Vokes School descendants host 'reunion'

In 1932, during the Great Depression, Martha Linsley and her two young children, John and Ruth, lived on a farm near Nevis, in Crow Wing Lake Township.

The descendants of the Linsley family, who spent two-plus memorable years in Hubbard County during the Great Depression, are hosting a get-together with friends and family of Vokes School graduates, recreating summer fun - and labor - from days of yore. (Submitted photo)

In 1932, during the Great Depression, Martha Linsley and her two young children, John and Ruth, lived on a farm near Nevis, in Crow Wing Lake Township.

The family wrote back and forth to their father, a streetcar driver in Minneapolis, daily. 

The family preserved the letters, sharing their poignant story on the Web site,

Friday, the descendants of the Linsley family will meet relatives and neighbors of the students who attended the Vokes School, a one-room schoolhouse where 15 students from seven families, grades 1-12, were educated.

Ruth Linsley Forman's children, Mark Forman and Lucy Jeanne, Washington state residents, orchestrated the "class reunion."


During the visit, Forman, a national award winning filmmaker, will be interviewing and filming for a documentary.

Jeanne will host a presentation and question and answer session.

The schedule of events includes an opening campfire at 7 p.m. Friday, June 19 at Hoosier Beach Resort on Stocking Lake.

Saturday, Hoosier Beach Resort will be the site of "From Log to Lunch" beginning at 9 a.m.

The event will challenge participants to travel back to days of yore. Help saw firewood. Bake bread. Churn butter and make jam - the old fashioned way.

The interactive demonstrations and activities will reflect the amount of work a sandwich entailed nearly a century ago.

The public is welcome. Bring friends, family and a picnic lunch.

Then step up for the Dear Daddy Challenge.


Jeanne and the Hubbard County Historical Society are challenging families to live without modern amenities, such as electricity and running water. Nuevo pioneers are invited to record the experience via journal - or pen a story about similar happenings in the past.

These will be shared at the culmination of the week, when the Hubbard County Historical Society hosts an old-fashioned pie and ice cream social from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 27 on the courthouse lawn.

"County 20" will be on hand to provide musical entertainment. Tour the museum and visit Linsley friends and family.

A program begins at 3 p.m. with speakers, slide shows and Dear Daddy Challenge presentations.

Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for HCHS members and $2 for children.


A bit of history

John and Ruth Linsley joined the Vokes School class in the fall of 1932 after moving to the rural community from Minneapolis, where they attended the old Miles Standish Elementary School.


At the height of the Great Depression, just as Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected, their parents, James and Martha Linsley, took the biggest gamble of their lives, and traded their small home in Minneapolis for the deed to a 160 acre parcel near Park Rapids - sight unseen.

Their dream was to establish their own family farm like James' family had in West Concord Minn.

Ruth and John Linsley attended Vokes School for only two years, but their spirited adventures have been immortalized in family letters, photos and Ruth's memoirs on the Web site, .

Once the Dear Daddy site was launched, word spread throughout the Park Rapids area, Jeanne said, and descendants of many of the families began e-mail correspondence, sharing more photos, recipes and memories.

Web site visitors from around the country - and the world - continue to sign up for e-mail updates as more photos, letters and chapters of Ruth's memoir are posted, Jeanne reports.

Ruth Linsley Forman eventually became an elementary school teacher, artist and writer, and her brother John, an astrophysicist, was nominated for a Nobel physics prize in 1981.

A four-generation team of Ruth's family members have been working on the Web site project for the last year.

The "reunion" is a culmination of the project.

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