Monday, December 23, 2013

BULLY GOOD SKOOKUM

A few years ago I became the proud keeper of a collection of Skookum dolls which had been compiled by my late aunt.  She had traveled many times to Arizona for winter holidays and probably began to bring them home as a remembrance of fun warm times.  Skookums were designed and sold by Mary McAboy after her husband passed away and she was in need of income to support herself.  A patent was granted on Feb 17, 1920 and thus began a career which expanded from a do it yourself artist production until the business was sold in order to accommodate ever expanding demand for these unique tourist souvenirs.  The Skookum can represent several tribes based on the costumes and decorations worn by the dolls.  Their  history can be traced by the materials used in construction as well as the type of fabrics used in clothing;  particularly the shoes.  1913--leather moccasins, 1918---suede on wood or painted designs, 1924---composition and in 1950---plastic became the standard.  Dried apples were used for the first heads, but this became a problem when demand for the dolls increased faster than Mary and her staff of artist women could keep up with the orders and the apples would rot.  The earliest bodies were stuffed with twigs, leaves, straw or grass, legs were wooden dowel rods, eyes were pins, shoes were of  felt, leather or suede over wood. ( After 1948 the shoes were brown.) The early dolls had human hair wigs.   The dolls represented men, women and women with babies in addition to a separate baby attached to a mailing card which were very popular for many years.  The most common facial features show eyes to the right but there are some with eyes turning left and these are considered rare and difficult to find.  The costumes consist of a folded camp or Navajo blanket hugging the body while jewelry, feathers, headbands, beads may be used for decorating the costume.  Just an interesting point----when Mary sold the company the dolls became factory made by an all male staff!   So what happened to a woman's touch? 

 In addition to the Skookums, there were also several dolls which were probably purchased in South America and Mexico and I have added a few of my own selections.  However, whenever I happen to pass the glass front cupboard and look their way------all of those eyes seem to follow me and watch my activity-------hmmmm, what do you suppose they're thinking?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Is it or Isn't it?

The starkness of a winter woods with a hint of pink in the clouds and on the horizon.

Every now and then we who are collectors  face a conumdrum if what we have found is a true treasure worth a lot of money, or just another pretty face/thing that we might as well enjoy or sell for a little.  Long ago I bought a number of interesting pictures at a local auction  that included both lithographs and hand painted oils.  Apparently the oils were done by a local artist----oops, not so fast.  One of them was and the other is the question mark!  I decided to display it on a nice brass  easel that my mom had stuck in the attic for years,  probably with the idea of using  it for one of her folk art style paintings that she attempted now and then.  It was one of the items that I decided to keep as we were cleaning out her house after her passing,  because it had always fascinated me and  I thought how cool it would be to actually use it  somewhere in my house.  So, after bringing the picture home and setting it face to the wall for quite a while,  one day a "decorating " bug bit so up from the basement store room came the easel and the art was relegated to a place of honor in my living room.  Actually it is oil on board measuring 19" x 13" with a 4" carved wood frame.  I have no idea if the frame is original to the picture or not,  but it has a certain shabby feel that goes with our cottage on the lake look :) smile here. There is a small paper tag on the back with Amsterdam, Neumann & Vettin, fine art packers, forwarding agents.  I have seen these stickers  with the Amsterdam lable on other items  so don't know exactly what that indicates.  Oh yes, there is a 25/350x  which I assume means this is   # 25 of 350 that were done.  Also, in the September 15, 2010 issue of Antique Trader,  I perked up when I found an article in an auction preview featuring  a photo of a painting by Anthony Thieme which was estimated to bring $30,000-$40,000.  Sure looked very similar to mine  so  I have had the magazine displayed with my picture---several guests have commented on the similarities!    I can dream that someday I might actually get to Antiques Roadshow or an institution where I might get an appraisel by an expert to tell me if yes, indeed, it is a valuable treasure or whether I'll be told to enjoy the picture even though it isn't worth more than a few dollars.  .

close up of the figure in the horse drawn cart.
Meanwhile, I'll just enjoy the thought or illusion of owning a valuable piece of art
        

Saturday, October 12, 2013

TEAR DOWN THOSE WALLS!

Probably those of you of a certain age remember those famous words of  then President Ronald Reagan, spoken  to Mikhail Gorbachev while visiting the Berlin Wall:  "Mr. President tear down this wall."  Well, not all walls are as famous or relinquish such memorablia as the chunks of that wall did.  However, in my family there have been discovered certain items stashed/hidden behind stone or dirt barriers in old houses.  At one time in the 1980s it was my responsibility to care for the home of my elderly aunt who had gone to live in a nursing home and I was a bit nervous assuming the duties since I lived some 5 hours away.  Granted, my dad lived in the same town, but he, too, was getting on in years and I hated to burdeon him with too many  extra chores.  One spring after a particularly rainy week, I arrived during spring break to find that an entire wall of the basement had collapsed and in the debris of broken tile and dirt we found-----lots of old tin food cans with some of  the labels very well preserved!  Hmmmm, what was this all about?  It is well known that people put old newspapers and magazines behind walls to provide extra insullation for those cold winter months or that sometimes unusual keepsakes were placed between studs for preservation?  But, why save old cans from the kitchen?  My sons and I collected a number of examples of vintage goods to keep on our memorabelia shelves but threw away many that were rusted and dented.  Come to find out, this is not the first example of my familys'  "thrifty" ways:  a few years later, I received from a cousin, an article written in a Tacoma, Washington newspaper in which there was a story recounting a remodeling job in a basement where a number of full bottles of liquor were stashed behind the walls.  The original owner of the home was my grandfather's sister who, with her husband and two daughters moved to Tacoma ca 1890 and established the California Wine Warehouse which apparently thrived for a number of years.  At any rate, it was opined in the news article that perhaps during prohibition, Clara had hidden away a little secret cache of choice bottles of whiskey which were to be consumed
at a later date.  Well, 50 - 75 years later, it was still there!  Not sure how the bottles were disposed of or whether the present owners of the house enjoyed well aged spirits!   By the way, my little stash of kitchen tin cans was found in the same town as the $100,000.00 + comic found earlier this summer------no my tin can collection is not in the same category as aged alcohol or vintage comics but it certainly makes me smile!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

School Days School Days.......

I come from a background of school teachers;  all strong women, who blazed a trail for me even though I came to the profession kicking and exclaiming that I wanted to do something else with my life!  Of course, at one time I worked 10 years in a museum, which called upon my educational training  and certainly being a history buff who loves geneology , finds me broadening my horizons and using teaching skills once again.  So, it only seems proper that I am attracted to vintage teaching supplies, books, pictures and certainly artifacts that are unusual as well as rare.  Recently, on a hunt and gather road trip, I discovered an intriguing item that decidedly had to come home with me.  I found a copyright date of 1895 and made by Powers Brothers, probably for the wood case device.  The various lesson sheets have a variety of dates, including one for 1913.   I searched the internet looking for info to help identify it and found one source that called it a child's portable wood school desk.  AHA---this made sense since it has a scroll down set of instructional lessons that include shorthand, alphabet, cursive writing, electrical symbols , business forms, shorthand, telegraphic codes and other topics  that I am hesitant about trying to  access since there is the beginning of a rip in one section.  There are springs on either side with an old piece of  chalk in the coils, a part in front that looks as though it would hold a small book or note book and wires at either side that probably were connected to a drop down lid or cover.  But wait a minute!  How many "children" do you think would be studying such advanced lessons or even be introduced to them in elementary school?  Conundrum for sure.  Now I will need to do further research to see if I can find more detailed info on this intriguing piece of educational history.  If any of you readers of this blog can help me out, please feel free to comment.....let's solve this mystery!

An old crusty US map is still attached to the back of the unit.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A REALLY HOT TIN TUB-----NO NOT A HOTTUB!

OK, so how many of you see something that just speaks to you and home it goes ?  I came across an item several weeks ago that lured me in several times as I browsed through an antique store; going back more than once to check out details and to really think long and hard about whether I should cave in and buy  the one of a kind tin bathing tub.   As a matter of fact, we arrived home and I decided to call and see if it could be held for me.  So the next morning I traipsed back 60+ miles to check it out again and finally made an offer which was quite a bit less than the asking price.  BUT, after closely  checking the interior, it was obvious that it had rusted out considerably and resembled a sieve  so after questioning the propriator further, she thought that the owner probably would consider my offer since she had brought it in last year.  (this is a seasonal shop so was closed during the winter)  Long story short, the tin tub came home with me along with several other fun items that I couldn't resist!  I tried to find information on the internet as to era and use in order to add to the info supplied by the vendor.  She had found a site after a lengthy search and offered to provide the link, but unfortunately the email I was given for her was returned so wasn't able to contact her.  She did have a note with the tub that states  it dates from the 1860s, probably the Civil War era.  I was able to determine several identifying names:  namely sitz, hip, foot, shoulder tub.  I feel that the painted elements, including flowers, were added at a much later time, possibly to add some pizazz to this little unique piece.  In my imagination I prefer to think of a saloon gal lazing in her cute tub before she goes out to entertain the cowboys with song and dance!  Is this too much of a stretch?  Oh yes, around the edge is a French saying similar to one most of us are familiar with:  Cleanliness is the next of kin to God.  I still think this is a hot little tin tub has a history that shall forever remain a mystery :)


Friday, June 28, 2013

Little Pep Pins from Pep Cereal

One of my husband's favorite collections that survived his mom's housecleaning after he left for college, are his little Pep pins.  He has continued to purchase the more unusual and harder to find ones when the opportunity presents itself.  He has his original  86 enclosed in plastic coin holders in a three ring binder that is safely stashed in a safety deposit box.  Why, you may ask?  Recently we checked on line after he bought a Pep cereal beanie with 6-8 pins at an auction.   Wow----discovered the selling price on e-bay was over $350.00 for one with 18 buttons........A lone beanie brought $150.00.   Big Boy's Toys are highly saught after and often bring big bucks in antique stores as well as at auctions.  The nice thing about collecting little items such as pins is that they don't take up much space as opposed to often large rusty metal trucks and cars from the 40s-60s!   Originally Pep cereal, introduced in 1923,  was called the "Sunshine" cereal and was competition for Wheaties.  They sponsored the Superman radio series but eventually lost popularity as "tastes" in food/cereal changed.  In 1945 the pins were introduced with 5 series of comic characters from newspapers , as well as planes from U.S. Army squadrons.  In all there were supposedly 90 total pins.  We found an  entire collection of pins  listed on e-bay at $1,099.00.  It is highly doughtful that my husband will ever consider selling his personal collection, but the items purchased at auction----------time will tell.  That might be a topic for another blog!  How do you part with collections?

Monday, June 10, 2013

SUPERMAN = SUPERFIND

I don't know much about Superman or any of the other super heroes, but sometimes it's good to follow a hunch/gut feeling/woman's intuition?  We were at an auction where there were two tables loaded with piles of vintage pennants, including sports teams, colleges, towns,  tourist destinations----you get the picture.  My husband is knowledgable about anything comic book related and remembers collecting a few other pieces relating to Superman.  I was the one who, mainly out of curiosity, stopped by the tables while waiting for furniture  I was interested in bidding on.  By the time selling on pennants started, I had decided there were several items I was definitely interested in and really thought all of the guys standing around seriously perusing the "goods" would certainly snap up some of the most unusual and oldest of the pennants.  As bidding on the first table commenced, I causually started looking through the piles on the second one and saw a familiar figure----Superman in a pink cape!   I nonchallantly peeled more back and found another :) However the second one was the usual image of the super fellow in blue with a red cape. ! So hurry up and cover them back up so no one else sees them!  Wow, wonder how many bidders I'll have to fight off?  I checked out some other older felt pieces and found several that looked pretty cool.  So what happened when the crowd progressed to "my" table?  Couldn't believe it----I got the bid for only a few dollars each.  Then I ended up buying some of the other older pennants and figured I had gotten a few fun items.  The guys were mainly interested in anything sports related or some of the college memorabelia.  Lucky me---I am completely happy with my unexpected treasures.  If anyone is interested in prices on several of these pennants, follow the link to my business facebook.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Grant County Minnesota in the Civil War

     Recently, the Grant County Historical Museum in Elbow Lake, Mn, updated and added to, a display in the Veterans Hall containing artifacts and memorabilia commemorating the soldiers who fought during the Civil War.  Patty Benson, the director, researched census records, county data and numerous family files in order to compile a list of men who were known to have had a presence in Grant County be it for a brief time or a life time;  but all served in the Civil War.   Some are buried in country cemeteries in Grant County while others moved away and are resting elsewhere.  Often we tend to think that the military consisted of men who were from the east coast area, not from Minnesota which was on the western frontier.  My great grandfather's brother, newly arrived from Germany fought with Wisconsin infantry, probably conscripted by a businessman or landowner who couldn't or wouldn't get involved in what many believed to be a cause for which they weren't willing to fight.  There were many such newcomers to America who probably didn't understand the reasons, but needed the money in order to survive in their new country.  In addition, the Sioux Uprising was under way in Minnesota and many Civil War soldiers ended up here fighting a different enemy.
In the new addition to the display are photos and short biographies of men somehow affiliated with Grant County who served in the war.  The permanent display which was created several years ago is a dignified and moving tribute with a drum, photos, guns and several other artifacts including a Civil War era quilt.  The new photo exhibit will become part of that permanent tribute to those who fought 150 years ago in a war that nearly divided our country. 




Sunday, April 28, 2013

MOTHERS AGAINST BOYHOOD COLLECTIONS!

My  husband has complained for 50 years about the fact that his mom "disposed" of his collection of sports cards and comic books when he left for college.  He's not alone in his grumbling since often when men of a certain age gather together and speak of their lost childhood treasures, it always goes back to "mom's fault."  Wow--what was/is the deal?  I must admit I've never encountered any women who lamented that their mom's threw away Barbie dolls, paperdolls, china dishes etc. etc..  So what was wrong with little boys and teenage boys collecting things as ordinary as baseball cards with famous athletes or comics such as westerns, sports heroes, funnies and a few Superman or Batman books?  My husband had hundreds of collectibles that he kept in his dresser drawer or the fruit cellar in the basement which never held homemade canned goods.  Best friend Dick used to join him in the backyard alley behind the downtown upstairs apartment  where the family lived,  and they  created  a "comic book" store where  one comic was traded for two with neighborhood kids. This was in a small town, population about 1,000 so there wasn't  a lot of activity for young boys.  In those days comics sold for 10c at the local drugstore;  Dick and D sold used comics for 5c. Some baseball and football cards escaped the housecleaning but none of the comics.  To replace them today would cost a lot more than 10c and try as he might, my husband can't even find some of those comics  he knows were the most valuable.  Over the past few years he has started collecting again so he isn't without a considerable supply!  Now,  I, as the wife, am not without guilt-----I insisted that he get rid of all of his sport's magazines in an attempt to create a bedroom for one of our boys.  Oh oh, I  joined the ranks of those wives/mothers who are into a cleaning frenzy, but only as it pertains to the belongings of the male members of the household.  My decorating magazines survived the purge!!!  However, I did vow that I wouldn't throw items belonging to our three sons-----well sort of.  Every once in a while someone will "remember" a certain toy or game and wonder whatever happened to it.  Probably sold at a garage sale, boys.  At least my mother-in-law donated the cards and comics to a good cause --- the church rummage sale.   So is that better?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

CURTIS WELCH AUCTION FIND

We attended an auction recently at which everything in sight went for big bucks.  I found an old scrapbook which contained a calling card with a name I recognized from my great grandmother's extended family so I was hoping to bring it home.  I actually was able to buy two scrapbooks filled with miscelaneous trade cards, calling cards, pretty pictures of flowers, birds and lovely  children..  Back in the day---whenever that was---creating scrapbooks became a favorite hobby which probably replaced the samplers of colonial times that taught young women the art of sewing as well as a way to decorate one's home.  A fellow in front of me was also bidding on 4 scrapbooks being held aloft by the auctioneer's helpers, but he dropped out and I was able to "score" the bid.  My husband and son were with me and we immediately started paging through to see what wonderous things there were inside and the other bidder was also interested in checking it out, so there we were with our collective heads hovering over the pages.  One item in particular, drew the attention of the guys---a little picture of Curtis Welch, centerfielder for St. Louis showing him in all of his vintage glory in the baseball uniform of the time.  My son, with his smart phone, was able to pull up some info about his playing days and we were quite impressed with his stats.  1889--hit 39 doubles, finished in top 10 in stolen bases for 6 seasons,  49th in career stolen bases.  More can be found in his biographical info on line.  I did find one little tid bit which made me laugh---according to a source, he hid cases of beer behind billboards of Sportsman Park and consumed them during home games. He was born in 1862, made his playing debut in 1884 at age 22, played his last game when he was 31 in 1893.  He died at the young age of 34 in 1896.  Since I am a history buff and love detecting, I started googling to see what I could find about the cards-----and wow, was I surprised!  These little cards were a series of 18 players and were probably meant to be kept in scrapbooks, glue and all. Some are doubles, connected with a paper tab, but even individual ones are worth a lot since they are so rare.  Several auctions have yielded impressive prices. 
                                 Now what will I do???  That's the question.  Save it?  Sell it?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Grandma Winnie's knick knacks

My paternal grandparents lived in a house that Winnie's parents,  Jacob and Dorthea Triese had lived in previously, and the story goes that they had it moved in from the country about 1915-18.  Over the years there were updates and remodeling  done  that reflected changes in lifestyle due to old age and for convenience.  From the time I was very young I was fascinated by the little objects that graced the corner shelves on either side of the kitchen window----the same type of shelves later appeared in the ca 1940s house built by my parents.  At any rate they were always there and very seldom were they removed for cleaning  while I was in "house" or certainly not for me to play with!  Since I was an only child and only grandchild, I could often coax my elders into granting me a little leeway, but not with grandma's knick knacks.  There was also a large wall length bookcase that was added in the living room which replaced a window on that side of the house.  Here was a multitude of things that included lots of interesting books my aunt collected and brought home when she came to live with my grandparents.  There were unusual covered dishes, fancy cups and saucers and other artifacts that had belonged to my great grandparents.  There were also my favorites----figurines.  A boy minus one hand balancing an apple on his head, a little cart drawn by pigs, a chalkware cat and a truly ugly homemade cloth dog  stuffed with straw which had been used as a toy by my dad when they lived in Pomme de Terre.  It really is in rather remarkably good shape for it's age, but then he spent most of his time playing outside fishing in the river, skiing, skating and trapping.  One of the strangest items is a little rubber doll that looks very much like the painting called "The Scream", due to the loss of the squeaker mouthpiece, I'm sure.  There was also a little hand held game called Cootie which is from WWI era.  Perhaps the oldest items that I have are a little tea set given to my grandma by her parents and a glass stein used by her father, Jacob.  All of these items are now displayed in a built in bookcase in my living room.  Recently a friend asked what I was going to do with all of this stuff. ( meaning what are my kids going to do) My answer was that my sons would have to deal with the issue when the time comes.  For now I'm going to enjoy looking at the treasures and knick knacks and honor the memories of my ancestors.





Friday, March 15, 2013

TO PAINT OR NOT TO PAINT THAT IS ..........

I have seen lots of posts on facebook business pages asking people to offer opinions about whether to paint particular pieces of antique or newer furniture or to leave it as is.  Sometimes the items are beautiful walnut, cherry, or pine treasures that have withstood a hundred years or more of use.  Here in Minnesota, oak is still a popular wood that never seems to lose its appeal.  Often the pieces I've seen in shops or at sales are newer, but of good quality.   Have to admit that I have on occasion, painted smaller pieces as well as tackeled a newer china cabinet that was not in good condition, nor was the wood of good solid quality. However, I have a really difficult time taking a beautiful treasure and applying paint: whether it be white, grey, aqua or some of the newest variations of chalk.  I have also found that most occasional sales feature painted furniture and are showing similar decorating accents so lots of things are being treated to all colors of the rainbow.  I don't want to be a spoil sport, but I am thinking there should be room for painted as well as wood  pieces  in a really interesting home.  In the 70s we had "antiqued" moss green, pink with black with lots of flowers and stripes. (at least friends of my parents sported those designs in their houses)  A friend hates anything Ethan Allen, which was a solidly constructed line in the " Early American"  period.  We loved it because it was sturdy, looked good with authentic antiques, was affordable and best of all stood up well when put to the test  by three little boys.  Lest we think painted furniture is something new---it isn't.  In fact, some of the earliest examples of folk art style cabinets, trunks, boxes or chairs command enormous prices and used to be much sought after.  Most of the truly early primitive items are probably in museums or private collections.  Isn't it good that each of us can find something attractive or beautiful in a wide variety of colors or patterns that can be changed with the season or with the emergence of a "new look."  All it takes is one piece to bring a focus to a room, or for that matter one piece can cause an entire room to be redecorated and remodeled.  Hmmm, that reminds me of the time we got a new microwave and ended up with a new kitchen..............So what do you think is the answer? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ashby, Mn restaurant: no wild game served here

The owl that started it all!
 






Threre is an institution in Ashby, population about 450 (give or take a few) that is well known far and wide.  It has had various names through the years as well as quite a few owners, some of whom have been related.  No, it wasn't passed down from one generation to the next but there were several years separating the relatives.  At any rate, the City Restaurant has been a gathering place since at least the 1930s, if not before.   Ca 1938, it gained noteriety (?) fame (?) distinction (?) when someone shot an owl thinking it was a duck, had it stuffed and it became the first of an extensive collection of waterfowl that are native to this area of Minnesota.  There is a three ring binder that identifies each of the thirty  birds with additional information about its nesting grounds, feeding habits etc.  Over the years some owners have thought of changing the decor but there arose such a clamor of dismay that these momentary lapses in judgment were quickly quashed.  At some point other taxidermied items were added to the display and these include a huge northern  (which many have claimed to have caught), a sly red fox and a bear family that sports appropriate decorative items depending on the season or time of year.  There are also lots of photos of "the locals", many posed showing their catches or shoots of the day.  This area used to be one of the greatest fly- ways for canvas backs in North America and drew famous as well as infamous hunters from far and wide.  Now who would mistake an owl for a duck you ask?  Well, must have been one of those city slickers who stayed at the lodge near Lake Christina----certainly not one of the local Joes!  The present owner, Gail, calls her place Ruby's City Restaurant in honor of her mom.  Still serves the locals plus lots of out of towners during hunting season and the fishing opener.  There are always new folks awed by the one of a kind display.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Signs of the times

Oh, oh, did I just use a title from the song of a famous Minnesotan???  Have to admit, I was never a big fan so guess I should be forgiven for not knowing very much about such things.  I love signs because they certainly meant something at the time they were created.  From street/road signs to traffic to business to products, a lot of time often went into the creation of an eye catching colorful sign. It's truly amazing how popular these have become and how much these metal or paper collectibles bring at auctions or antique shops.  With the advent of "Man Caves" or "Mantiques" the demand for anything beer has gone through the roof.  Unfortunately, that usually means that antiquers are in direct competition with those people who are looking for a decorating item----and yes, guys are decorating their get-aways.  These special places might even be in fish houses or garage turned "cave."  Often there are signs with names of long ago businesses with  the name of the merchant, or Doctors and Dentists marking their locations.  Today we see digital flashing signs on bill boards or the side of buses or on benches where people gather for conversation or waiting.  I once hit a mother load of signs when cleaning out a shed on my father's farm.  How many times had I walked over them as I inspected drawers and high shelves or turned over cans of nails and tools?  One day I looked down and saw a bright color just under my foot and immediately knew what it was, since I had sold several in years past----and I bought them at auctions.  These even had the name of a local merchant.  Wow, what more could I ask?  Obviously, we sold them too cheap since we came across several near the twin cities marked up about three times more than what we had priced them!  Of course, since they were still in the shop, maybe they would eventually be marked down.  Guess that's the fun of the hunt and one never knows what's right in front of their face or under foot------------
popular farm seed product.

Customer recognized his neighbor!

Once knew a Dr. Barr, but don't think this one is related.

Wonderful original Red Cross recruitment sign.

Travel along parts of the original Abecrombie Trail

Just for fun garden sign.

 Fill in the blank-----how many miles to go?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Olina Peterson Strom

Olina and her sister Karen (Carrie)  sharing secrets?
Olina and Steven, Olina and children, Olina and Marie
Olina Strom's keepsakes; quilt she pieced in later years
Olina Strom was my greatgrandmother on my mom's side.  She has always been a source of interest for me since I started collecting material for family geneology.    Olina lived with my mom and her parents for about 10-12 years in Ashby, Mn but I never learned very much about her other than she was quite tiny, was a widow for 50 years and raised three children on her own.  Sometime between 1875 and 1880, according to the state and federal census, Steven apparently died.  He was 35 years old in 1875 and Oline 29.  They had one child, Carl, age 2.  In 1880 Olina is a widow with Carl 7, Henry 5, and Mary (Marie B my grandmother) 2.  Years ago I copied a plat showing the Strom and Larson's Addition to Lake Crystal, Mn. With Steven and Olina listed with others, as owners of property in that community in the year 1875.  I have searched many other records, including cemeteries but have never found anything about Steven. My mom, in annecdotal stories said that he died of a sun stroke while working for the railroad.   How Olina managed to keep her family together in the 1880s and raise them to become successful adults, I cannot imagine.  Carl became a lawyer and my grandmother, Marie, a teacher.  Don't know about Henry.  According to Olina's obituary, she was born in Modem Norway 1845, came to America with her parents in 1868 and settled in Lake Crystal.  Married to Stephen Strom who came from from Sweden.  She was survived by two brothers and a sister and at one time I received  family history from their descendents.  But I do have some little treasures that belonged to her and so her memory lives on through the possessions she cherished.  My grandsons have a dresser so they are the 6th generation to honor her.   Olina is buried in Pelican Lake Cemetery in Ashby, Mn. overlooking a small wooded ravine and I often stop to remember with her.