In October 1915, a small congregation in Schafer, ND requested that a preacher be sent to McKenzie County. For one year, he would be expected to travel between five congregations spread across eastern McKenzie County, preaching the gospel and meeting the spiritual needs of the people. Richard C Jahn, a young Lutheran seminary student from St. Louis, Missouri, volunteered.
This is an excerpt from the diary he kept.
Tuesday January 11, 1916
Wea. Very stormy and cold Ther. -61 at Watford
I had expected to go back to Catlin to-day, but the weather was so bad that I accepted Bob’s invitation to hug the stove. There was a heavy fog in the morning, which was dispelled by a fierce Northwest wind and a fine, sand-like snow fell, but there was no blizzard. We had bean-soup for dinner.
Though Janssens are rather “unsanitary”, the soup was really good. I spent the afternoon by reading a work on Logics, which I afterwards packed up with my books. Then I stepped out before supper and sawed some wood for Mrs. Janssen. By evening it got a little quieter and it cleared up. It got very, very cold tonight (at Watford the thermometer registered 61 below zero, as I subsequently learned). I had to sleep on a miserable cot, without a mattress or straw-bag, and it was so uncomfortable that I could not sleep; infact, I have never slept over here at Janssens. In the same room in which I slept the boys were drying some skins, and numerous odds and ends of junk were flying around. Probatum est.