Fargo’s namesake had a hand in the community’s early journalism. Banker William G. Fargo offered five hundred dollars to establish a newspaper in Fargo to be named the Fargo Express. Two publishers, A.H. Moore and Seth Boney, from Glyndon, Minnesota, applied for the cash, but their newspaper wasn’t published regularly and it wasn’t in Dakota Territory.
However, a newspaper named the Fargo Express did spring up in Fargo. It was the first Dakota Territory paper published in the Red River Valley. Other early newspapers appeared in Bismarck, Grand Forks and Jamestown.
On this date in 1874, the first issue of the Fargo Express rolled off the press. A.J. Harwood, Gordon J. Keeney and E.W. Knight were its editors and publishers.
Later that year, a Minnesota man founded another newspaper in Fargo, the Northern Pacific Mirror. And one year later, The Express, The Mirror and the Glyndon Gazette merged to become the Fargo Times. More sales and consolidations happened through the years, with other newspapers and other names like the Republican, the Fargo Forum and The Daily Argus.
Argusville, North Dakota, took its name from that last one. And Harwood, North Dakota, was named after publisher A. J. Harwood, who was also a local real estate tycoon.
By statehood in 1889, North Dakota had one hundred and twenty-five regular publications, though many of those were short-lived and contained little more than notices of homesteaders’ final claims.
Today, 90 papers are still published in the state. Ten are daily, and eighty come out once a week.
Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura
Lee, J.M. (1917). History of American journalism. Houghton Mifflin. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com/books?id=UAGo3xzYn2EC&printsec=frontcover&dq=james+melvin+lee+history+of+american+journalism&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimorjlzpfYAhUF7YMKHcEeBrQQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=james%20melvin%20lee%20history%20of%20american%20journalism&f=false
State Historical Society of North Dakota. (1977). 3rd Ed. The WPA guide to 1930s North Dakota. State Historical Society of North Dakota: Bismarck, ND.