Recording history
Message from Gary Metcalfe (57) Forsyth, MO

Hi all, Recording history……I really think that the people who produced The Dunseith history book, Prairie Past and Mt. Memories, are to be commended. As we get older, some of us tend to want to know some facts about the last 100 years or so. A discerning reader down the road say 50 years, are going to say, “who are these Gottbrecht’s” for example. Was the old man, William, a good man? It just so happens that my dad told me that William was the guy who cared enough to guarantee their job in a very depressing time. William agreed to buy the load of wood they hauled every day from up in the hills, if they could not sell it otherwise. Some of the town rascals were stealing the bones and selling them back to William the next day and I think he thought they needed spending money. (buying buffalo bones was just another one of William’s enterprises).

Then came Dale. Most everyone knew Dale. I was pretty young when I went to work for him. I filled a big diesel truck with gas by mistake. Dale just told Alex to get a couple fifty gallon barrels and drain the tanks….no reprimand what so ever. The next season I was going to move on, Dale said to me, “I will give you what my top man makes” that was Getzlaff! He was around Dale’s for many years after I was. I don’t think Dale had a high school education, but I never saw anybody that went out of their way to match wits with him either.


Then came young George. He has probably given more to the city of Dunseith than any of them and his story needs to be written. It is not in the book, but could be in the blog.


That is 125 years of payroll and sweat, what a legacy. The book will show you that Dale built the south end of town in about ten years, 1951 to 1961, not bad for a guy with not much formal education. In those 10 years Dale built a gas station, motel, first class restraunt, a gravel operation and also a cattle feeding operation.


I saw how Dale dealt with Rose Belgarde when she needed fuel delivered on a Sunday in the winter. He told her, “pay when you can”, he bought fence posts from old Bud Miller, a hard drinking blind man…….those were the days.


Writing the history book they have let us pick up on things like Dale’s first job was with Arnold Lilleby. I am sure Dale learned a great deal from Lilleby, he was a top notch businessman as far as I could tell. By the way Arnold Lilleby’s daughter said a lot in a few words, “Casey and Margy Sign were the best”. I agree, 40 years of being good to kids, especially during the depression. Arnold was the guy who told one of the city fathers, ” I am not mad and don’t say I am mad”. A no nonsense guy for sure. Maybe some of you did not know that the Althea Theater was Arnold Lilleby’s to me. Leonard Cote must have bought it from him.


My dad had some alfalfa hay contracts with the San, Arnold and his right hand man, George Atchinson were up at our farm baling hay with the old wire tie baler.


When Don Martell asked about Rising Sun and that group, I thought about the area where they lived, it was covered with cinders. I think Bud Baker’s dad probably wanted to keep the Chief out of the mud. Baker hauled coal from town to the San for thirty years, I am sure. Those litttle green coal trucks went from our place to the San like bees, a load of chopped alfalfa to the San, a load of cinders back to the farm. Those cinders kept us out of the border gumbo….or mud! Gary Metcalfe
Jim McCoy’s (62) motor bike
From Dick Johnson (68): Dunseith, ND.
Gary and Friends,

Today I just happened to meet up with Jim McCoy at the drive-in in
Dunseith. I mentioned my memory of the bicycle he had with the washing
machine motor and the washing machine roller that ran against the back
tire to make it go. He stood there and stared at me and then said, “Man,
that was in the late ’50s. How did you remember that?” I was very
impressed, so it must have stuck in my mind. He said he couldn’t yet
weld so he made up the mounting brackets and had Orphela Robert weld it
together. I remember he had to reach back for some reason when he took
off. Today he told me that he had a lever that would lift the roller up
off the tire so that he could start out by peddling and then drop the
turning roller on the tire. Pretty inventive for a young kid! And to top
it off—-he still has the bike! Thanks Gary!


Bertha Meyers Memories
From Mark Schimetz (70): Rolette, ND.

A comment to Lola’s remembrance of Berta Meyers and the card game. Stella recall’s one particular game. While playing the cards, Fr. Wolf played a card that confused Berta,,,Berta looks at Fr. Wolf, and says, to Fr. Wolf.,, Now wat da heel did you play dat got dam ting for? in her Norwegian brogue. Fr. Wolf rolled his eyes and head and just laughed. Earl and Berta were such nice people. I know Dad thought a lot of Bertha, they were good friends, Mom , Mary and Francis at one time or another. worked at Rosie’s Café I remember the milk shakes, and Dime Pancakes, that nearly over ran the plates. On one occasion a Fiddler walked in and started playing. Rosie’s café was a common stop on Sundays after church for our family.


We caught heck one day at Meyers house, we was up in the tree picking crabapples, Earl didn’t want us up there, thinking we might break some branches, We promised not to break the branches, and he let it go. We were careful with the tree cause we really like those crabapples, and happy Earl let us be there with only that one stipulation, don’t break the branches. We were probably all about 6 or 7 years old, just exploring the town. there was always lots of fun things to do in Dunseith those days, Didn’t need internet, game cubes or other eye blinding stuff,, We had baseball bats, footballs and croquet hammers and balls and the Willow creek to swim, tube it, and BB guns, later rifles we would show off just out the the Shop at the south side of the Jr. high school side of the Dunseith High School. We only watched, TV when it was too hot or cold to be out for long. Comic books from Shelvers Drug Store, we would buy the outdated ones with out the cover, for a nickel, instead of a quarter. The Shelvers would let us stand there and look and read some of the new releases as long as we were careful. TV Favorites, were Combat with Vic Morrow and Rick Jason, Paladin and Marshal Dillion, Of course if Dad was home and Lawrence Welk was on we were in the basement, with road racing sets, comics and Louis Lamoure’s books, even the Dime Novels, I saved a copy that Dad had, it was all about the great out doors and Adventures we sought after.
Burn Barrel memories
From Dick Johnson (68): Dunseith, ND.
Gary and Friends,

Diane Larson Sjol’s memories of the garbage burn barrels brings to
mind the rest of the story. Johnnie Myer was the dray man for the city
and with this came a rather unpleasant side job—hauling the trash to
the dump ground. I still remember Carmen Myer and Jay Vanorny loading
the barrels, and sometimes the contents with a scoop shovel, of the
barrels that were too burned out– and then hauling the mess to the dump
on the back of an old red Dodge truck. This was usually a Saturday job
for them, as I recall. There were burn barrels behind nearly every house
and business in town. I particularly remember the barrel behind Marie’s
Beauty Shop. She used to use lots of hair spray! I walked or rode my
bike past the barrel every day on my way uptown. As kids, we were always
checking everything out and Marie’s barrel was no exception. We would
stop and spray the last of the hairspray out of the cans—I became
quite a judge of which hairspray was the best smelling. My favorite was
Helene Curtis, it had a sweet smell and little after taste. I guess
nowadays they call it huffing, but I never got a buzz—and only minor
brain damage, I think.

Larry Hackman’s (66) Granddaughter: Bismarck, ND


I have to introduce my newest Grandchild to everyone.

She is a peanut.

Is going to be 5 months old in about a week.

They say she has grandpas curly hair.

I checked, I have all mine yet.

Larry Hackman

Larry, She is beautiful! I can see why Grandpa is proud. Gary
Construction in the Philippines.
Folks, We are currently in the process of adding an addition to our house (22′ X 40′). I thought I’d share several pictures with how they mix and pour cement here in the PI. The mixing is all done by hand. They use buckets to transport the cement. Our house is 300′ feet from the road, so all the materials are off loaded on the road and then carried to our house. The sand and gravel are placed in empty cement bags and then carried to our place. Each man can transport about 1.5 Cubic Meters of sand and Gravel from the road to our house in an eight hour day. The slippers (shoes) these guys are wearing are standard foot wear for all of the locals here in the PI. I pay these guys a little more than than they get else where. The labors get $5.00/day and the guy working the cement gets $6.00/day. Gary