Plate 2


The Neller Family
(Donald's maternal grandmother, great aunts and great uncles)

Top left: Edward Neller and wife, Nellie Richards Neller. [Best guess; Marjory said it couldn't be Aunt Ella.]

Top right: Ida Neller Noble (left); Ella Neller Noble (center); Emma Neller Miller (right). [The men may be the three Neller brothers; Marjory said the man at right wasn't August Miller; Donald had written on the back that he was.]

Bottom: Stephen and Ida (Neller) Noble. 50th wedding anniversary, December 17, 1941. [Positive identification: photo signed and dated by Ida Noble.]

Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:

"The year Marj and I were 5 and 8, we took a trip in the brand new 1921 Model T (probably in June) to see both Pa's and Ma's relatives."

"Ma's relatives were German and more well-to-do. They lived in Austin [Minnesota] and in neighboring small towns in Mower County on the Iowa border. That was too far (300 miles) to make in one day, so we camped out one night. Marj slept in the front seat of the Ford and I slept in the back. Pa and Ma slept on the ground under a plum tree. [2.61-2]

"There weren't any kids among Ma's relatives (most of them didn't have any), so most of those we visited were my grandmother's age. They were the more cultured type, and always said, 'Cousin this,' and 'Cousin that,' and 'Aunt this,' and 'Uncle that.' We stayed there a few days and I was bored." [2.61-3]

"I remember Uncle Steve (Ma's Aunt Ida's husband) taking Marj and me out to see his little colt, and he took me along downtown and bought me an Ingersoll watch for a dollar." [on 1918 trip] [2.61-4]

"We also toured the Hormel Meat Plant. It was just across the river from Uncle Steve's and Aunt Ida's. Two men would put a big chunk of meat on a block and then step back. Another man would swing a big cleaver with a handle two or three feet long, clear over his head, and split the chunk right in two. I stood and watched and fully expected him to chop one of the men's heads off if he didn't step back quick enough, but he missed them every time while we were there. The only other thing I can remember of that was the smell." [2.62-1]

"Uncle Steve took us for a ride in his car, a different, bigger make than the Model T, an open touring model. The roads were narrow and curves were blind in the woods and cuts. Aunt Ida would lean up behind him from the back seat every time we came to a turn and yell in his ear, 'Blow your horn, Steve!' He was nearly deaf and didn't hear, or pretended he didn't, and he wouldn't usually get around to blowing it until he was around the corner. Then he would give it a few good 'beeps.' [2.62-6]

"A neighbor kid and I were playing along the river there one day, and I slipped off an overhanging bank into the river. Luckily I was able to crawl out again, but it could have been the end of me if it had been deeper."

"We went to the Chautauqua, which was in session then in the afternoons. It was in a tent and I slept on the grass. Most of it was real boring to me, lectures and things and 'high sopranos' and such." [2.62-2]