12/10/2013 (1910)

Reply from Vance Bailey’s Wife Doreen and his daughter Dayna:  Tempe, AZ
Thank you so much for reprinting Dad’s posting. As a child I listened to his stories, however we never took the time to collect them. To my regret… His last writings was on 12/21/07 within hours of his untimely death (at 1:00 AM. 12/22/007).   On that day he said he had so much more to write about, he had planned to do several more entries.
I thoroughly enjoyed my vacations with my parents when we would travel to Dunseith in the summer for the class reunion and to catalog the cemeteries in the surrounding areas.
Dad had always wanted to move back to his home town, much to the displeasure of Doreen and I. We knew we would not be able to stand the winters!
 He told me when I was young that he would be buried there and that he would design a cash machine (ATM) graveside so that I would come to North Dakota to visit his grave! His dry humor and wit is something that I inherited from him and needless to say it gets me in  trouble to this day! 
Doreen and I miss Dad every day. It is wonderful to know that others think of him. He was a Great Man, Teacher, Friend And Father.
Once again thanks for the repost. Doreen and I enjoy reading the posts we feel closer to him when someone re-posts…. If that makes any sense. 
I can type no more due to the tears falling on my iPad… Thanks Again!
Vance’s daughter Dayna Lee Bailey (Rasor) and wife Doreen Bailey
Vance Bailey,
Reply from Dick Johnson (’66):  Dunseith, ND
Gary and Friends,

Vance Bailey’s memories are truly historical treasure for sure!
Many of the places and situations he described are right on the money.
He spoke of Jule Waldron,  the City Deputy.  When John Boguslawski and I
hauled a bunch of boxes to the dump ground from under the temporary
typing room over the bleachers in the old school,  I found a box or old
papers and letters that were dated way back 30-40 years earlier.  I kept
the boxes just to see what was in them and I found a letter from Jule
Waldron to the city of Dunseith applying for the job of deputy.  I still
have the letter somewhere in another box.  There were also a couple
notes from parents explaining why their kids had missed school.  I have
those notes too as well as other interesting papers that were just going
to be burned.  This was the same clean-out were I got the old leather
DHS football helmet and the band uniform which I also kept.  I got all
this stuff about 47 years ago in 1966.  Who is old now?  Vance also made
mention of Spencer Teal (46) in one of his comments. I’ll attach a
picture of Spencer Teal and LaRose Ketterling and the newspaper article
about his death in ’66 on Mt. Fuji, Japan in a plane crash.  Gary,
thanks for rerunning these early postings.  It will definitely stir some
interest and some more memories.

Mr. Ben Grossman
Reply from Allen Richard (’65):  Midland, MI.

To Dennis Dubois—– I too enjoyed Ben Grossman.  Fact is I never would have gone into education if not for him — and the fact that I learned to stop in my tracks when he would boom one of his “Ben-isms”  like:  “Richard — you are cruisin’ for a bruisin!” or “you’re in for a long drop on a short rope!”
I was honored when he stopped to visit me when I was teaching in Dunseith — but equally un-nerved when he decide to sit through one of my classes!
Wood burning and cutting Memories
From Vickie Metcalfe (’70):  Bottineau, ND

Gary and friends,


Wood and Tree……


I recall wood as a primary source of heat and energy in our Turtle Mountain home.


In early years, about February or March evenings Dad would sharpen the axe or a saw. The next few weeks, after the cows were fed and morning chores completed, he’d go into the woods, with his team of horses.


He would chop or saw trees and windfall. With the horses aid, hitch, snag the tree, load it into the sled and haul home to the yard before the frost left the ground in spring.


Dad estimated what was needed to heat the home and cook stove through the next year.  He also planned for fence posts.


Through the spring and summer, breezes  “cured” and dried the wood in the long pile. Now and again, one would see a wee mouse scampering into the wood or be startled by Mr. Snake’s slithering.


In later years, a “circular saw was placed on the front of the aged green John Deere tractor.  A “crew” sawed the logs. The sturdy smaller diameter oak into fence posts and the others for heat.


In earlier years, before Mr. Jackson’s passing, Dad too, called upon “One Eyed Jackson,” a well known  the sawyer from West Highway #43 . Dad would drive the winding dusty highway into Bottineau County to a house on the S. side of the highway.


Jackson’s big saw could saw hardwood tree logs from end to end into building lumber.


The sawyer needed alert, strong, and able-bodied men to assist pushing the logs through.  This most dangerous job was not for someone not quite awake. The smaller pieces would be sawed into manageable pieces of wood to be split.


In those days, many neighbors would work together at one place then another.  It was quite common for us on mom’s direction when setting the table to look out a window, see someone else joining in the work. “Count to see how many places to set.” And  mom always prepared extra!  No one was sent away hungry.


Maybe a neighbor had shown up to lend a hand. I could be one of the Petersons, Bill, Duane, or Jack.  Or Art Seim, Carroll Carlson, Emil Morin, a Smith, or  perhaps longtime hired men, Alcide Lajimodiere, Alvin Nelson or Robert Gunville.


When Jackson or the green John Deere tractor’s job was done and pulled away. There was a “HUGE” pile of wood.


Dad, then contacted the best wood splitters he knew.  They were, two eldest sons of good neighbors and friends, John and Helen Gunville’s, Jerry and Bobby.


Jerry and Bobby Gunville would come early in the cool mornings and split wood all day long. It seemed they had boundless energy and rhythm as they worked.


Of course, for all those hard workers;  choring,  sawing or splitting wood each was well fed.


Our mother after the morning’s milking chores, breakfast, and washing cream separator began preparing food.

Mom, cooked on a combination wood electric stove.  She’d peel a kettle of potatoes, clean vegetables, prepare meat balls and gravy or  a pork or beef roast in the oven  and serve with homemade bread. Then, She’d bring out cake  or pie she’d baked the evening before.


The workers would have morning coffee, dinner, afternoon coffee, and supper.  I know it was the same if one would go to any one of the neighbors homes.


And of course, we, the daughters of the family, were the resident dishwashers, water and wood carriers, come winter, arriving home from school would change into warm chore clothes, and go to the wood pile fetch wood to be placed in the wood box and carry water for the livestock.


It seemed that was the way of farm living in the Turtle Mountain Hills. Winter_. Spring__. Fall___. Winter__.


Wood and “Tree of Life” in the hills of home where I once grew.


Thanks for the memory,

Chrismas Letter “The Magic of Christmas”
From Erling Landsverk (’44): King, WI.
Hi Gary and Everyone:
Igt is nearly Christmas and I have some thoughts I wish to share with you and all my friends on your blog. I have it  attached (Pasted below) since I have placed it in our Veterans monthly Courier.

The magic of Christmas


            Christmas is truly magic. It enables all of us to see, feel and comprehend how our creator wants us to live and act during the year, and throughout our entire lives. It is a simple and wondrous life style. Simple rules consisting of basic behavior that allows Christmas to work its magic year around if only we could bring ourselves to do so.

About this time of year, when the magic birthday (Christmas) is drawing near, folks seem to change into innocent and benevolent children. People smile at one another, are prone to help each other, are concerned for each others welfare, and happiness. The love for our neighbor is demonstrated with generosity and expressed with happy and sincere actions of good will. Of course, we all know or have known the Ebenezer scrooge type. Remember the Bah, Hum bug phrase? Generally speaking, those folks secretly look forward to Christmas, but maybe, just maybe they would rather receive than give. Then again, I hope I am wrong. I like to think they will become like the old, loveable and crochetey Ebenezer on Christmas morning. The remarkable change from a stingy and gruff merchant to a happy, loving and generous citizen over night. That is the magic, I believe, was the aim of the story that Charles dickens portrayed so very well in his delightful “A Christmas carol”.


            Our friends here in Wisconsin along  with all our Christian friends across this great land, celebrate the greatest event of all. The promise of eternal life in a place filled with happiness, brought about by the birth of Jesus, who was born in a humble stable signifying that all who believed and wish to, could inherit the kingdom of Heaven and eternal life. I called it magic. It isn’t magic, but it is God’s Way of showing us a better way of life. Welcoming everyone, even those who reject Him at times. It is a wonderful time in spiritual magic that we experience every year. Remember Christmas Eve in WW I, German and allied troops stopped fighting and joined each other singing traditional Christmas songs. That was the hand of God showing a better way to Peace.


Erling Landsverk

1933 Letter written by Susan Fassett’s Maternal Grandmother, Mrs. G. Watkins.
Posted by Susan Fassett (’65): s Spearfish, SD


S ANYONE WRITE LETTERS ANYMORE (letters from the past)

When I was a young girl in school they still taught “penmanship”  and how to construct a proper letter.    Now children hardly know what a letter is and phone calls are giving way to texting and social media.   No one will know the sound of a loved ones voice who lives far away.   No one will be able to write in “cursive”.    The following are letters that my ancestors wrote back and forth to each other.   My mother wrote her mother and others every week and let them know what was going on in the family.   I miss that and I hope you all do too.


The following letter was written by my maternal grandmother to her husband.     She was in the Turtle Mts north of Dunseith ND and he must have had to take a job to make ends meet.   He was in Beach ND which isn’t far in these modern times , but in 1933 it must have seemed like a million miles away.   Glen was her second husband and she had two little girls,   my mom, Irene and my aunt Lenore.   Here is the first letter:

Stamped with a three cent stamp and postmarked October 30, 1933.   Adressed to Mr Glen Watkins , Beach ND, c/o F.O.Smith Co  and return address is Mrs G Watkins, Dunseith ND.


Dunseith, N.D.

Sunday 9:30

October 29th, 1933

My Darling Glen,

Got the two cards that were mailed at Alexander yesterday.  Have gotten all the cards and both letters.  Thanks for writing so often.  Sure glad to get them.  Glad you are well.  We are just fine.  but lonesome for you.

Mailed a letter to you the 23rd addressed it to Trotters, N.D.  Had written a little every once in a While since you left.  So it was a fat letter.  Suppose I’ll get it back if you do not stop there. put return on it. Ernest has been here all the time(her brother).  The barn is all finished and in good shape. 

Edgar(Gunderson), Elvin(Haagenson), Willard(Haagenson), Roy(Watkins) and Ernest(Amundson) were the ones at the  Bee.  Rather a temperance bunch.  Roy and Ernest had beer for a week after.  They done a lot of work tho.

Star is getting along all right.  both spavins came out.  Ernest used him a cuple days ago.  he is a little stiff yet and his legs are swollen, but I think its not bad for the shape he was in.  both horses have picked up a little.

The Girls were up to Roys today.  Charles came up on Billie.  He asked if he could come and work for his board and go to school when the weather gets bad.  He had a chance to work at John Deese but they are going away now so thats that.  I told Charles he was welcome to stay soon as we get a room more.

He took the cattle down.  The Girls finally decided to trade Gogles for Tuesday.  So will have Ernest & Roy get her soon.  She will not be fresh yet for a mo.

Sue said just so we have something milking when these go dry.  They are holding up good yet.  Guess we will have to butcher patches, because Erma is getting quite a belly on her.  Would not want to butcher her if she will be coming fresh. 

We went to the school program friday evening With Roys’ folks’ .  The program was very good, all the children sure enjoyed it.  us allso.  After the program we took all the children up home. I stayed with them while Helen & Roy went to the dance.  The dance got good they said.  Florence had quite a time keeping some of the boys from fighting .  She even cried.  We stayed at home all night.  Then Helen & I came down and done the chores while Roy and Ernest helped Dad plaster his barn.  They got it all done.  Dad sure was glad.

Ben Christianson had a opperartion for appendicitus.  he was awfully sick after, did not expect him to live but he is recovering now.  Its over two weeks since he was opperated on

The new neighbors on Chick’s sure are some whirlwinds.  They have built a chicken coop, a barn and a sheep shed.  Tomorrow they are going to start on the house.  they use the chicken house to live in.  The old man and wife stay up here.  the young man and wife live in town.  The old folks are going back to the lake soon as they get the house so the young folks can move in.

Helen and I called on the old lady today for the first time.  The young woman was there.  They are very friendly and east to get aquainted with.  But very plain spoken.  They are from Mo. can tell by their talk.  “over yonder'” fyar for fire, “going to get shet of the rooster”  Helen and I allmost got the giggles.  They have a boy and two girls.

When old man Graham put the run on Archie he made the old lady get out also.  She has been staying at Bonnie’s ever since.  Roy came home and rented the farm from the old man and started plowing. “but he has no contract”  Roy thot his mother would come home.  but she refused to go said enough was enough. 

The old man said he gave her ten dollars.  Just as if that was a fortune.  Heard he is not so gay.  He thot that she would come back and stay at home.  He was mad because he went to , too many church doings.  But he is bugs anyway.  Never thot him quite  so bad.

Sue  said brother Sam has lost the place. but can stay on it for two years with out paying taxes or interest.  Sure to bad for anyone to loose their home and especially when one gets up in years.

We are going down to the girls to huch and shell corn one day this week then they are going to take it to old man Myers and to get it ground so we will all have cornmeal.

Sue spoke to him for some whole wheat for breakfast food.  He sells it at a dollar a hundred.  We are to get 50 lbs so that will help on the flour.  Its sure good Sue gave us some of what they had gotten. 

The snyders are cutting the fence and leaving the gates open as usual.   Roy caught Solomon and gave him a talking to, but he never uttered a word.  Our cows do not wander far.  And Phelps herd theirs.

Mr Phelps said he would educate them when he gets the woven wire fence up if they do any dirt.

We have had three more storms the first one was the 20th.  But today it thawed a lot.  its warm tonight,  a nother day like this and it will all be gone here.

Do not worry about home sweetheart.  You must not worry, your work is hard enough.  We are fine and every thing is O.K.  Do not hurt yourself.  remember you have a home.

Am trying to get the sewing done, so I’ll have a lot of time with you, when you come home.

The children are getting along in school fine.  They were going to write to you But they played so hard with Carol and Jeannine on the hill today.  They made a snow man big as my self.  They were all soaked.  Murl is saying a lot of things now.  She is fat as a pig.

The folks all said to greet you.  Mother has washed your mittens and is going to line them.

Now take good care of yourself for me.  I love you with all my heart.  its  bed time.

Have not overslept yet.  Wake up every morning when you do.  “Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts”

God bless you.  I hope you get this letter or the other one.  Will write soon again.

Your Loving Wife



Monday 8:15 A.M.  Its a beautiful day never froze last night.  so there will not be much snow to night.

Good luck, love from all


Blog posted January 4, 2008


Posted on 
Thanks to my cousin Neola, Carol (Watkins) (46) & Emery Carbonneau’s Daughter-in-Law Sari is now receiving these messages and will pass this stuff on to Carol & Emery. Thank you Shari.
Shari Carbonneau’s reply to Neola Kofoid Garbe
Thanks for the messages about Dunseith. Charlie’s mom was telling us
about her visit with Vance and how the next day or so he passed away.
She really enjoys the news of Dunseith. I printed off your message and
will mail it to her. She doesn’t have or use the computer so if you
wouldn’t mind sending me new messages, I would print them and send them
to her. She said it is so interesting what each person remembers.
Thanks, Neola.

shari.carbonneau @k12.sd.us

Shari Carbonneau’s 2nd Reply to Neola:
Thanks for adding me to the “List.” I know Carol will enjoy many of the messages. She spoke to Vance Bailey on the telephone quite often. I know she was feeling the loss of a good friend. I don’t have an alias. I became Shari when my brother, Marvin, married a Sharon. He married before I did, so there were two Sharon Monsons. Enjoy the New Year.
Bob Hosmer’s (56) Reply:
Hi Gary and all,
Since seeing my brother Bill’s accounts, cousin Collette’s accounts and Bonnie Awalt Houle’s recollections, I guess I should share some things, too.
I remember the Conroy’s, I remember when they moved to town and Mr. Conroy became the superintendent at the school. I enjoyed visiting the Conroy home. It seemed like Don’s Mom, Florence was always baking bread or some delicious smelling bake goods on the old wood cooking stove on the north wall of their kitchen. She always had a smile for everyone and, for me, was one of the best teachers I ever had in my grade school years. She took her work as a serious calling.
Chuming around with Don was also a treat. Both of us had BB-guns. Mine was a lever-action Red Rider brand and Don’s was, to me at least, a very sleek pup-action model that shot more acurately than mine and wished deeply that I had one like his. Oh well, we had fun setting up cans and bottles and shooting them off a stand.
The Conroy’s had a large garden and I would see Don’s dad working in it in the evenings. I think a lot of the garden was dedicated to potatoes. I remember helping one late afternoon dabbing some sort of solution on the undersides of the leaves to kill aphids, I think.
There are a lot of other memories of my years in Dunseith, but I’ll have to leave that for another time. Really enjoy hearing the stories you all are submitting. Your memores toggle others in my mind, that’s for sure.
Bob Hosmer
Allen Richard’s (65) reply to Mel Kuhn (70):.


Marvin was Mel and Virgil’s dad. He, Cliff Nerpel, David Bergen, Jim Birkland, Mark Schimetz, Dad and I shingled our 40X80 Quonset in 1968—We did it from 5:00 am til 11:00. would have been done sooner, but it rained for an hour. That was back in the day when roofers used real hammers. I was back at the farm last summer-same shingles–no leaks!
Virgil worked for us one summer and had a close encounter of the enlightening kind—-big thunderstorm went through. Dad and Virgil were welding a cultivator hitch. Close lightning strike. Virgil had his foot on a large piece of metal when it hit.
Was the shock heard across the farm–to his credit, Virgil did not use any profanity! He had a sore leg for several weeks. Did quite a dance as I recall.
Message from Shirley LaRocque (59):
Hey Gary thanks for all the memories. I have enjoyed everyone of them. I read some of them to my brother Garry LaRocque. I remember working at the Crystal cafe.Yes when the Canadians came to Dunseith to go thru customs. I do remember the bakery and the red owl grocery store. Thanks again Shirley LaRocque Wendt Seattle .
Message from Ron Longie (65)
Gary, In reading the batch of Emails forwarded, when I read the one about sister Rose and the moth balls it was dejavu all over again. I was an alter boy when Father Wolff was the priest in Dunseith, on certain Sundays we would serve a mass at the sisters chapel, and sister Rose my O my how iremember her. 

The Crystal cafe was another place as a kid, holds many memories for me we would go there after school and load the pop machine then sit down in the basement and we would indulge in a (Soda) or two I was, and still am a big fan of rootbeer.

I also remember going over to Mark Anderson’s house, and spend time at there store helping them dust and doing chores so I could get Mom a pair of salt/pepper shakers she liked. Life was so simple then, many times I wished I had never left to be able to stay in Dunseith and finish school but my folks wouldn’t let me stay with my uncle Verlin and aut Stella.

I often wonder what it would have been like to graduate with a small class that you started in the first grade with and went all the way through school together. I graduated with 884 in my class basically just a number not much one on one. I would have liked to finish with Pete, Clifford, Raphel, John A ,John B and Warren would have been fun.. I am thinking of going back to Dunseith this summer to stay in touch. I hope everyone has a great New Year, and until we talk again I remain as always———– Ronnie Longie



Bill Hosmer’s (48) Reply to kenny Nerpel (65):

Kenny. I certainly remember Alice Metcalf. She struck me as being a
beautiful woman by any measure. I was working (getting in the way) and
she paid attention to me during the course of the work day. I last saw
her at the Lodge Restaurant at Lake Metigoshe in the eightees. On
another matter, I flew F-105s and F-100s during the Vietnam mess. What
Corps Area were you operating in? The F-105s were used against targets
in North Vietnam, and the Huns were fragged against Laos targets and in
close air support of the guys really fighting the war in South Vietnam.
Never checked out in the F-4, I was a single seat, single engine purist
my whole 24 years in the AF. The picture made me remember that hotel as
far back as when Charlie Watkins managed it, before the Grassmans did.
Yes, time passes on fast. Good to read your input. Cheers, Bill




Deb Morniville’s reply:

Dear Gary,

Even more memories!! This is keeping my brain buzzing and at my age I think it’s a good thing.
First, Rhonda (Rose) I am the one who mentioned Sister Rose’s store and the mothballs. The memory of that smell is so strong! But what fun!
Dave Slyter and Mel Kuhn I sure remember partying with you two rascals! When we were seniors in HS we could always find a party couldn’t we? Those days have been long gone for me! I quit smoking and drinking and using drugs about 26 or 27 years ago. I found Jesus! Yep. I’m one of “those” BAC – born again Christians. It;s great! I have been married to the same man, Kenny, for 28 years and have 4 grown children and 3 soon to be 4 grandchildren! And BTW where were you two last July for the big reunion? It was a total blast. It would have been nice to see you guys.
Ken Nerpal Remember me? We partied too! And drank a LOT of beer. I remember Iver Lo too. They lived across the street from us and had a daughter named Sonya. We were friends but never stayed in touch. And you poor deprived “country boys” You may not have gotten to see much (Colette) but I went out with few of you boys and you had no trouble finding the “udders”!!!!
Does anyone remember the Cubans that came to Dunseith during the 60′s We had a girl in our class named Angelina Parlady. Her Dad was a doctor up and the San, I think. Would be nice to find them, too
Deb Morinville Marmon ’70
Message from Mel Kuhn (70):
We have another Dunseith hillbilly living over here in St. John by the name of Johnny Hanson, if you remember him. He and a few other friends are helping keep the old days alive with their horse drawn wagons and sleighs. They go out and have many a wild time with trail rides through the hills and as far away as Rolette. In my spare time I still like to do some welding and building and have welded things back together for them after a maybe too wild of a time. I’ve also built them from scracth a wagon and forecart[spelling ?]. Yes Kenny, Marvin Kuhn was my dad. He passed away about 4 years ago now. Gordie Nerpel was in my graduating class. Dave, those Tickle Pink girls were great weren’t they. One of their members Shelly Fulsebakke, married to Mike Albertson lives over here. Their daughter Heather has just an amazing voice.
Mel Kuhn[70]
PS. We have onother old codger from the Dunseith area living here also, by the name of Ike Hiatt, if you remember him. (EVon Lagerquist, Ike would be your first degee uncle being a brother to your mother, Leola Hiatt Lagerquist) I saw Ike, in July 2004, at my mothers funeral.
Message from Dave Slyter (70)
Hi folks: 

Rhonda didn’t mention all the other names we use to call her at home. lol ha ha Just kidding sis.

Love you:

Dave : )