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.
Georgina Gustavson grew up in Benson and was 83 years old. She lived in Morris at the time of the interview. Her father was in the ice business.
In this interview, she discusses the particulars of the ice business. She also talks about the depression and some reflections on the changes through the years.
Ida Hagen was born in 1886 and lived in Starbuck. She was 92 years old. She was originally from the Waseca area.
In this interview, she discusses Native American/white relations in Minnesota when her mother was growing up. She talks about farm life growing up and the pests on the crops they had to deal with. She discusses food preparation and preservation and the changes she had seen over the years. She also recalls when President McKinley was assassinated.
Emil Halburg was 82 years old and lived in Kensington. His parents came from Sweden around 1892. Emil was born in the United States, one of 10 children.
In this interview, Emil discusses farming, food preservation, gardening, and the role of the horse in farming.
Anna Halvorson was 83 years old and spent all her life in Elbow Lake.
In this interview, Anna discusses growing up on a farm, country school, early homemaking techniques, and her experiences as a teacher. She talks about her work with 4-H, a gift shop she owned, and quilt and drape making.
Helen Hanson was born in 1900 in Grant County and was 79 years old. Her family moved to Stevens County when she was young. She lived in Donnelly at the time of the interview.
In this interview, Helen recalls education in a country school in District 33, Rendsville Township in Stevens County. She also recalls farm chores and the difficulties of farm homemaking before electricity. She talks about various chores and aspects of the farm, including baking, laundry, and farming turkeys. She also discusses her church: the Kongsvinger Church in Donnelly, Minnesota.
Herb Hanson was 94 years old and was born in Morris. He was involved in the mercantile business, which his father had been owned before him.
In this interview, Herb discusses a business course he took and talks about selling clothes, and the types of clothes that were sold. He mentions the operation of the store he ran in Browns Valley and his membership in the Masonic Lodge. He was, at that time, the longest member in the state of Minnesota in the Freemasons.
Neil Harcum was 77 years old.
In this interview, Neil talks about the history of Browns Valley. He discussed how the town got its name from Joseph R. Brown and his son. He tells some tales about them. He discusses the Native Americans in the region and the fair William Palm set up. He finally discusses the grain elevators and how people would haul their grain on barges and, in the winter, on sleds. He also discusses the dry weather at the time of the interview and the 1930s.
Florence Hedberg was one of the co-founders of KMRS radio station.
In this interview, she discusses how she and her husband Cliff and their son Paul started KMRS 20 years ago. She tells of how they chose the site for the radio station and the blizzards they survived through.
Albert Hendrickson was 89 years old and was born in Pope County in 1890. He grew up on a farm, worked as a hired hand and a driver for a veterinarian in South Dakota before settling down in Hancock in a blacksmith and auto repair shop. He came to Morris in 1942 and worked for Ecklund's Auto Body Repair for 27 years.
In this interview, he discusses early blacksmithing, shoeing horses, and wagon repair in Stevens County. He also discusses working in auto repair.
Ed Hilbrand was 96 years old and lived in Morris. He was born in Iowa in 1880.
In this interview, he discusses diseases, the depression, and the changeover from horses to cars. He farmed for some time and then had other jobs including working in a packing house and as a watchman. He got his last job when he was 80 years old.
Ora Hills was 78 years old and was a lifetime resident of Beardsley, Minnesota.
In this interview, he discusses farming, horses in farming, and some of the big storms of the past. He also talks about the custom combining work he used to do down south.
Edelweiss Peterson Huntly
Edelweiss Peterson Huntly was 81 years old and was born in Hancock. She lived in Cyrus for a lot of her life. She taught school and her husband was manager of the telephone cooperative in Cyrus.
In this interview, Edelweiss discusses her education. She talks about the changes in teaching and her work with reading for the blind. She mentions working as an operator in the telephone cooperative in Cyrus, and discusses the phone system and problems with party lines.
Agatha Itzen was 85 years old at the time of the interview and was born in Iowa. She came to Minnesota when she was 20 and was married for 63 years.
In this interview, Agatha discusses the reasons she moved to Minnesota and the changes in agriculture and lifestyles.
Mrs. John Jackson
Mrs. John Jackson was 83 years old and was born in Iowa. Her family moved to Minnesota when she was 7 years old because of the cheaper land prices.
In this interview, Mrs. John Jackson describes how they moved by train. She also discusses growing up on the farm, chores, picking mustard, catching and selling frogs, collecting metal during World War II, and changes in Morris over the years. She also talks about the Indian School and working as a pastry cook.
Carl Jallo attended the West Central School of Agriculture. He then went into music and played for bands in Fargo and Minneapolis for 6 years. In 1920, he went into farming.
In this interview, Carl discusses his time as a musician and big band music.
Mrs. Nels Jensen
Mrs. Nels Jensen was born in Denmark in 1889 and was 89 years old. She moved to the United States in 1908 and was married in the U.S. They became farmers in Stevens County, Minnesota.
In this interview, she discusses the trip over by boat, the Depression, hail storms, and the changes in Hancock over the years.
Mrs. George Jergenson
Mrs. George Jergenson was 93 years old and was born in Stearns County outside Donnelly. Her parents emigrated from Norway and were charter members of the Kongsvinger Lutheran Church.
In this interview, Mrs. Jergenson talks about attending and teaching in a rural school, and the tasks involved in being a farm wife. She also reflects on her favorite presidents.
Chester Johanson was 83 years old and was born near Wheaton, Minnesota in 1896. His family homesteaded in the area in 1880, before the railroad arrived in the area or Wheaton was founded. His parents immigrated in 1879 from Sweden to the United States.
In this interview, Chester discusses his family being stuck in the blizzard of 1880 in Minnesota shortly after they arrived. He talks about his family homesteading in the area. He discusses the rural school he attended. He talks about the founding of Wheaton and life on the farm as a child. He then talks about farming as an adult, and about his job at the farmer's cooperative in Wheaton. He discusses pricing of various items at the store, and the change in the price of land. He also discusses the founding of the senior center in Wheaton, Minnesota.
Jerome Johnson was 74 years old and lived in Cyrus. His parents died when he was young and he went to live with relatives. He spent 62 years in the barbering business.
In this interview, he reflects on many aspects of the barbering business over the years. He also mentions working for the railroad, living at Moose Island, and going to movies. He fixes up old cars as a hobby.
Wilmar A. Johnson
Wilmar A. Johnson's parents came from Sweden and he spent most of his life farming. He grew up near Graceville, Minnesota.
In this interview, he discusses the prices of equipment and crops, including during the Depression. He also talks about changes in farming. Finally, he talks about what he does now that he is retired, including jigsaw puzzles and cribbage.
Mrs. Frank Jost
Mrs. Frank Jost was 83 years old and was born in Clinton, Iowa. She was a city girl growing up.
In this interview, she talks about seeing the Wright Brothers first flight and the first hot air balloons. She discusses the county fairs, breakfast cereal, getting drinking water in the city, and her work in a candy factory. She discusses dating during that time. When she was married, she and her husband moved to a farm in Ortonville and she recollects some of the bad times getting used to being a new country girl. They then moved to a farm in Stevens County and then to the city.
Oliver "Tuddie" Kahldahl was 77 years old and lived in Glenwood.
In this interview, he talks about ski jumping and his skiing career. He discusses various bands which appeared at the Lakeside Ballroom while he owned it. He talks about the decline of the big bands.
Ernie Kellenberger and Tillie Kellenberger
Ernie Kellenberger was born in Kansas and lived in Iowa and Illinois before coming to Minnesota. He met his wife at the Elgin factory in Illinois. He then went to watchmaker's school and opened his own business in Morris. Tillie Kellenberger was born in Hancock and then moved to Illinois and then back to Morris. Ernie was 73 years old and Tillie was 72 years old.
In this interview, Ernie discusses watchmaking and his education in that field. He talks about opening his watch business and business during the Depression. He discusses different brands of watches, particularly Elgin Watch Company. Tillie talks about working in the Elgin watch factory. She discusses the depression, homemaking, and her family.
Tib Kirwin was 75 years old. Tib's family was the 2nd Kirwin family in Morris.
In this interview, he tells about what the town of Morris looked like back then and when they had to go to school with the horse and buggy. He attended St. Mary's School in the basement of the parish while the school was being built.
Albin Kling was 80 years old and he was born outside Hoffman. He is a steam engine enthusiast.
In this interview, Albin Kling discusses the early days of steam-driven threshers. He discusses the community cooperation in threshing and the process involved in operating the machines. He also mentions the threshers and their fate during the scrap iron drive of World War II. Finally he stresses the future of steam powered farm equipment.