By Anna Jauhola
Having grown up on a historic piece of property, Dale Webster instantly identified a photo of the R. Reid Farm published in the Enterprise on Dec. 30.
“I read (the caption) and it said Reid farm. Right off the bat, I knew where it was. I looked at it and said, ‘That’s the barn on our farm,’” Webster said.
Webster’s dad, Moris, died two years ago, but the farm has been in the family since 1940 when William – Webster’s grandpa – bought the farm.
He had been visiting with Jacob Maier at C&M Ford in Hallock, where they both work, while Maier was perusing the Enterprise. Maier wasted no time in emailing the information to the Enterprise. This is the second such instance in recent months of readers submitting information about historical photos we publish.
A few weeks ago, a reader submitted the names of the men in a photo of Lancaster baseball players from the 1950s.
Webster visited more about the barn on a chilly Saturday morning.
“By the time I came along, it was all agriculture, no animals. It’s pretty much used for storage,” Webster said of the barn. “Back in the day, it was built for a horse barn. It was set up with stalls, troughs set below and the top area was kept for hay.”
Webster described how the hay loft had spots in the floor that opened directly above the horses’ troughs to make for easy feeding. He noted his predecessors also raised pigs and sheep.
While Webster is not a farmer himself, his cousin Gary Webster still farms in the area.
So, where does the name Reid come in?
According to the 1901 map of St. Vincent Township, provided by the Kittson County Historical Center/Museum, an R. Reid owned nearly 10 sections of land. Webster provided a handwritten history of the farm, which includes that Sir Robert Reid purchased the farm on June 25, 1885, and owned it until November of 1909.
The farm went through several owners after that, according to the handwritten account, which included names such as T. M. George, J. G. Carrier, R. M. Van Patten, Robert O. Morden, Carl Rustad, Herman Shonberg and Nelson P. Skow. Finally, on Jan. 13, 1940, William and Clara Webster purchased the land.
The farm has been a place of many memories. Webster recounted a story his dad, Morris, told him.
“One time, the neighbor came over with his horse and buggy. While they were in visiting, they went and put his cart on the roof of the barn using the pulleys and everything,” Webster said. “So he got into a lot of trouble for that. But he said it was a lot of fun at the time.”
The pulleys seemed to be a central theme of mischief and fun as Webster remembers using them as a jungle gym in his youth. He recalled the barn being full of machinery, but the pulley system was still in place.
“You’d just go in there, grab the rope and go from one end to the other with the pulley,” he said.
Now, the barn is well over 100 years old and not in the best shape. While Webster would like to see it remain, he is hesitant to say what will happen to it in the coming years. He said both ends of the barn are starting to sink into the ground, and boards on the backside of the barn are falling off.
Despite its deteriorating condition, the barn still serves as a vivid reminder of the beginnings of Kittson County, the pioneers’ grit and determination, and a family’s dedication to the land.
By Anna Jauhola