Svend Johannesen Haugen and Sigri Iversdatter Odegaard - JOHNSON FAMILY -
This is a look at Svend Johannesen Haugen and Sigri Iversdatter Odegaard - JOHNSON - along with their Parents, Siblings, and Children.
It required considerable planning to prepare for the trip to America. Enough supplies were necessary to provide food and clothes for the duration of the trip in addition to the items necessary for the "new life" in America. The emigrant chest was the container for all these supplies. The picture below showes one of chests Ole Johnson used. This chest is owned by Paul Johnson.
I hope that this web page can become a collection of information and a resource for family and friends. I plan to update, and/or, correct this page as new information is discovered.
Thanks for your help.
Eugene (Gene) D. Johnson (son of Ellsworth and Rowena Heffley, grandson of Iver and Anna Ryan and great grandson of Sevn and Sigri Berg - JOHNSON)
Johannes Mikkelsen Haugen (1806 – 1872) born at Onstadeie, Aurdal, Valdres, Norway.
446 Trinity Drive, Allen, TX 75002
Last updated: August 4, 2004
his father: Mikkel Johannesen Haugen , son of: Johannes Einerson Aaberg (1708 - 1792) and Giertrud Mikkelsdatter Koldsbreche
his mother: Agathe Olsdatter MidtStrandeie (1776 - 1828) daughter: of Ole Arneson Midtstrand (cr.1729 - 1791) and Ragnild Helgesdatter Midtstrand
Johannes married in 1831: Marit Svendsdatter Gausdgereir (1807 – 1898)
her father: Sven Thordson Gausdgereir (1778 - 1837) son of: Thord Thoreson Gausaker (1746 - ?) and Marit Svendsdatter Ulneseie
(1747 cr. 1811)
her mother: Sigri Amundsdatter Lien (1763 - 1841) daughter of: Amund Svendsen Lien (cr. 1721 - 1805) and Berte Olsdatter Lundane
(cr. 1729 - 1797)
(Marit immigrated to Stanton County, Nebraska, in 1873, after her husband died, along with her son Ole and daughter Ragnild. She is burried in the Stanton County, Nebraska, "Norwegian Cemetery".)
Johannes and Marit had the following children:
1. Agathe Johannesdatter (1830 – between 1861 & 1865), Agathe did not emigrate
2. Johannes (John) Johannesen (1834 – 1884), John emigrated in 1866 with wife Margit Hallsteinsdatter
3. Svend Johannesen (1837 – 1931), Sven emigrated in 1868 with wife Sigri Iversdatter Odegaard
4. Siri (Sarah) Johannesdatter (1844 – 1919), Sarah emigrated in 1868 with husband Halver Halverson
5. Berit Johannesdatter Haugen (1846 – 1909), Berit did not emigrate
6. Ragnild Johannesdatter (1848 - 1943), Ragnild emigrated in 1873
7. Ole Johannesen (1852 – 1937), Ole emigrated in 1873
The picture below shows Sven and some of his siblings:
This page will discuss the family of Ole Johnson, Brother to Sven Johnson and Uncle to Iver Johnson.
7. Ole Johannesen (Johnson) (1852 – 1937)
m. 1877 Karen Lavina Johnson (1856 – 1941)
(Ole immigrated to Stanton County in 1873)
(Karen immigrated with parents, to Illinois in 1869, then Wisconsin, then arrived Platte County, Nebraska in 1873).
They had the following children:
7.1. John Martinas (1877- 1948) m. Julia Amelia Moldren
7.2. Lewis Nicholas (1880 - 1946) m. Cecelia Caroline
7.3. Albert Johan (1882 -1944) m. Anna Moldren
7.4. Marie Sofie (1884 _ 1972) m. Peter Olsen
7.5. Oscar Johannes (1887 - 1978) m. Fairy Johnson
7.6. Casper Alfred (1890 - 1965) m. Lucy Neumann
7.7. Lena Jonette (1892 - 1989) m. Dave Schmudeke
7.8. Sam Segval (1896 - 1983) m. Ida Jacobson
7.9. Julias Noble (1898 - ?) m. Louise Saare
Much of the following information was compiled and composed by Paul Johnson (son of Casper and grandson of Ole).
Ole Johannesen Haugen was born June 2, 1852 in Nordre Aurdal, Valders, Norway.
After his father died in 1873, Ole departed Norway along with his mother Marit and a sister Ragnild (Loe). They sailed from the port of Bergen, the same route taken as his older brothers John and Sven and a sister Sarah (Halverson). No records are
available at this time to document the name of the ship nor the travel route by Ole.
It is assumed that they made
the same travel route that is documented for his two older
brothers. Thus, Ole, Marit and Ragnild would have arrived in the new
world at Quebec, Canada, then travel by train to Chicago and then
on to Iowa. They would have crossed the Missouri river by ferry at Council Bluffs into
Omaha, Nebraska and then on to Wisner by rail road. Then by foot to Stanton, County to the
homestead of his brother Sven.
The following article referring to Ole was reported in the book written by H. Halderson (Attorney at Law, Newman Grove) called “Tri-County Pioneers”. The Iver I. Berg refered to as the subject of the article is the brother of Sigrid (Berg) Johnson, wife of Sven Johnson.
Iver I. Berg was born in Valders, Norway, July 6, 1851,
baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church. He imigrated to
America in May, 1873 and arrived at Wisner, Nebraska, on the first
day of July, 1873, in company with his yonger brother, Henry,
Ole Johnson Haugen, and several others.
The first one they met at
the depot was Enok A. Torgerson, and then came one, Thompson, a
Wisner druggist, who had been requested to watch for their arrival and
direct them to Stanton, Nebraska where relatives resided. Mr.
Thompson had no way of taking them to Stanton but he located
some nearby campers who were ready to move on towards Stanton,
so he told the newcomers that they would get there by following the
immigrant wagons. Which They did, walking all the way...
The inscription on the chest along with the Rosemale designs reads:
Ole Johnson (Mid-) Strand
Mid-Strand indicates the area where Ole lived in Norway. The
town of Fagerness did not exist at that time. "Aaret" is the Norwegian
word for "year". The chest was made in 1872, one year before
Ole, with his mother Marit and sister Ragnild (Loe), emigrated to America.
Below Aaret and 1872 are two rosemale designs (typically
Norwegian type of decoration).
The chest such as pictured above was
used primarily for such items as craftsman tools. These chests
were made from wood which was held together with metal bands.
The lid was locked with a heavy metal lock assembly (broken on
Ole's chest). The chests were decorated with the old art of
rosemaling which consists of colorful designs.
Another chest in the family is owned by Wilma (Stangland) Tschudin (grand daughter of Sven Johnson) and is shown in the picture below.
The emigrant chest became the hallmark of Norwegian pioneering.
A chest with a rounded top was used primarily for food,
clothing & other such belongings. The rounded top required that it be placed at the top of a stack of supplies in the hold of a ship or on a transport wagon and thus provied easy access to the chest when necessary.
An example of a chest with a rounded top is seen in the pictures below. This chest was used by Sven Johnson when he emigrated. The inscription says Sven Johannesen Haugen and the date is 1861. This chest is owned by Eugene Johnson.
Ole, in his search for land walked to many
areas. He told of walking from Stanton to O'Neill and back (about
180 miles or 300 km), also walking to Grand Island and back (about
250 miles or 400 km). In 1877, he married Karen Johnson
daughter of Andrea and Larina, affectionately called Bestimor by all.
(Bestimor = Grandmother) Johnson and in 1888 established a
homestead on land across the road from her parents three and one half miles southeast of Newman Grove.
Ole was born June 2, 1852 in Nordre Aurdal, Valders, Norway. Karen was born
Janurary 9, 1856 in Senjen Lofoten, Norway. The picture below, taken in 1937, was taken in front of their
retirement home at 204-9th St. in Newman Grove, NE. At the time of the picture, Ole was 85 years old and Karen was 81 years old.
Ole and Karen met and were married
on May 13, 1877 in Stanton, NE. In 1878, they homesteaded on 160 acres three
miles east and 1/2 mile south of Newman Grove where they raised their nine
children and lived there until 1903. The homestead document contains the signature
of the U.S. President Chester A. Arthur.
In 1894 they bought 160 acres one mile
east of Newman Grove. In 1903 they moved to this farm
and lived there until 1905. They then retired & moved into the town
of Newman Grove at 204-9th and lived there until their death. Ole died Sept. 29,
1937 and Karen died Sept. 3, 1941.
This picture below is the frame house of Ole and Karen Johnson that replaced their original sod
house on their homestead farm three miles east & one mile south of Newman
Grove. The photo was taken circa 1894. Ole is the man in the dark suit & Karen
is the women in the darker dress with the two children (Casper & Lena). After
Ole/Karen moved to their farm one mile east of Newman Grove in 1903, this
house was moved across the road to the farm shown on the Newman Grove area
sketch (not the Andrew Johnson farm). According to an older man living on that
farm in 1992, he stated that in that relocated house "the people lived upstairs &
pigs & chickens lived downstairs". He also said that in years past during plowing
on the Ole Johnson homestead land his plow has hit large chunks of concrete &
other items such as pieces of iron, etc.
The picture below is the house on the "Ole Johnson" farm one mile east of Newman Grove,
NE. The house is across the road from the other buildings. The lady in the
picture is Kathleen Hallgren, the present owner of the 80 acre farm, with Paul
Johnson, son of Casper & grandson of Ole.
The land was originally homesteaded by
Mary Halverson (wife of Haldor Halverson) in May 15, 1876 and it had several owners after that.
Henry Strand sold the 160 acres to Ole H. Johnson Dec. 8, 1894.
There were many other mortgages.
Ole sold it to his son John, March 13, 1906. John sold it back to Ole March 4 1909.
Ole and Karen gave the farm to all their children deeded for $1.00 with love and affection June 2, 1937.
The Union Central Life Insurance Company was
holding a mortgage of $3,500 when the children acquired it. The 1937 taxes had
not been paid. The children lost the farm to this Insurance Company. The farm was sold in
1946 to John Chaulk. The present owner, Kathleen Hallgren (and her husband
Glenn) bought the farm in 1951. The house is on 2 acres and across the road the
barn, etc. are on 80 acres. There are 56 acres of corn land and the rest is pasture.
At one time there was a nine hole golf course on part of the pasture land.
Ole and Karen lived on the farm from 1903 to 1905. Some of their children also
farmed on this farm such as John, Casper and Sam.
The picture below is of the Ole and Karen Lavina (Johnson) family. It was taken in approximately 1895. Starting in the back row left to right we have Albert, Ole, Lewis, Karen, Mary, and John. in the front row we have Casper, Lena and Oscar.
The picture below is of the Ole and Karen Lavina (Johnson) family. It was taken in approximately 25 years later in 1920. Starting in the back row left to right we have Noble, Sam, Lena, Casper, Oscar, Mary, and Albert. in the front row we have Lewis, Karen, Ole, and John.
The picture below taken in 1915 is of the Ole and Karen Lavina (Johnson) family and includes the John Dokken family.
In the first row left to right sitting on ground: 1.Melvin 2.Dolan 3.Harlan 4.Irene 5.Edward Dokken 6.Herman Halvorsen
Second row kneeling: 1.Selma 2.Janette 3.Dina 4.Clara 5.Nora 6.Edward 7.Myrtle 8.Eunice 9.Leonard
Third row sitting: 1.Rina Olsen 2.Pete Olsen 3.Sherman 4.Lewis 5.Oliver 6.Karen 7.Ole
Fourth row standing: 1.Lena 2.Donald 3.John 4.Dave 5.Dorothy 6.Julia 7.Cora 8. Sam 9.Noble 10.Albert 11.Anna 12.Arnold 13.Rina 14.Russell 15.Lucy 16.Helen 17.Casper 18.Mac Dokken 19.Magna 20.John Dokken 21.Christine 22.Fairy 23.Floyd 24.Pete 25.Oscar 26.Mary.
The following information about Ole Johnson Haugen was taken from a publication written by H. Halderson (Attorney at Law, Newman Grove) called “Tri-County Pioneers”.
“Some years ago the postmaster was charged with the duty of delivering the proper mail to eleven Ole Johnson’s. There were more Ole Johnson’s but some had a middle name. The confusion resulting from this situation led to the practice of adding an initial following the proper name. The subject of this article is sometimes designated by the name Ole Johnson Haugen.
Note: Hallingkast is performed as part of a traditional dance from Hallingdal. A lady in the national costume from Hallingdal holds a mans hat on a stick up in the air and a man dances around her and then in the end kicks the hat off the stick!
The Indian attack on the Shell Creek settlement in 1870 which has heretofore been reported in the Reporter, became widely known, and retarded the colonization for about three years. After that raid in 1870 the government established soldier camps about every six to ten miles in this section. One of these camps was located on the south west 40 of the Whiteher homestead, now owned by H. Halderson (the author).
After it was reported that the soldiers were protecting the homesteaders in about 1873, the new settlers came in rapidly. Ole Johnson H., came here direct from Valdres, Norway, in 1873 and entered a homestead 3 miles east and one-half mile south of Newman Grove when he was twenty-one years old. His activities were confined to meeting the problems of the pioneer, breaking prairie, fighting prairie fires, building shelter for family and stock, hauling grain to, and provisions and material from Columbus and Norfolk. A trip to the mill at Norfolk in 1875 before Christmas nearly cost him his life. A blizzard was encountered and after struggling for hours through the blinding snow he and his companions came to the home of one, Melcher, a German settler. Ole’s feet were frozen, and for want of proper care, it was found necessary to amputate one or two toes. Dr. Bowman, or Bohman, near Stanton was sent for but he had no instruments or anesthetic. So he made a saw by filing notches in a table knife and ordered the men to hold the patient while he sawed the bone and completed the operation. Blood poison set in and he hovered between life and death for many weeks. In April the following spring he was able to walk on crutches.
It is also related that Mr. Johnson and Levi Gutru drove from Columbus in a lumber wagon one day in 1878 when the temperature was they lowest on record. But they bought a dry goods box, used that for shelter, and made the trip with safety.
Mr. Johnson was a man of great physical power and endurance in those early days. It has been stated that even at the age of about sixty he performed what is known as “hallingkast” a very difficult gymnastic feat.
On August 30, 1874 the Trinity Lutheran church was organized and Andrew Johnson, Ole’s father-in-law, was one of the organizers. Later Ole Johnson became an active member and officer of this church. He has several times been elected delegate to the Synodical Conventions. For fourteen years he held the office of church secretary. He has been a deacon, member of important committees and Sunday school instructor. During the last ten years he has made an intensive study of the scriptures, and has become more convinced then ever that the church is the greatest agency in promoting good government and the welfare of the individual.
The following article about Ole Johnson Haugen was received from Paul Johnson. It was written by a grandchild of Ole as the author refers to “Uncle Albert”:
Mr. Johnson was born on the 2nd day of June 1852,in Norde Aurdal Province, Valders, Norway, and was confirmed in 1866. He entered the military service in his native country and received honorable discharge.
On the 13th of May, 1927 Mr. Johnson and his wife, Lavina Johnson, celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. During this period of half a century, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson devoted all of their time to home building and working for the good of this community. Their home in Shell Creek valley, a mile east of town, was a popular center for young and old. They reared a family of nine children: John, Louis, Albert, Mary, Oscar, Lena, Casper, Sam, and Noble, all of whom were baptized and confirmed in the Trinity Lutheran church and educated in the Newman Grove schools. They retired from the farm a few years ago and are now residing at a location in Newman Grove in full view of the scene of their farm activities. Their unpretentious but very real loyalty to the flag and country of their adoption is a factor which has contributed to the support of the government and the development of the Middle West. “
“Ole Johnson Haugen with his mother left Valdres, Norway, arriving in Stanton, NE in the early 1870’s. A brother and sister had arrived at Stanton earlier. Ole, in his search for land, walked to many areas. He told of walking from Stanton to O’Neill and back; also of walking to Grand Island.
The following article appeared in the Newman Grove Newspaper (March 27, 1963). It was prepared by Mrs. H.P. Olson (Mary Johnson) of 2465 Sheridan Blvd. Denver, Colorado:
Later he met Karen Johnson, daughter of Larina Johnson, living about three miles northwest of Lindsay. Karen and her parents had come from Senjen in the Lafoten islands of Norway. Her parents homesteaded on a farm in the Platte County living in a sod house.
Ole and Karen were married and continued to live on this farm with her mother, Larina, as her father went to N. Dakota where he later died and was buried at Devils Lake, ND. Karen’s mother lived with them until her death in 1915.
Ole and Karen were blessed with nine children: John, Louis, Albert, Mary (Mrs. Pete Olson), Oscar, Casper, Lena (Mrs. David Schmadeke-Lakewood, CO), Sam, and Noble. They lived for several years near Lindsay.
This story has been told: Boys will be boys and Uncle Albert, our third oldest uncle a teenager, hitched a colt along with an older team to do some plowing. Granddad had warned him not to take the colt, but after Granddad left the place he proceeded. Stepping in front of the three horses, they became startled and started up. He grabbed a hame in each hand and hung on being dragged back-wards as the team plunged on – the sulky plow bouncing along behind.
When he fell down, the plow cut him very severely – then stuck into the ground and the team stopped. Grandma and Great Grandma having witnessed this fracas from the window, rushed out, unhitched the horses and carried Albert to the house where they tried to stop the bleeding. Noting his serious condition, Grandma hitched a horse to a two-wheeled cart and grabbing her whip raced into Newman Grove to get the doctor. He came quickly bringing a stone mason to aid him with the ether. Uncle Albert was placed on the kitchen table and the long sewing process began. He cried out for several days with pain – there was no easement for that. He recuperated and lived to be in his sixties.
Then the family bought a farm one mile east of Newman Grove. Ole Johnson Haugen became one of the charter members of the church now known as the Trinity Lutheran Church in Newman Grove.
Later Ole and Karen retired and moved to Newman Grove where they lived until their deaths. Ole, Karen and Karen’s mother, Larina, are buried in the Trinity Cemetery at Newman Grove. Lena (Mrs. Dave Schmadeke) is the only living member of the family.
“LOOKING BACK OVER 75 YEARS”:
The following obituary for Mrs. Lorina Johnson (mother to Karen Lavina Johnson) was reported September 5, 1917 in the Newman Grove Reporter.
Ole Johnson Haugen was born in Norde Aurdal, Valdres, Norway. He lived in his native land until he reached the age of 21 when he decided to come to the United States in 1873. He came directly to Stanton County, Nebraska which at that time was a vast prairie with roaming Indians.
While at Stanton, he met and latter married Karen Lavina Johnson on May 13, 1877.
In 1878 they moved to Platte County where they entered on a homestead three miles east and one-half mile south of Newman Grove . They lived there until 1903. They then moved to a farm one mile east of Newman Grove and this was their home until 1905 when they retired and moved to Newman Grove.
After they settled on their homestead east of Newman Grove, they lived in a sod house that had been built by Grandfather Andrew Johnson. Ole Johnson’s activities at that time were confined to meeting the problems of the pioneer, breaking prairie, fighting prairie fires, building shelter for family and stock, hauling grain, provisions, and material from Columbus and Norfolk…
He passed away on September 29th, 1937, at the age of 85years, 3 months, and 27 days.
MRS. KAREN LAVINA JOHNSON:
Mrs. Karen Lavina Johnson was born in Senjen Lofoten, Norway. She came to America with her parents in 1869 at the age of 13 years. She was confirmed by Rev. Jacob Aal Ottesen in Koshkoning settlement in Wisconsin.
After a brief residence there of 2 years they moved to Nebraska and settled on a homestead 3 miles east and 1 mile south on Newman Grove. Mrs Johnson then attended school long enough to be able to speak and understand the American language.
She later worked for various people doing house work etc. until she net and married Ole Johnson in 1877…
She passed away September 3rd, 1941…
Mrs. Lorina Johnson was born August 31st, 1822, at Monselvdalen, Tromso, Norway. Her parent’s were Ole Matiason and Dorthea Larson.
(Note: this was reported in other information to be “lived in Illinois then Wisconsin”).
In 1854 she was married to Andrew M. Johnson. To them were born three children, of whom two died in their infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson emigrated to this country in the spring of 1869. They lived in Dane County, Wisconsin, three years and in Illinois two years
In 1874 they moved to Nebraska and settled on a homestead in Platte County, three miles southwest of Newman Grove.
About thirty seven years ago Mr Johnson went to South Dakota. There he died in 1895. Mrs Johnson, however, remained here and has lived with her son-in-law and daughter, Mr and mrs Ole Johnson H…”
The following was published in the Newman Grove, NE 1888 - 1988 Centennial about the OSCAR J. JOHNSON family.
Oscar J. Johnson, son of Ole and Karen Johnson, was
born on a farm in Platte County near Lindsay, NE on 9-23-1887.
The picture below is of Fairy and Oscar J. Johnson
On 2-18-1909 he married Fairy B. Johnson (daughter
of John H. and Rachel Johnson). To this union were born
eight children; Harlan, (NM); Irene, (Mrs. Herbert Thur, CA); Floyd, (CA); Leslie, (CA); Virgil (NE); Noah, (CA);
Norma (Mrs. Richard Burton,) CA; Leona (Mrs. Wm.Swartz), IL. Leslie, Virgil and Noah served in WWII.
Oscar and Fairy farmed in Madison Co. three years
and then in Boone County northwest of Newman Grove
for twenty one years. They moved to a farm near Albion.
In 1939, they moved to an acreage at Turlock, CA. Fairy
passed away in 1945. Oscar later was married to Millie
Ronk. He died in 1978. Mrs. Millie Johnson lives at Santa
Oscar and Fairy are buried at Turlock, CA.
The following was published in the Newman Grove, NE 1888 - 1988 Centennial about the HARIAN K. JOHNSON family.
Harian K. Jonnson, eldest son of Oscar & Fairy Johnson, was born 10-5-1909, attended District 8 in Boone
Co. and graduated with Valedictorian Honors from Newman Grove High 1927. He taught at District 33 and 77 in Boone
County. Then he farmed with his father several
years near Newman Grove and Albion. He married Frances, eldest daughter of Frank and Alma Bittner on 5-9-1938,
at Zion Lutheran Church, Albion, NE. Frances, a 1933 Albion High graduate, taught at District 23 Boone
Co. Later, she worked at the Farm Security Office at the
Boone County Courthouse.
The picture below is the Harland K. Johnson Family, left to right: Frances, Marilyn, Harlan, Gary, Nancy in front.
After marriage, the couple farmed east of Albion where
a son, Gary (Albuquerque, NM) was born. They left the
farm and moved to Clarinda, IA and shortly to Red Oak, Iowa, where they managed a Sinclair Service Station. A
daughter, Marilyn, (Mrs. Wm. Wireman, CA) was born here.
In 1942 the Johnsons, with their house trailer, moved
to Alliance, NE where Harlan joined the engineering crew
of the J.A. Tertling Const. Co. They built air bases at Alliance, Scottsbluff, NE and Mountain Home, ID and
repaired the base at Boise, ID. After these war contracts were
completed, the Johnsons moved to Manteca, CA where
Harlan worked at the Kaiser Permanete Magnesium
plant until it closed. He then worked in Stockton, CA repairing and preparing army trucks for overseas
shipment. At the close of the war, Harian was employed as
a mechanic at the Spur Motor Co. in Manteca, CA.
The Johnsons moved to Grand Island, NE where the
trailer was sold and they purchased a home where they
resided thirty eight years. Harlan worked at the Diers Motor Company for eight years. A daughter,
Nancy (Mrs.James Grimes, CA), was born. Harian became a livestock
feed salesman for the Moorman Feed Co.
Frances hosted a homemaker program "A DATE
WITH FRAN" on radio KRGI for three years. At the opening of the television station KHAS-TV near Hasting, NE
in 1956, "TODAY WITH FRAN" a homemaker show was
originated and served the area for eight years. In the
meantime, she completed her BA degree at Hastings College and in the fall of 1964 began teaching
7th grade at Walnut Jr. Hign in Grand Island.
In 1981, Harlan and Frances became the resident managers of Chrysalis, a Lutheran Retirement Home in
Grand Island. Having served three and a half years, the couple retired and moved to Albuqueraue. NM where
they presently reside.
They have four Johnson grandchildren: Paige Lynne,
graduate study Boulder, CO; Matthew, U.S. Navy midshipman Jr. at University of New Mexico; Trevor working in Denver, CO;
and Jeffrey a senior at Laxewood High CO.
The following information on the Casper and Lucy Neuman Johnson family was prepared by Paul Johnson (son of Casper, grandson of Ole).
Casper (son of Ole) & Lucy (Neumann) Johnson were married Dec. 20, 1911 in Newman
Grove, NE. They met in Bazile Mills, NE (now a ghost town) when both were working at the
mill, she in the office & he as a drayman. The mill was an important business in those days.
The town had a dam built in a stream (Bazile Creek) to supply water power to the mill for the
purpose of grinding grain into flour.
In the wintertime, when the water of the dam had frozen over, they cut blocks of ice & stored in
a sheltered protected shed or cave to save the ice to be used for cooling purposes in the
summertime. Also, in the summertime, the water of the dam made a good "swimming hole"!
The picture below is the Casper and Lucy Neumann Johnson wedding picture.
PLACES LIVED BY CASPER JOHNSON FAMILY
1911 Casper & Lucy married (met in Bazile Mills, NE-both working
at the mill). Lucy worked in the office. Casper worked as
1911 Lived on Grandpa Ole's farm one mile east of Newman Grove.
Helen & Verna born.
1917 Lived on farm in Round Valley near Broken Bow, NE.
Noble & June born.
1920 Lived on the Neumann farm one mile north of Bazile Mills, NE.
Casper, Kenneth, Olvin, Paul & Alien born.
1927 Lived on Kvam farm northwest of Newmann, Grove, NE.
1928 Lived on farm north of Gordon, NE.
Gordon & Feme born.
1935 Lived in town of Creighton, NE (6 mos.).
Casper ran a gas station.
1935 Lived in town of Bazile Mills, NE (5 mos.).
Casper worked on WPA project.
1936 Lived on farm southeast of Center, NE.
1942 Lived on farm 1 /2 mile west of Woodhull, ILL.
1944 Lived in town of Des Moines, IA.
Casper worked at Maytag in Newton, IA until his retirement.
The photo below of the Casper Johnson family was taken in 1954, reported here by Paul Johnson in 1996.
Standing left to right & in order of age are: HELEN-now deceased;
VERNA-Gordon, NE; JUNE-Joplin, MO; KENNETH-David City,
NE; OLVIN-now deceased; PAUL-Des Moines, IA; ALLEN-
Pleasanton, CA; DALE-East Otto, NY; GORDON--E1 Paso, TX;
FERNE-Des Moines, IA.
Not in the photo are two brothers, NOBLE-killed in action in World
War II in Europe & is buried in a Military Cemetery in France and
CASPER-died in infancy (5 days old) as a "blue baby", a congenital
heart defect causing the baby's veins to have an over supply of
unpurified blood giving a blue color to the skin. HELEN, OLVIN,
CASPER & LUCY all died from a heart attack.
The Photo below of Lucy & Casper Johnson was taken by their nearest neighbor in
1958 at their retirement home on Hancock street in Des Moines, Iowa.
Lucy was 66 years old & Casper was 68 years old. Lucy is wearing her
"ever present" apron & Casper is wearing his "ever present" overalls.
These represent their "uniforms of work" typically worn by farm people of
their generation. Nearly all men farmers wore overalls & nearly all farm
women wore full length aprons.
As farmers they both were early risers & on Monday mornings, weather
permitting, she had her laundry hanging outside on the clothes line by 5:30
am. Neighbors, upon rising on Monday mornings, would look toward
Johnson's house, & knew it would be good weather for washday if they
saw laundry hanging on Lucy's clothes line. Thus, they did not have to
depend on the weather report on their radio to know if it was OK to wash
clothes. All their neighbors were their friends. They loved having their
children & grandchildren come to visit them.
Lucy loved flowers & always enjoyed the many that she planted around
her home. Casper planted trees & shrubbery around on their lot so
between the two they had a beautiful retirement home.
The Casper Johnson Family holds regular family reunions every
third year & have taken turns of holding these reunions at the home
of one of the children. All descendants of Ole Johnson are
welcomed, also descendants of Sven (Ole's brother). In 1992 four
descendants of Berit (sister of Ole) living in Norway came to the
family reunion held in Des Moines, Iowa. There were 121 people
attending that reunion.
The Johnson brothers & sisters have been shaped & molded by their
experiences of living through three major historical events. The
hardships of the Great Economic Depression of the 1930's, the
sacrifices of the terrible World War II in the early 1940's & the
blessings of the Technology Revolution of the last half of the 20th
A reflection on changing times in the lives of these Johnson brothers
& sisters since the birth of the oldest child, Helen, born in 1912 to
Some examples are: automobiles were a novelty &
initially considered a passing fad & could never replace the horse &
buggy. It was the hope of all teenagers to get a saddle pony of their
own that would be better & faster than their friends' horses. Verna's
& Nobles's first horses were young colts that had been cut up in barb
wire & left behind by Indians when they were traveling from
Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to the town of
Gordon for the summer months.
In the summer of 1929 about two
dozen Indian families set up their teepees at edge of our front yard &
stayed there for the summer. We had a collection of Indian arrow
heads & rattles from rattle snakes. There was a "buffalo wallow" in a
pasture on a farm just west of ours. Dad did put the plow to the sod
of some of the virgin prairie on this farm in order to plant more
We had never heard of television in the 1920's & 1930's. We had only
outdoor toilets on the farms we lived on in those days. No
telephones in our farm homes (except on the farm at Gordon, NE).
No radio in our farm homes until the 1930's & it was battery
operated, since we had no electricity, & Dad saved it mostly for
news & championship fights of Joe Louis, we children did get to
listen to some programs such as Little Orphan Annie & Jack
We had no refrigerator in our farm homes—we kept
milk cool by lowering in the well, other things such as potatoes were
kept cool in a cave. The cave was also used as a refuge in the event
of the threat of a tornado.
The cook stove & heating stove burned wood, corn cobs & during the
depression "corn on the cob" was also burned. To get the wood we
had to cut down our own trees, cut & split the logs by hand. Our
farm homes had no electricity, we had one pressure-gas bulb lamp &
kerosene burning lamps in the house & lanterns to carry for outdoor
use. So of course we had no electrical appliances—in fact we had
never heard of such things as television, computers, microwave
ovens, VCR's, electric can openers, automatic dish washers & dryers,
automatic clothes washers & dryers—in fact our mother washed all
our clothes in this very big family on a ribbed wash board by hand &
then hung the clothes on an outdoor line. Butter was made by hand
using a butter churn. We children milked the cows by hand & then
separated the cream from the milk on a hand turned separator. We
drank only the skim milk because the cream was sold to get cash to
buy basic groceries. The wheat that we harvested (up until the
middle 1930's) was hauled into town by horse & wagon & sold for
cash & the cash used to buy basics such as flour, salt & coffee. The
flour was used for making bread in the wood fueled cook stove.
We raised nearly all our food, we raised all our potatoes & preserved
them during the year in a cave, we canned all our vegetables & some
wild fruits such as gooseberry, chokecherries, strawberries,
butchered our own meat which was preserved by canning or
smoking, raised ducks, geese & of course chickens for food & eggs.
We farmed using horses & most of us children learned to ride a
horse shortly after we learned to walk. Some of us spent many hours
in the summer time on horseback herding cattle. On Saturday
afternoons the folks would go to town leaving some of us children at
home & occasionally we then had our own little rodeo riding
bucking horses & bucking calves. I understand that Verna & Noble,
when quite young, were quite good at riding bucking calves and
they caused the calves to run & buck by twisting their tails.
Most of us children never saw a doctor after our birth until we
reached adulthood & for some of us brothers it was when we got a
physical exam to go into the military forces. All seven of us brothers
served in the military (Army, Navy & Marines). The parents used a
lot of home remedies such as a mixture of kerosene & sugar on a
spoon for the croup, cloves for a toothache/ a rub of Vicks on the
chest for a cold & other faithful remedies such as chicken broth for
the sick, use of a hot drink & a hot mustard foot bath to cause
sweating for colds & inflammation, or a cold cloth on forehead or
back of neck for a headache, etc.
We all went to one-room country schools which had two outdoor
toilets & one outdoor well for water. There were no school buses, of
course, so we walked, usually a mile or more. At Gordon, NE the
school also had a horse barn so we either rode horses the two miles
to school or we would walk to school. The school buildings were
heated by a round belly stove which burned wood or coal.
The life experiences of the Casper Johnson family developed in the
children such values as character, integrity, respect for their fellow
human beings, love of country & love of God. All this was nurtured
by loving parents. It is noted, that today, these brothers & sisters
have married loving & devoted spouses & that their children have
also learned these values.
Every three years the descendents of the Casper Johnson family have a family reunion. The group picture below was taken at the reunion in 1998.
LESTER & VERNA JOHNSON
VERNA - Born August 14, 1915 on a farm east of Neuman Grove, NE owned by my
grandfather, Ole Johnson. Then, we moved to a farm near Round Valley located
near Broken Bow, NE. Next, we moved to Bazille Mills, NE where I started to
school at District #13. My primary teacher was Olive Pickel and my first grade
teacher was Alice Grace (Carpenter) Nelson. On Sept. 4, 1995, I visited her in
a Care Home in Creighton, NE. She was 92 and we had a nice visit. Another teacher
was Arietta (Smith) Ehrenburg and she is living in Creighton. Our family moved
back to Newman Grove for one year before moving to Gordon, NE. This farm was 7
mi. north and one half mi. east of Gordon and is presently owned by Jerry and Suzanne
Bottorff. Jerry is the grandson of Mike and Grace Tausan. We attended the Fieldside school. I remember our folks would let us invite friends over on Sunday
and the fun we had playing games. Noble and I loved to ride horses and calves
when dad was not around. My second year of Confirmation Class, weather permitting, Noble and I would ride our horses to Gordon to the Lutheran Church.
I was a student one year in the Gordon High School. My sister, Helen, and I
had an apartment upstairs in Dorothy Hallers home. The next year, I could not
find a place where I could work for my board and room so I was not able to finish high school. My first job was working at the Pullman Cafe and Helen and I
worked and lived in a apartment above the cafe. My next job, I cooked and did
the laundry for Dr. Vaughn's Hospital which happens to be the same house that
I presently own and live in. Next, I took care of Mrs. Ben (Estella) Olds who
was in ill health and I also cooked and cleaned for them. Estella Olds died
March 3, 1934. I married Lester Olds August 24, 1934.
LESTER - Born December 25, 1912 to Benjamin and Estella (Levi) Olds on a farm
which had been his parental grandfather's homestead 11 miles northwest of Gordon.
Lester attended grade school at a country school located 1 mile east and half mile
south of the Olds farm. The school was named Lone Pine for the lone pine tree's
located in the canyon west of the schoolhouse. He attended Gordon High School
but did not complete the 12th grade. Lester's father, Benjamin, and grandfather,
Alfred, were farmers, carpenters and masons. Lester's father helped the carpenters build a 2 story house in 1917 and a large barn in 1918 which are still
lived in and used. Lester farmed all of his life but people of the area will
remember the carpentry and masonry work that he and his brother. Merle, did
including the rock building and rock fountain in the Winship Park in Gordon.
They also helped their father bring rock down from the Black Hills and cover
his home in Gordon. Mrs. Merle Olds still resides in this home. Lester and Merle
broke horses for people and liked to ride a spirited horse. Merle had a horse
that he would ride and jump through a ring of fire. Lester liked to whittle
horse heads out of wood and also made a team of horses and a covered wagon.
During World War II, he engraved on spurs and briddle bits for the Eastep
Bootery in Gordon. He was a member of the United Methodist Church. Lester
died October 29, 1985 and is buried in the Gordon Cemetery.
LESTER & VERNA JOHNSON MARRIAGE
Lester I. Olds and Verna S. Johnson were married August 24, 1934 by the Justice
of the Peace at Hot Springs, South Dakota. Verna's brother and sister, Noble and
June, were their attendents. After the ceremony, the four of them toured the
Black Hills. One daughter, Kathryn Ann, was born to this union June 3, 1935.
Lester and Verna lived on and farmed the Olds farm 11 miles northwest of Gordon,
NE which they shared and lived in the same 2 story house with his brother and
wife, Merle and Clare, and daughters, Marilyn and Carmen, for approximately 15 yrs.
Some time in the late 1930's, Lester, Merle and Clare played for dances at the
Midway dance hall during the summer. Lester played the banjo, Merle the violin
and Clare the piano. They would load up and haul this piano to the hall north of
Gordon each time. Kathryn and Deen still have this piano in their home. Verna
and Lester's cousin, Alfred Fitch and wife, Hazel, sold lunch and the tickets.
The tickets were 35 cents for the men and the women got in free. They also played
for a few house dances and in the early 40's played at the Odd Fellows Hall in
Gordon. At this time. World War II was going on. Each person in a family was
issued a ration book and you used stamps to buy tires, gas, sugar, coffee, etc.
Also there were drives to collect newspapers, magazines, old tires, fat and
scrap iron. You could not buy new vehicles or farm equipment and after the
war was over, there was a waiting list with G. I.'s having priority to buy first.
Lester enjoyed hunting and the family ate a lot of wild game, particularly
deer and pheasant. Lester, Verna and Kathryn liked to fish and they would
pack a lunch and go to Shell Lake often.
The Olds farm was sold in 1950 which had been in the family since Alfred K. Olds
homesteaded in 1885. Alfred and his seven sons and daughters left LaPorte, Iowa
traveling by train to Valentine, NE. They unloaded a team of oxen, wagon, two
milk cows and household belongings and came by oxen and wagon to Gordon, NE
arriving in four days in April of 1885.
Lester and Verna brought a house at 411 Oak Street and lived there for 13 years.
Kathryn was a sophmore in high school, Lester continued to rent land and farm
and Verna kept high school students who needed a room and board during the week.
Later, she worked at a dress shop, Fitch Insurance, Ben Branklin and Pennys.
They sold this home and rented a farm from Mr. Horace DeWolfe in 1963 living
here approximately 6 yrs. Next, they rented and moved to the Charles Matteson
farm. In 1974, they bought a home at 300 E. 4th street in Gordon. Lester still
farmed the Michealson place until he died October 29, 1985. Verna worked at
Mode 0 Day for 7 and a half yrs. Verna is now retired and enjoys visiting her family and
friends, walking daily when weather permits, playing cards and is a volunteer
worker for the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program. She belongs to the United
Methodist Church and attends U.M.W. functions and is in a Bible Study group.
JUNE & CLINTON JOHNSON
JUNE—Born July 8, 1919 in Round Valley in Custer County, Nebr.
At age one, moved to a farm north of Bazile Mills, Nebr. Lived
there until I was five years old, moved to a farm near Newman
Grove, Nebr. lived there until I was five years old, started first
grade there. Then moved seven miles north of Gordon, Nebr. in
1928 & finished grade school there in a one room school known as
"west" Fieldside, Started 9th grade in "east" fieldside until Feb. of
that year. Then moving with the folks to Creighton, Nebr. then to
Bazile Mills in same year. In 1936 moved to three miles south of
Center, Nebr. and went to Creighton High school through 10th
grade. At eighteen went to Des Moines, Iowa & worked for a year.
Then returned to Center, Nebr. where I met Clinton Freeman at
the Community Hall in Center, Nebr. On March 25, 1939 we
married in Yankton, South Dakota.
CLINTON—Born April 30, 1911 on a farm near Plainview, Nebr
(Pierce County). As a young man my parents moved to a farm
about six miles south east of Niobrara, Nebr. (Knox County). My
father was ill, so I being the oldest, had to quit school & help with
the farming & cattle raising to support the family. I loved horses &
rode in rodeos for a couple of years & broke colts to ride. I moved
to a farm four miles southeast of Center, Nebr. in 1937. In that
year my father passed away. While living there I met June
Johnson at the dances in the Community Hall in Center, Nebr.
We were married in Yankton South Dakota on March 25, 1939.
JUNE & CLINTON JOHNSON MARRIAGE
Clinton & June married March 25, 1939 in Yankton, South Dakota.
We moved to a farm four miles northeast of Creighton, Nebr.
(Knox Co.). We farmed, raised cattle and horses there for five
years. Then we bought a thousand acre ranch eight miles east of
Niobrara, Nebr. We raised cattle, horses & did some farming also.
Near our ranch was a cliff referred to as Maiden's Leap (myth of
an Indian maiden who leaped off this cliff because she was broken
hearted over losing her lover). Also a few miles east of our ranch
was the Devil's Nest (tales about this extremely rugged terrain
being a hideout for criminals dating from days of outlaw cowboys,
gangsters of the 1930's & sometimes by modern day escapes from
Our daughter was born Jan. 10, 1947. When she was five years
old we moved to our town home in Niobrara so she could attend
school. Later after two years, a rural bus route was established so
we moved back to our ranch.
Clinton became ill, so we sold the ranch & moved to Neosho, Mo.
(Newton Co.) in 1957 on a small farm for two years, then we
moved into the town of Neosho. Our daughter Marilyn graduated
from Neosho high school in 1965 and joined the Marine Corp. for
We moved to Joplin in May 1965 where we had a "Star Mail
Route" from Joplin to Southwest City, Mo. We kept the route until
he suffered a fatal heart attack on May 21, 1967 & was buried in a
beautiful cemetery south of Neosho, Mo. June continued hauling
Mail for a year, then I became a beautician for 12 years & retired to
our home 2 miles east of Joplin, Mo. where I still reside to date.
KENNETH & FLORENCE JOHNSON
KENNETH—Born July 16, 1922 on earth & the angels were happy to get rid of
me. Born on a farm (Grandpa Newman's) one mile north of Bazile Mills, Nebr.
Bazile Mills was an up & going town. Now only a couple of Ghosts live there.
Mother was a clerk in a five & dime store there. She was slim & trim. We
moved to Gordon, Nebr. in 1928 to 1935. We lived six miles north & one mile
east on the Tousen farm. One time when he came, Noble & I put a jack under
one wheel of his Model T & he tried to go, but it wouldn't move, So, Dad gave
it a little shove & he took off, Dad laughed, but said don't do it again. We
went to a one-room school with one teacher. We had two outdoor toilets &
one horse barn. We walked to school or rode horses. It was two miles, a
long way in stormy weather. From Gordon, Nebr. we moved to Creighton &
Dad ran a filling station. We then moved to Bazile Mills, Nebr. for a few
months. Then we moved to a farm south of Center, Nebr. Paul & I went to
Center high school then the next year we went to live with Grandma Johnson
in Newman Grove, Nebr. to go to high school there. Grandma Johnson was
very deaf so Paul & I would listen to the radio, while she read verses from the
Bible. But sometimes she would see the red light on the radio & make us shut
it off. However, then one of us would sit in front of radio so she couldn't see if
the light was on & we could then listen. The next year I quit & went out to
where Noble was working in Washington on a Dairy farm. The year before
when Noble was out there he went to Seattle World's Fair & said they had a
small stove on top of a refrigerator & it could cook things in seconds & not get
the refrigerator hot (a microwave oven!). We milked 36 cows by hand twice a
day. I got up at 4:00am & got to bed at 11:00pm. I earned $30.00 a month.
After 9 months we came home to Center, Nebr. where Dad & Mom were going
to move to ILL. I met Florence at a little dance hall in the country. The folks
& I moved to ILL. where I worked for a farmer.
FLORENCE—Born March 18, 1925 in Knox Co. on a farm about 8 miles west
of Verdigre, Nebr. The house I was born in no longer stands, only a big barn
is left there. I went to the country school just across the road & went to all 8
years there. We had no electric lights nor indoor toilets, only the little 2-hole
jobbers & had catalog for toilet paper. Sometimes when we were in there the
boys would shake the building to hear us scream. I never went to high school
but stayed on the farm & helped the folks take care of the farm. Sometimes
for fun my brother & his wife would take me with them to country dances.
They paled around with June & Clinton. We were all there one time & I asked
June who was that certain good-looking guy was & she said it was her
brother. So that is how I met Kenneth. He must have been the right guy as I
write this we have spent 53 years together so far & still going.
KENNETH & FLORENCE MARRIAGE
KENNETH & FLORENCE were married July 8, 1942 in Andover, ILL by
Justice of Peace. One month later I got greetings from the President of the
United States & went into the military service (Tank Corps). When I got out I
went to Verdigre, Nebr. where Florence was staying with her folks. We
farmed with her folks for awhile. We moved to Omaha, Nebr. & I worked for
an envelope company, then to Firestone, then I went to Barber College, when
I finished I went to Fairbury, Nebr. & barbered.
Florence's dad got sick again, so we bought their farm & we farmed for 18
We have 4 girls & 1 boy, Paulette married Jerome Mott of Verdigre, they
have 1 boy & 1 girl. They live in Maple Grove, MN.
Connie married Dan Sukup of Verdigre, Nebr. & they have 1 boy & 1 girl.
They live near Wayne, Nebr on a pig "nursery" farm.
Lucy married Lyie Ashly of Newman Grove, Nebr. They have 2 girls. They all
live in Hooper, Nebr.
Sandi married Tim Preuss of Lindsay, Nebr. and they have 3 girls. They live
in Hastings, Nebr.
Randy married Lynne Dahle of Artonville, MN. They have 1 boy & twin girls.
They live in St. Paul, MN.
We got tired of drying out when farming so we sold out & moved to Newman
Grove, Nebr. & bought a bar, which we ran for 4 years. Then we moved to
Columbus, Nebr. where I was an appliance salesman for Montgomery Ward
for 6 years. We moved to Minnesota & bought a resort for 2 years. We then
moved to Montevideo, MN. & was District Mgr. of N. A. Chur's fertilizer for 2
years, Then Florence & I worked for a factory that made oil cans, etc.
Florence operated a 300 ton punch press & I welded, soldered & brazed. We
then retired & moved to David City, Nebr.
PAUL & LORETTA INDIVIDUAL NOTES
PAUL—Born Sept. 20, 1925 on a Newman farm (maternal family name) one mile north of
Bazile Mills, NE. It is now a ghost town but around 1910 it was a prospering milling town using
a newly built dam for power. This is where my mother & father met while both were working at
the mill, she in the office & he as a drayman. Lived about seven miles north of Gordon, NE
from 1928 to 1935. Attended a one-room school house that had two out-houses & one horse
barn. Our mode of transportation for the two miles to school was either walk or ride a horse.
From birth to high school graduation I lived in 10 different homes & attended 7 different schools
(4 grade schools & 3 high schools).
Lived about three miles south of Center, NE from 1936 to 1942. Graduated from Creighton
High School in 1942 at age of 16. Turned 17 in the fall & enlisted in the U. S.. Marines & spent
2 1/2 years overseas, two years in the 22nd Infantry Company on Midway Islands & 1/2 year in
a Guard Company in Pearl Harbor to escort ships in & out of the harbor.
Of the 1930's I clearly remember the hardships of the Economic Depression Era, the drought,
the very hot & dry summers, the very cold & snowy winters (especially 1935-1936), the heavy
dust storms that blackened the skies (especially in summer of 1933).
After discharge from Marines I attended Iowa State College on the GI Bill & graduated in 1950.
After graduation I married Loretta Husmann & started working in the Laboratory department of
the Des Moines Firestone Company.
LORETTA—Born May 8, 1927 in Dallas County on a farm about 35 miles northwest of Des
Moines IA. Buildings on this farm no longer exist.
Attended the rural Washington Township Consolidated School from grade 1 through grade 11.
This school, unlike most rural schools in the 1920's & 1930's did have electricity, indoor
plumbing & school buses. My folks moved to a farm near Woodward & I went to the 12th
grade in Woodward school & graduated from its high school. It had no school buses so my
Dad let me drive to school. Upon graduation from high school I went to Des Moines & got jobs
with various insurance companies. For entertainment many girls on Saturday nights went stag
to several ballrooms, especially the Tromar Ballroom, to meet boys who also went stag to the
ballrooms to meet girls. At the Tromar Ballroom I met Paul Johnson in 1946, a young man
newly discharged from the military service, who began attending Iowa State College. I got one
dance each Saturday night with Paul, but no dates, because he said getting a college degree
was most important to him.
In 1950 he finally asked to take me home from the Tromar Ballroom in his newly acquired 1941
black Plymouth coupe. We began dating, & dated for six months, then became engaged & six
months later became married in March 1951.
PAUL & LORETTA MARRIAGE NOTES
Paul & Loretta married March 23, 1951 in Bethany Lutheran Church in Des Moines, IA. Lived in Des Moines 17
years before transferring overseas for Firestone International Co. in 1968 as Chief Chemist for Firestone in
Venezuela. Also lived in Thailand, Uruguay, Japan & South Africa. Barb graduated from high school in Bangkok,
Kate in Montevideo & Don in Kobe. After 17 consecutive years living overseas, retired in 1985 from South Africa
& returned to Des Moines.
In Venezuela we visited rain forests, went snorkling off the coast in the "garden of undersea corals", & spent
Christmases swimming in the warm waters of the Carribbean. In this tropical climate we were caught in a snow
blizzard while visiting on the summit of Mt. Bolivar (16,411 ft.), visited in a prison where some people had been
waiting up to 7 years for a trial (nght of a speedy trial in our USA does have great meaning). After completing
eating at our favorite outdoor restaurant, poor children would rush in from the surrounding bushes & grab
remaining food on our plates so we always made sure we left some goodies. We had the experience of our first
house servant, a native from Trinidad.
In Thailand we traveled in the Golden Triangle & visited in an Opium Den. One Sunday afternoon while sitting on
the veranda of our 6th floor apartment we watched an attempted coup occurring in downtown Bangkok-(e.g.)
military gunships machine gunning civilians on the streets & the people on the streets were setting fire to
government buildings. Our children caught their first fish-we had rented a Chinese junk with a 2 man crew for
fishing in the Gulf of Siam. Each child caught nearly 25 fish & a crew man would remove the fish & put on new
bait for the children, we gave the fish to the Chinese crewmen. We visited elephant training & work camps. The
children got to ride on a real working elephant. We regularly had 2 house servants & 1 chauffeur.
In Uruguay, we lived here in 1974-1976, but the culture, dress fashions & economic conditions seemed more like
the 1930's in the USA. Before accepting transfer to Uruguay I was promised a company car that would be
American, big & nearly new. It turned out to be a Ford which was a small Falcon & 15 years old! We observed a
change of President of the country, not by voting, but by ouster of the old & selection of the new by the military
Junta, Also, an army captain in that dictator government threatened to assassinate me but instead tried to have
me declared "Personna non grata" but the U.S. Consul was a friend & he had the influence with the Junta to
prevent me from getting "kicked out of the country". We had one Spanish speaking house servant.
In Japan we visited Hiroshima & saw the effects of the dropping of the first Atomic Bomb. Saw the training center
for the Kamakaze (suicide pilots of World War II). Climbed Mt. Fuji & saw the morning sunrise—all good
Japanese do this in this the "land of the rising sun". To get permission to buy a car one had to submit proof of
off-street parking. Loud slurping is a sign that one is greatly enjoying the delicious food. In this Buddhist country
it is believed Christ is buried in northern Honshu after having left Jerusalem, traveling to India, up through China
& finally to final resting place in Japan. We had one part time house servant.
In South Africa we visited Krueger National Park—one of the best wild game reserves. Visited in a Zulu Village
in the Valley of a thousand Hills in Zulu land. During the dry season monkeys would come into town to raid the
garbage cans. Occasionally saw the Mamba snake, called the one-step snake because it is so poisonous that if it
bites you then you live only long enough to take one step.
While living overseas, as a family we visited in about 40 countries including Russia, China, India, Iran, Egypt,
Singapore, the Holy Land, etc. In Moscow (1972) the front door of the hotel was locked at night. In Harbin,
Manchuria (1979) doors to rooms in hotels were not locked (no keys). But because of the cold climate in
Manchuria they had heated toilet bowls & seats (hot water circulating ). We have traveled on this earth as far
north as Reykjavik, Iceland & as far south as Buenos Aires, Argentina, and have traveled on 5 of the 7 continents.
We spent one week vacation on the island of Penang (Malaysia)—of all places we visited it was the one place
closest to "paradise on earth".
ALLEN K. JOHNSON
I was born on September 4, 1926, on a farm one Mile
north of Bazile Mills, Nebraska. Bazile Mills was a
prospering milling town then, but today there are only
several homes and a gas station remaining. My family then
moved to Newman Grove, Nebraska, on a farm for a couple of
years. In 1929 my family moved to a farm approximately
seven miles north of Gordon, Nebraska. I attended a
one—room school house. There was no electricity or plumbing
so we used outhouses. There was also a horse barn because
one either rode a horse or walked, we mostly walked by
taking a short-cut through our cow pasture. In the spring
and fall we killed snakes that crossed our path going to and
from school. My brother Olvin enjoyed this exercise, and
once broke one of my other brother's crutches while killing
During late 1929 and through the 1930's I remember the
hardships. My family was very poor because of the economic
depression and drought era that took place. In 1936 my
family moved to Creighton, Nebraska. My dad operated a
Phillips 66 gas station. Then my family moved back to
Bazile Mills for a short period to make arrangements to move
on a farm a few miles south of Center, Nebraska. We lived
south of Center until 1940. At that time my parents sold
out and moved to Woodhall, Illinois. I did not live there
with my family, but worked on a farm by Cambridge, Illinois
and attended Cambridge High School. Next I lived in Galva,
Illinois and attended high school there for one year. My
parents moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where I attended East Des Moines High School.
In the fal1 of 1943 at the age of seventeen, I joined
the Navy. After boot camp I shipped out on the U.S.S.
Enoree, an oil tanker. I sailed the South Pacific, Marshall
Islands, Mananna Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore, India,
Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan.
In 1946 I was discharged and attended barber college. After
comp1eting school, I worked in Clear Lake and Des Moines,
In 1951 I was called back into the Navy during the
Korean war. I shipped out on the USS Antieum #36 , an
aircraft carrier. I was discharged in late 1952 in
California. I remained in California and obtained a job
with Grand Auto, Inc. I advanced to manager and district
manager. In 1987 I transferred to the wholesale division as
an account executive. In January of 1990 I retired from the
There were twelve children in my family. They are
1isted from oldest to youngest: Helen, verna , Noble, June,
Casper, Kenneth, Otvin, Paul, me, Dale, Gordon, and Ferne.
HELEN EFFERT JOHNSON, FIRST WIFE
I was born on January 13, 1928, in
Sacramento, California. I atended grades one through eight in Sacramento,
then worked at odd Jobs, mostly as a waitress
I also lived in Redding and Oakland, California. I was
working as a waitress in Oakland when I met Allen, we dated
about a year, then got married in Reno, Nevada, on
September 13, 1961. I had a three year old
daughter named Cynthia Markle before we were married.
During our marriage, two other chilren were born, Kelly Ann
on September 17, 1962, and Pete on November 16, 1964. The
marriage did not work out so Allen started divorce
proceedings in August of 1971.
MARY FONDREN JOHNSON, SECOND WIFE
I was born on November 14, 1941, near Haleyville,
Alabama. I was the youngest of four children born to Bascom
S. Fondren and Minnie Elliott Fondren. My sister Faye was
eleven when I was born, brother Donald was nine, and sister
shir1ey was six. My dad bought our Farm in Haleyviile when
I was four. He worked various jobs throughout the years
including the coal mines in Alabama, Dupont Atomic Energy
in Alabama and South Carolina, and construction in Alabama,
Illinois, and Ohio. When daddy was working other Jobs, my
mother, sisters, and brother took care of the farm raising
cotton, corn, and many vegetables. Some of my fondest
memories as a child are of sitting on a quilt beside the
cotton patch playing paper dolls with Sears' cut-outs, or
later of picking cotton or eating watermelon with my hands
from freshly-picked watermelons dropped in the field to
I graduated from high school in Monroe, Ohio, then
returned to Florence, Alabama, to what is now the University
of North A1abama where I received both my B.A. and Master's
degrees in English, History, and Secondary Education. while
in college, I married Gene C. Jones of Mobile, Alabama, our
son Ronald was born April 22, 1961. After graduation we
moved to Fort Lewis, Washington, where Gene was stationed
for his two years of Army duty. After his discharge we
stayed in Washington where he worked for Boeing for five
years. I taught the seven years in Washington at Mann Jr.
High in Tacoma. Our daughter Cathey was born on July 8,
In 1970 we moved to the Bay Area; the first year we
1ived in Fremont then we moved into our new home in
Pleasanton. Gene and I were divorced in 1976, but I bought
a townhouse in PIeasanton and lived there until Allen and I
I have taught 7/8 grade English and history
continuously for the last thirty-three years, including the
years in Washington, one year in Fremont, and the rest in
PIeasanton. I hope to teach another five or six years.
ALLEN & MARY JOHNSON MARRIAGE
Allen and I decided in the fall of 1978 to get married,
probably the following summer. Thinking it would take
months to sell both our homes, we put them on the market
immediately. Mine sold the first day, Allen's shortly
thereafter. We decided we better get married quickly and buy
a home to accommodate us, Ron, Pete, Cathey, and possibly
Kelly or Cindy, plus two dogs and a cat. we wanted an older
one-story home, but the place we could get into the quickest
was our present home which was Just being built. when my
principal announced in October at a faculty meeting that
November 10 was a holiday, the wedding date was selected!
Our home was not ready on time, of course, so for a couple
of weeks we had kids, animals, and possessions spread out
among several different friends. Finally on Thanksgiving
Day, 1978, Al, Kelly, and I began moving into our home; Ron,
Pete, and Cathey had a much better day skiing at Lake Tahoe.
For the only holiday meal of our life, we had Thanksgiving
dinner at a restaurant. Al and I were too tired and dirty
to care about a meal, but Kelly couldn't believe we weren't
having a turkey dinner.
During our seventeen years on Del Valle Parkway, we
have seen many changes occur in our family and our town.
Pleasanton has grown from a small rural town with no traffic
1ights and very little shopping or business to an
industrialized suburban town. Much of the small town
atmosphere is still here though, especially during the
summer with Friday night concerts/picnics in the park and
the county fair.
FamiLy, friends, home, and work have continued to be
the essence of our 1ife together, we have watched the kids
leave home one at a time; Cindy left first when she joined
the Army and later settled in the Monterey area where she
now works for a music company. Cathey, the youngest of the
five children, was the first married; she married Korey
Barragan in 1986; daughters Kayla and McKenna were born in
1990 and 1992.
Pete, the next-to-the-youngest, was married
in 1992 to Cynthia Simi, and on Christmas Eve, 1994, they
presented us with granddaughter Selena.
Kelly, third from
the youngest, was married in 1994 to Brian Reisoeck; first
grandson Jesse was born on October 14, 1995. Ron bought his
first home in April of 1995.
We are fortunate that all our
children and grandchildren live close enough that we can see
them a1most daily.
Allen, who worked for forty years for Grand
Auto/General Automotive, Inc. and never missed a day of work
except for scheduled medical treatment or vacations,
surprisingly adjusted to retirement instantly and happily.
He spends as much time as weather and other obiigations
allow on the driving range or golf course. Much more of his
time is used in babysitting grandchildren (his and their
Summers are special since Al retired because generally
after the Forth of July we hop in the car and drive across
country. We have driven in all but three of the fifty
states. Each summer we try to pick at least one special
place to visit such as the Grand Canyon, Yel1owstone,
Niagara Falls, etc. This has been especially interesting
for Mary who had previously only flown from place to place.
We try to see as many of our brothers and sisters' fami1ies
as possible each year, but as large as our families are, we
have to take turns. Johnson Family Reunions which now take
place every three years are always a special treat.
DALE & MARY JOHNSON
DALE JOHNSON - Born December 4, 1927 on the Kvam farm near Newman
Grove, NE. The following year we moved to a farm near Gordon, NE,
where we lived for about 7 years. I started school there in a one roon
scnool house which was about 2 miles away.
The first year in school, I fell off a horse and injured my left
knee requiring an operation. My father and I traveled across the state
to Omaha to have it operated on by a Surgeon who was a bone
specialist. we returned home with me on crutches and my foot in a
cast. The scnool teacher sent home school work until I was able to
attend classes. Recall brother Paul breaking one of my crutches while
trying to kill a snake. Recall playing ball with foot in cast,
throwing down the crutches and running to bases when I got a hit, much
to the dismay of Mom who would give me a scolding (if she found out).
We then moved to Creighton, NE for a short time where Dad ran a
Service Station. We then moved, temporarily, to Bazil Mills, NE in
the fall of 1935 until spring of 1936 when we moved on a farm near
Center, NE. The school, a mile away, was again a one room school
house with wood burning heating stove and outdoor toilets. The
teacher taught all 8 grades with an average of about 11 students.
We had to do the farm chores everyday before and after school. Brother
Allen & I were confirmed in the Lutheran Church in Bazii Mills, NE.
After completing the 8th grade, I attended high school starting
the 9th grade in Center, NE. Then moved to Woodhall, Ill, then to
Galva, Ill and then to Des Moines, IA in the spring of my 10th grade
where I finished high school. Snortly after graduation, I joined the
U.S. Navy. Took boot camp in San Diego, CA, then to Treasure Island
at San Francisco, CA
While going to school in Des Moines, IA, I had been a paper boy
then an office boy in the Credit Department of Yonkers Department
Store. After graduating, I worked that summer for a bookkeeping firm
until I Joined the U.S. Navy, working in the Payroll Office processing
payroll for sailors & officers passing through for reassignment. In
those days, the payroll was always in CASH.
I remember the heavy snows, the cold of winter, and the very hot
dry summers with accompanying dust storms. The difficult and
uncertainty of crops, and the grasshopper plagues. But, I also
remember the good times, visiting with relatives, going to barn
dances, and Dad calling the square dances. On occasion, town friends
from Center, NE coming to our farm to ride our horses while we rode
their bikes. Herding cows in temporary pastures, fishing in nearby
creeks and then going swimming afterwards, and Hunting squirrels and
rabbits in the fall.
I remember, particularly on the farm near Center, NE, the farming
with norses, the plowing, the planting, the cultivating, the shocking
of bundles of grain and later the thrashing season with the big
delicious meals, the picking of corn by hand and tossing it against a
bangboard mounted on the far side of the wagon so that it would bounce
into the wagon, pulled by a team of horses, and the herding of cattle
in temporary pastures. The kerosene lanterns and lamps the gas lamp
in tne living room for reading, the cellar for storing fruits and
vegetables, the hand water pump, the out houses the battery operate
radio and listening to "JacK, the All American Boy", The Shadow
Amos and Andy", and "Jack Benny". Going to town on a summer Saturday
night and watching tne black and white movies provided free by the
local merchants. The frst time I tasted a bottle of pop (coke), the
first time I ate "boughten" bread (we always Had homebaKed bread), and
the first time eating out. The first electric lights (Woodhull, Ill.
1942), the first clothes washer (not by hand) was a gas engine
operated used Maytag washer (Galva, Ill-1943). In Des Moines, IA in
1943 we had an ice box for storing milk and food with a card to put in
the window to signal to the ice man that we needed more ice. Milk
delivered by horse drawn milk wagon, and groceries purchased from a
corner grocery store, and the first large grocery A&P store. Also,
the first inside toilet and inside water, but we still had to take a
bath in a wash tyb. the first TV (black and white) was at a local
tavern (about 1949 or 1950). Then later our own Black and white TV
and then later a color TV. And I remember the streetcars in Des
Moines, IA that ran on rails in the middle of the street and was
powered by overhead electric lines.
I returned to Des Moines, IA after discharge from the Navy where I
attended Drake University. I met and married Mary, graduated from
the retail, sales and marketing division
College and went to work in the retail, sales and marketing division
Mary - born April 12, 1928 in Des Moines, IA in a 2 story house with a
big screened in front porch on JacKson Street, in a neighborhood with
mixed ancestry of northern European and Italian. Went to McKinley
Elementary acnool which was just a few blocks from home. After
compLeting elementary school, I attended Lincoln High School for two
years. At the death of my Mother, we moved to Woodland Avenue where I
attended North High School and graduated in 1946.
My favorite teacher was the Principle of McKinley who took an
interest in what I was doing. I liked ner and visited her even after
hign School. My favorite subJects were History and Social Studies.
My Grandfather lived with us when I was a little girl. He made a
place for me to piay in an old shed in the back of the house. This
was "my place" where I kept and played with my toys and dolls. My
grandfather always put in a big garden. I helped him plant the seeds
and watch them grow. He liked to take me on walks, too. On Fridays,
payday for my Dad, we would meet father at a downtown restaurant and
then go to a movie.
I learned to swim in a gravel pit and became a good swimmer and
diver, Just like my father and mother. Favorite times were
getting together with family and frends, going on picnics and going
swimming or during holidays, when we would get together with relatives
at either their house or ours, decorate a Christmas Tree, go to
Christmas Eve Church, big Cnristmas Day dinner and the presents. My
brother was 8 years younger and liked to follow me and my girl
friends, a cousin and a neighbor, around. Sometimes we use to try to
loose him. When my mother died, he lived with an aunt and uncle until
our father remarried.
After graduating from North High School in 1946, I went to work at
Cascade Cleaners as a bookkeeping clerk. I had worked part-time while
going to school at Woolworth' 5 & 10 cent store. I met Dale at a
dance at the Riviera Ballroom. We later became engaged and then
Married in November 1949.
DALE & MARY JOHNSON - MARRIAGE
DALE & MARY JOHNSON - Married November 23, 1949 in Bethany Lutheran
Church in Des Moines, IA. Employed by Firestone in the Retail, Sales
and Marketing division in one of their Retail Stores, which at that
time, they were a complete line retailer. In addition to tires and
auto service, they stocked and sold lawn & garden supplies, outboard
motors and fishing equipment, dishes, major appliances, bicycles &
wheel goods, hardware, toys, radio, record players, and later TV when
it became popular.
I was transferred to Davenport, IA as truck tire salesman, then a
wholesale dealer salesman. I transferred back to Des Moines, IA after
special training in tire service problems as District Claim Adjuster.
Then to Waterloo, IA as Store Manager. I went to Home Office in
Akron, OH as a buyer in the recreational supplies department.
Transferred to Pontiac, MI as Store Manager of a large company store.
When the store was sold to a dealer, I was transferred to a large
store in Rochester, NY which not only had all of the departments above
but also had a commercial truck tire department and a wholesale dealer
department. Then to Buffalo, NY as a Territory Representative
handling large direct district dealers, one of my accounts was one of
the largest dealers in our district and the largest account handling
truck tires. Then to Columbus, OH where I was promoted to Product
Manager over Truck, Tractor, and Off-the-highway tires over Company
Stores, Direct Dealers,as well as large Contractors and Government
I left Firestone to manage a wholesales business in New York
state. After a few years, the business was sold. The General Manager
and myself initiated and established an entirely new company. After
getting it off the ground, I left to go to East Otto, NY to be General
Manager over a business which was mostly wholesale. I expanded their
wholesale business, initiated retail business, and established a
complete farm tire program with on-the-farm tire service as well as a
large truck and off-the-highway tire program. I retired in January,
Mary, in addition to being a housewife, is an Artist. She is
accomplished in Watercolors, Pen & Ink Drawings, as well as Acrylic.
Her paintings are mostly impressionistic. She is highly recognized in
Western New York having won major awards throughout the area. She has
had her work displayed in major public galleries having shown in both
The Des Moines Art Center as well as in the Members Gallery in the
Albright Knox Art Museum. She has been in different private galleries
in Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls. She has paintings in many
private collections including Attorney offices, Doctor offices and has
a painting in tne offices of the Buffalo Bills which was purchased by
Mrs. Ralph Wilson.
Mary and I like to travel, we have taken some kind of trip every
year except the year in which each of our children were born. We have
traveled in most all of the United States with the exception of Alaska
and Washington (which we hope to accomplish in the next year or so).
We, also, have traveled in Canada, Mexico, Bahammas, Sweden, Denmark
Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, North Africa.
Our three children, Linda, Susan, and Karen were all baptized in
the same church in which we were married (Bethany Lutheran Church in
Des Moines, IA) They all three graduated from Amherst High School in
GORDON & HEIDEMARIE JOHNSON
Gordon—Born November 21, 1929 on a farm 7 miles north & 1/2 mile
east of Gordon, NE. We moved to Creighton, NE in 1935 then in
same year to Bazile Mills, NE for a short while. From there, in 1936
we moved to a farm three miles south & one mile east of Center, NE.
Moved to Illinois in 1943 then in 1944 moved to Des Moines, IA
where I attended East High School & graduated in 1947. Two
months later went to work for the FBI in Washington, DC. During
April 1948 was transferred to the FBI Field Office in Seattle, WA.
During August 1948 I enlisted in the US Army and spent over 21
years on active duty, receiving my discharge November 26, 1969.
HEIDEMARIE—Born May 4, 1941 in Essmark/Schleswig-Holstein,
West Germany. Even as a little girl I vividly remember the air raids on
the town where we lived, also, Mom grabing my sister Rose and me &
then running into the woods to get away from the bombing. Early in
the year 1945 I also remember leaving the eastern part of Germany
and the guards let our family through mainly because Rosey & I were
little blonde girls. When I was nineteen I went to work in an office for
the US Army in Frankfurt, Germany. During 1966 I met Gordon. I
then came to the United States and married Gordon in April 1968.
GORDON & HEIDEMARIE JOHNSON MARRIAGE
After I joined the Army in August 1948 & sent to Fort Ord, CA for my basic training
with Company "G" 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Army Division. After basic training
was assigned to the Signal School at Ft. Gordon, Georgia near Augusta. After 1
year, was sent to Carlisle Barracks at Carlisle, Penn. for a special advanced training
course. Upon completion was sent temporarily to "Vint Hill Farms Station" near
Warringtion, Virginia then assigned to Two Rock Ranch Station near Petaluma CA
The Korean War broke out June, 1950. While at Petaluma I met and Married Mary
Miranda. I was assigned to the 60th Signal Battalion to go to Korea. Was pulled off
that assignment & in November 1950 was assigned to the Army Security Agency
Headquarters Pacific in Hawaii.
In 1953 I was returned to Two Rock Ranch Station for a short period, then in 1954
sent to Arlington Hall Station in Virginia to attend school at Fort Meade, Maryland
Was sent in 1955 to Herzog Enaurach in the Bavarian region of Germany. In 1956
was transferred to Kassel, Germany. While at Kassel we adopted baby "Mark
Gordon". During 1958 was re-assigned to Vint Hills Farm Station near Warrington,
VA. 1960 was assigned to Hakata, Japan which is located on the southern island of
Kyushu. 1963 was re-assigned to the US Army Security Agency School at Ft.
Devens, MA as an instructor and attended the Sergeant Major's School.
During 1964 Mary & I were divorced. I was then transferred to the Army Security
Agency Headquarters Europe (in Frankfurt). While in Germany I traveled all over
Europe including Berlin, the Scandinavian countries, Turkey & Greece. While there,
I met Heidemarie Paulsen. Dated her until I left in 1967 for re-assignment at Two
Rock Ranch Station near Petaluma, VA. Heidi & Ralph came to the US on April 5,
1968 & a day later we were married in Reno, Nevada. I was assigned as the First
Sergeant of HQ & HQ Co.
On Sept. 8, 1968 I had a heart attack. I was released from Military Service in Nov
1969. John was born in Navata, CA Jan, 21, 1969. We moved to Rhonert Park,
CA. We left CA and moved to Gordon, NE in 1971 where Jim was born Jan 12,
1972. In Jan. 1973 we moved to Sidney, NE so I could complete my AA Degree in
Electronics. Moved to Grand Island, NE in 1974 then to Norfolk, NE in 1976.
Worked 1 year at Lindsay Mfg. Plant in Lindsay, NE then was hired as a supervisor
at Dale Electronics in Norfolk, NE. February of 1980 was transferred to El Paso, TX
to open up a plant. The plant was closed down in 1993 & moved to Juarez, Mexico.
I worked in Juarez for 6 weeks & then took early retirement July 1993.
FERNE & THOMAS B. ADES
FERNE—Born June 2, 1932 during the Great Depression Era. I was born on a farm in western Nebraska about
seven miles north of Gordon. In 1935 we moved to eastern Nebr. to Creighton & in same year to Bazile Mills. In
1936 we moved three miles south of Center, Nebr.
My parents both worked at the mill in Bazile Mills before they
were married in 1911. Twelve children were born to this marriage: Helen Moore, Vema Olds, Noble, June
Freeman, Casper (only lived a few days), Kenneth, Olvin, Paul, Alien, Dale, Gordon & Ferne. Brother Noble was
killed in France, WW II, Christmas Day 1944. He was married to Edna Suhr-Placek. No children.
recollection of my childhood was on the farm near Center when I was four-ish. As a child I was petrified of
storms (lightning, thunder & wind). My folks lost a barn by fire caused by lightning striking and lost all their
livestock. I consider myself very lucky to have so many brothers & sisters growing up in such a loving & caring
family. I had a fun childhood but I was quite the tomboy, trying to do everything my brothers did, including
swinging from a grapevine across a creek, and we all fell, it knocked the wind out of me & some of my brothers. I
played with cars & built roads & fields in the dirt with my brothers. My folks went to town every Sat. to do their
shopping, but we kids had to take turns & folks brought us 1 or 2 pieces of candy.
In Center they had free
outdoor movies shown on the outside wall of a store after it was dark. The farmers took turns having dances in
their barns on Sat. nights, so we kids learned to square dance & round dance at an early age. We were allowed
to bring several of our friends home with us on Saturdays. We kids walked one mile to a one-room school, no
electricity and outdoor toilets! My brothers claim they took turns carrying me to school sometime. Due to the
terrible drought we had heavy dust storms, blackening the skies like night & very bitter cold winters. Early 1940's
we moved near Woodhull, IL; however, my Dad got Undalunt Fever caused from livestock so we had to move off
the farm, ended up in Des Moines, IA. where my sister, Helen, found us a house. I was used to wearing bib
overalls (on the farm) but soon learned girls didn't do that in the big city. I was pretty strong and could beat up
any boys that gave me trouble. Finally, I had some girls to play with & got to play dolls & house.
Webster Elementary School at E. 12th & Lyon St., Amos Hiat Jr. High School at E. 14th & University and East
High School at E. 14th & Des Moines St. We still went to a lot of dances. I met Tom in my Senior year. Went
together a couple of months when he then joined the Navy, We wrote each other almost everyday. I graduated
from high school in June 1950. Worked as a Secy-Bookkeeper for a feed/seed company then Dictaphone
operator at Dial Finance, advancing to the credit department as collector. Quit work in November before Alan
was born in Dec. 1956. When Craig started to school I went back to work part-time 9-3 hours, retiring in 1991.
THOMAS B. ADES—Born July 15, 1932 in Webster City, IA. to Clarence & Edith (Handschin) Ades. There were
10 children: 4 girls & 6 boys. I was the youngest (One girl died in infancy). We moved to Des Moines, IA in
1932 when I was three months old. Dad worked for National By-Products as night foremen. I rode horses for
horse buyers through sale barns until I was 16, then worked for Downey Sheep Co. When 9 & 10 years old I
drove Grand Champion Shetland Stallion Pony of the State of Iowa in show rings in Des Moines & surrounding
areas. I owned 5 different horses & rode one 2 miles back & forth to work. When the city bus would go by I'd
ride along side it to see how fast the horse could go & race the buses. One time a brother-in-law wanted to ride
& he wasn't prepared & when the bus went by the horse took off for home-the brother-in-law walked the horse
back!" I rode in Rodeos (bucking broncos) at age 14 until I joined the Navy. I attended Scott & Willard
Elementary School, Woodrow Wilson Jr. High School & East High School. I quit in the 11th grade. Worked for
Downey Sheep Co & Bob Holt working as a horse trainer of gaited show horses.
I joined the US Navy in April
1950 & went to San Diego for my boot camp. Served aboard the USS Sicily CVE, aircraft carrier. We stopped in
several ports in Japan and the ship squadron flew close air support for ground troops off the coast of Korea. I
was discharged from the Navy in May 1953. On the GI Bill, I attended Des Moines Technical Vocational School
at 1800 Grand St. taking cabinet making as a core area study. Upon graduation I was employed by the Des
Moines School District & stayed 37 years. Thirteen years as a cabinet maker, fourteen years as carpenter, two
years as Foreman of the cabinet shop, the remaining time as Assistant Supervisor of General Maintenance,
consisting of approximately 70 buildings until 1992. I left due to a disability resulting from 3 upper back surgeries
retiring in 1994. After retirement I enjoy baking, cooking & gardening.
MARRIAGE - FERNE & THOMAS B. ADES
Ferne & Tom were married Feb. 24, 1951 in Yuma. AZ at the Orange Blossom Wedding
Chapel. Tom joined the Navy April 1951. After he completed boot camp in San Diego, he was
immediately assigned to the USS Sicily CVE Aircraft Carrier and sent overseas, making stops
in Japan. He arrived back in the USA in Feb. 1951. All leaves canceled due to Korean Conflict.
He telephoned asking that I come to San Diego where the ship was docked. Much to my
surprise, my parents gave their permission. I rode the train, stopping in San Frandsco,
telephoning my brother, Allen. He also was in the Navy but unable to get liberty that p.m. He
called and had our Uncle Noble & Aunt Agnes Johnson to drive over from Oakland to get me
as not safe in downtown San Francisco.
Allen came over the next day for the weekend. I
arrived in San Diego & called Tom aboard ship & he got liberty right away. A couple, he was
aboard Tom's ship, and his wife were eager for us to get married, but California law had a three
day wait so they drove us to Yuma, AZ. We both were only 18 years old & back in the Fifties
the legal age was 21 for men, so Tom had to telegram his parents for consent. They were not
home so his brother, Nelson (Mr. Ades) gave permission!!
Each time his ship went out to sea,
I would come back home. We lived in San Diego & Long Beach, CA.
He was discharged in 1954. We bought a used car & drove back to Iowa bringing our cat
along. We didn't think he would make it across the desert as cars did not have air conditioning
back then. We lived in a couple different apartments, finally buying a small two bedroom house
at 901 E. 26th St., Des Moines, IA. In 1961 we purchased our present three bedroom home at
8040 Dema Dr., Warren County, Des Moines, Iowa.
Three children were born to this marriage. Alan Nelson—Dec. 12, 1956; Brian Noble—Nov.
8,1958; Craig Thomas— Oct. 1, 1964. We presently have eight grandchildren. Alan has
three sons—Joseph, David & Steven. Brian has two children—Heather & Christopher. Craig
has three children—Ashton, Alysse & Ayrron.