Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blacksheep Sunday: Pete, Pinochle, and (Possibly Peppermint) Schnapps

I asked Grampa about his father-in-law, Peter Felt.  Grampa called him, “Pete,” and described him as a “real nice” guy who loved laughing and jokes.  He worked at the Homestake Mine in Moskee, Wyoming with his brother Lars and possibly another that Grampa called a “shirttail” relation.

The Homestake Gold Mine started in Lead, South Dakota.  Well, actually, the Homestake Gold Mine itself started the town of Lead, in the Black Hills of South Dakota on April 9, 1876.  Two brothers, Moses and Fred Manuel and their partner, Hank Harney, founded their Homestake claim.  Moses found a vein of ore, called a “lead” (pronounced LEED) and staked their claim.  Homestake Mining Company was bought by George Hearst, father of William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper man.

In about 1921, the Homestake Mining Company developed Moskee, Wyoming, about 30 miles from Lead, to provide wood to the mine.  In 1925 they opened a post office and in 1928, a school.  In the 1930s, the population was about 200.  It closed in the 1940s.

Pete’s wife Inga dominated the family.  She didn’t like Pete or their sons to drink so when Grampa would come around, Pete would tell Inga that he had to take Pierre into Deadwood or Lead.  They’d visit the shady bar and Peter Felt would drink perhaps a bit more than his share of his favorite drink: Schnapps.

Peter and Inga (Auslund/Aslund) Felt
One time, Grampa and Art Felt, Gramma’s brother, drove out to Moskee to visit and they got snowbound for three or four weeks.  They played the card game Pinochle non-stop.  Pete would go to work and they’d pace all day waiting for him to get home so they could resume the game.  I liked this story, because I have many memories, even recent ones, with marathon family Pinochle games. 

Pinochle is a game brought to America by immigrants.  The name is from the mispronounced word, “ Binocle,” meaning eyeglasses.  Pinochle was a favorite of American Jewish community and Irish immigrants, as well as German.


  1. Don't you love it when you discover things like the *real* name of the card game?

    Those discussions with our grandparents are treasures...

  2. Great photo--Inga looks very stern.