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.
Bill Torgerson was 92 years old and was born in Fargo, North Dakota and moved to Starbuck in 1914 to assume operation of the Starbuck bank. His father was a pioneer doctor and before coming to Starbuck, Bill Torgerson worked in a livery barn and as a carpenter. He operated an early filling station in Starbuck. As a former member of the school board, town treasurer and mayor, he was active in local affairs. He was instrumental in selling Starbuck a municipal power plant and the establishment of Lakeshore Park.
In this interview, Bill Torgerson discusses his time working at the bank in Starbuck and operating the early filling station. He discusses all the things he did as school board member and mayor, particularly the power plant and the establishment of Lakeshore Park.
Bob Treischel was born in Oklahoma and he was 86 years old. He and his family moved to Morris where his father operated Morris Steam Laundry. He began farming outside of Morris in 1916 and also served in the Alberta Post Office from 1946-1963. He also talks some about hunting, fishing, and trapping in West-Central Minnesota.
Walter Trost was 85 years old and was born north of Chokio. His grandfather homesteaded there. He farmed for a while, then became a butcher, and later worked for the Donnelly Creamery. He then opened a cabinet making shop. He was a mandolin player who played in a local group at social functions.
In this interview, he talks about his farm life and the Chokio area as he remembers it. He discusses prairie fires and their prevention. He talks about playing the mandolin with a local group and the types of music they played. He discusses the various jobs he worked over the years, in particular the cabinetmaking shop and woodworking.
Effie Tyberg grew up on a farm in South Central Minnesota. She was 86 years old and lived in Hoffman at the time of the interview.
In this interview, she recalls farm life in the early years of the century. She talks about the dairy products made from the farm and going to a rural school. She was a farm wife for 45 years. She talks about the chores she did, including cooking, milking, and farming turkeys. She also recalls the first cars in the area. She talks about some of the dry-goods they purchased, such as coffee and flour. She discusses getting electricity as well.
Emma Varnum was 95 years old and lived in Morris. She was born in Illinois and her father was a farmer. She knew Thomas Edison when she was a child. After she was married, she moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico traveling by covered wagon. In 1906 she moved to Morris.
In this interview, she discusses travelling by wagon train to New Mexico and what they ate and drank along the way. She discusses train robberies and what it was like to live in New Mexico, including how they got and rationed potable water. She talks about early Morris, the many liquor stores and the "red light" district.
Howard Wagner was a life-long resident of Herman. Howard was on the Grant County Fair Board for 12 years.
In this interview, Howard discusses the history of the Grant County Fair and his involvement in the fair through 4-H. In particular, he talks about horse racing and stock car racing at the fair.
Ed Weeding was 68 years old and lived in Chokio. He attended the West Central School of Agriculture in Morris.
In this interview, he discusses some experiences about his time at the West Central School of Agriculture. He discusses the depression and farming. He relates his involvement in the group that brought the University of Minnesota to Morris. He mentions the friction with Montevideo.
George Weick was 86 years old and lived in Graceville, Minnesota at the time of the interview. He was born in western Nebraska and moved to Minnesota when he was 21 years old. His family homesteaded in Nebraska.
In this interview, he talks about his family homesteading, World War I, and his own farm in Minnesota. He discusses raising angus cattle, the price of land and the changes in farming.
Ernest Weiss was 83 years old and was born in Kingsbury County, South Dakota. His parents immigrated from Germany. He grew up on a farm in South Dakota. He farmed in both South Dakota and Minnesota in his life.
In this interview, he discusses living on the farm as a child. He talks about going to country school. He then discusses World War I--he was in the service but never went overseas. He then moved to Minnesota to farm and talks about the droughts they had there. He mentions his horses and the training of them. He was a carpenter for some time and discusses those experiences.
Henry Wendt was 78 years old. His parents were born in Germany and immigrated to the United States. His father homesteaded in Stevens County in 1877, and Henry Wendt continued to live on the land at the time of the interview. He farmed the land from 1929-1963.
In this interview, Henry Wendt discusses his family history and the process of filing for a homestead. He also discusses various stories of his father, including a story about how his father almost lost his money pouch while threshing. He then talks about his experiences farming, including the changes in farming equipment.
Cleda Wernsing was born in Illinois and was 83 years old. Her father was a farmer and her family moved to Minnesota because of cheaper land.
In this interview, Cleda discusses the changes Chokio and Johnson have undergone over the years. She discusses what they did for a social life. She also talks about some of the changes in home appliances over the years.
Obed Wiger was 86 years old and was born in Jackson, Minnesota. His parents immigrated from Norway and homesteaded in Jackson County. His father was a tailor, but became a farmer in Jackson. He farmed at his father's homestead until he was 20, then he homesteaded in Canada for four years. He then settled in Pope County, Minnesota.
In this interview, Obed talk about growing up on the farm. He talks about the grasshopper problems with the farm. He mentions going to a country school. He discusses his own homestead in Canada and farming experiences in Pope County, Minnesota. He talks about the mechanization of farming with tractors and the implementation of fertilizers and pesticides. Finally, he discusses his marriage and how he met his wife.
Mary Willie was born in Iowa and was 85 years old. Her family moved to Minnesota because of cheaper land available.
In this interview, she discusses the moving process and traveling by covered wagon. She also mentions barn dances and the threshing experience.
Roy Woolridge was 76 years old and was born in Iowa. He operated the pool hall in the Morris Hotel and also the Chevrolet and Buick dealership in the 1920s. He talks of his experiences as an early aviator, barnstormer, and stunt flyer. He flew with the likes of Lindberg and Amelia Earhart.
Roy Woolridge was 70 years old, from Morris, and this was his second appearance on Reminiscing in West Central Minnesota. The first part of the interview consists of excerpts from his earlier interview.
In the second part of the interview, Roy discusses his activities with the Senior Citizens Center.
August "Pat" Zimmerman was a lifetime resident of Chokio and was 80 years old. He was a farmer for most of his life.
Pat discusses the town of Chokio and what it was like when he was growing up. He talks about his German background, the local church, the family farm, his best years in farming, and changes in the types of equipment used.