Title: Follett Family Records and Interviews
Title: Riverside Cemetery correspondence, Fargo, ND
Title: Find A Grave
Note: N4 My grandmother, known as "Birdie", grew up on the Johnson farm in North Dakota where her mother was working as a hired hand and cook, after her mother Martha’s marriage or relationship with Bert Enggren (in Minneapolis/St. Paul) had disintegrated.
At some point Martha married the farmer, Even Johnson and he adopted Birdie. She graduated from Moorhead State Teachers College and married my grandfather Leland after having taught school in Minnesota for a couple of years. She died of a sudden heart attack in Scottsdale, AZ. They were walking out of a restaurant and "dropped dead" according to my grandfather, who grieved for many years after that.
She had said that their retirement years were the happiest of her life, because she enjoyed travelling with my grandfather to various places "in the sun" during the winters, to California and Arizona and Florida, where they spent time with friends and golfed. ____________________________________
Following is a Bio I prepared in the 1990s after performing some family tree research with family:
BERTHA JEANNETTE "BIRDIE" ENGGREN JOHNSON
My grandmother Bertha Jeannette "Birdie" Enggren was born on Feb. 5, 1891 in Minneapolis, MN. to Martha Mehus Enggren and Bert Enggren. Her parent's marriage did not last long and they apparently divorced. She and her mother made or worked their way to the Moorhead, MN. area where her mother did work as a hired hand, apparently on Even Johnson's farm. Gramma recalled being brought up on a farm and learning "hired hand Norwegian" before she learned English.
Her mother Martha eventually married Even Johnson, who adopted Gramma. Even was much older than Martha and had not learned to read or write but could do figures (arithmetic) in his head. He was a fairly successful farmer and Dad thinks he may have also speculated in land. Martha apparently married for love the first time and for security the second, but she took good care of Even. They lived in Moorhead, MN. at the Johnson home at 119 So. 4th Street, and Gramma apparently went to school in Moorhead.
Gramma had no natural siblings, but Even Johnson had children by his first marriage, and Dad says there was a daughter Oline Johnson Hanson (?) that Gramma did not get along with much. Oline may have resented her father's second marriage and the fact that he had left a 1/2 section of land to Martha when he died, which Gramma later inherited.
Gramma attended Moorhead State Teachers College, and received a 2 year degree and taught school at a town somewhere in Minnesota for awhile. She was married to Leland Carl Follett on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 1914 in Moorhead, MN. by a priest of the Episcopal Church. Their attendants were Lynn Stambaugh and Enid Erickson, who were their close friends in Moorhead and who later got married themselves. (Per Dad, Lynn later became National Commander of the American Legion.) Gramma used to remark that it was not real smart to get married on Christmas, because then on anniversaries one present instead of two would serve the purpose.
Grampa Lee and Gramma Birdie lived in Sabin, Mn. where Grampa worked as the Cashier at the Bank and was nick-named "Chink" by the locals because his eyes looked a little slanty. (My sister Nancy has run into people that knew him and to the present time believed he was Chinese! After all, his name was Lee!) They had a house built for them in Sabin around 1915 or 1916 which is still there.
Gramma was 25 years old when my Dad Robert was born in 1916 and 30 years old when my aunt Janice was born in 1921. After Gramma's mother Martha died in 1924, they remodelled the Moorhead house at 119 4th St. So. and lived there between 1924 and 1930. In 1930 the Bank failed and Grampa lost his job, but he found another in Wisconsin, so the family moved. They sold the Moorhead house in 1930 to a local butcher, L. Lague, for $3,000.
Grampa did work as a receiver for failed banks in Wisconsin at Shell Lake and Mosinee and later got a job for the FDIC which was was cut short soon after they moved to Appleton, Wi. That was mid-1934 and Dad says the FDR administration found out he was a Republican and so got rid of him. Being out of work in the depths of the Depression was hard on Grampa and so Gramma wrote to Grampa's brother Clarence "C.O." in Fargo about finding a job for Grampa Lee there.
In 1935, the family moved back to the Fargo-Moorhead area, and Grampa went to work with his brother C.O. at Smith, Follett & Crowl wholesale drygoods store. His position was Credit Manager and he made $150/mo. The family rented property in Fargo between 1935 and 1942. They lived at: 504 14th St. So., 102 So. 9th St. (Wellington Apts.), and 1041 - 8th St. No. in Fargo. Then, in 1942 they bought the house that I remember at 1613 So. 9th St.
C.O. provided in his will that Grampa could buy out his controlling stock, which he did when C.O. died in 1947. He was only able to do this was with the help of Gramma Birdie, who had to sell the land she inherited from her mother and Even Johnson.
Grampa retired in 1956 after recovering from some health problems and surgery (?). He and Gramma then began taking their winter trips to warmer, more hospitable climates. Grampa golfed and I think Gramma was involved in bridge clubs and I got the impression they either went south with friends or knew alot of people where they wintered. Gramma told Dad these were the best years they had, in part because they had no more money worries and she enjoyed going south in the winter.
But with Grampa barely five years in retirement, Gramma Birdie apparently had a heart attack and dropped dead after she and Grampa had just left a restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ. She died on the sidewalk there on Thursday, Feb. 22, 1962. She was 71 years old.
(I was only 10 years old at the time and remember getting out of school with my sisters and brother to go to her funeral. We were rough-housing in the car on the way to the funeral and acting crazy, because it was so fun to be out of school. I don't think any of us little ones really understood how sad the occasion really was, or how hard it was on Dad and Grampa. But I do recall suddenly noticing Dad’s sad face in the car and I came to realize the harsh finality of that occasion.)
I recall Gramma as a petite but strongly built woman with grey/white hair, who was always empeccably dressed, usually in a shirtwaist style dress and always had her mid-length hair perfectly done. She always seemed very intelligent to me, and I was kind of in awe of her. She was not an overly "gushy" Gramma, but seemed to enjoy having the grandkids over as long as it wasn't TOO often. We were a rambuncious lot to have around. She was also a good gardener and kept the back yard of their house beautifully planted as I recall. And the inside of the house was always beautifully decorated and furnished. Of particular fascination to us young'uns was the silver tea service she kept so bright and shiny in the dining room. We'd never seen anything like that except in movies set in English mansions. I think in general all of us kids tended to think of our Gramma as a very "classy" lady. And I recall that she had very striking and beautiful silvery blue-grey eyes. ____________________________
1910 U.S. Census:
Name: Bernice Johnson Event Type: Census Event Year: 1910 Event Place: Moorhead Ward 2, Clay, Minnesota, United States District: 62 Gender: Female Age: 18 Marital Status: Single Race: White Race (Original): White Relationship to Head of Household: Stepdaughter Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Stepdaughter Birth Year (Estimated): 1892 Birthplace: Minnesota Immigration Year: Father's Birthplace: Sweden Mother's Birthplace: Minnesota Sheet Number and Letter: 11B Household ID: 217 Line Number: Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Affiliate Publication Number: M1283 GS Film number: 1374706 Digital Folder Number: 004330217 Image Number: 00485
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace Even Johnson Head M 75 Norway Martha Johnson Wife F 43 Minnesota John Johnson Son M 39 Minnesota Olena C Johnson Daughter F 23 North Dakota Bernice Johnson Stepdaughter F 18 Minnesota
Citing this Record: "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2LK-VZ8 : accessed 9 September 2015), Bernice Johnson in household of Even Johnson, Moorhead Ward 2, Clay, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 62, sheet 11B, family 217, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,374,706. ______________
Info from findagrave.com:
Jeannette Follett Birth: 1891 Death: 1962
. . . Burial: Riverside Cemetery Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota, USA Plot: Southpark Block 8 Maintained by: bonfoll Originally Created by: sleuthesthedead Record added: Aug 22, 2012 Find A Grave Memorial# 95774163.
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