Auto Biography of Lydia Schiermeister Grenz

On February 20, 1898, I  was born.  We lived in the village of Ananov, Russia;  where I was baptized into the Lutheran faith.  When we immigrated to America, I was two years old.  We arrived in the port of Portland, Maine in the United States on a vessel named the Dommin Line arriving October 20, 1901.  We then went by railroad to Winnipeg, Canada for about 30 days.  We spent a month in Canada because some of us were sick.  Later, my parents and family arrived at Eureka, South Dakota.  I believe we spent one year there before we finally settled at our new homestead about 12 1/2 mils southwest of Hazelton, ND.  My parents had a difficult time homesteading on the prairie. A house had to be built which was made out of sod.  We had to go to the neighbors for drinking water until a well was dug.  We kids all had our chores to do and of course in the winter how do you keep warm?  The neighbors went together to have prayer and Bible  reading at the Reimer house, until a one room school was built.  When I ws seven, I attended the 1st grade.  Anna Gustine was my teacher.  We couldn't speak a word of English, but we learned.  When I was 14, I attended Catechism at Peace Lutheran Church in Linton which prepared me for my confirmation.  One March 9, 1913, I was confirmed by Pastor H. Wiegand.  I stayed home and helped with much of the work that had to be done around the house.  In 1918, my mother gave birth to a baby boy, he was named Robert.  He lived only 9 days and he died.  My mother wasn't doing well taken to the Bismarck Hospital where later she died.  I still had younger brothers and sisters at home to be taken care of.  We had another tragedy, my sister Frieda drowned in a stock tank in 1914.

There was this bachelor that lived 61/2 miles southwest of our place.  He owned some land and had built a small house.  His name was Godfrey C. Grenz.  He also had been born in Gildendorf, Russia - on Nov. 13, 1892 to Gottlieb and Christine Hogue Grenz.  On March 20, 1919;  I became Mrs. Godfrey C. Grenz and moved there.  He had also purchased a steam engine and a threshing rig, one of the first in the county and did custom work.  So when harvest time came, he was gone usually through December or until the threshing was done, whatever the weather allowed.  My first child was a girl we named Frieda and other girls followed - Alma, Minnie, Anna and finally a boy, Leo, in Oct. of 1925.  the farm was growing just like the family.  I got a bigger house that some homesteads left about a mile north of our place.  Godfrey moved it to our place.  Two years later we had another son Edwin but because of some health problem, he died a short time later.  That was in June of 1927. We buried him in the Gimbel Cemetery.  In1923, Esther was born in July.  during the later twenties, farming was doing better, land prices were climbing and interest rates were also climbing.  Even the railroad was planning on building a bridge across the river west of our place but later they changed their minds and nothing happened.  Finally prices fell on everything.  Banks started to close, there wasn't a price for grain or livestock.  Godfrey sold a bunch of wheat to make a land payment.  He put the money in the Temvik Bank and the next day he went to get the money and there wasn't a bank.  From 1929 on things were real tough, we had some very bad years from too much moisture to none at all.  1936 was the worst year.  so very dry, the men went all the way to the Red River Valley to put up feed and shipped it back home by rail so our milk cows had something to eat.  The grasshoppers were really bad; the kids and I would go out and chase them out of the garden so they wouldn't eat up everything. When the shade would be on the north side of the buildings the hoppers would climb the walls, we would chase the turkeys to the side so they would pick them off and eat them.  Godfrey irrigated out of the river to raise our garden food so we could have something for the winter.  (Up north in the Kyes bottom, they would set up a big community garden and irrigated out of the river for food, so people



 Page 1 of 2

next page

Search Names Home Page