Dakota Datebook

William Langer

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


On this date in 1920, residents of Edmore prepared to hear William Langer, candidate for governor, speak in their town, preceding a primary election. Langer was looking to unseat incumbent Lynn Frazier.


The promise of Langer as a speaker drew a large crowd. “Delegations” came from Crary, Doyon, Lawton, Brocket and Devils Lake, catching up with Langer on his way to Edmore and forming a sort of parade “of considerable proportions” that followed him to town. In fact, it was reportedly the largest crowd ever to assemble in Edmore to hear a political speaker, though there weren’t any firm numbers on the crowd. The Edmore Herald-News stated, “Estimates have been placed as low as 800 people and as high as 3000, so the reader can draw his own conclusion.”


Everything seemed to go well; the meeting was orderly, and Langer used his time to discuss the issues. Attendees also enjoyed some musical selections played by the 50 piece Boy Scout Band out of Devils Lake.


But there was also reported a little vandalism, which caused some turmoil. The ruffians had removed Frazier banners from various cars in town. C. A. Sagen, president of the village board in Edmore, looked into this right away, only to find that the dastardly deed had been suggested and started by some of the boys from out of town, but that they had enlisted the help of some of the smaller local boys of Edmore—including his own. He apologized on behalf of the boys, and wrote this to the local newspaper:


“I regret to say that I learned my own boy had removed a banner, but as he is my third boy he is too young to realize what he was doing. He says that a bigger boy from out of town bet him ten cents that he did not dare remove the banner. I assure you he will never touch any more banners.


“I want to assure the out-of-town people that we regret and condemn this incident more than we can express and we wish it known that it was not done or encouraged by any person of mature mind in Edmore.”


Langer lost the primary to Frazier that year, but his persistence paid off when 12 years later he became the 17th governor of North Dakota.


Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker




Edmore Herald-News, June 24, 1920

Edmore Herald-News, July 8, 1920

Devils Lake Daily World, June 15, 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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