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Harvey Hughes, Pioneer Neche Sawyer


Aaron Hughes

Sixth Grade


My great grandfather, Harvey Hughes, was born in Plantagentte,Ontario, 1865.

When Mr. Hughes was nine years old, his family came tosettle in Manitoba. But the land was reserved for the Mennonites, so theycame across to the United States.

They settled 25 miles west of Pembina where Harvey's fathertook a homestead. But by the time my great grandfather was twenty-one, therewere no homesteads to be had, so he bought 80 acres of land.

On November 26, 1889, at the age of twenty-four, HarveyHughes married Louisa Lock. Eighteen-eighty nine was a milestone in thehistory of North Dakota, too. That is the year the state was organized.

Harvey lived off his 80 acres. During the winter months,he went around and sawed wood for anyone that hired him.

It took four men to operate this outfit. Two to bring thelogs from the pile, and one to operate the saw. The saw was run by a gasolineengine, and the fourth man threw out the blocks which were cut into eighteeninches or two foot lengths. They were then ready to put into the heatingstove or be split for the cook stove.

Mr. Hughes moved from his 80 acre farm to a larger one,and in another seven years to a still larger farm which he had to clear.In order to clear the land for farming, he had to cut down trees, whichhe used for heating his house and cooking. The stumps left in the groundhad to be pulled out with a stump puller which was run by a horse goingin a circle around the stump. All these stumps had to be hauled off theland, so it was clear for the breaking plow. The roots had to be pickedup by hand and thrown on to a "flat bottom" drawn by two horses.

Mr. Hughes had a large family of eleven children, so anychildren that were big enough went with him on the root picking jobs.

He moved off his farm into Neche in 1942. Then, to keepbusy, he sharpened lots of saws. He sharpened them by hand with a file andthe saw in a vice.

One of his favorite pastimes was playing checkers withmy father. When my great grandfather won, my father got discouraged. Thenext game, my great grandpa would let my father win.

Great grandfather Hughes lived to be ninety-four yearsold. He worked hard to provide a living for his family. But he also foundtime for a game of checkers or a chat with his many friends.


Hughes, Georgia, Interview, January 26, 1975

1>Hughes, Georgia, Interview, January 26, 1975