Dakota Datebook

A Prairie Romance

Saturday, November 3, 2007

While many may dream of life fit for a romance novel, few actually experience childhood love, surprise marriage, and heart wrenching moments of being swept off one’s feet. But in the early 1900s, two North Dakota homesteaders lived a prairie romance dream.
Gerald Miles and Jessie Lytle grew up together in Missouri, but were separated when Gerald moved west. While Gerald was homesteading 20 miles from Williston, ND, Jessie was teaching school in Missouri. It wasn’t long before Gerald’s father and Jessie decided to head west, and pay Gerald a surprise visit.
One morning, Gerald Miles “was the victim of a very pleasant surprise” when he opened his door to find his father, his one true love, Jessie, and a Justice of the Peace, who married the couple then and there.
After hearing Jessie and Gerald’s story, their friend, Mrs. Carpenter wrote the story down and called the book “A Prairie Romance.”

By Ann Erling
Sources:
“WPA Ethnic History Files”. Leona A. Gauthier. July, 1940.

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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