Mellette County, South Dakota
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Charles Vernon and Ada Virginia (Swan) Brunson
by Ada Brunson
(Transcribed by RB, with permission from the Mellette County Historical Society, from "Mellette County 1911-1986" published by the Mellette County Historical Society)

     Vern and Ada Brunson started their married life in Murdo, South Dakota, in ihe year of 1934. Vern was born in Murdo, February 10, 1911, and lived with his family near Westover. After his father's death in 1931, Vern continued to care for the family farm and his invalid mother.
     Ada came to the Mellette County area when she was three years old with her family Anzie and Ida Swan, and two sisters and one brother, from Irene, South Dakota. These were lean dark years for the young couple just starling out. Vern had a small herd of cattle, but because of the drought, he had to sell them to the government for $20 a head and calves for $6. So we left our log house and farm, which had been Vern's home, and moved our precious belongings to Murdo. where Vern worked for the county.
     Darrell, our first child, was born that fall, August 30th. Town life was not for us, so in the spring of 1935 we moved back to the Cody neighborhood. We moved to what was called the old John Smith place. It was up on a hill. We arrived at our new home with a sack of flour and a case of canned milk, our few belongings, and a baby.
     That winter was a rough one. The screened-in porch filled up with snow and a big came drift down over the kitchen table, and we had to shake the snow off the blankets in the morning. We traded our car for a team of horses and a cow from our neighbor, Rhinhart Weeks; then we tried farming a little, and pastured cattle for John Till. Vern worked for Bill Summers (our neighbor to the north who had a large family). He walked behind a one-horse drill, planting rye for a chicken a day. Many a day he went out without breakfast, if the chickens decided to lay their eggs later.
     Darrell (our baby) became very ill when he was a year old, so we had to borrow the car from Weeks and rush him to Pierre, where he underwent surgery. When we returned home our milk cow had disappeared and we never found her.
     In the spring of 1936 we had so much rain. Verna, our second child, arrived April 9th. She was delivered at home by her mother and Grandmother Swan. Dr. Bouza didn't arrive until the next day.
     Times weren't getting any better and the winter of 1936 was bitter cold. We had lots of snow. The mailman brought the mail as far as our place and Vern would carry the remainder of the route on horseback. He also tried to blade the roads so the mail could get through, but there were places where the snow was just too deep.
     Jeannine, our second daughter, arrived July 4, 1938. In the fall of 1938, we moved to the Bill Bauman place where we had a two-room shack. We had a good well but had to haul the water. We farmed and ran a few cattle. Otto Johnson stayed with us and kept us supplied with rabbit meat. There were so many rabbits, you could get them with a stick and a flashlight.
     Because of the snow, we had to plow our own road to the highway when Judy, our third daughter, was born. We moved to Dad's old place in 1940. In June 1941. Charlie William arrived, and on July 9, 1943, Darla came to stay. We were still farming and raising cattle and horses. We tried to raise a garden in spite of the drawbacks.
     In the spring of 1945, Frank Krogman told us of a place in Prospect Valley that was for sale. It was a sheep ranch owned by Bill Ruark. If we bought it we had to buy the 1,000 sheep, too. On April 25 we again loaded our belongings and stock and kids and moved to our new home. This was a new adventure, with the blatting sheep, howling coyotes and more cactus than I had ever seen in my life. Blown dust covered most of the fences. Vern and Darrell went back to Cody to harvest our crop and I was left alone with the sheep herder who went with the place. Richard was born November 20, 1945.
     There was no school nearby, so I moved to White River where the children could go to school, while Vern managed the ranch. Finally a school was moved in between our place and Derrill Glynn's and we moved back into the country. We had sold the sheep, so now it was strictly a cattle and horse ranch. Virginia Jo was born in April of 1947 and within the next few years John and James joined our family. Our family was now complete, five girls and five boys. As the children reached high school age, some went to White River and others went to Belvidere. We moved to Belvidere and I worked as cook and Vern as janitor. We still had a small cow ranch and ran a cafe and motel, in 1970 we sold the equipment of the cafe and motel and later opened a recreation center. In 1974 we sold it to Joe Klina and moved back to the ranch.
     When Vern's health began to fail, our son Jack took over the farming and ranching where he still lives today.
     My husband Vern, companion and helpmate for 49 ½ years, passed away at the ranch October 14, 1983, from a heart attack.
     Our family is somewhat scattered. Darrell lives in Rapid City, South Dakota. Verna in Hot Springs, Jeannine in Blunt, Judy in Nisland, Charlie at Belvidere. Darla and James at Belle Fourche, Richard and Virginia in Idaho. We also were blessed with 22 grandchildren and four great-grandsons.
     We lived through the drought, grasshoppers, beetles, and dust bowl, but still managed to raise our ten children. For this I count my blessings, one by one. I think it made me a much stronger person. Times were tough but we were happy.

Family Histories & Biographies - Brunson Surname
Brunson Surname
Surname List
Charlie and Sophia Louise (Peters) Brunson
by Ada Brunson
(Transcribed by RB, with permission from the Mellette County Historical Society, from "Mellette County 1911-1986" published by the Mellette County Historical Society)

     Charlie and Sophia Brunson came to this country and settled on a farm near Murdo, South Dakota, in 1901. Charlie was born in Iowa and grew to manhood there.
     Sophia Peters was born in Germany December 24, 1873. After the death of her mother, her father came to America with his family and settled in Lost Nation, Iowa. Sophia and Charlie were married in September of 18% at Tipton, Iowa. They lived a few years at Olin, Iowa, before coming to Murdo. In 1914 they moved to a farm in Mellette County, southeast of Westover, South Dakota. Nine children were born to this union, eight girls and one boy: Blanche, Emma, Leona, Bernice, Minnie, Stella, Mildred, Elsie and Vernon. Blanche, Leona, Stella, Elsie and Vernon are deceased.
     Charlie was a hard-working man, taking the ups and downs of life as they came, and caring for his family. He always had time to stop and chat with his friends and neighbors. He passed away in 1931 at the age of 69 years.
     Sophia was a semi-invalid for twenty-five years because of arthritis. She never did let this condition keep her from being cheerful, active and helpful to her family and friends (she was very special to me). She passed away at Pierre, following a stroke, on June 8, 1945, at the age of 71 years. They were truly "Pioneers" of the west.

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