Mandan News

Diane Boit: TurkeyTrack Bill acquitted of murder, 1913


25 Years Ago – 1988

Robert Chase has been unanimously elected chairman of the Morton County Commission. Chase served as vice chairman in 1987 and is in the final year of his first term. Elected vice president for 1988 is Michael Schaaf.

The Morton County Commission has appointed Ronald Otto as Veterans Service Officer to replace the retiring John Swanson.

Robert Chase, chairman of the Morton County Commission in 1988.

Eleven candidates are vying for the honor of the 1988 Winter Daze Queen. Candidates include Debby Miller, Annette Eckroth, Charlene Butler, Jennifer Kraft, Candice Gartner, Krystal Keidel, Annie Eckroth, Pam Hatzenbuehler, Diane Fleck, Erna Jacobchick and Cindy Piela.

The Antique Gallery has opened at 300 W. Main St. Owners of the business are Jan and Bob Barr, who have been collecting and dealing in antiques for more than 20 years.

The Mandan Braves Wrestling Team has made a tough first impression on the Lions of Bishop Ryan, defeating them, 63-6. Among the Braves who tallied pins are Craig Zachmeier, Troy Fleck, Dean Schmidt, Lee Brady, David Berger, Rick Block, Rick Padilla and Neil Anderson. Mandan is now 1-2 in dual competition, losing to Bismarck and Century, the top two teams in the state.

An ad from a 1988 issue of the Mandan News for Pat's Foods, located at 200 Second Ave. N.W. The owner of the store was Pat Sitter.

50 Years Ago – 1963

It was another strikeout for the Mandan Braves basketball team as they were defeated 61-37 by the Williston Coyotes. The Braves, without the services of Bill Block and Jim Koch, who are at home with the flu, played a much better floor game than usual, but it was the cool shooting on their part that gave the contest to Williston. Top scorer for Mandan was sophomore John Grunseth with 10 points, followed by senior Gary Gustin and sophomore “Butch” Ressler, with 7 points apiece. Mandan is now 0-6 in the Western Dakota Association.

Senator Quentin Burdick has announced that the federal government has officially turned over the old Mandan Post Office building to the city of Mandan for use as a public library. According to Mandan Mayor John Handtmann, the reserve fund of $16,400 established from the sale of the lots where the new post office is now located will be used to renovate the old building into suitable conditions for a new library.

Funeral services were held at Hoenig Funeral Home for 21-year-old Gary F. Schantz, who was killed in an early morning car accident on U.S. Highway 10, west of Mandan. After reporting the crash, the injured driver told police officers arriving at the scene that he had no memory of the accident and thought that he had been alone in the car. Schantz’ body was later spotted by a passing motorist in a pasture about 106 feet from the crash. Gary was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Schantz, of Mandan, and leaves a wife and one child.


75 Years Ago – 1938

The Pirates downed the Syndicate pucksters in a hockey game on the South Side rink Sunday afternoon by a score of 21 to 4. The game was called at the end of the third 15-minute quarter.

In the Pirate lineup were: Tony Brucker, goalie; John Brucker, center; J. Schmidt and Joe McCartney, guards; Albert Brucker, right wing, and John Froelich, left wing.

Playing for Syndicate were: Bud Flaten, goalie; Joe Youngblut, center; S. Peterson and F. Armstrong, guards; G. Uhlman, right wing; and Harold House, left wing.

Frank Brucker officiated as referee.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mandan fire fighters and followers are elated over the delivery of the city’s new fire truck, a 1 1/2-ton I.H.C. model, with a gleaming red and brightly-polished nickel finish. The entire cost of the truck is about $2,500, which covers the cost of the chassis and a few new fixtures, most of the equipment being salvaged from an old fire truck. Plenty of water and pressure is assured through a 600-gallon rotary pump and a 250-gallon booster tank. Three ladders are also fastened on the side of the truck, a regular 24-foot ladder, a 14-foot roof ladder and a 16-foot attic ladder.


100 Years Ago – 1913

“After having been out since 5:30 o’clock Saturday afternoon, the jury in the case of the State of North Dakota vs. William ‘TurkeyTrack’ Molash, charged with the murder of one Guy Bolton at Shields, N.D., on August 25, returned a verdict of acquittal at 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon: Twenty-two hours and a half hours were necessary for the jury to make up their minds.

“Attorney B. W. Shaw, who defended Molash, made the testimony of Dr. Fisher of Bismarck, the physician who examined the wound in Bolton’s body, one of the chief features of the defense. Four witnesses testified that ‘TurkeyTrack’ was lying on the ground when the fatal shot was fired at Bolton. But, according to Dr. Fisher, the shot entering Bolton’s body had taken a horizontal course, which, according to Attorney Shaw, precluded the possibility of Molash doing the shooting. In his closing remarks, Attorney Shaw claimed that had Molash shot the bullet, it would have entered the body and gone in an upward direction. ‘Molash is innocent!’ stated Shaw.

“Following the acquittal, Molash was released from custody Sunday evening, and exited the courtroom, surrounded by his many friends who had attended the proceedings. After spending several days in the city, TurkeyTrack left on Thursday morning for Shields. It is stated that he will leave shortly for South America where he will work on the ranch of Murdoch McKenzie, formerly of Bismarck.

“States Attorney H. R. Bitzing handled the case for the State and Attorney B. W. Shaw represented the defendant. This was the sixth murder case which Attorney Shaw has defended in Morton County, and in which an acquittal was secured.”


125 Years Ago – 1888

The village of Mandan was organized in the spring of 1881; by 1888 its population was at 2,600.

January 11, 1888: “On Friday, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 18 degrees below zero.

“A letter from England addressed to ‘Mandan U. S. A.’ had the word ‘Dakota’ promptly added to the envelope in the New York post office.

“General Edwin C. Mason, of the department of Dakota, needs to be watched. In his annual report to the department commander, he says: ‘I again recommend the abandonment of Forts Sisseton and Abraham Lincoln, Dak.’ This gentleman should be looked after and reasoned with.

“The School Board had a meeting last night at which several bills were allowed. A motion was then passed closing the school indefinitely, owing to the prevalence of scarlet fever.

“We are sorry to have to report our efficient assistant, Sidney Jones, as being under the weather. First, he mashed his hand in the press, and though the accident will not result in a permanent injury, it is yet very painful and tiresome. The nervous shock from the accident has been followed by quinsy, palpitation of the heart and other suffering. With careful treatment and the fine strengthening air of Dakota, we have every reason to hope for a speedy recovery.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email