St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

1950 Farm Photo

Cleaning in an upstairs room on the farm, I came across an aerial  photo of Uncle Andrew Pederson and his wife, Dad's Aunt Dena Paulson's farm.  They bought her parents (my great grandparent's) farm just south of Barron Wisconsin.  The photo is probably in the early 1950s.  

I split it up into parts to look at the details
The cow pasture, south of the house, surrounds a pond.  You can see a few cows.  Uncle Andrew probably had a dozen cows.  The farm was 40 acres.  Just to the right of the pasture is the fenced garden, and then fields including a shocked oats field.  It is odd there are so many shocks left, as there is a big straw pile behind the barn already.  The two tracks of farm machinery indicate a tractor is likely used with a wide front end or else two horses. 

The buildings were built by John Paulson, who came from Norway.  It was his second farm.  The buildings are still there, although the house has been remodeled to look totally different.  Directly behind the house is the outhouse.  Andrew and Dena had only one child, a son who died as a baby.  His digestive tract was so he could not take food by mouth.  He lived several months with IVs or something like that (in the 1930s) but no operation was available in those days, so eventually they had to let him die. 
The 1922 "History of Barron County WI" book gives this history where the Maple Grove Farm is this one.

John E. Paulson, who owns a garden plot, and a comfortable new home in Section 8, west, Maple Grove Township, has been one of the real leaders of the community for many years. He has served on the school board of his district for nearly a quarter of a century, four years as clerk and twenty years as treasurer, and in all this time he has proved himself a real friend of education, and has taken the deepest interest in the welfare of the school. For two years he was also town supervisor, and in other ways as well, he has served the public. 

He was born March 3, 1852, in Norway, son of Paul and Gurena (Ottesen) Paulson, natives of Norway, the former'of whom died in that country, and the latter of whom came to America in 1872, and made her home with her son, the subject of this sketch, until her death, April 11, 1900, at the good old age of ninety-one years. John E. attended school for a while, and was reared as a fisherman, following the sea for several years. In 1872 he came to America and purchased 80 acres in St. Croix County, this state. He erected a set of buildings, cleared 60 acres, and there farmed for twenty years. 

In 1892 he sold out and came to Barron County, where he bought 40 acres, in Section 8, west, Maple Grove Township, cleared practically the whole tract, erected a set of buildings, and carried on mixed farming and dairying. July 20, 1920, he sold the place, purchased his present tract of three acres, and erected his present home. 

Mr. Paulson was married July 19, 1879, to Olena Olson, daughter of Ole and Ellen (Halverson) Severson, who spent their entire lives in Norway. This union has been blessed with five children: Hannah was born July 31, 1880, and is now Mrs. Pearl Hanson, of Maple Grove Township; Olaf was born Aug. 22, 1881 and died Aug. 13, 1917; Edwin was born Jan. 1, 1883; Oscar was born Nov. 15, 1885, and died May 20, 1887; Deanax (Dena) was born March 25, 1890, and lives at home. The family faith is that of the Free Mission Church.

(They are buried in the Baptist cemetery at Maple Grove, WI).  

John Paulson and wife Olena Olson 1879 (wedding?)

Back: Olaf, Hannah, Dina   Front: Oleana, Edwin, John
Hannah was my grandmother -- married Pearl Hanson.
John Paulson and wife bought 3 acres next to his daughter Hannah's farm and moved there with his wife and daughter Dena.  In April 1929, a tornado killed his wife, damaged him so he died a few months later with Dena coming through alive.  The buildings were leveled along with those of Pearl and Hannah.  Dad and his family lived through it.  

The 1920 retirement house and barn were totally destroyed.  Great Grandma was found in the pasture.  Dena said the last she remembered was the washing tub rolling at her--but she came through OK.  Great Grandpa was in the barn, and attempted to go to the house and was badly bruised.  He died a few months later--being in a wheel chair and unable to get around after the storm.   Next door, Dad and his siblings and parents weathered the storm in the bank basement of the well building and granary with all of their buildings destroyed too.  The family was very religious -- Baptist and Free Methodist.  I imagine this act of God was difficult to understand.