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.
Gust Kositzke was 86 years old and lived in Florida at the time of the interview. His parents came from Germany to Michigan, where Gus grew up. He worked for the railroad for a time and then went to Appleton and farmed.
In this interview, he discusses the changeover from horses to tractors. After he moved to town, he worked at custom corn picking, plumbing, carpentry, sold seed corn, and worked at the golf course. He also talks about buying up flax straw to make cigarette papers. He finally talks about his travels to Florida and moving to Florida to live permanently.
Frank Krafka was 77 years old and was born on September 20, 1900.
In this interview, he talks about his 55 years of barbering in Barrett, the different machines he used and the different types of hair styles that have changed over the years.
Emil Kroening was 95 years old and was born in Winona County. He moved to the Morris area in 1920. He operated a dairy farm west of Morris.
In this interview, Emil Kroening discusses farm life in the pre-tractor days.
Marie Krogen was 83 years old and was born on a farm near Donnelly. After she married, she moved to Morris.
In this interview, Marie Krogen discusses attending rural school and how they determined if the weather was safe enough to walk to school. She talks about living and working on a farm. She talks about the games and sports they played as children. She discusses the town of Morris and the development of the east side of town. She mentions a time when the circus came to town and the band that played in East Side Park. Marie's husband worked in construction, and she discusses how they used to dig and pour concrete basements. She also talks about food prices and the number of bars in Morris.
Leonard "Red" Kussatz was 70 years old and lived in Morris at the time of the interview. His dad immigrated when he was 4 years old from Germany and his mother was from Iowa. His parents worked as farmers.
He discusses farm equipment, country school, and milking cows by hand. He talks about moving farms and the horses they had on the farm. He mentions planting corn and harvesting corn. He discusses playing baseball and his first tractor.
Mrs. Henry Lampert
Mrs. Henry Lampert was 86 years old and was born in Illinois. Her family moved to Iowa, she married her husband, and then moved to Minnesota due to cheaper land prices.
In this interview, she discusses her childhood in Illinois. She talks about her father's occupation as an ice-man in Illinois. She talks about the train travel to move to Minnesota. She discusses her farm chores and the changes in farming and technology. She talks about the volunteer work she has done for her church, and the changes to Morris.
Cora Lange was 74 years old and was born in Iowa. Her family moved to Minnesota when she was a child. She has played in a number of bands.
In this interview, she reflects on the differences between Iowa and Minnesota. She discusses her family's move to Minnesota and farming. She talks about her interest in music, the bands she was in, and the changes in music over the years. She discusses handicrafts and her work with the Senior Citizens Center.
Aleck Larson was born in North Dakota to Norwegian parents and was 86 years old. HIs family moved to a farm in Kandiyohi County when he was 7 years old and they came to Stevens County in 1911. He lived in Donnelly at the time of the interview. He was active in the Donnelly ASCS and on the Board of Trustees of the Kongsvinger Church. For 37 years, he was actively involved in a general co-op store.
In this interview, he recalls the change in the types of crops over the years and talks about marketing farm products in the 1920s. He talks about the price of land and the prices of crops. He discusses his involvement in the cooperative general store.
Clarence Larson was 82 years old and was born near Starbuck. His father was from Sweden and his mother from near Kensington, Minnesota. His family moved to a farm near Kensington when he was 3 years old. He was a farmer for his entire life. The Kensington Runestone was found on a neighbor's farm and Clarence was active in buying and promoting the Runestone Park. After retiring from farming, he spent his leisure time exploring for artifacts.
In this interview, Clarence recalls the early days of Kensington and Alexandria businesses. He talks about blizzards in the area. He discusses horses and farm life. He mentions his talent with water witching (dowsing). He then goes on to talk about the Kensington Runestone.
Cora Larson was 92 years old and lived in Starbuck. She was born in Belgrade, Minnesota. Her father owned a general store. She went to college in St. Olaf College and then taught school; she was also the principal in Starbuck. Her husband was the only dentist in Starbuck at the time.
In this interview, Cora discusses the merchandise her father carried in his general store. She talks about going to college and her career as a teacher. She was the coordinator of the school play at the school, and discusses that experience. She talks about the various organizations and clubs she was a part of in Starbuck, Minnesota.
Hilfred Lee was 76 years old and lived in rural Morris. His father homesteaded the same land, and immigrated from Norway.
In this interview, Hilfred discusses homesteading in the early years, including breaking sod and plowing with oxen. He discusses the Morris Indian School and the land that currently is the University of Minnesota Morris. He talks about the Pomme de Terre River and the fish in it. He discusses working at the Ford dealership in Morris and some details about Ford vehicles, including both cars and tractors.
Mrs. W. J. Lee
Mrs W.J. Lee was 85 years old and was born in Iowa. She was living in Morris at the time of the interview. She was educated as a schoolteacher in Iowa and taught for six years in a country school in Iowa. She married and moved to Minnesota in the early 1920s and lived on a farm for 25 years. After retirement, she travelled extensively throughout the world.
In this interview, she reminisces about early farm life and farming methods. She also talks about the travel she did in her life.
Art LeSage was born in Illinois and came to Morris in a boxcar with his father. He farmed outside of Morris, and is known as "Mr. Baseball" of Morris. He discusses his baseball career and baseball in Morris today.
Verena LeSage was born in Iowa and was 90 years old. She moved to Minnesota when she was 13 years old. Her father was a carpenter.
In this interview, she discusses the school system in Morris and teaching. She talks about her wedding, life on the farm, and her experiences during World War II when she worked at an airplane factory in California.
Richard Luenenberg was born at Niagara Falls in 1894 and was 82 years old. He moved with his family to Grant County to live closer to relatives.
In this interview, Richard discusses living on a farm. He talks about some of his first experiences plowing. He talks about threshing and when he worked on a threshing crew. He discusses prices of agriculture crops during the Great Depression and the drought in the area. He talks about a Fourth of July celebration in 1909. He also worked for a few years in the city as a streetcar conductor before moving back to the farm.
Inge Linde was 84 years old and was born in New Prairie Township in Pope County, Minnesota. She went to Augustana University and married the doctor in Cyrus. She taught in rural schools for seven years.
In this interview, Inge relates how she met her husband. She talks about the life of a doctor in the early 20th century. She discusses the car that they had. She also talks about how she ended up at the nursing home in Pope County.
Thor Mathison emigrated to the United States from Norway at 15 years of age. He moved to North Dakota to become a cowboy. He served in World War I as a cook and farmed outside of Chokio. He reflects on the farming transition from horse to tractor. He was 81 years old.
F. C. Mattson
Shag Mattson was 77 years old and a lifetime Hoffman resident. He worked in a drugstore for a time.
In this interview, Shag reflects on his time working in a drugstore. He relates his experiences from his career as a rural mail carrier. He discusses his role as a coordinator of the Senior Citizens Center and the creation of the Red Rock Golf Course.
George Maughan was 85 years old and was born 3 miles from Morris at Muddy Creek Hill. He taught in a Common School at 18, then he entered the lumber business. He served as a mechanic in World War I. He received a law degree and practice in St. Paul and Morris until 1946. Then he returned to teaching and taught in a variety of small West-Central Minnesota towns.
Howard was 83 years old and was born in New York in 1895. His father was a tinsmith, plumber, and steamfitter. His family moved to South Dakota when he was a child.
In this interview, Howard talks about his experiences with the Boy Scouts, including the camping trips they had and building fires without matches. He then discusses his time in Europe in World War I and the weapons they used. He worked in the granite works for a while, then went into farming. He discusses an incident that happened while working at the granite works. He mentions the changes in farming and the change from horses to tractors. He talks about some of the prices of crops.
Ken McKay was 80 years old and he came to Morris in 1920 to farm in Morris Township. He was elected Stevens County Treasurer in 1939.
In this interview, Ken McKay discusses school district consolidation, the county hospital, the courthouse and district highway building. He also talks about the old personal property tax.
Sophie Melchert was 86 years old. She moved to Stevens County as a young girl.
In this interview, Sophie Melchert discusses what Morris was like when she moved here as a child in the early 1900s. She talks about how the winters were and what they did when the snow got to be as tall as the house. She discusses life on the farm, including wild animals, the roads, transportation, and the various chores.
Meta Messenbrink was born in Stevens County in 1896 and lived in Morris at the time of the interview.; she was 82 years old Her mother came from Germany and her father came from Wisconsin.
In this interview, Meta talks about her mother's death and her funeral. Meta recalls life on the farm in the early part of the 20th century and fieldwork and farm chores. She talks about the first time she had ice cream and the processing chores for their dairy and meat products. She reminisces about her country school education and the entertainment of barn raisings, house parties, and neighbors in music bands.
Mabel Mithun was 86 years old and was born in New Prairie, Minnesota.
In this interview, she discusses the location of New Prairie and what it consisted of. She also mentions growing up on a farm, the changes in types of machinery and the dances that were held near a hotel she used to work at.
Lars Mohagen was a lifetime resident of Elbow Lake and was 85 years old. He worked as a car salesman and repairman.
In this interview, Lars talks about the types and prices of cars today compared with those in the past.