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Carole Butcher

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • On this date in 1907 a puzzling crime investigation by the Devils Lake police department came to a satisfying ending. The crime was first considered unsolvable, but the police nabbed the culprit after some clever sleuthing.
  • When war broke out in Europe in 1914, President Wilson announced that the United States would remain neutral. Most Americans supported this policy. The country did not want to become embroiled in a foreign war. Wilson was reelected in 1914, running on his slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War.” But public opinion gradually shifted against Germany, and Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war in April 1917. He stated that “The world must be made safe for democracy.”
  • 12/27/2017: Holiday festivities in Devils Lake in 1922 included many typical events … Christmas services at churches across the city, school Christmas pageants, a Boy Scouts band concert, and another free band concert scheduled for New Year’s Eve. A New Year’s Eve program at the Bethel Evangelical Free Church would offer coffee, jule cake and singing, followed by a watch night service in Norwegian.
  • 12/21/2017: On this date in 1904, two men were standing trial for burglary. Albert Kemper and Joseph Frantz were accused of committing the crime near Overholt. The Ward County Independent had no doubt that the men would be found guilty. The accused were being ably defended by two lawyers, but the newspaper reported that the members of the jury were “on their guard” and were paying close attention. The jury frequently questioned witnesses, a procedure that seems unusual to us today.
  • 12/18/2017: At the turn of the Twentieth Century, Henry Ford’s Model T and the Wright Brothers’ airplane were still in the future, but railroads and telegraph lines had already spanned the country. There was a great sense of optimism, a feeling that anything was possible.
  • 12/14/2017: On this date in 1900, the Devils Lake Inter-Ocean reported on the Farmer’s Institute held in that community. Attendance was very good in spite of inclement weather. The institute was sponsored by the experimental farm at the North Dakota Agriculture College in Fargo. The college provided the speakers for the institute.
  • 12/12/2017: North Dakota is known as an agricultural state, a leader in the production of canola, corn, wheat, sunflowers, soybeans, and sugar beets. Beef cattle are also an important commodity, with the state home to more than 950,000 head. So, when it comes to North Dakota agriculture, chickens are not the first thing to come to mind.
  • 12/5/2017: When the United States entered the war, a grand promise was made: America would “darken the skies of Germany” with a vast air armada. In 1917 the War Department asked Congress for $640 million with the assurance that the planes would arrive at the front by May 1918. Congress approved the appropriation, the largest single amount ever granted, and President Wilson signed it into law in July 1917.
  • 11/27/2017: On this date in 1908, the Bottineau Courant announced that Ole Vinje had died. Ole was one of the interesting early immigrants from Europe 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, Ole’s mother and brothers immigrated to the United States, but Ole stayed behind. He joined his family in 1892, and in 1900 was issued a certificate on a piece of land southeast of Bottineau.
  • 11/21/2017: When people think of rustling in North Dakota, they usually think of cattle. That crime has a long history in the state, although it is not entirely in the past. As recently as May 2017, a man was charged with stealing four head of cattle. And cattle aren’t the only target. A crime much less familiar is grain rustling!