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Logan County Historical Society Newsletter

Issue 30, March 2007

Newsletter 2007
By Joe A. Fettig, President


Museums are a place to preserve and keep the heritage.

There is no off season. It is a year long occupation to preserve our Heritage. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

Finished another interesting year at the museum. We added a few more new items and made some improvements. The Community Church looks very nice with the new siding.

Thank you all that donated collectibles, money and time. It is appreciated. Working together we get things done.

The museum schedule is from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The museum is open on Sundays and holidays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. or anytime by appointment. Free admission.

If anyone would like to become a member of The Logan County Historical Society, dues are $2.00 annually or $50.00 for a lifetime membership.

Country Schools
Country schools were a common sight on the prairies of North Dakota. Although wood construction was the most common, early records compiled by the Superintendent of Public Instruction indicate a variety of building materials. By 1894 two hundred seventy-three schools were built in North Dakota. Of that total, two hundred sixty-three were frame, five were stone, one was sod and four were of log construction. By 1914-1915, the last year that such statistics were compiled, North Dakota had five thousand fifty frame schools, two hundred fifty-two stone or brick and nineteen log. The Logan County Museum has one of the early schools on its grounds.

Brief History of Logan County
Logan County was organized in 1884. By then a number of settlers had begun their improvements. By 1886 three railroad surveys had been made through Logan County. With that prospect in view, a colony of about 100 persons was formed in Pennsylvania and settled here in the spring of 1886.

The birth dates of the towns in Logan County line up as follows:

Napoleon, County Seat, 1884
Lehr 1889
Gackle 1903
Fredonia 1904
Burnstad 1906

Thank you to Lee Kleppe for all the years doing a good job putting together the Historical Society Newsletter. Also thank you Pete and Betty Sperle for doing the Newsletter this year.

We invite you to visit the museum this summer. You will find it interesting.

More Reminiscing
By Carmen Burgad

This no doubt will be the last article on Burnstad, as the town of Burnstad is no more.

The only buildings left are the old Farmers Union hardware store (now owned by Julius Leier) and the old store building (owned by the Regners.) There are two homes owned by the Leiers and the Regners.

As I was driving around the other day I drove into Burnstad-stopped and looked around only to remember what Burnstad, my home town, used to be. I’ll have to admit I shed a tear or two as I sat and remembered what it used to be. I could see the kids sliding down the school house hill, ice skating on Beaver Creek, the teams of horses and bobsleds in the winter and cars and some saddle horses in the summer.

The dances in the Burnstad gym, Burnstad was known for the dance town, and people came from miles around when there was a dance, and everyone had a good time. We had orchestras of any number of musicians from 5 to 12. The music they played was the big band sound, along with waltzes and polkas. Now my children and grandchildren look at me and ask, “What is the big band sound?” So I have to get out a tape of Glenn Miller and let them listen. They weren’t too impressed, but then their kind of music doesn’t impress this grandma either, so I guess we’re even. How times do change, and we all must make some changes, too, and I guess electric technology is alright, too.

Days Gone By
By John Gross

Now it’s already March 15, 2007. Here in the Napoleon coffee shop, Joe A. Fettig said to me, “Did you write something up for the Historical Society News Letter?” I said, “No, isn’t it too late now, because over the years we’ve been sending out this thing in February?” He said, “It’s not too late, just do it.”

Last week Margaret and I spent a week in Peach Tree City, Georgia, population of about 47,000, located 35 miles south of the Atlanta Airport. It’s really a beautiful city. My brother Ben and his wife Christine live there. They are retired.

One of the highlights was visiting at Warm Springs, Georgia, the place where Franklin Delano Roosevelt died April 12, 1945, shortly before the end of World War II in the European Theater but not yet in the Pacific. He would spend time in Warm Springs for rest and hot baths as treatment for polio. I remember well the day of his death, I was serving in the military, thinking, “Will this end the war now or will we lose the war?” Franklin Roosevelt, the only president to serve three terms, served from 1933 to 1945.

Among the many exhibits at the museum is his 1938 Ford convertible, equipped with hand controls that he would drive in parades. His presidential campaign platform was the New Deal. It was time of the great depression and severe drought throughout the Midwest. People lost their savings and money. Banks closed, many farmers lost their farms. Some up and left for the cities wherever they found jobs. I know some people that went west to California, Washington or Oregon.

President Roosevelt started many Federal Aid and Work Programs. To name a few, CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), REA (Rural Electric Administration), compulsory insurance for bank depositors, FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or NCUA) and Credit Unions (a government agency).

During the thirties most of us were poor, poor. There was no money to buy food from the grocery store.

In 1936 my brother Math and I got a job to work on the road by our farm, picking rocks and handling teams of horses. Our pay was half of what the adults received, because we were too young. We worked on the WPA program. Many of these project used initials. I remember one called NYA (even President Roosevelt was called FDR).

By Emil Roesler

Joe Fettig, President of the Logan County Historical Society called and asked me to write an article for the Logan County Historical Newsletter. Well, writing is not my cup of tea, so bear with me and I’ll give it a try.

My German-Russian parents raised nine children, five boys and four boys. I was number seven. The older four have since passed away. I live on the home place, the same house I was born in back in 1923, twelve miles northeast of Lehr. I’m a widower. My wife passed away in 1995, four months before our 50th wedding anniversary. My family consists of one son, his wife and two granddaughters. They live in Hickson, N.D. My son has his own business in West Fargo.

I’ve learned while growing up is fun, growing old can also be fun. I don’t resent growing old. Come to think of it many people are denied that privilege. Like everyone else I made mistakes while growing up. Once I remember was when my dad gave me a spanking and I said, “That didn’t hurt.” The one that came immediately following did. For me every year of life’s journey seems to go more quickly than the one before.

Now if we could just do away with the terrorists, end the war in Iraq and bring our service men and women home. I’m sure we would all feel better and this would be a much happier country.

I have a small museum on my farm. If you ever come by my place, stop in, you’re always welcome.

A little girl took too much time returning from the store. When she got home her worried mother asked. “What on earth took you so long?” “I was watching the Devil’s funeral,” she replied. “What do you mean?” her astonished mother asked. “Well, I was watching the funeral cars go by and a man next to me said, ‘The poor devil was only sick about a week’.”

Peter’s Siding

Peter’s Siding was a pioneer community where settlers began homesteading in the early 1900’s. Since this was a farming and ranching area, the farmers needed a way to sell their grain without hauling it a great distance, since their only form of transportation was horsepower. They also needed stockyards to ship their cattle, and they needed a grocery store.

The railroad went through this community, and in 1912 a farmer whose land adjoined the railroad, Hans Peters, sold a parcel of his land to the Minneapolis St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad Company for $1.00 so that a grain elevator could be erected.

It took some time, but the farmers organized and in 1914 Secretary of State Tom Hall issued Articles of Incorporation for the Peters elevator, which was midway between Napoleon and Burnstad.

About this time Hans Peters built a store west of the elevator and in 1915 sold it to W.J. Belzer with a three acre parcel of land. The store was again sold that same year to John Rosing who operated the store into the early 1920’s.

The store and elevator was followed by stockyards, coal sheds and a box car was placed near the track to be used as a depot. A flag arm made of wood was fashioned on one end of the depot, and it someone had cream to ship, or someone wanted to board the train, the arm was lowered, and the engineer stopped the train to pick up whatever was there. Many cans of cream were shipped and the empty cans returned by train. When the roads were blocked, neighbors would take the south bound train to Burnstad, get groceries and return on the north bound. Since there were several hours between trains, it allowed the farmers ample time to do their shopping. High school pupils of the area often got back and forth from their rooms in Napoleon to their homes the same way.

The Rosing’s finally closed the store and moved to Illinois. Different families lived in the store for short periods of time and would move on when they found something better, however, the elevator remained in business.

John Doyle of Wishek bought the elevator in the mid 1920’s and built another store. It was opened by Doyle’s relative, Jim Sconlon, but due to the coming of the automobile and better roads, it was not in business very long. Pioneer patrons of Peters included Hans Peters, Clarence Starkey, Oscar Starkey, A.W. Draeger, August Anderson, Oscar Lindeboek, Alfred Swenson, Sever Starkey, W.J. Belzer, Ethel White, Pete Nord, John Schnaidt, Chzrlie Lark, S.Stout, B.F. Spotts, Harvey Klipful, and John Eggen.

Starkey School No. 1 was a short distance north of Peters near the track. It was a small one room school with a stove in the center of the room. All of the pupils in the area were on hand at one time or another to be near to wave to the engineer and passengers on the Soo, or to see George Granas, the section foreman, who in the early years operated a manual section car (one propelled by hand). George started here in 1923.

Early records (1910) indicate that this school was No. 5 of Foster School District. Records further indicate that Gus Draeger, Claus Schuchard, Hugelen, Urseth, Kelle and Norling children attended the school between 1914-1923. The school was closed in 1956-57 when the area consolidated into Napoleon.

In 1952, the elevator was sold to the Farmers Company and moved into Napoleon. It burned in April 1977 along with the Farmers and PV elevators. The stockyards and depot have also been removed.

Due to the age of automation, Peters no longer exists. To the older generation it is a memory. To the younger generation it never existed. One little milestone of time has faded into memory.

What I Can Remember About Butchering Day
By Esther Zimmerman Werre

On butchering day, water was carried into the house the night before, put in big oval shaped wash boilers, setting on the cook stove. Wood, manure and later years coal was used to heat immense amounts of water used to scald two or three 250 to over 300 pound hogs. Usually one man or family in the neighborhood was the head butcher, but it took several men to handle them.

Outside the men started early in the morning, pitch dark, no yard light, only lanterns.

The hogs were shot, then the heart area stabbed for good bleeding. The boiling water was carried out to the barn into a big barrel. The animal was dipped in and out of the water, turned to prevent severe scalding.

Then it was hung up with ropes to the beams in the barn, then the scrapping and gutting started. The hog was washed off with water many times after the hair was scrapped off.

Everything of the animal was used. The head was severed and carried into the house. Many times women dismantled the head. If a man was available, he would help. Ma, Hilda and I always did this in our early married years.

The snout was sawed off behind the teeth, eyes cut out and ears cut off. Using a hand saw, cut down the center and saw crossways.

The brains were also used. Fried with onion and eggs. Tasted not too bad. Everything was quite bloody and had to be washed over and over. These head pieces, the belly stripped, the liver and tongue, kidneys, heart and skin strips were cooked in the wash boiler until soft, taken out and left to cool. Now the men brought in the rest of the animal, cut down the middle. Some started cutting up the meat for sausage, bone meat, ribs, salt pork, ham and roast etc. Others started scraping the intestines and stomach. The intestines were turned inside out, gently scraped so that they wouldn’t be torn. Scraped and washed over and over. These were used for casings to stuff the sausage in. The clean stomach for headcheese (in German “swarda maga”).

The meat for sausage, after being cut into small pieces, was ground with a meat grinder turned by hand. In later years the grinder was hooked to a motor with a belt. This was much easier.

It took very strong men to do all this manually.

The ground pork was put in a big washtub. The person or persons had to wash hands and arms thoroughly. The hair was tied up with a dishtowel or other material. Ma was very touchy that way. No hair in the sausage, no human hair for sure.

Now the mixing started. Non iodized salt was sprinkled over the meat, hands were used to measure, then black pepper. Very fine chopped or mashed garlic was added. It was mixed, turned to one side of the tub and back over again. (Our family never did this, but John Mertz Sr. would wash a dime and throw it in the tub, and not until the dime was found, did the mixers quit.) My husband, Art, told me this, also a bit of cheer in a bottle, just made all this hard work easier. Now it had to be tasted raw, also a paddy or two were fried and everyone tasted it. (More salt was fine. The phrase “too much salt” was not welcome.)

Next the big black stuffer was nailed to a sturdy butchering table. Someone filled the stuffer, casings were stripped over the spout of the stuffer, and a STRONG man turned the handle. This went on for hours until all the casings were stuffed. Sometimes some of this mix was fried and put in jars and processed in a hot water bath. Very good in summertime, heated and or cold. In the mean time the head had been heated and cooled. Ma separated what was used for liverwurst or headcheese. It was deboned. This meat was also ground, seasoned, and put into the large intestine casings cut into twelve inch lengths and tied on one end, stuffed, and the two ends tied together for liver sausage. The headcheese mixture was put into the cleaned stomach. Later years casings were bought and headcheese put into cloth sewed bags. Now the liver sausage and headcheese was simply put into the water boiler, the same liquid the headcheese was cooked in. It was heated until the casings turned a whitish color, taken out carefully as they would break easily. The liver sausage was hung over a rod to cool and let the fat drip out.

Regular sausage was cut after being stuffed, then the ends twisted to close the rings. The headcheese, after being stuffed into the stomach, was pressed with a board with a weight on it. When cooled, it was hung in a shed where it would freeze. Some was also canned.

Then the sausages were hung in a smoke house to be smoked. Sometimes until they started to drip. Smoked sausage keeps much better. Some of our family preferred the unsmoked. It was hung in a shed or could be canned, curled up in a jar, nicely. Some were sitting at a table cutting the large strips into pieces. The pieces were put in a kettle to boil. This was called rendering lard. The pieces that were drained out were crackles or grevela. When cooled they were kept in a cold place. They were crisp and eaten. They are almost like pork rinds or used cut up or ground to use in bread dough and baked in loaves. Delicious! Some people also made lye soap-nothing went to waste. Even the pigs feet were cleaned, cooked, and when cooled formed a jelly like substance. “Koladetz.”

The lard was poured into jars or cream cans and stored in a cool place. The lard was used for baking and cooking. It made delicious pie crusts, cakes and bread.

Now came the fun job; washing all the greasy boilers, grinder, stuffer, knives, tables and the floor, several times, to get rid of the grease. This was the women’s job. Now remember, all the water was carried in. Many times into the basement. Water was also carried out. Wood and coal carried in to heat and the water and ashes carried out. Later kerosene stoves were used. There was a supper break, fresh fried sausage, and home made bread. It was late at night until things were done and everyone was exhausted. Some not feeling too well, the tasting and smell made me queasy.

Now the family had enough meat and lard for the winter months. Flour was bought in fall in hundred pound bags, as much as a thousand pounds. And sugar, too, was purchased in big bags. Boxes of apples and oranges were also purchased as most families did not get to town, since the roads were not very good. Everyone had enough to eat all winter. Most people had cattle and chickens which kept them supplied with dairy products and eggs.

The information for this article was taken from the book
The Relentless Blizzard of March 1966

By Doug Ramsey and Larry Shroch.
Peter Sperle

This book covers not only North Dakota but much of the surrounding states as well. Here I will limit myself to some facts pertaining to Logan County.

The blizzard began March 2 and lasted through March 5, 1966. Napoleon School closed at 2:00 p.m. on March 2. The bus drivers ran into tough driving conditions. Ben Marquart owned three buses. He drove one bus and employed two other drivers. Southeast of Napoleon, Ben Marquart got stuck in the snow at the Ignatz Feist farm. Marquart gained access to a car and delivered the children to their homes. He then returned to Napoleon with a farmers pickup.

Baltzer Weigel, a bus driver for Marquart, stalled six miles north of Napoleon on Highway #3 when the motor got wet. Weigel and the children waited for help. Marquart’s third bus driven by Rudolph Mertz developed mechanical problems a few miles north of Napoleon. Mertz returned to Napoleon before the engine quit running. The children were taken off the bus in town.

After drying out the distributer Ben Marquart and Rudolph Mertz headed north on Highway #3. They pulled the Weigel bus back to Napoleon. Arrangements were made for the children of the two buses to stay in Napoleon.

Tony Kuntz drove another school bus. It stalled near the George Gross farm, fourteen miles south of Napoleon. Meanwhile Leo Kuntz finished his route. Leo heard that Tony ran into trouble and headed out into the storm. Tony and several children stayed with the Gross family until Saturday. Leo waited out the blizzard at the George Bitz farm.

All businesses were closed in Napoleon on Thursday and Friday, except the Red Owl Grocery and The Miller Café. By Thursday and Friday the front of The Miller Café was completely covered with snow. Their customers came and left through the back door.

About 175 head of cattle wandered into Napoleon during the storm from the Wes Nickolson Ranch south of Dawson. According to the North Dakota Extension Service, Logan County had the highest cattle loss in the state, about 2,000 head.

Dennis Kroll, son of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Kroll, was home alone during the blizzard. He was twelve years old. His father and a neighbor walked several miles to the Kroll farm on March 5th. They were thrilled to find Dennis safe at home.

Some who lost livestock in the area included Joe Leier, Valentine Fettig, Ray Nord, Victor Wald, Reuben Lang, Mike Welder, Roy Glatt, Joe Wolf, Wald Brothers, Baltzer A. Weigel and Marvin Wentz.

Burnstad lost power on March 2, 1966. The blackout lasted for seventy-two hours. On March 5th Earl Heck, an MDU employee at Napoleon, hired Dale Schultz with his snowmobile. They went to the Burnstad substation to replace a blown fuse.

Saturday afternoon, men from Fredonia formed a work party. Christ Kleingartner, John Coppin, Roland Essig, and Roland Rossman went door to door to make sure everyone could get out of their homes after the storm.

Mrs. Harold Blumhardt of Fredonia developed complications from a recent surgery. Family members contacted Dr. Hill from Kulm and Dr. Fleck from Ashley. Efforts to reach the farm failed. A helicopter from Bismarck also failed to reach the farm. Neighbors of the Blumhadts gathered to help out. They pushed and shoveled the family car through numerous drifts, over five miles. In the meantime the county road maintainer, a state snowplow and a truck, opened country roads and met the Blumhardts 15 miles from Ashley. The Blumhardts arrived in Ashley about 5:30. Mrs. Blumhardt recovered her health in the days that followed.

In many cases fuel had to be transported by toboggan in drums or five gallon cans to homes and businesses that were short of fuel. Farmers and townsmen came to the Fairway Grocery Store to get groceries with sleds or carried them home on their backs in gunny sacks.

Many Gackle area residents lost livestock also. However after a low of 7° below zero the area experienced above normal temperatures for two weeks.

Chris’s Comments

It gets harder to come up with ideas for the newsletter.

We still need items such as 40’s and 50’s machinery and tools. Household implements and other period items.

We also need to be looking ahead to the future. Another building should be a high priority item. Our current buildings are full and getting crowded. The new building would allow us to categorize items and improve our displays. Displays could be set up to reflect the changes as they occurred. The opportunities are almost unlimited.

Another area we need to get recorded are the rural schools; where they were, how long they existed, how many students they had and what happened to them. Who the teachers were would add interest. If you went to one of these schools, why not write up a short history of what, when and where. Send it to Joe Fettig and we will type it up and start a file about these schools. Tell about your experiences in the winter and what other things you remember. Your grand children will enjoy reading these stories, so will many others. If you have any pictures you would be willing to share, they would be appreciated. Photos can be scanned and returned.

Esther Werre has an article on butchering day that is interesting in this newsletter. I’m sure that there were other special days in other families that would be interesting. They will help others understand what life was like even 50 years ago. Take pen in hand and put those memories down. Send them to Joe and we’ll put them in a file. Maybe if there are enough we could make a booklet of them.

We still need volunteers and members, so send in your dues and come in and help when you have time. Spend a Sunday afternoon touring the museum and helping others enjoy it.


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