Vergas Telephone Company
Vergas Telephone Company was
organized October 15, 1909, with authorized stock of ten thousand
dollars. The original incorporators were W. B. Carmen of
Detroit Lakes, and James Nesbitt and A.G. Schwartzrock of
Vergas. In 1916 the stock of the company was owned by L.W.
Oberhauser, A.G. Schwartzrock, P.F. Schroeder, James Nesbitt, C.D.
Chaffee and Mrs. Charles Hoffman. Originally there were 124
subscribers of the company including 37in the Village of Vergas and 87 in
the surrounding townships of Candor, Dora, Edna, and Hobart.
C.D. Chaffee was the first lineman.
He was married to Emma Harthun in 1910. They had an
apartment on the second floor on Main Street. The building was
destroyed by fire and later replaced by a two story frame
structure in which the Hinze Meat Market was located. The telephone
office was also moved there, and between the two, they operated
the switchboard, line and repair work. The managers were
James Nesbitt, who was in partnership with Charles Peterson of
The Welcome Store, and Charles Scharf, who was cashier at
the Farmers State Bank. Joe Mistelske also owned and operated
the company for 15 years.
The first operators were Bertha
Filbrandt and Esther Abrahamson, with Joe taking the night calls. In 1928 Armin Dey purchased the
Telephone Company from Joe Mistelske. He was married to Alvina
Sonnenberg in 1934. They lived above what was then known as
the Dey Store, with the telephone office as part of their
home. Margaret Wagner was the first full-time operator. Mrs. Dey
was the bookkeeper and part-time operator while raising two children,
Judith and Daniel. Mr. Dey did the line and repair work.
Subscribers kept increasing and
often there were from 10 to 15 phones on the same rural line. This
made it a real "Party Line" for rubbering and often four to five
joined in the conversation. Ten short rings were used to make
special announcements. The rate at this time was $1.25 for
residents and $3.25 for business places.
To supplement their income,
Mr. Dey started an electrical business, often working
from 10 to 16 hours a day, answering telephone or electrical
trouble during the day or night. In 1947 an automatic
switchboard was installed which meant new phones with dials and a
rate increase. Don Zitzow, who had been employed by
Mr. Dey since 1946, took over the electrical business in
1965.The Telephone Exchange was sold to
East Otter Tail Telephone Company of Perham in January, 1968.
It was then converted to direct dialing and individual
services for every subscriber. Vergas was one of the first small
villages to have this modern service. After 38 years of being managers and
owners of the Telephone Company, the Deys retired.
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