Dakota Datebook

Horse Thief

Saturday, November 20, 2010


It seems that a man by the name of Sonstaby ran a wood yard near Bismarck in 1875, but he suddenly disappeared with a team of horses that didn’t belong to him. It was later learned that he was the head of a gang that had pilfered the Upper Midwest, stealing horses and even Army mules. His business served as a front for plying his trade.

On this date, Sonstaby was caught in Minnesota with five stolen horses, and he was quickly taken away by train. At the next stop, a group of men came aboard, intent upon hanging him, but the sheriff had gotten wind of the plan and had hidden himself and his prisoner in the coal box. Mr. Sonstaby narrowly escaped Western justice at the end of a rope.

Dakota Datebook by Jim Davis


The Bismarck Tribune November 20, 1875

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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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