The Ressler Family Historical Record


            Frank Ressler (he did not have a middle name), son of Frank Joseph and Barbara (Schloss) Ressler, was born in Russia on June 5, 1886.  He was seven years old when in 1893 his parents decided to come to America because his father was unhappy over the developments in Russia concerning the treatment of the German people.

            They left the German settlement of Steinberg by way of Nicolai and Odessa.  Since his father had quite a bit of money, they were housed on the middle deck of the ship.  While on ship, young Frank remembered playing lots of games, especially hide and seek.  He also recalled that a bell would ring calling the passengers for meals.  After spending eight days on the water, they arrived in America and settled in the Little Heart Community, now known as St. Anthony, North Dakota.

             Frank attended first grade in Russia.  Because of the close contact with the Russian people, he spoke better Russian than German.  He progressed as far as third grade and had to discontinue schooling in order to help on the farm.

            Frank married Clementine Leingang, daughter of Peter Anton and Marian (Martin) Leingang, on October 12, 1908, in St. Anthony.  Clementine was born in St. Anthony on February 11, 1892.  She spent some years attending St. Mary’s Academy in Bismarck.  Her parents had immigrated to America in 1890 and also settled in the Little Heart Community.   

            They lived for a short time on his father’s farm, located three and a half miles northwest of St. Anthony.  The Ressler’s then moved to the Opitz farm, which was about three miles southeast of town.  They lived there until 1914 when they moved to Mandan, North Dakota.

            Children born to Frank and Clementine were Joseph, Marie, Al, Mike, Peter, Clement, Ermina “Ermie,” Leo, Bernetta “Nettie”, James, Valeria “Larry”, David, Margareta “Greta” and Viola.

            Joseph died after two weeks, Marie married Joe German, Al married Clarice Bumann, Mike died at the age of 21 in a car accident, Peter married Dorothy Boehm, Clement died at the age of 27 in a car accident, Ermie married Don Petersen, Leo married Sieglinde Schelling, Nettie married Joe Monroe, James married Bernice Berreth and, after Bernice died in 1985, married Joan Haas, Valeria married Iver Iverson, David Paul (premature) only lived a day and a half, Greta married Richard Swindler and Viola entered religious life and is now known as Sister Denise. 

            While living in Mandan, Frank worked as a carpenter in the shop of the Northern Pacific Railroad for many years. In later years he had other jobs with the railroad. He also spent some years working as a watchman at the Mandan Creamery.  Frank was a volunteer fireman with the Mandan Fire Department.  In those days, the first fireman to arrive at the fire hall was paid extra for pulling the hose carts to the fire.  Since Frank lived across the alley from the City Hall and usually arrived first, he was permitted to park his Maxwell truck in the fire hall. In this way the hose carts were hooked and ready for immediate use in case of a fire. Sons of Frank remember helping their father keep the pot-bellied stove burning at night during the cold winter months.  Upon Frank’s retirement, his badge was passed on to his youngest son, James, who had become a member of the Mandan Fire Department.

            Since his father, Frank Joseph, had insisted that his children learn to play a musical instrument, Frank learned to play the violin. He joined with several other men, and they spent many hours playing at wedding dances. His son, Sonny, played the drums. The violin Frank used was a copy of a Jacob Steiner. It is still in the Ressler family and is now owned by a granddaughter, Laurie Swank, who has had it framed in a case.  




            Frank believed in the German custom of celebrating “name days.”  Every year he religiously celebrated St. Francis Xavier’s feast day on December 3rd. This usually consisted of a big dinner

with his family including his brothers and sisters.  

            Clementine spent her time taking care of her family. She took in laundry and was known as the best person in Mandan who could iron and starch white shirts. She loved cooking for relatives’ weddings and after spending the day over a hot stove Clementine would dance up a storm at the wedding dance, especially doing the waltz and polka. She loved to sing and had a great love for children.

            Clementine died of cancer on December 27, 1949, at the age of 57. After her death, Frank lived alone or stayed with one of his children. In 1960, he moved to St. Benedict’s Home for the Aged in Dickinson, ND, where he resided until hospitalized. Frank died of cancer on February 20, 1964, at the age of 77. Both of their funeral services were held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mandan, ND, and both are buried in the Mandan Union Cemetery.

            Their descendants have settled in many places throughout the United States.




Written by Sister Denise Ressler, OSB (daughter)

October 1996 and updated May 3, 2021



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