Personalities: Roy and Lucille Fitz, Part 1

Sep 19, 2016

Sadly, we're losing senior South Dakotans able to share first-hand remembrances of what life was like here in the years before and during World War II.

Fortunately, some of their memories have been recorded and saved.

Chuck Anderson interviewed Roy and Lucille Fitz, a farm couple from DeSmet, for a radio broadcast in 1994. Roy was born in 1911 on a farm near DeSmet. Lucille was born in Yankton County, near Irene in 1915.

Roy and Lucille remember what grain harvesting was like when they were very young. The work was usually done by large threshing crews traveling from farm to farm. Crews of up to 30 men would descend on a farm and work through the day, threshing the harvest and hauling grain. In this audio clip, Roy talks about how the harvesting was handled, and why so many men were needed for the work. 

James Valley Threshing Show

Threshing crews would come to a farm with horses, wagons, and huge, steam-powered threshing machines. Farmers were expected to both pay the crew and feed them. Lucille Fitz remembers what that was like.

Roy Fitz remembers a DeSmet family named Ingalls, who gained a certain fame after the publishing of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House..." books. In the clip below, Roy talks about his grandmother's special friendship with Mary Ingalls and her mother Caroline.

Listen to the entire interview:

Part 2 of Chuck Anderson's interview with Roy and Lucille Fitz