Mott, Hettinger, North Dakota, USA

ROLL-Related Family Surnames which immigrated to Mott: HELLMAN, SCHAFF/SCHAF/SCHAAF, ROLL, ZENTNER

ROLL Reunion
[ TRANSLATE: | Mott, ND Pictures | Mott, ND Maps ]


1997 Terraserver on-line aerial map.

Mott on-line map - MapQuest mapping web site.

Mott, ND Web Site

Mott, ND Pictures

Welcome to MOTT, ND signs

a.  b.
Downtown MOTT, ND - Brown Street looking a) east b) west

a. b. c.
a) The first Mott elevators. Elevator reads: Barth Grain Company. b) 1910 - On the Cannon Ball River: 4 of 7 elevators, flour Mill and light plant; c) 1921 - MOTT High School

1910 - MOTT, ND Fairview family farm

Mott, ND Maps





  ROLL Family Homestead Map showing where the 3 emigrant ROLL brother's lived and farmed. Includes the towns of Burt, Bentley, Mott, St. Placidus, Watrous, and Willa.

  ROLL Family Homestead Aerial View showing where the 3 emigrant ROLL brother's lived and farmed. Includes the towns of Burt, Mott, St. Placidus, and Willa.


North Dakota Towns of our Forefathers.

"Faith keeps Mott running"

By KAREN HERZOG, Bismarck Tribune - November 07, 2001

Mott-os abound.

"Mott's the spot to live and shop."

"Mott's the spot that God forgot."

"Mott's the spot God loves a lot."

Mott is about faith. The same kind that keeps your foot on the accelerator on a dark night road even though you know your car will always outrun your headlights.

Census statistics are Mott's headlights, illuminating perhaps 10 years of the future -- numbers of young children coming up, sizes of classrooms and Sunday morning congregations. Beyond 10 years, Mott's future becomes an unknown road, driving, a matter of faith.

Practical people of faith have always known that the future also comes, in great part, through just deciding to keep your foot on the gas and your hands on the wheel.

Would you rather die of cancer or die of a heart attack? I vote for the heart attack. -- Peggy Crane, mother of four children ages 11 to 19, speaking of small towns' choices.

People like Peggy Crane make a small community run -- attending meetings, serving on committees, baking for fund-raisers, teaching kids. She's also on the road a lot, working as a physical therapist.

But, in Mott, "everybody's like that," she said.

With a foot each in the past and the future, Peggy is a member of the last surviving Homemakers Club in the county, a tie to the days when that monthly meeting was a woman's chance to get out of the house, connect with other women, make an enviable dessert and practice Robert's Rules of Order.

Though she was also a member of the school board which bit the bullet and closed the Catholic parochial school when it ran low on students, money and teachers, "I don't feel hopeless," Peggy said. The Catholic community weathered its school closing well, she said. The money once used to pay parochial teachers now hires a full time coordinator for the children's educational CCD program.

Crane married a Mott boy she met at the University of North Dakota and moved with him to Mott in 1981. David Crane is an attorney. But he is studying to become a deacon, an ordained Catholic position which is becoming more and more important to the survival of rural Catholic parishes.

Priests on the prairie are also aging, spread thinly around the countryside, so the church looks more and more to the laity, such as deacons, to step up to help run parishes.

A rising role for the laity is widespread in North Dakota in all denominations. For the Catholic church, having deacon couples serving the church leaves the rather odd situation, for Catholics, of sometimes having a married man working in the priest's house.

But it's another step of faith. Keeping hands on the wheel.

Also stepping in to fill some of the empty spaces are priests like Mott's "Father K.K.," who has served St. Vincent's Catholic parish for two years. Peggy Crane calls him Father K.K. because it takes a while to learn to say "the Rev. Kuriaskose Nediakala, MCBS."

The Bismarck Catholic Diocese now has five priests from India serving its scattered parishes, including Mott. Father K.K. is one.

What does the future hold? Peggy looks a bit further down the highway of the future and speculates.

Once upon a time, raw new immigrant communities hungry for religion were served by circuit-riding priests and preachers, making the rounds of a sparsely-settled prairie.

Maybe that circuit rider will come back again, Peggy said.

This is a very faith-filled parish, very close to the earth. -- Charnell Moore

Charnell Moore, staffer at St. Vincent's Catholic Church in Mott, is another of those wearers-of-many-hats that make small communities run.

She came from Bismarck in 1970 to teach at the public school, and has worked for parish since 1983, serving as parish secretary, school administrator, "doing everything but the sacraments," she joked.

In the past 30-plus years, Charnell has watched as more and more small farmsteads are abandoned, dotting the quarter-sections of the countryside, a fading reflected in the number of St. Vincent's souls -- from 1,745 in 1950 to about 500 members today.

"We held on to our Catholic school as long as we could," she said. But parochial schools can't pay what public schools do, and the teacher shortage was the last gasp.

St. Vincent's parish is conservative, she said, in the sense of holding onto the best of the past. But change is in the air in the hollow pounding and whining of saws building a spacious new gathering area, handicap accessibility, new bathrooms, a $400,000 project for a church built in 1925.

The huge crucifix will be moved to the gathering space so there is no conflict of focus, Charnell said. But the parish is retaining its traditional back altar, which originally came from St. Placidus Church north of Mott.

St. Vincent's congregation is elderly, and the church renovation project still needs another $80,000 -- but Father K.K. is serene.

"As long as there is great love . . .," he began. ". . . as long as there is the language of God, which is love, all will be taken care of."

He puts his faith in the road ahead.

A place of refuge -- Corey Warner

Corey Warner has been pastor of Zoar Congregational Church for nearly five years. In the past few weeks, the world outside North Dakota seems suddenly more dangerous. Oddly enough, those who first founded this church chose its suddenly-striking name -- Zoar -- from an obscure reference in the Old Testament Book of Judges, Warner said.

After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the story says that Abraham's nephew, Lot, and his family fled from the fire and brimstone to Zoar, "a place of refuge."

A place of refuge, again, perhaps.

Warner grew up in Scottsbluff, Neb., in a farm family which sold out during the hard financial times of the 1980s.

Urban pastors may try to empathize with small-town rural woes, but most have never been through it themselves, Warner said, "but I have."

Zoar's 70 or so Sunday morning attendees are aging, too. And there is a grieving in the decline. "Who's going to come behind us?" they wonder.

But Mott also mirrors the ecumenical spirit emerging on the emptying Great Plains, where rural congregations face two stark choices -- cooperate or close up. Mott's ministerial association -- six churches and five pastors -- decided on cooperation.

Good Friday and Thanksgiving services are celebrated as a community. Since last year, Protestants and Catholics combined Vacation Bible School to include kids and teachers from all the churches.

All can agree on the basic Vacation Bible School message of "Jesus loves me," said Peggy Crane.

Other churches are also doing what they need to do. Trinity Lutheran and the United Church of Christ have shared a pastor for a few years now, said Trinity member Wayne Busch. The two churches have been taking turns holding worship during a pastoral hiatus, but hope to go back to having their own services when a new UCC pastor arrives, hopefully by early November.

Because driving a small town is hard work, outsiders might not understand why Mott keeps doing it.

Everyone's reasons are different, but . . .

You might get back to your parked car downtown to find a UPS package in it, because the UPS delivery guy knows your Buick and dropped it off there instead of at your house.

The Schwan man leaves his truck parked smack-dab in the middle of the spacious main drag while he delivers his frozen food to both sides of the street.

Mott's open streets, unhurried, familiar, are tender to elderly drivers, keeping them in the driver's seat for a few precious extra years.

"You can drive in Mott until you die," Peggy Crane said. "You can't do that in Bismarck."

   ROLL Reunion

"The German is like a willow.
No matter which way you bend him,
he will always take root again."
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn -

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