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On this date in 1910, the News of the North section of the Fargo Forum included another example of community cooperation. “Neighbors Put in Widow’s Crop,” the headline began, followed by “Kindhearted North Dakotans Come to Rescue of Unfortunate Woman.” It was a story out of Goodrich, North Dakota, where neighbors came to help Mrs. L. Anderson.

“Several years ago,” the story said, “her husband died and since that time she has had three children to care for. Noticing that no more progress had been made this spring to care for the work, neighbors have taken a hand and are now putting the land in shape for seeding, which will be done immediately. Through this action, the woman and her children will be provided for.”

Meanwhile in Shafer, North Dakota, farmers started a fire in a lignite coal vein when they left embers behind, prompting the newspaper headline, “Insidious flames in a big deposit.” The paper reported that “a coal vein twenty feet thick was burning like an inferno and would likely continue until it burns itself out. Several weeks ago, several farmers, while digging coal for their own use, built a fire to boil some coffee for dinner. Not taking care to extinguish the fire, it spread by means of scattered embers to the vein itself and has been burning ever since. ... Sparks from the blazing coal fire set fire to dry grass some distance away starting a prairie fire for miles.”

But there was a triumphal outcome with the help of others. The farmers, along with the citizens of Schafer, succeeded in heading off the prairie fire before serious damage was done.

Some "News of the North" from this date in 1910.

Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark

Source: Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, May 5, 1910

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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