Dakota Datebook

Gossip Spreads Quickly

Sunday, August 4, 2013


On the afternoon of August 4, 1920, the telephone rang in the Bismarck home of Mrs. Frank McCormick. The caller had terrible news: Mrs. McCormick’s young son Emmett had been hit by a train and killed.


This wasn’t the first call that day regarding Emmett’s demise. Mrs. McCormick thanked the caller, and then went to check on Emmett. He had been playing in the yard the whole day, and was still safe and secure. It was just gossip that had spread quickly … a story somehow becoming the untimely death of young Emmett.


No evidence of anyone being hit by a train was found that day. Nobody knows how the story came to be, but gossip sure made it spread quickly.


Dakota Datebook written by Derek Dahlsad




“Kind Neighbors Tell Mother Her Son Had Been Killed By Train,” Bismarck Tribune, 8/5/1920


This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

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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