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Mary Parrow Bonde  - 1885-1961

Mary Anna Parrow was born to Edward & Odile Parrow on June 8, 1885 at Wild Rice, Dakota Territory. She was baptized at St. Benedict’s Church there as Marie Anne Perreault on July 5, 1885. Mary always celebrated her birthday on June 10 and then as an adult she got her birth certificate and found out her birthday was June 8. Mary told her children that the Parrow name was originally spelled as Parreault and that it was changed when they went to grade school because the teacher said it was an old fashioned way of spelling and Mary was quite upset about this.

Mary attended school for only about 4 years as she was needed at home and then worked out. She was working for her sister, Millie Weber, in Havana when she met a young blacksmith, Nels Bonde, who was working for Millie’s husband Jake. Nels was born in Denmark on Dec., 1877 to Johanna & Hans Jens Peter Bonde. Nels came to America in 1900. Mary & Nels were married in Havana on April 19, 1903. Their first child, Johanna was born there and in 1904 they moved to Putney, SD, where Nels had his own blacksmith shop. He later added International Machinery & Repairs to the operation. In 1905, a still born boy was born to them. In 1907, Nels had built a small house and their daughter, Evelyn was born there on Sept 6, 1907, followed by another daughter, Dorothy on March 7, 1913. The house was added onto with a parlor & bedroom with 2 bedrooms above sometime before their 4th daughter, Marian, was born on May 25, 1919. Their last child, Nita was born Sept. 7, 1927 when Mary was 42. Marian relates that some people say that a late in life baby can be bad, but Nita was the gift from God for their folks. The hard times were better and they did so enjoy her and later Nita was there for their mother.

Mary & Nels 1903

The family home was moved in 1939 to a farmstead and was remodeled again with a bathroom added. Nels had a small blacksmith shop on the farm but their main income was from farming and livestock. They hauled cream and eggs to Putney for a steady cash flow. This farm is now owned by Evelyn’s son, Harry Pharis.

Mary was quite artistic and did many things with sewing and crocheting. She was active in extension clubs and a non-denominational ladies aid at Putney. Both Mary & Nels placed a high priority on schooling. All 5 girls finished normal school or high school and had advanced training. Johanna, Evelyn and Dorothy went to Aberdeen and Marian & Nita graduated from Groton School. Mary has been described as a very pleasant woman and her grandson, Charlie Clark, Jr. remembers her large cookie can that was always full of the best cookies! He also remembers her sweating over the cookstove and going out to the barn in her bib overalls to milk cows and feed chickens.

Mary & Nels continued to live on the farm until Nels passed away on March 5, 1954. Then Mary had an apartment in Aberdeen and later lived with her daughter, Nita and her family

. Mary passed away on July 5, 1961 at the age of 76.

Three of their daughters are also deceased, Johanna Clark on July 31, 1998, Evelyn Pharis on October 24, 1979 and Dorothy Padgett on March 9, 1887. Information & pictures for this bio were from Marian Wilson, Nita Geranen and Charlie Clark, Jr. Thank you so much!

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