My parents, Ted Kramer and Veronica Foley, were both born in rural Meeker County. Ted grew up in Forest Prairie Township near Watkins. Veronica was raised in Manannah Township near Watkins.
Just to the south of their parcel stood a large two-story granary, which was a common sight in those days. My father was told he could have the building. Buy how to get it moved onto my father’s property? Money was short, and it would take a few hundred dollars to have a building mover do the job. That’s where Joe Westrup, Sr., came into the picture. He happened to be Veronica’s godfather. “Old Joe,” as he was called, along with his sons, jacked the granary off the ground. Then long logs were rolled under the elevated granary, and the elder Westrup put his “30-60” Rumely Oil Pull to work. The Rumely was a huge tractor that normally powered Old Joe’s Red River Special threshing machine. The great Rumely was hitched to the granary and began pulling it across the logs. It was a tedious process, as each few feet the log coming out from under the back of the granary had to be carried around to the front and used again. Moving the building a quarter mile was a laborious task.
Finally, arriving where the granary was to permanently stand, Ted saw that it wasn’t a very big building to be used as a barn. But he had a solution. Frank X. Nistler’s farmstead was about a mile and a half southwest of the Kramer farm. (Nistler’s farm is now owned by Mark and Linda Ruhland). Ted had become acquanited with Frank as children as both were relatives of John R. Vossen.
Thirty-three years later, long after the new barn had been built in 1941, the lean-to was taken down from the granary, and parts of what was once Frank’s old tobacco shed were once again used to create a lean-to for the new barn. That lean-to still stands today.
Leonard Nistler, younger brother of Frank, is still alive and vividly remembers walking to school every day and observing all that had happened. His reflection of the Depression was “Everyone did what they had to just to survive.”