Sigrid Ingeman, Pioneer Woman

by

David Ingeman

 

Go to America the land of opportunity - this is what Swan'sneighbors told him when hard times hit the Hokanson family in Sweden.

Sigrid was born November 4, 1888 in Skane, Sweden to Mr.andMrs.Swan Hokanson. The family stayed in Sweden where Swan was a farmer andfisherman until Sigrid was fourteen years of age. Sigrid, her parents, andtwo sisters emigrated to the Unites States in the year 1902. They landedon Ellis Island off the coast of New York. Here they underwent physicalexaminations and were given vaccinations and inoculations. From Ellis Islandthey went by train to Quebec, Canada. They stayed there until their paperswere in order and they were allowed to cross the border to United States.

From there, Sigrid and her two sisters, Ida and Clara,and her parents made the long journey to Kittson County.

The family homesteaded west of Kennedy. There she livedwith her two sisters, her third sister, Evelyn, was born here. Sigrid workedvery hard for other families doing house work and milking the cows. Forone summer she had to chase cattle for two miles to pasture every day, andthen bring them back to water at noon, then return them to the pasture forthe remainder of the day. When evening came, she chased them home for milking.This was in addition to all her house work that she did during the day.She carried lunches and, if the men working in the fields were far fromhome, she also carried their dinner to them.

Sigrid was much in demand by families when someone becameill, especially the mothers. She could take over the household duties andwas a good nurse besides. She always wanted to be a nurse so she enjoyedthis kind of work.

For entertainment when they lived along the Red River,Sigrid and her friends would slide down the bank. In the summer time theyswam and fished in the river. Saturday nights, the young people in the areawould gather at different houses and have parties. They played parlor games,had lunch and enjoyed the companionship of other young people. To get tothese parties meant a long walk, sometimes in very cold weather. In thesedays they were accustomed to walking so they didn't mind the distance orthe cold.

Sigrid married Oscar Sigfrid Ingeman on August 6, 1908.Oscar and Sigrid settled west of Hallock where they lived for twenty threeyears. This is where ten of their eleven children were born. They owneda farm of about 160 acres and had to work very hard to keep it going. Onesummer, they were completely wiped out by hail and spent a hard winter withno money.

In the winter of 1927, diphtheria struck the Ingeman familyand they were placed in quarantine for many months. When food was broughtto them, it was left out on the road so no one came in contact with thefamily. The family was heartbroken when two year old Darrel was struck withthe disease and died in his mother's arms one stormy morning. They werenot able to have a funeral because of the quarantine. It wasn't until monthslater that they were able to have the memorial services.

The depression years took its toll of farmers who wereunable to hang on to their farms. Oscar and Sigrid lost their farm and wereforced to move to a rented place west of Kennedy. After a lot of hard workand saving, they purchased their own place two and a half miles north ofKennedy. This is where Oscar died September 13, 1941, at the age of 62.

Sigrid, with the help of her sons, continued to farm andmanage the family. The youngest child, Avis, was twelve when Oscar died.

World War II broke out and Sigrid saw four of her sonsgo to war, three of them going overseas. She spent many hours writing lettersand wrapping packages for her sons in the service. With the boys gone, itmeant extra work for those at home and she did her share. She says she wasthe luckiest woman in the world because all her boys came back safe andsound.

One by one, her children married and started families oftheir own. Roy was the last one on the farm. Sigrid continued to live onthe farm with him till March of 1970 when she retired to the nursing homein Hallock, Minnesota where she still resides.

Bibliography

Interview: Sigrid Ingeman, Jan. 16, 1971, Hallock NursingHome

Pamphlet: Second Family Reunion. Compiled July 25, 1967

Pamphlet: Second Family Reunion. Compiled July 25, 1967