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Olivia Burmeister

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • When in doubt, flee to Canada. This must have been the thought process of N.C. Mossgaard when faced with mounting debt and potential embezzlement charges. On this date in 1914, a newspaper account about Mossgaard began by detailing his life as a once-successful postmaster in Scranton, North Dakota, who was married and had twelve children. This happy life took a sad turn when Mrs. Mossgaard and several of the children contract typhoid fever and pass away. Mossgaard turned to alcohol, leaving the Scranton post office to unsuccessfully run itself. The neglect led to an examination by auditors who found the post office funds were short.
  • On this date in 1914, the Grand Forks Evening Times carried an intriguing story under the headline "Girl would rather work as a servant than cross the ocean again!" It was about 18-year-old Elfrida Trinkler, who was reportedly a survivor of the great Titanic disaster two years before.
  • Like a scene out of a classic western, on this date in 1889, reports of a burglary and injured police chief hit the papers. William Gray and his partner had burgled Schmidt’s Palace Saloon in Fargo, stealing 18 to 20 dollars, as well as some watches and whiskey. The news article did not explain why the Chief of Police in neighboring Moorhead participated in the investigation, but with the help of an associate from Moorhead, Chief Murphy tracked the burglars and placed them under arrest.
  • North Dakota strictly upheld prohibition laws after entering as a dry state when it joined the union in 1889. However, some residents had a hard time abiding by this law. Such was the case on this date in 1894, involving a man by the name of Major Fawcett. Though it may seem strange, that was his legal name, as confirmed by naturalization records bearing his signature from 1888, making him an official US citizen.