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Albert F. Price


Albert F. Price was appointed as the first United States Marshal for the District of North Dakota on this day in 1890. Although Price was technically not the first U. S. Marshal of the area now known as North Dakota, he did receive the original appointment for the State of North Dakota. Initially included into the Territory of Dakota along with the area of present-day South Dakota, North Dakota did not become a state until its admittance into the Union as such on November 2, 1889. Up to that time, peace in the area was kept by the U. S. Marshal of the Dakota Territory. The first appointment to that position was granted to William F. Shaffer on March 27, 1861, only twenty-five days after the creation of Dakota as a United States Territory. Shaffer became one of only seven marshals to maintain order in the Dakota Territory until North Dakota’s admission as a State.

The Dakota Territory was divided into the present-day boundaries of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana on February 22nd, 1889, but North and South Dakota were not admitted as the thirty-ninth and fortieth states until November 2nd of that year. After that time, the Dakota Territory marshalship of Daniel W. Maratta was replaced by Cyrus J. Fry in South Dakota, and Albert F. Price in North Dakota. The two marshals were appointed to their positions by President Benjamin Harrison. Both Fry and Price served the customary four-year term as marshals until 1893. Several well-known historical figures have served in the capacity of North and South Dakota marshals. In 1905, the South Dakota marshalship would be taken over by the legendary Seth Bullock, of Deadwood fame. North Dakota Marshal Kenneth Muir served as marshal from 1981 until his death in 1983 during the infamous Medina shoot-out.

Currently, the position of United States Marshal for North Dakota is filled by David S. Carpenter of Bismarck. Carpenter was appointed on August 8 of 2002 by President George W. Bush. As U. S. Marshal, Carpenter “...oversees fourteen deputy marshals, twenty court security officers, and three administrative employees”. As the tragic death of Marshal Muir illustrates, little has changed for North Dakota’s marshals in the last one hundred years: they are asked to put their lives on the line on a daily basis in order to ensure the safety and security of North Dakota’s citizens.






--Jayme L Job