One fall, Grandma Peterson and Aunt Maggie came from Wisconsin and stayed a few weeks. In 1903, when we left Wisconsin to go on the farm, Aunt Maggie and Uncle Peter wanted me to stay with them. They said they would get me a piano and give me lessons. Also send me to Dodgeville High School. That was really a good opportunity, but, I was so anxious to go back to Minnesota and have a home of our own and Ma didn’t like the idea of leaving me, so we let that go by.
One fall, I done all the plowing with 4 horses and a gang plow. We also used to help husk the corn.
Elma came home from Grandma’s and went to work in a millenary store. She stayed with a Mrs. Peterson. That was in Appleton. I worked for Bertha and Albert Hanson awhile. Bertha was very good on the piano, so I took lessons from her for quite awhile.
The girls and I fixed up one corner of the grove, and used to spend all the time we could there. I always had a book with me.
Nora and Elma never done much reading, but liked for me to read aloud. Elma always had some fancy needlework. I loved the farm and horses, in fact, everything about it. That was really happy days.
The fall of 1905, we needed more help with the harvest. We had a hired man, but he and Alvin had some hay to put up. Albert Hanson was visiting near Watson one Sunday, and a man came to the door looking for work, so Albert knew that Alvin needed a man, so he hired him and brought him to our house that evening.
He hadn’t shaved for a week, so looked much older than he was. We were all interested in the stranger, he talked with a Southern accent, said his name was Charlie McQueen.
They were busy in the wheat field all week, then Sunday he borrowed Alvins razor and shaved. He looked 10 yrs. younger, and real nice looking. He never had much to say, was quiet around the house and very polite.
When Elma came home from Appleton one weekend, we talked so much abut Charlie, she was anxious to see him. When they got done stacking wheat, he went to a neighbors to do some plowing. Ma liked him too, so she told him to leave his clothes and she would do his washing, as he would be back for threshing.
So, he came over every Sunday to change clothes and clean up. When he came back for threshing, he and the hired man exchanged jobs. We planned to keep a man all winter, in order to have help in the spring. We were all pleased that he was going to stay. He was a good worker and more company than Salve, our hired man. We had quite a bit of work around the farm. Wheat to haul to the elevator and hay to haul. We found out he was 26 yrs. old. He had written back home to have some pictures and a few books sent to him. I was going to town one day and he asked me to stop at the depot and see if there was a package for him, so I did. The agent said there was a package for Charlie Stone, in care of Charlie McQueen, so I got it. When I brought it out, he felt like he had to make some explanation. He said he had been in a little trouble and just felt like changing names, so nobody would connect him with that, so it was Stone from then on. We all liked him, when he went to town, he would bring home candy and books.
I didn’t think anything of that, we all had good times together. Then one day as he was going out, he slipped me a note, a love letter. I was really surprised, didn’t know whether I liked it or not, but felt like it required an answer.
We never got to see one another alone, so I wrote a little note and handed him. I told him I liked him as a friend, but had never thought of anything else. Now, the way he figured, if I didn’t like him pretty good, I wouldn’t have bothered to even write, just ignore his letter, and maybe he was right.
I told Ma about the note and my answering it and seemed like, after that, we had chances to be together alone once in awhile.
He had shown us letters he had received from his mother and a sister, Norma. They lived in Oklahoma. He didn’t seem so much of a stranger after that. Well, I finally told the folks, I was going to marry him.
Ma had thought for some time of selling out in Minnesota and going to Saskatchewan, Canada. About a year before that, Uncle Andy, Henry Lee and Allie and her husband, Tom Rongue had gone up there from Wisconsin and took homesteads. They liked it up there, and Ma and Alvin had talked about going up there. A widow could take a homestead, so Ma and Alvin could both file on a homestead.
Charlie was, of course, interested too, so in December, Albert Hanson and Alvin went up to Uncle Andy’s to see how they liked it.
Alvin was all excited about it, so we sold the farm to Ed Anderson. Alma Lee was in Canada keeping house for her brother, Henry.
I think that was one attraction for Alvin, as later he married her.
Well, there was lots of work, getting ready for the move. I didn’t plan to get married until June, but Charlie was in a hurry, said if he took a homestead, he would need a housekeeper, so we got married March 10, 1906.
We had quite a lot of company that winter, would get around to the relatives that I was marrying the stranger, so they all had to come and see for themselves what kind of a man I was getting.
Uncle Carl and Uncle Elias Stennes came from Watson, were there for dinner, so they could meet this hired man. They had a private talk with ma, but she told them she liked him and thought it would be alright. I didn’t know this until they were gone and it made me quite angry. Like most kids, I didn’t think it was any of their business, but I know now, they were just concerned about me.
Sometime in February, Uncle Dan came. He was a big help to Alvin in preparing he move. He had worked for the railroad so long, he knew just what to do. We got 2 railroad cars to take our horses, cattle, household goods and everything, machinery too.
We got married on Saturday. Ma had been to Grandma Stennes on a visit and she met Charlie in Montevideo to get the license. I wasn’t quite 17 yrs. old, so she had to give her consent. Ma, Charlie and I went to Rev. Froiland’s house and was married in his study. His wife was the other witness. We went to Aunt Martha Krogness and had lunch. She was Grandma Stennes sister, a nice old lady. Whenever I went to town, I went to see Aunt Martha.
It was a big surprise to the whole neighborhood. They had seen us together at church and at the Xmas tree in church, and going for drives. Charlie loved to hunt prairie chickens. Nobody expected us to get married so soon.
Some of Aunt Carrie’s folks came over that evening, and we had dinner at her house on Wednesday, the 14th of March and left that evening for Canada. Charlie went on the train with Ma and us girls. Uncle Dan and Alvin went on the freight with the cattle and goods.
We had supper that evening in Appleton with Mrs. Peterson. So, that was our honeymoon trip, going to Canada.
Uncle Andy met us and we had to drive 25 miles to his place. It all seemed wonderful. The country was beautiful and we enjoyed meeting all the relatives and making new friends in a new country.
Uncle Andy had rented some land for us to put in a crop, so the men were all busy from daylight until dark, and with spring coming, the days were getting long. The ponds were covered with ducks, which was new to us.
Sundays, we took walks thru the woods, or Charlie would go out on horseback looking for his homestead. We all stayed at Uncle Andy’s until June, when we moved to our homestead. Alvin got a homestead about a mile from Andy’s. Ma’s and ours were side by side, about 3 or 4 miles further North.
We put up a tent to sleep in and another kind of a lean to cook and eat in. Ma and Alvin and all of us lived together that summer.
Charlie was busy cutting logs for a house, and cutting hay.
When we left Minnesota, we figured up, us girls got our share, the girls didn’t have any use of horses and machinery, but I got 3 horses, a cow and chickens for part of mine, also some machinery.
Charlie helped Ma and Alvin cut wheat and thru threshing, then worked thru threshing for the others in the neighborhood.
Our cabin was 14 ft. x 18 ft, had one door, 2 large windows. It was built in a grove of Poplar trees. Lots of beautiful flowers grew in the woods and birds in the trees singing all day long. It was a nice peaceful place.
There was lots of deer and anyone could kill one whenever they wanted to. Charlie killed a deer one day, so we had fresh meat. We cut it all up and took some to Andy, Henry and Tom Rongue. It was summer time, so wouldn’t keep very long. One Sunday we were all on the way down to Andy’s and we saw a deer run off in the bushes. Charlie got out of the wagon and there beside the road was a little fawn. He picked it up and we went back home with it. We had just met Mabel and Charlie Crook and Henry and Alma. They were on the way to our house. We were still in the tent though. The first couple of weeks, Charlie and I were alone in the tent.
When he was in the woods cutting logs, I would be alone all day, but I never thought of being scared or lonesome. Later on, when I learned of the bear and wolves that was all thru the woods, it scared me to think of being alone, but nothing ever bothered me. We got in our cabin before cold weather. I went with Charlie to Canora about 30 miles to get flooring, door and windows for our little house.
We had lunch along and stopped by the river to eat. Then we stayed all night in the Queens Hotel and came home next day. When any one of the crew went to town, he brought out the mail for everyone out there. We didn’t get the mail for weeks sometime. Then later, they got a postoffice in Eden Valley, about 4 miles from Andy’s, so we got it more often.
That first fall, Alvin got a small cabin for him and Ma and the girls and he got busy getting logs and putting up his house. It was a few feet longer than our house.
We heard from Charlie’s folks real often and planned to go and see them as soon as we proved up on our land.
I forgot to mention the very long summer days. It was daylight early. Charlie got on a horse at 2 o’clock in the morning, and in about 15 or 20 minutes, it was light enough to see to shoot at a deer. Think he went about half a mile from the house. Then 10 o’clock in the evening, I could sit outdoors and it was plenty light to see to write a letter. Charlie would work out of doors as long as he could see. Seemed like the days were never long enough for him. Then when it got light so early, we didn’t get much sleep.
Of course, Winter was a different story, long nights and short days. Evenings we would read awhile, then might take a notion to hitch up a team and go down to Alvins. It had been dark so long, we felt like it was late, but was only about 7 o’clock and with team and sled, it didn’t take long to get there. On holidays we always all got together.
The first 4th of July we all met at Henry Lee’s. We hauled our organ down to Henry’s. I played and we all sang all the patriotic songs we knew. We made ice cream and ate and celebrated all day.
We had Xmas dinner at Uncle Andy’s and New Years dinner at Allie’s.
Charlie had to make a trip to Canora, so I stayed at Alvins that night and until Charlie came back from town. He came back the 3rd and we stayed at Alvins that night. The next day, Nora went on home with us.
Jack Olson stayed at our place and done chores while Charlie was gone. That evening I came home, I churned butter and done things that needed attention, after being gone a few days.
I got sick about midnight, but thought I’d better be still, as it wasn’t time for my baby until about the 10th of February. By morning I felt worse, so Jack went down to Alvins after Ma. Elma was back in Wisconsin , so that left Alvin alone. I stayed in bed all day to be on the safe side, didn’t feel too bad, but along toward evening, I got worse, and a baby girl, Fern was born about 8 o’clock. She was so tiny, not quite 4 lbs. with her little shirt, diaper and blanket.
We just had a cook stove for heat, but Charlie and Ma kept it going all night. The baby seemed perfectly healthy, but the 2nd morning had kind of a choking spell. She was such a weak little thing.
Ma was so afraid of her taking a cold or getting the earache, she made a little outing flannel cap and left it on her day and night.
She was born Saturday, January 5th , on Monday Charlie went down to Andy’s for a load of straw. He went to Alvin’s too, so they all got the news. Alvin came up on Thursday and begged Nora to go home with him. He was pretty lonesome and no good, as a cook.
Ma had plenty of bread and cookies baked at our house, so she gave them some, as bread baking was a job in our cold houses. Ma stayed with us another week, then she went home.
I’m sure she worried about that baby, cause she didn’t trust my judgment about everything and I was surprised myself that I got along so well. Nora came up again before long and she and I had quite a time. It was like playing with a big doll. It was over 60 below zero that January, but we kept real cozy and warm.
There was lots of snow, but no wind, so didn’t seem so cold. One bad thing about Canada, the mosquitoes were awful for a couple of months thru the summer. They disappeared with the first frost. One year it frosted every month, on June 1st and the last week of July, and snowed every month except June. We had snow the 13th of May and the last week in July. I remember the oats was so tall and all headed out, green as could be and this heavy snow laid it flat. It raised up partly, but was hard to cut.
We raised good vegetables, everything grew so fast. One fall, when Fern was little, Uncle Andy and Aunt Sill went to Wisconsin. Think they stayed a year. We moved down in Andy’s house, so was close to Alvin and Henry. We gave two dances while we were there.
All the Irish girls and boys came for miles around and all the bachelors. There were quite a few of them. We had a big feed. They came for that, even if they didn’t dance. Somebody played a violin and I played the organ most all the night, so everyone had a good time. Everyone thought it was strange that we gave the dances, when, we didn’t dance. Elma danced, she was there then and just after the first dance, Ma left for Wisconsin and Elma kept house for Alvin. I know Ma was there the first time cause she made those lovely buns for ham sandwiches, and we had the girls bring cakes. Even though we didn’t dance, we loved to be with the crowd. We took down the bed and had 2 rooms to dance in.
Sometime some of the men and older women played checkers in an upstairs room. Charlie liked to play checkers. We had met some new people, the Hansons and Andersons. They were related somehow. Then there was Lillian and Harvey Paschmeyer. He took a homestead close to us, so we were real friendly. When Fern was just a few months old, Henry Lee married Millie Thompson. They were about 2 miles from us. I played the wedding march at their wedding. They had a Church of England minister out from Canora. After the marriage ceremony, he christened Fern, Andy’s boy and Allie’s boy and girl.
Andy and Sill had 4 children then and Allie had 2. That summer, Len Thompson had an accident. He was only 16 yrs. old, a horse fell back on him and the saddle horn hurt him. He died not long after.
The first time we met Harvey Paschmeyer, he and 4 more men came thru our place. They were looking for homesteads. Charlie was out near the house cutting wood or something. It was mid morning, about 10 o’clock, I imagine. They days were so long, we always had a lunch about that time, so I was baking doughnuts and had just called Charlie in for lunch. Here he came with 5 men, so I set out bread and butter and doughnuts. I knew they were hungry, probably came several miles.
Mr. Anderson run a saw mill and Harvey was his son-in-law from Minnesota. Harvey laughed about it later. Charlie had laid his razor in the window, and it froze up, so he couldn’t get it out for a couple of months, so he hadn’t shaved and Harvey thought he was an old man. He told is wife that night that they had stopped at a cabin and the “old man” took them in for coffee. He said when they got in, there was a young girl and a little baby.
A couple of months later, we were invited to Thompsons for a Sunday dinner and she had invited the Paschmeyers to meet us, as we were going to be neighbors. Harvey was quite surprised to see Charlie all shaved and slicked up in a nice blue suit and white shirt. Later, when we got well acquainted, he told us about it.
The winter we were in Andy’s house, Harvey and Lill lived just a little ways down the road. We visited together a lot, went to Hansons and Andersons to play cards, and they would come to our house.
Alvin, Elma and I didn’t kow anything about cards, so we sat up all night one night, learning. Charlie knew all the games. We usually played “Euchre” or “400”. Think it is something like Bridge.
Ma had her house built just a short distance from our house and she and Nora lived there. When Henry got married, Alma went to stay with Allie a few weeks, then she said she was going to Wisconsin for the summer, and come back in the fall to marry Alvin. We had seen that coming. I was thrilled, cause I always liked Alma. Her brother, Henry had a fit, because they were cousins. She came back the fall of 1908 and Alvin met her in Winnepeg. They were married there. Ma was at Alvins until Alma came, then she and Nora moved to her place. She had her home there, but whenever anyone needed help, they called for Ma.