351Re: [NoblesCountyMN] Ernest Wellhausen, Jessie Paden, or Augusta Warmbold
- Oct 3, 2005Here is an interview from 1982 with Ernest Wellhausen of Ocheyedan,
Osceola County, Iowa. He was a native of Round Lake, Nobles County,
Minnesota. I know this is not the man you want - there once was an
Ernie Wellhausen at Worthington but I know nothing of him.
Ernie of Round Lake/Ocheyedan:
April 3, 1982
Fish and frogs and
trains in Round Lake
E.T. Wellhausen laughs at the suggestion that it is the declamatory
instruction from Mrs. McClure at Round Lake High School which serves
him to this day. But he remembers the spirited area high school declam
competitions of the 1920s. He remembers the names of his fellow
students on the Round Lake declam squad, the girl who did the humorous
readings, Ike Horstman who did oratory, Evelyn Kain who did dramatic
“Mrs. McClure said we had to go out there on the stage with
confidence. She said, ‘Walk out there like you own the place.’
“I did oratory. We would memorize a piece, you know. That was quite
an outing for me. We went to contests at Adrian. We went to Rushmore.
“I remember at Adrian one time the man announced the results - I
couldn’t understand him. I asked Evelyn, ‘What did he say?’ She said,
Ernie Wellhausen was settled this week in the comfortable living room
of his beautifully-maintained, older house on main street, just south
of the Ocheyedan school. He is a long-familiar figure at Ocheyedan.
But you were born at Round Lake?
“My grandparents on both sides came from Germany. I remember my
Gramma on my mother’s side came on a sailboat and she said she would
never go back - she would never get on a boat like that again.
“Dad was twelve when he came to this country. That was 1884. His
family settled at Davenport.
“There was a guy named Custer, a real estate agent that was going
around telling about land out here. It was through him that the family
came to Sioux Valley.
“My mother’s family - the Stratmans - came to Lake Park.
“Of course Sioux Valley people trade at Lake Park - that was how the
“After they were married, they went back to Davenport for awhile.
Then they came to Round Lake.”
Ernie’s father worked through a period at the Diehn mercantile store.
“They did a good business. They would take in geese and ducks and
“I remember the train came early in the morning and they had to have
everything down there - the eggs and butter - to load it on the train.
“The bread came to Round Lake by train and they always unloaded that.
The bread would come in deep baskets. They were - oh, four feet by
three feet by two feet. There would be a cloth over them.
“That was quite an event when the train came to town.
“Well, there were two trains each day. A train would come to Round
Lake from the east and then it would come back again later. And then
sometimes there would be a special.
“But everyone would go to watch the trains. Particularly on Sunday.
“I remember the cattle cars.
“They would unload the cattle feed them and water them. There was a
stockyards there. When we were kids, we could walk on planks above the
pens in the stockyards if we didn’t get chased off. The planks were
maybe two-by-sixes. The cattle would be bellering and the men would
yell. That was quite a thing.
“Farmers would drive their cattle to town. That was always an
interesting thing if you had a chance to go down and watch.
“In those days, there were cattle buyers. I remember Andrew Johnson
at Round Lake.
“Farmers didn’t know what markets were. They might get a paper, but
even that would be late. No one knew much about the markets.
“So the buyers had a kind of closed shop. They would make a quotation
and that would be it. You had to have a lot of faith in your buyer.
“Even the buyer might not know the market too well. And then they had
to buy to protect themselves. You see, it might be several days before
the cattle were driven to town and loaded on the train. The market
would change. So the buyers had to protect themselves.
“It was about 1927, 1928 that radio information on the markets
started to come through. Then farmers could know themselves what the
market was day by day.
“One of the first things I remember - another boy and I went to swim
our ponies in Indian Lake. We were down there by the dam. I saw a
pickerel - it was just shallow water there. I hit that. fish with a
rock and grabbed it. It was probably even out of season. I don’t know.
But I took that pickerel home. I was proud of that.
“Nobody had much in those days. I remember the fellow who was a
dray man. I guess I was working him for a nickel. I got scolded for
“There was a Mrs. Jenkins who had a little store. She taught at the
Sunday School - Presbyterian Sunday School; there was just the one
church then. You could go to her store and get a stick of Flinch for a
penny. Flinch was, oh, a kind of thin taffy. About two-and-one-half
inches long. I remember, I asked my Dad for a penny one time and he
wondered what I was going to do with it. I guess I was a little
indignant; I thought I was old enough that I shouldn’t have to tell him
what I was going to do with my penny.
“We would go downtown - my sister and I got a bottle of pop and we
would have to divide it. She got half and I got half. My sister was six
years older than I was. Strawberry pop wasn’t really my favorite but
that is what I got.”
Memories of a happy boyhood in Round Lake, Nobles County, Minnesota.
“In school -
“We had reading and writing and spelling. The math teacher coached
basketball. Things weren’t so organized as they are now, but I think
that was good.
“The Professor would usually indicate what line of work you might
“In those days, guys who had graduated would come back -
they had post-graduate courses. They were older, of course, and they
went out for football and track. That’s really what they came back to
“Well then they said they couldn’t do that anymore - it wasn’t legal
to have a team with guys that had already graduated.
“I remember a meet at Adrian. Some of the guys in post-graduate
courses went over to Adrian even though they couldn’t participate any
longer. They ran along the side of the track just to show them that
they could beat ’em.”
Round Lake High School, Class of ’29.
“There were no jobs. Not then.
“That was when I learned to pick corn.
“I went to work for a farmer - well, he was the dairy man for Round
Lake. He and his wife were fine people.
“I worked all day and I picked thirty bushels. This farmer said,
‘That team of dapple grays know more about picking corn than you do,’
and he was right. Picking corn was a tough job, especially when you had
never done it. I got to - oh, seventy bushels a day. I never was real
“My Dad started a filling station and he bought cream and eggs. That
went for a while.
“I did odd jobs.
“H.F. Olds was the depot agent. He was the one that got a lot of us
through. He had a lot of things going.
“He had a seining crew. Frogs were plentiful in those days. H. F.
Olds didn’t live over the depot. To give you an idea: that’s where we
would pile the frogs, in that apartment over the depot.
“There would be frogs by the bushel-basketful. They would dress those
out. Pack them in barrels, and ice them. Then they would ship them out
on the train.
“Frogs and bullheads.
“Olds also had several hundred acres of potatoes. A big potato
operation. That made a lot of jobs. And at that time, potatoes were
thirty-five cents a bushel…”
The Nobles County Library was emerging. That was what brought
Florence Jean Powell to Worthington. Miss Powell was involved with the
project of establishing a traveling library service all through the
To begin with, she had only her car for transporting books. Her
specific assignment had become that of finding a place for a library
headquarters at Round Lake.
Miss Powell went to the Presbyterian church; she thought there might
be someone there who would be interested and willing to lend
assistance. That was how she came to meet Ernie Wellhausen.
For three years of World War II, Ernie served in the U.S. Army, with
the Military Police. In England a part of the time.
After discharge he undertook a 31-year career with the Ocheyedan
Co-op Elevator Association. During his tenure as manager, the new
concrete elevators at Ocheyedan were built, the feed mill was
constructed and the offices were completed.
Nine years ago, E.T. Wellhausen retired. He worked at his garden and
he worked at his raspberries, as he still does.
But a growing concern for problems which beset retired citizens all
through the region began to attract his interest increasingly.
Crusading for rights of U.S. elderly
This is the impression of a. stranger who met Ernie Wellhausen only
this week -
It most certainly was not a thing Mr. Wellhausen said, or a thing he
even hinted at - it was nothing he suggested in any way -
Just an impression:
If he had chosen to go into politics, or if fate had taken a
different turn, Ernest Theodore Wellhausen of Ocheyedan would have been
a governor of Iowa. Maybe a U.S. senator.
You get that feeling, speaking with him. Ernie Wellhausen talks about
issues, and he talks with fervor and conviction.
He is captivating.
He is informed in the way of those who study issues closely, in the
way of insiders.
He is that kind of man of public affairs - there aren’t many seen any
longer - who begins with a statement of his own deep-felt beliefs and
who calls for support. He would not have been a governor who watched
public opinion polls, one who went out to learn first what others were
saying about this or that issue.
Ernie Wellhausen’s cause is the aging and the elderly, the rights of
senior citizens, the needs of older Americans, the things older people
can do for themselves and the things that ought properly to be done to
He doesn't tell this, but five years ago Ernie was honored as
Outstanding Older Iowan for Northwest Iowa.
He worked in the effort to establish the 9-county Iowa Lakes Area
Agency on Aging as a freestanding agency, governed by the older
citizens themselves and representative of them. He served as chairman
of the agency.
The State of Iowa has created an Older Iowa Legislature, a
unicameral, 99-member representative body which convenes at Des Moines,
debates issues of close concern to older Iowans and forwards
recommendations to the legislature.
Twice - two successive years -Ernie Wellhausen was elected
Speaker of the House of the Older Iowa Legislature.
He gave direction to the successful effort to obtain a lobbyist for
That’s politics, Ernie - that’s real politics. . .
“Oh sure it is,” he says. But he dismisses talk of it quickly. He
continues with comments on the issues which concern him closely:
keeping the elderly in their own homes; meals for senior citizens,
meals where they can gather and talk; transportation for senior
Transportation for the elderly is a frustration.
“The thing you need - buses, vans to get people together for
dinner, for that kind of thing.
“A car just to give someone older a ride; that’s not necessary. If
someone has to see a doctor, we’ve got - seven, eight - eight cars
right in this block. There are plenty of good neighbors to take people
to a doctor, or to get groceries.
“But it is important for older people just to get out, to be with
others. Have meals with others. That’s where you need buses. First we
had to battle to get state aid. Then this high-priced fuel hit us.
“You charge older people who have to live on a budget seventy-five
cents to get on a bus, then seventy-five cents for the return trip -
that defeats the whole thing. That’s three dollars for a round-trip for
a couple. If the dinners are only a dollar-and-a-half, that’s another
three dollars. They can’t do that.
“Here: we send school buses all over the state of Iowa full of kids.
That’s fine. But why don’t we do that for senior Iowans? Why not put
older people on school buses and take them to a dinner?”
Ernie Wellhausen shapes political arguments. “Taxes - well there have
to be taxes. But taxes would not be a problem if they were fair. If
everyone paid on the same basis - if everyone knew the system was fair
to all - there wouldn’t be complaint.”
The political arguments sometimes are bolstered by religious
reflections. “Jesus was a radical - he told people to do things, to
live in a way they never had. He told people to use their talents, not
bury them. The man who buried his talent - just stashed it away where
no one could get it - he was condemned.”
It is important to keep older Americans in their own homes,
Wellhausen believes. “If they can be home, that’s best. It costs less
to make it possible for people to stay in their own home than to have
them in a rest home...
“It’s the humane thing.
“I remember Theodore 'Roosevelt said - now I’m going back to Theodore
Roosevelt - ‘You can’t move an old tree.’ You can’t move an old person.
Not without doing harm.”
A growing problem today: “We’ve got these people today today that
put a pencil to everything. That’s all they pay attention to - the cost
is this, the return is this. They put a pencil to everything and make a
decision, no matter if it’s humane or not. You’ve got to weigh that.
“A thing can be wrong even if it adds up.”
The arguments are expressed with feeling.
Before he permits anyone to leave Ocheyedan these days, Ernie
Wellhausen wants them to see the new senior citizens activity center
which is under construction on main street.
“O.J. Lee is the one who gets credit for this. Oh, and so many
others. This is a volunteer project.
“But isn’t this great? People will be able to come here - a meal will
be available five days a week...”
Ernie Wellhausen. .
Twice Speaker of the House for Older Iowans' Legislature.
On Sunday, October 2, 2005, at 04:04 PM, tamiwell wrote:
> Has anyone heard of
> Ernest Wellhausen 1845-1924
> Augusta Warmbold 1849-1931
> Ernest WEllhausen 1883-1961
> Jessie Paden 1899-1958
> I know that some of these and maybe all resided in Worthington, MN.
> Does anyone know any information? I think one of the Ernest Wellhausen
> might have started The Worthington Hotel.
> Ernest and Augusta had 12 children.
> Thanks for your help
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