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Thomas Waldie, Published February 11 2012

Benign view of wolves does not square with settlers’ experiences

When I read The Forum article “Howls of disapproval” by Nicole Lee (Feb. 1), I was reminded of my grandfather, John Waldie.

John Waldie came over with his parents and siblings from Scotland to Canada in the 1870s. John came down to Fargo and worked for farmers for two years so he could earn some money to start farming himself. In 1882, when John was 21, he walked from Sheldon, N.D. to Grand Rapids, N.D., which at that time was the county seat of LaMoure County, and filed on a homestead seven miles north of Grand Rapids.

There were no roads, only prairie trails, and the nearest town was Dickey, N.D.

When winter came, farmers used snow boats, a platform of planks with runners, pulled by horses, to go to Dickey for supplies. No farmer could go alone. There were always two or three on board because one had to drive the horses, while the others fought off wolves.

As soon as they got going, a pack of wolves would try to jump on the snow boat and attack the men. They would have to kill one wolf so the rest would eat it and leave the men alone. This is how they had to live for many years.

Wolves that are raised in a zoo with plenty of food, and tamed, are far different than the real world.

The movie “The Grey” is probably a lot more accurate than Nicole Lee thinks.

This country was founded by brave hardworking people that most couldn’t hold a candle to today.

John Waldie’s parents, Tom and Elizabeth Waldie, raised 12 children and stayed in Canada – five sons, John, Chris, George, James and Thomas all homesteaded around Dickey, and all but George are buried in the Dickey cemetery.

I am only the third generation on this same farm since 1882. My father, Clayton Waldie, took over from Grandpa John who lived till 1949.

Blessed be the memory of these brave, hardworking homesteaders who put their lives on the line so we could have a better life today.

Waldie farms near Marion, N.D.