Edith Fern Pearson was born March 10, 1904 in Hayward, Wisconsin to Charles Pearson
and Flora Pearl Barr Pearson. Flora Pearl was the daughter of Ransom and Rosetta
Cattrell Barr. Ransom was the son of Jacob and Henrietta Barr, born in Miller's Run,
Gibson, Cameron, Pennsylvania. Rosetta was born in Wisconsin to Sylvester Cottrell and
Sarah Jane Preston. Charles Pearson's parents were Frank and Elizabeth Pearson. Frank
was born in Canada of Scottish parents and Elizabeth was born in New York.
Fern (She didn't use Edith) had two brothers; Russell L. (Mike), and Paul H., a half sister
Mildred Wilson, born October 20, 1916, and two half brothers, including Elmer (Phil)
Wilson, born June 8, 1918, and Clifford R. Wilson, born in 1922. Mike died in 1944 in
Portland, Oregon, perhaps in a car accident. Phil died December 5, 1945 in a sawmill
Fern moved with her parents to Mankato when she was only a few months old. When she
was ten her parents divorced and her mother remarried and went to live on a farm near St.
Peter. Fern went to a little country school near there. Later, she stayed with her Grandpa
and Grandma Barr in Mankato and went to school. When Fern was 15, her grandparents
moved to a house near Fern's mother. Then she got rooms with different people she knew.
Fern worked as a power operator at the Hugo Shirt Factory for a while. She stayed with
some people named Carr. They had a dance at their place and at that dance she met the
Blanshan family. She also met Ernie Auringer and went with him for a while until she met
Slim Blanshan. They decided to get married and were married October 8, 1922 in Mankato.
They were both 18.
Work was scarce. Slim worked for a dray company for a while. Later Slim's parents and
three girls, Ernie and Lila Auringer and Slim and Fern all went up to hoe beets in the beet
fields in Barnesville, Minnesota. Donna was born there. Then they moved back to Mankato
where Slim had various jobs.
Fern and Slim had 8 children: Donna Jeanne, born April 24, 1924, died May 23, 1997 of
acute leukemia; Robert Chester, born February 4, 1926; James Ralph, born July 16, 1927;
Dwayne Francis, born February 12, 1931, died of crib death at 8 weeks of age; Harvey
Douglas, born September 2, 1932; Garry Harlan, born May 6, 1935; Albert Curtis, born April
23, 1938; and Sandra Pearl, born June 26, 1939.
Fern encouraged her kids to go to school. She told them they could stay at home as long
as they went to school. If they quit, however, they would have to pay room and board!
Fern was not very tall, but she was very energetic and ambitious. She always kept up on
the latest craft work such as ceramics and macrame. She was very good at crocheting.
She crocheted beautiful dolls for all of her granddaughters. She was also a very good
cook. All her grandchildren remember her brownies in particular.
She worked at several places as a cook and as a waitress. She worked 6 years at the
Coffee Cup, and ran the Rainbow Cafe for 5 years. She took care of handicapped girls in
her home from 1971 to 1983, usually having 4 at a time.
She always remembered her grandchildren with very nice gifts at Christmas time. (I still
have the Tiny Tears she gave me, Rebecca)
Fern was very generous and selfless. According to Fern's daughter-in-law June, when
Barbara, Dale, Rebecca and Nancy had the whooping cough for weeks and she (June)
was getting run down, Fern came and got the older kids for 3 weeks so she could get
Fern attended the Eagle Lake Church of Christ regularly.
Fern died of congestive heart failure on February 7, 1994. She is buried near Slim in
Minneopa Cemetery near Mankato.
Fern Pearson Blanshan
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