Maria Weispfenning Mueller

Born: 6-26-1888 on a farm near Fredonia

Married Salomon Mueller 6-6-1908

Died: 6-15-1962

I stayed with Grandma Mueller a lot when we were in preschool and grade school.  I remember doing puzzles, having chamomile flower tea that she had grown & harvested and dried, making homemade noodles and borscht soup.  After Grandpa's death (in 1953) she lived in poverty - on food stamps and welfare.  I can't remember that she ever had a house with running water - just a pump and an outhouse.  I stayed with her overnight alone and with Lucy when my parents were gone.  She didn't drive - she sold Grandpa's car after he died.  She had a phone and had her groceries delivered.  She kept her chickens after grandpa died for a year or two, but gave them up when she moved and had no chicken coop.  

She had to move to a lower rent house after Grandpa died and had to move about 3 times until she moved in with us.  Then about 1960 she moved to Jamestown - I was about 11 years old - and lived with a family that provided care in their home.  Later she got into a nursing home in Jamestown that is now the Stutsman County Museum.  She lived on the second floor.

I remember that she gave herself insulin shots for her diabetes.  She spoke good English and German & wrote German and English (see her recipes for how she spelled her words).  She never really went anywhere and I can't remember my family taking her anywhere.  I think Ruth Wurl (welfare agent) took her to the doctor's office.  I remember Ruth showing up one summer morning to check on her.  She was very sick and wanted me to go back to my house to get our hot water bottle, she thought that would help her.  I went flying back to my house and announced to my mom that Grandma was sick and wanted me to fetch the bottle.  My dad was gone and we didn't have an extra car. The next day when I went back to check on her she was much improved, must have been that hot water.  I was down at her house a lot in the summer on my bike, mowing her lawn (she had no lawn mower - I brought mine).  I don't remember her being at our house a lot, not even at Christmas or Thanksgiving.  We never went as a family to visit her, but remember that I went alone or with my Dad many times.  I spent more time with her than anyone.  I remember my dad and me doing her lawn once and digging a new hole for her outhouse.  She was a very good person, fair and compassionate.  We (Mom - Lucy - me) visited her at Jamestown in the nursing home a few times, and once or twice in the private home.  She died in Jamestown and was buried in Gackle.  She never complained about her financial state but worried excessively about her kids (grown).

I remember an incident when I was about 5.  I was staying with my Grandma Mueller at her house.  It was summer.  I had gone to the outhouse to use the facility.  When I was through, I rose and tried the door, but it wouldn't open.  I was apparently locked in from the outside, and I couldn't get the door open.  I tried 5 or 6 times.  I then tried calling to my Grandma to come and rescue me, then later resorted to screaming.  She was in the house and couldn't hear me.  I remember starting to panic.  About 20-25 minutes went by and I heard someone walking in the gravel in the alley only a few feet from the outhouse.  I called out and I heard that person coming closer, hopefully to rescue me.  He opened the door, it was the neighbor, Dickie Gross, who was a year older than me.  I then realized that the door wasn't locked; I was pushing on it instead of pulling.  I had failed my first test of going back in time one generation.