Review by Geraldine Walth Sommer, Mesa, Arizona
Tweton, D. Jerome and Everett C. Albers. The Way it Was: The North Dakota Frontier Experience: Germans from Russia Settlers. Fessenden, North Dakota: Grass Roots Press, 1999.
The Germans from Russia Settlers by Everett C. Albers and D. Jerome Tweton is a collection of short stories by the pioneer Germans from Russia who settled in North Dakota. Each one of the individual stories gives insight to the hardiness of our ancestors. When they arrived in the Dakota Territory, they had many obstacles, such a language barriers to overcome. This is probably one reason why they tended to settle where they had other friends or relatives living. As they came onto the open prairies they had to find shelter for the first winter. Many only had time to dig a pit and turn their wagon upside down over the pit and use this as their shelter until they could build a sod hut and barns for their animals. First they had to clear the land of many large bolders and then break the ground for planting. Many of them could not afford more then the crudest of farm equipment but they all had a kinship for one another and were willing to help one another to build their barns and houses and churches.
Each story carries the same theme of love of their land, home, church and willingness to put in long hours to attain this.