Listen here to the Weekly Radio Readings by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member or tune in to WiLD 102 Radio Sunday mornings.
Recorded January 2022
January 2, 2022:
If anyone listening attended the Old-Fashioned Christmas Open House at the Pioneer Farm west of Roseau in early December, you saw a number of old buildings that have been moved to that site from other parts of the county over many years. One of them was the Old Log Church of Pinecreek, believed to be the first church built specifically for that purpose in Roseau County.
Pinecreek’s first Norwegian immigrant settlers came in 1889, many having moved from North Dakota. Their first visit by a Lutheran pastor was in July 1890. In December the same year, Pinecreek’s congregation was organized by Pastor Pederson from Hallock, Minnesota. The congregation consisted of twelve families at that time. Names of the early families were Kompelien, Skogstad, Rice, Elton, Kleven, Lyste, Besserud, Lund, Knutson, Flatin, Rustad, and Lee. Many of those families continued to live in Pinecreek for several generations.
In 1932, Signe Elton Knutson wrote her memories of the Pinecreek Church for the records. Her story was written in Norwegian, the common language of most of the inhabitants of Pinecreek. It was later translated to English by Karen Lislegard, and this story is from that translation.
The worship of God was first held in the log houses of the residents. The first service was held at the home of Arne Knutson, who lived one and a half miles east of what is now Pinecreek.
In the year 1891, rumors came that the Indians were about to attack, and wanted to get rid of the white people. Some timber was cut in the swamp two miles east from Pinecreek, with the object to build a fort as protection. Fortunately, there was no use for a fort.
The newborn congregation felt the need to own a church where they could meet for services, also to be used as a schoolhouse until later. Several of them had large families. They were not too busy with their own work that they forgot their God, and the heritage they had with them from Norway.
In 1892, the timber that originally was planned for a fort was hauled together with more timber from the same swamp, for the building of the first church house built in Roseau County. For different reasons, not much work was done on the church for two years. But the need to own a church was there in the hearts of most, and willing hands got busy. It was built on the east side of what is now the Pinecreek Cemetery. The pioneers could make the …listen for the rest of the story.
January 9, 2022:
One of the many personally written family histories located at the Roseau County Museum’s research area is one by Norbert Dostal. He did a great job of documenting his family’s history including his ancestors and his own birth in 1910 and all the descendants he had as of 1986. Norbert was born in Skagen Township near Badger to Albin and Julia (Lubinski) Dostal. After school in Badger and Collegeville, he attended Normal School in Warroad and then taught local rural schools.
Norbert married Helen Kukowski in 1935 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Leo. They farmed in rural Badger. Helen passed away before he did and his last 5 years were spent at the Greenbush Nursing Home, where he died in 1995. He had two sons, 5 daughters, their spouses, 39 grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren at the time he died.
The book of history that he wrote for them was entitled “The Changing Times on the Farm Scene 1910-1986”. His book was edited by his daughter Lillian Kuznia and has several nice illustrations by Charlene Kuznia of Argyle, Minnesota, as well as family photographs.
One of the many stories in the book is called “A Cold January Day and a Cold Long Night”. It tells about the night Norbert and Helen had their daughter Virginia. Here’s his story:
Time flies, there is no doubt about it. On January 24, 1938, we got a little girl to keep Bernard company. We felt that was great. It was now evident that we would have both boys and girls. Many times during that month we had nice weather, but this time Virginia Ann chose to come on a very cold day. It became evident …listen for the rest of the story.
January 16, 2022:
Last week I read from Norbert Dostal’s story of his family’s history, written for his descendants and published as a book in 1986. There’s a copy at the Roseau County Museum if you’d like to read more of the stories. Last week I read about the night his daughter Virginia was born. It was a very cold night and became complicated when Dr. J. L. Delmore, Sr., got his car stuck on his way to their farm in rural Badger to attend the birth. All turned out okay in the end, though. That was in 1938.
Norbert told more about that year of 1938.
The weather wasn’t a great worry about the winter, as it had been mild before Virginia was born. It had its ups and downs. It stayed cold until February 3 and then turned again to be very nice, on average, except that we had a snowstorm in mid-February, and it was a problem to get a road out of the woods. I guess that no matter where one went there wasn’t a road to be seen. We just let the horses find the way across the field if they’d gone that way before. There wasn’t a time that an old horse couldn’t find his way down a previously traveled road. It always seemed uncanny to me. We never questioned their instinct, as long as they went in the general direction of the previous track left by former loads of hay or wood. These roads were used very much after they were broken by the first loads. With the snowstorm over, we had to start with a half load for a couple of trips.
There was a lot of hauling to do during that winter. Hay as usual. Dry wood as usual. The manure as usual. These were part of farming day by day. There was one kind of hauling that got to be regarded as just as necessary as chores; it was wood hauling, all the way to town. I didn’t mention other chores, chopping wood, cleaning the barn, or the work of shoveling out the spot where the haystack stood, not to mention the times we upset a load and had to reload. It really wasn’t a long winter, and I guess there was plenty of snow so the ground wasn’t frozen very deep.
I guess there was another cold spell just before the thaw in March. It must have thawed as John Pelowski tried to come across the field northeast of the house. That field didn’t carry the pickup of Borgens with the engine and a cream separator. We had to give him a pull with horses. I had bought another necessity. I had eight cows and pumping water for them and the horses were a job one just had to do, good or bad weather. I made up my mind that ..listen for the rest of the story.
January 23, 2022:
I’ll be reading again today from Norbert Dostal’s book of history written for his family and published by him in 1986. A copy is in the family history area at the Roseau County Museum. Norbert lived from 1910 to 1995 in the Badger area and passed away at the Greenbush Nursing Home. Today’s story tells some of his memories of Badger.
Carl N. Carlson of Badger, living in town (at the time Norbert wrote his book), recalls the time that Gus Anderson had his brickyard in operation. He saw more evidence of Gus’s bricks than I even heard about from Pa. Pa worked for Gus in a short span of time when Gus also had a store. Gus disclosed to Pa the code word he used to mark the price of articles of sale. The code word had ten different letters and was very easy to recall. This code word was quite a nighttime necessity, in the early days, and rare was the home that didn’t use this at least at night and in some instances when the time was urgently possessing quick movements lest a sanitation problem would result! Chamber pot!
Though Gus Anderson had quit making bricks long before the Badger High School was built in 1916, he must have had quite a supply left in his yard as the school, when it burned in 1987, had many of these bricks in the layer next to the outside wall. Though I had been looking for a specimen of the bricks that he made, I never came across any of his bricks until that time. The stencil Gus carved for the face had a G. V. in raised letters on each brick. Gus meant that G. V. to signify “Green Valley”. This, I learned from my father, Albin, was his trademark for his bricks. The right kind of clay was available near his residence which later became the residence of George Roggenbuck and his family.
Badger was a typical town. Most of the small towns were built to supply the needs of the community which they served. The needs varied from chewing and smoking tobacco to curling irons for the women. They also had entertainment by families that organized an orchestra and provided music for the dances.
To have a party at a neighbor’s was common in the winter months. At a somewhat later date barn loft dances got to be common in each community. I think sometimes they were built for the specific reason of dances, rather than cattle. If they were used for cattle, the owner took care to give that bottom part a good cleaning before the dance. This sort of weekly event finally came to a close when permits were no longer issued, because abuses had crept in. Finally, instead of barns, regular places, not in town were a gathering place for the people that seemed …listen for the rest of the story.
January 30, 2022:
Last week I was reading from Norbert Dostal’s book called “The Changing Times on the Farm Scene 1910-1986”, which can be found at the Roseau County Museum. Norbert lived near Badger and wrote the book to share his memories with his descendants. Today I’ll continue reading his recollections of the stores and businesses of Badger during his early years. It’s tragic how many times fire determined the fates of businesses in those times when store buildings often had adjoining wooden walls, no fire alarms, and the ability to fight fires was limited.
The block where the V. F. W. now stands had a store and I think that Doctor Davis had his office on that block. At the end of the block was the all-important telephone office, from which we called other towns. It really got hurt by the fire that destroyed the block across the street. Johnson and Johnson had a garage and a blacksmith shop at the end of the block. They sold Fords and also was the one that was encouraging the collecting of unusual things, like dead birds that he “stuffed”, as we used to say. The windows were full of things like Indian arrows, smooth round stones, and anything that he thought should be in a museum. Later B. J. Borgen started his International line of implements and had a repair shop in the back end. Just about that whole block burned when a fire got a head start on the little fire department.
The Farmer’s store stayed to become several businesses following one another. One was a drug store, and finally, when the other side of the street burned, I. B. Setran started the John Deere line of machinery. Afterward, it became a Gamble’s store. The other side used to have a barbershop in the corner …listen for the rest of the story.
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