GRACIE AND PI LAINGE ON THEIR GOLDEN WEDDING
ANNIVERSARY IN 1952
PIUS E. LAINGE
"I was only a lad of twelve, and it was a dark cold night in November. I started out, but mind you, there were no road signs telling you which way to go …just trails! It started to snow and get colder, and it wasn't long before I was lost. I rode around for awhile until I found a haystack and dug a hole and crawled in, being careful to tie the lead rope to my ankle so I wouldn't lose my horse.
But it got too cold to stay put, so I got back on my horse and we trudged on. Finally, after a time, how long I wouldn't know, I saw a light and came upon a house. The family put me up for the night and in the morning when I got my bearing, I finished the task I had been sent to do." These are the words of Pi Lainge who all of us "Old Timers" around Peever knew so well.
Pius Lange was born at Campellton, New Brunswick, Canada in 1881, the son of Robert and Catherine Lainge.
As a young man he moved to Wilmot, SD where he lived for three years, the, in 1901 he moved to Peever where he lived and worked, with the exception of a short time spent in Montana, until his death.
Let's take up the story again in his own words. "I actually attended school a little…very little. I worked in the blacksmith shop in Wilmot with my Uncle John Atkinson and learned the trade. I can remember when I first started, horsepower powered the tools, there were no engines then. I stayed with my family for a few years and returned to the Wilmot area and worked as a blacksmith until 1901 when I came to what is now Peever.
There were just two other businesses, a general store and a hardware store. I built a blacksmith shop, and with the nickels and dimes collecting in my pocket, I must say, my business was pretty good."
In 1902 Pi married the former Grace M. Urich and they homesteaded west of Peever. He and his wife, who he fondly called "the redhead", celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1952.
In 1914, Pius sold his blacksmith shop and they traveled to Montana where he homesteaded. About five years later they returned to Peever and purchased the business of H.O. Swenson who sold general merchandise. Pi also became the local funeral director "in a learn-by-doing apprentice style," he said. He was one of the oldest licensed funeral directors in the state.
The Lainges had two children, a son Milton who is deceased and a daughter Madalon, Mrs. Louis Holycross, resides at Bismark, IL. They have three grandchildren.
"I can still remember when we homestead in this raw country and can remember seeing the sturdy oxen plowing the land. But in my opinion, they were no more sturdy that the people who walked behind them. They worked hard and managed to survive the long winters. Last year's winter (1968-69) was one of the worse I can remember in 30 or 40 years. Reminded me of the years when we got snowed in come November and didn't get out again until spring. Same thing last year."
Pi was always known for his quick Scottish wit and he liked nothing better than to tell "A tall tale." You would have to catch the twinkle in his eye to know if he was teasing or not. A visit to his store and a chat with Pi would have you leaving with the feeling…"He's quite a guy!"
Gracie passed away in June of 1954. Pi continued in his business until his death in 1970. They are buried in the Sisseton cemetery.
(Most of this was reprinted from an article in the Watertown Public Opinion and given to the Pilot by Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Swenumson of Sisseton.)
GRACE AND PI LAINGE WITH THEIR FAMILY
INSIDE OF LAINGE'S STORE. YEAR UNKNOWN
ADVERTISING INK BLOTTER FROM THE LAINGE COLLECTION
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