2010 Reunion


John F and Pearl Harlan Hullinger

HULLINGER, John F and Pearl Harlan
(This story taken from Early Settlers in Lyman County 1974)
(The first part of this story is taken from "Milestones and Memories," a family history written for their children and grandchildren by John and Pearl Hullinger on the occasion of their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary. It tells the story of their arrivals in Lyman County in their own words.)

   John: In March of l909 Father shipped an immigrant car to Vivian. He brought 8 horses, 2 cows, some chickens, machinery and household goods, and last, but not least, two boys, Elmer, 13, and myself, 16. Father had a pass so that he could ride in the caboose and take care of the stock, but we boys came along as stowaways in the box car. We had a wagon box with bedding to sleep in, and furniture and junk were piled on top. We had a big box of food-among other things, a whole cooked ham, to last out the trip, so we were fairly comfortable. As I remember, we were on the road about 56 hours. At first we really kept hid away, but got braver as time went on until at one stop a brakeman came along and I was spotted. Father had to give him a dollar to let him ride.

We got in to Vivian in the evening and put the stock in the livery barn. We drove one team out to our Uncle D. J. Hullinger's claim shack where our aunt fixed us supper. We slept on the floor. Next morning with uncles Robert Harvey, Stanton Hullinger, and D.J., we finished unloading the car and moving to the farm. Mother, Harvey and the girls, Pearl and Lena, arrived a few days later on the passenger train.

Father had been out here earlier and leased a farm. As I think back, I cannot understand why he ever decided to leave a nice home in Iowa and come out here to an old shack of a house and a straw barn, no well, and just a small dam that would not hold enough water for three months. I remember getting some oats and hay and putting in some crop. Then we moved to a better set of buildings known as the Ed Shives place which John Hulce now owns. We had a warm spring and some nice rains and the crop looked good with lots of grass and also lots of mosquitoes. Then in early June a hail storm came along and about ruined the crop. It was harvested: but I know now that it never paid labor and expenses. That summer Father bought a quarter section, now in Jones County, and built some shacks and a small barn, and moved there.

My first job was working on a sheep ranch, owned by Jim Haywood, for $30 a month. I was not supposed to herd sheep but being a kid of 16 I was soon ordered out with a small band of ewes and lambs, so I quit after two weeks.

Ed Shives ~ hired Harvey to farm but it turned out to be mostly bronc breaking. I soon got a job there and I also got some bronc experience. They were a pretty snakey bunch but we got along without any runaways. I did have one start pitching and kicking until she had lost all of her harness except the bridle and halter which were still tied to the other horse. I fixed up the harness and got them on again and went on working until quitting time. Mr. Shives was a good horseman and we got some good experience and "know how" from him. So we kept on working broncs and soon had the name of being good horsemen and broke many horses of our own and for others in later years.

My next job was hauling water for a big steam engine that was breaking sod with 9-plow bottoms. It took a four-horse team and lots of elbow grease to keep it going. On an average day they used 10 tanks (one held 12 barrels and the other 16) which had to be filled from a dam by a big old hand pump. That job only lasted a short time as sod breaking season was about over. I was glad for we got up at four and worked until dark. It was too much work for the 16 year old and hard on horses, too.

From there I went to work for Hod Shoop hauling hay. He had a big ranch and hayloader and we put about 30 loads in a stack, probably about 30 tons. It took about an hour a load. After haying I took a job for the winter, 1909-1910, which started early with a lot of snow. I hauled lots of hay and shoveled lots of snow. The snow got so deep I sometimes drove four horses and a load of hay over the top of fences. I was staying alone doing my own cooking most of the time. The boss was, gone from one to three weeks at a time, but they trusted me to look after the stock and I had no losses. I worked there for eleven months and only got to town twice.

I worked several places the next years. One was the L Bar Ranch, west of Vivian, then known as the McLarnan Ranch, now owned by Herb Smith. It was a horse, cattle, and hog operation. Harvey also worked there. This was 1911. McLarnan sold two carloads of horses that summer and we broke many of them. He had four men working there and we changed horses at noon, so there were 32 horses in harness each day, besides saddle and driving horses.

One of my first days I took four horses after a load of hay, one bronc and one a stallion with a mean disposition, named Jumbo. When we started downhill he started kicking with both feet and biting the horse on each side of him. I tied his head to each horse so he could not bite very well, but then he would kick. He had the front end of the rack all kicked out by the time I finished hauling that haystack, but I kept on working him all summer and he was going pretty good most of the time at the last.

In those days the stallions ran in pasture during breeding season. When Jumbo was in pasture if you went out on horseback he would come to meet you looking for a fight. He would circle the mares in to a bunch and he did not want you to drive them in, so we would take two riders. While he was chasing one saddle horse, the other rider would start the bunch running. Then the stallion would run for him and the mares. He would not stop for a whip. You had to try to outrun him or he would chew up your horse. Pat McLarnan shot him with a shotgun loaded with salt, but that did not stop him. Then he gave him the other barrel, which was loaded with com. That went through the skin and did stop him, so after that if you carried a pistol and shot it in the air he usually would turn back. As this horse got older he got to chasing teams that came along the road. One day someone shot him and ended his career.

In 1914 Harvey and I took some cattle on shares, milked 20 cows and sold cream. We stayed there three years until Harvey got married. Then Harvey was called into the army in September 1917. I was called in July 1918. I was discharged in February 1919, one of the last called and the first discharged from our locality. (John was assigned to "remount" duty, caring for horses intended for the cavalry. He contracted influenza in Newport News, Va., was very sick, and missed the first sailing date. The Armistice was signed on November 11 while he was in mid ocean with a shipload of horses. Their ship docked in France but the men were never permitted to go ashore.
John would have welcomed a year in Europe as an adventure, but the military gave no thought to such considerations. After World War II combatants were brought home as soon as new inductees replaced them.)

John: After coming home I soon called on Pearl Harlan.

 Pearl: (The "Black Hills Trail" story found elsewhere in this volume tells of her first summer in Lyman County in 1905. After proving up their claim, the family returned to Iowa. We continue her story from "Milestones and Memories.")

We came back to South Dakota in the fall of 1908 with an immigrant car loaded with fence posts and furniture. The claim was completely bare of improvement except the original shack. After a well was dug by hand in the creek bottom there was plenty of hard bitter water, clean and cold. People were leaving fast by then, so Marion, my father bought another shack and attached it to the first one. He also dug a cellar in that hard shale. The pick marks stayed in the walls for years showing how hard the digging had been. 

Post holes had to be dug by hand and there was the sod to break. He had one good big team and a trotting-bred mare and a little bronc saddle horse. It was hard grueling work for the horses and he took the best care of them he could. He was a horse lover and couldn't bear to work a horse with sore shoulders or one that was too thin. I remember hearing him say about breaking up the land, "Horses will never do it." He planted 40 acres. of wheat and it was very nice until it was hailed out. He also took a job of breaking sod and I went along to drop seed corn in the furrow every third round. It would be covered the next time around. I enjoyed that, as the weather was nice and Marion joked and we had fun.

As the years went by they added another shack or two to the house. Minnie was always papering, patching and papering again, so that it was comfortable and didn't look too bad inside. It had much tarpaper and banking up with dirt on the outside. There were some crops and some very good gardens, also chickens and eggs. We milked a few cows and sold cream.

I made my first wages by staying at the Boyles' place with Mrs. Boyle for a month while Clayton Boyle was gone. There were four children, Everett, the oldest, six, and Beaulah (Price), the baby. It was very cold with much snow, and I got homesick. It was just too rough to get home a mile or two away. I mostly carried coal and snow for Mrs. Boyle to melt. I remember running one of those washing machines where you pulled a lever back and forth and it turned a little wooden block with four pegs (as an agitator). I always got tired before the clothes got clean. Getting enough snow melted so you could wash was almost an impossible task, too. The snow you tracked in, mixed with the coal dust, got the clothes dirty much faster than you could wash them. There was no other water to be had when the snow was deep.

(At school she entered and won a five dollar gold piece as second prize in an essay contest.) With that five dollar gold piece, which incidentally is the only one I ever saw, I sent to Sears Roebuck and got enough navy blue wool broadcloth to make a suit with velvet for a collar and material for a white blouse, shoes, and a 15 cent pair of brown stockings, also buttons and thread. My mother helped me, of course, to plan and make the suit, but I was learning how to get the most for your money.

Schools were closed for two months 
 n the winter, so there were only seven months at the most. The next June we were to take eighth grade examinations. We had to go to Presho so Mrs. Weaver took her son, Bob, daughter Vera, and me to Vivian to catch the train at three o'clock in the morning. About midnight we got up and started in a lumber wagon. It was a 14 mile drive in the wagon and 12 miles on the train. We got a little lost, I remember, but found the trail again. How we ever did prowl around at night with no fences and only trails to follow and not always be lost I don't know, but we did. At Presho we stayed in a hotel two nights and had the time of our lives. I made lifetime friends of two girls, Margaret and Florence Cahill, now Mrs. Adolph Ernest and Mrs. Art Miller. I managed to pass the examination, but just barely. So I went back to country school for another year, which was wise, I suppose, but it made me 16 when I started high school in Vivian. 

In the fall of 1911 we started to school in Vivian. There were two rooms in the school. The first five grades were in the lower room and the sixth to the tenth in the upper. I had a lot of fun and didn't study very much. We had a basket social and made enough to buy a basketball, Vivian's first, with baskets set up in the school yard. 

In the spring our teacher suggested we take teachers' examinations. I was still only 16 and you were supposed to be 18 to teach. But several of us went and I innocently went, too. Most of the girls were older and I had no idea that I would have to say I was a year older than I was and sign my name to it. I think my folks didn't either. I didn't have nerve enough to get up and walk out so I sat there and subtracted and added to try to get the right birthdate down and suffered. Then I was unlucky enough to pass with the very lowest grade certificate. So the folks were very proud of me and I went out to get a school, just barely 17, and get a school I did - seven months at $40 a month, down on White River at the mouth of Williams Creek.

There were seven pupils, the oldest a year younger than I and much wiser in arithmetic. I had a beginner, too, with out the foggiest notion of how to teach him except what I had observed from the teachers I had had.

I was homesick and scared and then someone "told" on me and the Superintendent came. As I look back I know she knew all about me, but I didn't know it then. I "confessed," of course, and she went to see Schervems, where I boarded, and they stuck up for me and thought I was doing very well. So she said I should keep on until she sent a teacher to take my place. Each week I thought would be my last, but no one came.

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