Remembering Emil

After a post focusing on Grandmother Gina, we turn our attention to our grandfather, Emil Borreson, born September 17, 1872. Again I begin with a listing of information about him from his daughter Clara’s 1980 family history. Here’s a partial summary about Emil:

Emil Borreson

  • As a young man he was a cook at Big Slough Lumber Camp 20 miles north of Winona, MN for a few winters.
  • He bought farm land in Fitch Coulee from his parents Elias and Kari in 1898, and added more land and a barn in 1901.
  • In 1912 he had the red brick house built for his growing family. (Can anyone loan me a photo the house for posting on this site? Please e-mail me.)
  • He had the barn remodelled in 1915, equipping it for 30-35 cows.
  • According to Clara he was “the first farmer to have a modern farm in the coulee” (some of these items are obvious fodder for more posts).
  • Not only did he do cement work for others, but he was a woodworker on such items as sleds, skis, furniture and brooder houses.
  • He went visiting on the weekends, and he loved picking wild blueberries and blackberries.
  • By the time he and Gina moved into Whitehall in 1948 three months before he died, Emil had spent almost 75 years on the Fitch Coulee farm.

My own memory of Grandpa Emil is limited to one, a day when my parents took me along to Emil and Gina’s little house in Whitehall. Emil’s health was failing, and I remember being led by Dad to my grandfather’s bedside to say Hello and spend a moment. Since Emil died in January 1949, I probably was four years old. All I have besides that is an impression: that he was a serious man – and that comes mostly from his photos (like the one above from the 1940 family photo). That impression, of course, may be wrong: serious was the look in many older photographs.

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