Looking Back

Compiled by Joan Isaacs from the files of the Deer River Newspapers.

110 Years Ago—R.N. Shepherd, mail carrier, is found dead in a brook on the way to Wirt. It is believed that Shepherd must have died of heart disease or other otherwise naturally, and after or about his end, fell into the creek. Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Holsman, who were married in Buffalo, returned to Bigfork, where Mr. Holsman intends to launch in the mercantile business. Abe Patrick, popular taverner of Wirt, was in town. He declares the reports that he is soon to be married are without any foundation of fact. Operator Fred Vobejda returned from a month’s vacation.

100 Years Ago—A party from Deer River visited Elmhurst on Big Bowstring Lake. Hosts were Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Miller. Other guests were: Mr. and Mrs. Ivar Erickson, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Christie, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Christie, Mrs. Roll Christie and children Jane and Robert, Antoinette Melhus, Andrew Melhus, Mr. and Mrs. M.J. Taylor (Editor) and daughter Velma, Ed Chill, Harry Ryan, Arthur Weaver and Marion Brown…Many cozy little homes are passed on the turn from the main road to the big lake, including the Sombs, Byers, Finley and Sword places, the town hall of Bowstring Town and the Sombs school.

90 Years Ago—Married: Eileen Baker to George H. Dederick. Ceremony was held a St. Mary’s Church. Wedding breakfast was served at Pinehurst Lodge. Mrs. Dederick graduated from the local high school and state teachers college at Moorhead. She taught at Gary, Roseau and Coleraine. They will live at Devils Lake where Mr. Dederick holds a responsible position with a large clothing firm. Board of Commissioners heard arguments for and against the granting of a petition of the International Lumber Company for the privilege of extending their logging railway across Grattan, Kinghurst and Max townships… board tabled the petition…believes the problem is one to be adjusted by the company and the town boards.

80 Years Ago—During fiscal 1937 the federal government spent $8,001,000,000. Federal income was $5,294,000,000. The national debt soared to a new peak of about $36 billion. Bernice Anderson of Max, a recent graduate of Minnesota School of Business, is substituting for Mrs. Lawrence Peterson at the Deer River Creamery.

70 Years Ago—Approximately 2,000 people attended the mission bazaar and pow wow held at St. Joseph’s mission at Ball Club. “Sandy” Willman buys Campbell’s Cafe in Deer River.

60 Years Ago—New pastor at Deer River Methodist Church is Rev. Jack Anderson. Deer River students grades one through eight will attend the new North and King Elementary Schools. Donald Guthrie will be the new Deer River basketball coach. He will also teach physical education and assist at football. Edarald Wiesert, Effie, and Ronnie Bailey, Wirt, placed third and fourth in barrel racing at North Star Stampede and Rodeo. Deaths: Herbert Serfling, Deer River area pioneer.

50 Years Ago—In the Service: Dennis Huotari, Deer River; Francis Grauman, Ball Club; Robert Thydean, Bigfork; William Knight, Effie. Robert Danielson, Princeton University associate professor, leaves for London to lecture on space in various European cities. He is the son of Mr. Carl (Swede) Danielson. Six state colleges will increase dormitory costs. Rent will jump from $230 per term to $260.

40 Years Ago—St. Joseph’s Festival to be held. This festival, the oldest wild rice festival in North America, can trace its beginnings back to 1915. In those days the festivals were called Indian Congresses and lasted three days, according to Fr. Anthanase Fuchs of the St. Joseph’s Church. “The Indians camped around the church in tents, conducting spiritual exercises, pow-wows, and games…For all purposes, these were the first wild rice festivals. When Father Dennis left Ball Club in 1951, the annual congresses or wild rice festivals were discontinued…the local festival was revived in 1966.

30 Years Ago—Deer River Fire Department has purchased a new fire rescue van. The purchase was made possible by donations from Deer River Jaycees, the Vets Club and the Fire Department Club “26” winners. Bigfork High School Dance Line members are: Melissa Grandy, Jackie Nixon, JoAnn Bueschel, Jennifer Nelson, Toni Gregerson, Nancy Roethler, Rhonda Bueschel, Stacey Newman, Kim Haley, Shelley Anselmo, Rachael Gabriel, Holli Savich and Sally Van Nyhus.

20 Years Ago—Robin Johnson, grandson of John and Irja Johnson of Deer River, playing on the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team won a gold medal recently in the World Games for the Deaf in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was one of the more than 2,700 athletes from 63 countries who took part in the games. The Johnson family live in Faribault nine months of the year, returning to the farm in Deer River for the summer. Benson family holds family reunion. It has been 80 years since the William and Laura Benson family settled in the Talmoon area. They had 10 children. Edna Baker, Talmoon, and Catherine Umstot, Jacksonville, Fla., are the only two remaining children. After almost 75 years of housing the Mattila family, an old Oteneagen house was moved to a different location and will become the home of Lance, Heather and Josh Schjenken. Victor Mattila homesteaded the property in 1910. It was later the home of his son Taito and now grandson Elmer and his wife Louise have built a new house on the property.

10 Years Ago—Friends and family members gathered at the Samuelson farm in rural Deer River to celebrate the restoration of homstead barn. Brothers Louis and Frank Samuelson had come to America from Sweden and homesteaded in Deer River in 1893. The barn was completed in 1895. Daughter Janice Aplin had the dream of restoring the barn and together with her husband, who financed the project, hired Chuck Crowe of Bemidji who did the restoration. Deer River Food Shelf, Deer River Ambulance Service, Deer River White Oak Society were a few of the programs who benefited from Lake Country Power’s Operation Round Up program. This program gives financial assistance to community projects by “rounding up” member’s electric bills to the nearest dollar. So far it has distributed $364,322 to community based programs and projects.

30 Years Ago—Pictured is the 1987 Deer River Warrior golf team. Back row, CeCe Donnell, Siggi Hansen, Coach Courier, Rusty Puddicombe, Tom Licke. Front row, Nikki Rick, Nissa Sorenson, Shelly Tarbell, Melinda Snow, Michele Box. —Photo by Enstrom’s Studio, Bovey.

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