The Bennetts of Pope County, Minnesota
The Family of
Bertha Marie Kleven &
Chester Hall Bennett
in 2 volumes:
This work is one of a two-volume
set about the ancestors and descendents of Bertha Marie (Kleven) and Chester
Hall Bennett of Lowry, MN. While this volume depicts Chester’s
Scottish-English side of the Bennett family, the companion volume is titled
“The Kleven’s of Pope County, MN” and depicts Bertha’s predominantly
Both volumes represent a first
publishing effort by the writer. The real work, collecting the genealogy,
however, was accomplished over several years and, quite obviously, entailed
uncountable lairs. The well-deserved praise and many “tusen taks” belong to Bertha and Chester’s first born,
Marjorie Olin Bcnnett Benson Jensen. The publisher is Marjorie’s first born
and the first-born grandchild of Bertha and Chester.
Marjorie, like her mother, Bertha,
will demurely deny any due of accolades for the work involved in the two
volumes. Nevertheless, this writer would publicly suggest that Marjorie deserves
the thanks of those to whom the word “family” has special meaning Without
her efforts, these volumes would be void of many details of the family. And the
concept, warmth and meaningfulness of family was important to both Bertha and
This writer is planning a second edition This first edition undoubtedly contains both errors of omission and commission. These errors are mine alone. The second edition will contain corrections, and, I hope, many additions. I call upon the family to submit writings and pictures to fill out these volumes so that our descendants begin to understand their ancestors as real people instead of just names and dates. I plan to publish the second edition in June 2001, and therefore request submission prior to May 31, 2001.
I have taken no liberties with the
writings herein. They represent, in most cases, the exact words with perhaps a
few misspellings of the original writer. When family members submit written
items to me for the volumes, I request them to be in electronic format. I will
follow the same guidelines with those submissions.
Pictures make these volumes more
than a dry list of names. After some discussion, I have limited pictures to
“youthful maturity.” While the family was and is truly one of Lake Wobegon,
I have limited family tree and family group pictures to graduation (high school
or college) and marriage. I request submissions of pictures to be electronic
also. Since many fewer people have scanners, I would be pleased to receive
originals pictures, also, which I will scan and promptly, faithfully return to
The publisher will also be pleased
to share the complete tree in electronic format with any family member. The
computer program is Family Tree Maker, Version 8.0. The size alone will prohibit
e-mail attachment so it will be put on floppy disks or a CD.
Comments and suggestions are
invited and indeed expected.
Paul “Larry” Beacon
Grandson of Bertha and Chester Bennett
4930 Milrose Lane
Toledo, OH 43617
H:419.841.6445 F: 419.843.6401
The Bennetts of Pope County, Minnesota Family Group Sheet
Born: May 08, 1893 in: Reno Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Married: April 11, 1917 in: Kleven Farm, Blue Mounds Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Died: February 1, 1970 in: Minnawaska Home, Starbuck, MN
Father: William Bennett
Mother: Margaret Ann Hume
Marjorie Oline Bennett
Born: March 07, 1918 in: Lake Ann, Reno Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Married: July 23, 1941 in: Grand Marais, MN
Spouse: Lawrence Stewart Benson
Married: June 04, 1995 in: Plymouth, MN
Spouse: Kenneth Paul Jensen
Lavina Grace Bennett
Born: May 17, 1920 in: Reno Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Died: July 29, 1998 in: Methodist Hospital, Excelsior, MN
Married: November 15, 1941 in: Lowry, Pope County, MN
Spouse: Clifford Mervin Mortenson
Chester William Bennett
Born: March 23, 1925 in: Ben Wade Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Married: June 14, 1954 in: St. John Catholic Church, Pope County, MN
Spouse: Marianne Caroline Svec
Glenn Lloyd Bennett
Born: May 01, 1928 in: Ben Wade Township, Pope County, MN
Married: October 14, 1955 in: St. John Catholic Church, Pope County, MN
Spouse: Elaine Alice Brosh
Beverly Ann Bennett
Born: March 23, 1932 in: Starbuck Hospital, Pope County, MN
Married: July 30, 1954 in: Camden, NJ
Spouse: John M. Braaten
Sharon Bertha Bennett
Born: February 02, 1940 in: Starbuck Hospital, Pope County, MN
Married: August 31, 1963 in: Waukegan, IL
Spouse: David Wolf Wenner
Born: May 08, 1893 in: Reno Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Died: February 0l, 1970 in: Minnewaska Home, Starbuck, MN
Chester William (Bud) Bennett & Beverly Ann Bennett Braaten, 1992
Thomas Hume and his wife,
Elizabeth (Watt) Hume came from Wellington County, Ontario to homestead in Pope
County, Ben Wade Township, Minnesota, in 1868. The land is right north of where
Lowry is now. The town of Lowry was built on part of the farm. Thomas had two
cousins living in the area. He came by boat from Owen Sound on Lake Huron to
Superior City on Lake Superior. From there they traveled through wilderness by
team and wagon to Pope County. The following have lived on the Hume homestead:
Thomas and Elizabeth Hume, William and Margaret (Hume) Bennett, Robert W. and
Grace (McCann) Bennett, Chester H. and Bertha (Kleven) Bennett, Chester W. and
Marianne (Svec) Bennett, Glenn and Elaine (Brosh) Bennett, and Paul and Laurie (Kalma)
Grandpa Will Bennett started the
Lowry Shipping Association, managed the Farmers Trading Post, and helped get the
telephone and electricity into the area. He moved from the farm to Lowry.
Chester and Bertha lived at a farm on the west side of Lake Ann the first years
they were married Chester rented the Axel Anderson farm (where Donald Anderson
lives now), and later bought that farm. This farm was lost during the depression
of the 30’s. Chester and Bertha moved to the Hume homestead after Robert
Bennett’s first wife was killed in Lowry in a train accident, and Bob quit
Chester rented the Andy Bennett
farm, which joined on the west. It always was called Andy’s farm. Chester sold
cows to buy Andy’s farm for $20.00 per acre. The Hume homestead was 165 acres,
and Andy’s was 160 acres. Times were very tough during the dry years and
depression of the 30’s. Chester H. hauled cattle to northern Minnesota where
there was pasture to save them. Also some cattle were kept at the Ness farm west
of Lowry. Viney and Marge used to go out there to milk them.
Holstein cattle were a big part of
the farming operation for many years. Some purebred cows were bought in
Wisconsin. C.H. also showed some of his cattle at the county fair. The barn
capacity was for 30 cows plus young stock. C.H helped organize the Cow Testing
Association. The tester came once a month and stayed overnight He weighed each
cow’s milk, and tested the milk for butterfat. C.H ‘s herd was the first in
the county to get a 500X butterfat average. C. H was also one of the organizers
of the Villard Breeders Association. This Association was one of the first in
the state of Minnesota. C.H. started to use artificial insemination in the early
40’s. Bud & Glenn continued to milk cows for many years after Chester and
Bertha moved off the farm.
Sheep were raised on the Bennett
farm. William, C. H., and Bud all raised sheep. Sometimes there were about 200
ewes. When the shearing was done, the wool was hauled to Wadena to be sold. That
was quite a trip in those days! Bud went to early lambing (Jan-Feb), and the
sheep were sheared before they lambed Burr!, they had to be kept inside until
warn weather arrived Many nights were spent in the barn tending to the ewes.
Also hatching eggs were sold to
the Rykus Hatchery in Lowry. By then there was a new chicken house built with
materials from the granary on Andy’s farm.The old chicken house was knocked
off the foundation by a runaway team of horses. Gypsy was one of the horses. She
always had a tendency to run away after that. We had a blind horse named Rusty.
She raised many colts. Ed Brosh would come with his stallion on a cart to
service the mares in the neighborhood. Honey Pot and Tony were Rusty’s colts.
Honey Pot was a great big horse. He could walk down a 40- inch corn row and step
on corn on both sides! We put up hay with a over-shot stacker and two sweep
rakes, buckers we called them. The barn didn’t have a big capacity for hay, so
it would have to be filled up during the winter from stacks in the fields.
A 1936 International 10-20 with
steel wheels was the first tractor. It was used mainly for plowing. Horses were
used for everything else. They had what they called tractor fuel, which was 1/2
gas and 1/2 fuel oil. International tractors were what were used over the years.
C.H. had a McCormick-Deering threshing machine. He threshed for Ed Benson, Bill
Chlian, Oscar Person, and later Einar Ladd They all came with their bundle wagon
and teams to help with threshing. That was a busy time for the women too. They
prepared for noon lunch, dinner, and afternoon lunch. Bertha would always want
to know what the men had to eat at someone’s place. Mrs. Chlian had the best
raised doughnuts and kolacky’s! Sometimes guys off the train were hired to
help. They slept on straw mattresses in the hay barn. Combines were used for
threshing starting in the middle 40’s.
In the earlier years not too much
corn was raised. Wheat, oats, barley, and hay were the main crops. A lot of the
crops were used for feed for the livestock C.H. used commercial fertilizer when
it first became available. During World War II there was rationing and farm
prices were regulated by the government. After the war, prices were very good.
Some pigs were always on the farm
too. The barn yard was always muddy, and in the earlier years skim milk was
carried through the mud to the pigs. Straw sheds were used to house the pigs in
the winter. In the summer, the sows had “A” houses out in the pasture. Bud
went to confined housing for pigs in 1968. Because more pigs were raised, a lot
of corn was grown too.
C. H. rented the Oberg farm for 2
or 3 years before buying it in 1942. It was located about 2 1/2 miles north of
Lowry on Highway 114. The Federal Land Bank appraised the farm low because the
corn was terribly weedy, and heifers were pastured around the yard and the
heifers had gotten into the house! Times were better now, and hogs were sold to
pay for the farm. Now the farming operation consisted of 565 acres. The house on
the Oberg was torn down and some of the materials were used to build the shop
and garage on the home farm.
Many improvements were done
throughout the years, such as, burying rock piles, and digging out and burying
rocks as big as a car body. Fence lines were taken out and all the sloughs have
been tiled & drained making nice long fields.
C.H. started working at the ASCS
office in Glenwood in 1933. He worked there for 30 years. He enjoyed working
with all the farmers. Because C.H. wasn’t able to do heavy work, and worked at
the ASCS office, there were always one or two hired men. Bud & Glenn helped
with chores before going to schooL The house at Andy’s farm was used to house
the married hired men. Clarence Hanson and Mike Carter were some of the hired
men. Mike Carter and Bessie Zavadil were married when they worked there. Bertha
had hired girls some of the time. There was always a big garden and also a apple
orchard For some years there was a big strawberry patch. Berries were sold for
25¢ a quart!
Chester and Bertha moved off the
farm in 1954, first renting a house in Glenwood, and then building a house in
Lowry on the south side of the schoolyard. A new house was built on the farm in
1956. Glenn and Bud both lived on the original homestead until Glenn moved to
the Oberg farm in 1958. The house from the St. John’s Catholic church was
moved to the Oberg farm for Glenn and Elaine to live in. The old frame house
built by Thomas Hume was torn down in 1960. Glenn continued to milk cows until
January 1975. Things were modern now, with pipeline milkers, milking parlors,
and bulk tanks to cool and store the milk.
Bud discontinued raising sheep in
1975, but increased in hog raising. Bud quit farming in 1980, and built a house
in Lowry. Paul, Bud’s son, lives on the original homestead raising a lot of
hogs, and corn, soybeans, and wheat. Paul is the 5th generation to live there
since Thomas Hune homesteaded there. The farming operation has gone from oxen,
horses, and the cradle to harvest the grain, to big 4-wheel drives tractors, and
big combines. With the good care it has had down through the years, the land
continues to produce food for livestock and people alike.
Chester Bennett and I graduated
from West Central School of Agriculture at Morris, Minnesota in 1914. We were
married in 1917 at the Ole J. Kleven farm, south of Starbuck, Minnesota. My
pastor, H 0. Koefod couldn’t speak English, so Chester asked Pastor Dahle to
marry us. Pastor Dahle lived in Starbuck, but came to Lowry to preach Chester
used to meet him on his way to see me.
Chester drove a team of spirited
horses and when he drove into the Kleven farm fast, my brothers, William and
Gilbert said he had been whipping them so they would come in fast to impress me.
In the wintertime he came in a cutter, sometimes driving across Lake Minnewaska.
Once we went to a ski tournament in Glenwood We had good robes and my Dad had a
sheep-skin sack that I put my feet in.
There was also a heater. A piece
of charcoal was put into the heating stove until it was red-hot and then put
into a drawer in the heater. On the way home the cutter tipped over. We drove
across fields, rather than on the roads. Chester stayed overnight that time, as
he had to drive 2 miles to Lowry, 7 miles to Starbuck and 5 miles to the Kleven
The day of our wedding, April 11,
1917, the roads were very muddy (no good roads then). Bessie Bennett, Grace
Bennett, Robert Bennett, Robert McKenzie, Adolph Brosh and Mr.& Mrs. William
Bennett (Chester’s parents) were the guests. They came in a double buggy.
Pastor and Mrs. Dahle came in a buggy pulled by a fat horse.
Grace played the wedding march on
the organ as Robert Bennett [Chester’s brother], Minnie Kleven [Bertha’s
sister], Chester Bennett and I came down the stairs to the living room where an
altar had been made. The living and dining rooms were decorated in pink and
white. I wore a navy blue suit with a pink blouse and carried a bouquet of pink
sweet peas. I also wore high laced black shoes and black stockings (real silk).
(There were no rayon or nylon stockings at this time.) The women wore black
cotton stockings for everyday.
Ole Kleven had butchered a pig for
the occasion. Ida Disrud [neighbor] was hired to help and Nettie Kleven
(Bertha’s sister) waited on the table. When Chester was going to take lda
home, he found that William Kleven, Bob McKenzie, Bob Bennett, and Adolph Brosh
had put the front buggy wheels on the back and the back wheels on the front.
They had taken the hat pins out of the ladies’ hats and stuck them up through
the buggy seat (In those days, hat pins were very long.)
We had told the Lowiy people they
were staying in Starbuck and the Starbuck people we were staying in Lowry. Then
we stayed at the farm Chester had rented from Bill Blair, where we were to make
our home. The morning of April 12, we went to Chester’s folks for dinner. The
Benson girls hid in the woods so they could watch the newlyweds go by. They went
into the house and told their mother that the bride even wore a nose veil on her
After eating dinner at Chester
‘s parents, we went in the buggy to our farm with Bob Bennett and Adolph Brosh
chasing the cows and sheep Will Bennett had given us. Ole Kleven had given us
money for a wedding present. He said, “you buy yourself a sewing machine.”
So Chester hitched the horses to the lumber wagon (it had a spring seat) and
went to Lowry to buy the machine from Ole Hoplin. My father didn’t want me to
go to Bennett’s unless I had plenty of clothes, so he bought me two extra pair
of long-legged union suits.
There were many oak trees on the
farm. Chester had bought cigars, but no chivareers came so he and the hired man
smoked cigars while working in the fields. The home place had been seeded, so
they put in the Lake Ann farm. When the men were in the fields, I would go out
in the pasture to get the cows and bring them in to milk (7 cows). I then had to
separate the milk. (That cream was really good) I wore an apron and would pick
up small pieces of wood and put them in my apron to take home to start fires
with. I took the cream to the Lowry Creamery with a horse and buggy. The men
could stay longer in the fields when 1 did the milking, which was done by hand.
Louie and Christine Starr were the
first neighbors that called. Fishing was very good in Lake Ann (pike), but it
seemed that when the four went fishing Bertha and Christine caught most of the
fish. We lived on this farm until March, 1918, when Meta and Harry Blair bought
it. (Chester had rented it from Bill Blair.) We moved to the Lake Ann farm.
Marjorie Oline was born March 7, 1918 and Lavina Grace, May 17, 1920 on the Lake
Bob Bennett, [Chester’s brother]
and Grace McCann were married and lived on the farm just north of Lowry. Shortly
after they were married, Grace was hit and killed by a train at the depot in
Lowry. Bob farmed and had hired girls, but then quit farming and we moved up
there where we remained until 1954.
Chester William (Bud) was born at
home March 23, 1925; Glenn Lloyd, May 12, 1927; Beverly Ann, March 23, 1932;
Joyce Marie, April 2, 1935; and Sharon Bertha, February 2, 1940 all at Starbuck
Hospital. (The Glenwood hospital was not completed then.)
We didn’t have a car until after
Viney was born. One time we got a new top on it and went for a ride to Farwell.
Marge said we should have driven down main street so everyone could see the new
top on our car. One time we took a trip to Minneapolis in our Model T. Marge and
Viney had new khaki knickers for traveling. The kids had to fill the wood box
each evening. The last years 1 was on the farm we had running water, but before
that, we put water in the reservoir on the old black cook stove. It had a
warming oven above the top. The oven door, when open, was a nice place to warm
Early in my marriage, I had washed
my hands in the wash dish and was throwing the water out the door and my wedding
ring slipped off but I found it in the threshold between the two doors.
I dressed many chickens. I would go out and catch two roosters. While I chopped the head off one, I held the other between my legs, ready to chop the head off him.
We always had big snow banks west and north of the house.
One time I couldn’t find Bud. I
looked inside and outside. We didn’t have much room for storage, so I had
things stored in boxes under the bed in the north room. I looked there, but
didn’t see Bud. But I looked again and way in, as far back as the boxes were,
there was Bud sleeping.
We always had lots of company. The
Haldorson’s always made their annual fall visit. They always wanted cream and
bread for lunch. We had a cream separator so we always had cream and it was very
When Viney was little, someone
asked her what her name was and she said, “just Dindie.”; Glenn called
himself “Glunk”; Bud “Cheso Limmie”; Beverly, “Belly Ann”; Joyce,
“Doyce”’ Larry, (Marge’s son) called Sharon “Daunty Tarron”.
Once, I was out in the woods
picking choke cherries, nature called, so I sat down and got poison ivy on my
In the drought years (1930’s) we
had to take the dry cows to Mora, Minnesota to pasture. We left one cow home to
have milk for Joyce’s bottle. After we brought the cows home, we had them
pastured west of town. Grandpa Bennett, Viney and Marge drove to the pasture to
milk the cows during the harvest season. Viney wore shorts and cut her leg
stepping over the fence. Grandpa said she should have worn long pants. She has a
scar from it yet.
Before Viney started school, I had
threshers for dinner and had made pudding She was helping me by putting the
pudding dishes on the table. She dropped one on the floor and I said, “if you
aren’t more careful, 1 will fire you.” She started to cry and said, “Mama,
please don’t put fire under me.”
Before Glenn was born, I was
making a blue sailor suit for Bud. There were six buttons and buttonholes on it.
1 had put them all on except one and couldn’t find it. I asked Bud if he had
taken one and he said, “I chewed it up.” The next day I found it in his
potty chair, washed it and put it on the suit. Bud’s dad was washing the
milking machine on a rack by the pump house, I was close by and Bud came crying
to me saying, “Daddy made such a bad noise at me and I hadn’t taken any
parts for the milking machine” One hot day, Viney and Marge decided they
wanted a Christmas tree, so they took their red wagon and saw and went down and
sawed 2 nice evergreens and brought them up to the house. Their Dad told them
they had to tell their Grandpa Bennett what they had done. That was hard for
them to do.
Once Marge wanted her wagon
painted, but I told her she would have to wait so I could help her. She hid in
the back shed and did it alone. I found out she had not brushed the paint on and
it was running in the bottom of the wagon
We always had enough food.. I
baked lots of bread. We always had
goose and plum pudding for Christmas with relatives. The kids liked to eat hot
biscuits when they came home from school. They walked to school in Lowry. I
remember Glenn saying, “I was so cold that when I came to the chicken house, I
had to go in and warm my hands under a hen “.
Marge was having a birthday party
after school. Mrs.Hoplin called and asked if Marge was having boys. She said
Oliver said he was the only boy asked and of course he didn’t come. Arle
Anderson enjoyed the lunch so much, she packed a lot of it in her napkin to take
The summer Glenn was a baby, I had
a hired girl. I sewed winter coats from old ones in August and fitted them under
the lilac bushes.
Bud was ring bearer at Bob
[Chester’s brother] and Evy’s [second wife] wedding He carried the ring in a
lily and couldn’t get it out so he tipped the lily upside down and handed the
ring to the right person.
When Bob had surgery at the
University in St. Paul, Evy stayed with him and I had Bill, Betty and Corky.
They had a lot of fun One day they were playing in the wheat bins and covered
Betty completely. She got wheat in her ear. Glenn took her down to barn and put
the milking machine on her ear to suck it out, but that didn’t work We took
her to the doctor and he removed it. He said it was a good thing we came, as the
wheat would have swollen up in her ear, had we left it there.
Marjorie graduated from the
nursing school at Duluth, Minnesota on June 30, 1940. Mike and Bessie Carter
worked for us then We had strawberry plants all along the trees to the north. We
sold strawberries for 20 cents a quart and made jam in quart jars. Bessie took
care of Sharon while we went to Marge’s graduation and she made strawberry jam
for herself while we were gone. Lavina was attending the Minnesota College of
Commerce in Minneapolis and worked for her board and room. She didn’t have any
With both Marge and Viney gone, I
asked the boys to help me decorate the house for Christmas and put up red and
green streamers and red bells at the ceiling Glenn said “why did you let the
Marge was married to Stewart
Benson July 26, 1941 and La Vina to Clifford Mortenson, November 15, 1941. The
first time we went to Duluth to visit Marge & Stewart, I brought along a
live rooster in a gunny sack. Stewart and I went out and chopped the head off,
rooster feathers flying all over. A lady came out and told us we were doing
One hot day I sent Beverly out in
a sunsuit We had company and as we were standing outside bidding them goodbye,
here comes Beverly in the nude, swinging her sunsuit by it’s straps!
Grandma Kleven [Bertha’s mother]
was 88 when she died She was 81 when she entered the Bethany Home in Alexandria.
After she had her 88th birthday, February 29, she fell and broke her hip and was
taken to the hospital in Starbuck where she passed away in June. Grandpa Kleven
(Bertha’s father) was 84 when he died.
Grandpa and Grandma Bennett
[Chester’s parents] were both 79 when they died; he in 1945 and she in 1952.
Larry (Marge’s son) had a lot of
fun on the farm. He and Sharon used to fight a lot. One day we had company and
it was raining. Larry came in all out of breath. He said, “I brought the cows
home, I know Glenn wouldn’t want then to get wet.”
The red and yellow Chevy was
parked by the pump house. Lariy [age 3 or 4] was playing in it and it slipped
out of gear and started down the hill towards the corn crib. Larry jumped out,
but slipped and the car ran over his foot, brown boot and all. Marge and Grandma
ran to his rescue and got him out. Larry was ok and so was the car.
The floor in the kitchen slanted
from the living room to the kitchen. Larry [age 12] and Grandma used to polka
and when they came to the kitchen, they danced fast. At Bud and Marianne’s
wedding John F. Kalina served beer and Larry and Grandma were tipsy.
One summer on the farm Larry and
Louise [Marge’s daughter] were staying there. The men were working at
Oberg’s and Lar,y was with them. They came home, had dinner, Larry going back
with them. I was going to wash Louise’s face to get her ready for her nap. I
couldn’t find her. Beverly even went up to Bosek’s, no Louise. We had a
couch on the porch with a blanket on it. I saw the blanket moving, so I lifted
it up and here was Louise, chocolate pudding all over her face. I asked her
“why didn’t you answer when I called?” She answered. “You could have
looked under the blanket.” Once Louise was out in the sheep shed with Glenn
while he was cutting the tails off the lambs. She came in the house, blood
spattered on her face and said, “Glenn wanted me to take the lamb’s tails to
the house for you to make soup out of them, but I wouldn’t do it.”
Tom Danielson (Chester’s sister
Grace’s son) as a boy used to walk to the farm and visit nearly every day.
We took two trips to Montana. The
first time, Sharon was with us. We visited brother Gilbert and relatives David
and Hazel Watt in Buffalo, Wyoming and on to Yellowstone Park
The second time William, Mabel, Chester and I went to Nashua, Montana
when brother Gilbert passed away. We visited the Black Hills on our way home.
Bud went to the Army January 18,
1951 and came home January 15, 1953. Glenn went March 10, 1953 and came home
February 28, 1955. The summer of 1954 we had 3 weddings. Joyce was married to
George Harvey May 29, Bud to Marianne Svec June 14 and Beverly to John Braaten
Chester, Bertha, Sharon and Mina
Braaten (John’s mother) traveled to Camden, New Jersey to see Bev and John
married We all went to New York City with them on their honeymoon. Sharon, Mina,
Dad & I went to Washington, D.C. and then flew home.
In 1953, when Glenn was in the
army, we sold hatching eggs to the Lowry Hatchery. That meant I had to go out to
the chicken house many times a day to gather eggs. Sometimes I would make a
batch of doughnuts after the kids went to school. I would take a plate out to
the barn for the men, gather the eggs, come back to the house, warm up the
coffee and eat doughnuts. (Can’t remember how many - don’t want to know how
I had gained weight and had a
hernia in my navel. The doctor put me on a diet as he said I was too heavy for
surgery. In the afternoon I would put lunch on the table for the men and go in
the bedroom and lie down so I wouldn’t see the food. Every Sunday morning Bud
and I would go out in the granary to weigh me. We didn’t have a bathroom
scale. Anyway, I had surgery and everything went fine. Had Mrs. Bert Mclver as a
After Bud married, we moved to
Glenwood, but moved back to Lowry in the fall. We moved to our new home in Lowry
January 23, 1956. Glenn was married to Elaine Brosh October 14, 1955 at St.
John’s Catholic Church north of Lowry.
Bev and Johnny lived in Camden,
New Jersey after they were married. Bev didn’t like it there and couldn’t
see herself having a baby there, so she flew to Minneapolis and took the bus to
Lowry and lived with us when Terry was born and until Johnny came home.
When Terry was a little girl, she
and I took our bath together. We took our white shoelaces to soak then in the
tub. We forgot to wash them and pulled the plug and the laces went down the
drain We had to call Grandpa to rescue
In 1957, I was hospitalized for
anemia (Hemoglobin at 5 grams; 12 grams is normal) and had blood transfusions.
Also in 1957, a bus load of foreign students from the University of Minnesota
came to Pope County for several days. Helen Chang and Ben Liu from Formosa
stayed with us. They were born in China We were later asked to their wedding,
June 14, 1958 at the University Baptist Church in St. Paul. We went and had a
good time. We heard from them over the years.
On April 27, 1957 we were honored
for our part in agricultural achievement in Minnesota. We received the W G.
Skelley Agricultural Achievement Award, a gold lapel pin, $100 savings bond and
the achievement award scroll. We were served a community breakfast at St.
Paul’s Lutheran Church where neighbors and friends joined us.
The farms were sold to the boys in
1959. Bud received the Ford Farm Efficiency Award in 1968. He received a check
for $2000 and a plaque during a special awards banquet held at Anaheim,
California. He was the winner in the sheep category and was designated to
received a grant for use in sheep management research from the University of
Minnesota. Bud and Marianne flew to California. Bonnie stayed with me and
Rosemary Svec stayed at the farm with Paul and Jim.
Glenn received the Bankers DHI
trophy for having the highest producing herd of dairy cattle in Pope County.
In 1960 we went to Crystal Lake,
Illinois for Larry’s high school graduation. We also traveled to Canada and
Wenatchee, Washington to visit with Norman and Ruth Cusick (Chester’s aunt).
The four of us also went to Seattle.
In 1962, with Bob and Clara
[Bob’s third wife], we went to Canada again. In February 1963, Chester and I
went to Hawaii ($644.50 each) and to San Pedro, California.
Sharon married David Wenner August
31, 1963 in Waukegan, Illinois. We drove to Milwaukee to visit them that fall
and then went on down to South Bend to visit Marge & Stewart On the way home
the car broke down and we had to buy a new one to drive home in.
In 1964, more foreign visitors
came to Pope County. 14 delegates from all over the world. S. Vijayaratan,
Secretary General of the Malaysian Youth Council from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
stayed at our house. He was a vegetarian. A Swedish family who stayed at Floyd
Anderson’s called on us too.
Bev, Johnny, Chester and I went to
Annapolis, Maryland to attend Lariy’s graduation from the Naval Academy and
also his marriage to Joanne (June 1964).
August 1968, Chester and I
traveled with Bev & Johnny to South Bend, Indiana to attend Louise’s
wedding to Steve Schock June 21, 1968. We attended Margaret’s (Lavina’s
daughter) graduation from the Abbott School of Nursing at Westmimter
Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Margaret was married to Curtis Hoium at Fron
Lutheran Church in Starbuck July 12, 1968.
We celebrated our 40th wedding
anniversary in 1957 at home with family and friends, our
golden Anniversary at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lowry.
I had surgery at age 72 at
Glenwood Hospital in 1966. (Hysterectomy.)
In February, 1967 Chester was
selected Pope County’s Outstanding Senior Citizen and was invited to attend
the Governor’s 6th Biannual Conference on Aging at the Pick Nicollet Hotel in
Minneapolis. He didn’t go any further, as a man from Adams, Minnesota wac
named Minnesota’s Outstanding Senior Citizen, but we had several good days
In February 1968 we flew to St. Petersburg, Florida to visit
Dave and Sharon. We took several tours while we were there.
Chester was secretary for St.Paul’s Lutheran Church for 16
years. He gave them a post binder for recording future minutes when he retired.
He was chairman of the ASC (Agricultural Stabilization Committee) for 30 years.
A program was held and a gift was received upon his retirement. He was also the
mayor of Low,y for several years.
Chester entered the hospital December
2, 1969 and passed away February 1, 1970.
In 1970, I fell on the stairs in church
and broke my wrist. I was in the hospital for awhile. Debbie Harvey came to stay
and help until Sharon, Steve and Beth flew up from Florida and stayed for
several weeks. I never realized how helpless a person can be with a cast on one
March 11, 1976, I flew to Florida to
visit the Wenners. Had a nice time. Sharon was busy with Girl Scouts and
teaching a class of kids that can’t read. I stayed two weeks, and then stayed
2 days at Marge’s. When I came back bought 2 dresses and came home on the bus
from Minneapolis. It rained all the way and took just as long to go from
Minneapolis to Glenwood as it did to go from St. Petersburg to Minneapolis.
July 24, 1976, Marge rented 2 cottages
at Lake Maiy for a week Larry, Doni,
Sara, Eric, Steve, Louise, Timmy and Tommy were there. Grandma went out every
other day. When Marge broke up camp, she, Eric and Sara came to my house. Marge
attended her class reunion on Saturday night. Gwen came in and babysat with Eric
and Sara. They enjoyed throwing clothes down the chute.
I made a big decision and decided to
rent an apartment in Lowiy. Thursday, August 25, 1976 Viney and Bev came in the
morning and took some things up to the apartment. When they went home at 4
o’clock; Viney took the things from my big freezer and I spent quite awhile
cleaning it. Fiiday, I did a big washing. Saturday morning Bev, Johnny, Viney,
Glenn, Bud, Bonnie, Joyce and Sherri came. We had dinner and the moving went
fast. They all left about 4:30. 1 had a bath here and relaxed.
August 28, Sunday night,
Bev, Johnny and Mina called. I have had lots of company. As I look to the
north I can see Bud’s big cornfields and his buildings. I can also see Josie
Bosek’s and what wed to be Henry Chan’s farm. It has been so dry tIns year
that the crops are not any good.
We had an auction November 8, and had a
good crowd Everything was sold and
I was glad we didn’t have to haul that old furniture away.
The house was sold December 7,1976 to
Leon and Anna Johnson They like the
house very much and they enjoy living in Lowry.
Bertha moved to the Glenwood Retirement Home and died in the Glenwood Hospital
May 28, 1982. Her funeral was held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lowry. She
was buried next to Chester at Oak Hill Cemetery east of the farm where she and
Chester lived. Sharon Bennett Wenner (her last baby girl) has the original of
this in Bertha’s handwriting.
The Kleven ‘s
Writings of Bertha (Berte) Marie K/even Bennett, circa 1982
Oline Swenson Kaus Kleven, my
mother, was born February 29, 1856 at Ringebu, Gulbrandsdalen, Norway. In 1866
she immigrated to this country with her parents to Fillmore County, Minnesota In
the summer of 1869 coming with the families of Isaac Engebretson and Ole Haugen
in a covered wagon, my grandfather, Svend Olson Kaus faced a tremendous problem
in 1866. He was 62 years old. He was born at Branstadmoen, Gulbrandsdalen,
Norway. He lived in one of the most fertile valleys of Norway near Ringebu., but
he could not see much future for his children and grandchildren. The small
tracts of land that could be cultivated had been taken up generations before
him, and staying on meat just an existence. Like many other Norwegians he had
sought the more gainful but dangerous work, that of fishing in the north part of
Norway but that meant being away from his family. There was one solution, if he
could make it, and that was to go to America as his two eldest sons, Ole and
Gilbert, and a daughter Mary had gone there a few years before. In spite of his
advanced years, he decided to go to America
It took a lot of preparation as
all the passengers had to bring their own food along for the long journey across
the Atlantic that sometimes took up to 13 weeks with his wife, Beret and his
five children, Oline, Martha, Martinus, Bertha and Simon. Leaving with was his
eldest daughter, Bertha, her husband, Ole Haugen and three children, Annie, Mary
and Hannah. Traveling with them on the boat was Mr. and Mrs. Issak Engebretson
and their son, John. They arrived in Fillmore County in 1866. Svend Olson and
the group he had led from Norway were now in the promised land, but Fillmore
County had been settled for a few years and all the homestead land was gone.
There was work to be secured in the neighborhood and a kind farmer had allowed
him to build a dugout on his farm. Svend wanted to go someplace where there was
still open prairie. Taking 2 oxen teams and a few milk cows they started from
the northwest. St. Paul and Minneapolis were two isolated towns at that time
with dirt streets. The younger children followed the covered wagon herding the
cattle along. From Minneapolis they followed the Mississippi River as far as St.
Cloud and here they turned westward until they reached a village in a valley
with a few log houses. This village was Glenwood. They were told that to the
southwest of the big lake [Minnewaska] there was lots of land that could be
Starbuck had not come into
existence at that time, although there was a trading center north of Starbuck
near where the Inhered Church now stands. On June 3, 1869 the pioneer group
reached what is now Blue Mounds Township, and here they camped overnight on what
used to be the Issak Engebretson farm. The three families selected their
homesteads and decided to make this their permanent abode. All the three
families had between them besides their cattle, a sack offlour, some potatoes
and 50 cents. The first thing they did was to plant potatoes which they
harvested in the fall. There was much to do putting up sod ho uses for
themselves and stables for their cattle. They lived from their cattle, the fish
they could catch and the game which was plentiful.
We are here, the several hundred
of us, to say goodbye to Grandma. Grandma was Berte Marie Kleven Bennett, seven
of us knew her as mother, 37 of us called her Grandma (or Bestemor) and another
twelve or so called her Great Grandma. I consider myself more fortunate than
many of you, my cousins. You see, I had Grandma Bennett for over 40 years.
Before she passed away, she asked me through Uncle Glenn to share some of my
recollections of her as Grandma or Bestemor. Words cannot express my humble
pride in sharing af ew of my remembrances with you.
I remember Grandma with her skirt
and apron flying as she ran to rescue me from that angry old hen who hatched her
chicks in the lilac bush out front. I had obviously strayed much too close for
that hen’s liking Her skirt and apron seemed to fly quite a bit because there
was a mean Leghorn rooster (about my size) that always seemed to want a piece of
me. Even when Grandma chopped that old rooster’s head off one morning out
behind the wood shed, that headless rooster still ran after me. But Grandma,
with her skirt and apron flying, rescued me again.
I remember Grandma whenever I
happen to see lilacs or hollyhocks or geraniums, particularly the bright red
ones. Even though her work on the farm was never ever done, she always had those
flowers in the flower box off the screen porch, the hollyhocks around the South
and East walls, in those three gigantic lilac bushes whose fragrance always did
and always will remind me of Grandma.
I remember Grandma as a dancer.
For many, many years, and she was never too busy, I would lead her by the hand
to East door, and then we polka through the front room, around the stove and
into the kitchen, around the big round table, and over to the south kitchen
window. And we’d laugh, and then we’d do it again.
I remember Grandma when we got the
first bike on the farm. After supper one summer evening, Sharon, Joyce, Beverly,
Grandpa; and I tumbled into the car and drove up tp Bob Bennett’s oil station
to pick out a new bike. Although Grandma was probably around 60 years old at the
time, she came flying out of the kitchen when we returned. Ridding herself
quickly of the apron, she decided it was her turn to ride the bike, and very
promptly started off through the yard and down the indrive. Come to think of it,
I don’t think I ever got a turn that evening.
1 remember grandma when, as a
little boy, I repeated some Norwegian words that I should not have known. If I
close my eyes, 1 can see her quite clearly, her lips pursed in that special way
but with a merry twinkle in her eyes as she said to me, “Fie, skam deg!”
I remember Grandma, I think most
of all as a giver. She always gave and never seemed to take for herself. Here
are a few of the things I remember her giving, always rather freely.
First, hugs. She always had lots
of them to give, particularly for family, and she never seemed to run out of
hugs. Some of you have noticed that I see seemed to have learned that lesson
well from her.
Second, she gave love to her
family. We always, always knew she loved us and where she stood, even though she
could be madder than that mother hen in the lilac bush.
Third, she gave me a measure of
pride in and for family. There has always been ample evidence in the pictures
around her home and the pride with which she spoke of her children,
grandchildren, and particularly those great-grandchildren.
Fourth, she gave me and I suspect,
most of the 60 of us here today, a strong sense of family, of the special bond
that ties us together as a family I for one never, ever will lose that gift, the
sense of family. I remember Grandma telling me, however, that just thinking
about it simply is not enough. She told me that I need to work at family also.
As a young boy in grammar school
down in the Cities, 1 remember having to read through a rather serious tome
entitled “Giants of the Earth” by Rolvaag When my Mother called to tell me
of Grandma’s passing for some strange reason, I immediately had to reread
Rolvaag’s book There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, that both Grandpa and
Bestemor epitomize strength of character about which Rolvaag wrote. Certainly in
my eyes and, I believe, for most of us sitting here today, they both were truly
giants of the earth.
I remember you, Grandma very well
indeed, and always will. Good bye, Bestemor, I miss you already. Jeg elska deg.
Norway was greatly overpopulated
in the late nineteenth century. This no doubt is the primary reason for the
large emigration at that time. They like people in other European countries had
heard about all the wonderful opportunities in America, especially the available
fertile land The Ilstadkleiven family became part of that group of brave and
adventuresome people. It must have taken a great deal of preparation and years
of saving money to pay the ships’ passage fare.
Ole was the first to leave at age
twenty-two in 1872. He, with Hans Bratraaget came to Chicago shortly after the
great fire there, they helped to rebuild the city. His earnings were probably
one source of money to help the rest of the family to emigrate. Ole proceeded on
to Pope County, Minnesota where he first lived in a dugout on the land in
Barsness Township which he homesteaded in 1874. His parents, Ole Johannesen
Ilstadkleiven and his wjfe, Mari, came later in 1872 with his three sisters His
brothet Johannas Olesen Ilstadkleiven came in 1884 according to immigration
records. Ronnaug had come with her husband, Nels Johannes Dahl in 1871.
It is noted that the family name,
as referred to above, is somewhat different than we know it. In those early days
Norway had a different naming procedure. Three names were used The given name, (fornavn)
is the Christian name as we commonly use it. The father’s name (farnavn) was
known as the patronymic name by adding “son” or “dotter” to the
father’s Christian name. The farm name (gard navn) was added onto the previous
names. When the family moved from farm to farm, this name was changed Our
Norwegian patriarch was Ole Johannesen Llstadkleiven; they farmed Ilstad
property. Apparently in the United States the Ilstad was dropped and Kleiven was
changed to Kleven. In Norway today the Kleiven spelling is still used.
Home in Norway was in the
Gudbrandsdalen valley. This is a beautjful area in eastern Norway. The river
Lagen (sometimes spelled Laugan) runs through the foothills with the mountains
Evidently the church was most
important to these Norwegians leaving their homeland A Lutheran congregation was
begun by these immigrants in Starbuck, Minnesota, the area they had chosen to
make their home. They named it after the church they had left in Norway, Nordre
Fron. This church is today’s Fron Church in Starbuck.
The history of Nordre Fron Church,
presently know, as Sodrop Church is interesting Built in 1752, it was carefully
dismantled in 1910 and rebuilt on a site across the river in the town of Vinstra.
This writer was there in 1984 and took pictures of the present church. It looks
exactly like the picture the Ilstadkleiven’s brought with them from Norway in
1872. A chapel was erected on the old church site where there are many old
graves sites including a memorial stone for Peer Gynt who lived in this parish.
Today there are two farms in the
Vinstra area where our ancestors lived. The most directly related one is the
Ilstadkleven one. It has modern buildings and also some of the older ones. The
most notable one is the “stabbur” a storage building Then there is the
Toksekleiven farm. The mother of Ole Johannesen Ilstadkleiven was a Toksekleiven.
Ronnaug Olesdotter was married in
Norway to Nels Johannes Dahl. They emigrated from Norway in 1871 to the Coon
Valley area near LaCrosse, Wisconsin. After three years there they came to
Minnesota for a few years, closer to her family. Day county in South Dakota near
Fort Sisseton was their next home. They sold grain to the US. Army for their
cavalry horses. Like most settlers of that day, they lived in a sod house on 360
acres. After grasshoppers took one crop and hail another, they left for
Wisconsin near Stanley where they lived the remainder of their lives. The main
crop on this farm was sugar beets which were marketed to a factory in Chippewa
Mari Olesdotter married Anton
Christianson Dokken. They raised their family of seven children near Roslyn,
Anna Olesdotter married Claus
Rasmss Signalness. They were well known farmers south of Starbuck as were 0line
and Johannes. 0line married Ingvald Swensrud. Johannes married Karl Pederson.
They all raised large families. They are all noted in the family charts.
Ole Oleson llstadkleiven became
Ole Johannes Kleven in the United States. He married Olin, Svensdotter (Swenson)
on November 15, 1878. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Per Reque. They were
hardworking people, establishing their home in Barsness township south of
Starbuck Through the years they built an outstanding farm and home. Of course
this was not without some disasters.
One incident was the destruction
of the barn by fire. Daughter Bertha remembered how horrible it was to hear the
animals trapped inside the burning barn. It is not known today whether any
animals perished. A large barn with an overhead haymow was built to replace this
one. Like so many farms of that time, a windmill pumped the water.
It is not known why the first
frame house was torn down and a new one rebuilt about 1910. A building known as
a summer kitchen was constructed first. The family lived in this while the new
house was built just to the north of it. The summer kitchen continued to be used
for cooking, baking and canning when the weather was hot to prevent heating of
The new house was a large, square,
two story building. The exterior was painted chocolate brown with white trim.
There was an open porch across the front of the building and a smaller one off
the back door. The kitchen and dining rooms were large to accommodate a large
family and guests. The living room was by comparison relatively small The
downstairs bedroom was large as were the four on the second floor. The front
door opened into a long hall with the stairway to the upstairs. The attic was
used for storage and also for drying corn for seed A large board had long nails
protruding through. Each cob was impaled on a nail and left to dry. There was a
full basement with a stone foundation. The furnace was here, providing hot water
heat with radiators in each room of the house. All the buildings on this farm
were kept in tiptop condition. The last building to be built was a new granary
to replace the old one in the early 1920s.
Mention of the granary brings to
mind a story. Ole enjoyed playing cards but 0line evidently a bit more strait
laced felt this was wrong. It was gambling! She hid Ole’s cards in the stored
grain. When he sold the grain, he found the cards and brought them hone again.
This incident shows a little of 0line and Ole’s personalities. Ole had a good
sense of humor, loved to joke, tease and play little pranks. He liked to laugh
and have fun. Olien.was more prime, serious and a follow the rule type of
All one children graduated from
the same country school. District 90. The three youngest, Gilbert, Bertha and
William graduated from the West Central School of Agriculture at Morris,
Minnesota in 1914. At that time this school was at the high school level. They
lived on campus in dormitories. All three had many stories to tell about their
experiences there. William was only fourteen when he started there. Even at this
age, he enjoyed playing a prank now and then. Bertha had a year at Starbuck High
School previous to going: to Morris.
Most of the Norwegian immigrants
to this country were Lutherans. The church was important to them. Ole and 0line
were charter members of Fron congregation in Starbuck All the children were
baptized and confirmed there. This is a quote from writings left by Bertha
Kleven Bennett. “My mother was a charter member of Fron Ladies Aid. They were
divided into three groups: one in Starbuck, one to the east of town and the
other to the west. Mother and I always walked to the homes where they were
meeting. This was the East Ladies Aid. Mother always carried her hymn book.
Early dues were five cents but later increased to fifteen cents.”
Bertha often told of her school
days at District 90. They walked a mile to school carrying their lunches in
syrup pails. All the families in the district were Norwegian except one who was
Swedish. One day after Alfred Carlson had taken all the teasing from the
Norwegians he could tolerate, he decided to make a statement. In a loud voice he
said, “In our Bible it stands that the Swedes are better than the
They played ball at school but
didn’t have balls or bats. They wrapped cord and string into balls and covered
them with pieces of leather from old shoes. A flat board was used as a bat. The
schoolhouse was adjacent to a slough so in winter when it was frozen, they
played there at recess. The toilet was an outhouse so when they had permission
for this, they’d take a quick slide down the hilL The school term was six
months, but later in the spring they’d have religion school for two months.
This was in Norwegian. They were also confirmed in Norwegian. In these days they
did not have Sunday school. Each
mother had a few books like “Katekekiomius. ABCs and folkloring.”
This family, like many other farm
people, didn’t get to church very often. Transportation was by horses and it
was felt horses that worked six days needed one day’s rest. Bertha remembers
her mother taking the young children outside to see a rainbow and explaining its
The Thompson and Kleven farms were
only a half mile apart. Selma and Edna Thompson were girlhood friends of
Bertha’s. They improvised their own mailbox in some bushes midway between
their homes. They also learned to ride a bicycle together, carrying a pail with
them to help get on the bicycle. Bertha delighted her grandchildren by taking a
spin on one of their bikes even at eighty.
The young Kleven brothers liked to
tease their sister, Bertha. When they were little kids, Bertha had a kitten
which she loved. Gilbert and William dug a hole in the ground, filled it with
water and then proceeded to dunk the kitten in and out of the water with Bertha
sobbing on the side lines.
Farm children through the years
have always had chores delegated to them. So did the Kleven youngsters. Chores
varied with the age of the child. For a time William and Bertha cleaned the
horse barn. At another time Minnie and Bertha brought the cows in from the
pasture in the evening and milked then while the men continued to work in the
fields until dark.
When automobiles came out,
everyone was curious to see them. So were the young Klevens. Ole didn’t think
it was proper for the kids to stand at the road to watch then as they went by so
this was forbidden. There was a way however. The granary close to the road had a
second story window that presented a good watching place. (I wonder If Ole knew
The Lindqust farm was just across
the road from the Klevens. One day as Mrs. Lindquist and her daughter, Amanda
were driving along with a horse and buggy a car passed them. When it back-fired,
Mrs. Lindguist asked “do these machines shoot too.”
Although Bertha was only twelve
when her grandmother Mari died at age eighty-five, she remembered her well. Mari
didn’t have many teeth in her later years but she liked peanuts. Bertha hada
little grinder so she and Grandma Mari worked together on the peanuts. Late in
her life, Mari lived with her daughter, 0line Kleven Swensrud. Her daughter,
Anna and sons Ole and John, also lived in this neighborhood on farms so she was
able to visit them all frequently.
0le and Oline raised a family of
four sons and five daughters, all became upstanding adults. Some had red hair,
some had brown. All had blue eyes but mother 0line claimed she had one blue and
one brown. (This besides being born on February 29th!) This “brown” was not
your usual brown, but it surely was not blue! They were brought up as most
pioneer children were to meet each challenge with hard work— honesty and trust
in the Lord.
Alfred Owens, the oldest child was
a tall sandy haired fellow with a great sense of humor. He, like his father,
enjoyed to joke and tease. In spite of this quality, he was a quiet fellow.
After graduating from country school where all his siblings also graduated, he
farmed with his father. Late in life he married Petra Brendal Sheflo, a widow
who had an adult son. They lived on the Kleven homestead southeast of Starbuck
until they retired Then they moved into Starbuck where they lived the remainder
of their lives. Alfred died of a heart attack.
Mathilda, the eldest daughter was
known as Tillie. She worked for awhile in a wealthy Minneapolis home. During
this time she met Albert Odean Olson. They were married in Fron Church in
Starbuck. Theirs was the usual church wedding of the time with white gown and
veil and many attendants. Tillie and Gilbert were fun loving people. They did
not have any children even though they really loved children. On one occasion
when they were visiting Bertha and being around the children, Tillie made the
observation that she could see that having children wasn’t all joy. (I wonder
that we did!) They lived in Minneapolis in a house near Lake Street close to the
tire shop thatAlbert owned in a partnership. Later they moved to south
Minneapolis where they lived until their deaths.
Annette, the third child in Ole
and 0line’s family was a curly red haired young lady. Like so many young women
of that time, Nellie worked in the Twin Cities as a domestic for wealthy
families. About 1920 she went to California where she continued the same kind of
work In 1930 she had extensive surgery for a benign tumor in the left side ofher
face. She needed help so she returned so Minnesota where her family was
available. Eventually the tumor grew again and was the cause of her death.
Mina was known as Minnie. She was
a lady everyone loved and a favorite of her nieces. Like her sisters she also
worked in the Twin Cities as a young woman. At least part of this tine she was a
children’s nurse aid. Today we’d call her a nanny. When Ole and Oline bought
a house in Starbuck and moved there, Minnie and Alfred were the farmers. This
didn’t work Ole didn’t like living in town, he missed the farm. He’d walk
this five miles to get there. Oline didn’t like being in town by herself so
they moved back to the farm. Minnie never married. There were two broken
engagements. Minnie was a pleasant fun loving lady and a creative homemaker. She
died at the early age of forty-one from a heart ailment.
Bennie was the first in the family
to get an education beyond the eighth grate. For this period in time, it was
progressive parents who would send a child away from home for further education.
After attending the Glenwood Academy. Bennie taught school in rural Pope County
for a few years. He then went to the Minneapolis Business College. He was
ranching near Glasgow, Montana when he enlisted in the army on November 2, 1917.
He was a lieutenant and very proud of the U.S. Army and his service with them.
He was honorably discharged on August 17, 1919. Bennle had a son Kenneth from an
earlier marriage lived on the Kleven farm until Kenneth was an adult. Bennie
married Jennie (Jane) Bredeson Thompson who had a son, Onan by her first
marriage. Bennie and Jane had a daughter, Belle Jane. They made their hone in
Starbuck Until he retired in 1956, Bennle was employed by the John Deere Company
in a sales capacity. Besides being one of the organizers of the Starbuck VFW
Post, he was a charter member of the Lions Club. He belonged to the Masons,
Shrine and Knights Templar.
Anna was a quiet young lady She
became mentally ill as a young woman and spent her adult life in instltutions.
Her family always kept in touch with her through the years. She was ninety-four
when she died.
Gilbert. Bertha and William were
all sent to the West Central School of Agriculture at Morris, Minnesota which
was a three year school then at the high school level. They graduated in 1914,
then lived on the parents farm for a few years. World War I came along and
Gilbert went off to France in the army. When he was discharged he stopped in
Minnesota to visit his family. Then he went to Montana where he purchased a
sheep ranch near Nashua. He lived
there the rest of his life when he died of multiple sclerosis. He never married.
Bertha met the man she married
when they were students at WCS in Morris. The wedding was on April 11, 1917 at
the Kleven farm home. Since the Fron pastor only spoke Norwegian and Chester
only English, they had a little problem. When Chester was courting Bertha
driving horse and buggy from Lowry to Starbuck he often met a pastor who lived
in Starbuck but preached in Lowry. He spoke English so he was the one who
performed the ceremony -- Pastor Dahl.
Chester Bennett drove a team of
spirited horses in their courting days. The Kleven brothers were sure that he
gave the team a whip or two so they’d come into the Kleven farm at a fast clip
to impress Bertha He came by buggy except when there was snow. Then he drove a
cutter, sometimes driving across frozen Lake Minnewaska. It was a fourteen or
fifteen mile trip one way. He often stayed overnight at the Klevens. Charcoal
foot heaters were used in those days to keep warm in addition to horsehide
On one occasion when Bertha and
Chester had been out on a date somewhere, It appeared that someone was waiting
for her on the front porch. When they came closer they knew the Kleven brothers
had been up to tricks again. With pillows they had made a human like figure
wearing their mother’s nightdress sitting in a small rocking chair. There was
just enough summer breeze to gently rock the chair. This looked life like enough
to give the young lovers a little scare.
There were a few wedding day
tricks. The Klevens had the help of Chester’s brother and some of his friends.
The groom’s buggy wheels were reversed -- back ones were larger than the front
ones. In those days ladies used long hat pins to fasten their hats to their
hairdos. Hat pins were stuck up from the bottom of the buggy seat, protruding
all the way through.
Chester and Bertha owned and
operated the two farms his two grandfathers had owned just north of Lowry. The
two sons farmed with them for many years. They received awards for their
Holstein dairy production, purebred Shropshire sheep and farm management.
Chester served terms on the Lowry school board, creamery and shipping
association boards, St Paul church council and the Oak Hill cemetery board. When
the farms were transferred over to the two .sons, Bertha and Chester built a
house in Lowry where they lived the rest of their lives. Chester was mayor of
Lowry for several terms. Bertha was selected as Lowry’s outstanding citizen in
1979 by the Lowry Lions Club. One year Chester was selected Pope County’s
senior citizen. He was also the first county chairman when the federal farm
programs began about 1932. He was reelected to this position continuously until
he reached age seventy which was the compulsory retirement age.
The Bennett’s had seven
children, five daughters and two sons. The first three were born at home with a
doctor and midwjfe. but the rest were born at the Starbuck Hospital. All
graduated from Glenwood High School except Glenn who received his diploma from
the WCSA in Morris as his parents did. Marjorie 0line is a nurse, Lavina Grace,
Beverly Ann, Joyce Marie and Sharon Bertha all went to business colleges and did
office work. Chester William and Glenn Lloyd farmed in partnership with their
father until he retired Then they divided the farms and worked independently.
William, better known as Bill,
married Mabel Pederson in the late twenties at Central Lutheran Church in
Minneapolis. Bill at that time was a Ford car salesman for Peterson Motors in
Starbuck For many years they lived in the Kleven house just north of the cement
factory until the factory bought the surrounding property for their expansion.
This property had a flowing spring
well which been so intriguing to all the grand-children, Bill and Mabel then
bought a bungalow in the north part of town there they lived until they became
residents of the Minnewaska home in Starbuck.
Bill had farmed with his father
and brothers for a while as a young man. Besides selling automobiles, he was
employed at the cement factory, and by the Minnesota highway department. His
last job before he retired was with the gas company.
Photography was one of Bill’s
hobbies for many years. He and Mabel were avid fisherman either by boat or
through the ice. They generously shared their catch with many others. Perhaps
one could call Bill’s little pranks a hobby, also. One of his nieces tells
that she could always tell when Bill had been at her house when she was away.
His calling card was an object left on the doorstep. It might be a picnic table,
a chair or any other object available and moveable. He was a favorite uncle of
With William’s death, this was
the last of the Ole Kleven family as member of Fron Church in Starbuck All of
the immediate family are buried here except Mathilda, Bennie and Bertha. Bennie
is buried at Fort Snelling, Mathilda in a Minneapolis cemetery, Bertha at Oak
Hill near Lowry. It is interesting, when visiting, at Fron to look at the many
confirmation pictures and see most of the first generation cousins. It is a long
and interesting history. Even today there are many descendents of Ole and Man
Kleven who are active members.
We who are the descendants of
these hearty and hardworking Norwegian immigrants are very grateful to then for
the heritage they left us. They brought with then their hopes and dreams and
were willing to strive to make them come true. They readily tried to become
assimilated into their new country while still preserving some of their
Norwegian foods and customs. We are glad to be able to enjoy lefse, lutefisk,
rommegrot, sandbakkelse and all those other Norwegian goodies. We are proud to
be Americans of Norwegian ancestry.
Lavlna Grace Bennett
Born: May 17, 1920 in: Reno Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Died: July 29, 199S in: Methodist Hospital, Excelsior, MN
Chester William Bennett
Born: March 23, 1925 in: Ben Wade Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Beverly Ann Bennett
Born: March 23, 1932 in: Starbuck Hospital, Pope County, MN
Joyce Marie Bennett
Born: April 02, 1935 in Starbuck Hospital, Pope County, MN
Sharon Bertha Bennett
Born: FebruaRY 02, 1940
Growing up the Youngest Bennett
Written by Sharon Bertha Bennett Wenner at age 52, 1992
There have been, as for as I know,
three people in the family with a February 2 birthday. Aunt Grace (Dad’s
sister). Sherrl Harvey (Joyce’s daughter) and myself each in a different
generation. I suppose when you have as many people in the family as we have, it
is simply a matter of coincidence, but I am expecting another February 2 baby
from either my nieces and nephews or my children.
Being the youngest of the Bennetts
was either easy or difficult, depending on your point of view. I, of course,
choose the latter, but my brothers and sisters, probably the former.
I’m sure this was not planned,
but Mother and Dad had their children in pairs. Marge and Viney, Bud and Glenn,
Bev and Joyce and then Sharon. 1 used to tell Mother that I wanted a partner too
and she toldme once that I had Tommy. (Aunt Grace’s son, a year older than
me.). Tommy did visit the farm a lot when we were little, we played all sorts of
things, but I mostly remember the cucumber boats we used to make. We’d hollow
out a large cucumber, make little seats and float them in the milk tank I
remember playing in the workshop a lot, getting in trouble with grease guns
especially. Tommy lived in Lowry with his parents Aunt Grace and Uncle Carl.
I think my earliest memory is of
going to see Bud in a play at Glenwood High School. I couldn’t have been more
than three years old. Bud came on stage with an ice cream cone and I piped up
“Buddy’s got ice cream, I want ice cream too.” I remember going for ice
cream after the play! I don’t remember what Mother did to shut me up for the
rest of the play. (Perhaps promise ice cream afterwards.)
I remember going with Mother to
the nursing home to see Grandma Kleven. She used to tell Mother to go check the
bread to see if it was ready to bake. Mother would step out in the hall for a
minute and then tell her is was not quite ready. Mother would tell me to go
around and visit some of the old people. I wasn’t too keen on this, but would
just go around and pat their hands. (Mother’s idea). When Grandma died, Mother
told me I could go to the funeral, but I had to be a good girl. I had a little
green and white checked suit with a little flag in the lapeL.I don’t remember
the .funeral, but I do remember Mother telling me I had been a good girl. I
don’t thinkI heard that too often, as I remember being very proud.
Grandpa Bennett (William Bennett,
Chester’s father) used to walk out to the farm to visit. I remember Grandma
used to call so we could watch for him. Once Joyce and I walked up the road to
get him because he had lain down by the side of the road. I did not like it when
he used to pull your ears to make you say “uncle” so I pretty much stayed as
far away as I could. He used to turn his hearing aid off so he couldn’t hear
Grandma. I remember his funeral at Grandma’s house in Lowry and seeing him in
the casket. Grandma Bennett died when I was twelve, so I had more time with her.
I used to visit her often in Lowry along with Tommy and the Zavadil boys (Aunt
Grace’s daughter, Lila’s children) sometimes. She was often good for a
nickel for a trip uptown to buy ice cream or candy. We used to visit both
Grandma and Uncle Carl and Aunt Grace (upstairs). One time I was playing
“cowboys and indians” with Tommy and the Zavadil boys when they tied me up
to the clothesline pole and left me there. I was willing to be tied up as part
of the game, but put up quite a howl when they left! It probably didn’t take
too long for the adults to hear me yelling and crying, but it seemed like hours.
Visits to Aunt Bessie’s (Dad’s
other sister) in Dawson were always special. Joyce and Elsie. as children will,
would run away from me, but there was always lots of comfort available from Aunt
Bessie, Marion, the “Dale Girls”, Uncle George or Allen. Elsie is
younger than Joyce, but older than I, so she could get along fine with either of
us, but not usually both of us. 1 remember being particularly fascinated by the
windmill and the river. The car trip was always a big adventure, I’m sure I
was a pest the whole way there and usually asleep on the way home.
We visited Uncle William
(Mother’s brother) and Aunt Mabel in Starbuck more often. I really got spoiled
there! Aunt Mabel always had a cat to play with and beautiful flowers. She
usually sent me home with something picked from her garden.
I remember visiting Marge &
Stewart in Duluth when they had an apartment upstairs in a house on a hill and
later a big square house that was very close to the neighbor’s house and you
could see their clock in the kitchen. Marge often prepared “hot dishes” for
dinner the evening we arrived, as we never knew exactly when we would arrive. I
used to dread these, I didn’t like things on my plate to touch each other,
much less be all mixed up!
I went with Mother and Dad often
to visit Cliff and Viney and Carrie Mary and Martin, (Cliff’s parents). In
many ways Carrie Mary and Martin were like grandparents to me. I stayed with
Cliff and Viney when Mother was in the hospital (I think that’s where she
was). Cliff taught me to tie my shoes and I still tie them that way at age 52.
Since I was rarely separated from Mother, it was difficult for me. I remember
seeing our car drive up and only Dad got out, being very upset because Mama
hadn’t come to get me.
We had a pump in the kitchen for
water when I was little, but later got running water in the house. 1 believe
there was running water in the barn first! We had an outdoor toilet (2-holer).
It was scary to go down there in the dark In
the summer Mother saved the wrappers from peaches she would buy and we used them
Try as I will, I cannot remember
taking any baths as a kid (Maybe I didn’t.) I remember thinking Mother was so
fussy because she wanted me to wash my arms when I wore long sleeves We must
have had a tub in the kitchen, but the first thing I remember about baths is
when we had a shower installed in the cellar. The first time! went down to use
it I nearly drowned! The nozzle was up quite high and I wasn’t. Glenn found an
old wooden chair without a back for me to stand on in the shower. From then on I
was a clean kid.
Until Bev left home, Joyce and I
shared the southwest bedroom upstairs. We used to make an imaginary line down
the middle of the bed and whoever crossed that line got pinched by the other. In
the winter it got very cold upstairs. We would wear all sorts of things to bed
and have lots of Mother’s wool quilts so it was cozy in bed but murder getting
out. We would have our clothes ready for morning the night before, leap out of
bed and run downstairs just as fast as we could. Sometimes the water Joyce would
bring up to set her hair with would freeze.
I remember lying in bed at night
and hearing the steam engine trains going through Low,y. One morning I woke
up, screaming for Mother, ‘I’m blind, I can’t see”. Mother came
running upstairs to see, and all I had was pinkeye, which had stuck my eyelids
shut! Another similar incident was when I was twelve, I woke up to discover I
couldn’t move my legs, at least I thought so. As It turned out. I had what was
treated as rheumatic fever. I spent two weeks in the hospital and six more weeks
flat on my back in bed. Glenn would carry me out to the living room some
mornings so I could have a change of scene. I gained 60+ pounds, and had a
pretty miserable time of it. I still don’t know whetherI had rheumatic fever
or not, but have since been told that I probably had juvenlle rheumatoid
arthritis. I have had mild rheumatoid arthritis off and on since.
I had to go to bed before Joyce
and I was afraid of the dark upstairs. Mother taught me to crochet a chain and I
crocheted a very long one. Glenn helped me attach it to the light upstairs and
then thread it through screw-eyes all the way downstairs so I could turn on the
upstairs light from downstairs Glenn saved the day again!
We did not have television, but
there were good programs on the radio. Some of my favorites were “Let’s
Pretend”, “The Lone Ranger”, “Sky King”, “The Shadow”, “The
Green Hornet”, “Jack Benny”, “Inner Sanctum”. Mother always listened
to “The Arthur Godfrey Show” & “Ma Perkins”’. We rarely went to
the movies..I remember the first movie I saw was “These Grapes Have Tender
Vines” starring Margaret O’Brien. I thought it was the greatest thing I ever
saw. Mother liked the Ma & Pa Kettle movies and could usually be talked into
going. Dad would not tolerate any noise while he was listening to the news and
would let everyone know in no uncertain terms that you were to be quiet. NOW.!
Unlike my poor older brothers and
sisters.I did not have to walk to school in the ten-foot deep snow, uphill both
ways The bus came from Lowry past our farn out as far as Brosh’s and then
turned around and came back again the same way. We had two chances to catch the
bus. We could see it coming down the road so we knew we had ten minutes or so
before it came back
I couldn’t wait to go to school.
Joyce would bring things home and I was always very interested, probably too
interested, if you ask her. During WWII, I was not in school, but was allowed to
send my quarter or whatever along with Joyce so I could have a stamp to put in
the book, which when full would purchase a $25 savings bond. I could count and
read before I went to school and would sit in front of Dad when he read the
newspaper and read the other side. I would point out with vigor, the words I
knew until Dad decided he’d had enough. 1 remember my first day of school very
well. Joyce took me to whereI was supposed to be and saw that I got home
afterwards. I remember Daniel Mclver asked me after school if I had used up all
the pencils he saw me with in the morning. I wondered if I should have.
I learned very early that if you
were going to misbehave when Dad was around, you would get a swat with a
rolled-up “Saturday Evening Post”. However, I also learned that if you were
too far away for him to reach, he would not get up to do it!
All I remember about World War II
are the ration books and the bonfire in Lowry when it was over. We couldn’t
go, but saw it from the farm.
I went to school in Lowry until
seventh grade when I went to Glenwood. The Lowry school board changed the rules
after seventh grade and I had to come back to Lowry for eighth grade. I was very
upset about this, even went so far as to call the school board members and
raised quite a fuss. Dad was sympathetic, but there was nothing he could do
either. I was crying and saying how forcing me back to Lowry was unfair.. Dad
had me go get my birth certificate and said ‘does it say anywhere on there
that life is going to be fair?” I spent a wasted year at the Lowry school.
The reason I had a copy of my
birth certificate was that earlier I had thought I might be adopted Why a family
with six children and a small house would adopt another child never entered my
The Lowry school had four large
classroom, two upstairs and two downstairs. The north classrooms upstairs were
used as a gym and all purpose room. (Play rehearsals, etc.) Mrs Peterson from
Starbuck was the principal when I started and Mrs. Eastlund later. There was a
library upstairs between the two classrooms. The lunchroom was in the basement.
Speaking of the lunchroom, one time Larry Stavem was teasing me about something
at lunch tame and I threatened to throw my lunchbox at him. Joyce calmly took my
thermos out of the lunch box and I pitched it at him. If there were any
consequences, I don’t remember them. Larry Stavem was quite a bit older than I
so I think I was either very brave or very foolhardy (Knowing myself I think
I went to Sunday School at St.
Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lowry. (Then known as St. Pauli’s) I think at age
4 or so. This was my first contact with other children and a library. I was
delighted with the books and even more delighted that they would actually let me
take some home! Most of the “Lowry kids” were active in the church, we sang
an the choir, decorated the big Christmas tree, attended confirmation class, not
because of any serious religious fervor, but simply because that was what
everyone’s parents expected. We always had a lot of fun Wednesday nights at
choir practice. We’d get that over with as soon as possible and then the whole
bunch would go out and raise a little helL Sometimes we would go up to Farwell
and play pool. Those that weren’t involved in the Church would be waiting
outside for us.
I had grown up thinking it really
didn’t make a difference whether you were a boy or a girl, you were treated
the same. We all played together: baseball, hockey, football, etc. What a shock
I was in for when I left home and went out in the “real” world.
When I was in second grade, I had
a large part in the Christmas program that was presented every year. I cannot
remember the name of the play but it was about a little girl whose toys came to
life. There were a lot of lines to remember, but I don’t remember having any
trouble memorizing lines or stage fright.
My first time on ice skates Bev
and Wesley Brosh pulled me around the skating rink holding a broom between them.
I held onto the broom. I think I was having so much trouble staying off my butt
that they took pity on me. I also think Wesley was sweet on Bev at the time.
Once a bull got loose and the boys
were chasing it with gates to herd him back where he belonged the bull was
tramping around in the garden. Mother grabbed her broom and went after the bull.
She hit him on the rump with it and he ran away.
We had horses on the farm. The
ones I remember most are Babe and Star. They each had colts named King and Duke.
Glenn was trying to train King and Duke to pull a wagon while everyone else was
in the house for afternoon lunch. We heard Glenn yelling and here came the
horses, wagon and Glenn right through the fence on one side of the yard, past
the front of the house, through the fence on the other side into the apple
orchard. I don’t remember how they stopped What I do remember is Glenn cussing
at the top of his lungs. I can remember a little of Honeypot, the big horse. I
don’t remember riding on him, but I do remember seeing kids riding on him. Bev
had a buggy and used to hitch the horses to it for rides.
There was a cow named Lizzie in
the first stall on the west side of the barn. I liked her a lot. Sometimes when
no one was around! would climb up on her back and talk to her.
Sometimes in the winter when a
lamb was having trouble, Bud or Glenn would bring it into the house to get warn.
I can still remember how they felt and smelled.
I used to like to get calves to
suck on my hand. I spent a lot of time searching for new kittens on the farm.
The mothers would hide them from the tomcats. We often found them in the haymow.
We always had lots of cats roaming around They were mostly wild cats, but
sometimes I could tame some. When Joyce and George were dating I had two cats
named Joyce and George. When we moved off the farm I took a cat with me and
named him Bushrod. He was ran over
by a car on Highway 114 in Lowry. Dad let me take the car even though I didn’t
have my license yet and he (the cat, not Dad) is buried in the front yard of the
new house in Lowry. We were living in the “Roers” house then.
Bushrod used to go out the little
balcony upstairs in the back of the house, then get up on the roof and into a
tree. But he would not come back down the same way. He would sit on the roof and
howl. I would get Mother’s jelly roll pan, hold it up as high as I could and
he would jump onto the pan. One time Mother and I were both one and Dad let the
cat stay up there. I thought he was the meanest man alive.
Bev, Joyce and I used to fight a
lot. Mother used to say “you are going to kill each other”. I never
understood what she was so upset about until I had children of my own. One time
in particular we knocked a full basket of eggs over and I remember them rolling
down the slanted floor in the kitchen and mother saying “now you’ve done
It!” I don’t remember what a single fight was about, but I do remember Bev
usually won. Bev and I even fought some when she was home pregnant with Terry.
Bev was always proud of her strong punch. Yeah, yeah, big deal!
I remember two dogs on the farm,.
Chuckie first and then Ingolf. Chuckle was hit by a car and had to be put down,.
Bud and/or Glenn went and got one of the Bosek boys to do it. Ingolf was named
for the man we got him from. Bud and/or Glenn shaved him one summer, thinking he
would be cooler, but all he was, was ashamed. He also got in trouble for killing
chickens. Glenn tied a dead chicken around his neck and left it there for
awhile. He didn’t kill chickens any more. As a matter of fact, he wouldn’t
let them come up by the house, but never hurt them again. Elaine never liked
Ingolf and the feeling was mutual. Bud brought Ingolf to Glenn and Elaine’s
wedding reception at Broshes. Ingolf stayed on the farm when we moved, but I
don’t know how he went to the happy hunting ground (maybe Elaine?) (Bud tried
to do it but had to call Clifford.)
Dad was a championship snorer. One
evening in the winter Bud thought he heard a car stuck in the snow down by the
road. He got the tractor and drove down, but couldn’t find a car. When he got
back to the house and heard it again, he realized that it was Dad’s snoring
that he heard!
Mother always called her hat her
“lid”. She often said when I told her I was sad, “you’ll just have to
get glad” She also told me to pretend I was happy and pretty soon I would be.
I never got too involved in
cooking, other than to get out of the way. Mother had more time for me with
baking though. I remember making “pies”filled with jelly in jar lids for dad
He always ate them and pronounced them very good. I can remember the dough
getting very dirty as I “worked” with it.
Sometimes! would go to the office
with Dad. The girls in the office would let me type and pretend I was working
too. I especially remember Christine Chermak and one of the Ladd girls. I would
wander around the courthouse and think what a castle it was, with all the marble
and the staircases. Dad took me into the court when it was in session a few
I spent some time playing in the
cemetery at the top of the hill (where Mother & Dad are buried now). I would
venture into the woods and play all sorts of things, eventually ending up at the
dump just down the hill. There were all sorts of interesting things there.
Mother was never pleased when I would come home with good “stuff.”
We used to go sledding
occasionally on the hills behind Smiseiks (sp?) farm. It was a long walk through
the snow pulling a sled to get there, but! do remember having lots of fun there.
I also remember snow in my boots and being colder than cold. I can remember
following Bev there once, she was on skis and I was on foot pulling a sled She
had to keep stopping to wait for me.
Larry visited and stayed with us a
lot when he was little. The first time, I believe, was when his Dad had been
injured in the war and Marge went to be with Stewart. We used to play all sorts
of things together. I do remember playing “dress up” and we were going
“shopping.” Larry said, “don’t forget the ration books.”. (I may have
been told he said that, I’m not sure I do remember.).
I remember once in Duluth, Larry
and I took the bus or streetcar downtown alone. Larry took his country bumpkin
auntie to see a movie I believe. We couldn’t have been very old at the time. I
have been told that Larry and I fought a lot. Other than the Infamous “dishpan
incident’ (We remember it djfferently, I think). I don’t remember fighting
with him much. I remember lots of good times playlng and getting in trouble. I
think I was jealous of him though, as everyone made such a fuss over him. (Now
it’s logical, the first grandchild and a boy to boot).
I remember watching Larry get into
Bud and Glenn’s old red and yellow Chevy and rolling down the hill and Mother
and Marge running like Olympic sprinters down the hill. I did like to see him
get in trouble as he was always tattling on me.
Larry and Gary Thompson got into
trouble together several times, which was no surprise as whenever something had
been done, it was always said ‘Thompson did it”.
One time the Robinsons were
visiting and Joan and I were going to play Indians. We painted each other with
red barn paint and got into big trouble. We were cleaned with kerosene! Joan and
I were friends for many years, even after they moved to i3uffalo. 1 took the
train to visit her in Buffalo many times and also stayed with her at her
Grandparent’s apartment above the depot. Trains used to go by and rattle the
whole house. One time Joan and I went into Chan’s “Beer Joint” (the den of
iniquity according to Mother). We went in and sat down at the bar arid ordered
orange crushes. Dave Chan served us with great aplomb and we thought we were
really being wicked.
Barbara Dahl was perhaps my best
friend, along with Karen Schmidt and Barbara Nelson. It was always great fun to
spend the night at Barbara’s. Her parents owned the Dahl House Cafe, so we got
to eat restaurant food, which was actually her Grandma Greenfield’s home
cooking. Sometimes Mother would give me money so I could eat lunch at the
restaurant with Barbara. Most times though, I was invited as Barbara’s guest.
We had lots of good times there, imagine a slumber party in a restaurant! We
probably did some damage to their profits from time to time.
Sometimes in the summer we would
buy weiners at the butcher shop and go out the Chippewa creek and have a weenie
roast. 1 remember jumping the creek once when we thought a bull was after us.
Swimming lessons at the beach in Starbuck were a summer “must”. The school bus would take us, and we spent the whole morning at the beach. Some of us rode bikes back in the afternoon or Mabel Nelson (Barbara Nelson's) mother would take us.
Joyce went for awhile but I don't think she ever got over the fear of water.
Saturday night was a big deal,
everyone from miles around would come to town. Mc!ver’s store had a drawing
for prizes and always drew a huge crowd.
Dad seemed to like to go shopping
with Mother and we girls (Bev, Joyce & me). We would model the clothes and
if we couldn’t decide between two things, he would often say “take them
both”. He would always made a big production of paying for them, saying
“ouch, ouch, ouch” as he wrote the check One April when we were shopping in
Alexandria, a snowstorm came up unexpectedly and we stayed in a hotel overnight.
Joyce’s friend Mary was along and as I recall, we had a good time.
I remember ordering things from
the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Having received permission to order something,
I would sneak something else on the order blank, hoping Dad wouldn’t notice
when he wrote the check Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t! Living in
Lowry with just Mother and Dad was a big change for me. It seemed as if everyone
got married and left me at once! Actually, they did! Joyce, Bev and Bud got
married one year and Glenn the next. I was a bridesmaid in all of the weddings,
and that was a lot off fun. I soon became accustomed to living without my
brothers and sisters and my high school years were, on the whole, happy ones.
I took two trips with Mother and
Dad. The first, I think I was about six years old We went to visit Uncle Gilbert
in Montana. I remember the back seat of the car being full of books, paper
dolls, and assorted junk of mine. I met a girl who lived next to Uncle Gilbert
and we had a great time playing together. I remember climbing on the big piles
of sugar beets. We went to visit a dam nearby andI learned to be very wicked by
saying “I went to the dam to get some dam water, but the dam man said I
couldn’t have any dam water, so I told the dam man he could keep his dam
water”. I think Uncle Gilbert taught me that. Mary Ann, the girl next door,
and I remained pen pals for many years, although I never saw her again.
The next trip was to Yellowstone
Park when I was twelve. We also visited relatives David & Hazel Watt at
their ranch in Wyoming. They were very nice people, as I remember. We went to a
rodeo in Buffalo, which was a new experience for me. They lived way out in the
country and I remember their house had many big picture windows looking out on
the mountains in the distance. Joyce and Bev had a party while we were gone.
I’m sure it was really wild, but the house was still there when we got home.
Joyce met George Harvey when he
was the “Cow Tester” and came to our house and stayed overnight. (He tested
the milk for butterfat, etc.) I named two cats after them.
I think Bev met Johnny at the
roller skating rink. Bud & Glenn called him “Pump House Johnny” because
he always pulled around the pump house before he got out of the car. (I think he
was just positioning himself for a quick getaway).
I think my brothers and sisters
felt sorry for me, as sometimes they would take me along on dates, to movies
usually. One time Bud took me to a movie with Marianne. He took Marianne home
first and I waited in the car. I waited and waited and waited and waited and
waited and waited until I finally fell asleep. I still don’t know what took
him so long just to walk her into the house! I don’t know how Bud met
Marianne, probably at the barn dances.
I guess Glenn met Elaine when she
was a little girl, since the Brosh farm was just up the road from ours, but they
didn’t start dating (as far as I know) until he came home from the Army.
One time Bev and Joyce took Larry
and I roller skating with them. I never had such a miserable time in my life! I
couldn’t seem to go around the corners, so I would I just crash into the wall
and start out again until the next corner came up. One of the many times I fell,
I put my hands on the floor to get up and people kept running over my fingers!
Then the ultimate bathroom experience. I’m surprised I didn’t wet my pants.
It took a long time to get positioned on the seat, with lots of banging
and crashing. I don’t remember Larry having much trouble at all, but I never
became a roller skater.
On and on I go, perhaps never to
Born: August 23, 1866
Married: December 23, 1891
Died: October 27, 1945 Father Robert Bennett Mother Esther Hall in: Lowry, Pope County, MN
Margaret Ann Hume
Born: April 09, 1873
Died: October 27, 1952 in: Lowry, Pope County, MN
Father Thomas Hume
Mother Elizabeth Watt
Chester Hall Bennett
Born: May 08, 1893 in: Reno Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Died: February 1, 1970 in: Minnewaska home, Starbuck, MN
Married: April 11,1917 in: Kleven Farm, Blue Mounds TwlIShp, Pope County, MN
Spouse: Bcrte Marie Kleven
Robert Watt Bennett
Born: Februaiy 24, 1896 in: x Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Died: September 17, 1972 in: x Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Spouse: Grace Evetta McCann
Spouse: Evelyn Erickson
Spouse: Clara Reisrud
Grace Margeritc Bennett
Born: February 02, 1899 in: x Twnshp, Pope County, MN
Died: May 8, 1979 in: Glenwood, MN
Spouse: Carl Magnus Danielson
Bessie Willa Bennett
Born: June 02, 1902 in: Pope County, MN
Spouse: George Oscar Dale
Born: August 23, 1866
Died: October 27, 1945 in: Lowiy, Pope County, MN
Burial: Oak Hill Cemeteiy, Lowry, MN
Willam Bennett Aug. 23, 1866-Oct. 21, 1945
by Marjorie Oline Bennett Benson Jensen, circa 1996
This man was the kind of grandpa
every child should experience. Different seasons called for different kind, of
excursions. Early spring was pussy willow time. After a long winter it was nice
to have some new growth to admire. Later it was mayflower time. I believe
Mayflower Hill was either in Ed Benson’s or Smlsak’s pasture. This was a
good place for sliding in the winter time. In the summer he would take us to the
woods just east of the cemetery to look for-lady slipper (moccasins- the state
flower) and jack-in-the-pulpit. We walked to these places but when Grandpa got
older he’d fill his Ford coupe with kids and drive. Sometlmes Grandma would go
along, too. In later years his driving left something to be desired. It seemed
he speeded up for the corners. On the way home from the woods, he’d stop in
the cemetery when he’d tell us about the people who were burled there.
When kids were selling something
like Christmas seals, you could depend on Grandpa Bennett to buy some. He had a
heart of gold when it came to kids. I remember after Lila and Lavonne were born,
I was so afraid he’d like them better than me. They lived in the same house as
Grandma and Grandpa did so I was envious of that. Of course as I grew older,
this feeling vanished.
I believe when the William
Bennetts were first married, they lived on the farm they fondly called
Sunnyslope which is just east of Lowry on Highway 55. They bought the Thomas
Hume homestead just north of Lowry when Grandpa Hume retired from farming. They
moved from Sunnyslope then. When they bought what we have referred to as the
Lake Ann farm on the west shore of Lake Ann. Still owning these two farms, they
also had a nice four bedroom, two story house in Lowry where they lived until
they both died. It was made into a duplex probably
in the early 30’s. Grace and Carl Danielson lived upstairs a great deal of the
time. Otherwise it was rented. For a few years after Chester bought the AxeI
Anderson farm across the road from his farm, both the Bennetts (William) and the
Danielsons lived there until Chester had married hired men with their families
William Bennett was one of the
original board members for the Lowry Telephone Company. This company covered a
large territory. When the Glenwood Telephone Co. refused to service farms just
outside of Glenwood. the Lowiy Company gave service. They went quite close to
Alexandria also. Apparently the company did well, financially until the
depression of the 30’s. It was then that Grandpa left the telephone company.
Iver Femrite buying the shares.
I’m not sure of the date when a
farmers cooperative company was formed. William, Chester and R. W. Bennett were
all involved. I remember Walmer Bjorkland being the manager. William may have
managed it for a short time. He was manager at the Farmers Elevator for many
years. This was his last job. At one time he and R. W. managed the Shipping
Association. This must have been in the 20s. I neglected to say that the farmers
cooperative was known as the Equity, also as the Trading Company.
William Bennett had a great
interest in trees and orchards. He had a large fruit orchard at his Lake Ann
farm. This orchard produced a tremendous amount of fruit, especially apples.
Charlie Kalina bought this farm probably in the late 20s. His son, who is
farming it in 1988, told me about the diversified selection in this orchard. He
didn’t know how much time I had spent picking apples there as a kid We
picked them very carefully and wrapped each one in newspaper and boxed them.
William also had a nice orchard on the Hume homestead but not as large.
Speaking of Grandpa and his love
of trees, I must tell a story on myself. Grandpa had planted some evergreens on
the northeast corner’ of the grove. I came up with the idea that these little
trees would make nice Christmas trees. I was probably right, but in Julyl
I used a saw and had Viney hold the tree while I sawed. I scolded her
because she couldn’t hold it well enough to suit me. We loaded them onto our
little wagon, and I pulled and Vlney pushed as we trudged up the driveway.
Mother just couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw us. She and Dad talked to
us about it and how much he was looking forward to seeing the trees grow. We had
to tell Grandpa what we had done. This was terrible punishment for us and very
hard to do when we realized how wrong we had been. I don’t remember Grandpa
scolding us, but being very kind to us. This was the kind of a man he was.
As a progressive farmer, William
was interested in having as much land under cultivation as possible. There were
many areas on the Hume homestead that had water standing on them the year
around. One of these areas was known as the black slough. William really knew
how to use a spade. He could keep up with much younger men. Many acres were put
into production by ditching out these areas.
William had a chronic cough
sounding the same as Chester’s cough. William never smoked, but Chester did
for 50 years. About 70 years old he decided to quit. Neither one was tubercular.
William had a hearing deficiency the last 20 or so years of his life.
Margaret was of small statue with
curly hair. She really was a very nice looking lady. She had a nice voice and
liked to sing. She was ill a great deal, but the doctors had difficulty in
making a diagnosis. It was suspected she may have been a bit hypochondriac. In
her senior years she did have some cardiac problems and hypertension. She
occasionally did some knitting which she did very nicely. She enjoyed growing
house plants. Big ferns were popular in her days.
Margaret Ann Hume
Married: December 23, 1891
Born: April 09, 1873
Died: October 27, 1952 in: Lowiy, Pope County, MN
Burial: Oak Hill Cemetary, Lowry, MN
Relationship with Father: Thomas Hume - Natural
Relationship with Mother Elizabeth Watt- Natural
Written by Margaret Hume Bennett about 1950
Our Grandfather and Grandmother
Watt were both born in Scotland, grew up and were married there. They migrated
to Canada and took up land in Wellington County, Ontario about the year of 1840
or earlier. Father was born November 5, 1844 in Canada.
The land was all heavily timbered
and Grandfather had to clear the land before sawing a crop. He cut the big trees
down and hauled them in huge piles and burned them. They picked the rocks in
which the land abounded and built stone fences and stone houses and barns. The
stone houses and barn are still in use on the old Hume farm. There were maple
trees which they tapped to get the sap to make sugar and syrup.
The Watts reared eight children
and the Humes reared seven. The Humes were also from Scotland.
Our Father and Mother’s
childhood was like the youth of the day. They went to school till the eighth or
seventh grade and were then able to help around home. These two eventually met,
Father tall and broad shouldere, black haired and my Mother auburn haired, brown
eyed and sprightly, quite a belle in her day and how she could sing and loved
ln the course of time these two
fell in love and were married She at 17 and he at 24 years, in Pushlinch,
Wellington County, Ontario on July 1, 1869.
Very soon afterward they loaded
all their earthy possessions on their covered wagon drawn by a fine team of gray
horses named Charley and Sandy and started for the West. Their possessions
included Mother’s beautiful china dishes and two pair of lovely white wool
blankets and her lovely silk wedding gown and lace veil. How little they
realized the trials and difficulties that awaited them in a new country.
They drove by team and wagon to
Owen Sound on Lake Huron, took passage on a steam boat up the lake through Lake
Huron and Loke Superior and landed at Superior City.. From Superior City they
drove through the wilderness. If they had only known they might have settled in
the site where Chicago now is and raised blue bloods and made millions but they
kept right on past the site of Minneapolis and St. Paul until they reached Pope
County Minnesota where Father had two cousins living. They located on a
homestead of 160 acres where they raised a famly of seven children, three boys
and four girls. They had all the hardships of the early pioneers, including the
loss of their crop by grasshoppers, two years in succession. About the year 1876
this happened After being in Minnesota for seventeen years, they returned to
Ontario, Canada for a visit. Mother’s folks gave her another fine set of china
dishes and blankets when she returned home.
In the early days Father had to do
a lot of teaming which were long trips to the market for supplies and also had
to haul the grain to the market. I failed to state earlier in this article that
on their trip in the wIlderness, they were camped out for two weeks with a sick
horse. Father had bought feed being told it was oats and it proved to be ground
wheat which caused one of the horses to founder (bloat). Mother was left alone
with the wagon and sick horse while Father went for medicine. Wolves could have
devoured her but God took care of her. They settled on.a homestead one-half mile
north of where Lowry now is. Lowry was later built on part of the farm. We older
children remember lots of the privations and hardships endured. I, as a small
girl, can remember going out on the hills east of here to bring the cows home.
They could wander for miles if they wanted to. Each herd had a cow carrying a
bell and we listened for the sound of our bell among the many herds of strange
cattle. We brought cow’s home and usually helped with the milking.
I can remember Father cutting
grain with a cradle and later with a reaper, Then the harvesters with two men
binding the grain and the self binder.
In those early days the spiritual
side of life was not forgotten. Father and Mother joined the United Presbyterian
Church. They had a small log Church up on the hill in the woods, one and a half
miles north east of Lowry where the cemetery now is. The local pastor announced
services day every two weeks. They had a good Sunday school which met every
Sunday and also the Wednesday evening prayer meeting which met in the homes
every week This same prayer meeting continues until this day, meeting in the
Gospel Hall. Later Father and Mother joined the Plymouth Brethren.
We children were all born in the
old log house except Isabel and Ruth who were born in the new frame house.
William grew to be a kind of lanky
boy that liked so well to tinker with machinery. He would take it apart and put
it in the granary every winter and work on it.
I was the runt of the bunch,
growing up with three boys until Elizabeth put in an appearance nine years
later. I would scrap with them and if I got the worst of it I would bite them.
Then Mother stepped in.
Davie came next in line. I
remember chopping his finger nearly off with a broken handled axe while playing.
I was chipping a hole while he scraped out the dirt. He stuck his hand in and
down came the axe and he was marked for life although his finger grew on again.
Robert was next. I remember Father
cut barley with a cradle the day he was born July 28.
The winter the folks were in
Ontario, Mary Weaver stayed with us and the folks took the two youngest kids
with them. Every summer as a boy, Robert got poison ivy. He would walk to
Glenwood ten miles to get sugar of (lead) to kill the poison.
About a half dozen neighbors owned
a threshing rig drawn by horse power. Five or six teams of horses would go round
and round driven by a man sitting in the center on one of the horses.
I can remember the big tumbling
rod reaching to the separator that we as children were warned to keep away from.
That was in Father’s day. Now what have we? Mother worked hard too, often more
than she should. In the summer she churned butter and packed it in wooden butter
tubs washing and mixing it well with salt and covering each tub with a cheese
cloth with salt on top. The butter kept very well.
I remember shipping over four
hundred pounds to my Uncle in Wyoming and receiving about forty cents a pound At
that time there was no way of separating milk and cream except by setting it in
shallow pans or crocks and putting the pans full of milk on a large table or
shelves in a cool clean cellar where it was kept until the cream rose to the
top. Then it was skimmed with a skimmer or table spoon into a container. It then
had to be churned by hand, usually in a churn with a dasher. In later years milk
was kept in tin cans with a glass in the side and the cream gatherer measured
cream by the inches.
Elizabeth was the baby in the
family. Mr. McKenzie carried her home in a blanket when Mother was very sick
with pneumonia. Mrs. McKenzie nursed her as well as her own baby. She grew to be
a brown eyed beauty. I remember the picture of five older children. Elizabeth
sat on a high chair but couldn’t resist the temptation and turned around and
grabbed my beads and I bent forward so as not to break them. The photo was taken
Little golden haired Isabel was
the first baby born in the new house. She was a cute little baby, the exact
opposite of Elizabeth in complexion. She walked so young, but was not
mischievous and could sing as soon as she could talk.
Ruth come along six years later to
everyone’s surprise. She was a plump little body. I held her in my arms before
she was dressed You see, I was soon nineteen years old and was married two
months later. Ruth and my son, Chester, one and one-half years younger, played
together and were good pals. Once they ran away from Mother up town and were
I must tell about William and
myself learning to sing. We were about six and eight years old respectively. We
sang the 150 Psalm. We learned that and the catechism in the Presbyterian
Church. I attended singing school later for two winters in the little old school
Mother taught a term of school in
the same district. We played Pum Pum Pullaway and drop the handkerchief at
recess. In the winter we skated on the pond until it froze ever. At first we
just slid and later we got skates. I must not forget the ceremony of Baptism. A
bunch of his girls put on in a sleigh in a hollow when we came looking for the
cows to bring them home. At first we just waded into the pond and then we
started ducking each other. Where were five girls. Lizzie McKenzie was the
smallest and she got baptized all over. I was wet to the waist and it was hard
indeed to meet Mother when I came home as we were imitating a Baptist church in
the community who immersed their converts in a lake or stream.
Another thing I remember so well
was while taking care of David, I was sitting on the floor by the cradle when
saw a strange dark man coming up the walk toward the open door of the house. I
was scared and jumped to my feet and slammed the door shut and put the churn and
some chairs back of it. The man went around and looked in another window and I
screeched out good and loud. He then went away. Mother thought it was a half
breed Indian. We didn’t see many strangers and I was only five years old.
David slept through it all. But I never forgot it. Our country side was just
beautiful with wildflowers and I can see them yet.
In the spring of 1911, after their
family was grown, Father and Mother sold the farm and moved to Lowry. That same
year they took a trip to Saskatchewan to visit Elizabeth and then to North
Dakota to visit Robert. While at Robert’s home Mother and a cerebral
hemorrhage from which she never recovered She died November 1911 and Father
lived for many years after that. He passed away January 6, 1928.
(This data was complete by
Margaret and I hope you find it was interesting as I did. Margaret has now gone
to be with her maker and I, Ruth, will try to complete what I remember. Right
now there are only two of us living. Elizabeth is in Saskatchewan and Ruth is in
Ruth Hume Cusick
Chester Hail Bennett
Born: May 08, 1893 in: Reno Twnshp, Pope County, MM
Died: February 01, 1970 in: Minnawaska home, Starbuck, MN
Born: November 05, 1844 in: Wellington County, Ontario, Canada
Died: January 06, 1928 in Oak Hill Cemetaxy, Ben Wade Twnshp, Pope County, MN
“The Ilustrated Albumn of Biographys” by Alden Ogle & Co.
Chicago 1888 from the Pope County Historical Society, 5. 1& 1938
Thomas Hume, of the firm of
Johnson, Mclver & Hwne, is one of the most influential and respected
citizens of Pope County. He was born in Wellington County. Canada, November
5,1844. He lived at home on the farm with his parents, William and Anna
(Anderson) Hume, until he was twenty-one, when he came to Pope County, and took
a homestead on section 24, Ben Wade twnship. He owns 140 acres of good farmlng
laud, owns a half interest in the town site of Lowru. and a third interest in
the general merchandising store of the firm mentioned above.
Mr. Hume has taken an active
interest in all public matters, and has been honored with various local offices,
such as chairman of supervisors, justice of the peace, and school clerk for 10
or 15 years. In political matters he is a prohitonist..
The subject of this memoir was
married July 1,1869, to Miss Elizabeth Watt, a daughter of Davis and Margaret
(Cameron) Watt, natives of Scotland They have been blessed with seven children,
Margaret Ann, Davod Robert, Ruth, William John, Elizabeth Ellen and Isabelle
Catherine. They are all exemplary members of the Presbyterian Church.
I have wanted for some time to
write of the Pope County Historical Society the true story of how my parents,
Thomas Hume and Elizabeth Watt Hume, came to Pope Co. in 1869 to Ben Wade
Township and settled on a homestead just north and joinlng the town of Lowiy.
There was not Lowry then and for many yuears later. They were both born, in
Ontario, Canada, and grew to maturity there and were married there. Their
parents were born In Scotland, and cane to Canada and took up land, densely
wooded which they cleared to grow food to eat. That is considerable different
from the prairie land of central Minnesota.
On July 1, 1869 Thomas Hume and
Elizabeth Watt were married at the farm home of her parents. Shortly after they
assembled all their belongings and loaded them on Father’s good wagon drawn by
a good team of grey horses, Charley and Sandy. (He had worked and saved a little
money.) They set out for Lake Huron to Owen Sound where they embarked on a steamboat going to Superior
City on Lake Superior, not far from where Duluth now is. There was no Duluth at
that time. Here they left the steam boat, and started on the last part of the
journey. Through the wilderness between here and Superior, at that early date it
was tough going, and on the way one of the horses got sick. Mother stayed at the
camp when Father walked to the nearest place he could to get medicine/or
the sick horse. After a time when the horse was able to travel they proceeded on
their way, and finally arrived at the home John Scott in Ben Wade Township. Pope
Co. where they remained for a time while Father looked for land. They finally
located on the farm just north of where Lowry is now. There was a good sized log
house built all but the roof. Winter was coming on and Father bought out the
claim from another cousin, Peter Scott, and finished building the house, which
was their home for many years.
Here all of us children were born except two youngest in frame house, myself being the second. in a family of seven. These were happy years and carefree, also filled with privations, but our needs were always met by our all-wise providence. How little the folks they left in Canada, realized what was ahead of the Bridal couple they so tried to give a good wedding and send off. Mother had a lovely silk dress shaded Navy blue and Pea green. Also a bonnet and veil, and Fathers nice black suit. What use were they here then. Also a beautIful set of china dishes,
real china you could see your hand
thru. I remember these dishes and Mothers dress very plainly. Also I remember
two pair white wool double blankets which were very good to have. As winters
were severe, we had to walk one mile straight west to school, we seldom missed
school. Mother taught one of the first terms of school in District No. 30. I do
not remember my Father driving oxen he had his team of horses, but there were
many oxen used. In those days there was much prairie, and the family herd of
cows and young stock were let run on the vacant prairie. Our cows could go clear
to Glenwood if they wanted to, but they always headed back home towards night.
Each farmers herd had it’s cow carrying a bell around her neck, and we
listened to the sound of our own belL Many times I have gone far to bring the
cows home, as a small girl And how
frightened I was of the strange cattle encountered out on the hills. My folks
milked some cows, made butter, and churned it by hand sometimes made cheese.
They packed their butter in firkins (wood pails) in summer as the price was so
poor and sold it in the fall. If the butter was thoroughly washed free of milk
and properly salted, it could be made to keep. How different from, how butter is
made today. And how different the price.
Few hens were kept and eggs so
cheap if there were a few to sell. My folks came thru the two grasshopper years
where the hoppers ate everything. Hard years but we always had enough to eat.
However they managed I do not know, but the years afterwards were hard years
too. The herds of cattle were depleted and machinery to work the land was hard
to get and had to be hauled a long distance. I can remember Father cutting a
small field of grain with a cradle. Then the reaper that they used to cut the
grain and left it laying. The men following bound it on the ground. Later they
used the harvester, two men stood on this machine and bound the grain as it was
cut and came over the elevator canvas. They threw the bundles off after they
were bound The men used a handful of grain to make a band for the bundles. Then
later came the selfbinder which bound the bundles with wire and later twine was
used The machinery was all drawn by oxen or horses. A number a/farmers in the
vicinity of Ben Wade and western Reno Twp. owned a threshing rig which was run
by horse power about five or six teams were hitched one team behind the other,
and were driven round and around the horse power. Jim Bryce usually drove the
horses. He sat on top of the horse power. There was a rod called the tumbling
rod that reached to the seperator from the horse power, which run the seperator,
and threshed the grain. About the years 1875 to 1880 the men that owned this
machine were Kenneth McKenzie, Robert Peacock, Thomas Hume, Hugh Thomas and Jim
Bryce. If any more I do not remember.
The threshing machine made the
rounds and did all of their threshing each fall. Of course the grain had to be
hauled far to market and Father with his team of horses did a lot of hauling.
The above named men were not scandinavian, but were of Scottish decent as were a
lot of people in Reno and Leven township and part of Ben Wade. It might be will
to mention some of the old timers that spoke the english language. There were
Daniel and Peter Penury and the Whitlaws in Leven township, also David John and
Clark Campbell and William Hogan, Robert Peacock, Andrew md John Peacock, the
Bryces John, Thomas, William, Hugh and James Bryce, also Edwin Ccx, Robert
Wilson, Peter Ferguson, William Christilaw Sr and the Wamsleys, Alex, Ewing and
John Lyon Ewing in Reno and Thomas Scott, John Scott also James Blair and John
Cooley and George Frederick, Kenneth McKenzie, Robert Henderson, Thomas Hume,
Robert Ballentine families and Hunters in eastern Ben Wade twp. These people
were all of Scotch and Irish ancestry. Spoke the English language, and most of
them belonged to the Presbyterian church. The old minister that came to preach
in the little log church on top of the hill where Oak Hill Cemetry now is was
Rev. Jesse Whitla. He came from Leven twp every two weeks, to preach. I can
remember him announcing Services this day two weeks as usual.
No doubt I’ve forgotten some of
the old timers. but Pope Co. had a number of families that spoke English. The
only one here that carries the Hume name is my nephew, Mervin A. Hume in
Glenwood. He drives the Standard
Oil truck (delivery). Also my son Chester H. Bennett works in Glenwood is
chairman for the MA in Pope Co. He is Hume as well as his cousin Mervin but does
not carry the name. Speaking of the old log church that is where I attended
Sunday school until I was about 13 years old after I went to the new church
built in Lowry north of the R.R. track, which later was blown away by the
cyclone about 1896. The storm that killed San Morrow and little daughter and
wrecked the Robert Peacock home.
Will mention before closing tow
others of the very old times, (old) Mrs. Bryce, mother of the Bryce brothers,
who was a practical nurse to many especially to mothers and new born babys.
Later Mrs. Kenneth McKenzie took her place until her death at 45. There were
some more Drs in the county by this time. Dr Croyiar came from Villard to see my
Mother who had pneumonia she recovered. Mr. McKenzie carried my baby sister
across the fields home for his wife to care for.(good neighbors).
I remember old David Ewing driving
up to Ben Wade to attend the weekly prayer meeting, which met every Wednesday
evening from house to house. He came with a horse hitched to a two wheeled rig
called a buckboard. Same prayer meeting continues to this day every Wed nite.
The elderly Mc.Iver Brothers,
Hugh. William Andrew and John settling in New Prairie came from Scotland several
years later then those I have mentioned most of these mentioned in this article
have long since gone to their reward.
Written by Ruth Hume Cusick, 1964
I will attempt to go a little more
fully into our family life.
The first child of Thomas and
Elizabeth Hume was William John named after Father’s Father and his brother. I
often heard Mother say what a pretty baby he was. I do not know anything about
his boyhood as he was twenty-one years old when! was born.
William was converted early in
life and continued in God’s work the rest of his life. He was married to Alice
Dickens and they had three children, Lois and James of California and Ruth who
died in infancy. They lived in California and both he and has wife went to their
eternal home years ago.
The second child Margaret Ann, was
named after the two grandparents. She was a very lively girl and married the
year I was to a neighbor boy. His name was William Bennett. They lived on a farm
two miles from the village of Lowry. To these two was born four children,
Chester, Robert, Grace, and Bessie, all of Minnesota. Today, two of Chester’s
sons live on their grandfather’s farm. Margaret and William passed away some
time ago. She died in 1952 and he died several years previous. Margaret was well
loved in her community and had a very keen mind up to his last illness and
remembered things that happened seventy years ago.
The third child, David Watt, named
after Grandfather Watt was a very fine looking man. He was store keeper and also
a barber. He was married to Annie Christopherson. They lived in Lowry, North
Dakota, California and Issaquah, Wash. where he barbered for several years.
David was a very active man and enjoyed himself. They lived to celebrate their
They had nine children, Foresi~
who was killed in World War! in France in 1918, Juanita~ who died in infancy,
David a conductor on the railroad lives in Kansas, Roy a/North Dakota, Annabel,
Pearl and Marjorie of Washington, Ruth of Ca4(ornia and Truman who isa Lt.
Colonel in the Air Force, stationed In Colorado. David was very active/or his
years, and up to a/ew years be/ore his death in 1958, war a whiz on roller
skates. Annie passed away a few years before he did.
The fourth child was Thomas Robert
named after Father and Mother’s eldest brother. Both he and Dave played in the
band at Lowry. Rob was a quiet good natured fellow. Later on he was married to
Hanna Ternqulst and they took up a homestead in North Dakota. Isabel and visited
them as young women and Hanna took us to Church. I will never forget that the
minister, after being introduced looked at me and said “Miss Hume, would you
please raise the tune.” I was quite flabbergasted but managed with quaking
voice to raise it.
After about eight years of
marriage, Hanna passed away. Rob and the two children lived with Father quite a
The children are Louise of
Minneapolis and Mervin of Glenwood Minnesota. Robert never married and passed on
Fifth child, Elizabeth Ellen,
named for Mother’s and Aunt Ellen. I don’t remember much after girlhood only
she and I liked to read novels. Many a time Mother caught us with them and into
the stove they went. Elizabeth married a neighbor boy, James McGowan, they were
a handsome couple.
James took up a homestead in
Saskatchewan and they lived there all their married life. They had four
children: Elizabeth, who died at 12 years, Sargent. Norman and Ruth, all of
Saskatchewan.. James died some time ago and Elizabeth is still living in
Saskatchewan. She has spent some time at Pioneer home in Weyburn. She lived some
years out West with Dave and also visited Isabel and I and we had such good
times together. Elizabeth passed away last year January 1965 and was buried in
the old cemetery by her husband’s s side at Lowry, Minnesota.
I visited the cemetery last year
and it is in a lovely setting. There are seven relatives buried there including
my Father and Mother.
Sixth child Isabel Catherine named
after Aunt Isabel and Aunt Catherine, unlike the others, auburn haired and tiny
and could carry a tune a two years so I’ve heard. She married a girlhood
sweetheart, Vincent Bartos, a mail clerk After living some time in Minnesota,
they came to Wenatchee, Wash. where he worked for the Post Office for years,
eventually getting to be assistant Post Master.
Isabel was not very strong, but
very good at writing poetry. One of her poems was read at her funeral service.
Isabel and Vincent had two children Marjorie of Spokane and Richard who passed
away as a child They celebrated their Golden Wedding in September 1963, and
Isabel passed away Nov. 5, 1963. I
surely miss her as we had lived side by side for thirty years.
Seventh child Ruth, born the month
our mother was forty, and as they had used all the relatives names, they went to
the bible for mine.
My sisters have often told me,
that the day I was born, they were sent away to the neighbor McKenzie, who had a
flock of kids. One of the girls made pull taffy and they had a wonderful time
decorating the hay rack with it.
After some time they were sent to come home, and Isabel just couldn’t believe they had a baby, but to her delight they let her hold the new baby and she had quite a vivid memory of it. When I was about two or three, my mother was sick in the hospital and I was left with my brothers and sisters. They forgot about me and I went to sleep on the porch, caught cold which developed into pneumonia.and I’m told I was very sick, but they didn’t tell my mother. I can still remember the Dr. telling me of this little girl who threw her doll out an upstairs window. As a little girl I used to follow my Father all around the place, and as my brothers were not home, it fell on me to carry in the wood for the stove and often dig it out of the snow in the winter..
Isabel and I took turns helping
Father with the milking and how we disliked it, especially in the Winter. We did
all our own separating of milk and cream too, and there were all those pails to
wash, besides the separator. We had a very large living room, and my Mother used
to paper it herself, she wouldn’t let us girls help her. We used to save all
our rags and when we had enough, we would spend our Winter evenings sewing the
strips together and winding them into balls. When we had the required number of
pounds. they were taken to the
weaver, and then after a week or two, we hada
new wall to wall carpet. This was tacked to the wall and once a year had
to be taken up and beaten until it was clean. What a job! Housekeeping then was
a major undertaking and the house was usually upset for a week or two. There
were no vacuum cleaners or labor savers like we have now.
We also had different washing
facilities. We used to get up early, start the fire. put on the wash boiler and
heat the water. Then we would get out the wash tub and board and rub. It
was same job, we also used to boil the white clothes to make them a better
color. I will also mention that we had long hair, which we washed every iwo or
three weeks and that was really a job, as the water was so hard and we did not
have shampoo like they do now.
Our school was a two room
building, the older kids went to school in the winter when there was no outside
work to do. They usually went as long as they were home and were put back in the
7th or 8th grade every year. The church was built on part of Father’s farm and
we get up on Sunday morning with nothing on our minds but to go to church.
Services in the morning, home to
get dinner, Sunday School in the afternoon, home again to sit around or play the
organ, milk the cows, and then to church in the evening. We had plenty of young
ministers and we girls always admired them a lot.
One of the important remembrances
of our life happened around the year 1900. A very severe cyclone struck our part
of the state. We often had bed storms and terrjfic thunder and lightening, but
this was the worst we ever had. Father, Isabel and I had gone to visit sister
Margaret at their farm about two miles from town, leaving my mother and sister
Elizabeth at home. My brothers were in town. As we left our sisters place, the
sky was getting very black and Father hurried Chestnut, our horse, to get to
town before the storm broke. The wind was terrific when Father tied the horse in
front of the store building and we rushed to the basement where our friends and
neighbors were huddled together. The basement had a few inches of water on the
floor. Some of the women and children were crying and the men were all watching
the storm, which struck the town, taking half of it in its path. The storm took
the church up intact, whirled it around and then it fell to pieces. The path of
the storm extended between our farm and a neighbors.
After a few minutes it was all
over, and what devastation! So many of the families were homeless, our buggy was
gone, so we took the horse and walked home.
We found the road just strewn with
debris, but the house was still there although the chimneys were gone and so was
the barn roof. My Mother and sister had managed to lock one door, and held the
other door shut till the storm passed. They were badly frightened like the rest
of us, but with God’s help they hung on. Later we found out one brother had
been in a culvert under the railroad track and the other was flat down on the
prairie. So with the help of God we were all spared. For years we used to pick
up broken household articles out of the slough next to town.
Time passed on and the boys
married and also sister Elizabeth who went to live in Saskatchewan on a
homestead. One of the highlights of my young l!fe was when Isabel and I visited
her and got to ride horses accompanied by two country swains who really showed
us a good time.
I also got my first proposal from
a young Irishman, twice my age, with a real Irish brogue. I could have had a lot
of fun out of it, but I was just too young. My brother-in-law, James, sure did
have a good laugh and told me I better accept as this might be my last chance.
In the early 1900 came the auto,
and what a thrill it was just to watch the cars go by, maybe two or three a day.
Father would call “Come on, Ruthie and see the flying machine.” He always
drove the team off the road to let the cars go by. They were going about 15
miles per hour.
Incidentally, brother David had
the first car in Lowry and we were all thrilled to go for a ride, even if we
sometimes had to get out and push it up the hill.
We didn’t have the things they
have now, but we didn’t miss them, a hay of candy, given when we paid our
store bill, an orange in a Christmas stocking was a treat and we really
appreciated a 5¢ piece and a dollar was a lot of money. We used to wake up in
our upstairs bedroom, with the window so covered with frost, we could not see
out and spring was really here when we cleared a place on the window to
see out and it did not frost up again.
The school was about a mile from
our home and we went every day rain or shine. I never missed a day for the last
three years, and we walked too. Sometimes the snow literally was up to our
necks. When we had our big dinner like Thanksgiving or Christmas, we kids always
waited and ate whatever was left. Our parents were hard working with few
pleasures. We never worked on Sunday.
If we did not bake a cake or pie
on Saturday, we did without. We rode to Church in a surrey with the fringe on
top and I can still remember one of my outfits. lt was a red suit with a box
coat trimmed with applique down the front and on the sleeves. Isabel was a
milliner and had a milliner shop, so we always had lots of hats. In those days
the milliner made the hats.
After finishing school, I had a
year at St. Cloud Normal and received a second grade certificate to teach. My
first school was about seventeen miles away but with our slow team it seemed
fifty-six. In these country schools, you were also janitor and had to go there
early and get the fire going. There were often kids older and much larger than!
was. We had all the grades, but some did not have pupils. Sometimes I had to get
between the kids to stop them from fighting and I only received forty dollars
per month, but I paid very little for board and room.
After I had taught school for two
years, my mother passed away November 1911. She and Father had retired and were
on a trip to visit my sister in Saskatchewan and a brother in North Dakota.
We were all deeply shocked as she
was well when she left home. My sister and I tried to make a home for Father in
town. Later on I went to Ontario with Father to visit his brother and other
It was there I met Norman Cuslck
to whom I was later married. He was home on a visit from Vancouver, BC. He was a
very happy-go-lucky fellow and we had a good time together. We were married the
next year under an arch of red peonies from Margaret’s garden.
Later on World War I was declared
and Norman went in the service and was stationed at Ottawa, where our eldest son
Earl was born. Later on Norman was sent overseas and was in France two years.
Needless to say, Earl was quite a
boy when his dad returned. We spent some time in Vancouver and then moved up to
the north end of Vancouver Island where Norman logged for six years.
It was a carefree life and we
enjoyed it and were all so healthy. By this time we had another boy, Darrel, and
later on a little girl. Phyllis. The children had so much fun playing on the
beach, making sand castles, sailing toy boats, etc. One summer, we lived on a
houseboat and Earl fell in sixty feet of water. He came up and caught the edge
of the haul. and was none the worse off. One of our neighbor boys fell off the
houseboat and was drowned. Our living up there was easy. we had all the fish,
clams and crabs we could eat, just for the taking. We had our good times too.
One of my memories was a dance we went to on our seventh anniversary. A man we
had recently met and whom we had entertained offered to stay with the boys and
that itself was a treat. He also wrote a poem in our honor which was a thrill.
We had lots of good friends, Marshall in whose boat we so often rode and the
Melans with whom we ate New Years dinner and they had Christmas dinner with us.
Our friend was Hany Wilson, who always toasted us on Christmas morning. One time
Norman and! took a lantern out on Christmas Eve to find a tree, Also, once
Norman walked all night to tell me he would not be home that night. He and a
friend had taken a boat out and had been caught in a storm and could not take
the boat out, so he walked all night to tell me he would not be home that night.
Norman and Partner hand logged on
the mountain side, toppled big trees and packed them into the inlet, where they
were made into booms and towed into Vancouver and sold We were there about six
years and led a carefree life. One of the big events was waiting for the steamer
to come in and the kids all got ice cream cones.
Such things were only sent up once
a week and was a real treat. One disadvantage about living up there was that the
school was on the other side of Hardy Bay and the kids had to row across the Bay
to get there and that was a worry. So when sister Isabel, who was in poor
health, wrote for us to come to Wenatchee to live, we decided to do so. Norman
ran the grocery store for Wensel and later bought him out. Later on came the
depression and we quit the store business.
At the time the men were
interested in panning for gold, although they never got much they had a lot of
fun,. We had a neighborhood club and we used to go up to the Lake on picnics
several times during the summer and we all enjoyed it, especially the kids.
During these years, we had lots of
get-togethers with the David Hume family. They came over here or we went over to
the coast, which was only 135 miles away. Annie and Dave were wonderful hosts,
we miss then a lot.
During this time Norman got into
the construction business with Bill Whitaker, building houses with the boys as
helpers. Earl finished high school and later on Darrel and Phyllis graduated.
Shortly after that came World II. Earl went into the service with several other
boys and Darrel went to Seattle to work at Boeing. Earl was stationed at Fort
Lewis. Later on he brought home a buddy, Ted Zielinski, a boy from Chicago, who
became interested in Phyllis. Later on they were married in front of a palm
flanked fireplace on Okanogan Avenue where we then lived.
Darrel met a Wenatchee girl,
Aletha Lyons, also working at Boeing, and after a short courtship they were
married in the Presbyterian Church here in Wenatchee. Earl and Ted were sent to
the Europe sector and saw action at the front.
Darrel was sent to the Pacific and
saw action in the Philippines and Japan. They all returned safely for which I
thank God. After Earl’s return from overseas, he met Aletha’s sister,
Maxine, and after a whirlwind courtship, they were married. After the boys
returned, they went into the construction business and since have done very
Later on they bought their father
out, but he continued to go to the shop every day and it was a Godsend to him
and kept him interested.
Earl and Darrel are avid tennis
players and have played for over twenty years, so naturally the grandchildren
have followed in their footsteps.
They were the promoters of a
Tennis Club, and they and associates built a very fine clubhouse with a swimming
In the spring of 1961, Norman had
a cerebral hemorrhage and only lived three months. I am living alone in the old
home we bought over thirty years ago.
There is a lot about my family,
which I wrote more for their benefit, but that the rest of you might enjoy
reading it, so will include it all.
I hope you folks get the enjoyment
out of reading it that I and I know Margaret had writing it.