A History of STRUM
by Roy Matson
hired a buttermaker and put the business on a sound footing. Willumson then called a
meeting and gave the operation back to the original owners who reorganized and ran it
successfully until it was liquidated over 80 years later.

The annual town meeting in 1889 appropriated $250.00 to build a new bridge at the St.
Paul’s crossing, then amended the action for lower bids. It was this year that Ole Kittleson
oiled up his paint brush for a final adornment. He crossed out “Tilden” and reapplied
“Strum” on his post office shingle. (see story on Names). The Fairchild & Mississippi
Railroad, now operating as the Sault Ste. Marie and Southern, had decided the Beef River
Valley needed a railroad and reached Carter's crossing during the last days of December,
1889. Tracks reached Eleva a few days later and Mondovi later the next year. There was
actually no village at its present location when the rails were laid. Someone influenced the
railroad officials to lay two loading spurs and received immediate use loading hay and
livestock. The men responsible for these shipments are unknown but the activity prompted
N. C. Foster to unload a stock of lumber during the next summer with Sivert Rekstad in
charge. A town began springing up. Holden moved his small store building to the present
Robbe Store site, Kittleson & Willumson erected a new business place near the present
Post Office building, and Dahl and Clemenson began operating a general store on what is
now the corner of 5th Avenue and Birch Street. In a matter of two or three years the
Northern Grain and Seed Company had erected an elevator. John Clemenson was manager
and the Cargill Company followed with a like facility with Ole Thomasgaard as operator.
What had once been a couple of sandy wheel ruts leading to Carter’s Crossing was now a
busy street of a growing village.

Pioneer Life 

Early settlers in most all areas of the midwest had a tough life. Most of their early homes
were hastily constructed with pine boards usually and usually had two small rooms lined
with paper to hold out drafts. Heating fuel was scarce, especially in this area. A load of
alders or willow which took all day to gather was consumed hurriedly in sub-zero
temperatures. Men worked in the pineries during winter months and left families alone
until spring.

Strum Area Woods Workers (3) at Winter, Wisconsin. About 1900.  (Picture-Description)

Medical aid was nonexistent. Old records show that diptheria raged during the winter
1877-78. Four children of Hans and Dorothia Hammer, all they had, died during the
Christmas season. It was the first interment at St. Paul’s cemetery. Pastor C. J. Helsem
told of conducting a funeral service at Chimney Rock where three children and a worn out
mother were laid in the same grave. Anton Dahl, an early settler in Rognlien Valley,
endured increasing abdominal pains for several years. Dr. Bodum of Blair described future
symptoms and predicted death for his patient within a short time.  Doctors had yet to