NameMilton Franklin SMITH
Birth26 Aug 1924, Slayton, Minnesota Age: 89
OccupationRural Mail Carrier, then U.S. Postal Inspector
FatherLincoln Howard SMITH (1896-1958)
MotherEvangeline Louise LINGEN (1902-1992)
Misc. Notes
Note from Michael J. Smith:
The following history was written by my father, Milton Smith, in the winter of 1999, and sent to all of his children. In addition, Dad wrote many other articles on his childhood, and growing up in Alexandria, South Dakota during the 1930’s, in the middle of the Great Depression. You’ll find these other articles down further in this family history. This is my father’s story, in his own words:


I, Milton Frankling Smith, was born August 26, l924 in the Slayton County
Hospital, Slayton, Minnesota. My father Lincoln and my mother Evangeline
lived in St.James , Minnesota, along with my two older brothers, Lydell and
Robert.

Lincoln was a conductor on the Milwawakee Railroad. His run was from St.
James, Minnesota to Mitchell, So.Dak. In l929, at the stock market crash,
Lincoln was terminated from the railroad and the family moved to Mitchell,
So.Dak. where father went to work for the city of Mitchell in the Municipal
Light Plant.

When he was terminated from the Light Plant (I suspect because he had a
drinking problem), the family moved to a farm near Fulton, So.Dak. Dad was
hired as the straw boss for a large farm and cattle company which also ran
several thousand sheep. His main job was to run a large steam engine used for
the huge tracts of land to be worked. (Incidentally, the day I was born, dad
was called away from a threshing bee and they had to shut down since no other
licensed engineer was present. In those days you had to be an licensed steam
engineer to operate the equipment) He did this work in addition to his job
with the railroad.

Lydell, Bob and I, who was a first-grader, attended a country school called
Plano.(Somewhere I have a picure of the old school. It burned to the ground
several years ago) It was about 4 and 1/2 miles from the farm. We rode a
covered wagon-type bus pulled by a draft team of horses. In the winter it was
heated by a small stove. Our mother packed our lunches everyday in Karo syrup
pails. The ride each way took well over an hour.

In the summer us boys played in the huge barn. We would take turns riding the
manure carrier. It was a huge bucked mounted on a rail and extended from
inside the barn to approximatly l00 feet down the hill. We would all get in,
give it a push and rode it down to the end where it tripped automatically and
dumped us in the shit pile.

We had a small creek called Rock Creek, running past the farm. A bridge
spanned the creek over a deep hole. One summer day Lydell, Bob and I were
playing on the concrete wall when somehow I fell into the deep hole. I was
drowning when Bob grabbed a tall sunflower stalk and pushed it into the hole.
Somehow, I grabbed the stalk and the hauled me to safety.

On the farm we had an arteseon well. It was a real gusher, filling a full
eight inch pipe. It was located down a small hill and about 1/8 of a mile from
the farm house. It was our job to haul all the household water, including
water for the washing machine. It was almost a full time job and when mother
washed clothes we boys took turns operating the geared lever on top of the
machine which kept the tub turning to wash the clothes.

Another job was to wind the clothes wringer as mother would run the clothes through the rollers. The second year we finally got a washing machine with a gas engine. The machine was placed in the house but the pipes carrying away the smoke and fumes was run out a window.

Another summer job was running about a thousand sheep to the stockyards in
Fulton. It was about seven miles to town which took the greater part of a day.
We followed them on foot and our big treat was to get to eat with the farm
crew at the conclusion of the drive.

One day we were sliding down the roof of a machine shed. On one of my slides
I slid over a large protruding nail. It ripped a seven inch gash on my left
leg. The nearest doctor was about l4 miles away. Mother bandaged that cut
and took care of it although it really needed stitches. Anyway, I still have
a very large scar to remind me of that day.

Father Lincoln took a job a road grader operator for Hanson County. We moved
to the little town of Fulton where I entered the third grade. Not much to do
in a little town so we spent our summers swimming in the stockponds and riding
the neighbors horses. We rode hell out of them and always bareback. One day
we found some dynamite caps. We didn't know what they were at the time so one
of our buddies, He was the preachers' son, was rubbing one on the bricks of
the bank building. It exploded and he blew out his eye. We kids thought all
hell would break loose because of this, but no one got into trouble. Another
day we were chasing gophers. Mine run beneath the grates of the school
basement winddow. Three of us struggled to lift the grate. Just as we raised
it, the other two dropped their end. The grate came down on my leg scraping
the meat right to the bone. I still have the scar to remind me of the gopher
hunt.

In l933-34 we moved to Alexandria where dad continued to work for Hanson
County Road dept. We rented a l0 room house for eight dollars a month. Us
kids immediately went to work shoveling coal for the implement company. We
would unload a boxcar of coal to pay for the cost of heating the big house.
We also went to work for Flanagan Dairy. We delivered milk around town and
our pay was all the milk we needed for subsistence. Two of us, one on the left
running board and one on the right would hussle the milk up to the houses and
collect the bottles from the previous day.They had a l934 Ford sedan and we
carried the milk on the back seat.

One of my best friends who was also
fourteen years old was helping deliver milk on a cold snow driven day. We
stopped on the highway and he, being on the right side of the car, came around
the back and started across the highway without looking. He was hit by a car
and thrown about 40 feet. I helped pick him up to take him to the doctor. He
only lived for about 3 hours from very bad internal injuries.

We moved three more times in Alexandria, always to a little better home. I
attended grade 3 to grade ll at the Alexandria, Public School. I worked every
summer for various farmers in the area. One summer I worked for a well-to-do
farmer near Ethan, So.Dak.. When he brought me to town at the end of the
summer the carnival was in town. When I took my battered old suitcase out of
the car, I sat it down expecting him to pay me for the summers' work. The
tight son-of-a-bitch handed me two dimes. Twenty cents represented my total
summer work and I knew I had to buy some clothes for school. Somehow, I got
by, thanks to some nice people at the relief agency, who fitted me out in a
brand new macinaw jacket.

My last summer job was in Wells, Minnesota. I
worked like a dam dog from sunup to sundown and was paid the great sum of
$30.00 a month. But at least I had money to buy some clothes.While a senior
at the Alex Public School, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the
same time as Lydell and Bob. The date was September 22, l94l.
Spouses
Birth12 Mar 1927, Mitchell, SD
Death19 Aug 1979, Kalispell, Montana Age: 52
OccupationRegistered Nurse
FatherJoseph Mathias SCHMITT (1901-1966)
MotherLillian Edith LYMAN (1907-1982)
Marriage28 Jun 1948, Alexandria, SD
ChildrenLeslie Lynn (1949-)
 Sally Ann (1952-)
 Michael Joseph (1953-)
 Timothy Lincoln (1959-)
 Patricia Ann (1960-1980)
Last Modified 15 Jan 2004Created 26 Nov 2013 using Reunion for Macintosh