Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Frederick (GUS) Kleinschmidt Reminiscences

Early History at Blunt - by Gus Kleinschmidt 1937

Frederick August (GUS) Kleinschmidt was the second of ten children of August Kleinschmidt who in turn was the eldest son of Nicholas Kleinschmidt. Here are some of Gus's reminiscences as found in the Blunt Centennial Publication.

My father came to Blunt in 1882. The U.S. Land Office was at Huron at that time. On October 12,1882, father filed on a half section of land 2 miles east of Blunt. Our homestead was NE1/4 15-112-76 and our tree claim was SW1/4 14-112-76 which we still own. We moved onto the land April 4, 1883. We came from South English, Keokuk County, Iowa. We had 2 mules, 2 horses and 2 cows. You could get all the sod breaking you could do that year at $6.00 per acre.

I went to school in Blunt with May Cowan, now Mrs. D.W.March, Jennie Stone, Frank and Fred Pigney, Emma Airhart, now Mrs. Tracy and Mrs. Gropengeiser of Onida.

The summer of 1883, Blunt had 2 flour mills and a broom factory run by Mr. Baker. The Opera Block was 72 x 51 with 3 store rooms downstairs. The second floor was used for the Opera House. The Metropolitan Hotel was 3 stories high and had frontage of 60 ft. on each of 2 streets. It was opened for business about the middle of June, 1883. The Dickover House, of 2 1/2 stories was open for business about May 1, 1883.

I broke the ground for the Youngblood Park where the grove now is, at the north end of main street.

Blunt had 2 banks, the Bank of Blunt and the Hughes Co. Bank, both doing a big business. Wm. Brown, real estate, later built the residence across the street from St. Charles Hotel in Pierre. Dr. D.W. Robinson had an office in the Clapp and Son Drug Store. He later came to Pierre. N.E.Westover was first postmaster in Blunt. Chas. Burke had a real estate office. He located later at Pierre. Archie Cowan has a boot and shoe factory. John and Bob Barkley had a harness and saddle factory. Kemp Bros., books and general store, later located in PIerre and built the Kemp block on Pierre Street. Wm. Rowland, A.E.Butler and Grishom Jones Hardware Co. had one building 24 x 70 with 2 stories and one 16 x 40. W.H.Gleckler and P.F.McClure, big hardware store, manager Lawrence Mauch. This firm also had a furniture store later located on Pierre Street, at Pierre. Schouweiler Bros., general store, all doing prosperous business.

In 1884 Blunt held a county fair. The grounds were 1 mile east of town. They had a nice round race track. There were many exhibits.

>From the mouth of Medicine Creek on down the Missouri River was Indian Reservation. Chas. Barry had a log house about 3 miles down the river from Medicine Creek in the timber. At DeGrey there was Hank Jones and on the west side of the creek was Bill Gillen. In the lower end of the Big Bend Old St. John. These were all squaw men who had settled here in the early days.

In the early days we burned hay, flax straw, and buffalo chips in the fall by the wagon load and store them under a dry roof for the winter; when the snow was deep and we couldn't get anything else. Later we got wood from Chas. Barry, a squaw man, who lived down the river. We would go down and stay all night and sleep on the floor of his log cabin and pay him $1.00 per load for the wood. It would take us 2 days to get a load of wood. Later we used to go down to the mouth of Chapelle Creek and get wood from Bill Gillan, also from Wm. Ashley Jones, a rebel soldier who used to give us "hell" if we ever mentioned a Union soldier; so we had to be a little careful what we said when we were around where this old devil was. He had killed several poor fellows in his time just because they had let their tongue run away with them.

In 1896 we had an awful hard winter, the snow was over two feet on the level. You couldn't get anywhere, if you ever got off the main trail.

The first couple in Blunt, to be made man and wife was in the shade of the old lone tree, which was a cottonwood.

We had a neighbor who had a claim about 1 1/2 miles south of us. He had just on old shack, so he dug a little hole about 2 ft. square and 3 feet deep and put up a sign with this inscription on it: "These improvements might be better, and the water might be wetter, this hole will answer as a well even if water is not to be found this side of hell."