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The Life Of Murtle Murry


Lester Wallenberg

Senior High Division


Murtle Murry came into the world on May 16, 1905. Her parent'snames were Jack and Mary Peterson. They were proud of their young daughter.She was the youngest of their family, and they had nine children all together.

Murtle's folks came from Sweden on a ship in 1887. Theship her folks came in was not as nice as the ones that we have today. Whenher folks came on the ship, there were mice and rats and lots of cargo camealong with them. Her folks came to America to seek a new life and hope tomake a better living.

When they arrived in America, they came to the State ofMinnesota to make their new farm. Their first farm was six miles out ofthe town of Lancaster, Minnesota. When they arrived at their homestead,there was nothing there but trees and some open land.

The summer that her parents arrived and got their homestead,the neighbors got together and helped them put up a house so that they couldlive in it.

The neighbors had to cut down their own trees and had tosaw them by hand or they would use what they called a power saw. To buildthe house, they would have to mix up some batter called clay to hold thelogs together.

On the farm, Murtle had to do many jobs since she was thesmallest one of the family. Mainly, she had to stay in the house to helpclean and to cook the meals for the family. She would have to run some placesfor her mother like she had to run and get some eggs from the chicken houseso her mother could bake a cake or something, she also had some chores todo, she had to make sure that she picked the eggs from the chicken houseevery day. She would have to make sure that there was wood in the wood box.She would always have to make sure that she helped with the clothes so thatthey would be washed.

As the years went by, her mother had gotten very sick froma disease that had killed her. There was not a doctor around within twentymiles or so. The nearest doctor around was at a town called Hallock, Minnesota.So, if there was anyone that got sick the family gave us what they thoughtwas the best for them.

One of the best medicines that they thought was, a plantthat they grew in their garden. It was called garlic. If anyone had gota cold, they would eat garlic.

When Murtle was eighteen, she had met a man whose namewas Norman Murry. Norman was an operator of an elevator in Lancaster. Backthen there were two elevators in Lancaster. His and another man whose namewas Nelson. There are two kinds of elevators today. The country elevatorand the terminal elevator. The terminal elevator is the kind that is locatedin the big city today. The terminal elevator could hold large amounts ofgrain. While the country elevators are the ones we see today. They are locatedin every town that we see almost. These country elevators clean conditionedthe grain. These country elevators hold from 25,000 to 100,000 bushels ofgrain.

When Murtle had met Norman, there was not too many thingsthat they could go to. They did not have things like movie theaters or placesto bowl in every night. Most of their fun or entertainment was when thetown would have a band come to town and play.

When these bands came to a town there would not be a singleperson in that area that would miss coming to the dance even the littlekids would come to dance.

There was also another entertainment in towns that wouldcome only once a year. This entertainment was called a fair. At these fairs,everyone would bring something to eat, it was like a potluck. At these fairsthey would have games to play for the kids. "One of the games thatI remember the most was the funniest game called catch the pig." saidMurtle. "The idea of this game was to see who could catch the pig firstbut they would have to hold on to him and not let him get away. The onlyhard thing about this was that the pig was greased down with a slipperymud on him." (1)

After the entertainment, there would always be a danceafter the fair that everyone would be at.

Murtle's life changed from a farm girl to a town girl.But she liked it that way. Norman and Murtle were married when Murtle wastwenty years old.

They moved into the town of Lancaster to make their lifetogether. Norman had bought a little house not too far from his elevator.There they raised a family in that house, they had a family of six. Therewere four girls and two boys.

While the family was growing up there, Dad still workedat the elevator for a life to support his family. "I liked the waythat Norman helped out the family as a whole, he would sit down with usin the evening and we would talk about the things that we did that day.If there were any problems, this was the time that everyone would tell him."(2)

One winter night when we were all sleeping the fire alarmrang in the town and we hurried up to get up and see what was the matter.We looked down the road and saw that the elevator was on fire. We all hurriedup to go and help put out the fire. The fire buggy was already there andthey had the fire under control already although it was not the biggestof the fires, because all what it was, was some wood had caught fire. Theelevator itself was not on fire but it sure scared us.

After the family was getting big now, that they were allgetting married too. So Murtle had a hard time to keep track of her girlstoo. Either they were out with their boy friends or they were someplaceelse. After most of the girls got married and there was only the one boyand the two daughters were left at home, Norman sold the elevator to a manthat lived in Lancaster.

Today, this elevator is still standing and is still beingused in Lancaster.

Norman died after the whole family was gone or went toanother place to make their living.

Today all the girls are married and living in the areaof Lancaster except for one. She is living in California. One of the boysis married and the other one is not married and is living in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Murtle is still living in Lancaster where she started herlife but she still says that I had a very happy life that I lived and amhappy to have such a good family today."


"Grain Elevators", The World Book Encyclopedia,Vol 8, p. 293

Murry, Murtle, Interviewed, December 29, 1974

Murry, Murtle, Interviewed, January 3, 1975

IZE=+1>Murry, Murtle, Interviewed, December 29, 1974

Murry, Murtle, Interviewed, January 3, 1975