Wednesday, August 8, 2012

LUELLA FISCHER & "Lightning" from Morton County, North Dakota


WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PONY CLUB CHILDREN?

I am greatly enjoying the new 1940 census records. The government asked more questions in 1940 than they had ever done before, and it is wonderful to see these little insights into people's lives.

My pony child today is named Luella Fischer. She lived in North Dakota and won her pony "Lightning" when she was about eleven years old. She had such a bright, sunny smile, and I especially love her second picture with her younger sister Helen, and baby sibling. I thought this quote from Luella's letter especially funny. "'Lightning" is so gentle that mamma can trust us to take the baby out riding."' Can you imagine allowing two young girls to take a very young baby out for a buggy ride?? Apparently, Luella's mother thought that it was perfectly fine.

The first name of Luella's parents were John and Emma. John was born in Germany in 1875, and Emma was born in South Dakota in 1881. In the 1940 census, John's occupation is listed as a "clergyman," and his salary was $1,250 a year. Their oldest daughter, Luella, was born in 1903, and younger sister Helen, was born in 1907.
Luella, Baby Verrill, Helen & "Lightning"

The difficulty with tracing girls is that they often get married and, therefore, change their names. Some states follow through with the name change in their records, and some do not. In this case, I could not find any records for Luella or sister Helen past their teenage years.

However, I was able to trace the baby. It was a boy named Verrill, and he was born in 1914. When he grew up, he earned his medical degree in 1937 and married his wife, Ruth, in 1939. In 1944, he jumped with the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division on D-Day in France. After the war, he returned to North Dakota where he and several physician colleagues founded a Medical Clinic in 1958. Verrill had a long and illustrious career as a physician and surgeon. He delivered over 5,300 babies and performed more than 20,000 surgeries.

Verrill & Ruth Fischer
Verrill and Ruth became the parents of one daughter and three sons, with two of the children becoming doctors like their Dad. Verrill and Ruth lived long lives, he passing away at the age of 88 and she at the age of 90.

Luella had to be an ambitious and hardworking child to earn herself a pony, so it doesn't surprise me that her younger brother was ambitious and hardworking, too. I'm just glad that Luella, Helen and "Lightning" didn't drop Verrill on his head :) or North Dakota would have missed a good citizen and skilled doctor.