Stinson, Ben “C.B.” and Kathinka (Gulbrandson)

(Jim Skurdaii)

Ben “C.B." Stinson was born in Orleans Twp. on 4 Jul 1892. He was the youngest of 5 children of Steen and Barbara Stinson. He attended Luther College ca. 1910, fought in France in World War I, married Kathinka Gulbrandson from Albert Lea in 1919, owned a farm in Warwick, ND, serving as postmaster there for 18 years, then moved to Seattle, WA.

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Ben (C.B.) Stinson, ca 1898

Ben Stinson had an infectious sense of humor. Whenever he arrived at a family celebration in Washington, he had everyone laughing before he was in the door. His stories and anecdotes almost always had something to do with Winneshiek Co. At the age of 90 he could still name every township in the county. He claimed that in school back in those days they had read Jimmy the Owl and a couple of other books, and that was that. He quoted advertisements from the Cresco Plain Dealer, which he sometimes good-naturedly referred to as the “Plain Lair.” He claimed that as a boy he had once built a canoe from barrel staves, and that whenever he launched it on the Upper Iowa, he had to remember not to chew gum on the side of his mouth or it would capsize. In between stories he would play his harmonica or sing a few lines from “Giddyap Napoleon.” He would often describe an event from his own boyhood, such as walking three miles through the mud down to Plymouth Rock at the age of 8 to go to school or to get the mail; or taking a load of oats or barley on the wagon down to the mill; then he would follow it with what he called a “true story,” such as the one about the neighbor who wouldn’t let his wife have a telephone in the house, but instead put it at the top of the telephone pole, so that she would have to climb the pole to answer the phone, and would get awfully mad when it was a wrong number; or he would tell about the unemployed University of Iowa honors graduate who, during the Great Depression, finally landed a job selling milk separators for the DeLavalle Company, and how he then went down in the valley to a farmer who had just one cow, and had such an effective sales pitch that the fellow bought two and had to go out and mortgage his cow to make the down payment. Ben’s humor effervesced naturally, and it didn't matter that we had heard one of his stories a dozen times, it was always fresh and entertaining. Ben died in 1986 and is buried in Seattle, WA. There are more of his stories in the article on his parents, Steen and Barbara Stinson.

Stinson, Henry Spencer Family

(Dr. L. Marilyn Stinson)

Henry Spencer Stinson was born at his parents’ home in Winneshiek Co, IA on 20 Dec 1877. His birth and baptism were recorded at Jerico Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saude, IA. He was the first of five children born to Steen and Barbara “Barbo” Hansdtr. (Nordvik) Stinson. The Stinsons lived near Cresco.

Henry was about four years old when his parents moved to the Sheldon area of Dakota Territory in about 1881. He had polio when he was about three years old and was partly paralyzed from that. School records in Ransom Co., North Dakota show than Henry was in school there in 1885 from age 8 to age 15.

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Henry and Ovie Stinson

The family was back in Winneshiek Co in 1892 and Henry was living in Orleans Twp, Winneshiek Co at age 17. Henry received a diploma from Cresco Normal and Business Institute in March 1896 with a commercial ma


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