Note: This is from "OUR FAMILY" by Gil Roth, Edmonton, Canada.


Homer James Kelts, the second son of Spencer Preston Kelts and Ida May (Slater) Kelts, was born in Dora Township Ottertail County, Minnesota on September 28, 1883.

Maud Ora Kelts, only daughter of Charlie J. Camp and Estella (Haines) Camp was born in Hesper, Winneshiek County, February 20, 1888. She went to school in Hesper, until April 1898, when she came to Benson County with her folks, settling on a homestead in what was later the Hesper area. She went to school in the Hesper township school until 1904. The first of April, 1905, Maud started clerking in the Leonard Nelson store. She clerked and took care of the Hesper post office which had been moved to the store from her home on the homestead. Her father had been postmaster for six years with the post office in his house. Maud went back to Hesper, with her parents in the winter of 1905 and visited friends and relatives until March of 1906 when she worked in Nelson's store during threshing season.

Maud and Homer Kelts planned to be married November 15, 1906 at the Camp home. It was a lovely day, and they took some things to the church in the afternoon; the wedding was to be in the church that evening. Several of the teachers at the school had sent to the florist for roses for them which they took to the church that afternoon.

When they left the church it had started to cloud over so they took the flowers with them. They stopped at Grandpa Haines to borrow some dishes and Grandma gave them their her gifts as she said they would not be able to come to the wedding. It started snowing as they started out for the Kelts farm.

They were having a double wedding. Homer's sister, Angeline and Ray Molsberry were also to be wed. They had planned their marriage to be about two weeks after Maud and Homer's, but decided to have a double wedding, then the Kelts would have a supper later for relatives and friends. But, the winter was so bad that the supper was never held.

After they were married, Homer and Maud lived with her parents until the summer of 1907, when they moved onto a rented farm about two miles southwest of her parents, where they lived until October. They then moved to the Joe Polinsky farm, and lived there until the spring of 1909 when they moved to Alberta, Canada and homesteaded there.

On their way to their homestead in Alberta, Canada they had a long hard trip. They first had to ship their things to Stettler, Alberta, which was the end of the railroad at that time. From there, they had to drive 110 miles farther southeast to their claims. Homer's brother, Marion, went up at the same time with some horses; John Reppeto from Esmond and Frank Molsberry also went along. Those two rode out to the Marion Kelts' claim with Marion and helped with driving one team. The Slaters and Williams did not leave at once as they had to build hay racks and stretch tents over them to live in. They also rode in the hay racks out to the claims. This took ten or twelve days. Before they could leave Stettler they had to wait while Clarence Slater recovered from illness. Maud also got the flu (grippe as it was then called) and she had to move to Wilburn DeWolf's tent until she was able to travel. Wilburn was a young man from east of Maddock. He had gone to Alberta at the same time as Maud and Homer's bunch; all he had was a tent, cot and pail. So Homer and Maud hauled his things out for him and he rode with them. This was about the 28th of April. They left Stettler in the afternoon, and only got about seven miles that day. Homer unloaded their bed and set it up and Wllburn, Ray and spencer Kelts (Homer's dad who had also gone along), all set up cots. They were hauling John Reppeto's little cook stove, they unloaded that and set it up. They cooked a warm supper and breakfast before leaving, but fixed a cold lunch for the midday meal. Maud mixed up a batch of bread in the morning, set it in their buggy all wrapped up and when they stopped at noon would mix it down and put into loaves. When they set the tent up in the evening the bread was ready to bake.

The afternoon or evening of the second day on the road the group came to a big flat, over a half mile across. Homer and Maud's bunch were the last two teams; Slaters and Williams were ahead them and they were having such a time getting across. They were getting stuck and were forced to put two and three teams on a wagon to get through. Then it began to snow. There was a house and a large barn a short distance from where they were, so they went over to the place to see if they could camp there and get their horses in the barn. They could, so Maud went into the house and stayed until the men had the tent, stove and beds set up. The lady of the house wanted Maud to stay there overnight, but Maud decided not to. They had a bad snow storm for a couple of days but continued on their way when the storm stopped. They crossed the same flat that Slaters and Williams had without any trouble as the mud was frozen. The Slater and Williams had to stop and build a shelter for their animals out of some lumber they had brought along so they were not ready to go when Homer and Maud met up with them. As a result Homer and Maud and their crew got to their claims two days before the Slater bunch. In the fall of 1912 Homer and Maud decided to move back to Hesper.


Four children were born to Homer and Maud. On March 20, 1913, twin daughters were born to them but one did not live. The surviving twin was named Zola Maud. Ruth Hazel was born October 7, 1915 and June Alda was born June 13, 1923.

Homer and Maud lived on the Perry Roath farm, Oscar Carlson farm, in Isabel Township, then moved back to Hesper. From there they moved on to Alberta, Canada again, living on Homer's father's homestead for one year. Then they moved back to Hesper with Maud's parents for a few months. In the spring of 1920, they rented a farm one half mile west of Hesper and lived there until the spring of 1940 when Homer, Maud and June moved to the old bank building in Hesper until June had graduated from high school. They all moved to Esmond where they had bought two lots in the northwest part of town. They spent that first summer at the hotel, owned by Homer's aunt, Mrs. Alfred Nelson, while they moved into a building and remodeled it for their home.

Maud worked eighteen months at a sewing unit, then she did sewing in her home for many years. Homer had been in ill health for many years, he passed away October 28, 1958.

Maud spent two winters in Pacoima, California with her daughter, Ruth and her family. In April 1970 Maud moved in with her daughter, June, and her family to make her home. She kept busy crocheting, sewing and reading. Maud passed away in 1981.

Zola Maud first daughter of Homer and Maud was born March 20, 1913. Zola married Floyd Peterson (1908) and they had four children Lester (1932), Joy (1935), Wayne (1938) and Doreen,

Ruth Hazel, the second daughter, was born October 7, 1915. Ruth married McMillen Freeman (1908) and they had four children: Maxine (1934), Flo (1936), David (1939) and Merlan (1940).

June Alda Kelts was born June 13, 1923, youngest daughter of Homer and Maud Kelts, at Hesper. She attended church, Sunday School, elementary and high school in Hesper, graduating in May 1940. She finished high school in three years. She was active in school, church, 4-H clubs and community affairs.

In April of 1940 she left the farm one half mile west of Hesper and with her parents moved into Hesper until school was out, then moved to Esmond in June of 1940.

June worked the first year doing babysitting, housework and dressmaking in Esmond. October 1, 1941 she took a job as clerk in the store for Clarence and Anna Warnken. She worked there two years, until October 1, 1943, when Mr. Warnken sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Horner.

Christian Phillip Schloss, future husband of June Kelts, was born October 20, 1911 in Odessa, Russia, oldest son of Michael and Marianna Schloss. When about one and one-half years old, he came to the United States with his parents. They landed in New York, N.Y. and came to Esmond by train in 1913. They made their home in Harvey where Chris went to church and school. In February 1926, he moved with his parents to a farm south of Esmond, in Rich Valley Township, known as the Felix (Phil) Corkery farm. He resided there most of the time until 1947. Chris also attended grade school in Rich Valley Township.

On October 12, 1943, Chris Schloss and June Kelts were united in marriage in the St. Boniface Church in Esmond. They lived on the Felix (Phil) Corkery farm south of Esmond in Rich Valley until

October, 1947 when they purchased the McMillen Freeman home in the northwest part of Esmond and moved into town, living in that house for twenty three years. In April, 1970 they moved into a house in the south part of town, which was purchased by their oldest son, Phillip, for his parents.

Four children were born to Chris and June Phillip, Loretta, Sandra and Roger. Phillip Christian was born August 18, 1944. He attended church, eighth grade and high school in Esmond, graduating as Valedictorian in 1961. Phillip spent his years in grade school in the schools in which his mother taught, in Pierce and McHenry counties. While in high school, Phil worked as stock and carry-out boy in Homer's Store for two years. He attended N.D.s.u. at Fargo four years. He graduated in May, 1965 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. While in college, he worked for Unde Construction for one summer and Bell Telephone Company out of Jamestown for one summer. He accepted a position with IBM in Duluth, Minn. December 27, 1965 he was united in marriage to Kathleeen Knopf of Fargo in the Church of Nativity in Fargo. They have two children, Christine Marie and Matthew Jerome. They now live nine miles southwest of Rochester, Minn. on a small farm. Phil works for IBM in Rochester. He has had the distinction of being the first Rochester IBM inventor to receive a patent on a method using a program. His patent was issued for a unique method for merging records in a low-performance data processing system for doing traditional accounting jobs. He has received first and second Level invention achievement awards from IBM. Currently he is an advisory engineer. His wife, Kathy, raises Collies, showing them extensively around the Midwest. She has won several awards for show dogs. She has been treasurer and program chairman for the Collie Fanciers Association of Southeastern Minnesota.


Loretta JoAnne was born December 11, 1946. She attended church, sixth, seventh and eighth grades and high school in Esmond, graduating in 1964. The first five grades were spent in the schools in which her mother taught. Loretta belonged to the Esmond Fairies 4-H Club several years. She attended N.D.S.U. in Fargo for four years, receiving a degree in Home Economics in 1968. She taught in Wishek. May 17, 1969 she was united in marriage to John Douglas of Devils Lake in St. Mary's Cathedral in Fargo. They have one child, James Wallace. John taught at Wishek. Loretta taught at Wisnek and at Napoleon until 1973 when John accepted a position with American Handicraft. They moved to Wichita, Kansas where John trained for four months, then accepted a position as manager of the American Handicraft Store in Pittsburgh, Penn. where they now live. He was promoted to eastern regional manager of American Handicraft Stores in a four state area.

Sandra Maureen was born August 26, 1952. She attended church, elementary and high school in Esmond, graduating in 1970 as an honor student. She was a member of the Esmond Fairies 4-H Club for several years. She attended Mayville State Teachers College for four years, graduating in 1974, with a degree in English and Library Science. Sandra accepted a position in the Fort Tottem School system and lives in Devils Lake.

Roger William was born September 10, 1956. He attended church, elementary and high school in Esmond. He was active in football. He belonged to the boys 4-H club, "The Warlocks," for one year, He is working in Haddock for Service and Parts.

June had always been active in community affairs. She helped organize the Esmond Fairies 4-H Club and was a leader for 25 years. She belonged to the Rich Valley Homemakers Club, organized and belonged to two homemakers clubs, The Harmony Homemaker's Club, and the Top Notch Homemakers Club. She had done sewing for the public for 35 years, almost constantly for 20 years.

Chris and June were members of the Esmond PTA for seventeen years. In the seventeen years, June missed only four meetings, due to family illness or other committments. She served two two-year terms as P.T.A. treasurer and served on a number of committees. She was a Room Mother for six years. June taught school for seven years in the rural schools of Pierce and McHenry counties, taking her family with her. She belonged for two years to the Area Low-Income Council at Devils Lake. She was vice president of the Esmond City Park Board. She assisted with the preparations for the park dedication, September 9, 1973. June worked on several committees for the bicentennial. They were: the Beautification committee, Executive or Steering Committee, Advertising Committee, History Book Committee and as Secretary of the History Book Committee and Secretary of the Heritage Committee, and on the Advertising and Publicity Committee for the 75th Jubilee of Esmond.

Chris and June belonged to the Esmond Golden Age Club of which June was secretary for four years. She was also active in the club as a member of the Kitchen Band and preparing Christmas programs and entertainment.

Chris has been a member of the Esmond Sportsman Club since it was first organized many years ago and June also belonged for several years. June was a member of the Benson County Social Services Advisory Committee and a committee member of the Winterization program.

Chris retired in 1971 due to ill health. He worked about two years on the railroad extra gang, several years for area farmers, and worked several years on different elevator crews, building and repairing elevators in North Dakota and Minnesota. He also worked about ten years for Esmond Implement.

June passed away April 4, 1985, after a very busy and productive life.