The Leppa Family of Kingston, Part 9 'Along the Way' by William E. Leppa, written in 1975

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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We arrived in South Hampton in the evening and did not leave the ship until morning. We were so surprised about the height of the tide. We came out of the side of the ship from a door that had been under water the night before. The water was so much lower in the morning.

We stayed in South Hampton for two weeks as a lot of the men were sick with the flu. There were 11,000 people on that ship and over 1,000 nurses.

From South Hamption, we crossed over the English Channel to Le Havre in France and from there to Bergerac in the south of France for training. That is close to Bordeaux. From there we went to LeMans to be shipped to the front lines. We were in the boxcars alread, when the Armistice came. From there we came back to close to Bordeaux to Cadillac. We stayed there the rest of the winter.

We shipped out of Bordeaux for home on the freighter Edgar F. Lackenback, and it took us three weeks to get back. We arrived in New York April 5, 1919, and went to Camp Dix, N.J. From there we went to Camp Dodge, Iowa. From that camp, we got our final examinations and were discharged and sent home on April 21, 1919. So that was done and over with. What an experience! The only things to show for the trip were flat feet and a bad stomach.

In the spring of 1920, I started dating Emma Ryti of Annandale (West Albion). We were married Aug. 18, 1920, at the Knapp Lutheran Church parsonage by Rev. Bongfeldt, with Mrs. Bongfeldt and my brother Axel as witnesses.

Axel took us to the train at Cokato in the old Ford touring car. We spent our honeymoon at the old West Hotel in Minneapolis, where Mother had worked as a chambermaid when she came from the old country. Before the week was out, Pa was calling us up on the phone wanting to know how soon we were coming home to fill the silos. He talked me into coming back to the farm instead of going to work in the city.

Our daughter Margie was born May 25, 1921, upstairs at the old farm. That fall we moved to the Friska house, a half mile down the road. There we spent the winter. In the spring of 1922, we built a large chicken house on 10 acres across the road from the big farm and Emma, Margie, and I moved to live there. A new house was built. Abe Orn was the carpenter. I helped as much as I had time from the farm work.

In 1922, Pa (Matt A. Leppa) was vice president of the Kingston and Kimball Stock Shipping Association.

Daughter Dorothy was born May 17, 1923, in the new house.

That year, Pa enlarged the chicken house by buying the old creamery building in North Kingston, tearing it down, and hauling part of a wall at a time and assembling it again at the farm. In that way he got two large chicken houses, one on each farm. We also bought the old store building and moved it out on wheels to the old farm for a calf barn.

Daughter Mary Anne was born Oct. 13, 1926, in the new house.

Brother Axel was killed in a car accident in July 1926.

In the spring of 1927, Pa bought the Damuth farm south of Kingston. Emma and the children and I moved to the big farm, and the small house was used for the hired men. By that time, there were 40 milk cows, 100 hogs, and 1,000 laying hens. In 1928, Pa bought a grain separator and we started to do our own threshing. We also had the local blacksmith, John Wanhala, make a feed mixer to mix cow and chicken feed. By this time we were raising 2,000 baby chicks every spring. We had brooder houses all over the place. We had also started to sell eggs to the Soo Line dining cars. The eggs were delivered to the railroad depot in Kimball.

By 1928, Pa had bought a threshing machine and we were doing our own grain threshing. Pa had a 10-20 International tractor, so we had retired the old steam engine that I had operated for so many years. That was also the year that Northern States Power Co. brought us high line electric power, so we were able to do lots of things by electricity. Pa also bought a small steel wheel John Deere tractor for the Damuth farm. The tractor also had a two-row cultivator on it. I was still cultivating corn with a two-row horse cultivator on the North Kingston farm. By this time we had a lot of chickens on both farms, and I was selling the eggs and the broilers in the city.

I had also belonged to the Kimball American Legion, Post 261, from the beginning. We organized the post in 1920, and I was Post Commander for three years.

to be continued

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The incomparable Dean Urdahl will present "Pursuit in the Dakotas" a thought-provoking look at what happened after the war in Minnesota. Dean is a prolific author of his favorite topics including:

* Touching Bases With Our Memories: The Players Who Made the Minnesota Twins, 1961-2001;

* Lives Lived Large: Minnesotans in the Public Eye;

* Uprising; * Retribution; * Pursuit.

Calendar the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 28, to join us in Kimball's historic city hall at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Light refreshments. Bring family and friends, its free.

Help us grow the Kimball Area Historical Society by becoming a member. Our dues have never increased since we were founded in 2000. And if you're already a member, won't you keep us healthy by renewing now? Remember, January is membership month, thank you.

A Kimball All-School-Reunion will be held

Aug. 11, 2012, during Kimball Days. If you graduated from Kimball School, your invitation will reach you in due time. Be sure to keep it on your calendar as it hasn't happened for 25 years. The Kimball Area Historical Society is hosting this event. If questions, e-mail kimball

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , write or phone Kimball Area Historical Society at PO Box 100, Kimball MN 55353, (320) 398-5250. You'll find us on Facebook too: "Kimball Area Historical Society."