Years of Faith 1897-1997: St. Anthony Catholic Church, St. Anthony,
Compiled by Elfreda Miller Ziniel
Published by Image Printing, Inc., Bismarck, North Dakota, 1997, 515 pages,
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to make
available this important North Dakota community history book, 100
Years of Faith 1897 - 1997: St. Anthony's Catholic Church, St. Anthony,
The author, Elfreda Miller Ziniel, presents a visually outstanding
community and church history covering many subjects. She pays tribute
to Father Florian Fairbanks who served the parish in 1997 for twenty-nine
years. Elfreda provides a good history of the church focusing on
the Germans from Russia including valuable photos and documents
The chapter, "Our Heritage" describes topics of guest writers
such as the "Dirty and Dusty 30s - No One Will Forget Them;" "The
Secret to Longevity" - Nick Helbling of St. Anthony lived to be
94. His wife Anna Marie was 104. What was their Secret?; "Grandpa
and Grandma" by Phyllis Hilfer Fairaizl; "The Schatz or Apron;"
"Special Memories of Rose Bullinger Knoll;" "The Neighborhood Midwife;"
and "Churches of Morton County."
The chapter, "The Homesteaders' First Homes provides valuable
and detailed information "The Prairie Sandstone House," "The Sunbaked
Clay Brick House," "The Mud Mound Igloo Dome House," "The Cave House"
and "The Round Rock House."
A history of the church, school and the town of St. Anthony, North
Dakota, from 1897 to present is chronicled in this informative and
easy to read book. The first 250 pages offer a historical summary
on this German-Russian community, discussing aspects of life in
a small rural Catholic North Dakota town.
Photographs are one of the highlights of the book. Historical
photos included are one of priests, nuns and altar boys past to
present; students participating in communion, confirmation and graduation
ceremonies; the old church and cemetery with its wrought iron crosses;
and the village of St. Anthony through the past 100 years.
The last half of the book takes a look at the parish families
with their accompanying stories. Here one finds family names including
Babel, Bender, Berger, Boehm, Bullinger, Fleck, Gangl, Gustin, Helbling,
Klein, Knoll, Lauinger, Leingang, Miller, Reisenauer, Renner, Ressler,
Schaff, Schmidt, Steckler, Volk, Weigel, Wetsch, Zander and Ziniel.
Born on a farm near St. Anthony was Fern Renner Welk (August 26,
1903). Her parents immigrated from Catholic German villages of the
Beresan District, South Russia (today Ukraine). There were eight
children born to Matthew and Elisabeth Renner. She married Lawrence
Welk in 1931.
The section on "Ethnic Cooking" includes recipes and excerpts
of a past rural life. One finds old-fashioned recipes for Plachinka,
Hulptzie, Borsch, Fleihkuckla, Zukerkuchen, Kolace and Schopffnoodle.
The value of the book lies in the preservation of the history
of St. Anthony, the parish and convent, its societies and its families
as well as its culture, foodways and folkways.
Review by Jocelyn Renner Tang, a native of St. Anthony,
North Dakota. Jocelyn is a 1998 graduate with an undergraduate major
in American Studies from Moorhead State University, Moorhead, Minnesota.
She is a volunteer oral history interviewer for the Germans from
Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, Fargo.
The members of this group
are all from the Nick Leingang family. They were confirmed
in 1916, when Father Augustine Fox was the pastor. From
left to right are Nick, Anna, Francis, Clem, Eva and Tony.
Nick married Frances Gerhardt. Anna married Jack Helbling.
Frances married George Hoffman. Clementine married Joe Fleck.
Eva, one of the twins, married William Willenman. Tony,
the other twin, married Rose Froehlic.
Peggy Reynolds also took
this photograph of a large portion of the St. Anthony Cemetery,
which is located just west of the church building. Adjacent
to the cemetery are corn and grain fields, as seen on this
picture. To date, there are 772 people buried in the cemetery.
Seven-hundred-ten people have had their funeral services
at St. Anthony Catholic Church.
This was the home of
Mathias and Elizabeth Renner, where Fern Welk was born.
Mathias died in 1907. Elizabeth then moved to town.
Anton G. and Margaret
Lawrence and Fern Renner
(from left to right: Donna, Fern, Lawrence, Shirley and
Phillip and Emilia Wetch
100 Years of Faith 1897 - 1997: St. Anthony's Catholic Church,
St. Anthony, North Dakota
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