A South Dakota Prairie Story (Part 5) – Anna Marries

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south dakota prairie story

A South Dakota Prairie Story
Anna Marries

This is part 5 of the story I have been typing up here, handwritten by my great-grandma born in 1892 in South Dakota.

Back to the story….

Another time, we had a fire in our house. Something told me to leave my clothes on when it was bedtime. I didn’t remember what time, but the fire started at night. I had been painting and spilled linseed oil. I wiped it up with a rag and left it, but after 6 hours, combustion caused it to start a fire. My brothers saved the house by dipping water from a nearby cistern.

I had a big job cleaning afterward as everything was left greasy and yellow. Twice a year, Mother and I would whitewash our kitchen. It looked so nice and clean. We had a lot of flies in those days – I wonder where they all went.

Another thing, our bed mattresses had to be filled with fresh corn husks every fall. We stripped feathers from geese and ducks for pillows. We had to do this while the bird was alive and we didn’t like that job. Then we butchered the poultry for the table.

One of the times I looked forward to was threshing time. Steam engines would whistle in the neighborhood. I liked cooking for all of the threshers because there was a lot of young men. I was the only girl at home so one can see why I was needed there. I was always the cook and housekeeper but I never did have to work in the fields.

In the year of 1921, at the age of 29, I married Frank. During the war, the army had changed his last name, taking out a C. That’s how he was discharged and that is how we always spelled our name. He is today buried next to his father who’s marker has the correct spelling.

Frank and his brother were in the same battalion when they served overseas. Frank hauled ammunition in a wagon pulled by horses.

Our wedding was as simple as they come and I made my own wedding dress. There was money, but people didn’t spend money on a wedding like they do today. Showers for the bride were never heard of so what little I got, I valued richly. The first year of our married life, we rented a farm 8 miles west of town and it belonged to my sister in law. We lived there for 17 years.

In the year 1923, our first daughter was born and we named her Ruby. Frank’s mother helped to deliver her on the table of our kitchen. Dr. Flye was called to assist. four years later, our second daughter was born and we named her Mary.

More to come soon! We’ve made it halfway through Anna’s story now but there is much more to come.

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  1. Merissa, I found your blog on Sunday when I looked on the internet on how to make a receiving blanket for my first great grand child to be born this year. I have been reading every post you have written from the very first post. Each of your posts touch my heart that you have worked so hard to achieve your goals and raise your family in a simply life. I would have like to have seen your blog earlier when I lived in my 150 year old brick house. We bought in 1997 and I was its caretaker for 17 years. It was mean to be our forever house but my husband’s health caused us to place it on the market and sell it. It sat on three acers and was just inside the city limits.
    My dreams were much like yours of being able to live simply in a small town and the Lord allowed that for those 17 years.
    I sewed, baked, canned, etc., and felt like I had always lived there. All your posts have brought back many memories.
    I was so happy to read the history of Mary and her family. My dad was born in 1899 and I always felt he was so old to be born in another century. My mother married at 18 and had 4 children right together and they “rented” a farm. My mother and dad moved to the city 12 years later and I was born in the city. I always wondered why I was born so late in life. I was able to be a caregiver to my mother and two of my sisters.

    I marvel at your life and how hard you have worked. My oldest sister lived in Gettsburg, S.D. and I was able to visit her when I was in the fourth grade. LOL

    My DH and I have traveled out West many times and always go through S.D. because we love the country.

    I thought you might have quite posting and than noticed the stories about Mary and I am so happy to be able to respond to you.

    I have lived in a fifth wheel for five months while in Florida and I loved it. Of course, that different weather and not full time but you really don’t need a lot of space to live.

    Thank you again for all your wonderful words, tips, recipes, etc. I hope you to continue to post.

    I would love to hear about how your children have grown.