A note about how Norwegians got their names
A Patchwork of Memories
Paul Crum and Ingrid Kirkeberg were in the graduating class of Fargo High School in 1904. Ingrid was born May 12, 1883 in Cummings, North Dakota. She was a shy, pretty blue-eyed girl with dark hair and an oval face. She was secretary to the principal and checked attendance. Quoting from the annual “Cynosure”, “She was very good natured and never melancholy. Says she really loves every member of the class… . one of those whom we hate to leave.”
Paul was nicknamed “Crum”, “Soldier Boy”…"His pet expressions are in Filipino and are unintelligible.” Quoting from the annual, “He was president of the Athletic Association and the Board of Control, and the Athletic Review. He was center on the football team, manager of football and basketball, and managing editor of Cynosure. Paul was among the players who won honor pins and the letter.” In choosing Crum for Center, football precedent was knocked on the head as he was the lightest man on the team. However, he took care of the position in good shape, being always sure wit his passing. In open field playing it seemed that he was possessed with some particular power to be always where he was needed, especially in the kickoff, when in almost every case he was the first man to down the runner. ”After high school graduation, Paul studied with his father, Attorney Taylor Crum, in Fargo. He really didn’t want to be a lawyer, but he was the second of three sons, the older boys had chosen other careers. Paul thought he really wanted a chicken ranch. But he apprenticed with his father and in 1906, after being admitted to the Bar, opened a law office in Esmond, North Dakota with another young lawyer named Halvorson. During that time he made a trip to Olympia, Washington where Ingrid was teaching in elementary school, to ask her to marry him. They were married December 5, 1908, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Tacoma, Washington. Ingrid and Paul Crum lived in Esmond until they moved to Amarillo, Texas where Stephen was born on October 28, 1909.
In 1911 they moved back to North Dakota, and Halvorson was again Paul’s partner in Minot. There Irma was born, October 22, 1911, and Helen on January 31, 1913.
We were to choose our middle names later. When she was quite grown up, my sister chose Susan as her first name, and retained Helen as a middle name. When we were little, I called her Honeen, as I could not pronounce Helen. Later this was shortened to Honey, and it became a family name.
For my middle name, I chose Bixby, my paternal grandmother’s name, and Dad gave me the Bixby genealogy, which has since been lost. The Bixbys were originally from England, with an admixture of Scotch and Irish. Honey thinks she recalls a bit of French, but I can’t remember reading of it. In the genealogy there is a reproduction of President Lincoln’s letter to Mrs. Bixby commending her and sympathizing with her for having given five sons to the Civil War. The Crum side of the family were Pennsylvania Dutch. Paul was born in Andover, near Ithaca, New York on August 6, 1880. His mother’s name was Helen Bixby Crum, and she died in 1885 in Santa Cruz, California. Paul’s grandfather Simon S. Bixby was appointed his guardian that year, and he lived there until December 1895, when he came to Fargo to live with his father who had remarried.
When Paul was sixteen, he attended the Military Academy at Grand Forks, at the University of North Dakota. This, together with the mood of the times, was probably the crucial influence in his life. There was Hearst with his lust for war. “Remember the Main -The Hell With Spain.” There was Teddy Roosevelt, the hero in the “Rough Rider” hat and the blue polka dot handkerchief fluttering behind him, charging up San Juan Hill in “the most splendid moment of his life.”
The men in blue, and “the moment”, just before the stars and stripes went up, were immortalized by Stephen Crane. “Yes, they were going up the hill, up the hill. It was the best moment of anyone’s life.”
The year in the Philippines when he was seventeen remained for Paul the most important event and the dominating influence of his entire life.
To make an often reprinted story short, “The Boy Hero of the Philippines” as he was to be called, like most of the young men of the Grand Forks Military Academy, was possessed by a wild desire to do soldier duty in the Philippines but was refused because the recruiting officer knew his age. However, he simply left for Santa Cruz, remaining with his grandparents a few days. Simon Bixby refused permission to enlist, but in July 1898, Paul went to San Francisco and shipped as an ordinary seaman on the boat Andrew Welch bound for Honolulu. He wanted to reach Manila by the time the First Dakota Regiment arrived. He attached himself to the regiment, and served “well and bravely in all engagements,” according to officer’s testimony. Toward the end he was taken ill, perhaps with the “fever” as his grandmother feared. Death was ever present in the Philippines. With poor sanitation, casualty figures were obscured by deaths from disease. But the pine coffins led to Major Walter Reed’s identification of the yellow fever virus, and the poor camp rations to the Pure Food and Drug laws.
Nevertheless, Paul forever after believed he would die young. He often said he would like to be wrapped in an old army blanket and buried on the prairie in a pine box.
Paul served his country one year in Manila, although not authorized to wear the uniform of Uncle Sam. Later, Representative Marshall, for one, succeeded in having special bills passed by Congress in recognition of Crum’s service to his country while in his teens.
His medals include the McKinley Medal and the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action, and a ribbon for service in the Philippine Insurrection, 1899.
Paul Crum, attorney, later helped organize and became the first Commander of the first V.F.W. Post in Montana. The Homestead Act, making land available, drew Paul Crum to Old Scobey where he was an attorney and Land Commissioner. Among his clients were the Daniels and the Timmons. He filed on a quarter section five miles north of the present site of Scobey, and made arrangements for building and a well.
Honey remembers being told that we arrived in Old Scobey in 1913 when she was three months old, and I was two years. Stephen was three and a half. How long we lived there I do not remember, before moving to the homestead. But the years which followed gave us all some of our most precious and lasting memories.
Steve recalls, “The lumber and materials for our home were hauled sixty miles over prairie trails from the rail head at Wolf Point. Father had the farm home built in a limited size before we arrived by horse drawn vehicle. It was in the spring and the country was green and beautiful to me. There was a running stream for fishing. My first job was to pick up cow chips for cook stove fuel. I remember our small home during the first winter. All two by fours were exposed and there was the fragrance of the new wood. Nails between the studdings would overnight be covered with glistening frost. The pantry was always stocked a month ahead for storms, and I helped put a lamp in the window during blizzards so father wouldn’t get lost.”
Mother said our home was first built on the bank of the Poplar River in the valley. Then, because of spring floods, it was moved to the site on the bluff, which was level and had a good view of the valley and Stoney Point.
Dad planted a Caragana hedge around our cluster of little buildings, placing a bone at the bottom of each hole. Besides our house there were an outhouse, woodshed, barn and a chicken coop with willows nearby. Mom had Plymouth Rocks and sometimes Rhode Island Reds, and sold the eggs. Dad also planted Russian olive trees and honeysuckle. In the valley he had an orchard of sorts. The currants, gooseberries and rhubarb did well. But best of all, there was a clump of wild Juneberries.
Into this same valley, Honey and I would go early in the mornings to search for the Teenie Weenies we thought were living there under the wild rose bushes. In the evening, Steve, Honey and I would be at the top of the bluff to meet Dad coming in horse and buggy from his office in town.
Taylor was born on the farm on March 20, 1915. They sent to Minot for the same midwife who had delivered Honey and me. Steve was the first and last of us who was born in a hospital because Mother feared they might possibly give her the wrong baby by mistake. However, Dr. Collinson delivered Paul.
As soon as Taylor could toddle, Mom took him down to the river with the rest of us, and he promptly sat down in the shallow water in his diaper. Later, when he was walking, he wandered away one morning. They found him that afternoon over by Stoney Point. Dad said he would have had to cross the river to get where he was. He was perfectly dry, and no one ever knew how he got there.
Memorable times were the occasions we all went to town in the buggy with our horse Henry. Dad had his office built in the new site of Scobey in 1914. It was just around the corner from Collinson’s Drug Store where we enjoyed ice cream sundaes at little round tables. I liked visiting the office, a pleasant two room building with a rather stale odor of ink, dusty books, and tobacco, and enjoyed looking at the National Geographic.
In the winter, Mom used to go sledding down the hills with us. When there were blizzards and snow too deep for travel on the trails, Dad would stay in town with Selmer Oie, the banker. Out of tobacco during one blizzard, he put on his muskrat cap and went across the snow driven prairie to Biard Pittingers and came back with a small plug of chewing tobacco!
We kept warm with a wood burning range in the kitchen, where Mother was usually baking bread, lemon or apple pie, or oatmeal cookies. The cakes she baked would invariably be chocolate with butter cream frosting, or a butter layer cake with fudge frosting. A crock of beans, baked all day in the oven, was one of our favorite meals.
In the “other room”, besides the two bedrooms and kitchen, was a baseburner with isinglass doors, a round oak table and chairs. There was a leather chair and davenport, which served as a bed for Uncle Roy and Aunt Lillian with two year old Evelyn when they came to stay with us for part of one winter, while he was out of work in Oregon.
One Christmas, I wakened Honey to tell her there were angels at the foot of our bed. We soon found they were beautiful dolls, dressed pink and blue, the same colors Mom usually chose for us.
That may have been the Christmas we got our Edison phonograph. Many of Dad’s favorite records were marches and military tunes, and he used to enjoy walking the floor, carrying Taylor, and later Paul, in time to the music.
Spring was a long drawn out time, watching the rain drip, and waiting for the sunshine. In the summer Mom often let us use the contents of her trunk to play “dress up.” There were kid gloves and slippers, high necked white lace dresses, or with lace insertion and tiny tucks. There was a blue, watered silk drawstring case of engraved calling cards, scarves and brass buckles with semi-precious stones in the shape of spiders or butterflies. And a lovely soft red mull dress, which it was hard to imagine her in because she usually wore seersucker.
After the first few winters we lived in town in a little house next to the “Sears Roebuck” house, a big red house where the Dobbins lived, and where we had wonderful times. Mrs. Dobbins was always ready for impromptu fun with the children. I tasted Jell-O with cream there for the first time, and there was a party with a peanut hunt. Velma and the other girls showed us how to make May baskets, and we made them for years afterwards. We would go out to the hills and pick buttercups, bluebells and Indian Paintbrush. And there were little white and yellow flowers of which I’ve forgotten the names. These were arranged in the baskets over the candies before hanging them on the doorknobs of our friends’ homes. Then we would knock on the door and run.
When summer came again, back we would go to the farm. I remember the men who brought our things in the dray, looking around at all the space and stillness around our little farm, and remarking that it must be lonely. But somehow it wasn’t and we were always happy to be there.
The first thing we would do, after a tour of our favorite place, was to search for the toys and things we had left behind us. As soon as we awoke we would be out in the sun and the wind. One morning we found everything in sight covered with armyworms, even my shoes on the back step. Steve loaded all our playthings on his wagon to try to move away from them.
And I remember tornados or cyclones. Whenever Mother would see one of the dark funnel clouds, she would hurry us down the cellar where we would huddle until the danger was over. I can still recall the mixed odors of earth, potatoes, and kerosene lamp.
We used to meet the neighbor children, visiting at the Biard Pittinger farm from Indiana for the summer, midway between our farms and outline magical playrooms with stones and pebbles. There was a long deserted cellar nearby where we found broken bits of pottery and odds and ends to represent the contents of our cupboard. From this same farm, we used to get our milk and cream in covered tin buckets. It had a rich, sweet flavor unequalled in later experience, except of course, for Mrs. Watts’ cream and fifty cent-five pound crocks of butter, delivered by horse and buggy to town.
Another childhood memory was of the pleasant cool earthen floor of the original sod kitchen of the Pittingers to the south of us. I remember Mrs. Pittinger’s delicious homemade candies and the player piano on an upper level where Janel and Ida and the boys would sing old songs like “The Red River Valley”. And I remember the horseback rides.
The Hoke Smiths to our northeast were genuine, year-round farmers and, as in most cases, those who gave their lives to the farm were well rewarded. I remember theirs as a lovely place to visit, and many a happy time we spent there. They would have a crowd in for a day and the table would be heaped with good food. I ate rabbit there, and thought it was chicken.
Many, like my father and mother, who lived on the homestead only part of the time, usually gave it up as soon as the claim was proved up. Then they moved to town, and the land was either left idle, or planted and harvested by a neighbor for shares, which at least helped pay the taxes. My husband’s family had a similar experience in Havre, but still own the farm, always hoping for a bumper crop, to say nothing of the possibility of an oil strike.
About the same time Steve was ready for school, Dad bought a Ford touring car, and there were many more rides back and forth to town. When I was seven we moved into town for good, and I began school in the first grade with Miss Cudhie as my teacher. The year was 1918 and one of my most vivid memories is the day the entire Scobey School was to parade downtown to watch the burning of the Kaiser in effigy. While Miss Cudhie was explaining how and where we were to march, and trying to decide who was to carry the flag, I had a great desire to be the one who would have that privilege, and I never once took my eyes from her face. The rest of the day and the bonfire blur in my memory with the flag and the children chanting “Kaiser Bill went up the hill to take a look at France…Kaiser Bill went up the hill to take a look at France…”
Honey started school the following year, but somewhere in the grades she caught up to me as she was promoted, and we went on through together.
Dad and Mother bought a little white house on First Street. Later, All Saints Chapel was built across the street. Before it was built we went to services and Sunday school in the Odd Fellows Hall, the Rex Theatre, and then for some time in the American Legion Hall, which was owned by Dad at that time. Dad was one of the first vestry members and we all took an active part. Mother took her turn as Sunday School Superintendent and played the organ in the Chapel for many years. Before the mission came, we had attended either the Lutheran or Methodist churches.
We came back often in the years to come. Dad would often bring an old crony and they would re-live the old days and the Spanish American War.
One morning Honey, Taylor and I emptied our banks and went to town, first to the Variety Store, and then to Case’s Confectionery Store. The next stop, we decided, would be to cross the railroad tracks and go to the Old Man’s Store. It was unlike any other store in town, a shack really. Amid the jumble inside we found nickel Hershey bars on a table between heaps of denim overalls priced at ninety-eight cents. Taylor, who was extremely careful with his money, still had all his, so he was elected to buy. When the old man came back with the change, instead of returning it to Taylor, he carefully divided between the three of us. What the later outcome of this was I do not remember. I often think back to this example of the dedication and dogged persistence of those who are committed to Socialism or Communism as compared to the easy going and sometimes apathetic attitude of many of us in this Democracy. The “Wobblies”, those International Workers of the World, were ever present when we were young, and the IWW came in to be understood as “I Won’t Work”. But they were laying the foundation for the Anarchists, The Youth International and their ilk.
Elizabeth Grace (Betty), the only one of us with blue eyes like Mother’s, was born in Kalispell on September 2, 1921 while we lived there for a year. We returned to Scobey by train and Dad met us in Bainville. He had sold the white house and had the farm buildings moved to our property on the eastern edge of town.
Steve recalls, “Father gave me an account at the Egland Lumber Company, and I was allowed to add another room from time to time as the family grew.” Paul Jr. the last of the Crum children, was born August 23, 1923. Steve had a workshop in the barn, was an Eagle Scout, and excelled at building ship models.
Although the depression came along at the end of high school, before that even, Dad would often receive a bag of rutabagas or cabbages in return for legal services. When I was sixteen, I was given a horse by a good farmer friend of Dad’s, Mr. Kostanick, at a time when having my own horse was my heart’s desire. All that summer and fall I rode over the hills and prairies to my heart’s content. Even though I wasn’t allowed to keep him through the winter, the sadness at having to give “Bobby” back was forgotten, and I have always had the happy memory of that time when we were in harmony with all nature.
The pioneer days were over, and we were growing up.
Paul Crum Sr. spent his retirement years in a simple log cabin in the Flathead mountain country at Stryker, Montana. He read, fished and gardened a bit. His friends would come to visit him, and he enjoyed helping his neighbors with their legal problems
It was in Stryker during a visit to his Dad, that young Paul was killed in an automobile accident in September 1955.
Ironically this final tragedy brought Dad full circle, back to San Francisco, the place where he shipped out to the Phillipines as a boy, and which determined the entire course of his life. He wrote to me as follows: “I left here on September second with the body, and the boy was buried with military honors in the Presidio National Cemetery on September 26th. Your mother had her Episcopal rector read the service in the funeral home and at the graveside. The flag was given to your mother…” “San Francisco looked strange to me. I first went to sea from there in March 1898, in an old square rigger, in ballast to Tacoma and coal back to San Francisco. On my return from the Philippines in 1899, I was in camp with my regiment at the Presidio in early fall. It was a windy, sandy place then, and has now become beautifully landscaped.”
Medals issued posthumously to Private Paul Crum Jr., U.S. Marine Corps: American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Victory Medal World War ii.
Paul Crum, Sr. lived to be seventy-eight before his death at Fort Harrison, Helena. Honey and Morris were at his bedside, and arranged for his interment at Custer Battlefield Cemetery where he was buried with military and Masonic honors in November 1958. Ingrid died in San Francisco in 1965.
In this journey into the past, one central truth stands out clearly. Paul Crum had the true pioneer spirit. He was not afraid to stride out alone. First as a youth, across the vast emptiness of the ocean, to defend what he believed to be the honor of his country. Then as a young man with a family, into the equally vast and empty prairies, under the same limitless sky one sees on the ocean, to begin a new life. And Ingrid Crum was a true pioneer’s wife, ever ready to help her neighbors whenever there was sickness or need.
It is highly possible, that with the same spirit of courageous searching - with the desires and fetters of earth fallen away - they are now free to begin that most vital quest - the inner voyage into Truth.
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