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News from Home


It’s not a surprise that “the media,” a blanket term we use to describe that large information network and consisting of so many mediums, is rarely looked upon as a blessing.

Yet North Dakota’s history holds these sources of information, and especially newspapers, in spots of honor. Rife with the ongoing troubles and tribulations of each time, newspapers are a rich documentation of current events. More than that, they chronicle the reaction of their citizens and families; they remain a store of memory and feeling for the times.

One of the reasons for this is that immigrants and settlers were stretched out across the wide, open prairie. The papers provided a way to keep in touch with each other, with hometowns and home news. They were more than a record of deaths and births, more than a timeline to history lessons. They were filled with heart.

A major feature of papers, especially small town papers, consisted of a record of the comings and goings of people of the community. These columns were written by both men and women who had their fingers on the pulse of the community. But on occasion, these men and women added their own history to the columns they wrote, just through the slant of their pen.

On this day in 1950, one of those columnists added her flavor to the notes. From Hensler, she wrote,

“Dear Readers: Here is a new letter writer for the next four weeks, don’t know how much news she will find, but will try my best.”

This woman of the “Hensler Homemakers,” as she signed the letter, reported that threshing and combining was nearly done in most of the neighborhoods around town. She reported that Tommy Howard McCone had been born, and wished the McCones a hearty “Congradulations” (sic)! She reported that Archie Echenrode was helping Anno build an addition onto his home, and that Mrs. Edelbrock was going to Fargo for the teacher’s convention. She reported that duck hunting was in “full swing” and the hunting was good. And “Holmes and Gregory” were fine, despite the “accident which could have been very serious when their team ran away throwing both men from the trailer.”

She said that she guessed this was “all for now,” but her column, and the columns of those like her, survive to paint a picture of the prairie.

By Sarah Walker


The Center Republican, Thursday, October 19, 1950