History of Fredonia, North Dakota

(Source: 1904-1954 Fredonia Golden Jubilee Book)

Fredonia is located in the SE part of Logan County, ND, a part of section 15, township 133, range 67, owned in the early 1900s by George Gackle and Peter Billigmeier.

In 1898 the Soo Railroad Line extended the railroad from Kulm westward towards Lehr, a distance of about 20 miles. In 1904 Gackle and Billigmeier were instrumental in getting a side-track built by free labor who were mostly farmers. The Soo Line laid rails in the fall, a grain elevator and store were built, and thus Fredonia had its beginnings. A crew of Frenchmen who built the grain elevator and store named the town.

In October 1904, Mr. and Mrs. Gottlieb Gieser became the first residents of Fredonia. Their late son, Theodore Gieser, was the first child born in Fredonia. Gottlieb Gieser was the first grain buyer for the Gackle & Billigmeier-built grain elevator. He became the first manager for the Salzer Lumber Company, built in 1904, continuing in that business for about 20 years. In the mid-20s he and Fred Miller, Sr. formed a partnership to replace the hardware business Gottfried Hass had established and owned until 1915 when he moved his family to Sharyland, Texas.

Fredonia’s first postmaster was Daniel Flaig. The post office was located in one corner of Flaig’s general store which he helped construct in 1904, serving all the area farmers. The general store was first known as Grosz & Co., and later as Flaig & Co. when Daniel and Joseph Flaig, George Gackle and Peter Billigmeier assumed ownership. In the beginning there was no depot, and Daniel Flaig had to meet night trains at 11 and 2 o’clock. Soon a depot was moved in from Braddock, which improved mail service. Hade Kennedy was the first agent.

Mr. and Mrs. Christ Eslinger became the second family to reside in Fredonia, when they retired from their farm about 1-1/2 miles north of town. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marx were the third family, arriving in 1905 from Wabasha, Minnesota.

Fred Marx was initially the manager of Gackle & Billigmeier grain company. Later he entered the real estate business and also had a meat market. The first telephone in Fredonia was installed at the Marx home, connecting Fredonia to Kulm by phone. In 1906, his wife, Catherine Bieber Marx, was the first person to pass away in Fredonia.

The first school district was named after early pioneers Lars and Karl Norby. It was organized in 1895 and known as Norby School District No. 12. The first schoolhouse was built on the farm of Ole A. Holman, and Charlie McCarty was the first teacher. In 1907 a new schoolhouse was built in the town of Fredonia, and the first school teacher, Clara Toushas, was paid $40 per month.

Additional grain elevators built were the Farmers & Pruetz Bros. elevators, with William Orth designated manager for the farmers and Herman Kuebler manager for the Pruetz brothers.

The first meat market in Fredonia was operated by Friederich Wolf, who settled on a homestead 8 miles NW of Fredonia when he and his wife, Marie immigrated from South Russia in 1894.

Fredonia became an incorporated village on July 10, 1914. The first village officers elected were Gottlieb Gieser, Henry Kusler and John J. Meidinger as Village Trustees; Gottlieb Gieser, Chairman of the Board; Christ Wolf, Sr., Marshall; A.J. Graff, Clerk; William Pruetz, Treasurer; William Orth, Justice of the Peace, and Karl A. Krueger, Assessor.