John & William Sallee Families

John Henry Sallee and his bride, Nancy, were both born in Missouri. John was born in 1873, while Nancy was born in 1877. They were married on February 20, 1895.

John worked as a hired man for several farmers in the vicinity of Fulton before he and Nancy moved to North Dakota.

As a young boy, John had read about the Dakota Territory, and it was long an ambition of his to come there to settle. More recently, he had also read a book that encouraged settlers to come to North Dakota.

The Sallees arrived on March 23, 1902, buying a relinquishment on a small farm one mile south and three miles west of Granville, in McHenry County, North Dakota. As they were able to do so, they purchased additional land, and John built most of the buildings on his farm himself.

When John began farming, and for years later, neighbors referred to him as "the toy farmer" because he plowed with with a single-bottom walking plow, while others used wide gang plows. It took him three years to get forty acres in crop. Some people said that it was foolish of him not to hire a big outfit to break the sod, or for not buying a gang plow, but John reasoned that he didn't want to get in too deep before he knew where he was at. His policy was to buy nothing that he didn't have the money to pay for. As much as possible, he said that he had tried to put into practice the kind of farming he had learned in Missouri.

John's formula for farming was livestock and corn, plus poultry and other feed crops. John didn't like or trust the government programs that were put in place to assist agriculture. He believed that if other farmers farmed as conservatively as he did, there would be no need for such programs. John was quoted as saying, "I ask my government for nothing except to give me the chance to make a living."

He admitted to being partial to corn as a crop because of his boyhood familiarity with it. "I like corn," he said, "and I like to plow it. I don't like wheat."

In keeping with methods that he learned in Missouri, John hauled every forkful of manure from his barns out on his fields to enrich them.

In 1915, John and Nancy returned to Missouri to adopt a little boy who had been born in 1914. They named their adopted son, William Henry, and brought him back to North Dakota. Bill grew to manhood in the Granville area, graduating from Granville High School in 1933. Forty years later, Bill's oldest son, John, was graduating from Granville High School.

Nancy Sallee died on October 2, 1933. She had been ill for some time but, after a stay in a Minot hospital, she seemed to have improved. A sudden heart attack brought on her death. Funeral services were held at the Norwich Lutheran Church with the Rev. K.A. Bodin officiating. Mrs. Sallee was buried in the Norwich Cemetery. She was fifty-six years old at the time of her death.

In 1935, John Henry Sallee got into the cattle business. He didn't intend to. According to his adopted son, Bill, John was at the bank one day when H.C. Dahl, the banker, said that he had some cattle to sell. He tried to talk John into buying it but John said no. After they returned home, Dahl came out the the place and again tried to talk John into buying the cattle. John said that he didn't have any money to buy cattle with. Dahl said that was okay; John's credit was good. He began with about twenty head.

John raised large gardens each year, believing that every farmer should grow as much of his own food as possible. He also had flower beds and shrubs.

On his 68th birthday, friends suggested to John that he retire and move into town, but John said that he wouldn't feel safe anywhere but on the farm. "In my sixty-eight years," he said, "I have lived in town only three weeks and that was in Granville, while I was getting located here."

John Henry enjoyed the occasional trip to Minot. He attended meetings of the Mouse River Cattlemen's Association. Several times, he also made trips to Chicago and Kansas City for livestock shows.

John Henry Sallee died at the age of seventy-five in 1949, and was buried next to his wife, Nancy. John had been active in the formation of Norwich Township, in which his farmstead was located. He had gained a reputation as a livestock breeder and community leader.

Bill Sallee married Zora Rhodes, from Washington, Iowa, on August 12, 1953 in Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Church in Granville. They had met while she was working at St. Joseph's Hospital in Minot. Zora had graduated from the University of Iowa, and was a physical therapist.

Bill and Zora had two sons. Their first son was named after his grandfather, John Henry. John graduated from Granville High School and North Dakota State University. Their second son, James Robert, was born in 1959. He also graduated from Granville High School.

In 1957, Bill was farming 640-acres, with about three hundred tillable and the rest pasture and hay land, was feeding about seventy head of Herefords, a flock of thirty-five registered Columbia ewes, and had about thirty feeder pigs. He had also taken over the operation of the Deep River Irrigation Development Farm at Upham, having been selected to operate the combination irrigation and dryland farm in 1956 by the Bureau of Reclamation in cooperation with NDSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bill was the second operator of the farm, the first being Stener Hillerud, formerly of Velva, North Dakota.

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