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Bob Lind, Published March 04 2012

Lind: A North Dakota tragedy from days bygone | Young love gone sadly wrong in Inkster

When you see a story about a man named Ole, you might think a Norwegian joke is coming.

But this story is no joke. It’s true. And it’s sad.

It concerns Ole Halverson, a young man in Inkster, N.D., who became smitten with a pretty young woman named Mary Lexton, also of Inkster.

So Ole popped the question. Mary said “Yes,” and they began making wedding plans.

But then a problem developed. A big one.

All this occurred in 1897, and was reported by the Fargo Argus, a forerunner of The Forum. Duane Midboe, formerly of Inkster and now of Climax, Minn., found the Argus story and sent it to Neighbors.

No wedding

The engaged couple became “more and more in love,” the Argus reported. But then, “as sometimes happens with young sweethearts,” the paper said, a quarrel broke out between the two; a quarrel so serious Ole told Mary their engagement was off.

A few days later, Ole was working at his job in an Inkster department store when Mary walked in, pulled out a revolver and shot him.

Ole, wounded and on the floor, saw Mary put the revolver to her head, and begged her not to kill herself.

Just then, police arrived, subdued Mary and took away her gun.

Ole, although weak from the loss of blood, pleaded with the officers not to prosecute Mary.

Somehow, he struggled to his feet and began kissing Mary, telling her he forgave her for whatever he felt she’d done.

The article says Mary was taken to the Grand Forks jail and that “Ole will probably die from the effects of the wound he received from his ex-fiancee.”

The story concludes by saying that “Great excitement prevails in this city (Inkster) over the sad affair, and the sympathy is about equally divided.”

Duane couldn’t find a report on what happened to either Ole or Mary. In any event, it remains a sad story of young love gone wrong back in North Dakota’s early days.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com