As of late, or at least since 2012, or even earlier, I have been thinking about the history of industrialization on the northern Great Plains. I have been encouraged this evening by reading Bill’s comments here, and also just by thinking about how steamboats were the first vestiges of 19th century industrialization, both locally, as noted in serious scholarship on the upper Missouri River, and globally, as expounded on by Maya Jasanoff at Harvard. Humanity has always needed and searched for energy sources. This has taken the form of wood and coal, which powered the early steam engines. This was all before petroleum was embraced and really took hold as thee major fuel source.
So when I look at, say, the September 8, 2014 front page issue of The New Rockford Transcript, and I see the “Central North Dakota Steam Threshers Reunion – September 19-21” 2014, I think of the transition by which humanity went from wood to coal. And how we used that coal to increase agricultural efficiency. And also how events like the central North Dakota Steam Threshers Reunion, or the Crosby Threshing Show, or the Braddock Threshing Bee, is and continues to remain central to our history and heritage. The New Rockford Transcript continues to be delivered to the house of my parents, a subscription my late grandmother Barth always enjoyed receiving (between this and the Emmons County Record). Here is that front page, at least the graphic. And if you want to order your own hard copy of The New Rockford Transcript or The Emmons County Record, just click on the previous two links to be directed to the specific contact.
Just over a year ago, a great uncle of mine, Charles E. (“Bud”) Barth passed away. Charles was a front line medic in the European theatre of the Second World War (also in the Battle of the Bulge). Years prior I had the chance to get to know him better, even interviewing him for the United States Veteran’s History Project.
Because I blogged on Charles both here and here, another relation of someone attached to the same medical unit was able to find what I blogged, track me down, and e-mail me additional photos of Charles with his WWII unit. Here are those two photos of Charles with his detachment, these sent to me by the daughter of S/Sgt Kutik (who served alongside Charles).
Note: Charles originally hailed from Braddock, Emmons County, North Dakota.
An informal photo of Barth’s medical detachment. Charles (kneeling) is second from the left, just next to the standing soldier. The case of beverages in front of them is labeled, “Pepsi.”
409th Medical Detachment, Barth is front row, second from the left.
This is what my late grandfather’s handwriting looks like.
Yesterday I rummaged through a small toolbox that belonged to my late grandfather, David L. Barth (a link to his brother here). David enjoyed wood-working, both as a carpenter and then a hobby once he was hired on full time by Hedahl’s automotive in Bismarck. Throughout my youth, Grandpa Barth and I did a bit of woodworking together at his shop on the corner of 16th Street and Braman, Bismarck, North Dakota. I can still hear his voice bellowing “C’mon IN!” just after knocking on the exterior door. He and his wife, Vivian (my late grandmother), were always excited to have company.
David was originally born in Braddock, Emmons County, North Dakota (the Barth surname is Ohio-German). But yes, back to yesterday. Here is a photo of what my grandfather’s hand-writing looked like. He scribbled the socket sizes onto white tape and then fixed these to the tools. It is easier to see the numbers then. In our world of computerized text and formating, it’s nice to see the writing of individual humans. I wanted to share it.