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The speaker is a 57-year-old White man with a high school education from Virginia, Minnesota; he was recorded in 1967.
5:25-7:15


County: St. Louis
State: MN

Commentary:
Although Virginia, roughly fifty miles north of Duluth on Lake Superior, was once a leading sawmill town in northern Minnesota, its main attraction has been mining, due to its location in the Mesabi Iron Range. Northern Minnesota is the largest producer of iron ore in the United States. Mining still accounts for a large percentage of employment in Virginia and the other towns mentioned by the speaker. Hibbing is about twenty miles from Virginia. Today Virginia has declined in population to around 9,000 people -- it was the fifth largest city in Minnesota in the 1920's with its population of 16,000 -- but it is still a center of activity for the region.
FW: How'd you happen to find out uh, all about the farming that you did earlier?

Inf: Well, when I was young, my dad used to have a, what they call a distributing agency. They distributed bills all over these range towns and we used to take uh the old street car and go over to the range towns and, and the surrounding communities. And they would ship the samples or the pamphlets, whatever we were going to distribute, ahead. And then we would cover the town with the samples or the pamphlets, to the different houses and the different locations. Then generally we used the money that we had for bus fare or car fare, uh at that time they used to call it car fare. We usually spent it for lunch or pop or something during the day. And we had to hitchhike home. Well there weren't the cars in those days that there are now and hitchhiking from Hibbing to Virginia was a whole day affair. Well at uh, short ways out of Parkville towards Mountain Iron, there was a farm that we knew the parties that ran it. Was an old German woman that ran the farm. Her husband was dead. Every time we came back from Hibbing, we used to stop in there and visit with her and get some cold milk, or she always seemed to be making doughnuts or s-, some sort of biscuits or something that we could get in there and eat.

[FW: Yeah].

And uh, just hanging around that farm I learned a little of this and a little of that, what her son was doing to run the farm and the crops that he planted and just general conversation and observing.


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