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