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  • Lloyd Harmon

    Musician 2nd Class Lloyd Frost Harmon, from Mandan, was discharged from the army on this date in 1919. He served with Company A of the 164th Infantry during World War I. The following is a letter he wrote to a friend named Mick from “Somewhere in France” in 1918: Nearly wept great alligator tears of [...]

  • GT Schjeldahl, Space Pioneer

    Gilmore T. Schjeldahl was one of the great creative minds of our times. He was born June 1st, 1912, and grew up in Esmond, Mott and, finally, in his mother’s hometown of Northwood. As a child, he enjoyed learning how things worked in blacksmith shops, farm implement stores, and power plants. He built his family’s [...]

  • A Soldier Looks Back

    Today’s story comes from the reminiscences of J.W. Foley Sr., the father of J.W. Foley Jr. who became a highly regarded poet. The elder Foley fought in the Civil War and then moved his family from St. Louis to Fort Lincoln, near Bismarck, in 1878. In 1913, the Bismarck Tribune published a story that Foley [...]

  • Fleas Go Postal

    The late Bill Shemoory, a newspaperman in Williston, told a story of a winter day in the 1930s when several boxes of coyote pelts were brought to the Williston post office for shipping. Postal employees rolled the boxes inside to weigh the pelts, when one fell off and burst open. Out jumped thousands of little [...]

  • The Terrible Turk

    Today’s story is about Joe Albert, who lived in the Belcourt area during the first part of the 20th century. In February 1940, he was interviewed by WPA workers in Williston as part of the Federal Writers Project for North Dakota, and authors William Sherman, Paul Whitney and John Guerrero later included his story in [...]

  • Essie is Honored

    Four years ago today, Esther Burnett Horne was inducted into the Northwest Minnesota Women’s Hall of Fame during Bemidji State University’s observance of Women’s History Month. The theme was “Uppity Women of Courage and Vision,” and Essie was honored for her advocacy of the American Indian. Essie’s impact on northwestern Minnesota took place after she [...]

  • Building with Stone

    One would think that in a state with as many rock piles as we have, there would be fieldstone buildings everywhere, but they tend to be uncommon. The Buffalo Herald described Angus Beaton, a stonemason from Nova Scotia, as a “reliable expert in the handling of brick and stone.” Beaton was an early homesteader in [...]

  • The Swindler

    Oakley Crawford was born on this day in 1847; it was an event many people came to regret. Oakley was born to Susan Reynolds and Samuel Crawford, who practiced law in Saugerties, New York. Little is known of his early years, except that he served in the Civil War when he was 17 and 18. [...]

  • Sovereign Bucks

    Today’s story doesn’t really connect to any specific date. It’s more of a fun thing. Fort Ransom began holding rodeos in 1934, and during the 1950s, one of the men who stood out in bronco riding was Fred Ward, from Hankinson. Ward was born in 1911 and got his first saddle when he was six. [...]

  • Soldiers’ Home

    On this date in 1891, Governor Burke signed Senate Bill #60, which allowed for the creation of a State Soldiers’ Home. Money was appropriated to buy land and construct necessary buildings, and in August, a board of commissioners purchased 90 acres – locally known as “the Cramer Farm” – near the city of Lisbon in [...]

  • USS Fargo

    The New York Shipbuilding Corporation of New Jersey launched the USS Fargo 75 years ago yesterday. The WWII Cruiser carried a crew of 992, was 611 feet long and 66 feet wide, had a speed of 33 knots, and displaced 10,000 long tons. The ship was built for use against the Japanese but was finished [...]

  • News from Around the State

    Every once in awhile, we like to bring you a mix of news from around the state. Today we’re looking at this period of time in 1915. Near Burnstad, in south-central North Dakota, a well-known farmer and stockman named Tully Williams suffered a freak accident. He was cleaning his barn about 11 o’clock in the [...]

  • Cuckoo Quiz and Hobby Lobby

    About this time in 1939, Bismarck radio station KFYR was debuting a new show called Cuckoo Quiz, described by the Bismarck Tribune as a ‘radio fanfare,’ studio gossip and information program. The new show was following a trend KFYR had discovered during the previous two years – a trend that’s still popular today. “Every now [...]

  • Farm Auction Action

    As we’ve noted before, North Dakota has a rich and unique history resulting from the efforts of the Non-Partisan League and farmer organizations, especially during the 1930s. In History of North Dakota, Elwyn Robinson writes, “…Governor Langer and the League began a bold operation to meet the crisis in North Dakota. Angry crowds were surging [...]

  • Movie Bill Repealed

    On this date in 1939, North Dakotans were trying to sort out the sudden brouhaha in the state legislature over the repeal of a movie bill. Two years earlier, the Non-partisan League was in power and was eager to back Pres. Franklin Roosevelt’s crusade to bust up corporate monopolies. W. J. Godwin was the majority [...]

  • Bootleggers Beware

    On this date in 1913, the North Dakota State Legislature passed a law making bootlegging a crime, with first time offenses punishable by 6 months to a year in the Bismarck Pen. The term “bootlegging” originally referred to smuggling items by hiding them inside the upper “leg” portion of a boot. During prohibition, the term [...]

  • Old Man Looks for Wife

    On this date in 1916, the Bismarck Tribune reported a Mr. William Hollis had been arrested in Minneapolis for vagrancy. He was on his way to Port Huron, Michigan, and had just walked 250 miles from Fargo through snowstorms and sub-zero weather. Hollis was a railroad engineer until 1901. “When my wife left me, I [...]

  • Amie Allison, NASA and JAXA

    Today is the birthday of Amie Lorsung Allison, who graduated from NDSU with an electrical engineering degree in 1995. In 2003, her alma mater honored her with the NDSU Alumni Horizon Award for her work with the space program. “I looked for a college,” she says, “that had a good engineering program and offered internships [...]

  • Spicer Family Murders

    One of the state’s most heinous crimes took place in Emmons County on this date in 1897. In 1959, William Fischer, editor of the Emmons County Record, explained: “When North Dakota became a state, its constitution outlawed the saloon, but many saloon operators continued their ‘underground’ operation – and their places of business were known [...]

  • GF Men Find Gold Mine

    On this date in 1876, a party of 13 men left Grand Forks, followed the Red River south to Fargo and turned west to follow the Northern Pacific railroad, which wasn’t operating that winter. They reached Bismarck on March 2nd, and rested for the next three weeks. When they forged on, their group had swelled [...]