Montgomery County, Iowa

Family Tree



South Dakota Territory
By Eva Dujardin Smith, Daughter of Hulda Knutson and Noah Dujardin

With additional memories of her brother Moses Dujardin

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   We moved to Hayes, Stanley County, South Dakota, from Strand, Iowa on May 4,1906.  My Dad, Noah Dujardin, homesteaded 360 acres of land.  I was 18 months old, Moses was 4 years old and Lillie was 6 years old. Lena was born December 30 1906.  Lena only weighed 2 1/2 pounds; a shoe box was her crib.

     We lived with the O'Garos while Dad was building our new home which was thirty miles from Fort Pierre. It was built on a side hill; he cut out about 8 feet of dirt and dug a cave in the side hill.  He did this with a scraper and a team of horses.  He dumped the dirt across the creek and made a dam; we called it a pond.  Dad always liked to kill two birds with one stone; he put logs over the top of the cave, tarpaper, then dirt.  Our house was back to the cave, so we could go in the cave from our kitchen.  Our roof was level with the ground in the back, and our floor was level with the ground in front.  It was one large room with two rooms upstairs.
    Dad's sister, Agnes and her husband Ephraim Milner, came from Iowa to visit a couple of years later, when they saw there was no floor in the cabin, they went to town, ordered the lumber and helped put down the floor.  Ephraim Milner was a wealthy man.  They had a large farm in Montgomery Co., Iowa. 
   Grandpa Joseph Dujardin, got sick that winter and died in December of 1906. Grandpa was sitting in an old-fashioned rocker when he said, "Hulda and Noah, you needn't worry anymore, for I see the angels coming and I'm going away to rest."  When he said "rest," he leaned back in his chair, crossed his arms

over his chest, and was gone.  Grandpa was buried 50 feet south of our house.  Grandpa Dujardin was a preacher most of his life. It is said he left France in 1849 because they threw stones at him when he preached.  Dad, Noah, played the organ for Sunday Church services at the school house.
   There were not roads, but one hundred and twenty-five covered wagons, passed by their place on the Black Hill trail.  We often saw covered and lumber wagons, Indians, and men on horseback go by.  Sometimes they would stop and give their horses a drink from our pond.  The Indians would drink the

water from the pond, too.  It was full of pollywogs.  One day a man stopped and gave his horse a drink, came to the house and gave mother $1.00 for a loaf of bread.  He fed it to his horse.  About one-half hour later, along came the Sheriff and another man asking if we had seen this man.  We told him the story.  They were on their way after him.
    Sometimes Gypsies would stop.  Then we would all have to stand guard.  They would steal anything they could get their hands on.  They would help themselves to our garden, take our chickens or a sheep.
    One day an Indian stopped and gave his horse a drink.  He took a liking to Lillie; she was 13 or 14 then.  He tried to trade mother 360 acres of land for her.  Lillie ran and hid in the cave.  While mother was negotiating with the Indian. Mother said she couldn't think of trading Lillie for land.  The Indian said he would throw in his pony, too.  Mother said, "No deal," so the Indian left.  Lillie told her children they were almost little Indians.
    One night I was awakened by a man that was standing at the foot of my bed.  I called mama.  Mother answered; I heard her feet hit the floor.  The man walked out; I was petrified.  Agnes was born April 24, 1908.  We churned our butter in a gallon bucket with a tight lid.  We would fill the bucket about half full of cream, put the lid on tight, then take turns shaking it until we got butter.  The butter and buttermilk really were good.  We hung our butter in the well to keep it cool.
    We had plenty of snow in the winter.  There was a 20-foot snow bank between our house and barn.  We had a lot of fun sliding down it on our homemade toboggan made from corrugated sheet iron.  There was a shortage of water in the winter.  We got our drinking and cooking water from Brady's well one-half mile east of us.  Their well had a pump.  Our well was so strong with alkali we couldn't use it.
    We started melting snow Friday night so we would have water for washing our hair and our baths.  We saved the water that we washed our hair in.  Then we started our baths.  The smallest child first, adding hot water for the next one.  When the largest child got his or her bath, they had plenty of water.  Then we warmed up the bath water and started washing our school clothes.  No, we didn't throw it out yet.  We used it to scrub the floor.
     We always had plenty of water the rest of the time from our pond and rain barrels.  We would get our cooking and drinking water from Brady's well in the summer, too.
     One day Moses came in all excited and said, "Come quick.  There goes a buggy without any horses."  That was the first car we ever saw.  Joe was born May 24, 1913.  Dad built on two more rooms; then Lillie and I shared a bedroom.  We had a lot of fun fixing it up like we wanted.
In those days the cows supplied the fuel for cooking, as well as the milk for the family.  When the cow chips were dry, we would go to the pasture with the wagon and gather them up.  They really made a hot fire.  The cows also supplied fertilizer for our garden.  We burned wood in the winter; everybody helped saw it, so we got warm twice - when we sawed it and again when we burned it.
    We carried water from our pond to our garden.  Dad would stay at the garden and pour the water on the plants.  Each child had a bucket to fit his or her size.  When Joe was only three he would carry a half-gallon bucket.
    In the fall we had more fun when we gathered in the crop.  We were poor as church mice and as happy as a lark.  Lillie helped mother with the housework.
    Mother was sewing from early in the morning until late at night.  Mother made all of our clothes.  Nothing was thrown away until every bit of the good that was left in it was used.  She made shoes from the tops of her shoes for the smaller children; socks from what was good in the tops of her socks for the smaller children.  She also made mittens from the tops of Dad's old socks.  She made bath towels from what was good around the edges of sheet blankets.  Curtains were made from the edges of worn-out sheets.  She made quilts from scraps left from our dresses.  She also made quilts from what was good in worn-out wool coats and pants.
    Every morning Dad would read a verse or two from the Bible, then we would discuss it.  One day he read that the world would be destroyed by fire.  A short time later he read in the Pittsburgh Grit it would come to an end May 9th.  I was outside playing when I saw a lot of smoke coming over a hill.  I ran in the house and said the world is coming to an end.  This was the last  of May.  Dad said it is a prairie fire.  We will have to make a back fire so it won't burn all our pasture.  We saved our pasture but we lost our Dad.  Dad was overcome with smoke.  We called the doctor.   He said he was a very sick man.  If he lives through the night, he will make it; but he didn't.  The world came to end for Dad that day.  It was a great loss to all of us. 
    Mother took it real hard.  She didn't know what she was going to do.  Grandpa Knudtson, Mother's Dad, wanted us to sell out and move to Canada and live with him and Sarah, Mother's stepmother.  Mother never got along with Sarah when she was a child.  She thought there must be a better way.  Dad was 35 years older than Mother.  He was 50 and she was 15.  When they got married, her step-mother said the wedding vows.  The minister would pause and wait for her to answer, but she wouldn't say, "I do", so Sarah answered for her. 
    Aunt Agnes and Uncle Ephraim Milner sent Lillie money to come and live with them.  The day we took Lillie to Pierre, I was both glad and sad.  Glad for Lillie and sad because I couldn't go, too.  When she got on the train, I thought I may never see Lillie again.
The day before the prairie fire, Dad got burlap bags and built a frame to hang them on so he could throw the wool in those bags when he sheared the sheep.  When they got full, Mother would sew them up with twine.  The next day he wasn't there to shear the sheep.  So two of our neighbors came over and sheared our sheep.  When they got a burlap bag about half full, they threw Joe in it.  Joe was only 3 years old.  He says he still remembers it.  He said he thought he was a goner for sure.
    Grandpa Knudtson came down in the last of August and talked Mother into the notion of selling out and going to Canada with him to live with him and Sarah.  Grandpa Knudtson helped get things ready for the sale.  We had 120 head of sheep, 9 milk cows, 9 calves, some steers and heifers, also about 20 horses and a bunch of chickens, and our farm machinery and furniture.  Grandpa took care of the money  when the auctioneer sold something.  I never saw that much Monday change hands in all my life.  I thought we were rich.  People came from miles around.  We sold everything that day.
    The next day Mr. Brady took us to Pierre in a spring wagon with three seats.  We were all tired and dirty when we got to the depot.  We had to wait a long time before our train arrived that took us to Canada.  We had to change trains at the border and go through customs.  We enjoyed the scenery in the daytime and the sleep at night.  The land was so flat in Canada we could see for miles around.
    Grandpa had a threshing machine.  He thrashed wheat for all the farmers for miles around.  He had a crew of men working for him.  The men slept in a bunkhouse.  There was a cook shack and a Chinese cook that prepared the meals for the threshing crew.
    When the Chinese cook opened up the shack, he would let down the upper half of one end of the cook shack to make a shelf.  That is where he would set his pies to cool.  He sure could make good apple pies.  When we came home from school, we would sneak a pie, take it back of the barn and eat it.
One day there was a big fat pie setting on the corner where it was easy to reach.  We took it back of the barn, cut it in four pieces and took a big bite.  It was awful.  It was potato peelings.  We didn't sneak any more pies.
    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police was questioning Grandma Sarah about John and Osman being poisoned with prairie dog killer that was found in biscuits that she made for them to take home.  John and Osman operated a mine near Regina.  They both died in 1916.  Sarah died in January of 1917 in Milestone, Saskatchewan.
    Uncle Knudt was engaged to Jennie.  She was from Ireland.  They use to take us for sleigh rides.  Sometimes we would go to Milestone for supplies.  It would be 40 or 50 below.  We didn't mind; we would heat bricks in the oven and put them at our feet, and bundle up good.  We were warm and cozy all they way.
    Knudt and Jennie married and had six children - three daughters and three sons.  One son and one daughter were twins.  Knudt was killed with a truck while he was walking along the road.  The truck mirror from a semi hit him in the head and killed him.  Jenny, was burned to death.
    Uncle Knudt had a horse that was rein trained.  Uncle Knudt saddled him up for me one day.  He didn't  tell me he was rein trained.  If you want him to go slow, you slack on the reins.  I started out that way an everything went good until I wanted him to stop.  I pulled tight on the reins.  He tore out in a fast run, jumped wagon tongue and fences.  The harder I pulled on the reins, the faster he went.  So I decided to jump off.  I dropped the reins; the horse stopped, and threw me over his head.  I landed on "you know what."  I couldn't sit down for a week.
    One morning Joe spilled his milk.  Sarah grabbed Joe around his middle and said she was going to throw him in a snow bank.  I guess she forgot she only had one hand.  When she got to the door, she couldn't hang onto Joe and open the door.  Mother tried to pull Joe away from her, but she couldn't.  Grandpa took Mother's part.  Sarah got so mad she went storming into her bedroom and never came out all day.  It was 50 below that day.
    That was the last time I saw Sarah.  There were many fights before; this was the last one.  Next morning Grandpa told us that Grandma Sarah died.  Did she die of a heart attack?  Did the police pick her up?  Did she leave, or did Grandpa throw her out?  I never heard anyone talking about a funeral.  God only knows what happened to her.  Sarah got blood poisoning in her hand and they had to amputate it at the elbow.
    It was peaceful around there after that.  Mother didn't like Canada, so we went back to South Dakota on March 1, 1917.  We stayed in a hotel in Fort Pierre, South Dakota, while mother and E. J. Brady were making a deal on our ranch.  She sold it for $1.00 an acre ($360.00).  Then we went back to Iowa.  Uncle Ephraim bought a house in Stennet for us to live in and we lived there until we moved to Red Oak.  Moses went to work for a farmer near Stennet.   I went to work for Frank and Florence Milner, my cousins.
    Mother did house cleaning for farmers around Stennet.  She didn't make much money.  She always got a lot of food to bring home from their farms and clothing their children outgrew that Lena, Agnes and Joe could wear.
    Dad was drawing a pension of $30.00 a month from the Civil War.  After Dad died, Mother didn't get it anymore.  Someone told her she should be drawing it.  They told her where to write.  She did and got a lump sum, which she used to buy a house at 403 Oak Street in Red Oak, Iowa, in 1919.  she paid $1,000.00 cash for it.  It is worth $34,000.00 now.  The people that own it now keep it in good repair.
    Mother went to work at the Johnson house in 1919 washing dishes.  She worked there until she retired.  In the fall of 1919 I got a job in Red Oak working for my board and room at Gibson and went to High School.  I quit in 1922 and went to work at Murphy's.  I married Emory Smith on October 22, 1923.
    Lillie also worked for board and room until she finished high school.  She taught school for three years before she got married.
In 1930 Mother and Joe went to Everett, Washington to settle the estate of her father, Stiner Knudtson.  Joe stayed on with his brother Moses.  



Hulda Knudson was born and raised at Strand, Adams Co., Iowa. Noah Dujardin, was born in France.  Noah, at age 37 was counted with Joseph Dujardin family in the 1880 Federal Census residing in Milford, Montgomery Co., Iowa.  Joseph's daughter Florence Dujardin had married Ephraim P. Milner and they were living in Sherman Twp., Montgomery Co., Iowa in 1880. Their story is in the Elliott Centennial Book and on your Gen-Web-Site.
Noah Dujardin, at age 50, m 25 Feb 1898, at the home of the brides parents, near Strand, Adams Co., Iowa to HULDA KNUDSON, age 15, daughter of STENER KNUDSON and HELENA BERTHA LARSON. Attached wedding photo.

The story was written by the late Eva (Dujardin) Smith - who resided in Red Oak, Iowa at one time.

~ transcribed and contributed by Mary Ann (Hendrickson)