Omemee and the Batie Family

Omemee, ND Birdseye view

These photos were sent in by Cathy Zabel, a collection of things on Omemee, North Dakota, a true ghost town in Bottineau county. Omemee once had a population of 650 residents, and every kind of business one would expect from a prairie town of its size — a hotel, restaurant, grain elevators, opera house, even a newspaper — but today it has almost entirely vanished from the landscape, so we’re especially grateful for Cathy’s submission. It’s a chance to travel back in time and see Omemee as it was, a thriving North Dakota community from the turn-of-the-century. Cathy’s comments are included below.

The A. R Batie Residence was purchased by Adam R. Batie when he married Miss Jessie M Paff, June 27, 1907.

A.R. Batie Residence

A.R. Batie Residence

Adam Batie was ‘Head Clerk’ & a Partner at the First National Bank of Omemee. Miss Paff was teacher at the Omemee School. Their home & lot backed up to the Omemee School play yard at the south side of the school. Note the Great Northern train trestle in the photo (above). The home was moved to Rugby in the mid 1930s. All 7 of the Batie children were born in this home and all graduated from Omemee High School between 1922 & 1937.

Adam & Jessie Batie wedding photo

Omemee School 1904

Omemee School 1904

I am hoping to locate some photos of the graduating classes at Omemee School (around 1930) and Omemee High School 1936 & 37.


Behind Omemee School, 1930

Omemee, ND Main Street about 1904

Omemee, ND Main Street about 1904

Omemee, ND Birdseye view

Omemee, ND Birdseye view

This Birdseye View is looking northeast. You can see the Soo Line tracks in the foreground and the school. This photo was a postcard & the backside indicates that my Grandmother, Jess Paff Batie mailed to her twin sister, Jennie (Mrs. W.)Trockstad of McKinney (also a ghost town). It is dated August. 1909.

Omemee Birdseye view back

Photos and postcards contributed by Cathy Zabel, original content copyright © 2020 Sonic Tremor Media

17 Comments on “Omemee and the Batie Family

  1. This is such good stuff. These things sit and get collected by individuals and never see the light of day, until now, for all the world to see.

    Nice work!

  2. I am Mary Kippen Sykora,I grew up by Omemee, it wasn’t much of a town when I was a kid but it was cool to see and there were a few people that lived there. We have some land that is still referred to the Batie place. Jack and Hazel were my grandparents. I seen a lady that referred to them it would be great to hear from you. I also remember the Memorial Day programs at the cemetery ! I think my dad Robert or feller Kippen used the lumber from many buildings from Omemee to build our house!

    • Hi Mary,
      Thank you for your response. I never lived in ND as my parents moved on to CA in the late 1930s. I have been working on our family genealogy for several years and, of course, Omemee is a big part of my research. One cousin and I travel to ND in 2007 in search of information and did find some interesting items in the museum in Bottineau. My mother’s oldest sister, June Batie, married Leon Ebenhahn. He was one of the kids of Max Ebenhahn, who owned a store in Omemee. Max & his wife are also buried in the Omemee Cemetery.
      I have spoken with Charles and Helen Kippen and I assume you are related in some way. The Kippen name was always included and any stories I was told about Omemee. I don’t know if you have any connections to folks that may have graduated from Omemee High School in 1336-37 or family members who might have old photos of the classes, but I would greatly appreciate copies if they might be found. I am sure someone must have taken photos of graduating classes, even though it was the depression. I enjoy hearing that the Batie Place is still referenced. Would it be possible for you to provide me with the location of the land? Again, thanks for your interest. Kind Regards, Cathy

    • Mary,
      I grew up in Omemee and I am wondering if you are referring to “Bud” Kippen. My best friend growing up and during my high school years was Janice Knoepfle and was married to Bud. She and I lived together in Bottineau during our last two years of high school in order to go to a “big” school. We searched out a room we could rent and moved there where we lived until we graduated in 1950. Would love to hear more.

      • Hi Jackie, John Kippen here, I didn’t realize you and my mom lived in Bottineau to go to high school, another bit of family history. I will have to ask my Uncle Steve Knopfle if he remembers that. Omemee was quite a place to grow up near, lots of fun exploring and finding treasures

  3. How is it that this whole town is gone? I look at that thriving main street and think that every building has moved, burned, fallen apart and disappeared, and it’s hard to fathom.

    • I grew up in Omemee !

      Except it was the original Omemee in Canada NE of Toronto.

      Neil Young is from Omemee.

  4. Wonderful to see these photos! Our PAUP roots are in Omemee, N.D at this time. My grandmother graduated around 1933. She was the youngest of six. Relatives went back in 1997, and if I understand correctly, it was already a wheat farm, no longer a town. I appreciate your posting photos, so I could view it as it was in their time. Thank you.

  5. My cousin and I visited Omemee in 1997 to visit the town where our parents grew up. Alvy and Jennie Paup and their six children, Gladys, Ruth, Leonard, Glenn, Bess and Isabelle. Parts of the town still remain on a working farm where Omemee used to be. You can still see the sidewalks and a few houses remain.

  6. Seeing the century-old photos of Omemee, it blows my mind how a town can grow like that and today be zeroed out with one crumbling building left. How exactly does that happen and how long did it take? I’m extremely fascinated.

  7. My parents, Don and Bernice Johnson taught school in Omemee from ’53-’55 and we lived in a big white house beside Darrel and Dorothy Fassett. Just down the street to the east was Rennick’s and north of Rennick’s house was Cris Rasmussen, the pop factory guy. I was too young to go to school yet but I prowled the town with other kids and whenever we went to Rasmussens, Mrs. Rasmussen would give us fresh chocolate chip cookies. I have lots of pictures of those years that were taken in Omemee. Some of the school classes and some around town if anyone is interested?

    • Don,
      My cousin Cathy Zabel and I have been searching for class pictures of our mothers (Marian Batie and Harriet Batie) as well as their sister June Batie and brothers Jacob, Robson, Morris, and Victor. Our grandmother Jessie Batie taught school in Omemee and her husband A.R. Batie was at the bank. Later June taught school in Omemee and married Leon Ebenhahn. If you have any pictures, we would love to have a copy and would gladly reimburse any expenses.
      I was raised in Bottineau and now live in North Carolina.

    • I am the Rasmussen’s great grandson my name is Dustin. I would love to see any old photos you might have. Can you email them to me?

  8. I’m looking for a picture of the brick HIGH School that was started in 1918. That school was formerly my great-grandmother’s 10 bedroom home built by her husband(my great-grandfather) William A Cole that was sold to the Omemee school district). It looks like the picture of the school in this article was from 1904, so that must be the grade school. Please contact me if anyone has a picture of the high school or when it was the Cole home.

  9. One thing I noticed when I was putting together my book on when the various towns around North Dakota got electricity, the earlier the town got electricity, the more likely that town is still in existence today.
    By the time the 20th century was a few years old, all the biggest towns already had electricity, followed by a rapid surge of towns wanting electricity, and those that had lights by the time the post-WWI depression hit are still in existence, but for those towns that didn’t get electricity until the Roaring Twenties (or later), it was likely too little, too late.
    Bottineau had lights by 1904, Willow City got theirs in 1918, but Omemee was not wired up until the fall of 1927.

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