Monday, August 24, 2009

Cooper Chapters - A Generation Gone

My mother Helga Bertina Larson, was born Dec. 1, 1909 in Blaisdell, North Dakota to John Christian and Ida Louise (Anderson) Larson, and grew up near Cooperstown. She was #7 in the lineup of 14 children. The first sibling had died at 9 days, the last sibling died at birth, and Helga's mother Ida died a month later of pneumonia. There also was a 1/2 brother (#15) that has shown up in the family, years later.

The family had moved from Lake Lillian, Minnesota in 1908, and then took up a homestead in Blaisdell, North Dakota, where they lived in a sod house and farmed with oxen and horses. Blaisdell was in western North Dakota, and is no longer there. I would like to go see if there is a ghost town or if it is completely gone. The family moved to Cooperstown, ND in 1910 and farmed. Ida died in 1917, and the father John left with the housekeeper in the early 1920's and went to Washington state . The younger children then lived with the older ones (Bernice and Emma) until they were old enough to get jobs away from home.

Helga's sister Emma had a visitor one day years later, saying he was a half brother. I don't know if there is any truth to story or not. No one talks about a 1/2 brother now. The father, John, came back to Cooperstown alone many years later. He died November 1, 1951 in a nursing home in Aneta, North Dakota of diabetes and a stroke.

John and Ida are buried in the Cooperstown Cemetery. John Christian Larson: Born Oct. 16, 1870, Vardo, Norway; Died Nov. 1, 1951, Andeta, ND; Married Oct. 10, 1899, Willmar, MN to Ida Louise Anderson: Born Nov. 9, 1876, Lake Lillian, MN, Died April 1, 1917 Cooperstown, ND.

I don't remember meeting Grandpa John, as I may have seen him only once. I was born in 1947, and he died in 1951. We lived over 170 miles away from the farm in Cooperstown. As I recall hearing talk as a small child, the children of John did not care to see him often.

All of Helga's brothers and sisters have now passed away. Some had settled out west during WWII and have families still there. Ness Church is East of Cooperstown, and was the family church for many years. Most of my relatives are buried there. This picture was taken in 1982, when I had Leah, Stephani and Jessica there visiting with Uncle Herb and Aunt Della from Oregon. We stayed at the Loge farm in the valley. The picture below is where the Larson homestead had been. The house had burned down, and we visited the site and listened to stories that Uncle Herb told us. He remembered the old burned tree that had been very close to the house. They used to climb it and get into the second story windows.

Life was not easy for many folks those depression years--and to think we sometimes complain how things are now!!!!!!


Growing Up A Country Girl said...

Thank you for telling the Cooper stories - I came across these similar pictures from our trip and I wasn't sure if they were Cooperstown or Nebraska -

g said...

Life for men and women in the early years was very harsh and very hard. Men worked from sunup to sundown, the womens role had no hours, from tending to the children around the clock and tending the house, cooking, baking and cleaning. Yes, Dad felt lost and confused when his wife died, leaving many small children...certainly took the easy way out and "outta Dodge" as many men did back then. Older children caring for the young ones, those people all deserve recongnition for their work and dedication to family. No wonder no kind words or memories of their dad was to be found. He should have thought about what his actions did to his fact, how dare he even come back. (?) The Larson kids all grew up and did well in their own right. Way to go, Larson kids.