Mose, North Dakota

Mose, North Dakota

Griggs County
Vacant as of 10/04

Mose, North Dakota is a true ghost town in Griggs County, about forty miles southeast of Devils Lake.  It was also known as Florence and Lewis prior to 1904. On Halloween 1904, it was renamed Mose in honor of a local lumberyard employee. It’s peak population is said to have been 25.

Mose was particularly hard hit by a tornado, hence the sign at the entrance to the town. Most of the townsite is on private property which is well posted.  The old home shown here appears to be the only original structure remaining on the town site.

Our expedition to Mose ended up being a little more eventful than we would have liked. Due to our poor planning, we found ourselves in the middle of an abandoned town during opening weekend of deer hunting season. And with no blaze orange to alert the hunters to our presence.  After hearing several rifle shots in the distance, Terry resorted to using the rainbow umbrella from his trunk to make himself visible to any prospective hunter who might think he was venison.

To further put a scare into us, on our way out of Mose, a carload of hunters zoomed off the shoulder of the road right into our path without looking. It took a little Hollywood stunt driving to avoid a bad accident.

Ghost town hunting during deer hunting season is bad.


Mose, North Dakota

Mose, North Dakota

Mose, North Dakota

Mose, North Dakota

Mose, North Dakota

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Mose, North Dakota

Mose, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

44 Comments on “Mose, North Dakota

  1. I have to pass by this little ghost town whenever I go to visit my familys graves…I always Pull over…Feeling an Odd sense of Comfort…

  2. I remember as a child traveling through Mose whenever we went to my Aunt and Uncles house. My Mother and father grew up around the McHenry area and my Mother (who is now 82 years old) remembers attending a birthday party at the first house pictured. She said that the party attenders were told that they could eat as much cake as they wanted….so she ate cake till she made herself sick! My relatives also spoke of some ghosts that inhabited the town. For real!

    • That is true, my mother also talked about how when they were young that there was some ghost in that town.

  3. Growing up in the area, we always said Binford was the biggest town between Mose and Jessie.

    • I can remember selling raffle tickets for the Binford School Carnival at Mose in the fall of 1958 or 59.

  4. I was born on a farm a little more than a mile south of Mose. I started school in Mose, one year, I was 5 years old.My teacher’s name was Edva Berg. My father went in the Army and we left the farm after the one year. I have many relatives in the cemetery about 1/2 mile north.

    • Hi Ken,
      I presume my wife, Darby Lowe (Pound), is a distant cousin of yours. Her grandmother, Jessie Fintowski (Falla), grew up near Mose and is buried there. Jessie had many brothers and sisters, and as such, there are many relatives in the area.

      Rich Lowe

  5. I lived in baker in the 40ies miss the old twon. My son still fars northwest of town.

  6. I was born on the family farm three miles north of Mose and attended grade school there through 7th grade. I also taught there in 1959-60. My paternal grandparents are buried north of Mose, as well as my great grandparents. It is interesting to note that Ken Falla posted a comment. He and I are related somehow. I have fond memories of Mose and whenever I’m in the area, I like to drive by and remember the good old days. I’m 72 years old now.

    • I always thought you grew up 1 mile west of Elmer Iversons…when did your family move to that farm?

      • We moved west of Elmer Iverson’s when I was about 3, so I don’t remember living north of Mose.

  7. As a young girl, I attended sunday school and church in the little white Naroen Norwegian Lutheran Church. My Mom was the organist, at least some of the time. I’m currently doing research on the townsite of Mose in hopes of putting togerher, in book form, a story of the town and it’s people. I have some photographs, and hope to interview family members that lived there.
    In 2007 I completed a documentation of the Naroen Cemetery, located just north of the Mose townsite. The name of the “book” is The Naroen Cemetery, Who Lies Beneath” ? A copy of the book can be seen at the courthouse in Cooperstown, North Dakota as well as the library and museum.
    I went to school with sisters of Larry Lynne, Sharon, Gayle and Carol. We are related, and so is Ken Falla. If our paths cross someday, I will perhaps be able to tell you how we are related. Of the 94 people that are buried in the Naroen Cemetery, we are related to 40 of them. Perhaps more if I did deep enough…..not meant to be literal.

    • Hi Lois,
      We may be not-quite-related. In 1999, some of my cousins took me to Mose to see the gravestones of some of the other family members who are step-relatives: Mattias and Karine Leir, for example. Karine Leir was my great-grandmother’s step-aunt (sister of her step-mother) and the one who encouraged my great-grandmother to come to America. in that same year, 1999, I was in Cooperstown visiting cousins who are actually related to Karine Leir. I hope I can get back some day and read your book. I live an ocean away from there.
      ~ Bonnie

    • Hi Lois…many of my family members are from Binford and my father is buried in Naroen Cemetery (Berndt Overby family Leonard Overby – my father) My father married Shirley Smith (Charles Smith daughter from Cooperstown) My name is Beverly Betts (née Overby)

  8. I spent a lot of time at Mose as a kid and try to visit when I can. My grandparents own a part of that land. I spent quite a bit of time investigating those old houses…my grandpa is also buried at the cemetery near there.

  9. The house in the 1st and 3rd pics is the house that my dad and his sisters were born in. My dad owns a big chunk of the land up there. Hoping to get up there some Sat this summer and take my kids to see the homestead..

  10. I remember Mose well! We had 4-H at Linda Sandbo’s house…and the the school was a Bryan # 3?…we at Bryan #1 played against them in softball! They had more students but I think we won! (Not sure)

  11. My mother Lois Love was born in Mose on 1/7/1935. Her grandfather, Arthur J Anson bred and sold German Shepard Police Dogs back in the early 1900’s. My mom talks about it often to this day. My grandfather was Seth Anson.

    • I remember Eva Anson being at almost every birthday or holiday my grandparents would host at their Farm a couple miles west of Mose. I wasn’t very old at the time but remember her well she wore horn rimmed glasses with a chain attached to them.

  12. I remember the pictures of the first and third house as being the home of Willie and Nellie Johnson. Willie is my Mom’s brother, therefore, my Uncle. I believe Petersons lived there at one time, as well as K.O. Sandbo. Does my memory serve me correctly? I knew a Margaret Maisel years ago and wonder how you, Karen, are related to her?

  13. I’ve been to the townsite many times. The last time I was there was last summer. There was actually someone living in the cabin near the photo of the two buildings. you will notice the lawn is mowed. The guy spent last winter in the cabin. It’s pretty primitive living. I don’t remember his name.

    • The last time I was in Mose was in 2012 and I did an interview with him. I also interviewed his mother. I won’t mention names without his knowledge or permission. He and his brother were in the process of repairing the house at that time.
      Did your family live in Mose?
      My plan had been to be in North Dakota this fall,do more interviews with people that lived there years ago. My trip plans have been cancelled several times but perhaps a spring trip will happen.

  14. My Mother was Gladys Hanson daughter of Herbert and Thea Falla Hanson. She attended school in Mose and as a child walked several miles to school weather permitting. They farmed a few miles east of Mose. I remember her telling me that walking to school was a must for them and when the weather turned bad my grandfather would hook up the team and wagon and give the kids a ride to school. Mt grandparents are buried in NaraonCemetery north of Mose as is my Uncle Clifford and one of his babies. I know of several of my grandmother’s family are also buried in that same cemetery. My grandmother was a Falla. I miss the old days going to visit my cousins the Overby’s who lived in Mose for several years before they moved to McHenry, ND

  15. My Dad and his brothers were born in Mose and went to school there. Marvin (Dad), and brothers John, Christian (Mike) and Paul Week. Grandpa had a store there at one time….had an old picture ” B C Week, prop.” on window.
    Grandma Johanna was a cook and baker. They moved to McVille and operated a cafe…sorry, don’t know what year.
    One time Dad and I were out hunting, but the ducks were flying high, so we went to Mose. On the inside of the roof of the school were the boys’ names in chalk. One of the houses the family lived in is now a cottage on Stump or Red Willow Lake. Would be interested if anyone knows of my family.
    Ben Week

    • Yes, I remember your Grandpa and Grandma. My Mom knew your grandparents fairly well. Her name is Mabel Johnson (Adrian) (Rix) She passed away in 1997. I remember going to your Grandparents home in McVille to visit after they moved there. I was pretty young but your Grandma gave me coffee anyway, with cream. I’m 65 now. I remember going there in about 1960, 61 or perhaps 1962 and while my Mom visited with your Grandma, my brother and I went to the movie Physco. Strange memory but going to the movies was a really big treat back then.
      I’m gathering information and am hoping to do a book documention of Mose and some of the people that lived there over the years. Any pictures of the store or town would be greatly appreciated as well as pictures of your grandparents. Short stories or colorful tales about families would be welcome too.
      I also have the name of a person I’m sure would know your grandparents. If you contact me at my email address I will give you her name.

      • Lois, I am just starting to enter the genealogy of the Leir family in my computer Family Tree Maker. My great grandmother, Gina had a sister, Karine Bendiksdtr Leir who emigrated from Norway in 1878 and is buried north of Mose in the cemetery there. I have 3 spellings for the cemetery’s name: Naroen, Naraon, and Nareon. Which is correct?

        • Jayne. Karine Bendiksdtr Leir was the great-grandmother of my husband. We compiled a book on this Leir family. I found the name to be the Nareon Lutheran Church of which Karine’s husband and son were charter members. Would like to meet you.

      • Hi Lois,
        We are related. My dad is Jim Johnson (son to Willie (JW and Nellie). I am just talking with him on the phone right now about the history of Mose. I took a day road trip up to Mose this summer with my 7 & 14 yr old children and my 13 yr old nephew! Loved it!!! We explored the house (as much as we could without falling in)!! Found a bunch of old papers (mail and birthday cards) in the old chimney. Would love to be in touch with you and share more stories.. and put you in touch with my dad and his sister Bernice!

        • Glad to meet you. Yes, I know your Dad and your Aunt Bernice. I spoke with your aunt a few years back on the phone about Mose. Funny how things happen but I remember attending your Mom and Dad’s wedding. Can’t remember how old I was but I remember the best man and some of the groomsmen, I think it was them, kidnapping your Mom from the church. Don’t remember all the details but it seems like they kept her for quite awhile before they brought her back to your Dad. I sure remember Uncle Willie and Aunt Nellie. I just used to get so excited when ever we could go to Hunter to see them. I remember Clarence and Harriet Sandbo moved there too. I haven’t been to Hunter since cousin Harriet’s funeral. I would love to re-connect with everyone. I’ve mentioned to my brother, Roy Adrian and his wife Janice, from Binford, that we need to have a Johnson Family Reunion again because we are all getting older, I’m 65 now, and it would be nice to keep the family history going and meet the younger generation, your generation. You could meet all us old folks and learn about the good old days. Anyway, email anytime you want and we’ll hopefully meet the next time I’m in North Dakota.. Now I will have to go look through my Willie and Nellie Johnson file and see if I can find you on a family picture your Mom sent to my Mom many years ago. We’ll have to stay in touch. Wishing you a late Merry Christmas and Have a Blessed New Year. Greet your Dad and Aunt Bernice too.

  16. My mother-in-law lived in that house in the first picture. She still lives in Arthur, ND. If you still want info you could visit with her.

    • I hope to make a trip to North Dakota either this spring or coming fall. I do have Bernice’s phone number unless it’s changed in the last two or three years.

  17. I grew up near Red Willow Lake which is not far from Mose. I remember going to Mose as a kid with some of my relatives. One of my uncles had a metal detector and we were going to see if we could find any treasures 🙂 We didn’t find anything but my cousin found an old pair of denim jeans half half buried in the grass and when she checked the pockest – yep, she found a hand full of coins!

  18. I think this is the place that a bunch of families would get together at in the summer to camp. There would be about 6 families. The owners of the place then (in the 70’s, was Bud And Eleanor Ramsey). They didn’t live there but just used it in the the summer. The railway car in the yard is what jogged my memory.

  19. Wow nothing like a family reunion here…say if ya all got together and bought the town ya all could have even more to talk about. .. Is anyone related to me?…LOL just thought to throw that in. How ever this is so cool, and I had been thinking if only the walls could talk as I stared at the picture..then to read from so many on here of a Birthday Party, and one said family being born I have the chills …and even a tear as I read of how far apart you all are. what a fantastic opportunity for you all to meet and meet here and make a family reunion picnic day.
    I just may show up of giggles…jk Blessings to you all.

    • HAHA. Cindy.. It would be cool to buy the town, but some of us (relatives) still own a BIG chunk of it.. My dad and a few of his nieces/nephews still own it today 🙂

      • My mother owns a little tiny lot to this day in Mose. Perhaps I can pitch a tent there in the summertime…

  20. Does anyone have any old photos of the town before the storm. It would be nice to get some of them posted. I tried working the townsite with a metal detector. Didn’t find much either.

  21. Lived in Mose as a kid. The house pictured was where my grandfather KO lived near the end of his life.

    • Did your family know the Week family? Grandpa Bryjulf (B.C.) Week had store in Mose.

      • I expect my grandparents, the Johnsons and the
        Sandbos knew them.

        • My family (Grandpa BC, Grandma Johanna, Dad Marvin and his 3 brothers moved to McVille from Mose.

  22. Does anyone know where the church was moved too? There is a museum looking for a picture of the church that was in Mose. If anyone has one please scan it and email it to me. Would very much appreciate it.

  23. Just heard that the Mose church was not moved but was torn down. Still looking for a picture of the church if anyone has one for a museum. Email it to me if you have one please

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