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More North Dakotans made Ripley's

The popular syndicated column Ripley's Believe It Or Not featured a number of people from North Dakota. Last week I reported about eight individuals and asked readers to inform me about others from the state who have appeared in the column. The r...

The popular syndicated column Ripley's Believe It Or Not featured a number of people from North Dakota. Last week I reported about eight individuals and asked readers to inform me about others from the state who have appeared in the column. The response was overwhelming.

- The most expert spear throwers in the world, the Mandan Indians of North Dakota, regularly played a game in which a long spear was hurled through a small wooden ring as it rolled past on the ground.

- Glenn "Red" Jarrett of the University of North Dakota scored touchdowns in each of his last 15 games. Jarrett was a standout athlete at Grand Forks Central and UND. While playing for the Sioux from 1928-31, he earned nine letters in sports.

He coached at Minot High and then went to UND, where he was football and basketball coach. He later became the athletic director.

- In 1932 Charles Kaslow of Grand Forks drank a half-pint of formaldehyde and lived.


- Gil Dobie, who coached football at the North Dakota Agricultural College, now North Dakota State University, and the University of Washington from 1908 to 1916, never lost a game in 11 seasons. I reported on his life and career two weeks ago.

- The Rev. Philip Frazier served the Standing Rock Reservation of North Dakota and South Dakota as a minister of five churches. Frazier was a Santee Sioux and the grandson of one of the 100 Santee sentenced in Mankato, Minn., after the Sioux Uprising of 1862 and later pardoned by President Lincoln.

Frazier became a minister, like his father and grandfather, and the Frazier Memorial Church in South Dakota was named in his honor.

- Adrian Fox of Leeds, using his teeth, could lift a chair with a 145-pound man sitting on it. He could also bend horseshoes with his hands and bite coins in half.

While at NDAC in the early 1930s, it is reported that he used a special harness to support the weight of the entire football team on his shoulders.

- Mervin Weaver of Grand Forks recorded an unusual strike while bowling in the Industrial League in 1956. The bowler in the lane next to Weaver rolled his ball, which collided with a second ball from the ball return. The ball bounced into Weaver's alley just as he released his bowling ball, and these balls collided. The first thrown ball slammed into the pins for a strike.

- Lawrence Welk, the famed orchestra leader from Strasburg, was the son of German immigrants, grew up in rural North Dakota and didn't learn to speak English until he left home at age 21 to begin his musical career.

- Thomas A. Cullen, a post office truck driver in Fargo, was formally "charged" in police court with operating a motor vehicle for 39 years without an accident and sentenced to attend a luncheon in his honor.


Cullen began driving for the post office in 1919 and, in 1958, was arrested as he was finishing his rounds. The arresting officer told Cullen, "you are further charged with having traveled 250,000 miles, making more than 2 million starts and stops, not counting traffic stops.

After pleading "guilty," the police took him to the hotel, where a dinner was given in his honor.

- It was reported in 1991 that "Emil and Elsie Geisler are the only two official residents of Merricourt, N.D."

- Henry Luehr of Pettibone, using wood recycled from an abandoned grain elevator, created an 82-foot-high Chinese pagoda. The Pettibone Pagoda, as it was called, had eight floors, and each of the floors was ornately decorated. It was featured in "Roadside America."

Luehr died in 1995, and four years later the pagoda was destroyed when high winds swept through the area.

- Sculptor Gary Greff created giant pheasants with 30-foot-long tails and a 40-food-long grasshopper, and then placed them along the 32-mile-long "Enchanted Highway."

Greff, from Regent, also created the "Tin Family," "Geese in Flight," "Deer Crossing" and "Fisherman's Dream."

These huge metal sculptures can be seen along the highway that runs from Regent to Exit 72, off of Interstate 94.


I will conclude the series of entries from Ripley's Believe It Or Not next week. It will not only include more residents from North Dakota, but also locations and events.

If you know of any not included in the previous two series, please contact me at cjeriksmoen@cableone.com .

I am also looking for supportive information about James Jemtrud, Tom and Darla Kruger, Donna Heley and Harry Zachmeier. Next week I will also recognize those who have helped me in putting this series together.

"Did You Know That" 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 .

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