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  • Manhunt in Fargo

    On this date in 1931, the Sabin State Bank in Sabin, MN, was robbed, leading to a weeklong manhunt in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Four men hit the bank around 2:30 in the afternoon. Three of them entered, with their faces exposed, and demanded the bank’s holdings from the solitary cashier, George Carlson. A fourth man […]

  • Secrets of Bob Watson

    Today’s story is from the Mandan Daily Pioneer in December 1926 and is quite an entertaining one. “‘Bob Watson,’ 22, hotel clerk, pick and shovel cement worker, nifty swain of local young ladies, former miner, rodeo rider, today joined HER husband, Glen A. Halling on a farm near Price, N.D. Her masquerade locally, as a […]

  • Fort Totten Tragedy

    This week, we’re bringing you stories of North Dakota in December 1926. Today’s is a tragedy involving fire and heroism. When Fort Totten was first constructed near what is now Devils Lake, Major Forbes was the first person to try to set up some sort of education program. In 1872, he persuaded two of his […]

  • Quakes and a Galloping Goose

    This week we’ll be featuring stories from 1926, which we’re dedicating to Mr. Jim Davis, who provides us with a lot of help with research at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. In fact, Jim discovered almost all the stories for this week – again, they’re from December 1926. We start with strange earthquakes […]

  • Problem of Matrimonitis

    At this time in 1916, North Dakota was experiencing a severe teacher shortage. To address the problem, voters had just approved a constitutional amendment to create Dickinson Normal School, which would offer a two-year program to train more elementary and secondary school teachers. Leading up the election, the Bismarck Daily Tribune published an article that […]

  • And More Letters to Santa

    Letters to Santa show Christmas was a bit less commercial back in 1930. Doris Jean Westmiller, of Underwood, wrote, “Dear Santa, I am a little girl six years old and I’m in the first grade at school. I have tried to be good during the past year so I wish that you would bring me […]

  • More Letters to Santa

    In 1930, there was great speculation of whether letters to Santa Claus might induce the jolly fellow to make a personal visit to ND. Lenard Moffit wrote, “I am reading the Bismarck Tribune about Santa Claus. Do you think he will come to my house. I am 10 years old and live five miles south […]

  • A Dering Christmas

    John Dering was in dire straits in the fall of 1916. Four months earlier, his two sons had been drafted to fight in what one reporter called “America’s Little War” down on the Mexican border. Mrs. Dering – John’s wife of 50 years – was a bed-ridden invalid, too afflicted to care for herself. With […]

  • Presents from a Bomb Bay

    Today’s story comes to us from Scott Nelson, an artist and history enthusiast from Solen. The story is based on an interview Nelson conducted with WWII veteran Del Skjod of Mandan. During the summer of 1944, Lt. Del Skjod and his crew were sent deep into Germany to destroy a strategic target. Skjod was the […]

  • Letters to Santa

    Back in 1930, the decision of whether Santa would visit Bismarck area children was in the hands of H. P. Goddard, Secretary of the Association of Commerce. On November 24th, Santa sent Goddard a radiogram from the North Pole, which read, “Dear Sir: Will you please ask the children of your city and the Missouri […]

  • Fargo’s Christmas Tree

    The Northern Pacific Railroad founded Fargo in 1871. On the other side of the river, another town was growing at the same time – Moorhead. Minnesota was already organized, and there were concerns of how the Dakota Territory was going develop. But land in Moorhead was extremely expensive, so many people had moved to the […]

  • Blizzard

    Christmas Eve in 1935 was memorable because, for some, one of the state’s worst blizzards turned the holiday into a tragedy. The storm began in the northwest corner of the state and soon stretched east, to the New England states, and south to Ohio. By the time it blew itself out, nearly 200 people in […]

  • Governor Roger Allin

    Roger Allin, was born in Devonshire, England, on this date in 1848. Three years later, his family emigrated to Ontario, where he eventually went into farming. Allin moved to Dakota Territory in 1881 and filed a 160-acre claim in Walsh County. The following year he was elected justice of the peace, and in 1886, he […]

  • Flying Doctor

    Before helicopters were available, one UND-trained doctor used an airplane. James Mahoney, class of 1941, used his G.I. Bill to get his pilot’s license, but he had to get his training at 6 in the morning. “If you are going to get a night call, it usually doesn’t happen at sunrise, because they will usually […]

  • Noonan

    Anti-German sentiment ran high not only in the U.S. but also in Canada during the First World War. In some Canadian cities, full-fledged riots broke out. For example, an anti-German mob destroyed the Riverside Hotel in Calgary on February 10, 1916. Nine days later, the hotel owner’s saloon was also destroyed because he was German […]

  • Feats of Jealousy

    Residents in Mercer County were mystified by the death of a popular young rancher north of Beulah on November 3, 1916. At around noon, John Maier found his brother, Carl*, lying beside a public road between their farm and Beulah. Powder burns on Carl’s skin and clothing showed he’d been shot point blank, “once under […]

  • Maris Trade

    Baseball fans had mixed emotions at this time in 1966. Five days earlier, the Yankees traded home-run king Roger Maris to the St. Louis Cardinals in an even swap for infielder Charlie Smith. As one subway rider in New York put it, “You mean to say all MacPhail could get for Maris was Charley Smith?” […]

  • Frank Marshall

    Sparkie is just one nickname given to Lyndon Earl Marshall. The eighth of nine children, Lyndon was born to Albert and Maude Marshall on the family’s Hereford ranch near Forbes, ND, on this date in 1914. Marshall gained strong traits from his parents, including a lifelong love of learning, self-respect, how to be a good […]

  • White Bread Blues

    Owners of North Dakota’s grain milling businesses were in an uproar during this period in 1908. Bleached flour had just been outlawed through the efforts of Professor E. F. Ladd. As you may recall from earlier Datebooks, Ladd was a scientist at the North Dakota Agricultural College who became one of the Nation’s foremost crusaders […]

  • We’re Not Spies

    When World War I broke out, a large number of North Dakotans still had fairly strong ties to the old country. At this time in 1916, the Bismarck Tribune published a story that showed the lengths to which some had to go to prove they weren’t spies for the enemy: “The North Dakota railroad commission […]