NDSU Libraries debuts new publication

3 April 2012

Author Patsy Knalson Ramberg of White Bear Lake, Minn., will debut NDSU Libraries’ Germans from Russia Heritage Collections’ latest book, “The Farm at Pony Gulch,” May 4-6. The following events have been planned to promote the new publication.
  • Friday, May 4, 3 p.m. – Prairie Public Radio will interview Knalson Ramberg on “Hear it Now”
  • Saturday, May 5, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Book signing at the Harvey, N.D., public library
  • Sunday, May 6 – Knalson Ramberg will be featured on Prairie Public’s “Dakota Air: The Radio Show,” which will be recorded live at First Lutheran Church in Harvey at 7 p.m. The recorded program will be replayed on Prairie Public on May 18, 19 and 26.

“The Farm at Pony Gulch” tells the story of Michael and Anna Sophia (Witt) Baier, who came to America in 1883 from Arzis, Bessarabia. As German-Russian immigrants, they had become disillusioned with the promises made to them by Catherine the Great and her grandson, Czar Alexander I. The Baiers first settled at Scotland, S.D., and then, in 1896, homesteaded in Pony Gulch Township near Harvey, N.D.

For the most part, “The Farm at Pony Gulch” is the memoirs of their grandson, Eddie Knalson, who helped on the Baier farm when he was young. He included much oral history told to him by his Aunt Bertha. Patsy Knalson Ramberg, Eddie’s daughter, adds insight into the family and areas where they lived.

Knalson tells how the family with 10 children moved from Scotland to Pony Gulch, which was a six-week walk, with four wagons full of “chickens, pigs and whatnot.” They built a sod house, and later a gastatza (Batsa) summer kitchen, a mud and brick construction unique to Germans from Russia.

Of interest is the oral history from Aunt Bertha. Recorded in 1970, she tells how the Pony Gulch site was chosen, how the family lived in the sod house with its big Russian oven and gives her remedy for frozen fingers in the winter.

Knalson (1909-1995) wrote the tale of Pony Gulch in his retirement. After her retirement, Patsy Knalson Ramberg decided it was time to share his story with a wider audience, and “The Farm at Pony Gulch”is the result.

For more information or to order the book, visit www.ndsu.edu/grhc or call Acacia Stuckle at 701-231-6596. For more information about Knalson Ramberg’s appearances on Prairie Public Radio, visit www.prairiepublic.org

NDSU is student focused and committed to its land-grant mission.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller