A look back in time: March 1919

Bryce Haugen
brycevincenthaugen@gmail.com

The following local stories were published in March 1919.

$12,000 fire at Muskoda, March 4
The Gruhl potato warehouse at Muskoda was burned early this morning and the estimated loss on building and contents is $12,000. The origin of the fire is unknown.
The fire was discovered at about 4:30 o’clock this morning when a troop train was pulling through Muskoda. After giving the alarm, the engine of the troop train was used to pull out five empty refrigerator cars that had been set for loading at the warehouse.
Five carloads of potatoes had been sacked and would have been loaded out yesterday had weather conditions been favorable.

No moonlight dances, March 8
Moonlight dances will not be tolerated in Moorhead by the present administration. Mayor E.W. Humphrey ordered the dance, scheduled for Friday night at the Comstock hotel, canceled. Later, an attempt was made to hold a similar dance at Phenix hall and this was also stopped by City Attorney Garrity and Chief of Police Malvey. The manager of the Phenix hall dance had an unpleasant session with the dancers, who insisted upon repayment of the admission fees.

Passenger fares equalized, March 11
Beginning on March 15 passenger fares between Moorhead and Fargo and the twin cities will be equalized. When the advanced rates were put into force last June the rate from Moorhead to Minneapolis was made 24 cents higher than that from Fargo and to St. Paul 25 cents higher. The new rate will give Moorhead a three cent lower fare covering the mile between this city and Fargo.

No village hall for Dilworth, March 12
Dilworth decided against the proposed $10,000 bond issue for the creation of a village hall and auditorium at the village election held on Tuesday, by a vote of 22 for and 93 against.

Fargo men held on first degree robbery charge, March 14
Alldrec H. Hellander, known as Alldrec Johnson and Wesley MeKinstry, both well known young men of Fargo, are prisoners in the Clay County jail charged with assaulting Philip Jeffrey of Michigan City, N.D. and robbing him of $153 about midnight last Saturday …
According to police of the two cities, Jeffrey, who is a patient at the Fargo Sanitarium, was at the Hub restaurant, Fargo, on Saturday evening with McKinstry, Johnson, another man and three girls, one of them only 14 years of age. McKinstry produced a check for $135 and asked if anyone had money enough to cash it. Jeffrey produced his roll and exchanged $135 for the check. Then the entire party started for Moorhead in a taxi. It is reported that they spent an hour at a hotel near the North bridge and were ordered out because they made too much noise.
After leaving the hotel, according to the admissions of the two prisoners, Jeffrey was taken to Second Street and Second Avenue North, where he was beaten and robbed of the $135 check and $18 in cash. According to the story told by McKinstry, they thought Jeffrey had been killed. Later, McKinstry claims, he went back and picked Jeffrey up and tried to get him to walk.
Jeffrey was found near the north bridge in Fargo, about 5:30 Sunday morning and at that time appeared to be in a dazed condition.

Dilworth man badly beaten, March 17
Dito Decaro was arrested at Dilworth today by Sheriff Dan W. McDonald and Deputy Sheriff Jalmer B. Erickson, charged with beating Nick Dava over the head and about the body with a pickaxe handle, about one o’clock this morning.
The assault was committed on the platform in the rear of the Dava home when Mr. Dava stepped out of the rear door. He had quit work in the Northern Pacific shops at 12:30 this morning and had returned home for supper. He heard a noise and when he stepped out to investigate was struck over the head and knocked down. His assailant, whom he claims he recognized as a neighbor, Dito Decaro, pounded him over the head and body with the pickaxe handle…
The officers were unable to learn of any motive for the assault except that Dava had refused to loan Decaro some money.

Deaths in Clay County show big increase for 1918, March 20
The vital statistics reports for Clay County for 1918 show a very large increase in the number of deaths over former years. Following are the totals for the past four years: 1915; births, 537; deaths, 177, 1916; births, 520; deaths, 177, 1917; births, 511; deaths, 180, 1918; births, 529; deaths, 290.
Drove car on sidewalk and paid $15 fine, March 24
Albert Elstad pleaded guilty to a charge of driving an automobile in an intoxicated condition and was fined $15 and costs by Police Magistrate E.U. Wade in Moorhead today. He was also reminded of the state law which makes it a misdemeanor for him to drive a car again within six months of his conviction.
Elstad was arrested at First Avenue North and Third Street on Sunday afternoon while driving his car on the sidewalk.

Glyndon farmer makes gun play and pays fine, March 27
Clausson Clark, a young farmer living alone one mile south of Glyndon, pleaded guilty of assault in the third degree and paid a fine of $100 and $14,49 costs imposed by Police Magistrate E.U. Wade in Moorhead this morning. Judge Wade reserved his decision on the second charge against Clausson, carrying concealed weapons.
Clark was arrested about 1 o’clock this morning by William Whistler, village marshal of Clyndon, charged with pulling a gun on Sidney Minto and threatening to shoot him. The testimony showed that the gun play came after Clark and Mrs. Minto, the woman in the case, had returned to the village about midnight after spending the evening at Clark’s farmhouse.
When Clark and Mrs. Minto returned from their visit they were met by the woman’s husband, who told Clark what he thought of him and what he proposed to do. Clark pulled the gun and threatened to shoot, but Minto didn’t scare. He took the gun, a 32 caliber revolver, away from Clark and threw it into the street. There were no casualties, but the two officers were called out of bed and Clark was placed under arrest. He was held until this this morning, when he was brought to Moorhead for trial.
Clark claimed, when question, that the shells in the revolver were blanks. He also claimed that he had received a letter from Mrs. Minto asking him to take her out to his house to spend the evening. In response to the alleged letter, Clark drove to the village and farmhouse at about 8 o’clock last evening. About midnight they drove back to the village and found Mr. Minto waiting for them.

New schools win by 18 and 14 to 1, March 28
The high school bond proposition carried by an 18 to 1 vote and the third ward grade school by 14 to 1 at the election held yesterday. It was the most important school election ever held in Moorhead.
From 1 o’clock, when the polls were opened until 9 o’clock, the closing hour, there was a continual stream of voters, more than half of them women, pouring into the high school building. A few minutes after 9 o’clock the school bell was rung joyously announcing the passage of both propositions. When the fire whistle tuned up everyone in Moorhead new that both bond propositions had carried.
Plans for the new high school are ready and the board of education will ask for bids for its construction within a week. An architect must be selected and plan drawn for the third ward school and this will also be done as soon as possible, in order that work on both buildings may be begun this spring.
The third ward building will be built on the lots north of the present structure, now the house of Robert Newbarth. The new building will be used as a high school until the new high school is completed and the Lincoln building will be occupied by the grades until that time.

(Fargo Forum articles from newspaper archives, courtesy of the Fargo Public Library)

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