Sunday, October 26, 2014

Looking for a Pen Pal

The Farmers Voice, 15 July 1911.

At the age of 13 my Great Aunt Pauline Myren wrote a letter to the children's page of The Farmers Voice.  She was hoping to find a pen pal or at least to receive some letters or postcards from other readers.  Here is her letter.(1)
     This is the first time I have written to the Farmers Voice, nor have I seen any letters from this part of the country, altho I have been a reader of the Voice almost a year.  I like the boys' and girls' page extremely well.  I am 13 years old, will be 14 on the 19th of January, 1912.  Who else has 14?  I am now a freshman of the Hillsboro high school.  I graduated from the eighth grade June 1st, 1911.  I like to go to school fine and dandy, altho I am glad when we have a vacation.  Daddy has a farm of 160 acres.  He had 3 cows, 8 horses, and quite a number of chickens.  We stay in town during the winter months, but we usually stay on the farm in summer until the last of August when we pack up and get ready for school.  Our farm is 3 1/2 miles from town.  Our town has a population of about 1,800.  There are many nice residences in the town.  I almost always see, when looking over the girls' and boys' page letters from Illinois.  There are a large number of Illinois people but we welcome them and also more.  I would like to receive some postcards, other views, or comics, from the Farmers Voice readers.  I will answer all I get.
                                                                                  Pauline Myren, Hillsboro, ND                      

Pauline's letter was printed in the July 15, 1911 issue of The Farmers Voice.  Finding this letter was one of those serendipitous things, but what a little treasure it is.  Once again googling a relative's name and location lead me to an unexpected resource.  I'm sure I had a huge grin on my face as I read that letter for the first time.

I knew the location of the the Myren family farm on their homestead near Hillsboro, North Dakota and had visited the farm as a child.  It was interesting to read about the farm from Pauline's perspective, plus her description of the livestock on the farm adds a lot to my picture of life on the farm.

My mother had spoken of how her grandparents (Pauline's parents) maintained two houses in North Dakota.  One was in the town of Hillsboro where the family lived during the school year so that the children could attend school.  Over the years, the family occasionally had some of the single, female teachers boarding with them for the year.  Their other house was located several miles out from Hillsboro on the family's 160 acre homestead.  The homestead house was where the family lived d
uring the summer so they could all work on the farm, just as Pauline related in her letter.  In the heritage scrapbook I made some years ago are photos of both of their homes.

Myren home on the family homestead, Trail County, North Dakota

Myren family home in the town of Hillsboro, ND

I don't know how many letters Aunt Pauline received after her request in The Farmers Voice.  Lots, I hope.  After all, Pauline was a career postal employee and worked in the Hillsboro Post Office, and a brother Paul Myren was a long time letter carrier.

(1) "For the Boys and Girls."  The Farmer's Voice, 15 July 1911.  Online archives.

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