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25 Years Ago-1994

The Mandan Jaycees were given another chance this week to redeem their annual Fourth of July rodeo, which has left them saddled with $14,000 in debts from the past two years. The Mandan Park Board approved an agreement to lease the Dacotah Centennial Park rodeo arena to the Jaycees with a contract, drafted by the Jaycees, that includes a provision requiring any profits to be used to pay the $2,450 owed to the park district for the 1992 and 1993 rodeos. However, the motion to officially approve the contract was tabled to another meeting after several board members objected to a contract not being drawn up and reviewed by the board’s attorney, Ben Pulkrabek.

Funerals this week:

Florence Flaten, 76, Fargo; raised, educated at Mandan. Graduated from Mandan High School. Attended business college in Bismarck. Was a secretary for government service in Washington, D.C., during World War II. Returned to Mandan, employed at Vallancey’s Hardware and Dakota Flooring. Moved to Fargo in 1964, continued working at Dakota Flooring. Also worked at family greenhouse in Mandan. Was an active member of Sons of Norway in Fargo. Survivors include one sister, several nephews and nieces.

Reka (Beckman) Jessen, Mandan; born at rural Milbank, SD; raised, educated at Ypsilanti. Graduated from Jamestown High School in 1924, then attended Valley City State Teachers College. Taught in country schools near Jamestown. Married Chris Jessen in 1925. Settled in Mandan in 1968. The couple were among the first residents of Liberty Heights. Was site manager and served as president of Golden Age Club. Active member of First Lutheran Church. Named Outstanding Senior Citizen by Mandan Mayor’s Committee in 1975. Survivors include three sons, two daughters and their families, two sisters.

Temperatures Tuesday, Feb. 1: a high of 15 degrees; 12 degrees below zero for the low.

50 Years Ago-1969

Miss Debra Pettitt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R.R. Pettitt, has been installed as the new worthy advisor of the Mandan Rainbow for Girls Assembly No. 16. The symbol chosen by Miss Pettitt is “Entwined Hearts,” with her color being white; her flowers are red roses and pink carnations; and her song is “What the World Needs Now.” Mrs. Donavan Eck is the mother advisor; Robert R. Pettitt is the rainbow dad. The traditional hand-made gavel was presented to Debra by Ted Serr.

Dr. P.M. Riisager, general practitioner and surgeon, has been named chief of staff at Mandan Hospital. He succeeds Dr. Donald A. Carlsen. Named vice president is Dr. H.A. Wheeler; secretary is Carlsen.

Funeral services were held at Mandan’s First Presbyterian Church for Mrs. Lyman N. Cary, 97, prominent early-day resident who came to Dakota Territory from the East in 1883 as a girl of 12. The former Anne Alison Clark was the daughter of J.R. Clark, pioneer druggist. She married Lyman Cary in 1894; he died in 1929. Survivors include one daughter, two sons, 12 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

75 Years Ago-1944

More than 4,000 branding irons which once glowed red on North Dakota ranches are now rusty relics of an era living only in memory. According to Roy Kolkesvik, state brand recorder, of the 10,000 brands used to proclaim ownership of vast herds of cattle, only 6,000 have been recorded in compliance with the state’s new branding law, designed to clear state files of extinct brands, effective Jan.1.

However, as old brands disappear or are taken up by new ranchers, new designs, reflecting a new age, are now appearing on the range, such as on those cattle belonging to William Heidt of New Salem. His new brand depicts a streamlined bombing plane that appears to be spiraling down the left hip.

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First Lt. Donald l. Mushik has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, according to a letter received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Mushik, from the South Pacific headquarters office. The medal was received for “extraordinary heroism on July 23, 1943, while he was forward observer for an artillery battalion, supporting the infantry which had penetrated Japanese positions in New Georgia, Solomon Islands.

“As Lt. Mushik went forward for better observation, he became the target of heavy enemy fire. His telephone wires were twice shot out. Four mortar shells dropped within 15 feet of his position, one burst in a tree directly over his head. Although wounded by shell fragments, he repaired the telephone lines and defiantly stood on a log 75 yards from hostile lines to direct artillery fire. The Japanese then shelled his position again, severing phone lines and striking his radio, but he completed his mission by using infantry communications. His persistent efforts neutralized two all-out enemy attacks. After accurately adjusting 14 artillery concentrations, Lt. Mushik was ordered to the rear for medical attention of an arm injury.”

Lt. Mushik has been in the South Pacific area for the past 14 months and hasn’t been home on a furlough in the three years of his service. The Mushiks also have two other sons in the service. Sgt. John Mushik Jr. is stationed somewhere in England. The third son, Cpl. William Mushik, is stationed in Honolulu.

100 Years Ago-1919

“Nicholas Fix returned last night from Camp Mills, N.Y., where he was stationed before the armistice was signed. His company had been scheduled to leave for France on Nov. 11.

“Jack Siegel, son of Wm. Siegel, a prominent farmer living north of Mandan, returned this week from his service with the Army. Jack was in the battle of the Argonne and also at St. Mihiel, and is glad to be back in North Dakota.

“Roy F. Dow has commenced work at the local post office in the position held before going into the service. Sgt. Dow returned on the No. 3 train this past week, after being mustered out of the service at Camp Riley, Kan.

“A large contingent of men from overseas left New York today for Camp Lewis, Wash. The first three carloads of those happy young men passed through Mandan last night on the No. 1 train.

“Many Mandanites motored across the river on the ice last night to Bismarck to see the movie ‘Hearts of the World,’ directed by D.W. Griffith. The river is frozen over more smoothly this year than for some time past.

“County Judge Shaw has issued marriage licenses to the following parties: John Schmidt and Margaret Schaff, both of Odense, and Adam Friesz and Regina Ehli, both of Flasher.”

125 Years Ago-1894

“On Thursday, Feb. 1, at 2:30 p.m., the thermometer recorded 30 degrees above zero.

“Lent begins next Wednesday.

“Valentines have made their appearance in store windows.

“The sun is shining brightly today in spite of the wind and snow.

“Small-size revolvers and guns — for ladies — can be seen this week at C.A. Heegard’s house furnishing store.

“A number of men and mule teams arrived from Jamestown this morning to take part in the rip-rap work down at the river dike on this side.

“Tomorrow has something to do with a groundhog and his shadow and whether cold weather will last only four weeks or six weeks. Doubtless, Mr. Ground Hog will arrange matters satisfactorily to suit himself.

“Lignite coal could now be purchased for $2 a ton. Presently, the mild weather is against the dealers and in favor of the happy consumer. However, smiles could appear on other faces after a week or two of below zero weather.

“Mr. J. Massingham, the well-known rancher of this county, died at the ripe old age of 75 years and three months on Saturday morning. He was born in the eastern part of England and came to this country as a young man, living at Osage, Iowa, for 20 years before arriving in Morton County, where he was engaged in the stock business, mainly sheep. He leaves a widow and seven children. Burial will be at Osage.”

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Diane Boit was raised and educated in the Red River Valley before coming to Mandan with her family in 1970. She has been involved with the Bismarck-Mandan newspapers for more than 30 years. She can be reached at