Chapter 1: EISENBERG, HORNING, HALDEMAN, HAUGER (HAGER), MYERS
Three Eisenberg brothers came from Holland among emigrants to Pennsylvania during 1700-1780. They settled in the Schuyllkill Valley of Pennsylvania. Lawrence Eisenberg, one of the brothers who came during these years, had a daughter, Hannah. Hannah had a daughter, Harriet Haldeman. Harriet's daughter, named "Harriet" married J. B. Yohn. She became my grandmother after her youngest daughter, Mary Emma, married William Lloyd Hauger in October 1907, and I was born in Western Kansas on a farm near Oakley on May 21, 1911.
William Lloyd Hauger, my Father
Aunt Hattie, my Mother Mary Emma, Aunt Sally, and Aunt Maggie (LR)
There is an organization in Pennsylvania called "Eisenberg-Jones Organization of Family Records" which makes interesting reading for anyone concerned about one's ancestors. It seems there has been a consistent practice of teaching religious principles in the homes which resulted in a worthwhile heritage and power for good wherever they lived. One name in particular interested me. His name was Dr. John Linwood Eisenberg who had many degrees especially in the field of Education. He was a popular Institute and Chautauqua speaker, organizer, and Minister in the Church of the Brethren. As an author he jointly compiled "Happy Hour Readers."
I do not know much about my Grandfather Yohn except that he came from Southern Germany and had several brothers. He spoke English well enough to be understood but was not a fluent speaker. He married Harriet Haldeman when she was eighteen. They raised seven children.
On my Father's side, Hager (Hauger), the information is scarce. I never remember of Father at any time speaking of his Grandfather Hager. My Grandmother Hager (Hauger) told me that my Great, Great Grandfather Hager came from Germany. His wife came from Scotland. They bought the land and settled where the city of Hagerstown, Maryland is now built. In 1982 on our bus trip to California we stopped in Salt Lake City for a day. We visited the Genealogy Library of the Mormons. I found a record of Jonathon Hager donating a certain amount of his land_the surveyor's dimensions were given_to the community to start a city. As a result the city was named after him. Our real name is spelled "Hager" in German, but when it was translated into English as the family moved West, they added a "u" to make it pronounced the same in English as in German. (That was the way my Grandmother explained it to me.)
Grandfather and Grandmother Yohn
Jacob Hauger married Annie Myers and moved to a farm near Coleta, Illinois in the late 1800s. There they raised three sons, Charles, William Lloyd born March 17, 1886, and Lemuel. Two daughters were born but died in infancy. Then Jake and Annie adopted a pretty little baby girl and named her "Grace." My grandfather kept the "u" in his name, but his brothers kept their name spelled "Hager." I have no idea where they live or what family they have.
My Grandmother, Annie Myers Hauger, was one of four children. Her father, Samuel, "Grandpap Myers" as my Father called him, was a preacher and very thrifty. He was able to give each of his children, when they married, a farm. My Grandfather was not the best farm manager. Soon after the children left home Grandma and Grandpa Hauger moved to Sterling, Illinois. They had sold their farm. There are several Church of the Brethren Ministers on the Myers side of the family. Reverend Carl Myers living in Elgin, Illinois is the one we know best. There is a strong musical talent in the Myers family too.
MY VERY EARLY LIFE AS TOLD BY MY PARENTS
I always enjoyed hearing my parents tell of their memories and experiences of their childhood and marriage and of my coming into their lives. My Grandfather Yohn supported his family by weaving carpet and managing a grocery store in the village of Maryland, Illinois. My mother helped in the store and took care of her three younger brothers, Samuel, Clarence, and Ira. My father helped on the farm where he grew up. Both Mother and Father had no High School, but their grade school teachers encouraged them to take another year in elementary school. My mother studied Botany with her teacher helping her, and my father was interested in "Drawing" and Arithmetic. I still have some of his drawings.
While my memory is good I want to recall some facts about my early life as my parents told me. Then I want to write about the memories and experiences, which I have lived through. It seems to me times have changed faster in my lifetime than they did during my parents' life. Their early life was definitely "horse and buggy." They experienced the thrill of the first party line telephone. Later, they knew of the telegraph but never used that method of communication much. I know what it is to depend on the horse and buggy or wagon or sled for transportation. We were in that situation during the winter months when the roads had too much snow for a car to go through. Looking at communication and travel now in the 1980's, with radio, television via satellite, cordless phones, air travel taking one mostly anywhere – it is hard to imagine what it was like seventy years ago.
The Church of the Brethren established a college at Mt. Morris, Illinois early in 1900. Father and Mother attended there when they became eighteen. Father graduated with a degree in Bookkeeping and Agriculture. Mother graduated with a degree in Music. After college my father helped his parents on the farm at their insistence, and turned down a bookkeeping position he could have had with the Brethren Publishing House in Elgin. My mother taught music for a number of years. She drove a horse and buggy to get to her scholars' homes. My parents were married in 1907. They moved to Hutchinson, Kansas where my father was a hired man on a farm owned by a member of the Church of the Brethren.
My father told of his life as a hired man on Mr. Detter's farm. Mr. Detter would go to Texas with other ranchers and buy and drive his Texas longhorn steers back to Kansas. They were wild, and their horns were very long and dangerous. He would never dare to go among them on foot. He was always on horse back or on a hayrack pulled by a team of horses. Detter's ranch was large, and the haystacks were far from the feeding place of the steers. Father had to drive the team with hayrack to the field, pitch on a load of hay from the stack in the field, then bring it home and pitch it off for the hungry steers. During the winter this task was very hard. He was paid one dollar a day.
Florence Hauger, age 2 years
Mother, although not supposed to be a "hired girl" according to the contract, often felt required to act as one. My parents lived across the road from the Detters. Mother was asked to do Mrs. Detter's ironing, hunt the eggs, and other house and garden work. Mother told of finding a nest of eggs under the porch where she and Father lived. She crawled under to get the eggs and gave them to Mrs. Detter who did not even say "thank you." She said then she wished she would have kept them. While my father was working for Mr. Detter, Grandma Hauger bought land, sight unseen, in Western Kansas, near Oakley. She sent Uncle Charlie and Aunt Hattie Hauger, her oldest son and his wife – newly weds – out to Kansas to farm it. It was a large acreage, so she divided it and asked my parents to move out, build on the divided part and start farming. Charlie and Hattie were occupying the original buildings on the farm.
Farming in Kansas in the early 1900's was not what it is in the 1980's. The land has to be handled differently out there than in Illinois because there is so little rain during the year. The wind seems to blow all the time. There were several cyclones in the area while my parents lived there, and that scared my mother. Some of their neighbors lived in sod houses, which they said were safer. My Father told a joke about the strong wind. He said that when he came to the house at noon for dinner he never had to hang his hat in the house because he could just put it up against the side of the house and the wind would keep it there until he came out. My mother was not joking, though, when she told about the sand blowing in through the closed windows so much that each day she dusted a little bank of dust off the window sills.
My parents were not alone on their farm. The coyotes visited them almost every night to drink from the horse tank and howl. They almost killed our farm dog one night, so Father had to put the dog in the barn each night. One had to watch out for rattlesnakes in the field or coiled in the road. Also, badgers would dig holes in the road. Horses sometimes stepped in them and broke a leg, which meant that the horse had to be shot.
One evening my parents came home after dark. Mother thought best to gather the eggs so they would not be broken by morning. She found an opossum on the nest. Father thought he had killed it, but by morning it was gone. My mother's first effort at preparing a chicken dinner turned out to be a sad experience. She thought to surprise my father who had been working hard for several days making hay. She got the ax and killed the chicken and dressed it which she considered quite an accomplishment. She cooked it well and had a very good meal waiting for my father who was late coming to the house. When he finally came to the buildings with the team of mules and the mower, she knew something was wrong. Father was so sick he could hardly tell her what had happened. He had mowed into a bumblebee's nest. His hat had a hole in the top and the bees got into his hair. His head and face were so swollen that he looked awful. They were both scared that he might die. All Mother knew was to cover the stings with soda paste. He was sick for several days.
They had good neighbors who came to help then and at other times. By May of 1911 my father's field of wheat had made a good growth and looked beautiful, like a "sea of green waves" my mother said. They were looking forward to a good crop. I was born on the first rainy day in months, May 21, 1911. It was also the last rain they had for that growing season. It was heart breaking for them to watch that beautiful green field dry up and turn brown.
Mother irrigated her garden. She had planted it near the well. She made a trough to catch the water as she pumped it every day to run to her garden and through ditches she made to each row of vegetables. I was born at home in the new little house that Father built when they first moved. There was no telephone, so my uncle Charlie rode to town on horseback to get the Doctor who came by horse and buggy. The doctor charged five dollars. Our good neighbor lady came to help my parents at this time, and when she went home she sent her daughter to help my mother for a week.
There were no bridges in that part of Kansas in 1911. People drove across country to town. There were very few fences also. If it did rain very much, in a few days the road would be passable again. Mother really liked her new little house, but after I was born and their wheat crop failed she and Father both became discouraged. They had lived on that farm for two years and all they had gained they said was a team of mules and me! So they sold out and moved back to Sterling, Illinois.
Father found a farm to rent south of Sterling. After two years there he sold out because he and Mother got tired of boarding and rooming their landlord who couldn't get along with his wife.
The first actual memory that I have is of my life in town in Sterling at 712 4th Avenue.
712 4th Avenue
We lived a couple blocks from my Grandparents, and Uncle Charlie and Uncle Lem with their families were in Sterling by 1912. Grandmother Hauger was very happy to have her children all near home again. She used to like to have her grandchildren come to her house. She was a good baby sitter.
Home on 4th Avenue, Sterling – 1914
In the summer in Sterling there was an ice cream wagon, which was pulled by one horse, and the driver continually rang a bell. I soon learned how delicious an ice cream cone tasted. I was at Grandma's one afternoon when I heard the ice cream wagon coming. I ran into the house from the porch and told Grandma, "The ice cream wagon is coming." She just said "Oh." "It only costs a nickel," I said. "Is that right?" she said. (She wanted me to ask her for the nickel, but I wouldn't). Finally she went with me to the street in time to get the cone. I remember she told the driver what I had said, and they had a good laugh, but it did not seem funny to me. She told that joke many times, and I always felt embarrassed about it.
My father was a salesman for the Fleischman Yeast Company for a while. I remember riding with him to deliver the cases of yeast. The yeast he delivered was in moist cake form. It smelled good when fresh but horrid when stale or spoiled. My father did not like all the driving to area towns and the short life of the yeast before it spoiled. So he got a job of clerking in a grocery store. That lasted for a couple of years, but he was not satisfied. My mother was irritated with town life, too. Since I was alone, I began playing with the children who lived at the end of our block and near to Central School. I remember of going down the alley when my mother thought I was playing in my sand box and playing with three or four children who were older than I was. They took me with them to the Central School yard, and we had lots of fun on the slides, swings, and teetertotters.
Then one day I came home with clay on my hands and clothes. We had been making mud pies and molding dishes, etc. out of real clay from the alley after it had rained. My mother was angry. I had disobeyed her by leaving our yard, and she did not like the things I was doing and learning from those other children. I was quite unhappy – always asking for someone to play with. I was standing by our alley fence one day when these children came by. I don't remember what was said, but it irritated these children. They grabbed a dirty piece of carpet, which was grease soaked and lying in the alley. They threw it on top of me. I can still remember how hurt I was emotionally. I had never enountered an experience with anyone who was mean to me before, and besides my mother was very cross because my hair was a mess to wash.
Florence Hauger, age 5 years
Father and Mother and my Uncle Charlie and Aunt Hattie began exploring the idea of going farming in Southern Minnesota where my mother's sister (also Hattie's sister), Sally Newman and husband John, had bought a farm. They said it was good farming country, and there were farms for rent. Father and Charlie went to West Concord, Minnesota, and each found a farm and rented it.
My Grandparents Hauger in Sterling were not pleased. Grandma insisted on a family picture being taken before we moved from Sterling. My parents had an individual picture taken of me at that time, too. Both families moved in the Spring of 1916 to the area around West Concord on rented farms.
WEST CONCORD, MINNESOTA
Aunt Sally and Uncle John Newman had five children. They were not renting but had bought their farm. Uncle Charlie and Aunt Hattie had three children. Of the eight cousins, four were near my age. We spent many enjoyable times together. I was five years old at that time. Everything was a new adventure to me. I think Father bought the landlady's stock and machinery. When Mother did not need me to help her, I was always following Father around. We had four horses, two red ones and two buck skins (tan colored). All the farm work was done with them. The manure spreader had a wide seat on it so I rode to the field with Father when he was hauling manure, which was one of the first things he did that spring.
Compared to modern homes today, our farm home at West Concord had no conveniences except a telephone. The well pump was on the cement platform, which served as our back porch. All the water used in the house or to wash the milk cans had to be pumped by hand. If hot water was needed we filled the teakettle and the reservoir on the cook stove, which was our only kitchen, stove.
Washing the milking equipment
In the summer, Mother and I washed the milking equipment outdoors under a big tree. In the winter, Mother washed it in the barn. Water for the barn was pumped by a windmill or gasoline engine if the windmill wasn't turning. The big wooden windmill was built on top of the milk house where our milk was kept cool in the milk tank. This tank was kept filled with cold water and the cans of milk were kept in there until the milkman came for them each day.
We had a nice looking herd of Guernsey milk cows. They were my father's greatest disappointment. No one told Father when he bought them that the herd had brucellosis. Nearly every calf was born dead. It was so sad to me. I could not understand because the cows did not look sick. Father tried to get rid of that disease by doing what the veterinarian said, but eventually Father could not keep farming in that situation. These days the vet would have made Father get rid of all of them! It's a wonder we did not get sick. We never drank much milk at that time. We mostly used cream on the table.
Father had to keep a big Guernsey bull on the place. One time, when Father led him to the tank to drink, the bull turned on him and knocked him down. Father was helpless. Our hired man came with a pitchfork and got the bull's attention and Father got away. He had two broken ribs, which needed the Doctor's attention. It was a month before Father could do his regular work. When Father worked in the field all day, I stayed around the buildings. One day Father came home from the neighbors with a little puppy for which he paid one dollar. I named him "Jack." I was happy because now I had a playmate. Jack was a very smart dog being part Collie and Bulldog. I had a coaster wagon to play with for summer and a sled for winter.
Father's Guernsey bull, West Concord, MN
Mother was always busy with chickens, a large garden, and cooking and cleaning. I hunted eggs for her and pulled weeds after I learned which green growing things were weeds. One year Mother had ten rows of onions. She paid me ten cents for weeding them. That was the first money I earned. I preferred to be out doors where things were most interesting. As I grew older Mother found more work for me in the house which I guess I didn't always do with a "joyful heart."
We lived one fourth mile from the country school. The teacher wanted me to start the fall of 1916, but Mother said she wanted me home with her until I was six. The next year Mother walked with me to the school. There was one other girl, Leona Miller, with me in the first grade. We were the only girls in the school with twelve boys.
I liked my teacher, Elvira White, immediately. She made things interesting for me right away by giving me a book and a desk to put my pencil, tablet, and colors in. The toilets were outside. Mother had not told me what to do if I had to go. Naturally, I soon had a problem. I guess my concern showed on my face, because Miss White came to me and asked what was the matter. I was quick to whisper to her. After that all I had to do was to raise two fingers on my hand.
My first school in West Concord, MN
It was always a happy time when our relatives came to visit. Uncle Charlies lived closer and came more often. Lloyd was nine months older than I was and Galen three years younger. They had a sister Mildred five years older. She was good at telling stories and helping us play games.
We always went to church and Sunday School while in Sterling. There was no Church of the Brethren in West Concord or anywhere in that part of the country. My parents said we would go to the Methodist Church. We wore the same clothes to church there as we had worn in Sterling. At that time all "Brethren women" wore dark colored bonnets. I guess nobody in that Methodist Church had ever seen a bonnet before. They were so rude in their staring that Mother never cared to go back. Father understood and agreed with her.
We had not lived many months on the farm at West Concord until Uncle Lem and family moved up and rented a farm between Uncle Charlie's and us. So I had another cousin, Helen, to play with. She was three months younger than I was. She had a baby sister, Ruth, who was four years younger than we were. Helen seemed to enjoy taking care of Ruth and doing things for her. I got almost jealous. I told Mother I didn't see why I couldn't have a little brother or sister. She changed the subject by reminding me how much I enjoyed playing with Jack.
Lloyd and Florence Hauger
Florence and Jack, West Concord, 1918
During the winter of 1917 my parents were more anxious than ever to buy a farm so that they could be independent and prosper more than they were able to as renters – especially Father wanted a better herd of cows. The Gospel Messenger which was the magazine published by the Church of the Brethren came monthly to our home. In it Father saw that a new Church of the Brethren was being established at Monticello, Minnesota about one hundred miles north of West Concord and northwest of Minneapolis. There was the address of A. B. Miller, a realtor of Monticello, in the Messenger. Father wrote to him and later went to Monticello. He found a farm of 160 acres three miles south of Monticello, which he was able to deal for. He came home with plans to move in October of 1918 after harvest.
Letter to Aunt Grace and Uncle Glen
I can remember well the first time I heard anything about World War I. My parents would be anxious to get their local paper in the mail and then talk about Kaiser Wilhelm and the bad things the Germans were doing. Mother explained how armies killed each other. But she said the war was across the ocean, so I need not worry. I heard them mention Uncle Lem was twenty-nine years old. Soon Uncle Lem came over and said he had been drafted and was to go to Mantorville, Minnesota for his physical. After he left, I listened to my parents talking about how his family would manage if he had to go to war.
I was squeezing lemon slices and sugar in a gallon size stone crock, which Mother set on a chair so it was easy for me to work with a wooden masher. I felt so sorry for Helen and Ruth whose father would have to go to that terrible war! The tears came to my eyes, and I had a hard time to keep them from falling into the lemonade. Soon Mother noticed me crying and tried to comfort me. Later we learned that Uncle Lem was deferred because he was a farmer and had two small children. Another time, a man came to talk to Father about buying war bonds. I was with Father and heard him tell the man that he would not buy any because he believed it was wrong for nations to go to war.
Aunt Sally, my mother's sister, wanted to get us all together before my family moved to Monticello. Mother's brother, S. J. Yohn, came from Chicago to visit us, so Aunt Sally thought that would be a good time. S. J. always had a good camera with him. There were twenty of us relatives who were guests of the Newman family that day, and S. J. took our picture. Mother valued that picture because we never were all together at one time again.
Haugers and Newmans
The first part of August 1918 my parents started getting ready to move. My Grandparents from Sterling came up to help, they said. My mother was not feeling very well, so my father insisted on getting a hired girl. Her name was Alice Miller. We also had a hired man named Ralph Bradford.
All at once it seemed to me there were a lot of people around our place, and some times I felt neglected. One Sunday my Grandparents and my family were invited to Uncle Lem's for dinner. I was thrilled to think I would have a chance to play with Helen and her baby sister Ruth. When chore time came Aunt Maude asked my mother if I could stay over night with them. Mother said "yes." I could hardly believe my good fortune. I had a little trouble getting to sleep because it was the first time I had stayed over night away from home.
While Helen and I were eating breakfast (I remember I had cocoa which was a treat), the telephone rang. Grandma was calling from my home to let me know I had a baby brother born during the night of August 29, 1918. My long time wish had been answered! It seemed hours before Grandpa came to take me home. We named him "Ralph James." I could not understand why Mother stayed in bed for days and days it seemed. There was also another strange lady in our home. Father said she was a nurse the Doctor said should stay awhile to take care of baby Ralph. That was too much for me to understand. With Alice Miller, Grandma and myself, I was sure we could take care of Ralph and Mother. After all, I was seven years old! Alice felt the same way, I learned later, because she left us then.
Life was mixed up for a while for me. Grandma and I did the housework and the nurse took care of Ralph and Mother. I saw very little of Ralph or Mother those first few weeks. I cannot remember of the nurse allowing me to even touch Ralph. Needless to say, I had some pouting spells. Finally my father told the nurse that he was sure our Family could get along without her, and he took her to town.
With Mother in control, life got into a routine, and I was a lot happier. I started to school and went for only six weeks. Father had set the date for moving to Monticello for the first of October or as near that as we could make it. Father rented a boxcar of the railroad and loaded all our stuff. He pulled our machinery in and had to put things aboard in an organized way. The furniture, piano, boxes of clothes, dishes, canned fruit, etc. had to go in first because he was taking our animals and feed for them too. He planned to ride in the boxcar with all of our belongings and care for the animals and chickens. Father hoped he had enough feed for all the stock to last several weeks after we arrived in Monticello.
When everything was nearly ready to go, Father took Mother, Ralph and me to Uncle Charlie's where we would live until he and our belongings got to Monticello. Father and Jack and our car were the last to board the railroad car. Father was glad to have Jack along. Several times when the train would stop a "hobo" would try to sneak into our car, but Jack would not let him. It was a cold ride and took many days, but Father said the animals kept him warm, and he had taken food for himself and Jack. When the train stopped long enough, he would take the horses out for exercise and water. Then he would carry water in for the sows and chickens.
While I was staying with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Hattie I missed going to school. I went with Mildred and Lloyd as a guest, but Mother did not want to get the teacher irritated with me. So Galen who was four years old then and I had to entertain ourselves. Uncle Charlie was using a big new Titan tractor to do his fall fieldwork. It cost $1000. Grandma Hauger said it was all foolishness and a waste of money. Other people were getting along with horses, and he could have, too. Of course Uncle Charlie did not agree with her.
Finally, my father sent word that we should come to him. He had the railroad car unloaded and everything out at our new farm home he said. We went by train from West Concord. It was near dusk when the train left us off. We could not see the small depot right away. I don't know why the train did not stop right at the depot, which was quite a distance from where we were. I can remember Mother being very concerned. Nobody was around, and there we stood, she with Ralph, six weeks old in her arms, a couple suitcases beside us, and me holding on to her coat. We felt deserted, but in a few minutes after the train went on, we saw Father walking down the tracks to meet us.
I can only remember confusion for what seemed like too long. Mother surely did not like moving. She used to quote a common saying among farmers, "three moves are as bad as a fire." I thought that was an exaggeration, but I guess she didn't when she saw some of her beautiful dishes, wedding presents and other gifts broken, as well as furniture legs broken or badly scarred. This house was not as good as the one we had left. The floors were rough and it looked so bare. The rooms echoed as we talked, and it was so cold. As I look back on that experience I don't know how Mother coped with a baby six weeks old, and furniture and boxes pushed just inside the door.
Monticello house 1918 - 1924
The realtor, A.B. Miller, helped Father move from the boxcar to the farm, but there was nobody there this cold, dark night. Father had a barn lantern for light. The Round Oak heater was put up in the living room, and the cook stove was in the kitchen. We found our pails for water and went outdoors to fill them at the pump and get water to heating to work with. The beds had to be set up and bed blankets, etc., found and then the beds made.
I think moving is always harder on the farmer's wife. The farmer first takes into consideration the land – if it will grow good crops. The "improvements" he looks for are a good barn, corncribs, sheds and a silo if possible (in those days). I suppose this line of reasoning, giving the barn and outside buildings more attention than the house, was because the "living" came from the buildings.
The house needed cleaning. The curtains didn't fit. We had yards of woven carpet, which Grandfather Yohn wove. That was his occupation, a carpet weaver. We had enough carpet for three bedrooms and the living room where the heater was. In the parlor we had a Wilton Velvet Rug – which was the newest thing we had. There was no heat in the parlor so we closed it off for the winter. To put all that carpet down was hard work. That was up to Mother and me to do. Stretching it was hard. It would be tacked to the floor at one end of the room. Each strip was thirtysix inches wide. Then Mother would go down to the other end of the room and stretch it with all of her might. As she held it I was supposed to use a little iron tack hammer and put in the carpet tacks. After the strips were stretched and tacked down, Mother would use carpet thread and sew them together.
One time when visiting a neighbor her carpet seemed softer than ours. I asked Mother why that was. She said that there was straw under it. But Mother never thought that was very healthy because it got too dusty and could not be cleaned very thoroughly with a broom or a carpet sweeper, if a woman was lucky enough to have one.
Electricity was unheard of in the country. Some farmers had "Aladdin" lamps. Mother did not care for those because she didn't want to bother with the delicate white mantel, which was lighted and burned with a white flame and a hissing sound. If the mantle broke then a new one had to be tied on. We had at least five lamps always ready for use. One, Mother especially liked. It was hung on the wall near and above the cook stove. There was a shiny reflector between the lamp and the wall, so it seemed to give more light for Mother to cook by. Then our other best lamp stood in the middle of the supper table, or it was carried into the living room and placed on top of Father's desk. That was the light we studied by, read the paper evenings, or I would use to practice my piano lessons. It was my duty to wash the lamp chimneys, trim the wicks and fill the lamps with kerosene once or twice a week.
Another task of mine was to keep the wood box full. Every evening the whole year it had to be done. That was our only cooking stove and source of hot water. Later, when we could afford it, Father bought Mother a four-burner kerosene stove which we especially appreciated in summer. We used chunk coal for the room stove. So Father took care of that morning and evening. Emptying the ashes, too, always fell to my lot.
At first Mother and I had only chickens to care for. After the first year Mother decided to make use of the nice lake which was south of our house about ten rods. She thought it would be profitable to raise ducks. She bought some eggs from a neighbor who raised Rouen ducks. We put the eggs under setting hens or "clucks" as we called them. To care for the clucks was another task that I helped with. To make sure the eggs never got too cool, the hens were penned on their nests. Each day, their nest had to be opened for the hens to get out to eat and drink and exercise for twenty minutes. Then they had to be penned in again. Sometimes they had to be caught and put on the nest of five eggs. For several years we hatched our baby chicks that way, but for chicken eggs a cluck can handle a dozen eggs.
About the fourth year on that farm Mother got a one hundred fifty egg incubator to hatch baby chicks, but we always used clucks to hatch duck eggs. Mother took care of the incubator. For six weeks every day she would fill the lamp, which furnished the heat. She had to trim the lamp wick and turn all the eggs. We kept a laying flock of around one hundred hens. We always had chicken to eat when we wanted it.
To care for the ducks was quite a problem all summer long for me. As little ducklings they were fun. They ate three times a day and needed lots of water to drink. After they feathered out, they were ready to take to the lake. That was my task all during vacation. I would let them out of their pen behind the house and drive them to the lake. They soon learned where the lake was and would go by themselves eagerly.
My biggest problem was at four o'clock when I had to go to the lake and coax them to come to the house. Many times they were not hungry, and I'd have an awful time getting them away from the water. It was necessary to get them penned up in their shed each night because of wild animals and turtles. Even in daylight we lost some ducks to turtles. The turtles would pull them under the water and drown them, then chew into their throats to eat out the duck's crop. When the lake froze over, the ducks were penned up and fed corn until Father had time to butcher them for market. When Ralph was very young, sometimes I was kept home from school to care for him and help with dressing the ducks. On a cold day, Mother would half fill our big copper boiler with water on the cook stove, get the water to boiling. Mother tied a towel into the top of the boiler so that it hung down inside, almost touching the steaming water. After killing the duck Father brought it in and put it in the hammock in the boiler to steam the feathers so they would pull off easily. Then he placed the duck on a worktable where Mother and I pulled off the feathers and down. The heads had to be left on so that the buyers would know they were tame, young ducks. After they were cold, Father packed them in a barrel, nailed it shut, put it outside until they froze and then took them to town to ship to Minneapolis or St. Paul.
The only paved road that we knew of in our area was the highway that ran through Big Lake to the twin cities, about thirtyfive miles away. Big Lake was across the Mississippi River about five miles north of Monticello. We had a Ford car with a top that folded down. But we always kept the top up. There were side curtains that could be snapped into place for protection from rain. We never used them much. The isinglass in them was badly cracked making it hard to see out.
For the first two or three years at Monticello, we did not go far from home. Our car was used as a truck quite often which, Mother did not like. Father would take out the back seat, tie a veal calves legs together and lay it in the back. The only other method he had to take things to town to sell was to use the grain box on the wagon and the team of horses.
During the winter we cut down our travels to the bare necessities. That is when we used the mail order catalog. We put the car "up on blocks" to take the weight off the tires. It was either the bobsled and team for transportation or the one horse buggy. So to shop by mail was our alternative. I can especially remember ordering soda crackers, fig bars, oatmeal cookies, prunes, dried peaches and dried apricots, and sugar and flour in one hundred pound sacks. The mail order companies were Spiegels, Sears-Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. It was always exciting when our order would come. If it was too heavy for the mailman, Father had to go to town in the wagon or sled to get our order. It was crated in a wooden box. I can't remember of seeing many cardboard boxes. The "pasteboard" used then was not very strong.
The roads in winter were a real problem. There were road graders, but they were pulled by horses. When the snowstorms closed the roads, neighbors got together with their shovels and teams and sleds and "opened" the roads. To go to school, I had to walk one-half mile north on the road and across a field another half mile. Father would make a path for me across the field with a one-horse plow after a snowstorm. If the temperature was -35 F° or -40 F° degrees, as it often was in winter, Father would take me on horseback or in the bobsled. I was always the only one going to school from the southwest except one year when Lloyd lived with us. I often envied my schoolmates who had others to go with to and from school.
Monticello country school
My first three years of school at Monticello were not much fun, but quite worrisome as I remember them. Because of moving I didn't enter the school until November. The teacher had no second grade, so she put me in the third grade. With only six weeks of school at West Concord, the third grade was hard for me at first. Mother could see how troubled I was and had me bring books home to study, especially reading. By the end of the third grade I was getting along pretty well with my studies. But the teacher was poor in discipline. She paid no attention to what the pupils did on the school ground during recess and the noon hour. I was always easily teased and it didn't take the children long to find that out. My name Hauger, which they immediately pronounced Hogger, abbreviating it using other words, too. My parents said to "pay no attention," which was easy for them to say.
When Orville Miller, the realtor's son, was in school no one teased me. He was a big boy, in the eighth grade and went to the same church we did. All he had to do was to tell the rest of the pupils to behave and they did. But some days Orville had to stay home to help with farm work. By the time I was in the fifth grade our school had a reputation of being rough and hard to handle. My father was put on the school board then. By January, the board fired the teacher. From the twin cities we got a teacher who was a widow and knew how to bring order about. Then school began to be fun. She supervised the play periods as well as keeping good order for studying and reciting. She came with the understanding it would be just to finish the school year. She boarded with one of the school board members. For my sixth, seventh, and eighth grades the board hired a Miss Mary Peterson who was one of the best teachers I ever had. She married George Collins who lived near the school and kept on teaching, which was unusual in those days.
The winter of 1919 I witnessed and was part of a wedding. My mother's brother Clarence Yohn had graduated from Manchester College and was a licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren. He was engaged to marry Ora Hale from Spokane, Washington and who was also a graduate of M.C. They wanted to get married during Christmas vacation. Spokane was too far away. Clarence was not comfortable in his father's home because his father had married a former schoolteacher of Clarence's, and he felt she did not want him around. Clarence and Ora asked my parents if they would let them be married in our home by the Minister of our Church of the Brethren. Mother wrote to them explaining our lack of a bathroom and running water and an inadequate heating system. But Clarence still insisted. So when they came by train into Monticello, Father went to town in the bobsled for them. They brought Esther Beahm, a special friend of Ora's along for the wedding to be Ora's attendant. Mother was not expecting her. Mother was very concerned. We had only three bedrooms. The one with the chimney going through it was the only one, which had any heat, and our whole family slept there. The other rooms were very cold. I still don't know how Mother managed. But Ora and Esther decorated our parlor. My parents kept both stoves going to capacity and Ralph was my responsibility.
On the wedding day Reverend Amos Nicky and wife came out from Monticello. Ora and Esther looked beautiful to me. It was a nice simple wedding. Mother prepared a wedding meal afterwards. We had to move the dining table from the kitchen into the living room and stretch the table to its full length. When Reverend Nickey went back to town he took Esther with them, and she went home by train. Father took Clarence and Ora to town to the train the next day. The wedding was written up in the "Monticello Times," and for a couple days at school I was asked questions about it, and I felt quite popular.
Every Spring was eagerly awaited by me, especially the first one on this farm. Winter had closed in before I had done much exploring on the farm. I had never seen inside a silo. That was one of the first things explored even before winter. I could not imagine how that big silo could be filled. I had to wait until the next fall to find out. The woods that surrounded our lake on three sides were always interesting. I have never picked as many violets as I did those first years on that farm. There were other spring flowers too. Each spring Mrs. Collins, our teacher, declared a "field day" in which the school children all went with her into the woods to learn the names of flowers, and learn about other things like chipmunks, squirrels, moss, trees, and birds. Many of the farms had a woods and a lake as we had. Each year we went to a different woods on our field day, always carrying our lunch. After lunch we had a short ball game and were dismissed.
During my last three years in the grades we had an Audubon Bird Club in our school. For ten cents from each pupil, Mrs. Collins ordered a packet of six bird pictures in color and a description of the bird, its habits and song, and another picture of it in outline to be colored. Every Friday for six weeks in spring after recess we had bird study. The pictures we colored were graded and displayed for a week. That was the beginning of my interest in birds and nature. Mrs. Collins was the teacher who inspired me to become a teacher. During the school day she often asked another girl in my class to help the younger pupils with their studies. Then she asked me to help her, too. We held spelling classes and arithmetic classes. In art classes for the little children, if they needed paste, I would make it for them by mixing flour and water. I got pretty good at it, making it smooth and not lumpy.
We had a large house yard with lilacs, lilies and perennial flowers, and bushes. There were two plum trees in the yard and a crooked crab apple tree in the corner next to the garden. Mother and I liked these trees for their beautiful, fragrant spring blossoms even though they did not have much fruit. Under the crab apple tree I buried my pets – rabbits, kittens, and chickens.
Our second winter on the farm was one of much sickness. I caught cold very easy. My parents blamed it on catching it at school. It would settle in my throat so that I could not eat. We had no fever thermometer. When mother thought, by feeling my forehead, that I had a fever, she would have me soak my feet in hot water, grease my chest with hot turpentine and lard, and have me drink hot ginger tea and go to bed. Sometimes that made me feel better. If it didn't, then she and Father would decide it would be best to call the doctor. Doctor Ellison would come out from town and give us medicine or prescribe castor oil. Many times someone would be listening on our party line phone when we called the doctor. Next day we would get a call wondering how the sick one was.
This second winter I got sick first – then Father got it. His was worse than mine. Doctor called his illness Quinsey. His tonsils would swell until his throat was nearly closed. He would have to get the neighbor to do our chores. We had a good Holstein milking herd. Father was a very impatient sick person. The doctor would either lance his throat or swab it with a tincture of iodine.
Then Ralph got pneumonia. The doctor advised us to get a nurse to help us at this time because Ralph was very sick. The nurse made plasters of "Denver Mud," which sounded funny to me, and put these plasters on Ralph's chest. Sometimes in the night Ralph could not go to sleep but would cry for me. Mother would get me up, and I would rock him for hours, it seemed. He would not eat. Our German neighbor lady came over with a kettle of rich beef broth. We warmed that, and Ralph liked it. Soon we put bread in it and gradually got his strength back. We all knew he had been near death. We were very glad for such kind neighbors. The doctor came every day for almost a week.
We lived on this farm for six years. The lake in the winter was an attractive place for the young people of our church who would walk the three miles from town to ice skate. My parents never bought me skates because Mother was afraid I would fall and crack my head or break a bone. I was allowed to be on the lake, though, and try skating with my overshoes on. Often my cousins Lloyd, Galen and Mildred would bring their sleds, and we would have a good time coasting down a hill in the pasture and end up on the ice on the lake.
Lloyd and Florence, 1920
Uncle Charlie's moved up to Monticello and rented the first farm north of us in 1920. That made me very happy. Mildred was through grade school, but Lloyd and Galen went to the same school as I did. Our families were together much of the time, in work and church and play.
Grandpa and Grandma Hauger came to visit us from Sterling. They drove a new Studebaker coupe. Grandpa wanted something to do. Father said he could build a new front porch on our house. The one that was there was a disgrace and could not be used. It was fun watching him build the porch that summer. It had a built up cement floor and a banister all around it and new steps.
My Grandparents were still with us when the wild ducks started to fly south in the fall. They stopped over night or longer on our lake. It seemed like hundreds of them were landing on our lake or shore. It was more than Grandpa could stand. He wanted to have roast duck. My father would not let him shoot any. So Grandpa soaked corn, put it on a fishhook and tied the fish line to a tree! He never did catch any.
After our winter of sickness, Doctor said my tonsils and adenoids should come out. Doctor thought if I were healthier the rest of the family would be, too. Then I would not have to miss school as I had other years. During teachers' Institute, Father decided would be a good time to have the operation.
The hospital was at Buffalo, ten miles south of us. Father hurried with the morning chores. We left home about 7:30 a.m. We had to wait an hour, it seemed, before our doctor said he was ready. I was scared. I didn't know what to expect. I was told to climb onto a table and lie down. Then a mask was put over my face and over my nose. I wanted to fight it but was told to take a long, deep breath. I just remember I did not like the smell.
Next thing I knew, I was in bed, Father was beside me, and I was so sick I could hardly talk. I had to vomit. Father found a basin, and after I was through Father was scared when he saw all the blood. He called the nurse. I don't remember what they did to me, but I went back to sleep. When it was chore time Father awakened me, and we went home. Mother put me to bed immediately. There was still the smell of ether on me. That and sympathy for me made Mother sick too. I couldn't eat anything for a few days. I missed only two days of school. From then on I seemed healthier and gained weight.
Mrs. Collins was always thinking of interesting projects for her pupils. She started a "Health Club." I think she got her material from the Colgate Toothpaste Company. There were fourteen health rules to be observed each day, with squares opposite each rule to check if you observed it that day. This health emphasis lasted six weeks. I tacked this chart up by my bedroom door with a pencil on a string hanging there. That is when my parents and I realized it was necessary to drink milk each day, wash teeth, eat fruit, eat two vegetables, etc., each day.
Most of those fourteen rules have become habits that I have observed ever since. Each Monday morning, Mrs. Collins would ask us how many credits we had on our health chart from the past week. I remember one time she mentioned how important it was to bathe regularly! I knew what she meant because there was one family that it was uncomfortable to sit near after they had been playing hard or had been warmed up by the furnace in the winter.
Uncle Charlie's had been on their farm about one and ab half years, when Aunt Hattie got a bad cough. Soon she had some fever and got so sick she could not work. Doctor said it was consumption or tuberculosis. He recommended a sanitarium at Walker, Minnesota to get her well. The theory there was that rest and fresh air would cure tuberculosis. Even in the winter the patients had to sleep with the windows open. Uncle Charlie sold his farm stock and equipment to be free to go with Aunt Hattie to Walker. He got a position as gardener and handyman which helped to pay the bill. Mildred went to Sterling to live with Grandma Hauger's, Galen went to Grandpa Yohn's, and Lloyd came to live with us. Naturally we were all sad to have the family broken up like that. But everyone hoped Aunt Hattie would get well.
I was glad to have Lloyd with us. He helped with the farm work, and I had someone to walk to school with. When we came home from school, Lloyd would start on the chores. I would help him. The sooner the chores and milking were done, the sooner we could play "catch" or study together. He wanted to teach me how to throw a ball "like a boy." I learned that and how to skip stones on the lake, but when I asked him to teach me how to milk he said, "I better not teach you how to milk, because you will never forget it." I could not see how that would matter, so I learned. After Lloyd left the next year, I helped Father by milking four or five cows by hand each morning and evening.
Father planted several acres of potatoes thinking they would make a good cash crop. When the bugs got on them during the summer, Lloyd, Father and I took pails with a little water in them and each a stick. We went up and down the rows, knocking the bugs into the pail. After a couple hours we would take them to the house where Mother would pour boiling water on them. It was work to keep them weeded, too.
At harvest time, Father hired two boys from town to help Lloyd and me pick up potatoes as Father dug them with the horses and potato digger. These town boys didn't know what work was. They started throwing potatoes at each other. Father wouldn't stand for that. He told me to go to the house for Mother. I was to tell her to take my place picking up potatoes while I kept Ralph and got the meal. After dinner Father dismissed the boys! He and Lloyd put several grain wagonloads of potatoes into our cellar that fall. We waited all winter for a decent price, but the price was always so low that Father never sold them, but hauled them back onto the field to rot in the spring. Mother and I were glad to get them out of the cellar because they were beginning to smell.
That fall our young heifers needed extra feed. Lloyd and I were sent to the cornfield before time to pick corn to cut the cornstalks at the ground. We had the team and the spring wagon, which was much smaller than a grain wagon. Lloyd was to use the corn knife, cut off the corn and let it lay. I came after him, picked it up and put it into the wagon. As Lloyd was swinging the corn knife, the blade came out of the handle and whacked me on the neck. It didn't hurt very badly. Lloyd realized sooner than I, what could have been a real bad accident. We didn't use that knife again.
Another time Lloyd asked to use Father's rifle to shoot gophers or rabbits. As I think of it now, I wonder that Father gave him permission and allowed me to go with him. But I was always supposed to stay behind him. He was a good shot. He got a gopher after we had waited and waited until it stood up to look around. Then he shot a rabbit. I just took it for granted that he would clean the rabbit so we could eat it. I had helped Father skin and clean a rabbit so I told him I'd get the knife for him to do it. I held the rabbit and he did just like I told him. I thought nothing unusual about that. But in later years he told me that he knew nothing about skinning and cleaning a rabbit but did not want me to know that, so he went ahead and did it because I expected him to do it.
Aunt Hattie did not get better at the sanitarium. She knew she could not get well, so she asked Uncle Charlie to bring her back to Monticello and get the family together again before she died. Uncle Charlie rented a house in town. The children went home to be a family again. Aunt Hattie was in bed all the time. Mildred did the housework and took care of her mother. Uncle Charlie ran the grain elevator. In November Aunt Hattie died at the age of forty.
Mildred worked at the telephone office for a year and the boys went to town school. Mildred developed a cough, which would not get better. She walked a mile to her work each day. It was not long until she had to give up her position there. The doctor said she had tuberculosis too. In the mean time Uncle Charlie had married again. This wife was a practical nurse. She had two children. She took care of Mildred who was sick less than a year. She died in 1924 at age eighteen.
Mrs. Collins also started a 4H Club in our school. The first year I took up sewing. I did not care very much about that. The second year I raised ducks. Mother helped me with the records. I enjoyed belonging to the club that year. In the fall Mrs. Collins encouraged us to take five of my fourteen Rouen ducks to the Junior Live Stock Show at South St. Paul. Father and I had to do morning chores, box up the ducks and leave early in order to get them there at nine a.m.
My ducks were placed in a cage and exhibited with the other poultry. This was a new experience for me. I had never been to a fair or anything like this. Such fine poultry, many, many calves and pigs to see. Girls and boys were busy bathing and feeding their club projects. We had taken feed along. We fed and watered our ducks. Our neighbor boy, who was much older than I, had chickens there, too. We asked him to feed and water our ducks when he took care of his chickens because Father said we could not wait for the judging because we had to get home for chores.
After the judging everything was sold. I got the blue ribbon sent to me with six dollars prize money. Also I got a check for twentythree dollars. My ducks had been sold for fiftythree cents a pound! Later I got letters of congratulations from different feed companies, etc. Grandma Hauger in Sterling had seen in one of her farm papers the results of the St. Paul Junior Livestock Show, and my name was mentioned. She congratulated me, too. I felt good about that.
Momma, Florence, Will and Ralph
I can remember only once of taking a real vacation with my family. I think we had a Maxwell car. After hay was made, we left for Sterling to visit my Grandparents and Uncle Lem's who had moved back to Sterling from West Concord. We camped at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. That was a new experience for me, sleeping on the ground under a tent. During the night, Ralph rolled out underneath the tent. It did not take Mother long to miss him and find him!
It was cherry picking time at Aunt Grace's farm. She told us we could pick and can as many as we wanted if we would buy the jars. I had never tasted fresh pie cherries. We all liked them, so Mother bought a box of twelve quart jars and filled them to take home. I and other relatives helped to pit them. It was a messy job and kept me from playing with my cousins, but the cherries were worth it, Mother said. Naturally our vacation did not last long enough. Father got anxious to get home because he thought our oats were ready to cut.
Harvesting oats for farmers then was a matter of three separate operations. Cutting the oats with a binder, which dropped the bundles as it made them. Then, one or two people followed after to put them into shocks. I think it took about eight or ten bundles to make a shock. They tried to put them in rows. The second operation was to haul the shocks on the hay rack to a field or lot near the farm buildings where they were placed into a large cone shaped stack to stand for weeks, waiting for the threshing machine to come by. Some men got a reputation of building very good stacks. The third operation would take place whenever our turn came up on the threshing route.
Oat bundles in stacks, Monticello
It was always a thrill to me to see that big steam machine engine, with a whistle that was blown at times to get attention, come down the road through the woods and pull into our place. It pulled the big threshing machine and the big water tank, too. Horses later pulled the water tank to the pump where it was filled to keep the steam up in the engine. Father had to have a pile of coal and wood to fuel the engine, too. The straw was blown on a stack or wood frame building to make a straw shed for young cattle all winter. The oats ran into a grain wagon and was then shoveled into the granary. I can still remember the good smell of fresh oats. The man stacking the straw had the dirtiest job.
Mother generally had help to feed the threshers besides me. Then she would help the neighbor lady the next day with her thresher meal. Most years there were twelve to fifteen to feed. I was too young to do much more than peel potatoes and set the table and fill water glasses. I also set up a bench big enough for two washbasins and a pail of water with a dipper in it. This bench was near the well and clothes line where the men would wash for dinner. I put the towels over the clothesline. If we did not get done threshing in one day the two men responsible for the engine would stay over night.
There were three main crops on almost every farm – oats, corn, and hay. The corn crop was used in three ways. Green corn was used to fill the silo. Ripe corn was used for feed. Hand picked corn was selected and saved for seed next year by drying it in the attic or sun porch.
Father planted the corn for the silo by drilling it into the ground. That meant it was planted thicker in the row because it did not need to fully mature before it could be cut and put into the silo. Silo filling had a couple dangers that always bothered me. To put the filler pipe into the silo, it was put together by joints while lying on the ground. Then a rope was tied to the end of it and by means of a pulley the pipe was pulled by helpers on the ground to the top of the silo. The dangerous part was when my father had to climb up the unloading chute of the silo to the top on the inside and crawl across a twelve-inch plank to the hole in the roof of the silo where the gooseneck of the pipe was to come in. He then pulled distributor pipe up from the inside of the silo and fastened it to the goose neck so that the silage, as it came into the silo, could be evenly distributed. I was always relieved when Father got that operation done without falling.
The other danger was that someone had to feed the bundles of corn into the silo-filler to chop it fine for the cattle to eat. Sometimes that person feeding the filler got fingers or his hand cut off.
Corn, to be harvested, was always checked in with a planting wire running through the corn planter in such a way that the seed was dropped into the ground at regular forty-inch intervals. It was a very demanding, delicate operation. At the end of every two rows the stake and wire had to be moved for the next two rows. As the corn grew, the field always looked very neat. Rows went across the field and diagonally, like a huge quilt. The ripe corn, then, was either cut and shocked and later hauled into the barnyard to be shredded, or hand picked row by row and thrown into a wagon with a high bang board on one side to guide the ears into the wagon. When the wagon was full, it had to be shoveled by hand into the corncrib. The shredder separated the corn ears from the fodder so that the ears could be put into the crib and the fodder used for feed or bedding. Our seed corn was selected from the hand picked corn rather than the shredded. The shredding machine injured or cracked some of the kernels making them no good for seed.
During late winter, Father would test his seed corn for fertility. He arranged selected ears in a regular order and took a kernel or two from each ear. On a piece of cloth about one foot wide and two feet long he made squares marked to relate to each ear and put kernels in the squares representing the ears. Then beginning at the end of the cloth, it was rolled tightly so that the kernels would not become mixed. This was called a "rag doll" testing method. The doll was tied securely and thoroughly soaked and kept in a warm place. In a week it was opened up. Most of the kernels were swelled and sprouted. Some were not. The ears from which those "under achievers" were taken and used for feed. The ears represented by the sprouted kernels were used for seed. The butt and tip kernels were removed and used for feed and the ears were shelled by hand. My mother and I spent many evenings shelling corn. Several bushels were required. Our hands got very sore.
Ralph, Emma, and Florence Hauger in 1920
Other than shelling seed corn or sewing carpet rags our evenings at home, I remember, were pleasant. They always seemed too short. My regular bedtime was eight o'clock. Mother would play dominoes with me or listen to my piano lesson practicing. Reading was a favorite, especially when Mother read aloud. I often read to Ralph. Mother was a piano music teacher, so Ralph and I learned early in life.
Hay making in summer seemed to take forever. Clover and timothy mixed was the usual kind of hay. I remember there were the big red clover and the smaller spreading alsike and white Dutch clover. Father had a hay loader, which was pulled behind a hayrack and over the row of hay, which had been mowed and raked into a row. The hay loader had teeth, which rotated, picking up the hay and dropping it on the hayrack. Then it was brought to the barn to be put into the mow.
The sweet fragrance of newmade hay is a pleasure worth remembering. I pitied the rabbits and meadowlarks and pheasants that were chased out by the mowing. As the hay was being loaded, the man on the rack had a job to spread the hay evenly and build a balanced load. I've seen loads upset because they were lopsided. Getting the hay into the barn was a task that went best when experienced men "stuck the fork" which carried a big bunch of hay up into the mow by a rope through a pulley. The man in the barn distributed the hay by pulling the trip rope to drop the hay. His was a dusty job. The man on the rack would pull the fork down and stick it for another forkful.
The hay was pulled up by one horse, Old Frank, at our place. He was hitched to a rope at the back of the barn. Mother used to lead him away from the barn until the man in the mow hollered. Then she turned him around, returned to the barn and waited to do it over again. The last two years on the farm at Monticello, I led Frank. Sometimes he seemed as if he could gave done it without me.
It was my task during vacation, when men worked in the field, to take drinking water to them. I went barefoot most of the summer. During haying and oats cutting, the stubble always hurt my feet.
In the fall of the year, Father wanted the cows to clean the fields, but never wanted them to eat too much to get sick. I was supposed to take Jack on a leash and bring them back to the barn. Sometimes they didn't want to go. Often I would tie Jack's leash to my arm, leaving my hands free. One time when the cows were stubborn, Jack decided to run after them. He would not stop and I could not get my hand free of the leash. He pulled me until I fell, breaking my right arm at the elbow. Father took me to the doctor, who had never seen such a break. After reading from some of his books, he strapped my arm in a V-shape against the front of my bare body with my fingers taped over my left shoulder. For six weeks it stayed in position. I suffered terribly with it. When Doctor finally took it down, pulling the wide tape off, which hurt a lot, my arm and fingers were stiff. My fingers got over their stiffness, but my arm recovered lonly partially. Doctor wanted to break it again and try a different way to heal it. Father told him I had suffered enough already.
I can remember well when the Armistice was signed after the First World War. It happened on November 11, 1918, after we moved to Monticello. I was playing in the yard. I could hear the bells and factory whistles blowing in town. We lived three miles south, but the sound came to us. I told Mother what I heard and she came out to hear it, too. The telephone and newspaper were the only way to find out anything. Mother called "central" and found out the war was over! Our neighbors were thrilled. She came over to say that now their son would be coming home. We were happy, too. Mother explained that now there would never be another war because all the countries had signed the treaty. We lived to find out that was "wishful thinking." November 11 was made a legal holiday and for years each November 11 at 11 a.m. a period of silence was observed in schools and other government buildings.
Every Sunday we went to church except for sickness or bad roads. I was baptized into the Church of the Brethren when I was eleven. Reverend I. D. Leatherman was our pastor then, and his brother was the Evangelist. There were nine in our congregation who accepted Christ at that time. Our baptism took place in the Mississippi River, which ran through Riverside Park in Monticello. The Leathermans explained very simply and clearly what our decision meant. It was a lifetime decision in which we were to always consider what Christ would want us to do and say, and follow His life as our example.
Baptism class, Church of the Brethren. Florence is second girl in first row.
I have never regretted my decision. I hope I have grown in my spiritual life and have not been a disappointment to Christ or my Christian friends and associates. I also went to Vacation Bible School that Reverend Leatherman conducted in our church building for the community. I enjoyed Vacation Bible School as well as Sunday School. Mrs. John Hersch was my Sunday School teacher most of my grade school days. I shall always remember her. She knew the Bible and was a great help in my understanding of it.
As I have mentioned before I was blessed with an exceptional grade school teacher in Mrs. George Collins, who taught during my last three years of grade school. The state grade eight examinations were given in March. If one did not pass then, another chance was given in May. Those who passed in March could stay home or keep attending and review. I was one of those who passed in March. Mrs. Collins started an algebra class for us. I was very thankful for those weeks of beginning algebra when I entered high school that fall. Mrs. Collins not only inspired me to be an elementary teacher but also gave me a boost into high school. She was not paid extra to teach that algebra class. As of this writing in January, 1984, she is still living, well into her nineties and living with her daughter.