Book review by Marie (Tandeski) Delizonna, San Jose, California
Knalson, Eddie. The Farm at Pony Gulch: Michael and Anna Sophia (Witt) Baier Come to America and Homestead in North Dakota 1883-1926. Fargo, North Dakota: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, 2012.
The Farm at Pony Gulch is a fascinating account of the life of Michael and Anna Sophia Baier from 1882-1926.
The author, Eddie Kralson, tells the family story thru personal memories, a family diary, and an oral interview.
The story begins with the Baier family leaving Bessarabia, Russia-their journey to South Dakota and eventually homesteading at Poly Gulch Township near Harvey, North Dakota.
If you were born German-Russian on the prairies; this story feels like your family story: the ardous task of building their first home by cutting bricks of virgin sod, breaking the sod for farming, having numerous children and the pain of burying a few; butchering using everything but the squeal and bawl, gardening and canning. In addition to these jobs, coping with capricious weather, loneliness and homesickness for family and friends left behind in Russia.
As time goes on the Bairs, like many immigrants, chose different paths, professions and become contributing citizens of their new country.
At the end of the book is a bibliography, genealogy, and as a bonus special German-Russian recipes for the reader to try.
Do add this interesting book to your library.