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Posted January 3, 2012 at 11:36 am

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from the files of the

Ree Heights Review

compiled by

Jeanie Hartman

December 30, 1911

It could hardly be called an audience that packed the church at Ree Heights Saturday night. It was a crowd, and a large one at that. The room was full almost to suffocation. The exercise started on time, the program lasted about one hour. Everyone did well-especially the fellows. Nearly all the program brought home the thought of God’s great gift to man, 1,911 years ago. After the close of the program, a collection of $13 was taken for the Children’s Home in Sioux Falls. After this, the beautiful tree was stripped of its presents, and everybody in the church was made happy.

The dance given by Somers & Frank at the Opera House Christmas night was a great success and one of the best ever pulled off in Ree Heights. About 25 young people came over from Highmore with the orchestra, as well as many from Miller and the surrounding country. Everybody had a good time and after the dance, supper was served at the Depot Hotel.

A.R. Moore went to Miller Wednesday, to see about getting an ice ploy, preparatory to putting up the annual crop of ice. The ice on the pond back of the dam will soon be “fit” if the present temperature continues a few days.

Fire in Ree Heights, continued: Owing to the rapid rush of the fire, it was impossible to save much for anyone and the household goods in the upper rooms were especially difficult to secure. Everyone worked heroically, men, women and children, and some of the more valuable articles of furniture and the family wearing apparel was in most instances rescued. With the flames already ahead of them, the gallant force of workers essayed to save something for Col. Young, whose hardware store also sheltered his family. Efforts to save anything like a respectable portion of the stock were, however, unavailing, and in the main it was destroyed. (Continued next week)

December 31, 1921

Fire wiped out the business block of Ree Heights Wednesday. Another disastrous fire is added to the list-this time taking the business block, occupied by the Ree Mercantile Company, E.C. Else’s office, Shipping Association officer and the telephone exchange-the only buildings left on the entire block are the Guaranty Bank, Turner Cream Station and the N. Saffren Store, which are fireproof and the only ones of that kind in town. The fire started in the kitchen of the telephone exchange about 7:30 Wednesday evening. C.L. Lake and Howard Cole kept the exchange at night and lived in the rear. Cole left the kitchen for a short while to light a lamp for the operator, Miss Neva Watkins. While engaged in this, he heard an explosion in the rear. Rushing to the room, he opened the door, but was forced back by the flames and gas. A small kerosene stove and a gas lamp were burning in the room, and it is supposed that the latter exploded, throwing the contents to the four walls. (Continued next week)

At the special meeting of the Board of Education last Saturday, Professor Knutson handed in his resignation as school superintendent, which the board accepted. Other applications have been received, which will be considered at the next meeting of the board.

Case Van Wyngaarden held a drawing at his place of business Monday and the following prizes were awarded to his patrons: dish pan, Mrs. T. Adcox; coaster wagon, Mrs. Aaron Burge; bucket Jersee compound, A. Novotny; percolator, J.E. Specker; pail, Pat Newcome; steamer, James Lobban; teapot, Ed DeGeest; bucket Jersee compound, Albert Schultz; roaster, Ed DeGeest; wash basin, Mrs. Emil Reiman; oil heater, Ed Fawcett; gas iron, M.H. Lingscheit; tea kettle, C.C. Shreffler; double boiler, Koc Bros. The judges were Alice Mead, Helen Lander and B.S. Bell.

January 1, 1932

While driving to Miller one day last week with his mother and sister and her children, Wayne McGee ran off the grade and tipped his car over. No one was badly injured, though Mrs. Wyngaarden and Mrs. Wheelock were bruised some.

It is rumored about that our school is to be closed the balance of the season due to lack of funds with which to continue. These rumors prompted us to investigate the matter and we have learned from members of the board that this talk is groundless and on the wind. No intentions of closing the school have been expressed by the board.

Oh my! Oh my! Our hearts go out in sympathy for the Nicaraguans who are homeless and destitute on account of the severe earthquake. But we wept, not for them but for the heartlessness of some folks, when we came to town the other morning and discovered a litter of small puppies that had evidently been brought to town by someone and dumped out to rustle for themselves, in the wake of a winter storm, before they were barely old enough to be taken from the sheltering care of their mother.

January 2, 1942

Appointed to the head of the Hand County Defense Council is Sheriff Carl Almond. Other members are Bryan Titus and Seldon Mitchell. These appointments were made by the County Commissioners. One of the duties of this board will be to determine who shall or shall not have automobile tires, and to assist in arriving at these decisions. Carl Speirs of Ree Heights will be one of the members on the board.

Due to power line trouble, Ree Heights experienced a couple of hours of blackout Christmas night. A dance was in progress and it was necessary to borrow batteries and six-volt bulbs from the local service station in order to carry on. Cloudy skies added to the blackness of the blackout. Snow fell nearly all night, covering the ground with a two or three inch blanket, the first snowfall of the winter.

December 28, 1951

The weather remains about the same as it has been for the past three weeks. Still lots of snow and more falling from time to time. Roads are blocked most of the time, even though road crews are working most of the time. We haven’t had any high wind, but there has been enough breeze to keep the snow drifting.

Mr. and Mrs. Curt Hammill will hold an open house to their friends and relatives at their home in observance of their Golden Wedding Anniversary, Tuesday, Jan. 8, from 2-5 p.m.

The following spent Christmas Day with Mrs. Nellie Hickcox: Mrs. Pearl Voelker and LaVerne; the Marion Voelker family; the Marvin Schultz family; the Roy Hammill family; the Raymond Voelker family; the George Voelker family; Mr. and Mrs. Milton Hickcox and daughter; Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Mattke; Martin Lingscheit and Glen; and Mr. and Mrs. Curt Hammill.

December 29, 1961

Eldon Bouren accompanied Charles Fox home from Camp Carson, Colo. Friday night, to spend Christmas with his folks. They are to report back to camp January 2.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Deuter arrived Friday from Ft. Lewis, Wash., where he is stationed with the U.S. Army. Their car broke down at Rapid City, and his brothers, Donald and Francis Deuter, drove out there late Thursday with the necessary repairs, and they all drove on home later that night. Johnny has a 30-day leave.

Several other businesses have reopened or changed hands. Mrs. Victor Carman took over the management of the town’s only caf March 1, after it had been closed for several months. Roger Nicholas reopened the only grocery store September 1, after it had been closed three months. He calls the new business Nick’s Ree Merc. Edward Moody will take over the management of the Phillip’s 66 service station, owned by Mrs. Gertrude Boetcher, Highmore, on January 1. This has been managed by Verlin Blaseg for the past couple of years.

December 31, 1971

Funeral services for Mrs. Leslie (Bernice) Grace, a former Ree Heights vicinity resident, were held in Huron at the United Methodist Church on Wednesday morning. Bernice Z. Berry, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walker E. Berry, was born in Ree Heights January 6, 1892. At the age of two she moved with her parents to a ranch in Spring Hill Township. She attended rural school and high school in Ree Heights.

Friends were sorry to hear of the death of Ernest Slack December 23 at Memorial Hospital in Miller, following a lengthy illness. In 1919, he married Mina Zemlicka at Highmore. They farmed there for several years before moving to a farm north of Ree Heights, where he continued farming until 1959, when he retired because of his health and moved to Miller.

January 1, 1982

Jerry Lee Hammill, age two, son of Roxann and K. Lee Hammill, died unexpectedly at Rapid City Regional Hospital early Thursday morning, Dec. 24. He was born November 21, 1979, in Rapid City. He is survived by his parents; one brother; paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Kent Hammill; maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Clark; and great-grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hammill, Ree Heights; and Mr. and Mrs. Morrie Clarkson, Spearfish.

Mr. and Mrs. Allen Hanson and family went to Faulkton Monday to a wrestling tournament. Rick won two out of three in his division. They brought Dad Deuter back home with them. The Hansons attended the Christmas square dance and dinner in Highmore Wednesday evening.

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Fawcett on the arrival of their new baby girl, Kristen Kay, born December 24, weighing 8 lbs., 13 oz.

December 27, 1991

Tuesday evening, Frank and Hazel Hammill had a pleasant surprise when the Wolf Creek Wranglers 4-H Club showed up at their door with a decorated Christmas tree and basket of goodies.

Lois Deuter, Sally, Amanda, Jamie and Kelly Watkins of St. Lawrence, Cole and Sarah Knippling of Gann Valley, T.J. Deuter of St. Lawrence, and Bridgett and Dylan Deuter were in Pierre to view the Christmas trees at the Capitol and watch the geese on Capitol Lake in the afternoon.

Robert, Billie and Dan Etbauer and Brian Fulton returned home last week from National Finals Rodeo competition in Las Vegas, where all four earned enviable positions in world standings. Robert returned with first place in the world, Billie with a second place in the world and Dan with a fifth place in the world, all in saddle bronc riding. Brian Fulton returned with an 11th place in the world standing in calf roping.

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