Vyron Leslie Northup was born on September 3rd, 1910, the first son to Archie and Myrtle Northup in Maine Township, Ottertail COunty, Minnesota. The original house they lived in was a mile west of Grandpa Charles' homeplace on the east side of West Lost Lake. There is still a dimple on the ground where the celler hole was. The family moved a lot in the early days. There were two houses that burned. The one Vyron remembers best was built of Balm of Gilead logs and was where they originally started farming, growing sugar cane and squeezing cane for themselves and some of the neighbors. Then cooking it down into sorghum. That is the house Margie was born in. In 1920, his Dad bought a new car, a "Model 83 Overland" and the family went to Canada for a visit with Myrtle (Northup) Johnson's family. They stayed a year and the kids went to school in Biggar, Saskatchewan. Partly, so Dean could be born a United States citizen the family returned to Sauk Center to live with Aunt Bertha Gillette til after Dean was born. Then they returned to the Lost Lake area, and they went to school in the Claypool school for a year before moving to Star Lake. This was where Vyron got his first experience working in the woods cutting Maple and Oak cordwood and bolts. Vyron's first car was a 1921 model T Ford, which him and brother Wesley drove to the Red River Valley to pick potatoes each Fall for five years. In the Fall of 1929, the second house burned and they built the new house with the rock basement that we all remember growing up and visiting through the years and where Grandpa Archie died. The house was built first, as they needed a place to live and when the basement was done, they moved the house on to it using a pair of long bars and rollers cut from 1 1/4" iron pipe. The 12 X 16 kitchen was added to the east side with a cistern under it. In 1930, Vyron began selling firewood in Fergus Falls. In 1933, he joined the CCC's and was stationed at Cass Lake. This was his first experience with the Pine country and he fell in love, much as his father had fallen in love with the wooded country in Ottertail County. Then in 1934, Vyron headed North once again in his 1925 Chevrolet roadster. He ended up in Pleasant Valley, 8 miles North of Puposky.He went to work with Carl Jones and stayed with the Claypools and Joneses and eventually moved into their log house at the Pine Tree corner. In 1936, on September 20th, he married their neice, Helen Ruth Knox in the Knox living room by Rev. J.T. Stolee.
The first three children were born there, but the following spring he built the main part of a new house a mile North on the new 40 acres he bought for $4.00 an acre. The rest of the family was born here, and in fact they lived there until his death on 4 November 1999, at the age of 89. Much of the information on this WEBsite was gathered by his memories and records.
The following, in his own words, Is the story of Vyron Northup in Pleasant Valley, taken from one of his many memoirs:
The Knoxs also had the telephone central for the community, Nebish, Alaska, and Maple Ridge Townships, Three lines. They got a $25 order on the township for a year's switching but the township had no money so they just held the orders against the time when they could collect.
The telephone system was called a fireline service. The township had a five mill levy on the taxes, which was the law, for keeping up this service. The lines were hard to keep clear due to trees and brush growing up along the way. There was no money for a full time lineman so if there was an outage you had to depend on someone to leave his farm work and check it out. To be heard on this line you often had to yell pretty loud; some said you might be heard better if you just opened the window.
Another family, very active in Pleasant Valley, was the Charlie Coffins. In 1934 they lived on the Tom Randle place one and one-fourth miles south of Pleasant Valley and just across the Watson Road from their own place. Blanch Coffin and Mona Thompson were sisters and were Randall sisters. Roy Watson lived in a log house at the top of the hill on Mud River, a half mile east of Coffins. Tony Stephani lived on the hill on the west side of the Pleasant Valley road on Mud River.
Helen Knox and I were married September 20, 1936. The wedding was performed by Rev. J.T. Stolee in the Knox living room where the kids had built a 'bower' in one corner; There was no church in the community at the time.
Helen and I moved into the log house on the Carl Jones' place. Carl had gone down to work in his brother-in-law's boat shop, The Larson Boat Works, in Little Falls. In those days boats were built with wood and Carl was a Wood craftsman and a fine violinist. Marjorie, also a musician, used to teach piano to the kids.
I paid Carl $135.00 for some household things, tools, three cows and two heifers. One of the cows was fat and no good for a milk cow so I sold her to Carl Nelson for $30.00 to butcher. I borrowed $100.00 from the bank and had $35.00 left from the Cedar I sold, to pay Carl. I can't remember where I got the $5.00 to pay the minister!
I had to put up hay that summer for myself, Watsons, and knoxs. We had an income from our cows of about $1.65 a week cream check to live on that winter and buy my Bull Durham smoking tobacco. We lived in the Jones' log house for three years; meanwhile I was looking around for a place of our own. The cow herd was growing and we needed more barn room.
In the fall of 1939 I bought 37 and a half acres a mile north of where we were, and moved up that fall. We paid $4.50 an acre for tax forfeit land and a deed from the state. The payments were $25.00 down and ten per cent a year for ten years.
I bought Tamarack lumber from Charlie Hightshoe that he had sawn from fire killed timber in the swamps east of Blackduck, toward Alvwood. We built a 14' X 20' cabin to live in that winter, and a barn 30' X 18' framed with 2x4's, sheeted with boards and covered with tar paper. For the roof I cut small popples, plentiful at the time, and overlapped them, brush and all, on the walls and beams, then covered the whole with wild hay.
In 1941 we organized and started a church on one acre of land donated by Knox, on the south west corner from the old Pine Tree. Nine of us formed the first membership and I was the first treasurer. We bought a railroad coach at Redby of the old Molander Line, for $100.00 and paid another $100.00 to have it moved down to the corner.
That was the first church. However, it was ill-fated, The church caught fire from a new light plant that was installed without a vent to the outside, and burned down along with a brand new two burner Montgomery Ward oil stove that got jammed in the front door in trying to get it out, and thereby preventing the removal of anything else.
I was able in the early 1940's to make a deal for another 160 acres of land joining me on the west belonging to Mrs. Mary E. Lindquist. This land had been logged off by the Bemidji Logging Company and was very badly tax delinquent. I paid her $350.00 cash and made a payment plan with the county to take up the back taxes. The land was covered mostly with second growth timber but good farm land when cleared.
This is a real good strip of agricultural land all the way across the county to Blackduck. Heavier soil than the southern part but ideal for pasture, hay and cattle, corn, potatoes or grain.
As has ever been the case in getting a start as a small farmer, there was a need to get out and pick up the cash for these deals with off-the-farm work to build, put up fences, and buy cattle.
I took on many jobs locally that would work in with our little farm operation and cow milking. We kept dairy cows all the years as long as we could seperate the milk and ship cream to the creamery. In 1966 I bought a polled Hereford bull and over the following years let the beef gradually take over. We now keep about 25 head of beef on the farm.
I had a small sawmill for our own lumber needs, and did some sawing for others. I did some custom plowing and farming for other small farmers and was township assessor for fifteen years.
I was much involved in all community affairs and very interested in the needs of farmers legislatively. I became active in the Farmers Union and in 1953 was elected county chairman, which position I held for 19 years.
I accepted a job as general agent for the National Farmers Union insurances and worked some as a feild man for Minnesota Farmers Union in the 1950's and early 1960's. I traveled over all of northern Minnesota and much of the rest of the state at times. This was a very satisfying experience and a much needed work if we are to have a place in our nation for what I call the backbone of our great country - the family farms, and a voice in our nations capitol for those people.
I was elected township treasurer and appointed representative to the County Association of Township Officers, and became chairman of that group. I was also elected to the State Association. It was necessary for me to attend many meetings in our state capitol and to meet with legislators and with the Governor.
In 1944, through the Rural Electric Administration, electricity came to us. Our only Comitment was a $5.00 membership fee and the minimum $3.20 a month which entitled us to 40 kilowatts. With only a few bare light bulbs, a refrigerator, radio, washing machine and iron, we were not able to use it all. But it was beautiful!
Surprisingly, electricity was not easy to get. Private utilities were against us and we needed a sign-up of at least three memberships with their $5.00 per mile paid in. These were hard to get and we have to thank such public spirited people as Charlie Moller and many others for their efforts for these memberships.
None of us, I think, realized the potential use of this power to the country people or the future value on the farm. Many who refused to go along at first couldn't get connected fast enough once the power was in.
The telephone also started making progress once the money was a little easier to get ahold of, and now a private line is available to us all.
There have been many changes since I came up into this north country and some I do not like. We have seen the disappearance of our co-operative creamery locally, for one.
While things have not always been easy, I have enjoyed life and taking part in community effort in Pleasant Valley and in Beltrami County, and of knowing other county leaders and sharing in the developement of the area.
I feel that we owe a salute, not only to those enterprising people who first claimed the land, but also to those who followed and helped with the developement.
This page is under continual construction. Check back often for details.
Vyron and Helen Northup Family
Children of Vyron and Helen Northup
| Lewis Dean Northup
|| B. Sept. 4, 1937
||M. Gayl A. Stott; (05/14/1938-1996)
||D. February, 1975|
| Connie Ruth Northup
|| b. Mar. 19,1939
||M. #1 Gunnar Hallberg |
M. #2 Gary Northup
|Charles Vyron Northup
||B. Nov 16, 1940
||M. Eydith Rae Rawlins/Schmidt
| Judith Virginia Northup
|| B. Oct. 2, 1942
||M. Frank J. Fowler
| Richard Lawrence Northup
|| B. June 17,1944
||M. Donna Jean Buckeye; October 4, 1969
| Diana Jean Northup
|| B. August 19, 1945
||M. Paul Morkassel; June 20, 1964
| Dorothy Ann Northup
|| B. May 26, 1947
||M. Tony Persinger
| Juanita Rose Northup
|| B. August 16, 1950
||M. Michael Walker
| Ronald Parker Northup
|| B. Feb. 22, 1952
||M. Sheryl Wittman
| Francis Eugene Northup
|| B. April 14, 1954
||M. Maridawn Mayer
| Leanne Marie Northup
|| B. August 7, 1957
||M. Walter Haugan
| Darien Luverne Northup
|| B. Sept. 25, 1958
||M. #1 Cheryl ??; divorced |
M. #2 Laferne Rundell