Editor's Note; I thank John Holden (Son of Hartford and Dagmar) for sending the below graphics and exerpt. I did not know Lois was such a good "sketcher." It brings back a lot of memories of our summer swims.
Sketch by Lois Holden
(Note "shoes" at bottom of sketch)
Lake Malmedal Area Map
The following is excerpted from pages 6-8 of Malmedal Genealogy, compiled
by Harry and Martha Malmedal in November, 1981.
CHRISTIAN OLAUS KNUTSEN MALMEDAL is the gene bridge we are going to follow to the next generation. It has been difficult to obtain pictures of Christian or find out much about his life. We have a copy of a letter in our file from the Norwegian officials stating that Christian Malmedal and his wife Anne and their children, Carl who was 13 and Beret Martha who was 7 went to America from Fraena (Norway) in May of 1871. Christian was listed as a farmer. In other places we find that he was also a carpenter, a trade he learned in Norway. This same letter also states that on September 18, 1842 Christian was confirmed in Vagoy church in Aukra parish. After they left Norway, Christian and his family traveled for seven weeks by sailboat to the United States. They went directly to what is now Lowry, Mn. Many Norwegian immigrants settled in that part of the country. It was the custom in those days for someone in America to sponsor the immigrants. The immigrants would stay with the sponsor long enough to work off the price of their passage. Ole Bjokne, who was a double cousin of Ann Malmedal was sponsor to Christian and his family so Christian and Ann Malmedal stayed with the Bjokne's and worked on the Bjokne farm for two years before getting their own home. The Bjokne farm was about 1 mile west and 1/2 mile south of Lowry, Minn. All that is left of the farm today is the trees.
In 1875 Christian purchased school land on Malmedal Lake in Ben Wade twp, Pope County 1-1/2 miles south of Lowry. The description of this land is the N1/2 of the SW1/4 of Sec. 36. The first building was located on the northeast corner of Malmedal Lake. In 1880 Christian purchased the remainder of the SW1/4. First a dugout and granary were built on this land and the family lived in the dugout while new farm buildings were built a short distance to the west on the lake shore. Christian built a fine farm with a large barn that had a stone foundation, several granaries and a house. When we visited there in June of 1981 we found the farmstead overgrown with trees and bushes. All that was left of the barn was the stone foundation. The house is still standing, but is beyond all repair. In 1883 Christian sold the farm to his son Carl. Christian and Ann lived with Carl until 2 years after Carl's marriage. In 1890 Christian built a house on the south edge of Lowry. This was later moved to the lot where the Holden home now stands in Lowry and was located just north of the present Holden home.
Christian and Ann were prominent in community affairs.
They helped build the St. Pauli's Lutheran Church which original1y stood in St.
Pauli's cemetery. This cemetery is located about 1-1/2 miles west of Lowry. In
1904 there was a split in the church with about 7 or 8 families leaving. Among
these were Christian's fandly and Mrs. Hans Haugen. At the time Christian and Ann died they were still with this
splinter group. They were first
buried north of Lowry and later, when the churches were again united, their
graves were moved to St.Pauli's cemetery and can be seen there today. The
original church has been remodeled and now stands in the town of Lowry.
CARL CHRISTIAN MALMEDAL was the only son of Christian Malmedal and Ann Stavem. In 1871 at the age of 13 he came by sailboat to America with his parents and sister Beret. As we learned from the account of Christian Nalmedal, the family spent 2 years at the Ole Bjokne farm before obtaining their own land. In 1883 Carl bought the farm on Malmedal Lake near Lowry, Minn. from his father. July 1, 1888 Carl Malmedal married Kari Stenersen Hagen at Lowry, Minnesota. Kari's father was Stene Hagelykken but the name was shortened to Hagen. Kari had two sisters, Marit who became Mrs. Martin Botten and lived at Carbury, N. D. and Oline who never married and stayed in Norway. Carl and Kari lived on the farm on Malmedal Lake until they moved to N. D. in 1899. Six of their eight children were born there. In 1896 Carl bought more land on Malmedal Lake - the S1/2 of Sec. 35 in Ben Wade twp. Then in 1902, three years after moving to N.D., he transacted from there to buy the rest of this quarter section. Why he did this we donít know but we have copies of the deeds in our file to substantiate the purchase. In 1905 Carl sold all of his Minnesota land to Knut Gjerset for around $5500.
In 1898 at the age of 40 Carl went to North Dakota and purchased land near Bisbee in Sorenson twp (formerly Johnson). In the spring of 1899 Carl came up in an immigration car consisting of horses, cattle and machinery. He broke land and put in a crop, then began building a house and barn. He was an old friend of Jens Loe, so during his stay in N. D. getting the new home ready for his family he stayed with the Loes. After harvesting his crop, Carl went back to Minnesota and sold off his surplus machinery at auction. An interesting item from the Glenwood Herald dated Oct. 20, 1899 reads "Carl Malmedahl is back from an all summer stay in Bottineau county N. D. Carl seems to have become infatuated with that part of the world and has secured a 320 acre farm up there upon which he intends to locate in a few weeks. By a notice in this issue in which he offers for sale his farm and personal property in this county, it is evident that he means business." Carl did "mean business" because in November of 1899 Carl, Kari and their 6 children came to North Dakota with two carloads of household goods, feed and livestock. Mr. and Mrs. Loe met them at the station in Bisbee and took them to the new Malmedal home where Mrs. Loe had prepared a hot supper and made the home ready for them. This home was later remodeled and made into a much larger home. Carl Malmedal bought an interest in the Peterson Blacksmith in Bisbee, then later bought the Egeland Implement shop which he operated until his death. Carl died of a heart attack while running to catch a train in Bisbee. Carl and Kari's eight children: Olander; Mariann; Stefan; Minnie; Herman; Cliff; Fred and Bertha make up the 13th generation.
BERET MARTHA MALMEDAL was the only daughter of Christian and Ann Malmedal and the sister of Carl Malmedal. At the age of 7 she came to America with her parents and brother Carl. She lived at home with her parents until June 19,1886 when she married Ole Johan Holden at the Jergen Strandness home in Lowry, Minn. Ole worked on the section of the Soo line railroad and they lived in Lowry until after their first son was born. Then they moved to New Prairie Twp. near Cyrus and farmed. All their other children were born there. The Holden family moved back to Lowry in 1915. They built a home just south of the Christian Malmedal home. This home still stands and Leona lives there at this time. Nearly all the information we have on the Holden's is listed on the outline of the generations. We had a great deal of help from Hartford Holden of Tuscola, Ill. Hartford is the son of Martin Holden. Norman Hagen of Starbuck, Minn. also gave us much help. Norman is the son of Marie Holden Hagen.
Malmedahl Lake - Drought - Depression
Reflections of Glenn Hoplin
Edís Note: Much of the information herein is from life experiences during this period of tie. Some of it is "Heresy" many times repeated through the years and possibly distorted or exaggerated. Some of it is the result of research at the Pope County Historical Society. If the reader finds errors, mentally correct the information and read on.
I sure remember Malmedahl. It was the closest lake to downtown Lowry and the place we went swimming during the summer months. We would either walk there -- about 3 miles from Lowry -- or ride our bikes and if we were really lucky we would pay $0.05 to the Holtberg kids to ride in the Ford with a rumble seat for the round trip. Oh, yeh, one cannot forget that the bottom of the lake was mud and which often went up to to our knees. During the spring there was also run of carp in the creeks feeding the lake. I remember fishing the carp with pitchforks. I think we gave them to the farmers for fertilizer
I thank Glenn for his recollection not only about the lake but on the drought and economic depression of the '30s. And, I have to admit that I did not walk to school in the snow with no shoes. Pardon.
Malmedahl Lake - Drought - Depression
Reflections of Glenn Hoplin
Before 1939 there was no road across Malmedahl Lake. The area that is now the rest stop on the west side of the road was either an island or a peninsula. The plat books that I examined at the Pope County Historical Society revealed nothing definitive; however, I believe it was a peninsula and the road crossed it and left the land mass to the west which is not a rest stop. The 1904 plot book shows land owners north of Malmedahl as -- Jorgen Strandness, Troned Stavem, Hans Bjokne, Ole Stockland, Knute Gjerget, Hans Haugen, Hans Slette, Iver Tiegen and Nels Femrite. The 1910 plat book sows owners as -- Ole Olson, Knute Sjerset, Jorgen Staandness, Tronet Stavem, O. H. Slette, Edward Hedlin, Iver Tiegen, O. Odegaard, Nels Femrite. I could find no land owner by the name of Malmedahl. The 1915 plat book was the same as 1910. There was a file on Malmedahl Lake with one newspaper clipping from a 1974 Starbuck Times with a picture of the Malmedahl family. From the information with the clipping Mrs. Ole J. Holden who was the mother of Marie, Leona, Alma, Amanda, Carl, Martin and Gustave. Gust was killed in 1918 in France and Legion Post 253 in Lowry bears his name. His full name according to records at the Pope County Historical Society was Olaf Gustave Ferdinand Holden. Mrs. Ole Holdenís maiden name was Bertha M. Malmadahl. She was mostly known as Betsy.
Before 1939 when Highway 114 was built, there were two ways to get to Starbuck from Lowry. Although the local doctors would cross Malmedahl Lake in the winter over the ice with vehicles with tracks to get to the hospital which was the major medical facility in the area. Incidentally during these years Alma Holden was Dr. Gibbons office help. Otherwise one had to go west to St. Paulís Cemetery and south past Nels Femriteís to what is now Co Rd 24 then east to Inherred Church and south to Starbuck. The other option was to go east, then south past Melvin Bjokneís and Standnessís to what is probably the location of Co Rd 24, then west to Inherred Church and south to Starbuck. In the winter time with ice on Lake Malmedahl the doctors went straight south. Ed Hedlinís driveway was from the north almost an extension of Florence Ave straight south.
Malmedahl Lake was dry in 1934. It was the result of about ten years of less than normal rainfall. Many of the lakes in the area were very low and trees had grown up in the shoreline, some of the trees had trunks five inches in diameter, which indicates that the drought was for an extended period. For several years the crops were so poor and livestock feed very scarce. Much of the grain was so short that bundles could not be made with a grain binder so the grain was cut with a mower winrowed like hay. The threshing machines were set up with the blower through the barn door and straw flown in the barn for livestock feed. Every growing green thing was used for feeding livestock. The wind blew continuously and the days were desperately hot. The sun was a red ball at noon time because of all the dust in the air. The fences had drifts of top soil almost like snow drifts and the trash and tumble weeds caught in the fences. The wind and the heat seemed never ending. It is impossible for anyone to imagine the poverty that the drought and depression generated unless one had experienced the devastation. People helped one another and shared whatever there was. 1936 produced the coldest winter on record. Most people heated with coal burning appliances.
The Strandnesses farmed the lake bottom. They had fences to pasture cattle and a field of flax on July 4, 1935. It began to rain on July 4. Malmedahl Lake was full and the crop destroyed. The Fourth of July celebration in Glenwood at the fair grounds found people stranded with water up to the floor boards of their cars. People had mixed feelings -- rejoicing that the needed moisture had come, but felt it should not have had to be in biblical proportions. The balance of 1935 was very wet. The crops were very good. It seems that there would never be enough dry days in a row to get the shocked grain dry enough to thresh. Farmers turned the bundle in the shocks many times in a effort to dry them out only to have another shower the next day. The shocks began to grow and grow down. Much was threshed wet.
The drought years were tough in itself, but add the worst depression in history and it became a tremendous struggle to provide basic needs for a family. Many families lost their farms and began working at jobs created by the federal government to provide people with the very basics. WPA -- "Work Progress Administration" -- provide jobs that build roads, parks and public buildings. Locally in Lowry the skating rink was made with a warming house that had a fireplace made from native rock. The building remains in 2006; however, the fireplace has been removed. The school house was shingled, all the maple flooring in all class rooms and hallways were taken up, cleaned, relaid and sealed. The entire interior of the building was given a coat of Kalsomine. The cedar trees that now grow in line on the east side of Hwy 114 and in front of the Lowry Apartments were moved by the WPA from directly behind the school building. These trees were used for an enclosure for the outdoor plumbing, one enclosure for boys and one for girls. There were three or four toilets in each enclosure with access though an opening where a tree left out. Amazingly every tree survived its transplant. These trees are valuable to the apartment dwellers in the summer. The depression and commodity prives were unbelievable low. The good news was that the drought had ended but the market was putrid.
The federal government had dozens of programs designated with acronyms -- NRA "National Recovery Act" -- CCC "Civilian Conservation Corp," a program for young men to work with the forest service. Many did to be supplied with a place to sleep and three meals a day and clothing, the basics to stay alive -- PWA "Public Works Administration." In this program contractors were given government contracts to build infrastructures in small towns and cities. The federal government dictated policy and wage scales. Laborers were paid $0.55 per hour which everyone felt was a fabulous wage. Many men worked for a dollar a day, room and board and laundry. Lowry was blessed with a municipal water system constructed by Henry Nodland Construction Co from Starbuck. The amount of the contract was so small that itís hard to believe that so much could be gotten for so little -- all the 8" and 6" cast iron water mains, hydrants, new well and well house, a 10 HP deep well turbine pump, 100 ft water tower and tank. Every joint in the cast iron water mains were joined with Oakum and Molten Lead. The ditches were dug with a huge chain digger with a belt converyor. Backfilling was done with a drag line. Most of the work performed by the WPA was hard manual work designed to create jobs. The PWA created jobs but worked for contractors creating infrastructures in small town and cities. The PWA used machinery to accomplish these tasks and created so much.
Not til 1939 when the war in Europe began did things begin to improve. People left the area to work in industries that supplied material for the war effort. Before the US was attacked by Japan in Dec 7, 1941 the US were allies of Great Britain and supplied them with war materials through a program called "Lend Lease." All kinds of military equipment including ships were supplied under this program. After Dec 7, 1941 the US industry converted completely to military production. Almost all civilian consumer goods production was shut down. It was a remarkable accomplishment to convert auto plants to making tanks, airplanes, ships landing craft and every kind of military material needed. Much of this production was done by women and older people as most of the young men were in military service.
EIILOGUE: For one to understand the condition during this period of time one must be reminded of existing conditions at this point in time. Communication -- radio was in its infancy. Early ones needed three batteries and one had to wear head sets, later a huge horn type of amplifier was placed on top of the radio. Many had several tuning dials to receive stations with much static. Telephone -- was a box on the wall with a crank and a persons voice answering "number please." Lindberg had made his famous New York to Paris flight in 1927; so commercial flights were very limited. Very few roads were surfaced and many autos still used side curtains. A cup of coffee was a nickel as well as an ice cream cone. Of course, there was no television. Most homes did not have inside plumbing -- peach wrappers were often found. People shared whatever they had, produce from their gardens, milk from cows that a number of people had. Bartered labor was common. The local merchants extended credit to people often times for long periods and beyond reason. It is also noted that during these years most all farm power was gotten from horses and the farmer raised his own fuel, which seems to be happening again.
It seems that every generation has to tell how tough it was growing up in their day. I remember my Grandpa telling how he worked building the railroad when he came to this country. He said he worked with pick, shovel and wheelbarrow sixteen hours a day for a dollar, and the boss was a slave driver. A generation later I remember John Lind telling me "you young whippersnapppers donít know nothing." When you dragged the ground that I plowed, then youíd know something." When I look at some of the railroad grades, it took an awful lot of wheelbarrows of dirt.