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Merry Helm

  • Yesterday, we told you about Heber Creel’s efforts to gain control of the land on the north shore of Devils Lake as the railway headed in that direction. Creel and his cronies used every tactic, legal or not, to make sure they would make a tidy profit if the railroad bought their claims.
  • In 1880, Heber Creel was a Second Lieutenant in the Seventh Cavalry stationed at Fort Totten at Devils Lake. There, he created detailed maps of the lake and the adjacent reservation. A year later, he was building a telegraph line to the railhead at Larimore when he was drawn in by increasing speculation about where the railroad was next headed. As interest in the land around Devils Lake increased, the 27-year-old got land fever, resigned his post and bet on the lake’s northern edge.
  • Today marks the anniversary of one of the most memorable basketball games in North Dakota history as the Hillsboro Burros took on the Epping Eagles for the 1977 State Class B championship.
  • Elizabeth Preston Anderson was born in Indiana on this date in 1861. Her father was a Methodist pastor. Her first memory was at the age of two, when she was awakened to say goodbye to her mother as she lay dying. Other early memories were the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln.
  • 1919 was a year of great upheaval. Across the country, the working class rebelled against corporate greed by walking off the job. World War I had been over for only a year, and the world was still reeling from the 1918 flu pandemic. The cost of living had almost doubled. Workers’ pre-war dollars were now worth only 45 cents. Industrialists that grew rich from the war now wanted to cut wages and take away gains made by labor. Countless numbers of American workers went on strike, and conservatives feared a revolution similar to the Bolsheviks’ takeover of Russia.
  • Alfred Howe Terry was born into a prosperous Connecticut family on this date in 1827. He graduated from Yale with a law degree and worked for a Connecticut Superior Court.
  • On this date in 1945, the first issue of Ebony Magazine was published, and one doesn’t typically associate Black culture with early North Dakota, but one of the state’s most noted celebrities is an African American woman who started out on a farm near Driscoll.
  • In 1905 on this date, Orville Wright piloted the first flight longer than a half hour. It lasted 33 minutes, 17 seconds and covered 21 miles. Five years later, Frank Kent, the Grand Forks postmaster, became the first airplane passenger in North Dakota when Archie Hoxsey, a member of the Wright brothers’ Flying Circus, made an appearance at the Grand Forks fairgrounds and took Kent up for a nine-minute flight.
  • Dr. Gilbert Wilson, a University of Minnesota anthropologist, journeyed to North Dakota around 1912 to interview Buffalobird-Woman, who was in her 70s.
  • On this date in 1923, an article in the Bismarck Tribune invited the “Ford Family” to compete for prizes in a special event. Although Ford Day would include a special greeting from Henry Ford, the “Ford Family” referred to meant Ford vehicle owners. The sponsor, Copelin Motor Company, would be giving a free touring car to one lucky registrant.