Overview of The History of Bismarck Project
The intention of the project is to document the events and people of Bismarck and to capture the spirit of the pioneers and legends that walked our streets. We hope to further an understanding of how the entire history of the West was affected by the events that took place in Bismarck. This compelling documentary will be told through stories and recollections of descendants of early settlers and interviews with historians and scholars familiar with our unique history. These include:
Kim Fundingsland, Author and Historian
Kim talked about the first train to arrive at Bismarck (Edwinton), the arrival of the
7th calvary and the friction that arose between the solders and the citizens. Kim has extensive knowledge of Lt. Col. G.A. Custer and his wife, Elizabeth, and the roll they played in settling the West. Kim has also written a book, Bismarck D.T., that discusses the people and events that took place here in early days.
Frank Vyzralek, Noted Historian, Author, North Dakota's first Archivist
Frank's knowledge of early Dakota is second to none. Frank has written several books and countless articles on the people and events of Bismarck history. He is the go-to guy to determine if a story is true or hearsay.
Dakota Goodhouse, Program Officer, the North Dakota Humanities Council
Dakota gave a compelling history of the indigenous peoples and the conflicts that came with the arrival of the military forts, the railroad, and the early settlers. Additionally, Dakota provided detailed descriptions of the Sully and Sibley campaigns, Custer's Black Hills expedition, leading to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Ken Rogers, Opinion Page Editor, the Bismarck Tribune
Ken talked about the role newspapers played in developing frontier towns and the hardships and danger frontier journalists faced, best illustrated by Mark Kellog's fate at the Little Big Horn. Ken also allowed us access to the Tribune archives – still the single most accurate source of the history of this area.
Ev Miller, Playwright, member of the North Dakota Humanities Speakers Bureau
Ev talked about the original settlers including Elizabeth "Little Casino" McClellan and the roll the first settlers played in Bismarck becoming the capital. Ev also related stories he remembers being told by his father and his own early recollections of growing up in Bismarck.
Mark Halverson, Curator of Collections Research State Historical Society of North Dakota
Mark spoke about how the capitol was moved from Yankton to Bismarck and all the behind the scene activities that allowed that to happen. Mark also talked about Dr Porter's Little Big Horn experience, his connection with Quain and the beginning of Bismarck's hospital's. Mark also shared some of the stories about 4th street and the activities that took place at Fort Lincoln.
Kay Meland and Joan Skabo, Great-granddaughters of Linda Slaughter
Kay and Joan shared some photo's of Dr Benjamin & Linda Slaughter, her parents, her home and sister and related some stories told by their Grandmother Linnie Lee Hedstrom. Kay also recorded some passages out of Linda Slaughters book "Fortress to Farm"
We would like to thank the many people who have already made generous contributions of their expertise and time.
Special Thanks To:
The Bismarck Historical Society
The State Historical Society of North Dakota
The Bismarck Tribune
NDSU Institute for Regional Studies & Archives
Minnesota Historical Society
The Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation
Ann & Harry Vadnie