A History of STRUM
by Roy Matson
were fairly well acquainted and I met him that morning about 6:30 outside the MWA hall.
My “good morning” went unanswered and I wondered why he was coming from town at
that time of day. The answer was not long in coming. Milly Eide on his morning milk
delivery drove by the door a few minutes later with a call, “we can’t talk to anyone this
morning.” I was a little puzzled by this remark, but when H. George hurried into the place
a few minutes later, the air cleared. “The bank is closed,” he said, and left. Throughout the
day autos would speed into town in a cloud of dust. Occupants would hurry across the
street, read the sign on the door and slowly leave. Merchant Joe Mathison provided the
only bright spot that day. A sign appeared in his store window, “Your credit is good

Liquidation of the bank’s assets dragged on for several years. The last were sold at a
sheriff’s sale in 1937 for a couple of thousand dollars. Officers at the time of the closing
were H. N. Robbe, Armen Fredericks, cashier, N. M. Rognlien, J. J. Dahl, Even Holte and
J. P. Hanson.

A Contrasting Side of a Bank Closing

Banks closings came frequently during the early thirties and they were tragic happenings
for many people. Occasionally a story comes about from those events that has a lighter

This particular tale involved Martin Dahl, manager of the Farmers Store Company with
International Machinery Sales of Strum and Pete Skolus, owner of a general store at
Eleva. Both men were public spirited fellows, both good backers of their respective towns
and ready for any opportunity to badger the other. It seemed that Dahl had met Skolus
shortly after the Eleva bank closed its doors sometime in 1930 and mentioned that he had
a good mower in his stock of implements that he would bring down river so that grass
could be properly mowed in the streets of Skolus’ town.

A year later the Strum bank was unable to open its doors and Skolus had his inning. He
called the Farmer’s Store. Martin Dahl was out, but since Skolus’ call concerned
machinery, the line was connected to Walt Enger, the implement salesman who knew
nothing of the first exchange between the two. Walt was happy to receive the call
although it didn’t “amount to much” according to Skolus, “but you can tell Martin to
come down and get his mower now.” Not busy at the time, Walt cranked up the red
International delivery truck, drove to Eleva and announced to the astonished Skolus, “I’m
here for the mower.”

S. S. Luce

S. S. Luce, publisher of the Galesville Transcript during the 1860’s-1870’s, had a yen for
composing poetry on most any subject or scene that moved him. The writings made sense
and the following lets us know that he traveled through this “northern bound” of
Trempealeau County some early day soon after the Civil War. His observations lends
credence to the statement that our valley was a passage way for western-bound settlers, all
of whom had “weary miles before them lying.”

Just when he saw little “Inge’s” grave needs no further mention; like countless others she
was left on the trail with “little time for signing.” Samuel Luce paints an appealing picture
with words.


By our county’s northern bound
  Where a winding stream is flowing
Gnarled oaks are standing ‘round
  and beneath the wild flowers blowing.

Wild and lonely is the spot;
  Wave on wave the prairie swelling’
Where the vision reaches not
  Farmer’s cot or human dwelling.

There I saw a tiny grave;
  Fresh the earth about it lying,
While above the green boughs wave
  In the June breeze softly sighing.