Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Recalling Early School in New Solum Township

Marshall County, Minnesota 1895.

"My sister, Ida, then seven, accompanied me. I was five. Other children were from the Sevalson, Udby, Haugen, Strader, Ranum, Mork, Thompson and Krogstad families.

When the teacher, Frank Mattson, opened the door, we rushed in to get our choice of seats. Being smallest, I was last and there was no seat left for me. But Clara and Ed Udby, brother and sister, had a double seat. They made a place for me.

After some explanation, the teacher looked his charges over briefly, then announced "First — class, stand." We stood. Then a second command: "Pass." We marched to the seats kept vacant in front and sat down.

"Say after me," the teacher ordered. He sounded the letter "p", and with his pointer indicated p on the blackboard. We all said pin unison. Then "I" and "g . "Pig," he said, and we repeated the word. Thus the lesson progressed.

Later, in penmanship class, we used slates, since tablets cost too much. The older girls had provided moist'cloths to clean the slates, but we boys were more direct: we spit on our slates, and wiped them with our sleeves.

Mr. Mattson was young and well dressed, with white starched shirt, tie and a prominent gold watch chain. Previous teachers had been paid $20.00 per month, but he was getting $25.00. He stayed with one of the neighbors, paying about $8.00 per month for board, room and washing.

We kids were always barefoot in summer. Shoes were too expensive to wear, except in cold weather. I had a new straw hat costing 25 cents; a gingham shirt made by my mother and knee pants made of any salvaged cloth she could find. We wore no underclothes".

Written by Edwin C. Stengelsen

We know from tracing the plat map that Stengelsen, Ranum, Mork, Thompson, and Krogstad all lived in sections 28 and 29.

New Solum District 34 was organized in 1886. The first building was located near where the Soo Line Railroad track and the Lilac Ridge Road are now. Half of the school year was held in this building and the other half was held in the Tollof Groseth homestead cabin in Section 28 (Thompson Place).

District 34 was comprised of Sections 28,29,30,31, 32, 33 and 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in the Strip.

A new school was built in the southwest corner of Section 28 in the summer of 1896 at a cost of about $200.00, with several donations of material and labor. Robert Anderson was the carpenter. The new building was located to the west of the present building and served until the summer of 1923, when it was sold. No sign of this building remains, although Roger Anderson came across the stone foundation when cleaning up the land in the late seventies. The present building was built in 1923 by Benhard Ranum and Ted Thompson at the total cost of $2,800.00. It was financed with State Bonds for $2,400.00 and the remaining $400.00 was borrowed from John Halvorson.
Ted Thompson and Benhard Ranum remained friends throughout their lives. I wonder if they talked about their early school years together when they worked side by side building the Columbus School?
Children of Knute and Siri Ranum who may have attended that first school are:
Karl 1876
Alfred 1878
Benhard 1879
Edward 1880
Bennie 1882
Karina 1884
Kasper 1885
Oskar 1887
John 1888
Sanfred 1890
Freeman 1891

1 comment:

Shirley said...

It says the article was written by Edwin Stenglesen..I wonder if that's the same guy that lived on the corner going to the "lilac" farm?