Steele, Melvin Raymond

(Harriet Steele Fayne)

Bio Photo

Melvin Raymond Steele

Raymond, as everyone called him, was the oldest son born to Harold and Amanda (Stegen) Steele. He was a great help to his family. He began work for farmers at an early age. With his assistance his parents and siblings began farming. He worked as a carpenter in Cedar Rapids for a while; however, he soon returned to Winneshiek Co and worked for farmers there.

He cared for his parents in their later years. Harold died in 1985 not long after Raymond had purchased a duplex at 404 East Broadway in Decorah. He moved his mother into one unit. He continued to work on a local farm. Amanda died 4 Oct 1989.

Raymond's parents, Harold and Amanda, are buried at East Glenwood Lutheran Cemetery. The family belonged to Glenwood and Canoe Ridge Churches through the years.

When Raymond was young, he purchased a buggy from a neighbor. He and his brother and sisters stripped it down and spent many happy hours riding downhill on it, steering with their feet or hands, much to their mother’s consternation.

In 1995 Raymond lives in Decorah but continues to work on a farm. His wavy blonde hair has receded, but his winning smile and helpful ways are just the same! He enjoys the countryside today, as he did when as a youth he would spend time with his grandpa Ernest Steele in the great outdoors.

Stegen, Mathias and Anna (Borgaard)

(Ronald & Marlene Stegen and Harriet Steele Fayne)

Hans and Oline Hansdtr Stegen were farmers in Gudbrandsdalen, Oppland, Norway. When their home was covered by a land slide following a severe storm, Hans decided it was time to go to America. They emigrated to America in 1881. The family landed in New York and traveled to Coon Valley, Wl. They lived in Coon Valley for a year and then moved to the Blackhammer area near Spring Grove, MN. Hans and Oline are buried in the Blackhammer Cemetery.

One of Hans and Oline’s sons was Mathias Hanson Stegen. Hans married Anne Borgaard Verket in Norway. In Nov 1895 Mathias and Anna emigrated to America. They lived on farms in Fillmore and Houston Counties, MN before moving to Winneshiek Co. Anna and the children did most of the farm work while Mathias pursued his trade as a shoemaker and harness repairer. Mathias and Anne are buried in the cemetery in Frankville, IA.

Mathias and Anne had 8 children: Hans, Peter, Amanda, Alma, Anton, Mervin, Herman and Arnold.

Hans was born in 1894 in Oppland. In 1917 Hans married Ruth Meikle. Ruth taught school before she was married, but, as was customary at that time, she could not teach after she married. Hans supervised county road work in Winneshiek Co. for many years. Fourth of July picnics at his Frankville home included homemade ice cream that was made in a hand-cranked freezer surrounded by crushed ice. The crushed ice was made by putting a block of ice in a gunnysack (a sack of coarsely woven hemp fibers) and whacking it with the side of an ax. Hans and Ruth had 8 children: Norman (died as a baby), Leland, Maxine, Ardell, Gladys, Manford, Margaret and Lyla.

Peter Melvin was born Jun 1896 near Blackhammer in Houston Co., MN. Peter married Edith Martin. They had 1 son, Harley Dean. Peter and Edith farmed near Strawberry Point, IA. Peter was the smallest in stature of all the boys. He had a ready sense of humor and loved to pull pranks. Once during a cold winter he sifted pepper down through a the iron grate on to a heated stove causing his parents’ guests to experience a sneezing frenzy.

Amanda Regina was born 20 Oct 1898 in Wilmington Twp., Houston Co., MN. She worked as a hired girl for the Webster family in Canton, MN from the 4th through the 8th grade. Later Amanda worked for Rob Price who lived near Luther College in Decorah. She cared for Rob’s 90 year old mother. In 1917 Amanda married Harold Raymond Steele. They had 7 children: Melvin Raymond, Norma, Lillian, Harriet, Harold, LaVerne and Juanita.

Alma M. was born 23 Dec 1900 in Caledonia in Houston Co. She was a fun-loving girl who would stand on the backs of her father’s horses and laughingly ride across the meadow at a full gallop. She loved to socialize. Alma’s hearty laugh livened many parties. She died in 1921 of lung complications following smallpox. She was engaged to be married at the time.

Anton C. was born in 1903 in Richford, MN. He married Esther Peterson. In addition to farming, Anton also was a painter at Lime Springs, IA. Only 2 of Anton and Esther’s children lived to adulthood. They were Arlene and Anton Allen. Anton had a stiff leg which was the result of a severe burn as a child

Mervin Julian was born Dec 1903 in Fillmore Co., MN. He married Clara Flatland of Glenwood Twp., Winneshiek Co. They had one son, Donald, and 4 daughters: Helen, Verna, Sharon and Mary Ann. The family farmed near Frankville and later on the Pole Line Road west of Decorah in Bluffton Twp.


Complete OCR transcription

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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021