Homecoming ’99 Part 3
If you were listening earlier this month, you heard tales of the boys of North Dakota’s First Infantry, returning from fighting in the Philippine Insurrection in 1899. The government had given the boys the option of being mustered out of San Francisco or from North Dakota, but if they were mustered out of San Francisco, they had a chance of keeping more money upon their return. They opted for San Francisco, and were there for a good few weeks. However, on this day, they were on a train, in the midst of a five-day journey, begun on the 26th, taking them home to Dakota.
In the meantime, however, North Dakotans worried about the safe arrival of their men. For some time, they were raising funds by selling badges at a dollar a badge. The Bismarck Daily Tribune reported that they would be on sale at the First National Bank, the headquarters of the finance committee, as well as at the Capital Book Store, Beardsley’s drug store, Remington’s drug store, the Sheridan house or Grand Pacific, the Tribune, and other businesses. Those who bought the badges were encouraged to wear them—a reminder for those who hadn’t bought them, as well as a mark of pride in the boys who would return.
There had been some question as to whether to use the money to fund the return trip of Company A, or for funding a reception for the boys. It was put up as a question to those donating money and buying badges. The answer was to bring the boys home for free.
Badges were being sold and bought across the entire state. Local residents who bought badges were listed day after day in the paper, along with a number of how many they bought. According to the paper, “The sale in Bismarck should equal or excel any town of its size in the state.” However, badges were being sold at a far more rapid rate in other areas matching Bismarck’s population. $1700 was raised in Fargo, $1000 in Valley City and $500 in Jamestown. The Tribune reported that “if enough $1 sales cannot be made to raise sufficient funds, our people are going right down into their pockets and pull out extra dollars for the fund.”
“I pay for A; do you?” the paper asked.
The overwhelming answer brought the men home.
Bismarck Daily Tribune, Wednesday, August 30, 1899
Bismarck Daily Tribune, Saturday, Sept. 9, 1899
Bismarck Daily Tribune, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 1899
Bismarck Daily Tribune, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 1899