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  • Peter Bannigan Gets Away

    On this day in 1876, a soldier lay dead, and a saloonkeeper was arrested for murder. Bismarck was, at this point, as wild as any town on the frontier – one surveyor described it as “17 saloons and 13 other buildings.” This latest incident was another in a long line of too many shootings for […]

  • Ole Saves Christmas

    In her book, “Nothing to Do but Stay,” Carrie Young tells the story of her Uncle Ole, a Norwegian bachelor farmer living next to her family’s farm near Williston. Ole was never accused of being a go-getter. The oldest of seven children, he was content to live with his parents well into his 30s, hiring […]

  • 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 […]

  • Anne Carlsen

    One year ago today, North Dakota lost a passionate teacher and visionary, Dr. Anne Carlsen. She was 87 years old and her legacy was the Anne Carlsen Center for Children in Jamestown. Carlsen was born to Danish immigrants in Wisconsin in 1915. She was missing her forearms and lower legs, but early on, her family […]

  • Turtle Mountains/Chippewa

    On this day in 1882, the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation was established for the Chippewa Tribe. Congress planned for 200 full-bloods, who were allotted 160 acres each, but the Chippewa, true to their culture, decided to hold the land in common rather than claim individual plots. Soon, more than 1,000 mixed-bloods were placed on the […]

  • Merton Utgaard’s Band Camp

    If you went to International Music Camp between 1956 and 1983, you most definitely remember the tall, silver-haired gentleman who ran the show – he was Merton Utgaard, the camp’s founder. He was born in Maddock in 1914, and today marks the anniversary of his death five years ago. Experiencing Dr. Utgaard as a music […]

  • Death of Sitting Bull

    On this date in 1890, the government was trying to sort out what had happened three days earlier when Sitting Bull was shot dead at dawn. Sitting Bull was a Hunkpapa Lakota holy man whose father, Jumping Bull, named him “Slow.” When 14-year-old Slow fought in his first war, he charged instead of waiting for […]

  • American Buffalo – Part 2

    In the early 1800s, millions of buffalo covered the prairies in vast thriving herds. But by the end of that century, the species had been all but wiped out. With the coming of the homesteaders and the railroad, it was inevitable that the buffalo would be threatened. But a threat that was unforseen came with […]

  • Rick Helling

    If you watched the World Series this fall, you saw a player named Rick Helling pitching for the winning team, the Florida Marlins. Rick grew up in Lakota, and today is his birthday. Immediately after high school, Rick pursued football, not baseball. He was playing for UND when an old Legion baseball teammate started talking […]

  • Edwin Ladd and Pure Foods

    Edwin Ladd was born on this date in 1859. He was one of the first chemists at the North Dakota Agricultural College and later became president of the school. Professor Ladd became nationally known for conducting research on food samples and discovering many to be impure and adulterated. Beef was laced with poisonous preservatives, and […]

  • James Rosenquist

    Today is the 70th birthday of one of the world’s most famous pop artists, James Rosenquist. Last month, the New York Times published a review of Rosenquist’s current art exhibit – a retrospective of his life’s work, which is on display at the Guggenheim in New York; it is, in fact, the museum’s first show […]

  • Joe Milo and Willie Ross

    On this day in 1914, a Bottineau prisoner was raising money, so his body wouldn’t be used for science. At the time, Joe Milo was facing a death sentence for his part in a double murder at Lansford. Because he was penniless and had nobody who would pay to bury him, he knew that his […]

  • Gorman Dogfight

    On this date in 1948, Lieutenant George F. Gorman wrote a letter stating, “…the Air Materiel Command has issued orders classifying the information as Secret. And this makes it a General Court Martial to release any more information. The Command has asked that my commanding officer and myself be court-martialed for releasing what information we […]

  • Boris Karloff

    Today is the birthday of William Henry Pratt, the great-grandnephew of Anna Leonowens, the inspiration for the book and movie, “Anna and the King.” He was born in England in 1887. This man was a charming and gentle man who later became an actor in the United States. In 1943, Pratt performed at the Fargo […]

  • Verendrye

    On this date in 1738, Pierre La Verendrye was midway through a 10 day stay with the Mandan Indians; reportedly, he and his group were the first white men to set foot in North Dakota, as well as the first to provide written records about the Native Americans they encountered. Verendrye was born at a […]

  • Pearl Harbor—Sim and Rup

    On this date in 1941, many North Dakotans witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, including Carl “Sim” Simensen. After graduating from Grandin High School, he went to UND and earned a degree in commerce. He joined the Marine Corps, was commissioned a second lieutenant, and in June, 1941, was assigned to the battleship U.S.S. […]

  • Father De Smet and the Snorer

    Father Pierre De Smet entered North Dakota from Montana in 1840, calling it the best “retreat” he ever made; he was petrified of warring Blackfeet. “…only a rocky point separated us from a savage war-party,” he wrote. “Without losing time, we…started at full gallop… That day we made forty to fifty miles without a halt, […]

  • Irving Gardner

    In 1881, a 21 year-old bachelor named Irving Gardner headed to Hope, North Dakota, to homestead. As he later wrote, he was unprepared for what lay ahead of him. “…The train was a freight train with a few passenger cars and a caboose in the rear. After traveling about half the distance toward Hope, the […]

  • Ole the Green Man

    On this date in 1914, it was reported that while in Grand Forks, Ole Evenson from Starkweather painted his entire body a bright emerald green. Nobody understood why he did it, as reported in the following newspaper story: When a Swede deliberately takes a can of green paint, and with a brush proceeds to decorate […]

  • Pioneer Wife, Part Three

    Today we pick up the final installment in our 3-part series about Helen Smith of Wimbledon, who won 1st prize from the Dakota Farmer for her article on living without a hired girl. I wash Monday, or rather wash with John’s help, I get things ready for the machine. The boiler is put on right […]