« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Curtis Eriksmoen, Published January 02 2005

Can you tie these animals to their N.D. links?

Did you know ... several noted animals, real or constructed, have North Dakota ties. Let's start out with a quiz:

Meriwether Lewis took the dog Seaman with him on his journey with William Clark as they explored the Louisiana Purchase. Seaman was a Newfoundland and the first mention of him is when the explorers left from Pittsburgh on Aug. 30, 1803. Lewis' close attachment to Seaman was attested to on May 15, 1805, when the dog was bitten on the leg by a beaver, severing an artery. Lewis wrote, "It was with great difficulty that I could stop the blood; I fear it will yet prove fatal to him." Seaman survived.

Col. George Custer had two favorite horses while stationed at Fort Abraham Lincoln in North Dakota near Bismarck -- Dandy and Vic. Custer bought Dandy, a bay gelding, in 1868 at Fort Riley, Kan.

Because of Dandy's lively step, Custer used him in parades and at other places where Custer appeared in public. Dandy was left at Fort Lincoln in 1876 when Custer pursued Sitting Bull. After Custer's death, Dandy was given to Custer's father in Monroe, Mich.

Dandy died in 1881 at the age of 26 and was buried with full military honors.

Custer obtained Vic at Louisville, Ky., in 1873 shortly before heading west. Vic, a white-stocking sorrel thoroughbred, was fast. Custer used him in combat.

It is believed that Vic was killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.

The Custer unit's sole survivor at the Battle of the Little Big Horn was the horse Comanche. Born of mustang lineage in 1862, he was purchased by the U.S. 7th Cavalry on April 3, 1868.

The fiery stallion was the favorite mount of Capt. Myles Keogh, second in command under Custer.

When the steamboat the Far West arrived at the battle scene to pick up survivors, the only sign of life was a badly wounded horse, Comanche.

He was wounded 12 times and needed immediate attention. After the most serious wounds were treated, he was returned to Fort Lincoln to recuperate.

In 1888, the 7th Cavalry was ordered to Fort Riley with Comanche accompanying them.

When Comanche died on Nov. 7, 1891, his body was prepared by a taxidermist and put on display at the University of Kansas.

The most famous Jersey cow in North Dakota was Noble's Golden Marguerite and is the only cow to be formally buried on a college campus. Marguerite was born on the island of Jersey in 1914 and was purchased by Samuel Crabbe, a Fargo dairyman.

She established a state record in 1921 by producing 977.7 pounds of butterfat. The record stood for 48 years until being broken in 1969.

When she died in 1932, Marguerite was interred at North Dakota State University on the front lawn of the former Dairy Building, now the Engineering and Technology Building.

A large boulder with a bronze plaque marks the spot where she was buried.

Because Crabbe had helped secure the appropriation for the Dairy Building, the college administration acceded to his request that Marguerite be buried next to the building.

In 1961, famed author John Steinbeck published his last book, "Travels With Charley." This best seller described Steinbeck's journey across the United States the previous year. It included his sojourn through North Dakota, with particular details about Fargo and the Badlands. Charley was Steinbeck's middle-aged poodle and was the author's companion on this trip.

Clyde was the largest Kodiak bear in captivity when he resided at the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck.

He was born in Alaska in 1965 and was taken into captivity when it was feared he was contaminated with Strontium 90 from the Soviet Union. Steve Richards, a North Dakota Game and Fish biologist, made preparations for Clyde to be brought to the Dakota Zoo.

It is believed Clyde weighed well over one ton when he died of old age in 1987. Clyde stood 9 feet tall when on his hind paws.

The world's largest construction of a cow statue is New Salem Sue. She is 38 feet high, 50 feet long and weighs 12,000 pounds. Sue was built in 1974 to honor dairy farmers around New Salem.

A 30-foot-tall giant gorilla named Og was originally built atop Rawhide City, a Mandan business building. James Lelm, a Harvey implement dealer, purchased Og when Rawhide City went bankrupt.

He had Og's torso transported to Harvey and placed it in a field south of the city along Highway 52 as a tourist attraction.

One of the biggest living attractions in North Dakota is White Cloud, an albino bison. White Cloud was born on July 10, 1996, on the Daniel Shirek farm north of Michigan.

Albino bison were greatly revered by Native Americans and also considered "good medicine." White Cloud roams with a herd near Jamestown and can be seen while traveling along Interstate 94.

The author recognizes that this article is not all-inclusive and would like to do a second article about animals of North Dakota not listed in this column. Please send information about any animals you believe should be included in a second article.

"Did You Know That" is a Sunday column that focuses on interesting people, places and events that had an impact on North Dakota, or even the country. It is written by Curt Eriksmoen and edited by Jan Eriksmoen of Fargo. Send your suggestions for columns, comments or corrections to the Eriksmoens at: cjeriksmoen@cableone.net.