Frank McNew

Mr. and Mrs. Frank McNew

One of Frank McNew’s earliest memories was of catching gophers with a twine string, and saving their tails. Another is of running, with his brother, Riley, barefoot after snakes and stepping on them.

His father, also Frank McNew, was a homesteader and veteran of the Civil War, having fought on the side of the Union.

Frank was born on July 5, 1879, in Greene County, Tennessee. He had several brothers and sisters. As a young man, he went West, working in Texas, California, Oregon, and Washington. From the far West, he traveled east to St. Paul, Minnesota.

He met Blanch Miska there. The daughter of immigrant parents, she had been born at Biscay, Minnesota on February 12, 1887. Her father had come to America with his parents in 1873, emigrating from County Chrudim, State of Bohemia, Austria.

Frank and Blanch were married on April 2, 1913. They lived in St. Paul until about a year after their first child, Josephine, was born. They then moved to North Dakota, where their son, Riley, was born.

The homestead entry for the land described as SW1/4NW1/4,W1/2SW1/4, Lots 6,7,8 was made by Frank McNew on May 12, 1916, and the application was allowed. Their homestead was near Roseglen, in Deepwater Township, North Dakota.

They completed the house on their homestead on October 1, 1916, and the McNew family first established actual residence there on October 30, 1916. Their son, Frank, was born there on August 5, 1917. That year, fifty-four acres were cultivated, but only seventy-five bushels of flax were harvested.

From March 2, 1918 to April 1, 1919, Frank McNew was away on a leave of absence granted by the U.S. Land Office in Minot. Mrs. McNew had contracted tuberculosis and was confined to the North Dakota State Tuberculosos Sanitorium for a year. During this time, the children lived with relatives in Minnesota and Tennessee. They were all reunited about one year after her return to the homestead.

Josephine and Riley started school, and walked the distance to and from their homestead and the one-room schoolhouse.

Sickness struck again, and Mrs. McNew passed away on February 26, 1925. Frank managed to keep the children with him until school was out, and then sent them to stay with their mother’s relatives in Minnesota.

After the crops were in that year, Frank sold out, keeping only the land. With his children, he returned to Tennessee and the farm where he was raised, and where his mother and sister stilll lived. Soon after arriving in Tennessee, he decided to buy the home place, and his mother and sister moved to Greenville, leaving him alone with his three chldren.

Frank McNew never remarried. Each of his children completed high school. Riley entered the Marine Corps the year after high school, and served one enlistment. During the time that he was away, Josephine and Frank attended business college and they both found work away from home.

In the summer of 1941, Riley returned home to live after his enlistment was up. He was with his father in the field on December 7, 1938, when Frank McNew suffered a fatal heart attack.

In 1967, when the Golden Jubilee book was published, the land homesteaded by Frank McNew was still owned jointly by his children.