Laura's Letters - 2 - After the Wedding
June 30, 1909
Emma was certainly the belle of the ball at the dance after the wedding. Young unattached women are in short supply out here, and all the young men, including my brothers, lined up to dance with her. There were probably three women over 16, and 10 men. But I think she was most taken with Harry Fisher, so I am hoping something will come of that. How nice it would be if my best friend could marry Nick’s best friend.
Here I am, an old married woman, writing in my book for the first time as Mrs. Nick Wyngarden. We didn’t go away on a proper honeymoon, but will have some time away after the harvesting is done to make up for it. I was pleased to have awhile to get used to my new house, and my new role as wife. The house is very small. The rules for homesteading are that you have to build a basic 10 foot square house to live in, and continually cultivate your quarter section of 160 acres for five years, for the land to be yours. So the building was made as quick and basic as possible, but we need to add more to it, when we have the time and money. First thing I did was clean it thoroughly, inside
and out, and then, put up the new curtains that I'd made. And when I put my new quilt on the bed that Nick made, and the hooked rug in the middle of the floor - and the pretty cloth on the table, it looked much more like a home. I made my quilt, which I have been working on for years, in the Log Cabin pattern. One side of each square must be dark and the other side light, and the red in the center is a symbol of the fire glowing in the hearth of the cabin. The Straight Furrow variation represents the furrows made by the plow.
Nick, of course, spends all his days on the farm - and I have to get used to that routine too - getting up early. I will have charge of the chickens (one of the neighbors gave us a couple chickens as a wedding present to get me started) and as we have a milking cow, I have to milk her, and then separate the milk and make butter and cheese. I will have to deal with the garden - Nick hasn’t planted one up till now. He has only his brother and father to help him plow and plant and do all the other jobs, and then, of course, he helps them. We have a couple of horses for pulling the plows, and driving the buggy.
Our wedding was written up in the paper, and I have clipped it out and saved it so my children, in years to come, will know what our wedding was like.
“Valley Ranch. 1909. Tappen, June 25.
To the Forum: Nickolas Wyngarden and Miss Laura Hills were united in marriage at the Wyngarden home of 34 on Wednesday last, by Rev. Miller of Dawson.
Miss Emma Burman of Minneapolis acted as bridesmaid while Leonard, brother of the groom, acted as best man. The ladies were beautifully dressedin white silk, while the gentlemen were dressed in the conventional black.
The rooms were tastily decorated throughout. The bridal couple, with attendants, during the ceremony stood under a spacious arch of interwoven evergreen flowers. Many were invited and friends gladly wished them a happy journey through life together with a loving and prosperous home. Presents were in order, both valuable and numerous. A bounteous repast was served at 6:30 pm after which some of the afternoon guests returned to their homes, while a younger class replaced them in greatly added numbers and the night was spent in tripping the light fantastic until day dawned on the morning of June 24. Mr. Wyngarden is well known and a respected citizen in our midst, his father being a prosperous farmer and rancher here for about five years, and a former resident of Chicago. The former Miss Hills is a teacher from Minnesota and has taught in this district during the past year with satisfactory results. Many are the friends and acquaintances who will join in wishing them all true happiness which God intends for His children of this earth."
Dear Sister Ida,
Thank you for the lovely embroidered dish cloths. I am sure I will find them very useful. I have a lot to learn in this business of being a wife and housekeeper, and there is so much to do.
Birthday to you, in a few weeks time. I hope this card gets to you by July 15th. And you will be a whole 21 years old - a proper grown up lady.
I’ve enclosed a picture of us arriving at the homestead.(see above) It looks pretty small and it is pretty small, but I have got Nick to promise to add on a couple more rooms at the back.
Write when you can, and tell me what you are doing these days?
It was nice having Benjamin, Ole, and Josephine and her family here for the wedding. Little Agnes is so cute. She is just two now.
I somehow expect that I am not going to get too much time to be writing in this book in future. But I will try to mention the important things that I don’t want to forget.
One of our favorite wedding presents was a picture, which we gave pride of place when we hung it up in our new house. It is a soft brown toned print with a couple cows, a calf and three sheep waiting by a wooden gate. There are big oak trees in the yard and a lonely looking cottage. At the bottom it says, “Let us in.”
I should make a mention now, while I think of it, of the earthquake we had back on the 15th of
May. That was really something. Nobody ever heard before of having an earthquake in North Dakota, or anywhere in the mid-west. It happened in the very early morning, about 4 am and it was Magnitude 5.5, Intensity VI. The paper said it was felt widely over south-central Canada and the north-central United States especially parts of Montana. The shock also was "severe" in
Dickinson. Some windows were broken and articles fell from shelves at a few towns in Saskatchewan, Canada.
We were all still in bed, and the whole house shook, and nobody knew what was going on. It only lasted a few seconds, but there were quite a few tiles that got shook off the roof, and stuff like that. And another thing, a lot more dust on the floor when I was next cleaning up than I had ever seen before. I guess the earthquake just shook all the accumulated dust of years out of the chairs, beds and curtains and things. Not that they are that dirty - but it just shook everything at once.