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Story inspires clothing donation

Sometimes the stories sent in for this column result in unexpected but positive spin-offs. Case in point: The recent "Eight Wasn't Enough" story about the Berntson family which has 14 living siblings. That story inspired a parishioner of St.

Sometimes the stories sent in for this column result in unexpected but positive spin-offs.

Case in point: The recent "Eight Wasn't Enough" story about the Berntson family which has 14 living siblings.

That story inspired a parishioner of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Moorhead, to send a donation of baby clothing to Birthright of Fargo-Moorhead, according to Harriet Mohrbacher, Birthright's executive director.

Birthright assists women facing unplanned pregnancies, providing them with pregnancy testing, guidance and support at no charge.

Harriet says Birthright appreciates the donation and thanks The Forum for the article that initiated it.

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Well, of course, the real thanks goes to the person sending in the story. This column exists because of those contributed stories, and Neighbors is stacked up to its eyeballs with more items waiting to get in.

Meanwhile, cheers for the contributor of the clothing to Birthright which provided direct assistance to more than 2,000 individuals in 2004 alone.

Nice going, Birthright, and to the similar organizations assisting area women.

The hanging bridge

Now, more information on a story out of the 1930s that was retold here concerning the hanging of Charles Bannon.

Background: Bannon confessed to the murder of a family of six at Schafer, N.D., in 1930. Later, a mob stormed the Schafer jail, dragged Bannon out and hanged him from a bridge.

Feedback: Keith Satermo, Fargo, writes that the bridge from which Bannon was hanged "was in fact a creek crossing on Highway 23 just east of Schafer.

"It was just a plain old bridge with pipe railing on each side for the guard rail. As I remember the bridge, it didn't seem high enough to swing a man off from it.

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"Also, I believe the mob did the 'dirty deed' at night."

Keith believes the bridge was replaced in the 1950s when Highway 23 was rebuilt and paved.

Keith is a civil engineer who graduated from North Dakota State University in 1960, then lived in California until he retired in 1995, when he moved to Moorhead and then to Fargo.

The way to Svea

And here's something about the Town That Never Was.

The "Eight Wasn't Enough" story mentioned above reported the family once lived at Svea, seven miles northwest of Litchville, N.D.

Follow-up articles referred to Svea as a ghost town.

A Fargo woman who once lived in the Svea area reports, however, there never was a town with that name.

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The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, said Svea was only a township on which stood a one-room school.

All that's left there now, she says, is a flag pole and a plaque.

"I and many others around here are from the Svea area," she says, "and I just want to set the record straight."

She's done it.

It can be added, however, that Douglas Wick's excellent book, "North Dakota Place Names," says a post office was established in the township in 1889.

The name, Douglas says, was chosen by settlers from Svea Township in Kittson County, Minn. Svea, he says, "is the poetic name for Sweden, where it is sometimes seen as a feminine version of the name Sven."

The post office closed in 1904, Douglas says, with mail going to Litchville.

The ghost town references here, incidentally, drew several responses, so more ghost town stories are in the works.

One thing about ghost town stories, though: You can see right through them.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com

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