1955 Karen Koehnen, Louise & Pete Schriner, and Bud Koehnen

Anna Husen's Life

January of 1947 they headed West; but took the southern route to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit relatives and to continue to California, Oregon, and Washington.  This was their first visit to Port Angeles, WA.  At that time Albert’s relatives of a sister, Amanda, and brothers Ernest and Louis and nephews of Martin, Clarence, Lloyd, Ernie, Bennie, Marvin, and Ray lived there.  On the return trip, they went through Yellowstone National Park.

The Flatau kids at Walt and Ida Locke's place in Portland in 1927.  Vernon (age 4), Rhoda (age 6), Rodney (age 2), and Violet (age 7).

January 15, 1919

 Albert & Elsie Flatau on their wedding  day

with Louis Flatau, Minnie Woessner (Minnie later married Louis),

Emil Beckman, and Clara Beckman

Albert (age 61) & Elsie (age 59) going to church, July 1960

Albert’s father, Theodore, was born in West Prussia, Germany on July 23, 1865, and immigrated to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1881 when he was 16 years old. 

He married Minna Dupslaff on March 27, 1885.  Minna was born in Ann Arbor on June 13, 1869.  When they married, Theodore was 20 years old and Minna was 16 years old.

Minna and Theodore homesteaded in Otter Tail County in the early 1890s.  They had seven children. 

Minna died of Typhoid Fever on Nov. 24, 1898, shortly after Albert was born.  Minna was 29 years old.

Theodore and Minna's daughter and oldest child, Martha, was born June 16, 1885, and died December 11, 1898, at the age of 13.  Minna died on November 24, 1898.  Both died of Typhoid Fever.  

​Albert Edward Flatau was born August 18, 1898, in Hobart Township, Otter Tail County, Minnesota.  He was the seventh child of Theodore Daniel Flatau and Minna (Dupslaff) Flatau.   

For more information see the Flatau Kin.

The Beckman farm by Devils Lake.  August (age 59) and daughter, Minnie (age 17), in front of the house.  
Photo taken in 1914.

1936 Frank Parks, Elsie & Albert Flatau, Louise Schriner, Rhoda Flatau, Marie Beckman, LaVerne Schriner, Nona Friestad, Marie Friestad, Lucille Parks, Rodney Flatau, Violet Flatau, Margie Schriner, Inie Parks, Vernon Flatau, Emma Parks, and Bonnie Parks

Land in 1943

Windstorm of 1952

Elsie's maternal grandparents

The Flatau kids in Portland in 1927.  Vernon (age 4), Violet (age 7), Rodney (age 2), and Rhoda (age 6).

In 1926 Albert and Elsie decided to head west to Portland, Oregon. 

In September they held an auction selling their farm machinery, livestock and belongings. 

A. Diamond was the auctioneer and they were told their auction had drawn the largest crowd Diamond had ever auctioned at.

Rodney wrote in 1983: " I remember when the folks would take off on one of their many trips to the West Coast or South.  I was in the sixth or seventh grade.  Vern and I would take care of the chores, take the cream to town and pick up the cream check.  We had to buy the groceries or whatever Grandma Marie needed.  Grandma Marie would always make sure we had enough to eat and get enough sleep.  They sure must have had a lot of confidence in us to leave like that.  But we sure had fun!"

1917 Model T Ford

photo courtesy of mtfca.com

Violet (age 9) standing, Rhoda (age 7) sitting with Rodney (age 4) on the left and Vernon (age 5) on the right in 1928.


Back row: Kaufman, Pearl Flatau,

Rhoda Flatau, Hazel Flatau, Violet Flatau,

Rodney Flatau, Ernie Flatau, Bennie Flatau, Vernon Flatau, and Doris Flatau in front. 

Albert Flatau (age 28) digging sewer system for Walter Locke in Portland, OR in 1927.

Arrived in Oregon

1951 March - Vi, Wally, Norris, and Kristin sledding in the snow a the Little Place.

1943 Rhoda and Bud Koehnen

Marian Flatau comments: “I remember the snowstorm of March 1951.  It started snowing on the 16th and our second baby was six days over-due.  We stayed with Rodney’s folks, they lived closer to town.  It snowed for 72 hours and by the 20th, Rodney and his Dad could no longer get to our place with the pick-up so they went with a team to do our chores. 

At about 4:00 pm that afternoon, I knew I was going into labor so we called Rodney and he and his Dad quickly did chores and drove the horses back and took me out to the highway on the bob-sled where we met the taxi that took me to the hospital. 

Rodney’s Mom paced the floor while we waited for the men to get there to take me in.  I never doubted that I’d be in the hospital in time, but neither of us knew that Susan would be born 30 minutes after I got there!”

Albert’s mother, Minna, passed away from Typhoid Fever three months after he was born.  When Albert was a year old his father married Emma Quade in 1899.

When not needed for farm chores, Albert attended school through the fourth grade at School District #233, also called the Flatau School.  The Flatau School was located near the site where the Flatau cemetery stands today.  Albert’s teacher was Lillian Murrill.

At seven years of age, Albert remembers herding cows in the brush to keep them from getting into the field crops.  He also remembers herding pigs in the fall of the year to eat the grain along ditches that were not caught at harvest.  Several times while herding the pigs a passenger train would arrive in Luce at 11:30 a.m. and blow its whistle.  This noise would get the wolves to howl and this, in turn, would scare the pigs.  They would make a mad dash towards home and Albert, fearing a harsh reprimand, would be in close pursuit.

West and Texas in 1955

Emma Flatau in 1946
Emma was 71 years old.

1939 Rhoda Flatau

Elsie was born November 16, 1900, in Perham, Otter Tail County, Minnesota.  She is the twelfth child of John "August" Beckman II and Henrietta "Marie" Sophie Husen.  Elsie was born in Perham on West Main Street. 

​When Elsie was four years old (1904) a fire destroyed the house where she was born.  Her father, being a shipbuilder and carpenter by trade, then built a house near the Smith Bros.' wagon factory in Perham.  It still stands today (1983).  They occupied this house until Elsie's father, August, retired in 1910 and he built another house on the south shore of Devils Lake.

1940 Violet Flatau

In the spring of 1927, Elsie packed strawberries in a cannery.   Albert worked as a hod-carrier for Walt Locke.  Violet and Rhoda were in the first grade and Vernon and Rodney stayed with Ida or Grandma Marie.

In March 1940, and also Art and Esther Hanneman, they travel to Mississippi and Louisiana to visit relatives.  They then traveled to Florida, stopped at Atlanta, Georgia where the world premiere of “Gone with the Wind” made its debut; toured Norris Dam at Knoxville, Tennessee; continued throughout the Ozarks and home.  

Check out this video on YouTube regarding Gone with the Wind.

1918 - Albert (age 20) in his one horse open sleigh.

About 1935 more acreage was purchased from Father Viegard. 

This property was south of the buildings at the Theodore Flatau homestead that they had purchased.

Minna and Theodore Flatau with their children Martha and Ida in 1890.
Theodore age 25, Minna age 21, Martha age 5, and Ida, age 6 months.

1955 Sisters - Elsie (Beckman) Flatau,

Louise (Beckman) Schriner, and

Clara (Beckman) Walther at Louise's house

Battle Axe Inn at Mount Hood Loop Rd near the Mount Hood summit in Oregon on July 31, 1927

Albert & Elsie Flatau (from the beginning to 1958)

Albert's Parents

Elsie Minnie Caroline Beckman - Growing up

A Return to Minnesota

Elsie's parents

Elsie’s father, John "August" Beckman III, was born in Bolstedt, Germany on May 25, 1855.  Elsie’s mother, Henrietta "Marie" Sophie Husen, was born Aug. 13, 1864, in Kiel, Germany. 
August and Marie were married June 17, 1882, in Belfort, Ofemeimde, Germany and they came to America on their honeymoon.   August was 27 and Marie was 18 years old when they married.

In 1912 - Ida, Ernest, and Amanda in the back.

Louis, Theodore, and Albert Flatau sitting  (Albert was 14 years old)

A trip in January 1955, took them to Washington, Oregon and California to visit relatives.  Then on to Texas for sight seeing and to Louisiana to visit relatives.

Violet (age 4), Vernon (age 9 months) and Rhoda (age 2) in December 1923 .

Rodney (age 1) in 1925​.

Many of the Flatau cousins lived in the area and the kids of Albert and Elsie enjoyed growing up with the 31 Flatau cousins in the area.  

​For more information see the Flatau Kin.

Albert & Elsie Flatau wedding - Louis Flatau, Minnie Woessner (later married Louis), and Elsie's brother Emil Beckman, and her sister Clara Beckman

1950 Albert and Elsie's Home

A trip in October was made helping Rhoda and Bud and their six children (at the time) move to Lodi, CA.  This was in 1952. 

Bud drove a truck which was loaded with their belongings, Albert and Rhoda drove Koehnen's car and Elsie drove their Mercury.  The children took turns riding in the different vehicles. 

After getting the Koehnen’s settled, Albert and Elsie visited her sisters: Louise Schriner and Clara Walther who lived there. 

On the return trip, they went through Yellowstone National Park.

The family lived at Carl and Amanda’s (Albert’s sister) a few days until they left on their trip.  Grandma Marie also went out West with the family.  They stopped at Louise’s place (Elsie's sister) at Jamestown, ND and then to Clara’s (Elsie's sister) at Linton, ND and stayed over the weekend and left Monday morning. 

The ages of everyone:  Albert (28), Elsie, (almost 26), Violet (almost 7), Rhoda (5), Vernon (3), Rodney (almost 2), and Grandma Marie (62).

Monday night they stopped at a farmer’s place to spend the night, sleeping in the car that Albert had fixed for that purpose….a narrow bed for Albert and Elsie was supported by the back window ledge and front dashboard; the front passenger seat was taken out permitting Grandma Marie to sleep along that side; Violet, Rhoda, and Rodney slept alongside her and Vernon by the driver’s seat.  Albert helped the farmer milk cows and received milk for the family.  

Albert and Elsie remember the trip well.  When going over the Continental Divide at Pipestone Pass, they wore out the brakes, low and reverse, and it was necessary to install all new linings that next morning.  The only time they paid lodging along the way was at Cabin City near St. Regis, Montana.  The trip was approx. 2,000 miles and took 6 days…all on dirt roads until Washington state.

Rhoda (age 8), Grandma Marie (age 65), and Violet (age 10) in 1929

Seattle, WA in 1943

Chicago World's Fair in 1933

There is more to Albert and Elsie's story.  The next 28 years - FLATAU (1959 and on)

Beckman Kin & Beckman Photos - Flatau Kin & Albert & Elsie Flatau Photos

Marie’s parents, the John Husens (John and Anna), had taken a homestead in Spruce Grove Township, Becker County, MN and this is where August and Marie were to make their home.  Upon arriving by train, about all they saw were the tents of an Indian village. 

The Beckman’s first children, a set of twins, were the first white children born in that township.  The twins, Albert and Martha, only lived five months and were buried on the homestead.  

August died Sept. 12, 1917, at the age of 62.  Marie died on October 18, 1954, at the age of 90. 

​Click August Beckman or Beckman Kin for more information.

Early Years for Albert and Elsie

1955 Albert's sisters: 

Amanda Flatau and 
Ida (Flatau) (Locke) Bell

Rhoda (age 8), Rodney (age 5), Violet (age 10), and Vernon (age 6) in 1929

John "August" Beckman III &

Henrietta "Marie" Sophie Husen

Minna Flatau - 1890

The Big Move to Oregon

Albert and Elsie were married on the Beckman farm on January 15, 1919. 

After the ceremony, they rode across the lake in a one-horse cutter and honeymooned on the farm that Albert had been renting.

Train trip in 1958

More Land was Purchased

Mississippi and Louisiana in 1940

Rodney by his car in 1942

Sisters with their Mom in 1936 - Grandma Marie Beckman, Emma (Beckman) Parks, Louise (Beckman) Schriner, 
Marie (Beckman) Friestad, and Elsie (Beckman) Flatau

1955 Liz and Emil Beckman, Albert and Elsie Flatau, Kay Beckman - Art taking photo

There are many photos of the Beckman family gathering at Albert and Elsie's farmhouse near Devils Lake.

The attraction was Grandma Marie.  She lived with Albert and Elsie for 29 years.  Elsie was the youngest child in the family of ten living children.  Her siblings visited many times to see their mother, Marie.  The Flatau children, Vi, Rhoda, Vern, and Rod had a great time getting to know and visiting with their 26 cousins while they were growing up.  Marie and August Beckman had 30 grandchildren.

For more information see the Beckman Kin.

Elsie made a trip by train to Seattle. WA on June 1, 1943, for Rhoda and Bud Koehnen’s wedding. 

On the return trip, she stopped for a week at Sheridan, Wyoming to visit Violet, who was employed there.

1941 Grandma Emma Flatau

1936 Cousins - Laverne Schriner (age 21), Lucille Parks (age 19), Violet Flatau (age 16), Rhoda Flatau (age 15), Margaret ‘Margie’ Schriner (age 13), Yvonne ‘Bonnie’ Parks (age 12), Inez ‘Inie’ Parks (age 9).

Albert was born on the Flatau homestead on August 18, 1898.  This was the home that Minna and Theodore built in the early 1890s.  Today (in 1983) the original house is still standing and is located on the northwest side of Devils Lake.  Only the center of the house existed when Albert was born.  Later the log portion of the house was added and in 1914 the southern portion was built.

1968 Albert and Elsie Flatau's home

In the fall of 1918, Albert received his call to report for duty in World War I.  He was fortunate as the war ended and he did not have to leave. 

In October of 1918, Albert rented a farm (which is the present Ray Zeigler home) and was batching.  Shortly after that, he came down with the flu which was sweeping the countryside and causing many deaths. 

Elsie's brother-in-law, John Plowman, passed away from the flu on December 16, 1918.  He was 23 years old and had just married Elsie's sister, Minnie, the previous year on December 27, 1917.  Their son, John Henry Plowman, was born September 16, 1918...only three months before his father passed away.

Albert remembers the only visitor he had during his illness, was Walter Regier.  Elsie wasn’t able to visit him as she was busy taking care of the sick in her family.

Albert recovered from the flu well before Thanksgiving and remembers driving his horse and cutter across Devils Lake to the Beckman’s for Thanksgiving dinner.

In 1925 Albert and Elsie bought a new Model T Ford Coach.  They were the first in the area to have such a car…it was the first year Ford manufactured a car with glass windows!

Rodney Flatau (age 2) at the Lewis River in Washington on May 29, 1927

In the fall of 1940, Albert purchased his first tractor – a Minneapolis Moline.  

Elsie's maternal grandmother

Lodi, California in 1952

Violet (age 7) and Rhoda Flatau (age 6) at the Portland (Oregon) Rose Festival in June 1927

Albert and Elsie Flatau in 1941 
with their children Rhoda Flatau, Vernon Flatau, Rodney Flatau, and Violet Flatau

In the spring of 1918, Albert started seriously courting the “bell” of the countryside, Elsie Beckman. 
Of course, a guy has to have wheels when courting and Albert bought his first car in the summer of 1918.  It was a 1917 Model T Ford. 
Things were starting to roll now and Albert proposed to Elsie….and this, we all know, is the beginning of a wonderful love story.

Theodore married Emma Quade in 1899.  Emma was born June 2, 1875.  Theodore was 34 when they married and Emma was 24 years old.  Theodore's children would have been the ages of 9 (Ida), 6 (Amanda), 4 (Ernest), 3 (Louis), and 1 (Albert) when Theodore and Emma married.  Theodore and Emma had five children of their own.

For more information see the Flatau Kin.

​​Johann F.W. Husen was born on February 23, 1828.  He died December 11, 1893, age 65.  Anna (Sass) Husen was born May 30, 1829, and died August 18, 1912, age 83.  They were both born in Germany and came to the United States in the spring of 1882 when they were 53 and 54 years old.  (August & Marie came with and were married aboard ship).

They stayed with Johann's brother, William Husen and his wife, Friederike (Luders) and also friends for a short time.

 Johann was a shipbuilder and was offered a very good job in Hawaii to set up a shipbuilding plant, but Anna wanted to go to the United States to see their ailing son, John Husen, who was already in the U.S.

August 15, 1952.  Sweeping across Northern Minnesota in the wake of 90-degree temperatures, a violent windstorm flattened many acres of crops and wreaked havoc with power and light lines in many communities Thursday night.  Hardest hit was Perham………

1929 Albert Flatau (age 31) and team of horses

Rodney Remembers

Snow storm of 1951

Hazel Flatau, Violet Flatau, Pearl Flatau, Doris Flatau, Rhoda Flatau (Violet & Rhoda are sisters)  All others are sisters and children of Ernest & Mabel.

Anker Friestad, Grandma Marie Beckman, Rhoda Flatau, Rodney Flatau, Elsie (Beckman) Flatau, Albert Flatau, Vernon Flatau in 1940.

Left to right, August Beckman, Bill, Minnie, Marie, Marie Beckman, Elsie (9 years old), and Emil.
Beckman house built in 1909, near the Smith Bros.' Wagon Factory in Perham, MN.

Albert and Elsie made arrangements to purchase land near Portland and build a house.  However, they longed to return to Minnesota; and on August 18, 1927, Albert, Elsie, Grandma Marie, and the kids left for Minnesota. 

An unusual sight in Washington on their return trip was a combine being pulled on a wheat field by 20 mules and one horse for a leader.  They stopped in Jamestown at Pete and Louise’s place and almost managed a farm near Spiritwood, ND.

In late August they arrived at Amanda (Elsie's sister) and Carl’s place and stayed there for two weeks.  Albert recalls having 50 cents left in his pocket when arriving there.

Violet and Rhoda attended first grade again – at District #233.

The family moved to the Theodore Flatau (Albert’s father) homestead.

In September 1928 Albert and Elsie rented an apartment in Perham so that Violet and Rhoda could attend school there – this time in the third grade.  Grandma Marie was their “Mom” while attending school.  Weekends and vacations were spent at the farm.

When Vernon and Rodney reached school age, they also stayed with Grandma Marie and attended school in Perham. 


Theodore and Emma Flatau

Vernon Flatau, Violet Flatau, Art Beckman, Pearl Beckman, Rhoda Flatau, and Rodney Flatau in 1940

The following is taken from a booklet that was written for Albert and Elsie’s 65th Wedding Anniversary celebrated August 14, 1983.  Their actual 65th anniversary was January 15, 1984.  The booklet was written by Vi Johnson and Kristin (Johnson/Granquist) Peterson from information supplied by relatives.  Susan Flatau provided much of the information from the great records that she keeps.  The majority of the information from the booklet has not been modified, but more photos (and some text) has been added.
The full story has been provided in two web pages: 
FLATAU (from the beginning to 1958)
FLATAU (1959 to forever)

Lorna Heilman (age 2), Vernon Flatau (age 4), and Evelyn Heilman (age 4) in Oregon in 1927

The Flatau Cousins

1951 March - Walt, Wally, Norris, and Kristin on top of a huge snow drift.

In 1943 they purchased 280 acres from the estate of Charles Flatau.  This is the present Rodney and Marian Flatau farm.  Land on the prairie towards Perham of 110 acres was purchased from Concordia College in 1945.

Purchased Land

West in 1947

The Parents

1952 Koehnen Family - Jon, Bud, Rhoda, Gary, Donna holding Diane, Toni, and Karen

1925 Model T Ford

​photo courtesy of smclassiccars.com

Albert and Elsie on January 15, 1919

Elsie (age 19) working in the field with a team of horses in 1919

The photo of Albert with his prized bull shows him with a cigarette between his lips which was typical of how he smoked a cigarette.  

He never appeared to take a drag off the cigarette.  He would let it hang from the right side of his mouth.  He rarely touched the cigarette once it was lit and placed between his lips.  If he was concentrating on a project and not moving very much the ash of the cigarette could become more than an inch long before it dropped.   The grandkids would often talk about how long they saw the ash build upon the end of the cigarette before it fell.

The smoke would curl up around his face and his eyes.  Often he would be seen squinting out of his right eye as he looked up during a conversation.

Albert always wore a suit and tie going to church on Sundays and special occasions.  One of the things us grandchildren remember (besides the falling ash) is the smell of Grandpa on the occasions he dressed up.  He smelled of cologne and tobacco and he looked very stylish.

Added by Kristin Peterson

1941 in front of Rodney's 1929 Ford - Albert Flatau, Harlon Simon, Vernon Flatau, Marie (Beckman) Friestad, Grandma Marie Beckman, Rodney Flatau, Emma (Beckman) Parks.

Lucille and Marie Beckman are the daughters of John and Ann Beckman.  
Pearl is the daughter of Emil and Liz Beckman.

Grandma Marie Beckman in 1942

Albert & Elsie on their wedding day

In the Beginning.....

1936 - Marie Friestad (age 43), Louise Schriner (age 47), Marie Beckman (72), Elsie Flatau (age 35), Emma Parks (age 51).

Albert and Elsie

Rodney (age 5) feeding a lamb in 1929.

A 1938 trip, also with their friends and neighbors, Helen & Joe Krueger, as companions, took them West. 

The Kruegers had relatives in Washington to visit; Albert’s sister, Ida married Harry Bell in Olympia; and they visited Amanda and Carl in Aberdeen, Washington.

Accounts and stories told to Grandma Elsie by her Grandmother:  

Anna's mother died shortly after she was born and her father remarried.  He was a fisherman and was away from home a lot.  Her step-mother was mean to her.  Her father died before her teens and her step-mother remarried.  Her step-parents made her work on farms and was whipped many times.  

One farm had mean bulls and she was forced to go into the pens to feed them.  She took a darning needle and stuck it in the bull's nose if he got too close.  ​She ran away from home.  It was dark and she could hear them coming after her on horseback.  She hid in a cemetery.  She would travel by night and once heard someone coming when crossing a bridge and she jumped off.  The canal had no water in it.  

Her sister, Hannah, had also left home and Anna finally found her.  The two found work near the shipyards, possibly a cafe and this is where Anna met Johann who worked at the shipyards.  

Johann died in Perham (possibly pneumonia).  Anna lived with her daughter, Marie, and died 19 years later on the Beckman farm.

1927 - Vernon (age 4) and Rodney (age 2) in front and Rhoda (age 6), Violet (age 7), and Marie Gable in the back.

Albert and Elsie rented the Theodore Flatau homestead before purchasing it. 

In 1932 they purchased 180 acres from the estate, east of the buildings. 

Elsie (age 28) and Albert Flatau (age 31) with their children, Violet (age 10), Rhoda (age 8), Rodney (age 5) and Vernon (age 6) in 1929.

Rodney (age 10) and Vernon (age 11) in 1934

Rodney Flatau in 1940.

House they lived in for 27 years from 1948 to 1975. 


In 1947 they purchased 162 acres and buildings (the present Peter Irvine place) and started remodeling.  In November 1948, they moved there.  A windstorm of 1952 felled several trees in their yard.

1940 Vernon Flatau

Harry, Bennie, Ernie, Hazel, and Pearl Flatau.


On October 3, 1926 they arrived in Portland and stayed at Walt and Ida Locke’s place (Albert’s sister).  A two-car garage was fixed up for living quarters and the family lived there and Grandma Marie stayed at Locke’s house when she wasn’t away visiting other relatives.

Albert and Elsie are Wed

1937 Albert Flatau (age 39) and  Anker Friestad (age 44) standing.   Frank Parks (age 12), Vernon Flatau (age 14), Rodney Flatau (age 12) kneeling.

Rhoda Flatau (age 6), Marie Gable and Violet Flatau (age 7) in Oregon in 1927

Albert's father and stepmother

In the fall of 1919, Albert and Elsie moved to the Beckman farm and on Nov. 19, 1919, their first child was born.  She was named Violet Marie.

Two years later, while still on the farm, another daughter was born on Jan. 21, 1921.  She was named Rhoda Amanda.

Albert farmed the land at the Beckman farm and also rented farmland on the ‘prairie’.  Marie, Elsie’s mother, sold the Beckman farm in the early spring of 1922.  In the cold months of spring,  Albert, Elsie, and girls were looking for a place to live nearby as they had land rented on the prairie.  A grainery was the best they could find.  It was on the rented land.

Elsie Gustovson with children Mary, Rosie, and Harold.

Violet and Rhoda in front on either side of girl in black skirt.  Attending school in 1927 at Dist. #233 – also known as the Flatau School

Theodore Flatau - 1890

1951 March - Vi holding Kristin with Norris and Wally cuddled beside her.

Rhoda (age 6), Violet (age 7), Rodney (age 2), and Vernon (age 4) on Aunt Ida's front porch in Gresham, OR in 1927.

The Flatau kids in 1933.  Violet (age 13), Rhoda (age 12), Vernon (age 10) and Rodney (age 9).

1939 Rodney, Rhoda, Vernon, and Violet Flatau

Violet, Rhoda, Rodney and Vernon in 1929

Johann & Anna Husen

Rhoda (age 13) and Violet (age 14) in 1934

1952 October - at Albert and Elsie's place - Marie Beckman, John Beckman, and Elsie Flatau assessing the situation.  Storm hit on August 15, 1952 and cleanup was done in October.

Albert Edward Flatau - growing up

1937 Art Beckman (age 12), Anker Friestad (age 44), Albert Flatau (age 39), Vernon Flatau (age 14), Emil Beckman (age 38), Rodney Flatau (age 12) and Elsie Flatau (age 36) in the background.

When Elsie was 5 years old, in 1905, she remembers seeing her first car.  The car belonged to Dr. Schumaker and as it rumbled down the street, it scared her cat as they strolled down the sidewalk.  Not so unusual, except the cat was dressed in doll clothes and was lying in the doll buggy!

She also remembers how everyone was asked to stay off the streets of Perham when men brought in herds of wild horses that were rounded up from the countryside.

Elsie attended school in Perham through the third grade and the start of the fourth.  Then she attended school at District #233 through the seventh grade.  Only the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic) were taught – no tests and very few books. 

For the eighth grade, she attended school in Linton, ND.  She took some classes in the seventh grade, too, that were not available to her at District #233.  She stayed with sisters Marie and Clara, who were employed in Linton and later she stayed with Pete and Louise Schriner (her sister).

After Elsie’s family moved to the country in 1910, she lived only three miles from Albert’s family.  Albert and Elsie met at the “Flatau School” in Hobart Township.

Albert and Elsie remember the year of 1922 as a year of disasters.

A good producing cow died;  Rhoda had an infected gland lanced in her neck in early March;  Violet got a piece of steel in her eye in May and a cracked block on the car developed when Albert, Elsie, Violet, and Emil (Elsie’s brother) went to Fargo to see an eye specialist and Elsie and Violet had to remain in Fargo.

Albert and Emil were near Detroit Lakes when the car broke down. They had only enough money for a loaf of bread and a can of sardines and found drinking water at Detroit Lakes. They saved enough money for train fare to Perham and then walked home.

In the fall of 1922, Albert rented a farm in Perham Township from Emil Husen, a cousin of Marie (Elsie’s mother).  It is presently owned by Ray Zeigler (1983).

On March 15, 1923, a son named Vernon Beckman was born at the “Husen” farm.

On October 3, 1924, Rodney Albert was born.

1955 Liz (Weimann) Beckman, Art Beckman, Elsie (Beckman) Flatau

In 1933 Albert and Elsie along with their neighbors, Joe and Helen Krueger went to the Chicago World’s Fair. 

They stayed with Helen’s sisters, Mary and Grace, and each day checked the newspapers for free events to attend. 

They spent a total of $10.00 at the fair.

For more information watch this video about the Chicago World's Fair. 

Albert and his hog in 1940

1943 Violet and Elsie Flatau in Sheridan Wyoming

Grandma Marie

One of their long train trips, which was January 1958, took them to Portland, OR and to California. 

While seeing relatives in Lodi, Elsie’s sister, Louise, died in February. 

Emil, Elsie’s brother, was also visiting in CA at the time at their daughter, Pearl's place, in Los Angeles.  Albert and Elsie and Emil and Liz then traveled into Mexico. 

The remainder of the train trip took them to Louisiana; Kansas; DesMoines; Iowa; Minneapolis, MN, and home.

Washington State in 1938

Albert with a young bull in 1934