Tolstory History

Tolstoy Diamond Jubilee Historical Book


1982 is the year our little city of Tolstoy celebrates its Diamond Jubilee With the help of all of you we have strived to compile a book filled wit history, family biographies, nostalgia from the past and memories.

 It was our intention to keep this book as authentic as possible. Do not expect perfection. Many of the stories are from memory and memory is often elusive. In the event that any families were missed, please understand that it was not intentional.

 It is our hope that during this jubilee celebration, young and old alike will pause and give thanks that our pioneer ancestors who trod these paths before us, had the courage and determination to seek until they found, a land of freedom.

 You and I have reaped the bountiful harvest of blessings sown by these courageous people.

 You and I also have a duty to continue this loyalty and love for our United States of America.

 In conclusion the historical committee wishes to convey a sincere thank you to all of you who contributed material for this book; to the generous business people whose ads helped defray the cost of this book, to the ad committee who did a great job, and to the boosters who added to the funds.

Historical Committee Co-Chairmen: Mary Bitzer, Raylene Geist, Pauline Stotz, Elma Bitzer, Gyda Keller, Katherine Dutt, Evie Dutt, Hulda Erlenbusch, Bertha Jacober and typist, Miss Shelly Bitzer


 "A man's home is his castle." The thought expressed by this proverbial maxi was quite evident when collecting family histories of Tolstoy. Be it a sod house or a poor cottage, with a shaking roof and the wind blowing through, that house to him is his castle and fortress.

 During the reign of Catherine The Great of Russia, in the mid 1700's, Colonist were sought abroad, often on very generous terms and at great cost to populate newly won territories. Serfdom and government regulations drastically restricted the mobility of the Russian people. Catherine permitted the German to colonize with the promise of land, freedom of worship, and the assurance that they might keep their German customs and continue speaking the German language Glucksthal cannot be found on many maps of Russia because it was not a city, it was a colony of German people who had left their homeland in search of land and promises for a better life.

 Following the reign of Catherine The Great, conditions changed drastically. By the time Alexander III was the Czar of Russia in the late 1800's, the German people found most of their liberties curtailed. Conforming to Russian regulations was demanded. When the drafting of young, twelve year old boys became compulsory many people in the German colony of Glucksthal and surrounding colonies turned their eyes toward America.

 For the second time these brave pioneers left their homes with only what they could carry on their backs in search of freedom.

 Thus, when they reached America and learned of the land available for homesteading in the Midwest they continued their journey until they reached this vicinity.

 Upon arriving and staking their claims they set about the task of working the land and building another home. There were no trees so using their instinctive ingenuity they formed blocks from sod, straw, and other materials and mortared them together with mud, creating a very livable structure. A man's home indeed became his "castle".

 Not all the pioneer families came from Russia, many came from Germany and other countries during the 1880's. The early settlers foresaw the possibilities of this good land and its adaptability to general grain farming, dairying, and raising livestock. Farm power, still partially provided by oxen, was being replaced by horses. Motor transportation was unheard of and towns were often 50 miles apart.

 The area became fairly well populated and developed to the extent that many farmsteads had been built and schoolhouses scattered throughout the area, which in many cases also served as meeting places for religious services.

 When it was rumored in 1906 that a railroad company was considering building a line which would extend westward through northern Potter county it seemed to the settlers, news too good to be true. However, this became a reality in the summer of 1907 when a railroad line was completed extending from Conde to LeBeau, S. D.

 Early in 1907 land was purchased by Thomas A. Way as the Dakota Town lot Company and laid out as a townsite. How the town received its name is not definitely known but it is believed that it was named for the famous Russian novelist Count Leo Tolstoy, who was still living then.

 The new town grew and within a year or two nearly every kind of business generally found in small cities was represented here.

 The railroad which had become a branch of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway System served the town and community well for a period of more than thirty years.

 The establishment of the Tolstoy Post office on May 1, 1907 with Gottlieb Dufloth as the postmaster gave this community the necessary impetus to build and develop. Prior to this the mail was delivered through the Springs post office. Mr. Dufloth served as postmaster until 1911 when Philip Bitzer succeeded him.

 Jacob Dufloth, one of the earliest settlers in Tolstoy, operated a hardware store and later ran a well repair business. He is also remembered for bringing the first electricity into town.

 The first residences in town were the homes of Jake Dufloth, John Rau, Gottlieb Wolff, Gottlieb Dufloth and Philip Schneider.

 The first lumber yard, The Central Lumber Co., was built in 1907 and operated by C. H. Rutter. Some other dealers following were Theodore DeForge, Jacob Schaefer, G. G. Dufloth to name only a few.

 Blacksmiths known by many were, John Rau, Mr. Tennis, Philip Dufloth, Dan Schack, John Wiesgram and Christ Ulrich. Best remembered from later years was Christ Trefz and his son Bob, who followed in his father's footsteps.

 Some of the early carpenters who constructed many of the businesses and homes were, O. H. Stinson, Alex Anderson, Axel Lindquist and Martin Christianson. The beautiful workmanship in the houses they built is still evident today.

 J. H. Holmes was the first banker in town. J. B. Gundert, O. W. Rostomily, Helmuth Gundert, L. G. Kepple. William Block, Eugene Herrboldt were others to carry on in this profession.

 The Pacific Co. and the Hawkeye Co. were the first elevators. C.W. Strauck Bert DeMersseman, Gus Reichman, Henry Mees, John Reiner, W. G. Meyers, Jo Strouckel, Mr. Kundert, Ed and Fred Kramer all had a part in the grain buying business.

 The stockyards, located close to the elevators were owned by the Railroad Co who had formed a shipping association. Local men were hired to manage it.

 Another important trade in the early years was the Livery and Feed Business. W. C. Miller, Jake Schneider, Martin Heiser, John DeBlume and Jake Lippert all ran this operation at various times.

 Early settlers were able to shop for all their needs at the local general stores operated by Gunderts, Groszs. Oestrichs, Preszlers and Loebbs.

 Meat markets were run by Pete and John Schneider, John Wendling and Jake Ritter. The Schneider brothers also had the distinction of making and selling the first ice cream in town.

 Philip Bitzer was the proprietor of the first drug and variety store built in 1909. Later the first telephone switchboard was installed in his store.

 Visitors were catered to by Mrs. Dora (Block) Schack, at her restaurant. Mary Christensen operated the first hotel. A. J. McGown, Henry Gross and Henry Mees followed her in this occupation. There were many transients in and out of town in those days due to the railroad, so the hotel did a flourishing business.

 The intellectual needs of the children were met when the Andrew Nelson school was moved into town from one mile west of Tolstoy.

 In 1909 the first recreation hall was constructed by Charles Strauck and Ed Erickson. The upstairs in this building was used as the Village Hall where dances, entertainments and Christmas programs were held. This same building housed Ed Erickson's barbershop. Other tonsorial artists were Charlie O'Lauglin and Harold Bitzer who practiced here for 50 some years.

 Traveling entertainers, Chautauqua groups and Minstrel shows came to town to entertain. Walt Miller had a saloon as up to date as any in the country at that time. Tom E. Hogg opened the first real estate office. B. A. Oestrich, J. B. Gundert and Norman Wasinski also sold real estate. The present Stotz Electric Bldg. was once the office and drug store for Dr. A. J. Button. Dr. O. W. Katz and Dr. Seigel later practiced medicine in Tolstoy. Dentists who practiced here were Dr. Chambers and Dr. Walston.

 A large garage with a hall upstairs was built by J. B. Gundert and his partner Dave Hottman. They had the Overland Agency and did a thriving business. Walt Miller and Fred McCray operated it for a short time before it was sold to Carl Klink. Carl later moved this garage up the street. The upstairs in this garage was used for roller skating and other forms of entertainment. After the garage burned down, Mr. Klink built a smaller garage which he later sold to the Murdy brothers, Lee and Howard.

 The first church was built in 1909. It was a Baptist church. The first pastor was Rev. August Klundt. On Nov. 14, 1909 the first wedding ceremony was performed. Carrie Schneider became the bride of Gottlieb Dufloth. The very first Christmas program was presented in the Dufloth Bros. store, now the Otto Dutt Well Repair Shop. In 1912 the Baptist church building was purchased by the Methodist church.

 Tolstoy became news when Editor George P. Walker printed the first newspaper, the Tolstoy Leader. A later paper, The Tolstoy Journal, was consolidated with Hoven to become The Hoven Review. Other publishers were Helmuth and Emma Gundert, J. C. Jacober, Mr. Bert Sullivan and Mr. Howell.

 The dray and transfer enterprise was run by Dan Schack, Jacob Eisenbeis, Gottlob Blumhardt and Jacob Lippert.

 Implement dealers were given a start by the Reiner-Mees Elevator Co. Jacob Dufloth, Philip Dufloth, and Anton Dusel were some of the others who provided the farmers with the latest equipment.

 The Tolstoy town well, known for it's excellent quality of water, was drilled in 1909 by Walter Penfield. It was in use until about 1967.

 Eugene Heck operated the first shoe repair shop. Furniture stores were managed by Gunderts. Kunderts and Julius (Smokey) Bender.

 The Wolff families operated the First Farmers Cream Stations in town. The flour mill was managed by the Dolge family, Henry Moll and later Dave Hottman, until it was destroyed by fire.

 The chairman of the town council had somewhat the same duties as a mayor of today. Records were found of the following chairmen, G. G. Dufloth, Fred Kramer, J. H. Grosz, D. G. Hottman, Ed Bieber. The present Town Council members are Dave Banik, Edgar Dutt, Gaven Banik and Floyd Wolff.

 Band concerts on Wednesday and Saturday nights were enjoyed by the entire community. Philip Bitzer directed the band for a long time and eventually his son Harold took over. The band members looked right smart in their navy and gold uniforms. Some of the band members remembered were: Dave Hottman, Bob Steele, Marvin Gundert, Harold Bitzer, Alvin Lippert, Otto Rostomily. Bill Block, Jake Opp, Christ Opp, Walter Wies, Bill Dusel, Joe Biorseth, Hugo Grosz, Mr. Howell, Otto Stotz, Robert Trefz and Mr. Weisgram.

 In the early days it was customary to have a yearly celebration on the 4th of July. Later it was changed to the 15th of August and called "Gala Day". Now we are back to celebrating on the 4th of July with a community picnic in the city park. Ball games, races and fireworks are a part of the days festivities.

 During the years when poliomyelitis was rampant, money was desperately needed for research to combat and cure this dreaded crippling disease. Tolstoy citizens decided to hold a yearly "March Of Dimes Program". It was a fun filled evening with a local talent show, auction sale of donated articles and a food sale. This money raising event has proved so successful over the years that even though a cure for polio was discovered, we still continue this yearly program, now named "The Community Fund Drive". The money raised is divided among other worthwhile charities.

 The town of Tolstoy grew and prospered for many years. Then came the war years of 1917 and 1918. This period in time holds sad memories for many people, not only due to the war but the drastic flu epidemic of 1918 which took a number of lives in our own community. In 1919, the aftermath of the war caused a great recession.

 The stockmarket crash in 1929 was followed by years of depression. Crop failures, grasshoppers, dust storms and the demise of the railroad in the 30's forced many businesses to close and families to sell their homes and move to other locations in search of better living conditions. Time took its toll on our community. The brave people who stayed here in spite of the hard times found themselves struggling to save their businesses, farms and homes. Employment was at a standstill until our Government provided jobs through the W.P.A.

 The pendulum of time began changing direction in the 40's but Dec. 7, 1941 our nation found itself confronted with yet another war. Once again, business prospered during the war years.

 The 1960's and 1970's found farms growing in acreage along with improved farming methods and machinery. Oiled highways were built leading into and out of our town from all directions.

 In 1962 the first application was made for a city water and sewer system. It wasn't until 1967 that the first water was pumped into the main. A new school and gymnasium were built in the 60's. Our streets were made brighter when the mercury vapor lights were installed in 1969. In 1970 the town donated our local jail cell to the county jail at Gettysburg. It was used to house women prisoners. An addition to the firehouse was completed in 1975.

 Many new homes built and remodeled in recent years have added a new look to our town. A modern four-plex housing unit was completed in 1972.

 Tolstoy Service and Repair, The Country Clip Shop, Katherine Dutt's Avon Shop, The N.F.O. Collection Point, The Drapery Shoppe, Chris Dutt Trenching & Excavating, The Marvin Stotz Building and Dwayne Jacobs Auto Body Shop are the most recent additions to our business community.

 Upon completing this history of the birth and growth of Tolstoy for it's first 75 years, the community looks forward to continued progress and the celebration of 100 years in 2007

1907 First Postoffice. G. Dufloth first postmaster.

Here Harry Hauck is pictured in his store. Today it is the Village Cafe.


Congratulations my fellow buildings on our 75th birthday. Some of the former buildings weren't as lucky as we. They fell to the wayside either by fire or drought conditions. I would like to take you down memory lane for just a moment. I haven't always been known as the Village Cafe. I have had many businesses and owners during my days. I was built in 1907 and Philip Bitzer was my first owner. Mr. Bitzer ran a drug and variety store. Mr. Bitzer sold me in 1908 to Mr. John Kundert and Jake Grosz. I was then a furniture store.

In 1915 Farmers State Bank sold me to Mr. Christian Wolff. At this time my floor was graced with Elgin cars. If one would look at my south wall, one can still see where my big garage door was. After four years in the garage business, Mr. Wolff decided to sell me to Mr. Eugene Heck. Now my walls were adorned with harnesses, hames and leather to mend shoes. For awhile I was rented to different people for various businesses.

In the early 20's, Jake Wolff and Earl Dufloth ran a pool hall. Later on Harry Hauck bought out Earl's share. Sometime during the thirties Fred Huber ran a bar.

In the early 1940's, Mr. Heck sold me to J. C. Hottman, Clarence Stephans and Matt Hettich, trustees of the church of God. For a few years, my walls were filled with church music. In March 1946 the Church of God congregation decided to move their place of worship. At this time I acquired another new owner, Mr. Ted Stotz. This is when I turned into a cafe. In '46 I had three different owners, Mr. Stotz sold me to Dave Banik on May, 1946 and he in turn sold me to Mr. Art Geist in Aug. of '46. I did stay with Mr. Geist until 1949 when he traded me to Mr. Ed Bieber for a new H. tractor and a three bottom plow. Some of my owners from 1955 to 1978 were Chester Jarvis, Elsie Hawkinson Hixon, and Walter Stotz. Some of my renters were Boyce Harper, Albert Hauck, Mrs. Phillip Martz, Lydia Dufloth, Molly Wirtz, and Freda Judd.

In 1974, a group of concerned citizens replenished my inventory and in March of 1978 the Village Cafe Association bought me from Mr. Bieber. When visitors come to town, home town folks say "go down to the cafe, you will get to see many of your friends". My windows sort of burst at the seams when people say what a clean cafe I am and what delicious food is served on my tables.

I can always tell what season of the year it is by the conversation within my walls. Spring, "What kind of seed are you planting, how deep are you planting your corn, Summer, Boy do the crops look good, think I will go fishing today, fall, hope we can get the wheat in the bin before it rains, grasshoppers are really eating away at the corn, winter, golly is it ever cold out had to put an extra log in the stove last night. And so it goes. I must say the years have been good to me, I just hope I have contributed in some way in making a better community to live in.

Tolstoy's depot and water tank.

One of the town's lumberyards.


One always wonders how new business adventures come about. Tolstoy Service and Repair was started as a dream on the doorstep of the Gaven Banik home. Drinking malts, Gaven and Alex Sundberg (Adolph Strouckels' grandson) talked about their dream and then made it come true. In June of 1972, they purchased a steel building on the corner of Highway 20 and the town of Tolstoy. The building was bought from Albert Hauck, who formally used it for grain storage as well as other things.

If one would have been driving by in the last week of June, one would have seen Gaven and Alex cleaning out the building, digging in the gas tanks, and putting up a pump as well as numerous other things which go along with beginning a new business. The shop was opened for business on July 1, 1972, under the ownership of Gaven and Alex as partners.

In 1973, Alex decided to take on a new business adventure in Oregon. Later Doug Droz bought out Alex's share of the business and became a partner with Gaven.

In the fall of 1975. Gaven and Martha Banik became owners of Tolstoy Service and Repair.

M & St. L. stuck in a snowbank.


Sully Buttes Telephone Cooperative, Inc. purchased the Tolstoy, Hoven, Seneca, and Onaka exchanges from the Independent Telephone Company in 1955. Dave Banik has been the director for these four exchanges since that time.

Severe ice storms destroyed much of the aerial plant in the Tolstoy area in 1965. When the aerial wire plant was replaced with buried cable, service was upgraded to 4-party service.

In the early 1970's, Sully Buttes started upgrading all fifteen exchanges to buried one-party service. This project was completed in the mid 1970's.

In 1981, Tolstoy received an electronic, computerized digital switching system which is the most modern equipment available at this time.

James E. Nielson is the present manager of Sully Buttes Telephone Cooperative, Inc. The company has grown to over 4000 subscribers and employs 25 people.

Sully Buttes has exchanges in Blunt, East Onida, Harrold, Highmore, Hitchcock, Hoven, Langford, Onaka, Ree Heights, Rosholt, Seneca, Tolstoy, Tulare, Wessington, and West Onida.

The present Board of Directors and the areas they serve are as follows: Martin Stiefel, Blunt and Harrold; Vernon Garrett, East Onida; Lawrence Stoley and Floyd Meek, Highmore; Warren Gilchrist, Hitchcock; Dave Banik, Hoven, Tolstoy, Seneca and Onaka; LeRoy Erickson, Langford; Daniel Lawler, Ree Heights; Arnold Braun, Rosholt; Willis Boyd, Tulare; Emil Martens, Wessington; and Harold Currier, West Onida.

Tolstoy's band who entertained many people on Wednesday and Saturday nights with their band concerts.


The business places at the intersection of main street and 3rd avenue seem to have withstood the ravages of time and escaped the disaster of wind and fire that dealt harshly with many business structures in our town.

The building on the south east corner of this intersection now occupied by Dutt well works has an unique story. Unlike the other 3, this building has had a limited ownership, that is not to signify there have not been many changes.

Jake Dufloth raised this structure to house a hardware store. His brother Gottlieb was also connected with this enterprise. At that time it was a two story building. As any well stocked hardware store in its time, they carried harnesses and horse collars in their inventory and of course the buggies needed for transportation. It is not easy to verify the many stories but it has been mentioned the buggies were stored in the upper story.

Several businesses have been conducted within these walls. A post office once occupied a portion of this building. A newspaper was printed here. The first Christmas program was presented in the Dufloth Brothers Store.

At some point of time the second story was removed and they remodeled it as it stands now.

Mr. Dufloth operated the plant generating the first electricity for Tolstoy from this building. Some of this equipment was still cemented in place when Otto Dutt became the owner. Some of the residents were startled when Otto decided to remove it to gain storage space. (Admittedly, the dynamite did cause a few vibrations throughout the town.)

When Mr. Dufloth's hardware and implement business changed due to mechanization, he turned to well repair and used his building as an office and for storage. He continued pulling wells and repairing windmills until 1954. At this time both the business and building were purchased by Otto Dutt and became known as Dutt Well Works. At the present time the building is used mainly for storage.


Several buildings had been erected at this corner only to be destroyed by fire. The present building, a railroad house, was moved here from Onaka. It had four apartments. It was moved for Anton Dusel in 1929. Later it was sold to Ed Reiger, then to George Edrich, and in 1939 the present owner, Edward Bieber, bought the place. In 1946, he added the south addition. Ed made it into a service shop for cars, tractors, and repairs. From 1943 to 1955 he also had the International Harvester Company dealership.

A great change in machinery has come about such as tractors with steel wheels to rubber tires, from 30 horsepower to 150 horsepower, from small tractors to large 4-wheel drive, up to 600 horsepower range. The price range was $900 for 1939 tractor to well over $100,000 today.

Harvest equipment which were push headers and binders driven by horse changed to windrowers and combines. Farmers and machine shops invented the windrowers made from old binders and headers. Some of these windrowers were made in Bieber's shop. Tractor loaders were another improvement and also hay balers.

All of these have almost done away with fork and shovel, and of course old "Dick and Molly", the horses.

Edward still owns the place of business which he has enjoyed for 43 years in Rood old Tolstoy.

Bulk station plant at Tolstoy.


Mr. and Mrs. Dave Banik returned to Tolstoy from Watertown in 1942. It was at this time that he started working for Dave Hottman until 1948. During that year Dave bought half interest into the elevator business with Mr. Hottman. In 1954 the Baniks bought the remaining half from the Hottman estate.

In 1961, Dave incorporated which included his two sons, Ken and Jim. Ken wasn't interested in the business, thus he sold his interest back to the company. Today Jim owns half of the business and it is known as D. G. Banik and Son Elevator.

The Tolstoy Community Home was built in 1972. It houses four-one bedroom apartments. Residents at the time this book went to press were: Christina Trefz, Anna Hettich, Lillian Jarvis and Jack Vance.


The mercantile was formed into a corporation in 1909 by three gentlemen: J. H. Grosz, Albert Oestreich, and Walter Gundert. Mr. Grosz was named manager of the new business. Later on John Kundert, Walter's cousin, came into the business; when he left to open a furniture store across the street, Walter's brother, William entered into the business.

The mercantile was a general merchandise store with groceries; dry goods; hardware; home furnishings; clothing; shoes; and yes, there were even caskets for sale. One could have glass cut to one's needs and farmers found harnesses and saddles to buy. Ladies could find anything from needles and thread to materials fine enough for wedding gowns. Coffee was sold in beans or fresh ground; vinegar was pumped into jars from large kegs; farmers brought in their fresh eggs by the crates to be canceled by hand. Duke's mixture and Bull Durham reigned on the tobacco shelf.

Sometime during the thirties the store was sold to Heino Groth. He had it until 1949 when he sold the store to George Helm. George operated this business until 1958 when he sold the hardware and dry goods business but kept the grocery business. In 1960, he sold the inventory to Rudolph Berg. In 1960, George sold by auction all the inventory that he had left & sold the building and fixtures to Dave Banik. When Mr. and Mrs. Berg left the store, the Baniks bought the inventory, in turn Art Haar bought the inventory and ran the store for two years. Later on Jerry Hanson bought the inventory from Art Haar. They had the store for one year. Dave and Edna Banik bought the inventory and are still managing the store at present time.


Frances Gundert, $30 a month, 1934. Katherine Dufloth, $25 a month, 1936. Katherine Dufloth, $35 a month, 1939.

Wolff's confectionary store which was in the old bank building. Today it is the Standard Oil Building. Picture above is Ed G. Wolff.

Steven Trefz, receiving a hair cut at the Country Clip Shop with manager Kathleen Helm.

Christ Dutt's shop the former Bill Erlenbusch garage.

Tolstoy has always had a volunteer fire department. The new addition was completed in 1975. The department is now equipped with three trucks and the present fire chief is Jerald Dutt.

Edward Dutt repair shop, During all kinds of weather one can find Ed busy in his shop, repariing, building and tinkering.

The Drapery shop owned by Jeanette Hoven.

Pictured above is the barbershop and the bandstand. These two buildings are now preserved at Prairie Village near Madison, S.D.

The town's newly equipped city park, enjoyed by young and old. Marvin Stotz Building.

Tolstoy water tower in 1981.

This building was built in the early 1900's as a bank. It closed its doors in the early 1930's. Later on it was a confectionary store, cafe, and the back part was the telephone office. In the late 40's, John Stotz moved the Standard Oil business to this building. Upon John's retirement in 1952, Floyd Wolff then became the Standard Oil agent. Floyd retired in 1976 when Standard Oil sold their bulk stations to private individuals. This is when Gordon Stotz of Bowdle bought the business and is managed by Floyd Wolff.

Tolstoy as it appeared in 1907.

Tolstoy school

In 1907 there were four country schools in Logan District No. 1. Thus when the town of Tolstoy was first organized the children from town attended country school.

In July of 1908 a petition by the voters was brought before the school board to hold a special meeting for the purpose of voting on the proposition that school house No. 1 known as the "Nelson school" (located on the present Willard Hoven farm) be moved into the townsite of Tolstoy. This was accomplished on Oct. 10, 1908.

Due to rapid growth of the town and the population explosion, the little schoolhouse was soon inadequate. Additional classes were held in business places, churches, and even in homes.

In May of 1910 the voters again petitioned the board for me purpose of voting on the issue of building a new school. The district was bonded for a sum of $2500 and the schoolhouse was erected.

The town continued to grow and by 1918 a second school was needed to house all the children. A two year high school plus some upper grades were held in the new building. High school classes offered were; algebra, geometry, English, bookkeeping, physiology, history, geography, agriculture, and penmanship. The high school was discontinued in 1926 due to lack of accreditation.

In 1964 with school board members Edgar Dutt, Vincent Bitzer, and Harlan Hettich in charge, the voters went to the polls once more for the purpose of building a new school. The outcome of this election made the front page of many papers. 100 per cent voted in favor of a new building. This beautiful brick construction was designed by Architect James R. Pope of Scott Eng. Co. The contractor was Brenner Construction Co. of Hoven. The gymnasium was built in 1969 with the same board members at the helm. The voters again voted 100 per cent in favor. The architect for the gym was Aslessen and Herman. The contractor was Brenner Construction.

A fully equipped kitchen was completed in 1969 which enabled the school to offer a hot lunch program to our students and teachers.

At the present time the staff consists of teachers: Dan Osier, Julie Chilstrom, and Diane Lechner; One teachers aid; Rev. David Olmstead; One special education: Erma Maier; One music teacher: Vena Manfull; and a band instructor: Mike Coyne, who gives weekly lessons; One cook: Bonnie Olmsted; and One janitor: John J. Dutt.

In 1907 school was held only six months each year. The average wage per teacher was $45 a month. In 1982 the average wage per month is $1550 based on a nine month period with an enrollment of about 40 pupils.

In 1968 a super imposed district was formed with Hoven and surrounding districts. The purpose was to attach us to the Hoven district for high school reasons only. Under this system we were able to maintain our own grade school and school board.

In 1976, the super imposed district was forced by legislation to consolidate all districts formerly under super imposed into one district with one school board governing all. This district consists of one high school in Hoven and seven satellite grade schools including Tolstoy, Lebanon, and five country schools. School board members of this large district at present are: Lefty Schmidt, Vincent Bitzer, Charlotte Hobus, Don Sevigny, and Bob Hageman.

Students attending the first Tolstoy town school with Alice Kelly as Teacher were as follows: Lillian Bitzer, Helen Bitzer, Marie Tiber, Alice Bitzer. Emma Bitzer. Mildred Bitzer, Florence Christensen, Christina Lippert, Freda Blumhardt, Edward Lippert, Edward Wolfe, Harold Bitzer, Jacob Lippert, Wesley Schaefer, Rosina Lippert, Emil Blumhardt, Lena Wolfe, Fred Miller, Lewis Miller, Myrtle Anderson, Emma Blumhardt, Willie Block, Hettie Wolfe, Rosie Stotz, Lena Blumhardt, Oliver Schaefer, Ottilla Block, George Stotz, John Dufloth, Adolph Dufloth, Freda Dufloth, Martha Dufloth.

Some of the teachers of Logan District in the early years were: Nina Huyck, Emma Mikkelson, Eva Hoy, Ella Ragatz, Bertha Hass, Emma Callern, Elsie Lake, Mary O'Boyle, Winnie O'Boyle, George Moore, Nellie Lemon, Alice Kelley, Adell Suldborg, Esther Nicholson, Florence Stabler, F. W. Schaefer, Florence Deforge, Mina Jordeth, Burnie Mullen, Ray and Luella Nold, Evertt Dreblow, Lee Seymour, Clare Vetter, Jack Peterson, Vera Hanson, and Marvel Linde. Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Lyman.

Tolstoy Basketball

Basketball had been discontinued in the Tolstoy school for a number of years. The school did not have a gym, but the town hall was sitting idle. Also there was a lot of "basketball material" sitting in the classrooms. Kenny Stephans was asked if he would organize and coach the team. This was in the years of 1966-67. Kenny accepted the challenge.

The boys would practice in the hall three times a week. The ceiling was 13 feet high and 10 foot baskets. The boys would practice lay-ups, free throws, and defense. With the hall being quite small, all of the games were played out of town.

Here the team was ready to play their first game, but the team didn't have a name as of yet. Coach Stephens decided to name the team Tolstoy Scalpers after the Huron College basketball team, which coach Stephans had attended. They also decided that the school colors would be red and white.

Tolstoy played Lebanon, Hoven, and Roscoe that year. The highlight of the season was receiving the consolation trophy at Hoven by winning over Roscoe by thirteen points. The players on the team were: Johnny Hoven, forward; Billy Hoven, center; Gavin Banik, forward; Christ Dutt, guard; Jim Bitzer, guard; and Ricky Dickhaut, guard.

Donald Stotz worked with the boys the year before and Leland Stotz took over coaching for the next two years in the new gym followed by John Litzen as their coach. Today, Tolstoy still has a basketball team, and they are still called the Scalpers. Now the coaching is done by one of the teachers in the school. Also, a girls' team has been added. The girls won first place in the Cresbard

Tournament in 1979.

Tolstoy School 1982


Tolstoy, S. D., Sept. 3-(Special) Two bandits were wounded, one seriously, a third was captured, and two posse men were shot and wounded in a gunfight near here today 45 minutes after the trio had robbed the Hoven State bank of between $2,000 and $3,000 and had hidden in an old cellar on an abandoned farm three miles south of here to evade officers.

Three unknown men, roughly dressed and unmasked, entered the bank about three o'clock today with drawn guns, forced the cashier S. L. Reardon, assistant cashiers, Mrs. M. J. Goebel, Miss Evelyn Mack, Peter Abler, and Joseph Faas, a customer, to lie on the floor while they looted the cash drawers and made their escape to a waiting automobile.

Trailed to the abandoned farm house by Howard Murdy, Tolstoy garage man, and Eugene Herrbolt, cashier of the Tolstoy bank, the trio was cornered in a cellar where the gun fight occurred.

One of the bandits was shot in the abdomen, another in the shoulder and the third surrendered. A slug from one of the bandit's guns struck Murdy in the foot as he dropped to his knee to fire and another passed through the hand of Herrboldt splintering the stock of his rifle which deflected the course of the bullet and probably saved his life.

Two of the bandit trio were taken to the Faulkton hospital where they were not expected to recover and the third was delivered to Sheriff R. L. Holmes of Potter County who took him to Gettysburg for a hearing tonight.

After their successful escape from Hoven, the robbers were forced to abandon their car after it hurtled into a ditch as the result of a blow-out.

Hail Passing Car

The bandits hailed a passing car and forced the driver from the machine and proceeded to the farm house, hiding the car in an old shed and taking refuge in a cellar.

In their hasty departure from the wrecked car, the trio overlooked $1,000 of the loot which was recovered by the officers.

Murdy and Herrboldt had no inkling of the gang's whereabouts when they trailed the car to the abandoned farm, but the robbers, thinking themselves trapped, emerged from their hiding with blazing guns. Their attempt for liberty failed when rifles in the hands of the two Tolstoy men were brought into action.

Credited with Capture

Murdy and Herrboldt tonight were credited with the capture of the bandits.

It is thought most of the money was recovered last night, officers finding various sums hidden about the house and barn, indicating that the robbers had divided their loot.

The man who surrendered gave his home as Rapid City last night but refused to reveal his name. The other two were unable to talk and no clues as to their identity were discovered.

All three were described as dark and tall and were dressed in coarse garb. The car in which they fled from Hoven was reported stolen from Earl Flaming of Monango, N. D., while the latter was at Hecla, S. D.

Postscript: The bandit who was hit in the stomach died at the Faulkton hospital, the other two drew 22 and 24 years each in the state penitentiary from Judge Frank R. Fisher at Miller.

The farm on which the bandits were captured was the old Pat O'Hagan farm presently occupied by Vern Schmidt.

Tolstoy 1982.


I M O Club

The mother's of Tolstoy school children formed the "Interested Mothers Organization" in 1970. It's primary purpose was to show interest and cooperation in school affairs. When it became evident that something was needed in the classrooms or school in general, that would benefit the children or teachers, the Mothers Club would raise the money for these projects. Dinners

and smorgasbords proved to be great fund raising events. Smaller projects were funded by selling such items as zip code books, napkins, and stationery.

It is always gratifying to see the unified community spirit displayed at these events and the wonderful camaraderie with the people from our friendly neighboring communities. Some of the items purchased by the I M O Club were: dishes, silverware, stage curtains, electric roaster, coffee urns, gym and park equipment, films, and window shades.


The Springs Extension Club was organized in the summer of 1923 with the first meeting being held at the home of Tom Penrod. Ten ladies joined at that time. County Agent George Hanson was there to help with the organizing, and he also gave a demonstration on poultry.

Mrs. Gilbert Dale was elected the first chairman; Miss Nora Penrod was the first secretary-treasurer. Other members of the club at that time were: Miss Ada Keller, Mrs. Ed Griese, Mrs. Grace Stephens, Mrs. J. F. Johnson, Mrs. C. L. Keller, Miss Mable Penrod, and Miss Margaret Inks. Over the years, the membership has varied from six to twenty-four. The meetings were always held in the homes of the members.

Regardless of the times, the members have always been interested in pretty much the same things, namely: home management, home decorating, preparation of foods, clothing, recreation, the rearing of children, and their community. Information on these and other projects was always available through their extension meetings and demonstrations.

In 1963 there were four members who had received their twenty-five year pin. These were Mrs. Art Keller, Mrs. Obert Penrod, Sr., Mrs. Peter Litzen, Mrs. Elsie (Hawkinson) Hixon, and Mrs. Lyle Griese received hers a short time later.

Several of the older members have served on the county council. Mrs. Art Keller has served as county and district officer and on state committees. She is at present secretary and treasurer of the State Eminent Farmers and Homemakers Organization.

In 1973 the Springs celebrated its Golden Anniversary at the Tolstoy school gym. Three charter members were in attendance. These members were: Mrs. Ada (Keller) Miller, Mrs. Ed Griese, and Mrs. Grace Stephens.

In the Spring of 1947 the first 4-H club, sponsored by the Springs Club was organized. It was named the Springs 4-H and had sixteen charter members. Then, in 1948, this club divided into two clubs. One club, called itself "The Successful Striving Sons", and had eleven members. The other club, known as "The Successful Striving Sisters", had nine girls. At that time Art Keller and Howard Hawkinson were the leaders of the boys, and Mrs. Obert Penrod Sr., and Mrs. Art Keller were the leaders of the girls. Mrs. Keller, with various assistant leaders kept the club organized for twenty-four years until it disbanded. The Springs Extension club is still active with seven members.

A.B.C. Club

On Dec. 8,1960, a meeting was held at the schoolhouse to form an organization with the children and community as our objective. An election of officers was held with Mrs. Clifford Stotz, president, Mrs. Elmer Ragatz, vice president; and Mrs. Floyd Wolff, secretary-treasurer. All members were to bring a name for the club. The committee chose "Activities Build Communities".

The club was active for several years in promoting recreation for the children of the community. Some of these activities were: Valentine and Halloween parties, hayrides, volleyball and basketball, and roller skating on Wednesday nights.

The club had a waffle supper and a talent show. The proceeds went towards buying a 100 piece place setting of dinner plates, cups, and silverware. Rest of the dishes were donated by the community. Later on they were able to install kitchen cupboards, counter tops, tile on kitchen floor, a used kitchen sink, stove, and refrigerator, stage curtains, and a public address system.

The community always responded well to fund raising projects. Through these projects the club was able to purchase ten folding tables. The Can-Can 4-H club gave a donation to the club after they had dissolved.

In 1974 the park became the club's project. The land for the park was donated to the A.B.C. club. Members got together and cleaned the grounds and trees were planted. Between the club and the IMO Club, they were able to purchase park equipment, two shelters were put up, picnic tables were bought, and some donated and a flag pole was installed. They also had received matching funds from the government.

In 1976, the A.B.C. Club with the help of other organizations in the community planned the Bi-Centennial celebration which was held in June of that year.

At the present there are only thirteen members. The club feels that they have accomplished a lot for a small group and hope to continue working for the community.


Church of God

Special services were held in the town hall in 1936 with Rev. David Bottwright as the Evangelist. Through these revival services the Church of God was organized in 1937 with charter members as: Mr. and Mrs. John C. Hottmann; Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Stephan; Mr. and Mrs. Gottlieb Dufloth; Mr. and Mrs. Matt Hettich; Mrs. Lydia Letcher; Mr. and Mrs. John Leicht, Hulda, Martha, Emma, and Florence.

During this time church services were held in various buildings including the town hall. Rev. Clayton Gellette was the first pastor from 1937 to 1938. Rev. Charles Bowen pastored from 1938 to 1940. Rev. Anton Meyers from 1940 through 1941. Rev. Charles Hughs from 1942 through 1943. Rev. Andrew Long from 1944 to 1946. At this time the old Catholic church was purchased in Wetonka. It was torn down. The lumber was hauled to Tolstoy by members and friends. The church was built while Rev. Long pastored. Rev. Doyle Stanfield pastored in 1946 through 1948. He also helped finish the church with help of members and friends. Rev. Stanfield performed the first wedding in the church, when Lydia Aldinger and Emil Dufloth exchanged marriage vows.

Rev. James Reesor pastored from 1949 to 1950. During this time the church parsonage was built, with the help of members and friends. Rev. Paul Sexton pastored from 1951 through 1952 with Rev. James Chester coming in 1953 to 1954. During the summer of 1954 Dr. L. O. Vought of Northwest Bible College and Rev. Allex Sittner filled in until Rev. Walter Beckman came to pastor in 1954 to 1960. During this time new siding was put on the exterior of the church. Rev. Lloyland Christian pastored from 1960 to 1962. Rev. Harold Dobben came 1962 to 1964 and Rev. James Clark from 1964 to 1966. Rev. Luther Self pastored from 1966 to 1967. Rev. Charles Snipes came to pastor in August of 1967 until January 1980. During this time Sunday school rooms were put in the basement, bathroom facilities, the church sanctuary was remodeled with wall to wall carpeting, also new padded pews were installed. When he was appointed as overseer of the Indian mission work in North and South Dakota and Montana, he purchased a home in Tolstoy. Rev. Stacey Johnson and Rev. Wayne Masser pastored in 1980 until 1981 in April when Rev. Charles Snipes was again appointed as pastor of the local church, along with his duties as overseer.

The Ladies Willing Workers was organized in 1953. Later its name was changed to the Ladies Auxiliary. The ladies have been active in Missions and local community work. A young peoples endeavor was started when the church was organized. Its name has been changed to the Family Training Hour. The church has had an annual Homecoming Day, better known as Rally Day, each year. The church has been active in the community for 45 years.

The Methodist Church

In 1907, at the request of Jonathon Hottman, Sr., Rev. F. W. Henzler came from Gorman, S. D. to conduct worship services in the little school house 1 1/2 miles northeast of Tolstoy. When the district superintendent, Rev. J. F. Hartke heard of Rev. Henzler's efforts to organize a church he came to help. Organization of a Methodist church was difficult as most of the area people were Lutherans.

The Jonathon Hottman and John Trefz families became the nucleus for our present church. Rev. H. A. Westphal, sent by the Conference to minister at the new church, built on the foundation already laid and the church flourished.

Late in 1911, Rev. C. E. Schoenleber came to serve the Tolstoy church two Sundays in a row and the Schreiber settlement near Agar on the third Sunday. During the sweeping spiritual revivals, a special service was held every night in the little school house. Soon the congregation outgrew the small building and in 1912 the Baptist church was purchased and services were held in that structure located in Tolstoy.

Most people came to the 10:00 a.m. service in buggies and lumber wagons. They brought sack lunches and attended Sunday school and an afternoon service lasting until 4:00 p.m.

As non-German speaking membership increased with American educated children and members of other nationalities, services conducted in German became a problem which was solved by Rev. Schlein. This pastor conducted morning services in German and and evening services in English. Eventually, German services were eliminated with only German Sunday school class. This, too, has been abandoned.

As transportation improved the congregation outgrew the church building. The purchase of the Congregational church never truly solved the problem as there were a lack of Sunday school classrooms. An addition was build on the north end of the building and a full basement was planned. Christ Trefz led the men of the church in building the addition.

In 1969 a merger of the Methodist church and the church of the Evangelical United Brethern brought about changes. The name became the United Methodist Church.

Several active organizations in the church carry on local, state, and national projects. The Men's club helps financially with its God's Acre farming project; The United Methodist Women pledge each year to the Conference and National projects; The United Methodist Youth fellowship is conducted by Jr. high and Sr. high youth. The Education Department plans a complete curriculum of Sunday school from preschool through adult with an accent on the annual Vacation Bible School.

The Commissions of Missions plans an annual Harvest Festival to support the mission contributions of the church.

At present the church has a membership of 100 with 38 families represented and a Sunday school enrollment of 64. Mrs. Christina Trefz is the only charter member still worshiping with us and attending Sunday school.

Following is a complete list of Ministers who have been sent to serve this congregation:

Rev. C. E Schoenleber, 1911 -1916.

Rev. F. W. Hoyer, 1916-1919.

Rev. W. M. Schlein, 1919-1931.

Rev. W. J. Loeck, 1931-1933.

Rev. O. E. Hessel, 1933-1935.

Rev. Ernest Luenberger, 19351937.

Rev. Emil Herman, 1937-1939.

Rev. John Bury, 1940-1944.

Rev. Ford Hardy, 1944-1946.

Rev. John S. Palmer, 1946-1948.

Rev. Dwight Dixon, 1948-1952.

Rev. Vernon Morrison 1952-1954.

Rev. E. T. Jensen, 1954-1958.

Mrs. Alice Stephan, 1958-1959.

Earl Stucke, June, July, and August of 1959.

Lewy Jones and Earnest Curriers, September 1959.

Rev. John Cecil, September 1959 until April 1962.

Mrs. Alice Stephan, until June conference.

Dan Rice, until he returned to school.

Rev. Ervin Brinks, September 1962-January 1966.

We were supplied one Sunday at a time through February 1966.

Rev. C. E. Means, February 1966-June 1966.

Rev. James Torbert, June 1966-August 31, 1969.

Rev. Robert Heckman, September 1969-October 1971.

Rev. Pierce of Gettysburg filled in until December 1972.

Rev. Stanley Caine, January 1973-December 25, 1977.

Rev. James Cissel, January 1, 1978-July 29, 1979.

Rev. Paul Budd, August 1979

Tolstoy Wesleyan Church

In June of 1950, Rev. Lester Bennett and Rev. J. F. Simpson discussed with Mr. E. O. Myrann the possibility of holding a meeting in Tolstoy. The committee agreed to contact Rev. John Winterburg, an elder of the Dakota Conference of the Wesleyan Church to be the evangelist.

The opening service was scheduled for June 20, 1950 in the local town hall. Rev. Winterburg was not able to arrive in time for this service, therefore Miss Alma Aldinger was asked to conduct the service. Rev. Winterburg arrived on June 21 and began the meetings which lasted until July 19. From that point, Sunday School and regular church services were conducted in the hall until the church was moved to Tolstoy from Pollock, S. D. on Dec. 24, 1950.

Sunday School class pictured in front of the first schoolhouse in Tolstoy. Pictured are: Casey Miller, Mrs. Dethmann, Harlan Bitzer, Hazel Miller, Floyd Bitzer, Pauline Blumhardt, Helen Bitzer, Lillian Bitzer, Lene Blumhardt, Emma Bitzer, Lucille Bitzer, Eunice Miller, Buelah Dufloth, Arthur Mees, Dorthy Mees, Edwin Blumhardt, Winifred Lindquist, Joy Mashek, Dorthy Dusel, Alvina Block, Alma Blumhardt, Emma Shaefer, Helen Brandt, Gerhardt Schaefer, and Alta Brandt.

A loan of $2000 was made from Mr. Floyd Pool of Ipswich to cover the expenses and repairs on the building. The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. J. F. Simpson on Jan. 14, 1951. The first wedding in the church was the Jan. 16, 1951 marriage of Harlin Hettich and Ardella Dutt.

Rev. Lester Bennett resigned the pastorale of the Houghton Wesleyan Church to take the pastorale of the Tolstoy church. Rev. Bennett served the church until June, 1953. During this time the church was remodelled and a parsonage purchased and remodelled. Mr. George Helm donated 2 lots for the church.

On May 18, 1953, a Wesleyan Methodist Church was organized with 20 charter members.

Pastors of the Tolstoy Wesleyan Church include:

Lester C. Bennett, June 1950-June 1953.

Harmen Vreugdenhil, June 1953-June 1956.

Ernest Hobbie, June 1956-June 1960.

Wilbert Kidd, June 1960-June 1962.

Harmen Vreugdenhil, June 1962-June 1964.

Chester Reed, fall 1964-June 1966.

W. J. Leyh, June 1966-June 1963.

David Olmsted, June 1973

Zion Lutheran Church Akaska, S. D.

To the Tolstoy Anniversary Committee:

Lutheranism in our part of the country goes back many years. Some of the early Lutheran history in our area is not recorded; but must be gathered from Church records and just from conversation. From all indications Lutheranism first came to the Tolstoy area in 1902, when the Christian Jacober family and other relatives moved into this area. They were unable to find others with their religious conviction in this area.

Some time later Pastor Gehm, who already served a congregation in Bowdle, came to the area to baptize the children. He then started to conduct services in this area. These services were conducted in the sod house owned by Henry Trefz. As the congregation grew in size and the home of Henry Trefz could no longer accommodate the congregation, the services were then conducted in a schoolhouse.

In 1908, under the leadership of Pastor A. Bartz, who also served churches in Roscoe and in Cloyd Valley, the St. Jacob Church was organized in Sherman Township, Faulk County. The charter members of the congregation were Christian Jacober, Jacob Hoffmann, Matthew Hettich, Joseph Gaub, John Opp, August Maertz and Micheal Hettich. It was also in that year that the St. Jacob Lutheran Church, northeast of Tolstoy, was built. A cemetery still marks the location.

From the smatterings of history one sees that the congregation, at the time of the building of the church, had a membership of ten families. After the church was built the property was valued at $1,600.00.

As years moved farther away from the 1900 mark more people began to move to town, also to Tolstoy. Not only did the people move to town, but it was decided to move the St. Jacob congregation to town also. In 1919, on the 16th of February the St. Jacob congregation reorganized and came to be known as the St. James Lutheran Church. The charter members of the St. James Lutheran Church were: Gottlieb Blumhardt, Anton Dusel, Jacob H. Grosz, William Gundert, Jacob M. Hettich, Henry Jacobs, Mrs. Rosina Jacober, Heinrich Johannsen, John Lassle, John Opp, Edward Preszler, Robert Schatz, John Schellhaase, Carl Trefz, Henry Trefz Sr., Karl Weber, and Gottfried Weis.

For the next several years the church services were conducted in a school. In 1924, the St. James Congregation resolved to build the present church building. The altar and the lecture of the old church were moved to town.

Pastors who served both the St. Jacob Lutheran Church and the St. James Lutheran Church are as follows: Pastor J. C. Gehm, Pastor O. P. Keller, Pastor E. C. Birkholz, Pastor G. E. Nuemann, Pastor A. W. Fuerstenau, Pastor William Lindloff, Pastor Paul G. Albrecht, Pastor L. E. Lehmann, Pastor Theodore Bauer, Pastor F. E. Blume, Pastor Walter Herrmann, Pastor B. A. Borgschatz, Pastor R. Gehrke, Pastor Marcus Albrecht, Pastor Lloyd Huebner, Pastor Kermit Biedenbender, Pastor Edgar Gieschen, Pastor Daniel Deutschlander, Pastor Durant Shook, Pastor David Linn, and the present pastor, Pastor Alvin E. Schulz.

Presently the congregation numbers 28 baptized souls, 20 communicants, 8 voting members, 10 families.

Respectfully submitted

Rev. Alvin E. Schulz


The Tolstoy Seventh Day Adventist church was organized in the early 1900's under the leadership of Pastor Lehr. It was located 4 1/2 miles north east of Tolstoy.

Services were held every week until 1937 under the leadership of Pastor Sam Reile it was decided to move it into the town of Tolstoy 1 block east of the town hall.

Some years later quite a few families moved into the community and it became too small. It was decided to remodel, enlarge it, and put a full basement under it, in the winter of 1948; under the leadership of pastor Clarence Renschler.

In the fall of 1948 it was dedicated. Its membership had grown to over 100.

In the 1950's a great reverse movement started, and many families moved away, to find jobs elsewhere and to put their children into church schools.

The few members continued to meet from week to week until in the 1970's when a few members moved away, some passed away. It was decided to close the church and the remaining members became members of the Bowdle Seventh Day Adventist church November 1973 under the leadership of Pastor Petty.

Later the Tolstoy church was sold and moved to Aberdeen, where it was remodeled and became the Peace Lutheran church.

Picture with Seventh Day Adventist Church Mrs. C. C. Stotz, Mrs. Ed [Bertha] Bieber, Mrs. Coleen [Bieber] Harner, Mrs. Marlene [Zurnbaum] Buxton, Mrs. Jake Bollinger, Mrs. Edna Stotz, Mrs. Art Zumbaum, Mrs. Verdella [Stotz] Bunger, and Mrs. Ben Maier

There were snowmobiles during those days too, only this one was used in carrying the mail.

The Rural Routes

The rural mail carriers did not appear on the scene until 1922. Originally there were two routes established rural route 1 and rural route 2. Otto J. Mees was the first carrier and he served both routes from 1922 until 1924 when Harold Bitzer was assigned as temporary carrier to route 2.

On October 31, 1937 the two routes were consolidated. Another consolidation occurred on March 24, 1979 between Tolstoy and Onaka. About 60 miles of the Onaka route were added to Tolstoy bringing the total mileage to about 150 miles.

Rural Route 1 established August 1, 1922. Carriers were:

Mees Otto J., 8-1-22 to 5-24-25

Wies Walter L., 5-.25-25 to 6-3040.

Salisbury Hollis, 7-1-40 to 9-30-43.

Michels Frank M., 10-1-43 to 11-3-50.

Banik James M. (temporary) 11 -4-50 to 2-3-52.

Bitzer Vincent H., 2-4-52 to present time.

Rural Route 2 Established August 1, 1922. Carriers were:

Mees Otto J., 8-1-22 to 10-31-24.

Bitzer Harold M. (temporary), 11-1-24 to 5-23-25.

Mees Otto J., 5-24-25 to 8-15-37.

Bitzer Harold M., 8-16-37 to 10-31 -37.

Route 2 was discontinued Oct. 31 1937.

The Springs Post Office

The Springs Postoffice was established at the John Nold farm in the 1880's. John and Lou managed the postoffice for many years until the town of Tolstoy was established and the railroad was built.

Springs Postoffice was on Star Route No. 59206 from Lebanon, S. D. Mail was brought out from Lebanon, twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday. Lou usually had a big batch of bread baked and the floors scrubbed before the mail came.

Tolstoy Post Office

In 1907 Gottlieb Dufloth received word from Washington, D. C. that his application and proposal to establish a postoffice in the new town of Tolstoy was accepted. It was to be located in township 120 N. range 73 west of the 5th principle meridian, sections 14 and 15, NW and NE quarters respectively. The principle roads on the map were listed simply as "wagon roads." Postmaster Dufloth made two trips weekly on bicycle or by horse and buggy to collect the mail from Springs.

Philip Bitzer succeeded Gottlieb Dufloth as postmaster in 1912. Philip's postoffice was in his drug and variety store along with the first telephone known as the "Springs Mutual Telephone Co."

The complete roster of postmasters and the dates they began to serve are as follows: Gottlieb G. Dufloth January 21, 1907; Philip H. Bitzer August 27, 1912; Frank Stephan January 18, 1927; Oliver Brekke, December 5, 1933; Harold Bitzer, April 1, 1942; Elma Bitzer, December 10, 1965; LaVina Perman, February 1, 1972; Mary Bitzer, December 13, 1974.

NOTES: 1) The complete Tolstoy Diamond Jubilee Historical Book can be downloaded at: Virginia Tech - German Russian Genealogy  2) This text was scanned from the Tolstoy Diamond Jubilee Historical Book published in 1982. The scanned pages were converted to text by OmniPro 6.0 by Maurice Krueger. Final editing was done by Roger Ehrich. This work is made available by permission of Gyda Keller of the Tolstoy Historical Committee, and may be freely copied for nonprofit purposes.