Mandan News

Two Memorial Days observed, 1914, 1889

Diane Boit

25 Years Ago – 1989
A large crowd attended the 87th annual Mandan High School commencement ceremony for 258 graduates held outdoors at Faris Field on Sunday, May 28. In honor of North Dakota’s Centennial year, senior class president Jason Arenz introduced State Representative, and former MHS graduate, Dan Ulmer as the special centennial speaker. Presentation of class was made by W. R. Schmeling, senior high principal; diplomas were awarded by James Boehm, president of the Board of Education.

Honor students, who were both members of the National Honor Society and had received the President’s Academic Fitness Award are: Aaron Aaker, Dean Balstad, Jill Beckler, Rebecca Boehm, Jason Boit, Stephanie Dietrich, Gregory Fitterer, Tanya Fueller, Steven Hagerott, Brian Hebert, Shannon Hilfer, Kristine Huppler, Katherine Knudson, Susan Koch, Karla Kraft, Marcus Krebsbach, Marcus Lacher, Jay Lundstrom, Christina Maruska, Kory Miller, Kevin Munns, David Serrano, Joyce Stastny Virgil Voeller, Abbie Walter, Kevin Weigel and Sarah Zittlow.

50 Years Ago – 1964
Wanda Schwartz, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Schwartz, has been installed Worthy Advisor of the Order of Rainbow for Girls at ceremonies conducted in the Mandan Masonic Temple. She succeeds Gretchen Schaaf. The crowning ceremony was performed by the officers of the DeMolay chapter: Paul Holton, John Standal, Bob Niles, Virgil Bolt, Bill Malmgren and Tom Smythe.

Graduation exercises were held this week for 60 eighth-graders of St. Joseph School. Before receiving their diplomas, the students attended an evening mass given by Rev. Thomas Chambers and also sang several songs under the direction of Sister Millicent. Following the services, the graduates and their parents enjoyed refreshments in the school cafeteria. Special guests were three of the nine living first graduates of St. Joseph’s School who received their eighth grade diplomas 50 years ago: Mrs. A. J. (Bridella Cantwell) Hammerel, Mrs. Rose (Rambur) Lanz and Joseph Broshard.

75 Years Ago – 1939
An old-fashioned merry-go-round theme was the setting for the outstanding social function of the school year- the Annual Junior Prom, held in the auditorium of the Memorial building. Red and white streamers, extending from the center of the improvised merry-go-around to the exterior, formed a false ceiling for the ballroom. Poles in the two colors extending from the ceiling to the floor and to which were attached the miniature horses, completed the theme. Baskets of tulips, lilacs, irises and other spring flowers completed the decorative theme. Dance music for the Prom’s 75 couples was provided by the White Jackets orchestra.

Leading the evening’s grand march was Keith McClelland, junior class president, and his partner, Miss JoAnn Smith. They were followed by the senior class president, Robert Zahn, and his partner, Miss Marie Eckroth. Several hundred parents and friends were seated in the spectator’s gallery during the evening.

Bright red poppies bloomed on lapels of Mandan residents this past week as members of the auxiliary organizations of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion began their annual Memorial Day sales campaigns. The Legion Auxiliary had as its headquarters the Mandan 40 and 8 locomotive and boxcar which was parked on West Main, while the VFW ladies had its headquarters at the McDonald Hotel, the corner of 3rd Ave. and First St. N.W.

100 Years Ago – 1914
“G. W. Harmon, Sylvester P. Shields, J. F. Williams, W. P. Reynolds, Martin Whitmer, John C. Ellis, John W. Dunehay, R. E. Smith, Josiah Richardson, Zalmon Gilbert, Silas Hoffman, J. Welch, John Bleich, Jacob Christiansen.

“When the above names were called in the years passed, one by one…comrades answered for them ‘Absent.’ Those veterans of the Civil War, many of them veterans of the Indian wars, have heard taps blown for the last time and are sleeping the long rest in Union Cemetery at Mandan.

“At 9 o’clock this morning, a squad of Company F and the veterans of the G. A. R. were driven to the city of the dead and there placed flags and wreaths on the graves. The veterans were: C. A. Woodward, C. A. Heegard, C. P. Thurston, Thomas McCormick, James Flanagan, Thomas Utley, W. L. Gibson, Thomas Conroy, Sgt. James Flanagan, along with John Nelson and Melvin Watson, both of Fort Rice.

“Just before noon, they all assembled downtown at the Custer flag pole while the Barnes Circus band played national airs. At 12 noon Sergeant Flanagan raised the flag from half-mast to the top of the pole while the band played the Star Spangled Banner, and the crowd stood with heads uncovered.”

125 Years Ago – 1889
The village of Mandan was organized in the spring of 1881; just eight years later, statehood was the talk of the Dakota Territory.

“On Thursday, May 30, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 76 degrees above zero.

“This being a legal holiday, the banks were closed, but the post office was open, the same as on Sundays.

“The Memorial Day exercises held today at the Emerson Institute was very much enjoyed by all who attended. The building was completely filled, there being scarcely an inch of standing room that was not occupied.

“Commander O. V. Davis of the Grand Army of the Republic post acted as chairman of the day, and he introduced the speakers, as well as the school children who performed the memorial of flowers.

“The first speaker was Mr. A. M. Packard who eulogized the soldiers that had saved the country from being divided. He, not only, gave credit for the heroism of the noted generals of the war who perished on the field of battle but offered due praise to the thousands of private soldiers who also perished during the more than four long years of fighting.

“Judge Francis followed with an eloquent address in which he gave deserved compliments to the women of the day who did so much for the wounded and dying soldiers. He also gave words of encouragement to the Sons of Veterans and said that any young man should feed proud that he is a son of one of the veterans who fought in the ‘60s.
“The judge then said, ‘Although you will never be called on to fight in such a war as your fathers fought in, you have responsibilities- be honest, be manly, and do the duty that comes to you.

“ ‘ Let us now, as we are about to come into the union of states, devotedly trust and pray that in the hereafter, when we have all passed away and when these sons of veterans have passed away, and when upon the broad acres of this great Dakota territory shall have arisen towns and population that we can scarcely imagine, that the memory of the war for the Union may continue unmarred through all succeeding generations.’

“As Judge Francis took his seat, he was greeted with warm and long continued applause.

“The final part of the program was the memorial of flowers given by 42 school children. A memorial shaft was placed on the front of the stage, and, one by one, the children, each representing a state, recited a verse and placed a bouquet at the base of the shaft.

“The exercises closed with Commander Davis inviting everyone to the cemetery where wreaths would be laid upon the graves of the departed veterans.”

Please email comments to or write to Diane Boit, 402 17th St. NW, Mandan, ND 58554.