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1943: Reynolds continues life story with Diamond Club

Bits By Betty
Lead Summary
Betty Mann, Rock County Historian

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on July 15, 1943.
This article is continued from last week’s edition of the Star Herald about Mrs. S.D. Reynolds of Hardwick.
Hauled Supplies
Mrs. Reynolds also had the experience as serving as a “freighter” for her father. In order to keep the store in supplies, her brother and herself operated a transportation system on a shuttle system. Her brother would bring a load from Sioux Falls to Pumpkin Center, and she would meet him there with an empty wagon. They’d spend the night there, and the following morning, Mrs. Reynolds would start for Salem with the full load, while her brother would return to Sioux Falls with the empty wagon. Both used oxen to pull the wagons.
Not only did Mrs. Reynolds do that type of work but she helped with the farming. Her father obtained a team of mules, but even then, the mules would be used to draw one plow or drag, and she or her brother would follow behind with another plow pulled by oxen.
For entertainment, the young people went to dances. On many occasions, she recalls, she and two brothers would get on one horse and go to a dance some place.
Married in 1881
On November 24, 1881, she married S. D. Reynolds at Salem. Mr. Reynolds was one of the railroad workers, and she met him at her father’s boarding house. They moved to Sibley, Mr. Reynolds’ home, and there their first furniture consisted of a bed, a large store box for a table, and two chunks of wood for chairs. Mr. Reynolds was a mason, and would be gone for a week at a time. To be a bride in a strange community was far from being pleasant, Mrs. Reynolds states.
Four years later, they moved back to Salem where Mr. Reynolds operated a dray line. After another four years, he began farming near Salem. Stock raising was done on a share basis. They milked 15 cows, and their share was one third of the calves born. Crops were poor and they “dried out” two years in succession.
Being a housewife and mother on those days was no snap, according to Mrs. Reynolds. She would sit up nights and knit stockings for the children to wear to school. All her washing and sewing was done by hand because she had neither a washing machine or sewing machine. The family lived in a two room house, one room upstairs and one down. When she wanted to go to town, she’d take down her clothesline and use it for reins ono her horse, and when she came back, she’d tie it up again and use it for a clothesline.
Prices Low
Prices were exceedingly low for what they would sell. She recalls they sold a two-year-old heifer for $8.00 and received $2.50 for a 300-pound hog. Eggs were sold for five cents per dozen. “By the time I bought a few groceries and tobacco for my husband, I’d usually be owing the storekeeper,” Mrs. Reynolds states.
Hearing an opportunity to get work on the new railroad they were building northwest out of Worthington, Minn., Mr. Reynolds went there and obtained employment while Mrs. Reynolds stayed at home with the children.
When the road was completed as far as Hardwick, Mr. Reynolds sent for his family, and they moved to Hardwick to live. There he obtained employment as a section hand in 1900. At that time, Henry La Due was the section foreman. After living there one year, they moved to Kenneth, where Mr. Reynolds was section foreman. Later, he was transferred to Harris, Iowa, for one year, and he then returned to Kenneth where they lived for 11 years.
For seven years, Mrs. Reynolds performed the mid-wife duties for that community. In addition to that, she kept boarders, and for one whole summer fed the crew that was building the trestle over the Rock river.
Delivered Many Children
How many babies she helped bring into the world, Mrs. Reynolds doesn’t know, but there were a lot of them, she says. Many times, she had the child delivered, washed and sleeping in a basket by the time the doctor arrived. She assisted one mother who gave birth to seven children without a physician’s ever entering the home.
She was also called in whenever there was a serious illness. On one occasion, Joe Smith, age eight, the son of the depot agent at Kenneth, became gravely ill, and it developed that he had appendicitis. It was not learned until later that the appendix had been ruptured, but even then, the attending physician felt he could save the boy’s life by surgery.
The child was taken to the Luverne hospital in a surrey, drawn by a team of horses, and he made the whole trip lying across the lap of his mother Mrs. Reynolds who were sitting in the back seat. One of the surgeons was Dr. C. O. Wright, of Luverne, and he and the other surgeon, Dr. Spaulding, urged Mrs. Reynolds to watch the operation. Although she did not want to, she finally did consent.
Although the boy’s case was serious, he lived, and was released from the hospital after about three weeks.
To Church on Hand Car
The church she and her husband attended while living at Kenneth was a Catholic church in the country between Kenneth and Lismore. They usually went to church on the railroad handcar. The trip to the church was not bad, because the track was down hill, but pumping the car home up an incline was a different story, Mrs. Reynolds relates.
In 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds moved to Hardwick. There Mr. Reynolds lived until his death in 1932, and Mrs. Reynolds still lives there, making her home in her own little cottage at the west edge of the village.
Speaking of her children, Mrs. Reynolds states jovially, “If we never raised anything else while we were at Salem, we certainly did get a good crop of children. All except one of the eight was born there.   
            Has 20
Seven of the eight are living at the present time. They include: E.M. Reynolds, Sioux Falls; Anton Reynolds, Luverne; Peter Reynolds, Nielsville, Wis., Mrs. Eli (Lena) Milbrath, Okabena, Minn.; Mrs. Martin (Emma) Oldre, Pipestone; Mrs. Roy (Clara) Henderson, Pipestone; and Ben M. Reynolds, Luverne. A daughter, Bertha, died at the age of one and one half years. In addition to her children, direct descendants of Mrs. Reynolds include 20 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Of a family of 10, Mrs. Reynolds is one of five brothers and sisters still living. Her sisters are Mrs. J. V. Jessen, and Mrs. Mamie Beck, both of Pomona, Calif.; and the brothers are Adam Glaser, Riverside, Calif.; and Martin Glaser, Herrick, S.D.
Mrs. Reynolds attributes her long life to being cheerful, and states that a preacher who once boarded with them was responsible partly for her cheerful outlook on life. “He had a little placard on which on which was imprinted the words, ‘KEEP SMILING’, Mrs. Reynolds states, “and somehow when things aren’t going quite right, I think of that. It really helps.”
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to

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