Plate 41
(This plate is still under construction.)


The Rowboat

Top: Donald trapping muskrats from rowboat.

Middle: Marjory and friend in steel rowboat.

Bottom: Marjory, right, and friends with string of fish caught from their rowboat. Years later, the boat spent summers at Mill Lake and produced a lot of sunfish and some northern pike.

Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:

"In 1928 (before the Depression) Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward had a price war and one of them sent out a letter offering to pay postage or freight on anything in their catalog. We ordered the steel boat right away. Round bottom, copper-bearing steel, 15 feet long, with oars, for $47.50. (The freight would have been $15 or more.) [17.123-3]

"The boat is still good, 52 years later [1982]. I replaced the wooden rim once with redwood and put hot roofing pitch on the joints with a blow torch after I invented a boat cart with rollers that flexed the joints and cracked the solder. [17.123-4]

"A very short time after we got the boat, a new catalog came out and the big things like boats weren't shipped freight-free anymore. We got a used Elto-Twin outboard motor for $65 in Alexandria and we did a lot of boating and fishing." [17.123-5]

"One Sunday we were boating along the west shore by the Springen farm and came to an upturned boat with three drunk fishermen (Jumbo, Big Slide, and Pete Hanson) hanging onto it. Big Slide was a pretty good swimmer and hit for shore. He tried to wave us off and hollered that they didn't need any help. Not so with Jumbo and Pete! They had just about had it and were 'all in.' If we hadn't taken them to shore, I doubt if they would have survived. No other boats were in the area." [17.124-1]

"Sometimes we boated across Lake Christina to see the 'bird town' on the big, wooded point. (The herons, etc. later moved to the island in Pelican Lake.) We would go right through to Pelican Lake under the road and under the railroad track through the arch. (Old Highway 52 hadn't been built yet, then.) There weren't any fish screens to block the creek then, and the 1920s were wet years, so the lakes and creek were high. [17.124-2]

"During the dry thirties, the creek between Pelican and Christina dried up completely. We even went boating on Ask Lake, but we never could catch any fish there then. [17.124-3]

"One time, when we were bored, we even put the boat on the 'lake' that covered the garden early in the spring."

"We had a wooden water trough, 12 inches wide and 12 feet long, and one spring I paddled across the garden in that. Ma had some posts that stuck up out of the water for her raspberries. I stood up in my water trough boat and put one foot on one of the posts. I started to do the splits, but I kept cool and got both feet back into the boat again. I came awfully close to taking a bath in three feet of ice and manure water, though." [17.124-4]