Saturday, September 24, 2011

School District No. 2

"HISSSSssss..." - I remember well
the sounds of the radiators...

After writing about the St. Vincent School recently, I remembered coming across a mention once of it being assigned as District No. 2 under the early state education system.  I got curious, and went looking for more information...

According to an historical essay
School District No. 2 was organized in 1880... Its north boundary was the Canadian border; the west boundary was the Red River. It extended south along the Red River six miles, east from the river four miles. A schoolhouse was built in St. Vincent...
St. Vincent School closed around 1977, after a crack in the boiler was found1. The cost to repair or replace it was prohibitive, so a hard decision was made to close the school, combining some lower grades in the Humboldt elementary.  It was the end of Humboldt-St. Vincent consolidation in name; consolidation in fact continued until even Humboldt closed.

1 - The school was still using the same coal-fired, central boiler/radiator system they had been using when I attended the school...!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Perils of Rev. Appleby

Rev. Appleby circa 1890
Photographer: W. H. Stalee 

[Minnesota Historical Society]
From the records left behind, it's clear that life could be difficult in the late 1800's on the frontiers, including here in Minnesota.  Even for pioneers of the Christian churches.  As with any group, there were good and bad 'men of the cloth'.

St. Vincent was fortunate to have one of the good ones.  After working with Ojibwa groups in the region, he was assigned to our parish.

During his time in St. Vincent, there were many practical difficulties he had to contend with...
St. Vincent's Mission, which is in charge of the Rev. H.M.V. Appleby, is the most northern in the United States.  It covers one county in Minnesota, one in Dakota, and has three outside stations involving journeys of thirty-four and forty-six miles respectively.  The difficulties met with by one traversing the region reminds one of the perils of St. Paul.  "Our work is most fatiguing, both in winter and summer;" observes the missionary, "Three times in my experience has my horse sunk through the ice and both myself and he been nearly lost.  At different times I have been lost all night, and once my horse rolled down the embankment at the end of a bridge, plunging us both into the river, though without injury.  Five times I have been nearly lost in open boat and canoe."  
Yet, notwithstanding all this, the personal inconvenience is greatly outweighed by the warm welcome, earnest inquiries after the Truth, and the deep regrets at having been so long deprived of the Church's service.  Two new churches are needed immediately in northern Dakota, pressing debts of $1,300.00 burden the mission in Minnesota, and for all the sum of $3,000.00 is needed by Bishop Whipple and the Rev. Appleby, in order that this important work be not abandoned. - Report on Minnesota, May 29, 1886 [The Churchman, Volume 53]
His impact was felt for years after he left, and is reflected in this article...
The Venerable Archdeacon  Appleby1 assisted at the service, and his well remembered face, and soft English voice, that, for so many years, was, each succeeding Sabbath, listened to from the pulpit, will never be forgotten by his old parishioners.  Here it was that he and his Christian lady reared their interesting family; he knows every one of us, and his worth is known after he has left us. - Excerpt from article concerning Christ Church Harvest Festival, held December 4, 1891 [St. Vincent New Era2]
1 - Thomas Henry Montague Villiers Appleby, Episcopal clergyman, b. in Regent's Park, Eng., Oct 28, 1843; was educated as a physician and priest in England; came to America in 1866; was rector in St. Vincent, Minn., 1881-1888; was appointed archdeacon of Minnesota in 1888, and of North Dakota in 1898; and general superintendent of Indian missions 1900, residing in Duluth...

While serving in St. Vincent's Christ Church, he also served in the capacity of Kittson County probate judge...

2 - William Deacon, who owned and published the St. Vincent New Era until 1913 (after which the DeFrance family took over...), died in 1920 at age 83. Mr. Deacon was many things to St. Vincent, as well as being great grandfather to Margaret "Toots" Ryan, my grandmother's neighbor and good friend - Sources include The Fourth Estate [August 21, 1920]; Ryan Family page [Red River Valley website]

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Farmer's Store

Farmer's Store in Hallock (1910).  Note tea chest on left...
[Photo Credit:  Minnesota Historical Society

My Mom and I often shopped at the old Farmer's store in downtown Hallock in the 1960's and 1970's.  Even then, it was somewhat of a general store, having a dry goods area where we would sometimes buy fabric and notions for sewing projects.  It still had the wood floors, and the high tin ceiling...
The Kittson County Farmers Co-operative Mercantile Company of Hallock, Minnesota, was incorporated in 1904. The intent of the farmers who organized the company was to cooperatively own and operate “a general mercantile, trading, shipping, forwarding, and commission business; [to engage in] buying, selling, exchanging, and dealing in all kinds of farm produce, supplies, implements, machinery, and other articles of merchandise incidental or necessary in operating and conducting a general store; [and] to buy and sell as much real estate as is reasonably necessary in conducting its business.” The “Farmers Store,” as it was commonly known, began by purchasing the inventory, frame building, and adjacent lots of a general merchandise store owned by C.J. McCollom. 
In 1914 the store needed larger quarters, and a second public corporation, the Farmers Building Company, was formed to finance and manage a new building.  A two-story, brick structure was built in 1915 on the site of the original store.  The Kittson County Farmers Co-operative Mercantile Company rented space in the building from the Farmers Building Company, as did other businesses and individuals.1 
In 1956 the Kittson County Farmers Co-operative Mercantile Company and the Farmers Building Company merged to become the Farmers Store of Hallock, Inc., a privately owned corporation. 
Source: Minnesota State University Moorhead Archives
1 - After posting this, a reader mentioned that a great aunt lived in an apartment over the store for several years...

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Back to School, 1903

St. Vincent Classroom, circa 1903: My great uncle Charlie is the boy
against the window shade in the far back, on right; my great aunt
Hannah is to his left - our right - in front of him, hair in bun...

I recently posted about the St. Vincent School.

After that post, a cousin of mine discovered this interior shot of the school that her Grandmother - my great aunt - had in her personal collection.

Amongst the room full of children, are two relatives of mine - my great uncle Charlie Fitzpatrick, and my great aunt Hannah Fitzpatrick.

When Hannah graduated high school, she went on to attend teacher's
college, which at that time was the state normal school in Moorhead, MN
 (now known as Minnesota State University Moorhead) - Class of 1913...
[Click to enlarge]

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Triggered Memories

I received an email from Michael Rustad saying my recent post about P.N. Tri brought back some memories of his own, and that he hoped those reading the posts here will share with me any such triggered memories they may have.  That's always been one of my hopes, that people reading these memories and histories, will share their own memories and histories of this little corner of the world.
PN Tri was a major figure in the history of Humboldt and St. Vincent.  I did not know that he was the first advisor to the Humboldt Stick to It Club. 
I belonged to the Stick to It Club and it was one of the best 4H clubs in N.W. Minnesota.  We had great leadership.  Marian Anderson from Humboldt won the state 4H dress making competition and was crowned at the State Farm.  Dennis Diamond was a consistent State Farm prize winner.  We had so many innovative parent and teacher advisors over the years.  Earl and Beatrice Bahr helped us immensely when they built our equivalent of the Diamond of Dreams on their farm.  Earl mowed a field so we could practice for our 4H softball team.  The year was 1965 and Humboldt's Stick to It 4H club was a powerhouse softball team.  It was boys and girls who played.  Dee Dee Diamond played on that team on the girl's side.  My brother Tony and I were the stars of the team.  We were the home run hitters, the ringers of the team.  Tony and I practiced softball daily.  We would pitch to each other and invented a game.  A home run was when we hit it over the barn with a towering drive.  A double was a hit into the chicken wire.  The chickens soon learned that they were to go in the barn when we played. We never hit a single chicken despite many hits into the chicken's yard.