Dickey County, North Dakota

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Dickey County, North Dakotamap
Surname/tag: One_Place_Studies
Profile manager: Alison Andrus private message [send private message]
This page has been accessed 2,471 times.
This profile is part of the Dickey County, North Dakota One Place Study.


North Dakota Timeline

1803-1818: The United States acquired the southwestern half of North Dakota as part of the Louisiana Purchase from France. The northeastern half was acquired in 1818 by treaty with Britain.
1804-1806: The Lewis and Clark Expedition explored the area of present-day North Dakota.
1812: The first permanent white settlement in present-day North Dakota was made at Pembina by Scottish pioneers from Canada.
1823: Arikara (Riccaree) Indian ceded land
1851: Santee Sioux ceded land
1855: Teton Sioux ceded land
1861-1868: The Dakota Territory was organized. Its boundaries were reduced to include the area of the two Dakotas of today when the Montana Territory was created in 1864 and the Wyoming Territory in 1868.
1863: Free land was offered under the first Homestead Act, but the Civil War and Indian Wars delayed settlement.
1866: (December 21,) Fetterman massacre, Capt. William J. Fetterman of the U.S. army, often boasted he could whip the whole Sioux Indian nation with eigthy men, led that exact number into an ambush by Sioux Indians along the Bozeman Trail.
1868: Fort Laramie Treaty
1871: White settlement began in earnest in northern Dakota when railroads reached the Red River from St. Paul and Duluth, Minnesota.
1876: Cheyenne and Sioux Wars
1878-1879: Cheyenne ceded land
1878-1886: The eastern region was settled in the first Dakota boom era.
1889: The Dakota Territory was divided, and both North and South Dakota were admitted to the Union.
1898-1915: Additional lands were settled in a second Dakota boom. The peak year for new homesteads was 1906.
1890: (December 29,) About three hundred Sioux Indians, mostly women and children under Chief Big Foot, were massacred at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, by the U.S. Seventh Cavalry.

Early History of Dickey County

On March 7th, 1881, the county of Dickey was created by act of the territorial legislature. The boundaries given the county in 1881 have remained unchanged, and Dickey is one of the very few counties that have not changed boundaries at some time in their history.

The naming of Dickey county is a historical matter that is not clear. There are those who claim it was named for Alfred Dickey, a prominent resident of Jamestown and the first Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota. He was a man well worthy of having a county named for him, but there is also a persistent belief that the county was named for a Mr. Dickey who was connected with the engineering staff of the Milwaukee Railroad.

With settlers coming in the early part of 1882 there was need of county organization, not so much for the purpose of keeping order and for the restraint of the lawless as to accommodate the people who were establishing homesteads and for the conduct of the business that was naturally arising. For the purpose of organizing the county, Governor Ordway came to Ellendale on July 1st, 1882 and appointed Q. C. Olin, A. H. Whitney and H. E. Geschke as County Commissioners. This board held their first meeting on August 18th, 1882, and appointed the following officers for the new county; M. N. Chamberlain, County Clerk and Register of Deeds; George Kreis, Treasurer; W. H. Becker, County Attorney; H. J. Van Meter, Sheriff; J. L. Stephenson, County Assessor; Miss E. F. Arnold, Superintendent of Schools; J. E. Brown, Surveyor; Dr. W. F. Duncan, Coroner; J. A. Scott and W. A. Caldwell, Justices of the Peace.

Ellendale was chosen to be the county seat in the election of November 7th, 1882. Keystone wanted to be the county seat and made a lively fight for this distinction, especially urging its central location as well as other advantages, but Ellendale won by a vote of 162 to 62 for Keystone.

Dickey County Townships

Dickey County Towns

Photo Gallery of Historical Postcards

Ellendale - The oldest town in the county. It was surveyed and platted on May 8, 1882 and voted the county seat over Keystone on Nov. 6, 1882. It was incorporated as a village in 1883 and as a city on Aug. 25, 1889. Ellendale was named by railroad town site officials for Mary Ellen Dale Merrill who was the wife of S. S. Merrill, the superintendent and general manager of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. Since Ellendale was the first town on a railroad in this entire region, it became known as a great distributing point for settler's supplies.

Forbes - formed in November 1905 as the terminus of the Great Northern railroad, it is the youngest town in the county. It once had a bank, newspaper and creamery, as well as other businesses.

Fullerton - Located on the Soo line, this town was established in October 1888 and once had a bank, hardware and furniture store, general store, two elevators, lumber yard, barber shop, billiard hall and meat market. Now it has a population of about 65 people and is known primarily for The Carroll House.

Glover - is a little burg established in 1887 and named for the prosperous farmland owned by Glover & Son. Fred Glover managed the farm for his father, Samuel Glover, who lived in Minneapolis. At one time, Glover had a general store, lumber yard, machinery and implement store and two elevators.

Guelph - was established in 1887 and was known as Centralia, Centropolis, Coldwater, Menasha Center and Thatcherville before Guelph was finally settled on, named after the hometown of the postmaster, Silas R. Dales who had emigrated from Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Ludden - was first established in 1883, being the "old town" and re-established as the "new town" in 1886. It once had a bank, newspaper and other thriving businesses along the North-Western railroad, but most of the buildings were moved away. For more information, see A History of Ludden and Vicinity, written by Mrs. R. M. Folsom, pub. 1894.

Monango - was started in 1886 when the Milwaukee railroad was extended north. The town also stood within a mile of the Soo line running west and had connection by stage with Kilbernie, a town on the Soo, two miles west.

Oakes - was named for Thomas F. Oakes who was the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad from 1888-1893. The town was platted in 1886 and incorporated in 1888. Oakes was an important stagecoach and railroad station and still sustains strong railroad ties due to the continued development of its agricultural services through the addition of two 100-car loading grain elevators in 2004. The railroads include the Red River Valley & Western (BNSF) and Dakota Missouri Valley & Western (CP).

For a list of place names no longer found on a map, see Dickey County Localities

Historical Attractions

Dickey County Online Records

Cemetery Records

For a list of Dickey County Cemeteries, see the Categories page.

Census Records

Land Records


Dickey County Books

From the Library of Alison Andrus who will do lookups when she isn't moving and can find the box they are packed in.

  • A History of Dickey County, North Dakota; by Ryland Melville Black, originally pub. in 1930 by the Dickey County Historical Society, republished in 1981 by the Ellendale Centennial Jubilee Committee. Here's the Name Index for this book.
  • Ellendale, North Dakota 125th Anniversary, 1882-2007; There is no index, but the family histories are all in alphabetical order.
  • Fullerton, North Dakota, A Century of Community, 1887-1987; pub. 1986 by the Fullerton Centennial Committee
  • Glover Centennial 1887-1987
  • Guelph, North Dakota, Granary of the Plains, 1883-1983; pub. 1983 by the Guelph Centennial Committee. Here's the name index for this book.
  • Oakes centennial book 1886-1986
  • Early History of the Oakes Community, 1906
  • Oakes Public School Alumni Directory Centennial Edition, 1886-1986, pub. 1986 by the Oakes Centennial Committee. This book gives the complete class lists for every grade to graduate from Oakes.
  • Cemeteries of North Dakota; North Half of Dickey County, Vol. 18, compiled by the Red River Genealogical Society, pub. 1987. The book provides cemetery transcriptions and detailed directions to the cemeteries. Here's the name index for this volume.
  • Cemeteries of North Dakota; South Half of Dickey County, Vol. 19, compiled by the Red River Genealogical Society, pub. 1987. The book provides cemetery transcriptions and detailed directions to the cemeteries. Here's the name index for this volume.

See also:

  • Forbes centennial book 1905-2005 : blessings of the land by by Wilma Flakoll and Paul Flakoll; McCleery & Sons Publishing], 2005.
  • Genealogical data on the relatives of Andreas and Magdalena (Möwes) Widmer residing in the Kulm/Merricourt and Monango/Forbes, North Dakota areas from 1900-1950 by Elmer Andreas Widmer, self-published 1995.
  • Glover Farm collection, 1917-1954 by Laura Vix
  • History of Hudson site : life histories of area pioneers by Doris Overby; Oakes Rural Homemakers Club, 1965.
  • History of the Finnish settlement in Brown and Dickey counties of South and North Dakota, 1881-1955, compiles and pub. by Savo Finnish Historical Society
  • Monango, the banner city by Monango Centennial History Committee; pub. 1985.

Dickey County Online Resources

Dickey County Libraries

Oakes School & Public Library
804 Main Avenue
Oakes, ND 58474
Ellendale Public Library
50 South Second
Ellendale, ND 58436

Statewide Online Resources

  • Public Death Index from the North Dakota Department of Health
  • North Dakota Naturalization Records Index - In cooperation with the NDSU Institute for Regional Studies, the index is made available as a searchable database.
  • North Dakota Biography Index - The North Dakota Biography Index database is an ongoing project of the NDSU Institute for Regional Studies to provide access to biographical sketches found in a wide variety of North Dakota publications.
  • Fargo Forum Newspaper Index, 1879-1995 - This Fargo Forum Newspaper Index database provides citations (currently about 8,000 entries) to selected articles published in a number of Fargo newspapers between 1879 and 1975, primarily the Fargo Forum, regarding events in North Dakota and to a limited extent in other states.
  • The Record Index - The Record historical magazine was published at Fargo, N.D. from 1895 to 1905 by Col. C.A. Lounsberry. The magazine’s main focus was historical and biographical articles related to North Dakota, with numerous illustrations of persons, places and events. This index covers issues from 1895 through 1899.

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Private Messages: Send a private message to the Profile Manager. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.