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19 Dec 1998
(Stories from the Kiron News - circa 1937-9)
More about the Pioneer Days
Recollections of G. A. Norelius

Mr. Norelius calls to mind an organization that probably saved the people of this community many dollars:

It might be of some interest to some of your readers to know that this community at one time had an organized "Vigilance Committee."  In the late 70’s or early 80’s there was quite a good deal of horse stealing around here.  There was an organized gang who operated from the northern part of the state to the Missouri line and they had "stations" only a mile from Kiron and down in the timber north of Deloit. It was well known that the party near Kiron would have a stable full of horses one day and the next day there would not be a single hoof there and in a few days there would be plenty again.

This society was organized to protect the settlers in case of a theft among them. A fee of 25 cents per head the farmer had was collected to defray the expense of a search should an animal be stolen. Each animal was branded on the neck under the mane with the letters VS.   There never was a theft and the society simply faded away.  However, August Schultz, father of Henry Schultz, lost a valuable mule some time later, and it was always presumed that a former neighbor of his had appropriated it.

More Kiron History
As Told by G. A. Norelius

The Youngberg Brother’s sale of the personal property last Tuesday was well attended and fair prices realized.
That this sale should have a little extra mention is due to the fact that this was the first sale held on this farm which has been owned and operated by the Youngberg family for 68 years.

Mr. And Mrs. Andrew Youngberg arrived here from Sweden in 1869 and made their first home with the Elias Monson family in a dugout two miles south of Kiron on the now Nels G. Nelson farm.  The Youngbergs purchased the 80 acres of raw prairie, the south half of the south-west quarter of section 12, a mile south and a half mile west of Kiron.  This farm they improved and made their home. Here four of their five children were born (one having been born in Sweden) and three reared to manhood and womanhood--their two oldest daughters died during the diphtheria epidemic of this community in 1876-77.

In 1902 Mr. Youngberg bought the Nels Olson eighty joining his on the east, which he improved and where he made his home until his death. In 1905, the sons, George and Albert, continuing to occupy the old homestead.  Mrs. Youngberg passed away in 1935 and the daughter, Emma, last January (1938).  The sons, George and Albert, now feeling unequal to continue their farming operations decided to sell and have rented the farm to Paul Voss who will occupy the old homestead.  The boys consider themselves fortunate in securing the Voss’s as tenants, they having proven themselves to be good farmers the few years they have been in this locality, and their friends are glad that they will remain in this community as they have also proven themselves to be "good neighbors."

Old Memories of Long Ago
Names Of The Kiron Home Guard Of The Early 80’s
By: G. A. Norelius

The other day Miss Inez Swede asked me if I could name all of the members of the Kiron Home Guard of the early 1880’s. This put me in mind of "things way back" and thought it would be interesting to the readers of the Kiron News of this generation.

My father, Andrew Norelius, a Civil War Veteran, organized a company of the young men of the 80’s for drill in marching and general war maneuvers. They wore the regulation Civil War caps and blue jackets and some of the old muskets used in the army.  The Martial band was composed of three pieces: Hans Buller played the fife, Jonas Swede the snare drum and Erick Swede the bass drum and they did make good music. The company was in good demand at the various celebrations in the nearby towns as they made a good showing in the parades.

As far as I can recall the following were the members of the Company. Only six of the squad are now living, and only one here, my brother, Francis Norelius:

        Peter Buller                     Henry Buller
        Hans Buller                      Erick Swede
        Adolph Norelius                  Jonas Swede
        Francis Norelius                 Peter Nordell
        Andrew Lofquist                  August Nordell
        Joseph Johnson                   Frank Johnson
        William E. Ward                  Oscar Johnson
        Jonas Person                     A. Peter Berg
        Reuben Johnson                   Andrew Nordell
        Peter Soderlund                  Andrew Linn
        Emil Palm                        O. E. Johnson
        Elof Sievers                     Eric Olson
        Chas. E. Hamren                  J. L. Hamren
        Gust H. Peterson

Pioneer Day Recollections
This Time Early Threshing Methods and Machinery Take Front Seat
(By: G. A. Norelius)

This being the threshing season I thought it would be of interest to some of the younger generation and a reminder of some of the older how things were done in the early days of the community.

The threshing was generally done in October and November. My first recollection of a threshing rig was an unmounted horse power which was slung under the gears of a wagon to move it. The power was transmitted to the separator by rods, commonly called ‘tumbling rods,’ The machine was fed by a man from one side only. A man or a boy cut the bands as they were placed on a "table" on the side. The grain was run into half bushel measures and sacked. The man taking care of the grain tallied the number of half bushels on a board like a cribbage board. A little later a "tally box" came along, the same having room for two half bushel measures, and when one was full it was pulled over and measure "tallied" on an instrument. What a wonderful improvement!

The straw was "bucked" away from the machine with a long pole and a horse, and often the straw was set on fire as soon as the machine was pulled away.

Pitching bundles from the stack was the best job, and the man, or men, who mounted the stack first, held the job. It was common for some to rush from the table to get this position. The straw pile was for old men and boys.

Improvements were made in the machines. Powers were made mounted on wheels and extra "Sweeps" were added so six teams were used and "feeding" the machines was done from both sides. The powers had a platform where the driver stood, equipped with a long whip, and it was quite a knack to drive to obtain the right speed of the machine to do the best work.

In the early 80’s the steam thresher came into use. The veteran thresherman, Peter Berg, had the first one in this community, an upright boiler, and this had to be moved by a team.

Four men comprised the crew, the engineer, two machine men and one to haul water. A swinging straw stacker and a self feeder came into use and a self-propeller engine and a blower to stack the straw.

The early day local thresherman owning the machines was my uncle, Lars Norelius, whom I remember very little about. Then there was a machine owned by Peter Berg, Abe Stolt and Jonas Lofquist, an uncle of J. A. Engberg. Oscar Johnson and John Hedstrom also had a rig. These two were the only ones in the community for a number of years. The first confined themselves to the territory north of Kiron and the latter south. Later the territory was encroached upon by outsiders, among them being Larry Killeany and the Grace boys from south of Denison. Other early day threshermen were the Reecy boys, Chas. Bergin, Issac Nelson and O. E. Clauson which brings us up to about 1890.

The grain was usually stacked as it was supposed that it had to go through "the sweat" so as not to heat in the bins. Very little threshing was done from the shocks, only a little to get some wheat to be exchanged for flour and a few bushels of oats for feed.

What an event for the women, men and boys. Great preparation was made to feed the threshers and there was no trouble for the housewife to get plenty of help from the girls of the community as here was a chance to see and be seen.
Of course the threshers had to have extra good meals and then was the time the old rooster was sacrificed. Fresh beef or pork was a rare thing. Rice pudding, dried apple pie and custard was a common "extra" for the threshers. Breakfast was served to the whole crew before daylight and supper after dark. Dishes, pots and pans were scarce and a good deal of borrowing had to be done between the neighbors. The machine operators had special privileges when it came mealtime as they would have to do repairing during the noon hour and their teams would have to have the best places in the stables. The threshermen were often accused of being partial in making the farmers teams pull harder than their own and some goodly sized ‘rows’ arose. This was eliminated to a great extent when the "horse power" were equipped with "equalizers" so that all teams had to pull alike.