© 2024
Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Young Martin Tabert


Young Martin Tabert left North Dakota to see the world. While in Florida he ran out of money, was fined for vagrancy and instead of jail time he was leased to the Putman Lumber Company chain gang. At the hands of their whipping boss, Walter Higginbotham, young Tabert was flogged to death. North Dakota attorney Gudmundur Grimson began a successful fight to reform the Florida penal system and was soon joined by an enraged North Dakota Legislature, and the people of North Dakota who donated to the fight.

On this date in 1923, Walter Higginbotham was indicted by a grand jury. Although found guilty, a subsequent appeal freed him. However, the tragic death of Martin Tabert led to prison reform, not only in Florida, but across United States.

Dakota Datebook written by Jim Davis

Billings County Pioneer April 19, 1923
Dakota Datebook “Gudmundur Grimson” June 22-June 24, 2004