Rockgar, Ken and other Prairie Dogs/readers

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Cromwell, May 18, 2008.

  1. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    I picked up a book yesterday I thought may interest you. (Harper collins IBSN:0 06 052075 2)

    It is called "The Children's Blizzard" by David Laskin

    "January 12th 1888 bgan as an unseasonably warm morning across Nbraska, the Dakotas and Minnesota, the weather was so mild children went to school without warm clothing. That afternoon without warning the atmosphere violently changed and temperatures plummeted.

    By Friday morning January 13th, some 500 people lay dead on the drifted prairie, many of them children...."

    This is witting testimony and anecdotal family accounts of the storm that took so many lives of the Norwegian, German, Danish and Ukrainian Settlers who found out that their "free" land came with a high price!

    It is non fiction, but written in a very readable way.

    I want to check it against my family history letters to see if I can trace any more testimony, as I know they were in Greely and near St Paul then.

    Love Annie
  2. Jana1

    Jana1 New Member

    Laura Ingalls Wilder's book of that title, in her wonderful series, is about that blizzard. It is for children, but I find that that series is about as interesting as any books for all ages.
  3. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    I went to the LA Library site to see if it had the book, but the library computer is shut down for maintenance. Will try some other day.

    Never heard of Greely, Minnesota, Annie. Went to the Greely site, but there was no map. Will have to check that out later too.

    Did you write the little news item about Carla? I think so, but my AZ mind is never too sure of anything anymore. Anyway, was tres amuszant.

    Janna, since I moved from Minnesota to California, two Laura Ingalls Wilder museums have sprung up near my hometown.

    Did you know there are several books by other members of the family? The most recent book is a collection of writings Laura did for magazines and papers about life on the farm, especially from the wife's viewpoint.

    Is there another person who was not a ruler, entertainer, general, or saint about whom so many books have been written?

  4. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    ...that was the name of the Official weatherman (LOL)sorry brain fog! Pipestone, Worthington, Northfield,St Paul and on the border Soux Falls and Moorhead.

    I love Worthington but it is always very windy.

    I guess Woodruff was the officer in charge of predicting storm paths in St Paul who got it all wrong.

    Also, for the reply before yours, thanks for the heads up on the Wilder Book-I do recall they made an episode about that on TV too. I have read that book.

    Annie ps yes it was me who did the fake news item on Carla!!!
  5. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    ...this book is something I would be interested in. Thank you for posting it.

    We are moving, so I won't be doing the library for a while, but will keep this one in mind.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Thanks for the tip! I just put the book on hold at the Albuquerque Library. Looks fascinating. I had heard about this blizzard, but didn't know there was a book about it.

    I grew up in South St. Paul and then lived in Northfield for four years. I remember as a young boy, travelling to the Pipestone area in southwestern Minnesota with my family to go on camping trips. I remember many Minnesota snowstorms as a kid, that, had I not been bundled up in many layers, would have taken me out.

    Laura Ingalls Wilder is quite the figure, isn't she? It seems like every small southern Minnesotan or western Wisconsin town has a monument in her honor.
  7. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Sorry Jana, I omitted your name last post.

    I actually got this at that garage sale. As a book I am attempting to write deals with weather situatins, I thought it may be interesting. It was not until I opened it that I discovered that this was pretty well written with lots of good testimony, yet not overly drawn out-has the quality of a newsbroadcast about it.

    As I know I have some of the family letters that refer to the great storm, I am hoping to match some of what he says with the letters written from St Paul at that same time. I will certainly copy and send them to him.

    The sheer grit of those early settlers is beyond comprehension, and not only that the stoic way they learned to accept their lot in life and move on.

    I also recently got a book on tape from the library that they were sleling off for 25c about the Jonestown Flood and that too is well written, fictionalised, but drawing on good facts about the real event.

    When I read the family letters (and for those who don't know the family kept all the letters they wrote to one another from 1835 till 1948 and a compiler collected them each year so we have both the letters and replies)and see that even for the educated relatives, how hard life could be, then watching Cranford tonight on PBS, how easily life would slip away......

    When I look at the rubbish my son was given to read for English, I wonder why the schools do not use more books that draw on something about American heritage for teaching purposes.
    Note from book:
    St Paul in 1888 had 175,000 citizens which was very large and growing too, and approaching 96 churches and 60 schools, the next best thing being San Francisco for comparison.

    Well time for bed. Enjoy the book.

    Love Annie
  8. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    You're sure right about those early midwestern pioneers. Interesting to contrast their stoic, hardscrabble lives with that of the railroad magnate, James J. Hill, who must have been living in his colossal mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul during that time.

    Interesting, too, about the population of St. Paul. I didn't realize it had that many citizens in 1888. Minneapolis is the much newer city. I wonder what its population was during the time.

    How fragile life is even now. I think of the cyclone in Myanmar or the earthquake in western China.

    On a lighter note, speaking of Minneapolis, I'm getting there on EAT CAKE and greatly enjoying it.


  9. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    The LA library has it. I have it on hold. I am number one; there are seven copies.

    I was in one of those Summit Ave mansions once, Ken. About half a century ago. My roommate and I were invited to dinner. The raison d'etre being that he was an exchange student from Deutschland.

    I have a vague memory of everything being very large and grand. Our host pressed a button w/ his foot when he wanted to summon the maid.

    There was no Mrs. present. The daughter of the house was a not-too-friendly teenager. That's about all I can remember. In fact, I probably haven't even thought of it for 50 years.

    Well, time to attack the dishes.

  10. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    they mention the Great Western Railway and Mr Hill for a couple of pages. Also those mansions you were in Rock!

    They said that at his death in 1916 he was worth $63 million, not bad for those days I would say.

    Of course his expansionism and railroads really opened up Seattle and the Pacific North West - I will try and get to the family letters tonight, as I am sure I have some letters on this.

    And Ken, St Paul had increased by 200% since 1880 - some boom huh!

    I finished the book. It is very simply written and easy to read. Not a great book but a factual good read and fairly well compiled. I was fascinated by the history aspect and the personal information on some who perished, the way the press handled it, the rescue funds (one was called The Heroine Fund"). I intend to get another of his books "Braving the Elements: A History of USA Weather" he also wrote one about the elite in New York.

    I think it is worth the read, so hope you all enjoy it.

    It is the big chill here in Erie country. 37 this morning and really chill wind with a sharp bone nipping bite. My sciatica is plaguing me with this damp and cold. BRRRRRRRRR.

    Love Annie
  11. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Intersting talk on BBC Radio today about the vikings, and how we always think they are Danes, but many were Norwegian. The Norwegian ones settled in what is now Dublin, Ireland, then were driven out and moved to Cheshire-UK ,the Wirral actually, between Manchester and Liverpool! Very close to where I was born.They have place names there such as Tingwold which comes from the Norse meaning place of assembly, as they always liked to have their parliaments on a hill rising from a plain.

    Then they moved from Cheshire to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea and settled and many people from these areas moved back to Ireland then to the USA!!!

    As I am so blonde and tall I wonder if I am a viking now- in Sequim, WA a Norwegian settlement from 18860's, I was always being mistaked for a fellow Norseperson. Or it could have been the cowhorn hat I wear!!!(LOL)or maybe the sheepskin shawl.

    Just more little snippets. Thanks for the info on the other songs. They are all so poignant. Hard times indeed.

    Hope you got the book today Rock, I know you were at the library.

    Love Annie
  12. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Annie, I didn't know about the Norwegian immigrants to that part of England before. Is the "Cottswold" also a Norwegian name, then?

    You're blond and tall? Who knows? Maybe you have some of that Norski background in you. How about posting a picture of yourself?

    I'm greatly looking forward to reading the book on the blizzard. I may even buy a copy for my dad, who lives in Wabasha, Minnesota.

    Rock, how about that, you being #1 on the LA library hold list for a book. Has that happened before (I mean, without having to start at let's say, #55?) I enjoyed reading about your Summit Avenue mansion experience, too. Remember when Jesse "the Body" Ventura was in charge and living in the governor's mansion on Summit? Did you also know that former Governor, Rudy Perpich's son was suspected to have CFS while the Perpich family was living there?

    For my senior project in high school, I researched the 1930s meat-packing plant strike in South St. Paul. The Hormel workers went on strike, scabs came in and took their jobs, and the National Guard was called in. A number of people were called.

    When I was doing my research, the Minnesota Historical Society was in the James J. Hill mansion. It was a fun place to go every day, spooky and austere. I also found two short stories there that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote when he was a student in high school. I was especially interested because for a few years, he went to St. Paul Academy, my high school alma mater. And he wrote THIS SIDE OF PARADISE in a second story room on Summit Avenue.

    [This Message was Edited on 05/20/2008]