BACK - From Russia (or Poland?) with Love
NEXT - Current Affairs
Cannon Falls on the eve of the First World War saw the "Gilded Age" generation of our families--those who came of age in the 1880s--in the prime of their lives. It was around this time that the successful butcher, Dick Dibble of Dibble Bros., branched out into both real estate and wholesale meat production. Dick's cousin Ed, the farmer, entered politics, serving as Stanton Township treasurer and a member of the town board.

Meanwhile, international tensions were building. European nations competing to build overseas colonial empires already viewed each other as threats. As the Ottoman Empire fell apart, nationalistic struggles erupted in the Balkans and the European "great powers" found themselves on opposite sides of the conflicts. Closer to home, on the US-Mexico border, the semi-revolutionary, semi-bandit Pancho Villa's raids eventually provoked a response from the US Army, led by General Pershing.

With all this going on, the army found itself in need of more provisions, and at least in southern Minnesota, Dick Dibble filled the bill. A lucrative contract to supply beef to the soldiers enabled him to expand his real estate holdings. In addition to the Dibble Brothers meat market on Fourth Street, Dick eventually came to own one or more other storefronts on Fourth Street and a block of buildings around the corner on West Mill Street. One of the storefronts he provided, rent-free, to his brother-in-law Ed Wilson for his barbershop.

As Dick's fortunes expanded, he eventually left the butcher shop behind. Dibble Brothers was apparently dissolved, as Dick advanced cash, and probably provided another rent-free storefront, to his brother Dan for a liquor store.

Meanwhile, Dick's son Archie visited and briefly worked as a cowboy at his uncle Herman Kowitz's ranch in Montana. There is a photograph of Archie, wearing chaps and a ten-gallon hat, standing in front of a rough cabin on the open plains. Herman does not seem to have been very serious about ranching, but he was a fairly successful professional gambler, primarily in the game of poker, and ran with the rough crowd that usually surrounds that activity.

In retrospect, it does not seem inevitable that the United States should have become involved in what was then called The Great War. In fact, it almost seems an act of willful naivete. While claiming neutrality, we initially sought to trade with both sides, and expressed shock when both sides found this to be a threat. If one compares the significance of different ethnic groups in the initial settlement and development of the United States, immigrants from the British Isles played the largest role, Africans the second largest, and Germans the third largest. At the time of the Revolution there was some debate as to whether English or German should be the official language of the new nation. Additional waves of immigrants from Germany followed the failure of democratic revolutionary movements there in the 1840s, and were part of the massive influx of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe beginning around 1880. This diversity was still reflected in the American public as Europe went to war in the 1910s; while the majority of popular opinion favored England and her allies, a sizeable minority of American sympathies leaned toward Germany when war was triggered in August 1914 after a Serbian nationalist assassinated the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand.

Popular emotions were further stirred in 1915 when the ocean passenger liner Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine. Although the massive explosions and extremely rapid sinking of the huge ship strongly supported the German claim that it was transporting "contraband"--as in ammunition--as well as passengers to England, several Americans died and US public opinion was enflamed. Nonetheless, President Wilson won re-election in 1916 by campaigning against US involvement in the war. However, all bets were off when the US intercepted a diplomatic cable from Germany to the Mexican government; it promised that lands taken by the US in the Mexican-American War would be returned if Mexico would help Germany by invading the United States. The US declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.

That same spring, the Morud farm near Warren, MN was besieged by fire. Prairie fires were always a threat. The farmers would turn over the earth in broad strips around the farmyard each year to try to keep fire away from the house. On this occasion, Ole Morud had left for the grain elevator in the town of Radium, about 5 miles away, with a load of grain. A prairie fire came whipping up from the southeast. Ole's wife Ella tried to start a back-fire to burn out the ground between the house and the prairie fire, hoping to stop it in its tracks. It didn't work, and the barn caught fire. 14-year-old Emma was home from school with a cold, and she managed to get four horses out of the barn. But several calves and chickens, and Ole's prized hunting dog, died.

The Moruds survived this disaster, however, and despite the hardships of life on the cold, windswept prairie, continued to maintain a bastion of culture and education for their 9 children. School was so important to the Moruds, in fact, that when the children were in high school--at this time this would have included Alice and Mabel--they rented their own apartment in town near the school to ensure they would be there every day even in rough winter weather. As we shall later see, this determined approach to education produced a high number of educated, professional women among the Morud children, at a time when that was definitely not the norm.

The April declaration of war did not mean American troops immediately dug into the trenches of France, of course. Several months passed while soldiers were recruited and trained, and industry was converted to armaments production. This military "boom" reached Cannon Falls, where Dick Dibble added to his wholesale operation, which was already supplying meat to the army, a primary beef production capacity, by purchasing a 160-acre cattle farm about a half-mile southeast of town on Spring Garden Road.

Despite the extra work the new farm imposed, no doubt Dick took time out that summer to attend the wedding of his cousin Ed's 24-year-old son Willard Dibble to Cora Hanson. Cora had been born to Thomas and Mary Hanson on September 13, 1890 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The wedding took place in Northfield, just a short jaunt west of Cannon Falls, on July 7, 1917.

Dick's 23-year-old nephew Donald Dibble "undertook" his life's work at about this time. George Valentine, who had bought the oddly-combined Danielson Furniture and Funeral Service, hired Don as an embalmer and funeral director. Don was taken on to replace Carl Swanson, who had joined the army. We don't know why Don didn't enter the military himself.

In any case, there seemed to be plenty to fight about on the home front for those who didn't go "over there". The advent of war, as it usually does, exposed the ugliest aspects of human nature. Among those favoring the western powers, anyone or anything German or of German ancestry became immediately suspect. The English royal family, descended from the German House of Hanover but native to England for well over 150 years, felt it necessary to change their name to Windsor to remain above reproach. People started calling sauerkraut "victory cabbage". Americans took it upon themselves to shun fellow citizens of German extraction, and it wasn't unusual for mobs to commit vandalism or worse against people with German names. The fact that many Americans of German descent weren't sure the country was on the right side and were willing to say so tended to make them targets, but the attacks were not limited to those who spoke up. In Goodhue County, the record contains accounts of German Americans being roughed up and their homes damaged by vandals.

As war fever grew, Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II was called a "tyrant" and the US government argued that intervening against Germany was necessary to defend democracy. The reality was quite a bit different. Although the German style of political discourse was not as raucous as ours, and traditional Germans held loyalty and duty in very high regard, Germany was a multi-party constitutional monarchy with an elected legislature and an elected prime minister ("chancellor") who held most of the executive power. The Kaiser, though sometimes given to bellicose rhetoric, was in fact rather weak and not much interested in politics. American progressives, including many Minnesotan populists and trade unionists, who argued that America had no real reason to support either side's efforts to dominate sea lanes, international trade, and colonial empires, also came under attack from their neighbors. The fiery old ex-Congressman, O.M. Hall, might have had something to say about all this, but he did not witness it, having passed away shortly after the war began, on November 26, 1914.

Young American men faced considerable pressure to volunteer for military service, lest they be seen as disloyal. On the other hand, many young men viewed war as an adventure and soldiering as romantic. No doubt Dick Dibble's son Archie, who seems to have been at loose ends as he reached the age of 21, would have felt both the lure of adventure and the pressure to conform. It took him a while to decide what to do, but finally, on April 8, 1918, he joined the Army.

We don't have a lot of specific information about Archie's military service. The following account makes some assumptions that further research may invalidate:

Archie served as a private with Company A of the 7th. US Engineer Regiment. Their job was to build roads, bridges, and defensive structures, as well as any buildings or utility facilities the troops might need. While this was not primarily a combat role, it was the engineers who enabled troops to get past natural obstacles such as rivers and forests, and who kept them safe behind trenches and earthworks; they were critically valuable to any campaign, and as such were a priority target for enemy fire.

The 7th. was formed at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in May 1917 and assigned to the 5th. Division that December. After initial training, it crossed to the east coast by rail and sailed first to Liverpool, England and then to Le Havre, France, for additional training and preparation. After completing basic training and shipping out in the spring of 1918, Archie probably joined the unit in June or July, when it was already in the hilly Vosges area about 170 miles east of Paris. He may have first come under fire while in defensive positions there with the French 7th. Army. In mid-July the 5th. Division moved a bit north and relieved French units that were controlling the area around St. Die. Near there, the Germans had occupied the town of Frapelle and their lines formed a salient (bulge) around the town that projected into the Allied lines. Salients were potential trouble spots where the enemy could break through, so the 5th. Division was ordered to straighten the line. Archie probably was with the engineers who accompanied the infantry and artillery that took the town on August 17, and then held it through three days of German artillery barrages and counterattacks.

Meanwhile, General Pershing and his French counterparts had devised a strategy to take the offensive and end the war. The first phase of the plan required removing more salients, including one around the town of St. Mihiel. To maintain secrecy, Archie's 5th. Division made several night marches through mud and rain to its assigned jump-off point southeast of town. Despite this, the Germans got wind of the upcoming attack and were preparing to withdraw when the doughboys went "over the top" of the trenches at 5 am on September 12. They moved so fast they outran their own artillery support and the French tanks that were to accompany them, achieving their objectives within nine hours. Archie would have worked very hard over the next three days constructing defenses against counterattacks and dodging artillery shells while waiting for the rest of the troops to take their objectives and force the Germans back. This they did by September 17, when the 5th. Division was relieved and sent southward to recuperate.

The next phase of the final strategy was for the American, British and French forces to converge on western Germany through a series of coordinated attacks. The Americans' job was to drive through the Argonne Forest and cross the Meuse River to reach the German border near Luxembourg. This attack began on September 26. The Argonne turned out to be a deathtrap; not only were the trees a barrier, but the region was riddled with German underground defenses and mines. Perhaps fortunately for Archie, the 5th. Division did not take part in this initial attack. Instead, they were moved to staging areas near Montfaucon on October 5, and on October 11 they went into the line. The men of the 5th. got their share of forest fighting then, and it turned out to be the most intense combat they faced during the war. They were ordered to drive the Germans out of a small woods called the Bois de Rappe. It took 11 days of close-quarters fighting, with repeated charges against heavily fortified positions under constant barrage from German artillery on the heights on the far side of the Meuse. Finally, they launched a successful surprise attack with fixed bayonets on October 21 and cleared the forest. For this they were rewarded with 4 days' rest behind the lines.

On October 26, the 5th. Division resumed its drive for the Meuse, now facing only moderate German opposition. By early November, they were ready to cross the river. The first contingents went over by boat, and then, in the early morning darkness of November 3, Archie's 7th. Engineers built a foot bridge on which the rest of the troops crossed. They were pinned down on the far side by the enemy for the remainder of the day, but the next day they took the heights and began establishing a safe bridgehead.

The 5th. continued to advance and had reached the Loison River when hostilities formally ceased at the 11th. hour of the 11th. day of the 11th. month, November, 1918, but Archie was not with them. He had been wounded in the leg and taken to a French hospital, where he spent three months recuperating.

Things were pretty dangerous on the home front as well in the fall of 1918. On September 30, in a small town somewhere in central Montana, Archie's uncle and sometime employer Herman Kowitz won a lot of money in a poker game. This greatly distressed the man he won most of it from. After Herman left the saloon where the game had ended, the loser came up behind him in an alley and shot him in the back, killing him. He was 37 years old.

At just about the same time, war hysteria reached a new low in Goodhue County. The federal government had been selling "Liberty Bonds" to citizens to finance the war effort. Each county had its own Liberty Loan Chairman. Goodhue County also had a Public Safety Committee, organized as part of the war effort. For the past year or so, Goodhue citizens had been nervously peeking over each other's shoulders and having each other arrested and put on trial for criticizing the US military or war policy. (One official had even requested that a couple of Secret Service agents be assigned to keep an eye on the local German-American community.) Around October 10, 1918, as Archie Dibble's unit was preparing to risk its neck once again to "defend democracy" along the Meuse, the Goodhue Public Safety Committee mounted its own assault against democracy by issuing Order No. 44. This order authorized the Committee Director to issue subpeonas and convene grand juries "where necessary" to investigate and indict people who had refused, or hadn't bothered, or perhaps just couldn't afford, to buy Liberty Bonds. This was expected to be a big help to the Liberty Loan Chairman in meeting his quota.

Though Archie's wound took a while to heal, it apparently wasn't serious enough to send him home. The 5th. Division became part of the Army of Occupation after the armistice, and was assigned to Luxembourg and southern Belgium, where it guarded the lines of communication between France and units in Germany. The 5th. returned home in the summer of 1919, and Archie was finally discharged on August 4 of that year, having, as his discharge paper noted, no AWOLs or absences, and being of "excellent" character and in good physical condition.

The familiar balanced cycle of life and death, after lurching sickeningly in the direction of death during the war and the influenza epidemic that followed it, resumed its old equilibrium in 1919. In Bay City, WI, Clarence Johnson's 14-year-old brother Leslie was accidentally shot and killed while hunting with Clarence and his other brothers. But on the farm in Stanton Township, Willard and Cora Dibble had a new son, Willard Junior, that year.

Despite his "good" condition, Archie's injury pained him and caused a bit of a limp. Still, he walked out to the town park near the dam by the falls on the Cannon River for the annual Cannon Falls summer picnic. Strung between the trees was a large banner that said, "Cannon Falls--the best town by a dam site." He expressed interest in being a farmer, so his father put him in charge of his cattle farm, but Archie was not happy with that exhausting occupation. He quit after six months and went to work at the dam. Dick rented the farm to tenants and received half of the milk check for his rent.

By now we've reached 1920. The "Gilded Age" generation is at the height of its prosperity and powers, but their children are getting ready to take the reins. The small-town meat wholesaler and real-estate magnate Dick Dibble is 58; his second wife Bertha is 51. His cousin Ed the dairy farmer is 60 and Ed's wife Laura is 53. Ed's son Willard is 27; Dick's son Archie is 24. Dick's brother Dan the liquor-store owner is 51. Dick's brother-in-law the barber and horse-fancier Ed Wilson is 53; his wife Edith is 47. Their son George is 19; George's brother Clair ("Dody") is perhaps a year or two older. The northern prairie farmer Ole Morud is 51, his wife Ella is 50. Their oldest son, Leonard, is 23; their oldest daughter, Alice, 20. The Winona factory worker Stephan Orzechowski is 43; his wife Mary is 33; their daughter Angeline is 11. Francis Johnson, the Bay City farmer, is 40; his wife Rose is 43, his son Clarence is 16.

From this point on, we have some chronological milestones to guide us, but much of what we know happened we don't have dates for. Due to improved medicine, transportation and nutrition, people are living longer. Young men and women come of age, but now their parents remain vigorous and involved for many years thereafter. The "changing of the guard" from one generation to the next is more gradual this time around. Each generation is larger than the last, and each young person more likely to pursue a life that is different from that of his or her parents. The themes that unified our families' story--pioneering new land, building businesses and traditions from scratch, frequent childbirth punctuated by sudden early death--and that required their close cooperation and support, are fading. Increasingly in the 20th. century, it's every man and woman for him or herself.

As though to counter this trend, Dick Dibble's son-in-law, the Red Wing City Attorney Charles Hall, enjoyed a brief career as a literary critic and novelist. Main Street, Sinclair Lewis's satirical novel of grasping small-town midwestern America, was published in 1920. Hall, upset by Lewis's mocking tone, published a response entitled Sane Street. In its fictional Minnesota small town, people were fortunate "to feel everywhere at home: to feel that people are really friendly and helpful."

In the even smaller town of Cannon Falls, Ed Dibble (whose son Willard was handling most of the day-to-day work on the farm) advanced his political career, serving as an alderman from 1919 to 1924. When Carl Swanson came home from the war, his old boss at Danielson Furniture and Funeral Service had refused to fire Ed's cousin Dick's nephew Don Dibble and rehire him, so Carl had started his own funeral home. Sometime after 1922, Carl bought out Don's boss, and now it was Don's turn to strike out on his own. He moved to Kasson, MN and bought his own furniture and funeral business. Who would have guessed that more than one such strange conglomerate even existed?

Dick's daughter Glee married Vic Johnson (born May 4, 1901 to Carl August and Alma Josephine Johnson), an insurance man from Red Wing, on May 20, 1922. He was known for his good personality, though his mother-in-law, Bertha, was not fond of him. They lived in Red Wing, MN, for many years. Their daughter, Shirley Ann, later known as "Tink", was born there on May 21, 1923. In 1931, they adopted a little boy named Costello O'Connell. He had been born on December 15, 1927 in Minneapolis, but his mother was unable to care for him and he was placed in the custody of Social Services. Glee and Vic renamed him "James Jeffrey", but he was always known as Jimmy.

Also around this time, Dick's niece Jean Dibble married Milton Holmes, a local boy from Cannon Falls who may have served as president of a local bank. They had three children: Milton, Betty and Robert. Jean Dibble and Milton Holmes eventually divorced and Jean later married Pete Saunders.

Up north, the Morud children were also coming of age.

Leonard married Myrtle Stenhjem (b. September 21, 1899) of Kindred, ND. Their children were Clayton Oliver Morud (b. July 23, 1921), Wallace Arlo Morud (b. January 24, 1924), Leslie Duane Morud (b. March 2, 1925), Elaine Morud (b. October 5, 1927), and Gordon Earl Morud (b. March 28, 1929). Leonard was a scout and co-manager for the Fargo/Moorhead Twins, a minor-league baseball team in the Minnesota Twins farm system. He entered baseball history as the first scout to sign Roger Maris to a pro contract. He also ran the concession stand at the team's stadium.

Alice trained as a nurse at the Warren Hospital and worked in that region for a while. Then she moved to the metropolis of Minneapolis to work at Fairview Hospital. Later she took a job at the Mineral Springs (tuberculosis) Sanatorium in Cannon Falls. This is where she met Archie Dibble. Archie married Alice Morud on November 15, 1923 at Christ Episcopal Church in Red Wing. Archie's mother Bertha didn't like her either.

Mabel Morud trained as a nurse but decided she wasn't strong enough for the work; she went to business school and became a secretary instead. Emma, the horse-rescuer, became a teacher and librarian with three masters degrees. Donna became a teacher. Elmer took over the family farm. Olga and Heidi also became teachers. Ida, the youngest, became a registered nurse like her sister Alice.

Archie and Alice Dibble moved to Minneapolis, and on February 27, 1925 they produced Richard Kenneth Dibble, their only child.

Alice stayed at home until Richard Kenneth started school; then she resumed her nursing career. Later she worked as a department store clerk. Archie settled into a career with the US Postal Service, following a tradition begun by his grandfather Jonathan and continued by his second cousin Willis, who was now employed as a railway mail carrier out of Chicago. Archie worked mostly as a mail sorter on the mail train that ran between St. Paul and Omaha. He once survived a collision between two trains. Archie continued his father's tradition of organized amateur baseball, once breaking his leg while sliding into a base. He was a diehard Minnesota Twins fan. Alice enjoyed sewing and knitting and was very good at it; she sewed items that were distributed to poor people by religious missions. She was a Coolidge Republican, while Archie was a Roosevelt Democrat, and each took pride in "cancelling each other out" whenever they went to vote.

On the Dibble Farm in Stanton Township, Willard Sr. had switched from shorthorns to Holsteins in 1918, and he went from hand-milking to milking machines when his sister Della's husband John Aslakson became a milking-machine salesman. The farm also produced corn, oats, and hay. Willard and his wife Cora's second child, Margaret ("Peggy") Dibble, was born in 1926.

The part of the farm known as Dibble Springs became a local recreation center for the family and the larger community. Picnics and events were held there through the 1920s and 1930s. Sometimes Willard Sr. charged 25 cents admission to anyone who wanted to come. Many children enjoyed the scene. Young Richard Kenneth could be seen playing croquet on the lawn, and Peggy Dibble rode her Shetland pony around the grounds. It also became a tradition for the graduating classes of Cannon Falls High School to undergo mysterious "rites of initiation" there.

Della and John Aslakson's daughter Jessie married Al Wold. This Al seems not to have been related to the Cannon Falls Wolds who ran the jewelry store. Al worked for the Red Cross, first as Executive Director for the Minneapolis chapter, later at the national office in Washington, DC, and finally in San Francisco. Al and Jessie's children were: John Wold, Bob Wold, Ann Wold Armiger, Martha Wold Cornwall, and Mary Wold Soasa.

In town, Dick Dibble acquired a seat on the Board of the First National Bank of Cannon Falls, in which both his uncle Alonzo and his father-in-law Ferdinand Kowitz had been original stockholders.

Ed and Edith Wilson's two sons, Claire and George ("Dody") worked as grave diggers, perhaps for Don Dibble. They are remembered as being "a little rowdy" in their youth. However, Clair had his own business by 1925; in partnership with Justus Widholm, he ran a cafe or tavern. George became a minor-league baseball player and played for several teams in Marshalltown and Milwaukee. Eventually, he returned to Cannon Falls and, perhaps following up on an interest first sparked as a gravedigger, went into the monuments business. Ed Wilson remained a successful and popular barber, but perhaps due to his true passion--horseracing--he was often short of cash. There were regular Sunday night lemonade parties in town, at which Dick Dibble was known to slip the struggling Ed a few dollars.

Over in Red Wing, Charles Hall was elected a district court judge in the First Judicial District in 1928. He and his wife Ollie had a house in Red Wing and a summer place on Lake Pepin at nearby Wacouta. Their daughter Betty married Tom Brown, who was in the feed corn business with his father, and they moved to Wacouta after winterizing the summer place. Their children included Peggy and Caroline, who had developmental disabilities, and Charles, Tom, Ruth, and Barbara.

A bit further east, on the other side of the river in Bay City, Sidney Johnson grew up, married a woman named Alice, and had children, one of whom was Sidney Johnson Jr. He worked as a machinist in Red Wing, and he also had a small farm outside of Red Wing as a sideline.

Fifty miles down the Mississippi, in Winona, the children of Steve and Mary Orzechowski were moving ahead with their lives:

Casimir Flak married Rozalia or Rose Adamczyk (also known as "Adams") on August 1, 1927. Their oldest child was Casimir Flak, Jr., and they had three daughters: LaVerne (Lovey) Flak, Dorothy Flak (second daughter who died in infancy), and Rosemary Flak. LaVerne, oddly enough, married a man named LuVerne Strelow. They had a son Steven and a daughter, and were eventually divorced. Rosemary Flak married Clifford Eide.

Angeline Orzechowski married Clarence Johnson of Bay City, Wisconsin on May 1, 1928, and they raised eight children. Times were always hard for the Johnson family. At first they lived in a house that had been converted from a chicken coop on Clarence's father Francis, Sr.'s farm. Later they built a house closer to the road, but only about 200 feet from the Johnson farmhouse. There was no electricity in the house until the early 1940s. Clarence worked in a sand mine about a mile from their home. For years, he walked to work, until he was able to afford a car. Later he worked in the boiler room at the Red Wing Potteries. Clarence and Angeline's children included: Gladys Ruth (the oldest, born March 12, 1929), Rosemary, Clarence, Jr. (born April 17, 1935), Francis, Patty, Genevieve ("Jenny"), Mabel (now known as Johnnie), and James. All the kids worked in Rose's garden in return for produce to feed the family, which always seemed to be short of food. Rose grudgingly gave Angeline, whom she disliked, eggs, but only for Clarence, because he was the "worker" in the family.

Vincent Orzechowski married Sylvia Thilmany around 1933. Their children were Catherine Orzechowski, Carroll Orzechowski, and Jeanette Orzechowski.

Stanley Orzechowski married Evelyn Bonnet in around 1948. They had a daughter, Mary Jane Orzechowski.

Celia Orzechowski married Robert H. Gatz. They had a daughter, Bonnie, born in 1943, and a son, Steven, born September 27, 1946.

Sophie Orzechowski married Robert T. Duff on April 13, 1940. During the Second World War, she worked at the Donavan's factory in Winona, and she was known for being an excellent cook of traditional Polish dishes. Their children were Joseph Duff and Sandra Duff.

Joseph Orzechowski married Anita Kostuch on June 17, 1944. Their children were Thomas Orzechowski, John Orzechowski, Barbara Orzechowski, Jolean Orzechowski, and David Allen Orzechowski.

Stella Orzechowski married Edward Ambrose. Their children included Edward Ambrose, Jr., born in about 1940, and Nancy Ambrose.

By 1929, the year after Sidney's brother Clarence Johnson married Angeline Orzechowski, all the Morud children except Elmer had moved away from home. Ole had developed diabetes some years before, and his health deteriorated gradually. In 1930, his daughter Mabel experienced a severe bout of scarlet fever. She "never was really well after that" (possibly she experienced brain damage from the extended high fever), and spent the rest of her life in hospitals. Ole died on December 28, 1931.

Elmer married Elvina Constance Thompson (born June 9, 1906) in Fargo, ND on June 21, 1930. Their children included Marilyn Ardelle Morud (b. July 11, 1933), Beverly Yvonne Morud (b. February 16, 1935), Joanne Lavina Morud (b. February 10, 1937), and Ronald Eugene Morud (b. December 27, 1938).

Elmer continued to run the wheat farm in Warren for a few more years. His little nephew Richard Kenneth Dibble visited the farm and helped out with the chores. Richard would turn the handle on the cream separator in the kitchen every morning to get the cream, and sometimes he pumped the bellows in the farm's blacksmith shop. He also learned to drive a hay rake and a stone boat (to carry stones dug from the fields) pulled by a horse named Barney. Elmer, still a young man in his 20s, could jump on a running horse and ride it bareback whenever there was trouble in the fields. He taught his nephew to hunt gophers by putting a noose around a gopher hole and waiting for the rodent to pop its head up.

Down in Cannon Falls, George Wilson married a woman named Rose. Their son James A. Wilson was born in 1934. They also had three daughters.

Ed Dibble reached the peak of his political career in 1935, when he served the first of two terms as Mayor of Cannon Falls. His public service accomplishments also included heading the Farmers Creamery Association and service on the Leon Fire Insurance and Cannon Valley Fair Boards.

Ed's son Willard Sr. continued the family tradition of public service. He served on the town board, the Leon Fire Insurance Board, the Cannon Valley Fair Board and the school board; he was also a County Commissioner. By the late 1930s, the Willards Sr. and Jr. ran the Dibble farm together.

However, the Morud farm had passed out of the family. In January of 1938, Elmer Morud took a trip to Washington State, perhaps to visit his sister Donna, and returned to tell his family of how much warmer it was than Minnesota. He sold the farm and its equipment (but kept his father Ole's old tool chest and tools) and by April 1 he and his family were on the road west, to Washington. Elmer worked as a carpenter from then on, but could not quite give up the independence and security that growing one's own food confers. In Washington he continued to keep a cow and some chickens, and grew a garden. This served him well when rationing came during World War II; his wife was able to trade the family's meat coupons for shoe coupons for the children.

Not nearly so far west, but still some 30 miles west of Cannon Falls, in Kasson, MN, the funeral home and furniture store operator Don Dibble had a son named Ralph, whom everyone called "Bud". Bud took over the funeral home, which at some point had became separated from the furniture store.

Most of the other children of Ole and Elina Morud were fertile and multiplied during the Depression and war years:

Emma Morud married Marvin Duncan in Cass Lake, MN. Their daughter, Shirley Jean Duncan, was born on October 14, 1931. Emma and Marvin divorced after six years of marriage. Emma eventually became library supervisor for the St. Paul schools.

Donna Morud married Styles S. Harvey on September 2, 1929, in Seattle, WA. Their daughter Geraldyne ("Gerry") Harvey was born there on June 11, 1930. Donna and Styles later divorced.

Olga "Ollie" Morud married Harold Amundson on June 10, 1933 in East Grand Forks. They farmed the cold plains for many years. Their children were Lester Amundson, James Amundson, and Arnold Amundson.

Heidi Morud married John Wagner in Las Vegas, NV on January 30, 1948. They had no children.

Ida Morud married Elof Erikson on August 1, 1936. They lived in East Grand Forks, MN and had no children. Ida died of a heart attack at the age of 36 on July 13, 1949.

Back in Cannon Falls, Dick Dibble was getting on in years, but was still quite popular. He was very patriotic and would drive around town putting flags in the ground and greeting many friends and neighbors every July 4th. and on other holidays. Little Richard Kenneth was deputized to go around town with him on these errands in his 1927 Chevy with the nonfunctional brakes. Dick never had a driver's license.

Dick was remembered as a man who disdained pretensions and people who lived beyond their means. He would build his own fire in the kitchen wood stove, make coffee, trudge out to a tree on which his tenant farmer had left hanging a bucket of milk that was at least 50% cream, and bring it in for the coffee. He taught his grandson Richard Kenneth (who was also known as "Dick") the art of making breakfast by soaking bread in coffee and cream. Then he'd lean back in his chair with the rubber crutch tips on the back legs to prevent slipping, light his pipe, drink coffee that was half cream, and tell young Dick how lucky he was to live in this great country. In retirement he would often take his grandson to the Masonic Hall and play checkers with him for hours.

Compared to his son Archie, Dick was a better squirrel hunter. Archie took his son Richard out to the woods for hours upon hours and perhaps would return with a squirrel or two. Old Dick would take his grandson out and return in an hour or two with the legal limit of 14 squirrels. What was the secret? Archie plodded through the woods actively looking for squirrels. Dick conserved energy--sitting quietly on a stump, smoking his pipe, and waiting for the squirrels to come to him. Dick died at home of a stroke in 1940.

His first child, Ollie, also died that year, after which her husband Judge Charlie found out she had been supporting many of the poor families around Red Wing. When the shock wore off, he continued to do so.

Dick's grandson Richard Kenneth delivered groceries as a boy for the corner grocery store in his Minneapolis neighborhood. He also helped out with the harvest on his grandfather's cattle farm and on the farm in Stanton Township. Toward the end of World War II, he joined the Navy, where he served for three years and became a pilot. (No doubt many other family members served in World War II, but at the time of this revision, we had no information on this.) After leaving the Navy, he worked for a while in a print shop, then attended Macalaster College in St. Paul--and later the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated with a degree in business administration.

Richard's uncle--Dick's brother--Daniel died of a heart attack in April 1944.

Richard's cousin "Tink" (Shirley Johnson, daughter of Glee, granddaughter of Archie), graduated from high school in 1941 and from nursing school in 1944. She married Navy man Phillip Marvin Nelson on November 11, 1944. The Navy sent him to Jacksonville, FL, where the couple had their first child, Glee Ellen Nelson, in 1946. The family continued to go where the Navy sent them, and more children followed.

Tink's adopted brother, Jimmy, became an Eagle Scout in 1942. He graduated from Red Wing High School in 1945, then joined the Army.

Willard Dibble Jr. married Eleanor Daniels on December 13, 1941. They had three children, William, James, and John. Willard Jr., like his father and grandfather, served on the town board, the Leon Fire Insurance Board, and the Cannon Valley Fair Board, and was also town clerk. Meanwhile, his father Willard Sr. was passing his years of accumulated farming expertise on to returning veterans in a training program started by the Cannon Falls school district in 1947.

The Cannon Falls passion for baseball continued during the War years. While retired from playing ball himself, Dody Wilson organized a AA minor-league baseball team in the town and managed it for many years during the 1940s.

When millions of servicemen and women returned home after winning World War II, they weren't just looking for some vocational training. Proud of their accomplishments, optimistic about the future, and starved for affection, they set about getting married and having children at a rate that was not matched before or since. This was the "baby boom" that was to have a tremendous impact upon the course of world history in the second half of the 20th. century and beyond. Demographers consider it to have formally begun in 1946, and naturally, our family did its share. Those who took part between 1946 and 1950 included:

Leonard Morud's son Clayton Morud and his wife Audrey had three children--Diane, Leonard and Richard. Clayton and Audrey were later divorced.

Clayton's brother Wallace and his wife Marie had two children--RoseMarie and Leonard Lewis. Wallace was a mailman in Rock Island, IL.

Wallace's brother Leslie Morud and his wife Cecile had their first three of an eventual seven kids. They were: Rollie Duane Morud (b. January 20, 1948), Deborah Cecile Morud (b. Dec l5, l949), and Pamela Ann Morud (b. Jul l5, l950).

Wallace's sister Elaine worked as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, but quit that job when she married Doug Smith (b. September 25, 1925) on October 24, 1947. They waited a while to have children, however.

Willard Dibble Jr.'s sister Margaret ("Peggy") married Elmer Lee Hanson. They had a daughter, Peggy Lee, and a son, David (1950 - 1951).

Tink and Phil Nelson added two more children to their family: Wendy Joyce Nelson in 1949, and Richard Brian Nelson in 1952.

Black and white photograph of the Morud family circa 1914

Color postcard photograph of the Warren City Hospital in 1908, with some nurses in white uniforms standing near the door

Black and white photograph of the west side of 4th. St., Cannon Falls, looking north from Main St., in the early 1900s

Color poster, showing the American flag, that says 'Buy 'til it Hurts! No sacrifice you can make can be compared to what our boys are offering. Buy Liberty Bonds

Black and white  photograph of Mill St. looking west from 4th. St., Cannon Falls, about 1920, showing buildings presumably owned by Dick Dibble, with a crowd of people celebrating a patriotic holiday

Black and white newspaper photograph of the First National Bank of Cannon Falls interior, showing Dick Dibble leaning on the counter, with some bank employees

Black and white  photograph of the Mineral Springs Sanatorium in Cannon Falls during the 1920s

Black and white  photograph of Ed Wilson, George 'Dody' Wilson and Jim Wilson

Black and white  photograph of the west side of 4th. St. Cannon Falls, looking north, in the 1930s; an oval sign over a one-story shop about halfway up the street says 'Quality Meats'

Black and white photograph of Archie and Alice Dibble standing on a dock at a lake, holding a string of fish

Color photo of Glee Dibble and Vic Johnson from their 50th. wedding anniversary

Black and white photograph of Eline Halden Morud at about age 60

Black and white photograph showing Edward, Willard, Sr., and Willard, Jr. holding baby William Dibble

Color photo of Dick Dibble's family cemetery monument

Photocopy of a black and white photo of Gladys Johnson, about 1947, inscribed `All my love, Gladys'

Black and white portrait photo of Willard, Sr. in late middle age

Black and white photo of two tiers of low waterfalls, in front of a bridge--one of the Cannon falls, circa 1950

BACK - From Russia (or Poland?) with Love
NEXT - Current Affairs

Photo of a dibble, a gardening tool for making holes
Home Page