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The speaker is a 60-year-old White man with a grade school education from Walhalla, North Dakota; he was recorded in 1966.
7:35-9:40


County: Pembina
State: ND

Commentary:
Walhalla, a town of about 1,000 people, is located in the far northeastern corner of North Dakota, just a few miles from Canada; it was one of the first settlements in North Dakota. The region was originally explored by the French, then settled by fur traders and Catholic missionaries. The oldest building in North Dakota, a trading post built by the American Fur Company in 1843, is preserved by the State Historical society in Walhalla. In the 1880's the railroad and farmers arrived in the area. This speaker discusses his ties to farming from a very early age.
FW: When did you first start working on the farm?

Inf: When I st-, first started working on the farm, I wasn't very big. I was about ei-, eight years old, which is pretty small for a young man to go out an' start plowing. With four horses an' a plow. Of course my dad was always ahead of me so if there was any trouble, why, I was alright. An' he'd always stop at the end an' help me lift the plow up an' put the plow back in the ground. So I done that for, oh maybe two or three weeks. An' I thought well, if my dad can lift that plow out of the ground, surely I can lift it out, too, so I'm get off the seat and I'm stand on that little kick lever they had there. An' as the horses went along, they'd help you lift, you know, something I hadda learn. I thought you just, it would come out all by itself when you stepped on it, then I found out it didn't. I'd heave an' push an' kick on that thing until I did get it out. So to my su-, uh dad's surprise, he was surprised that I could get that plow out of the ground as easy as I did, for only being eight years old. And uh, so then I was about two weeks at that an' then he's, "Well, I'm going to town with a load of grain today." He says, "You think you could get the plow outta the ground an' in the ground out there alone?"

"Oh, sure," I says, "Done it for two days now so I should be able to do it again today."

Ok, he goes to town with a load of grain. Watches me out in the field while he was loading, you know. An' uh, things like that. An' then he was watching me all the way as he passed me on the road an' going to town. An' he seen I was doing alright, so he went to town, I went plowing.

FW: Out all day by yourself?

Inf: All by myself. Just thinking, those four horses were pretty snappy, too. If they wanted to take off, I don't know where I'da been. (laughing). In the bush, I s'pose.

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