of families; Nationality barriers
560 – Working out and saving money; Picking and husking corn by hand in Iowa; Work was fun between ages 18 to 30
666 – Renting from father; 5 years of practically no income; Played the piano and sang for enjoyment
711 – Canning meat; Baking bread and the other goodies; Comparing flour now and early years; Cream checks and everything they could raise carried them through the rough years
780 – Sick baby and home remedies; Mastoid surgery; Doctor’s bill
832 – Feed for cattle from the lake; Poor cattle and grain prices; Selling cattle to the butcher in town; 90 cents for jackrabbits and 75 cents for cow hide
920 – Government project for benefit of wildlife; Walking 5 miles on Sunday to play ball and chores in between
968 – Times have changed because communities have changed because of larger farms
992 – Coal development in western part of state
009 – Played on ball team and coached first Babe Ruth Championship in ND; Local ball teams; Amateur ball teams; Discussion of various ball teams and players
135 – Discussion of Langer; Met Langer’s sisters; Relatives of Governor Guy
200 – Indians participating in ball teams etc.; Good Indians and bad Indians; Rural Electricity came through in the 40’s; Changes electricity made
300 – 1918 flu epidemic; Story of man and wife that died; Helping those that had flu; Use of dark flour; Stamps need to buy shoes and sugar; Never short of food as long as they lived on the farm; Buttermilk
416 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview that tells of coal mining, teaching country school and playing baseball besides their lives on the farm and experiences during the rough years. 

Tape #14 Mrs. Louise Skjeveland (Edmore)
000 – Introduction
020 – Parents born in Norway; Entered Dakota Territory in 1878; Operated saw mill and 2 threshing rigs; On the trip over their food molded so they nearly starved by time the ship landed here; Family history; Lived near Grafton in early years where her parents farmed; They bought ranch at Edmore; Father was first settler in Grafton; All Norwegians in area; Parents liked the area; Pioneering was in the blood of the relation; Man cook at the camp for the men that worked on the railroad
   194 – Did trading at Lakota; Plenty to eat because they raised garden, sheep, chickens and necessary essentials; Water supply
232 – Inland post offices and stores
271 – Buffalo bones on the prairies; Church in the schoolhouses; Ladies Aide and dances
300 – Started school in Grafton; Short school terms, walking to school with syrup pails to carry lunches in; Drove to school with horse and buggy; Fifth grade education
338 – Married young; Husband bought farm; Mother died; Husband didn’t want sheep but had cattle on his ranch; Early years weren’t bad because husband had a good start; Sod house on the ranch at first; Slept in hay sheds until the house was finished
486 – People were so friendly they’d walk many miles to visit; They took their knitting along; Washing clothes with the first crank washer; Children died of measles; Midwives in Norway and in Edmore area
576 – Stacking manure to burn; Home remedies; Cellar always full of food for winter; Salted pork; Dried beef
654 – Husband was politician but she never took interest in it
693 – Poor crops in the 30’s
710 – Flu epidemic; Brother’s wife died and many others; Women’s role was so hard in early years because of no conveniences; She got her first washer in 1926 after washing on the board for 19 years
753 – Delco plant before rural electricity came through; Powered washing machine was a godsend; Ironing with hot irons and care needed to use them
792 – Tough years in the 30’s; Daughter died and no money to pay for coffin; Grasshoppers came at night and cleaned off gardens and fields in one day; Dust storms; People had faith it would get better
820 – Threshing machine owned by husband and neighbor; Did some custom work; Cook car with 2 women cooks; Wages was 20 cents an hour for threshing crews; Early days were hard by everyone was happy; Made their own dolls
871 – Played games evenings and had to go to bed early because of school; Buses pulled by horses; Poor wages of teachers; Kids going to school that couldn’t speak English
915 – Stores in Edmore
939 – End of interview
Comment:  An interesting interview telling of life on a ranch, food preservation, and hardships they endured.

Tape #15 Mrs. Thelma A. Sampson (Edmore)
000 – Introduction
020 – Husband’s parents came to ND in 1870’s to Park River and homesteaded and ran the hotel; Married in 1894 and came to area to homestead; More family history; She came in 1906 from Canada because of mother’s health condition
133 – Home burned in terrible blizzard of 1907; Family followed clothesline to the barn and stayed there until storm subsided; Father died while mother was pregnant with 12th child; Mother sewed to support children
162 – Came to Edmore as teacher in 1919; Hardships of her family
285 – Mother’s death; Description of parents; Shoe shine twin brothers; Flu epidemic in 1918 and sister in nurses training; Tells of area in Canada where they lived
442 – French Canadians and Norwegians settled near Westhope
485 – Taught the year after finishing high school; Courses took in high school; Taught in one room school south of Westhope and did janitor work for $45 a month
515 – Tonsillectomy and mastoid surgery; Taught a consolidated school near Edmore; Married a farmer and lived on the farm until her health caused them to move to town
645 – Describes early washing machine; Mother-in-law’s home furnishings; Burned prairie chips
713 – Trips for supplies to Park River for her family; Prairie fires could be seen in the distance; Salty well water; Tough times in the 20’s; Gravy for breakfast on toast and pancakes
773 – Story of husband’s loss of $2
790 – Getting along in the 30’s; Lost $600 in bank when it closed; Bought sheep for $1.50 each; Sold cream; Flour mill; Farmers exchanged wheat for flour
879 – Auditorium and road work was done by the WPA; People got so discouraged they lost their minds and some committed suicide
935 – Saved money by sewing clothes for the children; She canned foods, baked everything and made her own soap; Bought dried fruit; Artificial tree at Christmas time until later years; Didn’t spend money on worthless toys
010 – Attended carious community events; Creamery went broke in the 30’s; Heard Bryant speak at Stump Lake; Husband wasn’t active in politics
081 – IWWs were a problem in Westhope but not in their area
117 – Doctor and midwives assisted at birth of her children; Dust storms so bad they hung wet clothes on sheets and doors and windows to keep dust out; Hung wet cheesecloth over baby’s crib
158 – Her father-in-law played fiddle for dances in the homes; Husband played baseball; Family went along to the games and cheered for the team; They loved dancing; Took the children along to the dances
283 – Using flour sacks for sewing for the children; Salt sacks and sugar sacks for handkerchiefs; Hand towels from grain sacks
360 – Spending the turkey money for dressing table
411 – Ladies Aide
418 – End of interview
Comment:  Thelma is very interesting to listen to.  She tells of some real hardship in her life and describes how they overcame the hardships and made use out of what they had.

Tape #16 Mr. & Mrs. Nels Ness, Norman Ness & Phil Sobak (Edmore)
000 – Introduction
020 – His uncle came to ND 1882 to homestead west of Webster; He came from Norway to ND in 1905 at the age of 19; Neighbors; Church in the homes before they organized a church; Norwegian Lutheran Church; Describe their lives in Norway; He returned to Norway in 1908 due to illness of mother then came back after her death
160 – Water on the homesteads was hard so they built cisterns; Early businessmen in Webster; Crops were fair in 1905; Farming on his own in 1912; Bought a farm that had been homesteaded by a Jew; Married in 1911; She was a dressmaker and sewed for people for $1 a day; She’d sewed in Norway
300 – Bought 3 quarters when he started farming; Most of the children born at home with midwives
412 – Gardens, cows, chickens and turkeys supplied most of their eats; Sold butter until they bought cream; Stored garden produce in cellar; Flour mill at Edmore
481 – The family had flu during the epidemic; Neighbors died; Negro neighbor that helped so much; Banks that closed during the depression; Prices of grain in the 30’s; Shipping cattle didn’t bring enough to pay the freight
610 – Feed for cattle in the 30’s; Sold 25 head for $200
680 – Prices of dances; Working for board and room to attend high school
723 – Colored neighbor lady married to white man; She helped everyone
740 – Area strong NPL; A. C. Townley; Didn’t get involved in politics; Working off taxes; People with milk cows didn’t qualify for WPA; Surplus commodities; Barnyard loans; Feed and seed loans; CCCs’ Projects of government work groups
877 – Farm programs started in the 30’s helped keep farmers going; Farming practices of today
944 – Grasshoppers; Spreading grasshopper poison; Farm Holiday Association; Farmers Union; Farmers Elevator
098 – Baseball was popular, each township had a team; Sunday afternoons the whole neighborhood attended the ball games; Hauling the ball team in the back of the truck; Basketball; Mail carriers
264 – House parties, kids played for dances for $1.00 a night; Hunting rabbits for spending money; Shot over 50 rabbits alone in a day; $600 worth of foxes; Large scale farmers; Price of large tractors; Diversified farming on smaller acreages
423 – Coal development in western ND
433 – End of interview

Tape #17 Ed Olson (Edmore)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Born in 1888 in dug out home; Early years was especially hard on women because they worked outside in fields and milking cows
109 – Doctors and midwives assisting in childbirth; Father homesteaded twice and lost both farms; Sold cream and butter for money for supplies; Raised gardens and meat; Heated and cooked with cook stove; Burned wood in the area
160 – House burned; Grandparents farm and working everything by hand; Father renting other farms; Farming with oxen at first; One of the oxen was so mean they had to watch out
254 – Worked in the woods in Minnesota; Tried buying back his dad’s place; Drilled wells and other hard work; Janitor work in later years; Digging wells by hand; Dug graves in winter; Unloaded cars of coal, cement, and machinery
354 – Deepest well dug by hand would be 60-70 feet deep; It was hard to get good water and some cases it was hard to get a good supply; Story of gas in well
409 – Worked on WPA in the 30’s for brother; Hard for a single man to get work on WPA; Water witchers; Story of man that was successful at knowing the exact place to drill; He would go into trances
548 – Dug graves in all kinds of weather; Was in the first World War during flu epidemic
570 – Working on threshing rigs; Slept just anywhere; Long hours of work; NPL; Heard Langer speak; Langer was a smart man
652 – Baseball games, movies, basketball; Born and lived in ND all his life; Used team of horses and wagon to haul corpses at funerals; Later they used trucks; Met in farm homes for church services and funerals in early years; Traveling ministers and small salaries
800 – Flour mill at Edmore had good flour; Reason for closing the mill; Mill ground feed; Bakeries; Couldn’t get a doctor to stay in town; Other business places in town; Sawing ice from ice pond for business places to use in summer
947 – End of interview
Comment:  Ed tells of his life of hard work.  He gives lots of information about well digging, drilling and water witching.

Tape #18 Gustav Ivesdal (Edmore)
000 – Introduction
020 – Came from Norway in 1911 at 19 years of age; Sister had come earlier; Worked out one year then started farming on sister’s place in the area because they went back to Norway; Married in 1917; Shipped in wild horses from Montana and broke them for farming; They couldn’t be trusted; Steam threshing
116 – NPL organized in 1916; Large percentage if farmers joined
188 – Rearing a family in the 30’s; Farm Holiday Association; Hay from slough and Russian thistles; Dust and Russian thistles got caught in the fences during the 30’s; Raised chickens, cows, and sheep; Sow thistles grew in the grain; Grasshoppers so thick you couldn’t see the sky
301 – WPA work to supplement income; People were more friendly and visited neighbors more in years before cars
309 – First tractor was a small international; Pulled 2 bottom plow; Large scale farming
433 – Coal development; Preference of life in ND
503 – Burned coal for heat
525 – End of interview
Comment:  AN interesting interview of farm life.  He has a Norwegian accent but cut it short when he realized he was being taped.

Tape #19 Mr. and Mrs. George Settingsgard (Edmore)
000 – Introduction
020 – His grandparents and father came in 1880 from Norway settling in Wisconsin first; Living in one room sod house; More family history; Father moved from Grafton to Edmore area
100 – Sod houses; Norwegian settlement; Visiting with horses; People living on every quarter; building a house and barn; Hired carpenters
192 – Bindered all grain in the area; Breaking with a walking plow; Raising horses for farm work; Breeds of horses; Methods of farming; Wild oats
301 – County school 2 miles down the road; School terms; School buses; Using the school house for community affairs
358 – Midwives to deliver babies; Life for women in early days; Winters were worse in early years than now; NPL, a popular political movement
450 – Early thresh machines and cook cars; Story of IWW
518 – Married in 1920; Crops in the teens; Edmore was larger in early years; Took in wheat and had flour ground at the mill; Quality of flour; The town of Lawton; Lost money in the bank; Hard years in the 30’s; ’34 was the poorest crop then wheat prices were so low
724 – Cream checks and egg checks; Eggs were 6 cents a dozen; Poor grain prices; WPA work; Changes in sizes of farms; Dust storms in ’34 when you couldn’t see the house from the barn; Grasshoppers
881 – Electricity; Flood in 1950; Farmer’s telephone line in 1911; Government programs that helped the farmers
004 – Proud of ND it’s the best state in the union; Bought first tractor in 1940; Story of bronco used in farming; Discussion of horses; Cost of team and harnesses
139 – Ways to make ends meet; Poor well water on their farm; Piping water to some farms; Alkali in their soil; Treating alkali with a chemical; Two floods in one year
305 – End of interview
Comment:  A farm couple tells of farm life in a changing era of time when tractors replaces horses.  They tell of hardships they have endured over the years.

Tape #20 Walter Tiistola (Brocket)
000 – Introduction
020 – Parents came to ND in 1898 from Finland; Both parents homesteaded land; Nationalities were clannish; Finnish settlement; Most of the land was homesteaded; Father paid $30 an acre for a quarter; State church in Finland; Separation of nationalities; They intermingled later on; Fins seemed to pick the poorest land; Family history; Story how grandfather lost his wealth
284 – Small towns and post office in the area in early years; Born in 1908; Farms on every half section, now a farm to every 3 sections; Outflow of farmers was because of no rainfall for 9 years; New Deal program
424 – Large scale farming and the situation that brought it all to pass; Possibility of living on 2 to 3 quarters
501 – IVA confused the people and they didn’t know how to vote; Politicians can’t be trusted; Farmers accepted the NPL because Langer seemed to be more trustworthy; Langer’s moratorium was a big help to the farmers
645 – Farm Holiday Association was radical; Possibility of a revolution had the depression been more severe; Poor farm prices in the 30’s
782 – Father killed in a horse accident; hardship of paying inheritance tax; Brother died of flu in 3 days; Sickness, hospital bill, mortgage and life insurance
900 – Custom work done to pay expenses; Federal restrictions put on seeding; Milking cows and all the work connected with it
003 – Diversified farming is out and specialized farming is in; Corporation farming; Cost of farming using chemical fertilizer; Detriment of using chemical fertilizer year after year
127 – Coal development area is poor land to begin with and cannot be farmed; If coal were taken out and land leveled off it would be more useful than before
200 – People were more satisfied with their way of life when they had less than they do now; Pressures of today; Preference of life in ND; Causes for small towns to decrease in size
440 – End of interview
Comment:  Walt tells of how he made a living on a small farm and still operates it today.  He maintains if you don’t try to keep up with the Jones’ it’s possible to live by diversified farming on a small scale.
Tape #21 Helena Thompson (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – She came to ND in 1903 from Norway; Parents were very poor; Tells of her early life in Norway and her return to Norway at the age of 65 years; Her homesickness; Worked in hotel in Petersburg; Husband homesteaded near Lakota
200 – Raised only 1 son; Tells about her grandchildren
265 – Life on the prairies after marriage; Cooking for threshers and couldn’t speak or understand English; German girl to help cook
329 – Mostly Norwegians around Petersburg; Many of their neighbors lost their farms during the 30’s; Husband’s death; Financial help from her parents; Raised turkeys, chickens, pigs and calves
469 – Good neighbors and fellowship; Lived on the same farm for 50 years; Church in Brockett
583 – Doctor assisted at birth of twins, lost one twin at 10 months of age
648 – “Keep mind to God, he is there to help you” is her advice to anyone listening to this tape
661 – End of interview
Comment:  Helena came to America from Norway as a young girl and worked in a hotel until her marriage.  She had some real hardships in her life.

Tape #22 Fred Hiitala (Brocket)
000 – Introduction
020 – Mother came to ND in 1897 to homestead where he now lives; Father homesteaded at Rolla but sold out; Grandfather one of the first settlers in the area; First post office near them was at Finland; Story of how the name of Brocket was named after his grandfather; Father hauled cordwood; Lakota was nearest town that was established at that time; Finnish people built their saunas right away when they built their homes
148 – Story of the gypsies that stole from them; Well water was a problem; Cow chips used for heating water for washing clothes; Shipped in wood by rail
211 – Grandfather was self-ordained Lutheran minister and missionary; Prairie fire; Intermarriage among other nationalities; Everyone is for himself now; People had to depend upon each other in earlier years
288 – Father and grandmother delivered his mother’s babies; One of their babies was born in the car on the way to the hospital ; 2 sisters and 1 brother were all born on the same day each a year apart
330 – Young people were athletic in early years; They played baseball, broad jump, etc.; Social gatherings every year; People were content with the simple way of life but now they are restless; Necessities of life didn’t amount to what it does now
410 – Sod homes in the area when he was a boy; Old country cigarettes; Everyone farmed with horses; Most farmers raised their own horses; They raised race horses; Father’s first steam thresher; Custom threshing; Wife cooked in cook car; Ways of making extra money besides milking cows
534 – He figures there will be a gradual trend in inflation up to 1980; Poor cattle prices in the 30’s; Possibility of making a living on 3 to 4 quarters now; Prices of repairs and farm machinery now; Rough years of the 30’s; He figures if you quit working you will rust; They were content with the simple things of life
700 – End of Tape A
000 – Introduction
020- How to can meat; How they smoked pork and dried beef
070 – Mad soap with lard and tallow; Used rain water to wash clothes; Baths in washtub and the sauna
105 – Hay for cattle and horses in the 30’s included Russian thistles; Hauled hay 12 miles; Sold some cattle because of shortage of feed
148 – Threshing with various steamers; The leading lines used in the area; Centennial celebration; Making parts for antique machinery; Selling the steamers for iron during World War II; Working with steam engines fascinates him
224 – Trouble with the IWWs; Slept in straw to guard the thresh machine against vandalism; They had 4 wooden separators; Years of service from wooden thresh machines and steel thresh machines
322 – Grain elevators were a great help; Cook car always accompanied thresh machine; She was 16 years old when she started cooking in cook car; Began work on breakfast at 4:30 am; Baked own bread – 10 to 12 loaves a day – and pies every day besides the big meals; Used dried fruits for pies and sauces; Talk of their family education
448 – Early Brocket and its business places; The light plant in 1927; Diesel engines; Service given to the patrons; 110 direct current; Charging batteries; Building batteries
590 – Harnessing the wind for energy would never be a paying proposition; Better quality batteries now; They are completely sealed and require no water
670 – Custom threshing in the 20’s brought a fair profit
704 – Charge for threshing flax was higher because it was more difficult to thresh; Plugging up thresh machines; Stories of accidents while threshing; Maintenance of the steamers; They had to be sure there was always water in the boiler; Firing with straw; Dangers of working around the steam engines; Types of water used in boilers
819 – NPL; Langer was a good friend of theirs; Story of jobs he had promised them; Farm Bureau; Reason their banks closed
925 – Farm Holiday Association
960 – Proud of ND; Healthy climate; No desire to live in large cities
036 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hiitda give directions how to can meat and how to cure and smoke pork and beef.  He also tells how he used to build batteries and how he operated the steam threshers.  He gives some precautions in operating the threshers.

Tape #23 Mrs. Ida Clapp (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Her parents’ immigration to the area in 1882; Her father, Frank Pitcher
132 – Nationalities in the area; Account of the Murphy family, early settlers in Devils Lake
196 – Her father’s trips to Larimore for supplies; Her father’s personality
236 – Rowdiness in early Devils Lake
254 – Captain Heerman and the Minnie H steamboat; The brass band at the Ft. Totten Indian school; Entertainment at the Chautauqua grounds; The Wineman family
382 – Early businessmen in Devils Lake; Prevalence of traveling salesmen
436 – Social life and entertainment; Herding horses for her father; Learning to roll her own cigarettes; Raising Percheron horses
510 – Her father’s big farming operation; Cooking for hired men; Preserving food; Raising and selling horses
678 – Her childhood; Disapproval of women smoking in the early 1900’s; Women’s suffrage movement
726 – Early recreation; Dances; Her marriage and her husband’s background
808 – Railroad traffic and train service; Comments on “the good old days” and why they were good
826 – The flu epidemic of 1918; Early medical doctors in Devils Lake; Description of early Grand Harbor, ND
885 – The impeachment of Judge Cowan
910 – Relations between early settlers and Indians
943 – Farming during the 30’s; Grain prices
028 – Changes in peoples’ attitudes; Operation of her father’s farm; Threshing; Troubles with IWW workers
159 – Quality of life on her parents’ farm; Getting telephone service; The electrical generating plant in Devils Lake
236 – End of interview
Comment:  Mrs. Clapp has an excellent memory and an entertaining manner of speaking, but she does tend to ramble.  Portions of the interview dealing with her parents’ move to Devils Lake, to what is now Pitcher Park, may be the most valuable in terms of historical information.

Tape #25 Mrs. Marie Palmer Tharalson (Devils Lake)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family history; Her father, Frank Palmer, and his years at Fort Totten as dispatch carrier and Indian trader
138 – Comments about the fort hospital; Her father’s store and hotel near the fort; Dr. Kermott, MD at the agency; The livery barn her father operated
257 – Steamboat traffic on Devils Lake; Captain Heerman and daughter Minnie; Operation of the Minnie H steamboat
405 – Mrs. Niles, Frank Palmer’s housekeeper
426 – Uses of various buildings at the fort when it was an Indian school; The school gardens
521 – Items her father purchased from the reservation Indians; Operation of the store
557 – Details about changes in the fort buildings
597 – Buildings in the compound around her father’s store; The Episcopal Church and compound; How her father obtained property on the reservation
678 – Her schooling in Devils Lake; Danger of crossing the lake on the ice; Account of Father Jerome falling through the ice and getting out; Telephone service between Ft. Totten and Devils Lake in 1907-08
788 – Non-Indian residents at Ft. Totten; Distinction between the Indian Agency and the school; Ration distribution; Buildings and activity at the agency; Use of the original fort buildings as barns when she was a child
903 – Construction of the gymnasium, or theater, at the Fort in 1916 or 1917; Destruction of the barracks building
940 – Social life at Ft. Totten
984 – Identification of people on early photographs of the Indian school and the agency
038 – Names of workers from Chicago who installed electrical wiring and plumbing at the fort about 1905-1906
053 – Identification of photos; The Episcopal compound in the original trading post; The Grey Nun compound; The Indian dance pavilion
131 – The Indian school band
181 – Photo identification; Ziebach’s recreation
260 – Comments about treatment of students at the school; white relations with the Indians; Prevalence of tuberculosis
339 – Original entrance to the square from the north side; The flag pole and bell at the fort during the school period
409 – Her father’s friendship with Major McLaughlin, General Scott, and Leonard Wood
445 – Identification of school personnel on photos
560 – The Chautauqua Auditorium; An ice boat her brother used on the lake; Rowing on the lake
650 – Operating the store at Ft. Totten
698 – End of interview
Comment:  Mrs. Tharalson has a superb memory and extensive knowledge about Fort Totten, her father, Frank Palmer, and the Indian School. 

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