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Ruth Evelin (Carlson) Henthorn

25 March 1901 - 16 April 1994

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The Carlson/Hagstrom Family

My father, Johan Alfred Hag, was born on 24 Dec 1870 in Ostergotland, Sweden. In 1886, when he was 16 years old, he arrived in Saunders County, Nebraska. He was accompanied by his 18 year old brother Carl. Their father, Carl Hag, was born on 25 Mar 1844 in Ostergotland, Sweden. He was a member of the Swedish army. Their mother was Fredricka Schill, born on 10 Jun 1848 in Sweden.

The children in the Hag family were:

When the boys arrived in the United States, according to the custom in those days, they derived their surname from their father's first name. My father thus became known as John Alfred Carlson and his brother as Carl Carlson. When they arrived here, John had 10 cents which he spent for calling cards. He worked for a while on the place of an uncle, Gustaf Oscar Louis, who was called Oscar. Oscar was married to, Anna Louisa Schill, the sister of John and Carl's mother, Fredricka.

John Carlson worked for two years after he arrived in the United States saving his money. When he and his brother had saved $200 they sent it home to Sweden so the rest of the family could come. It was enough money to pay for the passage of all of the rest of the family except, David, who was not born until they got to this country.

When the rest of the family arrived on 17 Apr 1889 they decided to take the surname of Hagstrom. In the summer of 1915, the Carlson/Hagstrom family began to hold a family reunion each year. At first they were held on the place of some family member. Later we began to hold the reunions in various parks in Lincoln or Wahoo. Once our children were grown we began to have the events catered in some meeting hall or restaurant in either Lincoln or Wahoo. The reunions were usually scheduled to take place on the last Sunday in July. The responsibility for hosting the event rotated between the Carlson and the Hagstrom sides of the family. These family get-togethers were held on a continuous basis from the time we started them.

John Alfred Carlson and Augusta Anderson Marry

John Carlson, or Papa, as we children called him, married Augusta Anderson on 10 Mar 1899 at Swedeburg, Saunders, NE. Augusta was born on 3 May 1876 at Swedeburg, Saunders, NE, a daughter of Lars Fredrick Anderson, born on 18 Sep 1845 in Skaraborgs, Lan, Vastergotland, Sweden and Hanna Elizabeth Edlund, born on 28 Jun 1848 in Skaraborgs, Lan, Vastergotland, Sweden. Lars Fredrick and Hanna Elizabeth were married, on 4 Jul 1875 at Swedeburg, Saunders, NE. Lars was a homesteader and they lived in a sod house in the days when Indians came to the door. They sometimes saw snakes on the floor of the soddy. While she was a young girl Augusta worked in Omaha for a prominent doctor, Dr. Clanahan. He paid her an extra $5 each month for doing the milking.

The children in the Anderson family were:

Ceresco Days

On the farm, near Ceresco, Saunders, NE, where Mama and Papa first lived, their children, Roy, Ruth, Fern, and Amy were born.

One time while on the farm Roy wanted to skate. He got up on the horse tank to skate and the ice was too thin and he fell in. I was there and got to run and tell Mother about it.

When Papa decided to leave the farm we moved to Ceresco. He operated a livery stable. Here in town the band played on Saturday night and we rode in our sleigh with our pony robe and the sleigh bells tinkling. We also had a two seated carriage. One time I fell in front of the carriage and the wheels ran over me, luckily there were no bad after effects.

At the age of seven, Roy needed glasses. To avoid meeting anyone and being called, "Grandpa," he took a back street to school. At this age he could milk a cow, but I couldn't. Roy teased me when I had no luck. A few years later we kept the cow across town in a pasture. Once when going to get the cow from a high cliff Roy called, "Watch me take a high dive." He dove off the cliff doing a double somersault. He landed sitting upright in the muddy path below the cliff. Once to my chagrin, and Roy's amusement, the cow chased me across a potato patch. I lost my shoe and wondered if the cow didn't like my red sweater.

While we lived in the town of Ceresco, NE siblings, Violette, Ethel, Ellen, and Lloyd joined our ranks.

Our aunts made many of our clothes. It was a great day when Papa said that Violette and I could buy new coats. Vi chose a leopard coat with dark and light coloring and I chose a red one with gold buttons.

One time the gang was playing at the elevator. We would get rocks, go up on a foot bridge and throw them in the sand below. Fern was below getting rocks when someone threw one. It hit Fern, cutting a big gash in her head. We had to rush her to see Dr. Wright who was our neighbor.

When Papa went to the State Fair it was like Christmas the next morning. The souvenirs were always numerous and interesting. As we grew older we were allowed to go along. At first we traveled by train. Later we went in our first car, an E.M.F., which was really a Studebaker.

While we lived at Ceresco, uncle Axel Hagstrom died at Winner, South Dakota of typhoid fever on 9 Jan 1910. Grandma Fredricka Hagstrom came home from caring for him sick with it and she died on 13 Jan 1910. Uncle Olof, who also came back with it was at our house, convalescing and eating raw eggs.

At the age of ten, if we had not accumulated the sum of $1 we were given the rest and started our first bank account. Uncle Olof was a real tease. Knowing my dislike for prunes, he said, "If you put your money in my bank, you'll get more interest and you can buy more prunes."

Papa formed a partnership with Fred Mostrom and Charlie Erickson. They dealt in hardware and furniture. Papa did the hardware work and the repairs. He was known all over the county for his ability to repair binders. Fred took care of the furniture. When a call came from Valparaiso to come out and get a corpse they sent Charlie, who was the youngest, and they were in the undertaking business. Charlie took his course by correspondence. For many years he and his son Clifford operated the business in Wahoo.

We Move to Mead, NE

The partners bought a business in Mead and Papa went there to handle it. Soon he bought out the other two and took another partner, Rueben Swanson.

At first when we moved to Mead there was no house available, so we lived back of, and above, the bank. Later we lived in two different houses; P.B. Olson's and Oscar Anderson's. The latter had a carpenter shop, which was ideal for the play of eight boys and girls and their friends.

Papa had an eight room house built. It was called the "Country Club," by the neighbor boys and girls. There was room for croquet, tennis, etc. Our chief activities were at school and at church. At church one of the family would be on a committee and then we'd all work.

While in Mead, Papa served on the town board and then became Mayor. He served as treasurer for the Lutheran church for a number of years. Roy really kept the books. Papa was also on the school board.

One of Papa's major accomplishments was the supervision of the raising of the Alma Lutheran Church building and the installation of the basement underneath. They raised the church up on jacks and dug underneath. While the work was progressing a big storm came up and Grandpa, the pastor and others went to the church because they were worried. The winds blew very hard and the steeple on the church was swaying back and forth in the wind. Grandpa began to fret out loud that the church might be blown off the jacks and destroyed. The pastor said, "If it is God's will, the church will stand." Soon the wind died down and the church remained standing.

We must have been an unusually healthy bunch. However, when Vi was about fourteen, she had pus on the lung and was very ill. A Dr. Woeppel, a relative, and his wife stopped in and recognizing the seriousness of her illness, consulted the local physician and by the next morning a doctor and his nurse came out from Lincoln and performed the operation on the dining room table. Vi recovered, but lost her hair. It came in like a boy's so for a while she wore a scarf around her head.

Needless to say, as time went on, there were cars and drivers coming and going. When Papa objected we said, "What can you expect with six girls?" Ethel asked, "How can I tell which one I like if I don't go with them?" If there was a new family, Fern always asked, "What kind of car do they have?" And Ethel, "Do they have any boys my age?"

Two girl cousins, Hattie Roseberg and Ethel Hammer spent their Junior and Senior high school years in our home. Hattie later married Axel Pearson and Ethel married Plato Magnuson.

Some time during these years we bought a seven passenger Studebaker, with two little jump seats.

We had a Christmas tree and opened our gifts on Christmas eve. For the meal on Christmas eve we always had lute fish, a soft fish with a white mustard sauce and plain white rice. We also had a small red berry, called lignon, similar to cranberries on white rice. The next morning, we attended early church and it was lighted with candles. We had a light breakfast before we went and ate again when we returned home. Then we would enjoy our gifts, and also share the showing with neighbors. Several evenings later we had the church Sunday School program and of course all of us had to take part. Apples were given to all of the people present and boxes of candy and books were given to the children. Fern always managed to keep her candy the longest and of course we were jealous when we had eaten ours and she still had some left.

When Lloyd started school Roy left for the University of Nebraska. Roy later attended Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. He taught one year in Freeport, IL and one year at Franklin, NE. He later went into the seminary at Augustana. One summer he acted as the student pastor in Ogden, Utah. Fern and I rode out with him when he came to Nebraska to pick up a new car. We spent the summer there, also going to young people's meetings in Boise, Idaho and to the copper mines in Bingham Canyon where one of the churches Roy was serving was located. He also took us to see Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park in southern Utah, Park City, and Green River, WY. When the pastor at Salt Lake City took his vacation Roy also preached there.

Teaching in Nebraska

During my senior year in high school I went to Wahoo on Saturday to take the Teacher's Examinations. I went on the freight train and met Gladys Starmann from Yutan. After we graduated we went to Peru Teacher's College together. Although Gladys was only sixteen and the baby in the Chemistry class she made a grade of 98. Later she married Henry Kuhr. At first they lived between Mead and Yutan. Later they bought a farm at Swedeburg.

In the fall I taught in a rural school, about four miles from Mead. There were about 20 pupils in eight grades. The next year it was consolidated with Mead, under a Miss Rough who had been my high school superintendent. I received a salary of $60 but it was increased to $65 at the middle of the year. A bonus was also given if I completed the school year. When I started working I had never been inside of a country school before. Papa had to show me how to use the stove. In addition to teaching I had to sweep the floor, carry water, and carry coal from the shed. While at this school I studied at teaching eighth grade Arithmetic. One day one of the students, Harold Moline, fell face down in the mud. I asked, "What will you do? You will have to clean off your overalls." "Oh, no," he said, "I'll just take off the top pair."

By the next year, I had moved to Malmo and was teaching the primary grades. In the room were two little deaf and dumb boys, Leland and Vinton Weller, along with Eddie Swanson, and Hazel and Wally Kruce. Later I moved into the Intermediate room and my good friend, Ella Johnson, from Mead, joined me as the Primary teacher. During my first year here I stayed with Mrs. Beaumont, an English lady, who served scones. Here I slept on a feather bed. Later I roomed with Ella Johnson at the Anderson's and the following year at Mrs. P.B. Olson's. That year Minnie Hanson was the Principal.

I attended three, eight week, summer school sessions at Peru State Teachers College in Peru, Nebraska. Another 2 summers I attended the summer sessions at the University of Nebraska. I was enrolled at Augustana College, in Rock Island, IL for two school years; 1923-1924 and 1930-1931. During the 1923 term I was there with my friend Laurine Peterson. In 1931 I graduated, Cum Laude, and received my B.A. While at Augustana I worked in the school library. I opened in the morning and also checked that everything was correct from the previous day.

My family was able to make quite a few excursion trips. Before I married there always seemed to be some outing that one or another of us was planning. Ethel and I went to Chicago. A big group; Fern, Vi, Amy, myself and neighbor Edna Jeppson, went to Lake Okiboji, IA. Four of us; Fern, Vi, Amy and myself, made a trip to St. Paul. Another time Vi and I went along with Fritz and Amy in a car trip to Black Hills, South Dakota.

My next job was at Wakefield where I taught high school. After that I went to Hooper and Columbus.

In about 1933, I went to teach in Eustis, NE, a small German town near Cozad, Lexington, and Holdrege. I went to take over a 5th and 6th grade, a large classroom which an inexperienced teacher could not handle. After one experience of rushing into the classroom and going back out to try again, there seemed to be no trouble.

My roommate was Elva Buehler Velte. She taught grades three and four. At first we stayed at Anna Finkes. Later we stayed at Fred Kaes's. The Superintendent was a Mr. Davis, who later married Ruby Tester.

Edward Charles Henthorn

Edward Charles Henthorn was one of the teachers at Eustis. Edward was born on 9 Mar 1900 at Aurora, Hamilton, NE, the son of Charles Holt Henthorn, born on 10 Feb 1861 at Fishhook, Pike, IL and Minerva Jane Powers, born on 15 Oct 1862 at Perry, Pike, IL. Charles and Minerva Jane were married on 10 Feb 1885 at Baylis, Pike, IL.

The children in the Henthorn family were:

Edward was known to his business associates as, E.C.,and to family and friends by the nickname, "Pete," given to him by his father. He taught Latin and shop. He later became Superintendent. He stayed at the Hotel with John and Marie Thumm. Eustis was a very friendly and sociable town. The Thumms often held bridge parties for the teachers and other young people. Edward was very good at playing bridge and usually won 1st prize.

One weekend, Mrs. Lane, another teacher, and I rode to Lincoln with Edward Henthorn in his one seater coupe. On the way to Lincoln she sat in the center and I sat there on the way back. The day after we returned from the trip Edward came into my room after school and asked me to go to a movie. That was the beginning of our courtship and romance. We often went to shows at Cozad and one Sunday we went to Cambridge, NE for dinner with Edward's relatives. We often went to eat with friends of the Kaes's.

About a year after meeting Edward I was offered a Junior High position by Superintendent McGee at Columbus, NE, where I had taught before. After some debating I took the job and returned to stay with Mrs. McElfresh where I had stayed before. Edward spent most of the weekends in Columbus, staying at the Thurston Hotel. I spent one weekend at Eustis during this period. On Feb. 9, 1935 we were married at the home of my folks, in Mead, Saunders, NE. The pastor of Alma Lutheran Church in Mead, the Rev. C.G. Samuelson officiated. After the wedding a lovely lunch was served. We drove to Lincoln for our honeymoon, spending the night at the Cornhusker Hotel. We then drove to Aurora, NE where we had Sunday dinner with Edward's folks. At the time of my marriage I had been teaching for 13 years.

In Eustis, we rented a tiny cottage from E.W. Smith, a banker. It had four rooms; a bedroom, living room, bath and kitchen. You walked in a little circle to go from one room to another. We bought most of our furniture second hand from Hueftle Bros. We got an electric stove from Edward's sister, Lou Retta Bradbury. In the living room we had a studio couch and in the kitchen we had a green drop leaf table and four chairs which we used for many years. Since the house was so small we had to move the pieces closer and closer together each time we got something new in order to make room. There was a little oil heater. We had a Westinghouse electric refrigerator, a gift from my folks. Our next door neighbors were a young couple named, Velte, who owned a store.

On one of his visits to Eustis my brother Roy Carlson, who was a Lutheran minister, baptized Daddy. Later, when we lived at Ceresco, NE he joined the Lutheran Church.

Loss of Our First Baby

On the 29th of November 1935, at Holdrege, our first child, Bobby was born and died at birth. We buried him there. Daddy found a nice natural stone along the roadside. He had it cut flat across the bottom and carved and we marked the grave with it. I had a photo of the grave site in one of my photo albums.

In my family there were a number of us who became teachers. Besides myself , Roy, Fern, Amy and Vi also taught school. Ellen and Ethel worked in the post office in Mead. Fern, Amy and Vi taught at District 66 near Yutan and Amy and Vi at District 70 near Wahoo. These were two room schools. Amy also taught at Polk and Cedar Bluffs. Fern taught at Burwell, Hyannis, Creighton, and Lyons. Vi taught at Axtell, Osceola, and Lyons.

After I met E.C. we took a train tour to the East along with Fern and Edna Jeppson. When the World's Fair was held in Chicago everyone was excited about going. Some went by train and three of us; Pete, Ellen and I went by car.

Lloyd went to Luther College in Wahoo and to the University of Nebraska. He majored in Business Administration. He worked at running an elevator at the Grand Hotel, he cooked steaks at one eating place and worked in the kitchen of another. He also typed the menu.

Ceresco Again
One fall we moved to Wolbach. Bu

t, a superintendent opening became available at Ceresco so we moved again. Daddy, ever ambitious, wanted to work towards a Master's degree in School Administration at the University of Nebraska in the evenings and on Saturday. Living in Ceresco, which is relatively close to Lincoln made this plan quite possible. We lived in Aunt Ella Hagstrom's house. There was a work shop near the house and he studied there.

Richard Edson Henthorn Is Born

While we lived in Ceresco, Richard Edson Henthorn (Dick), was born in Lincoln General Hospital on May 7, 1939. Dr. Charles Harms was in attendance. He was healthy and weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces. Grampa Carlson said he looked like he was 6 weeks old. When we came from the hospital Aunt Alice Hagstrom, Duane Hagstroms's mother, came to help me for about 2 weeks. Daddy would pick her up on his way to school each morning. She always called Dick, "her boy." When the high school boys and girls asked, "Can we look at him?" Dick's daddy would say, "Yes, but you have to pay a nickel."

During the time we lived in Ceresco we entertained a lot. Daddy was the Adjutant of the American Legion and I was President of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Aunt Amy Larson, Dick's godmother, brought four month old Earle and came to Ceresco and stayed for a while. While they were there Dick was baptized on June 16, 1939, at six weeks of age.

When Dick was barely a few months old, Edward got his degree and we moved to Decatur, NE, which is located on the Missouri River. Again, we lived in a little house with rent of $10 or $15 a month. We lived at Decatur from the time Dick was six months old until he was two. Dick loved the football games and would yell, "Ra, Ra, Whee, Catur." He didn't relish the noise of the basketball games. Dick could imitate all kinds of animals and this pleased the high school kids.

Until he was one year of age Dick had the colic and cried a lot. We spent many sleepless nights. He took Pet Milk as a baby. One time when he was very small Dad gave him a lemon drop and I about had hysterics for fear that he was going to choke.

One time, when Dick was less than a year old, I entertained the Ladies Aid at the house. I foolishly pulled the cord on the percolator from the wall but not from the pot. Dick pulled on the cord and tipped the pot onto himself. Luckily he only got a few burns on his fingers and chest. It was a bad accident. Dad was called home and the doctor came. Dick suffered much pain but there were no scars.

Norfolk Days

When Dick was about two years old Dad built a four wheel wagon trailer. We used the trailer to move our furniture and shop equipment to our next home. By December 1941, at the outset of the entry of the United States into World War II, we were living at Norfolk, Nebraska having arrived there on May 26, 1941 after moving from Decatur, NE. A former post mistress had offered to furnish a building which Mr. Henthorn could use to operate as a shop centered around wood working. We had a promising future in Norfolk. But we spent only one year there with Edward operating a filling station and "Everybody's Workshop" where people came to work on their own projects. We had a nice home at 201 N. 8th street.

Another incident that happened while living in Norfolk was when Dick put a bing cherry pit in his nose. We couldn't get it out and I had to carry him to a clinic and have the doctor take it out.

Dick's hair grew long and curly and he was a beautiful child. I made him some bibbed nautical pants and some print slacks. We didn't cut his hair. By the time he was three it was quite long and curly. Sometimes people would ask if he was a girl and then I said it was time to cut his hair. After the haircut he wore a cap and would take it off and say, "April Fool."

By this time the Larsons; Fritz, Amy, Fran and Earle were living in Randolph. They visited us often. One time, Earle and Dick went upstairs, locking the doors behind them. Then they began to yell that they were locked in the bathroom. We took the stairway door off the hinges. When we got to the bathroom door we told them to try the door and they did. It wasn't locked at all. When asked, "What did you do?" They said, "We just laid down on the rug and cried." Once the two of them got into a bag of flour and threw the flour all around in an upstairs hall. Another time they threw marbles down through a ceiling grate into an overstuffed chair below.

The War Years in Bellevue

In the summer of 1942, we stored our furniture and shop equipment in the shop that Pete had been operating. He went to Bellevue to work for Glenn L. Martin Co at Fort Crook, Nebraska. After the war the name of the place was changed to Offutt Air Force Base and it became the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command. One of the gates of the Fort was located on the southwest corner of the town of Bellevue. Edward went to Bellevue, by himself. We stayed at Mead and also visited Oscar Lindquist while Daddy looked for a house. When we found a house, Dick and I went to Norfolk to see about loading the van and finishing up the loose business there. After moving we returned and picked up the shop equipment in the trailer.

At the beginning of the war Bellevue was a very small place. There were not a lot of places to live. Many small homes were built during the war to house the influx of workers which came to work at the plant. When Edward found us a place to live my father drove us to Fremont, NE where we took the train back to Norfolk. We finished up our business there and made the arrangements for moving.

We left Norfolk, NE on September 20, 1942 when Dick was three. Dad rented a large home at 2112 Franklin street, about one block from the few stores that made up the main business district of the town. Since the house was so big and there was such a shortage of places for people to stay we decided to rent rooms. There was an upstairs apartment which we rented to John and Lillian Varney. Upstairs there was another large room which usually had 3 men in it and one small room. During the time that we took in roomers we kept about 45 people, mostly working at the plant. Many of them were waiting for their houses to be built so they could bring their families.

The basement under the house was just a hole in the ground with a dirt floor. The coal furnace was located down there. The previous tenants didn't take out the ashes. They just let them pile up on the floor. I carried them out and made a large pile in the garden. Later, when we were about ready to move out of the house a full basement was put under the house. They dug a hole on both sides of the house that sloped down to the level of the basement floor. A team of horses with a box-like affair behind was used to go under the house and get the dirt and drag it out.

For a while Dick's uncle, Claude Bradbury, used our bedroom and we slept on a studio couch in the dining room. Dick's bed was also in that room along with a playhouse. Claude's daughter, Beatta, had the front bedroom on the ground floor which was a sort of sun parlor. Other guests were: Nadine Laws, Johnny Grosser, Jerry Tiller, John and Lillian Varney and student pastor Leonard Anderson. Dick asked, "How come in Norfolk no one wanted to live with us and here everyone does?" Dick wanted a half coat like Pastor Anderson, so cousin Beatta made him a suit with a vest.

We made life long friends with some of the roomers. Among those who remained very good friends were John and Lillian Varney, Nadine Laws (from Lincoln and 17 years old at the time), and John Groesser of Weeping Water. I was having back trouble during this time and John Groesser often helped me hang the laundry. John Varney died several years ago and Lillian went to live in a nursing home in Papillion. I was still keeping in touch with Lillian, Nadine and John at the time this was written in October 1990.

Edward built a chicken shed out behind the house and we raised chickens for a while. We also had a cat that Dick enjoyed.

Starting a Church

Hilda Kaercher, a missionary from India, came to Bellevue to help get the Immanuel Lutheran Church started and she lived with us too. We became charter members. E.C. was on the church council. I was very active in church work. I taught a Sunday School class of 14-20 pre-school children. The class was held in the kitchen around a long table set in the middle of the room. It was very crowded. I was also the only visitation member. When the Charter Member roll was put together Dick and I walked all over Bellevue to tell people about the church and encourage them to join.

When the church first started we didn't have very many members and we didn't have much money to spare. Each family had to serve as janitor one or two months each year. We did the cleaning, mowing and the shoveling of snow. The church, Immanuel Lutheran, was located about 6 blocks south of our house on Franklin street, on a curve where the road lead out to the gate at the Martin plant. Dick attended Sunday School and the Vacation Bible School. He was President of the Junior Luther League. After we left Bellevue the church had grown to the point where they were ready to build a new church and they moved out north of town on the very pretty road between Bellevue and Omaha called Bellevue Boulevard.

One time at a church get together everyone told of their home town. Dick asked, "Mom, what is ours?" "I guess, Bellevue," I told him.

Edward worked at various jobs at the Martin plant. The most interesting work he did was as Tool Designer. He did some of the design work on the upper gun turret for the B-29. In the evening he went to classes at Omaha University. The university offered him a job but he did not accept it.

For a while Edward had charge of the scrap lumber dump at the plant. He got his bosses to agree that the lumber could be brought into town and given away. We had a large open area at the back and side of the house where the trucks dumped the loads. Many people in town still had coal burning furnaces and cook stoves that could use the wood scraps. Some of the pieces were quite large and could be salvaged for other purposes. People came from all over town to get the wood. Some of my brothers-in-law from out of town, including Doc and Wrex Henthorn and Lloyd Swanson, came with their trucks and got some of the wood. Since we lived right where they were dumping the lumber we often got first pick. We had an old garage behind the house which was soon full. When we moved from the house on Franklin street we took the best wood with us.

The post office was located across the street from our house. They didn't deliver the mail. We had a rental box. Dick often went to get the mail. He couldn't reach the box so he took his little red chair. He also went there to purchase his 10 cent savings stamps each week. He couldn't be seen by the Post Master, Mr. McCorkindale, but he was tall enough to reach up and put his 10 cents on the counter.

In the fall of 1944, when Dick was ready to start school, I took him to the Orientation Day on the first day of school. After that day he went alone. When he started school all of the grades were still located in two school buildings on one piece of ground about two blocks west of the house on the street that ran along the side of the house. One day after coming home from school Dick told us he took the short way home (which was much further) so he could visit Mr. and Mrs. Thompson who were church members.

On April 12th, 1945, Dick came home from the Post Office and said, "Mom, President Roosevelt is dead." I replied, "Oh, no." He said, "I'll show you." and turned on the radio so I could hear it too. Dick was just one month shy of his 6th birthday at the time.

The War Ends

On May 8th 1945, the day after Dick's 6th birthday the war in Europe came to an end. Then on September 2nd the Japanese surrendered aboard the USS Missouri and the war in the Pacific came to an end. It was evident that the bomber plant would be closing and that Edward and many others would soon be looking for new jobs. I was in the Post Office one day and saw a member of the school board who said they would need 9 math teachers that year. I told him my husband was a math teacher. He said, "Send him to the board meeting this evening." Edward went and was hired to teach math in the high school. I was hired to teach one division of kindergarten in the morning as they had one teacher with 100 pupils. The next year I was asked to start the year as 7th grade teacher. I didn't care much for that grade and asked the superintendent to seriously consider getting a regular teacher for that position. I was then asked to take a 4th grade, which the music teacher had tried to teach. I think Dick was in 1st grade at the time. I taught school for 9 years in Bellevue and taught almost continuously until I retired in Wichita, KS.

Our First House

In July 1945, we bought a beautiful old 2 story house (built in 1893), at 1801 Hancock Street, for $3,000. It was on a corner lot with tall trees of various kinds, some nearly 100 feet tall, on 3 sides of the place. After we moved in one of the bigger trees lost a very large limb which nearly hit the house, just creasing a screen on one of the windows at the back of the house. After cleaning up that limb the men discovered that the tree itself was sick. Some of Edward's friends came and helped him take the tree down. When they cut off the tree at the ground level they discovered that the center of the trunk was all eaten away. Later a bad storm came through the yard one night when Edward and Dick were at the auction on the diagonally opposite corner of our block. When they came around the corner in the car they noticed that something was wrong in the yard. As they got around to the back they discovered that a very large walnut tree that had stood behind the tree we had cut early had gone down into the neighbor's yard.

There was a cement block fence on the front and side of the house with a wrought iron gate on each side. Dick and his friends loved to use the top of the fence as a highway on which they played with Dick's planes, cars and trucks. They used some of the wood, brought from the Franklin street house, to build bridges over the two gates.

Across the entire front of the house was a screened porch, with a hammock, where we spent many pleasant afternoons and evenings. In the foyer, which lead to a beautiful staircase with landing, there were stained glass panels in the windows. On the second floor there were three very large bedrooms. On the ground floor there was a big living room off the foyer, a dining room, and another bedroom which Dick used as a den for playing with his friends. A bathroom had been built in the ground floor pantry, off the dining room. The kitchen was quite large and Edward did a lot of work there to modernize it.

There was a double floor in the dining room, the top layer being maple. Edward sanded and refinished all of the floors in the house and the dining room floor was particularly beautiful. There was a large built-in buffet between the kitchen and the dining room which opened on both sides. The house had shutters on all of the windows. The shutters worked and they could be closed from inside the house. We often closed them during hail storms to protect the windows. Because of the shutters the screens were on the inside of the windows and on the bottom half only.

At the back of the house was a closed in porch and stairway leading to the basement. Since the two room basement was just under part of the house and could only serve for storage of canned goods and the coal furnace we used the back porch for our laundry room. In those days I still used an old electric Maytag and a double tub for rinsing. Edward put in plumbing on the back porch so I could have hot and cold running water. In the winter, when the furnace was working it was used to heat the water in the hot water tank. Later we had a smaller device that could be used to heat the water year round. Before we moved from the house we installed an electric hot water heater in the basement and from then on we had all of the hot water we wanted when we wanted it.

When we first moved into the house the streets on both sides were dirt and gravel. Eventually when there was a movement to pave the streets of Bellevue the street in front of the house was paved. The street on the north of the house was left unpaved for a while since it was only a couple of blocks long and folks felt it was enough to pay for the paving in front first.

We went to Wymore, NE to teach one year. While there we rented an apartment in the upstairs of the superintendent's house. Later, Edward taught in Elkorn, NE, west of Omaha for a while.

The Baltimore Experiment

The summer of 1946, when Dick was 7 years old, we went to Baltimore. Glenn L. Martin had a plant there on the north side of town. Edward got a job again with this company as a Tool Designer. We were busy nearly every weekend trying to take in all of the tourist attractions in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Washington. We had an old Model-T Ford which was just able to get over some of the mountains in the east. When we came east we had the back seat area loaded to the top of the front seat with our belongings. There was no room back there for Dick to sit. It was like a platform and he could lay there to sleep and play with his cars. When we visited Philadelphia one of the ice cream vendors told us to go back to God's Country. That's exactly what we did at the end of the summer!

My brother, Lloyd Carlson, who had also worked at the Glenn L.Martin plant came to Baltimore with his family and furniture as we were leaving. They moved into the place we had been renting and he went to work for the Martin company.

Back in Bellevue

When we got back to Bellevue, Superintendent Carroll was waiting for us as our positions were still open and school was due to start on the following Monday.

We brought along a piano, to the Hancock street house that John Groesser had purchased and later sold us. Dick took some piano lessons and played in one or two recitals. He seemed to enjoy the experience but never cared to pursue it.

In 1948 or 1949 I taught Jane LeMay, the daughter of General Curtis LeMay, when she was in the 4th grade. The family had just come from Weisbaden, Germany because the General had been named commander of the Strategic Air Command. I knew both of the parents. Karen Dempsey, daughter of one of the other teachers, became Jane's best friend. They later attended college together in Missouri. Jane married a children's doctor who practiced in Lincoln for a number of years. It is interesting to note that in early October 1990 General LeMay passed away in California reaching the age of 83 years.

Edward Becomes County Superintendent of Schools

Also about 1948, the Sarpy County Superintendent of Schools died. Edward was asked to fill in the remaining time of the term. He took the position and was elected to the office in the next election. The county courthouse was located in Papillion a few miles west of Bellevue. He drove across the county gravel road to get to work. He had very little office help except for Mr. Clarence Larson, a church member, who worked for him on a part time basis from time to time.

One of his responsibilities, as County Superintendent, was to mount the county student art show at the county fair in Springfield, NE each year. Amy Larson and I served as the art show judges, spending many hours viewing and judging the exhibits at our home before taking them to the fair and mounting the show.

Building the Garage

There was an old shed at the back of our property. It was so old in fact that it was constructed with square nails. Edward tried to get all of our wood and his tools in there. There was no heat, poor light and a poor floor. It really wasn't a place where you could do much. Edward drew plans for a very nice double garage which he wanted to build between the shed and the house. John Varney, Dick and his friend Larry Ballard (both in their early teens) helped Dad with lots of the construction work and the exterior painting. Dick and Larry tore down the old shed and many of the boards from that building were used as sheathing in the new building. There was a very nice upstairs in the building which you entered via a staircase in the corner by the doorway leading to the house. Edward made the walls higher than required. The floor of the upstairs was about 2 feet lower than the sill on the wall. He put windows on both ends of the gables and there was a large dormer with 2 windows on the west side facing the house. The dormer and the lowered floor added to the headroom in the attic making it a very comfortable room to be in. There were wood stoves on both levels so the garage could be used year round. Although it was big enough to be a two car garage they only cut one door opening and framed for the second garage door. They kept one side of the ground floor for the power tools that had hardly been used since we moved from Norfolk. One of the special features of the building was a secret compartment or two built into the upstairs eves for Dick.

Dick was confirmed about 1953 by Pastor Steffens. He was always active in the Luther League youth church group.

Dick's School Days

Dick attended Junior High School (grades 7 and 8) in 1951-1953. He sang in the chorus and appeared in many programs at the school. The high school had a newspaper called the "Chieftan." Dick and some of his friends in the junior high thought they ought to have their own paper. The teaching staff agreed and Dick became the editor of the new paper. There was a contest to name the paper and the name "Papoose" was chosen.

One of the art teachers taught the class how to make heads, for hand held puppets, from saw dust and glue which was molded on top of a soda bottle. Dick's dad was very supportive in this project. Before long they had many heads made and painted. Next, Edward taught Dick how to sew with the sewing machine. Soon the puppets had clothes. One of the best had a little pair of blue denim overalls. Edward was working at the county courthouse at this time and he obtained some little lights from pin ball machines that the sheriff was breaking up. They constructed a puppet stage out of a big cardboard box. The little lights were used to make foot lights on the stage and to light the area where the puppets would perform. Dick and one of his friends, Don Carlson, wrote scripts for the puppets and soon had a show put together. They asked if they could give the show at school. The show went over very well with both the teachers and the students. The boys were asked to give the show to all of the elementary classes in the school. Since the stage was quite small they traveled from room to room giving the show over and over.

In the fall of 1953 Dick began his Freshman year of high school at Bellevue High School. There was a weekly paper from South Omaha called the "South Omaha Sun" which was a shopper's paper. Dick got the route for the north end of town, about 250 houses. He had to get up early during the winter to deliver the papers before he went to school so he could go out for basketball in the afternoon. The "TV Guide" was just starting out and they asked Dick to sell subscriptions that he would deliver to the subscriber's door. He was able to build up a nice route.

Some of Dick's friends had lawn mowers with which they made some money in the summer time. He begged us to get him a mower, which we finally did. He mowed lawns for 2 or 3 years and built up a very good business.

John and Lillian Varney

Our friends the Varneys, from the days on Franklin street, became our best friends. When I was working and Dick was ill, and not too sick, Lillian often came to stay with him. John and Lillian purchased a house at 2106 Warren street in Belleuve, NE. We bought a television before they did and we had great fun watching TV together. They would come over on Saturday night to watch wrestling from the Marigold Arena in Chicago, with the likes of Gorgeous George. Sometimes they would stay and watch the late movie which usually ended up in someone dozing off before it was over.

To the south of the Varney's house were 2 lots which were delinquent on taxes. John told Edward about them and we began to garden on the land. We paid the current and back taxes and eventually took a clear title to the property. John and Lillian bought 1/2 of a lot and we kept the other lot and a half for our large garden. We planted peach and apple trees and raspberries and strawberries at the back. We raised sweet corn, potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes among other things. Since we often grew more than we could use Dick built up a little route of produce customers which he used his bike to service.

The Varneys used their land to park their car and build a nice dining room addition onto the south side of their house. The house they were living in was one of those very small houses built during the war. Until they built the addition there was only room for two or three to eat in the kitchen and then only when a drop leaf table attached to the wall was set up. When we moved from Bellevue we sold the lots and someone built a very nice house on the land.

Edward's Work and Public Service

After the Air Force Base at Offutt field opened Dad taught classes to the young men there. At this time he was holding the position of County Superintendent. When they graduated, along with the Bellevue High School, he sat on the platform, and as the County Superintendent, he handed out the diplomas to his own students.

Edward served for a time on the Bellevue School Board. He was also County Chairman of the Infantile Paralysis Foundation for 5 years during the worst years of the polio epidemic. He was in charge of their March of Dimes campaign for 3 or 4 years. Edward was always interested in photography. One year he made a slide and tape show about the March of Dimes work. He presented the slide show to many civic clubs in the county. He and Dick also took the show to an Infantile Paralysis convention in Kansas City. Mr. Clinton Belnap was the state chairman. He wrote a very nice letter of appreciation when Dad resigned after the work load had become too heavy. As a final token of his respect for Edward and the work he had done he attended Dad's funeral at Mead in 1957.

Edward also served on the Red Cross board. He was the 1st President of the Sarpy County Historical Society. He was involved in the historical society purchase of the Mountain home which was next door to the south of our house. A lady, we all called Grandma Mountain, lived there until she died at about 100 years of age. The house, which was covered with a yellow siding, was of log construction underneath. After it was purchased the siding was removed and the house was established as a museum of early Nebraska life.

As County Superintendent, Edward became very involved in a plan to consolidate and redistrict the schools of the county. There was a lot of resistance from many of the people in the county and he grew tired of the work. In the fall of 1953, he saw an ad in the Omaha World Herald announcing that a man from Boeing Airplane Company in Wichita, KS would be in Omaha on a Sunday conducting interviews. Edward decided, on the spur of the moment, to go. When he got home I asked him what he thought. He said, "I don't think the young man thought much of me." But, within a few weeks he was offered a job as a tool designer at the plant in Wichita.

We Move to Wichita, Kansas

We drove to Wichita in a big snow storm in December 1953 to take a look at the place. The snow got so bad that we had to stop for the night at Emporia, KS. We waited a long time for them to clear the roads in the morning before we could continue on the trip. In some places they cut an opening in drifts that were 10 or 12 feet high across the road. Edward took the job in January and stayed in a rented cabin near the plant. He spent the weekends looking for a house. He had 3 or 4 to show us by March. John and Lillian Varney drove Dick and I down for a weekend to look at houses. We liked a brand new brick house, on the east side of town, at 1114 Inverness Drive, about 2 miles north of the plant. We made an offer that weekend. Dick and I stayed the rest of the school year in Bellevue sorting and packing. After we took possession of the house Edward moved in. He and a friend from work bought a trailer and he made many trips, blowing many tires, between Bellevue and Wichita as he moved his beloved wood and tools there to put in the full basement in the new house.

We had 2 good prospects on the house in Bellevue but the deals fell through. Finally, on August 7, 1954, we left without selling the house, leaving the sale in the hands of Haworth and Morgan who eventually sold it in October of 1954 for about $9,000. We used the money from the sale to pay off the loan on the house in Wichita.

When we left Bellevue the church held a pot luck supper for us and the church members presented us with a very nice framed portrait of Jesus.

We had many good neighbors while living on Hancock street. Across the street to the west was the house of Dr. Betz and next to it that of his son Joe, and Joe's wife Gladys and the doctor's grandson Bill. Behind us to the east was Mrs. Slezinger. In the block to the north the Piburns and the Ballards lived. Up the hill to the west on 18th street Mrs. Eva Larson and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Dempsey had their houses.

We had many other friends in Bellevue since we were active in church, school, city and county government, and the affairs of Offutt Air Force Base as the military build up there got underway. I believe most in the town had heard the "Henthorn" name. Dick always said, "The years in Bellevue were the best!" On that, I think Edward and I would agree.

Dick's Wichita Activities

Dick started 10th grade at Wichita High School East and graduated in 1957. He became very interested in Industrial Arts and when he took woodworking he was made the student shop foreman. He developed a rock and mineral exhibit as a school science project and took the exhibit to a Science Fair that was held at Lawrence, Kansas. Years later he gave the exhibit to Midland College in Fremont, NE.

Dick delivered the afternoon paper, The Wichita Beacon, for a while. With his money he bought his first typewriter. He attended summer school one summer and learned to type and to drive a car. He was active in the camera club at school and had a darkroom in the basement where he spent many hours working with his friend Don McWhorter. At church he was active in the Luther League and served as an officer.

After graduation , in 1957, Dick won small scholarships to Emporia and to Pittsburg. Because of the ROTC program he chose to attend Kansas State Teachers College at Pittsburg, KS.

Edward Charles Henthorn Dies

On September 29, 1957 at Wichita, Sedgwick, KS, after Dick had been in school about one month, Edward suffered a heart attack and died. Dick was home on his first visit from school. Clifford Erickson, the son of my father's partner when we lived in Ceresco, came from Wahoo, NE to take Pete back to Nebraska where he made arrangements for the funeral which was held at Alma Lutheran Church in Mead, NE on 2 Oct 1957. Edward Charles Henthorn was buried in the Alma Lutheran Cemetery west of Mead, NE.

Dick's College Days

While in college Dick was active in many campus activities. He served as Vice President and President of the future teachers group. He attended the Lutheran Heyer Fellowship and worked each year on the float they had in the homecoming parade. He served on the Student Council and as an officer in the Pershing Rifles. He did his student teaching at the campus high school, doing one semester in his major Industrial Arts and the other in his minor Biology.

Ruth Resumes Teaching

I substituted for two years and in the fall of 1957 I resumed teaching on a full time basis in the 3rd grade. Later I requested a transfer to 4th grade. I took three additional courses of library training at Friends University and after completing the work applied for the position of school librarian. I worked in various elementary school libraries in the Wichita School System until I retired in 1965.

Starting Another Church

We joined the Reformation Lutheran Church, another growing church, which was meeting in a school auditorium. Eventually a lovely building was erected on Kellogg Street. I taught Sunday School. I helped organize and operate a very successful church library for eight years.

Dick's Military Career

Dick completed his college education and was commissioned as a 2nd LT. in the US Army in June of 1961. After spending most of the summer at home and on vacation in Colorado he received his orders to report for military service in the US Army. In November of 1961 he reported to Fort Benning, GA where he took Officer Training, and attended Airborne and Ranger schools. He served in the Infantry for one year, being stationed in Korea. Next he was stationed for a short time at Fort Benning, before attending helicopter flight school at Fort Wolters, TX. After attending Transportation Officers school at Fort Eustis, VA he was stationed as a Company Commander of a Transportation unit at Fort Story, VA. That assignment was followed by six months of Spanish language instruction at the Presidio of Monterey, CA.

Richard Edson Henthorn and Melva Esther Marquinez Marry

Dick used his Spanish language while on duty in the Panama Canal Zone and during a six month detail to the United States Agency for International Development in Lima, Peru. While in Panama he met his wife, Melva Esther Marquinez, born on 17 Jan 1943 in Volcan, Bugaba, Chiriqui, Republic of Panama, a daughter of Digno Emerito Marquinez and Agustina Vasquez. They were married on June 17, 1967 in Newport News, Newport News, VA. He attended a second Transportation Officers course at Fort Eustis, VA before being sent to Vietnam.

A Granddaughter Is Born

After the tour in Vietnam he returned to an assignment at Fort Belvoir, VA. During the time that Dick and Melva were at Fort Belvoir, my granddaughter, Cynthia Elena, was born on 20 Aug 1969 at Alexandria, Fairfax, VA. At the end of 1969 Dick was discharged from the Army. They elected to remain in Washington, DC where he was employed in various data processing jobs at NASA, the Department of Commerce and the Library of Congress.

Return to Nebraska

In 1971, I sold my home in Wichita and prepared to move to Lincoln, NE. The church gave a Coffee between the services to say good-bye. Dee Shirmer, who had worked with me in the library, gave a dinner party in my honor at her home. About 20 ladies attended.

In Lincoln I rented a duplex at 2950 North 58th Street from the Finkes, who lived across the court in another duplex. It was nice to once again be near my sisters; Amy, Fern, Ethel, Vi, and Ellen and the brothers-in-law.

In October 1987, Dick came for a visit and helped me shut down my apartment in the duplex that I had called home for 16 years. I chose to move about a mile to a home operated by Gail and Lucille Ingerwerson where I lived with two other ladies. Later I moved to Tabitha Home on the corner of 48th and Randolph, in Lincoln, NE.


On Saturday, 16 Apr 1994, Ruth Evelin (Carlson) Henthorn passed away at Tabitha Home, in Lincoln, Lancaster Co., NE at the age of 93 years, 22 days. Her funeral was held at her church, the Evangelical United Lutheran Church, 5945 Fremont Street, Lincoln, NE 68507-1623 on 21 Apr 1994. Rev. Robert C. Stenson officiated. Ms. Denice Hoops was organist. Mr. Allan Pearson, son of Ruth's cousin Hattie Pearson, was soloist. He sang, beautifully, "In The Garden." The congregation sang, "Abide With Me," and "How Great Thou Art." All three musical selections had been made by Ruth. The Lessons were: Romans 8:31-39 and John 14: 1-3. The 23rd Psalm, was read, in unison, by the congregation. Memorial suggestions were: Evangelical Lutheran Church, Tabitha Home, Alma Lutheran Church at Mead, NE or the donor's favorite charity. Roper and Son Mortuaries, Lincoln, NE was in charge of arrangements. Burial was at the Alma Lutheran Church west of Mead, Saunders Co., NE.

Besides her husband, Edward Charles Henthorn, and first child, Ruth Henthorn was preceded in death by:

Ruth was followed in death by:

Ruth was a devote member of the Lutheran church all of her life. She influenced the lives of many children in the schools of Nebraska and Kansas during her teaching career which spanned more than 30 years. She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt and teacher. She will be missed by all those whose lives she touched. May she rest in peace.


Publication History

Publisher was: Richard E. Henthorn; 5403 76th Avenue; Hyattsville, MD 20784-1705; (301) 459-0535.

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Posted: 24 January 2013