The Individualist

by

Andrea Hoglin

 

"Hold fast your dreams!

Within your heart

Keep one still, secret spot

Where dreams may go,

And, sheltered so,

May thrive and grow

Where doubt and fear are not.

Oh Keep a place apart,

Within your heart,

For little dreams to go!" (1)

 

Sometimes, when we think back and realize how rough thelives of those who first turned the sod of the Red River Valley, who cutdown the trees, and who built the first log cabins actually were, we findit hard to believe. Their many endurances may tempt us to ask why they didn'ttry to escape reality more than they did, and try to fit it into the proportionand fantasy of a dream.

My grandfather, Adolph Hoglin, was born in Lancaster, Minnesotain 1893, His mother and father, and four out of eight children had justmoved to America from Sweden two years previous to this, and life was stillfull of necessary adjustments that had to be made. Adolph's father, JonasHoglin, had no lumber with which to build a cabin, so he cut tamarack logsout of the Roseau swamps. He floated them down the Roseau River to Caribou,then by oxen they were hauled to their farm south of Lancaster. It was inthis cabin that Grampa was born. This old cabin is still standing today.

Swedish was spoken in their house, although after awhilethey became accustomed and were then taught to speak English fluently. Oneof Grandfather's enjoyments later in life was getting together at familygatherings where his family would converse in Swedish.

Although leisure time was scarce, whenever there was some,Grampa would go hunting. Ever since he owned his first large caliber rifle,he never missed a deer hunting season. He hunted wolves because his neighborsowned wolf hounds and this proved to be much more challenging.

As all farmers will agree, there is much work to do, andthere was even more in those days because of the inefficiency of the handmade machinery pulled by horses. Potatoes were grown in huge quantities,and Grampa's farm had their own potato pit. It was a large excavation inthe ground about twenty feet wide and sixty feet in. length, and five feetdeep. The framework was built over it and covered with dirt so the potatoeswouldn't freeze. After the weather started to warm up, a number of neighborswould work together going from farm to farm sorting and grading potatoes.These potatoes were then put in hundred pound sacks and hauled to town.Later in years, after the invention of trucks, they would haul them rightfrom the fields to potato warehouses, which eliminated storage problemsat the farm.

Dairy cows were also attention getters at the farm. Theyspecialized in Guernsey cattle. They sold their cream to the creamery atLancaster. There they churned it into butter and shipped it to the citiesand Chicago.

Haying also consisted of a lot of hard work, and they didit all by themselves. They would cut and rake it into windrows with a rakeand team of horses. Then they would pitch it onto a wagon and haul it tothe place where the stack was to be. There they would pitch the hay fromthe wagon onto the stack. This kept on load until one complete stack wasfinished. It usually took around five or six loads. This was also made easierby the invention of the overshot stacker and sweep rake.

Life brought plenty of enjoyments though, and probablythe one who fulfilled his dream most was his wife, Freda,. who he marriedin 1919. They raised seven children, then in 1950, a shadow was cast overAdolph's entire dream, for Gramma died of heart failure.

One time, when Grampa and Gramma were moving into a different,house outside of Lancaster, and there was only a house on the property,they drove around the country looking for buildings that could be used overto build a barn. Alas, they found one, and it was a beauty! Outside of Stephenthere was a mansion that had been built by an English lord, called Ramsey.It had eighteen rooms in it. They tore this down and hauled all the materialshome. There they made two barns and part of another from it.

One summer, in the depression years, their dreams blossomed,because their crops looked more promising than they had for quite a longtime. One afternoon they went into the house from the field to have lunch,and before they started back, they saw heavy, dark clouds rolling in fast,and within minutes their crop was completely destroyed by hail.

This could make the strongest of all men break, and withthis came a series of trying and hard events, for it was hard to keep yourshoulders straight, and head held high when you had reached your point ofendurance.

If it wasn't hailstones, then it was grasshoppers. Theywould mix water and molasses and arsenic together and spread it around thefields to keep the critters from invading.

My grandfather had made it as a farmer, and lived his lifeof "getting what you put into," and in 1952, he retired from farming.With most of his family not too far away, he was completely satisfiedwith life as it was on the farm.

Grampa was a very ardent lover of music, and had playedwith several of the string orchestras in his community. I remember goingout to his house and he would bring out his violin and play for us.

Gramps always had time for his grandchildren, and becauseof this, he earned our respect and a place in our hearts. He was, generous,and fun-loving, and the perfect "grandchildren spoiler."

Now, all we can do is talk of him, and dream about allthe accomplishments he mastered and overcame in his life. Grampa died in1964, and he has no doubt helped build the structure that portrays the developmentof a community.

(1) "Hold Fast to Your Dreams." Author Unknown'Prose and Poetry Book, Page 652

Bibliography

Hoglin, John A. Humboldt, Minnesota Interview Feb.3, 1971

Hoglin, Gertrude D. Humboldt, Minnesota Interview Feb.4,1971

"Hold Fast to Your Dreams." Author Unknown' Proseand Poetry Book, Page 652b.4,1971

"Hold Fast to Your Dreams." Author Unknown' Proseand Poetry Book, Page 652