An Interview by L. J.
Born of parents: TR and Theresa on June 20th, 1916. Born out on the farm
3 miles west of Follett.
Uncle Alec went to Ivanhoe to get Dr. Markley. He didnít make it in
time. When they got to
the house, I was already born.
Aunt Leah, Carl Laubhanís wife was the mid-wife. My birth certificate showed
no problem with the birth.
Aunt Leah was in her twenties. Mother was about 21. Leah was already married to
The earliest thing I can remember after I was born was that
we lived in a little house.
There were 2 rooms on the bottom and 1 room on top. My mother had a sewing
machine that was enclosed like a cabinet. When I was about 3 years old
I hid in that cabinet.
I was hiding from her and I went to sleep. She liked to went nuts
looking for me for about 30 minutes. Her screams woke me
The next thing I remember, Dad farmed there. He had an old type
drill. Every year when
he would get through drilling he would have to clean those tubes
where the grain would fall through. I was about 4 or 5 and I
stuck my finger in there and it about cut it off. We had an old
Hudson and he took me to
Dr. Markley. I remember
that Hudson. It was black (everything was
black in those days.)
Dad had a
truck. It had solid
rubber tires on it. It
had a chain drive.
Thatís what drove it.
It was an 1918 truck.
When I remembered it , it was in the early 20ís. It was a used truck and it
was green. Dad bought
it used. He never
bought anything new.
I can remember when Ouida was born. She was not born on the home
place but at what
we now call the Bender place.
That was another mile west and just a little bit north. She was born March 24, 1923. She married Harvey
Hoeppner. They had 4
children, Paula, Rama, Harvey & Christine.
Zeta was born in Follett in 1925. She was born in the same
house that Ouida was born in. That house is gone
When my mother was pregnant for Shirley, I was on my way to
college in 1934 in Austin ,
Texas. What is funny is that I left
in September to go to college and Shirley was born in October and I
didnít even know my mother was pregnant. They must have kept things a
secret in those days - or she wore a corset or something.
Dad called me in
Austin and told me we
had a new baby sister.
I was floored! I
said that I didnít even know that Mom was pregnant. Yep, he said. We named her
Shirley Theresa. She
was born in Shattuck.
I started in school in Follett at the age of 7. That was the
time that Grandma and Mina had the
Texas tea room. I
stayed with them to get to school. Mom and Dad had the farm and
they couldnít get me to school. They didnít have the right
transportation for me
and I was too young to ride a horse. I stayed with them for about
2 years. On weekends
Mom and Dad would come and get me to take me home and bring me back
on Monday mornings.
They practiced the Seventh Day Adventist Faith at that
time. On Friday
evenings we had to be home by sun-down.
My teacher in the first grade was Audie Smith. Dr. Joe Smithís wife. His
dad was the deputy sheriff
in Follett. That
was Chubby Smithís grandpa.
When I started school I was older than the other kids. So I was allowed to skip the
second grade. I went
from first grade to third grade. I got to ride the horse to
school - 4 miles west.
School buses came into being in 1937. Laubhan Motor Company sold
the school system their
first school busses.
They were green. I and Don Travis went up to
Ohio to pick them
When I went to school I got there in the morning in time for
class. Had to take my
horse down to the livery barn and tie him up. Take the saddle off and go
off to school. Took my
own lunch. When it got
time to leave Iíd get my horse and get on home. By that time it was dark.
especially in the Winter time.
I missed quite a few days because of the winter. I did get to play some
football in the 7th or 8th grade. I only weighed about 105
pounds. I wasnít very
I did some track.
Follett Panthers played some of the big teams - like
Tampa. Where the new school
building is now is what our play ground was.
I got whipped at school. I talked a lot in school. Miss Audie took me out the
back. She made a circle
in the ground about 5 feet in diameter. She filled it with several
rocks. She made me pick
up each rock individually and put them in a certain place. Then I had to put them back
in the circle. She made
me do that about 5 times, then she let me go. I was about in the 33 rd
whipped kids sometimes.
Carl and Leah had a meat market in Follett. When he quit that he went
into the nursery business north of town. He paid us kids to pick
strawberries. We ate
more than we picked so keep us from eating the strawberries he gave
us gum to chew while we picked. He raised tomatoes and a lot
of stuff. That became his thing. He died while he was still
in the nursery business north of Shattuck,
About Alex Laubhan
He was a cowboy from the word ďgoĒ. He got married before Dad
did. He moved down
south and did some ranching there. His name was Alexander
George, born 1890 in
Russia. He married Louisa
Ehrlich in 1911. He and
Carl married sisters.
Leah had a twin sister Rachel.
About Herman Laubhan
Herman got married about two years after TR did. He married Momís sister. He
was born in Lehigh in 1896.
Mary was born in 1896 in
Russia. They had two sons, Thurman
Gex and Milton.
About Jonah Laubhan
Jonah was the youngest son. He was born in 1900 in
Lehigh. My folks had a
store in town. Lots of
times I would stay with Uncle Jonah and Aunt Martha on weekends.
Jonah and I really got along. His wife was Martha
Jane. She was a twin to Lydia
Matlock. George Ehrlich
went over to
to pick the twins up and Amelia. The parents were to come
later. They couldnít
because of the war outbreak.
Tillie was born in 1904 in Indian
She married Asaph in 1923.
Tillie and Asaph were in some business when I knew them
pretty well. They had a
General Merchandise Store in that building that my Dad had. He and Ezra worked
together. The building
weíre talking about on Main
Street is the same as that Beauty Shop,
Hair Fantastic, thatís there now. Kinda down there where
Dad built that in 1919 and stocked it with merchandise.
Priced everything that went to pot. He went broke. He didnít take
bankruptcy. They didnít
know about bankruptcy in those days. He went completely broke. The White House Lumber Co.
repossessed that building.
So they moved back on the farm into a grainery. We lived in a grainery I can remember that
He was on the farm for about 3 or 4 years before he moved
back and bought that building back again. It was under $2000 that he
owed on it. He went
into threshing. He
started threshing wheat for people. He went to them. He had a big crew 20 to 30 people.
When he was in
Texas, broom corn was
the big thing. He
bought a broom corn baler from a guy in Shattuck on time. Dad couldnít pay him right off
and promised to pay him in about a year. The guy in Shattuck just let
him take it and pay him as soon as he can.
Dad didnít go back into the grocery business again when he
bought back that building.
He started handling Essex cars. He got in 4 of them. They were not a good
car. Then he took on
Pontiac . He couldnít get enough
cars.. He couldnít get
them in. He took on
Heíd stock 1 or
2 or 3. Heíd have to go to
Amarillo to pick up more
of them. It was 200
miles to Amarillo
then. That was until
about 1927. Then he got
the Chevrolet Dealership.
Chrysler Convertible and the Big
The fight at Hermanís only lasted about 3 or 4 minutes. TR never had a fight in his
life. I was there in
Given to Merlin Prior to her Death.
My maternal grandfather, John George Ehrlich was born in
in 1850 on the East side of the
River. He had two brothers and
maybe two sisters. His
father, (Gottleib) died
at the age of 35 and his mother (Katherina Sophia Resig) never
remarried because if she had remarried all the children would have
inherited all the assets and the estate would have been broken up.
She became the manager of all the holdings of the
She was seen every day on her horse and buggy looking at her
land. The family was
well to do. She directed the building of dams and canals. She built
flour mills for the three brothers. They were all on their
own. They had their own
tailors, own blacksmiths, own orchards, etc. They were
Grandpa, John George, had to go to the Army. He was in there for 6 years.
had a younger brother than him that came to the
States back in 1875 or so. He came over to look it
over. But then he
wanted to stay. John
George came to the United
States to find his younger brother
to get him to go back to
Russia. When John George went back to
he just couldnít forget
America. That was around
John George Ehrlich was married twice. They called that place the
Visilia. Con in
had a painting he did of the Visilia. This was in
Russia. Con was John Georgeís first son by
his first wife, Mary Gross.
She was born in 1855 and they had 3 children together: Rosa,
which married a Schick, Amelia which married a Kellen and Con
married Eva Hilderman.
After his first wife died he married Katherine Wunder. Their first child was Theresa in
1894. She was born in
Then Mary in 1896.
Asaph was born in 1898.
When Asaph was born, Grandpa knew his first son (Con) would be conscripted into
the Army for 6 years and he didnít want that to happen. Thatís when he decided to
come to the United
States. He knew he was going to like
So he left
Russia. When Asaph was born, John
George walked to Saratov
and applied for a visa to the United
States. They didnít want to leave
their home because of their vast holdings. He sold his part of the livestock and personal
belongings to his brothers.
Mom wasnít really sure.
They didnít take many clothes with them when they came into
States. John George said that weíre going to go to
and become Americans.
When they came across on the ship, they brought Conís
violin. Asaph ended up
with it. Their ultimate destination was
Kansas. They left
as quickly as they could.
The year could be 1898 or 1899.
After they left
they missed the boat at
Hamburg. They had to take a later
boat at Liverpool. They caught a freighter to
Canada. Then they went west to
Winnipeg by rail. When they arrived at
Winnipeg, the border was
closed, quarantined because of smallpox.
They stayed in the immigration center at
Winnipeg. But Grandpa was a guy who
had to be doing things all the time. He met a fellow by the name
of Britman who was looking for laborers to work in the saw mill at
Ontario. Mr. Britman helped them
settle and get a place to stay. They had chickens and a garden. Grandpa had a nephew with
him. So Grandpa, Con
and the nephew worked at the sawmill for the railroad. They earned $2 a day.
satisfied working for wages. He wanted to buy some
land. Mr. Britman told
him of some land available in
Saskatchewan. So they took the train to
He and Con went to a place in Ryan
where they found some land.
It had an abundance of game because he was an
outdoorsman. He liked
to fish and he liked to hunt.
They had partridge, deer, rabbits, moose and all that
He arranged for
a farm for himself and one for Con. He had them close
together. They had the
stipulation that they had 2 years to move on it. There were no roads and the
area was fast getting settled by Galatians, Ukrainians, very few
Grandpa liked the rich soil. He knew he could support his
family here. He came
back to Rathportage
full of hope and a glowing account of the farm he had
arranged. The nephewís
name was George Ehrlich.
He was 18 years old.
soon got homesick for his aunts and uncles in
Kansas. They bought him a train
ticket to Kansas. George wrote back and told
them how nice it was.
There were orchards, gardens, wild game and no snow. They were homesick to see
all their relatives. So
they packed up and went to Marion,
They never homesteaded there in
Kansas. Word came that there was
land opening up in
settlement. Grandpa was
reluctant to travel
again as he still wanted to go to
Saskatchewan at Ryan
where he made application for that land. His family did not care for
the primitive places in
Canada. They wanted to come to
Shattuck where all the other relatives
They came on the train to
Oklahoma. He homesteaded with Con on
two 160 acre farms touching each other two miles west of Shattuck on the south
side of Wolf
Creek. Thatís about where Hulda
Schoenhals lived. It
was pretty primitive.
The way they got that land: there was one section that
was open. He and three
other guys homesteaded on this. They split it up in 4
pieces, 1 mile by one quarter mile. They drew for lots. He and Con got two, 160 acre
farms side by side.
built two houses and
dug a well. When they
built the houses, they built them so it looked like one house they
were that close together.
They built corrals and made gardens. They needed a milk cow so
they heard of a rancher who had one for
They had to live on the
land for 5 years to prove it up before they could get a deed for
it. They finally got a
milk cow from some guy in Shattuck. He proved out the land. He took the kids and all
went back to
When he got back there
the land was already proved out. All kinds of people had
moved in there. So he
heard of another place about 100 miles west of there at
Yorkton. So he went back there and
then he walked north to where Burgess, Sk. is in that area. He and Con proved on 2
quarters. Con was on
the south side of the river and Grandpa was on the north
The way they proved it up: they built them 2 houses
that Fall. They werenít
very large, like 12 by 12.
They got them some horses and put them on skids. After they proved it up, Grandpa
sold his quarter to Con.
He then came back on the north side of the White
River and he bought a place about a mile and a half from