Proceeds from book to benefit OTCHS in Fergus Falls

Photo by Tom Hintgen
Centenarian and retired farmer Merwin Adams reads a chapter in the book “Farmsteads and Old Neighborhoods,” given to him as a gift for his 100th birthday that took place on Aug. 26, 2022.

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Theresa Tomhave of Fergus Falls knew the perfect birthday gift for Merwin Adams when she planned to attend his 100th birthday party in late August. She purchased the book, “Farmsteads and Old Neighborhoods,” with all proceeds going to the county museum (Otter Tail County Historical Society) in Fergus Falls.

Merwin, a retired farmer, started to read the book a few days after his memorable birthday gathering just west of Fergus Falls. By Sept. 26, a month after his birthday, he had completed reading the entire book and loaned his copy to a neighbor.

He found the book very enjoyable, in light of his farm background.

Adams worked on the family farm three miles west and a mile north of Wendell, attended Elbow Lake High School and spent his final two years at Glenwood which had an industrial arts program.

It was in Glenwood when Adams became a star baseball pitcher. After high school graduation, he returned to farming and started pitching for the Wendell town team. Adams was known for his blazing fastball.

Adams and his wife, Marion, who died in 2004, raised six daughters on the farm near Wendell.

Now married to Cathy, he still lives an active life with gardening, cutting wood and other hobbies along Weyrens Road in northwest Fergus Falls. He also appreciates his children and grandchildren.

“It’s hard to believe that I have been retired from farming for 36 years,” said Adams.

Adams vividly recalls his love for baseball.

On Aug. 26, 1945, shortly after the end of World War II, the Elbow Lake town baseball team hosted rival Wendell in playoff action.

Pitching for Wendell, on his birthday, was 23-year-old Merwin Adams, a farmer.

Today Adams recalls that game like it was just yesterday.

“We took an early 2-0 lead but Elbow Lake tied us in the seventh inning,” said Adams.

The game was still tied 2-2 after nine innings. Wendell added two runs, but not until the top of the 16th inning. Elbow Lake failed to score in the bottom half of the inning.

Writing previously about this game was editor C.A. Ray of the Elbow Lake newspaper.

“Adams, amazingly, pitched all 16 innings,” wrote Ray. “Elbow Lake also had a strong pitcher in the person of Arnold ‘Red’ Johnson who also pitched the entire game.”

Each pitcher notched 13 strikeouts during that historic game 77 years ago.

“Farmsteads and Old Neighborhoods” is for sale for $15 at the OTCHS (Otter Tail County Historical Society-county museum) and Lundeens in Fergus Falls. As mentioned, all proceeds go to the county museum. To order online, here’s the information:

OTCHS:  www.otchs.org/regionalHistoryBooks.html (or call 218-736-6038)

LUNDEENS:  www.victorlundeens.com (or call 218-736-5433 / Toll Free 800-346-4870)