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Ash, William
B: 15 Jan 1869, Vaughan Twp., York Co., ON, north of Toronto, Canada
D: 24 Jan 1950, St. Vincent, Minnesota
M: 01 Jan 1897,
Carrie Amanda Cederholm b. 15 Dec 1873 d. 1941, Vasa, Goodhue County, Minnesota. Parents: Samuel? Cederholm and Betsey Unknown.

FN: George Ash, Sr. (Buried St. Vincent, MN cemetery)
MN: Salomey Donneral (Buried St. Vincent, MN cemetery)

In 1881, at the age of 12, William Ash and his parents headed to the Red River Valley in the U.S. They took a steamer named the Owen Sound from Georgian Bay, Ontario, to Duluth, Minnesota. From there they took the railroad to Fisher Landing which is west of Crookston, Minnesota. They then boarded a steamboat to Emerson, Manitoba and then they settled in the Joe River community in St. Vincent Township. Source: Humboldt Essays - The Life of a Valley Farmer: William Ash written by William G. Ash as part of the Historical Essay Collection of the Humboldt-St.Vincent High School in 1969.

Children of William Ash and Carrie Amanda Cederholm:

William Samuel Ash
B: 12 Dec 1897
D: 1981 or 1982, Buried: St. Vincent, MN cemetery
M: Vera Blanche Easter b. 18 Jun 1900 d. 25 Jan 1988 Buried: St. Vincent, MN cemetery.

Carl George Ash
B: 26 May 1903
D: Oct 1967
M: Marjorie, or Marjory, Sylvester

Lawrence, Lawerance, or Laurence Ash
B: 1904
D: 1921 (Buried: St. Vincent, MN cemetery)

Marguerite Elizabeth Ash
B: 01 May 1907
D: 07 Oct 1985, (Buried St. Vincent, MN cemetery)
M: Alexander Shaw

Children of Alexander Shaw and Marguerite Ash:
1. Donald Shaw
2. Lawrence Shaw
3. Ian Shaw
4. Janet Shaw

Robert Ulrich Ash
B: 02 Apr 1911
D: 04 Aug 1996
M: 03 Oct 1935, Dorothy Gardiner

Children of Robert Ash and Dorothy Gardiner:
1. David Ash
2. Marilyn Ash

Ida Dorothy Ash
B: 16 Feb 1915
D: 09 May 1968, (Buried St. Vincent Cemetery, St. Vincent, MN)
M: Edwin George Sylvester b. 03 Jan 1909 d. 24 Mar 1994 St. Vincent Cemetery

Children of Edwin George Sylvester and Ida Ash:
1. Jean Sylvester
2. James Sylvester
3. Jeffrey Sylvester

Pioneer Experiences of William Ash

I was born January 15, 1869, north of Toronto, Canada of German parents who came over to Canada as young children in the early fifties from Alsace-Lorraine.

We came to Minnesota by way of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior to Duluth, June, 1879. We took the Northern Pacific from Duluth to Glyndon and Great Northern (which was then called St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba) to Emerson, Manitoba, Canada. The present Great Northern connected with the Canadian Pacific R.R. at Emerson, Dec. 1878. The C.P.R. built from Winnipeg to the border and the G.N. from Crookston, Minn. to the same place. The C.P.R. had its supplies shipped down the Red River from Fisher's Landing and Moorhead. The railroads and steamboats used wood for fuel at that time. Wood for the railroads was cut in shorter than cordwood lengths by horse powered tread mills.

He bought a Homesteader's title in St. Vincent Township of 160 acres.

He made a transfer at Crookston, Minn., June 25, 1879, and also received his first citizenship papers.

The first night on the farm the family of nine found shelter in a house 14' x 24' with only one strip of tar paper left on the roof and an old fashioned umbrella against a downpour of rain. The house was built of one ply of lumber on the outside. He shingled it and sealed up the room inside with paper and boards. He built a ladder up the wall into the loft above where our bed was made on the ceiling between the joists. The joists were 4 feet apart. My three brothers and I slept there foot to foot and if we raised up suddenly we bumped our heads. He also made a bed, table and benches from lumber.

The cloth ticks were stuffed with prairie hay. These were the mattresses.

By the second winter, he had built a log addition to the house. The boys had double bunk beds and a stove to keep warm.

After getting settled in the new home, it was a short time before Mother was able to bake bread. My brothers and I carried bread from Emerson in a basket across the prairie for five miles. I was then 10 years old. Later, from our first garden, I carried surplus vegetables to Emerson and sold them.

I can distinctly remember hearing the evening salute of the cannon fired at Fort Pembina.

The first hay father cut with a scythe was a mixture of wild vetsch and red top grass, the tallest of which was waist high. Father purchased a team of oxen while father held the plow.

Later in 1882, Father traded the oxen and $160 for a team of mules.

That year spring was very late. On April 11, Father and I drove several miles east with a sleigh to get a load of wood. We crossed the old Winnipeg to St. Paul trail that day.

Our first crop of about 25 acres was cut by cradle and threshed by horse power thresher. Later, we used twine binders and the grain was threshed from stacks with steam threshing outfits. These in turn were followed by gasoline powered machines. Now, everything is handled with combines (some tractor drawn and others self-propelled).

The first threshing machines were equipped with straw carriers instead of blowers. Straw wanted for the barns had to be stacked by hand as it came from the carrier. Straw not wanted was bucked away from the machines (to be burned) with a bucking pole and 2 horses driven by boys.

The threshing crews of early days were composed of 20 to 25 men working from 6 in the morning til 8 at night or later. Supper came after the machine stopped. Now 6 or 7 men would take off the crop with combines. Meals are served in the field. Work stops when the dew falls. Dishes for the men are washed not long before dark.

I purchased my first farm in 1895 and am still living in it.

William Ash 1869 - 1950

William Ash (no middle name) was born to George and Salome Dunnerall Ash, Jan. 15, 1869 near Bolton, Ontario and not far from Toronto.

When he was ten years old, the family moved to the Red River Valley and settled in the Joe River community near St. Vincent, Kittson County, Minnesota. The Ash children received their education in the Joe River school which was organized Jan. 3, 1880 the same day as the St. Vincent school. Hallock school was organized the year before in July, 1879. Hallock was no. 1, St. Vincent no. 2, and Joe River no. 3 in the county. At first no. 3 was just a six month school.

The first summer they herded the cattle with a smudge to keep the mosquitos off. The moisture that made the mosquitos so plentiful also made it possible for the children to lie on their stomachs on the ground and fill themselves with wild strawberries. They never say so many before or since.

William tells in a letter about life on the homestead. "After getting settled in our new home it was a while before Mother had a stove with an oven so she could bake bread. My brother and I carried bread from Emerson in a basket across the prairie for 5 miles. Later, I carried surplus vegetables from our garden to Emerson and sold them. I can distinctly remember hearing the evening salute of the cannon fired at Fort Pembina. The Fort operated from 1863 until 1895. That first winter, Father built a log addition to the house. This meant we boys had a double bunk bed and a stove to keep us warm. He got poplar logs east of Orleans for the addition.

The first hay Father cut was with a scythe. It was a mixture of wild vetch and red top grass which was waist high. Our plowing was done with a twelve inch bottom breaking plow. Our first team was two oxen and it was my job to drive the oxen while Father held the plow. Our first crop, about twenty five acres, was cut by cradle and threshed by horse powered threshers. In 18 == the oxen were sold, or rather traded for a team of mules. It took an - - - to make the deal. Spring was late that year and Father and I drove several miles east with the sleigh to get a load of wood. We crossed the old Winnipeg to St. Paul trail that day".

In March of 1889, after the seeding was done, William went to Minneapolis and worked for the Park Commissioner along Lyndale Avenue. The old horse cars were running then in Minneapolis and one cable line in St. Paul.

William started farming on his own in 1895. Jan. 1, 1897, he married the local school teacher, Carrie Amanda Cederholm. Rev. Norelieus of the Evangelical Lutheran Church performed the wedding ceremony at Vasa, Minnesota.

They started for St. Vincent the next day but had to lay over in Minneapolis because of a big snow storm. They took the Great Northern Train to Pembina, North Dakota. This was when they saw the first rotary snow plow mounted on a railway engine.

William Ash and Carrie Amanda Cederholm Ash

Their farm was along the the Joe River, the buildings being on Section 2 of St. Vincent Township. He farmed about 1,280 acres or 8 quarters and raised roughly 100 sheep, 25 horses, 30 cattle, a dozen hogs, as well as, chickens, ducks and geese. Crops were small grains as: oats, barley, flax, buckwheat, rye and wheat. In 1905, the Minneapolis, St. Paul, Sault St. Marie Railway was built through Kittson County. When first surveyed, it was routed between the house and the barn on our farm. A second survey was made and placed it north of the buildings where it still runs.

The old house was getting crowded for a growing family so a new house was built in 1908. This was a large 14 room house plus a finished attic. Above the attic was an open deck accessable through a trap door. This lookout was used mainly to check for stray livestock and in later years to check on the school bus in bad weather if it was late.

William had a flair for new machiinery and devices. His first car, a Model T Ford was purchased about 1914 retiring from the horse and buggy. He had the first portable grain elevator around. It was run by a 3 horsepower International stationary engine. His was one of the first farms to have their own Delco electric plants. In 1917, he bought a Fordson gas tractor and his first combine in 1929. This was tractor pulled.

He was active in community affairs, some of which were:

Helped organize first telephone company in Kittson County.

Director of First State Bank of Humboldt.

Helped organize Kittson County Farm Bureau.

Member of Joe River School Board.

Was an active member of Elks, Odd Fellows, and Republican Party.

Always voted Republican and worked hard to get Stassen elected.

He died Jan. 24, 1950 of heart failure and is buried in the St. Vincent Cemetery.

He enjoyed community work and was at his best at it. At home, he had a hair trigger temper making those who lived with him feel as though they were sitting on a powder keg with a short fuse. He was an extreme perfectionist and seemed to want to convey tghe idea that he was the only family member anywhere near attaining perfection. Praise or encouragement were never given to any family members. He was always ready to criticize and not ready to forgive or forget.

Carrie Amanda Cederholm Ash

1873 - 1941

Carrie Cederholm was born of Swedish immigrant parents, 15 Dec 1873, at Vasa, near Cannon Falls, Goodhue County, Minnesota. This was a Swedish settlement and the children grew up speaking Swedish in the home and in the church. The Lutheran church they attended was organized in 1855 by Swedish immigrants.

When Carrie was an infant, she fell out of the high chair and broke her arm. This left her with restricted use of one of her arms.

In 1884, she moved with her parents and two sisters, Ulricka and Ida, to the Red River community near Hallock, Minnesota. This was also a Swedish community. Here, the first Lutheran church in Kittson county was built. It was organized in 1881 and built in 1886 for the early settlers the first of whom came in 1879 from Sweden and Goodhue County, Minnesota. Here she was confirmed in the Swedish language.

Having completed her education in the country school, she attended Hope Academy at Moorhead, Minnesota and received her teaching certificate in 1889. She taught in the Kennedy school and later in the Joe River school.

Her mother passed away October 3, 1894. Her father and two sisters moved back to the Vasa community in Goodhue County, Minnesota. Her mother, Bengta (called Betsy) and later her father, Samuel Cederholm, were buried in the Red River cemetery.

In December, 1896, she and William Ash went to Vasa for Christmas and were married Jan. 1, 1897. They were married in the Vasa Evangelical Lutheran Church by Rev. Norelieus. The next day they started back to St. Vincent but had to lay over in Minneapolis because of a blizzard.

They farmed along the Joe River, St. Vincent Township, Kittson County, Minnesota. They had six children, four boys and two girls.

Carrie was an exceptionally quiet person making it hard for many people to get to know her well. Few people are blessed with as good a disposition. You never saw her get angry or heard her complain. She was very kind and generous. Many times she dug into her chicken and egg money to help her children out and then had to skimp to make her household money cover current household expenses. She always encouraged her children to make the most out of their lives.

She was active in community and church work. In 1941, she became ill with encephalitis and spent two weeks in the Drayton hospital. She died the day she was to be discharged. Her heart had been so weakened it gave out. She was buried on August 11 in the St. Vincent Cemetery.


William G. Ash = "William G. Ash" <>

Essay: The Life Of A Valley Farmer: William Ash - by William G. Ash