There was lots of excitement and anxiety for everyone.
After all this is why they came to America----to homestead! Life was hard
on the farm. They lived near Horsehead Creek and that supplied plenty of
water for the livestock, but the drinking water was hauled from the neighbors
with horses until they dug a well. This well had only a hand pump until
two years later when they added a windmill and a big water tank for the cows and
horses. The children carried water into the house with two to three gallon
water pails or five gallon cans. This water was used for cooking, washing
clothes on a wash board and for bathing (at least once a week?). They made
their own soap from beef and pork fat and old pork cracklings. fresh
cracklings were used to make crackling fat and old park cracklings. Fresh
cracklings were used to make crackling bread and cookies. Before they
could buy lye in the cans for making soap, they made it from ashes. They
killed their own animals for meat to eat. This usually took place in the
fall. They would make their own liver sausage, head cheese and bratwurst
and hang a beef in the granary. When the needed a piece of meat they could
cut a chunk off and over it up again. They would raise their won chickens,
geese and turkeys to eat in between the butchering seasons. Sometimes the
neighbors got together for butchering and sausage making and it could take a
week until everything was properly taken care of which included rendering the
lard and come canning.
The sod house soon gave way to the elements and when it rained
the roof would leak brown drops that would grace the table, your head and your
bed. This house was replaced with a larger, sandstone house. Most of
the rock for this house was hauled from the Phillip Grenz land which was a short
distance northeast of the homestead. After this they built a rock cow barn
and later on a horse barn made of wood. As time went on they had quite an
Fuel was made from barnyard manure. All the barns were
cleaned with a manure fork and shovel and pitched on a wheel barrel. The
manure was dumped on a pile which was a nearby fenced area about twenty by forty
feet. When spring came and the manure pile thawed straw was thrown on top
of the pile and cattle and horses were chased around on it to pack it down.
The pile was made nice and level and allowed to cure or dry before it was cut
with a spade into about eighteen inch squares about four to five inches thick.
It was then stacked like "dominoes" for air to circulate and help it to dry.
It was then covered with straw to keep it from getting wet. This fuel
burned like coal, but made a lot of ashes that had to be carried out.
Every farmer had a stack of barnyard fuel in his yard. After Sharlotta
died this practice was discontinued, but they still burned corn cobs, and cow
chips. Some people had wood and later they bought Montana lump coal.
They slept on mattresses made out of corn husks. They
sewed together about eight flour sacks (the 100 pound size), filled it and put
it on the bed boards. The sack and a large opening on one end with a
string to open and close so they could reach in and handshake the husks around.
This also allowed pulling out the bad husks and filling the sacks again with new
Friedrich filed intentions for naturalization on May 20, 1903,
and became a citizen on May 21, 1908, in Emmons County, ND. According to
the law at that time his wife and children automatically became naturalized too.
Christiana was the first born on the homestead. She joined
the family on October 14, 1904. Friedrich assisted each birth as they
never called a doctor. In 1906 Minnie was born, Helmuth in 1909, Walter in
1911, Frieda in 1914, Hilda in 1915 and Robert in 1918. Tragedy struck in
1915 when Frieda drowned in the stock tank and again in 1918 when mother
Sharlotta and her nine day old son, Robert, died. this left all these
young children without a mother. Lydia, Emelia and Christiana were the
oldest girls at home and had the responsibility of caring for their younger