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November 30: Wahpeton’s WWII Efforts

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In World War II, it became a tradition for members of the Wahpeton Rotary club to write letters to soldiers overseas and publish them in the local paper. In the past, letters coming from soldiers were published in the newspapers, but publishing outgoing letters was a new twist.

On this date in 1943, the Richland County Farmer Globe published a letter by E. D. Lum that detailed the war efforts by residents of Wahpeton. He wrote, “We are as proud as peacocks here at home, for the showing we had in buying war bonds and subscribing to the great War Chest Drive.”

In the glow of the upcoming holiday, Lum described how Christmas would be affected. With tight money, he foretold that it may be meager, but joy was still to be found in the season. Mr. Lum said that without the young men, the town was behind on plowing. However, despite these struggles, they were well fed. Finally, Lum said the community was doing what they could to keep home the same for the soldiers. Yet, while they desired a sense of familiarity, Lum predicted that the young men would be greeted with many new gadgets and comforts when they got home. Lum signed off by saying: “An affectionate admirer of you men in service.”

The letters, however, were not the only way that the soldiers were being supported. North Dakota communities also planned many events that included paper drives, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties for sailors and soldiers, a Jeep drive, and a community agreement to limit decorating for Christmas.

A small-town newspaper can illuminate a lot about a small town’s dedication to their troops. Their hopes, fears, and realities can be found in the pages of the Richland County Farmer Globe and the many other North Dakota papers published during those challenging times.

Dakota Datebook by Colby Aderhold


  • Richland County Farmer Globe, November 30th, 1943, page 6
  • Richland County Farmer Globe, November 30th, 1943, page 1
  • Richland County Farmer Globe, November 30th, 1943, page 2
  • Richland County Farmer Globe, November 30th, 1943, page 5

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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