Mildred Mae (Mersdorf) Trotter

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Mildred Mae Trotter (Mersdorf)

Birthplace: Napoleon, Logan, ND, United States
Death: May 27, 1992 (99)
Reedley, Fresno, California, United States (Senile Dementia, General Debilitation)
Place of Burial: Monterey, Monterey, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Henry F Mersdorf and Maria (Honer) Mersdorf
Wife of Erwin Cecil Trotter
Mother of Marijane T. Lehr and Kenneth LeRoy Trotter
Sister of Harry Mersdorf; Clara Amelia Haynes and Alex Mersdorf
Half sister of Arthur Robert Mersdorf; Herbert James Mersdorf and Iva Mable Burris

Occupation: Teacher-One room school house
Managed by: Alice Zoe Marie Knapp
Last Updated:

About Mildred Mae (Mersdorf) Trotter

1900 Township 1 Foster, Township 3 Manhein, Township 4 Johannesdale, Township 6 German Schools; T.135-136-R.71-73, Logan, North Dakota, USA

Written by Mildred Trotter: Maria and Henry Marsdorf Experiences Living In And Moving To North Dakota Between Late Eighteen Hundreds And Nineteen Ten

Maria was my mother. She was born in New York state. Then moved with her family to Beaver Falls,NY. She was the daughter of Mary Hohner Nutter.

In 1885, she met Henry F. Mersdorf. A tall handsome man with black hair and beautiful brown eyes. He fell in love with the lovely blonde girl he had met casually. He was a widower with three small children: the oldest an eight year old boy, Arthur; a boy-5-Herbert: and 8 little girl, Iva, three years old. Because of the children, he 'Has cautious of marring. But Maria loved the children and agreed to be a mother to them. 'They loved her too. So the lovely blue eyed blonde Maria married the handsome widower February 26, 1885.

And started being a mother at 21. Henry was 29. Henry was a dreamer. He had heard of free homesteads to be had in north Dakota. He and his two brothers, Daniel and George, took trip to North Dakota to look over the land. They fell in love with the green rolling prairie and all three filed on claims. So now each had a homestead and according to law they had to improve the property and live on it for three years to "prove up" on it.

So in the spring of 1887, they decided to move to the prairie. By this time a baby boy, Harry, had been added to the family. Imagine how that beautiful girl felt, to leave her family and friends and go pioneering into an unknown country with no home or friends. But she loved Henry and had faith in him. So they prepared to travel. They went by boat to Wisconsin. Then by train to Aberdeen, South Dakota. Where they purchased a team of red oxen and a covered wagon. And proceeded to pack the family and their few belongings into the cramped quarters of the wagon.

Then began the slow and tedious trip to Napoleon, North Dakota. Where Henry had filed his claim. Daniel and George, Henry's brothers a 150 accompanied them. 'The oxen were very strong but slow and required lots of prodding To keep them going. They ran into several bad storms on the way. Preparing food for the family was a difficult job for Maria. But the men helped. Usually building a campfire beside the road. After many days of this s slow and arduous trip the family finally arrived in the small prairie town of Napoleon, North Dakota. They went to the newspaper office which was also the filing office for homesteads. And they were warmly greeted by the owner, George Bryant. He looked at the wagon load of men and children and one lovely woman and was delighted to have so many people to be added to their small population. They drove out to the location of Henry’s homestead. It was really' beautiful. Three miles from Napoleon on low rolling hills, an a great expanse of green prairie covered with lush buffalo grass. a lake was near and a spring where two cottonwood trees grew. The only trees in the country except one big cottonwood in a meadow that we called "The Big Tree"

The first' thing was to build was a shelter for their family. They had to use what Has available. and that was soc. So they set about building a "soddy". This is no easy task. They cut great slabs of the solid prairie turf and piled it up to form the walls of a small dwelling. I know very little about this, since this was years before I was born. But I know they made this “soddy” for their first home. The next thing a well. They wanted it close to the house when they built it. .Maria and Henry looked over the property and decided on a sort of knoll or small hill, above a green valley. So that is where they started to dig the well. And they found a wonderful supply of water. Later they put a windmill over it and built a large round storage tank, with 0utlets. So they could water the garden spat. They built a barn. By this time, Henry had traded his oxen for a team of work horses. They proved more practical on the ranch. So a barn for the animals had to be built. And a permanent house for the family. As I look back I wonder how they managed to do so much. Henry and his brother Dan built a nice farm house; Two stories with a large kitchen, dining room, a good sized living room. All this time Maria was caring for the children and doing the cooking and washing and sewing on her treadle sewing machine from Montgomery Wards. She made all the cute little dresses for Clara and I. Usually we were dressed alike with some slight difference so we could tell them apart. One of our neighbors was a scotchman and his father, Dougal Campbell and his father, Alexander. There was a lumber yard in Napoleon run by George Kreoher. He was glad to provide the lumber for the house and barn, Henry brother Dan helped and they built a very comfortable two story farmhouse. With a wide porch that was later screened in for a summer kitchen. And a very adequate barn for the horses. As there were more being added as the boys grew up and had their own.

In 1890, my sister Clara was born. A beautiful little girl with golden curls and big brown eyes; She was the apple of Henry's . He adored her. .In 1893, I was born. I was a big disappointment to Henry as he wanted another boy. So he paid little attention to me. I wasn't as pretty as Clara either. My face was round with huge pop eyes. Sort of a mixed color and brown hair. I am Mildred. Then Henry met a neighbor that lived several miles away. A scotchman Alexander Campbell and his son Dougal who was about Henry’s age and they became very good friends that lasted all the rest of their lives. They had a very well established sheep ranch. And with their advice and encouragement Henry decided to go into sheep. This was not easy. There followed several years of heart break and discouragement. The first small herd became infected "scab" (mange) a disease that attacks sheep. Most of them died. But Henry learned that sheep had to be "dipped" in order to avoid the many diseases they were susceptible to. Then there were blizzards that took their toll of lost sheep and lambs. Wolves and coyotes added their menace. But Henry had courage and faith and eventually he had a fine herd of beautiful Mereno sheep! That gave them a fine source of wool at that time it was a good price and was shipped to Chicago to mills where it was made into blankets, clothes, etc.

In the meantime, the family is growing up. Maria was a wonderful mother. She succeeded in providing good meals for the family and in between made clothes on her treadle machine. We had fun too dispute all the set backs. The children would gather in the big kitchen and play games. In the evenings. We had a game board for crocono and checkers and a favorite game was dominoes. Also blind man’s bluff and hide the thimble. All those old games that you never hear of today' with the new electronic games on TV.

Clara and I were inseparable. I adored her and wanted to do everything she did. But the trouble was I could never do anything as well as she could. She had a spark of genius in her. There wasn't much she couldn't do and do it better than anyone else. I remember one of the boys brought home a horse that would do nothing but buck and threw all the boys including the hired men. But on the slight Clara got the horse out and saddled her and the next 'tie knew she 'l-1a5 riding the horse down the road. No bucking. This made the boys her brothers pretty angry. Maria would bake cookies and make popcorn balls for us. Yummy Were they good, with peanuts and raisins mixed in them. The older children finished their school in Napoleon and Henry sent Arthur and Herbert to Agricultural College in Fargo, N. D. And Iva went to a business college in Wahpeton, North Dakota. I am Mildred Mersdorf Trotter.

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Mildred Mae (Mersdorf) Trotter's Timeline

February 28, 1893
Napoleon, Logan, ND, United States
Age 72
Beaver Falls, Lewis, New York, United States
December 16, 1899
Napoleon, Logan, NORTH DAKOTA