Saturday, May 26, 2012

Curling Memories

Curling stone (or rock)
used in St. Vincent rink

[Courtesy:  Matt Cleem]

The curling rock (or stone) at left was recently shared on the St. Vincent Town Reunion Facebook page.  It brought out many memories from people who had grown up in and around St. Vincent, and had a connection to the St. Vincent Curling Rink...

Cleo Bee (Lang) Jones - I recall going to the St.Vincent curling rink with my uncle Laurence Turner when I was pretty young...

Trish Short Lewis - I was in the rink only a few times, saw a few older people curling.  I don't know if they ever had a warming house portion of the rink, but when I was there, it was always freezing on the bleachers in the front area, so I'd usually beat a fast path back to Grandma's house a block away...

Phil "Jack" Gooselaw - This we called a curling "rock" and may be one of the ones we used during the late 50's at the St. Vincent curling rink. My dad Manuel, Uncle Lewis Gooselaw, Dave Gooselaw and I had a curling team the last couple winters I was there prior to my graduation from high school (1960) and going into the Navy. As an aside, I was in the Navy for 2 weeks when I rcvd news that Dad had had a heart attack and passed away while throwing one of these rocks in a game (Feb. 1960)...

Delphine (Beaudette) Mundorf - Our Grandpa (Trish) use to curl. His team made it in the winning bracket and they came to Bemidji one year. I was so proud to watch my Grandpa curling. So exciting. I was quite young when Grandpa curled in Bemidji. I think they won and went on to state but not sure about that. Just know it was so exciting to watch him out there on the rink. I don't even remember for sure if he was the stone thrower or if he was one of the sweepers. But I think he threw the stone. I might have been around 12 then so would have been around 1950.

Judy (Turner) Ziesman - I remember when your dad passed away. I was pretty little, but I remember standing outside your house and talking to Denise and Debbie while everyone was in the house. Back then they would have the viewing at the house. I don't know how long after our family bought and moved into your house. My mom and dad always talked highly of Manuel [Gooselaw]. Sadly a few years later my dad passed away also. I think my dad was at the rink when your dad had his heart attack. I spent a lot of time at the rink.  I had my first lesson on that rink, they made it look so easy....little did I know!

Keith Finney - I remember the first time I curled. Herb Easter had a conflict so he could not curl one night. He gave me his shoes, broom and gloves and sent me to the rink. Almost put the rock through the end first time I delivered a rock. Herb forgot to give me instructions. :)

Dorothy (Giffen) Barber - I will never forget that night. Don was curling and saw Manuel when he threw the rock and slumped on the ice. He came home and told me about it. It was such a sad time.

Jake Rempel from Halbstadt, Manitoba shared: The Emerson Curling Club used to borrow the Rocks from St Vincent when they still had bonspiels in the shating rink in Emerson (right after New Year's). Lawrence Calder liked to tell the story of crossing the Border and as it happened an American from farther South was at the Customs and asked what they were? Curling Rocks. "What is Curling" It’s a game – you throw them 160 ft and see who can get them closest to the centre to win the game ! "Wow ! I would like to see the people that throw them!"

Betty (Short) Thorsvig had fond memories of hanging out in the rink; Jamie (Rustad) Meagher thinks her father also curled there.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Incorporated TWICE

1881 Charter heading...

ST. VINCENT Township, organized March 19, 1880, is opposite Pembina, N.Dak. Its name had been earlier given, before 1860, to a post of fur traders here, in honor of the renowned St. Vincent de Paul, founder of missions and hospitals in Paris...The city in sections 2 and 11, located on the site of an XY Fur Company trading post, was incorporated as a village on May 23, 1857, and again on March 8, 1881; it had a station of the Great Northern Railway in section 2, and at St. Vincent Junction in section 6; its post office began in 1878. 
- Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia, by Ward Upham

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Glimpse Inside

Simone Cameron baked homemade buns and
bread for the St. Vincent School children ...
A shot of a class descending the staircase at
the end of the day, at the St. Vincent School...

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Hill Farms

Threshing at the Walter Hill Farm in Northcote (1900);  this was
the year my grandmother began working in the farm's dairy.

[Click on photo to see large version]

J.J. Hill was a busy man with a wide variety of interests.  His business savvy was renowned, which brought him notoriety and admiration from a wide variety of people.  My grandmother and mother talked about him with tones of reverence when recounting his heavy influence on the region in which we lived.

Settlers in our little corner of northwestern Minnesota often found  stepping stones of employment thanks to Mr. Hill.  Elizabeth Fitzgerald, my grandmother, was one of them.  She wasn't able to have any schooling past third grade.  With 10 siblings at that time (eventually there would be 13), she was needed at home after that; eventually, in 1900, she found work on the Hill's Humboldt farm working in the dairy, among other responsibilities.  Such young women who did a variety of tasks were commonly called 'hired girls'.

Hill's interest in farming was tied directly to his building of the railroads.  Development of the surrounding land was their key to success.  Settlement was encouraged, but it was also necessary to supply motivation for settlers to come.  The land itself was rich with potential, but Hill was smart enough to know that he had to lead by example.  He started farms that were practical demonstrations of how it "could be done".  One of them was the Humboldt farm, its genesis in 1881, that became a bonanza farm, eventually splitting off 3,000 acres to create the Northcote division in 1910 (although it was part of the Humboldt farm prior to then...)

The Northcote division was created for his son, Walter, in hopes that it would give him focus.  The article below announces the completion of the mansion, as my grandmother called it.