RALPH JOHN WESLEY HOWARD
By way of personal introduction, I will submit: on the fifth day of April 1875, I became a separate unit in the land of the living, in or near the village of Rudd, Floyd County Iowa. My earliest recollections are of this place. My parents, Fernando and Alice Howard, were Protestants, faithful Methodists. My residence at this pleasant location was brief. My family moved to Parker, South Dakota, to take advantage of free homestead land.
We spent the pleasant winter of 1882 in a one-room sod house near Parker. In the spring of that year, my parents abandoned that location and moved to a more desirable one, and erected a frame house with more room. The Rail Road Chicago, Millwauke, and St Paul crossed their quarter section of land.
A small amount of sod was broken and some turnip seed sown on it; but before the turnips were gathered, they were snowed under. However, they were gathered in part and were the main item on our list of available food.
The snow that fell in that storm did not completely vanish. It thawed some and settled down, then froze to ice then more snow fell on it and did the same thing. This routine continued until the following March. The Rail Road was blocked with snow frozen to ice. No trains ran to bring in supplies. One work train, with a snowplow did pass going west. It reached Marion Junction, three miles west of our homestead and stopped over night. By morning, it was snowed in and could move neither east nor west. Before the warm weather came in the spring, the country was covered with four feet of snow; packed hard enough so that a team and sleigh could, and did, go any place it chose without marring the surface, perceptibility. When this snow melted, the flood was so great that the bridges were all washed out before a train got through. The railroad was under contract to supply coal to Parker, and I believe to Marion Junction and to other points. The supply on hand was small and soon vanished. This was prairie country and there was nothing growing here that looked like a tree except some water willows along the Little Vermilion River on which Parker was located. These willows were just large enough for fishing poles and the river supplied a bountiful variety of small fish, such as bullheads, chubs, shiners, dace, sunfish, an occasional gropy and the northern pike that we called "Pickerel". The only fuel native to the county at that time was the coarse whiplash. That grew around the edge of the numerous sloughs and the repulsive, life saving, buffalo chips. To prepare this
|The Howard Clan webpages were submitted by Patrick K. Best The Howard Clan were some of the original homesteaders of the North Bend District. It is hoped that you and many more people enjoy this history that this clan went through everyday to strive to live and provide a great part in making the history of Saskatchewan come alive. |
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