« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Published January 15 2014

Neighbors: Story of the Meisch family of LaMoure, ND, begins in 1913 with John and Mary Mangins

Start with a Sears, Roebuck &Co.-designed house, toss in the Great Depression and a kidnapping, include a sign telling how far it is to Luxembourg, and you have some of the story of the Meisch family of LaMoure, N.D.

But it was the Mangins – John and Mary – who built the house in 1913, using a Sears, Roebuck house plan. The materials, bought at the lumberyard in LaMoure, cost $8,000, and carpenters charged $1,500 to build it. A barn was built in 1918.

During the Depression, the Mangins lost their farm to the Federal Land Bank. In 1936, Nick Meisch bought it, apparently to keep it in the family; his wife, Margaret, was the oldest daughter of John and Mary Mangin.

Where’s Walter?

Nick was born in Luxembourg in 1892, came to the U.S. in 1913 and settled near LaMoure, where he met and, in 1917, married Margaret.

In 1923, Nick and Margaret moved to Luxembourg, where Nick worked in a steel mill until 1924, when they and their children returned to North Dakota.

While on board the ship to the U.S., the Meischs’ young son Walter disappeared; he’d been kidnapped by a French couple. But the couple was caught and Walter was returned to his parents.

The Meisch family lived on the LaMoure farm for many years. Nick Sr. farmed there with both of his sons, Walter and Nicholas Jr., and his son-in-law, Ernie Scheibe, who was married to the Meischs’ daughter Marie. Nick Sr. was chairman of the Ryan Township Board for 46 years.

Hospitality, landmarks

The Meisch farm was famous for several reasons. One of them was its hospitality. If you ran out of gas, you could always stop there and get a fill. And if you were hungry, you could get a fill, too, because Margaret always had coffee and goodies available. During the winter, local folks would say, “If you can make it past Meischs’, you can make it to Verona,” just down the road.

The farm featured three landmarks: its house, its big white barn, and a large sign across the road reading, “Clemency Luxembourg 4,230 miles.

Walt had visited Clemency and, wanting everyone to know how far it was from North Dakota, erected the sign.

It was a popular sign. But then the state made Walt take it down, which made him highly upset.

But his daughter came to the rescue. To boost his spirits, Bev Anderson, LaMoure, had the sign painted on the front of the barn. It remained there until the barn was torn down in 2009 by the current owner, Dean Schmidt, who bought the farm in 1994 from Walt and his wife, Rachael.

All this information comes from Bev, who is proud she lived on that farm with its grand house, its big barn and that sign explaining how far Luxembourg is from North Dakota.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com