Mandan News

Diane Boit: Pioneer residents mark Golden Wedding, 1938

Diane Boit25 Years Ago – 1988

The Mandan News was the winner of two first place awards in the N.D. Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest for 1988. Part-time news photographer, Rick Scharf, took first in the Sports Photo Division, and the Mandan News staff received first place honors for its Fall Sports Preview section.

Scharf was recently chosen as one of seven winners of the Governor’s Annual Photo Contest and was also chosen as one of the photographers assigned through the North Dakota Horizons magazine to capture the state on film for the upcoming centennial celebration.

Rick Scharf

Rick Scharf

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Family and friends gathered on May 29 to witness the commencement exercises for the MHS class of 1988 at Faris Field, where the 260 seniors were subjected to scorching 94-degree temperatures as wind gusts tried stealing the mortarboards from their heads. Senior speakers for the ceremony were: Michael Schaff, Holly Hegsted and Brian Zeiszler. The class was presented by Wallace Schmeling, MHS principal; diplomas were awarded by Wallace Joersz, president of the Mandan School Board.

Twenty-three seniors also graduated from Flasher High School this past week. Michael Kraft, son of Terrence and Dale Kraft, was the Valedictorian; Salutatorian was Laurie Gerhardt, daughter of Bill and Ellen Gerhard, all of Flasher.


50 Years Ago – 1963

Palma Fristad, staff writer for the Mandan Daily Pioneer, has been named Mandan’s Outstanding Handicapped Citizen, according to Dr. D.W. Lindgren, chairman of the Mayor’s Committee for Employment of the Handicapped. Assisting with the project were Joe Ciavarella, a member of the Mayor’s Committee, and Ken Erlandson, chairman of the committee for the VFW organization.

A crippling arthritic condition at an early age forced her to give up her teaching career in 1943. Shortly after, she joined the staff of the Mandan Daily Pioneer, her expertise being the writing of the daily 25 and 60 Years Ago column.

A leader in the local American Legion Auxiliary and its president during 1954-55, Palma was instrumental in arranging the Veterans Memorial Wall at the Courthouse in 1955. She also wrote Mandan’s history for the city’s 75th Jubilee Year in 1956 and wrote the 75-year history of the First Lutheran Church, printed in booklet form, complete with pictures.


Palma Fristad

Palma Fristad

75 Years Ago – 1938

Judge and Mrs. B.W. Shaw, residents of Mandan since territorial days, received more than 100 guests at their home in celebration of their golden wedding anniversary. Receiving with the Shaws were their son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. LaRue Shaw, and daughter, Mrs. Eleanor Ricker.

Benjamin W. Shaw married Georgia Greenwood Lanterman on May 15, 1888, in Hillsboro, where she had been living with her two brothers, Albert and William Lanterman. After a two-week wedding trip, the couple set up housekeeping in Mandan on June 1, 1888.

Judge Shaw has served as president of the N.D. Bar Association and has been the Morton County judge since 1918. During his years as a Mandan attorney, Shaw defended six men on trial for murder and won acquittal for all of them. Mrs. Shaw is a charter member of Chapter H, PEO Sisterhood and Mandan chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.

The Shaws built their home, at the corner of Second Street and Fourth Avenue N.W., in 1895.

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Commencement week for the 1938 graduating class began with the traditional baccalaureate service held in the Memorial Building with Rev. Father Hildebrand of St. Joseph Catholic church officiating. Music was provided by the Mandan high school chorus.

Included in the Mandan graduating class of 92 seniors are three sets of twins: the Kennelly twins, Margaret and Mary, are the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. T.G.C. Kennelly; the Backsen twins, Henry and Helen, are the children of Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Backsen; and the Kjol twins, John and Marie, are the children of Mr. and Mrs. Gunder Kjol.

From the HITS & MRS. weekly column by Charles F. Pierce: “And from Linton come the story of the farmer’s wife who told the druggist to be careful to write on the bottles of medicine she was ordering “which is for the horse and which is for my husband, cause I don’t want nothing to happen to that horse till the spring plowing is done.”


100 Years Ago – 1913

“The Pioneer has received a news item from Justice McCarthy’s court at Leith- During the past month, John Vetter had John Guyer arrested for an assault which occurred at Raleigh. The court, after hearing all the evidence, found the defendant guilty as charged and fined him five dollars and costs. However, it appears that Mr. Guyer has a lot of friends as the crowd that gathered to hear the case didn’t agree with the judge, and a hat was passed around the courtroom with the result that the fine and costs were collected and turned over. Attorney A. T. Nelson of Carson represented the complaining witness; Attorney R. F. Nash of Flasher, for the defendant.

“First Communion was given at St. Joseph’s church on last Sunday morning at the 9 o’clock mass. Twenty-three boys and 27 girls participated. The procession marched from the rectory to the church where before the mass, the children made their baptismal vows.

“The City Commissioners of the City of Mandan are now receiving a salary of $20 per month or, in other words, $240 per year for his services to the city. According to the recent state legislative session, cities of between 2000 and 4000 population shall receive a monthly salary of not to exceed $20. The last federal census had Mandan’s population at a trifle less than 4,000.


125 Years Ago – 1888

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

May 31, 1888: “On Thursday at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 68 degrees above zero.

“Some of our good Mandan citizens are complaining because when they go to New Salem they are occasionally called tramps.

“Somebody has stolen the Pioneer rain gauge from the back yard of the Pioneer weather observer. It would be a matter of public interest if the thief would return it. No questions will be asked.

“All lovers of music should attend the entertainment given by the Mandan Band tomorrow night. A fifty-cent ticket also pays for strawberries and cream which will be served during the evening.

“Mr. W. B. Foltz has planted 75 acres to wheat, corn, oats etc. since the 23rd of April, and all with one team of horses. As Mr. Foltz renewed his subscription of the Weekly Pioneer today, he remarked that it is the best county newspaper he ever saw in Dakota or anywhere else.

“The observance of Decoration Day (May 30) was very well attended at the Emerson Institute, with the John B. King Post of the Grand Army of the Republic in charge of entertainment. After several musical selections by the women’s choir, the opening address was given by Judge Francis who pleaded for a kindly feeling towards the dead Confederates, as well as the Union boys. He closed with an eloquent appeal for more of that patriotism which caused the brave soldiers, clad in blue, to go forth to save the Union 25 years ago.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email