A Farm Wife Remembers

PROLOGUE

The following is taken from a tape made of my mother, Neva Hanson of Hannaford.  Although she was born and raised in Barnes County, she married a man from Griggs Co. They farmed in Barnes Co. until 1944 when they moved to a farm south of Cooperstown.  Later they purchased a farm west of Hannaford, and she now resides in Hannaford.  Her home in Hannaford was built by Harvey Sletten's father.

Neva Quick and Kenneth Hanson were married in 1925 at the home of the bride.  Three of their children graduated from Cooperstown High School and all four consider Griggs County their home.

Lorna Hanson Auren

I was born in 1905 to Will and Dora Quick on the farm that my Dad homesteaded in 1882.  There were eleven children, and we all had our chores and duties to do.  With a little ingenuity we found many things to play with.  In the wintertime we had great fun sledding on hills, using shovels as sleds.  We would take ears of Indian corn and pretty rocks and stones to play with, we gave them the names of the cows we had and we would play house for hours.  One bad thing though, if we got in a fight with our brother Ralph he'd throw our pretty stones away and throw the corn to the pigs!

When we were married in 1925 Kenneth was renting land from Henry Nelson, west and north of Dazey.  The 1925 crop wasn't so good.  We lived on a farm near Leal after we were married.  1926 wasn't so good either, it was dry in the spring and remained so dry, you wondered how the grain would hold up, but then we got rain and got about a half a crop.  However volunteer sweet clover had grown up on Henry Nelsons land so Kenneth clipped it and it grew bushier and didn't get too tall.  In the fall they cut it and sold $915 of sweet clover.  That was a lot of money.  1927 wasn't too good.  1928 a good crop was started but we were hailed out.  In 1929 the crash came and prices went down to nothing.  Kenneth had bought a John Deere tractor and plow, all in one deal and he paid and paid on it, he even sold a truck that he had used for hauling and paid on the tractor and he still lost the tractor and plow.  I can't remember the original price of the unit.  In 1930 we moved to a farm west of Dazey and lived there 14 years.  1931 was a dry year; Kenneth sold a small truckload of rye and got $9.15 for it.  Butter fat was down to 9 in 1932, that was worst Year for prices.

Market Prices Wednesday July 23, 1930     Market Prices Wednesday July 20, 1932  
Dark Northern .69   Dark Northern .30
No.  1 Northern .69   No.  I Northern .30
Durum .59   Durum .26
Amber Durum .62   Amber Durum .28
Red Durum. .59   Red Durum .2:3
Flax 2.87   Flax .70
Barley .23 to .28   Barley .10 to .14
Oats .22      
Rye .36      
Egg .12      
Creamery Butter .36      
Dairy Butter .26      
Butterfat .31 to .34      

1932 was a good crop and no prices.

1933 was dry and still no prices.

1934 grain went to up $1.00 a bushel but there was no grain it was so dry.  Cows grazed over in hills.  In 1935 we had lots of rain.  Kenneth and landlord decided they weren't going by the farm program - they seeded 250 acres of Ceres wheat and it all rusted.  The grain was so thick it came out of the binder as fast as arm could click it out.  Pete Frahm was going to thresh it, they threshed a whole bundle load and got only a couple bushels, so that was the end of that, and then they didn't get the government payment either, which would have been about $100, and $100 was like a $1000 then.

In 1936 we got seed wheat from Roy Becker, but no crop, didn't even take the binder out.  But we milked cows and we got a little money from that.  At least we could go to Wimbledon 8 miles west of us on Saturday night and we could go to the show for 10 or 20 and get a huge ice-cream cone for 5. In 1936 the cows ate around in sloughs and in the wheat fields.  We put up Russian thistles with corn mixed in but cows wouldn't eat it.  We had to sell some cows that year because we didn't have enough feed.

In 1937 Kenneth and I were haying and he said the oats and barley were ripe so we quit haying and cut the oats and barley and had it shocked.  Right after that the grasshoppers moved in but ours was safe - seems like there was one plague after another.  But in 1937 oats sold for 19 a bushel so we fed oats to cows to get them to produce more

In 1938 crops began to get better.  One lady had said, "yes, we got a little money this year, if it would be like that every year!" In 1939 crops were not so bad, and we were milking 27 cows by hand - and turning the separator by hand.

1941 crop very good.

1942 crop was an awful good crop and a better price too.

In 1944 we moved to farm south of Cooperstown, cream was $27.00 for a 10-gallon can by then.  We got by with hard work and scrimping and savings - every penny counted.  We had a large garden, canned all of our food.  Ii you were lucky enough to own a car you had only one, not one for each member of the family.  If you went any place you all went.  Entertainment was to go to school events or to town on Wednesday or Saturday night.  When you met friends and visited, you didn't go buy lunch all night long.  If you had beer, it would only be a glass for 10. We would have birthday parties, the women and children would come and bring something for lunch and each one would give you 10 - you might have $1.50 and you would buy something.  That's all we could afford but at least we had a party and we gave a gift.

We would go to Wimbledon for the Fourth of July -we'd pack a lunch and have a picnic.  They had horse races and entertainment all day and everyone came to celebrate the Fourth.  It was a great day.

Food wasn't so high; you could get a lot of groceries for a dollar.  Kenneth went to town one day with a 10 gallon can and a 5 gallon can of cream and he got some over $7.00 - a neighbor lady asked, "What did you do with all the money?" He bought coal, that was always first, a ton of lignite, a few dollars worth of groceries and then maybe we needed kerosene for the lamps.

They gave a black clock at the Farmers Store in Dazey; it was a premium for buying $52.00 worth of groceries, accumulated of course.

I remember they would have sales in Valley City on all kinds of material at 7 a yard but there wasn't money to buy it.  But then in the summer, the cows had had calves and milked good so we could get a few things.  I cleaned house and sent to Sears for two pairs of pink priscilla curtains at 74 a pair.  I bought a buffet with curved glass doors for $4.00 at an auction sale in 1936.  I still have it.  We didn't have so much but we kept up what we had.

In the winter we shut off the smaller living room and just lived in the big kitchen and dining room - the heater was in the dining room and we had a T-pipe stove that went up into two bedrooms and the chimney was half in each room - so we heated the two rooms that way and they were quite comfortable, unless it was too terribly cold.

In 1937 we bought a Chevy car and after that we went lots of places.

During this time we had lots of nice winters though and I used to think God made it that way, because it was a blessing that we didn't have that severe cold every winter.  On Christmas Day, 1936 the cows were out over in the hills south of our farm.

We used to go to dances in Dazey, Ralph Bender and orchestra played - they charged 25 - a couple that is!

In 1937 Kenneth had heard that coal was cheaper in Wimbledon (he had always got coal in Dazey) so he decided to go there.  He left in the morning after chores, he had a heavy bobsled and he had to break road all the way, he didn't get home till 11 at night but he did get the coal cheaper.

Sometime during the thirties we borrowed $200 from a lending place in Valley City, each year we made a trip to Valley to pay on it, paid the interest and a little bit on the principal, $40.00 a year.  We paid that $200 many times and it seemed like we'd never get it paid, but we did.  Times were hard but we didn't mind it so much, and there wasn't so much to go to any way.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 107

 

The Storms

The day before Christmas 1935 our hired man Hank Legried went to Dazey with cream, to take packages to Ma's and to get some things.  Marvin Hanson was at our place to help Kenneth butcher.  It was such a lovely day; Hank had shed his outer clothes in the bobsled and was going around Dazey in his shirtsleeves.  It began snowing and before he got home a storm had developed.  He got to our mailbox, six miles west of Dazey and started to the buildings, about mile.  Twice he got to the gate and each time he turned the horses away (they could tell by the tracks the next day).  Finally the sled got stuck in a deep slough area east of the buildings so he unhitched the horses and they brought him home, but he had to walk behind them by then, and they almost dragged him home, he was badly frozen by then on his hands, face and feet.  We hurried and got hot coffee into him, and dry warm clothes on him and he came out of it all right.  We were certainly glad to see him get home.

We had lots of cows milking in March of 1941.  Frank Dwyer was working for us then and the fifteenth was a nice day so they hauled some straw and unloaded it before they came in to eat supper and then we went out to milk.  I noticed the Jensen boys go by on the road to Dazey and pretty soon a storm came up.  I thought of the Jensen boys, they hadn't got very far and they turned around and came back.  The next morning their car was by our mailbox, stalled, it had got wet from the snow.  They started to walk home and missed the road going south to their home; they came to a grove of trees and knew where they were, turned back and then found the right road and got home.

The storm came up so fast when we were in the barn; wind was so strong it really made a noise in the barn.  Kenneth and I got back to the house and it was tough going up hill to the house; then we put a light in the window so Bud and Frank could get in.  It was a relief when everyone was in the house.

In Dazey there was roller-skating on Saturday nite and the Tayler boys wanted to go.  Their mother said there was a storm forecast so they said they would come home right away if it started to storm.  Someone came to the hall and said it was storming, so unbeknown to anyone the four boys started home.  As soon as it was discovered that they had left Ralph Bender and Beaumont Stowman and others went to search.  They came upon the stalled car but the boys had started to walk.  The men walked all night searching and by daylight they found them.  The two youngest (twins) were in a hole in the snow - that the older boys had dug - one died, they found the other two dead in the fields.  The storm was over, it was very cold and the death toll was very large.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 107

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