St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ice Fishing has Started!

Mr Moore from Centuria caught a few small northern on the Lake yesterday.  He tells me the ice is 4 inches thick already and that there were signs a person had been out a day or two earlier.  The wind was raw, the ice very slick, and he retreated to his car to watch the tip-ups.  He says he has been fishing here since his childhood with his father--just the very early season before the big lakes freeze over where the fishing is better.  

You can read about my early fishing on this lake too at this link:  The Rambler's Ice Fishing

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Robert Anderson of Trade Lake WI

An old friend of mine, Robert Anderson of Trade Lake, WI passed away today after a battle with liver cancer.

I met Robert when he came with Lester Bergstrom's portable sawmill to cut the logs Dad and Grandpa had cut during the winter.  I got to know him better when we both worked at Stokely's, he driving a bean truck, and I running a bean picker--the field crew folks.

In the past 10 years I got re-acquainted with Robert as we both shared an interest in local history.  Robert and Stanley Selin have done a great deal of research on the Trade Lake area, much of which we used in the books, Stories of the Trade River Valley I and II

Robert took on a project to restore and maintain the Trade Lake Mission Church.  Thanks to him and his friends, the church was re-roofed, repaired, heated, and continues to have a few services each year.

From the facebook site of the Mission Church:

   We are deeply saddened today to learn of the death of Robert W. Anderson. He passed away peacefully , early this morning, his family at his side. Services will be held on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at the Swedish Mission Church with visitation starting at 1:00 and services at 2:30.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chinese Scroll 1910 Uncle Eddie Paulson

Update:  Translation of scroll from Chinese friend:

  I am not sure about the small black characters either.   Guess that your Great Uncle's Chinese name be Bao Der-Jiao.   In Chinese, the name was written respectfully as Bao (Mr.)  Der-Jiao.  Also, wonder that there are more characters that were torn out at the bottom.   The large characters " “Believe and be joined together with Jesus” might not be a complete phrase.   It could be  “Believing and joining together with Jesus (gains eternal life)” - just my speculation. 

 I’m not sure about the small characters on the right, but it has something to do with Mr. Bao and either “moral lessons” or “German lessons.”  

In cleaning at Mom's house, we came across a small suitcase labeled E. M. Paulson.  Edwin Marion Paulson was grandma Hannah Paulson Hanson's brother.   He was known to us as the missionary to China who visited once a year from his home in Wesley IA.  

Uncle Eddie was the educated person in the family.  He went to college in the late 1800s, and became a school teacher.  In 1902, feeling the need for adventure and the wish to act on his Christian beliefs, he volunteered to be a teacher in China for missionary children--to teach an 8-grade school in Ping Ling.  

He went to China in 1903, stayed for 7 years returning in 1910 and took some more college classes and became a college professor in a religious college.  When it folded in the Great Depression, he and his wife, Grace Skow, moved to her family's farm in Wesley, Iowa, where lived and passed away in their late 80s (about 1970).  

The suitcase holds some items he brought back with him from China in 1910.  Some silk clothes, some photos, some nick-knacks including an opium pipe and a few assorted items including a pair of shoes for a woman with bound feet. 

The first item I am trying to decipher is a torn scroll.  Photos included for my friends to help me translate. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Alberta C Hanson-- Memorial

Mom's quilts were utilitarian rather than fancywork and her boys were the work crew. 
Alberta Hanson's funeral is Thursday, Nov 7th, at the Trade River Evangelical Free Church on Hwy 87 about 8 miles south of Grantsburg.  Visitation begins at 4 pm, services at 5 and lunch following.  

We put together a booklet on Mom with some photo and a little history.  You can read it at the link below.  Transferring it to the internet seems to have lost a little of the resolution for some photos. 

Alberta C Hanson booklet link     

We spent the days since October 25, when she died, cleaning, organizing and distributing things from the farm house.  It was a good way to reminisce and keep busy with my brothers and wives and some nieces and nephews.  Much more is set aside to distribute including a great deal of handwork from great aunts, grandmothers and others that came to Mom over the years.  

It seems that if you know how to knit, crochet or  embroider there is nothing safe--no toilet paper or soap bar uncovered, no cup or saucer without a fancy setting, no pillow or towel without a fringe and some artwork.  No idle hands in the Hanson family women of a certain age.  

Mom never had the interest or patience for this kind of handwork, preferring painting, growing things, and writing.  Brother Marv is collecting dozens of handwritten stories.  Son, Scott plans to put 7 years of a newspaper Kitchen Column together for a family book.  I made the brief summary booklet to handout at the funeral. 

First Snow

The first snowfall is lovely and exciting.  The first plowable snowfall is a challenge.  After that it becomes just a nuisance. 

6:30 am

7:30 am 

8:30 am 

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Alberta Christina Lyste was born in Maple Grove Township, Barron County, WI, the first child of Thomas Lyste and Clarice Nelson. Clarice was only 16 years old.  They were second generation Norwegians, both from farm families.  

For the first 9 years of her life, things were good.  Lawrence, Archie, Delbert and Donna  were added to the family and Alberta remembers school and home being good.  

Then in April of 1930, Thomas came down with a cold that turned to pneumonia, and in just a few days he died.   These were the days before good medicines were available, and pneumonia was often fatal.   

The economy had turned bad in 1929 with the start of the Great Depression—jobs were hard to find, farm products sold for very little and times were hard.  When Tom died, Clarice, then 25 years old had to move the family from the big house on the rented farm to the old house, now a small granary.  

With a new baby and 4 other children, Clarice wasn’t able have a job, and so the family had to go on County Assistance of $30 per month.  After paying the rent for the granary, there was not enough money to live on.  Although they got a little help from relatives and neighbors, by November they were almost always short of food.  

The relatives and neighbors did not seem to like Clarice and took it out on the whole family.  Clarice had been 25 years younger than her husband.

Then at the beginning of December, after a meal of soup made from potato peelings off of the neighbors scrap pile, according to Archie, 

Clarice was at the end of her wits.  She told the children, to take care of each other and she would try to find something to help them do better.  She left, walking away, never to return.  

As the oldest, Alberta, age 9, had to take charge.  She was used to taking care of her younger brothers and the new baby, so she knew what to do—but what could they eat?

She sent Lawrence to the neighbors with a pail to get some milk for the baby.  He came back crying because he spilled the milk. Alberta insisted he go and try again or the baby would die (Mom and Lawrence knew what this meant, as one of Tom and Clarice’s babies had died and they remembered her being buried on the farm next to Dorrity Creek).  This time he was successful.  

She went to the neighbors and begged for food, but didn’t tell them her mother had left them alone.  Her mother had told her if people found out, the family would be broken up and the kids given to other people. 

For two weeks, Alberta managed to keep the secret and keep the family together, and somehow got enough food to keep them from starving, expecting her mother to return anytime. But she didn't come back. 

Finally, the school teacher worried why Alberta was not  coming to school.  Alberta loved school and had awards for perfect attendance, so something must be wrong. 

“My mother hasn’t been home for 2 weeks,” sobbed Alberta as the Barron County Sheriff interviewed her and checked out the living conditions, baby and small children with Alberta responsible for all of them.  

Although they made it through the ordeal, Alberta decided never again would she ever go through lack of food, and it showed up in her later life as she insisted that anyone stopping by had to sit down and have something to eat!  “You Look Hungry” was what Amanda labeled the cookbook with Alberta’s recipes many years later.