Fall at Uncle Stell Colwell’s



This is another story about harvest time. If you haven’t read about Bonanza Farms before now, it’s a part of the Red River Valley history you really should know. The land was incredibly flat and productive. It was perfect for growing wheat. These were big operations, as you can infer from Lucy’s description of the houses on her Uncle’s farm.

The photo shows small grain harvesting, but it’s actually a picture from Jim’s photo album, probably in Massachusetts in the twenties.

Lucy writes:

Fall meant a trip to Uncle Stell’s. He lived on a very large farm (Bonanza). They could have as many as eight binders (grain cutters) each horse drawn. The binders cut the grain, tied a piece of twine around it and dumped it on the ground in rows.

The barns on the farm were so long, in a small girls mind, I could not imagine who could pump water for that many horses.

There were two houses. One Uncle Stell’s family lived in and one was for the cooks. Many ranges and many long tables. They could be covered with pies and bread – between meals – and all the tables filled with men at meal time.

There was also a store just for the men with tobacco, candy, shaving soap, etc. All for the men to buy.

Of course the best part, Geraldine, Uncle Stell’s grand daughter had a tricycle and there were sidewalks, cement yet! And we would take turns riding it. Guess that was the best of the whole trip. That and the fact Uncle Stell always told me I was pretty.

Lucy Letter 015