Excepts from an undated letter
from Peter H. Thomsen to his
Dad told me several times that him and a Borg boy the name of Gregerson used to go up in his dadís hay mow and talk about how they were going to make money when they got over to America.† I donít know if I told you or if you know, but he was 19 when he came.† His cousin helped him get his leave by telling his superior officer that he might just as well grant it because he would go anyway as he was the right age for the army, and he want back in 1894 for a visit, him and Henry Schumacher.† When he came back he said he wouldnít like to live in Germany, he liked it a lot better here.
The Carstensens were married at that time and mother had Goddard paint the house so one unlucky day for them Goddard spilled a whole bucket of paint and Pete Paulsen, the hired man, threw a pitch fork at a big three year old steer that kept breaking out of the fence and the fork stuck in the side of the steer with the end of the handle down and the steer running into it.† It pushed the sharp tines of the fork through the lungs of the steer so they cut its throat and butchered it, and we had already killed a bull and sold some of the meat and a short time later one of the horses kicked a sucking calf in the head and killed it and we bled it right away and butchered it, then we sure did live high while dad was on his trip.
That was a dry year and most people got aid.† Then, of course, in the spring of 1895 when they would come to dad and get a slip of paper to let the man know what he wanted and also to let him know that he was entitled to get this free food.† During F. D. Rís time they handed out the money, then it was spent for liquor and other things.† One thing Dad always said was he would never go on relief or accept aid.† He was a good Republican.† Dad and Mother sure went through some hard times.
When sister Maria was a young girl in her teens she went places horseback.† She had a sidesaddle and wasnít afraid to ride any horse. One thing I couldnít understand was that dad would take me into a saloon and offer me a glass of beer and I always turned it down but if he caught me with a chew of tob in my mouth he would surely give me a licking.† This was when I was around 10 or 12 years old, so in 1894 while dad was in Germany, Mother said if I could quit chewing she would buy me a violin, as I was learning to play it by ear.† I, of course, promised, but didnít quit at that time.
I could go to dances and hear some new tunes and in a few days after I could play them; then later I played for dances, which, of course, I enjoyed to do, but I never did like to go to school.† I would rather stay home and work in the field, and of course, I didnít do too well either so one evening the teacher told me to stay after the others went home. So here is where I thought I was going to get a licking, but nothing happened like that.† It was something; at least, it hurt me worse. Anyway, that was a good talking to.† She started out by saying that Dad hired a man so I could go to school and other things too, but I have forgotten them, but anyway that was enough.
About the first year Margaret started to school, on the first day of April it was a very nice and worm morning and by noon the snow was flying in all directions and by four it was a blizzard and when I started home the teacher would not let Margaret go home with me so when I got home Dad said, ďWhere is Margaret?Ē† I told him the teacher would not let her go with me, so he got very mad and got up from his chair, cussing, and went and got her. It would have been alright for Margaret to have come with me, as I only missed the place where we crossed the fence about 8 or 10 feet.† We had to face it and couldnít see the buildings until we got to the fence.
I was about 15 years old when the folks moved off the farm to Tilden, so dad told me I could stay home and go to school, but I didnít.† At that time a country kid was made fun of and Frank Baker is the one that kept me from going.† He had a very big mouth at that time, although he was from the country too, yet I thought he was right in with the town kids and too, I hadnít passed the 8th grade.† I would rather work out.†
I worked a little while in Uncle Martins store one of them first winters and in the country during the summer.† I believe it was the summer of 1899 when I started to work for a Mr. Schultz.† He was a brother in law of Pete Michaelsen and he lived right west of the J. H. Eickhoff place and during the summer they put up a division fence between their land.† Schultz had the south end and Eickhoffs had the north and, anyway, when we got through I had made a hit with the Old Man Eickhoff but I didnít know it until later. I had built so good and in such a short time alone and that is where I met your mother and from that time on for 3 years or better we were pals.