Autobiography of Harm Fillipus Begeman

Submitted by C. Shannon Begeman


Note: In preparation for the Nation's Bicentennial observance, much emphasis is being put on the history of our nation and of our respective regions and communities. The study of the lives of individuals who contributed to the history of our own community might be more interesting then some would believe. There are, it seems, few detailed accounts of the lives of early day residents of this and other communities, few people having or taking the time to write about their own lives. For this reason, the autobiography of Harm F. Begeman, a former resident of this community, is unusual if not unique And for this reason we will, in series form, print this autobiography. It will, we believe, give the reader an insight into what life was like for many who migrated from Western Europe and settled in this part of the country before the turn of the century. Written for his children to read, Mr. Begeman's autobiography, you will find, contains the hopes and fears, the successes and failures, the struggles and rewards, the sorrows and the joys of those who carne to this new land of promise, asking nothing but an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor, free of oppression. To them America was something very special. In reading their story, perhaps it may became more special for you.

Charles Shannon Begeman

Harm F. Begeman Autobiography

Harm Fillippus Begeman, son of Derk Harm Begeman and Trientje Engel Niggendyker, born on November 2, in the year 1870, in a village called Blyham, Gemeente Wodde, in the province Groningen, in the Netherlands. My father, Derk, was born at the same place, and Mother Trientje was born in a village near by called Bellingewolde.

At the age of four year, my father and mother moved to a little town about three hours traveling to the east, on the German line, called Nieuwe Schans. Father and Mother before their marriage had been on a farm as hired man and hired girl. (Because the manu- script had been damaged, a few sentences here are not legible.)

And a division on the German line where the German trains came in, and made connections with Holland trains. There is also a straw factory, where they make paper and cardboard of all kinds. And the town is located on a river called the Aan, which runs through there into the North Sea. Also a big lumber yard, connected with a sawmill located across the river in Germany. So father got work there and bigger wages than the pay on the farm. A pretty busy place especially in the spring, when the river opened up, with all kinds of freight.

This town, Nieuwe Schans used to be a fort. I remember as a boy, the old fort and the armory for the soldiers. The town was surrounded by a canal, dug by hand labor; and from the dirt, they build a high dike around the town. Over the canal was bridge, coming in and going out of town, which could be pulled up to stop the traffic. And in the dike, or wall, as we called it, was an entrance built, archlike from brick, and a heavy steel door which could be closed; and guards and cannons on the walls to meet the enemy.

The old school house which I attended as a boy stood right below the wall. Great sport for our school children to climb up, and slide down again. The old school house had three rooms, and three teachers and the Old Professor. Each school room had two or three classes seats or benches, long enough for a dozen pupils.

In my school days, these walls were dug again, all done by hand labor and wheel barrows. That furnished lots of labor. We school boys watching those labor men, digging out many cannon balls and bones from human beings. Those things were sold to the Jew and junk dealers, and the money used to buy drinks.

The ground around the town was laid out in lots end streets; and the town spread considerable. It was on those grounds where our new school house was built. An up-to-date eight room building with an enclosed playground and a big roof for rainy weather. By the way, after I left the old country, the school house was enlarged again. There is where I spent my boyhood days; went through the eighth grade.

When I was fourteen years old, my father hired me out to a farmer, in a neighboring village for the big sum of 25 guldens, and some old clothing. That means, if the farmer had a coat or a pair of trousers that wasn't good enough for him anymore, then I get it, and my mother would make it fit for me.

A farmer in that country has a rule to hire three men and two hired girls, and if they need her, a children's maid. So there is where I got my training on the farm. A boy like that is what they would call a roustabout, doing errands of all kinds. Hired men and girls are hired by the year; and if by some reason they should quit before the year is up, they have to drop six weeks' wages. But they most always stick it out a year, because it would be hard to get a place again if you should quit. Hiring out is done through a middle man The farmer would tell him what he needed in the line of hired man or hired girl, and so the hired man or girl go to him, and ask him to look for a place for them. This man get $1.50, paid by the farmer. That is what they call handpenning; kind of binding the deal If perchance you should change your mind before starting to work, then you return the $1.50 to the man.

The year on the farm ends the first Sunday in the month of May. The next Sunday, you have to be on your new place, so they have what they call a free week, of course, you not always change every year. If a farmer is satisfied with his hired help, they are asked after January 1st to be hired for another year. And as a rule, you expect a raise every year.

As long as I am talking about hired help on the farm, must say, they hire more help than a hired man. They have as a rule, one or two farm laborers, married men, who go to their own homes after the day's work. They work steady the year around at all kind of work; mostly at the ditches. Then in haying or harvest, stacking or threshing, they hire outsiders, and as a rule, they get little bigger wages, because they have no work in the win- ter. Outside haying, stacking and threshing the labor man works eight hours. They come in the morning, say about five o'clock, then at one p.m. they go home, and work in their own gardens.

The first year I was out, I worked for $25.00 and the farmer hired me again for $35.00, raise of $10.00 a year. The next year he hired me as second man for the sum of $115 00 They cut out one man as his boy could help now, but I had to work like a full job, and it was pretty hard for me, especially stacking hay.

Threshing machines, steamer and separator stayed in the big barn with the smoke stack sticking out of the roof, which caused fire once in awhile, from the coal sparks. The en gine was a heavy one, and hauled around farm one farm to the other with a four-horse team If ready for moving, they let all steam and water out. The separator was a big one, but did not take the grain, like they do here. Fed by hand in the center of the machine, and straw and chaff carried away by men with forks, and stacked up most outside a big stack, which was later on in the fall and winter baled and sold to a straw factory to make paper The grain was separated in three kinds; heavy, lighter, and foul seeds. Everything was weighed up in sacks and hauled from the machine to the nearby river, and loaded in ships, and hauled to the grain market by boat.

And that was my third year on that farm, and the last one. I must say, yet, that every winter I was chore boy. You must remember that in the fall, mostly the first days of November cattle came out of the pasture and put in the barn till spring, {the first days of May). They had an old saying, "When the leaves on the linden tree got the size of a dollar, then the grass or clover was tall enough to put the stock in the pasture." Horse and cattle never was turned out in the winter. Fed and watered in the barn, and one man had to take care of them.

Of course, these grain farmers didn't have more than six milk cows, and some young stock. And around a dozen work horses. You must know that all field work was done by horses, an never more than two horses on a plow or other machinery. Good plowing was the most inter esting work there on the farm. A stubble field was plowed as a rule, three times before seeding began. First shallow and a little deeper each time.

Straw and manure was mostly all sold on these farms, as the soil was heavy and rich. They sold twice a year their manure piles, which was stacked up nice. In the summer the horse which were used, were fed green red clover in, the yard in feed racks, and bedded with straw. That year it was cleaned up in the fall, and sold to a shipper and loaded in a ship again; and he hauled it to a more lighter and sandy soil for a good price. And so with the winter manure which was a little higher priced.

You must remember that all grain tied in bundles by hand. Grain cutting was let out by contract for so much an acre. The man cutting and if the housewife able, she bound and shocked it. And as a rule, people like that hired a little girl to take care of the children at home. They did not put in a very long day, still it was hard work. Went early in the morning, (that is the man), the wife would come a few hours later with the man's breakfast and hot coffee.

Pastures changed off every few years. They seed it down with timothy and Dutch white clover. And hay land is the mammoth red clover, which is also fed green to the work horses. Red clover is sowed with the grain there as sweet clover here, and if too much, plowed under in the fall.

The main crop is winter wheat, winter barley and oats. Cultivating crop is a kind of bean (horsebeans), a great feed when threshed for any kind of stock, even for human beings. And another crop is the field peas which are sold on the market, and used for feed and human consumption.

Well, as I said, I worked three years for that farmer. Next year I hired out to a farmer which farm joined the town, Nieuwe Schans, where I was brought up, and where my folks lived. Hired out as second man for $90.00, I was at that time 18 years. (That is in the fall) when I had to register for the Army.

That farm was located on the German line. We were three hired men there, and a hired girl, and a children's maid. On that place more than once a deserter would come over the line. like a chased rabbit, and hide there far a day. Get some food, and some old clothes, and later on when able would buy a ticket for the good old USA You know every ablebodied man in Germany had to go to the Army for three long years. No wonder they used to have the best trained army in the world.

Well, to make it short, the next year the farmer won't hire me again, but he knew I had to draw a number that spring to be drafted for the Army. As in those days, Holland government did not take everybody, like in Germany. We were six boys that spring, from our little town, who had to go to the county seat by the name of Winschote to draw numbers, and as a rule, the lowest numbers had to go. The ruling was, drawing went by the alphabet. The first one, an old school pal from me drew #6, the highest number. The number I pulled was #5. Well, the government took two out of the six boys, so #1 and #2 (by the way my cousins) were drafted and left that summer. And as I came free, the farmer hired me for $95.00 a year. The next year, I hired out as second man again on the farm for $105.00 a year.

This farm was located a ways off in what they call, a polder. To explain: A polder is a piece of ground taken from the ocean, and diked in. I remember there were seven big farmers in that polder. I never inquired, but by the size of the farms, it must have been around 1000 acres in that polder. It was laid out by the government in farms, with a gravel road through the center lengthwise, and another road crossways going over the dike into another polder. No buildings in there, as that was the last dike to the ocean. That was farm land also, but rented out by the government.

Over the last dike, by ebb or low water it was land, which would overflow by tide or high water, and come clear up to the dike and by stormy weather would raise cain with the dike So to be safe, there would be nobody living on that polder. So you can make up your mind that soil like that would be awful rich, and did not need any fertilizer. And crop failures they didn't think about.

In those days and years the emigration to the USA was great. Every spring lots of young men and girls who had money enough saved up left the country. And so I remember the farmers begin to complain that they could not get help anymore. So the wages were raised. Not only single persons left, but whole families, mostly of the laboring classes.

Sometimes in the fall, a few of the boys who worked a few years in America would come back for a visit and tell us all of the big things of America. Telling us how much money they could earn there; say around 520.00 per month. And you know an American dollar was in our money $2.50gulden. So that would be 50 gulden a month and for eight months 400 gulden. So as you compare that with what we made in Holland on the farm for a whole year. No wonder we wanted to go there, too.

My father always was talking about America, and he wanted to go so bad, but didn't have the money for the fare. At that time, my father was working with a partner at the sawmill, and as I said before, across the river in Germany. His oldest son went the year before to the USA and was writing all the big things home. So that family made up their minds to go the next spring. A family a four, the old folks and a boy and a girl. The boy was my age, the girl a few years younger. So through ralking, my father made the deal, that I should go along with that family in the spring.


So in the spring of 1892 the 17th of March, we left home for the unknown world. The folks where I had to travel with, bought their tickets in Germany in the first little village across the line, name Bunde. That family came over in the evening to my folks, and we sat up all night visiting, as it might be the last visit we had together. As you know my father and his partner worked for many years together and were just like brothers.

So in the morning we walked together from our home to Bunde across the line to take the train at six o'clock. That was around one-half hour walking. By the way, in the old country, we did not travel by miles, like we do here, always so many hours walking. Well, when we get to the line, the Netherlands sign, the two lions on one post, and the German adelar or eagle on the other sign post, I said to myself, "Vaarwel myn dierbaar Vaderlane bygaan oas ankere lichten, my varen naar hot vsere land, alwaar de Bonne gloed one brand, wass de uwe voor most zwichten." Mother and sisters and brothers stayed home, but Father accompanied us to the depot.

It must have been awful hard for a father and mother to send a child away like that, I have been hearing remarks before from old folks, that they just as soon take them to the cemetery. I have found that out when our oldest son Dick had to leave for the camp in the World War. Well, coming back to our journey. We come to the city of Bremen, where we had to stay overnight. The first time I ever was in a big city, and in a hotel. l remember the town had narrow, crooked streets paved with niggerheads. And the next day we saw the soldiers march. Remember Bremen had been the target lately in this war by the British bombers.

Well, the next morning we boarded the train again for Bremerhaven, a harbor for the big boats on the North Sea. You know, we bought tickets from the agent for the Steamship Company, the North Deutsche Loyd in Bunde, from Bremerhaven to Sheldon, Iowa. And our steamship supposed to be (America) but for some reason or another she left the day before. So we got on the "Weimar", a bigger and almost new boat. It was a big one, and had listed 2500 passengers besides the crew, which around 500 men.

I never forget the ride which was not pleasant. We were packed like sardines in a keg. Most of the passengers were Russians, l think, they made a long journey by train already before they got on the boat. And by the way, not very clean. We had a pretty good ride, except one night when we had a bad storm. Side wind as I remember, everything what was loose was rolling from one side of the ship to the other. The doors were all locked and chained down so nobody could go on top of the deck. in daytime the ones what were not seasick went on deck and some always had a frolic time, playing and dancing till way in the small hours of the night.

One Sunday morning, I remember, I woke up and it was so nice and still. No wind, all what you could hear was the sound of the big machinery which I never saw, as they have that way in the bottom of the ship. Well, when I got on deck that morning, the ocean was as quiet and still, like a nice lake. And I saw flying fish jumping and playing in the water. Fish about the size of a man, following the boat night and day. They called them brown fish, picking up the garbage what was thrown overboard. Even the sea gulls followed us everyday, looking for food.

Every once in a while we could see a boat or big steamer, going in, the other direction; and they would salute each other with the flags. Every morning when we came up on deck, the sun would come behind us, so we were traveling straight west all of the time. It is fun to see the sailors work and drill every day. A steamboat of that kind, goes by steam Of course it had two big smokestacks throwing out the black coal smoke all of the time, and three masts besides, for sails. So if the wind was in our favor, they were commanded to put up the sails and then take them down again. It was more for the exercise and drilling, I guess, than for anything else.

You must remember, there are all kinds of people on board, that is employees. Even barber shops and saloon keepers, and what not all. Bakers and cooks see the amount of food it takes.

Well, after we traveled eleven days, one morning by sunrise I woke up and found out we were laying still. So I went up on deck, and saw a little steamboat laying alongside of us, and a few men climbing on rope ladders on board by us. After I inquired we took on board the pilot or guide. We entered the Chesapeake Bay, and the Pilot was going to pilot us through there to the harbor at Baltimore. You know there are shallow places in a bay like that, which are marked by barrels and bells (red barrels). From then on, fellows that had spy glasses, we could see land on the sides. And were we glad--could even see a train. Well, it took us all day to reach the harbor so we were on the ocean twelve days, and got off in the evening in a big building.

That night all the baggage and trunks was hauled in the big shed, and everybody got orders to open trunks and baggage for inspection. By the way, I forgot to mention, everybody had to be vaccinated far smallpox on board, and their eyes tested. As much as I heard, one person died on board, and was lowered by night in the ocean. After they went through our baggage, and didn't find anything to pay duty on, we tied everything up again, and the first thing we knew, were off on the train.

It was evening and dark when our train pulled out for Baltimore. Too bad it was dark because we all wanted to see the New Country so bad. All that we heard, was the engine whistle for the crossings, and that was strange for us, because in the old country they did not do that. As everything is fenced in there and every crossing in town or through a farm country has a watchman, standing with his white flag when the train approached. So you see, by the time it got to be daylight we were all anxious to take a look at the country.

The railroad, I remember was the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Well, that was quite a ride I had a terrible headache on that train. I remember we had our eats along; that lady had part of a ham in a box, and the conductor like that, and got a slice every time we lunched. We started out with an emigrant train, and of course quite a few of the emigrants stayed in the east, working in the mines. But the biggest crowd went on to Chicago and that is where we got off for the first time. And that is where they separated us, and as I understand, they give each railroad a share to take to the northwest.

After we left Chicago, the country began to look better to us, more level and more a farm country. They took us (I mean the family I was traveling with) as far as Des Moines, Iowa. And there they told us to pack up and get off. But we saw right away that it was not Sheldon, Iowa where our tickets called for. The depot agent couldn't make us understand anything, but he showed the twelve o'clock on his clock, and that we had to pull out again As this was in the forenoon, I wanted to see a little so walked around the block, with my wooden shoes on, as was the Dutch custom. The first thing I noticed was a bunch of men cleaning up the mud off the streets. A few Negro’s amongst them, and I had never seen a Negro close by, so I took a good look at them, and they surely took a good look at me. I wonder yet, what they thought of me and what they said.

Well, twelve o'clock came around, and we boarded the train again. The next dumping off place was Ruthoven, Iowa, where we had to get off again, and nobody to speak with us, and tell us what was what. As we were talking together on the depot platform, a man walking around and listening to our talk, started to speak to us in another tongue. By the way, he was a minister. He asked us where we were going, and he said we would have to go to another depot and the train there will come along and pick us up.

And so it was, the Milwaukee came along, and we got on again, and to our surprise, we met a family from our country, who had been with us on the boat, but lost them in Chicago. They were going to Lennox, South Dakota. So pretty soon, we got to Sheldon, Iowa, where the family's boy (who had been here one year) met us at the train, and were we glad! By the way, that was the third day of April. (1892, my addition.)

We all stayed in the hotel that night and as we had to go on to Ashton, Iowa; but in the old country the agent could not find that town on his map, so he sold us tickets to Sheldon Iowa. The next day was Sunday, and we took the train for Ashton, and from there we walked to the farm home, where this young man worked. I don't know how many miles, but we got there alright. The son had rented an empty house for his folks nearby, and had hired his brother out to a farmer, and he let me have his place, so he could help his folks get settled.

You must know, spring work was just started, so after we had a good meal at the farm, they took a team and went after our trunks. So I hired out to this farmer for 518.00 per month That Sunday night, the farmer loaded up a wagon and made ready to go to a farm three miles north of Sibley, Iowa, where he bought that farm a year ago for $17.00 per acre. We went there that night with six horses to be ready in the morning for sowing wheat. There was a little barn an that farm and room for eight horses, so we had a stall for our bed and stove.

What a change for me! As a farmhand from the old country where we had those big houses an barns. Oh my! what a change.' So much difference in everything. No, I didn't like it! Sleeping there in the barn with the farmer. He making the meals no! no! I could not get over that. Well, we stayed that week, and went home Saturday afternoon, and took the horses along. The Mrs.(the farmer's wife) a young woman, having their first baby a few months old. That was the first time I could look things over. You can make up your mind, what I thought of this American farmer and his family.

Sunday night we went again with more seed wheat. The next Wednesday the weather changed, and had a real blizzard, something I never saw this time of year. So we went home again with our horses. I think it was around five or six miles distance. There big snowbanks all over, but the sun came out nice and warm and it was awful sloppy.

The boss asked me the next day if I could sow timothy seed. I told him I never did, but I could all right. Well, he said, "I have in the sack there, go and sow in the pasture over there." Now I didn't know what to think, and I looked at him, and thought something was wrong with the man, sowing grass seed on the snowbanks. But after I heard him explain it, I went, and threw the grass seed on the snow, with the idea that American farming was foolish.

Well, after all, we got along pretty well, even if didn't like it. I made up my mind already, if I had my pay in the fall, I would sure leave for the old country again. The field work was new to me, but as I always did work on the farm that did not take long for me to learn. And I must say yet, the next week on Wednesday again, we had another snowstorm, so there was plenty of moisture that spring.

Well, time crawled along, and first thing we knew, threshing time came. The place we lived on was a rented place and only 80 acres. Nothing but pasture, little hay land (wild), and the rest in corn. So our grain was on the bought farm, and we threshed there. But before this, the farmer bought another 160 acres improved farm near Georgetown, Iowa, for $30.00 per acre. So I was there a couple weeks with three horses and a walking plow to do some fall plowing. He boarded me out to a neighbor.

After this, we had to go and thresh some flax on the other farm. The man with me to help had come across from the old country with me. It was a windy day I remember, and the flax we were threshing was stacked. As we were cleaning up one setting (the feeder), I noticed and mentioned to the engineer to stop: and by this time I noticed a gunny sack full of flax balls standing back of the separator wheel, and picking it up, and threw it on the feeding table, which was pretty good, as the rake was running empty at a good speed The feeder, looking to the engineer, and not seeing the sack, although I was hollering at him, still shook the cylinder and you can imagine what happened. The whole thing busted up, and the crew, of course blamed all this to that green-horn Dutchman. Don't know, as I didn't understand any American yet, just what names they all give me, but I know the farmer scolded me, and give me some bad name. (I understood this as he was a German).

Well, my partner (this newcomer) came to me and said, "Stay here by me, and if they make trouble, we go after them with the pitchforks." So the farmer told me that I get my pay in the morning. He did, and so I was without work, and no place to go. The newcomer I was with had got fired the day before, and so in a few days, we got work, both of us boys by a farmer (a cattle feeder) a high German by the name of Peterson. He lived in a neigh borhood of Matlocjk, a little town. So this man set us to work, cleaning out the cattle sheds with team and wagon. I loading up, and my partner hauling it in the field, spreading it by hand. Our wages were $1.00 per day and we thought that was big pay. (21/2gulden per day.)

We had a great time there, and the boss with a cigar stub in his mouth, smiling because he had a couple good workers, in the manure. I think they had three or four children, a fine hired man picking corn, a hired girl and the two greenhorns. At eating time, a whole table full, and we had to sit one on each side of him, so we got something to eat as this passing around, we were not used to. So the farmer he looks after me, and we got everything, and did we eat.'.' So that went on, don't know anymore for how long or many weeks, but the time came that we had everything cleaned out, and we were laid off. So that was the end of the money-making, and I can't tell you anymore now many dollars I had, but I didn't spend anything. Went to Ashton just once with the farmer, and that is all I remember.

But before I go farther, must tell a story yet from the time I was breaking that farm, north of Sibley. As I said I batch’ed it awhile there in the summer, while breaking some low land for flax. And all the nosebleeding I had that summer, there wasn't a drop of Dutch blood left in me. I had some time there, of course, breaking sod. Breaking sod was not a trick for me, as that was my line. It was wet some places, so there was water in the furrows, and as I had my Holland oxfords on, I had to leave the plow running by itself and I walked on the dry land. By the way, I had horseshoes under the heels of my shoes, and people that saw it, thought it funny. I think they stole the patent as I have seen them here later on. One day I was breaking with my four gray horses, and the off one on the left side got down on the ground, and the other three on top of him. I couldn't think what was the matter, but I heard some animals squealing in the ground, and the old horse must have fallen in a mound of gophers or prairie dogs. Instead of loosing them by hand I took out my pocket knife and cut the strap between them, and got them on their feet again. And as you know, I could not get them through there again.

One day as luck was with me, I broke the cleaver, and not having another extra one, I was laid up. I must say, a man that comes from the farm in the old country can't fix anything because there you take everything to the next man and have it fixed.

I put the horses in the barn, and went to a farmhouse a half-mile away. was there once before with my boss, so I knew him and he was a German. I told him my trouble, and asked if he could let me have one, but he did not an extra one. I didn't think anything about it then, but now I think that must have been a poor stick of a farmer that didn't have at extra cleaver. Well, he said, "It's nearly three miles to town, get on a horse, and get one in town." I hadn't been to Sibley before, so I asked him where I could things, and said they would have them in a hardware store.

So I got on one of the grays and went into town. I remember I rode in the residence district looking in all directions, and the people in the street looking at me. I went through a few streets, and didn't see any place where I could buy a thing like that. An you can imagine how I felt and what I thought of America. So l went back again, and stopped by a farmer, who was a carpenter, by the way, and no wonder he wasn't much of a farmer. told him about my trip, and of course, he laughed. Well, then, he found one and I went back to work and to break some more. Must say before I go any farther, I had in mind .he old country all the time, and hated everything here. Now I must go back where I left off. It was fall, and out of work, so I stayed with my friends who came with me from the old country. In the time, I kept writing to my folks in the old country. My mother had a brother here in America. Left as a young married man with wife and little girl and a little older than myself. But my folks didn't know or have any correspondence with them, and didn't know where they were located.

Rut some way or another, my dad found out that the man, (mother's brother) had died some time ago and left the wife and children. Four girls. And that she had married again and their address was Lennox, South Dakota. My folks thought that I should go and hunt them up. So I made up my mind to go to Lennox, 5. D. I remember one day when I told some old folks there in Iowa that I planned on going to Dakota, they persuaded me to stay, because in Dakota people were starving, no crops, grasshoppers and blizzards in the winter.

Well, I had seen fellows with an old team and wagon there in Iowa from South Dakota, begging seed wheat. Nevertheless, I bought me a ticket for Lennox. Came into Lennox in the night, 2:30 a. m. on the Milwaukee. Stayed in the depot until daylight. Then walked up town. Asked a store clerk if he knew a man by the name of Koert Schriever. That was the man's name that married my aunt. He told me they lived out of town five miles southwest. So I stepped out and went about two miles out and asked a boy by a schoolhouse if he knew people by the name of John Korte. The boy said that he lived two miles southwest of here.

By the way, this family I came across the ocean with, and I knew in the old country. And naturally, I would rather meet them first than my uncle and aunt, which I had never met before or knew. This was late in the fall of the year, but no snow yet. And were those peo- ple glad to see me!! And didn't we tell each other all about the New World!!

After visiting awhile, the man John Korte went along and showed me the Schriever farm. And those people surely were glad to see me, and meet a newcomer from Holland. The four girls (my cousins) the oldest was married that spring and lived on a farm in the same section. The next oldest was working out and the other two, a pair of twins stayed home and helped in the field. And they had four children together, a girl and three boys. The smallest only a year old.

So that is where I made my home that winter, helping with the work for my room and board. And those people sure were good to me, just like father and mother. And my folks in Holland sure were glad that I had come from Holland and had a horne in America. So then we started to plan to let my oldest sister come from Holland. My idea of going back to Holland to live was all over then. Must say, yet, those folks had enough to live on, but no money. That country was not very old then. The settlement mostly German came from western Iowa and took up homesteads there in the 80's then.

My uncle came from Germany as a young man, and had learned the tailor trade in the old country, and he settled in Iowa, and when the trek came to Dakota, he went along and took the homestead. They all came in a covered wagon, as there was no railroad yet. The closest town was Sioux Falls or Vermillion. And I surely like to hear him tell the stories about pioneer days. Going to Vermillion a few neighbors together with their produce. One day going and coming back the next. Selling their eggs for six cents a dozen and butter for twelve cents. Uncle was telling how he broke the first summer with a yoke of oxen and when the mosquitoes were bad, the oxen would pull him and the breaking plow along in a slough of water, and stand there fighting flies.

Well, in the winter I sent for my sister Fenna the money, to come to this country. That time the cholera was so bad in some parts of Europe so they would not take third class and that cost a little more money. I think I sent around seventy dollars, which I had saved up that first summer.

So I spent the winter of '92 and '93 at my uncle and aunt. Before spring I hired out to a farmer in the neighborhood for $22.00 a month, and they wanted my sister, too, whenever she arrived. So by spring I started to work and must say that surely was a hard place to work. From dark in the morning rill way past dark at night. Might as well tell you his name--Andrew Knock, a family with three small children.

So, by and by sister Fenna arrived in Lennox. After staying by aunt and uncle a few weeks to get rested up, she went to work on that farm for $2.00 per week. That went along until the fourth of July when the farmer and I got some words and I left. Went to uncle again and stayed there that summer and helped him.

Later in the fall, I worked out threshing and such. In late fall, when work was done I hired out to a family in the neighborhood by the name of George Lubbers for my room and board, doing chores. Sundays we made our home (sister and I) by aunt and uncle. So the winter rolled by and that spring I hired out to a farmer northeast of Lennox by the name of John Kuper. That part of the country was not so thickly settled yet as the southwest part and they called it the Settlement. That community was taken up by Germans--a fine country and good industry settlement.

The first thing they did was to organize a congregation, and before long they built a church, under the Presbyterian Board just a half-mile from my uncle. The first preacher, they told me, a man by the name of Ludwig Fiagge, came from Canton, South Dakota on Sunday mornings by foot eighteen miles. They called him later, and built him a house, a young family with four girls. I have known the family who was preaching there in my days.

Well, as I worked on that place northeast of town, I bought a pony and road cart. I remember I paid $15.00 for the pony, a nice chunky pony, a new harness for 37.00 and the cart for $12.50. So I had a nice rig, what was all the go in those days for a hired man. Sister and the rest I could go and see on Sundays. That was in the year 1984, known as the dry year. Everything was awful early that spring--lilacs and fruit trees all in bloom early. Later on many night frosts and after that dry weather, small grain stayed awful short. Saw some early barley not over six inches high, and some corn never tasseled out. So by the Fourth of July the prospects for a crop were gone. Many farmers let their hire help go or hired them for half-price. That is what my boss did, so I worked three months for $22.00, then he offered me $11.00 if I wanted to stay. So I decided to stay, as there was no other way.

So we harvested what we could, cut about 20 acres corn by hand, same of it just tasseled out and a couple feet high. Some made a corn cutter, a stone boat with a plowshare bolted on the side. drawn by two horses in the lead and a man sitting on the stoneboat, catching the corn hill when the plowlay hit it. So I worked three more months for $11.00 and by that time the work was done. I would have liked to stay for my board, but he did not need a man through the winter. I couldn't find a place then, even just for my board.

By that time, I heard that farther east and in western Iowa they had a fair crop. So I made up my mind to go to Iowa, around Ashton, where I worked the first year. There was a Hollander settlement in that country, which I heard about the first year. So I said good bye to sister and the rest of the families and one nice morning I packed my belongings in the cart, and started off, not knowing where I would land. The roads, you all know, were not like now. I started east and sometimes I would strike a stretch where there was no road at all. I noticed that farther east I came, how much better the corn crop looked, and saw a little straw pile once in awhile. I drove until dark, when I came to a farm house, the barn on one side of road and the house on the other side.

As far as I found out the next morning that was north of Rock Rapids, Iowa. Well, I saw the farmer doing chores by lantern, so I stopped and asked in American as good as I could if I could stay overnight. And he could hear that I was a foreigner, so he asked me if I was a plat Deutsche, and I said yes. (Ik bin ain Hollander). So he told me I could stay and asked me where I was going, and told him of my plan.

He said I could stay and pick corn, but I told him that I had never picked corn and would rather go on. So, in the morning, the man told me which road to take and I arrived that day by a farmer I knew. His name was Theodore Dilly, and old Pennsylvanian who married young Hollander and had six children, the oldest a boy of six years, and going to school. So I asked him if he could use a man this winter and he said yes, I could stay there for my board, doing chores and driving Johnnie to and from school, which was two miles. So I was glad, that I had a place and a bed to sleep on. I had to sleep with Johnnie upstairs. I could put my pony in the cow barn and turn him in the corn stalks with the rest of the stock, but don't feed him any oats!

He had six horses and some cows, and cornstalks and a few wheat straw piles. In the mornings the boss would hit the stove pipe and call me. He was sitting by the stove with a child on each knee, dressing them and the Mrs. was making pancakes. I had to go to the barn, do the feeding and milking, and harness a team and take Johnnie to school in the bob sleigh. And that was every morning the same story. After I got back from school, clean out the barn. If there wasn't anything else we would cut up some old cottonwood trees, or maybe we would haul a few loads of straw in the barn. On washday I had to turn the old washing machine (western washer). Then another day I had to churn; so they kept me busy all right.

It was going to be Christmas and those Hollanders in the neighborhood, all butchered a beef and a hog for winter. And the rule was to help each other, and have a little feast (a but chering bee). And they didn't forget the hot punch. And my boss, old Theodore had to make the sausage, season it with salt and pepper --no woman could beat him. Everything was fin ished that day, and then they had a few more hot drinks, and a little dance sometimes.

And so we went from one to another, about half dozen in the ring, and all related. I was not the only young man in the bunch, most all had a man for chores. So after butchering time, came Christmas and then New Year and some more hot punch. The winter rolled by that way and it was now February. And one morning when the boss came in the barn, he noticed there was some frozen oats in the pony's box.

You know, when I fed the horses oats in the morning, the old pony would ask for a little and I could not stand it to go by him. So I had been giving him a little right along. But that morning it leaked out and my boss came to me and said "Didn't I tell you not to feed that pony any oats?" I said, "Yes sir, you did." Well, he told me to take the pony and go.

That was sometime in February and so I was without a place again. But across the road was a German family, where two Hollander boys stayed through the winter for ten dollars a month far the two of them. The family didn't have anything, they were not farming and lived by renting rooms. I knew the two boys, one I got acquainted with in Holland. So that is where I went and told them my troubles. They said I could stay there for awhile if we slept three in a bed. So I did.

The boys heard that a farmer was going to move to Missouri, and one of the boys wanted to go along. The man by the name of Bert Kraai told him all the good things about Missouri. One of the boys didn't want to go along, but he persuaded me to go along. There was an- other family (Hollander) going along, and the sale was set already. So I took my belong ings, pony, and roadcart to the sale. The stuff sold cheap, as they had hard times that year, not much crop. I remember the pony brought 52.50 and 15.00 for the roadcart and harness. I know I was awful sorry that it went so cheap. I had a few dollars yet, but for my work +hat last summer in South Dakota I didn't get any, only a note for $85.00.

So after the sale, we got ready, and one day we boarded the train in Ashton, Iowa for St. James, Missouri, located a hundred miles southwest of St. Louis in the Ozark Mountains. The fare was $21.00 and some cents.

A few days before this a few families went from Ashton to Oklahoma. We were two families each, a few children and we boys. 5o after a few days traveling, we arrived at St. James. The northern part of Missouri where we went through looked to be a nice farm country, lev el and big buildings. But when we 1eft St. Louis and going southwest, we were surprised; timber and mountains.

Well, as I said, we got to our destination; got off and went for the hotel. A low old building, surrounded by big trees, and porches all around the building. Of course, every body in the town had an idea that we were land seekers from the north, dressed in winter clothes, overshoes and overcoats. One man had on felt boots and overshoes, and I bought a fur coat in Lennox for $28.0O the winter before. Everybody in town would come to the hotel lobby and look at my coat. And first thing you know they all wanted to sell out, farms and business places. There were quite a few high Germans in that town.

No grain elevators in the town, but a place they called a warehouse; it had some feed and seed for sale. All that you could see along the track was cord wood and railroad ties all stacked up. So the first day we stayed in town, and found out where place were for sale or for rent. And as we thought, this Bert Kraai had money to buy a place, but we found out he didn't have any more than the rest of us. The hotel was run by two old maids. I heard this Bert Kraai ask them one evening how it happened they didn't have a man! I must say he was one of those guys who could talk and joke and a happy-go-lucky guy. Well, the answer was they told him that as soon as our boys here get big enough so that they can earn money go to St. Louis to work. And by the way , we came there to find work.

So in the morning we four men went into the country to look for work, and by foot, They would tell you in town about a certain place in the country so many miles out, and tell you, when you come to the first fork in the road, take either left or right and then the next fork the same way. We thought they must have awful long miles there, but we found out they measure the way the crow flies, and we had to go around, of course.

There were no bridges, and everyone of us had to cross a nice clear running brook from four inches to a foot deep with water, a clear mountain water. The roads mostly cut through timber and left the tree stumps. Whenever we heard a cowbell, we knew we were close to a farmhouse. Houses were log cabins, mostly kind of long, one room on each end, with the center open, and screened in. Well, we traveled all day, and by evening to back to town. The two women would sit on the porch in the sun. So it went on for a few weeks. One day they know a good place for us in another direction and the next day on the other side of town.

And did we get tired, walking that country, and it was warm already even though it was the last part of February. We soon changed from our winter clothing to summer clothing. Telling you about the country, they cut down the timber that was big enough to cord wood or ties; burn the brush, and root the thing over between the stumps either put in a lit tle grain or corn, or else set out fruit trees, mostly apples. You know those Missouri apples are hard to beat, selling on trains for five cents a piece. Everybody in the country has a fruit cellar cave on the side hill. Sometimes a little ways from the house. We went to one one time, and got a quart jar of peaches, oh my!

And so it went on for awhile, exploring the country. Farmers travel there in lumber wa qons with a few rocker chairs for seats. And some come to town on horseback. At the same time we still looking for a living house, and my partner and I for a place to work. One time they sent us to an old couple on the farm, who were looking for a hired man. We asks what he could pay, and the farmer said that last year he had o man and he worked for one fourth of the crop. We asked him how much the crop he had in, and he said 4O acres of winter rye. We did not think that was very good. One thing I must say; people in that country try don't overwork themselves. I think if we tried it one summer, maybe we would have like it.

Next farmer we struck for work a big farmer, the way it sounded to me. He wanted to hire us for 511.00 per month, if we could cut so many fence rails (I forget the amount). He had a man there then who was splitting shingles out of oak blocks. Those shingles are a bout a half-inch thick, and I suppose they would last quite awhile. But you must know, we never had an ax in our hands, and that kind of work we were not used to, so we refuse

You know every country has their peculiar ways, and people. One evening at the hotel we heard that there was a farmer a few miles out of town wanting a hired man. So all four of us went that way the next morning, and this Bert was always the spokesman. The rest of us were green. well, we found the place, and there was a widow woman and her daughter living there. Dark complexion, and they said they were French descendants. Well, the mother said they were all alone there, and would like to have a hired men. So we asked the wages. She said there wasn't much to do, but they would like to have one for company. She would make us a proposition: If we worked there for three years, she would give us her daughter for a wife. Did you ever hear any thing like that except Jacob in the Bible times? You know they were pretty good looking gals! But we refused the deal.

That same day, I remember, we struck an old shack--log cabin and went and knocked. Of course, we didn't really need to knock as the door was open. An old man living there by himself, and he called us in. He was an old soldier, and got the claim from the government. So he told us all about the country, and showed us a cigar box full of money, the way he figured. Well, the old fellow sure took life easy, and got a pension from the government. Had all kinds of guns on the wall, and he would shoot lots of game, like wild turkeys, which were plenty there.

When I was a school boy, you know, I read about the Robinson Crusoe, and there we found him. They all have fireplaces there, and this old man had trees laying around the cabin, and had a long one laying on the floor, and one end on the fire and the other sticking out of the door. That was the reason he could not close the door. When needed, he put the ax in and pulled it a little farther. He said, in winter he goes to town for a few months and lives at the soldier's home in St. James.

One remark I must make yet, whenever we got to a farm place where they kept a little live stock, we would see a few hogs running in the woods, eating acorns. They had long snouts and could reach the fifth row of corn through the fence. When the farmers wanted to kill one hog, they got hold of his bristles on his back, and when his head went down, they would let it run awhile.

So we didn't get a place to work, and the family did not find what they wanted, and staying the hotel was expensive. So after staying two weeks in the hotel, the meat market mar a German butcher told the man that he had an empty house on his farm (it needed a little fixing), but they could move in there until they found something else. And that was what they decided. They ordered the drayman, loaded the trunks and belongings and the two families drove out of town with a four horse team, through the woods until we came to an old collapsed house. No door, or windows and half of the floor torn out. Floor was made of twelve-inch rood boards. So we unloaded, and the drayman went back to town. It was dusk already, so we had to get a place to sleep. The women folks got three straw ticks out of the trunks, and my partner and myself had to fill them up with tree leaves, which were a bout a foot thick under the trees. Bert told us to be careful and not roll in any rattlesnakes, as they were told there were plenty there. So we spread the two straw ticks on the floor, and we slept on them that night. Bert told us if we heard a snake, don't move, just lay still. And you know how women folks are, and even myself felt funny. We rested pretty good, got up early in the morning, and looked the country over.

There was a nice stream close by, with clear sparkling water in a valley. So the women folks got busy and took the dirty clothes out to the brook and did their washing. They sent my partner and me (his name was Lambert) to town to buy a little provisions. So we bought some things to eat, and walked back. I think it was about five miles. We talked things over and tried to decide what to do.

My partner said, "I am not going to stay here. I'll tell you that." I asked him "Where would you go?" Well, he said, "The best way to go is to Illinois. "You go along," he asked. I said, "I can't leave to go anywhere, because my money is all gone." "Well," he said, "if you want to go along with me, I'll buy your ticket." He had more money than either of us. So I agreed, and we decided to leave the next. morning for Freeport, Illinois. He was acquainted there, and he had worked 'here the first year he came from Holland.

We told the folks the plan, and they sure didn't like it. They would have liked to leave, too, especially the one family, but they didn't have money, either. So in the morning, we got ready. The men were going with us into town, but we had to say goodbye to the women and children, and did they cry! Well we bought a ticket to St. Louis, and from there on, we had to buy another one. I remember it was the Santa Fe railroad. And what did I do in my haste? I left my fur coat and overshoes in the corner of the depot. So that was too bad, but we had the conductor try and get it far us. He got off at the next station and wired back to find the coat and send it to Freeport. So that was that! We arrived at the Union Depot in St. Louis. Wonderful depot, we thought, with so many wonderful railroads. We inquired at the ticket office about going to Freeport, and he asked us which road we wanted to take. And of course we didn't know. He mentioned a few which he could take, and I remember he called the Big Four, some told us that was the one, so we told him we would take that. So when the time come in the morning (we had to stay overnight) we left.

I remember the first place where we had to stop over was Springfield, Illinois. We went in a hotel for the night. Had a room with double beds, and so we said to each other, we will used them both. So when I got ready to roll in, I felt something under the blanket, and by investigating, I found a crutch in the bed. Funny thing, there must have been somebody in there before who came with a crutch and walked out without one.

Well, we came to Freeport, and as we stepped out, it was snowing to beat sixty, and wet snow, too. So we had to buy rubbers again. Now I asked my partner, here we are in Freeport but where do we go now? He decided to go to Baileville, the next station, because he was acquainted there. So we bought a ticket on another railroad. Baileville was a little bit of a place. Arriving there we went in a General Merchandise store, the only store in town and inquired about farm help and so on. The storekeeper said, "There is a farm sale today, a few miles out, and I'm sure when you go there, you will find farmers who need hired men So we did walk out, but it was more than a few miles. And the sale was on, and a big crowd. It wasn't long before we both had a place to work, and could start right in.

I hired out to a man by the name of Claus Wemmering a German, and my partner to Emil Niessmeyer, a German also. Both of us for $25.00 per month. We thought that was better than working three years in Missouri for a wife. Northern part of Illinois is a great farming country, and is in 0ld county. I think a hundred miles west of Chicago. We were only a half mile apart, and liked it well. Sundays we would go out, each on a pony from the farmer, to a little village, Florence Station. Just a little place with one general store, church and school. A few residents, mostly working men and the beauty of it, people from Holland whom we knew from the old country.

You know that was a rich farming country, with well-to-do farmers, with big buildings. And they worked the land almost like we did in Holland. And then working men did a lot of ditching, or as they say, tilling. And as I said before, fellows who came from the farm in the old country could work with a spade. Well, the man I worked for came as a poor bay from Germany, worked on the farm here, saved a little money, and got acquainted with a daughter from a well-to-do German farmer, and he got a wife. They rented for a few years, then the father-in-law bought 160 acres with a small house and a straw barn for $77.00 per acre, well improved. Otherwise apple orchard and nice shade trees, buckthorn hedges on the farm, which they use as fences. So there is where I started to work, both of us, boss and I on a quarter section.

By the way, in Dakota they had to work two or three quarter sections, before they would hire a man. I noticed a difference in farming right away. We both went out with a team on a one-inch walking plow, and plowed last year's corn field. In the west, they would broadcast the grain with a wagon seeder, or endgate seeder, disc it once, and let it go at that. After that, or during spring work, the farmer put up a new barn and had four or five carpenters there from Florence Station. Well, when the barn was ready, carpenters left, and I had to haul dirt from the roadside to fill in the barn, and the boss started painting. By the way, I had a team there, an old gray and younger mare or sorrel, called Beauty, a runaway horse. Always had her tied to the old gray. So that took a few days filling in the barn.

One nice afternoon, I was going out in the yard again with the empty wagon, and only a little trot, when all of a sudden Beauty took a dive, and the old gray followed suit, and there we were going as fast as they could go. I was hanging on to the lines and first thing I know, I was sitting flat in the wagon box holding on for dear life. But the gray horse could not go as fast as the sorrel mare, she crowded him to a high barb wired fence. And by that time, I thought the outfit would get in the fence, and upset the whole thing. So I gave them the lines and got to the back endgate and slipped out. And you car imagine what happened. The minute I put my feet on the ground and let my hands loose, went like a wagon wheel, following for a few rods. After I got to my feet, a neighbor boy came along with a team on a top buggy. He asked me first if I was hurt, and I said no, but my foot hurt me. So he followed my team and wagon and caught them in a neighbor's yard. I followed them, crippled and with a sore ankle.

Pretty soon, the young man and the neighbor came along with the outfit in a trot, both hanging on the lines. They stopped and told me to get in. I sat on the wagon with my legs hanging off again on the back of the wagon. They went along pretty lively and I got off the back of the wagon. They went along pretty lively and I got off again, and the first thing I know, they could not hold them and by pulling on the lines they upset the outfit, horses down and wagon on top. By that time, my boss came along, who had seen the whole performance from the ladder where he had been painting.

By that time my foot was swollen pretty bad. After we had to the outfit home, the farmer looked at my foot which was so badly swollen he could hardly get my shoe off. So he hitched up a team on to the buggy and took me to the doctor in Shannon, about five miles away. The old doctor examined it and said I had a broken bone in the ankle. So he bandaged it up, and told me to use crutches for at least six weeks and not use my foot. So there I was, laic up, and the boss without a man to help. His brother who was single, helped him out for awhile and I was lying around the house or in the shade of the trees. I oiled the harness and the lawn; went a few times to Forence to stay with a family I knew in Holland and so killed time.

And at the same time, I found out that our neighbor, about three quarters of a mile away had hired a girl who came from Holland the year before. And I knew the girl in the old country because her folks lived on a joining farm where I worked for three years. So one rice afternoon, I took the road on my crutches for that farm. When I got there, I saw her in the garden and looking up, she dropped her hoe, and cried, "Harm Begeman."

So we got to talking together about the old country and so on. Well, time went on, and my foot healed up and by the fourth of July I took the courage to ask the girl if we couldn't go together to the Fourth of July celebration in Freeport, and she said yes. So we went together to Freeport on the train to celebrate the Fourth of July. And that was the beginning of the romance.

Everything has to have a beginning or starting point. And now I must tell you first a little about my girl friend. As I told you before, I knew her and her folks in the old country. Her folks I knew better than her. Her father was a laborer on a far, and like I said, in harvest time, the old folks went into the fields and she had to take care of a few brothers, younger than herself, and also do the housework. Her father was a respectable man, and well liked; always had a steady job by a rich farmer. She was the only girl in the family, and there were six boys in the family. One sister that I never knew died at the age of eighteen. I think I better give you the name of father and mother any how. Her father was known by the name of Albert Willens. His full name was Albert William Alberda, and the mother, Mettje Bulsebos. Many people was called that way by the middle name, like Albert Willems. My folks told me that the one I was named after, my grandfather on father's side was known as Harm Fillips.

I was told by my father that this man could plow so straight. More than once, if they had to dig a ditch in a piece of land, this Harm Fillips could take a team on a walk instead of using a line. I was glad to know that, because I was a good plower in the old country and my dad used to say, "You aim after your grandfather." So much for that.

At that time the emigration to the USA was great. So this girl, where I am writing about now, as you all who read this might know became my beloved wife.

So in the fall, the 16th of December we were married in the town of Bailleville by a German Reform minister. The farmer where was working for, (his parents lived in that little town) he hauled us in there in a lumber wagon and such roads! Mud up to the hubs, And an awful sloppy fall that year. Well, the man she worked for wanted us to stay there and work for him, but I thought we better go west, and try our luck.

But I forgot some--must say, that the girl had an uncle and aunt in this country around Freeport, her mother's sister. The man's name was Claus Stubbe, who is this writing still alive, I think, living Little Rock, Iowa close to 90 years old. So there is where she went to. How hard it must have been for her folks, to see an only daughter go to this country. So then two days after our marriage, we went to Lennox, South Dakota on our hone moon. And must say that took about all the money I had. As you see, I had to pay my part her back, what he loaned me on my trip. In those days the hired girls on the farm, did not get over $1.00 to $2.00 per week. I forget now, how much the Mrs. had. A very little I know that.

So we came to Lennox, and went to her uncle and aunt, and they knew all about and that we were coming. By the way, sister Fenna got married in the spring to a farmer boy there by name of Ben Poppenga, and they were living on one of his father's farms. His father was and old settler there, who had taken a homestead in the early days, but had at that time nine quarter sections of land.

Well, we stayed at uncle and aunt's about a month, I think, and had a good time together. Then I got my note cashed from the farmer I worked for in the dry year and bought the necessary furniture. Uncle and aunt went along to Lennox and gave us a little advice. Got a cook stove with the necessary things! A bed and six chairs. Then went to housekeeping in the country in an empty shack, not far from sister and her husband. Those days her first baby boy was born there. Of course there was no work in the winter, so we had to live on love and that will work, if it doesn't take too long.

But I hired out that time to a farmer by the name of Henry Sinning. He had a half-section of land with two houses. We were supposed to live on one quarter-section in the small house and use the small barn, etc. The wages were $20.00 per month, free house with big garden five acres pasture for a few cows and two acres corn from his field for fodder. I was supposed to work for him, sleep at home and eat at his place. He was a great worker, and I sure put in long days there. B got along fine, worked two summers for him. In the winter there was no work. So that is when our first baby was born. We had two milk cows, a few sows with pigs, some chickens and were well satisfied.

But all this time, my folks in the old country kept writing and asking to hurry up and get some money together, so they could come over here, too. So we got busy; I had saved a little and the rest got from Fenna and her husband, and we bought tickets for the folks and the rest of the family to come over here. I forget now how much money it took, but we bought tickets at the bank in Lennox, who were the agents.

So in the spring of 1897 the folks arrived in Lennox, (all well) I think they landed at Philadelphia. There were the old folks, two brothers Bouvinus and Fillippus and two sisters, Grietje and Hemegina. The last one was born while I was in America. We had a lit tle place rented for the folks in the country close by us. They stayed a few days at Ben and Fenna's because they had room for them. So we got busy, putting the necessary furniture and got the folks settled in their little place. Gathered same chickens for them and a milk cow, and father had his wish fulfilled, because now he was in America. But he was surely disappointed with the country. The old folks sure were lonesome and really never did like the country. The old saying is true. "Pretty hard to transplant an old tree."

The two boys got a place right away on a farm, and soon became acquainted with the young folks and the ways of the country. They all went to the public school in the country that fall. Father worked mostly for Ben and Fenna to ear money they advanced for their tickets.

I worked two years for this Sinning, then we moved to Lennox. I got a job with the Great Northern Railroad as section hand. They paid %1.10 for ten hours work. But did not have work on the section that first winter, as I was a new beginner and the first man had the winter job. I remember the first winter I cut up cord wood lengths for a banker for 70 and that took me two days. We used a wood stove and I cut the cord wood in two foot lengths for that.

That winter our second baby boy was born. We took an old pony and a single buggy along to town, where the Mrs. and the boys went out into the country to visit the old folks. And by this time the old folks had an old horse and buggy, which they could use to go to town to do the shopping.

So in a couple years we had a couple hundred dollars saved up. We were tired of paying rent, so I bought two acres of ground on a block in west Lennox, joining the railroad. I borrowed a few hundred dollars and put up a house on it, 14 feet by 26 feet by 12 feet. A little barn, room for a cow and a few chickens.

By that time, I was first man on the section, and had work in the winter, too. That is part of the time, as I divided the time with another man who needed work. I had something to do early in the morning before I went to work and late at night--planting trees and fening the place, etc.

So we had our own home, and well satisfied and working hard, and saving all we could. Must say, yet, the first year when we lived in the country, two miles out of Lennox, we joined the German Reformed church of Lennox, where the children were baptized. By the time we everything fixed up nice, fruit trees and shade trees started, something else turned up. As we were working on the section one day, the roadmaster came along and asked the boss if he had a man who could run a section. The boss recommended me and I had to go to Sioux Falls, South Dakota right away.

So I boarded a train and went back and forth for a few weeks. I lived with one of the men that worked for me, and went to Lennox on the handcar on Sundays. Then we rented a house in Sioux Falls and rented ours in Lennox. Had our house hold furniture and cow shipped by train. There was no barn, so I went to the lumber yard and bought me lumber enough to make a shed for the cow. Handy, just a block from the Great Northern depot, At this writing the old house is there yet, although the depot burned later on, and they built a new one farther north on 7th street. I think we lived three months in Sioux Falls when there came a change again.

They changed the sections a few miles, as there were two sections crews in Sioux falls, so I went south of town to meet the Lennox gang, and the other had the yard gangs road, north of town. I had to go two miles farther south; this put us in the town of Tea. So I looked around for a house in Tea, and all I could rent was an old pool hall building. The owner was a newly married man, a bookkeeper in the Peters and Heeren store. He and his wife occupied the shanty outside and the upstairs. He made a partition in the pool hall part, so we had a kitchen and bedroom. There is that building where our little girl was born.

We lived there for awhile, then thought we better build us a home again. At the same time we rented out the one in Lennox. So I bought three lots in a cornfield in the town limits and arranged to build a house Didn't have money enough, but borrowed on first mortgage, I think, for $700.00. As I had to do all the work, I hired the digging of the basement, hauling rock and everything else. An old carpenter in town did the building and it took him all fall and winter. Had the plastering done in the winter, too, while the heater was going day and night. So by spring we moved in, and had it completed.

A home, 14' x 26' living room and bedroom with an addition 14' x 16' for kitchen with a porch on each side, and three bedrooms upstairs. So I worked again that summer planting trees and fencing the place. Made a picket fence on the west side, which was the front, painted it white with green tops. So we had a nice place again, on the corner, with a Lutheran church (only church in town) across the street.

Quite often, we would load the three children on the handcar, the little girl in the box, boys standing up, and Mrs. and I on the handle, and would go to Lennox. Even further, half ways to Davis, put the handcar off, and walk half-mile to Sister Fenna and visit her family on their farm.

That went alright, until the Mrs. began to get sick. There was something wrong, and we didn't know what. She had the idea that she had consumption. She went one week on the train to Lennox to see the doctor. The oldest boy, Dick, was old enough to go to school which was a half-mile west of town. And the Mrs. had the idea that she would rather go on a farm, because she thought it was better for her health and better for the boys. So she persuaded me to rent a farm. and that is what I did--rented the old Sinning place again, one and a half miles west of Lennox.

And at the same time we sold the house at Lennox for $800.00 to the old folks. Kuck rented the Tea house. So I had to stock up. I remember I bought an old sorrel team, twelve and fourteen years old at a sale for I think about $175.00. Had a cow in town, and bought three more, a few sows and around a hundred barred rock chickens for 36' a piece. Seed grain Mr. Sinning loaned me until threshing time in the fall. Remember I bought out first new lumber wagon in Tea for 565.00, triple box. So we went farming in the spring.

Just when we were ready to move, the little girl got pneumonia. Was quite sick, and wasn't very well when we moved. At the same time, my old folks lived on the farm by this time, east of Davis and five miles south of us. Had a fair crop that year and got along fine. Next summer we bought a new spring wagon or double-seated buggy, so we didn't have to go on the lumber wagon any more. We lived on that farm for two years, and had it rented again, but Mr. Sinning's oldest daughter got married unexpectedly, so he asked if : could rent another place, so his children could live on his farm. By that time, my folks had quit farming, because my two brothers, Bouvinus and Fillip didn't want to stay home any longer. So I rented that farm, 160 acres and a 40, and went plowing there in the fall with three horses and sulky. The folks had a poor wheat crop that year, plenty of straw, but the rust got it.

It was dry that fall and I did a nice job of plowing. Could plow through all the low places, as that farm was quite low. The folks rented a small place in the country, about ten acres. They just kept a few cows and old Charley and a single buggy. The boys workers out and Fillip (as we called him) went along with somebody to North Dakota and took a homestead nine miles northwest of Steele, N. D. That is, he bought a relinquishment, I guess for $300.00. There was a shack on the place and ten acres broken. In those days a man could take a homestead and go there every six months, and stay around a few days, then go away again, and work out. That is what Fillip did, and the next time he went again, he took brother Bo along, and he filed a claim northwest of Driscoll, North Dakota.

So the next time he went again,(he was staying with us at the time) my wife made the remark and said to me, "Why don't you go along?" And we did, and I filed on a homestead sixteen miles northwest of Steele, N. D. Fillip at the same time stayed in N. D. and worked out. And in the spring of 1900 on the first day of May, we received a telegram that brother Fillip shot himself accidentally on a ranch (Wilson ranch) southwest of Steele where he was working. That was quite a shock for us all especially the folks. So brother Bo and I went to Steele and got him, and the funeral was held in Lennox. One thing I must say before I go any further, was that when we lived in Tea we sent for one of my wife's brothers from the old country.

I used to know him when he was a school boy. He was deaf and dumb, and went to Holland deaf and dumb school (institute)to learn, as the teacher in a common school could not teach him. So Willem, his name, came--a big boy six foot strong man But we were surprised that he could not talk to anybody. Too bad! Even his sister had a hard time to make him understand anything. So I took him on the section, and you can make up your mind what kind of section man he made. But as time went on, and when we were on the farm, he worked in the neighborhood and got along pretty good.

And now in the fall of 1906, I loaded an emigrant car at Davis for Driscoll, N. D. My six months time was up that fall on the 24th day of September to live on the homestead. We had some threshing done by that time. But it was terrible wet that summer, and some grain stacks in the field, the threshing machines could not get to them before the ground froze. So it was rather a bad time to go to N. D., but I made arrangements with brother Bo to take care of the family and farm until threshing and corn picking was done. Then he was supposed to load the rest of our stock, machinery and come to N. D.

So I went and took the team along and six heifers, wagon and the things we could spare on the farm. Arrived in Driscoll and had a nice trip--come by the way of Willmar, Minnesota to Breckenridge, Minnesota on the Great Northern, then on to the Northern Pacific to Driscoll. Had a cousin living northwest of Driscoll, Peter Freiborg. He had been in ND for some years, used to live on a farm in SD south of Lennox. So I unloaded and went to him. He was supposed to take care of the six heifers until I had room for a little barn. Next day we went to town, loaded up lumber to build the barn, 14' x 16'. Then I started north of town not knowing where I was going.

I knew the claim was northeast of Driscoll, but did not know if I could find it. After traveling some distance, I met a fellow cutting flax, and I inquired by him, but he said that must be in Kidder County and keep going north until you come to a house in the hills, and stop there and ask him. So I came to a house in the hills, the trail went by the door, and a lady came out and told me that I was not far from it anymore. You go on to the northeast a few more miles, she said. By that time the sun was pretty well to the ground, a nice clear September evening. Pretty soon I struck a shack, but nobody was home By the way, that was the home of Alfonso Laybin, later on one of our neighbors.

From his place, I could see another place, which I noticed at the time looked like our claim and I knew than that I was getting close. That was the Lars Kjelsen family, who had come there the year before from Rothsay, Minnesota. So I came down the hills into a valley through where the deep wagon trail went. The old Steele trail from the northwest. So going on north awhile yet, I thought I would turn out of the valley and go on up into the highlands. By that time the sun was down, horses were tired, and my load of lumber well to the back of the wagon and tipped way up once in awhile. So I made up my mind to unload and go to the farmhouse south. So I did, and came to the Kjelsen home and asked if I could stay there overnight. A family with five children, four at home. The old folks sure took me up friendly and were glad that they were going to have neighbors. Their children were so glad that they were going to have some playmates.

Well, I told the Mr. that I threw my lumber on the ground, but did not know if it was on my claim or not. So we ate supper, and we walked over to see where I had unloaded. It was a very nice evening and when we got there, he told me that I had put it in the center of my quarter, So we walked home again, and Mrs. Kjelsen made me a bed on the floor, as they had only a two room house.

Next morning, Mr. Kjelsen and 1 drove to the claim, loaded up my lumber again and we picked out a building place. Went up on a hill from where we could see his place, and even Driscoll. So he helped build the little barn, and the next day the team had a stall and I used the other. I took the little dog along from South Dakota by the name of Teddy and he was lots of company for me. Both of us were afraid at night, whenever we heard the coyotes snooping around the barn. It was rather a lonesome place, especially at night.

Mrs. Freiborg made me a big jar full of baked beans; Mrs. Kjelsen made bread for me, and I took a slab of bacon along from South Dakota. The first thing I had to do was to make hay, so I would have feed for the stock in the coming winter. Grass was all cured already, except some grass land in the lowlands. I hitched on the mower right by the barn and cut where ever the nicest grass was. But oh, the rocks! In the morning when it was damp and still E hauled hay, and in the daytime when the wind was blowing I mowed again. And wind was a plenty! In the evening when we went to roost, the sky was red all over from prairie fires, and I was sitting there without a fire brake.

I took the Kjelsen's stubble plow along one day, and tried to plow a furrow, but it was so dry and rocky, the two horses could not pull it, so we left it alone, and lived on good hope that the fire would not get us. These were the days (or rather evening) when I took out the old Dutch family Bible (which the Mrs. gave me to take along) and read by the little lamp, when everything was still, except a noise around the barn--a coyote maybe, and the little dog would raise his ears but was afraid to bark.

I had plenty of work, making and fixing a cow shed. And in between times, when it was not haying weather, I started to dig a well. Mr. Kjelsen pointed out the place for me to dig the well after we had selected the spot for the house. The edge of a slough hole, southeast of the place where I was supposed to build the house. Everything was bone dry that fall, and I dug eight feet down, a hole 4' x 4', but found nothing but gumbo. But after I got through with that, I struck a sand streak with water and I stopped digging and had a couple feet of water. So I thought I was lucky. Bought some lumber, and boxed it up nice, and put a cover on it.

Then of course I had to plan the house, not the plan only, but I kept writing to the Mrs. and the family and get advice from her. The blueprint showed a room 14' x 14' x 8' with the cellar under the main room. A lean-to 8' x 14' for bedroom. One thing you always have to take into consideration is the money question. I started digging the cellar, about 12'x12'x 6' deep on a clay hill. Then we got the lumber bill from Mr. Kjelsen, as he was a carpenter, and we started hauling lumber from Driscoll.

So Kjelsen and I started building the house, and we ate dinner at his house. Then Mrs. Kjelsen and the children were anxiously waiting for my family to come. That was a good sized house for that country in those days as most of the settlers had sod houses. On a nice clear day, I could see the house, a few miles north of Steele. After we had the house up, shipslap on the outside and boarded up on the inside with re-sawed lumber, Mr. Kjelsen me to fill in with dirt between the walls. He said that would make it warm and heavy, so the wind will not take it. Those were his words and I took his advice. I started digging a hole south of the house for the dirt. This became the storm cellar or cave in later years. We carried it by pail, and poured it in between the walls. That took time and labor, and not good at all. Would not have been so bad if it were dirt, but it was mostly gravel.

So by and by the house was finished, and some days it was pretty cold already. I remember it was on the 17th day of November when I moved from the barn into the house. A fellow by the name of John Johson came along with a rifle and gave me a lift. By the way, that Johson was the man who went with Brother Fillip from Lennox to Steele and was staying by a Norwegian bachelor in the neighborhood by the name of Ed Wester. And on the day I moved we had our first snowstorm. Not much snow but a bad blustery day with wind from the northwest.

By that time my haying was done, I had a stack north of the barn, and that was shelter for the cows. I laid sixteen feet of tamarack poles from the barn on the haystack and covered it with slough hay so I was set for the winter. But before this time, something bad happened. One morning, I had to get some lumber from Driscoll, to finish the house. I hitched up the team, a nice young team, a black and a sorrel. It was cold and slippery, but I hitched up the team and watered them and I got on the wagon reach and off we went to town. The horses feeling good, and cold, they went faster and fester until all at once, they made a dive and away they went and I was sitting on the reach and could not hold on to the thing. And the first thing I knew, we hit a big rock, and off I went, the hind wheel over my hip. And if ever you saw a runaway you can make up your mind how they went. They didn't go very far, before the pin got out of the reach, and left the hind wheels and away they went with the front wheels.

They stayed on the road, though. But instead of going to Driscoll they took the trail going to this Freiborg northwest of Driscoll. They were there quite often during this time so they knew the road. But when they got to the main road north, and I crippled as I was, followed them by foot. But when I heard they were going north, I went Freiborg which was another four miles. When I got there, ate dinner and rested up, Piet hitched up and we went to hunt the team up. We came to a farmer by the name of Gunderson and he had them in the barn. He said they were wringing wet when they walked into his yard, all petered out. We took them to Piet's house, and we split the team. He kept the sorrel, and I took the old plug from him to go with the black mare. So I didn't get any lumber that day, but had to go back and pick up the pieces.

And so the time went on, everything fixed up, waiting for the family to arrive. But things went different. The folks at home were way behind with their work. Got the corn in kind of late, and left one setting of oats that they never did get threshed, and no machine could get to it. So the family decided it was better for me to come home and man age the things myself.

I made arrangements with a bachelor, Ed Wester, who lived on a claim southeast of me in a small shack, to stay in my house for the winter and take care of the team and the place until spring. The six heifers were at Freiborg's. So on the 11th of December, the Kjelsen boy took me to Driscoll in the bobsleigh, as we had plenty of snow by that time, and real winter already. Those days traveling went by train. Went to Jamestown and had to stay there overnight. From Jamestown to Oakes, and from Oakes on the N. W. to Parker, South Dakota, and from there to Lennox. I made the trip a few times; that was the only way to go, except on the Milwaukee from Lennox over Eureka to Linton, ND.

Well, I came home and was glad to see the family again. By that time, they had quite a bit of snow in ND and a blizzard off and on, so pretty soon the railroads were all blocked. I inquired at the depot again at Davis, and they had orders not to send any emigrant cars farther than Fargo, North Dakota. So I was in for the rest of the winter.

By March 1st, we had to leave the farm, as it was rented to a family from Iowa. So when that time came, we started to move, and loaded a 40 foot stock car. An open stock car with about one foot of frozen manure in it. That was the only thing the agent could get for me. That was a bad time to move, as it was cold and wintry yet. Had an old farmer, Peter Temple, to load the car for me, as that is quite a job for man who never had done it. We didn't have any too much room, as we took everything along. An emigrant car was allowed ten head of livestock, and don't know anymore how many thousand pounds weight price. So the car was loaded, and I went and said goodbye to the folks and the country. The Mrs. and the children were supposed to leave a few days later with another neighbor, Helmer Boelson, by train.

I made the same route again, over Willmar, Minnesota and from there to Breckenridge, Minnesota to get to the Northern Pacific. When I passed through Sioux falls yards, a man jumped on and asked me how much stock I had in the car. I told him ten head and a sucking calf. And believe me I had to pay for that calf, when I got to Driscoll. I think the price on the car was around $67.00--don't know exactly any more. I had already paid that in Davis like I did with the one in the fall. In the Willmar yards they run the car over the scales. There were more emigrant cars on that train, and I and some other men were standing by the weigher and watching him. When my car hit the scales he made an awful howl and said, "Man, what have you in that car?" As I said it was an open stock car, so I rode in the caboose, as it was cold in the car. I'll never forget the time and as it seemed to me everything went wrong on that ride to Breckinridge Those train men used awful language! A dark night and a train of us and didn't we go!

I sure was glad, when I got loosed from that outfit and got on a different train somewhere else. So I got to Driscoll in the early morning hour. Don't remember the date anymore. They spotted me at the stack yards and I went to the night operator in the depot as every body was sleeping yet. He was telling me that all the branches were block aded yet and said that in the afternoon a family came by sleigh across country all the way from Linton, North Dakota. So I told him I'll bet that was my family. And sure enough, they came to Driscoll and hired a liveryman to haul them to Freiborg's place. So in the morning when it got daylight, I unloaded the livestock and put it in the livery stable and I drove to the Freiborg place, where I met wife and children.

And they told me all about the trip they had across the prairies. Hired s team from Lin ton, ND, from Braddock a new rig to Driscoll and from Driscoll to Freiborg's place. What a trip! And snow yet, most of the way. Well, Piet and me went to Driscoll and tended to the stock, and had to settle for the calf which cost me more than it was worth. So that day, I loaded the chickens and the calf in the bobsleigh, one cow tied to the sleigh and the rest following. That was some caravan going across the prairie. The cattle had to follow me because they had to stay in the track, as the snow was so deep they couldn't go anywhere else. You know, the first miles out there was a sleigh road, but the farther out the poorer the road. Don't know many times the sleigh would tip over and had to load the . poor chickens and calf again. That was a trek, let me tell you, but we came home before dark.

A neighbor, Melvin Lien, got the family from Freiborg's place that day, and didn't they have a trip to break the road. Every once in awhile a horse would break through and go down. But we all were feeling good, and glad to be together on our way to our new home in the northland.

Later on when the weather was good, I went to town and got a load of machinery, neighbors got some for me, but it took a long time to get it home. I remember that spring in the first days of June, there were snowbanks yet in the hills. That first spring about the middle of April, we experienced the first prairie fire. A neighbor a few miles north of us (Ole Olson)lived in a sod house, and thought it would be a good idea to burn a fire break between the snow banks around the shack. And you know the wind raised and got away from him The head fire missed us, but everything burned around us, and luck was with us, we had a fire guard plowed already so saved our buildings, but the prairie all burned.

Then we could explore the country! Could see all of the rocks, and Indian mounds. If I had seen the country that way before, I would never have taken a claim. Never forget that time, when I started to break the prairie west of the house, and that was before the fire. The old grass was so thick, you couldn't see a rock. I took a new 16 inch sod breaker plow along from South Dakota. So I hooked the three horses on there, the Mrs. and the three children trying to help, and see dad turn over the first prairie. It was a sight, I tell you, horses feeling good--had lots of oats in SD, so they were not slow. The plow would grab and by the time it hit a rock and over it went before it went a rod before it get hold again. And the little it did turn went right back in its place We stopped and all would turn it over by hand.

By that time a man came across the prairie from the west, Isak Botnen by name, and he had a claim in 26 east of us. I remember yet, the boys thought he was a wild man. Well he stopped and we talked about our breaking. So he go hold of the plow, and I hanging onto the lines, but not much success. I traded the new plow off to Freiborg for a 12 inch light plow. That is the one I use for a few years, that was more like it for three horses. But after the fire, we could see where our best farm land laid, with the least rock. So I went in company with a neighbor, Faunce Luyben, and he had only one team. So we doubled up and broke with four horses, one week by him, while I was digging rock, and then the other way round. So I got ten acres that spring for flax and put it in.

So that fall when the flax was cut, I hauled and stacked it in neighbor Kjelsen's yard by his flax and was threshed with his. I went with team and hayrack after the flax was stacked by September first with old partner, Isak Botnen to Fessenden to earn a little cash for the winter. We started out one morning across the prairies with no road of any kind for Bowden, and from there to Fessenden. That was a great farming country in those days, wheat fields as far as you could see. It took us two days to get there.

And one thing I must tell you about the trip. The first night we drove as long as we could see across the prairie. We saw a haystack close to a nice lake. So I told Isak that is where we are going to stay the night. So we unhitched the team, tied them to the hay rack, close to the haystack and we made our bed by the haystack. In the morning when we woke up by daylight, to our surprise we saw a dry alkali lake instead of water. That was a joke!

Well, we went on begging our meals on the road by farmers, till we got in the town of Fessenen before night. Lots of threshers in town, and people looking for work. And most of the settlement were Russ Germans. So we caught a thresher and asked him for work. I had to do the talking, and I told him we were zweiman und aun team. So we got the job, starting in the morning. The wages were $5.00 a day far a man and team. So we put in twenty days threshing and that made around a hundred dollars cash when I got home. That was nice I tell you, to buy coal and flour for the winter. Our flax was threshed and made around ten bushels to the acre. I think I sold it for $1.25 per bushel at that time. So we went into the winter pretty well fixed.

But it took all kinds of things to fix up for the winter. Had to make a little more room for the stock, and you know everything had to be bought and hauled from town. Rocks were the only thing you didn't have to buy. Even summer fuel what they call buffalo chips were hard to find the first summer. The first summer, you know after the spring prairie fire, the boys had to herd the cows a few miles from us, where the prairie hadn't burned. The boys had a great time in the hills, exploring things. They had a 22 rifle, and would shoot gophers and there were plenty. Albert made the remark one time, that when he missed a gopher, the gopher digs the bullet out of the ground and plays with it. One time he said he was herding the cows, and he seated himself behind a big rock on the sunny side, and dozed off in the warm sun. When he woke up, Mister Coyote stood behind the rock, looking at him.

We sure made some nice hay that first summer in those draws and coolies, all new grass. We were the first ones in the neighborhood that had a cream separator, which we took along from South Dakota. That was the only way to make a little cash right along. So others followed and went into the milking business. We didn't have a pasture the first summer, just a corral by the well. One night in the summer we were awakened by the dog, who was making and awful racket. When we looked out the bedroom window, there was a whole herd of Hereford cattle by our corral, going through the garden. We chased them north over the hills from where they came. A nice sucking steer calf stayed behind, and we thought that he might have stayed by our cows, but pretty soon the mother came back and got him.

By that time, our well gave out, and we made it deeper. The neighbor on the east, frank Young, a single man, helped me. He was in the well, and I pulled up the dirt. We got down about sixteen feet when he struck a tree or log, and water was coming in again freely. He spaded through the tree, about twelve inches in diameter and I pulled up the pieces. Do that must have been a lake bed or something in the early days, which I guess nobody knows.

Those pieces of wood that came out of the well dried up and became like bones or petrified wood. But even then the well didn't furnish enough water for the stock. So I tested all over the farm with a test auger, but could not find water. At last I found water in a ravine west of us, on Ole Nyseth's place. I dug a hole three feet deep and got water, a barrel full at a time. So we got along that winter, and the next spring, I engaged a well digger, Louis Slattenhaus, from near Driscoll. We decided to have the well between the house and the barn, on top of a hill.

I remember the evening the machine pulled in. I had to haul part of it from their place, A man came to the door and asked far supper and a place to sleep. We were at the supper table at the time, so Mrs. told him he could eat supper with us, but we didn't have a bed for him. "Oh," he said, "I carry my own bedding and can sleep in the barn". The man had a full beard, washed clean, and he was a great talker. But the way he talked and acted, there was something wrong with him. The well digger asked me what time it was, and I told him, but the stranger kept putting his ear to the wall, and said, "No, it is late." No, I don't remember what time it really was, but it sounded kind of funny.

So after supper, and believe me, he did eat, I took him to our little barn and he unrolled a few blankets and made himself a bed. He looked at the horses. I think there were three in there then and he made a remark he thought the black mare could run fast. I had an idea right away, that he would beat it during the night on a horse. So I told him that the gray could go faster, but it really was just the other way, so I thought if he should happen to leave on the gray, I could catch him on the black.

Well, I closed the barn door on him, and we, Mrs. and I every once in awhile would wake up and see if the barn door was closed. We got up pretty early, as usual. Mrs. baking pancakes and I went out to the barn to feed the horses and to my surprise the poor fellow was sleeping yet. So he woke up and I asked him, "How did you sleep?" And he said, "Mister, just like a king." He rolled up his blankets, put them in an old gunny sack and bid me so long. I asked him to stay to breakfast and he said, "Yes, yes, thank you." So we went to the house and washed up for the pancakes. I noticed he was carrying a pound of tobacco in a pail, and as I was out I asked him if he could let me have a little for the day, and he said sure. We were trying to find out from where he came and where he was going, but we could find out. So the Mrs. asked him where he bought the tobacco, and he told her it could be bought anywhere. We asked him where he was going and his answer was, "Between the two branches." So we could not find out anything from him. And did he eat pancakes-- I never saw the beat.

So after breakfast the man took his bundle and went north over the hills. Never heard from him again. I think he must have left the insane hospital somewhere, but with no phone or radio and or daily paper in those days, a man could easily slip away.

The well diggers were at our place three weeks, and struck a good flow of water. I think 210 feet deep, but it was awful heavy to pump as the water didn't come up very high. So we put up a wooden water tank, tower 4' x 6' and I think 24 feet high. Sent far a wooden water tank so we were sure glad that we had water and good soft water, too.

So that summer I broke a little more ground again and with three horses and the twelve inch plow, everybody digging in and working. That summer we fenced about forty acres for pasture, so the boys didn't have to her cows all of the time. That summer the crop wasn't very good, but we put up lots of hay again.

That year we sent for my wife's brother, William from Lennox, to file on the northeast quarter in our section, as I found out it was still open. The Hollander boy, who filed on it never showed up, so he had to contest it, and later he built a shack on it, right in the middle of the section so it wasn't so far from us. And before this a young man by the name of August Brushwein, filed on the northwest quarter and built a shack on it. He sold his refinement to a Hollander, a young man from Marion, North Dakota where this August came from. So we had this man, Henry Schoonhoven on the northwest and William Alberda on the northeast. And by this time Fank Young on the southeast sold out to his brother, Charley, a married man from Mason City, Iowa. So we had neighbors on all sides, and plenty of bachelors. Sundays they would come to our place, and the Mrs. baked bread for most of them.

I think that summer, or early fall a tree agent from Minnesota came along trying to sell the new settlers some trees. He tried me, but I told him the country was too dry and furthermore, I had not yet time to plant trees. He said that strip of stubble flax on the west here makes an ideal place for a wind break. So I bought 200 from him--100 laurel leaf willows and 100 Norway poplars to be shipped C.O.D. in the fall. I got them, and heeled them in for spring.

That fall I wrote to the thresher at Fessenden ND to keep a place open for me and I was planning on coming up there again to thresh. So after threshing was done at home, I left for the north again, and took my brother-in-law along. When we got there, they were in full swing already with a full crew. But the boss, not the thresher, as he had all the folks hired, told me to put the horses in the barn and stick around, as he was going to make a change pretty soon. I found out again, as I did many times a good man can always come back to work for the same outfit. So he said, "Take an oil can and oil, I suppose you can do that." He put William to work driving one of his teams on the bundle wagon. The separator man, a big Norwegian, Herman, part owner of the rake, was laying down most of the time along side the separator and the big double cylinder engine. They were using twelve bundle teams, four spikers by the separator and a few in the field. They had a big new outfit that fall, a 44-cylinder separator and a big double cylinder engine. There was no chance of filling that thing up.

Well, after a few days, the boss fired a few men, and changed things around. William was driving the team, and I spiked the machine. We surely put the grain through that machine, and all the grain that went into the straw pile. One afternoon, we were threshing barley, straight with the wind, and you should have seen the barley in the straw pile. We threshed until dark, and after we cleaned up, somebody hollered, "Fire!." and the straw pile went up in smoke. The engineer pulled up in a hurry and pulled the separator out, unharmed. So I thought that was a quick and good way to get rid of that straw pile.

Threshing in those days was an awful wasteful, expensive way. Farmers had to feed all those teams--twelve bundle teams and two on the water wagon. And then a few rainy days with all the teams on the hay rack in the yard, carrying hay and oats by the bushel baskets --that was some mess.

Well, that fall I came home again with a nice nest egg for the winter. That was the last fall, though, that I went away. By that time, we had a little more broken field, and more to do at home. And so we went on, gaining a little every year in a financial way and adding a little to the barn and to the house. And as I said before had 200 trees to plant, so that spring, I went at it, planted pretty careful and had great success, as every one grew, and in a few years had a wonderful grove. Everybody who went by our place was surprised to see such a nice grove up on the hill.

And from then an, I raised all kinds of trees from cuttings and from seed. Sold a couple hundred to the Driscoll school board for planting around the Driscoll school. Late. on, we had a11 kind of small fruit, currants, raspberries, plums, and garden stuff by the wagon load. I must say here, I am a great hand in that kind of work. I think it was born in me. We had so many currants Mrs. invited the church people from Steele in the season, and they picked tubs full. Everything went along pretty good. Had poor crops once in awhile, but we kept things going--made running expenses from the cream.

But I forgot to mention in one of the first years--I forget the year, our girl, Minnie got down with pneumonia. I remember well, Mrs. was doctoring her during the night, and in the morning, (Thanksgiving morning) I hitched up the black team, Prince and Flora, on the buggy, and went to Steele for the doctor. It was a nice cool morning, but no snow, and the roads were good. Doctor Lodge and a young man, DeWitt Baer were working together. They promised to go out, and I went into the Anderson Hotel and had a turkey dinner. On my way home, I met the doctor a mile south of our place going back. They had an open car --don't know the make. There weren't many in the country then. They stopped and told me I had a pretty sick girl at home. But she got well, but was a weakling all winter. By spring, we had a picture taken of her, sitting on a chair with her doll, and she was pretty thin.

Time went on, Neighbor Schoonhoven on the northwest quarter was farming a little, brother in-law William had ten acres broke, and had a flax crop. Bill, as we called him, proved up after fourteen months residence and we farmed his ten acres, and fenced the rest for pasture. He went away to Marion, ND where the Schoonhovens came from--there was a Hollander settlement he liked better so he could talk to the people Schoonhoven did the same thing, proved up, and went away. Both got a loan from the bank in Steele, and Schoon hoven from Driscoll. So by and by we bought Bill's quarter for $1000.00. Had to pay the bank in Steele for $400.00 and paid him cash $1200.00. Then we had that ten acres sowed down to timothy, and fenced the whole thing for pasture.

Bill, at the same time, got acquainted with a girl around Marion and got married to a deaf and dumb, couldn't say or hear a word--Minnie Sikking. So Bill used his cash money and went farming on his own hook. Soon bought some land through a land shark end lost everything in one year.

This Schoonhoven, last his claim to the Driscoll bank, and we made a deal, and bought that for $l8OO.OO. So we fenced that, beside the little that was broken there. By this time, we had a nice pasture and had a few cattle for sale once in awhile. By this time the boy. were bigger and were a great help. We didn't farm much in those years, but put up lots of prairie hay for the stock. Some dry years, we had to rent away from home to get enough We had more dry years than good years in those times. Had to buy oats most every year for feed.

I think in the year 1916 we built our new barn, and we surely did enjoy it. The feed all inside. The hay mow would hold 40 tons of hay. In those years, we had a car of cattle every few years, and if we didn't have enough, took a few along from the neighbors so we would have a full load. Those years were the booming years. Every nice piece of prairie was broken up, even right of way on the railroads.

The slogan in those days was "Raise more grain to win the war." And everybody wanted to buy more land. We went to work, and bought 160 acres from the Hacknew Land Company, known as Twin Hills and Dick was to do the breaking with four horses on the sulky breaker. We put up a little barn for the six horses, so that left Dick one stall for him to sleep and cook. It was wet that spring, and plenty of water for the horses in a ravine on the south line, running in a slough called Claygaugh Slough.

I think we broke around forty acres that spring and put in flax. I had one horse on the stone boat, digging and hauling rock, so I had to work hard to keep ahead of Dick. Don't remember any more how much flax we threshed, and the price, but we sold it, and paid the full amount on the Land Company as our living we made on the home place. So the next spring, we did the same thing again--put wheat in the flax stubble and broke some more for flax. Of course the second spring we had to move more rock, as we took the nicest prairie first. I can't tell any more how much grain we raised and sold, but I know the third year we paid up in full, and got our deed from the land company.

By that time the granary had to be built on the place, and a well drilled, as the slough went dry. Like I said before, those were the booming years. People got kind of wild, not knowing how long that would last. And it was the downfall of many. Any raw piece of prairie in the rocks and hills sold for $25.00 and acre. That was the time when we made a loan on the home place, the three quarters, a federal loan for $5000.00 at the high rate of interest of seven per cent. We had to do that to pay off the debts we made like building the barn and other smaller buildings.

And that was the beginning. First thing you know, the quarter south of the homestead which Ole Nyseth had bought from the Hackney Land Company for 525.00 per acre was for sale. Ole almost killed himself digging rock off that quarter, and didn't feel too good, so wanted to sell it again. I did not want to bite, but Mrs. and the boys thought that was so nearby. So we made the deal for $26.00 per acre to take it off his hands, and the deal with the land company. So we made a loan on Twin Hills and the Ole quarter from old John Story in Steele at a high rate of interest.

That was not good yet, then Dick bought a half section vest of Twin Hills from a guy by the name of Frank Johnson with an old set of buildings on it and a barn. I don't remember the price any more. There was some field on it, full of wild oats and quack grass. First summer I know we made a big sling stack of nice green wild oats just headed out. By that time we were farming so big, the boys thought we ought to buy a thresh rake of our own. And we did--Minneapolis Separator, new 28 inch cylinder and a second-hand Avery tractor with six bottom plow outfit.

And by that time crops began to fail, taxes and interest coming due just the same. So everything went backwards instead of forward and everybody knows by this time anyhow that when the expense if bigger than the income something is going to happen. I think our government is going to find that out pretty soon the way they spend money.

The loan we had from John Story we changed and got a State loan at cheaper interest and paid him off. But before I go further, I must mention that in those years when the war was on, our Dick was drafted in the Army. and in those days dad had to do some field work again. Because Dick was gone, we lost a good hired man and hired some other help. I remember one fall, I was sowing fall rye on Twin Hills farm, late in the season, and a cold nasty day. That was in the flu time, when people were dying everywhere, I got so cold that day on the seeder, chilled through and through, so when I unhitched and went home, I thought sure that I had the flu. When I came home--we had Grenville Selland those days helping Albert--I told the boys, "You have to finish the chores, I go into the bed, you wouldn't see me for a few days." So I rolled in, got good and warm and after awhile, I didn't feel not flu coming on, so I went out of bed again. By that time, the boys were through with the milking, and Grenville started to laugh and said it was a good excuse to get out of milking. Well, anyhow we were lucky, that's all the flu we had.

But now we leave farming alone, and go back a few years again and write about a more interesting story. You all know now, when in South Dakota we attended church regular, and the boys got so big, they went to Sunday School already. So when we came to North Dakota on the homestead, those things of course were missed. There were churches in the country one some miles west of us, the Lien church, a Norwegian Lutheran, and the Langedahl church to the northeast, another Norwegian Lutheran. So it was no use for us to go there. Then we found out that there was a German Lutheran church in what we called the Russian flat, about six miles north of us. And by the way, the nearest school houses in the township, both on the north side, as that was settled before the south side, as the south half of the township was hilly and rocky. Made me often think about the song, "My country, 'tis of thee", and where it says, "I love the rocks and hills."

So the poor children didn't get much schooling. We got hold of an old single buggy so they drove. That went all right as long as there was no snow, but as soon as snow began to come and start drifting, they had to stay home. They attended school just awhile in the fall, and then maybe a few weeks in the spring.

But coming back to church affairs. We went then to that German church, out no roads across the prairies. We both could understand the German language, so that part was alright, but the Mrs. used to say, "When I expect something, the preacher says Amen." We got acquainted with the minister when he was a single man, but soon he sent for his girl from Nebraska and they got married. His wife, a German, could not speak low German. Naturally, she was lonesome in this new country, so the preacher and his wife would come every once in awhile in the top buggy across the hills and visit us. So time went on, children grew older and bigger and began to miss the young folks all over the prairie. We bought the boys a new top buggy and had plenty of horses by this time so they could go out And as always the case in a new country, more so than in the older country, people are more common, and all for a good time. And of course the only fun or good time, as they call it was a dance.

All over the country, if it wasn't in a farm house or hay mow then they would have it in the school house. Mrs. and I weren't brought up that way, so that left us out. Otherwise most married people joined in--laid the little children in a corner to sleep, put the furniture out of the house and then go to it. We didn't like the idea, but when the children got bigger, they would go with the crowd. The girl, Minnie, didn't go as she was too young, and she stayed home with mama and papa. Many nights the Mrs. would put the lamp in the window, so the boys could see mamma's house when they came home in the small hours of the night.

And so things went on for some time, till the Lord stepped in. One time the boys went to a dance again southeast somewhere halfway to Steele. And when they came together there, someone said that there was a revival meeting going on in a school house and every one was having a great time. So they decided to go there once and see what was going on.

In the morning at the breakfast table, Ma did ask the boys where they had been the night before, and what time they had. They said there was no dance, but instead they vent to the school house and listened to a preacher and they were going again to night. The preacher was a Jack Sherman, a man from Driscoll. By the way, this Jack Sherman was converted in a revival meeting in Driscoll. We never had heard about a revival meeting as those Protestant churches like we were attending in Lennox and the same in any other town, never had revival meetings. And so our boys and most of the dancing crew went to that meeting every night.

I remember the Mrs. did ask the boys once what the man preached and she told them to be careful--that maybe he was a humbugger. The boys of course said, "He preaches out of the Bible. And they surely sing there, too." The boys told us we should go along, too, and take it in. They mentioned a few more old folks that were going. So Ma and I made up our mind we would hear that man once. And we did hear him and we like him, as he was preaching hell and damnation, and was going to it in a great way, pulling off his coat and sweating, my o my!

So that went on for several weeks. I can't say just how long, but we, Ma and I went quite often, too. So by and by, he had the whole bunch, you might say at the altar of prayer and I think about everyone confessed the Lord as their Savior. And you know that broke up that. dancing gang, and that was the best thing that ever happened to that country. Of course, the harvest was ripe then, and the good Lord sent his man Jack to work in the harvest field and he knew how to go at it.

I found out, personal, that it is easier for a worker for God in a field like that among a bunch that never heard of true religion than amongst church members who are so goody and good, but never had the experience of being born again. That Jack Sherman stayed many weeks and got us all well lined up and instructed in God's word. And that was the right way. It doesn't pay for an evangelist to come just ten days and leave, as most of them do--just get people to think and then leave.

So the Methodist minister in Steele, old man Sage, as we used to call him--a wonderful preacher, knew what was going on in the country. So then when the ice was broken, he went among the new converts, and got them to organize a congregation and come together for prayer meetings. Of course there were a few families in the country who had a religious experience before coming to North Dakota. There were two Negro families by the name of Johnson's and another couple by the name of Porter--a great old man, and so we had a great time when we came together. I think it wasn't very long after this, that Jack Sherman had a nervous breakdown, and passed on into eternity, leaving his wife with two children of school age, a boy and a girl.

Times were pretty good in those years, everybody making a little money. So the first thing Brother Sage, the Steele minister wanted us to build a church in the country. So we all agreed and came together a few times to pick out a location. I think it is around eight miles northwest of Steele. It should have been a few miles farther north, but then it was a nice location, up on high ground, and it was in boom time and every thing was high and the building was plenty high. It took a long time to get it finished, but by and by it was ready for dedication and we had a big crowd that day, and collected quite a bit of money. So the years rolled by. We had a revival in the church every fall and had some wonderful preachers there. The Sherman Memorial church was well-know amongst evangelists. I can't name them all any more but we always had the best, and heard some wonderful sermons.

The members of that 5herman Church were: Chas Carson family, Earl Chamberlain family, old man Porter and wife, Willard Porter and wife, William Knutson and family, the two Negro families, Robert Johnson and family, and the other Johnson, first name I can't think of now, Emil Carlson family, Jake Keim and family, Harry Whitney and family, Bill Whitney and wife, Art Whitney and wife, and our own family. I don't think they were all members but that was the bunch that attended. Had a big Sunday School starters and Wednesday night prayer meetings. In the summer time the minister would come out, but in the winter we had services in the homes and not in the church.

Earl Chamberlain did some preaching later on and so did Jake Keim. Our son Albert went to Oskaloosa, Iowa school a few winters and was going again for a whole year, but the Mrs. thought he had to stay home and help on the farm. So that was the end of his schooling.

So that made a change in the neighborhood. No more dancing and that kind of stuff going on. One fall, when our Dick was in the Army camp, we were threshing at Twin Hills farm. The thresher was a man by the name of Peterson and he was used to threshing on Sunday as well as any other day. So we made it through until the week end and were threshing wheat that Saturday. A nice day, and the grain was awful dry. So I told him that we could not thresh on Sunday and he said, "If you don't want to thresh tomorrow, we will pull off and thresh somewhere else." I said that was all right, he could come back on Monday. "Oh, no," he said, "If we pull away we will not come back at all." Some fellows told me I had made a mistake by letting him go, as it is nice to thresh now, but I didn't give in. So by sundown, the outfit broke down, and by now I don't know what they broke, but they had to stop. So I thought now they can't be ready in the morning, but so they did and pulled off the place Sunday morning and threshed for someone else. That Sunday at church Earl Chamberlain said that he would pull in later on and finish up for us. And that is what he did and the devil's crowd didn't have their way.

That is what I said before--that revival meeting was the best thing that ever happened in this part of the country. It made a big difference in our family. It sure was a change. The Bible was read from then on, and we had family worship and prayer. I am sorry to say now that old church up on the hill is standing empty now at this writing. Most people like our own moved away, and some passed on to eternity. And the few living there nowadays are not church people. But the Bible says, "The angels in Heaven rejoice over the conversion of one sinner." So I hope the old church did good and will do more good in the future. So much about the old Jack Sherman Memorial Church.

Dick came back from the Army and we all worked hard again, but crops began to fail and after the boom, the depression came on. Banks began to fail, and the bottom dropped. out of everything. Our farm business went backwards. And like it goes with every family. When the children get older, they begin to leave the old home to start on their own. Minnie was the first to get married, then Dick and later on Albert, and that's the way it goes.

Dick and his wife lived on his place for a year in a little house. And by that time the Mrs.’s health failed, so Dick and his wife moved in with us, and Albert left. Then we decided to leave the farm, and move to town. We contracted for a home in Steele for a big price and lived there for a year or two, when we saw we could not meet the payments as crops were poor in those years. Then we moved to a cheaper house, and the Mrs. got so poor and sickly, that she had to go to the hospital far an operation for cancer. After she got out of the hospital the doctors said she could not live long. We decided to rent the house and move in with Dick again.

By that time Dick and his wife's second boy was born and died after a few days. And Minnie lost her oldest boy about that time. And first thing we knew Ma passed away on the old homestead. Albert was not married yet at that time, but was not at home. So Dick and I worked together that next summer, but my home was broke up. I was lost, as you might say. So that summer Albert and his sweetheart visited us, and she told me the thing you want to do is to take a trip to South Dakota and visit your old mother, as she was living alone by herself in Lennox. And so I did, and stayed that winter with mother and came back to Dick in the spring. Next fall, I did the same thing, but didn't go back in the spring. I found work in Lennox in a nursery and mother was glad I could stay with her.

So I stayed with mother in Lennox. And Dick had a sale in North Dakota and cleaned out and bought necessary stock and machinery back in his own name. Next year I got a job at Lennox in the John Tuthill Lumber yard as second man at 350.00 per month. That was not a big salary at that time, but in a little while work was hard to get at that price. I worked two years at that job, and then business got slack that they had to let me go. If they needed a man, they would call me.

And by this time, my mother's health failed, and she had a few slight strokes. So I made her stay with my sister on the farm, as she could not take care of herself anymore. In the spring of 1931 mother passed away at my sister's home. Her remains were laid to rest along father's side at the Lennox cemetery.

So I was alone again. I worked for awhile for H. E. Schneiderman in an elevator. Then I put in a bid for the job as rector at the cemetery. And I got that job for 5150.00 per year. I kept the grounds clean and grass mowed. Grave digging was extra. So I kept that up for four years, raising a big garden besides, and now and then a few days work in the lumber yard.

Coming to the end of my story now. I corresponded with a lady in North Dakota a Mrs. B. Vellenga, whom I did know before. So in the fall of 1939 the 27th of November we got married in the town of Pettibone, where the Mrs. was living, and there we are now at the present time. I am writing this for my children this winter of 1941 at the age of three score years and ten, I hope you children will enjoy this writing and may the Lord of your father keep you and bless you.

Your father,

H. F. Begeman

Copyright © 1998-2002 Rick Begeman Updated - 4/9/02