Called to the Prairie

Front Cover
Richard P. Jahn, Jr., Jan Dodge, Dennis E. Johnson
Catlinberg Publishing, 2014 - Circuit riders - 285 pages
In October 1915, a small congregation in Schafter, North Dakota, requested that a preacher be sent to McKenzie County. For one year, he would be expected to travel between five congregations spread across the eastern half of the 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. He arrived in Schafter a few weeks later, just as snow blanketed the ground, preventing parishioners from attending his first church service in Table Butte. The blizzard was merely a glimpse of the many hardships Richard would endure as he crisscrossed back and forth between Schafer, Watford City, Catlin, Table Butte, and Reservation Corner, while attending to his own daily, often backbreaking chores. Despite his youth, Richard was a literary sort who kept diaries of his adventures in North Dakota. He died in 1977, but it wasn't until 2002 that his grandson, Richard P. Jahn, Jr., discovered the first one in an old shoebox and began piecing together the story. Richard, his grandson soon realized, was like any other young bachelor of the times -- somewhat naive, a little bit rowdy, doing the best he could to fulfill his duties despite the challenges of bitterly cold temperatures, floodwaters, ornery horses, apathetic parishioners, and nagging loneliness. The rugged landscape fascinated him almost as much as the characters who homesteaded and ranched there. The journal describes his encounters with them in candid detail. They reveal a young minister making the most of a tough situation with optimism, fortitude, and often humor.

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