Dakota Datebook

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

A young North Dakota telegraph operator received his “own tragic message” on this day in 1913. Seventeen-year-old George Wood was working as the telegraph operator in Page, North Dakota when the strange coincidence occurred. Wood moved to Page from St. Paul, Minnesota two years earlier, and had not been able to make it home to visit his family during that time.

On the evening of November 12, Wood received a message telling of a dreadful shooting in St. Paul, in which a husband shot himself, his wife, and his baby grandson. The message asked for the return of the couple’s son to the city, as all three victims were being hospitalized. Wood was so caught up in the content of the message that he failed to recognize the victims’ names as those of his own parents! Not until Wood reached the end of the telegraph did he recognize the name of the sender as that of his older brother, Henry; fortunately, all three relatives survived the tragic events.

Fargo Forum and Daily Republican (Evening ed.), November 13, 1913: p. 2.
-Jayme L. Job

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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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