Monday, June 1, 2009


I thought you all may have some interest in the memories of a five to ten year old, as to the individuals in my life, especially those that lived at Grandpa's farm.

Of course we have to start with Grandpa Krist. By the way I named our only son after him. My memories of him, are that of a person in complete control, not necessarily hard but very stern. Somewhat like Garrison Keeler describes as the bachelor Norwegian farmers. I have no memory of sitting on his lap, even as a five year old. The only scolding I recall was when I shot a sparrow, with my Red Ryder, single shot BB gun. I never did that again, the only time I remember his holding my hand, was leading me across the yard, from the kitchen porch, toward the grainer, to give me the scolding. I do remember him sitting on a straight wooden chair, almost every lunch hour and reading from his bible...sometimes nodding off for a cat nap. I have a vivid memory of his Saturday night , almost ritual, when it was time to pay the hired man, if there was one, and dispense some money to Louie or your Dad, as this was the time to go to town. It seemed like he would draw it out as long as possible, the men standing around, all cleaned up, shuffling their feet, waiting for the money. I believe the hired man and Louie got $ 5.00 a week, I have no idea what any others got. When I would ride either to the farm or to town with him, I was always in the back seat, and I always wanted to be on the passenger side.....You see Grandpa chewed Copenhagen snuff, he would turn to spit out the window, not leaning very far out and sometimes, if you sitting behind him, you had to duck or get splattered. I don't remember the make of the old car he had, but later he had a 1937 Plymouth 4-door, I have pictures of it. This was the car, with a radio, and when something special like a Joe Lewis heavy weight fight was on, in the summer we would all stand around that car, to listen. In the winter, and something special was on they took the battery out of the car and connected it to the radio in the living room.. At this time in my life Grandpa was my "Dad", and I have nothing but great thoughts and memories of those years.

I had to back up to here and add another left over, in my life, that goes back to Grandpa. Coffee was always served with a cup and saucer. It was boiled coffee, made in a large porcelain pot. For a fresh pot, she would just add more coffee and some egg shells, to settle the grounds. Grandpa would pour his coffee into the saucer and gently blow on it, to cool it, then slurp it into his mouth........To this day, when something is ready to proceed or to be used, I catch myself saying....well, it's saucered and blowed, then someone will look at me, with a strange look and ask.......What is that!!

How does one even begin to write about Grandma Alma? So I start with the memory of her being the first one up every morning, getting the wood stove fire going, the big porcelain coffee pot brewing, and every one else slowly coming down to a, by now warm kitchen. Every one milked, except Grandma, my first job was turning the crank on the cream separator. I never did learn to milk very good. Her only modern appliance was a gas engine, Maytag wash machine, with wringer. It stood out on the utility porch, the last time I was at the farm, that porch and the full length front porch were both gone. In my first email I told you about her making hot chocolate and toast in the oven,her playing her guitar and signing, mostly hymns, but it was very special. She had beautiful hair, but she always wore it in a bun and when she dressed up to go to town or church, she always wore a hot. It is funny the way certain thoughts come to mind. I have a vivid picture of her, out in the chicken yard, when the pullets were big enough, walking slowly thru the flock, looking for lame ones. When she found one, she would grab it by the neck, a couple of quick twists, and it ended up in her folded up apron. By some magic they would end up on the table, either for lunch or dinner, that day, remember no refrigerator. An aside here, during this time, there was a rather large ice house still standing, it was west of the kitchen. Back to Grandma. seemed she was always working at something, cooking, cleaning, sewing, knitting, ironing (flat irons were heated on the top of the wood stove), The smell of baking bread would mean that Betty Lou and I would need to churn some fresh butter, the other job Betty Lou and I did together was to gather the eggs and clean them and place in 30 dozen crates to take to town.

Saturday, April 25, 2009



(ABOVE) Bob and Ken Larson and Cousin Audrey in front of the "Home Place" Clint Berg describes in the following article about the role a very strong woman, our Grandmother Alma played in the family at the time:

About nine months ago, I asked Kenneth to send me all of your email addresses. Shortly thereafter I started a long, detailed email, to re-establish personal contact with all of you. I was really proud of what I was writing and well into my third page..when somehow I lost it all. Remember I'm a 77 year old Norwegian, so computers are not my strong suit, anyway it's gone, but not forgotten, so here goes again.

I am the youngest, and only remaining child of Elesa Lorraine Larsen, Grandpa Krist Larsen's first born child. You may know this, but Grandpa's first wife was Barbro Hansen, from the Gonvik area. A second child was born to this couple, a boy named Hilmar. The story I heard, was that Barbro was nursing the baby, had a heart attach, pitched forward and smothered the baby. This is the child that is buried at Bethany church, next to Grandma & Grandpa's grave....the head stone is a little white lamb to the right of their graves. The last time I was there was Oct. of 2000, and that little lamb was in very bad shape. My dad, who died in 1936, when I was 5 years old is buried to the left of Grandma & Grandpa.

My siblings were Lorraine, the oldest, then Kalmer, Raymond, Charlotte ( died in Park River, N.D., at age 10 ), DeVona and then me. When dad died in 1936, we were renting a house on a farm called the Lee place, it was across the road and east of the Henry Bulstead farm. Lorry got a job as a hired on another farm, Kalmer joined the CCC's, Ray lied his aged and joined the Navy, Dee went to Thief River to live with Evelyn and Fred, and I was sent to Grandpa Larson's to live. Grandpa Krist helped my Mom get a job, as a cook, in Thief River at the "MINT". It was across the street from the Falls Movie Theater. It was a bowling alley in the basement, a tavern in the front, a cafe in the middle and a card room in the back.

Now here is where my time with your Dad begins. I was five and your Dad, I believe, was eleven. Mom eventually rented a small apartment in town, but whenever possible I was at the farm. The men slept in the bedroom over the downstairs dining room, and I slept with your Dad. My memory is that for those next five years, I was always following your Dad around, trying to help him with his chores. As we both got older, I was my big dream to be able to handle a 100 pound feed sack like your Dad.

One of the things I remember about your Dad was the way he liked to tease Grandma Alma. Of course, Aunt Vi was still at home, also Grandpa's sister Oleana, your Dad was always teasing someone. For me it was like having a big brother, remember my own brothers were away. My last Christmas at the farm was 1940...there was a real big snow storm and they had to bring a hay rack out to the county road to get everyone to the farm. This was also the last Christmas that Fred & Evelyn lived in Thief River. Fred got real tanked up, put on an old moth eaten fur coat, buffalo I think, and tried to play Santa, not to pleasant......... Through all of this I forgot to mention that Betty Lou, Aunt Lillian's daughter, also lived on the farm all this time. This was also the time that Grandpa got into raising turkeys, and I tried to help your Dad with that work. It was a big deal for me to be a part of the family and all my memories are very special. Grandma made old maid cards out of old cereal boxes and we would play after Grandpa went to bed. Then in cold times she would make hot chocolate and toast her home made bread in the oven, and play her guitar for us and sing, she was really special. I don't think anyone really appreciated how tough the wives and mothers had it in those days. My last days on the farm were in July 1941. My job was to stand in the high wheeled grain wagon, at thrashing time, and make sure the grain didn't spill over the sides. Grandpa paid me a silver dollar for the work, the first one I ever saw...what a big deal. About this time, my Mom remarried and on Aug. 6, 1941, we headed for the State of Washington. The one time I saw your Mon & Dad and you guys was when they came out to Washington, I don't remember the year.

At the time I did see your folks, I had made it through high school (1949) and married my high school sweetheart (Nov. 1905 )

Lillian and I have now been married 58 plus years.....we never have considered divorce, but has been on the table many times. We have four children Claudia 57, Julia 55, Rosie, 50 & Krist 48. Nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren, Naomi and Haydon. Lil & I are lifetime believers, and describe ourselves as simplistic, struggling Christians, sinners saved by grace,

At this point I am not going to take any chance of losing the above and send it on........MORE TO FOLLOW...GOD BLESS

Monday, January 26, 2009

The content of this site specifically addresses pioneer women in the Marshall, Kittson and Pennington County areas, around towns such as Holt, Viking, and other small settlements in the early 1900's. The focus is on challenges these women overcame in coming to the area, raising their families, growing as individuals and contributing to the community. Overlaid on that background will be specific profiles of women who succeeded admirably.

The objective of the project is to preserve the history of "Pioneer Women in Northwestern Minnesota" and pass it on.

This site is presently the repository for draft information. Contributors may post comments directly to existing articles at the site, receive a password from the site coordinator with directions to upload content and pictures as embedded items, or submit content to the site coordinator by email. Those who are interested may also connect and link to the site or request a site update subscription.

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A baseline version of this site and a self-published book will follow the initial draft compilation. The book will be made available as an unpublished work in electronic file media to those who request it over the Internet and some copies will be professionally printed through an on-line firm specializing in that service.

The content site preliminary outline is as follows:

I. Immigration to Northwestern Minnesota in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s

II. Conditions during the above period

III. The role and status of women immigrants during that time

IV. Profiles of individual women and their achievements

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