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Lost and Found

9/13/2016:

Two stories of the lost being found took place on this date in 1923. Our first story takes place in McLean County in a little town called Dogden, which was founded in 1906 along the Soo Line Railroad. The village got its name from a nearby landmark, Dogden Butte, which was favored by dens of wolves.

On September 13, 1923, an eighteen-month old girl named Lillian Disapenko wandered away from her parents’ home in Dogden. After a time, she apparently laid down and fell asleep. Unfortunately, the place she chose was on the railroad tracks.

The engineer of an oncoming Soo Line passenger train spotted Lillian, but by the time he managed to stop the train, the locomotive, two baggage cars and part of a passenger car had already passed over her. The baby was rushed to a Bismarck hospital, but she was found to have only a few bumps and bruises – which she may have sustained before ever reaching the tracks.

By the way... four years after this event, Dogden underwent a name change – to Butte.

Our second lost and found story took place on the same day and concerns a “traveling man” who brought a 16-year-old girl to Valley City, got her a job and set her up with room and board. He told people that he met her and a man trudging along the road near Jamestown, and that she had appealed to him for help.

Goldie Schumacker was from Wisconsin, and it was from her hometown of Prairie du Chien that she said she’d been kidnapped six months earlier. Since then, she had been traveling with the perpetrator, an employee from a garage back home. By September, Goldie was ragged and haggard, and when she appealed to the Good Samaritan, he ran the kidnapper off and rescued her.

The local police checked out Goldie’s story with authorities in Prairie du Chien, who confirmed that the girl was indeed kidnapped the previous May. Goldie turned to the Salvation Army in Valley City for help. They, in turn, asked local businessmen for contributions, and a fund was raised to help the girl return home.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm