I think I have responded to you on another (VARNES) forum.
Anyhow, my grandfather John P.S. Varnes homesteaded in Ward
County, south and east of Des Lacs, in or near 1902. He called up his family from Fulton County (Bryant or Lewistown), Illinois a year or two later. My father, Henry
Clay Varnes, the first child of John P.S. and Anna Adella
was about 5 or 6 when he, his mother, and his two oldest
sisters rode a cattle car to North Dakota to join John P.S.,
and lived in a shanty near the railroad in the Des Lacs area
until John P.S. got a rudimentary house (probably a soddy or
a shack, at first) put up on his claim. At this location John and Anna Adella raised 9 children. The two youngest are
still living - Chester A. Varnes of Campbell, CA and June Varnes Bowersox of Salem, OR. I am told by my Aunt June that
John's brother William G. Varnes ("Uncle Will"), who we know
also homesteaded in that area, probably encouraged John to
come to North Dakota to seek his fortune. William, his 2nd
wife, and one or two children by that marriage are buried in the Des Lacs cemetary -- I have seen their grave markers
when I was out that way for a family reunion in 1998. Of John and Adella's 9 children, only one of the older daughters, Ruth, stayed in North Dakota, married George DeBilt, and had 5 children, of which 4 are living.The one son of RUTH and George, Wilbert ("Bill") and his wife have a large family, so there are many DeBilts in and around Minot and Ward County. To the best of my knowledge there are no longer any Varnes' in North Dakota.
'Hope this info satisfies your inquiry. John D. Varnes.
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