Saturday, March 31, 2012

D.F. Brawley's Sad End...


The last time we saw Daniel F. Brawley, he was conducting some rather underhanded business tactics against another resident named Nathan Myrick, over the Pembina/St. Vincent Ferry.

Below is a sort of time-line of Brawley's history in Minnesota.  It was created by Vince Godon on his fascinating website, Historical Minnesota Bricks.  Vince is the son of Maurice Godon, a former resident of St. Vincent, who was featured in St. Vincent Memories in 2009.

Below, you'll read how he lived during changing times in Minnesota, as businessman, legislator, etc.  In the end, he died by his own hand, in St. Vincent, and is buried in the St. Vincent Cemetery...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Book

The book cover shows the town in
an iconic photo of the 1897 flood...

As a lead-up to this summer's St. Vincent Town Reunion, I have put together a book for anyone interested in my hometown. It is available now for purchase.

I have selected the posts that are most directly related to St. Vincent itself. Even so, it's still 300 pages long. It is being offered as a print-on-demand book, meaning you decide what version of the book you want - hardcover v. softcover, b&w images v. colored, and physical book v. digital eBook that can be read on an iPad, Nook or Kindle.

The book is just a slice of the blog, since the blog has so much more to it - hyperlinks that take you to further information or other posts in the blog related to the one you are reading. The book isn't meant as a replacement for the blog, but rather just a representation of it to share with family and friends.

As always, I recommend most of all the blog itself that you are reading. It's dynamic, every-changing, growing, and convenient. You can read it on your laptop, on your phone or e-reader (yes, there is a mobile version of this blog!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fern Valley

Left to Right:  Catherine Harris (wife), Gladys Harris (daughter),
and Dr. Charles B. Harris, posing in Fern Valley, circa 1898...

[Source:  Walker Family Collection]
When I was up in Pembina recently, Hetty Walker allowed me to borrow their old family photograph album.  Chuck Walker, Hetty's late husband (and a mentor of mine, regarding local history), had inherited it from his grandfather, Dr. Charles Harris.  I found the photograph above which features Dr. Harris and his young family at the time, enjoying an outing to Fern Valley, a popular spot for walks and picnics in the late 1800's and early 1900's near Pembina.

The old album that the above
photograph came from...

[Source:  Walker Family Collection]

Chuck, when explaining a reference to it in his book, Sheriff Charley Brown, once shared with me:  Fern Valley was later the Joe O’Hara farm. When I was a kid and before it became private property, it was solid ferns with no weed. (And a beautiful camping spot.) It was on the north side of the Pembina River along the road just two miles west of Pembina. Turn south off Highway 55 and as you approach the Pembina River it’s just to the left and follows the north side of the river to the east. To my knowledge there are no ferns left there. Many people in town transplanted from there to their personal yards.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Interview: Beth Lapp

Elizabeth Lapp in 1948
[Courtesy:  Digital Archive, UMC

Thanks to Kristine Baldwin Ohmann, who facilitated our get together, I interviewed one of the oldest living natives (and a resident) of St. Vincent last weekend.

Elzabeth Lapp, better known as Beth, was raised in St. Vincent.  Her parents, Richard (Dick) and Lillian Lapp, met in 1926 when her mother came to town to teach at the school. Dick's parents were early settlers of St. Vincent, arriving in 1879 from Canada.

I share with you here the interview in its entirety, as it happened.  As you will read, there are a lot of clues for further stories, which I intend to explore in future posts...

1. Her earliest memory is of getting ill and vomiting on her workbook at school. In those days, you only got one workbook to use for your schoolwork, so she was mortified. She was sitting near chalkboard at the time. Her teacher was Miss Penovich.

2. Some of her other teachers were: Elaine Bergh, Gunda Hanson, Mrs. Isley, and Mrs. Monte(gue) Clinton.

3. The year she had Mrs. Clinton, “we didn’t learn anything”. Math and Science were "sacrificed for art". All she remembers is Mrs. Clinton having the class place chairs facing west and looking out towards Christ Church and drawing what they saw…

4. When it came time to go to high school, students during her time had three choices: Hallock, Pembina, or Crookston. Hallock and Pembina were public school (free) while Crookston was a boarding school and charged tuition. This was during the 1940’s and into the 1950’s.

Northwest School of Agriculture campus, in Crookston, MN
[Photo Courtesy Digital Archive, UMC]
5. Crookston was called the ‘Ag School’. It's actual name was the Northwest School of Agriculture.  Several area natives attended it, including Beth and her siblings.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

1948 Boys Baseball

St. Vincent Boys Baseball Team (1948)
[Photo Courtesy:  Margaret Gooselaw Cleem]
On February 25, 2012, I had the privilege to sit down with Elizabeth Lapp.  Kristine Baldwin Ohmann drove down from  St. Vincent with Beth so we could spend some time together, gathering stories about St. Vincent.  I'll eventually share the results of that interview here, but in the meantime, a little sample...

The photo above was among the photographs and other ephemera Kris and Beth brought with them, from Beth's collection as well as from Margaret Gooselaw Cleem.  The photo had four individuals identified, but the rest were not known.  After putting it out on the Humboldt-St. Vincent Facebook page, Perm Diamond responded:
Talked to Bob Cameron today about the baseball picture.  Back Row:  Dick Cleem, Jimmie Wold, John Stranger, Dick Lapp, Harold Rutherford.  Front Row:  Bob Parenteau, Maurice Godon, Sam Lapp, Merlyn Dewing, Bob Cameron (Catcher), Bob Hughes, with Bob Turner (Bat Boy) in front of them... 
I noticed the boys logo had something the girls didn't - a bird.  I learned that in 1948, an area Eagles Club sponsored them -  thus the eagles on the logo.