Library Ladies

2017-04-03 00:00:00

Did you know that without the women of Bowman, we wouldn’t have the Bowman Regional Public Library? In 1913, twenty-one ladies met to discuss the possibilities of beginning a library in Bowman, with Mrs. Diehl presiding as chairwoman. Shortly after the first meeting a committee was appointed to draw up a constitution and by-laws, which were adopted on July 11 of 1917.

The Library Association was given a room above the Herzig Meat Market, and donations of coal, kindling, cash, a library sign, and library books were taken in. By July 25 of that year, 150 books had been donated. In 1915, a building was built and given to the Library Association by J.E. Phelan. By May 1919, the library went on a “taxation basis” and the Library Association was dissolved.

There have been many changes at the library since that first group of women got together in 1913, but without them, and the many others who have contributed throughout the years, we might not have such a great library today!

If you want to learn more about the Bowman Regional Public Library, stop in and see them, or check out their website,! 

Women in Health

2017-03-24 00:00:00

This week’s Women’s History Month post is not about one particular woman, but a group of women who helped keep Bowman healthy and well-taken care of before the Tri-State Hospital was built, or even conceived.

Sometime in 1909, Bowman’s first hospital was built. It was opened by Doctors George and David Baker, but was taken over by Miss Callie Pruett when the doctors left town. Pruett operated this first hospital for several years.

In 1920, Mrs. Minnie Norem operated a maternity home out of her house, and in 1928 another hospital was opened on Main Street by Doctors Cornelius and Lemiuex, which was run by Martha Meyer. This hospital lasted only a year, and was closed in July 1929. In August of that year, another hospital was opened in the Lowden home, and Violet Kline was in charge. She operated it for about six months, then Helen Kaiser, a registered nurse from Miles City took over.’

Martha Meyer took over running another hospital in 1932, above the Bennett Drug Store. From 1933-1935, Martha Sather and Myrtle Heid (both registered nurses) operated a hospital out of the William Austin house. Following that (from 1936 and several years after), Bowman’s health was looked after by Mrs. Jake Messer, Mrs. Manning Newstrom, and Mrs. Gerald Padgett, who all take maternity cases into their own homes. In 1951, the Tri-State Hospital was opened, and the need for house hospitals disappeared. It should be noted, however, that the first operators of the Tri-State Hospital were The Benedictine Sisters, who ran the hospital for the first five years of its operation.

It’s easy to take for granted the women who worked so hard to keep residents of Bowman healthy for so many years, since they weren’t doctors. Nevertheless, their contribution to the area is significant and they should not be forgotten. 

In honor of Women's History Month, each week of March we will feature a brief story on a woman (or women) in history with a connection to our local area. If you know of someone we should write about, or would like more information, call or stop by the museum and let us know!

Kate Richards O'Hare

2017-03-17 00:00:00

Kate Richards O’Hare (1876-1948) was an American Socialist Party activist, most well known for her imprisonment during WWI. As the leader of the American Socialist Party’s Committee on War and Militarism, she delivered many speeches against the United States’ involvement in WWI across the nation.

On July 17, 1917, O’Hare was in Bowman speaking out against the war, when she said, “Any person who enlisted in the army of the United States for service in France would be used for fertilizer and that is all that he is good for,” and “The women of the United States were nothing more or less than brood sows to raise children to get into the army and be made into fertilizer.” These statements were enough to land her in a federal penitentiary. She was arrested for violating the Espionage Act of 1917, which criminalized interfering with the recruitment and enlistment of military personnel.

In December of 1917, O’Hare’s trial was held in Bismarck, where many Bowman citizens were called as witnesses for both sides of the case. During the trial, O’Hare contended that Jim Phelan, Bowman County banker and political boss was upset over business competition from the Nonpartisan League and was responsible for her arrest. She was convicted on the charge of willfully obstructing the U.S. enlistment services, and sentenced to five years in the Missouri State Penitentiary. There were no federal penitentiaries for women at that time.

Though O’Hare arrived in Missouri in April 1919, her sentence was commuted by President Woodrow Wilson in 1920, after a nationwide campaign for her release. She was later fully pardoned by President Calvin Coolidge. After her release from prison, O’Hare led the “Children’s Crusade” which was a cross country march to convince President Warren Harding to release others convicted under the Espionage Act of 1917. With the support of the new ACLU, the women and children marchers stood at the gates of the White House for nearly two months, before President Harding agreed to meet with them. This meeting led to the release of many of the prisoners convicted under the Espionage Act.

O’Hare continued to be involved in politics, but her notoriety gradually faded. She became an esteemed penal reform advocate, and even served as an assistant director of the California Department of Penology in 1939-1940.  

In honor of Women's History Month, each week of March we will feature a brief story on a woman (or women) in history with a connection to our local area. If you know of someone we should write about, or would like more information, call or stop by the museum and let us know!

Buffalo Bird Woman

2017-03-10 00:00:00

Buffalo Bird Woman (1839-1932) was a Hidatsa woman born along the Knife River. In 1845, her people moved upstream and built Like-A- Fishhook Village; a village her people shared with the Mandan and Arikara. It was there that Buffalo Bird Woman, known in Hidatsa as Maxidiwiac, became an expert gardener. She and other women in her tribe used centuries old agricultural practices to grow corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers in the bottomlands of the Missouri River. In the mid-1880s, new government policies forced the breakup of Buffalo Bird Woman’s village and dispersed families onto individual allotments on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Despite the many hardships the Native Americans faced, the Hidatsa women continued to grow the vegetables that have proven to be some of the most important crops for Midwestern farmers.

In 1916, Gilbert L. Wilson began gathering information from Buffalo Bird Woman, transcribing her wealth of knowledge on gardening. She described for him field care and preparation, planting, harvesting, processing, and storing vegetables. She also provided him with recipes for cooking traditional Hidatsa dishes, and traditional songs and ceremonies to insure a successful harvest. In 1917, Wilson published this information as a book called Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians: An Indian Interpretation. The title was later changed to Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden.

Buffalo Bird Woman’s methods stand the test of time, as it provides modern gardeners with methods free from pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden is available in print, ebook, and also for free on the University of Pennsylvania Digital Library ( 

In honor of Women's History Month, each week of March we will feature a brief story on a woman (or women) in history with a connection to our local area. If you know of someone we should write about, or would like more information, call or stop by the museum and let us know!

Fanny Kelly

2017-03-02 00:00:00

In May of 1864, 19-year-old Fanny Kelly and her husband Josiah set out from Kansas to Montana in a small train of five wagons. On July 12, the wagon train was attacked by 100 Teton Dakota warriors, killing four and wounding two. The women and children were all taken captive.

Within a few days, the other woman and the children were able to escape, but Kelly was caught and was forced to remain with her captors for five months, enduring grueling conditions, being beaten, and performing hard labor in the household that held her captive. She also survived the battles at Killdeer Mountain and Fort Dilts.

Kelly might have been released at Fort Dilts, but Captain James Fisk didn’t follow through on negotiations, and she was forced to travel on with her captors. Throughout her captivity, her husband sent gifts through messengers to try to convince her captors to release her, but to no avail. She was eventually traded to Brings Plenty, who gave her the honorable name “Real Woman.”

Kelly was finally released on December 12, 1864 at Fort Sully, after surviving months of hardship. She was reunited with her husband, Josiah, who unfortunately succumbed to cholera a mere three years later, just before the birth of their child.

Kelly went on to publish a memoir of her time in captivity in 1870, titled: Narrative of My Captivity Among the Sioux Indians. She died in 1904.

While not much is known about her life after the publication of her book, what we do know proves that Fanny Kelly was an extraordinary woman. To learn more about her time in captivity, check out her book, available for sale at the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum. And be sure to check out our exhibits on the Battle of Killdeer Mountain and Fort Dilts.

Special thanks to the North Dakota Studies Program for the information on Mrs. Kelly.

In honor of Women's History Month, each week of March we will feature a brief story on a woman (or women) in history with a connection to our local area. If you know of someone we should write about, or would like more information, call or stop by the museum and let us know!

Community Forum

2017-02-08 00:00:00

Join the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation Scholar Clay Jenkinson for a project update and informal discussion about the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. Thursday, February 9th 6-7:30PM at the Bowman Regional Public Library! Refreshments will be served.

Looking for Quilts!

2017-01-17 00:00:00

PTRM is in search of quilts, made by local quilters, to hang and showcase on a 6-month rotating basis in the Frontier Room. If you or someone you know would be interested in being a part of this project, please contact the museum.

Annual Meeting

2017-01-05 00:00:00

The 2017 Bowman County Historical & Genealogical Society Annual Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 10th at 5:30 pm in the Frontier Room. The Board of Directors will be presenting the 2017 budget, setting short and long term goals, and electing new board members. This meeting is open to the public and all paid members of the Historical Society are invited to attend and vote on all issues.

Three board member positions are open this year. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the Board of Directors, contact the museum.

Winter Hours

10 am - 4 pm
Monday through Friday

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