Lately, I've been getting a lot of blog traffic from North and South Dakota. Did you realize that blogs can bring in people from anywhere? I've had people visit from countries I never heard of, for things I didn't realize they'd want (Arby's coupons in particular), but I didn't expect a midwest flavor to my guests!!

What makes me even more happy to see those of you from the Dakotas is that some of my family hails from Valley City.
A) Valley City, ND B) Lake Ashtabula

On my father's line, his paternal grandparents met in Western North Dakota, at school. They got married there and rode horseback across the state for their honeymoon to Valley City, where they lived. We have lots of German relatives from there, including one ancestor who married into the Cale family. The Cales have a long history in Minnesota, and I was lucky enough to get letters from the Minnesota state archive about him and his wife and her children.

Turns out, they were farmers who wrote meticulous letters talking about their crops. At one point, a child of the wife said they spent a week with them at their farm and complained they lived like pigs in their prairie sod home! Later, they moved to a homestead that is now at the bottom of Lake Ashtabula.
Johann Baunig and Elizabeth Howery at the homestead circa 1874
It is like a scene straight out of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou!

My husband and I did get to take a roadtrip from Florida through the state of North Dakota in 2006 and it was marvelous. We even drove through Valley City, although we didn't have much time to look around. (And I have also spent about a week in South Dakota, as well. Don't want to forget about the sister state to the South.)

If you are from there or have family there, please leave a comment. I would love to find out more about where you are from! Perhaps long lost relatives are you!!!


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