Hens Do Crow! Jan. 3, 2020

Rutland native Rev. Ann Hoflen arrived in Rutland on Friday, December 20 to attend the Hoflen Family’s Christmas get-together at the Andrew Hoflen farm in Ransom Township on the next day, Saturday, December 21. Ann reports that since retiring from her long-time ministry at Paw Paw, IL she has moved to Roseville MN, near St. Paul, and has been doing some traveling. Earlier this year she accompanied her brother, Robert Hoflen of Rutland, and sister, Allison (Hoflen) Glarum, of Fargo, on a tour of the British Isles that included some stops in Scotland to visit the ancestral home of the McPhail clan, the land of Ann’s maternal grandmother, and also to make a couple of stops at some world famous distillers of scotch whiskey. Ann states that she did not taste any of it, nor did she buy any of it to bring home, but she cannot say the same for Rob. She states that she is enjoying her new home at Roseville, and that, for the time being at least, she is enjoying just sitting back with her feet up and letting others worry about the fate of the World. Ann departed Rutland for Roseville on the afternoon of Monday, December 23.

Nobody is quite sure when the practice of Christmas Caroling, groups of singers going door to door to entertain friends and neighbors with songs associated with the Christmas season, began, but the earliest mention of it in England comes from documents written back in 1426, during the reign of King Henry VI, nearly 600 years ago. On the evening of Monday, December 23,a group of singers armed with beautiful voices carried on the ancient tradition in Rutland by going door to door with the gift of music, spreading the spirit of Christmas throughout the community. The Christmas Carolers were: Hilary Mehrer; Shannon Mehrer; Thomas Mehrer; Jacob Mehrer; Chuck Anderson; Mary Beth Anderson; Pam Maloney; Taryn Jensen; Cohen Jensen; Megan Means; Kaci Millette; Cora Millette; Cruise Millette; Kathy Wyum; Phyllis Wyum; Pat Renner; Vicki Renner; Kyla Temple; Morgan Temple; and, Marlee Nebben. The Rutland community extends its thanks to the Carolers for sharing the gift of music with all during the Christmas season.

Continue reading “Hens Do Crow! Jan. 3, 2020”

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.

Continue reading “Waiting for the Train”

Rutland Trivia

This year’s Rutland Block Party included a trivia contest about Rutland. Three teams competed to answer the following questions. The Team of Norbert Kulzer, Pam Maloney, and Lori McLaen, won with 9 points! Test your knowledge about Rutland. Answers are at the end. How did you do?

1.   What was the original name of the town of Rutland?

2.   Number of pieces of lefse made for the 2018 Uffda Day Celebration?

3.   How many pounds was the World largest flipped hamburger and during what year was it made?

4.   How many single family houses are there in Rutland?

5.   What was the year of the last graduating class in Rutland?

6.   How many post office boxes are there in the Rutland Post office?

7.   What township is Rutland in?

8.   How long has Ronald Narum been mayor?

9.   What are the ingredients in scalloped potatoes?

10. In 1949 a pitcher for the Rutland Roosters amateur baseball team set a record for strikeouts in a single game in the ND state Baseball tournament. Who was the pitcher AND how many strikeouts did he throw?

11. What year according to the census (20s 30s 40s 50s etc) did Rutland have the highest population?

12.  To the nearest hundred thousand how many hundred thousand gallons of fuel did Herby sell at Rutland oil in 2018?

13.  What was the name of Benard Mahrer Construction Inc. before it was incorporated in 1979?


  1. Stewart
  2. 3,500 pieces;
  3. 3,591 lbs in 1982 – give yourself two points if you got them both right!;
  4. 86 single-family homes;
  5. 1963 was the last graduating class;
  6. 171 PO boxes;
  7. Trick question! Rutland is in two townships – Ransom and Rutland;
  8. Ronnie Narum has been Mayor for 47 years;
  9. Ingredients for scallop potatoes are potatoes, cream, onion and ham (some argue a bit of water or a dash of salt but NO);
  10. Leif Sundlie had 20 strikeouts (and the record still holds). Two points.
  11. In 1950 Rutland had its highest population of 309 residents;
  12. Rutland Oil sold 800,000 gallons of fuel in 2018. As of this June, Rutland Oil will have been in the Donaldson Family for 3 generations and 2019 is the 100th year in business!
  13. Bernard Mahrer Construction was originally called C & B Construction – C & B stood for Chuck and Bernie, brothers who started in the business in the 50s.

Let us know how well you did on the trivia!

Rutland in 2013

2013 was another year of “Hello” and “Goodbye”, fun and excitement.  Here is a brief summary of events in Rutland, ND from 2013:

We said our goodbyes to:

  • Verna Kiefer of Cayuga, passed away in January at the age of 91.
  • Roman Weber, passed away in February in Fargo at the age of 77. 
  • Earl Cramton passed away February 2 in Rutland.  He was 64 years old.
  • Donald Markeseth of Tewaukon Township, died March 16.
  • Ella Lou (Baumer) Nelson passed away in Forman, April 10.
  • Woodrow Leonard Olson departed this life April 15, 2013, at Bristol, South Dakota
  • Rutland native Valrae (Thomas) Miller passed away April 27, 2013 in Sioux Falls, SD
  • Harry A. Kiefer of Cayuga, passed away in Fargo June 1.
  • Rutland native Kimberly “Kim” G. Sjothun died June 2, in Fargo.
  • August 22, Rutland native Neal Preble departed this life in Grand Forks ND.
  • September 12, Loretta M. “Lolly” Arneson passed away in Fargo.
  • Joyce (Colby/Butler) Narum passed away September 19, in Fergus Falls MN.
  • Rutland native Marvin Evenson, died September 28, in Sioux Falls SD, 101 years old.
  • October 6, Borghild (Christianson) Lee passed away in Forman
  • November 27, Rutland native Ellis Sundlie passed away at his home in Pahrump NV.
  • Clarence J. “Butch” Harff  passed away on November 29, 2013, in Forman.

We welcomed new Rutland residents: Continue reading “Rutland in 2013”

A Piece of Rutland History

October has been pegged as family history month and Rutland has a lot of family history. There were/are the Narums and Prindivilles, Jacobsons and Christensens, Andersons, Silseths, Sundlies, Dystes, Nelsons, Hoflens, and many more. Doing any family history can be challenging and finding little known or hidden gems can be a wonderful thing.  For those whose roots are in Rutland, I happened across a little gem while looking through Village of Rutland Ordinance books.  I was reading the first four Ordinances from 1908 which, coincidentally, were only four pages long.  The half-inch thick book is mostly blank pages until near the end where there are some family history treasures.  These little gems have been hidden away for a long time and here is what that marvelous little book holds.

Rutland Village Births
Rutland Village Births

1911 – 1912 births in the Village of Rutland.  This single page lists the seven 1911 newest members of the Rutland residents and four of the 1912 births.  Names include Anton Carlson, John Jensen, C.W. Barger, A.M. Christianson and other names familiar to some.

Flados, Rosvold, Johnson

Flados, Rosvold, Johnson

People come and people go and Rutland is no different.  There are some Certificates of Death for 1918 in the book as well.  The first death entry is for Martha Gurine Erickson Flados Rosvold on April 29, 1918. Two others are also included: Bert L. Johnson and Marianne Jenson.

Nadeau Smith Child

Ord Bk Birth Flados Barger
Flados and Barger

Ord Bk Birth Eckstrom Lien Swanson
Eckstrom Lien and Swanson


The last two pages include names of seven children born in Rutland in 1918.  The wonderful part of all these entries is that they include not only the child’s name and date of birth, but also the full names of parents (mother’s maiden name) and their place of birth. That mother’s maiden name can often be a block in a family tree.

I hope you enjoy this brief trip down memory lane and I also hope that this helps solve some of those road blocks in your family tree.

The Old Parsonage

This Thursday, Rutland’s newest venture — The Old Parsonage, LLC —  has a ‘soft opening’ from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Kathleen Brakke, Sue Anderson, and MaryAnn Thornberg, have been busy for several months sprucing up the old Baptist Church parsonage at 217 -1st Street. Remodeling inside and out has been extensive and the project is truly an outstanding asset to the community. A new porch, roofing and siding has rejuvenated the building for its new purpose.  The store features home decor, unique gifts, furniture, repurposed treasures, antiques & collectibles.  If you know the quality of materials that the three entrepreneurs create, you know there will be an abundance of unique and creative items to choose from.

Starting tomorrow, The Old Parsonage will be open the second weekend of each month with hours Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon to 3:00 p.m. and other times by appointment.   Come and explore the new store and then venture over to the Rutland General Store for a light snack, coffee or dinner.

The Parsonage is also seeking photographs of individuals who were married in the old Baptist Parsonage so please let Kathleen or Susan know if you have a photo to contribute. Feel free to leave a comment and they will get your information!