Overly, ND

Bottineau County
Inhabited as of 6/10

According to the 2000 Census, Overly is home to 19 residents.

James Johnson contributed these photos with the following comments:

I came to Overly with a goal of finding whatever remains of the old roundhouse. A satellite photograph of the town showed shapes in consistent with roundhouse layout just south of the town. You will have to walk in tall grass to find a turntable and old foundations of the roundhouse. Be extremely careful because you could trip over and be injured! In my review of the foundations I determined there were four service bays in the roundhouse.

The Post Office seems to be exactly what it was when the Postmaster, presumably to have also lived in the building, left when Post Office closed in 1996. There’s a Jeanna Dale North missing person poster still hanging at the Post Office – she went missing in 1993.

The bell tower is, according to a resident, from the old Overly school which is no longer standing. However, the location of the bell tower is a few blocks south of the school according to an old town plat I found on Internet. I’m not sure if the bell tower was located there because the old school ground is now a field.

The Willow Creek Lutheran Church is in remarkably excellent shape and obviously is still in use by the community.

The railroad is no longer in service. It looks like the railroad company recently pulled up tracks and timbers.


Copyright SonicTremorMedia.com

32 Responses to “Overly, ND”
  1. Mark J says:

    I stopped in Overly a week or so ago. Interesting little town, and now looking at aerial satellite photography, you sure can see the remains of the roundhouse and turntable, as well as mini rail yard. Must have been quite the rail operation here at one point with those types of facilities. The old post office is really interesting too with the original wood transcation windows and PO boxes.

  2. Matt Rothchild says:

    I was there in July 2010. My initial research found that a major evening activity of the townspeople was to gather on the south end of town and watch the railroad switch cars in the railyard…this was as late as the 1950’s.

    Overly, in its day, was a big deal. Having a roundhouse says enough.

  3. Judie Wittmayer Albright says:

    Overly is my favorite place. Born there, raised there. Baptized, confirmed and married there. My parents were Ed and Ida Hill Wittmayer. My brother Harvey and wife still live there where he holds the office of Mayor.
    Judie Wittmayer Albright
    PS I still own the Post Office, I was the last Postmaster in Overly.

    • James Johnson says:


      Did you live in the back of the post office building? I especially loved the wooden boxes and teller! When I stood in the lobby taking photographs I felt like I was back in old days. This was my favorite place in the town. The other favorite place was inside the lutheran church. I will never forget Overly.

      I took 108 photographs of this town, including those posted here. You can view more at https://picasaweb.google.com/110310289232538957323/OverlyND?authuser=0&feat=directlink


    • Jo Ann Jones for Virgil Sebelius says:

      James, I graduated from highschool in Overly in 1943 with a James Johnson whose brother was Lyle. Would you be this James Johnson? Or maybe his son? I moved closer to Dunseith on a farm about 1946. I also attended Willow Creek Lutheran Church and was confirmed there in 1943. I enjoyed viewing all the pictures you posted on this sight. I am thinking of taking one more trip back to Overly, Bottineau and Dunseith maybe later this year. Your prictures brought back some very fond memories. Did you know Hilda and her daughter, Elinor Carlson?
      Virgil Sebelius

      • Jean H. Lichti says:

        Virgil, I took piano lessons from Hilda Carlson in the late 1930’s. I think my parents paid her in credit to buy groceries at our store. We also traded groceries for fresh milk from her cow. How are you related to Manville and Kenneth Sebelius? I went to school with them.

      • Dave D says:

        I know the James Johnson who took these photos – he is originally from Minot but his mother’s family was from Gardena.

      • Jeremy S. says:

        I am related to Manville Sebelius and I am his grandson. He used to take me to Overly every summer when there was a Farmer Oil Union stockholder meeting at Overly School. My father, David, was baptized and confirmed at Willow Creek Lutheran Church.

        • Jo Ann Jones for Virgil Sebelius says:

          Hi Jeremy, good to get your message. Manville is my cousin, how is he doing? Is he still living on the farm? I think Manville is the only one left of the boys. If I remember correctly, Manville had eight boys, so your Dad, David, is of course one of them. Where are the other sons living? Are they all back in North Dakota? Please tell Manville hello for me. Every so often, I mention him to my family, all of whom live in California, with the exception of a daughter in Nevada and a daughter in Illinois.

          We came to California in 1956 and have lived in California ever since then. I currently live in Laguna Woods, California in a 55+ community, very nice and close to everything I need.

          Virgil Sebelius (Jo Ann Jones)

          • hello
            My name is Dwain Sebelius, my grandfather was Arthur Sebelius and my grandmother was Helen Hoffus. We used to get a Christmas letter from Nobel Sebelius every year. I found out about this web site from my wife who is a genealogist. I live in Edmonton Alberta now but was born and raised
            in southern Saskatchewan. I think it is a sure bet we are related.

            Dwain Sebelius

    • Jim McCullough says:

      Is it possible you would have known the Frank Weber family?
      One of their sons was born in Overly in 1924.
      Frank was my Grandfather, who I did not know.
      I’m trying to trace my family on my fathers side.
      Any information would be helpfull.
      Thank you

    • Rob Vari says:

      Hi Judie,

      I do not live in North Dakota nor have I ever. I live on the east coast. I have been there a few times passing through on vacation. I love North Dakota. It’s absolutely beautiful. I would love to go back and visit some of these nearly abondond towns. But, what has always been embedded in my mind is the Jeanna North case. I remember it so clear when it happened and broadcast on television in 1993. I actually stopped on the street where she lived and went to the overpass on the road where her body was disposed of when I was passing through. It’s very sad. I notice in the photo of the interior of the post office, there’s a missing sign of Jeanna North hanging on the post office wall. I would love to have this as a collector’s item. I do not know if it still there since it has been three years since the photo was taken. I would pay you $50.00 for the sign if you would be able to send this to me. I thought since you own the post office, it would be legal for you to remove the sign? You could e-mail me and we could discuss payment. Please reply and let me know if this is possible.

  4. Bernice Bell says:

    I was baptized in the Willow Creek Lutheran Church in June of 1936. My grandparents, my Mother & her siblings all attended church there. Our family moved to Everett, WA. in July of 1942, however in the past we have made several trips back to this area. My cousin Carol Johnson still is a member of this church. What a beautiful picture of the church. I have so many good memories upon return trips of this area. A special place in my heart. Bernice Petterson Bell.

    • Bernice Bell says:

      PS. My grandparents were Andrew & Kristine Berg.
      Does anyone have any info on the bank in Overly that failed in the 1930’s? I think my Grandfather was an officer in a bank in Overly.
      Bernice Bell

      • Mike Severson says:

        Hey Sebelius’s, Wittmayer’s, Johnson’s and all,
        I am the son of James (Jimmy) Severson, son of Lewis Severson & Alma Sebelius Severson (Hilda Sebelius Carlson’s sister).
        I just receives received a package from Elinor Carlson Arstein with the Bible Hilda received from her parents. So something drew me to this web site. Hilda would let me look at the pictures in this Bible to keep me still during church services at Willow Creek Lutheran when I was too young to sit still. Elinor is now living in Las Vegas.
        I have so many memories of growing up in Overly in the 50’s – 60’s. Walking from home (quanset at east end of town) to Johnson’s store to pick-up some groceries, and a treat. Riding with Verda Gardner to the post office to pick up the mail (Box E). Watching (I was too little to play) the Sebelius, Wiittmayer, Johnson and other school kids playing baseball on the ball diamond that was on the northeast corner of 2ed Av & Anderson St. My brothers and I turning the streets of Overly into our personal grand prix go-cart track. I remember the Famers Elevator, Overly Oil Company, and church socials. What a community! I remember taking my car to Lloyd Wittmayer’s shop (the former Catholic Church with the big garage door installed). I remember the biggest little parade for a great centennial celebration.
        I currently live in Washington state, but always make a pass through Overly whenever I’m in ND.
        Thank you James Johnson for your contribution to this web site.

        • Heloise says:

          Hi Mike,
          I’m Verda Garver’s cousin and inherited most of her Overly momentos, including photos. I’m also Sidnney Brown’s niece. Did you know him? He was a most beloved Uncle and always spoke of the Severson boys. Was that you? Heloise

  5. Mark Jan Vrem says:

    I have very fond memories of the Farmer’s Union ice-cream socials in Overly – this would have been back in the 50’s. I was 7 or 8 years old and my grandparents (Carl and Laura Lien) would take me there – and to the Willow Creek Lutheran Church. My father and grandparents (and many other relatives) are buried in the cemetery just south of Overly. I get back there a couple of times a year and always enjoy the short but memorable drive through Overly.
    Regards to all..
    Mark Jan Vrem

  6. Jean H. Lichti says:

    My Mother was Lois Stewart Kurth, one of the early post masters in this very building, and yes, our family lived in the back behind the post office. Also the one shed with door and 2 windows in front was like our “guest house” for visitors. I came to Overly when I was 2 years old in 1929 when my Dad, Alfred E Kurth, took a teaching position in the school there. I too was confirmed in that church in about 1940. What a treat to see these pictures!!
    Jean Kurth Hallman Lichti

  7. Jim Vandal says:

    I remember when living on the farm near Lord’s Lake, Bottineau County, My dad Norman Vandal would take us kids to the Overly Elevator with the dump truck of grain. Then at the elevator we would get an ice cold pop in the glass bottle in those old pop machines that open like freezer. Other fun things done there too but that sticks out in my mind.

  8. gayle kurth knoepflerga says:

    I am Gayle Kurth Knoepfler and was born when our family lived in the Post Office building…wehad a General Store too and gas pump. That bell was our Fire Bell and I recall 2 big blazes fought with an engine that men pushed. The Co op elevator was saved, but our school burned down…a tragic loss. I feel sad to have our town shrink to almost no one, but thanks to the few good souls who stay there.
    Somehow those fixtures should be preserved.

  9. Jim Mccullough says:

    I have an uncle who was born in Overly in 1924 to Frank and Bertha Weber.
    His name William Weber.
    I ‘m just getting started in Family History and any information about the
    folks listed above would be appreciated.
    Thank you Jim

  10. John Smoloski says:

    Any body know if Ron Larsen is still in Overly? I hunted with him and stayed at is place back in the late !980’s

    • Jim McCullough says:

      Do you think your friend or a older member of his family might remember
      Frank and Bertha Weber who lived in or near Overly where one of their sons was born in
      1924. The sons name is William.
      Trying to build a family tree.
      Frank and Bertha were my grandparents on my fathers side.

  11. joseph massey says:

    Anyone happen to know where the Overly Cemetary is? My Great Great Granfather ( died 1882 ?), Edward Rustad & Great Grandfather Guy Delamarter ( died 1920 ?) are thought to be buried there. Other family members (Josephine Delmarter & Allan Delamerter) are buried near Cando in Zion Betheran Cemetary. My Branch of the family now resides in South Alabama. I’m currently in Devils Lake for the next few weeks and will be traveling to Overly to see if I can find the cemetary. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Tor Rustad says:

      Hi Joseph,

      I’m your distant cousin from Norway. Contact Edward M. or Rita Crouch to get my email address.

      • Joseph Massey says:

        Hello Cousin,
        My Aunt Rita did mention to me that she’d been in contatc with you. I was able to find the Rustad Homestead site & planted flowers at their grave sites. I had a wonderful time exploring my family’s past in North Dakota. Maybe one day I will get a chance to travel to your side of the pond to visit my Rustad relatives. I was able to find pictures of my Great Great Great Grandfather’s gave in Norway during my research. I believe this would be your Great Great Grandfather? I have many pictures of my trip to North Dakota if you would like them. I will get your email from my Aunt.

  12. mark evanger says:

    Mr Massey. There is a grave at Willow Creek Cemetery with the name of Edward Neilson Julius Rustad b July 27, 1847 d July 20, 1897 on it. The cemetery is located approximately 1 mile south of Overly along the east side the road. There is no record showing a Guy Delamarter at the Willow Creek cemetery. Not sure of the accuracy of the records, but they are available online. I don’t recall ever seeing the headstone/foot stone or its location but if its in the records, it must be there. Good luck finding it.

  13. Lois Nielsen-Johns says:

    My late father was Rev. Ejvind Nielsen. We lived in Willow City, ND and, if memory serves, a Lutheran Church in Overly was part of his 3-church parish. Does anyone remember him? This would be 1961-66.

  14. Ellen Hansen says:

    HI – My mothers family lived in Overly for many years – The Hincks and the Svingens. Does anyone know them? My grandfather Fred was a barber there, and the Svingens were farmers. Also related to the Syvertsons. I havent been there in many years, but my grandfather in his old age lived in the ballroom/theater off to the side. My cousins, the Syvertsons, lived across from the well, where everyone got their drinking water.

  15. Guy Galliger says:

    Stared a 40 plus year career on the railroad in Overly. Soo Line had a tie gang there and its been quit a ride ever since having switched over to BN in late ’76 looking at retirement now lots memories of Overly.

  16. I and one of my son’s will be visiting Overly on or about Sept. 17th or 18th, 2014.
    We are coming from Washington State with the purpose of obtaining information
    on the Weber family who lived there in 1914 thru 1923.
    If anyone who reads this has any information, please post an answer
    on this web site.

    Thanks Jim

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