Kremlin Homesteader Fred Swartout, 1913

This history of Kremlin Homesteader Fred Swartout was written by
his daughter Helen Swartout Davidson Yates.

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Kremlin Homesteader Fred Swartout was among the earliest arriving
Kremlin homesteaders in 1913.

My parents, Mabel and Fred Swartout and a 3½-year-old daughter, Marion, came to Montana from Champlin, Minnesota in the year 1913, homesteading five miles south of Kremlin.

Mom's parents, the Clarence Dunbars, had their homestead four miles southeast of this.

During the time of meeting the requirements for holding doen the claim my mother and father would drive to and from my grandparents daily in a horse and buggy.

The horse was named "Queen", they brought her from Minnesota. She was my Mother's horse, my father Fred didn't think much of her because she wasn't a work horse to be used in the field, but my Mother said she was a lady and too nice for this sort of thing.

During this time my father went to work twenty miles out of Big Fork. On February third I was born, and he didn't get to see me until March, when he came home. Not having a doctor at this time my Mother had a lady whose name was Robinson, take care of her at the time of my birth.

You Went and Did It Again!

Mother had sent my sister Marion to stay with the Vernon Hill's, a mile south of Grampa Dunbars, the Hills being very good friends of my grandparents and my mother and father.

Two years later on December 27, Erma was born. Again, they sent Marion to stay at Hills. On coming home and seeing the new baby, Marion said, "You went and did it again while I was up to Hills."

My brother Wallace was born in 1924. Mrs. Clarence Howser attended this birth. My father passed away in 1962, my sister, Marion Lewis in 1961.

Daily Life

While still staying with my grandparents, my mother would go to Sunday school regularly at a little school house nearby. Among those attending were Mr. and Mrs. Nels Lee, Mr. Spencer Banks, Tracy Bixby and my uncle, Merton Dunbar.

In 1913, my Grandfather, Clarence Dunbar, bought a quarter of beef for 14 cents a pound. My mother's sister Ella worked for Odin Sjordal doing housework and also in their General Store in Kremlin for $2.00 a week.

My folks moved on their own place to live after my father and Uncle Merton built a place large enough. We became great friends with our neighbors, the Clarence Howsers. They lived across the coulee within walking distance. We used to get together in our traveling so much that people would call us the "SwartenHowsers".

My father did his farming with horses as the other farmers did at the time. When we had a poor crop, he would work on the railroad. We had our wheat ground for flour at a mill in Gildford.

My Mother used to sew all our clothes and wash them by hand. They used to carry in snow in the winter and melt it in tubs on the cook stove for water. In summer they would catch rain water in barrels. Our ironing was done with flat irons which were heated on the stove both summer and winter. My folks worked very hard.

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