Next Front Porch Chat focuses on Fort Totten-Fort Seward trailSunday’s afternoon chat on the front porch of the Stutsman County Memorial Museum will be a step back in history given by Rebecca Young-Sletten, the daughter of Jamestown’s unofficial historian, Mary Young.
Sunday’s afternoon chat on the front porch of the Stutsman County Memorial Museum will be a step back in history given by Rebecca Young-Sletten, the daughter of Jamestown’s unofficial historian, Mary Young.
Young-Sletten is Young’s youngest daughter, and has been walking in her mom’s footsteps gathering data on a stagecoach line that once ran from Jamestown to Fort Totten. This topic is close to both their hearts because the 91- year-old Mary Young has been researching where the original coaches are today and Young-Sletten has been putting all the information together in a document in order to preserve her mom’s research information.
Young-Sletten, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, will be presenting a PowerPoint show at the former Lutz mansion, now the site of the Stutsman County Memorial Museum. It is free and open to the public.
It’s a virtual presentation on the Fort Seward to Fort Totten Trail — a historic perspective of those who traveled the trail.
The presentation will look at the history of the trail, how the trail was reopened by the 1969 wagon train going from Fort Seward to Fort Totten, the historical figures who drove the stage coaches up the trail, and settlers who stopped and set up farms and homes along the trail.
The presentation will be about an hour long, with an open discussion for the public to ask questions of Young-Sletten and her mother.
Mary Young (who is the expert historian about the trail) and her late husband, Ernie Young, were responsible for the annual wagon train that runs from Fort Ransom to Jamestown and travels north toward Fort Totten.
But many people in Jamestown remember the family for a different reason: they grew up regarding the couple as chaperones and weekend parents. During the mid-20th century, the Youngs managed the Teen Canteen in downtown Jamestown, where many a kid (now ages 55-70) once gathered for dances, games and music. Their own late son and two daughters were an integral part of the family’s rock ‘n’ roll weekends.
Young’s memory is as sharp today as it was 50 years ago, whether describing the Teen Canteen or giving the history of Jamestown’s opera house or the first wagon train across the trails heading north. Her daughter teaches art at Bismarck’s Central High School, and in her spare time teaches graduate classes.
Young-Sletten just completed teaching another graduate-level course for the University of North Dakota in Bismarck, where she taught elementary and secondary school teachers many ways of incorporating Japanese culture into their curricula.
She did a similar course in Jamestown several years ago at Jamestown College’s art department. She is an excellent instructor and has a varied interest in history and culture. Like her mother and sister Cathy Lutz, she has mastered many media for expressing creativity and visual art.
During the UND classes she dresses her students in kimonos, and conducts a tea ceremony. They learn shibori silk dying and silk painting, as well as Japanese kanji and haiku. The students in her July class made rice paper journals using Japanese origami paper as a cover and they sewed the pages into the cover. Those classes were at the Bismarck Art and Gallery. Earlier in July she was in Montana conducting the same classes for teachers. Hopefully, she will be offering the same course again near Jamestown.
You can get an idea of how enjoyable her classes are when you attend Sunday’s presentation. And getting to ask her and her mom questions will be a rare treat. I know of no other person, who at 91 or any age, has the recall of events that Mary Young has. She is a treasure. It will be so special to have her join her daughter at the Front Porch Chat Sunday.
If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.