South Dakota Homestead Lost Chimney During Winter Storm

Woman on South Dakota homestead walked a mile and a half in a blizzard after her chimney blew off the house.

| Good Old Days

I had a claim on a Butte County, South Dakota homestead. What a life-hot summer, cold winter!

I had only a laundry stove with a draw on the pipe for cooking and baking. The chimney was a stove pipe put out the side of the house. For fuel, I went for miles, picking up chips in gunny sacks and dragging them home.

In the winter of 1911-12, my chimney blew away in a blizzard. I couldn't have a bit of fire; it was so cold! I got down on my knees and prayed.

I decided I must walk to a neighbor's house a mile-and-a-half away. I put on all the coats I owned, and wrapped my apron around my cat so it wouldn't freeze. I also had a white Spitz dog, and I said to him, "We are going to Mary's. Lead us to Mary." There was only a trail to follow and the snow was two feet deep and still falling.

When we reached a creek, I hollered to my neighbor for help. She brought a rope and threw it across the creek. When I had tied it around my waist, she pulled me over the creek where the snow was over my head. I was nearly frozen when I reached her place.

I stayed there three days before I could go for help to fix my chimney. 

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