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Wanted: Helpmate

1/28/2015:

In 1908, the North Dakota we know and love today was different. There were no cars, no phones, no computers. There were lanterns and letters home. There was hard work. Sometimes, there was just a claim, a farm, and a man.

And so , there was also loneliness on the vast, open prairie, so far removed from cities and people. Maybe this was especially true in the winter; there was always work, but there was also cold, a terrible cold that set into your bones. There was no place to go, and who would want to, in that cold? And if there was no one nearby to keep you warm, what else could you turn to?

So, in 1908, a group of 15 bachelors living in Anamoose banded together in an attempt to do something about it. They called themselves the Roosevelt Bachelor’s club, and they made it their goal to find themselves a sweetie.

In their goal to seek some company, the men wrote this ever-so-romantic letter to the editor of the Minneapolis Tribune. On this date, the men eagerly awaited a reply after their letter appeared in the Minneapolis paper. The letter stated:

“Dear Sir: We have about 15 bachelors in our township. Every one owns a quarter section of land, good houses, barns, stock and buggies, each farm worth from $5,000 on an average and in a well settled country. We raise the finest wheat in North Dakota. All we want now is good housewives. There are few women here and we have no chance to get acquainted. The boys are hard workers, Germans and Scandinavians.

“We want good, sensible Christian companions not afraid of a little housework. We would like to correspond with German or Scandinavian girls belonging to the Protestant Church, age about 25 to 40; widows are just as desirable. Send us your photos and we will correspond with you. We are not jesting and will give you good homes and the best of care.

All correspondence will be confidential.”

Although perhaps the way the bachelors sought some companions was not quite so romantic as reciting Keating or Yeats, one hopes they found the women they were searching for. After all, their sentiment was the same as the lyrics of that immortal song: Everybody needs somebody to love.

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker

Sources:

Ward County Independent, January 30, 1908, Thursday