There is probably so much I don't know about my father, Albert
Theodore Stallman, the fifth of eleven children born to Clemens Anton and Anna
Mary (Schelle) Stallman, Jan. 1, 1908 at Breda, Carroll County, Iowa. He moved
to Lyman County, SD with his parents in the spring of 1910. They lived there
until 1913 then spent a few years in Aurora County (Plankinton and White Lake)
before returning to the farm in 1918. Two more children were born into the
family while they were away from the farm. Grandpa Stallman was a Rawleigh
Products salesman and Aurora County was included in his territory.
Albert attended Cooper School south of the farm through the eighth grade. I
don't think he grew to be six feet tall, butmost of the other Stallman men did. Then he quit to help on the farm and
work for other neighboring farmers to help supplement the family income,
which was the norm for many early settlers. I believe at one time he
became a partner with his mother on the farm, according to some of the documents
I have found.
Oct. 3, 1938, he married Anna Katherine BLACKin the rectory of St. Mary's Catholic Church in
Reliance. She was 17 years old to his 30. Anna was born Aug, 30, 1921, on their
farm on the west end of Medicine Buttes, in Lower
Brule, Lyman County SD to Edwin Wesley and Esther Belle Creasey Black. She
attended Prairie School northeast of Reliance. In 1937, the family moved into Reliance and she attended
Reliance High School until she married Albert at the age of 17 years. They were
members of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Reliance. He was a hard working man as well as she was a hard-working
woman. I heard a story once about how she and Anna Schelle put up hay all day in the hot
July sun. Both of them were eight months pregnant! Ann
with their first daughter, Frances.
They bought the
Ludwig farm three miles straight south of Reliance
in August of 1943. (Ludwig was the maiden name of FJ Schelle's second
wife). Albert and Ann did as
everyone else did; raised their own crops, livestock, chickens, gardens, not to
mention children. Sunday mornings were set aside for church and Sunday
afternoons friends came out for picnics, target shooting, seining fish from the
dam, etc. I remember him working in the field; combining, threshing, shocking
cane and catching baby bunnies for us. Mom carried lunch to him in the fields.
He always dunked his sandwich into his quart Mason jar of hot coffee. I thought
he did it because he liked the way it tasted. He may have, but I have also come
to believe that he may have done it when the bread became dried up and the
coffee softened it back up. On the tractor or on the side mirror on the door of
the truck, always hung a metal jug wrapped in wet burlap to keep his drinking
water cool. We would gather around him in the shade of the tractor or truck as
he had his lunch. This is a good memory of my father and we all need to savor
the good ones, don't we?
In 1949 or 1950, they purchased the Husman Cafe in Reliance and sold their farm
and moved to town. Above the cafe were five or seven
rooms. I'm going to say five down the hall and all
across the front was the master suite (bedroom/living
room.) They had a very good business and worked at it very hard. Every Sunday
after church the cafe would come alive with hungry parishioners. Out behind the
cafe was a huge barn where our dad stored two-foot blocks of ice he harvested
from the Reliance dam. Ice filled over half of the two-story shed. The ice blocks
were packed in sawdust and sold for use in ice boxes (refrigeration.) The
building was a wonderfully cool place to play once it started getting hot in the
Men would gather in the vacant lot on the south side
of the cafe to play horseshoes. The Reliance Savings Bank
originally sat on that lot.
After our mother left in the fall of 1950, we children
and our dad stayed in the cafe for a year or so.
During the winter months he built feed troughs in the cafe and sold them to the
farmers. During the warm months he was the local housemover in Lyman and Brule counties, a trade he worked at until his death. The
five children were eventually sent out to live with his mother and sister
Victoria. The cafe was sold to Richard
and Eleanor LaRoche. It then burned down.
Everyone liked Albert Stallman. He was a self-professed "Tough
Dutchman" who liked his drink and was known to be able to put the best of them
to the floor if and when the need arose. It was well known that you could tell
by the angle of his cap's bill how many Budweisers he had had. For instance, he
would start out with the cap's bill pointed straight
ahead. Four beers later it would be moved to about one o'clock. Four more
beers - three o'clock; four more - 5 o'clock and four more and it would be
straight back and down at six o'clock and one of his eyes would go shut.
Albert was said to have had four lives
as during his
lifetime he was shot at in June of 1954 (the bullet shot off the belt's
buckle, the button of his pants and a hole through his
T-shirt) by an inebriated friend; drove onto the ice of the MissouriRiver with his friend, Lyle Steinfeld, and the
car went through the ice and they managed to get out
but nearly froze to death; and he was electrocuted when (while moving a house),
he was standing on the roof of the cab of the truck to hold the highline wire up
to allow the house to pass under. The truck driver moved forward with a jerk
causing Albert to fall and the wire hit him on top of his head. He had a nail in
the sole of his left boot which grounded the
electricity. The electricity burned his entire head, but didn't singe his
whiskers, then traveled down his left side to pass through the ball of his big
toe where the nail was. His T-shirt was scorched and his underwear and sock were burned off and the
sole of his boot was blown open.
He used to impress the hell out of me with his string trick. Not
just your ordinary "cut your throat" trick. He'd have me hold up a finger then
he would drape a string (tied into a circle) over one of my
index fingers and place his fingertip
(with the circle of string) on my finger.
By twisting and turning the string with his free hand
and never taking his finger from mine, the string would
miraculously be freed from our fingers while they remained touching. I
mastered the "trick" and when my children, and grandchildren, were growing up I
also tried to pass it on to them. I haven't found anyone interested in this
wonderful trick passed down through the years, but I shall persevere. Somewhere,
someday, someone will want to learn. I hope I will be able to remember it!
(This was originally written in 1996. In 2004, while on summer vacation from
school in Pennsylvania, my precious granddaughter, my Suzy Myrtle (11), became
fascinated with the trick and within five minutes had it down pat. She couldn't
wait to go home and show her friends. At last... my father's trick will continue
Another thing I know about my father is that if it couldn't be
fixed with a nail, horse blanket pin or bailing twine, it could not be fixed.
Some of that good old Yankee ingenuity!
As most Stallmans
do, he had these steel blue eyes ... "Stallman
Blues" us Stallmans call them. His hair was so black
it was almost blue and when he sweat or it got wet, or damp from the humidity, it tended to get real curly.
He was also the possessor of many of the Stallman traits such as standing
hip-slung or walking with the extended pinky most of them (or maybe I should say,
us,) had. It is as if it is how we balance ourselves as we walk ... the right
hand held out away from the body, palm turned backward and the pinky firmly extended.
If he was talking to someone near a building, post or automobile, he would lean
against it with an outstretched arm and hip-slung with his
legs crossed at the ankles.
When we have family reunions, look around, you will find a few of the men cousins in that
My father passed away Mar. 20, 1962,
at his home in Reliance. The cause of his death has
always been debated because of the cause listed by the Lyman County Sheriff
(self-inflicted gunshot) or by the man who found him, Lyle McManus. Lyle told me
(barbara) that he was the man who found him dead on his bed and that he had been stabbed to death.
The sheriff assessed the situation and declared it a suicide. Lyle argued that
he had been stabbed and was told by the sheriff, "I say this is a suicide. The
county doesn't have the money for a murder trial, so I say it's a suicide and
that's the way it's going to be". And so it was ...
He is buried in St. Mary's
Catholic Cemetery north of Reliance beside his parents, brothers, Paul and Ray,
and sister, Victoria. In 2008, Frances, Sandy and Barbara scattered their
mother's ashes from the top of Medicine Butte and a marker for her was placed on
Albert's grave. In June, 2010, some of Pegge's ashes were also scattered there
as well as on Medicine Butte with her mother's. Someone question just how
many places Pegge's ashes were going to be scattered. My thinking is that she is
in heaven watching all of this and laughing or saying, "Good Grief"!
Last Rites Held In Chamberlain
services for Albert T. Stallman, 54, were held Saturday morning from the
McColley Funeral Chapel, with Monsignor W. H. McQuill, Kennebec,
officiating. Burial was at Reliance. Mr. Stallman passed away at his
home in Reliance Tuesday of last week.
Albert Theodore Stallman was born Jan. 1, 1908, at Breda, Iowa, to Mr. and Mrs.
Clem Stal1man. He spent most of his life in the Reliance area as a
house mover, farmer and laborer.
Surviving relatives include his son, Edward, of Reliance; four
daughters: Mrs. Gerald (Frances) King, Gary, Ind., Mrs. Edwin (Barbara)
Speck and Mrs. Marshall (Pegge) Smith, Farmington, N. M.
Reliance; four brothers: Henry and Paul of Reliance, Frank of Adrian,
Minn., and Lawrence of Curry, Minn., and four sisters: Victoria of
Reliance, Mrs. Joe (Leona) Voss of Iona, Minn.,
Mrs. Herman (Marie) Hatting of Ashton, Iowa, and Mrs. Lawrence (Frances) Nanneman of
BynumVille, Mo., and three grandchildren.
McColley Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Ann Cordry, Farmington,
NM, formerly Reliance, passed away Wednesday morning, Dec. 20, 2006, at
Life Care Nursing Center, Farmington. Memorial services will be at a
Anna Katherine Black was born Aug 30, 1921, at
Lower Brule to Ed and Esther (Creasey) Black. The family lived north of
Reliance near Medicine Butte where she attended country School. After
the family moved into Reliance she attended Reliance High School.
She married Albert Stallman in Oct. 03, 1938, in the
rectory of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Reliance. They farmed three
miles south of Reliance until purchasing the Husman Cafe in Reliance in
1949. She was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church.
May 15, 1953, she married Melvin "Fuzz" Cordry of
Mission, SD at Gallup, NM. He worked on the construction of the natural
gas pipelines across the southern states. He passed away Mar. 1, 1987,
of heart failure.
While living and working at their cafe in Reliance, she
and several ladies drove to Mitchell every week to take sewing lessons,
which led her to a sideline business as a seamstress to perfection. She
was known for her wedding gowns and men's suits. She was, first and
foremost, a restaurant worker from cook up through management, all of
her life. She was highly respected by all who ever worked with her, for
her hard work and loyalty.
She maintained a beautiful yard and flower garden where
no weed dared cross her path. She was a very competitive Scrabble and
Cribbage player and yes, since winning was the only acceptable outcome,
cheating was allowed as needed.
Ann is survived by her children: Frances (Gerald King),
Okla. City, OK, Barbara (Ed Speck), Oacoma, Pegge (Marshall Smith),
Etoile, TX., Sandy, Farmington, NM., Ed (Diane) Stallman,
Hempstead, TX., and Karel Crispin, Farminton; one brother, Dick (Gloria
Beaudin) Black, Michigan; 13 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and
one great-great-granddaughter and many nieces and nephews.
Her parents, both husbands, son Kelly Cordry. two
grandsons, Marshall Smith Jr., and Bill Speck, two brothers, Bob and
Russell, and one sister and brother-in-law, Margery and Evert Fletcher,
preceded her in death.
The Alternative Society Mortuary and Crematorium in
Farmington is in charge of arrangements.
We Stallman girls, Frances, Barbara and Sandy, scattered our
mother's ashes Sunday evening, June 29, 2008, from the top of
Medicine Butte (in Lyman County, South Dakota) to the prairie
below. It was a wonderful evening and tossing them to the wind
was very spiritual for all of us. Sister Pegge who died suddenly
that January, was with us in spirit.
Mom was born just inside the Lower Brule Indian Reservation
(about seven or eight miles north of Reliance) at the foot of
Medicine Butte on the west side. We went to the top of the butte
just at sundown (absolutely beautiful) with a wonderful wind to
help scatter the ashes. As they flew away and down into the
prairie, there must have been a downward current because the
ashes would gradually gather into a beautiful puff and a ray of
light would pass through the puff just before they disappeared.
That did cause one to marvel at what one was witnessing. Sandy
took a few pictures of the hills, prairie and Missouri river
(off to the north) and when we were looking at them on the
computer later, the first picture was absolutely beautiful with
the greens and golds of the prairie with good old South Dakota
black dirt here and there, and the sun peeking through. About
dead-center of the photo is one lone bird flying westward. Was
it our mother in her upward flight? I think, in our hearts we
felt it was. We then put Mom's marker on our dad's grave
in St. Mary’s Cemetery north of Reliance. When Marshall brings Pegge's ashes back to South Dakota, we will add a marker for her
as well. Note - her ashes were taken to the butte 19
Ann moved off to
Farmington, New Mexico where she married Melvin "Fuzz"
Cordry and they remained there until their passing. They had two children: Kelly and Karel.
Kelly was killed in July of 1990 (while driving his motorcycle on the
interstate around Denver) when someone threw a dog from the overpass. It
landed in Kelly'slap and he was thrown into the path of a semi. Sandy has possession of his
cremains. Kelly married Linda Ard. Divorced. He had one child, Brian,
who attends college (2009) in Denver. Karel married Charles
Crispin. Divorced. Two children: Chase Crispin and Sierra Cordry. They
remain in Farmington.