Edwards, Painter, Herrmann, and Dingerson descendants
Recollections of Viola Edwards Herrman
(Written by Jerry Herrman (son) in 2006)
Before living in SD my parents lived in Cowling,
After Charles, the other children
were Raymond, Chloe, Leona, and Martha Jewel. In 1907 the family traveled by
train to western
I was born May 31, 1911 at home
attended by Dr Whaley, a woman doctor. I was born 17 years to the day after my
brother Raymond. Our home was a sod house,
built into a hillside, that was called a dugout. It was warm in winter
and cool in summer. We lived in the Hartley neighborhood, the Hartley store and
post office being about five(?) miles south. To the north was the
West Fork grade school was a mile
east near where the Hanrahans lived. The Bakers lived east of the school. The
Laurence family lived south of the school on the left near the creek, and the
Jim Bell family lived further south, also on the left, in a two story house.
They had two daughters my age; Hazel later married Eli Ferguson and lived in
My parents told me that an old white bulldog named Don guarded and protected me. He watched for rattlesnakes and wouldn’t let me travel far.
Isaac Council Bear also watched over me. He was like a babysitter and watched for rattlesnakes, etc. The Council Bear family lived on the creek down from the homestead. Their children attended Hanrahan School.
During the first years there were animal bones scattered on the prairie. My father would gather these and sell them in Philip. I think they were used to make potash.
I was a late bloomer and did not talk until I was 3 years old, thus causing my parents much worry. My first utterance was a complete sentence.
One of my early memories is when my folks bought a wood frame house from a neighboring family that was moving away. My father (papa) and neighbors used several teams of horses to move the house which was put on skids. I was playing in or around the house and somehow got my foot caught. When the building started to move, I was caught and was very frightened and started to scream. The men heard me and stopped moving the house so I was not hurt.
Mother was a very good cook. She and my sisters gathered wild fruit including plums, chokecherries, currants, sand cherries, strawberries and grapes along the creek. She canned and preserved the fruits and the vegetables from the big garden that mostly mama tended. We had a well with soft water for the garden.
Papa grew wonderful, flavorful, small watermelons on dry land. I remember stopping, breaking open a melon, on my way home from school, and just eating the best part, the heart.
Papa liked to hunt and fish, so we had rabbit and grouse to eat. My parents raised pigs and chickens. They also milked cows, and I had to be careful not to drink too much milk. We churned butter with a dasher type churn. I remember my mother forming butter in wooden frames to sell to the store as well as eggs that I helped clean.
My parents bought a pump organ. I remember Papa playing while he, Leona and Jewel sang. They had good voices: Leona sang soprano, Jewel alto, while Papa could sing any part, but usually tenor.
I remember going to
During my first grade a cistern was being dug near the school house. Over the weeks it was dug deeper and deeper. Several big eighth-grade girls thought it was fun to throw several of us first graders back and forth across the hole in the ground. One day Leona came by the school and saw this; she grabbed one of the ringleaders (the Hills girl) by the hair and said “if you do that again I will come back and pull out the rest of your hair”.
Milesville had a bank, hotel, an
eating establishment, a blacksmith shop, and two grocery stores. One grocery
store was the
When we needed to get to Philip or someplace else we would catch a ride with the mailman.
There were several atheist families
living in the neighborhood, including the
Papa and I both had the Spanish flu. Coming down with it I laughed and laughed and went to bed and don’t remember much for a week or two. Chloe came home from nursing school in Deadwood and took care of us. Leona read to me.
When Mama got false teeth it was a shock to see her with big white teeth. I was scared and hid behind Jewel. Mama was so proud of them and was disappointed I didn’t like them.
My first- through fifth-grade teachers included Beatrice Bennett, Miss Collins, Effie Diebler, George Africa, and my brother Raymond.
I started sixth grade at Moenville with Leona teaching and finished at a school south of Nowlin with Jewel teaching. Upon returning home after the school year my mother was disturbed and distraught because I didn’t know how to milk cows or take care of chickens. She said I was always playing. To get started I should help her clean the chicken house. It was a dirty job and then we whitewashed the inside. While we were doing this I began to feel sick. My eyes hurt and I had a headache. I complained so much she let me go to the house and lie down while she finished. I had a high fever and began to break out with measles. Mama felt so bad for me and took care of me, and for the rest of the summer I didn’t have to milk or take care of the chickens. It was not my mother’s nature to be critical, so when she had become disturbed and distraught it was not like her. I think that my eyesight was affected by the measles.
I attended seventh grade at the Elbon school with Leona teaching. One day during the school year Harold Ferguson, his sister Helen, and I drove to Moenville. I stayed at Sandals and visited Esther. We were in a Model T with side curtains. Near Deep Creek Lutheran church we hit icy roads and the car tipped over; I was thrown out the back and received a bump on the head. We drove back to Elbon after getting the car back on its wheels. Back at school I was sick. Looking back I think I lost some memory from the bump on my head.
My parents and I moved to the Hardingrove community and lived on the edge of the flat. We could look over the creek to the Hartley area. Leona and John Sandal later lived nearby.
I started eighth grade at Moenville with Leona teaching. I finished the school year at Hardingrove, where I graduated from the eighth grade.
I started ninth grade at the
I attended tenth grade at
I attended eleventh grade at Philip high school. Mable Parsons and I batched in a room with an oil stove. We slept and cooked our meals there during the week. It was in the Michaels (Ainsley) house on the hill.
Just before I was ready for the
twelfth grade Chloe and Fred, who now lived in
I went back to
I taught at rural schools in the