THAT REMINDS ME: 1889: N.D. avoids being ‘butt of national ridicule’
Although it never happened, there was concern in late October 1889 over N.G. Ordway pushing his way into the U.S. Senate from North Dakota. He had once been Dakota Territory's territorial governor. And the demand for statehood was reported to hav...
Although it never happened, there was concern in late October 1889 over N.G. Ordway pushing his way into the U.S. Senate from North Dakota. He had once been Dakota Territory’s territorial governor. And the demand for statehood was reported to have grown from corruption in his office.
There was to be a special session of the new state Legislature in Bismarck 125 years ago to select two new senators from North Dakota. The session was called for Nov. 19, 1889, by the new North Dakota governor, John Miller.
In October 1889, the following editorial by George B. Winship appeared in the Herald:
“N.G. Ordway came to Dakota a couple of months ago with the intent of pushing himself into the U.S. Senate. He claimed to reside in Bismarck until he found that two would not be allowed from one city. He then transferred himself to Walsh County.
“North Dakota will be the butt of national ridicule if it allows Ordway to get the Senate seat. It is true Ordway is known in the East. Ordway did his utmost to defeat the division of the Dakota Territory. His experience goes back to sergeant-at-arms during President Grant’s second term. Sworn testimony shows he tried to enrich himself.
“Now posing he came from North Dakota would put people in a degrading level.”
Editor Winship asked: “Can the people of North Dakota afford to identify themselves with Ordway and Ordwayism? And can our Legislature afford to endorse him?”
When all was said and done, the first legislative assembly in North Dakota elected Gilbert Pierce and Lyman Casey to the Senate.
Other news items gleaned from the October 1889 issues of the Herald:
- Under the headline, “Good for Charlie,” a story was told about Charlie Adler. He was elected clerk of court for Nelson County, N.D., by a vote of 465 for Charlie to 417 for “the other feller,” giving Charlie a majority of 48.
Charlie ran on the Democratic ticket and was the only candidate on that ticket elected. “His success testifies to his personal popularity and qualification for the place,” the Herald declared.
“He has been tried by people of Nelson County and found satisfactory and competent. His friends, and they are legion, esteem him. He can continue as clerk of courts for Nelson County just as long as he wants.”
- Under the headline, “Frightful,” the Herald told of a threshing machine boiler that exploded on the farm of M.C. Andress near St. Thomas, N.D. It killed three men outright and another was not expected to live. The cause was thought to be a defective valve, although no one lived to know.
The dead were Ed McCaffrey, owner of the machine; Billy Paul, engineer, and Charlie Frazer. R.P. Daily was not expected to survive. The bodies were “frightfully mangled.”
- Under “Infidelity,” the Herald reported: “A hackman was today located in a den of infamy near the English Coulee by Officer Tully, who was looking him up at the insistence of his injured wife. It is a sad story of a husband’s infidelity and betrayal of a faithful wife. He is an old offender, and his wife will not try further to keep up the semblance of family life. She will apply for absolute divorce and return to her former home in St. Paul.”