Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In Honor of Selma Maudal Hamilton

The last name, Maudal, is a farm name in Norway.

The Maudal children's father, Karl Elias Mauritssen (b. 12-22-1870 in Ovre Maudal, Gjesdahl parish, Rogaland County, Norway) was the son of Maurtis Rasmusson (b. 3-15-1835) and Sara Teoline Olsdatter (b. 1837 in Stuhaug farm, Bakke in Sirdal, Norway). He emigrated from Norway in 1900, and married Mary Olson, also born in Norway, in 1912 in Iowa.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

In Memory of Marjorie A. Westmark (1920-2005)

New Pictures of Wild Rice Lutheran Children's Home, Twin Valley, MN

I've had to stop writing the newsletter. However, I am publishing here two undated photographs (probably 1917-1920 time frame) sent to me by Olger Ronnie's grandson, Ritchie.

The first shows the boys and girls roasting hot dogs on sticks, and eating hamburgers at picnic at Wild Rice.

The second shows a group of children gathered on the grass.

Ruth Johnson's daugther, Jan, provided the photographs of the original buildings; and construction of building additions.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

WILD RICE NEWS - March/April 2007 - Happy St. Patrick's Day & Happy Easter

Editor's Note: (8/3/07) I heard from John N. Powers from the WWII North China Marines group regarding Sgt. Morris Haugo. He writes "Morris was part of the embassy guard unit in Peking and Tientsin prior to the war. They were to have left China on 10 December 1941. The were surrounded and captured on the morning of 8 December, which was 7 December in the States. (Pearl Harbor attack) They spent from 8 Dec 1941 until mid September 1945 as prisoners of war. It took that long for US forces to get to the camps all over Japan. The prisoners were used as slave labor in China and Japan. One of the group was killed in an American bombing raid in Japan, others died from starvation, disease, and beatings. Thanks again for your help"

Happy 97th Birthday to Joe Merhiy (March 12), and Happy 91st Birthday to Florence Mortensen Glover (April 9th).

Pictures on our cover include: Sgt. Morris Haugo, who was stationed in China during World War II. He was captured by the Japanese, and became a prisoner of war, until the United States forces freed him. At the end of the war, he returned to Shelly, Minnesota, where he met his wife, Georgia. They had three children. Morris decided to stay in the Marines, and was stationed in Korea. He and his wife settled in North Carolina, where he remained in the military until he died. (Morris was about 2, when his mother died, and he and his sisters went to Wild Rice Lutheran Children's Home in about 1916).

We also have a picture of Carl Narveson with Ma Skauge (Skauges ran the home), taken at one of the Wild Rice reunions. The last picture is of Morris Haugo's sisters, Margaret, Ruth and Hazel Haugo, and their friend, Esther Nordquist.

FlorenceMortensen Glover says there is about 2 feet of snow on the ground in Austin, Minnesota, and "wishes" that everybody with health problems "gets well an stays well." She reports that her husband, Russell Gover's cousin, Dayton Hansen, is living in the same apartment building as Joe Merhiy, and they are able to have lunch together.

Joe Merhiy has moved to an apartment with assisted living for the winter, his new address is: Joe Merhiy, Lincoln Terrace, 205 Third St. N.W. #202, Twin Valley, MN 56584-4024. Phone number is the same.

Memories of Selmer Hilstad, Casper, Wy., Dec. 23, 1986: "I was born on March 20, 1915 at Hillsboro, North Dakota. My father, Simon Hilstad, came from Norway. My mother, Emma Jacobson, was born in Gardner, North Dakota. Her father was Hans Brerman, and he came from Norway.

"My father died when I was eight years old, and I stayed with the Skogans in Hillsboro for one year, then I was sent to the Twin Valley, Minnesota Orphans' Home. I stayed there until I was 15 years old. Then I was sent to Fargo, North Dakota to stay with Mrs. Vail. I stayed there until I was sent to a farm at Durban, North Dakota. I worked on the Wm. Erdmann farm until I was 18 years old.

"When I turned 18, I moved to Hawley, Minnesota where my sister, Minnie, lived. She was married to a man named Ellingson, and they lived 10 miles south of Hawley. I lived with them about a year, and then started to work all over the county. I did anything to make money. Things were very bad! (It was the Depression). The best I could get was $1 a day, and board and room. The food was very good.

"But in the winter, there was no work, and we had to 'rough it out.' There was no welfare, and we had to make out the best we could. One man had room in Ida Carlson's hotel in Fargo, and we all stayed in it. The room was 9x10, and there were eight of us living in it. My brother, Conrad, and I lived on one meal a day, all we could eat for about 40 cents a day. This was in 1934, and 1935.

"After that, Hansel, and I went to the Twin Cities to sell wood tables for a truck farmer at Fargo. We got back to Fargo in the spring of 1936, and caught a freight train to Hardin, Montana. There we had two uncles, Albert Brerman and Ellis Jacobson. I got a job on a big wheat farm, and worked for Cambeles Corp. and Ed. Hopoc.

"In August of 1941, I was called for the Army, and sent to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. I spent 14 weeks there, and then was sent to Vancouver, Washington.

"On December 7, 1941, the Japs hit Pearl Harbor, and we were sent to Canada to build the road from Dawson Creek to Fairbanks, Alaska. I was in the 18th Eng. Reg. We spent one year building the road, and then they sent us up to the Aleutian Islands. We landed on Shemya, and built roads and an airport.

"I was there 39 months, then I came back to the states. I was being sent to Florida. I got a 30-day leave and got married to Barbara Gress at Hardin, Montana. She came with me to Florida, where we spent the winter.

"That spring, they sent me to Texas. This was my fourth year of service, and that fall, September 26, 1945, I got my discharge. We went back to Hardin, and our first daugther was born November 20, 1945. We had two more girls, Sonja and Jean.

"We had three fine girls and 12 grandchildren. In Hardin I worked at anything I could find. I worked as a plumber and a carpenter, and in a garage. After this, I started to build houses on my own, and I built hourses on the Crow Reservation.

"In 1965, I bought a service station at Casper Wyoming, which I ran for ten years. I worked on houses for Sonja and Jean. They live west of Midwest Heights, here in Casper, Wyoming.

"Right now, we live in Casper. We have had good times and bad times, but I can't complain. We have had good health through the years. I'm 71-years-old, and still in pretty good shape. And if the Good Lord will permit, I will be here for some time yet. May God Bless You." -- Selmer 'Sam' Hilstad (Selmer died in January 1989).

Sunday, February 4, 2007

WILD RICE NEWS - January/February 2007 - Happy Valentine's Day

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY -- Pictures on the cover are clockwise: Selmer and Barbara Hilstad, November 1988; Sophie Hilstad at her 90th birthday, October 2006; Ruth Haugo, Rachel Nordquist and Margaret Haugo at a Wild Rice Children's Home Reunion; (in front of Marlon's store, Fossum) Hazel Haugo, Esther Nordquist, Ruth Haugo, Louise Waley, Conrad Berg and Joe Merhiy; and Lloyd Aronson with his sister, Annabell, and brother Rueben.

Also, in this issue, May 30, 1920 confirmation picture with Rev. B.L. Opdahl.. First boy on the left is Olger Theodore Ronnie born November 21, 1905, and who went to the Wild Rice Lutheran Children's Home on August 1, 1917, with his brothers, Arnold and Melvin. His grandson, Ritchie, sent the picture after finding our web site: WildRiceNews.net. If anyone remembers the Ronnie brothers, he would appreciate hearing from them.

Some of the children in this picture are: Etheline Melberg, Orlean Forsland, Joseph Skafvod, Lars Balken, Edward Bergquist, Cifford Forsland, Edwin Jacobson, Olger Raunie, Genevive Korun.

We spent a quiet Christmas at Palm Springs. Sally had surgery at the Mayo Clinic in mid-January, and is recovering well. My brother, Mike, will retire from 3M at the end of February.

There's quite a bit of news! Joe Merhiy moved to an apartment in Twin Valley for the winter! Jan Ledbury (Ruth Johnson's daughter) has been to visit him twice. She says his place is big and only 4 blocks from his old place. Joe has the same phone number and address. Says he has not been feeling well, with a lot of pain in his hip. Also, he said it's 30 degrees below zero! WISH HIM A HAPPY BIRTHDAY coming up March 12th!

Marian Merihy Shoemaker has moved closer to her brother Joe. She said her new place is larger, and she has room for a double bed. Marian's brother, Joe, came down to visit and have lunch with her last Sunday.

Judy (Sophie Hilstad) Tragethon's niece, Jean Hilstad Harris, wrote to say Sophie has moved to Garden Square assisted living. She just celebrated her 90th birthday. She says Sophie's memory is failing a little, but this is what she remembers about the Wild Rice Lutheran Children's Home. "When we were in the Children's Home at Christmas time, the townspeople would bring us gifts and there were so many gifts! We had lots of Norwegian food and it was the best. In the winter time, we would ski on the frozen river and go sledding, and in the summer time we would all go swimming in the river, it was the best time! Not a single child didn't know how to swim, and in the summer, every Sunday, the townspeople would bring lots of food for picnics---it was great!

Jean also writes that her father, Selmer Hilstad, was a carpenter, plumber and electrician. He built homes for the government, and moved to Casper, Wyoming, when Jean was 14. He ran a service station there until he retired. Selmer passed away on January 29, 1989.

Florence Mortensen Glover spent a peaceful Christmas with family. She says she is feeling much better after her surgery, and is so grateful for all the help from her daughter, Floreen.

Mary Mortensen Baty had surgery on her leg in January, and we wish her a speedy recovery.

Margaret Haugo Peterson wrote to say she remembers "living in the old house before the new part was built. The gym, dining room, the kitchen, the girls' sleeping rooms were all new. Also, I was there when the old round barn was there, and then the new barn was built. The cows were all shipped out, because of T.B. Skauge went to all the fairs that summer, and bought up the prize winning milk cows (to replace the cows they lost).

"I also remember when lightning struck the church! It was built up again. We walked to church Sundays in our white dresses and patent leather black shoes. We sat in the front pews, and Rev. Opdahl was pastor. He confirmed me, Gerda Larson, and Rachel Nordquist, and others. We were pals. I remember going down the hill in the summer to swim, and Aunt Skauge would go with us. We all learned to swim. Christmas was "Heaven on Earth!" Right now in Minnesota, it is cold, below zero, and the widows are frosted over with white, new snow. Time to to fix dinner for me and my daughter, Roselyn--she gives music lessons and I make the meals."

(Note: Margaret sent the photo of a group in front of Marlon's store. "She said everyone would remember Marlon's store, we used to walk over the bridge across Wild Rice River to get there, we would ask permission to go there and spend the few pennies we had on candy! Sometimes, the river would be so swollen with rushing water that we could not cross it." -- Joe Merhiy thinks the store was probably in Fossum).

Thanks to everyone for the pictures. I will be printing them all in the upcoming issues.