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Leo Carrigan: Provider Of Bread


Jamie Rustad

"Give us, day by day, our daily bread." (1) Thisphrase is part of a prayer Jesus taught his disciples. It implores God toprovide us with bread each day. God cannot directly deliver this provisionto man. He functions through men, as he has through Micheal "Leo"Carrigan.

Leo Carrigan was born December 3, 1898, the son of an Irishimmigrant couple, Micheal and Mary Carrigan. Micheal Carrigan and his familyfarmed in Ayrshire, Iowa. His family was large; but many of the childrenmet death in a tragedy. The children in chronological order, according totheir births were, Frank, Theresa (who was killed when a train scared thehorse she was riding), Johnny (who was claimed when typhoid fever plaguedthe whole family), Bernard Leo, James, Bill, Marie (who died in a fire)and Margaret.

The children attended a small country school about a milefrom their farm home. In the fall and spring months the children walkedto school. When the weather shifted to cold and stormy, the horses werehitched up to the bobsled.

The school house was typical with desks surrounding a "pot-bellied"stove. One teacher instructed a group of students, ranging from grades oneto eight.

The "pot-bellied" stove portrayed a chance forthe "older boys" to exhibit their superiority. When the teacherwas busy with another lesson, they threw a few 22 cartridges in the stove.The explosion caused quite an uproar with the feminine section of the class.The boys did feel superior, until their teacher found out who the culpritswere.

The students attending this country school house completedeight years of education. some of the children educated themselves furtherin high schools.

A farmer's son had many responsibilities. Every day choreshad to be completed. A six year old boy was expected to milk the cows. Ashe grew older, he was counted upon to perform more complicated tasks suchas feed the pigs, horses and cows, haul hay, hoe corn and potatoes, cleanthe barn and the like. Leo commented on the situation by explaining thattwo of his hobbies were baseball and work.

Leo's first job was shocking oats for a neighbor. The payof $1.75 a day, was more than average for a boy of thirteen.

As World War I closed in, his two older brothers enteredthe military service. Being too young, Leo had to stay home and do his brothers'share of work in helping to support the family. He remained home until histwenty-first birthday, as was the custom of that day. Young boys turnedover all their wages to the family until they became of legal age.

As a youth Leo experienced the excitement of driving oneof the first cars patented. In 1918, the family purchased a second handFord Model T. Leo described the car this way, "It burned up oil andgas, the tires blew out continually; but it was 'great for girlin'

In as much as 'girlin' ordinarily has a definite outcomefor a young man, Leo's experiences didn't fail. On June 15, 1925, Micheal"Leo" Carrigan and Mildred Ione Jaycox were united in marriageat Mobridge, South Dakota. Mildred had been raised in Pipestone, Minnesota.To this union were born five children, Patricia, Virginia, James, Norma,and Micheal.

Leo first enrolled in the bakery business on February 1,1922. He worked in a bakery in Pipestone, Minnesota for fifteen months.Because he strived for independence he went into partnership in a bakeryin Mobridge, South Dakota. This partnership failed after eight years whenthe depression plagued the nation.

Leo next moved to Bismark, North Dakota where he workedfor $25.00 a week for the Purity Bakery. Three and a half years later heleft Bismark, again desiring independence. He opened a small bakery in Marmoth,North Dakota. A short nine months later he had found a definite businessin Hallock, Minnesota where he opened the Golden Crust Bakery.

The bakery provided the usual goods such as breads, rolls,doughnuts, cookies and pastries. One dozen cinnamon rolls sold for 25 centsas did one dozen doughnuts. A package of sliced bread ranged from 10 to15 cents. Decorated, 3 layer, white wedding cakes were priced at $5.00.

Two hundred pounds of flour could be combined for breaddough at one time in the mixers. The largest cake ever mixed used 35 poundsof sugar. This was enough dough for 120 dozen cupcakes or 100 two layer8 inch cakes.

The work day, involved in this full time job, was fifteenhours long during an average month. The daily cycle began at 7:00 p.m. whenthe dough was mixed up. Then at 4:00 a.m. the rolls were wrapped so thedelivery truck could leave early the next morning.

The delivery route extended from Argyle to Stranquist andfrom Pembina to Noyes. Because he was gone for so many hours during theday his children often took turns riding the bread wagon route with him.

Because he had driven the delivery route during pre-wardays the sugar ration did not affect him. Sugar was rationed according towhat was used before the war. Leo discontinued the route and used his rationof sugar to provide for the residents of the Hallock community.

Problems arose in the Bakery as they do in many other businesses.In Marmoth gypsies and tramps often begged and scrounged in the Baker forfood. As many as a hundred wandered in. The profit was eaten up by the goodsthey took.

Small crises also occurred. A mistake such as salting sugareddoughnuts occurred occasionally. An employee once baked bread without salt.The batch sold as toast bread at a reduced price. It sold like hotcakes,even then.

Because working in the bakery consumed so much time Leohad limited hours to spend with his family. Saturday was family day forthe Carrigans. They all gathered in a circle around him, listening and tellingstories to one another. These hours were described by his children as thehappiest moments with him.

Illness forced Leo to sell out the Golden Crust Bakeryin 1952. Following his illness he was employed at a few other jobs includinga salesman of bakery supplies and maintenance janitor in a hospital.

Retired at 74, Leo Carrigan is an active Senior citizen,rents rooms and the houses he owns and maintains his role as a full timegrandfather to twenty-two children ages 4 - 24.

Providing bread to the community Leo Carrigan helped Godto deliver to man the provision he was asked for in the Lord's Prayer "Giveus, day by day, our daily bread." (1)

(1) Holy Bible, Luke 11:3


Carrigan, Micheal Leo - - - - - - - Interview, January4, 1973

Rustad, Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Jr. - - Interview, January9, 1973

The original essay was reproduced for the Red River ValleyWebsite by
Dennis L. Matthews

The original essay was reproduced for the Red River ValleyWebsite by
Dennis L. Matthews