Neighbors: Man's Goose runs served as a lifeline

Gordon Martinson of Breckenridge, Minn., is one of the many fans of the Galloping Goose branchline trains.

Hilmer and Ellen Martinson
Hilmer Martinson is pictured with his wife, Ellen. Special to The Forum

Gordon Martinson of Breckenridge, Minn., is one of the many fans of the Galloping Goose branchline trains. His family lived on a farm near Everdell, Minn., east of Breckenridge, and they'd see the Goose as it went by on the way to the depot to pick up farmers' cream and other freight.

But then the Goose stopped running, and farmers had a problem: How could they get cream to the creamery?

Well, Gordon's father, Hilmer Martinson, came to their rescue.

Hilmer began picking up cream, and eggs, too, at farms in the Everdell area six days a week and hauling them to the Fergus Cooperative Creamery in Fergus Falls, Minn. But it wasn't always easy.

"The farmer put the containers of cream in a cooler that had cold water running through it to keep the cream fresh," Gordon writes. But "the farmer usually had only enough room in the cooler for two or three days' cream, so my dad had to go out in all kinds of weather to pick up the cream on a timely basis."


Hilmer's truck box wasn't covered, so he had to get the cream to the creamery within three or four hours after picking up the first load. If he didn't, the cream would get warm and turn sour in the summer and freeze in the winter.

After the creamery unloaded and tested the cream and washed and sterilized the cans, Hilmer would bring the cans back to the farmers.

Also, he'd often pick up butter, clothing and other items the farmers needed from town and deliver them along with the cans.

Hilmer operated the routes from 1937 to 1944. Two years later, he had a close call involving the Goose.

One snowy morning, he was heading home after dropping his kids off at school.

Whirling snow sharply cut his visibility, so when he crossed the tracks,

he didn't see the Goose bearing down on him. It

hit his car broadside and pushed it 180 feet down the tracks.


The car was totaled, but Hilmer escaped with only a bruised shoulder and a small cut on one ear.

Gordon says when his dad died in 1978 at age 87, Everdell had a store and gas station combined, a grain elevator, a two-story school house and the depot. Now all that remains are a couple of houses.

But on a happier note, back when the Goose stopped galloping, Hilmer saved the day - and the cream.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or email

What To Read Next
Get Local