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Grace Fairchild

Eminent Homemaker

County: Haakon

To provide a good home for her husband and nine children and give the children opportunities toward success were the first interests and goals of Mrs. Grace Fairchild, Philip, South Dakota. An outstanding personality in her community, she is also recognized for her ability to manage a farm and ranch.

Mrs. Fairchild was born in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, May 30, 1881.  Her father was a horticulturist.  Mrs. Fairchild was graduated from the two-year elementary course at Platteville, Wisconsin, teachers college when she was seventeen. She went to Parker, South Dakota, where she taught school two years and then married Shiloh B. Fairchild, a farmer near Parker, on December 19, 1899. They remained in Parker three years and then moved to a claim in old Stanley County, which is now Haakon County. The ranch acreage is 1,440.

Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild had nine children, six boys and three girls.

When the Fairchilds moved to their claim, they built and organized a school, furnishing the log school house and equipment.

Mrs. Fairchild’s husband was in poor health while the children were growing up. But she achieved, with the assistance of her family, the objectives of providing an excellent home and better opportunities for her children. Mr. Fairchild died May 7, 1940.

Mrs. Fairchild has been in home demonstration club work since it was first started in Haakon County in 1918. Mrs. Fairchild has held offices in her extension club and has always helped put on achievement day exhibits and programs.

Mrs. Fairchild learned how to grow plants adaptable to the semi-arid area and found she could glean much pleasure from them. Years later, she worked with Dr. N. E. Hansen, former horticulturist at State College, in development of new fruits, particularly the sand cherry. She experimented with crested wheat grass on her ranch with seed from Dr. Hansen’s first stand.

Even though she is past seventy, Mrs. Fairchild is not ready to retire. At present, she is writing her autobiography. She has been encouraged in this by the South Dakota and Wisconsin Historical Societies.

On June 20, 1947, all the family were together, on the ranch near Philip, for the first time in twenty-four years.