Thursday, July 23, 2009
Born November 2nd, 1898 in Tracy, Minn Cora was the adored baby of the family. One of 4 girls born to, Iver and Caroline, parents of Norwegian descent. Blond haired and blue eyed in a family of dark haired blue eyed sisters Cora stood out.
One year later her, her sisters and their father would lose their mother.
During this era widowers would typically marry again quickly if only to provide a mother for their children. Iver remained a widower for the rest of his life. Devoting himself to his children.
This posed quite a problem for Iver, who was a traveling salesman. What to do with the four little motherless girls while he was out of town? His solution was to send the older two girl to a boarding school in town. The younger two, Cora and Josephine were left in the care of a housekeeper.
During this time Cora contracted an almost fatal case of scarlet fever. She survived but the illness damaged her heart.
In order to take a job that didn't require travel Iver moved the family from Minnesota to Rolette, North Dakota in 1905. Cora attended public school until 1916 then transferred to L.L. Seminary at Redwing, Minnesota. This was the same school that all her sisters attended. 1918 & 1919 were spent at the University of North Dakota finishing her high school and university work. Unfortunately, she had to stop because she become ill from what was then called an aggravated leakage of the heart. That bout of scarlet fever was rearing it's ugly head.
In late February 1920 she took a teaching position in Williston, North Dakota. At this time teachers were mostly young women who lived with sponsor families. From the letters that were saved by her father and sisters she was happy with her job though not always happy with the sponsor families. In one letter to her father she complains that the woman of the house is always grumpy. She believed that the woman laced her corset too tight and that lead to her grumpiness.
On March 12th, 1920 she complained of a little headache. She wrote a long letter to her daddy, went to school and came home at the usual time. At 5:10 pm while sitting on the stairs looking at a catalog she slumped over and died. She was 22 years old.
She was buried next to her mother in Tracy, Minnesota.
If the amount of letters, photos and newspaper obituaries that were kept by her father, sisters, and niece (my mother-in-law) are any indication she was well loved and terribly missed.
Reading these letters and viewing the photos give glimpses of life in the Midwest of America during the early part of the twentieth century. The opportunity to see this part of American history through Cora's young eyes is something I cherish.
Thank you for letting me show it to you.