Editor Edgar Hull Lost In a Prairie Snowstorm, 1908
Today’s story is about fear and snowstorms and perilous travel over the prairies in November 1908. There was a man named Edgar A. Hull who lived in Burleigh County, 32 miles east of Bismarck, near Driscoll. Mr. Hull and his wife, Florence, lived on a farm with their six children. Besides farming, Hull published the local newspaper, the Driscoll News. And this busy editor also printed the Wilton News.
A vigorous man at age 46, Hull made regular trips from Driscoll to Wilton, driving a horse and buggy, and sometimes going by train, in order to operate both newspapers.
On a late-November Monday morning with his two-horse team pulling a farm wagon with a buggy tied behind, Hull set out from Driscoll for the 55-mile-long trip, a distance he had covered many times in less than a day.
Monday was a pleasant day with no snow anywhere, but a snowfall began on Tuesday, coming in a flurry. The snow fell to a depth of sixteen inches – it was said to be the heaviest snow “ever known in 48 years on the Missouri Slope.” Strong winds arose and menacing snowdrifts accumulated.
No word of Hull’s whereabouts came to Mrs. Hull for three long days. Normally, the methodical and cautious editor phoned home to say he reached Wilton, or to tell her he was staying at a farmhouse along the way.
Mrs. Hull, becoming anxious, sent out searchers from Driscoll, who made little progress against the drifting snow. A search party from Wilton also found no trace of Hull. All feared he was lost, frozen to death.
Finally, on Friday, on this date, in 1908, the Bismarck Tribune reported: “Hull Is Safe,” that Hull had arrived in Wilton.
Hull had spent his first night at a farmplace, and then the Tuesday snowfall forced him to stop for shelter with another farmer 14 miles from Wilton, where he stayed for three days.
After the cold and blustery late-November snowstorm adventure was over, Editor Hull was actually a bit miffed. He told reporters by phone: “I don’t see why the Tribune and the people are making such a big fuss over my not getting to Wilton on Tuesday as I expected.” A typically-tough North Dakotan, Hull fully-expected to get to his destination, despite the wintry hazard.
Dakota Datebook written by Dr. Steve Hoffbeck, MSU Moorhead History Department.
Sources: “Hull Is Safe,” Bismarck Daily Tribune, November 28, 1908, p. 5.
“Editor Hull Not Yet Found,” Grand Forks Daily Herald, November 27, 1908, p. 1.
“Editor Hull May Have Been Lost,” Grand Forks Daily Herald, November 26, 1908, p. 6.
“Editor Hull Is Still Missing,” Bismarck Tribune, November 27, 1908, p. 5.
“E.A. Hull Lost,” Bismarck Tribune, November 26, 1908, p. 5.
“Solicitude of Friends Makes Editor Hull, Found After Search, Hostile,” Grand Forks Daily Herald, November 28, 1908, p. 1.
Edgar A. Hull, Driscoll, Burleigh County, ND, 1910 U.S. Census.