Thursday, July 28, 2011

Those Places Thursday.....Grandma's Shanty

Those Places Thursday  do you often think back to places where you lived and worked at one time? What about those places where your ancestors spent time? Post about “those places” with photos and stories on Those Places Thursday. This has been an ongoing series by Cheryl Palmer of Heritage Happens.

The pictures and poem below come from my cousin Molly. Her dad, my Uncle Jimmy, is an artist and he created a planter box for Molly from Grandma Nell's old mailbox. He wrote the poem and gave it as a gift to Molly for her birthday. I've been unable to find a good picture of Grandma's little yellow house in my own collection of photos. I know that one exists and I'll post it and write about the "shanty" when I find that photo. But for now, these photos will do. 

"Gramma's Shanty"

I hope that this old box brings you good memories of the little yellow shanty

like those of the old black purse and all its treasures and candy

memories of sleeping in the big wooden bed and all the nightime stories so often said

memories of helping in the little kitchen and the yummy meals that appeared as if done by a magician

memories of sitting in the rocker on the tree shaded deck, cuddling for a hug and a peck

memories of time spent with one that loved to go for a walk or to just sit and have a good talk

memories of the little bathroom with the big metal tub with the flowery bubbles that made it so fun to scrub

memories of a gramma who loved you so much, whos life we now cherish so much

Jim Borgreen
Written for Molly’s birthday

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not So.....Talented Tuesday.....Joseph Marxer Drives A Car

Talented Tuesday – Got ancestors who had a special talent? Be it musical, comical, or any manner of skill, post at your genealogy blog through words and pictures. Geneabloggers

Excerpt taken from "A Century in the Foothills 1876-1976,
A History of the Eden Area"
page 310,
written by Edward and Marie Marxer

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sentimental Sunday...Blacksmith Shop, Symbol of Days Past

Sentimental Sunday – discuss a sentimental story or memory about an ancestor, or maybe even a family tradition that touches you. This is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers and was suggested by Renate Sanders atInto the Light.

Borgreen's blacksmith shop
 Blacksmith Shop, Symbol of Days Past, Makes Way for Parking Lot, Sign of 1961
by Dick Coon Great Falls Tribune

"Ever wander back through the mist of memory in some locale that brought pungent smells, sharp sounds and clear pictures from your childhood?

Such a place is a small building located at the corner of Third Avenue South and Second Street. Over the front door a sign proclaims "Blacksmith," and a nearby tree adds to the impression of men and horses, buggies and buckboards.
This symbol of slower times, perhaps calmer living, will soon disappear to make room for the gasoline-eating monsters of the highway. It will become a badly needed sign of modern times, a parking lot. But who, in the future, can conjure up memories of a parking lot?

Wonder into the building, pause in the door, and there before you are spread the tools of the blacksmith. The old anvil, made of prime Swedish steel, shows the nicks and dents of thousands upon thousands of heavy hammer blows on hot iron. Perhaps a hundred men have laid muscle into those blows. The old forge, blackened by years of use and countless fires, once was laboriously fired with a hand bellows, but now contains a blower with an old-fashioned rheostat control.

As you stand there in silence, if you listen closely you can hear the sharp "clang!" of the hammer on the hot shoe, and the sizzle of the shoe being placed in water to cool it. Close your eyes and you can almost hear the squeak, squeak of a wagon pulling up, a dog barking an excited greeting, and the farmer from Belt, or Cascade or Vaugh, jumping down from the seat  into the dust where in 1961 there is asphalt and concrete. And if you wrinkle your nose just right, perhaps you can smell the pungent odor of a freshly trimmed hoof, or the acrid stink of a shoe being put into position, or the horses' sweat or used har- (missing)...

...returns you to the present. "Can I get some plowshares fixed up here?" and you stand by with mixed feelings of 1900 and 1961 as Len Weismann, who is showing you the place, explains there isn't any blacksmith there anymore.  Afterward he explains that the smithy was founed by Gust Bargreen [sic] sometime before the turn of the century. Last operator was Earl Baker, who hasn't done much work there in the past two years because of illness. Looking around you see a door covered in brands, each representing an iron the smithy had made. If you knew the brands and backgrounds of the ranches they represent, you'd have an extensive history of farming and ranching in Central Montana. Old calendars and advertising sheets are here and there on the wall, and an old trip hammer sits beside the forge, blacksmith tools cover the walls, several old wagon wheels lean against a rear door. You take one look around, then step into the sunlight and the modern world knowing that the blacksmith shop, and all it represents may soon be gone, but not forgotten."

Gust Borgreen in his blacksmith shop circa 1943

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amanuensis Monday....Barn Day

Amanuensis Monday – An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin – some we never met – others we see a time in their life before we knew them. A fuller explanation can be found here.
Amanuensis Monday is a popular ongoing series created by John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch.

According to Geneabloggers today is Barn Day. I had no idea. This is the barn on the Joseph Marxer Ranch.

The Joseph Marxer Ranch

The Marxer Ranch
"In 1910 Joseph Marxer and the boys started to build the barn. Joe, Andy and Bill were his helpers. Most of the lumber came from the Black Butte area from a lumber mill that Charles Odette operated there. The rocks for all the stone work in the lower part came from hills and coulees west of the house, in pastures. The barn was finished the summer of 1911. With a lot of convincing from the Marxer girls, (Joseph) Marxer conceded to have a barn dance for the opening. An orchestra by the name of Snitzel-Bunk was hired from Great Falls to play the music for dancing. People came from miles away in buggies and horseback, bringing food for the midnight supper and for the night of dancing, which lasted until daybreak. William and Ida Marxer's wedding dance was held in the barn in May of 1915. Later a home talent play and dance was given in the barn to raise money for the Red Cross." 

Excerpt by Edward and Marie Marxer, A Century in the Foothills 1876-1976, A History of the Eden Area, (Cascade Country Montana: 1976),
Page 309 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...Cute little duffer

Wordless Wednesday – a great way to share your old family photos! Create a post with the main focus being a photograph or image. Some posters also include attribute information as to the source of the image (date, location, owner, etc.). Wordless Wednesday is one of the longest running “memes” in the blogosphere and is an ongoing series atGeneaBloggers.

Edward Marxer age 14
circa 1921
This is Grandpa Edward Marxer's confirmation portrait. I love everything about this photo, from the little knickers to the flower in his lapel. So dapper. So sweet. But something tells me that he's wearing hand-me-down shoes. They look huge on his little feet. He was the youngest of 15, so I wouldn't be surprised.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day

Gust Brogreen's Declaration of Intention

Gust Borgreen's Certificate of Citizenship

What would it take for me to leave my home country and start a new life in a strange place where I didn't even speak the language. This concept is so foreign to me. I feel so fortunate that my ancestors all had the same notion. They all came here seeking something better, and if they didn't find that better thing for themselves, they certainly provided a better life for their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Where they thinking that far ahead? Or where they just trying to eek out the best life they could at that moment? The most recent immigrant in our family is my own husband. He moved here from Hong Kong in the early 80's to go to school and he never left. What would my life be if he hadn't had the notion to come here?
Sometimes we take for granted all the wonderful things the USA has to offer. By looking through the eyes of an immigrant we can truly see how fortunate we are. Happy 4th of July and God Bless the USA.