Traveling to Dakota

The Johannes Qualey family came from Dodge County, Minnesota to Griggs County, North Dakota in 1880 and the trip took three weeks.  I was nine years old at the time and the rest in the party were Father, Mother, sisters Dorthea and Julia and brothers Edwin, Nels and Sever.

The folks left Kasson in May with their covered wagons; father drove one, the other one being driven by Uncle Tom Gilderhus and a cousin, Claus Himle.  We had three teams of horses starting out but traded two of the teams for two yoke of oxen at Willmar, Minnesota, where we three youngest children had gone by train to join the company.  We had several cows and other stock, which were driven and led.  Edwin and Nels were responsible for seeing that the cattle did not stray.  There were also pigs and chickens and geese in crates attached to the sides of the wagons.

When time for evening camp came, a place had been picked out where grass and water were found.  Then they would unload the household goods, pigs, chickens and geese so that we would have a place to sleep.  There were no roads to follow and we had to hunt for shallow places to cross rivers and creeks.  Sometimes it was hard to get the cattle to go into the water.  At noon the oxen had to be given time to graze as this was their only feed.  In the evening the cows were milked.  The milk was used for cooking and drinking and what was left was fed to the pigs and chickens.

During the entire trip all were blessed with good health and of course we youngsters had the time of our young lives.  At the end of our journey of about 400 miles north and west, we settled down and built a log house and barn on the place now known as the Qualey farm about nine miles northeast of what is now Cooperstown.  At that time the nearest town on the railroad was Valley City, about 40 miles south.

The first spring the high water drove us out of our first house so we had to build on higher ground,

While father was looking for land to locate on we all stayed at Omund Opheims who had lived on their place for about a year.  We lived in our wagons while our house was built.

(This account was written many years ago by the late Mathilda Qualey Monson.)

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 243

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