Frank Axtmann and wives: Kunigunda (Kistner) and Marianna (Bertsch) Family, Rugby, Pierce County, North Dakota

Baden and Strassburg, Kutchurgan District, South Russia - Pierce County, North Dakota

Frank Axtman and family, along with two brothers and a sister, arrived at the Port of New York on November 9, 1898. They traveled by railroad to Eureka, SD, where they stayed for the winter. In the spring of 1899, they joined the Burckhardtmeier Wagon Train with about 300 people to travel to southern Pierce County, ND, where they homesteaded land in Sandale Township. These were the first white people to settle in this area of Pierce County, ND, now located north and west of the present day towns of Balta and Orrin, ND.

Photographs taken from the family history publication The Centennial Family History: Ancestors - Descendants of Frank Axtmann, Pierce County, North Dakota and Wives: Kunigunda Kistner & Marianna Bertsch, 1899 - 1999 by Mary Lynn Axtman. Self-published, Fargo, ND, 99 pages, softcover. (To secure the family history, contact Mary Lynn Axtman, 4230 9th Avenue SW, Apt. 104, Fargo, ND 58103-2063 (E-mail:

The Axtmann family was photographed in 1933. In back, (l-r): John, Ned, Jack, Steve, Fr. Boniface, Matt, Bernard and Adam. In front (l-r): Stephena (Sr. Flavian), Agatha, Frank, Marianne, Mary and Catherine. Three members of the Axtmann family joined the religious life. Father Boniface (Joseph) was a member of St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, MN. He received his doctorate in education and was Rector of a college in the Philippines during World War II. He returned to St. John's in 1947, with pastoral assignments in Minnesota.
Sister Mary Flavian (Stephena) is a member of the Sisters of Mercy, Valley City, ND. She was a registered nurse and presently lives in North Bend, OR. Father John was educated at St. John's Abbey and was assigned to the Diocese of Fargo, ND.
Marriage of Adam and Margaret (Bickler) Axtman, October 16, 1939, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Orrin, ND. They lived and farmed near Silva, Pierce County, ND, rearing six children. Adam and Margaret (Bickler) Axtman family taken in 1963 at Rugby, ND. Standing (l-r): Joan, Mary Lynn, Leon, Paulette, and Bernadette; sitting (l-r): Margaret, Laurie and Adam.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller