PLAIN VIEW FARM, BRYANT, SD

"PAPA'S OWN STORY,"

BY PAPA ALFRED STADEM

PART TWO


ANCESTRY, AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND EPISODES, INCIDENT TO THE FIFTY YEARS OF MARRIED LIFE OF ALFRED AND BESSIE STADEM




Papa's Account of His Forebears in Norway and America, His Marriage and Founding of a New Home and Family with His Helpmate, and Other Particulars until the Watershed Year 1946


ALFRED'S SENSE OF PROVIDENCE

CARRYING INTO ALL CHANGES IN HIS LIFE


Often did he marvel at the guidance, the unsearchable ways, the means and the method employed by the ALL-Knowing God. He was led to attend Augustana College at Canton. Here he took a Preparatory Course. He stayed in Canton for one year, living with his parents. After working as farm laborer, railroad employee, cementation worker, and two years farming and "batching"as a single man, he was united in marriage to Miss "Bessie" Holbeck of Canton, S.D. on August 19, 1908. The marriage took place at the bridegroom's home in Canton by Rev. P.H. Tetlie.



In 1909, they moved out on Rev. Tetlie's farm, one mile northeast of Canton. Here they remained until the spring of 1911. On this place their two older children, Pearl and Bernice, were born.


CANTON CHURCH AND CULTURAL HERITAGE


Pearl was baptized in the original Augustana Academy Chapel of the Academy's main administration building [This historic, Sioux Falls granite-faced structure still stands in Canton, with a large commemorative sign detailing the history of the school, though the school is now defunct and the administrative building, Old Main has turned into a most beautiful retirement facility. Pearl, with her second oldest son Lorin Ginther, returned at age 99 to view these landmark buildings and house, and found the house where she was born still occupied, and Old Main now a beautifully restored retirement center. Pictures of her were taken with son Lorin at these sites.--Editors]. Church services were conducted there during the construction of the new Lutheran edifice in the city, Canton Lutheran Church [which is a showcase of Norwegian woodwork and carving and ceiling pictures inside the sanctuary--Editors].


BUGGIES, AND "GRANDMA'S WHISTLE BUGGY"

THAT HOOTED AND PUFFED STEAM


At this point we beg to take our readers back in history about fifty years, out on the Dakota Territory prairies and try to visualize the absence of roads, settlers, all few and far apart. The common means of locomotion was the ox team on the lumberwagon, but incidentally, a buggy could be seen and this little boy had learned to know this was a buggy. At about this time the railroad came through this part of the wilderness but could not be seen from this little man's house. However, from Grandpa and Grandma's house two miles distant, the trains running could be seen less than a mile away. It was one of rural life's great privileges to go over to Grandma's those days and upon seeing the train coming for the first time, this boy called it "Grandma's buggy," and then when hearing it whistle, it was quickly added by him, "Grandma's whistle buggy"--"Tude-buggien til Bestemor" in Norwegian.


A NEVER FORGOTTEN RIDE

WITH MAMA THE MULE-DRIVER


We shall try briefly to describe two unforgettable rides, the one about 48 years ago or 1890, and the other 29 years ago or 1909. Life has always got its duties as well as its privileges, and it occurs that the Mama had already earned the title as a mule-driver. On this one occasion when the husband and father could not take the time to go along, she hitched the mules to the lumberwagon, took her three little children went over to "Grandma's place" on some special duty.


BOUNCING BUCKBOARD GIVES BABIES

BRUISES AND BANGED BRAINS!


All went fine until the going home time came. It had gotten late, turned cold, wind blowing, children tired and sleepy after the eventful day. The team was hitched to the wagon. Now facing homeward, the mother and children thinly clad realized it was cold. So, well meaning but ill advised, before starting out, this little boy and his older sister Caroline were wrapped (completely) into a quilt and laid flat on their backs in the wagonbox, heads turned to the endgate. The mother then takes Sever in her arms and alights in front. The team like the rest must have wished themselves home and must have started out at a gallop. Going at that speed over the stony ground west from that place, (the same yet today--Stadems' place), no springs of any kind, the heads of those in the backend of the wagonbox bounced and clattered like the blacksmith's hammer on the anvil in spite of cries, screams, as on their part, nothing helped and no assistance was given. With the "wrapped in" discomfiture, no means of relief was given until we arrived home over the 2 1/2 miles of misery with battered heads and headache, still crying. Life has its ups as well as its downs.


NEWLYWEDS FARM, AND ATTEND CHURCH REGULARLY


1909 A.D., the year the big Lutheran Church in Canton was under construction, services were held in the assembly room of the then Augustana College at Canton [This College later moved to Sioux Falls, where it is presently flourishing as one of the nation's finest private colleges, that still professes faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Academy remained as a parochial high school, itself one of the nation's finest until it was closed in the 1970's--Editors] The newlyweds [the Alfred Stadems, Alfred and Bessie!--Editors] of only a year then living on the Tetlie farm less than a mile away, on nice weather days used to walk to service. On such an occasion like that, when setting back for home, they turned to go east, and then occurred...


ALFRED'S FIRST-HAND, ABSOLUTELY THRILLING ENCOUNTER WITH A MODEL T?


While the many were getting into their buggies preparing to go home, two men were seen down in the valley stepping lively and yet looking back and beckoning to us to hurry and to follow them. Looking up the road over on the knoll, we saw an AUTOMOBILE, standing on the side of the road with no occupants in it. Then and there it flashed before the mind that here is the chance for the first car ride in a lifetime. All excited, he gets his wife by the arm, first push, then pulls, and really never thought she could walk so slow, but arrived in time to get in the wonder of wonders before it stared out. It was amazing! It was unspeakable! The cushions were unsually soft. It all was indescribable! Yes, we had seen them but never expected to ride in one. The ride was only 1/2 mile but it was great! It was a two cyclinder Buick, no top, no door, but a windshield--owned by Paul Juel, who lived northeast of Canton. These men had also been to church, but did not want to drive up up closer so as to scare the horses tied up there, and were now again in a hurry to get started before they arrived.


WORKING UP TO PLAIN VIEW FARM


In 1911 the Alfred Stadems moved to Bryant, where they engaged in farming on Mr. Stadem's father's farm in Clark County, four miles north of Bryant, for eight years. In this home Myrtle, Cora, Alida, and Estelle were born. In 1919 they moved to their own farm, one mile west and four miles north of Bryant, in Hamlin County. This farm they purchased void of any improvements. Here they built a new home and other buildings. A large grove of trees was planted and other shrubbery. Each member of the family has helped to do a part to make it a more beautiful and lovely home. This farm may be easily distinguished because in large letters PLAIN VIEW FARM is written on the big red barn. In this home Arthur, Ruth, and Leroy were born. The school where the children attended was two and one half miles distant. The church of which they and the children were members is the American Lutheran of Bryant. Here the children [the three youngest remaining--Editors] were baptized, and all were instructed and confirmed. As they grew to the age, they were sent to Augustana Academy to take their high school education.


ALFRED DOFFED MANY DIFFERENT WORK HATS


While here on this farm, Alfred Stadem has engaged in many different vocations. For some time he operated a well auger machine with considerable success. He owned and operated a small threshing outfit (gas tractor equipment) for 14 years. He took a correspondence course in auctionering, and he has auctioned sales of all descriptions.


OASIS OF QUIET IN THE MIDST OF A BUSY LIFE

WITH SCHOOL BOARD, TOWNSHIP, HOSPITAL, CHURCH


The quietness of the home farm life is the most attractive to him. The privacy he much enjoyed and treasured. He has served as school board member, and many terms on the township board. He organized and directed a community band for many years. Most of all he enjoys and patiently serves his Master as Sunday School Superintendant. He could lay claims to the fact of having taught Sunday School for 25 years on his 50th birthday. He was honored with the trustee memership on the board of directors of Luther Hospital at Watertown, and all the offices in the church. He has been delegate to many of the big church conventions. He is taking acive part in the Young Peoples Luther League of which he is a charter member; He is also an impetus of the Junior League.


ALFRED THE PUBLIC SPEAKER


For a quarter of a century, he is a member of the choir. He is a charter member of the Lutheran Teachers Association; and was elected S.D. District President in 1936. In the same year he was a speaker on the program at Windom, Minnesota, on the 20th Jubilee Convention. He is often called upon for speeches and extemperaneous remarks. In his speaking and life he attempts to convey the joy of the Christian life and tries to point out the folly of trying to get around God [Having heard him speak at Augustana Academy in Chapel addresses, we can testify that he proved very popular with youth and the faculty, sharing his life experiences, seasoned beliefs, and godly reflections, while employing numerous anecdotal accounts that were filled with good humor and kept interest at a high pitch--Editors]. He has never fallen from his Baptismal Covenant and therefore has never experienced the greater conversion, but he is sure he knows he is saved and daily walks that full life with Christ.--Alfred Stadem.

EDITORIAL POSTSCRIPTS:

As believers in Christ, let us consider something vital. Can a Baptismal Covenant, however well practiced, save a soul past the age of acountability? Surely, the Blood of Jesus, attested by innumerable scriptures in the New Testament, can! Also, up to this point in Alfred Stadem's life (circa 1938), his life is described by the song, I'd Rather Have Jesus," the same sung by George Beverley Shea, in which the believer declares he would rather have Jesus than riches, fame, and earthly power and ambition; but nine years later, thanks to the marvelous way God used (after first allowing) the deaths of Alfred's son and son-in-law, his life would come to sing and proclaim:

"It took a miracle to put the

stars in space.

It took a miracle to hang

the world in place.

But when He saved my soul,

cleansed and made me whole,

it took a miracle

of love and grace."

Permission for publishing "I'd Rather Have Jesus" by George Beverley Shea being sought. Also, those visitors who wish to understand what sort of change came to Alfred Stadem in 1947 can use the links to "Papa's Letter Concerning the Events of 1946-1947." A supplementary view that will attempt to explain what was involved in Alfred's move from good works (or works righteousness) to Amazing Grace, or, in other words, what Conversion came to mean to a man whose eternal hopes were pinned to his Baptismal Covenant or Infant Baptism, will be dealt with in a second of the three websites called "The Prairie Farm and Life Beyond." Here is the question Martin Luther would put to us, centuries after he re-discovered Justification by Faith Alone: The "Bridge of Good Works," will it carry us to heaven? If anyone sought with all his might to gain heaven and assurance of salvation through good works, it was Martin Luther! But he realized he was a total failure, he found no such assurance of salvation, no matter how many penances he did, and even the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Rome did not gain him that assurance. It was only through reading Scripture one day that the light turned on, and he realized that good works would never gain a sinful man forgiveness and entrance into heaven: rather, it was all by Grace, the unmerited favor of God, which was granted us access only in Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross. This was the revelation that sparked the Reformation, starting with Luther's own conversion into a true child of God, as he believed on Christ's grace alone for his salvation.

For light on this most important question any human being could ever meet with in the brief span of human life, please read "The Prairie Farm"'s three sections (link given below) before going on to the third website titled "Stadems Saga Continues."--Ed.

LINKS TO YET MORE GOOD STUFF ABOUT PLAIN VIEW FARM AND ALSO PAPA ALFRED STADEM'S DRAMATIC, 180 DEGREE "TURN-AROUND":

THE PRAIRIE FARM AND LIFE BEYOND

God's First Little Acre (on Plain View Farm), by Estelle Stadem Rangen

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