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The Clows In The Red River Valley


Tim Clow

As the glacier that was cutting out the Red River slowlymelted my ancestors were probably running around in dried skins. This glacierleft a lake that covered much of the valley. The lake soon began to dryup because of the lack of water, and because of its muddy composition lefta layer of silt that would make the Red River Valley one of the richestin the world.

This valley because of its rich soil was going to bringmany people of different nationalities and of different backgrounds, butall who came to start a new life and farm this rich soil. This appeal broughtmy great-grandfather Charlie Clow and his family from Prince Edward Islandto seek a new life.

Charlie Clow was born in Prince Edward Island to GeorgeClow and his Irish wife who had moved from England. While Mrs. George Clowhad lived in England she had been a cook for the Royal family in Ireland.

Charlie spent his boyhood life in Prince Edward Islandtill he met Emma Crewys, after a few months they were married. They settleddown on the Island to stay till they heard about the Red River Valley. Aftera few months thought they set out for the valley with their family, Waldron(my grandfather) Chester, and baby Della (Mrs. Della Mackey a resident ofNoyes). They set out by train and arrived in the valley in 1880 in searchof the beautiful wheat fields.

Charlie and his family first came to St. Vincent then homesteadedjust north of what is now the Jr. Rustad farm. There they built their homeand started to farm the rich valley soil. Charlie had originally thoughtthat they had homesteaded in Canada but after the boundary was set, to hissurprise, found out he was an American citizen when he hadn't intended tobe.

Charlie with his oldest son Waldron planted a lone elmtree on their farm. This elm tree was soon to grow up and give this farmits name "The Lone Elm Tree Farm", the tree still stands today.

Charlie settled down on his farm and went to work to producethe grain that would become so important in the future. After many yearsof farming and hard work he went to Humboldt and settled down to live inthe house that the Gary Johnson family is living in now.

Charlie was always interested in the affairs of KittsonCounty and helped to develop it. Because of his interest in the politicsof the county he was elected a county commissioner. Another one of his interestingtraits was his ability to make friends wherever he went. Mrs. Della MacKeyhas said "Wherever Charlie went he could be seen talking to somebody."(1)

As Charlie Clow settled down in Humboldt his house wasopened to all the newcomers to the county. If you were a newcomer to thecounty you would almost inevitably be sent to Charlie's house to receiveproper food and lodging.

In his leisure time Charlie liked to keep and raise horses.He had one thoroughbred and owned a racetrack just north of St. Vincent,part of it was contained in what is now the St. Vincent Cemetery. He couldn'tride horses himself too well because he was short and fat but enjoyed watchingthem run.

Waldron Clow who had been living on Charlie, or his father'sfarm and helping him farm, was married to Nina Cridland on January 11, 1899when he was 25. They moved to where Roy Clow now has his residence.The house they originally lived in is now being used as a storage bin forgrain.

Waldron, soon settled down to the hard work of farminghis land. During the summertime it was a backbreaking job because they didn'thave as many modern machines like the farmers have today. During the wintertimethey used a horse and sleigh but because of the low temperature they didn'tget very far.

Waldron besides farming for a living also had a hobby thatconsisted of raising purebred Yorkshire hogs and registered Holstein cows.Every year he made his annual trip to the Crookston Crop Shows with hislivestock and while he was there he won many blue ribbons. When the showswere over he shipped his animals all over Minnesota and North Dakota.

During prohibition, because highway 75 ran right by Waldron'splace, the boot-leggers were seen driving by. Once two bootleggers stoppedin his yard and filled their radiators but they were in such a hurry toget out they almost ran each other in the ditch. Another time Mrs. Dud Feick(originally Jean Fleming) and her brother found 84 quarts of moonshine 1/2miles west of our place. These girls reported this discovery to Waldronwho reported it to the Sheriff who came and picked it up. The funny thingis that the Sheriff later lost his job because of the moonshine; he drankit all. These few things made life very interesting on the farm many yearsago.



Roy Clow Interviewed at his residence February 6,1969.

Doris Clow (Mrs. Roy Clow) Interviewed at her residenceon February 6, 1969.

Warren Clow Interviewed at his residence on February 8,1969.

(1) Mrs. Della McKay Interviewed at her residence on February15, 1969.

(1) Mrs. Della Mackey Noyes, Minnesota February 21,1969

ONT SIZE=+1>(1) Mrs. Della Mackey Noyes, Minnesota February 21,1969