Dakota Datebook

Jilted In Inkster

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On this date in 1897, the small town of Inkster, ND was witness to one of the county’s most “deplorable tragedies.”
Ole Halverson, a locally respected young man, asked for the hand in marriage of Miss Mary Lexton. Mary, a pretty young lady also from Inkster, happily accepted Ole’s proposal. Mary excitedly began making plans for the upcoming wedding.
The happily engaged couple continued to see each other, falling more and more in love. But, as sometimes happens with young sweethearts, a quarrel broke out between Ole and Mary. It must have been quite a quarrel! So upset was Ole, that he told Mary that the “engagement was off.” Upon hearing Ole’s decision, Mary became distraught and even threatened suicide.
Later that week, Ole reported for work as usual in the store of Bemis & Gallagher in downtown Inkster. In the middle of the morning, Mary walked into the store and surprisingly produced a revolver. Aiming it directly at Ole, who was standing behind the counter, she pulled the trigger.
Ole immediately fell to the floor, only to see Mary, in her frantic jealousy, aiming the pistol at her own head! Although bleeding badly, he pleaded with her not to kill herself.
Luckily, before she could pull the trigger, officers arrived. They quickly subdued Mary and wrested the pistol from her hand. Ole, too weak to stand, began pleading with the officers not to have her prosecuted. He somehow struggled to his feet. While nearly fainting from loss of blood, he began kissing Mary, telling her he forgave all.
The Fargo Sunday Argus reported that Mary was committed to the county jail in Grand Forks. It also stated that “Ole Halverson will probably die from the effects of the wound which he received from his ex-fiancé.”
Interestingly, the story ended by reporting that “great excitement prevails in this city over the sad affair, and the sympathy is about equally divided.”
Fargo Sunday Argus, Sunday, November 28, 1897, Vol. XX, No. 283. pg. 2.

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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