"The Old Oaken Bucket"

Johnny Schmidt: Son of a Dakota Pioneer

By B. A. Bose

Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, North Dakota, 2002, 250 pages, softcover

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to publish this wonderful story including three sketches in color, Johnny Schmidt: Son of a Dakota Pioneer. Our appreciation is extended to Omar F. Bose, son of the author, B.A. Bose, for editing the manuscript and allowing this heartwarming life story to be published by GRHC.

The Böse (Boese) and twenty-five other families left the village of Heinrichsdorf in the province of Volhynia, West Ukraine, arriving in the United States in 1874. This group of German Mennonites then came to Yankton, Dakota Territory in September, 1874. These new immigrants field claims in Bon Homme County, northwest of Springfield.

The Introduction states: "Grandfather Benjamin Böse was born on April 22, 1817, and he died at heinrichsdorf on November 9, 1866, eight years before Grandmother Marie (Schmidt) Böse with her five sons and four daughters migrated to America. Grandmother dies in Bon Homme County in February, 1889, having endured the hardships of pioneer life as she kept house for her youngest son Abraham, the father of the writer of these lines and of the series of sketches for which this will serve as something of historical background."

Omar F. Bose, son of the author, writes in the Editor's Note: To any family member it is clear that Johnny was Ben himself. And the family name Schmidt refers to the Boese family. Apparently Dad could not bring himself to write in the first person singular. Perhaps he felt that it would be showing too much vanity, and that would never do. Reading these stories years later, I see them as reflecting Dad's personality, in some ways apologizing for his shortcomings, but yet sincerely trying to convey to his children and his grandchildren some of the events and some of the color of growing up in a pioneer family."

Some of the sections in the book, B.A. Bose shares include: Johnny Schmidt's childhood; being born in a log house; his mother; religion; emphasis on frugality; dealing with Indian neighbors; learning to read; learning High German; blizzards; country wedding; Christmas; Easter Days; the dry years; the cream separator; politics; dog's life on the farm; raising calves and colts; catching gophers; picking potato bugs; a trip to the Hutterite Colony; Johnny the "Rooshian;" growing up on the farm; horsepower threshing; first automobiles; the telephone; radio beginnings; prairie fires; a farm elevator; boarding school; graduation at Freeman, SD; discipline problems; and wedding in 1911.

"The Homestead"
"Harvest Scene"

Related Articles:

Review of the book by Edna Boardman

Johnny Schmidt: Son of a Dakota Pioneer

$25 plus Shipping & Handling

Currently Out of Print

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