Memories of Blanche Wilson Montgomery

Research findings, memories both by and about Grandma

Memories recounted at the 2000 Wilson Reunion:

Ozro Wilson to Bill Montgomery: “Your mother was a perfect penman, wasn’t she?”

Fritz (her real name was Lillian) was a favorite teacher Grandma had. She lived and cooked in the schoolhouse, made kids’ lunches there


Grandma’s grandfather, Anders, paid for confirmation dresses for Grandma and her cousin (Martha?).


Grandma’s dad died shortly after Aunt Deanna was born, so Grandma was unable to attend the funeral. Aunt Myrtle could remember the telegram arriving and Grandma going crying to the outhouse, and not understanding why.


When Grandma was young her family raised everything–mostly corn, also small grain and a garden. Her mother hauled water from a well some way away down a hill. The hired man used to see the empty bucket & take the dipper to get a drink; her mother used to get angry he didn’t take the whole bucket!


Grandma met Grandpa in South Dakota where he was working on a threshing crew. Grandma was thirteen years old and hid behind the door; she thought Grandpa was an old man.


Grandma’s dad was always “wrassling.” He HAD to “wrassle” and pitch horseshoes.


Other childhood memories: The Indians hung cradles on the ceiling, then swung them occasionally to keep the baby happy. The big entertainment was to visit every Sunday. The town had church in the schoolhouse. A Baptist minister with 7 kids came and preached. Grandma lived north of Wood, where there were 2-3 stores and a bank. It was 40 miles to Winner, 13 miles to Wood. The family bought sugar, coffee, and flour, and raised everything else.


Their nearest neighbor was Glen Sherwood, who lived 1 mile away. The school was on his land. The children cooked stew, etc., at school–potluck. They decided daily what they would bring. They also took turns hauling water & cleaning blackboards. The teacher took care of the fire.


Some of Grandma’s teachers: Pearl Sherwood, a snob. The teacher was a good teacher but couldn’t sing. Mildred Kemp: studied out of encyclopedias, as the school board thought they didn’t need schooling. She taught for 4 years and had to ride 4-5 miles on horseback to school, then start a fire of coal. The next teacher, Lily Larson, was 16 and was supposed to go to summer school but didn’t, so they made her quit. The next teacher was a man who used dope! He was also very interested in Edgar Allen Poe. The kids told their parents, but their parents did not believe them. He also threw things. This was when Grandma was in the sixth grade. He also brought white “candy” to the school one day, but the students refused to eat any.


Grandma’s best friend then was Emma Sattree. Grandma sent a card to her for her 25th anniversary, only to hear back from Emma’s husband that she had passed away while getting ready for the celebration.