No, the original lost items have not been recovered, but some good things have happened as a result of the search. When the bank orders you new checks they come faster-- a thought to keep in mind for readers who might find themselves in the same position.
Second, my attempts to find an address for the motor vehicle people or to get an answer to phone calls resulted in lots of extra long distance charges for next month’s phone bill but no contact with a living person at the other end of the line. After hours of elevator music I did get a recording that “all our lines are busy---please try your call another day”. They also gave a website to consult. Not having a computer hook-up, I went to the library to find out if they had a phone book for Bismarck with a possible mailing address. The librarian found the website and a form that had to be sent in online. It was helpful that there was a listing right at the top to mark “Lost”. By page 3 we learned you also need a credit card number as they do not take cash or checks. I had parted ways with credit cards accumulated over the years which were not accepted in North Dakota back when we were working on centennial books (not a paying job for most of us) and had adopted a chargeless lifestyle in the years that followed. A friend typed in her number, and the replacement license arrived in three days. When the correct birthday rolls around, it will still have to be renewed and by then offices may be open and phones answered. Keys and other lost items are still on the search list.
A Team to Remember
A few weeks ago there was a radio picture from a century ago, and in that same envelope was a football picture marked 1910 or 1911. I had set it aside for a later offering to Dennis Throndset for his long ago sports or to Jake Kulland in the fall. Dennis is semi-retired, and as I studied the picture Jake was telling about having joined the walking wounded. Knowing both of them were too young to remember the players mentioned or to have heard their stories, using it for Langdon Long Ago was a good alternative .
The writing around the edges of the picture named all but one of the teammates and was a reminder that similar pictures had come from the late Stewart Robertson for possible use in the Langdon centennial book 35 years ago. Stewart had grown up in Langdon, played football himself, and while his childhood goal was to become a circus clown, he actually went on to Macalster College and became a long-time Presbyterian pastor. In semi-retirement he also began writing books, some of which I might have purchased and others that came as gifts. The gift books were primarily the jokes he told from the pulpit or on other occasions and often included stories of Langdon characters. Since researching the clipping files at the library is not recommended during times of lockdown, his books turned out to have enough hilarious sketches to be entertaining research.
While the writing on the picture says this is the team of 1910-1911, I believe it is a later picture primarily because the school that burned in February of 1911 was a wooden building, and the school behind the team is built of bricks. My guess is that the picture was taken in very late 1911 or 1912 and possibly not during the fall season. Players listed by name beginning with the back row are: John Robertson, Ed Donovan, Fred Koehmstedt, Tom Lindsay, an unknown with more information later, and Bert Foy. In the seated row are Dick Boyd, Al Robertson, Al Drury and Jack Halloran. Lying in front is the first football coach at Langdon, Daniel Ridlington.
Now their stories: Dan Ridlington came to Langdon to teach around the time the first classes graduated at Langdon possibly 1903 or 1904. I do not know if he played on the UND Football squad which included Usher L. Burdick and several others who went on to become politicians and governors of our state, but besides football he also introduced track to LHS students. While here, he had been principal at the school. His wife, formerly Vivian Allert from the class of 1905, had been one of his students. In the fall of 1912 the Ridlingtons were on a trip to South Dakota when Dan became ill and died. His wife later married another classmate, M. C. Mitchell, and settled in California.
Now the stories of the players: John and Alexander Robertson were two of Stewart’s older brothers. John, from the class of 1914, was the youngest on this team. Alexander, from the class of 1912, went on to become a dentist in Minneapolis. Both brothers served in World War I and were injured in a battle in France with Alex recovering and John listed as missing and then dead. When war records were later released, they learned the two brothers had been injured in the same battle and been in the same hospital---but never saw each other while in France.
Edward J. Donovan, class of 1913, was in the war as well and then attended college in Washington, D.C. He became a lawyer and returned to Langdon for a long career practicing law and married a pretty young lady who taught music and wrote poetry. His wife, Kathryn, was Langdon’s librarian for many years. Ed became Langdon postmaster in the early 1940s. Children and grandchildren graduated from LHS.
Fred Koehmstedt, class of 1912, was the son of Andy Koehmstedt who owned and published the Courier-Democrat at Langdon for many years with help from several of his children. Relatives sent Fred’s address as South Pasadena in 1976.
Tom Lindsay, class of 1912, was a brother of Ed Lindsay and in later years lived in Portland, Oregon. The unknown player may also have been a member of this class or one of several who did not finish high school at Langdon. Names suggested were John McGruer, one of the Sullivan brothers, Howard (Scotty) McNiven, possibly a McGauvran brother before that family moved to Washington, Joe Halloran (another nephew of Dr. Donovan), or one of the O’Briens who finished at Catholic schools.
Bert Foy was one of several brothers in this family. A younger brother graduated in 1916, and another died in World War I and is buried at Langdon.
Dick Boyd was thought to be the most famous of this group since he won honors in 1911 when Langdon’s track team won at State. However, most of the boys on this team also participated in track. Boyd did go on to participate in national track events in Chicago which may have been high school or college level. Dick Boyd died in 1935. His daughters have visited Langdon in more recent years.
Al Drury was not listed in LHS graduates, but we know he lived on a farm near town, and at one time his father was a sheriff. It appears the county must have had a car for the sheriff who did not drive so his son was hired to take him to various emergencies. After a time in the Army, Al returned to Langdon and married Frances Mausten. Al ran a garage for many years, and during World War II they moved to California where he died.
Jack Halloran, known as John when he graduated, was one of several members of the Donovan family who came to Langdon to attend high school and lived with Dr. Donovan and his family. He had been president of his graduating class and in later years lived in San Francisco. He was also a member of the winning track team of 1911. I could find no information on why there were only ten players pictured so do not know if they played under 9-man rules or not.
LHS did have track and football during the war years, and I did not find information on who the coach was after the untimely death of Dan Ridlington. However, a younger Robertson brother, Art, class of 1918, was apparently a star player to the extent that he went on to serve as quarterback for the UND team for all four years--education which gave him the reputation of having an “educated toe”. He returned to teach and coach at Langdon before a long career in the Navy.