The railroad agent had been right about the gardens. Every year they raised a big vegetable garden and harvested hay from their meadow.
|Back row: Wanda, Ed, Emma and Olivia; Front: Lillian, Eva, Leroy, John and Loyd.|
They weren't quite prepared for that first winter, however. Minnesota winters are harsh, and during that first winter, temperatures plunged to 40 and 50 degrees below zero.
|Wanda, Olivia, Ed, Emma, Lillian - back row; Loyd, John, Eva, LeRoy - front row|
The Schroeders had come to Minnesota in 1934 with almost nothing and with seven children at the table, they had plenty of needs. It took a few years to get back on their feet.
John was able to get a few jobs, once dragging the road all night to keep it from freezing and then later working with WPA a few days a week. He and Ed were also learning to be lumberjacks. They cut trees down with a bucksaw, then axed off the branches during the winter. After the spring sun hit the wood, they would come back and peel off the bark and cut the tree into pulp wood sticks, which sold for $6 a cord.
Floodwood was not much of a churchgoing community. Right after the move, the Schroeders had begun a Sunday school in their home. Several neighbors came, too, especially for the Christmas program, and that was encouraging.
|The Minnesota farm in winter.|
Eventually they became part of the Floodwood Bible Chapel. Still, they were concerned about their children and what they would be exposed to daily at school. All they could do was pray and trust God to guide them and keep them from going astray.
Slowly the Schroeders were able to make a good life for themselves here. Nothing extravagant, of course, but they began to see some results from their work as they built up the farm and were able to buy an Oliver tractor.
|Back row: Leroy, Loyd, John, Lillian, Olivia; Middle row: Clarice (Ed's wife), Ed, Eva; Front row: Janice and Merle, the first of many grandchildren|
|Eva and John, back row; Olivia, Lillian, Leroy and Wanda|
First, Emma felt called to be a missionary and went to Bible school and eventually to Ecuador, South America with her husband. Later, Loyd and his family served as missionaries in Ecuador, too. The other girls (Wanda, Olivia and Lillian) worked in missions in the northern states or in other Christian service until their marriages. Leroy was an accomplished musician and college professor. All of the children married, established Christian homes and began giving John and Eva many grandchildren.
|John and Eva Schroeder in front of the Minnesota farmhouse.|
However, they had an even bigger trip in mind: They wanted to visit their missionary children in Ecuador, South America.
To read more of John and Eva's story: (click on the titles)
Part 1: The Early Years
Part 2: Homesteading in Montana
Part 3: The Great Depression
This is Part 4
Part 5: Growing Old