This collection contains short interviews done with residents of local counties in West Central Minnesota for KMRS radio station. The pieces were aired from 1975-1979 as the segment "Reminiscing in West Central Minnesota: a Saturday KMRS News Feature."
The digitization of these oral histories was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee.
Oscar Aanerud was 76 years old. His grandfather homesteaded in 1877. Oscar's son farmed the same land at the time of the interview. Oscar reflects upon growing up on the farm and the introduction of electricity, tractors, etc. to the area. He mentions fluctuating grain prices and the drought years of 1933-1934. He is a fiddler.
Clara Alsakson was 83 years old and had lived all her life in the Starbuck area.
In this interview, Clara discusses growing up on the farm, household chores (including laundry and washing machines), country school, and her teaching experiences.
Ole Amundson was 85 years old and lived in Norcross.
In this interview, he talks about his family homesteading in Norcross. He discusses changes in farming. He talks about plucking turkeys and trapping skunks. He also shares memories from his trip around the world.
A. V. Anderson
A.V. Anderson was 81 years old. He lived on a farm all his life and had many experiences in training horses.
In this interview, he talk about farming and training horses. He also talked about how he is able to detect water in the ground.
Frank Anderson was 86 years old and was born in Traverse County where his parents emigrated from Sweden to homestead.
In this interview, Frank Anderson discusses Swedish Christmas customs. He remembers the town of White Rock, Minnesota when it was a trading center. He is a former teacher, farmer, and painter. He reflects on early automobiles and farming practices.
G. A. Anderson
G.A. "Oddie" Anderson lived in Morris and was 84 years old. He grew up on a farm and was an implement dealer and in the hardware business for some time.
In this interview, Oddie discusses farming in the 30s and 40s and his two terms in the state legislature. He talks about enlisting in World War I. He discusses his businesses, including his work selling John Deere tractors. He was also active in the Kiwanis, V.F.W., OPA Board, church, G.T.A. Board and selective service board. He also discusses going to Russia, and going to the inauguration of Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey.
Harold Anderson was 76 years old and was born in Clarkfield, Minnesota. He was a former high school teacher in Granite Falls and Cokato.
In this interview, Harold Anderson discusses sports. He was a high school and college athlete. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1927, and was a pitcher. He discusses playing semi-professional baseball in Minnesota and his pitching skills. He also discusses his years teaching and coaching in schools in Minnesota, as well as the differences from when he played sports compared to schools sports at the time of the interview.
Martin Anderson was 94 years old and was born in Norway to a family of farmers. He immigrated to the United States when he was 18 years old. He married in 1913 and had 9 children. He was a resident of Cyrus at the time of the interview.
In this interview, he discusses his immigration to the United States. He talks about farm work and threshing in South Dakota. He talks about the droughts and living through the Great Depression. He describes his activity in the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
Nels A. Anderson
Nels Anderson was 81 years old and lived in Hoffman. His parents came from Sweden and settled in Roseville Township.
In this interview, Nels relates how Roseville Township got its name. He discusses the virgin land and breaking the prairie. He talks about farm life, including farming with oxen, the prairie chickens, and threshing. He also discusses barn dances, playing baseball, changes in agriculture, and a story about the Dillinger gang robbing the Breckenridge Bank.
Les Bahr lived in Portland, Oregon at the time of the interview, but was born in Morris. He was 67 years old. His father was from central Iowa and his mother immigrated from Germany when she was 10 years old. His parents farmed northwest of Morris when he was a child. Les was a farmer in Stevens County before he moved to Portland, where he worked in a lumber mill.
In this interview, Les Bahr recalls the ins and outs of horse racing in the area and transporting horses. He talks about breaking horses and buying horses. He also discusses his father homesteading the land and farm life. He talks about his work in the lumber mill.
Ole Barsness was 92 years old. His father and brothers came from Norway to homestead in Barsness Township, Pope County. His father fought in the Civil War, and was the first to introduce horses into West-Central Minnesota farming. Ole farmed in Pope County. He talked of early automobiles, road conditions, and why he never married.
Eda Beck grew up on a farm near Herman and was 88 years old. Her father farmed and her family moved many times until they settled in Barrett, Minnesota. Eda was a teacher and taught in both country and town schools. She spent most of her adult life living in Norcross, Minnesota. She helped to organize the Norcross Study Club.
In this interview, she discusses her experiences as a teacher. She talks about the Norcross Study Club and her hobbies: fishing and crocheting.
Gene Behl was 69 years old and was born in South Dakota. He moved to Morris in 1912. He was a former employee of the Minnesota Highway Department (1925-1969).
In this interview, Gene Behl talks about the development of Minnesota highways and highway equipment.
Emma Belgum was 90 years old and was born in a dugout house near Kensington, Minnesota. Her parents came from Norway in 1871.
In this interview, she discusses many of her experiences on the farm, both before and after she was married. She talks about a bad storm that occurred on their farm. She also discusses the changes in farming over the years.
Ben Bengston was born in North Dakota and later moved to Minnesota. He was 90 years old and lived in Morris at the time of the interview. He worked as a farmer with his father, and then joined the U.S. Navy before World War I. He did line work for Ottertail Power Company, then worked as a farmer again, and worked for the state on the State Board of Electricity. After retiring, he did some carpentry work.
In this interview, he discusses growing up in a sod house. He discusses farming and threshing techniques. He talks about going to a rural school near Canby, Minnesota. He discusses his time in U.S. Navy in Nicaragua. He mentions his time working for Ottertail Power Company, and includes a time when he was almost injured in an accident.
Stan Berger was born in 1906 in Kansas and later moved to Herman. He farmed with his brothers on the "BB" ranch; they often held dances there to raise extra money during hard times. He was also active in the city council and the fire department.
In this interview, Stan discusses farming, the BB Ranch and the dances they held there, the bands they had for the dances, and a rodeo they held. He also talks about the starting of his implement and car dealership (Chevrolet) and various cars. He then discusses working for the fire department and the roads in Herman.
Henry Boma was 86 years old and was originally born in Holland, but immigrated to the United States with his parents at 6 months old in 1891. The family settled on the East Coast. He was 8 or 9 years old when his family moved to Minnesota by train. They first moved to Nobles County, then they moved to Edgerton, Minnesota. He got married in 1916 and moved to his own farm. He lived in Hancock for 57 years.
In this interview, Henry discusses his father's occupations, including how he got involved in forestry work. Henry talks about his horses and farming. He briefly discusses other employment he had, including being the cop in Hancock. He talks about the differences between his son's farming and equipment and the equipment he had when he farmed.
Ed Brandvold was born around the Starbuck area and was 86 years old at the time of the interview.. His family moved to Canada for a while in 1905 to homestead the land. He moved back to Starbuck in 1914 and married in 1915. He worked for the railroad in Glenwood for some time, then homesteaded in 1918.
In this interview, he discusses his history, his work for the railroad in Glenwood, and homesteading. Next, he talks about his truck driving work, which he did for 29 years.
Grace Bratton was 89 years old and was born in Illinois. She then moved to Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota.
In this interview, she discusses the homesteading procedure and the breaking up of virgin land, plus how sod houses were made. She also talks about farm work and the effect of the depression.
Peter Braun was 87 years old and was born in South Dakota. From there, the family moved to De Graff to farm. They had to clear out the trees and build their own house. They moved to Alberta then and owned a business there and farmed. Peter was retired at the time of the interview and lived in Donnelly where some of his sons took care of his farm.
In this interview, he discusses farm life in De Graff, the family businesses in Alberta, and the Barrett Ranch.
Lily Brendon was 82 years old and born in Illinois. Her family moved to the Alberta area when she was 8 years old because of the cheaper land prices.
In this interview, Lily describes the process of moving by train and traveling in the area. She also discusses the Alberta School, milking cows, their first car, experiences as a bus driver driving the horse-drawn school bus, her job at the Villa of St. Francis, and her current job with Head Start.
Neal Brown was originally from Minneapolis. He moved to Alberta, Minnesota in 1966, and he also spent some time working in Wales Wisconsin at the Wisconsin State School for Boys. He worked in security at the University of Minnesota Morris when he moved back to Minnesota until his retirement.
In this interview, Neal Brown discusses his work at the First National Bank and his work with bonds and securities. He talks about his work with delinquent boys in the Wisconsin State School for Boys. He then talks about working as a security officer at the University of Minnesota Morris. Finally, he talks a little bit about his political views and philosophy.
Art Carlson was 82 years old. His father ran an electric light plan for Stuart. Art worked as a messenger boy on the Benson-Huron Railroad and later became an electrical contractor following the introduction of electricity to West Central Minnesota. He acquired the Coast to Coast franchise in 1932.
In this interview, Art Carlson reflects on merchandizing then vs. now. He recalls the old flour mill and the pre-WPA dam. He remembers the first car in Morris in 1901. He also talks about the operation of the railroad in Morris.
Chris Christianson was born in Denmark and lived there until he was 19. He moved to Iowa when he came to the United States, where he did work digging ditches and started farming in 1915. He volunteered for the army in World War I and served as an ambulance driver. After the war, he married and moved to Stevens County working as a thresher. At the time of the interview, Chris was 86 years old.
In this interview, Chris discusses his schooling in Denmark and the differences between farming in Denmark versus the United States. He discusses the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean and his cross-country trip to Iowa. He talks about his work digging ditches, and some of the issues they encountered such as quicksand. He discussed ambulance driving during World War I and his work in the Medical Corps during the war. He discusses his citizenship proceedings after the war. Then he mentions the transition from use of horses to the use of tractor machinery.
Edwin Christianson was 81 years old and from Morris, Minnesota. He moved to Morris in 1903 from Rock County in southern Minnesota. He grew up on a farm and ended up farming himself.
In this interview, he talks about World War I and his patriotic reasons for enlisting. He talks about the influenza epidemic in 1918. He relates farming experiences and talks about changes that have occurred. He talks about harvesting corn by hand and threshing. He discusses some of the items and implements he invented. Finally, he mentions his hunting, fishing, and trapping experiences.