Women Behind the Plow

Women Behind the Plow

Catch of glimpse of life on the prairie through the lens of women who grew up on or raised their families on farms in German-Russian Country.

This Tri-County Tourism Alliance historic preservation project called, “Women Behind the Plow,” premiered at the 2015 Wishek Sauerkraut Day and has since traveled the state.

Sixteen panels feature photos and short memories created from interviews collected with assistance from a State Historical Society of North Dakota grant. This project honors the unrecognized contribution of women who grew up or lived on farms in Logan County, McIntosh County and Emmons County.

Many stories of farming prior to rural electrics bringing electricity to the sometimes-harsh prairies have never been told. How did these women learn about providing for families, sewing clothes or crocheting the scarce niceties in their homes? In addition to being wives and mothers, many were farm hands, healers, teachers, housekeepers and artists. They kept traditional holidays and religious customs. Unseen and unrecognized many of these women did what they had to without recognizing the importance of their contribution to the economic growth of the state.

These panels represent a small snapshot into farm life, but you will enjoy spending some time reading memories and viewing the old photographs. The exhibit is available to travel to your community. Please contact the Tri-County Tourism Alliance President Carmen Rath-Wald at (701) 754-2504, for more information.

The Tri-County Tourism Alliance was formed as a nonprofit three years ago to support heritage tourism in an area largely settled by Germans from Russia in North Dakota three counties – Logan County, McIntosh County and Emmons County. Anyone interested in preserving the culture of this unique group of people is invited to attend the meetings. For more information contact President Carmen Rath-Wald at (701) 754-2504.

If you are interested in being interviewed for this project you must be willing to do a video taped interview and to be photographed for the exhibit. The alliance would also ask for old black and white photographs of farm life, home chores, wedding day and school portraits, etc. to supplement the interviews. Interviewees need not be currently living in the Tri-county area to qualify for an interview but be born before 1950 and at one time lived and farmed in the Tri-county area.

If you would like to assist with the printing, distribution and advertising costs of our new project by making a small donation, that would be greatly appreciated. The book, “Women Behind the Plow,” will be made available for presale in the next few months.

If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact: Sue B. Balcom at 701-527-5169 or by email: DasGuteEssen@hotmail.com or Carmen Rath Wald at 701-754-2504.

45 Responses to Women Behind the Plow

  1. Carole Feist says:

    My husband’s parents were first generation Russian Germans who came to the United States in 1896. We are very interested in your cookbook and might even have a recipe or two for it.

    • dasguteessen says:

      Please by all means send the recipes. We are also really looking for photos of farms, animals, gardens, etc… so bring em on… sue

  2. Angie Miller says:

    I was wanting to request a copy of the cookbook/coffee table book when available, thanks

    • dasguteessen says:

      Hi Angie, we will be collecting information this fall and then offering a presale price on the book. So if you would like to send my your contact info I will put it in our data base, address and phone… thanks for your interest, I need to get going on the project it will be a huge one… Sue

  3. Angie Miller says:

    it is 5675 county road 81
    St.Anthony ND 58566

  4. Tamara d Kartes says:

    My grandfather came over from russia on the Lusitania as a 5 year old. His name was Alex G. Schmiess. I will contact living relatives and check on recipes.. I also want to pre order 10 copies.of the cookbook… great idea!.
    tammi kartes

  5. What is your deadline for receiving recipes? My great-grandparents (mom’s side) were among the early settlers in McIntosh county and my grandparents lived in Logan county. Actually, I guess my dad was probably born in Logan county, come to think of it.🙂

    • dasguteessen says:

      Would that have been Logan County near Gackle by any chance? I sent you an email reply to your question. Please feel free to ask more… or just send that stuff to me…

  6. Carolyn Hilgemann Lynch says:

    Sounds like a great project. I too would like to know when you book is published. My parents were from the Ashley, Eureka area and grandparents lived their all their lives. I will have to dig through my mom’s old cookbooks, am sure there may be some interesting recipes there. What will be your deadline for recipe entries?

    • dasguteessen says:

      You just send those recipes and photos as soon as you can, our deadline is August 2012… Thanks, Sue

  7. Donna Eszlinger, Ashley, ND says:

    I talked to my husband and he thought he would like to be interviewd on some of the history of his parents, and things he remembers of his grandparents,,, having lived on the home place all of his life, and now having our son and grandson living here as well,, not usre if that is possible,, I also would have some of my grandmothers recipes I can submit,,, if that is possible.. Donna Eszlinger Ashley, ND

    • Donna, I will be in the area in December doing interviews, would you consider a video interview for our project? Please send me a private email at dasguteessen@hotmail.com with your contact information and you will be hearing from me….don’t for get to hunt for photos of the farm, garden, fields, cooking, etc. even up to 70s…. I will take a portrait shot of you and your husband when I shoot through there, thanks, Sue

    • dasguteessen says:

      Donna, I’m coming to Ashley Jan. 13… are you available at 1:30ish for an interview? Sue

  8. Karen Meidinger Retzlaff says:

    I would be interested in contributing–I may have a photo or two of my mother–Katherine (Katie) Meidinger making Plachinda with my daughter in the late 80s or early 90s-she made some really good plachinda and I have her recipe books and collection.

    • dasguteessen says:

      Dear Karen, we would LOVE to have your photo(s) and recipes. If you wish to send them to me, I will scan them and return them the same day in the mail. Also, if you could type out the recipes and/or send them and I could type them and return them, that would be very cool. My cousin scanned her mom’s handwritten cookbook, what a treasure that is what we are looking for… Thank you for the email. Are you related to my mom’s side of the family? Or the other Meidingers… if you need any questions answered and would not like them to show up on the blog please email me at dasguteessen@hotmail.com. Happy New Year.

      • Karen Retzlaff says:

        It depends which Meidingers we’re talking about. My parents were Aaron & Katherine (Raile) Meidinger (rural Zeeland); dad’s parents were John R. & Lydia Meidinger (rural Zeeland & later Ashley). Mom’s parents were Jacob & Christine Raile (Wishek).
        I will scan the photos–what resolution do you want?
        It may be awhile, Speech Season is beginning for me–I’m the coach for Dakota Prairie.

      • dasguteessen says:

        My Aunt Alice Kaseman was related to the Raile’s and my mom’s parents were Albert C. and Emma Meidinger. I would bet we are talking about the same Aunt Katie…the higher res the better. If the photos are 3×5 ish… then 600dpi would be great. If they are 8x10s – 300 dpi… many thanks and don’t forget to include as much info as possible don’t worry about proper sentences or anything. That’s our job. Sue

      • Karen Retzlaff says:

        Alice is my cousin–Mom’s God daughter–and delightful artist. So which one of Arlene’s sisters or brothers is you parent? Arlene & I went to school together in country school for seven years and then 5 years at Zeeland High School. (I still haven’t sent my Christmas cards out to wither Alice or Arlene, this yeatr–I’m shootin’ for .Epiphany cards, I think!!!
        Thanks for the information–I’ll try to get the stuff done in the next couple of weeks or so.

      • dasguteessen says:

        My mom’s youngest sister is Arlene, married to Melvin Kaseman, my dad’s cousin… it gets complicated. LOL

  9. Linda Garding says:

    My Germans-from Russia grandparents came to the USA as little children from Odessa, Russia on the same ship and their parents arranged their marriage when they were 2 and 6 years old. When they were married, they lived in the Center, ND area and were farmers. My grand-mother was Monica Matz Mosbrucker and my grand-father was Florian Mosbrucker. Their first 4 children (including my mother) were born in ND and then they moved on to Canada and then Montana. I completed the circle by moving to ND in 1984 and have had a good time learning more about the Germans from Russia!

  10. Peggy Renner-Howell says:

    My great-grandmother’s brother, Johann Buechler, Jr. had a butcher shop in/near Gackle, ND in the very early 1900s. Their parents’ farm was on the northern edge of what is now Gackle, just over the county line in Stutsman County. I would love a copy. Could you send me info when it is ready? Thanks.

    • dasguteessen says:

      Cool, my mother worked for Gackle Packing Company in the 1970s… you wouldn’t happen to have any photos or other information about this business of your Great Uncle?

  11. Marlyn Kauk says:

    This sounds wonderful. My Dad, John Wallenten, came from Russia in 1905 with his mom and stepfather.Johanns Wagner and Christina (Goetz) Wallenten Wagner. My mother’s parents were born in Russia and arrived in the U.S. in 1901. Her name was Bertha Kramlich, daughter of Samuel and Bertha (Michta) Kramlich. My family lived in the Wishek area until 1943 when my father moved to California to work in the shipyards. My husband’s mother Magdalena Becker was also born in Russia, his father was born in Alma, Nebraska but moved to ND as a young man. They lived in the Lehr area and are both buried in the Lehr cemetary. My husband and I made many trips to ND in our 57 years together, he died in May of 2011. I would like information about the cookbook when it is completed. I have a couple that I have purchased from previous centennial celebrations and also have “Sei Unser Gast” and “Kuche Kochen.”

    • dasguteessen says:

      Maryln, do you have any history on the butcher shop, or even better some photos? Please send them to me…emaill or snail mail.

  12. Marlyn Kauk says:

    I liked to include my husband’s name and his father. My husband was Bernhard (Barney) Kauk his father was John Kauk. Many of the Kauks’ living in the area are related to Barney.

  13. Paulette (Haupt) Tobin says:

    iI grew up in S.D. but close enough to Venturia, N.D., that we could hear the train whistle. Good luck with your project. I hope when people send you recipes they will not forget the ones for things like chokecherry and rhubarb wine and jelly and for making sausage, etc.

  14. Mark L. Schlenvogt says:

    I have been following some of the comments and recipes that have been put in the blog. I am not from the area but used to live in Napoleon for a short time so I know there are a lot of fantastic cooks in the area. I was talking to my mother and she mentioned that her mother used to make what they call Chow Chow out of green tomatoes but could not remember the recipe. So was wondering if anyone out their heard of this dish.

    • dasguteessen says:

      Absolutely, at the end of the garden season, you mix all things together, grind em up and pickle them…. I will post a recipe when I come across it…

  15. adeline wolf says:

    Will still take recipes for the cookbook?

  16. Kathleen Bennett (BERTSCH) says:

    This sounds great. My Grandparents,,father/mother grew up in around the Ashley, Kulm area. Fathers last name ;;Bertsch. My Mother was a Schock. I have many relatives inthe Ashley area. I grew up in the Forbes area BUT my parents since 1976 live inEllendale now. I will have to try and get a cookbook. YUMM;;;;;;YUMM!!!!!!!!!

  17. Linda L Albright says:

    My grandparents came from the Odessa, Russia area. Both my parents were born in ND. My mother grew up in the Napoleon area and my Dad south of Tappen. I was wondering if you are still taking recipes. I have some of my mother’s recipes including her recipe for kuchen. My Dad’s last name was Albrecht and my mother’s was Kapp

    • dasguteessen says:

      Yes please send files to dasguteessen@hotmail.com and if you have original handwritten recipes, please scan at high resolution, and photos also of kitchen, cooking, farming, animals, milking, etc… to us. THANK YOU. But please hurry.

  18. Gwen Schock Cowherd says:

    The link that you sent to the Germans from Russia Foodways site wouldn’t open. I got a new computer with Windows 8 so maybe that is the problem. I notice others can open it. Please like the Foodways site on the Tri-County page. I post about the site but it keeps getting removed. Don’t understand why. Gwen

  19. janice meidinger says:

    would you still consider taking recipes at this time or is the book done

    • Prairie Legacy - German Russian Country says:

      The book is in prepress, we have been collecting for two years. We had to stop at some point and put it together.

  20. Gail says:

    Are you still taking recipes? My mom’s family has some great recipes.

  21. Gail says:

    I just saw your last comment so please disregard my previous comment.

  22. Arlene says:

    is this the Germans from Russia cookbook?

    • Prairie Legacy - German Russian Country says:

      NOPE this is a new project… a photo exhibit and a book to be done we hope by the middle of next year.

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