Union

Dvonne Hansen

Monday morning — it’s a hazy, breezy morning but we do have a promise of badly needed rain. Calving season is moving on and about half of my cows have calves on the ground. We cattlemen are hoping for some moisture to get the grass growing.
Dvonne Hansen hosted coffee Wednesday morning. Those present were Beverly Johnson, Marvin and Donna Moore, Barbara Campbell, Garry and Joyce Swagger and Clark Edwards. Dvonne gave a tour of her antique saddle museum and then they went to Hansen, Wheel and Wagon to see the three-quarter-size stagecoach they were finishing up. It is to be shipped out to Japan, where they will give children rides in it pulled by ponies.
The Letcher choir performed Thursday at Letcher and Good Friday at Loomis joined by their choir. After the Loomis service, the choir gathered at Dvonne Hansen’s for hors d’oeuvres. There was a good article in the Daily Republic about the Loomis Church.
Jeremy and Jessica White were back to celebrate Easter with family and pick up their children, Westen and Aurelia, who spent the week with grandpa and grandma, Murray and Cindy VanLaecken. Aurelia especially enjoyed checking cows with grandpa.
Jessica White visited Mike and Leah Murray and little Olivia.
The Letcher Community Church choir, under the direction of Joyce Swagger, performed at the 7:30 and 10:15 a.m. services. Garry Swagger and Tom Johnson gave the Easter message and the youth group served a delicious breakfast.
Murray and Cindy VanLaecken hosted Easter dinner. Those present were Becka Nelson and Ed, Mike and Leah Murray and Olivia, Ardis Nelson, Barbara Campbell, Doug and Holly Hansen, Joyce Swagger, Lacey VanLaecken, Schyler Swenson, Lukas VanLaecken, Lora VanOverschelde and Elana, Tom and Dianne Johnson and Dvonne Hansen.
Jeremy and Jessica White and family had Easter dinner with his family after attending church in Letcher.
Richard Hansen and friends, Curtiss and Linda Fry, stopped by one day this week and took a tour of Dvonne Hansen’s saddle museum and antique buildings from Forestburg, Letcher and Farewell.
Barbara Campbell received word that she is a great-grandma again. Her third great-grandson was born to Cassidy and Dave. Cassidy is the daughter of Jim and Lisa Campbell. They named him Dane.
Those at Rodney and Marilyn Shawd’s for Easter dinner were Tyler and Shelly Hoffman, Rachel and Malorie, Tim and Lynn Klaas and Jeff and Stacey Wessels, Amanda and Cassie of Rapid City.
Gary and Bernidene Shawd went to Sydney, Neb., to spend Easter with their son, Anthony.
Early Days in Silver Creek Township
When looking for something else in the history of Sanborn County book, I came upon this story by Millie Thompson. She was the daughter of Hellick Thompson, a Civil War veteran who came to the United States from Norway in 1856 and settled in Wisconsin. He married in 1868 and came to Dakota in 1882 when Millie was seven years old. He rented a farm from a McFarland, and there was a large herd of cattle to take care of. She told how her mother made jellies from fruit gathered from along Sand Creek. She said that fish were caught from the creek by the washtub full. In 1883, they built a sod house close to the Ostenson farm. Millie’s job was herding cattle from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. They were driven to Sand Creek for water. When she arrived back at the farm, they still had cows to milk
Her first school was at Forestburg. Their first minister, Rev. Cumstand, came from Plankinton and held services in their homes in Norwegian. Her father hauled groceries that first winter from Huron and Mitchell for the two grocery stores at Forestburg. They herded about 300 cows from May 15 to Oct. 15. Of these, about 80 were theirs and they received 75 cents a head to graze the cattle belonging to others, of which the kids did not get paid wages. They flayed out their first wheat crop with their feet and their father took it to the mill in Mitchell to have it ground into flour. They put up from three to four hundred tons of hay.
They ate prairie chickens, ducks and geese and made feather ticks for beds. Water was mixed with buttermilk to drink. The first years in Dakota were good. Plenty of moisture and the sandy soil produced record crops of rutabagas, melons, pumpkins, squash, potatoes and corn. Squash, melons and pumpkins were gathered on stone boats, some weighing close to 60 lbs. Hay was twisted like cordwood and piled in the kitchen for cooking and heat.
Mrs. John Davis, who lived east of them on the James River, was her teacher. Mrs. Davis took her three children to school with her on Monday and lived at the school during the week. When Millie got a job helping a neighbor pick corn at the age of 13, she got paid 50 cents a day and earned $7.50. She thought she was rich.
Milllie’s parents moved to Worthington, Minn., in 1895 and her brother, Teddy, took over. His son, Vernie, then took it over. She told how hard they worked getting trees to grow on the tree claim and was glad it was still in the family. I could not find a Thompson on the plat map and am not sure when this was written, but she was born in 1875. She was living in Wisconsin when this was written and her last name was Weckerow or Veckerow. If any of you readers know if there are any descendants of the family still here, I would like to hear from you.
* In last week’s column it should have read, George Catlin was in Dakota in 1832, not 1932.

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