Waiting for the Train

By Bill Anderson

Written December 20, 1999; Revised December 23, 2019

When we were kids, back in the early 1950’s, growing up in a small town in southeastern North Dakota, the rhythm of our lives was governed, to a large extent, by the schedule of the Great Northern Railway Company. Our father, Earl Anderson, was the station agent/telegrapher for the Great Northern in our hometown of Rutland, North Dakota. His schedule was set by the Great Northern and our schedule was set by him. Back then railroad trains ran on schedules, with arrival and departure times calculated down to the minute. Tough conductors like Shag Lehmann and Herb Cochrane would cuss a blue streak if their train arrived in the station as little as a minute or 2 ahead or behind the scheduled time, and woe be unto the locomotive engineer or brakeman who was responsible for the deviation. Back in 1951, you could tell what time it was by the freight train steam whistle or the passenger train air horn as it came into town or departed with a load of freight, passengers, cream cans and U. S. mail. It’s not that way anymore. Now, a person can’t even determine the time of the year by the arrival or departure of trains on the Rutland branch line. As the late Ahrlin Hoffman commented some years ago, “I used to set my watch by the old Great Northern, then, one day, I came into town and discovered I was two months late.”

Back in the 1940’s and 1950’s the trains ran on schedule every day, holidays being no exception, and the men who worked for the railroad were on duty whenever the company said they were needed. As the railroad’s agent and telegrapher, Dad had to be at the depot when trains were scheduled to arrive. Everybody knew the train schedule and, a lot of times, folks would go down to the depot in the evening to “meet the passenger train” just to see who got on and who got off. The arrival of the eastbound evening passenger train from Aberdeen was always looked forward to with anticipation. Everything from freight to passengers to postcards moved by rail in those days, and folks were always looking forward to either sending or receiving something. You could drop an envelope containing your order to the Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward Companies into the slot on the side of the eastbound passenger train’s Railway Post Office car on Tuesday evening, and expect the items you had ordered to arrive with the U.S. Mail on Thursday morning. All it took to send a First Class letter back then was a 3 cent stamp. Is today’s internet service any better than that? It’s certainly not any easier.

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Hens Do Crow! Nov. 29, 2019

Sargent Central High School volunteer day was Friday, November 22 (postponed from October due to the snow!). Twelve students helped in Rutland to clean the City Hall, Fire Hall, and Legion Hall. Thanks to the hard working group the City Hall floors shine like they haven’t shined for a while. There were items in the Legion left from Uffda Day that got moved and the Fitness Center equipment in the Legion also got a good cleaning. Seven of the twelve are from Rutland so it was good to get that home-town help.

Sargent Central ‘cleaning crew’
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Hens Do Crow! Nov. 15, 2019

By Deborah Banish and Bill Anderson

Paul Anderson departed Rutland on Thursday, October 31, bound for Punkin Center AZ via Fargo ND, Minneapolis MN, Phoenix AZ & Sun City West AZ. Paul visited at the Sun City West home of his mother-in-law, Etha Quinlan, on Friday & Saturday, November 1 & 2, before heading out for Punkin Center and the 45th Annual Arizona Hunt Club Quail Hunt from Sunday, November 3 to Friday, November 8. At the conclusion of the hunt, Paul retraced his steps and arrived back in Rutland on the evening of Saturday, November 9. At Punkin Center a dozen more members of the Arizona Hunt Club joined Paul for some long walks in the sun and some great campfire cooking. Among the North Dakota natives participating in this year’s gathering were: Cavalier ND native Lynn Hartje, now a resident of Punkin Center; Cayuga native Don Isensee, now a resident of Perham MN; Rutland native Bill Anderson, still at Rutland; Stanley ND native Don Hynek, now residing at Ventura CA; Cavalier ND native Rodger Kemp, now a resident of Minneapolis MN and Tucson AZ; and, Elgin ND native Barton Thompson, now a resident of Flagstaff AZ. Over the years other friends have been adopted into the group, and its members now span the continent, from Virginia to California. As many of the members of the group are military veterans, the final evening campfire of the gathering includes appropriate beverages and toasts to the health of the Army, Navy, Air Force & Marines, as well as the singing of the Marine Corps Hymn by all present. All in all, a good time was had by all, and justifiably so.

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Water, Water, Everywhere

October 26, 2019

Below is the latest update from the Sargent County Emergency Management Office on County road closings. Be safe out there.

Sargent County Road Updates:

County Road 5 east of Brampton under water due to Wild Rice.

Road to Meszaro Slough closed.

Bowan Township

  • Road closed 86 St. SE near 131st St. SE near Waloch residence; water over roadway and impassable
  • 85th St. between sections (6-7) west end 800 feet of water over the road
  • Road Closed 90th St. SE west of the intersection of 130th Ave SE and 90th St. SE
  • Road Closed 90th St SE ; south west side of section 36.  
  • Road closed 131 Ave. SE (corner of section 2 and section 1)

Brampton Township

  • Road Closed north of section 31.  101st St. SE from 120th Ave. SE to east of Gene Thompsons.

Forman Township

  • 94th St. between sections (20-29) and sections (22-27)

Kingston Township

  • Road Closed south of Highway 11 (north of intersection 93rd St. SE and 147th Ave SE)

Marboe Township

  • Road closed northwest corner of section 24 on 101st St. SE.

Rutland Township

  • Road closed intersection of 90th St. and 136 Ave.
  • Road closed 133 Ave. east side of section 31.
  • Road closed 96th St. South side of section 35.

Sargent Township

  • Road Closed West side of Cogswell, north of highway 11/west of 124th Ave. SE
  • Road Closed north side of section 1 between 125th and 126th Ave. SE
  • Road Closed north side of section 9; between 122nd Ave. SE and 123rd Ave. SE
  • Road Closed north side of section 16; between 122nd Ave. SE and 123rd Ave. SE
  • Road Closed north side of section 23; between 124th Ave. SE and 125th Ave. SE
  • Road Closed west side of section 23; between 93rd St. SE and 94th St. SE

Shuman Township

  • Road Closed 85th St. SE between 138th Ave. SE and 140th Ave. SE on the south side of both sections 6 and 5.
  • Road Closed 141st Ave. SE between 86th St. SE and 87th St. SE. Road in between sections 16 and 15.
  • Road Closed south side of Kandiotta Lake.  Road closed is 86th St. SE between 138th Ave. SE and 140th Ave. SE.

Taylor Township

  • Road Closed north of intersection 97th St. SE and 128th Ave. SE. (Sections 6 and 5)
  • Road Closed 128th Ave. SE starting at section 4 all the way east to highway 32.
  • Road Closed north of the intersection 96th St. SE and 130th Ave. SE. (sections 10 and 11)

  Weber Township

  • Road closed Intersection of 96th St. SE and 136th Ave. SE

Hens Do Crow! June 21, 2019

By Deborah Banish

Tragedy befell Rutland on the evening of Friday, June 14, 2019, when one of the City’s oldest residents was struck and killed by lightning. The disaster occurred at 9:45 p.m. when a bolt of lightning struck the huge cottonwood tree at 217 First Street, The Old Parsonage, splitting the tree from top to bottom, and blowing chunks of wood and tree bark for over 100 feet. The death of the tree created a hazard requiring its removal before it fell into the street, or onto the adjacent house. The magnificent cottonwood, over 70 feet in height and over 20 feet in circumference 3 feet above the ground, had been a mute witness to the history of the Rutland community for 117 years. It was planted as a sapling at 217 First Street when the house at that location was built by pioneer Rutland businessman C. E. Johnson in 1902. A photo taken of the Rutland Community Band in front of the house in 1910 includes the cottonwood, then already as tall as the house behind it. Originally, another cottonwood tree had been planted on the south side of the sidewalk leading up to the house, and the branches of the two trees arching across the sidewalk made for a dramatic entrance into the house, the first two-story house built in the community. In 1938 the house became the parsonage for the Rutland Baptist Church, and one of the first Baptist ministers to reside there was the Rev. Seaquist who was the father of a lovely daughter, Norma. Two teenage boys in the community, Raymond Erickson and Milton McLaen, had taken a shine to Miss Seaquist, but she had not returned their interest. One summer Saturday night, when Miss Seaquist was shopping on Main Street, the two boys climbed up the trees flanking the sidewalk and hid among the branches. When Miss Seaquist walked up the sidewalk to the house, the 2 boys dropped out of the trees, kissed her and ran away. Miss Seaquist was shocked, but not unimpressed. The story must be true, because both Raymond and Milton related it in later years at different times, each without prompting from the other. For the past 117 years the cottonwood tree, a majestic prairie patriarch, has been a silent witness to the life of the Rutland Community: Through good times and hard times; through World Wars and other military actions; through epidemics and the efforts to halt them; through drought, depression and recovery; from the days when the only vehicles on Main Street were pulled by horses to today when huge trucks and mammoth farm tractors powered by engines of several hundred horsepower pass by on a regular basis. When Rutland School Alumni arrive for the Reunion on July 5 & 6, they will see a sight that no one now living has seen: Main Street without the big cottonwood in front of the Baptist Parsonage. Schumacher Tree Service of Oakes has equipment large enough to handle the job of removing the carcass of the tree, and plans to be in town on Saturday, June 22, to accomplish the task. The current owners of the property, Bill Anderson & Kathy Brakke, intend to plant another tree to replace the cottonwood, but only those living 117 years from now will be able to tell if it matches its predecessor in size and grandeur. All things pass, and nothing is forever, not even huge and stately trees that have been there for as long as anyone can remember.

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Hens Do Crow – March 1, 2019

By Deborah Banish

Mother Nature has not been playing nice lately and I know I am getting tired of the snow. The snowfall and ground blizzard on February 24th resulted in some area events being postponed or cancelled. The Rutland Community Club Fun Night has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 10, same time (4-6 p.m.) at the Rutland Hall. The Rutland Sportsman’s Club cancelled the Fishing Derby at Silver Lake but the Club’s drawing will be held once all the sold tickets are received. The next snow event that is predicted for Friday, March 1, is the date of the Rutland Sportsman’s Club Fish Fry but that won’t stop this event from happening. The Sargent Central Clay Target League members will be holding their bake sale fundraiser that evening so be sure to head in early. Serving starts at 5:30 p.m.

The Rutland Community Development Corporation (RCDC) had to postpone their January 30th meeting to February 20th at the Rutland Senior Center. Several members attended but, due to weather, the turnout was less than planned. The Lariat Bar is current on the loan payments with the RCDC and those are the only two loans out at this time. The RCDC has money that is available to be invested in the community if any individual or entity is interested in establishing a business in town. Calvin Jacobson and Jake Erickson were both elected to another term on the RCDC Board and Cam Gulleson was elected to fill the remaining two-years of the term held by Sam Gillespie.

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