Thursday, June 11, 2009

Storytellers: Janie and Willard

Far Guy's Uncle Willard is the story teller, I am only the translator. This entry concerns Far Guys Maternal Grandparents/Great Grandparents A. home place, and since they lived kitty corner from my parents old farm.. it holds special interest for me also.

Aunt Janie (On my Mothers side of the family) was a storyteller too (from Ohio) she and my Uncle Zach L. (from Wisconsin) came up here in October of 1880 (from Iowa.) Janie was 24 and Zach was 32 years old. They were one of the first three white settlers in this area. They lived just west of Jim M. place. There was a Government Trail that ran from someplace on the corner of the A. property all the way to Verndale. Verndale was the closest settlement, and the end of the railroad. If they went in the winter to get flour, they snowshoed all the way to Verndale, and put their purchases in a toboggan and pulled it all the way back home. ( Cross country this trip is 43 miles as the crow flies. )

Martha and Janie, Photo taken before 1943.


My Dad's ( Curt A.) family came from Canada in 1889, they were upset with the crown. They were farmers, and there was no working in Canada on Sunday. They didn't like all the crown taxes, if you painted your got taxed. My Dad was one year old when they came here, he had two sisters Elizabeth and Mae.

The place was nothing but big timber back then, big timber so tall and thick that there was no underbrush. There weren't any deer either. Odd sections of land were Railroad land, even sections were land to homestead. They had to saw down the big timber, and used the saw logs to build the house. (I asked him if what we know as the prairie was heavily wooded too..he said no, the prairie was always the prairie) But that the entire area south of the prairie was big timber mainly pines, and his Dad said it was easy walking.
When Walt G. was about ten years old, he was hunting ducks by Elbow Lake and shot a Lynx. They had to go into the Smoky Hills to hunt for deer. There were Timber Wolves, Lynx and Bobcats.


Uncle Willards phone calls are very enjoyable, I take notes and he talks..and talks..I think he got a new hearing aid and is putting it to good use. We met him at the cemetery recently, quite by accident, he had brought flowers for all the old graves. We didn't know if he would be feeling up to his annual trip out we were prepared with extra flowers. We had a nice visit, standing within earshot of all the headstones that mark many early pioneers to this area.

I was particularly impressed with the descriptions of the big timber. Here is a photo I took recently, from the edge of the old A. property.. perhaps where the old government trail went through..the water tower in the distance is on the Reservation.:)


Lanny said...

Beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing. So many thoughts -

Far Guy said...

At 92 willard can remember every dang person he ever met. During the war he worked in the B-26 factory and has some amazing stories such as the time a crew chief took one of the bombers for a joy ride. He remembers the name of the crew chief too!

Anonymous said...

What a treasure that Uncle Willard can recall so much and that you are taking the time to record it all and share photos. Very enjoyable.

demainca said...

Thank you for this wonderful story. Isn't it funny how all the little ladies look alike in photos of that time? They remind me of my grandma.
Take down all of the notes you can!

DayPhoto said...

What a gift and he is willing to share. So many don't want too or can't remember.

I love your photos.


Unknown said...

I would love to sit and listen to your Uncle Willard. I love hearing those old stories. It makes me appreciate how good I've got it.
My inlaws are in their 90's. I love listening to them remenise. When an old person dies it's like losing a library. So much information...gone.
Thanks for sharing.

Ziggy Stardust said...

What a nice story.The pictures are wonderful.


jewel said...

It's great that you are the family historian

Leilani Schuck Weatherington said...

I love hearing stories about how the old folks lived. It is so important to get these stories now, before they die off. The flower I asked you about on my blog is a wild flower. It is growing on the side of the road where we take our walk. It is blooming right now. I will have to pick some and bring them back and figure it out...

Leah said...

The area looks very familiar! Willard is a very interesting fellow - his wife, babysat for my children when they were babies. We see them occasionally when we visit our 98 yr old great grandma (she also remembers people, their names etc. etc) Amazing! Could it have been the Minnesota Prairie Water!

Anonymous said...

Just think how radically and dramatically life has changed in just one or two generations! Amazing.

Pamela said...

we are losing the story tellers.
will I be considered a story teller in a few years?

Or will all the CD's and books be the story tellers.

It just isn't the same.

Rae said...

Makes me miss having grandparents around. I love to hear the stories.