Did you know there are sons and daughters of men who fought in the Civil War still living? Not many, but a few.
So says David Lande, Burtonsville, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.
David, a Concordia College graduate, is retired as a researcher and writer for the National Geographic magazine.
He became interested in Civil War veterans' offspring while visiting with his long-ago Concordia roommate who remains his best friend, Brian Bergs, who is originally from Clarissa, Minn., and now lives in Minneapolis.
"Brian is a Civil War aficionado who sometimes tossed ideas for Civil War stories my way when I was on the National Geographic staff," David says.
"He had bounced a series of ideas off me, but the National Geographic is naturally quite selective of topics for its audience and I wasn't hearing any that hit the sweet spot," he says. "Then one day he said, 'You know, there are children of Civil War soldiers still living.'
"I looked at him and uttered a very flat-sounding, 'What?' with barely a raised inflection of voice normally appropriate for a question mark.
"I couldn't believe it. This was 150 years after the Civil War had ended, so when I sent the idea up the line I was met with the same kind of incredulous looks I had given him.
"It took the better part of a year to convince our editors of the merits of this story. When I started the research, there were 50 surviving 'children.' By the time I was given a go-ahead to travel and write and do live interviews on camera, there were only 32."
But he wrote the stories.
All the people he talked to and wrote about were "very old 'children'" he writes, "born mostly in the 1910s and 1920s to Civil War veterans and young brides."
David can find no record of any of them now living in Minnesota or North Dakota. But if there are, he'd certainly like to know about them.
David has an interest in these two states both because of being a Concordia graduate and because his parents, Otto and Irene Lande, lived off and on in Fargo and had a cabin on a Minnesota lake.
Otto worked for Northern School Supply in Fargo for several decades. Both Otto and Irene were Fargo residents when they passed away.
Just one of the stories David wrote in his National Geographic article and that he sent to Neighbors was of the man whose father was a private in the Union army's 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was severely wounded in the first battle of Bull Run in 1861. He later was personally appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point by President Abraham Lincoln.
Well, it's doubtful any children of Civil War veterans still live in North Dakota or Minnesota. But if there are, David and Neighbors would like to know about them.
Meeting famed singer
Roger Butler, Detroit Lakes, Minn., certainly wasn't a son of a Civil War vet. But he was one of the many who, when he passed away in 2017 at 84, had sent messages and stories to Neighbors over the years.
Following his passing, one of his stepdaughters, Diane Svaleson, Fargo, wrote that Roger enjoyed sharing his stories with Neighbors.
"His mind was so sharp and he was so interesting," Diane wrote.
"It has been very interesting finding all the information he had in his desk."
The last story of Roger's that Neighbors published was of the the time in either 1945 or 1946 when his parents took him and his three brothers to hear the famed singer Paul Robeson give a concert in what Roger called the "cold, drafty old auditorium at the North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University)."
Even as a kid, Roger said, he enjoyed the concert and thought Robeson was "marvelous."
After the concert, Roger's dad took his family backstage in hopes of meeting Robeson. And sure enough, the singer saw them, came to them, shook their hands and thanked them for coming to his show.
This is just one of the memories Roger sent to Neighbors and one his family cherishes.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.