A look back in time: December 1918

By Bryce Haugen

The following local stories were published during the month of December 1918.
Begin new high school next year, Dec. 2
It was definitely decided to build a new high school building in Moorhead next year at the meeting of the Moorhead board of education held Saturday evening.
The architects were instructed to complete the plans as soon as possible, in order that bids may be advertised for early in the new year. In the meantime, all the necessary steps will be taken to secure the loan from the state. The bonds have already been approved by the state investment board and the capital issues committee of Washington approved the issue last week.
Moorhead man dies of wounds, Dec. 3
Pvt. Albert E. Johnson, 27, died of wounds received in action in Belgium, according to a message received from the war department by his widow on Monday.
Private Johnson was born in Moorhead and grew to manhood in this city. Two years ago he was married to Miss Clara Jerde of Fargo, who survives him.
$100 an acre for quarter section, Dec. 4
Clay county improved farm land is considered cheap at $100 an acre, as the purchase of the southeast quarter of section 21 of Moland township, by Thom O. Langlie, is said to be a good buy. This farm is located two miles northeast of Dilworth in the heart of the potato belt.
‘John Doe’ is still missing, Dec. 9
Hearing in the case of John Peters, charged with one “John Doe,” with stealing $225 from the person of Bill Samenski, in Moorhead on the night of Nov. 10, was continued for ten days by Magistrate E.U. Wade this morning.
Peters and Samenski claim that the third man, “John Doe,” got away with the money. Peters also claims that the other man robbed him of $600 that he carried in his trouser pockets, but overlooked $700 in the money belt he wore at the time of the robbery. This money was found in the belt several days later by Chief Malvey and Sheriff McDonald at the Northwestern hospital, where Peters was receiving care for his injuries.
It is alleged that Peters and Samenski were rooming together in a Fargo hotel. On the night of the robbery they went for a taxi ride and crossed the river to Moorhead. Peters claimed he was beaten and robbed by the two men near the Great Northern section house in Moorhead. He was not only beaten but a part of his right ear was bitten off. Samenski was dumped on the road near the Fred Meyers farm about a mile south of Moorhead and was taken back to the Fargo hotel. He told the officers he had bitten off a piece of the ear of one of the men who assaulted and robbed him. Both men claim to be ignorant of the true name of “John Doe,” or his present whereabouts.
Home and mother big thing now, Dec. 12
Letters received from the Moorhead men with the American expeditionary forces in France all express the hope for a speedy return home.
Sergt. William T. Curran, writing to his mother Mrs. Thomas Curran, says, “Now that the war is over, all I think about is home and mother.” He is with the engineers and tells of living in a house he and two other men built and that they are as “snug as a bug in a rug.” The command is quarantined on account of one case of the mumps. Sergeant Curran writes that he has received no letters from home since August.
New city hall to cost $45,000, Dec. 17
Preliminary plans for the proposed new city hall and fire department headquarters to cost not more than $45,000 were approved by the Moorhead city council at an adjourned meeting held in the courtroom at the police station. Modifications of the original sketches by the architects, Braseth & Rossati, of Fargo, include a slight reduction in size and provision for rest and comfort rooms.
The proposal will be passed on to the charter commission by the finance committee of the council with the request that a proposed amendment, authorizing construction of the building, be submitted to a vote at the city election in February.
Street lights, top and bottom, were ordered turned on for the holiday season, beginning with tonight.
Miss Ruth Bracken was appointed municipal nurse at a salary of $10 per month. Miss Bracken in the visiting nurse of the city schools and the object of her appointment by the city council is to increase and confirm her authority.
After a full and free discussion of the sidewalk snow removal problem City Attorney Garrity was instructed to publish an official notice that the ordinance will be enforced. The city will remove the snow from walks not cleaned within 24 hours and assess the cost against the property.
Lose booze and pay fines, Dec. 18
Erick Erickson, a farmer, and Emil Lind, a Moorhead painter, were each fined $50 and costs this morning for bringing liquor into a dry county in violation of the Minnesota Public Safety commission’s order No. 20. Each man entered a plea of guilty when arraigned before Police Magistrate E.U. Wade this morning.
Sheriff Dan W. McDonald and Chief of Police Peter E. Malvey arrested the two men as they left the Great Northern local train from the east at Sabin on Tuesday afternoon. Each man carried a suitcase and the combined contents were 16 quart and six pint bottles of whisky. The liquor is held by the sheriff subject to the order of the safety commission.
First aerial mail reaches city, Dec. 20
The first piece of aerial mail to reach Moorhead was a letter received this morning by Prof. Jacob Tanner from the Aerial League of America. It was mailed in New York and sent to Chicago on the initial trip of the New York-Cleveland-Chicago aerial mail route.
Glyndon man is killed by fire early Christmas, Dec. 26
George Washington Gingery, 76, was burned to death in a fire that destroyed the Glyndon Telephone exchange early on Christmas morning. Mr. Gingery lived with the family of his son, Charley Gingery, manager of the exchange, who occupied rooms in the second story of the building.
After the fire was discovered about 2 o’clock Wednesday morning, all members of the family were aroused and the last seen of Mr. Gingery was near the foot of the stairway leading to the second floor. It was thought at the time that he had left the building through the rear entrance and he was not missed until after the building had burned to the ground. His badly burned body was found in the ashes and from its location it is thought that instead of leaving the building he started to return to his room after some of his belongings.
(Fargo Forum articles from newspaper archives, courtesy of the Fargo Public Library)

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