|A History of STRUM
and the TOWN OF UNITY by Roy Matson
|Frail the board that marked the bed
Where the little child is sleeping
Birds are singing overhead,
And beneath the wild vines creeping.
Here, the emigrant his tent
Pitched beside the running water.
Buried, ere he onward went,
Little "Inge Iversdatter."*
Short the stay for mother’s tears,
Weary miles before them lying;
Life’s stern duties, hops and fears
Left but little time for signing.
Weeping as they bid adieu
To the dear one left behind them,
Lost forever from their view --
Sad the memories that bind them.
*Inge, Iver’s daughter
The Depot Agent
The coming of the railroad brough(t) the "agent" into town. He was a prominent man in
the railroad’s business as he dispatched freight and express, ordered cars, sold passenger
tickers, collected freight bills, and above all, he was telegrapher. This service meant much
when one realizes that a lone wire strung along the railroad right-of-way was the fastest
and only connection with the outside world.
There were several such men in the service of Foster’s Spur, however Strum had no depot
for at least two years after the first train came through. The railroad first came to Strum
during Christmas of 1889, but it was not until a company building at Fairchild was
dismantled that materials were provided for the local station at Strum. No one now can
remember how local shipments were handled during the interim. Evidence concerning
dates and length of service was also unavailable. Most of the men in the following listing,
however, were described as involved with the railroad service.
Old timers agree that John O’Connel was the first agent. A brusk man in his dealings, he
was no admirer of clergymen for some reason and a tale is handed down concerning
dealings with a local pastor. It seems a shipment of books was due to a church. Several
inquiries had been made and a comment or two about tardy railroad service. When the box
finally arrived the crusty O’Connel sent word to hurry because the books were “leaking.”
Apparently some wine bottles located within the shipment of books had broken.
Belvor was an early agent, Jim McHan another. Chase followed the last named, and a man
named Tante succeeded in short order. Tante erected the M. T. Olson house, but is best
remembered for a second happening. A young daughter, aged six or seven, died while he
was here. He had no connection with the local Lutheran church, or any other it seemed.
There was no ordinance governing interment so the little girl was buried outside the front
window of his residence. When the railroad required his services at another station, he
exhumed the casket and moved it with other furniture to the new location.
Hoffman, a physical giant, had charge in 1917-1918. He contracted influenza while here
and died. W. T. Kromroy followed him and served the next thirty-five years. He married
Marie Rekstad and together they had a son and a daughter. Kromroy was active in local
affairs during those years and did considerable woodworking as a hobby. When he retired,
local dispatching was done at Osseo, marking the beginning of the end for railroad service
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