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At 106, Mapleton quilt maker still stitching, selling

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Myrtle Farrell at work.

MAPLETON, N.D. – Everyone in Mapleton knows Myrtle Farrell. Over the years, she babysat children for most of the town and for decades, she has been known as the "quilt maker."

There is more to the story.

Farrell is still doing it today as a business-at 106 years old.

Farrell may be the oldest businesswoman in North Dakota, sewing quilts and selling them. It's detailed, intricate work.

She married during the Great Depression, has lived in Cass County her whole life and even remembers Civil War veterans in town. Teddy Roosevelt was president when she was born.

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“Could not afford a dress; wore what we had," Farrell said.

And since she was too young to move into a nursing home, she recently moved in with her longtime neighbors, where every day, she cuts, stitches and makes baby quilts for hundreds.

“I think it is her lifestyle. She grew up on a small farm, her parents rented, worked hard for a living. She wants to be productive," Farrell's friend Jean Madsen said.

Farrell is a capitalist through and through. When she heard a reporter was coming to do a story on her, Farrell wasn't about to give away her hard work.

“[Farrell] said if [the reporter] wants a quilt, he will have to buy it because I am not giving him one," Madsen said.

She has made 300 quilts the last three years alone, all tagged with her name. Her mind is sharp and hands worn from work, but the quilt-making goes on. She has more to do before turning 107 later this year.

"She likes to be busy," Madsen said.

Farrell was born in Fargo and still recites the exact street address.

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