Bantry, ND

Bantry is a small near-ghost town in McHenry county, about 15 miles northwest of Towner. It is very picturesque and harbors numerous vacant structures.

According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas A. Wick, Bantry peaked at a population of 315 in 1920.

US Census Data for Bantry
Total Population by Place

1960 – 93
1970 – 40
1980 – 28
2000 – 19
2010 – 14


Bantry township hall.Bantry, ND


The former bank was packed full of stuff.

Bantry, ND

Bantry, ND

Bantry, ND

Bantry, ND

We featured a few shots of Bantry, North Dakota in our second book, Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 2.

Bantry, ND

Bantry, ND

Bantry, ND

Bantry, ND

Bantry, ND

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

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73 Comments on “Bantry, ND

  1. Seems like not that long ago we were buying offsale at Franks Bar!!

  2. my grandpa clarence kubler us to own a little shack out ther for trapping, and he use to go to the bar there and latter on worked at that bar

    • Lori Lee,
      I would like to visit with you as I believe we are related. From info I have your grandpa clarence kubler was a cousin to my dad. One time a few years ago I met Marvin but he was busy and we didn’t get a chance to talk. you can email me if you would like to contact me at

  3. looks like its a near ghost-town. i dont have much information on this place, other than what ive read online but they must still have a working post office which indicates residents still live there. i received a postmark back today from the post office. obviously someone that works there because it was in a usps envelope with postage paid….

  4. My mother’s family used to own Frank’s. Frank was her uncle.

    • My grandma Anderson’s sister owned Frank’s place. Was a customer a time or two. Still remember a time when my wife and I took my Grandma and Grandpa Torr to Frank’s Place before the rest of the relatives came for Christmas.

      • My mother worked at Franks many years ago. She stopped there in the 70’s. I have pictures of them at the bar.

      • My dad is Gene Anderson (passed away in 2004) and his dad used to own the store in town. I wonder if anyone has a photo of the store? We went to Bantry to visit most summers. My dad married my mom, Mary Anderson, in the church pictured.

  5. This is very interesting. When I was a kid we spent some time visiting my relatives in Bantry. I cannot remember the people (it was at least 45 yrs ago) but they owned the store in Bantry. Gosh just cannot remember the name anymore…have to ask my brother and sister if they do. He smoked a large cigar if I remember right. We used to go there on Sunday afternoons to visit. I think he was my Dad’s fathers brother or some thing like that….darn…if I remember I will post again and give more details. If I remember right the store with the angled entry was his store at the time. I think they had a sale back in the late 60’s or early 70’s after the famiy retired or died. I can remember he had old tires from the 40’s that were wrapped in bands of…just not sold. What I would give for nos stuff like he had then!!!!! Could retire. HA HA…anyway…will find out more and post again…great site!!!!!

    • I think you’re thinking of John Swanson; he owned that hardware you mention. Remember 2 Minneapolis Moline tractors he had for sale there.

    • That would be John Swanson. He had the hardware store, and, yes he did smoke big cigars.

  6. What happens if someone actually decides to do somethin with these abandoned buildings? Does anyone know who to talk to?

    • The buildings are mainly owned by one man, Brad H. He acquired them when his grandfather passed away a couple of years ago.

      • Not the Township hall, Paul Thorp owns that one!

  7. My mom, Sherry (Forbes) Shafer, married my stepfather, Robert (Bob) Shafer. He was born and raised on the little farmstead just on the other side of the highway from Bantry. He and my mom had a ranch and raced pacers in the Towner area and up in Manitoba. Their ranch was only about 5 miles from the farmstead he was born on, just follow that winding gravel road (you’ll see 1st Farmstead of Fred Shafer where dad and his 5 sisters were born n raised) and go down winding rd and on the left is a lil house nestled in trees and a BIG white, was can’t miss it. They were married in Newburg, ND another ghost town where my mom and my brother and I grew up..and the wedding dance was @ Franks Bar on Dec,1985. I went to many dances @ the bar. When I was in high school, my best friend would ride her horse from Upham and id ride mine from Bantry and we’d ride all over looking for abandoned farms back in 1983 LOL. Love the pics 8)

    • My father and his sisters and brothers were born in Bantry ND and their name was Shafer. I wonder if your any relationship to them. My grandparents and my grandfathers brothers moved to Bantry in the late 1800s and farmsteaded there. My fathers family returned to Indiana in the 20’s and my grandfather died in Bantry after falling under some horses. His name was John and I did find a news clipping that stated he had been the Post Master there. I just came across this site while looking up info for my last Aunts funeral. She passed just this week and was the last of 17 children. I have heard some of the brothers stayed in ND but don’t know the names. I plan on discussing this with other family members later on this week. I hope some time to visit this ghost town and see where my father played and worked as a very young boy. I hope I hear back from you.

  8. Ivy Daugherty was my Grandmother and I spent many fun summers in Bantry and Souris.
    JV Swanson Salt Lake City Utah

  9. My grandparents Frank and Edith ran Franks Place. My uncle John did also. I now have the antique bar that was in Franks Place. 6 years ago I had an addition built on my house and spent 4 months refinishing it. I spent my childhood summers there and couldn’t imagine never seeing it again. I’m sitting at it now as I write this. I still drive down Main St. Bantry once a year, visit the cemetary, and take lots of photos of a little town that meant a lot to me.

    • Edith was my Fathers aunt we visited the bar every time we went up to see family in Towner and Upham.

      • James, was your father’s name George Wagar? I knew him. He lived just south of the Bantry cementary.

        • My father is Alton Wagar his parents are Cecil & Jenny(Edith’s sister) Wagar. Bil(father’s brother)l & Eddie Wagar farmed the homestead farm. My cousin Nancy and her husband Bob Jaeger farm near Bantry and their oldest son Stacy now farms the Wagar farmstead.

  10. Candy — I knew your Mom and your uncle Danny. I grew up on a farm south and west of Newburg!! We used to go to a horse farm – or pony farm? – near Bantry. It was a favorite place because we got to ride all the poinies. I believe we even bought a pony there — Sugar!! In high school and right after, we used to go to dances in Bantry at least once every summer!!

    Joanne Bahn Dieterle

    • Gail Norris Scase says:
      Dean Norris is my uncle. Dean is one of four Norris boys born to John and Grace Norris. My father was Keith Norris and the other boys were Norman and Neil. Neil Norris is still in Westhope, N.D. Dean is in Towner, N.D. I can let all know that George Wagar was my grandfather and his daughter Genevieve Wagar is my mother. So you can figure this one out—Keith Norris and Genevieve Wagar, (my parents) were married. They both grew up in Bantry. I spent many childhood summers in Bantry.

      • Grace Norris was my 5th grade teacher at the Bantry School. A wonderful lady.

  11. My father’s side of the family was from Bantry. My aunt Margaret (Thorsteinson) married Warren Romsos and spent their honeymoon in a little one room shack in Bantry. Many of my descendants are in the cemetery there…My Dad left Bantry in 1948 and went to California….much of our family from Bantry did….all the brothers and sisters, I think. My dad tells me he would go into Frank’s place when he was a real young kid and sing “you are my sunshine” for nickels…he saved up and bought a bb gun from the hardware store….boy was his mom mad when she found out he’d been hanging out at the bar singing on the tables for money! My relatives from the Bantry area from those days would have been Swearsons and Thorsteinsons. My grandmother was Anna Swearson, and was later married to my grandfather Joseph Thorsteinson.

    The house in Bantry my dad grew up in is now gone, but the “big tree” in front remains… was struck by lightning and blown to smithereens, but it is somehow still alive….and he still remembers that day very clearly…how do you forget THAT!!! He tells me stories of how cool it was to ride “the goose” into Bottineau for something like .10 cents.

    I can remember visiting Frank’s place with my dad in about 1975….I was only like 8 years old, but I remember the old sleepy cat in there, and the pizza maker….that cool old wood bar, etc….

    • Your grandmother Anna was my dad’s sister. His name was Jonas Swearson. I can remember when Joe and Anna live just about a block where we lived. Jonas died in 1944, when I was 10 mos. old, 2 mos. before my brother was born. I remember Butch Thorsteinson, Joe and Anna’s son. I think he lives in Bottineau now.

      • Yes Ben I heard how Jonas died and how the guy got away with it too…and by the way my dad’s got a really cool photo of Jonas and Ben or Babe? (can’t remember) unloading a wood keg of beer off an old truck and boy do they look happy ha ha ha ha ha….you should look my dad up….he’s in the botno phone book and would probably love to hear from ya

    • Looking for info on Marcy Sigrid Thorsteinson from Bantry, ND. Born around 1924? Worked for Walt Disney for a short time.

    • Are you related to Marcy Sigrid Thorsteinson from Bantry, ND? Born around 1924. Worked for Walt Disney in California. Trying to find info for a friend.

  12. Darrin,
    My mothers best friend in school was Thelma Thorsteinson-any relation? The two of them were very close. She was in Bantry at Franks with her sister and great aunt in 1977. I have pictures of them at the bar.

    • Yes Thelma was would’ve been my Aunt, but she died many years ago….she was long gone by 1977.
      I was born in ’68 and unfortunately never got to meet her.

      • Diane & Darrin,
        Was Thelma married to a Fisher. Thelma Fisher was a very dear friend of my mother’s, Opal Swearson. Thelma died quite young. I still remember she left her watch to my mother. incidentally, my wife of thirty years is named Thelma. I love it.

  13. Looking at these pictures, I felt sad because my mom loved growing up in Bantry. But reading your post was lovely. My mother used to talk about both the Swearsons and the Thorsteinsons with great affection. It’s kind of nice to know there are still some around. Wagars, too, she talked about, if you know any of them.

    • Yes I know some of them…Can’t think of first names off hand though….memory fails me!!!

    • I knew George Wager. He(they?) lived on a small farm just south of the Bantry cemetery. He was older and I was just a kid.

  14. I live in what once was the Bantry Train Depot. It was moved to Upham in 1962. I bought it a few years ago but don’t really know much history on it and would love to have some. It is my understanding that there were two identical structures build ‘around’ 1890. One was the living quarters and one was the Depot. I would dearly love an old photo of it in Bantry. Or even an old sign that I could put up identifying it. Anything at all would be wonderful

  15. i took my first steps in franks used to go there to wash clothes in the winter.still have the card and silver dollar edith gave me on my first birthday. she even signed it Esie cause thats how i pronounced her name.moved to upham in 87 or 88.well dried up

    • Joshua, I remember you when you were a kid. Grandma always had your school photo on her fridge back in the house too. When I was back for Grandma Edith’s funeral I remember your Mom telling me about doing laundry. Grandma gave me a silver dollar for my 1st birthday too. I hope you are well. Oh, I’m Edith’s granddaughter that lived in NY and then PA but spent summers in Bantry.

    • -Ben Swearson is your real name then?
      -Who are your Mother and Father?

      I ask because my Grandmother’s maiden name was Anna Swearson, She married Joe Thorsteinson….she was from Bantry. She passed on about 20 years ago. We had a Ben Swearson and Jonas Swearson and and I think a Gunnar Swearson on her side, so I’m curious if you know of any of them 🙂

      • Darrin. My name is Benoni William Swearson. My first name was from my dad’s brother, and my middle name was also from my dad’s other brother. My dad was Jonas. He married my mother, Opal Friet in 1942. The Gunnar you mentioned was Gunnar Swanson, not Swearson. His wife, Jessie was my first grade teacher (in 1949). They lived in Bantry.

        • Benoni that’s some good info-thanks for straightening things out about Gunnar! ha …maybe you should be talking to my dad Butch (Merlyn Thorsteinson) instead of me -he’s in Bottineau, N.D (701) 228-5920 I bet he’d love to talk to you

    • I’m Butch’s son Darrin. You probably haven’t seen Butch since you were a little kid

  16. how could i ever forget my first crush . lol mom talked about edith old pics of bantry. what ever hapened to those? she also said she used to go to dances at the dance hall when she was a teenager. i know where itwas at kitty corner to the bar.

    • Hello everyone!
      We want to share our Bantry website with all of you! Though we are Coloradoans, my wife and I have fallen in love with this little town of Bantry, its past, its present, its heart and its people. Our journey began in 2006 when we bought a quilt in Denver that was made in Bantry in 1933. Fast forward a few years and some 500+ hours of research later and what we have come up with are the names and stories of the women who worked on our quilt, stories and photos from their families, many many many wonderful friends as well as wonderful memories and a web site sharing just a fraction of it all. Please come visit:
      We have had to slow down our research quite a bit over the last few years – but Bantry is still close to our hearts. We would love to be in touch with any family or acquaintances of the women or families connected to our quilt. Please come enjoy our site! Leave a comment. Contact us! We wish all of you and your families the very best!

  17. Who woukd have thought there would be a blog about bantry! I grew up on a dairy farm owned by Harold and William Petersen. My mom is Beatrice. Remember Frank’s place quite well. Used to walk or ride bike the few miles from the farm toBantry to buy pop. Remember Edith. My friend Becky Thorp (back in the early 80’s), my sister Kellie and I used to hang out together in Bantry. I still like to drive through town whenever I’m out that way visiting my dads grave. He passed away In 2005. A young couple bought the farm. Billy and Susan Petersen still live out that way. Remember you Joshua Shultz as a kid riding the school bus together with Alan Marshall as our bus driver. A lot of great childhood memories about Bantry!!

    • Hi Lori,

      I don’t know if you remember me. I’m your dad’s cousin Carol. I am happy I found this site. I’ve been trying to find old pictures of Bantry. I recognise most of the names mentioned.

  18. Clint,
    When I was growing up there in the ’50s and 60’s Temp Roberts used to run the depot.

      • I think he passed away, but was living up in Brandon, Manitoba. His wife was Bessie. My in-laws Richard and Anna Tiffany would go up and visit them in Brandon. Anna Tiffany was a daughter of Benoni (Ben) Swearson, who the Ben Swearson writing comments was named after.

  19. I recognise your name from facebook. I’m from the Petersen family. I’ve been looking for old pictures of Bantry, can hardly believe I found some. I recognize almost all the names mentioned on here. I’ll be going to Bill & susans this summer. Can hardly wait. Will make my usual trip around Bantry & probably shed some tears.

  20. My grandfather and grand mother were from Bantry. We spent many weekends helping them farm and shopped in Banty and Towner often. We have been in Swansons store and the bar many times as children. Sam and Edith Hoff were their names. They are buried in the cemetery there along with my dad. We visit their graves quite often.

    • Candy.: which of the boys was your father? I pretty much grew up with Duane, Delbert, Allan, and Gordon. Delbert and I were the same age. We joined the Navy together in 1952. I grew up a mile west and a mile north of Sam and Edith’s farm and I knew them well.

      • Allan was my dad. He spoke of you many times when we were growing up. Duane lives just down the road from my mom in Minot and Gordon lives in Ft. Mojave, AZ. Delbert is deceased along with my dad. Dad, grandma and grandpa are all buried at the Bantry Cemetary. Delbert is in cemetery in Minot.

  21. My grandparents homesteaded near Bantry, His name was William Arvin,my dad was born there, his name was Clarence D Arvin.My name is Jerry D Arvin./ jjlarvin @ More information is wanted . Thank you.

  22. Jerry Arvin: My grandparents homesteaded there as well. What years were they there? Our family was there in the early 1900s but moved back to Indiana in the ’20s. Their name was Shafer. My Grandfather died in Bantry right after the rest of the family moved back to Indiana. I have often wondered if there was any of his brothers family still in the area. His first name was John. I hope you get more info as well, it looks like people from all over tried to make it in North Dakota
    Sandy Prendergast

  23. Looking for any information on whether there was ever power in Bantry before North Central Electric came to town in the ’40s or ’50s. I’ve found mention that a “temporary” light plant was going to be installed here in 1917 while waiting for the machinery for the plant, but in a 1920 ND Board of Railroad Commissioners listing of towns with light plants, Bantry is not listed nor is it shown on the 1946 ND Public Service Commission electric utility map…

  24. When did franks place close in bantry? I remember being there with a friend and I bought a shirt that said “franks place” and had a big 8 ball on it. Very cool place, and good memories. Is there anything operating in the town anymore?

  25. I was just visiting Bantry last July. Visited my cousins B ill, Gordon Petersen. Also, Lyle Petersens wife Connie.
    Franks place has been closed for several yrs. The buildin is still standing. I made my usual trip to the cemetary & around town. Took some pictures with tears in my eyes.
    Does any one know where Helen Shinn & Carol May Walton is? We were known as the 3 musketeers when we were toddlers.

  26. My Grandma, Lottie Moxness (Hill) taught school at a rural school near Bantry from February to April in 1921. She was 19 years old at that time. Are there any pictures of the school at all or is it long gone? She said that that six weeks of teaching earned her $90.
    She was born in a sod house in Lake Hesper Township near Bergen North Dakota in 1901. She also taught at Rangeley, east of Karlsruhe where she lived with the Louis Knuth family. Later teaching in 1922 at Foxholm near Burlington and 1923 she took a school in the Hiddenwood district near Ryder for 2 years.
    She taught for many years off and on, finally retiring in 1967. She lived most of her life in Velva North Dakota and was married to my grandpa William Hill who was a barber in Velva. My grandpa passed in 1979 and grandma in 2000. My grandmother also graduated from Chiropractic School in Chicago in 1926 she was an amazing woman as was my grandfather.

    • Louis Knuth was my grandfathers’ (William Knuths) brother. I still own the farm right across the road from Louis Knuths’ farm. Small world. I wrote and published a book about a year ago, “This Dummy Pulls His Own Strings” which is my autobiography and has a chapter on family heritage and my grandparents and his brothers immigrating from Berlin and homesteading close to Rangely. It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and LifeRich publishing. Dwight Knuth

  27. My grandparents ran the bar in Bantry. My mom, Lois, grew up there with her siblings, John MaryAnne and Marie. Thanks for the memories!

  28. I want to contact someone who might have some history of Upham, North Dakota. My mother was born
    there in 1901 as well as the rest of her ten brothers and sisters family. My grandparents settled there in the late 1800s and my grandfather built a hotel there. I cannot seem to get any answers from Upham. Can anyone help me out.
    Grandma used to dress the birds for hunters in the area. Grandpa was Peder Enger
    I would appreciate receiving a name or address of someone I can contact, I, myself, am now 94 years of
    age so there is not much time left for me to get any information. I have tried everything I can think of to
    find something in Upham, but my computer sends me to Minot. Thank You Sincerely,
    Peggy Bergland 951-842-1748 email

    • Have you tried the NDSU archives in Fargo or the state archives at the Heritage Center in Bismarck? I know there were history books published for the 75th and 100th anniversaries, and that either or both should have same.

  29. I used to stay with my aunt’s brother and sister in Bantry back in the ’60s. Does anyone remember Harlan Nordquist. The house they lived in is still occupied in the southeast part of town. Harlan and Sharlotte were the children of Vernon and Mabel Nordquist.

  30. I live east and slightly north of Gardena, ND in what was formerly the elevator house from Bantry. The house was moved here in the 1950’s. If anyone has a picture of the old elevator house I would love to see what it looked like and approximately when it was first built.

  31. My grandfather Elic Low moved his family which included my mother who was about 12 to Bantry in the early 1900’s*. Mom said Grandpa traded a farm or something to move there. They only lived there about a year and they moved back to southern Michigan. My mother’s older sister, Effie Low taught school for awhile I think. I am 85 and remember only vague details like the terrible winter. I think that we have a picture somewhere of the house that they lived in.. I have found this very interesting.

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