Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard


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knowledge there was no death from starvation or freezing in our neighborhood, that winter. Not so, later, after we left Dakota, I believe ‘twas the winter of 1887 … the school children in the district south of the district we attended, were released at the usual hour to go home and perished before arrival.

After the snow melted and the floods reached the sea and the damage were made good as far as possible; the country not only resumed life, but was a delightful and productive scope of geography. The gifts of nature were abundant. Blue grass covered the prairies, excellent for summer grazing or hay for winter if cut before the frost. The streams and lakes were a fisherman’s delight and a trapper’s paradise, but the fur they supplied was of little value. Ermine, mink and muskrat, the main items were everywhere. Jackrabbit, plover, snipe, coate, duck and geese were the main items on this list.

Parker, South Dakota was located on the railroad and the Little Vermilion River, north of Yankton (the capitol) on the Missouri River. It was to Parker, my father and Uncle Leonard Howard walked from their homesteads, three miles distant and worked at mason work, building foundations of the niggerhead rocks and plastering houses to make a living, while homesteading. After homestead duty was done, a person could acquire a quarter section by preemption and then another under the tree claim law.

At the approach of the winter succeeding the hard one, mother took me and my younger brother, Floyd and my older brother, Frank, back to her parents in Wisconsin to spend the winter. At that time, Frank and I were attending school at the county school, one mile from home. On the day of our departure, we were to attend school till after-noon recess, then come home and get ready for the journey. For the previous day or two, there was another boy at school, who was about my size and age that claimed he was the biggest "Little Britches". He had demonstrated with a shove or two, and a remark I didn’t like any better than I liked the looks of his face. I had an idea that I could arrange it to suite me better. When recess came, I told Frank not to wait for me, I had some business to attend to. When I got home, still in one piece, we caught the train.

My grandfather, Franklin Pomeroy, was a veteran of the Mexican War. We spent a very pleasant winter with him and Grandma Abigail Pomeroy. The name Pomeroy occupied a prominent place in English history. It is established by authentic pedigree back a thousand years through twenty or more generations.

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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