Kathryn S. Reese

by

Vanessa Rae Reese

 

Kathryn Susan Deck was born to Mr. and Mrs. Carl Deck onAugust 7, 1897 at Bathgate, North Dakota. She was born into a family ofseven girls and three boys. She was the eighth child in this family. Herfolks were immigrants from Germany and they couldn't speak English whenthey came to this country. So, the family learned to speak German in thehome before they learned to speak English. Their farm was located near theTongue River. One of the first things she can remember was playing on aplank that spanned the river at that point. She fell off the plank headfirst with her feet in the air. An older sister found her and pulled herout.

When she was quite small, her family moved to McArthur,North Dakota, where she grew up.

There were not many young folks around that neighborhood.The ones that were there would gather together on Sundays and play manygames. Among them were one niece and two nephews who were about her age.Some of her earliest memories are these neighborhood get togethers.

Two of her older sisters learned how to play the organ.For a past time, the rest of the family would sing while one of the sistersplayed.

She attended grade school at McArthur. One of her favoriteschool moments was to catch up to the teacher so that she could carry herlunch pail for her.

From the time she was about seven years old she spent hersummer with an older sister who was married. They lived on the banks ofthe Red River, a very short distance from where the Golden Grain Bridgenow is. While she was here she took care of her sister's children.

When she got a little older, she learned to drive horsesand even to put the harness on them. She laughs when she tells about thefirst time she harnessed a horse. It seems she put the collar on upsidedown.

They caught a lot of catfish in the Red River as they werevery plentiful at that time and pretty good eating. She learned many thingsas a young girl and one of them was how to skin catfish.

Since some of the sisters married when she was very young,it seems she was called upon to help out in caring for her young.

She resembles one of her older sisters both in looks andaction. Even now when this sister's children come to visit her, they say"It is just like having a visit with our mother." Their motherpassed away in 1960. This is the same sister that rescued her from drowningin the Tongue River.

It was the custom in these German families for the daughtersto work in the hay field when there was a shortage of help.

One day when she was helping her father in the hay fielda few miles west of McArthur, another man, John Reese and his three sonscame from St. Vincent, Minnesota to the next hay field. Both families usedthe same yard for eating their dinner and feeding their horses at noon.Mr. Reese came over to the well to draw water for her horses as he thoughtthe work was too heavy for a young girl. A day or two later, one of hissons came over and drew water for her horses. This is how and when she mether future husband, William Reese.

Kathryn Deck and William Reese were married a couple yearslater on November 7, 1915. It was a simple ceremony at the home of Mr. Reese'ssister. One of the outstanding things about it was that Cal Farley, whowas later to become famous of the Boys Ranch in Texas, brought the ministerfrom town.

They lived with Mr. Reese's father and step-mother untiltheir own home was finished. They lived in this home and farmed until 1944when they moved to Hallock, Minnesota.

On January 30, 1918, this union was blessed with theirfirst baby, a son. They called him William Howard. Three more sons and onedaughter were born in the next 12 years. This was the family they raised.

Life on the farm was rugged and hard. To keep the familyfed and clothed was part of a mother's work. And like most mothers of hertime, she was kept busy with her husband, providing a home and living forher family.

Besides house work, she helped her husband in many wayswith farm work. Cows had to be milked, garden had to be cared for, fruits,vegetables and meats had to be canned to feed the family. She often wascalled upon to fill the place of a hired hand. One incident she remembersquite vividly was driving four horses out to the field to change off thefour her husband was using on the binder. She had to drive them througha wet spot in the field and her shoe came off in the mud.

When her sons got old enough to do these things, her workof this kind lessened.

She and her husband moved off the farm in the fall of 1944and she has lived in Hallock ever since.

The oldest son farms the homestead. Two sons live in California,one in North Dakota and the daughter in Illinois.

Her husband passed away at the Mayo Clinic in Rochesteron July 30, 1950 and he is buried in the Hallock Cemetery.

She now lives in the Kittson Memorial Nursing Home locatedin Hallock, Minnesota because of her ill health. Hers was the simple life.Nothing was so very great and yet all was so necessary.

Like the woman of her day, she was hard working, considerateof her family and dependable when the going was tough.

 

Bibliography

Howard Reese (Mr. & Mrs.) Interview, February 4, 5,

Kathryn Reese (Mrs.) Interview, January 29, 30 and February4, 5.February 4, 5,

Kathryn Reese (Mrs.) Interview, January 29, 30 and February4, 5.