Interview with Rosina "Rose" Roesch Lang (RL)
Born in Glueckstal, South
Conducted by Wallace T. Lang (WL), Erica Lang Wangler (EW), and Arlyn Lang (AL)
April 1990, Theodore Lang Farm (The Roesler Homestead),
Tappen, North Dakota
Transcription by Ann Grausam
Editing and revising by Bernadine Lang Kuhn, further editing by Jane D. Trygg
RL: When my brother was sick. I was five years old.
WL: Which brother was that?
RL: That was my third sibling. And he was only nine days old, when he died. And I walked up to the funeral with grandma holding my hands, I can remember that.
WL: With your grandma or your mother?
RL: My mother was in bed.
WL: Because he was born just nine days earlier, so she was kind of recuperating.
RL: She was at home. Then it was the funeral, I can remember that.
WL: Is that right, walking to the church? You said that the church that you went to…
RL: It’s all down now. (There is nothing there.) The building is there, but the steeple is off. The door is locked at the Glueckstal church, Russia
I know, I remember when we went to church.
WL: That brother that died, he was actually the oldest brother?
RL: No, Pete was older.
WL: How much older are you than Pete?
RL: Oh, six or seven years.
WL: The baby that died was older than Pete (born 1902), wasn’t it?
RL: No, it was younger than Pete. It’s a long story.
WL: So, I am still trying to figure this out, because you said that you were five years old.
RL: I was two years older than my sister, Christina (born 1899). Then over a year, Pete was born.
WL: And then the baby that died. So actually the baby that died was between Pete and Jake.
RL: Jake and Sam, Gideon: they are all brothers you know. I had only one sister that grew up.
WL: How many of those were born in Russia?
RL: Four. Three went into America and one was buried in Russia, that little Christ. (Roesler)
WL: And how many were born here?
RL: Jake and Sam and Gideon were all born here in the United States, and two twins.
WL: Are they the ones that are buried out in that north field.
RL: Yeah, out here.
WL: Do you know where that is about?
RL: I know, I should walk up there and see it today.
WL: Were they, the twins, the youngest in the family, or not?
RL: No there was a little brother, American born. (Gideon)
AL: You can still see the mounds up there.
RL: Ted knows the place. He said the other day that we should put a wire fence around it. So the renters know there is something there, you know. There are about five buried there, two Roesler twins, two Kapp twins, and (I) don't know about any others.
WL: Do you have any other recollections about living in Russia?
RL: I know the grandparents, I had three grandparents. We visited them often.
WL: You had three grandparents you said. Because you had your Roesch step grandparents and your Roesler step-grandparents, and your step-father.
RL: We went out to the winery (vineyard) and cut grapes. My grandpa Rott had a winery and vineyard. We went out and cut the grapes in the fall and had the barrels on the wagon. The next day the wine making started, we had to step with our feet. Boy was that tiring, we got tired.
WL: You had to wash your feet I suppose.
RL: About two, three times. -And that was a job!
WL: Did they let the little kids do that too?
RL: No, just me and my sister, that’s all. When the wine was ready, it went down in the cellar; and when we come to grandma’s, she got her dipper out; and we each got a glass of wine. Then was the sweet wood there in the garden.
WL: Tell me about the sweet wood, I don’t understand that.
RL: It was like rhubarb, but not so sour. It had roots like horseradish (sharp stuff). It was sweet though. So we enjoyed it [possibly Diakon, white radish].
RL: Then Christmas came and had three places to go to get the packages (Grandpas and Grandmas. I had a big bargain.
WL: Did you have a Santa Claus?
RL: We had the Belzenikel and another lady that that came along.
RL: A lady came along.
RL: I don’t remember what her name was. (Belzenikel) He was kind of rough, we were afraid for when he was coming. He had a pretty good whip there, for the bad kids.
WL: How did he come, on a sleigh?
RL: Oh, in the house. He walked around from house to house to visit all the kids.
WL: Did you ever find out who it really was?
RL: I don’t know, at that age, we didn’t care. We were glad when he was gone. We didn’t like him so much.
WL: So they actually grew grapes in that area of Russia?
RL: Yes. There was lots out in the hills. Grandpa walked out to hoe the vineyard, my mother’s father, grandpa Rott. He never drove much. Took a little lunch along with him and went all the way out.
WL: What did your father Roesler do?
RL: He was a farmer. Just wheat and corn and stuff, not grapes. He also had some cows and horses. We went out, when they were hoeing the corn; and we were out under the wagon in the shade, the kids. All day. That’s kind of hot days sometimes for us.
WL: Were the younger children, that was Sam, Gideon and Jake. Were they born in this place?
RL: No, Jake was born January 10, 1906 over on the flat at Wittmeiers house. Sam and Gideon were all born here. (Christian Roesler homestead)
WL: Not in this house, but just where this house is.
RL: Yes, just the same homestead. In 1906 we moved here, and we built a two room house. That chicken house over here was part of the old house.
WL: That was your house.
WL: When was that other part of it added on?
RL: It was about 1911 or 1910, that other room.
WL: We call that the stoupe. “Stube” German Spelling.
RL: It had two big rooms then.
WL: So when you got here, you basically had to help your parents on the homestead.
RL: Oh, I helped with what ever I could. I was plowing with the hand plow (walking plow) when I was twelve years old.
WL: When was the first time you met grandpa (Fred Lang)?
RL: I was about thirteen.
WL: Where at?
RL: He was working down south about ten miles. And on Sunday he came by here riding home. His folks were living north of here. He stopped outside; and the kids were out and boys out, and Christina went out and I went out too. Then he had a postcard for me. It had “sweetheart” on it. I didn’t know what sweetheart meant at that time. Nobody talked about sweethearts. I could hardly speak English.
WL: The card was written in English?
RL: Yes. On the outside a rose was on it, and in gold printed it had “sweetheart.” I don’t know what it had on the back of it, and he gave me that card. I put it away, I showed nobody what it was. I don’t know what he gave me that card for. I didn’t even talk to him, the kids were all there.
WL: He was what, seventeen years old at that time?
RL: Yes. And then I thought what in the world did he give me that card for? He must like me or what. I couldn’t figure it out. That’s how it all started.
WL: You were going to a different church weren’t you?
RL: Yes, I had school and church on the flat.
WL: You were going with the Roeslers who were Seventh Day Adventist right.
RL: We had a blind lady (This lady was called “Blind Boss” she was blinded by smallpox.) over here, living by Bill Hoffers. We always took her along and went to church. She got off the buggy as fast as any lady that could see. She’d know the buggy and sit down. She walked over here, two miles from Bill Hoffers place to here. I was about twelve or thirteen years old and I had her by the arm over all those creeks here, and the hills. She never fell on a rock or a stone. I told her, “There was a rock,” and she knew it already. We were singing all the way! She knew the German songs all by heart. I can remember that. She was a nice lady. She was baby-sitting here. That Kapp lived, over the hill here, Jacob Kapps. And she baby-sat for their three children. But the kids listened to her good.
WL: So you met grandpa, when you were about thirteen; and you got married, when you were eighteen years old.
RL: I knew him for five years, before I was married.
WL: I thought maybe you met him in church, but you went to a different church.
RL: He was at the Glueckstal church. [Rural Tappen, North Dakota]
WL: So after you got married, where did you live?
RL: We lived with our grandparents (Karl Langs - parents of Fred Lang) for four years.
WL: Same house or a different house?
RL: Yes a two room house.
WL: Two rooms, so you all were in the same house.
WL: How many other people were there besides you and grandpa (Fred)?
RL: Grandpa Karl and Grandma Elizabeth and just two little children there too. Ted and Leo were born in that house.
WL: You told me a story about going to a wedding in Streeter, and dad was a little boy, and he got into some mud or something like that.
RL: We went to my sister, Christina Rudolph, her wedding was in Streeter. And Ted was not quite three, and Leo was nine months old. It was in April, there was some mud outside in the garden. And Ted always went outside. I had a baby and any slit in the door he was out in the mud. That wedding was in the house too.
WL: Whose house was it in?
RL: Charlie Rudolph Sr.’s house. It was 1919, when she got married. She married Charlie Rudolph Jr.
WL: So he liked to play out in the mud.
RL: In 1920 we moved this little house here, from the Norwegian place to the Lang’s place there. It is still there in the yard. Then we moved over there. Ella was born in that house.
WL: You are talking about the house that is by Isabel Lake now?
RL: No, that was built in 1931. That little house standing there beside the sod house. That we moved in 1919. And then we moved in in June, and Ella was born.
RL: We had no room at that little house. We had two kids there. That crib is still upstairs there. I got that crib from at home, my father made it for Gideon and all those boys. I used it for raising all my own ten children.
WL: So where are they at?
RL: It’s still there at that old house. It is in good shape still.
WL: In that white house up on Gil’s farm?
RL: Yes. Upstairs.
RL: They asked me the other day how many kids were in there. I said, “All mine were in and my brothers and sisters.” Grandpa made it for my little brothers. There was no money spending, like nowadays.
WL: Do you have any questions, Erica, that you can think of?
EW: You talked about your first trip taking off from Russia, and how your family felt. Tell that whole thing; how it was when you left?
RL: And then we had an auction sale. I remember that, everything was sold. And then we stayed over at grandpa’s house, my mother and sister and I. And stepfather went to his folks. And I had a uncle on mother’s side, he couldn’t walk.
EW: Tell what happened to him or why he couldn’t walk…
RL: He had convulsions when he was six weeks old. And then he never stopped (the convulsions) for a long time, and then they got some medicine, and that stopped it (the convulsions). He never could walk in his life. He grew up to 49 years old. And the grandparents took care of him.
WL: He lived in Russia the whole time?
RL: Oh yes. The grandparents took care of him. And when we left night and in the morning, we said goodbye; and we walked down the street; I don’t know how far and he cried so hard. I can still hear him crying. Oh, he cried hard. It was the last time. He had a little dog too. Just a little thing. We always liked to play with it.
EW: What was the dog’s name?
RL: I don’t know, there was no names for dogs then. I don’t know what they called it. And when we touched the bed, he was laying on the floor in the daytime and they hauled him up to his bed at night, the grandparents. We always liked to touch his bed. And that dog, he wouldn’t let you touch the bed. (to tease the dog)
EW: He was his buddy that guy.
RL: Yes. And then we left.
EW: That uncle’s name was Franz Rott Jr., right. I would like to tell kind of, too, what your grandparents names were.
RL: Oh, grandpa was Franz Rott Sr. too. And grandmother was Matilda nee (dut) Rott. And my Roesch grandparents were Magdalena and John Sr. My father was John Jr. too. They were buried in one grave, my grandpa (John Roesch Sr.) and my father(John Jr.). They died three weeks apart. By Ted Lang, June 1898.
WL: In one grave, how could they do that?
RL: They opened it up again to lay him beside. They had one gravestone too. John Jr. and Sr.
WL: You were very young, when your father died though.
RL: I was only six months old.
WL: So people just tell you about it.
RL: I don’t remember him.
WL: You said that when you left Russia. What was the motivation for leaving? Whose idea was it to go? [Addendum by Ted L.: people also left because of evading military duty, Roesler’s family did.]
RL: There was not land enough for living, it was so crowded in Glueckstal and in the village too. So thirty families left at that same time.
WL: On the same boat?
RL: Yes, the same train and the same boat. They all came to America at the same time.
WL: All from the Glueckstal area?
WL: What I don’t understand is that Roesler was a Seventh Day Adventist, but he lived in Glueckstal. I thought all Glueckstal was Lutheran.
RL: Oh, they were all Lutherans; there was no other church. They couldn’t build a church there. There was one church that they married in; they have to go to this church. And one school. And if they go to the other village, then there was somebody at the evangelisch church. They could go there. There was only one church in the village. The Catholics they had only one church; and the Lutherans had one; and the evangelical had one. Different religions, nope. Like now you have four or five churches, what for. There’s only one God, why so many churches. I don’t think it’s right.
RL: And then we went to Germany, by train. We left a little bit before October, from our village and then we went to Germany. We were there eight days.
WL: Do you remember the town?
RL: Berlin I always say.
WL: It can’t be Berlin, because that’s not next to an ocean.
EW: No, dad said which port they left from.
RL: And then we stayed a week there and waited for the ship. The passenger ship had to come. It was over seas. And it came and went in.
WL: But you said, when you were in this town you were in it for about a week?
RL: Eight days we stayed in Germany.
WL: And you got to see all kinds of things.
RL: Yes, we walked around the zoo. We enjoyed it.
WL: Was that the first time you ever were in a big city?
RL: Yes. That was the first time.
WL: Did you see lots of things you had never seen?
RL: Yes I did. We walked everyday all over town.
EW: Did they have a restaurant or something like that?
RL: We had a little eating place, everybody was eating there. All those that went with us. There was everything paid. We paid for the whole trip. Then I took one-hundred Rubel (Russian dollars) from my money from my purse out there. They kept the money in “waisekass” (orphan account) there for us until I was eighteen years old. But they took some out for the trip for me. So I paid my own trip.
EW: That was your estate money, wasn’t it.
RL: Yes, from grandpa. John Roesch Jr. (to be meant as her father’s estate)
Then we went on the boat. I can remember when we walked in. Oh, the band was playing.
EW: It made it a little bit easier.
RL: It was the first time I ever heard something like that in my life. They walked in they closed up; and the ship started going. We were standing on deck and looking and looking. And finally we could see no more land. Only water.
EW: Did you ever get sea sick?
RL: Oh, yes. We got seasick and couldn’t eat anymore. One meal we ate, when we came in; and that was the last, everybody got sick. Everyday, pa took us up to the deck. My sister and me. Mother couldn’t get up. She was too sick. We would stand up and walk around the deck in the sunshine a little bit. Then we saw a whale in the ocean.
WL: You saw a whale. Did you see the water shooting up?
RL: Yes. We looked and looked and looked. Then we suddenly came to the Statue of Liberty. They said that that was the Statue of Liberty up there. And we looked there too. We passed England the southside too. Then we came to New York. And they couldn’t drive the ship in there. They had no ports or anything ready at that time. Nothing to walk out on. They had little boats, and we had to crawl in the boats. And those boats were so loaded, they were just two inches off the water top. I was sitting there. I was so scared. Oh, my. I was so glad to get out of it. Then we went on the train from New York.
WL: Have you ever seen the Statue of Liberty since then?
RL: No, no. That was my first and last time. And then we came to South Dakota.
WL: Was that Ellis Island?
RL: I thought it was the Statue of Liberty, I don’t know.
WL: Ellis Island is right next to that. A lot of people went through there.
WL: How long did the boat trip take?
RL: Eleven days. Grandpa, Fred Lang took the freight; it took fourteen days for him.
EW: See they had a passenger boat, while most rode the freight.
RL: The Langs didn’t want to wait. We waited and took the passenger ship.
WL: But they didn’t leave at the same time?
RL: No, they left two years later.
RL: So you were here on this place before Langs came here.
WL: How did your dad decide that this was the place he wanted to be?
RL: Oh, we had two uncles over on the flat. And there were some homesteads who were still here, homesteading still available. And they went up to Steele in January 1906 and took the rocky hills here. And the Langs came later. Grandpa Karl Lang came up from South Dakota; and Winkler they took their homestead, the Lang homestead in 1908. Then they moved up the next year. But Martha didn’t come up right away, and Fred Lang. They had to work down in South Dakota for another year or two.
WL: To pay off their trip?
RL: Yes. That was the way.
WL: The farming operation here was so much different that I assume than it was in Russia. Were you surprised.
RL: They seeded the flax by the hand too. Russia and here too. Grandpa (Christ Roesler) knows how to seed flax by hand.
AL: I remember you saying that at one time, you came out to this homestead; and you thought what great land. It just looked beautiful. But then you cut the grass down and there were a whole bunch of rocks waiting for you.
AL: Or Mary Zimmerman may have said that. I can’t remember if it was you or Mary.
RL: When we came here, there was always lots of steers eating around here. That rancher had hundreds and hundreds of steers here. He let them roam anywhere. They ran free. He bought them from Texas somewhere, I don’t know. Then he had to fence out our homesteads. He was kind of mad. That was Jasper O. Gilfillan. He was like a cowboy. His father send the cattle from south here, and he got them here over summer, and he sent them back again.
Then we came to South Dakota; and then we stayed a month in South Dakota; my mother had an uncle there. We helped them harvest the corn. Then in November we took the train to Napoleon. And there was no snow. And then she had two uncles in the flat. And there was Mr. Brenneise, he was in town that day, he took us down to the uncle. But they had no room for us. We were five people.
And then your mother’s cousin, Mrs. Wittmeier; she said, “I got a big house, I’ll give you a room.” And she gave us a room for eight months with free rent. And we had a stove here, with manure for firing. A cookstove, mother cooked there. Then in June moved over here. We built a house. Father got four horses, he bought. He was “breaking up” [sod busting] land a month. Got a little wages out of that. And so it went. And we grow up here.
EW: When you first came, you were in the box or buggy trailer, how many nights?
RL: No, we went over to Kapps house for one week. That Kapp (Jacob Kapp) lived there. We stayed with them, and then they built that house, and we moved right in. There was no chimney in that front house. But we had a cookstove outside. We cooked outside a few days, until the chimney was ready.
EW: Well, who was it that came up from South Dakota; and all they had was the wagon in the back.
RL: They put the wagon box over them at night; tipped it over; the children went under; the mother was watching all night.
EW: Who was this?
RL: It was another couple, I don’t know who. I forgot their name.
EW: Oh, I thought it was you.
WL: Your dad actually broke quite a bit of land.
RL: He broke west, thirty acres worked a whole month, digging rocks to get it clean and break it up. When I was fifteen years old then. We worked every day.
WL: Did they not have rocks, where you were in Russia?
RL: No, there were no rocks, it was all clean.
WL: So that was a big disappointment. What is the biggest change that you have seen in your lifetime.
RL: Oh, the winter. The winter was kind of more cold here. We were out of company here too. The first year, I had no school here. And then we started school up north. (by T.L. = School refers to classes held at Christ Kemmet Sr. home (Sod house)). Because nobody could talk English, oh was that hard. Parents couldn’t help us you know. We had to learn everything from the teachers. Then two English girls came, they helped us too. We learned a little bit more at recess. They talked English and we listened and picked up some words. That was the story.
And we lived here and that school house was a mile and a half off from here, northeast. And sometimes in the winter the horses came walking up with the sled alone, to pick us up. They just walked way up by the school house. We had to watch for when they come. If you don’t watch they will go right away home. They don’t stop, they go back home. And one evening we forgot, we could see them coming about a half a mile and they come walking and that evening nobody watched them. They went around the school and right away home. We came out it was too late, they were far going. And we had to walk home that day. I remember that.
WL: You missed the bus! They didn’t honk the horn or anything!
RL: Next time, we watched careful. They come by; the door walking by and you say, “Ho.” And they stopped right away, and we got on the sled and home.
EW: Well did somebody send them or did they just know what time?
RL: Grandpa (Christ Roesler) sent them. Hitched them on and put them on their way. In the morning he drove us up. In the evening the horses came, lots of evening.
EW: Can you believe that!
RL: There was no blizzard. If there was a blizzard, they didn’t sent them up. They walked right on the road, always walking they had the reins pretty tight so they wouldn’t go too fast. We had no school house. School in the Kemmet house. There was a big sod house, Kemmets.
WL: Did the teacher live right by the school?
RL: Yes he boarded there by Kemmets. He was from Dawson.
WL: Do you remember his name?
RL: Robert, I don’t know the other name, he was a young man.
WL: Was there ever a time that your parents felt that they made a mistake by coming here?
RL: Oh, they were very homesick. Oh, my, they were homesick. Sitting here in the prairie and the hills. They were homesick. We kids didn’t mind it so much. Kids, they always have something to do.
WL: Yeah, they adjust easier than the adults do.
RL: When they went to town, that took almost a day with the horses. Then I was the oldest, and I was with the kids. We hoed sometimes and made little dinner.
WL: How often did you go to Napoleon?
RL: Whenever we had some cream. We had to take the cream to town.
WL: And there was no roads, to speak of, were there?
RL: It was just over the hill. No roads.
WL: How long did it take you to get enough cream to go, once a week?
RL: Oh yes, once a week. And then later on when I grew up, the cars came around. The horses were so afraid. I had to haul wheat in. Boy, oh boy, I tell you those horses got scared and run away. Sometime you heard the car; the horses heard it before the car came. And then you get out in the front and hold the horses down. I thought they would run away, I was just young there. We never liked to come across cars on the road, horses didn’t like it either.
WL: In the wintertime, did you go to town once a week too?
RL: Oh yes, we had cream always. It was always bad, because you had to go to town when the cans full. You didn’t like to go so much in the winter.
WL: Yeah, because you had to bundle up.
RL: Oh, not so many went. Only one went in, father. I only went for Christmas and Easter, no other time.
WL: Why did you go to town then, just to do a little shopping.
RL: Oh, get some Easter stuff and Christmas. Kids said, “Ma you go along now, ma you go along.” There would be no Christmas with out nuts and candy. Yes, I went along for Christmas and Easter. One time I and Ted went in. Ted was kind of a boy. I had to pull a tooth. There was man here. And then I had such a bad toothache that I couldn’t go home. I had a lady friend. I went to the house and laid down there. And I had to go home before dark. I said, “Give me a piece of bread.” I took it in my mouth. I put a piece of bread; I bit on it; and the pain left. Then I went to the store that Ted was in, and then we drove home. Everything was good. I was always home for milking time.
WL: After you were done milking in the morning, you had to be back again in the evening. So it was never more than a one day trip. How many cows did you milk?
RL: I had three from at home, and grandpa had five or six. So we had eight or nine cows. Then Margaret got hers. Then we were not having so many.
WL: When you say Margaret got hers you mean…
RL: She got her cows here, and she got married in Washburn.
WL: And they gave some of the cows to her.
RL: In the spring she came and got her cows. I had three cows, and three calves, and another little steer; four sheep, and they each had two lambs. That was my inheritance, dowry.
Then we moved from that house in 1920. Then I got some furniture too, a table and chairs.
WL: How long did Karl and Elizabeth Lang live on the farm?
RL: He died on October 22, 1924.
WL: She died when?
RL: She left in 1928 to Tappen, then she died on January 26, 1937. She lived in Tappen with Margaret, her daughter. Now a Gross.
WL: Margaret was not married at that point?
RL: She married him (Andrew Gross 3-2-16) in Washburn, and they had a store in Tappen. And then she went up there. She had kind of sore feet. Then she went to the doctor, and then she stayed there.
I was so homesick when she left. She was nine years here, no more than nine. When I went out the door I always cried, grandma was gone. I couldn’t look over at the house. That made me sick. She came over every day sitting a while and sewing.
EW: You got along with your mother-in-law pretty good then?
RL: Oh, yes. Four years in that little room there. Here was the bed, and here was the table. Chairs were between; and here was grandpa sitting; and here was grandma; and I there; and there was my trunk in the corner, with my clothes in from home. And grandpa sat in that corner. Four sitting there. We cooked what we liked.
EW: That’s good that it worked out that way.
RL: Oh, yes, it worked out good. She was my doctor, my nurse when the babies were born; and everything went well. She taught me how to raise the children. Oh, yes, I listened to her.
EW: Did she deliver your children?
RL: Oh, yes. I had no doctor. For a long time there was no doctor.
EW: Do you remember anything about when dad (Ted Lang (Theodore)) was born? Was there anything special that happened? Or what do you remember about that?
RL: He was born in Russia.
WL: No, I am talking about my dad, Theodore. Your first son.
RL: Oh, I don’t remember.
WL: What day of the week was it?
RL: I think it was Tuesday he was born.
WL: And he was born in October, so what were you doing that time of the year? (Born 10-17-16)
RL: The men they were out threshing. He was born in the evening about ten o’clock. I can remember all my children when they were born, but Rose I forgot. I didn’t know what time she was born. It must be a special day.
WL: Do you want to go through that list, I am curious. You say that dad was born at ten o’clock at night on a Tuesday. How about Leo? (6-3-18)
RL: Leo was born in the morning, Ella (8-7-20) was born about ten o’clock, before noon, in the morning on a Saturday. They went out headering, grandpa; the barley was so ripe. (Good harvesting weather) I was out headering the day, before Ella was born. Then I hitched the horses in the morning, still hitched the horses. I wasn’t feeling so well. Then I went in the house; then grandma came over; I think grandpa told her to come to check on me. She brought the butter churn with. She wanted me to do it. Every week we made butter, fresh butter. And I said, “No, let me make the bed that’s enough for today.” I knew something was going to happen. And then she was born; she was only skin and bone, oh heavens, only four pounds. Mother said, “I can’t touch her; she’ll fall apart.” And I was fat, I got strong. Everything goes on me. But that was like Ted, he was four pounds; in two months he weighed fourteen pounds; how fast he grew. All my children was small like that. But they were well; they slept and breast feeding them.
EW: Maybe you worked too hard and didn’t eat much.
RL: Oh, yes I worked pretty hard. I would eat so good, and I was gaining weight.
WL: But the kids didn’t get very big anyway. So Ella was born on a Saturday. After Ella was Edwin.
RL: He was born, I don’t know, Friday I think in 1922 (8-18-22), and Reuben was born in 1925 on New Year’s, the new year just came in. We said we got a new year, making a new year. Then Rose (6-9-27) was born. I don’t know which day of the week, June the 9th, 1927. And after Rose, was Adella. She was born in 1929( 4-7-29), that was a Friday. It was the last day of school for the kids. Adella was born the 7th of April. We had forty acres seeded of wheat with the horses in April already. It was a good spring. And Gil was born in 1931, May. It was kind of cold, snowy. It got snowy, after Adella was born in April.
WL: Oh, you had all this wheat, but had snow anyway.
RL: Yes. Then Gil came and Laura was in 1933. Laura was born
on Maundy Thursday, the 13th of April, in the evening. That
was the last day of school again there. I wasn’t up there.
I was waiting for the kids to come home. They had a picnic outside.
I looked always up the hill, to see if they were coming yet.
And then they came, and she was born about seven o’clock
in the evening. And Gertie was the last one, I had a still born.
I feed Gertie (4-25-35) for a year and seven months from the breast. I wanted to make it to two years, but I couldn’t do it. She wouldn’t eat, no. She was so dependent on me. In the night, she would wake me up and everything. I said that’s enough; Ella get her upstairs; and Ella got her up there; and she was crying and crying. I had to hide from her for the first days, I couldn’t come so near to her. She always liked me so much you know, I’ll never forget that.
RL: Then they started leaving. Ted then went to Montana, and Leo to California, and never came back from the beet fields in Montana. Then he went in the army. That was hard time for me.
EW: When did dad leave for the first time, what year?
RL: I think 1936. He went to Washington.
EW: And Gertie was born in 1935, so there was like four years when they were all home at that time.
RL: Then he went to Montana; then he went to Washington(State); he was single at that time. Grandpa Roesler was out there. He hitchhiked with a train. There was lots of hitchhikers at that time. He took only two dollars and fifty cents. He had no money along, but he made it out there Washington to visit them; then he went back home. He was looking for a job then. It was dry years then, dry years. Then he walked in Montana (Hardin, MT), I don’t know where he walked; then he saw a man raking hay in the field there; his name was Jim Kane. And he walked over and talked that he was looking for a job. The man hired him. (Jim was a bachelor and his sisters were spinsters, lived in the same house). There were two sisters home; they were bachelorettes. He worked all fall there. He got forty dollars; but dad took it away, when he come home. He never forgets that.
EW: Why did he take it away?
RL: I thought he saved it; grandpa saved it for him. He gave it to him later, bought a car and everything. Then he come home and heard that rancher had lots of cattle out there, that Jim. They were drinking on the river in the wintertime; and he said, “No I want to stay here; I won’t have no ice here in the wintertime. Maybe the cattle fall down and then it’s my fault, then I go home.” We were so glad, when we go home too. Leo was gone two and a half years.
EW: When did Leo leave?
RL: He went with Otto Graf; went in the car to Montana to work
with the beets for a month. (By Ted Lang 1937 (1st trip), to
Hardin, MT with Matt Rudolph Jr. and Art, Jake, and Rudolph.
1939 (2nd trip to MT)). Then he left for Californiain 1939.
Then the war broke out. And he was all over there. When I woke
up, Leo was on my mind; when I went to sleep, I prayed for him.
And then we went to Montana in August 1945; and there was funeral.
The boy (Emil Neumiller in Yellowstone River 7-22-45) drowned
in Montana, he was seventeen years old, in Fallon MT.
Then we went out on the train, and we came home, and then Leo he had come home in the interim. We came home from the funeral around the house driving around the corner; and he was there brushing his teeth out by the summer kitchen. I cried. I was so happy; I couldn’t hold myself. He was home; he made it through the war. He had hard times too. He had asthma there; and it was so hot down there in the islands in New Guinea, what ever the names was. He couldn’t work. He was always near the water. There was some dark people, they would load the trucks with food and everything. He worked there in the ranches there in California a couple months.
WL: How did you keep track of what was going on? Did you get a newspaper?
RL: We had the German newspaper from Eureka. It was all over the world a little bit.
WL: We got news about the world. And when you got it, how old would it be? Would it be a week old?
RL: It was whenever we would get the mail there in town. Some of the neighbors brought in the mail, but we went in sometimes. In the wintertime, it was kind of a long time.
WL: So like when you had elections, did you vote in elections pretty regularly?
RL: Yes. I didn’t know of the elections the first years, but when the twentieth started elections for the women too. It was 1922.
WL: Do you remember voting for the first time?
RL: Yes, it was kind of a funny thing to do. The women went along for the election in the church knew that there was not a women election there: that was the men’s business, not the women. The women had nothing to say. The man went to put the Christmas tree up, there was no women there. They went up to put the tree up before Christmas, and nobody complained.
WL: Did you think that is the way it should still be?
RL: I don’t know, we were satisfied. Now it is different. The women got the right now. In the first place, they talk now. That’s okay what they do.
WL: So you remember voting for the first time in Women’s suffrage, that’s interesting. What do you remember the most about the twenties?
RL: There was a dry spell too in the twenties.
WL: There was what years were those?
RL: I know one day four calves died of ours. There was kind of a disease going around. We had yearling calves, and four died in one day.
WL: You didn’t have that many to begin with I imagine.
RL: We had six calves all winter eating rye straw, and they made it.
And the thirties (1934), the government bought our cattle. Twenty dollars a piece in those dry years. Every calf got twenty dollars and a cow got twenty dollars, and we had some rented out to a neighbor. They were keeping them for share. He didn’t take good care of them, so we sold everything for twenty dollars that time. At home, we sold as much as we could, we had to milk the cows. And that winter we had there. Those cows were going. Some they killed on the farm, some calves. Grandpa said, “No calves will be killed on my farm. Take them where you want them, not here on my place.” They took them away; I don’t know where they went. Some butchered some steers too.
WL: The government bought them.
RL: Yes. Government business. So we cleaned out a little bit. It went on.
WL: Did a lot of people you know in the thirties pack up and leave?
RL: Margaret and Andrew: they left in the thirties ; they went to California.
WL: Were you tempted to do that too?
RL: No, we never thought about much about that. Neumillers left in Spring 1929, John and Aunt Martha (Lang) Newmiller. They went to Montana too. They (Andrew and Margaret Gross) went there, and they got a restaurant right away, and Gross got good business.
WL: In California?
RL: Yes, he was pretty good here in the store too. People liked him. He was a jolly man. He could dance around, and whistle, and he liked to make the people laugh. He liked that. And so it was.
In 1959, Gross always wrote to dad that we should come to California. It’s not such a hard winter there, and we would like it. And then we start out. We took the train to California. It was a nice Christmas.
EW: What year.
RL: 1959. And then…
WL: Didn’t Gil buy a new car that year? No, that was in 1960; he bought a new car, and took you out in that new car.
RL: And then we stayed there over Christmas, January; and then Gross said, “You should buy a house here.” I said, “No we have a house in North Dakota.” We’ll go back anyway in April; we won’t stay. It was summer in California, we got no business there. Then talked and talked, and dad liked it. He wanted to buy the little house there. “Buy it, if you want it; I go back anyway,” I said. We went back.
Gil was alone you know. It was summer here, was not for him. He was out on the field; and there was no cook or nothing, so we went back. Five summers, we went back to North Dakota. Then the last when I was sixty-five, our golden wedding was. And then dad didn’t feel so good. And then I said, “We’ll go back.” “Oh I don’t think you can take me back anymore,” he said. “Oh yes, we got a house there,” I said, “We’re going.” I asked the doctor too. He said, “Yes we can go.” So we went back again. The next year 1966, we came back for good. He was so down; he didn’t eat much; and I was afraid. Then he lived eight more years. I could’ve stayed but I was afraid; he would die so quick. Then I had trouble to sell the house for myself.
WL: Where at now?
RL: In California, Galt. He didn’t care anymore. He said
nothing, do what you want. Then I told the neighbors, “What
am I going to do? We are going back to North Dakota with my
children.” Then the neighbor said, “You go over
to the printing office and get a “sale by owner”
sign.” And when Monday’s over we got that paper,
it was about ten inches long; and I took it in the garage.
I didn’t tell dad right away. And Wednesday was that big sale in Galt; every Wednesday there was a big sale going on. We lived just by the road; and in the morning I said, “I got a paper [sign] for selling the house. I am going to put it out today, there were lots of people driving by; and they’ll see it.” Then I went over to the sale first, and came home, and put the paper out.
It was an hour out, the real-estate man stopped. He asked,
“Do you want real-estate?” I said, “No.”
He said, “I buy it from you.” I said, “No.
We are going to leave it out a week.” I sold it by the
owner. And then I told the neighbor ladies that, “I was
going to sell the house, and I will be going.” And then
a lady, she knew we were going, was interested.
She wanted a house in town; they lived in the country. And then they told her boy. Then one weekend, they came on Friday, that young man and his wife; she was from Bismarck. And they liked the yard, and she liked the house; they had a big girl there. And right away they had the money too. So we went up to the bank next Monday and signed the papers.
And then I told Lydia Kolb, “You better look, we’re going to North Dakota.” That was in August then. And we drove with the cars; somebody drove the cars. There was a man Fischer; he lived in Lodi. He got land and Ashley here. Every year he went out here for harvesting. And then he said, “Yeah, I take riders along.” And we got a ride, I think it cost us $60.00. His name was Fischer, and he came to North Dakota. And I told them here that we were coming. And then we stopped at Bismarck. He said, “We stopping at the saloon.”
I said, “No, we stop at my daughters place. Maybe she got a can of beer.” And then we stopped at Gertie’s. She came out, and I said, “Do you have a can of beer?” It was kind of funny. “Go ahead and drink it,” I said to Fischer. And we went along to Napoleon. And Gertie said, “There’s no room, the hotel is full. Oh, take your suitcases.” I said, “No, no I don’t want to.” At that time that Wentz had the motel (apartments), the owner. He was from Bismarck. He was out selling papers that week, and his wife was baby-sitting. And Gertie called down to them; she knew he was there in Bismarck; Mae was her name. And she said, “Yes, Pete is coming home Saturday; we’ll see what he knows.” And Pete came home and said, “Yes there is a couple moving out today.” In the apartment in Napoleon. And we could move in.
EW: The present apartment that you are in now?
RL: Yes. And he said, “We should go down and see it.” I said, “I didn’t want to see it. We are just going; I don’t care what it is.” I didn’t want to stay too long in Bismarck there. And Sunday there, Bert took us down. The Lord helped us all the way. I was up praying day and night. I needed help.
WL: Are there any events from when your kids were growing up that was special, something traumatic or something really happy?
RL: There were lots of them. Like when we had Edwin, that sick boy for nine years. That was a big event. And he died of heart disease too.
WL: He was sickly pretty much the whole time.
RL: Yes. At six months he got sick. He got it from his teeth. I don’t know what it was. The doctor said when that his teeth started too fast. I don’t know. But his mind was good.
EW: Do you think he could have had fever from his teeth that caused it?
RL: He kind of had a cough, a cough a little bit. He had bad asthma. It was kind of a bad fever. I took the him to the doctor in May, but he didn’t do much, Mr. Simon.
WL: Mr. Simon was the doctor. You had him for many, many years.
RL: Oh, yes many years. He was a good doctor too; he was a good man.
RL: Ella got her hand hurt, you know. She was two years old, not quite. He fixed it all up, that Doctor Simon.
WL: Any other things you remember happening.
RL: Then there was the dry years; there then the kids started moving out. Ted got married. Leo got married then, and then Ella got married.
WL: I am thinking when the kids were really little, did they get into stuff or what kind of things did they do?
RL: Oh, they had to make anything like that wagon there with the goat on, you know. We have a picture of it. Leo made the harness. The wagon was metal, that was made already. We had the house ready; we had the money in the banks, and all the banks closed. The Napoleon Bank closed; the Streeter Bank closed; we had a little money for the house.
The neighbor came over one evening and said, “The Napoleon Bank closed, there was two banks in Napoleon, and the Streeter one closed today.” We had little money for the house. We was sitting a while, then grandpa said, “Well, we’re still young. We don’t have to worry about it. Go to bed.” And our bank wasn’t closed. Thank the Lord. Then we built the house in 1931.
WL: So you were able to get your money out.
EW: Where did you bank, in Napoleon?
RL: Yes. There were two banks there in Napoleon, but ours didn’t close. We had about $3,000.00 in there.
WL: So that is what you built your house with. The one that is up at Lake Isabel.
RL: Yes. Then the house was ready. They had lights put in; we had a motor for the lights, a generator. And then we had the lights already on; we weren’t moved in yet. And then Edwin died. Sometimes the kids showed him the lights in the evening; he wasn’t so very happy about it. But then he died. Everything was broke down. I sent for a bed away, Sears Roebuck, single bed for him. It wasn’t here. It came after the funeral. I think it is still up there in the house. A single bed you know for him. So that was kind of sad. Then we had to cheer up again.
EW: What month was this?
RL: The funeral was the 30th of September.
And Grandpa Lang (Karl Lang) died in October, 1924. He had kidney trouble. He didn’t go to the doctor right away, and then it got too far. He was only 68 years old.
EW: Grandma Lang (Elizabeth) died how old?
RL: She was 82. She never had a dentist or anything visit, or an eye doctor. She could see the last years without glasses. When they bought her glasses; they just put them on; and if they fit good, that’s the right one, they took it and go home.
EW: Did she crochet or anything?
RL: Oh, yes. She made little rugs. She had a big garden and everything. She was always busy, chickens, making Easter eggs. (geese eggs)
EW: You always had a pretty nice garden too. You had strawberries I know. We got to pick some once in awhile.
RL: Oh, yes.
WL: Do you remember early in the mornings, when you would walk down and you would walk down to where Gil had some cattle, in the pasture down here. And you had this kind of thing made of gunny sacks and put oil on it for the flies. You would walk down, when the sun came up at four or five o’clock in the morning.
RL: When the sun was up, I would get up. I wouldn’t get up before the sun would get up. I liked to lay, in the morning. It feels so good in the morning, I tell you. The longer you lay the better it is!
WL: You would come down with some kind of oil deal, and you would put oil on.
RL: With a can, we would put it on the gunny sacks and for the cows.
WL: What was that supposed to do?
RL: Oh, they (the cattle) rubbed (on it) and walked underneath it, for the flies. The flies were so bad.
EW: Then you always brought us that black licorice that hard licorice, in your schurz (apron); you always had it.
RL: I can’t remember that. Otherwise when I was baby-sitting, it brought you up a little bit. Stayed over evening or day at my house, you know.
WL: Do you remember the first time you saw a radio?
RL: It was over at Rosie (Rosa) (married to John) Hoffer’s. We went over there in the evening to listen.
WL: Was that something amazing to you?
RL: It was something funny. We listened like… We couldn’t understand much, but we listened. That was the first time. I don’t know the first television that I saw.
RL: So I have lived for twenty-one years in Napoleon now. So many, Mr. Ahler came over, and had to shake my hand, and said, “You shouldn’t have so many friends.” I said, “No, they are all gone.” There are so many that died in those twenty years, I can’t believe it. All my friends ladies and ... I got some new one’s now. I won’t run out it looks like!
WL: Were a lot of your relatives in Streeter?
RL: Yes. They were living around here. Mother’s uncles, two older she had. When we moved to Wittmeiers, we had nothing. No food, nothing. So Uncle brought one-hundred pounds of flour and some bags of dried beans, a paper sack, and some peas. We always cooked dried peas and dried beans. And some neighbors brought some ham and potatoes to cook. Wittmeiers gave some potatoes, if they had enough.
And father went out and helped the people fill the upstairs hay. All winter. But I don’t know how much he got. A dollar maybe, I don’t know. There was no wages at that time.
WL: Do you remember going to Salt Lake?
RL: Later on. We drove up there with the car.
WL: You never went with horses there?
RL: Oh yes, onetime we did. Maybe a couple of times, not too much.
WL: When would you do it, on Sundays?
RL: Yes, only on Sundays.
EW: Did you go swimming?
RL: Go up there on the water and took some lunch along, picnic. The kids walked around; they had to walk, we would watch them a little bit.
WL: Were there a lot of people over there at the time?
RL: Oh, yes, it was pretty good, settled all around. Come from all over the place. We had to drive home early, milk the cows again.
WL: Darn cows. You always had to go home, because of them.
RL: Yes, the chickens and things, geese and ducks. One year I had forty geese and sixty ducks that I raised. And Ted said one day that they plucked the geese alive. I said I never heard that thing. Their feathers get ripe, you know in the summer. Then we pick them when they get ripe. We never picked them when they were alive. No, no, bloody; we didn’t kill them. We picked them about two times. And they loose their feathers in the summer time; they molt. And then we picked them. I had never heard of the thing, where you pick them while they are still alive. Shocked me.
EW: But they did do that?
RL: Just the ripe ones on the bottom of the rump, just right on the bottom not the whole feathers. They loose them anyway. Grandma knew this from in Russia. Then she put the geese in, and we picked them.
EW: I never heard that either.
RL: Oh, yes. You have to learn, too, til you’re 90 years old. Then we lived here until 1974, when grandpa died; and now I am alone. Thirteen years alone in June. And the kids are all over. Over in Switzerland, I have a granddaughter. “Come over grandma,” she said. I said, “No, no.”
WL: You should to surprise her; just go over there and surprise her.
RL: No, that’s okay. I won’t go over the ocean in an airplane.
WL: You have never flown in an airplane.
RL: I don’t care for it. “We got a place on the ground,” grandpa said, “we got room here.” So I go to Bismarck to visit them a little. One time, I went to California all alone too on a bus. When dad was dead a year, after a year. Oh, thirteen states I went to. Went to visit Mary Wiegand, and Dora and Bill. Then I was in Wyoming and California. That was life. It was well so far; I can be thankful. I can walk wherever I want. Eat too.
EW: How did they have Christmas programs up at this Glueckstal. They had lots of kids; and they would sing.
RL: Yeah, they did.
EW: When did you get your first organ for the Glueckstal church and stuff like that for the church?
RL: For Glueckstal that was in, I don’t know what year, I was married for a couple of years. And grandma Lang she always wanted an organ. We had no organ. And she said, “I’ll give five dollars.” And all of us pitched in and they bought an organ. And a couple of years later, she always wanted a bell. And she started with five dollars again. That was Grandma Elizabeth Lang. And then they bought the bell, it is still up there. They won’t sell it, they say. You could hear it on Sunday morning and we went out early and hear the bell ringing. It was down on the farm. If we had that bell in Napoleon that would be a thing. She has got a better tune than any bell they have ever had. When the Napoleon bell rang, you could hardly hear it.
EW: Well, maybe they should move it into Napoleon.
RL: I don’t know if they can get someone to move it.
EW: They should take that bell and preserve it somehow.
RL: It would be unusable, it would be a souvenir. It would be something for Napoleon. I suppose that’s the end until I die.
BREAK IN DIAL:OGUE
WL: Everybody talks about the 1966 blizzard.
RL: And it was a big blizzard, when we were in California in 1966. That was before we came home that next summer. We got five letters in one day, from North Dakota. I had a good lady friend. Marie, she had no children, she said, “What are your children writing?” I said, “They got a big blizzard in North Dakota. They called it cattle killer.” I listened to the radio in the evening, and they said that North Dakota got a “cattle killer.” I didn’t know what they meant. But later I found out. It was a big blizzard. Marie always asked what my children would write.
WL: Where were you the winter of 1936?
RL: We were at home. We had hay and everything. We had lots of fuel; we never drove to town to get coal that winter. Some people were out of coal that winter, but there was a little left. The house got cold; in August we put coal in the basement. Then when we got to town to get coal. They always got coal when they got back. We never had trouble, no, because we put the coals in the basement. We had enough for all winter. It was left over. We had some manure and some wood. We never saved no fuel. It was there all the time. We had two thousand pounds of flour upstairs. You could bake what you want.
WL: How about the summer of 1936. It was really hot too, wasn’t it.
RL: Yes, it was. But we made it. The turkeys made it too. They would’ve died if we didn’t put them in the shade, and made them wet, and so they made it. And Reuben was watching the cattle, he had the hardest time, what in the world. He had said, “The days were so long, he couldn’t believe it.” And it was ten o’clock, and he was eating dinner already. Edward Gums comes driving by and, Reuben had no clock you know, and he said, “What time?” He said, “Ten o’clock.” “I ate dinner already,” he said. He couldn’t pass the time.
I was watching the sheep too, when I was about fourteen years old. Down here, there were the sheep. Then I lay down; I could sleep in the sun. I had my bonnet on and by the stone I slept. I woke up, and the sheep were gone, and I walked home for dinner. They always went home too, because it got so hot, you know. They wanted to get in the shade and water.
WL: Do you remember when they drilled the first well on this place.
RL: They didn’t drill any. We dug it by hand down here.
WL: How far was that from here?
RL: I could walk down.
WL: How deep was it?
RL: It was about twenty feet maybe.
WL: And you had to haul and carry the water up by hand.
RL: Yes. Then one day we had a pump down there. Just for the house we used it. It was kind of better water. It was kind of lakey water down there. That water is still there. there is a little house isn’t it?
WL: Dad put one in again many, many years later. Is that the one you used for cattle?
RL: Yes. It wasn’t real good water though. And the Langs, when they moved up there (to their homestead), there was no well. It was so deep. And then they brought the horses sometimes down to the Roeslers, and the cows when it was nice days. Let them drink here. Margaret Gross, when she was like thirteen years old. They (The Langs) had no well.
That one winter was a hard winter. There was a lot of snow, and the cow wasn’t out of the barn that whole winter. Everyday she carried three pails of water and hay to the barn for that cow. She worked hard, and she was ninety years old in January. She is still living. Addendum (The Langs had their first drilled well on Lang Homestead in 1913.)
WL: So who dug the well here first?
RL: Oh, grandpa Roesler.
WL: What year was that?
RL: 1906 we came here. (Hand dug well, 8 ft. deep)
WL: How about the one that was out here?
RL: Oh, Ted built it. They dug it up. (Ted Lang moved on the Christian Roesler homestead in 1941.)
WL: Or is that where Jake Zimmerman lived, and he made the first punched/drilled well (99 feet) on the Christ Roesler Homestead in 1937.
RL: He didn’t dig no well. Maybe he did, I don’t know. We only had one well, until I got married. That’s all I know.
WL: The only well you ever had was that one down there, (By Roeslers). Later a second well was dug 25 ft. deep.
RL: Yes. Two wells were hand dug before I was married. You
know, one day the folks were gone, gone a couple of days (they
were in Jamestown); and I woke up and got water for cooking.
And Grandpa Roesler came in and tasted the water. The water
is not good anymore he said. We have to clean the well. He went
down and took the water out, nice and cleaned out.
There was some gophers in it! He smelled it, and the water wasn’t good. Then he cleaned it out, and then the water was good again. I will never forget that. They fall in by the side. And they never could get out. But grandpa noticed right away; he said we had to clean the well; the water is not good. You could smell it and taste it.
We drank so much tea. We cooked it always; Postum we drank too.
EW: Postum. That’s that old coffee, you can still get it.
RL: No, it is in a big box and made of oats and wheat and everything.
WL: You can get it, I have seen it in Grand Forks.
RL: I was raised up on that and my kids too. If you cook it good, it really has good taste. But you have to cook it a long time, longer than coffee. The more you cook it the better it tastes. It is kind of healthy too. I think it is better than coffee. Some people say that coffee is not good, some say that it is good. Oh, they make the coffee like tea now, there’s no difference. You can drink it all you like. Years ago they made good coffee, that “sagory” (chicory): German pronunciation was as said, it was kind of dark. It had a good taste.
EW: What was that made out of?
RL: It was coffee and that sagory (chicory) was kind of darker. It was kind of pressed together and different. It had good taste. There was a long red rose, (on the package) like this. Round (tube) like a broom stick handle. Then we had some that was wrapped in silver, it had a foil or like a cake.
Grandma, Elizabeth Lang, when she cooked the coffee, she put lots of coffee in, so it got strong too. She never wanted stale coffee. She wouldn’t drink the stuff like you drink now, no, no. It is too weak. Too weak, it doesn’t even smell like coffee. She wanted coffee with cream and sugar; it all tasted good.
She got eighty-two years old. We had a Bible reading every morning, and we prayed.
EW: It didn’t help to worry either.
RL: Put your trust in the Lord, what else can you do. Do your work and live day by day. Sunday was Sunday. There was no baking and things like that. It was Sunday. Only milk the cows.
WL: Do you remember celebrating the Fourth of July ever?
RL: Oh, yes. We went to Streeter. When I was home, there was no Fourth of July celebrating out at (the Roeslers) our folks. When I was married, Grandpa Fred liked the Fourth of July. And then we sometimes went to Napoleon or Streeter or whatever.
WL: You would load all the kids up.
RL: And then the last years, there was bigger ones, kids. And it was a long day for me with the little kids you know, two years and four years old. I said, “You go, I’ll stay home. Take the big ones along and go wherever you want.” Then I stayed home and was patching, sitting in the shade outside in the summer kitchen. Zimmermans drove by one day; and they said, “She made a good deal, she was all day home sitting in the shade, and they were out in the sun.” Years ago, there was not that much shade in the town. Not trees like there is now. The children got tired. And so I kept two or three home and the others left; I sent them away.
WL: Did Roesler, your step-father, go to the Lutheran church in Russia?
RL: Oh, yes.
WL: But he turned Seventh Day Adventist, when he came here.
RL: His ma had an uncle; and he went to this church. She had an uncle that was Lutheran too. But he started that here. About ten years I went to the Advent Church, when I was married. Well, I said too, my grandparents were Lutheran, everybody so I went to Lutheran for all the years. Ma was always Lutheran too, she said. She knew how her parents were, all their lives. But grandpa liked that so much, she gave in. They never had any fights. Not like nowadays. The parents now make so many fights. You never heard about divorce either. I never said to my parents, never wonder what divorce was.
WL: Do you remember the first people you knew that got a divorce? Do you remember who that was?
RL: No, I’d have to think pretty hard.
WL: Is there anything that you remember about my dad, Theodore Lang, that, when he was a little kid, what he was like?
RL: Oh, he was like a running kid. He was into everything.
He thought he knew everything. Too much learning and learning.
Like when Myrle (son of Theodore and Louise Lang) was little,
they lived in the house over there for a year, I think. And
Louise always washed clothes in my basement. There was the stove
and a washing machine and she took the clothes over (to our
house) and Myrle was inside. (Ted’s house) (Addendum:
The Fred and Rose house and the Ted and Louise house were about
500 feet apart.)
One morning it was October or April, there was some snow. And she left Myrle inside, closed the door; and he had no shoes on. And when she was over, in the basement; he went out without shoes in the snow. Come running over to our house. I looked out and I said, “Ella, Myrle is coming there. He’s barefoot.” Take a blanket and then Louise went home through basement route (door). She got home; Myrle wasn’t there. No, he is in here, came running barefoot through the snow. He wasn’t freezing. He wanted to go to my place. He was already there (he had been there before and wanted to visit Grandma) you know.
And that one died you know, Wesley. That summer was kind of a hot summer too. And I said she can bring him up; I baby-sit for him. It was too hard for her out in the field. With the baby out there all day, you know. He was nine months old. And then she brought him up. One week here and one week took him to Grandma Gums. And that one week that he died; he was at Grandma Gums. I took him always over to the house. There were no flies; and he went to sleep. And when he was awake in the summer kitchen, he was kind of scared, when he woke up in the house, and looked around, and everything was so empty. Nobody was there. I had to watch for him when he woke up; he got scared over there.
WL: Were all your kids good students in school?
RL: Oh yes. A’s and B’s. There was correspondence school. Rose went three years correspondence. She would have been valedictorian, but she didn’t go to school. And the last year, she went to Tappen; she graduated. And Reuben went two years correspondence. Graduated from Napoleon High School.
WL: What would you do different if you had a chance to live your life over again?
RL: I think, I don’t know. I did whatever I knew; Grandma taught me so much. I did the best I could, but maybe there were some changes. I don’t know. But the kids listened pretty good. Grandpa only said it once. They never got a licking. One time, dad (Ted) got a licking.
WL: What for?
RL: He (Ted) didn’t lock (close) the barn good, and the young horses got in. They got into the wheat box. The oat box. They were in the barn eating so much oats.
WL: Did they get sick then?
RL: No, but grandpa told them to go to the barn and he ignored it. And grandpa went out ahead, with a little belt. I don’t know what kind of belt he had, a stick or what. And he was walking behind, and he would hit him; dad (Ted) you know. And I went out and said, “That’s enough.” Then he stopped. I don’t know if he was crying or what he did. I can remember that so good. I told him (Ted), and he remembers it too. It was kind of grown up a little. “That’s enough,” I said.
We always had a belt behind the door, but we never used it. Then we had the grandchildren for six weeks, Laura’s children. She went to Valley City, when we came back from California. She always wanted to go to more college in the summer time. And she had those four children, you know. She taught a couple of years. And that summer I said, “Bring them down to the farm. I will keep them.” And then she brought them down Sunday, and to Valley City she went. And Friday evening she would pick them up, and took them home.
And then, Jerry was eight years old and Rhonda was seven. They went down to your place sometimes, you should remember that? And Jimmy, I kept at home; and Joyce was only two and a half. And then I laid, down and Joyce slept always good. And I said, “Lay down, Jimmy too.” And I laid down with him; and he said, “Oh, I’m not sleepy.” “Lay, just lay quiet,” I said. Then he fell asleep. I got up and did my work, and then he woke up after about three o’clock or so, and he went outside. “What do you want outside,” I asked. “Well, I am gonna go look around.”
He went out, and the dog was laying somewhere around the corner
there of the house. The dog was a good dog. But I don’t
know what he did to him. Jimmy must have touched him or something.
The dogwas sleeping. And the dog got up on him. He barked, like
the dog was crazy. It was a big dog. I was sitting in the front
house, and I hurried and opened the door right away. And I came
out and he (the dog) was sitting right by the house, and Jimmy
was down with the face in the ground, and he was sitting on
top of him and barking; he could have bit his ears off or anything.
For heaven sakes. I could have got a heart attack. I told him to leave. He went down with the tail down and just nicely walked off. It was Friday. Then I could see a little mark here from the dog’s nails where the dog held on. His nose was bleeding a little bit too. And then I got him up and washed him off nice. Then Laura came in the evening and took them home. But that was a miracle that the dog didn’t bite, but he was so mad. He never said what he did; hit him or what. He made him mad. We never had a dog that was bad with the kids. They always go around, good. But that was the hardest job for me.
There were so many things that happened, when they (other children)
went out to their grandpa’s places. So many things. Car
accidents happen in the summertime. All over the country. And
that one time, Dora, I don’t know, was she four years
old. Gil came down with his horse, Daisy. He left the horse
outside, and he went inside. And Dora went out and on the horse.
And the horse jogged right home; Daisy went home with her. Galloping
like crazy, she went.
And Dora cried and cried. I was still outside. Then I see Daisy coming over the hill, I looked, (Dora) she’s on there, and Dora is crying. Then I stopped it, but she wouldn’t stop. She went around the well and stopped there. Then I got her down. Then Myrle and Gil came running and yelled after her. They came out, and the horse was going. And she had a sore foot, Dora. It was so bad; skin ripped off. I don’t know what she had in the foot after that. She told me that after. She can remember that, yes I can remember that. Right she said.
WL: Do you remember when Ella lost her finger in that grinder?
RL: It was a Saturday. We had that hired boy for a few days, Jake Lang. And he always was going when we ground the wheat and oats for the horses; he always went so far and stood up on that thing there. Then one Saturday, it was a Saturday I know. And grandpa was grinding oats and barley. And I had my bread to bake in the house. I let her out, and Ella was not quite three. I looked over, and she walked over there; and I said to grandpa, “Take her back away from there.” I should have took her in. It was a nice May day. And grandpa put her back, and he went in the shed. She walked there and she touched that thing. The horses went around, and she cut her finger there. A little more, she could have lost her whole arm. Then the holiday was over.
WL: Did you have to take her to the doctor?
RL: Oh, yes right away. Hitch the horse and the buggy. Went over to grandma and she did something, about, she knows something and she did it. Wrapped it up so the pain left a little. Then I took her on the lap and went down in the buggy. The baby, Edwin, we left home, he was nine months old. We went to Doctor Simon, and he dressed it, and he said you bring her back tomorrow. She’ll have to stay a week here in town; they had to dress it everyday. And grandma went in with her and stayed a week with the Sam Langs. Then they walked over in the morning with that Doctor Simon you know; she was only three years old. She didn’t like to go in the morning to the doctor, she knows. Maybe something going on wrong there. Then that healed it. That was kind of a shock.
WL: I remember Reuben telling about a time, when he got bit by a horse in the ear. He was going up into the hay mound. Do you remember anything about that?
RL: I heard that but I forgot that. It was little to me. Leo fell down once from there. There was that cleaning mill, down there, standing there, and he walks upstairs here, and here was that thing to clean the wheat, that rolling thing, what do you call it? And he fall down. And he got a little mark here on the head. He still has it, I can remember that. He was three or four years old.
BREAK IN DIAL:OGUE
RL: There was still water in the tanks, somwtimes they were part near empty. Sit and put their feet in. When I went out to the field; and Ella stayed home, she was the oldest. (She was told) Take them kids away there. And Ruben was in there once. He slipped and fell down, there was not that much water in. He got up and he said, “Am I drowned!” I said, “No, you are still living.” He got up quick then. He can remember that too. He fell in the tank a little and went up. I’m not drowning. And we drove to town sometimes, he was kind of naughty too. He went to the roof of the barn, to the top. And walked from end to end. And Zimmermans were headering one day and said, “Dad must not be home. Reuben is on the roof today.” I couldn’t watch them all, you know. I was inside with the other ones. I was getting other things done. They got some naughty things done.
And one time grandpa went to town, and he left over the hill, and Adella walked on the road up there. And I came out; and I said, “Where’s Adella.” “I don’t know, she’s not here.” “What in the world! We have to look for her,” I said. Gramdma (Elizabeth) said, “Look in the tank.” I said, “I don’t go in the tank.” I walked up the road. I thought maybe she was up the road. Then she (Adella) walked up and went west over the hill there. She wanted to go after grandpa; he went to town. But I found her. It was kind of hard, when somebody was lost. That really got on your mind. You look and look. Those are all the little things that went on.
BREAK IN DIAL:OGUE
RL: Edwin liked school, however it was too hard (his health problems), too much for him.
WL: Was he able to do any work at all or was he just too weak?
RL: He was outside. When we built the house, before he died. He picked (gathered up) all the nails up. The crooked nails. All kinds. He had gallon pails, all different, sort them all out. Everyday he went there, sometimes (we said), "go away there". He picked all the nails, that was his business there. Maybe they drove him around with the wagon in the yard. He couldn’t walk so much.
WL: Edwin actually had a heart condition?
RL: It came with his teeth. It was kind of a sickness. We should have brought him to the doctor right away there. It was in the wintertime. He was a weak and kind of sick.
WL: Who was he most like? If you had to compare him. Was he most like my dad or like Leo.
RL: He was like Leo. He was kind of quiet. He liked that I always was in the house all day. He didn’t leave the house. Like sewing day, he was ready for that. I was with him. That’s the way it went. When we were gone, the kids took him out with the wagon and drove him around. He knew the kids; when we went to town, he would boss the kids. You have to that; you have to do that. What we told him he remembered; he mentioned it to the kids. What they have to do, when we were gone.
WL: He knew that he could get attention?
RL: “I am like a duck,” he said. “When I go out I see everything.” When the ducks went off the nest they run around the yard, you know. His mind was good. And in the night he woke up. A couple of nights when the wind came from the east and changed the weather. His cough was worse. Got so hot; he took the covers off. Then we had to get up and cover him up again. Grandpa said one time, “I don’t know in how many months; it was the first night that he didn’t get up.” He got up every night, sometimes a couple of times.
His care took priority, hhen he wanted something, we first went to him, the baby would cry in the back. We first settled his business.
WL: Could you say he was a little spoiled or not?
RL: I don’t think so; he was not too much. He needed attention too. But he was not spoiled. He was in the hospital for three weeks, when he had the measles.
WL: He survived that okay though?
RL: Yes. He was all swollen up we took him to the hospital, and the measles came out and Grandpa was down there with him a little bit. And then the doctor said he filled up again, from drinking so much water and stuff. Sometime, he was kind of sad. “I shouldn’t drink so much water,” he said. So we had pity with him, the most pity. It was hard.
END OF DIAL:OGUE
Addendum to page 38 Regarding the wells, by Ted Lang, son of Rose (Roesch) Lang September 12, 2000.
There were 2 hand-dug wells. One was dug in 1906 and it was 8 ft. deep. The second well was dug in teens years approximately in 1912, and it was 25 ft. deep; and it was in this well, where the gophers were found.