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  • Swede Andrew

    We have a special Memorial Day story for you today. It’s the story of a boy named Wayne Wickoren and an old man named Andrew Anderson; they lived in McLeod, east of Lisbon in Ransom County. Although Anderson’s name had a Norwegian spelling, people around town called him “Swede” – Swede Andrew. He was a […]

  • Custer Grenz, Sidewalk Farmer

    John Grenz was born near Artas, SD, on this date in 1917. When he was nine years old, his family moved to Napoleon, where he was buried nearly five years ago. In 1943, Custer and his wife Irene bought a farm in the Street Flat area and also opened Irene’s Café in Napoleon, which qualified […]

  • Bloody Knife in Ambrose

    On this day in 1908, a notorious desperado known as “Bloody Knife” or “Dutch” rode into Ambrose, in Ward County, and shot up the town bandit style. Loaded up on booze, Bloody Knife began his shooting spree in the pool hall using a Lueger automatic revolver. The local attorney and newspaper editor were shot and […]

  • Empress of Ireland Disaster

    Sunday will be the 91st anniversary of Canada’s worst maritime disaster during peacetime. Just two years after the Titanic went down, the Empress of Ireland collided with a fully loaded, Norwegian, cargo ship, the Stortstad, in the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Empress was making its first voyage of the summer and had left Quebec City […]

  • Bison Latifrons

    Seven years ago today, ND paleontologist John Hoganson received a telephone call from Kent Pelton, a teacher at Watford City High School. While fishing on Lake Sakakawea near New Town, Pelton had discovered what he thought were two mammoth tusks. Hoganson was excited, because very few remains of mammoths have ever been discovered here. A […]

  • News Around the State

    Stark County was organized on this date in 1883. The Andreas’ Atlas of North Dakota was published the following year and stated, “The northeast part of the county is drained by branches of the Big Knife River, the middle portions by the Heart and the north fork of the Cannon Ball River, and the southern […]

  • Capone and East Grand Forks

    On this date in 1915, Minnesota’s Polk County voted to go “dry.” It was the end of a 25-year era during which East Grand Forks had enjoyed a booming business from across the river. When ND enacted prohibition in July 1890, fourteen Grand Forks saloon keepers immediately moved across the river. Two years later, East […]

  • 1860 Census

    Henry the Younger had the same name as his uncle, Henry Alexander, a trapper who gained fame for exploring the lands between Montreal and the Rocky Mountains. The younger Alexander worked for the North West Company establishing trading posts along rivers; among them he built Park River and Pembina on the Red River in 1800. […]

  • Major James Brooke

    Major James W. Brooke of Grand Forks was the group surgeon for the 486th Bomb Group during World War II, and yesterday was the anniversary of an event that led to him being awarded the Soldier’s Medal. His citation read: At a bomber base in England on May 20, 1944, a B-24 aircraft with crewmen […]

  • Warren Magnuson, WA Senator

    Warren Magnuson died on this date in 1989; he was the adopted son of Emma Anderson, of the Fort Ransom area. Emma and her husband, Bill Magnuson, lived in Moorhead, where Emma ran a bootlegging business. One of her money-making strategies was to invite wealthy people to dinner, during which she served alcohol. If her […]

  • Finding the Shining Mountains

    The first recorded visit of a non-native person in what is now North Dakota was by Pierre de la Verendrye when George Washington was just six years old. While working at a trading post north of Lake Superior, local Indians told Verendrye about a westward flowing river that reached the Shining Mountains; and, beyond those […]

  • Poison Carrots and the Hired Man

    In the early 1900s, a peculiar type of humorous story about “Poison Carrots and the Hired Man” was popular in the Red River Valley. These two characters would go off on ill-fated adventures reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin movies. Here’s one from The Grafton Record in May 1905: “Poison Carrots and the hired man joined the […]

  • Syttende Mai, 100 Years

    2005 is the one hundredth anniversary of Norway’s true independence, which is celebrated in a spring festival known as Syttende Mai (or 17th of May). The backdrop for this holiday stretches back to the year 1319, when after 400 years of self-governing, Norway was united with Sweden under Swedish rule. Some 60 years later, Norway […]

  • Master Sergeant Keeble, Hero

    Woodrow Keeble was born in Waubay, SD, on this date in 1917. During his lifetime, he fought in two wars and – with all his medals and awards combined – is reportedly the most decorated soldier in North Dakota history. Keeble’s parents were from the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux tribe. His parents were poor; his mother died […]

  • North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station

    It was exactly one hundred and fifteen years ago that the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station was established in Fargo. It was part of a national network of state research facilities, but it’s the only one in the world devoted specifically to North Dakota agricultural issues. The Experiment Station was established just two months after […]

  • Philippines — Medals of Honor

    Yesterday we discussed the 1st ND Infantry’s participation in the Spanish American War in the Philippines. After swiftly liberating Filipinos from Spanish rule in August 1898, the troops expected to go home. But, the U.S. government suddenly decided to keep the Philippines, and demoralized North Dakotans were forced to fight angry Filipino insurgents. It was […]

  • Philippines — Insurgents

    After the Spanish sunk the American ship, The Maine, off the coast of Cuba in 1898, no North Dakota newspaper called for a retaliatory strike. Once the Spanish American War was actually launched, however, the papers responded with patriotic zeal. The First North Dakota Infantry assembled on May 8th and volunteered as a body to […]

  • Architect Gilbert Horton

    Architect Gilbert Horton moved from St. Paul to set up practice in Jamestown on this date in 1911. He liked it immediately. “The prairie appealed to me,” he said. “I can’t really say why… but I think it was the people. They were open and friendly. The further west you got, the more cordial people […]

  • News from Deadwood

    Today it’s back to the wild west of Dakota Territory. On this date in 1878, the Bismarck Weekly Tribune published “Our Black Hills Letter,” written by the Trib’s “Special Correspondent” in Deadwood. Written in the flowery Victorian vernacular of the times, it reads: “Crime holds high carnival here in the Hills – at least it […]

  • Admiral Bill Owens

    As you may have noticed, ND has produced a great many high-ranking military officers. Retired Admiral Bill Owens celebrated his 65th birthday yesterday. Last fall, while speaking at a Capitol Hill policy luncheon, Owens explained, “(T)he reason why Bismarck turns out a lot of admirals is that we didn’t know how far away the sea […]