Lizzie on the right, with her sisters (I think)

The McNeil family, Lizzie is lower left, Ray in the back left raised Glen.

Lee, Florence, Vern, Margaret


Lizzie's Mom and Dad in the center.
John DeLack (1838-1888) was the son of John and Catherine DeLack and moved to New York City from Strasburg France at the age of two.

Both of John's parents died when he was 12. After the funerals, whoever took care of the arrangements was going to bind John over until he turned twenty one, the legal age. John had known other boys who had been bound out and that they were treated badly, so he didn't want any part of it. He knew there should be $200 taped to a bed slat but when he went to get it the money was gone. All he could find was $4 in change that was in a sugar bowl. He took the $4 and ran away, stowing away in a ship that landed him in Charleston, North Carolina.

He traveled west doing odd jobs to feed himself and to have a place to sleep. He came as far as Fon du lac, Wisconsin where he working in a logging camp. John was a soldier for the Union army during the Civil war and after the war ended he returned to Wisconsin and worked in the logging camps and sawmill. He moved to the Rochester area, where he met Lydia Babcock whose parents lived in Pine Island. They were married in 1873 and took a homestead in Thorpe, Wisconsin. They had 5 children, Clifford, Enos, Lee, Laura, and Florence.

In 1886 Lydia died of Cancer. John remarried but two years later he died of typhoid fever and pneumonia. The typhoid fever was caused by the water they were using and all of the children had it too. The children were all treated in time and survived. Lydia's sister Mina and here husband Jim Webster came to Wisconsin and took Enos and Florence back to Webster, South Dakota. Webster was named after Jim Webster who had the first mercantile store and post office there. Florence was adopted by a family named Fisher, and Enos went to a Stage family where he worked for his room and board. Lee and Laura went to live with Lydia's sister Clara in Rochester, and Clifford, then fourteen, was left on his own.

From East Thorp Cemetery: Germany; farmer; Civil War-Co. K, 3rd MN Inf; served: 3/19/64 - 9/2/65

Lee was the son of John DeLack and Lydia Babcock and had two brothers, Clifford and Enos and two sisters, Laura and Florence. In 1886 Lee's mother died of cancer and in 1888 his father died of typhoid fever. Lee and his sister Laura went to Rochester to live with their aunt Clara, Lydia's sister.

Lee married Laura McNeil and together they had seven children, Margaret, Archie, Florence, Vern, Raymond, Grace, and Glen.

The DeLacks, Babcocks, and Rineharts all left Wells, Minnesota in 1910 to find land that they could own. The Babcocks and Rineharts went to Glendive, Montana and took homesteads there. The DeLacks, Lee, Clifford, and Enos went to Littlefork, Minnesota. They loaded freight cars with livestock, machinery, and household stuff and headed north. They left during the summer and bought land that had been logged but still needed a lot of clearing. The women and children stayed in Wells until October. They had to stop in Saint Paul and wait most of the day for the train to Littlefork. Laura and Ethel each had three children, and they had never seen such a building as the St. Paul depot. They had a high old time running about. They boarded their train in the evening and arrived in Littlefork at eight o'clock the next morning. Clifford and Enos were there to meet them with a team of oxen and a sleigh with hay in it. They had also brought blankets because there was snow on the ground and all the girls were wearing sandles. They had left the nice weather behind in Wells.

The Oxen were so slow, it seemed to take forever to get to where they were going. The woods were so thick the trees came right up to the edge of the road. First they came to Lee's place where he was hauling logs to finish their log house. Then another mile down the road they came to Clifford's place (the Vanderwalk homestead). It had been a logging camp and the house was used as a bunk house. It was a four room house with two rooms up and two rooms down. There was a story that the cattle couldn't be transported on the train beyond Northhome, so they wallked them to the homestead. The first night they all went back to Northhome and the men had to go back and get them.

All eleven of them stayed in that house with no running water, no indoor toilets, no electricity, no telephone, and a house full of bed bugs. Vern was born there in January. The closest doctor or dentist was in International Falls, 25 miles away. Up by train in the morning and back by train at night. No wonder the women were crying. Enos lived with them until they moved to Littlefork in 1924.

Lee's family moved the following year, 1911, after the log house was finished and Lizzy was careful not to move any of those bed bugs to that new house. This was the Ole Olson homestead and the DeLacks lived there for many years. This was near the Promersberger homestead and was later owned by Darlene and Rudy Lueders. The home was saddened the winter of 1920 when Mrs. DeLack died of the flu.

There was much hardship connected to early day living many miles from town with just trails for roads. The farming was pretty primitive in those days, planting whereever possible between stumps and using horses or oxen to do the work. Hay was cut where ever it could be found for winter food for the animals. School was a one room log building. The teachers usually stayed at the school to keep the stove going or it would be too cold to hold classes. They all walked a mile or 2 from each direction. Later on the school was consolidated and they were hauled to the Littlefork school. The first school bus was horse drawn wagon in the fall and covered sleigh in the winter.

From the history of Koochiching Co.- When the Minnesota and International Railroad was extended north from Bemidji to Northome in 1903 and finally reached International Falls in 1907, the same year that the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific reached Ranier after being extended north from Virginia, the railroad logging era began in Koochiching County.