Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
'Along the Way' by William E. Leppa, written in 1975
In 1911, Pa sold the 110-acre farm he bought from Davidson to Gust Isaacson for $6,500 and bought the 200-acre Frank Guinn farm for $10,000. We moved over there in the spring and started to build a new house, as the old one had burned down that winter. We lived in the large granary while the house was being built.
How Pa came to buy the Guinn farm is a story worth telling. Here is how it went. That winter or early spring Pa and Hjalmer Raski were out looking for an extra horse, as we had only three horses. Someone told him that Frank Guinn had an extra mare. So they went out to see her. Pa bought the mare and during the visit Guinn told Pa that he wanted to sell the farm. Guinn's boys were all grown up, and Guinn did not want to farm anymore. So he told Pa that he would give him $100 to find a buyer. So Pa came home and, as luck would have it, Gust Isaacson had just come to Kingston from Michigan looking for a farm. So Pa and Ma decided to sell our farm. We sold Isaacson our 110-acre farm for $6,500 and bought Guinn's 200 acres for $10,000. Then, for that $100 finder's fee, Guinn put in our small grain crop, seed and all.
Then Pa started building our house. The new house had four bedrooms upstairs, one bedroom downstairs, a kitchen, dining room, and a front room that was used as a bedroom part of the time. We had to have lots of room. At that time there were 10 in the family and a hired man or two most of the time. They also slept in the house.
Six more children were born to Mother and Pa on the Guinn place in North Kingston. Pa got the house built and remodeled the horse barn and the old log barn. By that time, he had bought two more horses and a few more cows and added a few more sows and chickens. You see, Pa figured he had to have more work for the boys and girls that were growing up.
The next year, 1912, Pa built a wooden silo. It was built by Central Lumber Co. of Kimball, and Pa went around the country with Mr. Brown of the lumber company, and they sold about 12 more silos for which Pa got a commission. It turned out our silo didn't cost much.
Of course, while Pa was running around the country selling and buying things, Mother and I and the hired help were running the farm. By this time some of the brothers and sisters were big enough to help with the chores.
I can't remember anything special happening in 1913. The year 1914 was a big year. Pa built a new 100 ft. dairy barn, moved the silo up to the new barn and built another silo. Pa also went to Eagle Bend by Wadena, Minn., and bought 15 head of purebred Guernsey cattle, cows and heifers.
That same year in the fall, Mother went to Ely to visit her sister, Aunt Mary (Merila) Sandstrom. Brother Levi died while she was up there, so she had to cut her visit short. Levi had been ailing for some time. He had inflammatory rheumatism and just wasted away. That year, Pa bought 20 acres of pasture land down on the Clearwater River from John Magnuson.
In 1915, Pa bought our first car. It was a four-cylinder Studebaker touring car and was that something. I was the only one that drove it for quite a while. It could be driven only in the summer. In the winter, we put it up on blocks. Those days there was no free-flowing lubricating oil. The oil was like lard in the cold weather.
By this time Pa had a large amount of livestock, quite a number of hogs and some chickens and about seven horses.
In the winter of 1915 and 1916, a bunch of us organized a Kingston Young Peoples Society, and we really had a ball. William Ruotsinoja was our main man as he was a good musician and leader and could sing fairly well. There was also a Suomi Synod church group that I belonged to. So these were busy years and happy ones.
One of our social days was Midsummer's Day, June 24. It was a carry-over from the old country, Finland. There, in the northern part of where most of our ancestors came from, the "land of the midnight sun," the sun never set in June and part of July. Midsummer's always called for a picnic at Lake Francis with swimming, wrestling, baseball and group singing.
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"We've only just begun"
Starting the New Year off right: Friends like you enable us to continue to tell and represent the powerful chapters of our area's history. We hope that you will renew or join in membership with us for 2012. If you've just done so, thanks! Our society is sustained by your membership and donations, all fully tax deductible.
All new for 2012: New presentations by the Kimball Area Historical Society for this year include Feb. 28, Mar. 27, Apr. 24, June 26, June 30, Aug. 10-11, Sept. 25,
Oct. 23, plus Nov.-Holiday potluck. Watch this column in Tri-County News for bi-weekly details.
Orphan Train: If you or someone you know has relatives or friends who were Orphan Train Riders 1929 or before, please let Kimball's Historical Society or Tri-County News know as one of our unique events in 2012 will be an all new Orphan Train program presented by popular author/story-teller/speaker Bill Morgan. Any information you have as requested here, will be an added attraction and appreciated. Thank you.
Next Historical Society Board of Directors Meeting: Saturday, Feb. 11 at 9:30 a.m. in Kimball's historic city hall.
To contribute to this column or the permanent society collection, membership or tax-deductible donations, please write the Kimball Area Historical Society at P.O. Box 100, Kimball MN 55353, or phone (320) 398-5250, or e-mail kimball
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"The best is yet to come"