Newspaper Archive of
Sidney Herald
Sidney , Montana
June 6, 1973     Sidney Herald
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June 6, 1973

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The Sidney Herald, Sidney, Mont., Wed., June 6, 1973.3B OSCAR OPPEGAARD The Oscar Oppegaurd family arrived in Savage in the spring of 1912 from Henrietta, Minn. Our father, who had gone to Montana earlier to file on a homestead, was in Savage awaiting our arrival. Besides my father, Oscar, and mother, Anna, there were three boys, Alfred, Henry and Arnold, and two girls, Dagny and Amanda. It took all day to get from Glendive to Savage as the train only went 10 to 15 miles per hour. This was the branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad being built between Glendive and Sidney. When we were at Intake the refrigeration car jumped the track causing quite a jolt to the passengers. No one was harmed but caused considerable delay. Oscar Oppegard Savage, at this time, consisted of two banks, two hotels, three general stores, two grain elevators, two lumber yards, two saloons, drug store, hardware store, a blacksmith shop, livery stable, harness shop and a restaurant. We built a two room house in town and spent the summer there. My father, and brother, Henry, worked on the Reclamation Project or the "Big Ditch" as it was commonly called. In the fall of 1912 we moved to a rented farm adjacent to our homestead, Our homestead was a 50 - acre piece of land along the banks of the Yellowstone River about six miles from Savage. There was some land adjacent to the farm which my father later purchased. A one room house was built. A tent was put over a frame with a floor for sleeping quarters partitioned off with curtains. Here we lived in the summer, and on the rented place in the winter for two years, the third year we stayed on the homestead for good. 420 A good sized log addition had been added to the frame house and we were much more com- fortable. Brush was cleared off the land, a barn and other buildings were erected. Crops of grain and corn were planted, and of course a garden and fruit trees. A new and lovely home was built eight years later. The community and surrounding neigh- borbood was called Midway, because it was halfway between Savage and Crane. The neigh- bors got together and organized a club. It was called "The Farmers Equity Club," and our father was the first president. It added much to the social life of the community, as well as taking on many worthwhile projects. THE FAMILY Our father was always active in civic affairs. He organized a community Sunday school and was active in organizing the First Lutheran Church in Savage. Dad and mother were charter members. Our father served for 18 years as a director of the Water Users Association. This position took him to the nations capital, Washington, D. C., several times concerning problems of the water users. He also served for many years as superintendent of the Agricultural and Community Dept. of the Richiand County Fair. He was Sunday school superintendent in the Lutheran Church for many years. He was a bonded auctioneer and cried many farm auctions. He was a Mason. Our mother was active in the Lutheran Church and a very active worker in the Ladies Aid. She was a member of the Eastern Star. She was a wonderful mother and helped' mold our lives. My brother, Alfred, taught school at Midway, then he worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad in Savage and later transferred to Sidney. He married Geneva Ray of Sidney. Four days later while on theirJineymoon, he drowned while swimming in the Yellowstone River. Henry worked on the homestead several years. In October 1917 he married Violet Brooks of Savage. They farmed for a time, then he went to work for Peterson's store in Savage. He later went to work for the Reclamation Project as oiler on the Drag Line. They had four children who were born in Savage, three girls and one boy. They moved to Hamilton in 1932. Dagny attended school in Savage and graduated from Sidney High School in 1917. She attended college in Bozeman, Dillon and Miles City. She was graduated from Washington State Normal College in 1924. Her first school was at Tokna near Savage. She taught four years at Savage, then went west to teach. She married George Anderson of Hamilton in 1928. They had one son: CYRUS E. BOCK I came to Sidney from Westhope, N. D., in 1906 to file on a claim. At that time there were no wire fences and roads were mere trails in the dryland country. The irrigation ditch was under construction in the Yellowstone Valley. In 1907 two of my sisters, their husbands and families arrived to make homes in this county which was then Dawson County. My claim was located in the Mt. Pleasant Community named by Mrs. McChesney who was a neighbor. Other neighbors were the Quillings, Zadows, Blairs and Tubb families. They were all friendly and willing to help each other. We had enjoyable meetings at their homes and enjoyed dancing, L cards and games at our social gatherings. I-qter I had a brother come from North Dakota and a sister, Nellie, who filed on claims in Mt. Pleasant. My sister, Frances, married Richard Hass and lived near Lambert on his claim. My parents came from Portland, Ore., to make their home in Sidney and passed away here. In 1915 I married Cyrus Bock who owned a harness and shoe shop in partnership with Joe Voiz. We raised a family of four children, two boys and two girls and had a little boy who died in infancy. Cook Car Followed Threshing Machine During Harvest We were members of the People's Congregational Church. The farmers began using machines to do their farming instead of horses so the harness business failed and my husband sold his share of the business in the depresaion year of the 30's. For a time he worked for Mr. Woodfill in his shop retiring in 1951. He passed away in 1953. Our children are all married. My son, John, has a cabinet business in Sidney. Son, Edward, lives in Oregon; daughter, Betty, lives in Chester, Mont., and Helen lives in Wyoming. Mrs. Cyrus E. Bock Sidney, MonL Henry Haden and Oxen i Arnold worked on the farm with mother and dad, running a few cattle on rented range as a side line. I, Amanda, attended school in Savage and my fourth year high school in Glendive. I attended the University of Montana one year and two summers of normal at Miles City. I taught the Cherry Creek school south of Culbertson one year and next year I taught at Midway. I married Cecil Wallace of Miles City. We were later transferred to Harlowton, Mont. We had three sons. The Homestead in 1912 CLOSING STORY Our father disposed of the farm in 1931. Dad, mother and Arnold moved to Hamilton and purchased a fruit and dairy farm. Arnold worked for the Forest Service for many years. Henry, Arnold and I, Amanda, are the only members of the Oscar Oppegaard family now living. Many years have passed since those happy growing up days. The picture of the Homestead never changes, the Badlands with their beautiful colors at sunset are ever there, the river still flows on, in it's endless journgy to the sea. And so ends the Oscar and Anna Op- pegaard's family story, of there many wonderful years lived in the beautiful Yellowstone Valley. AMANDA OPPEGAARD WALLACE ANECDOTES THE STORM The first summer we lived on the Homestead in the one room frame house, a storm came up and hit with terrible wind and hail and rain. All at once we felt the house being lifted and tipped, it didn't go over, it settled back and the storm subsided. Next day two large posts were put down on each corner of the house. THE RATTI.F_NAKE Under the homestead house was dug a small cellar possibly three feet deep with a platform on which mother could reach down from an opening in the floor to put eggs, butter etc., to keep cool. One day she opened the trap door and heard a strange sound. She bent down for a closer look but being dark under there, she could see nothing. My sister Dagny lit a light, and mother held it down soshe could see better, and there lay coiled a rattlesnake. She sent Dagny out in the field for my father, and of course he lost no time killing the snake. We were so thankful that mother hadn't reached down for the food she wanted. THE SCHOOL BUS 1915 Mr. Beagle came to me one day and asked me if I would like to run a school bus for about 16 children into Savage five miles away. I said: "Yes, if I can fix up something suitable to use." My Dad helped me cover a wagon box with canvas and install benches. The driver's seat was inside too, and there was a window across the front. The steps and entry door were at the back, and a.rope was stretched from the driver seat to the door, that enabled the driver to open and close the door. It was heated with a cast iron heater.which burned lignite coal. I received $80 per month, which was top wages in those days. The wagpn was pulled by a team of horses which .I owned_ THE ROBBERY An interesting event happened that involved Street Scene in Savage About 1912 421 FAMILY STORIES The MonDak Historical and Art Society is compiling a book of the history of the families in the MonDak area who arrived here prior to 1925. Stories are to be in by September for the publication which will be a hardbound volume of nearly 1,000 pages of MonDak history. See below the.suggested outline you might follow in writing your family story, they may be as long as you wish but we reserve the right to cut and edit as necessary. This story does not have to be in perfect English or form, we will polish the story for you. Tapes will be accepted. t incidents of interest relating to the area but not specifically related to your family will be welcome. The MonDak area covers all of Richland County and the extreme western edge of North Dakota. If there are any questions concerning the stories calls can be directed to DeLyle Jarvis, Museum and Art Center director, et 482.3500. Write your family story and return with one or two early day pictures, if possible, to J. K. Ralston Museum and Art Center, P. O. Box 50, Sidney, Montana 59270. FAMILY STORY (Suggested Outline) ARRIVAL IN MONDAK AREA OF FIRST MEMBER OR MEMBERS OF FAMILY A. Where from B. Year of arrival C. Where settled o D. Short account of circumstances on arrival 2. BRIEF SKETCH MIGHT PERTAIN TO ANY OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING: A. Marriages - children B. Improvements on farm or business. C. Modes of transportation D. Anecdotes of life E. Neighbors ,F. Schools G. Church 3.' CLOSING STORY A. Disposal of farm or business B. Deaths C. Moves to other parts of the country 4. . SIGNATURE OF WRITER L