GERTRUDE SYVERSON GILMAN
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
My parents were very proud that their folks came from Norway to America. My father, Ole Syverson, came from Kongsvinger with his parents and settled at Renville, Minn. My mother, Gro Gullikson, came from Hallindal with her mother, Mrs. Ingeborg Gullikson and two other children, Aase and Erik. Mr. GuIlickson lost his life in a swamp around a lumbering area. My grandmother then came to America to live at Northwood, N.D., near her relatives. She became acquainted with Gaute Borgen; they married and had four children, Margaret, Ingeborg, Julia and Elef. My father started out at an early age to work for wages. He traveled around learning the carpenter trade and came to Northwood where he met my mother. They later married at Hatton, Nov. 28, 1890. They lived there, my father following the carpenter trade. My older brothers, Selmer, Carl, Oscar and Gilbert, and sister, Inga, were all born there. My parents decided to move near Minot, N.D., where my father was the first homesteader in McKinley Township, Ward Co., ten miles from Minot. His first power for farming was oxen. He helped other settlers with the building of their homes, also built homes in Minot. The rest of the family were born, on the farm, Bertha, Adolph, myself and Albert. The folks took us to Minot to have a family picture taken. We went in a three seated buggy, all 11 of us. The photographer had never seen a rig like ours and asked dad if he could take a picture with all of us in it. We had nice horses and were proud of them, too. The settlers all said that school is a must, but my older brothers and sister received very little schooling, they helped at home, and worked out for wages. We younger ones did finish the eighth grade and I finished high school. My brother Oscar said, "To college you go." I went one year, taught a year, back to college another year and after another year of teaching, I earned my North Dakota Life Professional Certificate. I promised myself not to teach more than one year in any one place. I taught at home a few years in different rural schools. The fancy came to me that I might like to teach in Montana to meet the Western lore of the cowboy. I applied to the State Department at Helena for a Certificate. I was granted an Elementary Certificate good for six years. Westward I went! I taught near Dooley and Malta and finally came to the cow country near Ekalaka. While teaching at the 0'Fallon School I met my cowboy, Johnnie Gilman. I taught there for two years. I went back home to teach as my mother had passed away and I wanted to help my father. I taught our home school and others in Dakota until 1938. 1 taught near Gladstone. We were married Nov. 25, 1938. 1 went back until Christmas, then my teaching career ended until in 1948. We lived and worked on different ranches along Powder River. We also had our family of three girls, Gloria Ann, Mary and Pearl. When Pearl was six months old we went to the cow camp on Powder River to work for John McNeirney and stayed there six years. I loved the old log house that we were living in and made a wish that some day we might have a log house of our own. When it came time for Gloria to start school, Powder River was between us and the Trail Creek School. During the school term she stayed with her uncle, Kenneth Gilman, and sometimes with her teacher, Mrs. Marion Pettus. When the roundup wagon pulled in for the winter, her dad would take her to school every day on horseback. She went there for two years. When Mary became school age, I went back to teaching. We were then living on the Clyde Brown place. Again the school was on the other side of the river. Our county school superintendent suggested that I teach the girls at home, using the State Correspondence Course. The next year it was agreed that I should teach a school and get paid for my work. From then on I taught in different schools in both Custer and Carter Counties. The girls were with me and Johnnie worked nearby on a ranch. When Gloria was ready for high school, we bought a home in Miles City. I taught the Moon Creek School and drove out every day, and took Mary and Pearl with me. I taught near town until the girls were through high school. During all the years I taught, I had to go to night classes, weekend classes and summer school to earn credits to keep my Certificate valid. By earning all of these credits during my career, I finally earned my Bachelor of Science Degree from Eastern Montana College at Billings, Mont., in 1961. 1 taught one year at Hines, Ore., in the second grade. Johnnie worked for Jack Peila, who had lived near the Moon Creek School in Montana when I was teaching there. I taught two terms of summer school in Miles City, one year at Custer High under Don MacLennan, and the other term under George Berges. The 30 years that I taught in all of the different schools will always be cherished as a rich life. Our whole family are so wealthy by the ties of friendship we developed over the years. Our girls have all married and we have 12 grandchildren. Johnnie and I are now enjoying my wish granted, our quaint log house home. An old-fashioned theme is the style of our home. I love to cook, sew, crochet rugs, play cards and read. Our greatest pleasure is visiting. We are grateful indeed, to share with all of our Cowtown friends such a pleasant place to live and the Western Spirit that goes with the people of the West.