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.
Elsie Mohr was 85 years old and was born in Nebraska. She moved to Horton Township in 1902.
In this interview, Elsie Mohr reflects on her life in the German community outside Hancock. She discusses using the German language and learning English, as well as German food. She discusses schools, churches, food, entertainment, shopping, and their first family car. She also discusses the Spanish Flu Epidemic and the Depression.
Mary Murphy was born in Horton Township, Stevens County in 1891 and she grew up on a farm. She lived at the Villa of St. Francis in Morris at the time of the interview.
In this interview, she reminisces about Christmas celebrations and programs as a kid. She also taught school for a number of years at the Horton Township country school.
Ed Nelson was 86 years old and was born in Kerkhoven, Minnesota. He worked for James J. Hill's Great Northern Railroad, first as a telegrapher and then later as the train station agent in Morris. He discusses the operation of the station during his tenure.
David Nordholm was 71 years old and was born in Wolverton, Minnesota. He moved to Elbow Lake in 1934 when he began working with the State Highway Department.
In this interview, he discusses the country school he went to near Wolverton. He talks about driving the horse-drawn school bus and the differences between the school buses of his childhood compared to modern school buses. He talks about a blizzard in 1923 when he and the other children were stuck at the school for two nights. He talks about his first automobile and first tractor. He reminisces about being a farmer and farming potatoes. He talks about working at the Minnesota Highway Department from 1934-1973 and the state of the roads during that time. He mentions the problems with the dirt and gravel roads and their use and maintenance.
O. H. Norreen
Henning Norreen was 78 years old and was born near Herman, Minnesota. His parents were immigrants from Sweden.
In this interview, Henning discusses country school, business college, tractors, and his Buick automobiles. He talks about blizzards, hunting and some of his activities including the town board, selective service board, and the telephone board.
Mamie Norsen was 90 years old. Her parents came from Sweden and came to Lake Park, Minnesota, then the Wheaton area. Her father built their house and picked out the land there because he felt more at home there. She has lived in the house ever since 2 1/2 years ago in which she spent time with her aunt in Duluth.
In this interview, Mamie discusses her father, blizzards in Minnesota, farm life, and her father starting a rural telephone company.
Fern Noyes is 79 years old and was born in Missouri. She moved to Morris in 1916 after she married, and they lived into the Le Grand Hotel.
In this interview she talks a little about Le Grand Hotel. She discusses volunteering in the ration office during World War I. She explains what Morris was like when she arrived in 1916 and talks about their social life and the dances they went to. She discusses her husband's job as a cashier and operator at the Great Northern Railway. She talks about the changes that have happened in Morris over the years.
Art Ohman and Clarence Larson
Art Ohman was a lifetime resident of Kensington and was 88 years old. His parents came from Sweden.
In this interview, he discusses the changes in Kensington and the various jobs he had. He talks about his father's discovery of the Kensington Runestone.
Alvin Olson was 72 years old and lived in Morris, Minnesota at the time of the interview. His parents were both from Norway and moved to Morris, Minnesota. He worked a variety of jobs, eventually owning a blacksmith shop.
In this interview, Alvin discusses the changes in Morris, the schools in Morris, and an accident he had in his youth. He also talks about his jobs working for the city, his work repairing cars, his work as a blacksmith, and the changes in motorcycles.
Silas Olson was 74 years old and lived in Norcross. He talks about his grandparents and their immigration to the United States. He discusses his grandparents settlement in Norcross and relates how Norcross was named. He talks about his first car and riding in a car for the first time.
He discusses his work on highway construction and talks about roads and snowplowing. He discusses his political involvement since his retirement, as he is mayor of Norcross.
John O'Neil was 90 years old and a lifetime resident of Beardsley. HIs parents came from Ireland and homesteaded in 1878 the farm John O'Neil still lived on.
In this interview, John discusses homesteading in Minnesota. He also discusses changes in farming and the fact that his family held on to their farm for 100 years.
Fred Pasche was 75 years old and was born in Webster, South Dakota. He came to Stevens County in 1908.
In this interview, Fred recounts his hunting and trapping experiences in Stevens County. He also discusses his horseback riding. He talks about his aviation experiences and his first plane. He discusses the airplane accident he was in, and building planes. He also spent many years as township and then county assessor.
Ida Payne and Rosina Moser
Ida Payne was 84 years old and lived in Morris at the time of the interview. She moved to the Donnelly area when she was 5 years old. At the time of the interview, Ida was caring for Rosina Moser (93 years old), who speaks at the end of the interview.
In this interview, Ida discusses growing up in a family of 17 children. She talks about chores (such as laundry), farming, and her part in the outside work. She reflects on the changes over the years. She talks about caring for her family members when they are sick or elderly.
Monsignor Petermeier was 86 years old. He was born in Melrose, Minnesota.
In this interview, he talks about his schooling and the three parishes he served as priest in. he also tells how he got the Villa of St. Francis started and what he had to do to go about doing it.
Philip Peterson was born in Grant County in 1905 and grew up in Elbow Lake, though lived in Grant County for most of his life. He was 74 years old at the time of the interview. He helped organize and run a radio station in Barrett, Minnesota called KGDE in the late 1920s. The station was at Barrett for three years and then moved to Fergus Falls.
In this interview, Philip Peterson talks about the radio industry, his interest in radio, and KGDE.
Mrs. Harry Phinney
Mrs. Harry Phinney was 85 years old and lived in Morris. She was born in Illinois and her father was a town doctor. She discusses her activities in church and civic groups, and some of the jobs she held, including receptionist and sorority house mother. She also discusses her husband's involvement in the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Max Podratz was 85 years old and lived in Morris at the time of the interview. His parents were born in Germany and after immigrating to the United States, settled near Swan Lake, Minnesota.
In this interview, Max discusses ethnic relations near Swan Lake in Stevens County. He also mentions country schools, ice fishing, and farm life. He discusses planting windbreaks and the change from horses to tractors on the farm. He also reflects on the changes in Morris.
Kenneth Prall was born in Atlantic, Iowa in 1904, and was 73 years old at the time of the interview. He worked in the clothes cleaning business, starting at the age of 13 or 14.
In this interview, he discusses his time in the clothes cleaning business, which he worked in for 52-53 years. He discussed the tough times he had during the Great Depression. He also discusses fishing, which is a favorite hobby.
Sister Praxeda worked at the Villa of St. Francis since its beginning in 1963 until 1971 when she moved to upstate New York where she worked in a convent.
In this interview, she discusses the origins of the Villa of St. Francis and reflects on the mission of the Villa and the order of Franciscan sisters.
Hart Proudfoot was 84 years old and was born in Stillwater, Minnesota. He moved to Morris when he was 7.
In this interview, he discusses threshing and farm life in Minnesota. He talks about carpentry and why homes weren't insulated. He talks about selling cars for Ford and Chrysler Plymouth and his tricks to good salesmanship.
Catherine Lupkes Randolph
Katie Randolph was 74 years old and was born in Rushmore, Minnesota. She moved with her family near Wheaton when she was 2 years old.
In this interview, she discusses her mother's death and helping to take care of her younger siblings. She talks about her various jobs working in hotels, as a waitress, and a manager at hotels and motels. She discusses meeting various famous people during her time working in customer service at hotels and restaurants. In particular, she discusses meeting Laurel and Hardy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lucille Ball.
Agnes Ranum was 83 years old and lived in Starbuck, Minnesota. She was born in Fillmore County and moved to Pope County in 1898 when she was 5 years old. Her family moved to the area because of cheaper land and the Norwegians in the area.
In this interview, she discusses the rural school and the education she got there. She talks about the work she did in Texas for many years and the family she worked for (A.B. Pierce family). Then she discusses her time as a farm wife after marrying in 1928. She talks about the Depression and her experiences during that time. She mentions her children and their occupations at the time of the interview. Finally, she discusses the Minnewaska Home and its founding in the town.
Anna Rasmussen was 90 years old and lived in Morris. She was born in Denmark and came to the United States in 1922.
In this interview, Anna discusses life in Denmark and Danish foods. She worked on her farm and also held some restaurant jobs. Her husband was a road-builder, so she discusses the roads in Minnesota.
Dayle Ray was 61 years old and born near Barrett. He then moved into the town of Barrett in 1961. Dayle Ray was the postmaster in Barrett, Minnesota and wrote a history of Barrett.
In this interview, he discusses writing the history of Barrett. He talks about the radio station in Barrett, which was one of the earliest radio stations in the area. He talks about the history of the Barrett Ice Works and how the ice plant worked. He explains the Barrett Runestone. He discusses the Old Settlers Reunion in Barrett, Minnesota, which is an annual event.
Hervey Richardson is 75 years old and was born in Morris. His father was a congregational minister. Hervey Richardson graduated from Macalester College and received a fellowship to study retailing in New York. He returned to farm outside of Morris.
In this interview, Hervey Richardson talks about farming and early tractors. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1960, and he mentions his role in determining the state bird. He then became the Morris City Assessor and he discusses the various aspects of that job.