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Dear visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

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North Dakota

The state

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North Dakota, one of the United States of America, originally included in the Louisiana Purchase. Little was known of the region prior to the expedition of Lewis and Clark, who spent the winter of 1804-5 about thirty miles northwest of Bismarck. In 1811 the Astor expedition encountered a band of Sioux near the boundary of North and South Dakota on the Missouri. Settlement was long delayed on account of the numerous Indian wars, and the land was practically given up to hunters and trappers. In 1849 all that part of Dakota east of the Missouri and White Earth Rivers was made part of the Territory of Minnesota, and in 1854 all to the west of the said rivers was included in the Territory of Nebraska. Finally, March 2, 1861, President Buchanan signed the bill creating the Territory of North Dakota, with Dr. William Jayne of Springfield, Ill., as first governor; and on November 2, 1889, the State of North Dakota was formed. North Dakota is bounded on the north by Saskatchewan and Manitoba, on the south by South Dakota, on the east by Minnesota (the Red River dividing), and on the west by Montana. The surface is chiefly rolling prairie, with an elevation of from eight hundred to nine hundred feet in the Red River valley, from thirteen hundred to fifteen hundred feet in the Devil‘s Lake region and from two thousand to twenty-eight hundred feet west of Minot. The chief rivers are the Missouri, Red, Sheyenne, James, Mouse, and their tributaries. The state forms a rectangle, measuring approximately two hundred and fourteen miles from north to south and three hundred and thirty from east to west, and has an area of 70,795 square miles, of which 650 is water. The population (1910) was 577,056, an increase of 82.8 per cent. since 1900.

Resources.—Agriculture.—The number of farms in the state in 1910 was 64,442, number of acres in cultivation over 13 millions. Wheat is the dominant crop, the Red River Valley being perhaps the most famous wheat-producing region in the world. Oats flax, and barley are also produced in large quantities . The prairies offer fine ranching ground and the state has 1,315,870 head of live stock. Her forests aggregate 95,918 acres; there are 135,150 cultivated fruit trees, and 2381 acres of berries. Besides many natural groves, very rich in wild small fruit, there are a vast number of cultivated farm groves, and some fine nurseries, the largest of which is near Devil‘s Lake and consists of about 400 acres.

Mining.—In the western part of the state, North Dakota has a coal supply greater than that of any other state in the Union; coal is mined at Minot, Burlington, Kenmare, Ray, Dickinson, Dunseith, and other places; the supply is cheap and inexhaustible for fuel, gas, electricity, and power. In 1908 there were 88 mines in operation and 289,435 tons mined. Clays for pottery, fire and pressed brick abound in Stark, Dunn, Mercer, Morton, Hettinger, and Billings counties. Cement is found in Cavalier County on the border of Pembina. The artesian basin is in North Dakota sandstone at the base of the upper cretacean, at a depth of from eight hundred feet in the southeast to fifteen hundred feet at Devil‘s Lake. Good common brick clay may be found practically all over the state from deposits in the glacial lakes. North Dakota has 5012 miles of railroad, and four main lines cross the state. There is direct railway communication with Winnipeg, Brandon, and other points on the Canadian Pacific.

Matters Affecting Religion.—North Dakota is a code State. The civil and criminal codes prepared by the New York commission but not then adopted by that State, were adopted by Dakota Territory in 1865; a probate code was adopted the same year, and thus the Territory of Dakota was the first English-speaking community to adopt a codification of its substantive law. The territorial laws, compiled in 1887, were revised by the State in 1895, 1899, and 1905. Section 4, Article 1 of the State Constitution provides: “The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall be forever guaranteed in this State, and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness or juror on account of his opinion on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State.” The statute makes it a misdemeanor to prevent the free exercise of religious worship and belief, or to compel by threats or violence any particular form of worship, or to disturb a religious assemblage by profane discourse, indecent acts, unnecessary noise, selling liquor, keeping open huckster shops, or exhibiting plays without license, within a mile of such assemblages. Servile labor (except works of necessity or charity) is forbidden on Sunday; also public sports, trades, manufactures, mechanical employment, and public traffic (except that meats, milk, and fish may be sold before nine A.M., also food to be eaten on premises. Drugs, medicines, and surgical appliances may be sold at any time). Service of process except in criminal cases is prohibited on Sunday. A person uniformly keeping another day of the week as holy time, may labor on Sunday, provided he do not interrupt or disturb other persons in observing the first day of the week. The fine for Sabbath-breaking is not less than one dollar or more than ten dollars for each offense. It is a misdemeanor to serve civil process on Saturday on a person who keeps that day as the Sabbath.

Oaths.—Section 533 of the code of 1905, amended 1909, provides: “The following officers are authorized to administer oaths: each judge of the supreme court and his deputy, clerks of the district court, clerks of the county court with increased jurisdiction, county auditors and registers of deeds and their deputies within their respective counties, county commissioners within their respective counties, judges of the county court, public administrators within their respective counties, justices of the peace within their respective counties, notaries public anywhere in the State upon complying with the provisions of sections 545 and 546, city clerks or auditors, township clerks and village recorders within their respective cities, townships, and villages; each sheriff and his deputy within their respective counties in the cases provided by law; other officers in the cases especially provided by law”. It is a misdemeanor to take, or for an officer to administer, an extra-judicial oath, except where the same is required by the provisions of some contract as the basis or proof of claim, or is agreed to be received by some person as proof of any fact in the performance of any contract, obligation or duty instead of other evidence. Blasphemy consists in wantonly uttering or publishing words, reproaches, or profane words against God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Scripture, or the Christian religion. Profane swearing consists in any use of the name of God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Ghost, either in imprecating Divine vengeance upon the utterer or any other person, in a light, trifling, or irreverent speech. Blasphemy is a misdemeanor, and profane swearing is punishable by a fine of one dollar for each offense. Obscenity in a public place or in the presence of females, or of children under ten years of age is a misdemeanor.

Exemptions from Taxation.—”All public school houses, academies, colleges, institutions of learning, with the books and furniture therein and grounds attached to such buildings, necessary for their proper occupancy and use, not to exceed forty acres in area and not leased or otherwise used with a view to profit; also all houses used exclusively for public worship and lots and parts of lots upon which such houses are erected; all land used exclusively for burying grounds or for a cemetery; all buildings and contents thereof used for public charity, including public hospitals under the control of religious or charitable societies used wholly or in part for public charity, together with the land actually occupied by such institutions, not leased or otherwise used with a view to profit, and all moneys and credits appropriated solely to sustaining and belonging exclusively to such institutions, are exempt from taxation.” All churches, parsonages, and usual outbuildings, and grounds not exceeding one acre on which the same are situated, whether on one or more tracts, also all personal property of religious corporations, used for religious purposes, are exempt.

Matters Affecting Religious Work.—The law provides for corporations for religious, educational, benevolent, charitable, or scientific purposes, giving to such corporations power to acquire property, real and personal, by purchase, devise, or bequest and hold the same and sell or mortgage it according to the bylaws or a majority of votes of the members. Catholic Church corporations, according to diocesan statutes, consist of the bishop, vicar-general, local pastor, and two trustees. No corporation or association for religious purposes shall acquire or hold real estate of greater value than $200,000 (laws of 1909). Charitable trusts are favored if conformable to the statute against perpetuities, which forbids suspension of power or of alienations for a longer period than the lives of persons in being at the creation of condition (Hager vs. Sacrison, 123 N. W. Rep., 518). Cemetery corporation may be formed with powers of regulation. The net proceeds must go to protect and improve the grounds and not to the profit of the corporation or members. Interment lot inalienable, but any heir may release to another heir. Cemetery grounds are exempt from all process, lien, and public burdens and uses.

Marriage and Divorce.—Any unmarried male of the age of eighteen or upwards and any unmarried female of the age of fifteen or upwards, not otherwise disqualified, are capable of consenting to marriage, but if the male is under twenty-one or the female under eighteen, the license shall not be issued without the consent of parents or guardian, if there be any. Marriages between parents and children including grandparents and grandchildren, between brothers and sisters, of half or whole blood, uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, or cousins of the first degree of half or whole blood, are declared incestuous and absolutely void, and this applies to illegitimate as well as legitimate children and relations. A marriage contracted by a person having a former husband or wife, if the former marriage has not been annulled or dissolved, is illegal and void from the beginning, unless the former husband or wife was absent and believed by such person to be dead for five years immediately proceeding. Judges of all courts of record and justices of the peace, within their jurisdiction, “ordained ministers of the Gospel”, and “priests of every church” may perform the marriage ceremony. The form used by Friends or Quakers is also valid. Licenses, issued by the county judge of the county where one of the contracting parties resides, must be obtained and the persons performing the ceremony must file the certificate thereof, and such licensee with the county judge within thirty days after the marriage, such certificate to be signed by two witnesses and the person performing the ceremony. Indians contracting marriage according to Indian custom and co-habiting as man and wife, are deemed legally married. All marriages contracted outside of the State and valid by the laws of the State where contracted, are deemed valid in this State. The original certificate and certified copy thereof are evidences of marriage in all courts. Marriages may be annulled for any of the following causes existing at the time: (I) if the person seeking annulment was under the age of legal consent, and such marriage was contracted without the consent of parent or guardian, unless after attaining the age of consent, they lived together as husband and wife; (2) when former husband or wife of either party was living and former marriage then in force; (3) when either party was of unsound mind unless after coming to reason the parties lived together as husband and wife; (4) when consent was obtained by fraud, unless after full knowledge of facts the party defrauded continued to live with the other in marriage relation; (5) when consent was obtained by force, unless afterwards they lived freely together; (6) incapacity.

Actions for annulment where former husband or wife is living, and where party is of unsound mind, may be brought at any time before the death of either party. Actions for annulment for other causes must be brought by the party injured within four years after arriving at age of consent or by parent or guardian before such time, also for fraud within four years after discovery. When a marriage is annulled children begotten before the judgment are legitimate and succeed to the estate of both parents. Marriages between white persons and colored persons of one eighth or more negro blood are null and void by Act of 1907, and severe penalty is provided against parties, officials, and clergy for violation of the law. Divorce may be granted for (I) adultery, (2) extreme cruelty, (3) willful desertion, (4) willful neglect, (5) habitual intemperance, (6) conviction of felony. Neither party to a divorce may marry within three months after decree is granted. Willful desertion, willful neglect, or habitual intemperance must continue for one year before it is a cause for divorce. As to proof in divorce cases the Statute provides that no divorce can be granted on default of the defendant or upon the uncorroborated statement, admission, or testimony of parties, or upon any statement or finding of facts made by referee, but the court must in addition to any statement or finding of referee, require proof of facts alleged. The court has held that the fact of marriage alleged in complaint may be admitted in answer without other corroboration. The restriction as to corroboration applies to testimony, not to pleading, and is intended to prevent collusive divorce. This statute is more restrictive as to proof than the proposed resolution, No. 13, of proceedings of the National Congress on Uniform Divorce which reads: “A decree should not be granted unless the cause is shown by affirmative proof, aside from any admissions on the part of the respondent.” A residence of one year in the State is required for the plaintiff in an action of divorce. Dower and Curtesy are abolished, and a deed of the homestead must be signed by both the husband and wife. Labor of children under fourteen years of age is prohibited, and stringent rules provide for regulation of those under sixteen, and no woman under eighteen years of age may be compelled to work over ten hours; age of consent is eighteen years.

Wills.—A woman is of age at eighteen, and any person of sound mind may, on arriving at that age, dispose of his or her real and personal property by will. A married woman may will her property with-out the consent of her husband. A nuncupative will is limited to $1000, and to cases where the testator is in military service in the field, or on board ship, and anticipates death, or where death is anticipated from a wound received that day. There must be two witnesses who are requested by the testator to act as such. An olographic will is one dated, written, and signed by the hand of the testator, and requires no other formalities. Other wills must be executed by the testator in presence of two witnesses, who in his presence and in the presence of each other, subscribe as witnesses.

Education.—The educational system in North Dakota is on a broad basis. Sections 16 and 36 of each Congressional township are given to the common schools by Congress, also 5 per cent of the net proceeds of the sale of public lands subsequent to admission, to be used as a permanent fund for schools, interest only to be expended for support of common schools. The enabling act also gives 72 sections for university purposes, to be sold for not less than ten dollars per acre, proceeds to constitute a permanent fund, interest only to be expended. Also 90,000 acres for the Agricultural College, 40,000 acres each for the School of Mines, Reform School, Deaf and Dumb School, Agricultural College, State University, two State Normal Schools; 50,000 acres for capital buildings and 170,000 acres for such other educational and charitable institutions as the legislature may determine. No part of the school fund may be used for support of any sectarian or denominational school, college, or university. The Normal Schools are located at Mayville and Valley City, the Industrial Training School at Ellendale, the School of Forestry at Bottineau, the Agricultural College at Fargo, the State University (Arts, Law, Engineering, Model High School, State School of Mines, Public Health Laboratory and

Graduate Departments) at Grand Forks; number of professors, instructors, and assistants, 68; lecturers, 13; students, 1000. Charitable institutions are the Deaf and Dumb School at Devil‘s Lake, the Hospital for Feeble Minded at Grafton, the Insane Asylum at Jamestown, the School for the Blind at Bathgate, the Soldiers’ Home at Lisbon, the Reform School at Mandan. The permanent school and institutional fund amounted to about $18,000,000 in 1908; the apportionment from that fund in 1903 was $274,348.80; in 1908, $545,814.66. Ample provisions are made for State and county institutes, and teachers are required to attend. Third Grade Certificates are abolished. The minimum salary for teachers is $45 a month. Provisions are made for the extension of the High School system, and also for consolidated schools and transportation of children to the same. The legislative appropriation in 1909 for the university was $181,000.

Prisons and Reformatories.—The keeper of each prison is required to provide at the expense of the county for each prisoner who may be able and desires to read, a copy of the Bible or New Testament to be used by the prisoner at seasonable and proper times during his confinement, and any minister of the Gospel is permitted access to such prisoners at seasonable and proper times to perform and instruct prisoners in their moral and religious duties. Suitable provisions are made for reduction of time for good behavior, for indeterminate sentences, and paroling prisoners.

Sale of Liquor.—The manufacture, importation, sale, gift, barter, or trade of intoxicating liquors by any person, association, or corporation as a beverage, is prohibited by Article 20 of the State constitution and by statute. Exceptions are made in favor of sale in limited quantities on affidavit of applicant by druggists for medicinal, mechanical, scientific, and sacramental purposes, under permit granted at the discretion of the district court. Not more than one-half pint may be sold to any one in one day and the purchaser must sign affidavit stating the particular disease for which the same is required. Sales to minors, habitual drunkards, and persons whose relatives forbid, are prohibited. Places where intoxicating liquors are sold or kept for sale or where persons are permitted to resort for purpose of drinking intoxicating liquors are declared to be common nuisances. The keeper is liable criminally and in an action the nuisance may be abated and the premises closed for one year. The statute also provides for civil liability against persons violating the law, in favor of those taking charge of and providing for intoxicated persons, and in favor of every wife, child, parent, guardian, employer, or other person injured in person or property or means of support by any intoxicated person.

Statistics of the Protestant Churches.—The Episcopalia n Church has 4664 members; 1224 families; 97 Sunday School teachers; 741 pupils; 42 churches and chapels; 5410 sittings; 16 rectories; 795 members in guilds. The value of the churches, chapels, and grounds is $158,055; rectories $49,000; other property $42,850. There are 6 parishes; 36 organized missions; and 44 unorganized missions. Total offerings for all purposes for the year ending June 1, 1910, were $32,496.28. The Methodist Episcopal Church had in the State in 1908, 223 church buildings valued at $600,000, and 101 parsonages valued at $150,000, with a membership of about 11,000. The most important fact in connection with this organization is the affiliation of Wesley College with the State university, where the Methodists aim to give religious and other instruction in their own buildings and arrange for their pupils to get the benefit of secular instruction at the State university. The plan suggests a possible solution of the much vexed question of division of the school fund. The Presbyterian Church has 7 presbyteries; 175 ministers; 7185 members, 9411 Sunday School members. They contributed for all purposes in the past year $150,635. There are 185 church organizations; 50 preaching stations; 132 church buildings, and 62 manses. Value of church manses and educational property was estimated at $800,000 in 1908. This denomination has recently located at Jamestown, the Presbyterian university, said to have an endowment fund of about $200,000. The Lutheran Church is composed chiefly of Norwegians and other Scandinavians. According to the “Norwegian American”, published in Norwegian at Minneapolis in 1907, there were in the State in 1905, of Norwegian birth and descent, 140,000. The Lutheran church had 380 congregations, and about 240 churches. The Baptist Church in 1908 had a membership of 4161, a Sunday School enrollment of 3164; 53 churches, valued at $191,430; and 28 parsonages valued at $35,772.

Ecclesiastical History.—The establishment of Catholic missions in North Dakota cannot be reliably traced to an earlier date than 1818. In that year Rt. Rev. J. Octave Plessis of Quebec sent Rev. Joseph Provencher and Rev. Josef Severe Dumoulin to Fort Douglas, as St. Boniface was then called, and after the grasshoppers had destroyed the crops, the Selkirk colonists went in large numbers to Pembina. Father Provencher sent Father Dumoulin in September, 1818, to minister to the spiritual wants of the colonists, with instructions to spend the winter at Pembina. When that place was found to be within the United States, Father Dumoulin was recalled. Rev. George Anthony Belcourt became the second resident priest of North Dakota. A gifted linguist, well versed in the Algonquin languages which included the Chippewa, he taught the latter to the young missionaries and composed an Indian grammar and dictionary, still standard works. He was resident priest from 1831-8 and often said Mass in every camping place from Lake Traverse to Pembina and in the interior of North Dakota. It was customary in the summer for the settlers to go to the southwestern part of the State to hunt bison on the prairies, and to take their families with them. The priest always accompanied them and in those camps for the first time the children were given an opportunity of religious instruction. Father Belcourt is said to have evangelized the whole of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa, a circumstance which kept that tribe at peace with the government during the Sioux troubles following the Minnesota massacre in 1862. Father De Smet spent a few weeks with the Mandans on the Missouri in 1840 and baptized a number of their children. Father Jean Baptiste Marie Genin is credited with establishing a mission at St. Michael’s, Fort Totten, in 1865. His name is honorably and extensively associated with much of the missionary history of the State. The first real missionary work among the Sioux of North Dakota dates from 1874 when Major Forbes (a Catholic), Indian Agent at Fort Totten, with the help of the Catholic Indian Bureau, induced the Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns) of Montreal under Sr. Mary Clapin to establish themselves in his agency. Father Bonnin came as their chaplain. Rev. Claude Ebner, O.S.B., was stationed at Fort Totten, 1877-86. Rev. Jerome Hunt, O.S.B., has devoted his talent and zeal to the welfare of the Indians at Fort Totten Reservation since 1882, and has written and published in the Sioux language, a Bible history, prayerbook with instruction and hymns, and a smaller book of prayer, and for eighteen years has published an Indian paper in Sioux. The Grey Nuns at Fort Totten have conducted a school since 1874.

Rt. Rev. Martin Marty, O.S.B., was Vicar Apostolic of Dakota until December 27, 1889, when Rt. Rev. John Shanley became Bishop of Jamestown; the see was later changed to Fargo. The number of churches increased from 40 in 1890 to 210 in 1908. After the death of Bishop Shanley, the diocese was divided. Rt. Rev. James O’Reilly, as Bishop of Fargo, has charge of the eastern part, and Rt. Rev. Vincent Wehrle, O.S.B., rules over the western part as Bishop of Bismarck. According to the census of 1907, the Catholic population was 70,000 but a subsequent count shows the number much larger, and the latest estimate by Father O’Driscoll, secretary of the Fargo diocese, places it at about 90,000. There are in the two dioceses, 140 priests; 14 religious houses; 1 monastery; 7 academies; 5 hospitals; and about 250 churches. The Sisters of St. Joseph have a hospital at Fargo and one at Grand Forks, and an academy at Jamestown. The Sisters of St. Benedict have establishments at Richardton, Glen Ellen, Oakes, Fort Yates, and a hospital at Bismarck. The Presentation Nuns have an academy and orphanage at Fargo. Sisters of Mary of the Presentation are established at Wild Rice, Oakwood, Willow City, and Lisbon. The Ursuline Sisters conduct St. Bernard’s Academy at Grand Forks. Three Sisters of Mercy opened a mission school at Belcourt in the Turtle Mountains among the Chippewa in 1884, and continued to teach until 1907, when their convent was destroyed by fire. They established at Devil‘s Lake, St. Joseph‘s hospital in 1895 and the Academy of St. Mary of the Lake in 1908. The State has several active councils of the Knights of Columbus and Courts of the Catholic Order of Foresters. Among the Catholics distinguished in public life are John Burke, three times elected governor; John Carmody, Justice of the Supreme Court; Joseph Kennedy, Dean of the Normal College, State University; W. E. Purcell, U.S. Senator; and P. D. Norton, Secretary of State.


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