Article about Alice Krumm published in the Winona Sunday News; Winona, Minnesota; Sunday, January 24, 1971
Mabel resident recalls the 'tough, old days'
By Burr. F. Griswold
Sunday News correspondent
Seated in her chair in her room at Green Lea Manor Nursing Home, Mabel, where she has resided for more than a year, white-haired, bright-eyed Mrs. Alice Krumm, at 92, recalls the experiences of her early life on the Iowa plains and in Wisconsin, as the daughter of a country doctor-minister.
Born Feb. 10, 1879, in the now extinct town of Idaho, Iowa, she is one of two persons now living who were born there. The other is Lillie Clancy, daughter of a blacksmith, now living at Hubbard, Iowa.
Mrs. Krumm recalls that with the coming of the railroad to nearby Hubbard, the people moved their houses and places of business there and in a short time Idaho became a ghost town. She began school in Hubbard. Two of her schoolmates were Arthur and Lillie Hoover, cousins of the late President Herbert Hoover. In later years Arthur moved to Grand Meadow, Minn., in Mower County. Alice remembers visiting him there several years ago.
"Allie" as she is called by her friends, remembers how she used to accompany her father, Dr. Philip Slack, in a horse and buggy, as he made his calls upon the sick. "I used to entertain him by telling of the gossip that I overheard between my mother and ladies of the neighborhood."
One night during a raging blizzard when her father had been gone all day, she recalls how a young lad rode horseback to their home in Hubbard, to seek the aid of the doctor for his sick mother. Arriving at the Slack home, the boy waited until almost midnight before the doctor came home. Then both started for the boy's home.
Her father was born in 1853 at New Providence, Iowa. He attended Iowa State University at Iowa City, and later the American Medical College in St. Louis, Mo. Her mother was the former Mary Ellen Page, a native of Galena, Ill.
Dr. Slack entered the ministry and became a Quaker preacher. At the age of 10, Allie moved with her family from Hubbard, to Friendswood, Wis., where there was a Quaker academy. A part of this building was used as a meeting house, served by Dr. Slack. "We moved into a house that had been empty for a long time, because there had been a murder and suicide there," she recalls. Her father kept up his practice as a country doctor after becoming a minister. He made about $2,000 a year, but often took a grain, a pig or some poultry for his services.
While living in Wisconsin, Allie's brother, Phil, 15, was accidentally shot in the face when his gun discharged as he climbed over a rail fence. As a result he was blinded for life. He was sent to the school for the blind at Janesville, Wis. While there he met his future wife. In spite of his handicap, he went to Edmond, Okla., and opened a small book store in the post office building. His business expanded to such a degree that he built a new building for his increasing business.
Mrs. Krumm said she had the desire to be a minister like her father, and gave recitations in various places while a young girl. Her mother was her speech instructor. One time while giving a declamation at the Boys Reformatory at Eldora, Iowa, there was a part in the speech, in which she was to cry, but she had left her handkerchief under her hat, across the stage from where she was speaking. Stunned at first because she didn't have her handkerchief in her hand, she walked across the stage, took her handkerchief from under the hat, and went into her weeping scene.
Her father accepted a call to serve the Friends (Quaker) church at Hesper just before the turn of the century, or when Allie was 16. Then they moved to Hesper from Valton, Wis. She remembers that the pantry in the parsonage at Hesper was a "regular drug store." Her father purchased his drugs from Dill Jones, a druggist at Mabel, and never wrote prescriptions for his patients, but gave the medicine to his patients himself.
While at Hesper he was attending physician at the birth of the present pastor, Guilford Street. He also married Street's parents. Dr. Slack served the Hesper parish on two different occasions, coming back in the latter part of his life, when he was a widower. He died in 1925 at Kedron, Minn., and his body was taken to Keokuk, Iowa, and buried beside that of his wife.
On April 10, 1901, Allie became the bride of Louis Krumm. "We went to housekeeping in a lonesome, God-forsaken farm back in the woods," near Cresco, Iowa, she added. Later they moved to another farm in that area, but hardships and setbacks seem to plague the Krumm family. One day her husband said "Allie you've got to take over, as I'm not getting any place."
"We will get a place of our own," she answered. So they secured a government loan and bought a 176-acre farm near Burr Oak, Iowa, which today is operated by her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Price.
Allie takes pride in the fact that she paid the tuition for the education of her two sons, Kenneth and Roger, at Luther College, by raising chickens and selling eggs. Kenneth also took post graduate work at Iowa State and now holds a government position with Conservation of Wild Life, residing at Fountain City, Wis. Her youngest son, Roger, took a course in library work at Denver, Colo., and is now at the State University in Gainsville, Fla.
Her daughter, Mrs. Price, attended college at Cedar Falls, Iowa, and is currently teaching remedial reading in the Decorah school system. Her oldest daughter, Mrs. Bernard Nash (Louise) now deceased, was an accomplished pianist and for many years wrote under the caption "Rural Roundtable," for the Decorah Public Opinion.
Mrs. Krumm, too, also wrote on various subjects for the Decorah newspapers. One time she spent three months in Mexico City, and often got up and wrote her correspondence for the papers in the quiet evening hours.
In addition to her three living children, she has 13 grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and a sister.
Active and alert at 92, Mrs. Krumm still takes her pen in hand and dashes off articles for the local papers.
Alice Krumm lived to age 108. Read her memoirs in the links below.
Introduction | Personal Memories | Quotes and Notes | Letters | Newspaper Articles | Unfinished Stories
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