Wednesday, March 20, 2013


MORE STORIES... by Hazel F. Browne (Curtis)--my grandmother...

When my brother Cyril was a little boy he liked to play with a boy whom everyone called Dutchy Schum. I don't remember ever hearing his real name, but I suppose he had one. Dutchy was a pretty rough little guy and also his language was not always too proper. So our folks tried to keep the two boys separated.
One day Cyril couldn't be found at home and father went to look for him lest he might pick up some of that bad language. Father found him over at Dutchy's place. He had Dutchy up against a haystack and was punching him for further orders and instead of Dutchy, it was Cyril who was using all the choice words.
Needless to say when they reached home, father tended to him properly and I hid around the corner and I think the whipping hurt me as much as it did my brother.


There were several of my friends that mother used to let me spend the night with occasionally. Their fathers were all farmers. You never heard of ranches in Minnesota. They were all called farms and raised grain, mostly wheat. Many of them had cattle, also, as Minnesota was noted for its dairy products, butter and cheese.
Two sisters that I remember visiting were Mary and Margaret Carbert. They had a large family and their father had just had a large, new house built for his family. There were not many families then who had indoor plumbing with bath tubs, basins and toilets; and Margaret and Mary were very proud of theirs. We did not have those conveniences back at the train depot; our home. Se we were quite impressed by such luxuries.  Their dad had a large farm and raised lots of wheat so they had the biggest straw stacks in that county and we enjoyed playing in the--not too safe, I think.

Another friend whom I visited was Clara Rogers. She was a twin. Her brother, Ira Rogers, was much taller, but they were, of course, the same age. She also had a sister, Leila, about the age of my older sister Ella May.
They had quite a large dairy and may cows so they had a lot of milk to be run through the separator. They didn't have electricity on their farm, so they had what they called a tread mill. They brought in a good, husky calf and ran him onto a sort of platform and had him trained to keep walking. But he never got anywhere. His walking turned the machinery that ran the separator and that separated the cream from the milk. They sold the cream to the dairy to be made into butter. I think they fed the milk to calves and pigs.


Your great grandma would be 104 years old if she were living now, in 1973. Her name was Hannah Maria South (Baker). She was born July 23, 1869 in Blue Earth City, Minnesota. I don't think it was really a city, but the county where they lived was named Blue Earth County and so they added "City" to the name of their town. Mother's, (Mary Helen Baker (Browne))'s, family the John S. Bakers, lived on a farm.  When they had more eggs and butter than they could use at home, Grandpa hitched the horses to the wagon and took the extra produce to town to trade it in for other food or clothing.

One day mother put on her best clothes, a hoop skirt, and other finery, and climbed up on the big, high wagon seat to go to town with her father. Everything was lovely until she got to town and had to climb down from the wagon. Her hoop in her pretty skirt got caught, and there she had to hang until someone came to her assistance. How embarrassing!

A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE (Writing of herself)

In 1921 your grandma (now Hazel Curtis), a schoolteacher named Hazel Florence Browne, was teaching in Clarksburg, Yolo County, California; twelve miles south of Sacramento. Clarksburg was a little country village in the Holland Land District.

There were three teachers in the school and the primary teacher, Eva Taylor, and I rented an old farm house from the Krull family. It was about a mile and a half from where we lived to the school and in those days, there were not very many automobiles, so we walked to and from the schoolhouse.

One afternoon, as I was walking home, some young men who worked on a dredger across the road from the Krull property, picked me up and gave me a ride home. The door on my side had been broken and was wired shut, so I had to climb over it getting in and out. I had a new, navy blue serge skirt on. When I climbed out it caught on the inner handle of the door and I fell and there I had to hang until one of the young men came around and helped me. Boy, was my face red!

My grandma, Hazel Florence Browne (Curtis) in 1912 while attending San Jose Normal School in California; born in Boynton, North Dakota in 1892.My grandma, Hazel Florence Browne (Curtis) in 1912 while attending San Jose Normal School in California; born in Boynton, North Dakota in 1892.
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