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Manuscripts - ND Oral History Collection - 10157 - Slope County

Slope County

Region 6
1 Mrs. Clara Harris, Bowman
2 Mrs. Ethel Atkinson, Rhame
3 Mr. Jim Fulton, Amidon
4 Mr. John Wolfgram, Rhame
5 Mr. and Mrs. Ray Putney, Rhame
6 Mrs. Guy Johnson, Marmarth
7 Mr. Leo Merz, Marmarth
8 Mr. Andrew Jensen, Bowman
9 Mr. Harry Roberts, Dickinson
10 Mr. Frank Willis, Rhame
11 Earl Rundle, New England

A portion of the following interview pertains to Slope County:
Mrs. Mae Leonard, #14, Stark County

Tape #1 Mrs. Clara Harris (Bowman)
000 – Introduction
021 – Family history; Husband; Comes to North Dakota; Homestead; Nationalities; Loneliness; Religion; Husband’s homestead
111 – Sod house; Coal miners; Area towns; Post office; Farm products; Neighborliness; Doctor; Midwives; Buying land; 1930’s
211 – Husband dies; 1930’s population; Cowboys; Social life; Gardening; Wells
312 – Root cellar; Homemade ice cream; Lignite fuel; Lamps; Stove; Gas lamps; Radio; Newspaper; :Mail
406 – Magazines; Telephone; Church; Bible donations; Community cemetery
537 – Population; Memorial service; Fences; Roads; Longhorn cattle; Wildlife; Rattlesnakes
615 – First car; Horse and sleigh travel; WPA
710 – SIDE TWO
710 – Town band; Movies; Making butter; Shipping cream; Canned meat; Salt pork; Smoked ham; Consolidated school; Rhame school; Plays; Musicians
790 – A. C. Townley; Dances; Voting; Women’s Suffrage; Baseball; Rhame band and park; Area towns
858 – Sewing; Mail ordering; Washing machines; Lye soap; Clubs; Prairie fires; Club war assistance
925 – Threshing machines; Cook cars; Laundry; Electricity; Surplus commodities; School lunch program; Flour mill; Berries
003 – End of interview

Tape #2 Mrs. Ethel Atkinson (Rhame)
000 – Introduction
020 – Buffalo bones on the prairie; Family history
101 – Women homesteaders; Grouping homestead shacks on adjoining corners of quarters of land
167 – Rural schools where she taught; Problems and challenges of teaching in those schools
233 – Difficulties of homesteading in Slope County
258 – Nationalities that settled in the area; Teaching children who couldn’t speak English; Characteristics   of various nationalities
337 – Relationships between ranchers and homesteaders; Open range
377 – Her marriage and her husband’s family history; Their early married life; Hard times on their farm
494 – Loss of much land in the area during the 1930’s; Purchase of submarginal land in the 1930’s
609 – Morale during the 1930’s; WPA projects in the area; The AAA destroying cattle
706 – SIDE TWO
718 – Family life prior to electricity, radio, and television; Reading material in the home
748 – Financing textbooks for the school; Teaching rural schools in general; Merits of one room rural school education; Classics and poetry the students read; Games rural school students played
048 – Neighborliness of people formerly and presently; Social life and entertainments; Community Cooperation during threshing time and World War I
108 – Churches in the area; Religious convictions of early settlers
150 – Peddlers and traveling salesmen in the early 1900’s
211 – Ordering from catalogs; Traveling with horse and sleigh to town in winter; Prevalence of liquor in the area during prohibition
380 – Bootleggers and home brew
415 – End of interview

Tape #3 Jim Fulton (Amidon)
000 – Introduction
020 – Comes to North Dakota; Family; Population; Railroad; People leave; Beer parlor
145 – Comments on leaving North Dakota; Works out; Marriage; General Store; Store fire; Ranchers and farmers; Steam rigs; Cultivated land
204 – Nationalities; Submarginal land; Store merchandise; Freighting; Businesses; Descriptions of 1916 to early 1920’s; Cream and butter
294 – War year prices; Threshing; Cook car; Threshing rig work; Sleeping places; Mosquitoes; Bats; Rattlesnakes; Heating fuel; Straw for engines; Coal mining
394 – Lignite; Business credit; Thriftiness; Collecting from farmers; Bartering
490 – Selling butter and cream; Roads and area towns; Auto dealership; Oliver dealership
580 – Repossessing; Social life; Young people; Riding horseback; Women; Bachelors
670 – Chautauquas; Marketing area; Advertising; Social life; Family life; Cowboys; Baseball
812 – Rodeos; Prohibition; Bootleggers; Women’s Temperance Union; NPL
838 – End of interview
Comment:  Mr. Fulton’s comments on 1900 business and dealership were especially informative.

Tape #4 John Wolfgram (Rhame)
000 – Introduction
021 – Comes to North Dakota; Homesteading; Prostitution
125 – Cowboys; Ranches; Family
206 – Flour mill; Works in Gladstone; Homesteading area; Leaves North Dakota; Bank closes
301 – Comes back to North Dakota; Farms in Wisconsin and North Dakota; Sells land
395 – Crops; People leave; Nationalities; Townships; Crops; WPA provisions
483 – Neighbors; People lost in snowstorm; Milking a neighbor’s cows
586 – Shipping cream; Holstein cows; Mailmen
709 – Going to town; Walking home; Farming knowledge
809 – People go West; Buys and rents land; Daton Land Company
000 – Introduction
020 – Daton Land Company; Buys land; Neighbors
101 – Buys land; Submarginal land; Commensurability (land and cattle)
207 – Submarginal land; Leasing land; Marriage; Childbirth
317 – Doctors; Social life; Young people; Effect of automobiles; Card parties; Dances; Musicians
410 – Dance hall; Area towns; Wild girls
478 – Calamity Jane II; Cowboys
566 – Rodeo riders; Cowboys
704 – Post offices; Credit; County seat; Bootleggers
819 – Steer (Montana); Longhorns; Shipping yards
902 – Driving cattle
946 – SIDE TWO
946 – Cattle drives; NPL; Bill Langer
991 – Farm Holiday Association; NPL leaders
036 – Post offices; Enjoyment; Telephone
107 – Electricity; Wildlife problems
279 – End of interview

Tape #5 Mr. and Mrs. Ray Putney (Rhame)
000 – Introduction
025 – Comes to North Dakota; Family history; Log house
103 – Father’s work; Cactus; Squatting; Ranches
178 – Cattle breeds; Gumbo statue
224 – First commissioner in Billings County; Teddy Roosevelt’s trunk; Homesteader and rancher relationship; Ancestor’s cattle; Vigilantes
307 – Building cattle herds; Education; Mining coal; Butchering hogs; Teacher
370 – Cowboys’ girlfriends; Meets husband; Gets married; Husband rodeos
522 – Husband homesteads; Husband rodeos; Works for rancher
616 – Company ranch; National circuit rodeo
701 – SIDE TWO
701 – Rodeo money; Riders; Rodeo accident; Queen Maria’s train
780 – Cowboys; Riders; Negro cowboys
869 – Negro and White relationship; Slope County depopulates; WPA
916 – Calamity Jane II; Blind pig; First death in Marmarth; Marmarth houses of ill repute  
976 – Post offices; Bootleggers; Post offices
140 – Cowboys; Gold; Pony Express
190 – Flour mills; Flour; Longhorn cattle
246 – Steer (Montana); Rustling
296 – Trial newspaper report of Negro John Tyler; Sociability; Rhame
390 – End of interview

Tape #6 Mrs. Guy Johnson (Marmarth)
000 – Introduction
023 – Comes to North Dakota; T Cross Ranch; Family history; Rancher and homesteader conflicts; Open range
105 – Neighbors; Family history; “Turkey Track”; Missouri River terrain; Homesteader problems; Builds house; Midwives; Railroad
192 – Schoolhouse; Education; Ollie Post Office; Provisions; Area towns; Banking
278 – Missouri River traffic; Longhorn cattle; Ability development disadvantages; Social life; Churches; PTA; Homesteaders and social life; Fishing
325 – Nationalities; Sociability; Cowboys; Hospitality; Education; Cowboy personalities and origin
401 – Wildlife; Rattlesnakes; Mountain lions; Wolf problems; Animal hunts
491 – Plants and home remedies; Winter evening home life; Books; Zane Grey
580 – Comments on frontier character building; Parents and love in home; Education; Roundhouse; Marmarth reputation and location problems
706 – SIDE TWO
706 – Marmarth flood; Dams; Railroad; Drifters; Theater; Marriage
772 – Husband; Builds theater; Buys ranch; Marmarth and Bowman; Piano and theater; Movie stigma; Theaters
842 – Movie attendance; Roundhouse; Elevator; Banks; Post office; Houses moved; Ranks of population
900 – Life difficulties in 1920’s and 30’s; WPA; Buys land; Government cattle slaughtering; Stockyards; Cattle shipping; Trail herds; Prairie fires
983 – Ranches; Submarginal land; Children; Move from Marmarth; Theaters; Bank closings
047 – Losing money in bank; Reasons for depopulation; Sociability; Family cohesion
071 – End of interview

Tape #7 Leo Merz (Marmarth)
000 – Introduction
020 – Comes to North Dakota; Dividing Billings County; County seat; County population; Family history
116 – Begins farming; Marriage; Buys land; Family profits; Submarginal land; Moves to Dickinson
185 – Wife and family; Slope population; Reflection of 1930’s Depression on population; Family history
284 – Borrowing money; Large and small farmers; Homesteader knowledge
372 – Homesteading objectives; Reasons for population staying; Children; Comes to Marmarth
417 – County fair; Railroad employees; Rowdy Marmarth; Cowboys
503 – School system and buildings; Taxes; Roundhouse; Businesses; Post office
614 – Railroad strike; Steam engines and diesels; Shipping cattle; Stockyard
728 – Diversified farming; Submarginal land; Population declination
821 – Artesian well; Employment; More about wells; Tenant ranch
930 – SIDE TWO
930 – Tenant ranch; Coal mines; Comments on coal gasification and strip mining; NPL; Langer; Townley; Burdicks
028 – Electricity; Power plants; Telephone; Social life; Sociability
105 – Farm cooperatives and oil companies; NFO; WPA; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Strip farming; County extension agents; Seed varieties
207 – Government in farm business; 30’s; in Badlands; Land prices; Railroad traffic; Coal; Road work; Oxen farmers; Sulky plow; Horses
298 – Threshing rigs
300 – End of interview

Tape #8 Andrew Jensen (Bowman)
000 – Introduction
021 – Trip to America and South Dakota
195 – Norwegian holiday; Works for cousin; Comes to North Dakota; Education; Gets married
260 – Works at Minnesota lumber camp; Relates experiences at lumber camp
357 – Gets married; Homesteads; Northwestern Land and Security Company; Trip to homestead
418 – Overnight experience with Six-Shooter Slim; More experiences on trip to homestead
551 – Finds homestead; Neighbors; Builds shack
691 – Potbellied stove baking; First teacher; Cares for neighbor’s farm
805 – Neighbors; Riding calves
910 – Buys team of horses
930 – SIDE TWO
930 – Gets financial aid from father-in-law; Begins farming; Proving up; Planting crops; Borrows money
010 – Flax crop; Breaking up sod; Melting snow for water; Coal; Mosbruckers; Six-Shooter Slim and Polintz Ranch; Ranchers
102 – Crop years; Years on homestead farm; Land ownership; Rents land
202 – Dry water well; Her father dies; Goes to Minneapolis
245 – Relates streetcar interview; Working as motorman
429 – Comes back to North Dakota; Buys cars; Buys tractor
498 – End of interview
Comment:  Andrew Jensen came to America in 1901 so his narrations are some of the earliest contained in this collection.

Tape #9 Harry Roberts (Dickinson)
000 – Introduction
022 – Family history; Father as foreman of HT Ranch in late 1800’s
101 – Cowboys; Early ranchers; HT Ranch
184 – Comments on John Tyler card party; Trial and death
237 – Birth; Early families; HT riders; Prairie fires; HT cooks
320 – HT cooks; Cowboys and chickens; HT riders; “Gunnysack Bill”
366 – Homesteader and rancher conflicts; HT land; Homesteaders; Sheepmen; Sheep country and rancher comments; Range horses; HT horses
455 – Percherons; Wolves; Coyotes; Wolf and coyote bounty; Buying dogs for killing wolves
551 – Dogs slay coyotes; Tracking wolves; Wolf size
630 – Coyote prey; Tex Florence (man with wagon and dogs for hunting coyotes); HT dogs
682 – “Boss” of wolf pack; Rattlesnake dens; Alex LaSota (cowboy)
731 – Cowboys; Wild days in Medora, Belfield, Marmarth; Marmarth shipping point
804 – Marmarth roundhouse and railroad men; Belfield; Cattle trail; Six-Shooter Slim (William Konkel); Alf Benson on HT
895 – Staying with father; Homesteads; Goes into cattle business
919 – SIDE TWO
919 – Caretaker at Chateau De Mores; Cowboys in 1920’s and 30’s; Homesteader nationalities; Expresses his homesteader opinion; Threshing rigs
980 – 30’s break up homesteaders and ranchers
000 – End of interview
Comment:  Harry Robert’s description of wolf and coyote hunting problems in North Dakota is one of the more detailed in this collection.

Tape #9 Harry Roberts (Dickinson)
TAPE A – Photo Identification
000 – Introduction
025 – Family comes to North Dakota; Beef plant in Bismarck; Father’s work; Character of men; Number of women; Watermelons; Grandmother
092 – Father drives cattle and beaver traps; Father homesteads; Mortgages; Surveying years
142 – Rancher and homesteader conflicts; Homesteader objectives; HT horses; Father’s horses
203 – Huidekopers Ranch sells out; HT crew; Prairie fires; Firebreaks; Fire damage; Fighting fires
292 – Horse winter grazing; Neighbors; Cattle and horse shipping points
375 – Photo identification
723 – SIDE TWO
723 – Photo identification
513 – End of interview

Tape #10 Frank Willis (Rhame)
000 – Introduction
020 – Family comes to North Dakota; Family history; Comments on Civil War
123 – Family members; Railroad; Sod houses; Nationalities; Homesteader and rancher conflicts; Ranches; Cattle and sheep
188 – Farming with horses; Rumely engine; Steam plowing rigs; Coal; Longhorn cattle; Farming with oxen
219 – Begins farming; Military service; Meets wife; Marriage; Works for Farmer State Bank; Area depopulation; 1920’s and 30’s crops
306 – Livelihood during the 30’s; Selling butter; Loses everything in ’34; Government slaughtering of cattle; Hay in ‘34
383 – Better years; Buys breeding stock; WPA Dam Project; Children; Works in town
440 – Social life; Home talent plays; Neighborliness; Neighbors farming and butchering together; Women’s clubs
497 – Musicians; House warming parties; Picnics; Baseball teams
568 – Cowboys and baseball; Experiences of Marmarth’s wild cowboy reputation; Blind pig
620 – Calamity Jane II; Works in Rhame; Roundhouse; Marmarth; Turntable; NPL
698 – SIDE TWO
698 – NPL; Townley; Lindbergh; NPL emotionality; Farm Holiday Association; 30’s financial problems
744 – Threshing machine; Threshing cooks; Threshing fuel; Threshing crew; Hobos; Hauling water
806 – Water well; Coal; Comments on coal gasification; Electricity; Telephone
842 – End of interview

Tape #11 Earl Rundle (New England)
000 – Introduction
025 – Family history; “Squatter’s rights”; Sod buildings; Homesteading begins; Newspaper; Railroad
090 – conflicts with homesteaders; Midway Creamery Company; Ranchers; HT Ranch and riders
165 – Cowboys; Alex LaSota; Elmer Clark; Riders
255 – Horse quality; Tipperary (Rodeo horse); Preparing wild horses for riding
304 – Ben Berg; Louie Pelazier
363 – Nationalities; First county judge; Nationality working traits; Land for homesteaders; Homesteader objectives
442 – Nationality clans; Nationality traditions; Holidays; Post offices
555 – Prairie women hardships; Mail order houses; Doctors; Siblings
638 – Politics; Father dies; Loss and gain of land
756 – NPL; IVA; Townley; Political involvement; Sells newspaper
841 – Runs for legislature; Newspaper business
930 – SIDE TWO
930 – Life after father dies; Submarginal land; Taxes; Comments on bad crop years and reasons for loss of people
033 – Particular hardship; People aid one another; Social life; Baseball; Neighborliness
110 – Partnership threshing rigs; Compares desire for earlier farming ways to present
155 – Fuel; Water; Selling coal; Garrison Dam
275 – School financing; Certificate of Indebtness; Selling livestock to government; Roosevelt’s stock ponds and dams
319 – WPA; Building roads; AAA: Corporation farming; Increased land ownership
395 – End of interview

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