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22 December 1998
Alvin Winquist keeps 60 year Kiron diary
by Ruth Burnside, Denison Newspapers, 26 March 1964

Disputes over dates and details can readily be settled in Kiron by contacting Alvin Winquist for he has a record of the happenings in and about that vicinity for the past 60 years in his daily diary, not one day in those years but has something of importance therein. His diary has a volume of 13 books. At the time he started his diary, Belle Marshall of Denison was a teacher in the home school and she was instrumental in stimulating his interest in such a project.

Besides the events and happenings listed in his diary, there is a complete record of temperature, of seeding dates, of harvesting dates and yield of crops, together with the occurrences of the family.

Weatherwise two dates show unusual circumstances for on 18 April 1948, the temperature was high for it soared to 85 degrees, then in contrast, the preceding year was noteworthy for on 29 May 1947, it snowed, got very cold and froze corn that was three inches high. Records show the earliest day for seeding oats was 28 March 1946, earliest date for corn planting was 30 April 1952.

Another interesting factor of his diary is that he has a complete record of the deaths of residents in Kiron and the surrounding territory.

Agriculture has been his vocation, an employment which was surely to his liking for he resided on the same farm for 65 years. Moving never bothered him, he just stayed put until he retired in 1951 and came to Kiron.

Alvin Winquist, the son of John Winquist and Nellie Pearson, was born 1 September 1886 in Stockholm township, Crawford county. His father John Winquist, was born in Halland, Sweden. He attended the public schools in Sweden, when a young man he decided to come to America after working as a farm hand for several years in Sweden. Upon his arrival in the States he located at Chicago and was employed there as a laborer before coming to Crawford county in 1884, settling in Stockholm township. He and Nels Winquist farmed together until he married, then he remained on the farm, farming for himself, staying on the farm until his retirement when he went to Kiron to live.

Nellie (Pearson) Winquist his mother, was born in Malmö, Sweden. Her education was obtained in the schools of Sweden, as a young girl she came to the United States, coming direct to Denison. She was employed as a housemaid in the Marcus Jones home for several years until her marriage.

Mr. Winquist started school at the age of seven, attending rural school No. 4 in Stockholm township. His first teacher was Stanley Brown, who he especially remembers for he had a dog Mr. Winquist admired and Mr. Brown gave him the dog. Other teachers were Lena Anderberg. Anna Winquist, Mattie Dobson and Myrtle Tucker.

Helping his father with the farm work from the time he finished school to his marriage kept him busily occupied and was of great value to him for he was well-trained in the planting and harvesting of crops and in the raising and feeding of livestock.

On 20 March 1912, he was married to Frieda Andeberg at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Andeberg in Gowrie, Rev. Anton Anderson of Kiron, officiating.

They were the parents of eight children, Mrs. Bert (Ruth) Berglund, Chicago, Illinois; Waldo of Kiron; Robert of Seattle, Washington; Mrs. Edmund (Virginia) Hunt of Des Moines; Mrs. Earl (Eleanor) Otto of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Virgil of Denison; Florence Winquist of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Mrs. Robert (Norma) Dueland of Des Moines. Ten grandchildren complete the family circle.

They began farming on a farm one-fourth mile south of the home place in Stockholm township, remaining here for seven years, moving to the home place, where they resided until 1951 when they retired and came to Kiron to make their home.

About 65 hogs were fed out each year for which his price range when marketed ran from three cents to 22 cents. He only fed out the cattle from his own herd. A number of cows were milked and a large flock of chickens was raised each year. "Often we received less than ten cents a dozen for the eggs," commented Mr. Winquist.

For years he selected his own seed corn each fall from his own crop, when hybrid seed corn was available he purchased it. One year, he had no corn crop at all.

Once a storm struck their farm taking the entire roof off the barn. Another time, a barn burned on their farm during the month of May.

A Model T Ford, purchased in 1914, was his first car which he drove until 1923 when he replaced it with another Ford. "I have all my car license plates for 1914 to 1964, it is interesting to note how different they all are", stated Mr. Winquist.

Their wedding date, 20 March 1912, will never be forgotten by them. Mrs. Winquist was born in Webster county and her home was in Gowrie so that was the place of their marriage.

Telling of the day, Mr. Winquist said, "A big snowstorm came up, so all the guests arrived in bob-sleds, the minister came by train from Kiron and had to be met at Farnhamville and because of road conditions he was two hours late. Some guests drove across the fields to get to the wedding and many of them tipped over. The storm didnít subside so the guests, 28 of them had to stay all night."

When they decided to retire, he, together with his sons, built their present home.

Two years ago they celebrated their golden wedding at which time all of their children were home.

An interesting fact was disclosed on the day of their 50th wedding anniversary, in a conversation with one of the guests, John Rydell, it came to light that he and Mr. Winquistís father, John Winquist, had been on the same boat when they came to America and didnít know it.

Mr. Winquist has been a member of the Kiron Baptist church for over 60 years and has been secretary and treasurer of the Sunday School for 19 years. He was also school director for School No. 4 in Stockholm township for 13 years.

He has been a reader of the Denison Newspapers for over 60 years.

By looking over his records in his diary and his daily reading of the newspapers he remarks, "I have seen lots of changes during the years in everything, roads, transportation, modes of living, housing, economics, education and communication."