DAKOTA AGENDA: November 21-25 | News, Sports, Jobs


Death of a pioneer


November 21 — In this week of 1908, the Bottineau Courant announces the death of Ole Vinje. Vinje was one of the first interesting European immigrants who came to Dakota Territory. He was born in Norway in 1858. He grew up in Snaasen where he lived with his parents and four brothers. After his father died in 1885, Vinje’s mother and brothers immigrated to the United States, but Vinje remained. He joined his family in 1892 and, in 1900, obtained a certificate on land southeast of Bottineau.

But Vinde sold his farm in 1902 to return to Norway with his brother Lorentz. He bought a farm near Snaasen. Perhaps it was romance that brought Ole Vinje back to Norway. The 44-year-old married 21-year-old Anna Johansdatter on the same day his brother, Lorentz, got married. The weddings were celebrated at Domkirken Cathedral in Trondheim.

Ole and Anna’s family began with the birth of twins, Olaf and Theodore, in 1903. Ole Vinje was prosperous as a farmer, but his thoughts kept turning to the United States. In 1905 Vinje bid farewell to his brother and returned to Bottineau with his family. He gave up farming and worked as a carpenter for the Bottineau County Bank and the Forestry School. He built a house on rue Bennet in Bottineau. A daughter, Selma, was born to Ole and Anna in 1907.

Ole Vinje was only 50 when he fell ill and died of Bright’s disease, a form of kidney failure. Vinje was not famous and has no place in any history book. But his life was that of a strong citizen who helped build a young state. He was representative of the many pioneers who left their old lives behind and ventured to the frontier. Vinje’s obituary, which appeared on the front page of the newspaper, was perhaps as good as anyone could hope for. He noted that Vinje “was a good citizen and neighbor and had many friends in the community.

talk about turkey


November 22 — Thanksgiving is approaching. And while few people decorate for this particular holiday with the same vigor as they do for other holidays, there is one important element that almost everyone agrees is a necessity for this holiday: whether turkey or tofurkey, this special entree is the reason for this season. .

The Fargo Forum devoted much ink to the turkey affair that week in 1928. Like us today, they were very concerned about the cost of vacations. Luckily for them, the turkeys were supposed to be sold at a reduced price – 8 to 10 cents cheaper than the previous year. Of course, the previous year turkeys had sold for 45 cents in advance, and “a few days before Thanksgiving they were at 50 cents a pound, which is not quite comparable to the prices of today.

Of course, a couple from near Watford City wouldn’t mind what turkeys were selling for, no matter what – Mr and Mrs Schettle were uniquely qualified to “talking turkey” since they held a turkey production record. The couple were originally from Germany and had moved to Chicago before settling in North Dakota. They had farmed in McKenzie County for 13 years, raised turkeys for eight years, and in the past four years had earned a record $100 per turkey, which surpassed any previous record by more than $25. .

In 1928, the Schettles were preparing to send over a thousand turkeys to market over the next month, in addition to some 50 “farm leader” they had recently sold. The turkeys were in excellent condition for the upcoming holiday, and they were expected to earn at least $5 each.

To raise their record-breaking turkeys, the Schettles protected them, keeping them well incubated in the spring and rounding them up under vigilant supervision. Just before the holidays, the Schettles kept their turkeys well fed with all the country ground barley, wheat and corn the birds could stomach.

The couple and a hired man also dressed and packed the turkeys for sale themselves. In one day, they packed between 50 and 80 turkeys.

It was worth it, to get the biggest and best gobblers possible.

Thanksgiving 1917


November 23 – On this date in 1917, the people of North Dakota were planning the first major vacation with many loved ones absent, waiting to be transported to the battlefields of Europe. Although it was a more subdued and solemn occasion than Thanksgivings past, with most North Dakota servicemen still in the United States, it was not a grim occasion.

Most families planned to celebrate with a Thanksgiving dinner, but what kind of dinner? Many were tempted to eat traditional turkey, depending on their ability to obtain or afford the necessary ingredients, but most turkeys were intended for the military.

For the patriots, there was the Hooverized Dinner, recommended by Herbert Hoover, the US Food Commissioner. The Hooverized Dinner called for a wheat-free, meat-free, fat-free, and sugar-free meal, but for this occasion most avoided the meatless option. One menu offered chicken, potatoes, carrots, green salad, cornbread and honey, with fruit for dessert. Beets and turnips have been suggested as substitutes for potatoes. Oysters and fish were other popular items. Even better, a variety of meals can be found at local hotels, including Hooverized versions, with the added bonus of on-site entertainment.

Beavers as Pests, 1916


History of MSU-Moorhead

November 24 – The most important animal in North America in the 1700s was not the mighty grizzly bear, nor the runaway buffalo. Instead, the most important animal in colonial America was the lowly beaver.

Beaver pelts were used profitably to make felt hats in Europe. The pursuit of beaver furs led to a decimation of the beaver population in Dakota and elsewhere, ending the era of the fur trade in the mid-1800s.

Dakota Territory laws in 1887 prohibited killing or trapping beavers because ranchers wanted beavers to dam streams as convenient watering points for cattle, thus saving ranchers construction costs of dams. Protection continued after North Dakota became a state two years later. Violators of state gambling laws were subject to a $100 fine and jail time.

Some trappers defied the law, but the beaver population along the state’s streams and rivers eventually recovered, with busy beavers building dams.

Unfortunately, beaver protection worked too well and beavers proliferated, becoming a serious “pest in the Missouri Valley.” It became a choice…to have beavers or to have trees along the waterways. Farmers became enraged when beavers gnawed thickets of trees and beaver dams flooded lowland fields. They demanded that lawmakers change beaver protection laws. And ranchers found windmill pumps to be more reliable than beaver ponds, especially since cattle sometimes drowned among the debris from beaver dams.

Thus, on this date in 1916, the Bismarck Tribune reports on efforts to control the beaver population. The state Game and Fish Commission has hired professional trappers to eradicate these so-called “evil… vermin” along the Missouri Slope and allowed other trappers to purchase licenses to harvest beaver pelts.

And so the story of beavers came full circle, from abundance to near extinction, followed by a revival that threatened agriculture and ranching. Today, beaver remain fair game in North Dakota for properly licensed hunters and trappers.

Quieter times


November 25 – In early September 1917, as North Dakota National Guard units awaited orders, the Fargo Forum published an editorial warning the citizens of North Dakota that now was the time to address feelings towards German friends and neighbours. immigrants. He stated that, “…they were now enjoying a moment of quiet bloodshed, but that won’t last that long.” When news of injuries and deaths among loved ones at the front fills the cables, then there will be no more apathy in American homes.

The Forum blamed the German-language press for a rise in anti-German sentiment. Attributing this to selfish motives, the newspaper claimed that the German-language press had become a dying institution in the United States, and that it was profit that motivated newspapers more than patriotism toward the mother country. Pro-German sources were spending large sums to influence sentiment toward the war, and with Germans in North Dakota anxious to hear from home, subscriptions soared. Unfortunately, with insidious propaganda and riotous remarks, the trend had clouded the issues both for German immigrants and in the minds of the general public.

The Forum concluded that Germans who are determined to continue in this country still have a way to approach their future. He warned, “They will have to face their neighbors through many tomorrows. And the feelings of those neighbors… which evolved from the bloody events that will soon be upon us, will be the feelings of those neighbors’ children toward their children.

There was a lot to consider.

Just two months after the Forum editorial, American troops occupied the trenches in France. Although no troops from North Dakota had yet reached Europe, the absence of these men from their homes was felt by those who remained. Comments perceived as seditious or anti-war are less and less tolerated.

“Dakota Diary” is a Prairie Public radio series in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota and with funding from Humanities North Dakota.

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