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A Trip Home

On this date in 1910, Ferdinand Stamm was settling back into his home in Langdon. He had spent three months visiting family and friends in Germany – his first trip back to his childhood home since moving to North Dakota in 1905. He renewed his acquaintance with his mother and several brothers and sisters. He said it was a pleasure to “view the scenes of his childhood.” He had arrived on Christmas Eve, and delighted in spending the holiday with family.

Stamm did not return to North Dakota alone. Two of his friends from Germany joined him. They had heard so much of America and North Dakota that they decided to come along, planning to settle in Langdon.

But what really caused a stir were the horses Stamm brought with him from Germany – four purebred Belgian mares and a stallion. The horses generated a great deal of interest, but Stamm made it very clear that none were for sale. They were intended for his stock farm near Loma. The real star was the three-year-old stallion, a chestnut horse with a white mane and tail.

It was quite an adventure for Stamm to bring his horses safe and sound to North Dakota. The ocean voyage took sixteen days. Once he arrived in New York, Stamm transferred the horses to railroad cars. It took nine days to travel from New York to Langdon.

In 1910, farms were still run in large part with real horsepower. The powerful draft horses plowed the fields and pulled the threshing machines. They hauled huge wagons of hay to the barns for storage. They pulled wagons to town with goods to be sold, and hauled supplies on the return trip. The gentle giants were the bedrock of agriculture.

Draft horses are the largest equines, used for heavy work and bred for a gentle temperament. They weigh between 1,400 and 2,200 pounds!  Although they are no longer used for routine agricultural work, draft horses are still much admired. There are many draft horse shows throughout North Dakota, and they are often seen pulling wagons in parades.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher.

Sources:

Courier Democrat. “Trip to Old Home in Germany.” 4 April 1910. Langdon ND. Page 1.

ND Studies. “Horses.” https://www.ndstudies.gov/gr4/north-dakota-agriculture/part-2-production-agriculture/section-11-horses   Accessed 3/4/2019.

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