SAM AND LAURA BIRD
LAURA RENVILLE BIRD
THIS WAS WRITTEN BY THE BIRD FAMILY FOR THE PEEVER PILOT 2001 IN 1999.
Sam Bird was born January 3, 1889 west of Wilmot to Joseph and Susan Bird. Laura was born June 16, 1903 to Sara (Sheldon) and Pete Renville, a son of Chief Gabriel Renville.
The couple took the train to Milbank and were married there in 1923. To this union were born nine children: Lilly Mae, Thelma, Kenneth, Sylvia, Milton, Curtis, Lincoln, Beverly, and Karen. Kenneth, Milton, Lincoln and Beverly are deceased.
All the children lived in the Peever area with the exception of Kenneth. He joined the service at age eighteen and was stationed in North Carolina. It was there he met his wife and continued to live in North Carolina until his death. His family still reside there.
The Bird family moved to Sisseton from the Old Village. The older girls remember riding the train from Sisseton to Grandma Sara's who lived northwest of Peever. The girls paid a nickel for the ride. The conductor knew them and he would stop the train and let them off and they would walk the mile to Grandma's. Grandma Sara spoke only Dakota language. When the older children started school they couldn't speak English.
A granddaughter shared her memories of going to Grandma Laura's and finding her living room filled with handmade quilts and material. She also beaded and made crocheted items which people would purchase to use as gifts for the memorials which are a Native American tradition.
The family lived in a two room house and finally the older girls got their "Own Door" when a room was built on for them. They enjoyed it a very short time when Grandma Sara suffered a stroke. Then she came to live with the Birds and got the new room.
Other memories include Saturday night in Peever at the movies. The kids got pop and popcorn as a treat from their Dad. One of the younger girls told about when her sisters had boyfriends to take them places, but "I couldn't go," so Dad would say, "OK, get ready, I'll take you." And off they would go to a dance or rodeo.
Sam was employed by Darby Patterson at the Sisseton Lumber Yard for thirty years. He also built St. John's Church near Browns Valley, MN.
In spite of their large family, the Birds always made room for young people who had no home.
After living in Sisseton for a number of years, the family moved to Peever. Sam passed away on February 3, 1961 at the age of seventy two.
Laura continued to live in Peever until her health began to fail. Then she lived with the family until entering the nursing home in Sisseton. On of the memories shared while in the home was that she got hungry for homemade chicken soup. "And I want it made with REAL chicken!"
Laura passed away January 3, 1999 at the age of ninety five. She is survived by forty two grandchildren, One hundred great grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren.
By Sandi (Devine) Haubris
Among the memories I have of my Grandma is her good cooking and baking. she always liked to have homemade bread, rolls and doughnuts when we would come home from school and she liked having us taste them to see what they were like. Sometimes we would have to have three or four doughnuts before we were sure! She also enjoyed making a big Sunday dinner for the family who would stop by after Church. If it happened no one came, she would be mad. But she never stayed too mad at anyone for very long. she just would tell them to please let her know if they had other plans that Sunday.
My sisters and I who lived with her after our mother died were told to do as she said and obey her rules and I always tried to, as I never wanted to disappoint Grandma.
She was a very special grandmother. she wished more than anything for the family to be together for birthdays, picnics and other family occasions. She taught me a lot of things when I was growing up, and I appreciated her so much and loved her as my own mother.