The Strength of Oakes

Errata and Other Information

This website contains corrections to the book and any other information that may become available after printing.

To contact author:


5 Mar 2024:

For the time being, The Old Clitherall Story Bookcan be purchased online at Otter Tail County Historical Society .

28 Feb 2024:

Leonard Oakes, 1878-1913, now has a headstone in the Didsbury, Alberta, cemetery:

03 Jan 2024:

Drowning of Leland Whiting: When originally reading this story in The Old CLitherall's Story Book I did not realized Leland's connection. When someone told me Hazel Oakes Fremstad's cousin had drowned ice skating, I realized it was his story documented in the book. Leland was the son of Charles Whiting and Clara Oakes Whiting.

20 Oct 2023:

Here is an addendum to the Oakes' immigration to Canda:

27 Sep 2023:

I have transcribed James Oakes' original story, Homesteading in Canda, into a searchable PDF file. I also added some pictures and newspaper clippings I have that support his comments.

14 Sep 2023:

The book The Strength of Oakes: Pioneers Firm in Their Convictions is now available in soft and hard covers on Amazon.

Both are printed in color, but the paper for the hardbound book is smoother and the pictures end up looking a little better and small detail is somewhat easier to read.


To Purchase

Click on book cover to be redirected to


Embark on an epic odyssey through the annals of time with The Strength of Oakes. This spellbinding non-fiction narrative unveils the awe-inspiring journey of not just one, but four families—the Oakes, Whitings, Morleys, and Hulets—whose destinies became the very threads woven into the tapestry of history. From the heart-pounding battles of the Revolutionary War to the untamed frontiers of Ohio, the resilient souls who founded this dynasty will seize your imagination.

Dive into the intimate struggles and unyielding spirit of these pioneers as they forge paths through uncharted lands, find solace in faith during the earliest days of the Latter-day Saints Church, and weather the storms of persecution. Experience firsthand their relentless determination as they crisscross thousands of miles, embracing adventure with every move.

Unearth the treasures of the past through the lens of first-person accounts that bring history to life. Witness the indomitable courage that fueled their every step. Detailed maps chart their unyielding journey, while intricate genealogy charts illuminate the intricate web of connections that bound them together.

The Strength of Oakes isn't just a book—it's an immersive voyage across continents and generations. Join us in exploring the resilience, love, and unity that defined the Oakes legacy. Get ready to be captivated by their unbreakable bond, their unending determination, and their enduring strength in the face of adversity.

From the Author

Amazon publishing strongly suggests using AI to create a back cover synopsis. Thus, I used AI to create the above synopsis. It certainly does a great job creating 'marketing speak'. I'm not sure a professional writer could live up to the hype.

My dad spent much of his life researching the genealogy of his family. He didn't like technology so all of his notes were in paper form. On his passing, I decided to make those notes available to others so his work would not be lost. That started my 'adventure' in genealogy.

As I tried to go through his notes and learn and, I was quickly overwhelmed. He just had too much data, and I didn't understand all of the concepts and tools. I decided to turn to my mother's side of the family. My mother had never said much to me about her side except she thought they had been Latter Day Saints at one time. My plan was to learn genealogy on her side of the family because it would be easier.

Wrong! As I started researching, I found an incredible amount of material. Not only were her ancestors Latter Day Saints, but they had been present at the forming of the church, and were friends with Joseph Smith. The members of The Church of the Latter Days Saints kept many records and journals of their travails making research straight forward.

With the help of the users of and all of the mini-bio's of many of these relatives, I was able to find specific details of their lives. I could follow them from the beginning of the American Revolution where several of them fought in the Revolutionary War. Their path then led to Kirtland where the Church of the Latter Day Saints was formed. From there, I could trace through the various mob attacks against the Latter Day Saints which drove them from their homes many times.

Some of these ancestors went on with the Latter Day Saints to Salt Lake City. Others splintered off from the Church with Alpheus Cutler, and formed The True Church of Jesus Christ, also known as the Cutlerite Church. Eventually the Cutlerites trekked to Clitherall Lake in west central Minnesota to become the first pioneers in that region. Here, Chancey Oakes became the president of the Cutlerite Church, and the Oakes lived for several generations.

The path grew cold until I stumbled onto "The Clitherall Storybook". This book contained stories by the original settlers of their early days in Clitherall. It included writings by Chauncy Whiting and several of his immediate family. Here were more first person accounts of the history of my ancestors.

In those several generations the world did not stop, and immigrants flooded into the Minnesota frontier, many from Northern Europe. Land was no longer inexpensive, and the young generation moved on. Some of the Oakes went on to homestead in Alberta, Canada, east of Banff. The youngest son wrote a long story of their time spent homesteading in Canada. Other Oakes moved to North Dakota in the Barr Butte area near Willingston.

The trail started to go cold again. Again I got lucky. I stumbled across the book, "The Trail of the Pioneers". Like "The Clitherall Storybook", this book was stories collected from the original settlers of the Barr Butte area of North Dakota. In there was a long story by my great aunt, Grace Oakes, who wrote about their coming to North Dakota and homesteading. Much of this was confirmed by a short history written by her sister Hazel Oakes.

From Barr Butte, I was able to pickup the trail again and finish the story from writings of Hazel Oakes and her sisters.

The hardships these people survived are difficult for a modern person to imagine. Fearing wild animals and Native Americans, Elisha Whiting's wife lived completely alone deep in the wilderness of The Western Reserve for months while Elisha was fighting in the War of 1812. The Latter Day Saints were repeatedly attacked, driven away, their property and crops burned, and, not infrequently, they were killed by the mobs who hated them. All the while they lived in primitive buildings and often in disease inducing environments. In Minnesota and Canada they had to carve out a life in very harsh environments. It didn't get any easier when they migrated to North Dakota in time for the Great Depression.

I found all of these stories very compelling. I am not a writer, but wanted to put the stories together into a simple, easily readable, form so ancestors of the Oakes family could read and pass the stories down to their children. Originally, I thought this material would make a 'pamphlet' that I would give to the ancestors, but it became more and more obvious there was enough material to create a small book.

Fortunately, one can now create a book and have it printed on demand so such a book, with a small target audience, can exist. That is how this book came about.

A quick note about the book itself. There are two versions: soft and hardbound. They are completely identical except, of course, for the cover, but also the hardbound book uses a slightly slicker paper which allows some of the illustrations to be a little easier to see.

Print on demand means the book doesn't get printed until you order it which adds, easily, a week to the order. It has been my observation that Amazon keeps a couple of copies of the softbound book in stock so they ship immediately. I have not seen that with the hardbound book - it takes a two weeks for it to be printed before it can be shipped.

25 Aug 2023:

The Old Clitherall Story Book can be found here.

Trail of the Pioneers 1900-1967 can be found here.

The genealogical charts are a bit hard to read in the book, so here are enlarged versions. Click on each chart to enlarge.

Full Time-Line Generation 1 through 6 5 Generation Time-Line to Harriet Oakes Fan Chart for Olive Fremstad

The Route of the Mormon Pioneers map is very large and the detail is lost in a small book or even a screen sized picture. Clicking on the picture below will bring up a high resolution picture so you can clearly see the entire map.

The source for the map can be found at