Ahem! "Oscar" looks suspiciously like Adolph Stadem, so unless they were twins, this is really Adolph, appearing along with his brother with these two eligible young Lutheran ladies!--Ed.


The following is our tentative beginning attempt many years after their passings to learn what Adolph and Malvin Stadem were like as people. The charming and tantalizing postcard collection by Adolph gives some clues, though more clews or resources are needed than provided by this tiny selection, of course.

Both Adolph and his brother died relatively young, for Stadems, and lived together as bachelors and never married.

Was this by choice or individual bent or inclination, or does it speak of the dismal fact that most young marriageable girls preferred to get away from the farm, if they could?

Men, who could endure the hardships and challenges remained, but as they aged, their prospects for marriage dwindled.

Of course, the elder sons inherited the farmsteads too, and that meant they would be less inclined to leave what provided them a known livelihood and brave the unknown challenges of the city where many men competed for the same jobs.

At the least, on a family farm handed down in this way to a bachelor son (or two brothers, in this case), there was stability, and a peaceful, settled way of life you could count on. Those who ventured forth from that base might fail, and then who would help them, since they would be surrounded by strangers? But in a farm community of long-established Scandinavian families, many of them related, you could count on help in a time of need or difficulty--even to help build an outbuilding or bring in a harvest in touchy weather, or raise a new barn!

The Scandinavian trait that kept recurring in the males--that of a taciturn sparcity of speech that bordered on being tongue-tied--might not have helped reduce the stock of bachelors in the family relationship and in other families too. How many occasions to relax in young female company did they have anyway, growing up? There were mostly school and church-centured venues available to them, where they might meet elgible or pospective mates. Such venues promoted good manners and proper behavior, but they didn't always help melt the social awkwardness of young males who worked days and weeks by themselves with farm animals and equipment--and seldom got the chance of carrying on a conversation with a female other than their mother, aunt, or sister.

These are just thoughts of ours by way of explaining the noticeable numerousness of unmarried males, but perhaps more founded in reality back in those times than we may know. It is a fact that some young men on the farms never traveled more than forty miles from their birthplaces. The wars helped to change this temporarily, but not for all of them. So many young men might have known only a few young women in the critical years when a man yearns for a wife and family of his own, but once passed over this line, they probably sighed once or twice and then put the entrancing thought away as unrealistic and kept going doggedly on the farm as single men.

Sever Stadem Who Sent the Postcards to Half-Brother Adolph, Most of them postmarked Vienna, SD (on Left), with his brother Alfred Stadem, both of whom married and raised families, producing many, many descendants!

As for the younger brother Malvin, his initials "MS" appear on two corners of the wool carders that his aunt Bergit Stadem used on Plain View Farm for carding wool from their sheep to make blankets and fill the pillowcases! They were homemade, so he must have made them for her.




"Received your card but didn't understand what you meant by telephoning. I knew pa [Peder Stadem] was sick. How long will he have to stay in S. Falls? Andrina [Kristine Stadem Stene's only child; Kristine was first Stadem born in America, died in early twenties after her first child was born] went home today. Write soon. Sever."

2. Postmarked Vienna, SD, Feb. 7, 1910:

Mr. Adolph Stadem, Canton,SD. 2/6--1910

"Dear brother--Rec'd your card six months ago. Caroline [sister to Sever and Alfred by Marie and Peder Stadem] is in Soo Falls now. Andrine [only child and motherless] is at home. I am working hard and having a good time. Greet everybody. From your brother, Sever"

2. Postmarked Vienna, SD, Mar. 14, 1910:

Mr. Adolph Stadem, Canton, S. Dak. 3/13-10:

"Hello Adolph. Clarence is home now and he has a great big rifle. Andrine is down at grandma's [Oline Stadem]. Steens have moved to Duel Co, and busy as ever and I don't know when I will have my summer vacation. Greetings to all. Sever"


Malven Stadem must have been gifted in woodworking, for he crafted the woolen carders that Grandma Bergit used on the Farm, probably for years. They into the possession of her eldest daughter, Pearl, and we have since added it to the Heritage collection for the Heritage Center. It was with great delight I noticed the carved initials in both right and left corners of the carders. We have a picture of Pearl Ginther holding and demonstrating them. She and her Mama carded wool from the farm's sheep to make blankets for the family, which we will want to post here.

We have in the Heritage Albums a very old photograph on cardboard like paper that shows the plowing of the South Dakota sod with a huge steam tractor and plow. Adolph is in the background tending the wagon and tank of water to supply the steamer. We will try to find and post that picture too here soon. I believe it is in the Photo Album which we have to offer already.

Part II: Archives Bibliography of the Heritage Center

Bibliography started for the Russell Schaefer Archives/Library:

"In Loving Memory of Myrtle Waldow," is also offered here in the following link:

"In Loving Memory of Myrtle Waldow," by Ruth Stadem Harrington

Letter by Schaefers to Luther Svanoe:

"Bernice and Russell Schaefer's Letter to Luther Svanoe, June 19, 1994

Rangen Thanksgiving/Christmas Letter, 2003:

"Joseph Rangen's Thanksgiving/Christmas Letter, 2003"

In Loving Memory of Cora Elvera Fjelstad:

In Memory of Cora Elvera Fjelstad

Plain View Heritage Home Page

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