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Chicken Mystery, Part 1


At the beginning of the summer in 1945, the secretary of the American Legion Post in Ashley asked the editor of the Ashley Tribune to report on what he and many others called a mystery: Some chicken had strayed from the chicken barn, and were lost.

The paper really upped the advertising ante on these chickens. Every week or every other week, at least, something was announced about them. Certainly residents of Ashley followed the tongue-in-cheek calls for lost chickens with interest.

The birds were some of those being fed and cared for by the members of the local Legion Post and so belonged to the returning brothers, husbands, "sweethearts" and friends. A "substantial" reward for the chickens, "dead or alive," was offered.

Throughout the summer, the mystery merely increased. The Ashley Tribune increased this hoopla, asking, "Have you ever argued the question as to which came first, the chicken or the egg? … Another mystery, almost as great and intriguing as (that question), is the whereabouts of the Legion chickens."

Continuing the story, they reported to have hired a "super snooper sleuth" by the name of Slim Seekumout from an agency known as the "Huntem and Findum" detective agency. The week after "Slim" entered the tragic chickens' tale, he reportedly left, and was evasive upon questioning.

The paper reported that "In fact, (Slim) was almost genial, making apparent attempts to be funny even to the extent of springing that old corny gag about 'Why does a chicken cross the road?' When (the Ashley Tribune reportedly) told him it might be to get one of the lost Legion Chickens trying to find its way home, he emitted a laugh that sounded like a hyena chasing a cackling hen, called us a dope, and said the chickens merely wanted to get to the other side. As if we didn't know."

It was determined that the detective had run "afowl" of some bribery tactics—or that he had found nothing at all.

On this day, the tongue-in-cheek was mostly done, and residents would soon find out what the chicken story meant. The Legion had intended to raise the chickens and sell them in the fall, using the proceeds to fund a huge one-day celebration for servicemen, once they returned.

They called for other ideas for money. Listen to Datebook on August 27 to hear more about these ideas.


The Ashley Tribune and the Wishek News, Thursday, July 26, 1945

The Ashley Tribune and the Wishek News, Thursday, August 2, 1945

The Ashley Tribune and the Wishek News, Thursday, August 23, 1945