Friday, June 23, 2006

Itinerant Performers

Recently I wrote about area vaudeville and the silo circuit. Since then, I came across the image above showing a travelling, itinerant performer, setting up shop right in the street in Hallock.

The image is from the Hallock centennial book...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gamble Letter #26

St Vincent
May 21, 1886

Dear William I write these fue lines to let you and Maggy know that Mary Ann was confined on the 12 of this month the baby was ded born as it was 2 years a go and ded one month before it was born she had a very hard time of it we never expected her to get better but this is the Ninth day and she is I think safe now it was a boy and the doctor said the largest baby he ever seen he sayd she is so fat is the cause of all the trouble and her being so old I was nearly having to get the second doctor lisaz and I attended her our [word illegible] since she got better night and day She got every thing she asked for that we dere give her The doctor that was with hir was a doctor haris from Pambina he is a very clever man in his line of business and expances will be very high but we dont mind that so long as she is spared to us the children all is so kind they are all willing to do every thing in there power to halp to get thare Mother better I could scarcely get them to bed at night for fear they might be wanted Alick was at the fort I sant him word the next morning he comes home every Sundy and takes eggs and butter with him as they dnt get butter or eggs at the baracks but he says the bard is very good dont be uneasy as she is quite well as I write she is making me write this we had a letter from sister ellin from pilladalphia they are all well ellin and janey and lisay are bot big girls yous would not know tham it is very dry time here a good shower would do good so good by for the prasant

Alec Gamble
St Vincent

PS Whan you write dont mantion any thing a bout the baby Alic and Samy dont now aney thing about it nor never seen it lisay and me was the onely ones seen it samy thinks his Mother was sick that is all he nows he was wanting his Mother out to day to show hir a brds nest good by

Monday, June 19, 2006

Noyes Port-of-Entry Closes

I just learned that the Noyes Port-of-Entry will be closing on July 10th of this year.

For me personally, it will be an end of an era. I can't tell any of you reading this how many times I travelled through the USA-Canadian border at that crossing. I took it to Emerson for shopping with my Mom, for piano lessons, to visit Dr. Goossen the veterinarian, to go to Winnipeg, to visit churches in Altona, to go to the rodeo in Morris, to vacation at Riding Mountain National Park...the list goes on.

My father worked a good share of his adult life for the railroad in Noyes, working closely with many men who worked at the Noyes port. Someday, I can envision some sort of automation of the 'cutting' process (as my father would call it, a term that covered doing inspections and paperwork allowing the train to cross the border) so that the depot will close, too. Noyes will become a ghost town, and it will be as if it never was.

Time marches on...

UPDATE April 1 2012:  The border crossing station at Noyes was established in 1905, after having been previously located in the nearby town of St. Vincent.  During the first three decades, most of the customs business at Noyes pertained to railroad rather than highway traffic.  In fact, between 1905 and 1931 the Noyes customs office was located in the Great Northern depot.  The current red brick customs building was built in 1931. - MN/DOT Historic Roadside Development

Saturday, June 17, 2006

More Than JUST a Maternity Home

Recently I posted about the maternity home my grandmother ran in St. Vincent from the early 1940's to the end of the 1950's, filling a specific healthcare need in my hometown and the surrounding area at a time it was needed.

My grandmother was an entrepreneurial woman. She only had a third grade education, came from a poor family with definite dysfunctional aspects, but she rose above them to her great credit. One of the many ideas she hatched was the maternity home, of which I wrote recently.

My first cousin Delphine (another granddaughter, daughter of my Aunt Pat) told me this afterwards, which I did not know before...
BTW even tho grandma had a maternity home she did have other patients as well. Whenever the Emerson hospital got full Grandma would get some of the overflow. She was taking care of an elderly couple one time that I served meals to when we were there and one time she had a lady that had snow blindness and eyes were swollen shut so she couldn't see so grandma had me sit with her to help her get her food on the fork. So although basically a maternity home it wasn't all for maternity.
The little towns in the St. Vincent area were lucky to have her at that time; more than one would come up years later when I was a little girl and tell my mother how much they had appreciated Grandma's care...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Gamble Letter #25

St. CloudOn April 14, 1886 (4PM) the deadliest tornado in Minnesota history razed parts of St.Cloud and Sauk Rapids, leaving 72 dead and 213 injured. 11 members of a wedding party were killed including the bride and groom.

Sauk RapidsOn that day, all the water leaped from the Mississippi near Sauk Rapids, sucked up by an 800-foot-wide tornado as it passed over.

- from Minnesota Weather Almanac, by Mark Seeley

St. Vincent
May 9th, 1886

My dear Grand father and Maggie we received your kind letter and was glad to hear that you were all well as this leaves us the same we have just about done with the seeding we have 50 bushel of wheat in and 12 of barley and 25 of oats we have not started to put in our potatoes yet we have lots of work now we have 8 cows giving milk and 8 calvs to feed and we have one more to cave yet we have 6 big pigs and 7 small ones Pa was working in the round house part of the winter but he is out now he had to leave to put in the grain Alick went on the first of May to work at the fort he is going to run the steam pump that pumps the water out of red river into a tank and it is filtered to supply the barricks wher there is stationed about one hunedred soldiers we dont know whether he will stay any longer than a month we live about a mile and a half from the fort he came home to see us to day the man that was running the pump got a forlough for a month to go see his friends and he left Alick in his place he is getting 30 dollars a month and his board he likes to be there very well he has never been sick since last fall.
I suppose you saw in the paper about the cyclone that was in Minnesota it was about 300 miles from wher we live it caused great damage and lose of life the people are afraid here since that happened there never has been as bad a storm since we came as we seen in Beaverton the weather was very nice in Aprile but since May came in it has been very Cold buisness is rather dull here now the trace you sent was very nice Alick was sorry to hear about Mrs Hudsons truble but there are very few in this world that have not trouble of some kind
We be very lonesome without Alick he used to play on his fiddler he could play very nicely Willie play a little too
There was a big fire in Emerson the station was burnt down Alick was going to write a long time ago but he kept putting it off till he went and when he came home he told Ellen to write but she has a bad cold so I thought I would write
So I think I have told you all the news at present hoping to hear from yous oon as this leaves all well pleas excuse mistakes as I am in hurry
Jannie Gamble
Write soon we all join ins ending our love to you and grand Pa hoping this will find you well

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Gamble Letter #24

St Vincent
February 25, 1886

My dear aunt we got your letter and was very glad to hear that you are all well we are all well at presant i would have wrote before only I was away Lizzie and i was at a big ball at Morehead on the 22 of this month we got a pass there and back it is 240 too hunredt and forty miles we had a bit time there was over too hundred couples there was thirty too sets dancing at once so you can think what a big room it was this is my 14th dance this winter and we had a big dance at Cowans Dick Glover is up hear staying at Cowans his brother Jonie is working on the rail road about thirty miles from hear Ellen is still taking music lessons the people she is with has moved to St Vincent they are keeping Store Ellen is getting so proud that she hardely will speke to us my father is working on the rail road Still he is getting forty dollars a month we had sixty dollars of taxes to pay this year I think I have told you all the new my ink is don I will write more the next time so good by

I remain yours,
Ale Gamble

Write soon

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Fitzpatrick Maternity Home

A typical scene in a maternity home...My grandmother Elizabeth Fitzpatrick ran a maternity home in St. Vincent from 1943 into the late 1950's. I don't know if any unwed mothers ever gave birth there, but plenty of married ladies did. While growing up, I met many women, some even from my church, who were either born there, or had their children there. When I was looking up general information on maternity homes, all references were about homes for single mothers to give birth in, and usually to arrange adoptions of those babies. This was not the kind of maternity home my grandmother ran.

Here's some information I tracked down - thanks to Cindy at the Kittson County Museum - about the Fitzpatrick Maternity Home...

[Prepared June 4, 1946]

Fitzpatrick Maternity Home
Established 1943
Owned/Operated by Mrs. Albert Fitzpatrick
Location - St. Vincent, Kittson County, Minnesota
Types of Services/Licensed as - Maternity
Building - Frame, built 1906
Elizabeth FitzpatrickWater - Cistern/city water
Facilities - Outdoor toilet
Beds - 1 Room, 2 beds
Bassinets - 2
Number of patients for last year - 4 admissions
Number of births - 11
Number of stillborn - 1
Physician Visits - Daily
Administrator - Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, age 58, Practical Nurse (15 years experience)
Charges - $3.00 per day for care of mother & baby
Maternity Services - Patients deliver in room with assistance of Practical Nurse/Doctor
Types of Therapy offered - Diathermy, Massage, Hyperthermia

This record is from the St. Vincent Birth & Death 
Register book, recently rediscovered by Kris 
Baldwin Ohmann in St. Vincent's town shed; 
this record shows the birth of my older sister, Betty
at the Fitzpatrick Maternity Home in 1950...
[Click to Enlarge...]

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Gamble Letter #23

It's now the end of 1883, and the Gambles have come a long way since they arrived in the area in 1878. They've worked long and hard to get to where they are now.

In the letter below, Mary Ann expresses her concern over the family they left behind; she also mentions in passing someone named Joseph [I assume another family member], resentment and disapproval apparent in her comments.

But in the end, the letter overall is one of pride and hope. They have earned the deed to their land, they are very busy due to their success, and they talk of the future of their children...
St. Vincent
December 9, 1883

Dear Maggy I received your letter last week and I am sorry to hear that you are not so well I think if you had a change away from there you would get better its very wrong for you to be fretting all the time and if your mother knew it she would not rest so you ought to try and go out more and it would take your mind off thinking so much if all is well coming spring I will send money to take you here to see us it would do you good you could stay for a month or too and I would send you back I would not want you away from your father We are all well but my self I have a pain in my side all the time I have not done any work all summer worth speaking of but I am in hopes of getting better the wether is nice there is hardly any snow we got our deed for the land all right we were Just in time for the government enspectoers was around seeing what improvements people had made and there is some wount get there deeds it cost us about four hundred and fifty dollers for by what we gave the man that had it first land is getting so scarse we thought it a pity to loose it it is such a good place and worth a lot of money we entend it for Alick paying for it has left us a little bare Just now but we are not in debt all that troubles me that I cant help my father if I had it in my power you nor him would never have to weave another peice for one in thorah try and keep up your heart for your troubles is worse on me than my own thinking about yours if Joseph would send my father what he owes him it would fit him better than going pleasure hunting but he never did care for any one but himself We have seven cows to salve in the spring we have 8 to years old and seven one year olds and a teem of mules and a teem of coalts and pigs So they make lots of work they eat a lot of hay through the winter there is nothing very particlur here at present they are going to have a Christmas tree in the shool house for the children They think they will have a good time the children would like to have you here with them they all join in sending their kind love to you and their grandfather so good by for the present Write soon
Mary Ann Gamble

Celebrating Small Towns

June 6th has been declared "Small Town Day" in Minnesota.

June 6th & 7th are also the dates for an important conference on small towns - the 2006 Symposium on Small Towns & Rural Summit. The individuals and groups involved in this conference feel passionate about the importance of small towns, and are gathering to ensure that small towns find innovative ways to sustain and grow into the future.

One important factor is working together. Sounds simple doesn't it? But you might be surprised (maybe not, if you've been involved in community efforts...!) how some people can fight against working together even when it's to everyone involved's benefit.

In this day and age, however, it's more crucial than ever. I am hoping that Pembina and St. Vincent are working together as much as they can be. I know they have in the past, and I feel they can only benefit if they do into the future...