Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
By Duane Stanley
Editor's note: The recent history of the Pope family printed in the Oct. 21, edition of the paper stated that the Pope family had donated the land for the original St. Lawrence Catholic Church just west of Pearl Lake. It should have correctly stated that it was the Scheeler family that donated the land. The Scheeler family has a long history in the Kimball/Maine Prairie area, as well as the Pope family. We apologize for the error.
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About 1980, Doris (Wood) Lehnert, then age 75, contemplated the impact of her grandparents on her life, and wondered about her impact on her own grandchildren. The grandparents she remembered were Elmer and Emma (Swisher) Eaton, early settlers on Maine Prairie who lived their entire lives in the Kimball area. Elmer Eaton, born in 1861, was among the first births on Maine Prairie and Emma's family were pioneers to Eden Lake. Emma died in 1941, and Elmer in 1944.
Granddaughter Doris grew up in the Willow River area in Pine County before marrying Milton Lehnert. They lived their lives farming and raising eight children on the homestead his grandparents had claimed at LeSueur, Minn. She died in 1988.
Being a grandparent puts one in a pleasantly responsible position I have discovered in the 15 years that I have been called "Grandma." I have sometimes wondered what our grandchildren will remember about us. This in turn made me think about my grandparents and the influence they were in my life. They have been dead more than 35 years, but I have pleasant and vivid memories of them.
The place where Grandpa and Grandma lived was always of great interest to me. High up, but not on the very peak of the only hil in the entire area, nestled the low, unpainted house. A rain barrel stood at the corner near the only door. A clothesline and fenced-in garden area was to the south of the house. A long building with cow barn at one end; combination granary, tool shed, and workshop in the middle; and horse barn at the other end, was east of the house. To the top of the hill and around to the west was the pasture with huge trees.
To the childish eye of my brothers and me, this was a big hill; so big that we thought we could see it when only 35 miles of the 120-mile trip had been traveled. In a Model T touring car, that trip took almost the whole day. There were many times that one child or another would yell out, "I see Grandpa's hill!" The hill that I knew as "Grandpa's hill" is now the well-known Powder Ridge Ski Resort.
Such fun we had helping to feed cows and horses, pumping water, carrying wood, and sometimes leading a tame horse in the yard. Such work was always more fun at Grandpa's than at home.
Sometimes we older ones had a chance to ride in the buckboard wagon down the rough road to the level of the surrounding area. Then we trudged back up the hill while Grandpa went on to town for supplies. Often-times I rode on the high seat safely held by my grandfather's arm around me.
My grandpa was a horse lover, trainer, and trader. There were always horses there. I loved to watch him pet them and talk low to them. Because I liked horses better than my brothers did, I had rides on the safe ones. I loved the feel of their soft noses.
I grew better acquainted with my grandparents than my brothers did because sometimes I stayed there a couple weeks during summer vacations. Those summers taught me many things. Grandpa's favorite name for me was "Hatchet Face," for I was a thin-faced child. Hatchet Face spent much time watching him split wood, break horses to lead or ride, or whittle in his spare time.
Another fascinating thing was watching grandpa gather and put into hives the swarms of honey bees. I was very proud when I found a swarm and showed him where it hung on a fencepost. The protective covering and hood that he wore for capturing the swarm would have been frightening if I had not seen him put it on and been told why it was needed.
When harvesting of the honey came, it was equally interesting. I learned that always some honey had to be left for the winter food for the bees.
Grandpa did his own harness and machinery repairs. I enjoyed sitting in the sun watching him work at a harness or splice a rope. When casually working, he always whistled a tuneless, monotonous, quiet sound. Then, when he needed to really concentrate, he worked with his tongue just peeking out of the corner of his mouth.
Part II will be in the next History column Dec. 2.
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If you weren't there, you missed another great feast at Kimball's Historical Society's holiday potluck Nov. 16. Some specialities were featured in our keepsake cookbook, always available at Knaus Sausage House and at our events, only $10. These are cooks that you know.
Did you know that you can own a piece of hisory? who's on your Christmas shopping list? look at what shaped Kimball and discover the real Kimball beginnings from the Kimball area history book, only $10. Numerous other commemorative souvenirs are available for as little as $7, or three for $20. These are the kind of gifts that keep on giving. Available at the Kimball Bank's business hours year-round.
Watch this column for great stories like this one, and announcements of the excellent meetings/programs starting in February, with the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) from 1861-1865, by a specialist on this subject. His presentation will be a debut in Kimball. Start your year 2011 calendar with our first event Feb. 22. See details soon.
We want to hear your story. Our gifted writer has volunteered to help you write or re-write your family story, if you can even submit a "rough copy" of the information to the Kimball Historical Society address below.
Your membership, donations and support are greatly valued. Have you got history for this column, or our permanent collection? How about photos? Do you need help with your own genealogy? Would you send a letter-to-the-editor of this newspaper to let them and us know that you enjoy this History Matters column? To get in touch with us, use Box 100, Kimball MN 55353, or (320) 398-5743, or 398-5250, or e-mail
. Happy Thanksgiving!