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Merry Helm

Norval Baptie

Nov 26, 2020

In the 1890s, World Champion speed skater, John Johnson, raced a young teenager in Bathgate, North Dakota. Afterwards, Johnson told a Minneapolis reporter, “He’s the fastest fellow on a small rink that I’ve ever seen… he’s got such marvelous control that he could skate in a wash tub. His name is Norval Baptie. Keep the name in mind because you’ll be hearing a lot about him.” By the time he was 16, Norval Baptie fulfilled that prophecy by becoming the speed skating World Champion. And it was on this date in 1966, that he died.


News from around the state on this date:

In 1894, Fessenden was itching to take over the Wells County seat, which they took from Sykeston ten days earlier. Sykeston lost the election fair and square, but things weren’t moving fast enough for some; so, a number of Fessenden residents took 20 wagons to Sykeston and forcibly took possession of county records.

These other events on this date come from 1911. 


On this date in 1943, Earl Charles Reineke married Jane Marie Early. He was a broadcaster, and she was a dancer and professional model. Before his death, Reineke established a foundation to establish an educational or scientific memorial in Fargo, and when she died, half of Mrs. Reineke’s estate was added to the foundation. Their shared dream materialized with the construction of the Reineke Fine Arts Center at NDSU in 1982.

Roy Rogers

Nov 11, 2020


On this date in 1950, the results of the Sears-Roebuck safety slogan contest in Bismarck were in. The winner was a 10-year-old from Ft. Lincoln, for his slogan, “Go Slow or You’ll Go – Fast.” His award was a gold-colored statue of Roy Rogers’ horse, Trigger.


On this date in 1912, a man named John Schrank shot Theodore Roosevelt in the chest with a 32 caliber gun. Roosevelt was on the campaign trail as he sought to return to the presidency.

Missile Silos

Oct 12, 2020


On this date in 1960, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on his desk and declared to U.S. citizens, “We will bury you!” One year later, on October 6th, 1961, President Kennedy urged Americans to build bomb shelters to protect them from atomic fallout. 

A nuclear conflict with Russia would likely mean an missiles and planes crossing the arctic. That made North Dakota an appropriate place for the country to locate nuclear missiles. 

Carrington Meteor

Oct 9, 2020


On a cold winter night in 1910, a 600-pound meteorite lying on a sidewalk in Carrington disappeared and was never seen again.

Thousands of meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere every single day, but only a few survive to hit the dirt. For example, on this date in 1992, thousands of people heard a sonic boom, then watched as a meteor burst into flames and streaked across the eastern sky. A thirty-pound chunk of the meteor hit a parked car in New York state.


In the late 1800s, hordes of journalists and photographers traveled west to get stories and pictures of Native Americans in the news. But it was a little-known Bismarck photographer who got the first pictures of two of the most famous.

On this date in 1887, Chief Joseph surrendered with the words, “I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

It was on this date in 1961 that a shy baseball player from Fargo stunned the sports world in one of the most anticipated games ever played. Roger Maris hit his 61st home run, breaking the record set by Babe Ruth for the most home runs in one season.


Helen Virginia Briggs was born on this date in 1910 and grew up in Fargo. Her father was an insurance broker; and her mother an exceptional golfer who won the State Golf Championship three times.

Helen preferred her middle name, Virginia. She was a petite, blue-eyed blond who was active in all facets of life at Fargo Central High. After she graduated in 1929, the family moved to California.