There were people of many nationalities up there, Galatians, Dukaours, Bokevinians, Bokemian, a few Swedes and people direct from England, Ireland and Scotland. Also a few Russians. Most of the people from the old countries drove oxen.
We traded our horses for oxen. Alvin lost some of his horses, so he got oxen and Andy did too.
The summer of 1908, Charlie and I went with Mr. And Mrs. McLain and Jack Olson to Yorkton to prove up on their homesteads. We went with a team and wagon, 60 miles. We camped the first night at Chrystal Lake and the men folks caught some nice fish. Camped one night on White River, then spent a day in Yorkton. Mrs. McLain and I done some shopping. We were gone 5 or 6 days.
Naida, (Dollie) was born on a Monday, Nov. 9, 1908. Ma and Nora was with us for awhile. They lived in their little house close to us that winter. Alvin and Alma and Charlie and I had Xmas dinner with them that Xmas.
The summer of 1909, we proved up on our homestead, and sold out everything to go to Oklahoma. Charlie went down to Yorkton and worked awhile, while Elma and I were doing some sewing, getting ready to go.
We left the 9th of August. On Sunday, before we left, Uncle Andy got ice from and old well, and made ice cream.
It was quite a trip by train, think it took us 4 days. We arrived in Quinlan, Oklahoma in the afternoon. Grandpa Stone homesteaded out there. It was very hot, 116, and all that red dirt. I thought it was awful looking country. Grandpa had some wild ponies and a thunderstorm came up, we got soaked and chilled. I thought we would get killed before we got there. Grandpa, Buryl and Clyde met us in town and we had a 10 mile drive.
While we were eating supper, Fern had a convulsion, scared us to death. I think it was caused by the heat and then the cold rain. She was kind of puny for a few days.
Bird and Otto was at Grandpa’s too, and we all stayed there most of the winter. In September, Buryl was going to Perry and stay with Icie and go to school, so Grandma and I and Fern and Dollie went with her to Icie’s. Norma came from Oklahoma City too and in a day or two, Charlie and Clyde came.
They were all so glad to see us, they hadn’t seen Charlie for 10 yrs.
They were having a celebration in Perry the 15th, 16th and 17th, so we were there a week or more. I would like to have stayed there, if Charlie could have got work, but we went back to Grandpa’s. In January, Charlie filed on a homestead and we built a little shanty. I liked it better after we got by ourselves. I never liked so many living under one roof. I liked all his people real well.
Beaulah came home that winter and Mary Phillips was with her. They had been traveling all summer, Nebraska, Wyoming, where Maude lived and up in Montana, where Mary’s brother lived.
I bought an organ. I was lost without one. Beaulah spent lots of time at our house and so did Clyde and Pete. Then in May sometime, Ma and Nora came.
That fall after we left Canada, Alvin sold out and he and Alma went to Nebraska. They run a restaurant and boarding house there for awhile.
Well, when Ma and Nora came, we all started talking of Canada again. We didn’t like Oklahoma, so I left with Ma and Nora and of course, Fern and Dollie. Charlie stayed and relinquished his homestead to Bird, then he went to Kansas to harvest. I went to Dodge and visited Alvin a few days. He was homesick for Canada too.
Then, Ma, Nora , myself and girls went to Wisconsin and visited Grandma and Grandpa Peterson and Aunt Maggie. Elma was there working in Dodgeville.
Charlie worked his way up to North Dakota and we left Wisconsin and all met in Winnepeg August 10th. We had a lovely visit in Wisconsin, but anxious to get in a home of our own.
We moved into Alvin’s old house for awhile, then went to work for Clarence Lee. He had been batching, but wanted us all to move in with him. I done the cooking and Charlie helped him cut and shock wheat.
While we were with him, he had an accident, went to the hospital, but died very suddenly. His father, George Lee came from Wisconsin. We stayed and threshed his wheat, Charlie hauled it to Canora, and we done all we could for him.
We lived in Alvin’s house that winter, until Alvin moved back before spring. Andy too, had tried a year back in the States but was back in Canada. Then Uncle Nel’s came and bought a place out there. He built a granary and we went to work for him until Aunt Julie came. He had 3 other men working for him, cutting brush, clearing land or something, so I had 5 men to cook for. Then when Aunt Julie came, we moved in Ma’s house.
Nora stayed in Wisconsin for awhile and Ma worked for first one and then another, wherever she was needed. Later, when Nora came back, Ma and the girls rented a house in Sturgis and kept boarders.
Ed Healy bought the restaurant and built on, so she kept roomers too. In Feb. 1911, we lost a premature baby, a girl. Then on Aug. 13, 1912, we had another girl. We called her Buryl. We had word from Oklahoma that Charlie’s sister, Buryl died in Nov. 1911. She had just been married 6 weeks.
We had one experience in June 1912 that was quite a worry at the time, but we have had a good many laughs about it many times since. We were living in Ma’s little house. It was in a small clearing, wood all around us. We had a barn and pig pen just on the edge of a willow thicket. Fern and Dollie always went with Charlie to watch the little pigs eat their supper. We had the old sow in a pen in the barn. They fed the pigs and we were eating supper when we heard the pigs squeal, as if they were hurt. Charlie jumped up and ran out, saying he thought the old sow had got in with the pigs. I called after him, said, “maybe it’s a bear”. Sure enough, when he got there, a large bear was just raising up to climb over the pig pen with a pig in one arm. He ran right up to the pen before he seen what it was. When the bear put his weight on the boards, they broke and he dropped the pig. Charlie hollered at me to bring his rifle, “it was a bear.” He met me at the barn, only had 4 shells for the gun and he missed every time. Guess he had “bear fever”. The bear was looking around for the pigs, they had broke out then and run by the house for the woods.
Charlie came running in and got his 22 rifle, he hit the bear as he was coming toward the house, trailing the pigs. He hit him on the nose and he whirled around and took to the woods. Later on, he was killed by a preacher living east of us. We all talked about it later. I don’t know what kind of a bear he was, as he was kind of a dirty white and when he stood on his hind legs, was about 3 ft. taller than Charlie. Some thought he must have been crossed with a polar bear on account of his color.
After that, I was scared to let the girls outside to play, we sure watched the woods real close. One day I went with Charlie to the field, so the girls could play. Then I went to Sturgis and stayed with Ma and the girls a few days until we heard the bear was killed. Of course we realized there could be more in the woods, so we moved down in McLains house, it was in more open country, with fields around.
Then the latter part of July, I went and stayed with Ma, waiting for my baby. We were preparing to sell out and leave Canada again. Soon as our baby was born and Charlie knew we were alright, he left, driving a team and buggy. He stopped at Newburg, North Dakota to harvest and thresh wheat. I stayed at Ma’s until sometime in October, think Buryl was about 6 weeks old. Nora went with me on the train as far as Rugby, N.D. Aunt Carrie and family were living on a farm near there. I went on alone to Newburg.
Charlie took us out to a German family. We stayed with them a few days, then moved into a vacant farm house. When he finished that job, we fixed up our wagon with a canvas top and drove south.
It had been beautiful fall weather, but the first night it snowed, so we stopped at a little town, Deering, went to a hotel. We stayed in the hotel a few days and he decided to work on the section awhile, so we moved into a little house along side the track, just next to the section house. We just stayed there a month, and when he got his pay, we got on the train and went to Oklahoma again.
We spent 5 happy years in Canada. Three years the first time and 2 years the next time, but the cold climate and I guess a roving nature made us move on. We got off the train at Waynoka, got a livery team to take us out to Clydes house. He was married then and had been farming. Bird and Homer were married and lived in our little homestead shack. Beaulah and Frank Pratt were married and lived a few miles from Grandpa.
We spent the winter at Grandpa’s, then in March, Charlie went to Cheyenne, Wyoming. I stayed until in May, when he was able to get a place for us. I went on the train with the 3 children, got in Cheyenne, May 23rd, 1913. Everything looked so nice and green, as everything in western Oklahoma was already burnt up. It was so hot and dry. Later in the summer, we moved out on Smalley’s ranch. He raised hogs. Charlie got $40 a month and later he raised it to $50. We had a good house to live in, a cow to milk and chickens. Charlie took Fern in to school every morning. It was about 3 miles to town. In January, Fern got the whooping cough, then the baby got sick, suddenly died Jan. 16th. She is buried in Cheyenne. Dollie and Charlie both got the whooping cough. I had it when I was a child, but Charlie never had.
In the spring, we moved back to town and Charlie worked for a roofing outfit. Both the girls went to school the next fall and in August, Grandma, Grandpa and Beaulah came. Frank & Pete were driving thru with team and wagon. A little later, Bird & Homer came. Bird and Homer, and Beaulah and Frank rented a house and lived not far from us. Grandpa found a house, had more room, rent free, so Grandma, Grandpa and Pete stayed with us.
Fentley was born Nov. 27, 1914. It was hard for the boys to get work. Charlie worked for a coal company for awhile, but got laid off. About that time, Ma and Nora came.
Nora soon got work in a café, but it was too far for her to walk. It was dark when she left in the morning, and dark when she came in at night, she got $5 a week. So, we got our heads together, and I moved uptown with Ma and Nora. She couldn’t pay rent and make it on her own, so I went to work in the laundry for $6 a week, worked 9 hours a day and 6 days a week. Nora got on at the other laundry for $7 a week, so we made it fine.
Charlie sold the chickens and came to live with us and Grandma and Grandpa moved in with Frank and Beaulah.
Homer went to work for the city and they moved down on the south side. Charlie had headaches out there, we thought it was the high climate, so he headed for North Dakota again. Later, Aunt Maggie got sick and sent for Ma, so she left, Nora said she would rather stay home and take care of Fentley and the girls, so I kept working and she stayed home.
We got along fine, then Charlie was working in the harvest field and sent for us. We went to Lansford, N. Dakota. Ma came thru on her way to Canada and Nora went with her. When threshing was over, we went back to Deering and Charlie worked on the section for the same man he worked for in 1912. This was 1915. Warner was born in May, 1916
Ma had been in Wisconsin with her mother as she was sick. Aunt Carrie was there, so Ma came to stay and help me for awhile. Then she went back to Wisconsin and stayed until Grandma died that fall. Grandpa had died a few years before. Ma visited us again late that fall on her way to Canada.
In January, we moved out to work for Charlie Eckerly on a farm.
In July 1917, Tuffy was born. That winter, Eckerly went back to Indiana for the winter, so we had the place to ourselves. Charlie drove the school bus. We had some awful snowstorms. Once he had to stay in town overnight. The school children stayed, some at the hotel and some in private homes and came home the next evening.
We all got the flu in January 1919. Most everyone around had it in the fall before. We kept the girls home during that period, but the school board objected so we finally sent them. They went to school one week and got sick Friday evenng. We were so afraid of it, because I was expecting a baby in February and was very dangerous for anyone in that condition. Anyway, Sunday morning I got sick and at noon Sunday, Warner and Tuffy had it, so we were all down except Charlie and Fentley.
Charlie sent word to Ma and she came in a few days. About Tuesday, Fentley went to bed so Charlie was really busy with 6 of us in bed. We were very glad to see Ma walk in and take over.
We had real good neighbors, Mrs. Clause baked bread and doughnuts and sent over. I had done the same for them in the fall, when they were sick and Mr. Clause butchered a steer, and brought us almost a quarter. Another neighbor sent us sausage, fish and lot of baked things, but nobody felt like eating. I think the girls were worse off than any of us. They were in bed 11 days and got so thin and weak. They were quite wobbly when they first got up, but soon began to feel better. I think Ma coming had a lot to do with my recovery, all my worries were gone.
Ma stayed until after my baby, Pearl was born Feb. 23, 1919.
We moved into a nice little house close to town, the girls got in school again and everything back to normal.
We sold out again, fixed up our wagon with canvas cover and pulled out July 2nd. We just wanted to get farther south. We stopped at Ellendale, camped out on the outskirts of town and Charlie took his team and got work in harvest. The girls and little boys and I were camped out.
We had some good times and some bad times. Had a little camp stove, so I baked bread. We were there 2 weeks, then went on to Edgley. We camped in a man’s grove and Charlie helped in the fields. Seems like they were short of help everywhere. We stayed there a month. Then went on, crossed the Missouri River on a pontoon bridge. The man said the family had better walk, as the horses might get scared. It was quite a trip across. The girls and I had to lead the boys, who were scared of the water, and I carried Pearl.
Next stop was in Avon, South Dakota. Charlie got work in a lumber yard. We liked it there. There was plenty of work all along, but no vacant houses. Just impossible to find a place to live, so we went south.
The weather was pretty nice most of the time. The people were nice and friendly in the Dakotas and most places in Nebraska. They didn’t see very many people traveling that way, but in Kansas, the people watched you and didn’t like for you to even camp near their place.
We run short of money in Nebraska, and Charlie said we would stop and work awhile, but he couldn’t get a job anywhere.
At Beatrice, we camped on the outskirts and Charlie said he would have to get something to do here. We sent the girls to a farmhouse to get milk for the baby. We just had two nickels left.
When Charlie got the mail, there was a letter from Beaulah, she said she knew as long as we had been on the road, that we must be hard up, so she, Grandma, Grandpa and Pete sent $40.
They were always begging us to come to Sand Springs. She said there was plenty of work in the oil fields, so with that $40, we went on and got to Sand Springs Nov. 13, 1919.
There were changes in the family. Pete was back after spending 2 years in France and Germany. Clyde had enlisted in the Navy, had been home on furlough and got the flu on the way back to San Diego and died a few days later. They sent him back to Sand Springs for burial. His wife got sick and died the day after the funeral. That was in the fall of 1918, when the flu was at it’s worst.
Well, it sure felt good to be with friends and relatives again and at the end of the road. We had camped a week up in Kansas, a Charlie was sick. It rained a lot then and we was camped in a very poor place.
Beaulah had a little house and Grandpa had a large tent with floor and fixed real good. He was building a 4 room house. They moved into their house in a few days and we lived in the tent.
Bird & Homer were working out in an oilfield, “Wild Horse”. Charlie went out there and worked for him awhile. At Xmas time, Icie and Charlie and 2 children came, also Norma and Everrett. We had a big time.
Then the 30th of January, we had another baby girl. We called her Jane Elizabeth. Little Pearl could just toddle around. We got the girls in school and I was really busy.
Charlie got work with his team for awhile and later got on at the Water Pierce Refinery. In June, the baby got very sick, stomach trouble. We had the doctor out every day, but she died. Just after she died, we found that Pearl had the whooping cough. She got over it, but the high fever got her stomach upset. She couldn’t keep anything on her stomach and nothing the Dr. done helped. She died in Sept. 1920.
Beaulah and Frank had separated, so we rented her house. We were doing alright. Fentley had started school and Charles was born April 25, 1921. We bought a piano-organ which I enjoyed very much.
Then in 1922, we went out on a farm close to Pulare. We rented land from Bud Roley. The house wasn’t far from the river. We got some nice fish in the river, had a nice garden and raised some cotton and corn, but just stayed that 1 year and moved back to Sand Springs.
We lived in a tent on the edge of town for awhile.
Grandpa had built a small house for Pete next to him. Pete wanted to leave, so we paid him $50 for his things and moved in. We took our tent up there to sleep in and cooked and ate in the house, which made us plenty of room. Charlie worked at the Water Pierce again.