Wednesday, December 3, 2014

History of the Faribault Weaver Family and Pelican Lake- Tree planting, building and water scenes of Pelican Markee Lakes 1947 to 1969

1951 - 4 years after the cottage had been built on Lot 11, Sunset Beach, Paul H Weaver, looks almost meditative in the sand pit left after cement was made from the sand by the craftsmen who build the cottage.  The first image I found of tree planting by a Weaver at Pelican Lake.  A legacy that continues!
 Dad planted a mountain ash seeding he had dug up in the yard in Faribault, beginning a legacy of learning about trees and plants, some native to the region, and some, like the mountain ash, here I remember was European Mountain-ash, Sorbus aucuparia, which had been planted in Faribault prior to the Weaver family purchase in 1943. It had lighter orange berries, that the cedar wax wing bird favor, and did well in this location, despite the sandy soil.  The neighbors to the north east, the EJ Kiekenapps and the Relyea's from Faribault were owners-managers of the Faribault based, Farmer Seed and Nursery company, and encourage planting of non native and ornamental species . Peg Weaver had been an avid birder since taking an ornithology class at Oberlin College, and she and Pete Weaver shared that interest, continuing to notice and feed the birds, at Pelican Lake and in Faribault.

Markee Lake, ca 1948, looking southwest from Lot 11, toward the Saul Markee farm. silhouette of one of the Weaver boys wading and perhaps fishing. Paul H Weaver from  P-P 1943-52 album

I am visioning the arc of history of the Weaver family of Faribault, who, under the guidance of Paul Henry Weaver and his wife Margaret Glessner Weaver made friends with educators like Berne and John Foster.   Following  the lead of Faribault Educators from Shattuck, St Mary's and St James Episcopal schools they purchased  a lot from John Foster of Faribault on Sunset Beach, Pelican Lake near Merrifield MN, in the mid to late 1940's . The purpose of this blog page, is 1) to post photos from the era of 1947, when the cottage was built, with 2) comments from Peg Weaver in her memoir, published in 1994, Rememberings of a 93 Year Old Grandma, to provide a legacy for her six grandchildren at that time: (in order of birth- Kristen Derry Weaver, Valarie Brick Weaver, John Eicher Weaver II, Kenneth Glessner Weaver, Nathan Blair Weaver and Jesse Macrorie Weaver.
 Jack, (John Eicher Weaver), Jim, (James Cowles Weaver) with Virginia Weaver, second wife of granddad Noah Elwood Weaver on Pelican Sunset Beach.  Photo by PHW or NEW.
 Paul H Weaver (smoking pipe) Jack and Jim Weaver, ca 1947, Pelican Lake Beach.

Although we couldn't afford it, in 1947 we built a cottage on Lot 11, Sunset Beach, Pelican Lake, Crow Wing County, on a 100-foot lot that John Foster had sold us for the mere sum of $250, a lot that went back to Lake Markee at the rear. At that time and in our circumstances, that was not a mere sum. Bern and John had taken us to their Pelican Lake Cottage several times for weekend visits (See picture # 1, p. 13,1.). We loved the surroundings, the pine trees, the lake, the relaxed atmosphere -- AND THE LOONS! Introducing us to fishing in their heavy, iron boat with a 2 1/2 horsepower motor, we had no trouble catching a good mess of walleyes. Their cottage had no electricity, but a pressurized gasoline lamp gave excellent white light for playing bridge. We were convinced of the advantages of having a cottage at Pelican for bringing up children as well as for our own enjoyment.
Building the cottage necessitated procuring a loan of $5,000, which proved to be no problem when we applied to Roger Peavy at the Security Bank since he was acquainted with the area, enjoying bass fishing on Lake Markee when he visited the Cowperthwaits, whose lot abutted the one we were purchasing. The $5,000 was sufficient to pay for the cottage."

Rememberings "The digging (by hand) and construction of the cement foundation were done by Glen Handy from Faribault and some men from Nerstrand (a few miles from Faribault) who rented an old cottage on Lake Louge for their sleeping quarters. Using a small, gasoline-motored cement mixer they dug sand for the foundation from areas near the cottage, leaving two slightly depressed areas near the front of the cottage. An old Norwegian, Sigurd Brenno, and a younger Vernon Berg, from Lake Hubert, constructed the rest of the cottage, also entirely by hand (no power tools), following plans I had drawn on brown wrapping paper, modeled after the Foster cottage, with a porch across the front. Because we couldn't find enough windows for the entire porch (still shortages after the war, we were told), heavy shutters were installed at one end, making the porch very dark when they were lowered."

1947 summer construction, looking west toward white pie in center of front of cottage. "Our cottage's location cottage on the lot was determined by a handsome, tall white pine, which we decided to have next to the steps from our front porch. (See picture #2, p. Bp.) Because the area toward the beach had been recently bull-dozed, there were few trees between our cottage and the lake, only two clumps of birch in addition to the large white pine. Today that area is filled with tall volunteer white and jack pine, oak, maple birch and other trees. Our lot had no red (Norway) pine."

1947 view from the north east, showing the construction by the white pine...

More distant view from the beach in 1947, Weaver cottage construction.  
 Jim Weaver, weekend in 1947, when he and his dad, Paul H Weaver laid the brick for the fire place, with a test fire.
"Although he had never laid bricks before, Pete built a handsome brick fireplace at the west end of the living room, incorporating a Heat-O-Lator with built-in ducts for cold and hot air, providing circulating heat, warming the entire room, a device we had become acquainted with at the nearby cottage of Sesame and Ed Hatton, Bern Foster's sister and husband. Jim, accompanying Pete to Pelican to build the fireplace, used a pulley- system that Dr. Hatton had contrived to carry bricks and mortar up to Pete. (It was Dr. Hatton who laid out the location of our driveway from the main woods road to the cottage, placing it in part on the next door Kiekenapp property.)"p54  Rememberings of a 83-year old grandma, 1994, Margaret G Weaver
 Jack, Jim and Peg with gasoline cooking stove.

Peg's experience "Since we knew that we would have electricity in a year or two, the cottage was wired. The year after we built, the Rural Electrification Administration furnished power to our area. For an inexpensive stove, Mike Schultz (a Faribault neighbor who worked for Northern States Power) made us an extra-sturdy, two-burner hot-plate to put on top of the counter; for an oven we purchased an electric roaster. To heat water for dish washing, a strong arm was required to lift the heavy, waiter-filled tea kettles from the top of the hot-plate, which was several inches above the counter. Later, Iry Larson, a neighbor who sold electrical appliances, gave us small four-burner electric stove with an oven, a stove which he had received in a trade-in deal. We used this little stove until 1975 when we remodeled."

Before electricity, Peg with gasoline camp stove, in front of the construction site of the cottage. Here in 1947 are Jack and Jim, having a picnic.

 1949 Buick Estate Wagon of Faribault Weaver's and Ohio License 1951, Chrysler of Noah Elwood Weaver and his wife Virginia Magee Weaver.  Noah Elwood and Virginia would drive up from Ohio to be with Elwood's only child and their grandsons. 
Group of boys, including Weaver boys, Jack and Tom on top of a pile of saw mill wood.  Perhaps one of the Foster boys, Johnny or David on the left. 

Jim Weaver on the left, with perhaps Jack and Tom. at the wood pile, parking around by Weaver cottage, Sunset beach ca 1951.

Jim Weaver, Peg with Tom and innertube, Jack with Paul H Weaver cleaning the aluminum boat.1951
 Tom, Peg, Jim and Jack with "Pete" Paul Henry cleaning out the aluminum boat on Pelican Lake 1951. Photo by Noah Elwood Weaver, Ohio Grandfather.

"Pete", Paul Henry Weaver, at the sink, with the pitcher pump, before electric  pump up water from the sand aquifer. I recall there were electric lights in 1949, two years after the cabin was built

1949 Buick Super Estate Wagon, Tom Weaver, Paul H Weaver and Jim Weaver

Pelican Lake was ideal for kids' wading since the gradient to the drop-off was gradual, shallow water extending outward for about thirty feet. The shore and lake bottom were of sugar sand and the water was clear. Rarely, large leaches would be washed up on the beach, but these did not attack like those little fellows at Elbow Lake. Bern Foster said that there were no leaches at Pelican before Pelican was connected to the Mississippi by the U. S. Corps of Engineers via a canal to Lake Ossawinnamakee.
On the beach, Jim, Jack and Tom waded, dug minnow traps, built sand castles and made roads for their small cars with "road blocks" made from pressed wood. Since we could see the water's edge with no trees to block our view, beach play could be supervised from our porch. However, when the boys went swimming, Pete and I would accompany them, often two or three times a day. When the temperature was over 95 degrees, we frequently sat in the lake to keep cool. I was amazed how HOT the sand could
be. One very hot day, after much coaxing, I took the boys swimming in the early evening, only to be driven back to the cottage by swarms of hungry mosquitoes. Inflated inner tubes provided fun in the water. With Pete's help the boys nailed together a small raft and enjoyed drifting and diving from it. When older, they used the Sunset Beach diving dock and went to a swampy area to dig for clams
 The red headed son, Jack Weaver, 1951, with his darker haired younger brother Tom, digging in the Pelican sand. Note wooden boat of the Relyea family. Photo by Noah Elwood Weaver, in the P-P Family Album

1951, Tom, Jim, Jack Weaver, "Auntie" Ruth Relyea and Michael Relyea on the Pelican Beach 1951, by Noah Elwood Weaver...
Late 1960's,Jack Weaver, Nellie Jane Williams, and Harold Williams with fish from a successful fishing trip.  Jack had moved from Faribault to the Monmouth Illinois area, in 1961, where he attended Monmouth college. While in Monmouth he met is future wife, Nellie, who was attending Western Illinois Univerisity and her dad Harold Williams. They were married in Monmouth in the summer of 1969. Photo by Tom Weaver

Jack building a "minnow trap" 1960's . Jack, the only red head of the three Weaver sons, continuing the lineage from his mom, Peg and grandma Inez Chase Glessner, returned to Pelican Lake, most summers and winter holidays, to visit Harold with his family

 Jim Weaver, looking over from the ladder, and Harold Williams, working to repair the roof on the big Palmer cabin, during the time when all three brothers shared the Palmer cabins. 
The three Weaver brothers owned the Palmer cabins and managed them together from 1967, until the late 70's when legal work had been done to free up the easement that went through the 200 shore feet that Jack and eventually Harold maintained, as he built his own retirement home..
Photo by Tom Weaver

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