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351Re: [NoblesCountyMN] Ernest Wellhausen, Jessie Paden, or Augusta Warmbold

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  • Raymond Crippen
    Oct 3, 2005
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      Here 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
      E.T. Wellhausen

      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,
      ‘We won!’

      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
      folks met.

      “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
      butter. Eggs.

      “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
      school for.

      “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
      assist them.

      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
      the elderly.

      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
      > +  Visit your group "NoblesCountyMN" on the web.
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