A Plowing Bee in Sargent County, ND about 1955

(Or maybe there were two of them?)

Pictures and narrative furnished by Don Erickson

The four pictures that follow are a set. This was a plowing bee that was held in October or November 1955, at the farm of Marvin Pearson, while he was in the hospital in Fargo with polio. When a farmer became sick or injured, the neighbors would often pitch in to take care of major jobs like the fall harvesting or plowing.


Sharon and Duane Lock of Forman, plus others, helped with the identification of most of the people on these pictures. Standing, left to right are Walt Josewski, Casper Thompson, John Baumchen, Donald Petterson, Michael Harles, Ollie Taylor, Junior Bilben, Vince Nogowski, Bonny Shasky, ____?. Kneeling, left to right, Harvey Shasky, (supposedly) Donald Erickson, Duane Lock, Martin Lock, Rudy Anderson, Erving Preble, and Eugene Miller. Click on the picture for a larger version.

I say "supposedly" by my name, since at that time I was in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Carswell AFB, Texas. Plus, I do not remember this event at all. I also recognize that my memory is not as good as it used to be, so maybe it is me. It looks like me. Maybe this was not in 1955. Any ideas and/or further identification?


These are some of the women who had the job of cooking to feed the people doing the plowing. Left to right is Ethel Thompson, Gertrude Preble, Elsie Anderson, Myrtle Erickson, and Leona Josewski.


Nine tractors with plows lined up ready to start.


A lot of land can be plowed in a hurry with a crew like this. The local paper listed almost 50 names that were involved with this project. Marvin Erickson (my brother) says: "This photo was taken on the north quarter-section of the Erickson Farm, with the Armstead farm far off in center background." Don's comment: "If so, then this was not a plowing bee at Marvin Pearson's farm, or we have pictures of two different plowing bees mixed up. If my brother is right, then this picture was taken 2 miles south of Forman, just south of highway 11. Highway 32 is beyond the tractors, and the Armstead farm can be seen in the background to the west."

If anyone can add to this story, please let us know.

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Char Kibbie
Sargent Co., NDGenWeb Coordinator