These stories can also be heard on Sunday mornings around 10 am on WILD 102’s “Look Back in Time” program. Each week’s radio story will be posted here on our website.
Weekly radio stories are researched, compiled, and read by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member.
January 14, 2024
Sixty-five years ago, in a January 1959 issue of the Roseau Times-Region, a column tells us that there was a new sheriff in the county. I’ll read that column today.
Paul Knochenmus was sworn in as Sheriff of Roseau County in ceremonies held in the Judge of Probate’s office here Tuesday. Thus ended 16 years at the helm of the sheriff’s office for Elvin Sillerud who did not run this term.
When Sillerud took office there was no radio service, few paved roads and seemingly as much excitement as now. During his 16 years he has been shot at, struck and wrestled and called upon at all hours of the day and night for everything from solving family spats to hiding in the bush for bootleggers.
For a number of years, he kept bloodhounds which became quite famous in the state. He was called out to track down lost persons time after time and at least once went on the trail of a criminal with the dogs leading him on.
His job has not been dull, for often he has been called upon to apprehend a mentally ill person, sometimes with considerable risk. The many routine thefts and accidents he has investigated are far too numerous to list, all contributed to the thousands of miles he has driven each year.
He emphasizes that he has always had pretty good cooperation from the public, despite the sometimes unpleasant tasks it was his duty to perform.
His plans for the future are not definite as yet, but being an ardent sportsman, it would be a good guess that he’ll get in a bit of hunting and fishing for sure.
The new sheriff, Paul Knochenmus (whom Sillerud is helping learn the ropes), is a young man who has become known here through his work with youngsters in Golden Gloves boxing. He is a veteran of the Korean war and did work in security investigations with the Army. Paul is married and has a son.
He will inherit the radio equipment in both the office and auto for use in his new job. He has pledged fair and impartial law enforcement for Roseau County which wishes him every success in the new post.
Additional details about Sheriff Sillerud’s time as sheriff were shared in the Roseau County Centennial book. It said this:
- B. Sillerud was elected Sheriff and served from 1944-1958. Sheriff Sillerud served during troubled times for our nation. The war had been going on for three years and the local papers weekly told of local soldiers missing in action, wounded, prisoners of war and killed in action. The paper talked about rationing and “that the government was appealing to Roseau County to send more men to battle.”
Sheriff Sillerud was well known for his bloodhounds which he used on many occasions to search for lost people. On September 6, 1944, the Sheriff was notified that a 79-year-old man was missing in Barnett Township near Greenbush. After a two day search the man was found, cold, wet, and hungry. Just a week later the Canadian Mounties chased four criminals across the US/Canadian line. The wanted men left their vehicle in the Pinecreek area and took off on foot. They were located shortly after a young girl from north of Badger “stepped” on one of the men hiding in her barn. She screamed and ran, the men did likewise! The men were in our country several days before they were caught and taken to the District Jail in Crookston. It was later learned that the four men had escaped from the jail in Crookston. Two 13-year-old girls and one 16-year-old girl had slipped the gentlemen hack saws in the jail. They were able to cut the bars on the windows and escape! No further information was learned about these men.
Thank you to (www.roseauonline.com) for letting us share our county’s history with your listeners by donating air time, studio time, and production staff every week.