Hart, Milfred Douglas
B. 11 Aug 1919, at the Hart farm.
M. 21 Jan 1944, Myrtle Peabody, at East Grand Forks, MN
b. 1919

FN: Arthur Hart
MN: Mary Bernath

Children of Milfred Douglas Hart and Myrtle Peabody:

1. Russell Milfred Hart
B. 17 Nov 1944, Grand Forks, N.D.
M. 25 Jan 1969, Dorene Withoelter, Washington, D.C.

2. Carol Louise Hart
B. 28 Sep 1946, Drayton, N.D.
M. 24 Jul 1965, DuWayne Menke, Pembina, N. D.

3. Charles Arthur Hart
B. 12 Jun 1950, Hallock, MN.
M. 01 Sep 1980, Patrica Caeley, at the Hart Farm.

4. Cathleen Louella Hart
B. 03 Aug 1953, Hallock, MN.
M. 16 Jun 1973, Arthur Lambert DeGelder, Pembina, N.D.

5. Betty Joy Hart
B. 01 Jul 1955, Hallock MN
M. 05 Mar 1976, Robert Garris, Penscola, Florida. Divorced - No children.


Milfred Douglas Hart

Milfred's parents, Arthur Hart, and Mary Louise Bernath Hart, were married in 1904, and his brother, Warren, was born in 1916. Milfred was born August 11, 1919. Both boys were born at the Hart farm, near McArthur, North Dakota. On both occasions, Dr. Harris was the attending physician, having arrived at the farm from Pembina, via his team and buggy. Milfred's first memory was his dad's jacking up the car and draining the radiator for the winter. Then Albert Christopher, the Chevrolet dealer in Pembina, and his brother, Andy, would come, dismantle the battery and take them to Pembina for storage. Towards spring they would return them. Then Milfred's dad would refill the radiator and the car was ready to drive.

Milfred and Warren attended grade school at McArthur, two miles from the farm, and drove a team of horses to and from school. The teachers used to board at the Hart farm.

On one occasion, when Kathryn Kneeshaw was teacher, an incident occurred that both Milfred and Kathryn would recall for the rest of their lives. In 1929, Valentine's Day began as a beautiful day, but by noon it began to snow, so Kathryn dismissed school and sent her pupils home. A neighbor of the Harts, Mr. Hebert, headed for the school on foot as the snow began, and arrived in a blizzard. He hooked up Milfred's team to the sleigh and began to drive Milfred and Kathryn to the Hart farm. About halfway there, one of the horses dropped dead. Mr. Hebert unhooked the dead horse, took hold of the neck yoke of the other, and led it to the Hart farmstead. Kathryn and Milfred got out of became disoriented and got lost. Had they not bumped into the corner of the barn, thereby getting their bearings, they would have froze to death in the open country. When they approached the house, they say that Milfred's mother had placed kerosene lantersn in every window of the house. Milfred's elder brother, Warren, was by that time boarding with the elder Kneeshaws in Pembina and was safe.

In the spring of 1932, Milfred graduated from the eighth grade, and joined Warren at Pembina High School, where he was in his junior year. The brothers drove their Model A Ford to and from school in the Spring and Fall, but in the winter, Milfred boarded with his Aunt Effie (Mrs. John Hart) while Warren continued to board with the Kneeshaws.

During the winter of 1936, the weather was so bad that the brothers were unable to return to the farm for six weeks.

During his senior year, Milfred played guard on the basketball team. There were six boys on the team, and they played the nearby towns of Bowesmont, Hamilton, Bathgate, Neche, and Drayton. Guarding was a challenge for this gullible country lad, especially when someone would pretend to get ready to shoot, then dribble around him and take a shot behind his back. Although the "city kids" would ostracize the "country kids," Milfred managed to be elected president of the senior class - Class of 1937. In his eighty-third year, he was still able to name all the members of the class. The members included: Adolph Wilson, Lawson Martineau, Moreland Leathers, Martha Leathers, Mildred Trudel, Odo Trudel, Norma Sonderman, Evelyn Corbett, Eleanor McColl, Clara Lembke, Donald Johnson, Olive Monette, and Margaret Johnson.

In 1938, Milfred began to study telegraphy under Bert Campbell, agent at the Joliette North Pacific depot. His brother, Warren, was drafted into the army in 1939. In 1940, Milfred hired out for the Northern Pacific as a relief operator, after working at Joliette for one day. In the next year and a halrf, Milfred worked in twenty-eight different towns between Pembina, North Dakota and Staples, Minnesota. When he relieved at the East Grand Forks, Minnesota division point he ate his meals at the Peabody Cafe, a favorite haunt for the railroaders. There he would meet his future wife, Myrtle Peabody, daughter of the owners, who worked as a waitress there. On one occasion, Milfred asked Myrtle if her mother would cook a duck that he had wond in a bet. She agreed, but would prepare it only after the dinner crowd left, so no one would think the duck was on the menu. She would serve it to him at 12:30 p.m, so that the other customers would not think that the restaurant had duck on the menu. When Milfred arrived, Myrtle told him that she had never tasted duck in her whole life and sat with him in the booth to see if he would share a smidgen of his meal. She said, "Gee that thing has small, little legs!" "Yes," he said, it does a lot of swimming and wears the meat off." But he kept eating the wings and never even gave him a taste of the gravy. Shortly thereafter, Myrtle accepted a movie date with one of Milfred's classmates - - Oto Trudel - hoping to make Milfred jealous. It worked, but Myrtle never put in such an evening in her life.

They married January 21, 1944, and stayed at the farm for a week. The elder Mr. Hart had six milk cows, twenty-five head of beef cattle and eight horses and farmed 400 acres, including hay land, pasture and cropland. He was seventy-one at the time and the elder Mrs. Hart was sixty-one. The following July, after he had found out that his son was about to be drafted, he and Milfred appealed to the local draftboard and Milfred became a farmer instead of a railroader.

Mildfred and Myrtle lived with the elder Mr. and Mrs. Hart in the "big house" on the farm till spring, when they obtained a granary and converted it into a house. During the spring flood of 1950, Milfred, Myrtle and their two children took refuge at the nearby Percy Oakes farm for six weeks, while their team of horses and forty head of cattle were taken to the Harold Tisdale farm, two miles away. They would live on the farm until their fourth child, Cathleen, was born in 1953. In 1954, they built a house in Pembina, and moved in on December 31st, the coldest day of the year. Their fifth child, Betty Joy, was born the following year.

In 1945, Milfred was appointed township clerk of Joliette Township, and elected to the McArthur School Board in 1951. He served on the Joliette Methodist Church Official Board and as Worshipful Master of the Pembina Masonic Lodge in 1950-51. As president of the Joliette Telephone Company, he led the effort in 1952 to install a new line from Pembina to Joliette, to replace the old "hoop and holler" system. In 1955, Milfred was appointed to the Pembina County School Reorganization Committee by Alice C. Well, the County Superintendent, which precipitated the demise of the one room rural schools in the county. In 1956, he was elected to the Pembina School Board and served for twelve years, including two terms as president. He served as Pembina City Auditor in 1956 and 1957, and as Secretary of the Pembina Community Club, as church lay leader and Sunday School teacher. He served on the Crop Improvement Association and in 1965 served as vice president of the State association. He was appointed Pembina County Commissioner in 1969, to fill the vacancy left by the death of "Scotty" Copeland, and served in that capacity until 1978, when he resigned to help his third child, "Charles, manage the family farm. He retired from farming in 1991.

Since retirement, he has been active in church, Masonic, and community affairs, and served for several terms as the President of the Ft. Pembina Historical Society.


Sources and/or Contributors:

Milfred D. Hart July 7, 2000

Russel M. Hart, 17 Sep 2002 (Formation1@earthlink.net)