My Experiences In The Mission Field Of South Dakota by Frank Albert Kiess

“I received my first call into the largest mission field of the Northwest, in the State of South Dakota, far away from good old home. In September, 1892, I left home for my long journey. My good mother and a brother-in-law, Joseph Koby accompanied me as far as Chicago, where I kissed mother goodbye, but my brother-in-law went with me as far as Milwaukee. There we stayed one week, he returned and I went on to the icy North…”

Level of Difficulty: Primer: No subject matter knowledge needed.


  • Preface
    • Mission Trips Made.
    • Congregations and Preaching Places.
  • Chapter 1. Childhood Days, College and Seminary.
  • Chapter 2. My First Call And Congregation.
    • Ordination and Installation.
    • The Western Trip.
    • My First Year Of Mission Service.
    • My Own First Experience of a Dakota Blizzard.
    • How God Prevented Me From Meeting With a Sad Accident.
    • Two Trips Never To Be Forgotten.
    • My Second Trip, Never To Be Forgotten, To North Dakota.
    • First Christmas Celebration In My Mission Field.
    • The Most Pleasant Of All My Trips and The Most Fatal.
    • Serenaded By Choir and Did Not Notice It.
  • Chapter 3. Second Year Of My Mission Work In South Dakota.
    • Some Happenings Of Sad and Joyous Nature During The Summer, 1893.
    • In Danger of My Life Among The Indians
    • An Expensive Company, November 1893.
  • Chapter 4. Third Year In My Mission Work In South Dakota.
    • Real Welcome And Lasting Company Arrived In The Lonesome Prairie.
  • Chapter 5. Fourth Year Of My Mission Work In South Dakota.
    • Churches Built and Dedicated.
    • Snowbound – A Snowbound Train.
    • The First Mission Festival in South Dakota.
    • Going Home to Mother After Being Away so Far From Her for Three Years.
    • Marks the Fifth Year.
  • Chapter 6. My Experiences in the Mission work in South Dakota.
    • Pleasant Experiences and Unpleasant.
    • A Majestic Winter.
    • Snow Melts, Water, Floods, Everywhere Water, Creeks Overflowing, Prairie Covered With Water.
    • Trips Made In Winter and Through Deep Water.
  • A Few Short Remarks According To My Memorandum, 1896-1897.
  • Distances Traveled by Ponies and Railroads.

The Blizzard Baby

“A young couple, with their first baby, were visiting the young mother’s parents who lived a few miles from their home. On their way home they were over taken by a blizzard. On the ground was about a foot of snow. They were riding in a sled. The Dakota sleds are mostly hand made. A dry-goods box of large size put on runners made of 12 x 2 in. planks, a wagon tongue and that completes the sled. A few armfuls of straw is thrown into the box, plenty of blankets of genuine wool (mine cost $15.00), fur coats for women as well as men and zero weather can do no harm but a blizzard will, if you are caught in it. When this young couple could not find their home, the young man saved the horses by unhitching them and turning them loose. They will travel for miles until they find a straw-stack to dig themselves into. They will not do so while hitched to a sled or any other vehicle, only when left to themselves. After the young man had turned his team loose he began to pile heaps of snow around the box sled, covered his wife up well, she holding the little baby girl close to her bosom. The young man even took off his fur coat and spread it over wife and child and then to keep the wind from blowing the covers off laid on top of it. How did we find them after a day and a night? The father and mother dead, the little infant still alive, but getting cold. The grandparents took the little one and raised it. When I attended a Walther League convention held in Detroit, a young lady came up to me and asked me if I had done mission work in South Dakota. I said “Yes, I did, many years ago”. She said “Do you remember of baptizing a baby called the blizzard baby whose parents died in a blizzard and the baby was found alive?” “Yes, I do,” I replied. She said “I am the blizzard baby” and tears came to her eyes. What a pleasant meeting we had there in Detroit.

Publication Information

  • Lutheran Library edition first published: 2018
  • Copyright: CC BY 4.0