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John Fraine’s Enlistment


John Fraine was the tenth Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota and he also served in the North Dakota House, and one contribution he made to the state that’s still familiar today is the state flag, which he introduced to the legislature in 1911. But Fraine also served in the military. It was on this date in 1898 that Fraine enlisted as captain for Company C of the First North Dakota Infantry. Prior to that he had been Company C as a member of the National Guard.

Fraine served seventeen months during the Philippine Insurrection. He fought in twenty-four engagements, including the battles of Manila and Santa Cruz. Fraine took part in three campaigns under General Henry Ware Lawton, the only American general officer killed in the war. Lawton praised Fraine’s “very effective work” while under attack. Fraine rose in rank, earning the rank of major.

Fraine’s battalion earned high praise. Despite five days to gather men for the First North Dakota Infantry and a lack of funds, training and equipment, Fraine had recruited his quota of men. All told, 450 North Dakotans shipped out to the Philippines as part of the First North Dakota Infantry’s eight battalions.

The First North Dakota did it all in the Philippines. They combed the countryside for insurgents and searched for hidden steam launches, capturing four. First North Dakota troops also did occupation duty in Morong, but this wore them down as their morale and health worsened in the town. Morong became “more wrong.”

John Fraine also served with the National Guard in the Mexican Border Incident of 1916 and in England and France during World War I. Fraine was serving, as a colonel, when the First North Dakota was renamed the 164th Infantry Regiment. He stayed true to his good character when he ensured compensation for Frenchmen whose stoves, chocolate and wine were stolen by the 164th after a “cold, miserable trip” riding cattle cars across France. After World War I, Fraine’s career ended as the last man to have served since North Dakota’s territorial days. Fraine died in 1943.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura


(1901). Compendium of history and biography of North Dakota. Chicago, IL: Geo. A. Ogle & Co. Retrieved from:

"https://books.google.com/books?id=P1Q0AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA221&lpg=PA221&dq=john+fraine+april+26,+1898&source=bl&ots=JmFwTAB7LQ&sig=Nh-K_byJpd2UxCfiTzTI_K9zt_c&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi33pDIwunLAhVHl4MKHXJ4AX4Q6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=john%20fraine%20april%2026%2C%201898&f=false" https://books.google.com/books?id=P1Q0AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA221&lpg=PA221&dq=john+fraine+april+26,+1898&source=bl&ots=JmFwTAB7LQ&sig=Nh-K_byJpd2UxCfiTzTI_K9zt_c&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi33pDIwunLAhVHl4MKHXJ4AX4Q6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=john%20fraine%20april%2026%2C%201898&f=false

Conlin, P.W. (2002). The citizen-soldiers: An abbreviated history of the North Dakota national guard. Retrieved from:

"http://www.ndguard.ngb.army.mil/history/abbreviatedhistory/Documents/NDNG%20Abbreviated%20History.pdf" http://www.ndguard.ngb.army.mil/history/abbreviatedhistory/Documents/NDNG%20Abbreviated%20History.pdf

Cooper, J. & Smith, G. (1986). Citizens as soldiers: A history of the North Dakota national guard. Fargo, ND: Institute for Regional Studies. Retrieved from:

"https://books.google.com/books?id=m1j1h8Ovyh8C&pg=PA214&lpg=PA214&dq=john+fraine+north+dakota&source=bl&ots=mzqcop4feJ&sig=OcO2Tp628TTCHezfKRNkTn7pXrg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjwzsuundjLAhXFtRQKHbZpCrAQ6AEIOzAF#v=onepage&q=john%20fraine%20north%20dakota&f=false" https://books.google.com/books?id=m1j1h8Ovyh8C&pg=PA214&lpg=PA214&dq=john+fraine+north+dakota&source=bl&ots=mzqcop4feJ&sig=OcO2Tp628TTCHezfKRNkTn7pXrg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjwzsuundjLAhXFtRQKHbZpCrAQ6AEIOzAF#v=onepage&q=john%20fraine%20north%20dakota&f=false