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A variety of towns waxed and waned along the Missouri River in North Dakota, like Deapolis, Sanger and Wogansport. Wogansport is about 18 miles north of Bismarck on the east bank of the Missouri River, but not much remains today except for a farm or two. However, a post office established on this date in 1882 seemed to promise good things for the site.

Henry Francis Wogan was the first postmaster. He may be the town’s namesake, but some folks say it was Thomas Wagonman, who also helped promote Wogansport. Henry Wogan later became president of “North Dakota University,” a privately funded four-year college in Bismarck. The college was chartered in 1891 and had five 10-week terms a year. It apparently existed for some time, perhaps as late as 1917.

Wogan had grand plans for the town of Wogansport, even dreaming of incorporating a university there, but it never happened. Referred to as “Professor” Wogan, he was a highly educated man, with five degrees from colleges in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. He was also a Civil War veteran, a clergyman, insurance broker and president of an oil company. Henry Wogan died in 1925 in Minneapolis.

Wogansport had a few colorful characters. Frank Russo Simons was another postmaster and a fairly well known plant researcher. Simons planted trees along Wogansport’s streets, which years later still defined the town’s layout. In 1915, the post office that started Wogansport closed. Mail went to Baldwin, North Dakota, about six miles east.

Wogansport eventually came to be like other early towns along the Missouri in North Dakota: Just a farm or two along a road, like Sanger, Price, Livona and others.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura


Illinois Wesleyan University. (2017, Jan. 3). Finding aid for Illinois Wesleyan University’s archives

North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction. (1892). Biennial of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Bismarck, ND: Tribune, State Printers and Binders

[No author]. (1917). A thousand American men of mark. Chicago, IL: American Men of Mark

State of Minnesota. (1925). Henry Wogan death certificate

Wick, D.A. (1989). North Dakota place names. Bismarck, ND: Prairie House