The History of Temvik, North Dakota
By Bertha Larvick - October 1, 1930
From Großliebental District Odessa Newsletter
Volume 1 Issue - 3 July 2002
Using this article for anyone to gain a profit is not the intent of this newsletter and is prohibited.
During the month of October of the fall of 1901, three brothers by the name of Larvick stepped from the train at Steel. They spent the night in Braddock after persuading a man to take them there in a buggy drawn by two horses. The next morning they left early to continue their journey to Linton where they filed on the land and registered it in the auditor’s books, then returned to Braddock. The third day they made it back to Steel and took the train back home to Mankato, Minnesota.
The spring of 1902 found the three young husky men ready to make their way back to the Promised Land. They arrived in Eureka, South Dakota by train and purchased stock, machinery and goods to transport to their destination near Temvik. The journey took three days. Arriving on the twenty-second day of April, they pitched their tent where what is now the Peter Nelson farm. But, oh to their horror and terror, one of those unwelcomed North Dakota blizzards made its appearance without even an apology for its daunting visit. My, but it had felt like winter, even in April.
The Larvick boys abandoned that place of refuge and proceeded on their way until they came to what is now the Temvik locality. Their closest neighbor was Ed Haws. Here they found evidence of trees along the creeks and stumps and chips in meadows and gulches. Two of the Larvick brothers drove to Braddock and bought lumber for a shack, which was built on Ed Larvick’s homestead about where his garden is now. It took possibly two days to build.
That spring they broke thirty acres of land with a rude breaking plow to plant flax. In the fall of 1902 they cut the flax with an old time wooden header leaving bunches over the field. One Sunday the wind blew so hard the flax blew all the way over to Frank Foell’s farm, many miles away. They raked what they could and sold it for $164. The eldest brother batched it here in his shack the first winter and took care of the horses in an old sod barn. One of his ways of spending his leisure time was hauling wood from the Missouri River once or twice a week all winter.
Some days were bitter and it felt to him like the North Pole. Two weeks during the winter it was impossible to get to Braddock to buy groceries so he had to be satisfied feasting on nothing by potatoes and salt. Many months later groceries were delivered from Braddock to Linton making it a little more convenient for the pioneers of this vicinity.
The following spring the brothers sowed the already broken thirty acres to wheat and then added more acres to the breaking, which was planted to flax. By the year 1903, the oldest brother’s shack was an important thoroughfare for the stagecoach that ran from Braddock to Linton. The shack was one of hospitality and it had no respecter of persons. Travelers must have found his shack a pleasant place to sleep and he a provider of nourishing meals because there was hardly a day when someone wasn’t there to keep him company. In fact, J.E. Davis and Ed Davis, not being relatives at all, came and stayed with him until they filed on their respective places. The first summer he and his brother Oscar helped lay the Soo Railroad between Braddock and Bismarck. The next year he worked and helped put the Northern Pacific Railroad between Bismarck and Linton. The year, 1903, it went as far as Hazelton and the train went that far all winter. By the fall of 1903 Linton was benefiting from Jim Hill’s service. The workers received $1.75 a day and board was 75 cents which left $1.00 per day to apply on their saving’s account. Many Indians also helped in the laying of the railroad. Several hundred cattle were herded and pastured on and around Danbury Butte each year. On the 6th of January 1903, a prairie fire broke out west of Temvik resulting from an ash pile. The northwest winds carried it along towards Linton and it burned three hundred tons of hay and Horton’s Ranch, which was situated north of Linton. Then it burned Tuft’s house and buildings and the Will Johnson’s farm in the Omio Township.
Many people were beginning to migrate into this land of “milk and honey”. Among them were the families of Clark Burlingame, Fred Surring, Charles Baker, Louis Foell, Warren Chapman, Mr. Kebler and Frank Hastings. The first Northern Pacific depot was only a boxcar, which stood west of the track opposite the Occident Elevator. At first the N.P. Company did not employ an agent but each man who shipped any products on the train or was a passenger, did their own checking. The first agent was Mr. Donly. Somehow the “majestic” depot caught fire and was burned. The N.P. then built the present depot. In 1905, Mr. Brofy, who was the first storekeeper, erected the first business building, a store. He shipped in a carload of lumber that had been used in the Lewis and Clark Exposition, which was held at St. Louis in 1904. In 1906, Mr. Brofy sold the store to Larvick and Foell. They took care of the telephone office, post office, cream station, and store under the same roof. The school and hall was on the second floor, and a dwelling house in the rear of the store. The second building to be built was the abominable Blind-pig, which was west of Hendrix’s store; but later moved to what is now the deplorable pool-hall. Mr. Messner was the “honorable” barkeeper. One night in this building a drinking party had been indulged in. The men got into a hot argument and as the liquor soaked brains could not function it became worse. Finally, a fine young man, the grandson of Mr. Messner had to sacrifice his life for someone shot him! By the time the cultured people had arrived after hearing the shot they found blood all over where the body was laying. No one knew who did it, only that it was done. Oh yes, they all pleaded innocent but somebody had done the deed! No one was accused and no trial was held.
In 1902 the name of the town was Godkin. It received its precious name from a railroad worker saying to another “Who can make a town in this place?” and the other employee answered, “Well, God can.” They then called it Godkin until Mr. Brofy became Postmaster and took it into his own hands to rename it Brofy. After Mr. Brofy left the name of the village was changed to Larvick. When the Tempels became prominent businessmen, they wanted it named in their honor. It was never legally Tempel or Tempelton. They disputed over the name until they had to have a name to put down in the books. The Secretary of Interior suggested it be named “Temvik” from the name of Tempel and Larvick, respectively.
When the Tempels came here, they bought all the land east of the track from the Larvick brothers. The lots west of the track are still held by the Larvick brothers. The Tempels began building houses, the bank, and a lumberyard, hotel and pool hall the spring of 1908 and the year 1909. They also built and operated the store, which is now owned by the Hendrix and Company. Soon after the Tempels came here, a newspaper was published. It was a proud town to have a printing house. It was run such a short time that no one knew the name of the paper and how often it was printed.
A great reception and banquet was held in the old town one day. It was a rare occasion for it was the first of its kind. One of the bachelors, Dave Calquhoun, and a fair maid, Miss Anna Anderson, were united in marriage in the fall of 1907. The other bachelors congratulated them and thanked them for being the first couple in this community to enter the road of matrimony and break the road for them.
The first child to be born in this vicinity was Quinton Foell, born the first day of May 1907. School was taught in the upstairs of the store building. The first teacher was Miss Kirkpatrick. Among her pupils were Ruth Stedman (now Mrs. Chilton), Ethan Burlingame, Verna Stedman, Donavan Chambers, Frank Fell, and Fern Chambers. This was the winter of 1908 and 1909. The real schoolhouse was built in 1910 in the eastern part of town. Years later it was found to be too small so they had to build the present schoolhouse. It was completed in the fall of 1919. They only hired two teachers the first year and now they have five teachers. The German Reform Church was built in 1910 on Roosevelt Street. The first residence to be erected was Emil Nelson’s, which Mrs. Pauline Reich now occupies. The Carpenter Lumber Company first owned the lumberyard. It was situated north of the Occident Elevator on the east side of the track. This company quit and it was out in the hands of Mr. Tempel. Later the Thomson Lumber Company became owners and employed Mr. Grooten. It was moved to the vacant lot west of Hendrix’s store. At one time there were two lumberyards in this town. A carpenter of Linton completed the Occident Elevator in 1906. Mr. Art Chambers was the first manager. The building west of the bank was built for a bowling alley. Years later it was converted into a store and Fred Snyder was the first owner and manager.
From a small beginning to a large flourishing town, Temvik has progressed. It has been an asset to this community. Many of its progressive enterprises have enlarged. The mill operated by John Leno, has a day and night shift. They turn out many hundred pounds of highgrade flour daily. Three elevators, with one idle, have been taking care of the grain, and the Farmer’s added four more bins, enlarging its capacity. Temvik has three stores, of which one deals with meat and groceries, one an I.G.A. store owned by the Hendrix Company and the other owned by Christ Albrecht. There are two cream stations, shipping many gallons of cream annually. The bank is a financial success. We also have an oil distributing station which is a worthy industry and worth advertising. A new lumberyard has been installed. It is home owned by Charles Enders, a prosperous businessman. There are two garages and one blacksmith shop, which give valuable service and guaranteed work. The farmers of the surrounding community have organized a shipping association and telephone service. There is a United State Port Office, which has two rural free delivery routes. The United States National Highway, which is graveled and well maintained, passes through Temvik. A bus going from Minot, N.D. to Aberdeen, SD is an ideal vehicle, which passes through here. The patrons of the Temvik School, which has been improved each year through the efforts of the school board and teachers, are proud of their school. The main street has also been graveled. There are many up-to-date farms in this vicinity. All the above enterprises and improvements have been brought about through the cooperation and efforts of every citizen of this town. It has been found a place to be proud of, and an honor to have your address Temvik.
Many of our ancestors from the GDO area settled in Temvik and surrounding towns in the Emmons County area. Those who settled in the area are: BEITELSPACHER, Ludwig; BENTZ, Christian; BRECKEL (BROECKEL), Jacob & Peter; BURKHART (BURGHARDT), Jacob Sr. & Jacob Jr.; EISENBARTH, Friedrich; FRIED, Wilhelm; GIMBEL, Heinrich; GEIER, Christian; GERGENTZ (JERGENTZ), Gustav; GRENZ, Gottlieb & Johann Samuel; HETTERLE, Philipp; HUBER, Georg; KIEMELE, Jacob Sr. & Jacob Jr.; NATHAN, Andreas; OHLHAUSER, Adam & Martin ; OSTER, Peter; PFAFF, Friedrich, PFEIFER, Philipp; RIEDLINGER, Christian; SCHATZ, Gottlieb; SCHENKENBERGER, Philipp; SCHLECHT, John; SCHMIDT, Martin; WACKER, Christian; and WOHL, Friedrich & Johannes.
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